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Tue, 11 Aug 2020
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Earth Changes


5.5 million affected, 145 killed as flood in Bangladesh lingers

Two children swim to fetch fresh water as a woman looks on in a flood-hit area of Lauhajang upazila in Munshiganj on Tuesday.
© Sony Ramany
Two children swim to fetch fresh water as a woman looks on in a flood-hit area of Lauhajang upazila in Munshiganj on Tuesday.
Jamuneswari breaks 7-decade record, Karatoa flows 4-decade high as India opens barrages

Over four lakh people got freshly affected by flood over the Eid holidays as the total number of flood victims crossed 5.5 million until Tuesday, 39 days after the monsoon flood hit in late June, with 145 flood-related deaths so far.

Government disaster responders and flood victims said that the overall flood situation remained largely unchanged except for the rapid deterioration in the flood situation in parts of north as India continued to release huge volumes of water through two barrages built in Uttar Dinajpur.

A Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre report showed that 17 rivers flowed above their danger marks at 27 places as their water levels registered a slow fall over the 24 hours until 9:00am Tuesday.


6.4-magnitude earthquake hits off Vanuatu - USGS

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 jolted 71 km east of Lakatoro, Vanuatu, at 1205 GMT on Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The epicenter, with a depth of 174.75 km, was initially determined to be at 16.1118 degrees south latitude and 168.0816 degrees east longitude.

Cloud Lightning

89 killed by lightning during first 6 months of 2020 in Madhya Pradesh, India - more than for entire year prior

The IMD has alerted that due to the environmental changes, the threat of lightning during the current monsoon season has increased in Madhya Pradesh, where 89 people lost their lives due to lightning strikes in the first six months of this year.

This figure of lightning strike victims in the state till June this year is more than what it was during the entire year in 2019, an official said.

"In the current monsoon season, the threat of lightning strikes has increased as compared to last year due to the environmental changes," India Meteorological Department (IMD) senior scientist, Vedprakash Singh Chandel, told PTI on Wednesday.

"Because of this, the wind speed during thunderstorm and hailstorm was found significantly high," he said.

According to the official, in the last six months- from January to June- 89 people were killed in lightning strikes, as compared to 82 in entire 2019.

Snowflake Cold

'A historic event' - Aussie city blanketed in snow for the first time in 40 years

Tasmania snow

Australia's ever-intensifying Antarctic Blast is beginning to deliver. This morning (Aug 5), swathes of Tasmania received their first settling snow for 40 years.

As picked up by Yahoo News Australia, Tasmania's riverside city of Launceston was hammered by snow on Tuesday evening, as the mercury at the airport sank below-zero just after 9pm.

Bureau of Meteorology's Matthew Thomas said the settling snow in Tasmania's north is a weather event not seen for some 40 years.

"It's a very rare event for Tasmania," said Thomas.

"We saw some snow settled in Hobart, with the last two occurrences in 1986 and 2015. [However] the last time we saw snow settle in Launceston was in the early 1970s," he said.

Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino described it as "a historic event for Tasmania":

Comment: See also:

Arrow Down

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.