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Wed, 05 Aug 2020
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Sudden oak death has reached epidemic proportions on U.S. West Coast

Tree Disease Outbreak
© Hemhem20X6
An outbreak of the tree disease sudden oak death is affecting large forested areas along the U.S. West Coast, including on this hillside in California’s Big Sur.
Nearly half of forest ecosystems around the world face "stand-replacing disturbances" — hazards that threaten to kill all of the trees in a localized region, such as fires, extreme weather, and disease. The spread of nonnative insects and pathogens has also reshaped North American forests, and today, a disease outbreak is sweeping along the U.S. West Coast.

Sudden oak death, caused by the plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, has reached epidemic proportions in California and Oregon since it first arrived in the San Francisco Bay area in about 1990. But the regional extent of both the disease and related tree mortality is not clear, hampering forest managers' responses to the epidemic and to other threats, as die-offs can increase fuel loads and fire severity, reduce forest productivity, and convert forests from carbon sinks into carbon sources.

Cobb et al. modeled the infection and mortality rate in forests facing P. ramorum invasions by combining observations from plot networks on the ground, geospatial data, and existing data sets describing tree cover and pathogen distribution. The pathogen can infect the leaves and stems of more than 130 species of trees, shrubs, and ferns, but in the new study, the authors focus on the four most affected tree species: California bay laurel, tanoak, coast live oak, and California black oak.

Cloud Precipitation

More floods leave at least 20 dead in Yemen

Heavy rain has continued to cause devastation across Yemen. Yemen Meteorological Services reported 111.8 mm of rain fell in Al Hudaydah (Hodeidah) governorate in 24 hours to 04 August, 2020. The heavy rain has caused flooding, buildings to collapse and dam failure. At least 20 fatalities have been reported in the last few days as a result.

In a statement of 02 August 2020, Yemen's President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi said heavy rain had affected the governorates of Marib, Dhale, Abyan, Hadhramaut, Ibb, Al Hudaydah and Hajjah, among others.

SABA news agency reported that 17 people died and and 4 others were injured after torrential rains in various parts of Marib Governorate. Farms and homes have been severely damaged in the province and around 1,000 families have been displaced. Media reports said locals feared the Marib Dam would fail. Fatalities were reported in several districts including Marib city.

Cloud Precipitation

Hurricane Isiais hits South and North Carolina

Flooding on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Flooding on Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Hurricane Isiais causes flooding and fires in North and South Carolina, USA including Wilmington, Jacksonville and Myrtle Beach. August 3rd & 4th, 2020.


Typhoon Hagupit hits east China bringing floods with waves 4.2 metres high

Satellite image released by Nasa shows Typhoon Hagupit over Taiwan (centre left) on Monday.
© Nasa Worldview
Satellite image released by Nasa shows Typhoon Hagupit over Taiwan (centre left) on Monday.
A typhoon brought high winds and heavy rains to China's eastern coastal areas on Tuesday and was headed towards the financial hub of Shanghai.

China's National Meteorological Centre said Typhoon Hagupit made landfall in Zhejiang province around 3.30am, with winds blowing up to 136.8km/h (85mph) at its centre.

It was moving north at around 25km/h in the direction of Shanghai, which was overcast on Tuesday morning with rain expected in the afternoon. Hagupit was expected to gradually turn in a north-easterly direction, heading out to sea again on Wednesday morning and moving towards the Korean peninsula.


Heavy summer snowfall in the Alps - 16 inches deep

Stelvio Pass, Italy

Stelvio Pass, Italy
There's been heavy snowfall up high in parts of the Alps overnight, where six glaciers are currently open for summer skiing.

Passo Stelvio in Italy (pictured above and below this morning, Tuesday 4th August) has reported 40cm (16 inches) of "heavy snow" above 2,700 metres altitude.

Other ski areas currently open in the Alps are Les 2 Alpes in France; Hintertux and Molltal in Austria and Saas Fee and Zermatt in Switzerland. The 'Matterthorn Glacier Paradise' ski area above Zermatt can also be accessed from Cervinia in Italy.

Comment: This is the 3rd summer in a row that substantial snowfall has hit the Alps in August. See here for a report from 2018 and here for 2019.

Indications of the beginnings of a much cooler longer-term trend perhaps...?

Cloud Lightning

At least 6 killed in lightning strikes in Odisha, India

At least six people, including two children, were killed and two others injured after being hit by lightning in separate incidents in Odisha's Balasore and Bhadrak district on Monday, police said.

While two children and a farmer died in Balasore district, three others died in neighbouring Bhadrak district, they said.

A 12-year-old girl had gone to tie Rakhi to her cousin brother aged 15 years at Mandagaon village under Khantapada police station limit when lightning struck and both the children died on the spot while two others present nearby were injured.

Cloud Precipitation

Summer flooding in Jazan, Saudi Arabia

Storms cause flooding in the region of Jazan, Saudi Arabia. August 2nd, 2020.

Cloud Precipitation

Tropical Storm Sinlaku brings flooding rains to Vietnam, Laos and Thailand - up to 14 inches in 24 hours

Tropical Storm Sinlaku

Tropical Storm Sinlaku
At least 2 people have died in flash flooding in Vietnam after heavy rainfall brought by Tropical Storm Sinlaku. Meanwhile hundreds of homes have been flooded as the storm dumped heavy rainfall making its way over Laos and Thailand.

According to Thailand's meteorological department, the storm is now expected to move towards Myanmar, where flooding from heavy monsoon rainfall has recently affected thousands of people in recent days.


Vietnam's Disaster Management Authority said strong winds and heavy rain from Sinlaku caused damages in Quang Ninh, Hoa Binh, Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Binh Dinh provinces on 02 August, 2020. Cam Pha in Quang Ninh recorded 368mm of rain in 24 hours to 02 August. Further heavy rainfall is expected in the wake of the storm.

One fatality was reported in Quang Ninh Province after a flooding caused a river embankment to fail. Another person died in died in flood waters in Hoa Binh Province. Around 2,500 hectares of crops have been flooded.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt hits high-voltage power lines causing massive fireball in Shenyang, China

Lightning bolt hits Shenyang, China
Footage released by state broadcaster CCTV shows a loud bang rocking the Chinese city of Shenyang today before a blaze broke out seconds after, leaving residents in shock
A lightning bolt has ignited a massive fireball over a Chinese city after it struck high-voltage power lines.

Footage shows a loud bang rocking the city of Shenyang today before a blaze broke out seconds after, leaving residents in shock.

The blast occurred near several tower blocks but caused no casualties, according to the country's state media.

The event took place during the evening rush hour in the Tiexi District of Shenyang, the provincial capital of Liaoning, reported state broadcaster CCTV.

A flash of lightning hit the transmission lines nearly a residential compound, sparking a fire on the grass underneath.

The incident did not cause any damage to the public facility or interrupt the local electrical services, the outlet claimed.

Cloud Precipitation

Tropical Storm Isaias floods streets on Grand Bahama

A home in Arden Forest, Grand Bahama flooded during Hurricane Isaias.

A home in Arden Forest, Grand Bahama flooded during Hurricane Isaias.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned of "potentially life-threatening" flooding in the northwestern Bahamas through Sunday, August 2, as Tropical Storm Isaias made its way over the islands.

Though the storm was moving past the Bahamas, forecasters still warned of continuous flooding and large swells. This video shows street flooding in Freeport, a city on Grand Bahama.

Isaias was packing maximum winds of 65 mph and located about 65 miles southeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, as of 5 pm, according to the NHC.

Tropical Storm Isaias strengthened "slightly" as it moved along Florida's east coast, the NHC said. A hurricane watch and storm surge warning was issued for parts of the Carolinas.

Credit: Marie Hynes via Storyful