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Wed, 03 Mar 2021
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Cloud Lightning

Lightning strikes kill 3, injure 3 others in Malawi

Three people died while three others sustained injuries after being struck by lightning in two different incidents on Monday in Mangochi.

Both incidents occurred on the evening of February 22, 2021 in the areas of Traditional Authority Bwananyambi and Mponda.

According to Mangochi Police Deputy publicist, Amina Tepani Daudi, in the first incident, John Chicha and Tiyanjane Bakali both 23-years-old were struck by lightning at Masuku Trading Centre.

At the time, it was heavily raining and lightning struck 5 people whereby the two were pronounced dead upon arrival at Mulibwanji Community Hospital. The other three suffered serious burn wounds.

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Snowmobiler dies following avalanche southwest of Chetywnd, British Columbia - 3rd such death for province within 9 days

Avalanche area. | File photo

Avalanche area. | File photo
SAR helicopter was able to recover the deceased

A 27-year-old man has died following an avalanche this weekend in northern B.C.

On Saturday (Feb. 20) just after 2:30 p.m. Chetwynd RCMP were notified by the International Emergency Response Coordination Centre of a device signal activations, known as InReach Spot, on the east face of the Murray Mountain range by Mt Gilliland, south of Pine Le Moray Provincial Park, which is southwest of Chetwynd.

Through the InReach device messaging, police discovered that an avalanche had occurred while a group of snowmobilers were in the area and one man was missing.

Comment: Details of the other fatalities: Snowboarder dies in second fatal avalanche in British Columbia in as many days

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Snowboarder dies in second fatal avalanche in British Columbia in as many days

A 45-year-old snowboarder died in an avalanche in northwest Canada on Saturday, the second fatality in as many days, authorities said.

According to a statement from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the avalanche occurred in Brandywine Bowl, an area southwest of Whistler, British Columbia.

On Friday, one skier was killed and two others were injured in two avalanches near Whistler, CBC reported.

Multiple people were caught in Saturday's avalanche at about 2:03 p.m. PT. Rescuers began searching for them immediately, according to CTV News. The snowboarder was found about 45 minutes later and died of his injuries, according to the RCMP.

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Avalanche kills skier in Wyoming national park - at least 32 avalanche deaths in US this 2020-2021 season

Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center shared this photo on Monday announcing there had been a fatality

Bridger-Teton Avalanche Center shared this photo on Monday announcing there had been a fatality "in very extreme terrain."
A skier was killed after getting swept up in an avalanche Monday in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, the National Park Service said in a news release.

Matthew Brien, a 33-year-old resident of Jackson, Wyoming, had been leading a small group of locals who wanted to ski the Broken Thumb Couloir when the avalanche was triggered, the park service said.
His is the latest of at least 32 avalanche deaths in the US in this 2020-2021 season, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Twenty-three fatalities were recorded last season, with 25 deaths tallied in each of the two seasons before that.

Cloud Precipitation

South Africa and Zimbabwe - Flash floods in border towns of Musina and Beitbridge

Floods in Musina, Limpopo, South Africa,
© Musina Local Municipality
Floods in Musina, Limpopo, South Africa, February 202.
Flash floods were reported in towns close to the South Africa and Zimbabwe border after a thunderstorm brought heavy rain from 21 to 22 February 2021.

In South Africa, flooding affected parts of Vhembe District, Limpopo Proince, in particular the town of Musina, where roads and homes were damaged along with electricity and water infrastructure. Images shared on Social Media showed a flooded hospital.

Flooding also affected areas the border town of Beitbridge in Matabeleland South, Zimbabwe, damaging roads and some buildings.

Meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe said Beitbridge recorded 76mm of rain in 24 hours to 22 February. Heavy rainfall was also reported further north in Nyanga, close to the border with Mozambique.


Thousands of homes damaged by floods in Madre De Dios, Peru

Floods in Madre de Dios, Peru, February 2021.
© Floods in Madre de Dios, Peru, February 2021. Photo: Minam Peru
Floods in Madre de Dios, Peru, February 2021.
Flooding in Madre de Dios Region of Peru has affected at least 15,000 people and damaged thousands of homes. The government has declared a State of Emergency for 60 days for the region.

After visiting affected areas, Peru's Environment Minister Gabriel Quijandria said that floods had damaged about 4,000 homes along with several schools and health facilities. Water and electricity services have been interrupted and around 3,000 hectares of crops damaged. Affected areas include Pueblo Viejo, Las Piedras, Laberinto and Boca Colorado.

"We have flown over the areas near and far from Puerto Maldonado and the truth is that the situation is worrying," the minister said. "There is significant damage in several towns, such as Laberinto," he added.

Armed forces are working with Peru's National Civil Defense Institute (INDECI) to distribute relief supplies including mattresses, sheets, kitchen utensils, mosquito nets and personal hygiene and cleaning products.


More than 110 plant species in Australia had their entire ranges burned in the 2019-2020 megafires

Bushfire in Victoria, December, 2020

Bushfire in Victoria, December, 2020
Most are resilient to fire, however the scope of the blazes may leave some ecosystems susceptible to landscape-scale failure

More than 19 million acres in Australia burned in the bushfires of the 2019-2020 season, with seven individual fires exceeding 1 million acres. Researchers who have studied the impacts on the vegetation have determined that the entire ranges of 116 plant species burned along with 90 percent of the ranges of 173 species.

Most of the affected species are are resilient to fire. However, the massive scope of the megafires may leave some ecosystems, particularly the rainforests, susceptible to regeneration failure and landscape-scale decline.

Below are excerpts from a study by Robert C. Godfree, Nunzio Knerr, and Francisco Encinas-Viso, et al., published in Nature Communications February 15, 2021.


Rare pygmy sperm whale washes up on Sonoma Coast beach in California

dead whale
A dead pygmy sperm whale washed ashore on a Sonoma Coast beach over the weekend, giving marine mammal experts a rare chance to examine a creature that normally spends its life out in the ocean deep.

The intact body of the nine-foot-long pregnant whale beached Saturday on the sand at Salmon Creek, with no clear signs of trauma, said Barbie Halaska, necropsy manager with the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.

Pygmy sperm whales are pelagic, meaning they live in deeper waters beyond the continental shelf. They are far less likely to wash ashore than other species, such as gray and humpback whales.

"Even if one dies, they don't necessarily strand on land," Halaska said. "Getting to see one is really rare for us."

Halaska and a team of about a half-dozen veterinary technicians, lab assistants and pathology experts went to the beach Sunday and collected the whale's internal organs and head to be more fully examined at the center's Marin County marine mammal hospital.

Cloud Precipitation

Floods worsen in Greater Jakarta Region, Indonesia 5 people reported dead, over 30,000 displaced

Floods in Karawang, West Java, Indonesia
Floods in Karawang, West Java, Indonesia, February 2021.
The flood situation in Greater Jakarta, Indonesia, has worsened over the last 2 days. As of 22 February as many as 5 people have died, 2 are missing and over 30,000 people displaced.

As reported here, flooding struck in Greater Jakarta from 19 February, prompting 1,300 evacuations mostly in South and East Jakarta and also affecting parts of West Jakarta.

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Bermuda's hurricanes are twice as strong as they were six decades ago

Hurricane Florence
© Shutterstock
Hurricane Florence off US Coast in 2018
Ocean warming is fueling stronger hurricanes.

Hurricanes are blasting Bermuda with wind speeds that have more than doubled in strength over the last 66 years, due to rising ocean temperatures in the region as a result of climate change, according to a new study.

Within a 62-mile (100 kilometers) radius of Bermuda, the average maximum wind speed of hurricanes increased from 35 to 73 mph (56 to 117 km/h) between 1955 and 2019, the researchers found. This is the equivalent of a 6 mph (10 km/h) increase every decade.

During this time, sea-surface temperatures in the region also increased by up to two degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius), according to the Bermuda Atlantic Time Series (BATS), a long-running dataset collected by the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences.

Scientists already knew that higher sea surface temperatures fuel stronger tropical cyclones. But the new findings show that temperatures below the sea surface also play a key role in how these storms form.

Comment: See also:

Bad news: Study claims hurricanes' translational speed is slowing down, potentially increasing damage