Earth ChangesS


Heavy snowfall blankets southeastern Turkey, cutting off 1,414 villages

In Turkey's Kurdish southeast, heavy snow and cold temperatures have brought life to a standstill. Hundreds of villages are snowed in.

"All the roads are closed and the people are stuck," said Hakkari (Colemerg) resident Silhedin Haznedar. "There is no place for us to go due to snow."

Serhat Oguz, another local, said that they have taken matters into their own hands to clear paths to their shops so their customers can return to the market to buy essentials.

"I clear the doorsteps of the shop so people can enter the shops. We clear the roads of snow," Oguz said.

Roads to 1,414 villages have been closed in Hakkari, Bitlis, Mus, and Van.

Comment: Related: The snow is up to 7 meters (23 FEET) high in Hakkari, Turkey

Ice Cube

Ice jam flooding causes evacuations in Wilmington, Illinois

An ice jam has flooded homes in Wilmington,
© Chicago & Midwest Storm ChasersAn ice jam has flooded homes in Wilmington, Illinois on the morning of Jan. 26, 2024.
River ice and rain are causing flooding on the Kankakee River in Wilmington, Illinois, about 50 miles southwest of Chicago, according to ABC7 Chicago's Stephanie Wade.

Police told residents to be prepared to take action, including evacuation if necessary, after the river rose at least 3 feet overnight. More than a dozen people were evacuated Friday morning.

"The ice jam on the river has not fully broken, and there is the potential for flooding throughout the day as ice begins breaking apart at a rapid pace," Will County Emergency Management Agency said.


Waterspout filmed in Florianópolis, Brazil

Waterspout is recorded in Santinho, in the north of the island of Santa Catarina, in Florianópolis.

Cloud Lightning

2023: Destructive Storms and Sheets of Rain in the Netherlands

ligthouse sun halo
© Ilse KootkarThe lighthouse Kijkduin Light in Huisduinen, Netherlands, with a sun halo in the sky on March 6th, 2023.
2023 started with snowfall in eastern and southeastern parts of the Netherlands and ended with record high water levels due to record-breaking rainfall. The wettest year since measurements began also included other destructive weather events such as storms and tornadoes. Below are some highlights from extreme weather events in the Netherlands in 2023.

Comment: See also:


Magnitude 6.1 earthquake rocks Guatemala

A magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit the southern Pacific coast of Guatemala late on Friday, causing some residents to flee their homes and resulting in early reports of damage to buildings.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) confirmed the earthquake, which was also felt in El Salvador.

Fortunately, there were no reports of injuries immediately after the quake, which occurred just past midnight while many people were asleep.

Officials in El Salvador described the earthquake as "strong" and said they were closely monitoring the situation.


All 50 states have seen snow this season

Measurable snowfall in the CONUS as of January 17.
© NOAAMeasurable snowfall in the CONUS as of January 17.
The United States has one of the most diverse climates in the world. It has forests, beaches, deserts, plains, and mountains. This allows the population to experience an array of different landscapes and weather conditions.

However, despite the incredible diversity and differences in longitude and latitude of the country, and the fact that only 37 of the 50 states have operating ski areas, remarkably all 50 states have seen snowfall this season. This isn't unheard of as it is winter and it has happened before. The hardest state to get snowfall is Florida, which saw flakes on January 17, in the town of Milton, after the recent winter storm Heather.


Colombia to declare a natural disaster over wildfires

Firefighters were battling a blaze in a wooded, mountainous area east of Bogota.
© EPAFirefighters were battling a blaze in a wooded, mountainous area east of Bogota.
Colombia's President Gustavo Petro said on Wednesday he will declare that wildfires burning in the country are a natural disaster, freeing up funds to fight the blazes amid soaring temperatures and the El Nino weather phenomenon.

Colombia has put out some 204 fires this month - around eight per day - and 25 fires continued to burn, according to a report from the environment ministry and the disaster agency.

Almost half of the 2 trillion peso budget ($508 million) for addressing issues caused by El Nino, like fighting fires, has already been spent, the report said.

Declaring a natural disaster "means some budget items can be moved to other areas to address problems that arise, such as transferring resources so that helicopters can be put into action to put out the fires," Petro told journalists in Colombia's Cauca province.

Arrow Down

China landslide leaves 44 people dead in Yunnan province (UPDATES)

An image from China's state TV shows rescuers working amid the rubble of destroyed homes after a landslide hit Liangshui Village, in the southwest Yunnan province, Jan. 22, 2024.
© CCTVAn image from China's state TV shows rescuers working amid the rubble of destroyed homes after a landslide hit Liangshui Village, in the southwest Yunnan province, Jan. 22, 2024.
A landslide in southwest China's mountainous Yunnan province buried 18 homes early Monday morning, leaving 47 people missing and forcing the evacuation of more than 500 other residents, according to local government officials. At least eight deaths were confirmed after the bodies were recovered from the rubble, as survivors sought shelter and rescuers worked through frigid temperatures.

Electricity and water supplies had not been restored to the area around the hard-hit village of Liangshui by Monday afternoon.

Almost 1,000 emergency and rescue workers were dispatched to the scene as Chinese President Xi Jinping called for all efforts to minimize casualties. He sent one of his government's vice prime ministers to the site to lead search and rescue efforts.

Comment: Update January 23

The Press Trust of India reports:
The death toll from a landslide that struck southwest China's mountainous Yunnan province has climbed to 31, with scores of others still missing, local authorities said on Tuesday.

Thirty-one people were confirmed dead after a landslide struck a village in Zhenxiong County, southwest China's Yunnan Province, on Monday, state-run CGTN reported quoting local authorities.

The landslide occurred in Liangshui village in Zhaotong city on Monday morning, trapping a total of 47 people. Situated in the cold mountainous region of the province, where snow persists for days, the rescue site remains covered in a thick layer of snow.

More than 1,000 rescue workers equipped with 45 rescue dogs and 120 vehicles, including excavators, loaders and transport vehicles, were carrying out search and rescue work at the site.

As many as 33 firefighting vehicles and 10 loading machines were also mobilised to search for the missing.

The government has also deployed the military and militias for the rescue operation. A total of 104 militia members in Zhenxiong County were also mobilised.

The Ministry of Emergency Management upgraded the emergency response level to the second-highest level from the Level-3 emergency response for disaster relief activated by the Provincial Commission for Disaster Reduction immediately after the landslide.

The ministry dispatched teams to the disaster-hit area to guide the rescue and relief work, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The Chinese government has allocated funds totalling 50 million yuan (about USD 7 million) to support disaster relief and emergency rescue work focusing on search and rescue, the relocation of affected people, secondary disaster detection, the repair of damaged homes, and other areas, the report said.

Preliminary investigation by an expert group determined that the landslide was triggered by the collapse of a steep cliff-top area, said Wu Junyao, Director of the Natural Resources and Planning Bureau of Zhaotong.

The collapsed mass was approximately 100 metres wide and 60 metres tall, with an average thickness of around 6 metres, the report quoted him as saying.

Following the disaster, local authorities are also assisting those affected, ensuring proper support and settlement measures are in place.

Over 200 tents, 400 quilts, 600 cotton coats and 14 sets of emergency lighting equipment were provided for those affected. A total of 213 residents have also been evacuated to safer locations.

The rescue officials outlined the primary search area through a comparative analysis of images before and after the disaster, determining the locations of the buried houses, the report said.

"According to the arrangements of shifts by the headquarters, the search and rescue efforts persist through the night," said firefighter Li Shenglong.

Numerous residents from nearby villages also rushed to the scene to provide support, the report said.

On Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered an all-out search and rescue of the people missing in the landslide.

"(We should) promptly organise rescue teams, make all-out efforts to search for missing individuals, and minimise casualties to the greatest extent possible," Xi said.
Update January 25

Associated Press reports:
The bodies of the remaining victims of a landslide in southwestern China were recovered Thursday, bringing the death toll to 44 after four days of searching through the rubble of dirt and crumbled homes, state media said.

The final body was found in the evening, according to state broadcaster CCTV, which posted photos of excavators and teams of searchers in orange uniforms and helmets, part of a contingent of more than 1,000 rescuers.

The landslide slammed into houses at the foot of a slope early Monday morning in Liangshui, a village in a remote and mountainous part of Yunnan province. It left a barren swath on the slope after hitting the village, which sits between snow-covered, terraced fields.

Two survivors were found on Monday.

A preliminary investigation found that the landslide had been triggered by the collapse of a steep clifftop area, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. It did not elaborate on the cause of the initial collapse.

Rescuers struggled with snow, icy roads and freezing temperatures. The area is about 2,250 kilometers (1,400 miles) southwest of Beijing, the Chinese capital, with altitudes ranging up to 2,400 meters (7,900 feet).

Cloud Precipitation

A month's worth of rain in 3 days triggers dangerous flash flooding in Texas and Louisiana

Dangerous flash flooding is continuing across parts of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi early Thursday as drenching storms deluge the South.

More than a month's worth of rain has fallen in several Texas and Louisiana cities from Monday to Wednesday. But a few Texas cities have picked up nearly double what's typical for January in the same timeframe.

Rainfall totals by Wednesday morning neared 6 inches in the College Station, Texas, area - about 80 miles northwest of Houston - since Monday. The city picks up around 3 inches of rain on average in January.

The week's rainfall eclipsed 10 inches west of Houston, in Industry and Fayetteville, Texas.

The torrential rainfall is part of a multi-day flood threat that began Monday and reached its peak intensity Wednesday.


More boats sink, roofs collapse, avalanche danger remains high as snowfall pummels Juneau, Alaska

A sunken boat in Aurora Harbor on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024
© Mikko Wilson/KTOOA sunken boat in Aurora Harbor on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024
Several boats have sunk and at least one roof has caved in as Alaska's capital city remains under avalanche alerts amidst a record-breaking snowfall.

The City and Borough of Juneau put out a statement Wednesday that said avalanches have come down on Basin Road and above Behrends Avenue, the same spot where a slide occurred last week. A city official said that Basin Road is closed where it intersects with Eighth Street.

Four boats sank in the city harbor early Wednesday morning, according to Juneau Harbormaster Matt Creswell, who said he is concerned more vessels are at risk of sinking due to the heavy snowfall. Creswell urged all boat owners to check on their boats immediately and clear off any snow they can.