Earth ChangesS

Snowflake Cold

Cold air blob makes 'full tour' of Alaska, prolonging winter weather

Climate Specialist Rick Thoman said it hasn’t been a typical El Niño winter. Instead, there’s been what he calls a lot of “yo-yo weather.”
A strong parade of storms has been making its way through the northern Pacific Ocean, and the location of the jet stream has produced colder storms for Unalaska and the Aleutian region this spring. That's according to Rick Thoman, a climate specialist at the International Arctic Research Center with the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

"Over the last six weeks, say, the Aleutians have been on the north side of the prevailing storm track, and so on the cold side of the storms," Thoman said. "If the jet stream was say 500 miles farther north, it would still be stormy, but it wouldn't be nearly as cold."

Cold air from above the North Slope brought another round of wintery weather to Western Alaska, the Eastern Aleutians, Kodiak Island and into Southcentral Alaska as well, according to Thoman.

"That was basically a blob of cold air that came down from the high Arctic from north of the North Slope, and it moved southwest through the Bering Strait down through the eastern Bering Sea, and is now actually moving into the western Gulf of Alaska," he said.


Flash flooding hits eastern France

A red weather warning - the highest level - has been issued for eastern France after torrential rain and flash flooding hit several towns.

The département of Moselle - along the border with Germany and Luxembourg - has been placed under the highest level of weather alert for flooding.

The alert was issued after 66mm of rain fell in a single morning, causing flooding in several towns that swept away cars and inundated houses.

At 1pm, local emergency crews said they were responding to more than 1,000 calls from 177 different towns and villages and had carried out 400 rescue operations.

Cloud Precipitation

At least 4 dead in Houston after 'exceptionally' strong storm hits Texas: Mayor

A damaged building is shown in the aftermath of a severe thunderstorm that passed through downtown, May 16, 2024, in Houston.
© David J. Phillip/APA damaged building is shown in the aftermath of a severe thunderstorm that passed through downtown, May 16, 2024, in Houston.
At least four people died Thursday after an "exceptionally" strong storm hit Houston, according to Mayor John Whitmire.

Wind gusts reached 78 mph in the area.

Preliminary investigations indicate falling trees caused two deaths and a fallen crane caused one, according to officials.

Urging residents to stay home, Whitmire said the city was in "recovery mode" and schools will be closed in the Houston area on Friday.

More than 788,000 customers are without power in Texas on Friday morning.

Cloud Precipitation

Heavy floods cause chaos in northern Italy

The rain impacted areas of northern Italy including Milan, Varese and Cremona.

Over 100 firefighters used dinghy boats to evacuate people following the floods.

Travel services were also severely disrupted.

Comment: See also: Flooding hits the city of Milan, Italy


Best of the Web: 151 dead, 104 missing and 600,000 homeless after heavy rains and floods in Brazil - Worst flood in over 80 years (UPDATED)

Aerial view of flooded areas in Encantado city, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, taken on May 1.
© AFPAerial view of flooded areas in Encantado city, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, taken on May 1.
At least 10 people have died in floods caused by torrential rains in Brazil's south, authorities said Wednesday, as rescuers searched for nearly two dozen individuals reported missing.

Deluges in the state of Rio Grande do Sul have displaced some 3,300 people in more than 100 municipalities, many of whom have been moved to shelters.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced he would visit the area, which governor Eduardo Leite said was dealing with "the worst disaster in the history of our state."

Leite said work was continuing to locate the missing even as more heavy rains were forecast.

Comment: Update May 3

The BBC reports:
A hydroelectric dam has collapsed in southern Brazil after days of heavy rains that triggered massive flooding, killing more than 30 people.

Officials say another 60 people are missing in Rio Grande do Sul state.

About 15,000 residents have fled their homes since Saturday. At least 500,000 people are without power and clean water across the state.

The burst dam triggered a two-metre (6.6ft) wave, causing panic and further damage in the already flooded areas.

The dam is located between the municipality of Cotiporã and the city of Bento Gonçalves.
Update May 4

CGTN reports:
The death toll keeps climbing from continuous rains in Brazil's southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. At least 58 people have been killed, while another 67 remain missing according to the state's civil defense agency. The rains have triggered the worst floods in more than 80 years.

Update May 7

Reuters reports:
Rescuers rushed to evacuate people stranded by devastating floods across the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul on Tuesday, with 90 reported dead and desperate survivors seeking food and basic supplies.

On the outskirts of Eldorado do Sul, 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) from the state capital of Porto Alegre, many people who left their homes were sleeping on the roadside and told Reuters they were going hungry. Entire families were leaving on foot, carrying belongings in backpacks and shopping carts.

"We've been without food for three days and we've only just got this blanket. I'm with people I don't even know, I don't know where my family is," said a young man who gave his name as Ricardo Junior.

The flooding has hampered rescue efforts, with dozens of people still waiting to be evacuated by boat or helicopter from stricken homes. Small boats crisscrossed the flooded town searching for survivors.

The state's Civil Defense agency said the death toll has risen to 90 with another four deaths being investigated, while 131 people are still unaccounted for and 155,000 are homeless.

Heavy rains that began last week have caused rivers to flood, inundating whole towns and destroying roads and bridges.

In Porto Alegre, a city of 1.3 million inhabitants on the Guaiba river, downtown streets were under water.

Porto Alegre residents faced empty supermarket shelves and closed gas stations, with shops rationing sales of mineral water. The city distributed water in trucks to hospitals and shelters.

The floods have also impacted water and electricity services, with more than 1.4 million affected overall, according to Brazil's Civil Defense.
Update May 12

The Anadolu Agency reports:
The death toll from floods caused by heavy rains in Brazil has risen to 137, authorities reported Saturday.

Following heavy rains that have been affecting the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul since last week, the loss of life and property is steadily increasing.

According to a statement from the Civil Defense of the state, the number is 125 people still missing.

The number of injured has risen to 756, and more than 2 million people have been affected.

Additionally, the statement noted that more tha 600,000 people have been displaced.

The statement highlighted that hospitals have reached full capacity, necessitating additional support for patient care.
Update May 17

Xinhua News Agency reports:
As many as 151 people have died to date from south Brazil's worst climate disaster on record and another 104 people remain missing, the Civil Defense agency said Thursday.

Since torrential rains began to lash the country's southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, on April 29, floods and mudslides have left some 600,000 people homeless.

Horse in an unstable condition.
Horse in an unstable condition.
In the last 24 hours, the number of fatal victims rose from 149 to 151 as 458 of the state's 497 cities were suffering from severe flooding, including the capital Porto Alegre, where the Guaiba River burst its banks and inundated most of the metropolis.

According to the Civil Defense agency's latest report, over 2.28 million residents have been directly impacted by the disaster in the state, which borders Argentina and Uruguay, and is a center of Brazilian agribusiness, as well as the top rice producer in Latin America.


Waterspout swirls just off the coast of Catalonia, Spain

A large waterspout, caused by a column of cloud-filled wind rotating over water, was spotted off Cunit Beach in Catalonia.


Indonesia's Semeru volcano erupts 5 times

The Semeru volcano in Indonesia's East Java province erupted five times on Friday, spewing volcanic ash up to 900 meters over its peak, according to the Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation.

"The first eruption was at 6.29 a.m. local time, with a column of white to grey ash as high as 500 meters heading to the southwest," said Semeru Volcano Monitoring Post officer Liswanto, Xinhua news agency reported.

The second eruption occurred at 6.50 a.m. local time, launching ash as high as 600 meters above its peak, while the third eruption occurred at 7.28 a.m. local time, releasing an ash column as high as 700 meters.

Volcanic ash was thrown up to 500 meters in the fourth eruption and 900 meters in the fifth, which happened at 7.57 a.m. and 8.05 a.m. local time, respectively.

Authorities have urged people to stay out of the danger zone within a 5 km radius and 13 km southeast of the crater to prevent harm from hot clouds, lava flows and lahars.

People are advised to avoid rivers that originate from the Semeru crater against possible cold lava flows.



Strong explosions from Concepcion Volcano on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua

Residents report explosions at Concepción Volcano.
Residents report explosions at Concepción Volcano.
Concepción Volcano, the largest on Ometepe Island, launched a huge column of smoke and ash, while residents heard rumbles. Much of the island received volcanic ash from the crater, according to reports on social media.

The explosions from Concepción, which reaches a height of 1610 meters, began shortly after two in the afternoon, according to authorities who activated an alert system on Ometepe Island.

On social media, inhabitants of the paradisiacal island —which is home to the small cities of Altagracia and Moyogalpa— as well as tourists, shared videos and photos showing a large column of smoke rising into the sky, and ash visible in the environment.

"We can see how the Moyogalpa pier is covered in ash. Since I've lived on the island, I've never felt this pure adrenaline here, I had never seen it," a user on TikTok recounted, showing a video at the island's main port.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning strikes kill 12 in West Bengal, India

Twelve persons, including three women and three minors, were killed and five were wounded by lightning during a thunderstorm in Malda and Murshidabad in West Bengal on Thursday. Malda accounted for 11 deaths.

Disaster management personnel were deployed to rescue the wounded.

In Malda, several of the victims were picking mangoes when lightning struck, including Monojit Mondal (21), Samar Mridha (16), Chandan Sahani (35), Asit Saha (19), Atul Mandal (65) and Sabidul Sk (13).

Priyanka Singha (20) and Nyan Roy were struck by lightning when they were in a field. Sumitra Mandal (45) was outside her home when she was struck by lightning. Suitara Biwi was in a field while Pankaj Mandal (24) was on the road when lightning struck. A Budhia woman and a Class 8 boy were wounded.

In Murshidabad, Simanta Ghosh (32) died and three were injured while herding cattle.

"My heart goes out to the families who lost their loved ones in Malda due to the tragic lightning strikes. I extend my deepest condolences to them during this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with the injured, and I pray for their swift recovery. Our district administration is working tirelessly to provide all necessary support to the affected. We will do everything in our capacity to assist those in need," West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee posted on X.

Snowflake Cold

Russia had its coldest-ever start to May - data

A woman walks along a street during rare spring snowfall in Moscow, Russia.
© Sputnik / Vladimir AstapkovichA woman walks along a street during rare spring snowfall in Moscow, Russia.
The spring chill was unprecedented in the history of meteorological observations in the country

The first 10 days of May were the coldest the European part of Russia has witnessed in the history of meteorological observations there, the scientific director of Russia's Hydrometeorological Center, Roman Vilfand, has said.

The European part of Russia was a "funnel" attracting cold air masses from the Arctic Ocean during the beginning of the month, Vilfand told TASS on Monday.

"Two centers with different signs - an anticyclone to the west of Moscow and a cyclone to the east of Moscow - created conditions for the retraction and advection of the cold air masses of the Arctic Ocean," he explained.

Comment: Are cold temperatures in Russia how a new cold war appears like?

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