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Sat, 25 Jan 2020
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Earth Changes

Cloud Precipitation

Widespread flooding in Mozambique leaves at least 28 dead and more than 58,000 affected

Mozambique floods
© Canal de Noticias Mundo (stillshot)
At least 28 people have been killed and more than 58 800 affected in the latest floods to hit the disaster-prone Mozambique.

Some 66 people have been injured during the crisis affecting regions still recovering from the Cylones Idai and Kenneth early last year.

The Cabo Delgado, Sofala and Zambezia provinces are the hardest-hit but Gaza, Manica, Maputo, Nampula, Niassa and Tete are also affected.

More than 10 200 houses have been damaged or destroyed, including 2 589 completely shattered, and at least 47 schools have been affected.

In Zambezia, the province with the highest number of people affected, flooding since the beginning of 2020 has damaged infrastructure, destroyed crops and led to displacement.

Nearly 2 300 hectares of crops are currently flooded, less than two months before the planned harvest.

Comment: The back-to-back cyclones, Idai and Kenneth, that ravaged Mozambique last year were unprecedented in recorded history according to the UN. See: UN: Pattern of Mozambique storms 'unprecedented'


Storm Gloria generates the biggest wave ever recorded in the Mediterranean Sea

Storm Gloria record waves
On January 20, 2020, Spain's Ports of the State announced the largest significant wave height in recorded history in the Mediterranean Sea.

According to the Spanish meteorologists and oceanographers, Storm Gloria generated a record-breaking significant wave height of 8.44 meters (27.69 feet) off the port city of Valencia, in Spain.

The previous significant wave height record in the Mediterranean Sea had been set at 8.15 meters (26.73 feet) and was recorded in 2003 in Mahón, Menorca.

The authorities estimate that this time, Storm Gloria produced waves of 13.5 meters (44.29 feet).

Storm Gloria, which continues to affect much of the western Mediterranean, including France and Portugal, has already smashed several significant wave height records according to the network of deep-sea buoys.

This historical maximum, the highest data measured in the western Mediterranean, has been obtained by an ocean buoy located near Valencia.

Comment: Storm surge from Storm Gloria reaches at least 3km inland in Spain


Epic snowfalls in the Pyrenees - up to 6 feet

Les Angles,

Les Angles
There have been some huge snowfalls in the Pyrenees mountains on France, Spain and Andorra.

After a generally dry and sunny start to the year across most of Europe, forecasters had been predicting the storm that has hit the Pyrenees this week might bring up to a metre of snowfall, but in the event up to 1.8 metres (six feet) has been reported at some areas on the French side.

Les Angles, pictured above and top with ski star Wadeck Gorak wading through the snow there, was one of the big winners reporting 1.2 metres (Four feet) of snow on lower slopes and 1.5 metres (Five feet) on higher slopes by midday yesterday with the snow still falling.

Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rain triggers floods and landslides in southern Peru

Heavy rain has several triggered landslides and flooding in Arequipa Department in the south of Peru.

According to Andina, the state owned news agency, flash floods and landslides struck on 22 January 2020 in the district of Uchumayo, affecting the communities of Congata and Cerro Verde. Over 80 homes have been damaged, including seven severely. Roads have been closed in the affected area. Damage assessments are ongoing.

The previous day heavy rain caused landslides in the area of Villa Unión, also in Uchumayo district, blocking roads and affecting 3 families, according to reports from Peru's National Institute of Civil Defense (INDECI). A similar situation was reported in Yura district, where around 15 people were affected and roads were blocked.


Shallow M3 earthquake shakes homes of Teeside, UK

Teesside has been struck by an earthquake of 3.0 magnitude which woke people up and caused homes to shake.

The tremor was felt across Stockton, Billingham, Hartlepool, Wolviston and Middlesbrough just before 06:00 GMT.

People posted on social media to say they heard a rumbling or felt their houses shake. Emergency services said they received calls but there were no reports of damage.

The website Earthquake Track said it was six miles (10km) beneath Stockton.

Comment: Despite the geologist claiming that this is fairly normal because the UK sees these kinds of quakes "three times a year", there have in fact been a significant number more - below are just some recorded in the last year:


Shallow magnitude 6.2 earthquake strikes near Adak, Alaska - USGS

The location of a magnitude 6.2 earthquake Wednesday night in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands
© Los Angeles Times
The location of a magnitude 6.2 earthquake Wednesday night in Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.
An earthquake with a reviewed magnitude of 6.2 shook west of city of Adak in Alaska on Thursday, according to the US Geological Survey.

The earthquake was recorded at 5:53 a.m. UTC. The quake's epicentre was located 22 kilometres east of the Tanaga volcano, which is part of the Aleutian Islands system. The epicentre lay at a depth of 10 kilometres.

No information was received regarding casualties and destruction. The tsunami threat was not announced.


Iguanas fall from trees in south Florida as temperatures drop

Frozen iguanas falling from trees in South Florida

Iguanas falling from trees in South Florida
Cold-stunned iguanas fell from trees in South Florida Wednesday morning as temperatures in Miami hit 40 degrees - the lowest recorded there in more than nine years.

The National Weather Service in Miami issued a "falling iguanas" alert on Tuesday.

"This isn't something we usually forecast, but don't be surprised if you see Iguanas falling from the trees tonight as lows drop into the 30s and 40s," the agency tweeted Tuesday. "Brrrr!"

Some residents of South Florida tweeted photos and videos of cold-stunned iguanas Wednesday morning.

Cloud Precipitation

Storm surge from Storm Gloria reaches at least 3km inland in Spain

Storm surge flooded 3 km inland along Spain’s eastern coast 20 to 22 January 2020.
© Copernicus EMS
Storm surge flooded 3 km inland along Spain’s eastern coast 20 to 22 January 2020.
A severe storm brought powerful winds, cold temperatures, snow and coastal flooding to wide areas of Spain from 20 January. Media blamed at least 4 deaths on the storm. Satellite images show storm surge swept 3km inland in Tarragona Province, resulting in severe damage to rice paddies and the ecosystem.

The storm, named "Gloria" by the State Meteorological Agency of Spain, AEMET, produced waves of over 8 metres along the coastline of south-eastern Spain on 20 January.

AEMET reported wind gusts of 115 km/h in Oliva, Valencia, on 20 January and 106 km/h in Barcelona the next day.

Heavy rain was also reported, with Barx in Valencia recording 190.4mm of rain in 24 hours to 20 January.

The following day Horta de Sant Joan in Tarragona Province, Catalonia, recorded 227.4mm.

Comment: Storm Gloria hits eastern Spain, dumping huge amounts of snow and battering coast with record-high waves


Wrong place, wrong time: Cape May warbler that normally winters in the West Indies turns up in Las Cruces, New Mexico

The famed Cape May warbler of Las Cruces' Tellbrook Park pauses in a mesquite in January 2020.
© Jimmy Zabriskie
The famed Cape May warbler of Las Cruces' Tellbrook Park pauses in a mesquite in January 2020.
Even on its summer breeding grounds in Canada and the northernmost states of the US, Cape May warblers are by no means common. In the eastern states, they're most often seen during migration — in fall, mostly moving through the Appalachian Mountains and along the Atlantic coast, and in spring, usually east of the Mississippi Valley. They are extremely rare throughout the West. The great majority winters in the West Indies, with a few in southernmost Florida and along the Caribbean coast. Thus, for one to turn up in January most anywhere in the states but Florida, let alone a city park in Las Cruces, New Mexico, is downright astonishing, but one indeed did, at Tellbrook Park just a couple of weeks ago.

The tiny wayward bird was first spotted by a sharp-eyed local birder, who promptly reported the sighting to the online eBird community's rare bird network, and the news quickly spread. Beginning the next day, not only locals got to enjoy watching what proved to be an unusually obliging bird, but also some of the more serious birders from other parts of New Mexico traveled to see a bird that is hardly ever encountered in our state, and thereby add another species to their state or county bird list. Only once has a Cape May warbler been documented in neighboring El Paso County, that being in 1983, so this January 2020 occurrence, a definite first for Doña Ana County, was truly remarkable.


Snowfall blankets southern Jordan

Tafileh witnessed heavy snowfall on Tuesday
© Al Rai
Tafileh witnessed heavy snowfall on Tuesday
The Education Ministry's "abrupt" decision to cancel school on Tuesday following the circulation of videos of snowfall in the south on social media drew public criticism.

The ministry published the announcement at 7:56AM, after many teachers and students had already left their homes to begin the school day at 9am, as per the government's previous announcement on Monday.

"The decision did not consider those who left before 8am and waited in the cold for transportation, nor many of the students who left because their parents did not know about the decision," Ahmad Ameer commented on the ministry's official Facebook page.

"This decision should have been taken yesterday [Monday], as most students left and came back home. It was confusing," another comment said.

Petra witnessed heavy snowfall early in the morning, according to a Facebook post by the Petra Development and Tourism Region Authority (PDTRA), which noted that the site was open to tourists as usual.