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39 died in avalanches in France last winter - nearly double the average for last 50 years

It is much higher than previous years and is nearly double the average over the past 50 years. Covid-19 restrictions, the growth in ski touring and unstable snow are to blame.

With ski lifts closed in France there was comparatively little precautionary measures taken to trigger avalanches and make slopes/ski areas safe.

Many people also took to ski touring in the off piste - some without the necessary skills, training and safety equipment.

In addition there was a highly unstable snow pack, particularly in January.

See here for the full statistics from the National Association for Snow and Avalanche Research (ANENA).

Cloud Precipitation

Severe thunderstorms, strong winds, floods and record-breaking rains hit many places in Guangdong, China - almost 16 inches of rainfall in 3 HOURS

In last two days, thunderstorm, strong winds and heavy rains fell in many places in Guangdong, and the prolonged drought in eastern Guangdong ushered in large-scale rainfall. The Pearl River Delta, western Guangdong and other cities began to experience large-scale heavy rainfall in the afternoon of May 31. It is expected that such rainfall will continue in the next few days. In the face of flooding and other risks, Guangdong has issued a level IV emergency response to flood prevention.

From the afternoon of May 30th to the afternoon of May 31st, heavy rain to heavy rain occurred in Heyuan, Huizhou, Jieyang, Shanwei, Shaoguan, and northern Guangzhou, local extremely heavy rains, of which extremely heavy rains occurred in Huizhou Longmen, Boluo, Shanwei Lufeng, Heyuan Zijin Jieyang Huilai.

As of 17:50 on May 31st, due to the heavy rain, the province has relatively high risks of disasters such as floods in small and medium rivers, mountain torrents and geological disasters, and urban and rural waterlogging. On May 31, the Guangdong Provincial Office of Three Preventions and the Guangdong Provincial Emergency Management Department issued a notice, deciding to initiate a flood prevention level IV emergency response at 8:30 that day.


FOUR metres of snow dumped on Mount Hutt Ski Area in New Zealand over 2 days

Four to five metres of fresh snow has fallen at Mt Hutt Ski Area over the last two days.

Four to five metres of fresh snow has fallen at Mt Hutt Ski Area over the last two days.
Mt Hutt has had a dumping of fresh snow and ice as the severe weather sweeps across the South Island.

Two to three months of rain pelted Canterbury in the space of a few days in the deluge.

Mt Hutt Ski Area manager James McKenzie said four to five metres of snow fell at the summit between Monday and Tuesday.

About 40-50cm has also fallen at the base.

He said they were having access issues getting to the top of the mountain and took a helicopter up.

"It was pretty impressive, right up to the top of our big wind fence up there.

"The Hutt is pretty much buried in snow at the summit."

McKenzie said the snow at the summit is crusted with ice.

Comment: Related: New Zealand - Emergency declared after floods in Canterbury - up to 11 inches of rain in 21 hours


Negro river reaches record highs in Manaus, Brazil

Floods in Manaus, Brazil, June 2021
© Alberto César Araújo, Amazônia Real
Floods in Manaus, Brazil, June 2021.
The Negro River (Rio Negro) at Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas in northwestern Brazil, reached a record high of 29.98 metres on 01 June 2021, the city government announced.

This is the highest level ever measured at the at the port's measuring station, beating the previous record high of 29.97 metres set during the floods of 2012.

Fifteen districts of the city have been affected. Homes have been inundated and livelihoods disrupted. Over 2,000 food baskets have been distributed to affected families over the last 2 weeks.

Cloud Precipitation

Floods prompt rescues and evacuations in south-central regions of Chile - up to 5 inches of rain in 20 hours

A landslide in Panguipulli Commune, Los Rios, Chile.
© Government of Los Rios Region
A landslide in Panguipulli Commune, Los Rios, Chile.
Dozens of people have evacuated their homes while others have been left isolated after heavy rain triggered landslides and flooding in Bio Bío, Araucania, Los Ríos and Los Lagos Regions of Chile. Around 15,000 people were left without power.

Chile's National Emergency Office ONEMI reported the development of the frontal system forecast for the section between the Ñuble and Los Lagos regions on 01 June 2021.

According to figures provided by ONEMI, in a 20 hour period on 01 June, Maquehue in Padre las Casas Commune of Araucania Region recorded 101.9 mm of rain, while Corral in Los Rios recorded 128.9 mm and Concepcion in Bio Bío recorded 77.8 mm.

Road Cone

Huge sinkhole appears in central Mexico

A sinkhole is threatening to swallow a house in the Mexican state of Puebla
A sinkhole is threatening to swallow a house in the Mexican state of Puebla
A giant sinkhole that was expanding by dozens of meters each day has alarmed residents in a rural area of central Mexico where it was threatening to swallow a house.

When the Sanchez family heard a loud crash on Saturday they first thought that it was a lightning strike.

But they soon discovered that the ground had collapsed just meters from their home in a field in Santa Maria Zacatepec in the state of Puebla.

The hole, which is full of water, was about 30 meters (nearly 100 feet) wide by Sunday.

It rapidly grew to 60 meters on Monday and around 80 meters on Tuesday, the authorities said, coming perilously close to the house of the Sanchez family, who fear they will be left homeless.


Rare 'Level 5 snow warning' in place for parts of South Africa

Snowy road
Brace yourselves, winter is... well, it's not just coming. It's actually here. A cold snap has embedded itself in the central interior of the country, but chillier conditions are yet to reach us here in South Africa. Through Wednesday 2 June, a lesser-spotted 'Level 5 snow warning' will be in place for several rural regions.

The SA Weather Service made the announcement on their social media pages earlier this afternoon. In total, four districts have been slapped with an 'orange alert', due to potentially disruptive snow showers. Mountain passes along the Drakensberg Range expected to be closed ahead of schedule, and drivers are asked to make alternative plans.

The Level 5 snow warning has been implemented across these locations in the Eastern Cape:
  • Senqu / Barkly East
  • Elundini and Maclear
  • Matatiele
  • Sakhisizwe / Elliot


Skywatchers witness breathtaking rainbow halo around the sun over southern India city

Sun halo in India
© Caters News
A stunning spectacle was witnessed in the sky over Bangalore on Monday when a rainbow formed a halo around the sun.

Local residents observed and photographed the striking atmospheric phenomenon surrounding the sun in the southern Indian city.

Dr. Gouri Sateesh, 24, who was one of the hundreds of residents who captured the spectacular sight on her camera, said she was awestruck after witnessing the natural marvel.

A rainbow is an optical phenomenon which occurs when light passes through tiny pixel-like droplets of water in the atmosphere and is refracted so that all the colors of the visible light spectrum are made visible.

Likewise, the phenomenon may occur when sunlight passes through clouds (water vapor), causing this similar halo rainbow effect when looking in the direction of the sun.


Small earthquake, loud boom rattles part of New York state

Earthquakes in New York? Yes, it does happen occasionally. If you have friends or relatives in Livingston County, then you might want to check to see if they felt the small tremor that occurred Thursday evening. The United State Geological Survey says the small 2.4 magnitude quake struck just north of the town of Tuscarora, NY, just east of Letchworth State Park. WBNG did not indicate whether or not there was any damage in the area.

But while the quake was small, it was also considered shallow (around 12,000 feet below the surface, according to WROC) The Daily News Online says that some residents described the tremor on social media as a "loud boom", while others said their porch floor shook "quickly and vigorously". Livingston County Sheriff Thomas Dougherty said over Twitter that his office received multiple calls from concerned residents.

Back in March, an area just north of the Hudson Valley felt an earthquake, somewhat like this most recent tremor The United States Geological Survey says a small quake occurred near Altamount, NY, in Albany County. News 10 is reporting that the quake measured a 2.0 on the Richter Scale. Yes, earthquakes do happen in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada. 2020 actually started off with three small earthquakes, on January 3, 7, and 13 respectively. The third was the strongest of the trio, measuring a magnitude 3.3, that hit several miles south of the town of Ormstown, Quebec. The Times Union says the quake was felt as far south as the town of Ticonderoga, NY.

Cloud Grey

2021 noctilucent clouds season starts earlier than expected

Noctilucent clouds
© Andy Stables/spaceweathergallery.com
Noctilucent clouds (NLCs) have been spotted over Poland, Czech Republic, Canada, and Scotland, among other countries, on May 25 and 26, marking an early start to the northern hemisphere's 2021 NLC season. The clouds are rapidly intensifying. In only four days since the clouds were first seen, their coverage of the Arctic has multiplied 10 times.

On May 26, 2021, photographer Andy Stables captured NLCs over Milovaig in the Isle of Skye, Scotland. "The NLCs got stronger and this was taken at 00:47 UTC (01:47 LT)," Stables said.

The electric-blue rippers "were clearly visible to the unaided eye," he added. "This is the earliest I have ever seen them here in Scotland."

Dr. Tony Phillips of spaceweather.com described the phenomenon as unusual, noting that the NLCs are already forming even though it is only May. Other witnesses are able to see the clouds from the ground.

"NLCs are Earth's highest clouds," said Dr. Phillips. "Seeded by meteoroids, they float at the edge of space about 83 km (52 miles) above the ground."
NLCs in Poland
© Tomasz Adam
Early NLCs captured in Krakow, Poland, on May 25.