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Tue, 07 Apr 2020
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Earth Changes


Devastating swarms of locusts now headed for the Middle East - UN forecaster

© REUTERS / Njeri Mwangi
A swarm of desert locusts flying over a grazing land in Kenya.
Swarms of desert locusts have been wreaking havoc in large parts of East Africa, Iran and Pakistan, as desperate farmers struggle to fend off the marauding insects.

The most devastating plague of locusts in over 30 years is about to hit Africa and the Middle East, according to Rome-based Senior Locust Forecasting Officer Keith Cressman.

The officer, who is employed by Locust Watch, a division of the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization, on Monday cited the organization's most recent report forecasting that new "extremely alarming" swarms of the insects were forming in the Horn of Africa.

Comment: The unprecedented plague of locusts is just one of a number of effects likely related to our planet's increasingly erratic seasons and extreme weather patterns. We've already seen the damage early frosts, summer droughts and golf ball sized hail - to name but a few - can do to our food supply, but there are other equally disastrous knock on effects that may not be immediately apparent. And for an idea of just how some of these changes are affecting wildlife, a recent article Spring arriving earlier across the US throwing wildlife into disarray notes:
Warmer spring temperatures have also led beetles, moths and butterflies to emerge earlier than in recent years. Similarly, hibernating species like frogs and bears emerge from hibernation earlier in warm springs.All species don't respond to warming the same way. When species that depend on one another — such as pollinating insects and plants seeking pollination - don't respond similarly to changing conditions, populations suffer.

In Japan, the spring-flowering ephemeral Corydalis ambigua produces fewer seeds than in previous decades because it now flowers earlier than when bumblebees, its primary pollinators, are active.

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Heavy rainfall causes massive floods in Maranhão, Brazil

Widespread floods caused by heavy rains in Imperatriz, Maranhão, Brazil.



Blizzard in Iceland results in houses being evacuated due to avalanche danger

© Ívar Kristjánsson
The weather in Iceland remains turbulent this week and the Westfjords region is worst affected. There is an orange weather warning in effect and the north-easterly storm with heavy snow will continue into tomorrow. The orange warning remains in effect until 20.00 this evening.

The Coastguard vessel Týr is arriving in Flateyri as a precaution, as the village is on avalanche alert; as is Patreksfjörður. Some residential properties in both communities have been evacuated as a precaution, and some industrial buidlings in Ísafjörður have been evacuated for the same reason.

According to the Icelandic Met Office, there has also been a strong easterly wind affecting the north and east, with significant precipitation in East Iceland. South Iceland has gentler southerly winds with scattered sleet and rain showers but plenty of sunshine in between.


Tropical Cyclone Herold causes severe flooding in north east Madagascar - at least 4 dead

Tropical Cyclone Herold
© NASA Worldview
On March 16, the MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite took this image of Tropical Cyclone Herold and showed a well-developed hurricane with a visible eye.
Tropical Cyclone Herold swept over Madagascar, bringing winds of more than 140 km/h and heavy rain from 13 March, 2020. Severe flooding was reported in north-eastern areas of the country, where 4 people have reportedly died.

Herold formed on 13 March 2020 as Tropical Cyclone 22S and was later renamed Herold once it had intensified into a tropical storm.

Heavy rain from the storm caused flooding in Sava and Analanjirofo Regions in Madagascar. At least 4 people are thought to have died.

Disaster authorities said initial assessments showed that over 3,000 people have been affected in the district of Maroantsetra in Analanjirofo Region and Sambava and Antalaha districts in Sava Region. Flood water reportedly reached up to 2 metres in some areas, damaging around 500 homes.


Meteotsunami hits beach in Rio Grande, Brazil

On March 14, a rare occurrence was taken aback by vacationers on Praia do Cassino beach, the southernmost in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul and the longest (212 km) in the world. Meteo-tsunami hit one of its sections.

Suddenly arrived water washes away cars parked on a sandy strip. In addition, at this time, people swam in the ocean.

The site of Kazhydromet explains the nature of meteorological tsunamis. A decrease in atmospheric pressure of 1 mm entails an increase in sea level of 13 mm.

Cloud Precipitation

Flash flood triggered by incessant heavy rainfall swamps 2 villages in East Java, Indonesia

Floods submerged 316 homes located in two villages in Mount Ijen area, Bondowoso District, East Java Province, on Saturday, according to the Bondowoso Disaster Mitigation Office (BPBD).

"The floods affected 316 homes, but we are still verifying the damages," Triyatmoko, head of the Bondowoso BPBD, said on Sunday.

The current floods were worse than the floods that had hit the area on January 29, 2020, he noted.


Late winter storm continues in Sierra Nevada - dumps up to 4 feet of new snow

The Sierra snowpack has been boosted over the last few days.
© Mike Peron
The Sierra snowpack has been boosted over the last few days.
After a slow wet season without much precipitation, the Sierra Nevada mountain range region in California is finally starting to see some heavy snow.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said parts of the central and northern Sierra Nevada were buried under somewhere between 1-4 feet of snow since it started falling on Sunday. The Sierra Nevada Mountains are usually pummeled with "yards and yards" of snow in the winter, and this snowfall is helping that area make up for a long drought.

"There have probably been periodic blizzard conditions, but most places were below that criteria," Sosnowski said. Blizzard criteria are reached when a storm sustains winds or wind gusts of 35 mph or greater, and the visibility diminishes to less than one-quarter of a mile for three consecutive hours.

Comment: Immediately prior to this latest dump up to 38 inches of snow in 24 hours hit the region.


Several tornadoes filmed across Morocco

Tornado in Oued Zem, Morocco on March 15

Tornado in Oued Zem, Morocco on March 15
Videos from Morocco as tornadoes form near villages.


Cloud Precipitation

Icy scenes after unusual hailstorm in Colombia's capital Bogota

Hailstorm in Bogota

Hailstorm in Bogota
Streets covered with ice, vehicular congestion and flooded areas, among the emergencies attended by the authorities.

The downpour, accompanied by an unusual hailstorm, was recorded this Tuesday in the north and center of Bogota.

Through social networks, citizens have shared videos and photographs.

Cloud Precipitation

Deadly floods and landslides after heavy rainfall in Santander, Colombia

Floods in San Juan de Girón, Santander, Colombia, March 2020.
© DGRD Santander
Floods in San Juan de Girón, Santander, Colombia, March 2020.
Heavy rain that began late on 14 March caused flooding and landslides in areas near Bucaramanga in Santander Department, Colombia.

According to department disaster authorities, heavy rain caused a small stream to overflow, triggering flash flooding and a mudslide in the Vijagual sector in the north of Bucaramanga city. One man died after he was swept away by the flood waters. Two other people were injured. Local media said that around 100 families were affected.

Disaster authorities also said that the heavy rain caused the Río de Oro river to overflow, flooding parts of San Juan de Girón municipality.

Media also reported that heavy rain had triggered several landslides in the area. One of the landslides blocked a road between Bucaramanga and Rionegro.