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Wed, 24 Feb 2021
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Earth Changes


Beijing sees warmest February day in 70 years

A packed rooftop cafe in Wudaoying Hutong
© Lana
A packed rooftop cafe in Wudaoying Hutong.
Beijing recently recorded its highest February temperatures in 70 years.

Records from the meteorological observatory in Daxing district (南郊观象台) showed that at around 4pm on February 21, temperatures reached a high of 25.6 degrees Celsius. It was the warmest temperature on record in Beijing in February since 1951.

Many That's Beijing readers took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather. Outdoor activities included rock climbing, relaxing at rooftop bars and cafes, exploring Beijing via scooter and more.

An acoustic band made up of Beijing expats wore t-shirts as they sat by the Liangma river and serenaded passers-by.

However, the "fake summer" has been somewhat short-lived as temperatures will likely return to normal soon. Reports suggest that on February 22 and 23, there will be a high of just 14 degrees Celsius.

It could be a while before the capital experiences such high temperatures again. At least some of the city's residents were able to enjoy the warm weather while it lasted.

Comment: Yet last month a cold wave froze parts of China, as vegetable prices hit record highs due to the historically cold winter.


Environmental disasters across globe in January 2021

The first month of 2021 saw a host of environmental disasters, including floods in Malaysia and the Philippines, a volcanic eruption in Indonesia, a massive forest fire in India, landslides in Papua New Guinea and an avalanche in Russia.

Here is a timeline compiled by Anadolu Agency.

Jan. 2:

- Massive forest fire engulfs the picturesque Dzuko Valley located in northeastern India.

Jan. 3:

- The death toll from the landslide in the village of Ask, Norway, on Dec. 30, rises to six.

- Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra, Indonesia, erupts, spewing ash columns up to 1,000 meters high.

Cloud Lightning

8 people drown attempting to cross flooded rivers in Zimbabwe

A total of eight people are said to have drowned while trying to cross flooded rivers in Chiredzi District, Masvingo.

The number was confirmed by Chiredzi District Development Coordinator, Mr. Lovemore Chisema who warned members of the public against attempting at flooded rivers.

Chisema who is also the chairperson of the District's Civil Protection Department said more than 20 houses have been destroyed due to floods.

He said:

Cloud Lightning

Lightning strikes kill 3, injure 3 others in Malawi

Three people died while three others sustained injuries after being struck by lightning in two different incidents on Monday in Mangochi.

Both incidents occurred on the evening of February 22, 2021 in the areas of Traditional Authority Bwananyambi and Mponda.

According to Mangochi Police Deputy publicist, Amina Tepani Daudi, in the first incident, John Chicha and Tiyanjane Bakali both 23-years-old were struck by lightning at Masuku Trading Centre.

At the time, it was heavily raining and lightning struck 5 people whereby the two were pronounced dead upon arrival at Mulibwanji Community Hospital. The other three suffered serious burn wounds.

Arrow Down

Snowmobiler dies following avalanche southwest of Chetywnd, British Columbia - 3rd such death for province within 9 days

Avalanche area. | File photo

Avalanche area. | File photo
SAR helicopter was able to recover the deceased

A 27-year-old man has died following an avalanche this weekend in northern B.C.

On Saturday (Feb. 20) just after 2:30 p.m. Chetwynd RCMP were notified by the International Emergency Response Coordination Centre of a device signal activations, known as InReach Spot, on the east face of the Murray Mountain range by Mt Gilliland, south of Pine Le Moray Provincial Park, which is southwest of Chetwynd.

Through the InReach device messaging, police discovered that an avalanche had occurred while a group of snowmobilers were in the area and one man was missing.

Comment: Details of the other fatalities: Snowboarder dies in second fatal avalanche in British Columbia in as many days

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Snowboarder dies in second fatal avalanche in British Columbia in as many days

A 45-year-old snowboarder died in an avalanche in northwest Canada on Saturday, the second fatality in as many days, authorities said.

According to a statement from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the avalanche occurred in Brandywine Bowl, an area southwest of Whistler, British Columbia.

On Friday, one skier was killed and two others were injured in two avalanches near Whistler, CBC reported.

Multiple people were caught in Saturday's avalanche at about 2:03 p.m. PT. Rescuers began searching for them immediately, according to CTV News. The snowboarder was found about 45 minutes later and died of his injuries, according to the RCMP.

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Avalanche kills skier in Wyoming national park - at least 32 avalanche deaths in US this 2020-2021 season

Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center shared this photo on Monday announcing there had been a fatality

Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center shared this photo on Monday announcing there had been a fatality "in very extreme terrain."
A skier was killed after getting swept up in an avalanche Monday in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, the National Park Service said in a news release.

Matthew Brien, a 33-year-old resident of Jackson, Wyoming, had been leading a small group of locals who wanted to ski the Broken Thumb Couloir when the avalanche was triggered, the park service said.
His is the latest of at least 32 avalanche deaths in the US in this 2020-2021 season, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Twenty-three fatalities were recorded last season, with 25 deaths tallied in each of the two seasons before that.

Cloud Precipitation

South Africa and Zimbabwe - Flash floods in border towns of Musina and Beitbridge

Floods in Musina, Limpopo, South Africa,
© Musina Local Municipality
Floods in Musina, Limpopo, South Africa, February 202.
Flash floods were reported in towns close to the South Africa and Zimbabwe border after a thunderstorm brought heavy rain from 21 to 22 February 2021.

In South Africa, flooding affected parts of Vhembe District, Limpopo Proince, in particular the town of Musina, where roads and homes were damaged along with electricity and water infrastructure. Images shared on Social Media showed a flooded hospital.

Flooding also affected areas the border town of Beitbridge in Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe, damaging roads and some buildings.

Meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe said Beitbridge recorded 76mm of rain in 24 hours to 22 February. Heavy rainfall was also reported further north in Nyanga, close to the border with Mozambique.


Thousands of homes damaged by floods in Madre De Dios, Peru

Floods in Madre de Dios, Peru, February 2021.
© Floods in Madre de Dios, Peru, February 2021. Photo: Minam Peru
Floods in Madre de Dios, Peru, February 2021.
Flooding in Madre de Dios Region of Peru has affected at least 15,000 people and damaged thousands of homes. The government has declared a State of Emergency for 60 days for the region.

After visiting affected areas, Peru's Environment Minister Gabriel Quijandria said that floods had damaged about 4,000 homes along with several schools and health facilities. Water and electricity services have been interrupted and around 3,000 hectares of crops damaged. Affected areas include Pueblo Viejo, Las Piedras, Laberinto and Boca Colorado.

"We have flown over the areas near and far from Puerto Maldonado and the truth is that the situation is worrying," the minister said. "There is significant damage in several towns, such as Laberinto," he added.

Armed forces are working with Peru's National Civil Defense Institute (INDECI) to distribute relief supplies including mattresses, sheets, kitchen utensils, mosquito nets and personal hygiene and cleaning products.


More than 110 plant species in Australia had their entire ranges burned in the 2019-2020 megafires

Bushfire in Victoria, December, 2020

Bushfire in Victoria, December, 2020
Most are resilient to fire, however the scope of the blazes may leave some ecosystems susceptible to landscape-scale failure

More than 19 million acres in Australia burned in the bushfires of the 2019-2020 season, with seven individual fires exceeding 1 million acres. Researchers who have studied the impacts on the vegetation have determined that the entire ranges of 116 plant species burned along with 90 percent of the ranges of 173 species.

Most of the affected species are are resilient to fire. However, the massive scope of the megafires may leave some ecosystems, particularly the rainforests, susceptible to regeneration failure and landscape-scale decline.

Below are excerpts from a study by Robert C. Godfree, Nunzio Knerr, and Francisco Encinas-Viso, et al., published in Nature Communications February 15, 2021.