Archive | Severe Weather Alert RSS for this section

Lightning strike sparks fire at Venezuela oil refinery

A lightning strike has caused a fire at Venezuela’s El Palito refinery.
The bolt hit two storage tanks late on Wednesday, less than a month after an explosion at Venezuela’s largest refinery left more than 40 people dead.
No deaths or injuries have been reported so far.
Courtesy of BBC News

Mediterranean drought sends olive oil prices surging

It is not just crude oil that is having a turbulent 2017.
The price of extra virgin olive oil has surged by almost a quarter this year, as drought afflicts production at major producers around the Mediterranean. Output in Greece, Italy, Tunisia and, to a lesser degree, Spain is forecast to fall sharply this year.
“Italy is terrible, Greece is terrible, and Tunisia is terrible. Can you imagine if Spain had also been down sharply?” said Panayotis Karantonis, director of the Athens-based Greek Association of OIiver Oil Processors and Packers.
World production is forecast to fall 14 per cent, with Italian output expected to almost halve in the 12 months to September, according to the International Olive Council. Greece is likely to see a 20 per cent fall, Tunisia by 17 per cent, while production in Spain, known in the industry as the Saudi Arabia of olive oil because of the size of its output, predicted to decline 7 per cent.
The squeeze in supply and the rise in prices have tempered European demand for olive oil, known for its vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants, but demand elsewhere remains robust. Australia, Brazil and China are among the markets where imports are growing rapidly, according to the IOC.
Adverse weather events have been affecting olive oil production in countries on the Mediterranean more frequently, agricultural and weather experts have noted.
”We have had bad weather affecting production three years out of the last five,” said Vito Martielli, a grains and oilseeds analyst at Rabobank, the Dutch bank that is one of the largest lenders to the agribusiness industry.
While the production level is higher than that of 2012 and 2014, when a drought in Spain and pests in Italy were the culprits, the more frequent declines in output and lower inventory levels have left the market more vulnerable to spikes in price. The wholesale prices for extra virgin olive oil have risen above $4,200 a tonne.
Mr Karantonis said that while production in Spain was lower than initially expected, it was still significantly higher than in 2012-13.
The jump in wholesale prices has put upward pressure on what consumers are having to pay. Retail olive oil prices across Europe have risen an average of 26 per cent in the two years to 2016, with those in Spain recording the steepest rise of 36 per cent, according research group IRI.
This year’s advance in wholesale prices has yet to reach supermarket shelves because of a time lag, but industry executives, warn it is likely to happen. “Over the next coming months the prices in the supermarkets in the US and UK will be higher than 2-3 months before,” said Mr Karantonis.
Courtesy of

Lightning strike sparks 145-acre wildfire in Okeechobee County, Florida, USA

Lightning strike sparks 145-acre wildfire in Okeechobee County. (FFS)
A lightning strike sparked at 145-acre wildfire in the northern region of Okeechobee County, east of the Kissimmee River, Saturday evening.
According to the Florida Forest Service, 80 percent of the fire is contained.
Crews say the flames are not threatening any homes or buildings at this time.
Firefighters bulldozed vegetation surrounding the fire to prevent the spread of the flames.
Crews will remain in the are through the night, FFS says.
Courtesy of

Two dead, several injured after lightning strikes in Belpahari, India

An officer of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) was killed and four others injured after lightning struck at Belpahari in Jhargram on Saturday night. A 12-year-old boy was also killed after lightening struck him at another village under Belpahari police station. The victim, identified as Tapan Kumar Dey, was declared dead after he was rushed to a nearby hospital. The other four injured CRPF jawans are undergoing treatment. Some of the injured are said to be in a critical condition. The officer and the jawans were posted at CRPF 165 BN camp. The incident occurred on Saturday night when the deceased officer and the jawans were conducting vigil in the area. While the five CRPF personnel were out conducting vigil, they were struck by lightning. After hearing about the incident, locals rushed to the spot. The victims’ colleagues were also informed and called to the scene. They rescued all the five persons from the spot and rushed them to the hospital. The locals said that there were thundershowers in the are
a on Saturday night when the accident took place.
According to the police, a minor boy was also killed in Ghagra area under Belpahari police station of Jhargram on Saturday night after being struck by lightning. The victim has been identified as Laxman Mandi (12) who stepped out of his house during the rain and lightning. Some other villagers were also injured in the incident, police added.
Courtesy of