Earth ChangesS

Snowflake Cold

Nearly 100 dead in US winter storms as snow and ice hit multiple states

A truck sits abandoned in Iowa.
© Nick Rohlman/The GazetteA truck sits abandoned in Iowa.
Freezing conditions have brought widespread disruption to the Midwest, coastal states and parts of the South over the past week - and more is forecast in the coming days.

Dozens of people have now died in winter storms across the US following days of freezing conditions.

At least 95 deaths have been linked to the weather over the past week, with many killed by hypothermia or car crashes, according to US media.

Weather warnings in place on Monday cover areas where a total of 57 million people live, Sky's US partner NBC News reported.

With snow and ice coating many regions, 27 people have died in Tennessee alone, with Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas among the other states affected.

The victims include three people - among them a pregnant woman - who were fatally electrocuted after slipping on ice next to a power line that fell on a car in Portland, Oregon.


Mega 7.0 magnitude shallow earthquake hits China-Kyrgyzstan border - 3 killed, at least 50 injured (UPDATE)

At least fifty people were injured after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck along the mountainous China-Kyrgyzstan border on Tuesday, authorities said.

The major quake was registered just after 2:00 am (1800 GMT Monday) at a depth of 13 kilometres in China's Xinjiang region, about 140 kilometres (85 miles) west of the city of Aksu.

Local authorities dispatched a team to the quake's epicentre, Beijing's Xinhua state news agency said, while around 800 people were on standby for any large disaster relief mission.

The health ministry in Kazakhstan said that 44 people suffering "various" injuries had sought medical help in the city of Almaty, the country's largest city.

Comment: Update

Reuters reports:
A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck the Kyrgyzstan-Xinjiang border region on Tuesday, leading to the collapse of homes and killing at least three people and injuring five, Chinese state media reported.

China's Earthquake Administration said rescue efforts were underway, coordinated with the Office of the Earthquake Relief Headquarters and the Ministry of Emergency Management.

A security video shared on social media and verified by Reuters showed passengers scrambling for safety as the quake rattled a railway station.

The Xinjiang railway department suspended operations and 27 trains were reportedly affected by the quake, Xinhua News reported.

The earthquake was felt strongly in Urumqi, Korla, Kashgar, Yining and surrounding areas, according to posts from users on China's Weibo social media platform.

The epicentre of the quake was struck at 2:09 a.m. (1809 GMT) at a depth of 22 km (13 miles) in the mountainous border area of Wushi County in northwest China's Xinjiang region, according to the China Earthquake Administration.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning kills bather on beach in Brazil

A lightning strike killed a woman on Saturday and injured seven, including members of her family, on the coast of Sao Paulo state amid heavy rains that hit southeastern Brazil, authorities reported.

"There was a series of electric shocks between the water and the sand at Vila Caiçara beach, Playa Grande, resulting in four victims, all from the same family," reported the state Civil Defense.

"One of them, a 60-year-old woman, died; others are in serious condition but stable," he added.

Authorities indicated that four other people were electrocuted, but not seriously.

Cloud Precipitation

3 killed after severe storms hit Sao Paulo, Brazil

At least three people have died in the last 24 hours due to severe storms in southeast Brazil's Sao Paulo state, the Civil Defense agency said Saturday.

The casualties comprised two women who were carried away by a flash flood in the city of Limeira, according to Brazil's official news agency Agencia Brasil.

Since November, storms with strong winds have kept battering southern and southeastern Brazil, causing material damage and loss of life.

Sorocaba, about 100 km from the state capital, declared a state of emergency this Saturday after two public hospitals were inundated.

Snowflake Cold

Best of the Web: The snow is up to 7 meters (23 FEET) high in Hakkari, Turkey (UPDATE)

In the Semdinli district in Hakkari, Turkey, the height of the snow cover reaches five meters in some places.

Crews on the ground worked to clear the snow to allow access to villages in the area, which they eventually succeeded in doing.

The locals were happy because the roads were passable, so they could go and buy the necessities of life.

Teams continue work on widening roads where the snow reaches up to five meters, AA writes.

Comment: Update January 22 reports:
Snow thickness reaches seven meters in Hakkari

Efforts are being made by snow removal teams to open the roads providing access to villages and hamlets; however, progress is challenging due to the thickness of the snow.

The heavy snow in the Yüksekova district of Hakkâri has adversely affected daily life.

Snow removal teams are making efforts to open the roads providing access to villages and hamlets in the Dağlıca region, where the snow thickness reaches up to 7 meters in some places.

Despite the ongoing efforts by the District Special Provincial Administration Directorate's construction site teams to clear the blocked roads, the thickness of the snow is making their work challenging.

According to a report in Anadolu Agency, the teams are using construction equipment to create a "snow tunnel" and aim to quickly open the road for access to villages and hamlets.

Snowflake Cold

Heavy snowfall hit many parts of the world

The U.S. is experiencing bitter cold and heavy snowfall. However, the U.S. is not alone. Many parts of the world are seeing a blanket of snow as well.


Freak waves cause damage at US army base, shut airports in remote Marshall Islands

Screenshots of wave hitting Roi-Namur dining room. The waves smashed down the dining hall's doors, knocking people down and flooding the facility as this screenshot from a video
Screenshots of wave hitting Roi-Namur dining room. The waves smashed down the dining hall's doors, knocking people down and flooding the facility as this screenshot from a video taken Saturday night shows.
Powerful waves, driven by offshore storm surges, hit an important US military installation in the Marshall Islands on Saturday night, causing damage and resulting in the evacuation of all "non-mission personnel" from the island.

Flooding caused by the waves also hit two airports at Ailinglaplap Atoll, leaving rocks, coral and debris in their wake, keeping those airports closed for weeks. Other islands reported flooding and moderate damage.

The US Army in a statement on Sunday afternoon that at approximately 9pm on January 20, "a series of weather-induced waves hit Roi-Namur which caused significant flooding in the northern portions of the island".

A video circulating from Roi-Namur, an island at the northern end of Kwajalein Atoll, shows an approximately one-metre wave hitting the Army's dining hall, breaking down doors, knocking people down and washing them from outside into the facility.

Roi-Namur houses the US Army's most sophisticated space-tracking equipment as part of the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Test Site.

Cloud Lightning

UK weather: Storm Isha causes power cuts and travel chaos amid 99mph winds

storms isha
© JO-SHREEVE/ReutersHigh waves due to Storm Isha hit the shore in Porthleven, Cornwall, on Sunday 21 January.
Thousands of people have been left without power as Storm Isha brings disruption to electricity and transport networks.

The storm battered the UK with heavy rain and gusts of up to 99mph with the entire country subject to wind warnings issued by the Met Office.

Northern Ireland Electricity Networks said 45,000 customers were without power, while Electricity North West said thousands of properties in north-west England had lost their supply.

Comment: There has been one fatality so far:
An 84-year-old man has died after a car collided with a fallen tree as Storm Isha brought winds topping 100mph to the UK.

Police in Scotland say the man - a front-seat passenger - was pronounced dead at the scene in Grangemouth on Sunday night, while others in the car were unhurt.

Arrow Down

Landslide and flooding after heavy rain in southern Philippines kills 15 (UPDATE)

Seven people, including five children, were killed after a landslide buried a house following days of heavy rains in southern Davao de Oro province, a disaster official said on Thursday.

Two people were injured and approximately 10 were missing, Ednar Dayanghirang, director of the regional civil defence agency, told DZRH radio.

Authorities suspended search and rescue operations due to continuing rains in a residential area for small-scale miners, he said.

Heavy rains and floods have affected more than 187,000 people in four provinces in the Davao region, data from the national disaster agency show.

Landslides and floods are frequent in the Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands that is hit by about 20 tropical storms annually.

Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Martin Petty

Comment: Update January 21

CGTN reports:
Death toll rises to 15 in Philippines amid flooding and landslides

Severe flooding and landslides in the Davao Region of the Philippines have killed 15 people and injured five others, according to the country's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council on Sunday.

Arrow Down

60-foot-deep sinkhole opens in front of Highland City home in Florida

© Polk County Fire Rescue
According to Polk County Fire Rescue, an approximately 15 feet wide by 60 feet-deep sinkhole opened in front of a Polk County home on Saturday.

Officials say the sinkhole is on Royal Crest Drive in Highland City

Firefighters say the street is open, and the sinkhole does not pose an imminent threat to the county roadway.

According to authorities, PCFR will continue monitoring the situation over the coming days.