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Sun, 28 Feb 2021
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Fire

Spectacular show as Mount Etna erupts, forcing Sicily airport closure

Mount Etna eruption
© Reuters / Eleonora Venuto
Sunlight illuminates spewing ash from Mount Etna as Europe's most active volcano erupts, as seen from Paterno, Italy, February 16, 2021.
Mount Etna has erupted, sending smoke and ash into the sky and forcing a nearby airport to close temporarily.

Etna, at 3,350m high, is on the Italian island of Sicily and is one of the world's most active volcanoes.

There were no reports of injuries or damage.

The Department of Civil Protection said nearby centres were not at risk, although Italy's Central Emergency Department said it was watching the towns of Linguaglossa, Fornazzo and Milo.

The airport at Catania had to close due to ash, which had risen more than a kilometre into the air and made it unsafe to fly, the Ansa news agency reported.


Boat

Over 6,000 families displaced as flood hits Davao del Norte, Philippines

floods
Flooding hit six villages in the Davao del Norte town of Sto. Tomas Sunday night leaving 6,067 families displaced from their homes.

In an interview Monday, Sto. Tomas Municipal Administrator Elisa Evangelista-Lapiña identified the six flood-stricken barangays as Barangay New Katipunan with 2,408 affected families, Barangay Kinamayan (1,575 families), Barangay San Miguel (1,131 families), Barangay San Jose (276 families), Barangay Tibal-og (565 families), and Barangay Salvacion (182 families).

"In barangay New Katipunan, the water level rise at 9 p.m. and by 11 p.m. floodwaters started to hit other barangays. The water came from Talaingod, Davao del Norte," Lapiña told the Philippine News Agency.


Snowflake Cold

Heavy snowfall leaves parts of Russia blanketed in snow

snow
Heavy snowfall left various regions in Russia and in Crimea blanketed in snow.

Roads at the border with Georgia were blocked due to a risk of avalanche.

Moscow was blanketed with snow on Saturday after a record-breaking blizzard in central areas of Russia.

About 13,000 snow blower vehicles are taking part in clearing snowdrifts in Moscow, according to the Russian Emergency Ministry.

The average temperature in Moscow and the region is about -13 degrees Celsius but by the end of the week, the temperature could drop to -30 degrees Celsius, according to the Russian Meteorological Service.


Attention

Reports of dead seals on Irish coast doubled in 2020 with 202 recorded

dead seal
The number of dead seals washing up on Irish shores rose significantly last year, according to Seal Rescue Ireland.

The rescue charity says that it received the highest number of dead seal reports of the last five years in 2020.

Speaking to Patricia Messinger on C103′s Cork Today show, Seal Rescue Ireland executive director Melanie Croce said that the group is seeing a "huge rise" in reports of dead seals.

Croce said that Seal Rescue Ireland has "been keeping a dead seal database for the last five years, and we have seen a huge rise in the last year".

"2020 was the highest number of reports we've ever had, with 202 dead seal reports coming from all over the country, which was more than double the previous year," Croce said.

Cloud Precipitation

Thousands of homes damaged after floods in the south of Mozambique

floods
A low pressure system brought heavy rainfall to parts of southern Mozambique over the last few days, causing flooding in Maputo and Gaza Provinces.

Local media reported on 15 February that around 3,000 houses were flooded in Maputo Province. Around 1,200 of those are in Matola district. Parts of Maputo city were affected, along with Marracuene district where the Incomáti River broke its banks, and Boane District where the Umbeluzi River overflowed.

The country's disaster agency, Instituto Nacional de Gestão Redução do Risco de Desastres (INGD), issued warnings of heavy rain and flooding from 10 February.

Arrow Down

Skier killed by avalanche on Mont Tabor, France

RESCUE
The body of a skier was recovered from the slopes of Mont Tabor (2389 meters), near Grenoble, this morning.

He had left on his own for a ski tour on Saturday. His family gave the alert on Sunday when he failed to contact them.

His car was found late on Sunday and a full search began early this morning. An avalanche was spotted in the Couloir de Chamoissière and the man's body was found under 30cm of snow using the signal from his avalanche beacon.

The man had been carried 400 meters down slope by the slide. The couloir is a steep, east facing slope of around 45° and is accessed directly from the summit.

Snowflake Cold

Three people dead as worst snow storm in over a decade hits Athens, Greece

The Parthenon temple on the Acropolis hill archaeological site during a heavy snowfall in Athens

The Parthenon temple on the Acropolis hill archaeological site during a heavy snowfall in Athens
Three people died on Tuesday as heavy snowfall fell and gale-force winds hit Greece, disrupting road and sea transport as well as halting Covid vaccinations in Athens.

The cold front, dubbed "Medea" after the mythical Greek sorceress of the Argonauts, sent temperatures plunging, with a maximum low of minus 19 degrees Celsius in the northwestern city of Florina.

"The last time we saw so much snow in the centre of Athens was in February 2008," meteorologist Costas Lagouvardos told AFP.

On the island of Evia near Athens, two elderly men suffering from respiratory problems died after their breathing apparatus failed during a power outage, state TV ERT reported.

On Crete, a livestock farmer in his 60s was found dead in the snow outside his granary at the village of Kaminaki in the east of the island, TV ERT added.


Comment: Cold front Medea brings snow to northern Greece


Tornado2

At least 3 dead as tornado rips through North Carolina county

brunswick county nc tornado
© Brunswick County Sherriff’s Office
This photo of the Ocean Isle Beach area shows the destruction Tuesday morning following the potential tornado February 15, 2021
At least three people were found dead early Tuesday after a tornado tore through a seaside town in North Carolina at the rough edge of a blast of winter weather across the United States. Millions of people remained without power amid subfreezing temperatures, and authorities warned of treacherous travel conditions in many states.

The massive winter storm that overwhelmed a Southwestern power grid and immobilized the Southern Plains was carrying heavy snow and freezing rain eastward, with bad weather spreading through into New England and the Deep South, the National Weather Service said.

The storm system left behind record-setting cold temperatures with wind-chill warnings extending from Canada into Mexico.

Snowflake Cold

Almost 5 million without power in U.S. as winter storm stresses grid

no power
The massive winter storm that swept across the nation this week has left 5 million people without power as utilities have been forced to implement rolling power outages, Bloomberg reported.

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which manages a 14-state grid from North Dakota to Oklahoma, on Tuesday ordered the second day of rolling blackouts, the news outlet reported.

SPP executive vice president and chief operating officer Lanny Nickell said in a statement that the move was a "last resort" and SPP had never before ordered such interruptions.


Comment: Check out Austin, Texas this week: it's covered in ice!




Snowflake Cold

5 million in northern Mexico without power as winter storm in Texas freezes natural gas pipelines

Mexico looks like Canada

Mexico looks like Canada
Freezing weather in the US state of Texas left almost five million people in northern Mexico without power early on Monday, as a shortage of natural gas disrupted electricity production.

Mexico's government-owned utility, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), said on Monday its operations were interrupted as the winter storm in Texas froze natural gas pipelines.

Mexico uses gas to generate about 60 percent of its power, compared with about 40 percent in the United States, and the country built pipelines to take advantage of cheap natural gas from its northern neighbour.

A deep freeze across Texas during the weekend took a toll on the energy industry in the largest US crude-producing state, shutting oil refineries and forcing restrictions from natural gas pipeline operators.