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Sat, 25 Sep 2021
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Thousands evacuated as hundreds of firefighters battle fire in southern France - 2 killed (UPDATE)

Thousands of people have been evacuated since Monday in southeastern France to escape a rapidly-advancing wildfire.

The evacuations in the coastal Var department took place in the hinterland, particularly around the villages of Grimaud and La Môle, near Saint Tropez.

Twelve campsites were also evacuated, the Prefecture said.

The fire broke out on Monday at the Sigues motorway service area, about 100km north-east of Toulon.

By early morning on Tuesday, it had travelled 22 kilometres and burnt 5,000 hectares of forests. About 100 houses were damaged.

Comment: Update August 18: Deutsche Welle (DW) reports:
Two die in French wildfires near Saint-Tropez

Over 1,000 firefighters have struggled to contain a fire on the Mediterranean coast

Over 1,000 firefighters have struggled to contain a fire on the Mediterranean coast
Wildfires in the hills near the French coastal resort of Saint-Tropez have claimed the lives of at least two people, the regional government said on Wednesday.

"The battle is ongoing and the fire has not yet been contained," French President Emmanuel Macron said after visiting the area on Tuesday. "The coming hours will be absolutely decisive."

What has happened so far?

A total of 1,200 firefighters have tried to extinguish the flames of France's worst fire of the summer that has forced about 7,000 residents and tourists to flee their homes in the French Riviera area.

The blaze has killed at least two people and injured 24 others, including five firefighters, local prefect Evence Richard said.

Crews used high-pressure hoses and water-carrying planes to try to put out flames that were spread quickly by strong winds and high temperatures.

Authorities reported no new evacuations on Wednesday, but another 20 people had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

The blaze that broke out on Monday in the Plaine des Maures nature reserve had still not been stabilized, a government official reported.

Over 7,000 hectares (17,297 acres) of forests, vineyards and wild animals were burnt to cinders in just three days.

Frank Graciano, the Var fire service spokesman, said that although the fire "had not spread" throughout Tuesday night, "that does not mean it is under control."

"We will carry out the same basic work as yesterday by dropping water on the critical places," Graciano added.


Signs and Portents: Two-headed sea turtle found on North Carolina beach - 2nd in the Carolinas in a month

two-headed sea turtle

Two-headed sea turtle
Biologists made a rare discovery while out patrolling the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina.

Video taken by a National Park Service ranger shows a two-headed sea turtle squirming in someone's gloved hand on a beach.

"Are two heads really better than one?!" the Cape Hatteras National Seashore wrote on Facebook. "It's not everyday that park biologists find a two-headed sea turtle!"

This discovery comes about one month after another two-headed sea turtle was found at Edisto Beach State Park in South Carolina.


'It's coming right at us': Waterspout swirls across South Carolina lake

A tornadic waterspout was spotted churning and moving across Lake Murray, South Carolina on August 17

Waterspout moving across Lake Murray, South Carolina on August 17
A tornadic waterspout was spotted churning and moving across Lake Murray, South Carolina on August 17. Eddie Martin filmed this footage from his backyard as he watched the waterspout develop and swirl across the lake toward Dreher Island. "Keep going that way, please," Martin is overheard saying in the video, as he watched it travel across the other end of the lake from his property. Credit: Eddie Martin via Storyful

Cloud Lightning

Two people struck by lightning at Nashville elementary school

Two people were struck by lightning at a Nashville elementary school on Wednesday, the Nashville Fire Department confirmed.

According to Metro Nashville dispatch officials, at 11:37 a.m. two adults reported they were hit at Hickman Elementary School at 112 Stewarts Ferry Pike.

Fire spokesman Joseph Pleasant said crews did not take anyone to the hospital from the scene but the adults told officials they planned to go on their own.

As of 12:20 p.m. the scene had cleared, a dispatcher said.

So far, no one else in the area reported being struck.

This is a developing story.

Cloud Precipitation

98 rescued, 35 missing in North Carolina floods after rain from Tropical Storm 'Fred'

Officials said 10 to 15 bridges in Haywood County have been damaged or destroyed. This is a bridge in Cruso on the East Fork of Pigeon River, North Carolina,
© NCDOT West
Officials said 10 to 15 bridges in Haywood County have been damaged or destroyed. This is a bridge in Cruso on the East Fork of Pigeon River, North Carolina,
As many as 35 people are reported missing or unaccounted for after flash floods in North Carolina brought by torrential rainfall from Tropical Storm 'Fred'. Governor Roy Cooper issued a State of Emergency on 18 August to activate the state's emergency operations plan.

In a statement, the governor said nearly a foot of rain (300 mm) has fallen over the past three days in some areas of Western North Carolina from the remnants of Tropical Storm Fred and the rains that preceded it, and record flooding is occurring. More than 98 people have been rescued from floodwaters in western counties.

"This state of emergency will allow our first responders to get into our affected communities quickly to save lives, restore power, remove debris and bring supplies," said Governor Cooper. "North Carolina is strong and resilient, and we're committed to helping people and businesses recover as quickly as possible."

Cloud Precipitation

Deadly flash floods in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - at least 7 killed

Flash Floods in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 17 August 2021.
© Mayor of Addis Ababa / Twitter
Flash Floods in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 17 August 2021.
At least 7 people have died in flash floods that struck the city of Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia on 17 August 2021.

Several neighbourhoods of the city were inundated after heavy rain on 17 August 2021. Roads were submerged, cars stranded and buildings damaged. Rescue services said many had to flee their homes and images showed people taking refuge on the roofs of houses. Local media reports said dozens of people were injured and taken to various hospitals in the city. Visiting affected areas, Addis Ababa Mayor Adanech Abiebie said the efforts of disaster prevention workers have saved thousands of lives.

Cloud Precipitation

Record rainfall causes flash floods in burn areas of Flagstaff, Arizona - 3 inches of rain in an hour

Flood debris in Flagstaff Arizona, July 2021.
© Flagstaff City Government
Flood debris in Flagstaff Arizona, July 2021.
Officials in Coconino County, Arizona, reported record rainfall fell on burn scar areas on 17 August 2021, causing more severe flooding in areas around the city of Flagstaff.

In a statement of 17 August, Coconino County said rain began around midday, falling over the burn scar of the large 2019 Museum Fire near Flagstaff.

"By the time the large storm system moved out of the area, the entire burn area was saturated, resulting in the largest rainfall event to date," the statement said. An hourly rate of 3.07 inches (77.98 mm) was recorded in the south of the burn scar area.

"In addition, the rainfall was intense with over 1.14 inches recorded in at the south and west gauges in 15 minutes and 1.06 inches recorded at the east gauge. Not only was significant rainfall experienced on the burn scar itself, but also in the Sunnyside neighborhood. In an hour, 1.22 inches fell at Linda Vista and 1.5 inches was recorded downstream in neighborhoods. The rainfall recorded at the south gauge equates to a 200- to 500-year rainfall event," Coconino County said.


Waterspout comes ashore rips through buildings in southern Russia

A waterspout swirled ashore and ripped through a small building in Novorossiysk, southern Russia.

Footage from August 8 shows the column of swirling wind whip up parts of a beach kiosk as it makes it way onto the beach.


Southern Alps in New Zealand receive up to a metre of snow in 24 hours

Deep wind-drifts in Mt Hutt yesterday after 40cms
© Mt Hutt
Deep wind-drifts in Mt Hutt yesterday after 40cms of snow.
As the storm clears today, many are looking at webcams of places they would rather be as the deep fresh snow coincides with the yesterday's news of New Zealand's snow resorts plunging into level 4 lockdown for three days.

Thanks to the storm earlier this week we have just seen great snow accumulations around the country, offering some of the best conditions so far this season. Ohau reported a metre up top in 24 hours to Tuesday morning and other locations around the Southern Alps reporting around the half a metre mark in the past 48 hours. However, other than this storm and a couple of earlier snow falls, it has been quite warm around the country with the NIWA (National Institute of water andAtmospheric Research) research showing that New Zealand has just experienced its warmest June and July on record.


Alberta's Kananaskis region just got some summer snow

© Tiffany Lizée
In most places, August usually means sunshine and warm temperatures; however, Alberta's weather can be a bit of a wild card.

The province lived up to its reputation on Tuesday, when the Kananaskis region experienced snow.

Locals took to social media to express their surprise, and maybe even happiness, that Alberta's K-country got some of the white fluffy stuff.

Posts showed snow in the region, with some dusting to mountain peaks to the fluffy stuff coating trees and grass.