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Several killed in Yemen floods #Floods #Yemen

Severe Flood Warning

At least 17 people, including eight children, have been killed in flash floods and by lightning in Yemen’s northern Marib region, health authorities said.

The violent storms have added to the woes of the war-torn country, which the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Five years of conflict have left much of the impoverished country in ruins.

“Sixteen people drowned and another person was killed after being struck by lightning,” local health authorities said in a statement on Tuesday.

Recent storms have hit other provinces, including the capital Sanaa, Amran, Hodeidah, Taiz, Saada and Hadramout.

Dozens of homes and hundreds of tents for the displaced have been destroyed, according to the authorities.

Courtesy of aljazeera.com

https://tinyurl.com/yyvktym8

Florida set for Hurricane Isaias as it batters Bahamas #Hurricane #Isaias #Florida #Bahamas

Hurricane Alert

Hurricane Isaias lashed the Bahamas as it churned toward Florida, bringing new dangers to a US state suffering record deaths from an unrelenting coronavirus outbreak.

The category one storm, packing winds of up to 136km/h an hour, gained strength after sweeping over the Dominican Republic.

As of 7am this morning, it was an expansive storm, moving northwest at a speed of 23km/h mph, kicking up heavy squalls and whipping the Bahamas, as well as the Turks and Caicos island chains with strong winds, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.

“Hurricane conditions and dangerous storm surge are expected in portions of the Bahamas through Saturday, and Hurricane Warnings are in effect,” it added.

Hurricane warnings were up across the low-lying Bahamas while parts of Florida’s east coast, including Palm Beach, the location of President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, were under a hurricane watch.

Florida could start feeling the effects of the storm by late this evening, according to the NHC.

The body warned Isaias will produce heavy rains and “potentially life-threatening flash and urban flooding”, especially in low-lying and poorly drained areas across southern areas.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed an emergency declaration for counties on the exposed Atlantic coast.

But a slight shift westward in the storm’s trajectory raised hopes that Florida would be spared a direct hit.

Mr DeSantis said it was too early to open shelters, but urged residents to stock up on enough water, food and medicine to last a week.

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis had relaxed strict stay-at-home orders imposed because of the coronavirus to allow residents to prepare for the hurricane.

“I beg you, do not use this period for hurricane preparation to go socializing and visiting friends or family,” Minnis said at a news conference.

“If you do not need to be out, please, please, STAY AT HOME! We are in the midst of a pandemic and if we do not act responsibly, the consequences could be dire,” he said.

It is the Bahamas’ first hurricane since Dorian, a maximum strength Category 5 storm last year that devastated two islands, pummeling them for three days.

Isaias caused widespread damage in Puerto Rico, downing trees and electric lines and inundating houses as it cut a path through the island.

In Florida, the concern was that if Isaias does hit, it would cause havoc at a time when hospitals are flooded with a surge of Covid-19 cases.

On Friday, the state reported another 257 deaths, setting a fourth consecutive single day state record and pushing its virus death toll to 6,843.

Florida’s coronavirus testing centers, meanwhile, were closed on Thursday and will not reopen until they get the all-clear.

The state’s emergency management division explained that the testing centers are housed in tents and could not withstand tropical force winds.

Meanwhile, the hurricane may also delay the return of US astronauts from the International Space Station.

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley blasted off from Cape Canaveral on 30 May on board a SpaceX Crew Dragon, and are supposed to splash down off the coast of Florida on Sunday afternoon.

Undocking remains scheduled for approximately 7:34pm (12.34am Irish time) tonight and splashdown at 2:42pm (7.42pm) tomorrow.

But NASA said it was keeping a watchful eye on Hurricane Isaias and would make a final call about six hours prior to undocking.

“We don’t control the weather, and we know we can stay up here longer — there’s more chow, and I know the space station programme has more work that we can do,” Mr Behnken told reporters in a press call.

The potential splashdown sites are in the Gulf of Mexico and along Florida’s Atlantic coast.

The mission marked the first time a crewed spaceship launched into orbit from American soil since 2011 when the Space Shuttle program ended.

It was also the first time a private company has flown to the ISS carrying astronauts.

Courtesy of rte.ie

https://tinyurl.com/y572jv97

France swelters under heatwave, putting firefighters on alert #Heatwave #Wildfires #France

Heatwave Alert

Intense heat spread across much of France today ahead of a heavy holiday travel weekend, prompting officials to warn of wildfire risks in exceptionally dry and windy conditions.

Around one-third of the country’s 101 fire departments were on high alert, with Paris forecast to reach 40C in the shade after several cities hit record highs yesterday.

Authorities in the capital imposed driving restrictions to limit ozone pollution as tens of thousands of Parisians prepared to flee to cooler climes, according to the nation’s traffic surveillance agency.

“The heatwave requires the state to be vigilant, and everyone to be cautious,” Prime Minister Jean Castex said while visiting with firefighters in Bourg-en-Bresse, southeast France.

Earlier today, a dramatic wildfire in the middle of the Atlantic coast resort of Anglet was brought under control after it destroyed nearly a dozen homes and forced around 100 people to evacuate.

The blaze erupted late yesterday in the Chiberta forest park at Anglet in southwest France, whose beaches just north of Biarritz draw surfers from around the world.

It was the latest of several that erupted in southern and central France this week, kicking off the annual fire season which officials warn could be worsened by the drought and dry heat.

“Ninety percent of these fires are caused by humans,” Environment Minister Barbara Pompili told BFM television, asking people to use “common sense”.

Officials also urged families and neighbours to check in on the elderly, and retirement homes are on high alert since air-conditioners are being discouraged over fears they could foster coronavirus contagions.

An increase in Covid-19 cases prompted officials to tighten face mask requirements in several cities this week, with many making them mandatory outdoors despite the heat.

The Meteo France weather agency said that storms could bring relief tonight in central France. Night temperatures elsewhere are likely to stay high, falling to just 25C in cities like Lyon or Grenoble.

Last year was France’s hottest on record, and Meteo France has warned that global warming could double the number of heatwaves by 2050.

Courtesy of rte.ie

https://tinyurl.com/y4e8m7be