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Cloud Lightning

US: Unlucky Arkansas Town Struggles From Tornado and Then Flood

© AP
Cleanup begins in a Vilonia neighbourhood after a tornado struck the area, destroying most of the town, killing four who lived there
Vilonia, Arkansas - People are skittish in this small town of 3,000 residents.

On April 25, a nasty tornado touched down, leveling subdivisions, wrapping metal around trees like crepe paper and killing five people. In Black Oak Ranch Estates, more than 100 homes were destroyed.

Less than a week later, on May 1, the town was hit with flash flooding from the nearby Little Palarm Creek caused by heavy rains from a cold front that stalled over the state.

Bizarro Earth

US: Two Stranded Pilot Whales Released Off Cudjoe Key

© Associated Press
Two healthy pilot whales are loaded onto a boat in Cudjoe Key to be released at sea.

There was a moment of joy for the tireless marine mammal rescuers working to save a pod of stranded pilot wales Saturday evening in the Keys: two of the seven surviving whales were deemed healthy and released in deep waters nine miles offshore.

Cheers erupted on the barge carrying the whales when the two adult males met in open water, touched each other, and then swam away together.

The whales, each over 12 feet long and more than 1,000 pounds, were first fitted with trackers that should last between 2-3 months.

The pair were part of a pod of 20 pilot whales who inexplicably beached themselves Thursday near Cudjoe Key, about 20 miles east of Key West.

Thirteen of them have died, and the surviving seven have been cared for in a makeshift waist-deep pen, where volunteers continue to cover the whales' exposed bodies in zinc and sheets to protect their sensitive skin from the sun.

Evil Rays

Nuclear plant workers release unknown amount of radioactive tritium into Mississippi River

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Workers at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Plant in Port Gibson, Miss., last Thursday released a large amount of radioactive tritium directly into the Mississippi River, according to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and experts are currently trying to sort out the situation. An investigation is currently underway to determine why the tritium was even present in standing water found in an abandoned unit of the plant, as well as how much of this dangerous nuclear byproduct ended up getting dumped into the river. Many also want to know why workers released the toxic tritium before conducting proper tests.

The Mississippi Natchez Democrat reports that crews first discovered the radioactive water in the plant's Unit 2 turbine building after heavy rains began hitting the area last week. Unit 2 was a partially-constructed, abandoned structure that should not have contained any radioactive materials, let alone tritium, which is commonly used to manufacture nuclear weapons and test atomic bombs.

According to reports, alarms began to go off as workers were releasing the radioactive storm water into the river, which engaged the stop flow on the release pump. Neither NRC nor plant officials know how much tritium was released into the river during this release.

Cloud Lightning

Record flooding spreading down the Mississippi River

As the Mississippi River continued to rise to record levels in response to over 2 feet of rain in recent weeks, officials began to evacuate portions of Memphis Friday.
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More evacuation orders will likely be given as historical flood levels spread southward along the Mississippi River. At Memphis, a crest of around 48 feet is forecast by National Weather Service hydrologists Wednesday of next week.

Rising waters along the White River in Arkansas forced the closure of part eastbound and westbound lands of Interstate 40 in the Natural State. The route is a major thoroughfare for trucking. It is possible that as waters continue to rise on the Mississippi and connecting rivers farther downstream additional highways may close. Additional neighborhoods of cities and towns will be inundated through nearly the end of May in some areas as the crest moves very slowly downstream. Additional evacuations of unprotected or levee compromised areas are likely.

Bizarro Earth

Philippine Tropical Storm Kills 9 People; 100,000 Residents Flee From Floods, Landslides

© AP Photo / Bullit Marquez
Motorists negotiate a flooded portion of a highway at suburban Makati city, east of Manila, in the Philippines Sunday May 8, 2011 following a heavy downpour spawned by tropical storm Aere. The storm, with winds of 53 miles (85 kilometers) per hour and gusts of 62 mph (100 kph), has lashed the northeastern Philippines on Sunday, killing at least three people and forcing more than 100,000 villagers to flee from farming towns threatened by landslides about a month before the end of the summer vacation season.
Manila - Tropical storm Aere lashed the northeastern Philippines on Sunday, killing at least nine people and forcing more than 100,000 villagers to flee from farming towns threatened by landslides.

The storm slammed into Catanduanes province with winds of 53 miles (85 kilometres) per hour and gusts of 62 mph (100 kph). It triggered landslides and floods, disrupted transportation and knocked out power in some towns.

More than 4,700 commuters were stranded in several seaports after ferries suspended trips and roads were closed due to floods and the danger of landslides, officials said. Several domestic flights were cancelled.

A landslide buried a house in Camarines Sur province's Balatan township at dawn, killing three people, including a baby, regional disaster-response director Bernardo Alejandro said.

Ambulance

Massive Flooding in Memphis - Mississippi at all-time high

Second highest river crest ever expected in Memphis. Massive flooding already occurring. Worse to come.


Radar

Relocation of Taal volcano island residents pushed

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© Unknown
Map of Cavite showing the location of Tagaytay.
Tagayta City, Philippines - The relocation of residents of Taal Volcano Island will take a long time to happen but this has to be given a priority since they are living in a permanent danger zone, said Celia Alba, the secretary general of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council.

Alba said National Housing Authority officials have had initial discussions with municipal leaders of Talisay, Batangas for possible areas on the mainland town where the island villagers could be relocated.

However, she added that the problem with the relocation is the people themselves because the Taal residents, who are mainly fishers and farmers, do not want to leave the volcano island due to their livelihood.

"We are still on social preparation stage but we are readying the possible housing requirements in case they (villagers) are ready to be evacuated," added Alba in an interview Friday at the sideline of the Pabahay Caravan here.

Main requirements

She added that the main requirements in setting up a relocation site are availability of land (the size would depend on how many families are affected), site development, and housing units.

Cloud Lightning

Barbados: Heavy Flood Losses for Farmers

Farmers have been left with flooded fields, damaged crops and profits washed down the drain after heavy rains over the past few weeks.

From St Lucy to St Philip, tonnes of onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and watermelons lay destroyed in the fields as some farmers faced financial crisis and bleak futures.

Cloud Lightning

Torrential Rains Threaten Colombia's Coffee Crop

Colombia's rainiest April on record drenched Ismael Garcia's hillside coffee farm, causing a landslide that wiped out thousands of his trees in one swoop.

The loss would sting any year but hurts more now that coffee prices hit their highest levels in more than three decades this week.

Damage to farms like Garcia's from months of heavy rains in Colombia, the world's No. 1 producer of top-quality washed arabica beans, may threaten to push coffee prices even higher -- bad news for drinkers around the world.

Cloud Lightning

Nearly 3 Million Colombians Affected by Heavy Rains

© AFP
The intense rainy season has caused heavy rains to beat down in Colombia for over a year.
Some 3 million Colombians, 6.4% of the population, have been affected by the heavy rains wreaking havoc across Colombia, revealed a study conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (DANE), Semana reported Thursday.

The official figure equates to just under 3 million people, with the greatest concentration of victims in the Caribbean region, where 1,479,434 people are affected, representing 3.2% of the Colombian population.