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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.


Rare pygmy sperm whale washes up on Sonoma Coast beach in California

dead whale
A dead pygmy sperm whale washed ashore on a Sonoma Coast beach over the weekend, giving marine mammal experts a rare chance to examine a creature that normally spends its life out in the ocean deep.

The intact body of the nine-foot-long pregnant whale beached Saturday on the sand at Salmon Creek, with no clear signs of trauma, said Barbie Halaska, necropsy manager with the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.

Pygmy sperm whales are pelagic, meaning they live in deeper waters beyond the continental shelf. They are far less likely to wash ashore than other species, such as gray and humpback whales.

"Even if one dies, they don't necessarily strand on land," Halaska said. "Getting to see one is really rare for us."

Halaska and a team of about a half-dozen veterinary technicians, lab assistants and pathology experts went to the beach Sunday and collected the whale's internal organs and head to be more fully examined at the center's Marin County marine mammal hospital.

Cloud Precipitation

Floods worsen in Greater Jakarta Region, Indonesia 5 people reported dead, over 30,000 displaced

Floods in Karawang, West Java, Indonesia
Floods in Karawang, West Java, Indonesia, February 2021.
The flood situation in Greater Jakarta, Indonesia, has worsened over the last 2 days. As of 22 February as many as 5 people have died, 2 are missing and over 30,000 people displaced.

As reported here, flooding struck in Greater Jakarta from 19 February, prompting 1,300 evacuations mostly in South and East Jakarta and also affecting parts of West Jakarta.

Arrow Up

Bermuda's hurricanes are twice as strong as they were six decades ago

Hurricane Florence
© Shutterstock
Hurricane Florence off US Coast in 2018
Ocean warming is fueling stronger hurricanes.

Hurricanes are blasting Bermuda with wind speeds that have more than doubled in strength over the last 66 years, due to rising ocean temperatures in the region as a result of climate change, according to a new study.

Within a 62-mile (100 kilometers) radius of Bermuda, the average maximum wind speed of hurricanes increased from 35 to 73 mph (56 to 117 km/h) between 1955 and 2019, the researchers found. This is the equivalent of a 6 mph (10 km/h) increase every decade.

During this time, sea-surface temperatures in the region also increased by up to two degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius), according to the Bermuda Atlantic Time Series (BATS), a long-running dataset collected by the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.

Scientists already knew that higher sea surface temperatures fuel stronger tropical cyclones. But the new findings show that temperatures below the sea surface also play a key role in how these storms form.

Comment: See also:

Bad news: Study claims hurricanes' translational speed is slowing down, potentially increasing damage


Pod of 49 long-finned pilot whales strand on beach in New Zealand - 9 die

The worst danger to stranded whales is overheating in the sun, as their dark skin and layers of blubber work to trap heat.
The worst danger to stranded whales is overheating in the sun, as their dark skin and layers of blubber work to trap heat.
Rescuers in New Zealand had to race against time to save dozens of pilot whales that were stranded on the beachside in New Zealand on Monday.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) reported that a pod of 49 long-finned pilot whales was discovered at Farewell Spit, which is nearly 90 kilometres (55 metres) north of Nelson.

As soon as the pod was discovered, more than 60 people set to work to rescue the whales and bring them back to a healthy life. However, by mid-afternoon nine of the whales from the pod were declared dead.

Comment: This comes just 3 days after 52 short-finned pilot whales died after stranding on a beach in Java, Indonesia.


Over 100,000 hit by floods as rivers overflow in Acre, Brazil

Flooding of the Juruá River at Cruzeiro do Sul,
© Marcos Vicentti / Secom
Flooding of the Juruá River at Cruzeiro do Sul, State of Acre, Brazil, February 2021.
Over 100,000 people have been affected by flooding in the state of Acre, northwestern Brazil, after several rivers in the state broke their banks fin the last week.

The State has declared an emergency situation. Governor Gladson Cameli said Acre is facing one of the most challenging times in its history, dealing with the worsening of the coronavirus pandemic, dengue outbreak, migratory crisis on the border with Peru and the overflow of rivers which has affected several municipalities across the state, including the capital Rio Branco.

Around 33,000 people have been affected in Cruzeiro do Sul municipality after the Juruá River reached record levels of 14.31 metres on 19 February, beating the previous high of 14.24 set in February 2017.

Cloud Precipitation

Deadly floods and landslides in Minas Gerais, Brazil

Floods in Minas Gerais, Brazil, late February 2021
© Defesa Civil Minas Gerais
Floods in Minas Gerais, Brazil, late February 2021.
Heavy rain caused landslides and flooding in parts of Minas Gerais state in Brazil during the period 18 to 21 February 2021.

Two people died and 4 are missing after a landslide caused a house to collapse in Santa Maria de Itabira. Other landslides and flooding also caused severe damage in the city. Damage assessments are ongoing. State Governor Romeu Zema visited affected areas of the city on 21 February to closely monitor the assistance actions of the Fire Service and the State Civil Defence in the municipality

Flooding and landslides affected other areas of the state, including in the municipalities of Caparaó, Carangola and Matipó, where authorities are distributing relief supplies to affect communities. Minas Gerais Civil Defence reported rain-related fatalities in Divino (1) and Durandé (1).

Cloud Precipitation

'Pineapple Express' atmospheric river is headed for the rain-soaked US Northwest

atmospheric river
An atmospheric river event known as the Pineapple Express is forecast to bring a prolonged period of wet weather and the potential for avalanches to Washington and Oregon beginning Sunday.
An atmospheric river event known as the "Pineapple Express" is forecast to bring a prolonged period of wet weather and the potential for avalanches to Washington and Oregon beginning Sunday.

The effects from rain and considerable mountain snow will be felt through early this week. With the ground already saturated from previous storms, flooding is possible even from the few inches of rain the storm is forecast to produce.

Avalanche warnings have been issued for much of the Cascades across Washington ahead of this heavy snow. A "high" avalanche danger warning (level 4 out of 5) has been issued for Sunday by the Northwest Avalanche Center. Large natural avalanches are possible even at lower elevations.

Avalanches have killed 30 people across the United States this winter season, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.

"This will mark the beginning of a wet period across Western Washington, as the southern periphery of the Atmospheric River will affect the region before it shifts southward over the area Monday," the National Weather Service office in Seattle warned Saturday.

Comment: Study reveals atmospheric rivers to double in size