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Tue, 18 May 2021
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Unusually deadly avalanche season in Switzerland this winter - 27 killed, 50% above average

Deadly avalanche in Greppon Blanc on 20 March 2021

Deadly avalanche in Greppon Blanc on 20 March 2021
With the end of Switzerland's ski season only weeks away, the number of avalanche deaths this season is already unusually high level.

The average annual number of people caught in avalanches over the last 20 years is 177. This winter 296 people were affected, a 67% rise. 215 (73%) of the avalanches this season were triggered by people, compared to an average of 113 over the last 20 seasons.

Over the same 20-year timespan an average of 18 lives were lost in avalanche accidents per ski season. Up until the end of March 2021, 27 people had died in avalanches this winter season, 50% more than an average season.


Woman in her 80s mauled to death by 2 dogs in Birmingham, UK

dog attack
The pensioner was mauled to death in the back garden of her home in Boundary Avenue, Rowley Regis

Police are continuing to investigate a horrific fatal attack by two dogs on a woman in her 80s in a shocking Good Friday tragedy.

The pensioner was mauled to death in the back garden of her Black Country home yesterday (Friday) afternoon.

A man has been arrested and is continuing to be questioned by police today.

Here is everything we know so far:


Shallow M6.6 earthquake hits east of South Sandwich Islands

South Sandwich Islands
© CC BY 2.0 / Flickr / Rob Oo
The earthquake was recorded at about 1:16 UTC. The epicentre of the tremor was located east of the islands. The focus lay at a depth of 10 kilometres.

A 6.6-magnitude earthquake has struck east of the South Sandwich Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
There have been no reports of injuries or damage as a result of the earthquake, as no people live on the South Sandwich Islands. No tsunami alert has been declared, the US National Tsunami Warning Centre stated.
The earthquake's epicentre was more than 1,810 kilometres from King Edward Point, a research station on South Georgia Island and is the capital of the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, according to the Indian National Centre for Seismology.


Europe's drought-induced crop losses tripled in 50 years, threatening future global food supply chain

Drought illustration
© Pexels
New research has found that EU crop losses driven by heat waves and drought, as well as other extreme weather events, have tripled in 50 years, a startling figure which could upend food-chain supply dynamics around the globe.

The study examined agricultural production in 28 European countries (including the UK) from 1961 to 2018 and compared it with the prevalence of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, heat waves and cold snaps alike, all four of which increased in frequency over the study period.

The researchers found crop losses of 2.2% of total crop yield between 1964 and 1990, which surged to some 7.3% in the period between 1991 and 2015.

To make matters worse, droughts were found to be intensifying and occurring more frequently, a phenomenon which previous studies have identified as a result of shifts in the jet stream.

Comment: Since 2015 Europe suffering worst droughts in two thousand years

Crop and cattle losses are on the rise everywhere, whether it is due to extensive drought, massive hail, epic flooding, huge dust storms, unexpected frosts, and even epidemics. See also:

Snowflake Cold

Severe frosts damage fruit in Lleida and Huesca, Spain

Last weekend, severe frosts were recorded in the stone fruit producing areas of Lleida and Huesca, in Spain. While temperatures fell below 0ºC during the nights of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the most severe and longest frost was the one on the night of Saturday. The sector's prospects for the campaign had been great, given the excellent flowering of the fruit trees, but this first adverse weather event in the months prior to the harvest may change everything.

The damage caused by these frosts is severe, according to producers and agricultural organizations, not only because of the flowers that have been lost, but also because of the impact they could have on the quality of the fruit. Although there is still a long way to go before the harvest and more unforeseen weather events could be recorded, the volumes expected after this event could come close to last year's -when they were down by about 30%-, or fall even more.

Cloud Precipitation

Flash floods damage over 2,000 homes in Java, Indonesia

Floods in Grobogan, Indonesia, 31 March 2021
Floods in Grobogan, Indonesia, 31 March 2021
Further severe flooding has struck in Indonesia, this time in Central Java Province. This follows recent flooding in Medan City in North Sumatra province, where over 50,000 people were affected.

The Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (BNPB) reported severe flooding in Klambu District, Grobogan Regency, Central Java, on 31 March 2021.

Flooding affected the villages of Klambu and Penganten. According to BNPB, 1,900 houses, 3 government offices, 5 schools and 14 places of worship were submerged in water up to 2 metres deep in Klambu Village. Meanwhile around 500 homes were flooded in Penganten Village. Around 20 homes have been severely damaged.


Thousands hit by flooding on Sumatra Island, Indonesia

Over 60,000 people have been affected by floods and landslides on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, over the past few days according to disaster authorities.

The ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management (AHA Centre) reports that over 52,000 people were affected by floods in northern parts of Medan City, capital of Indonesia's North Sumatra province on 30 March 2021.

The flooding mostly affected areas of Medan Belawan sub-district and was blamed on a combination of heavy rain, high tide and blocked drainage channels. Around 12,335 homes were inundated.

Flash floods and landslides were reported in other parts of the island over the last week.

Snowflake Cold

"Insane depth of cold" to blast Britain in April, as sea ice at both poles continues to grow exponentially

Ice extent
For something purportedly "global," AGW sure is illusive...

"Insane depth of cold" to blast Britain.

An "insane depth of cold" is set to strike the UK over the Easter weekend, warns the Weather Outlook's Brian Gaze.

Freezing temperatures and frosts will arrive in Scotland on Thursday, April 1, with "polar spring" conditions engulfing the majority of the country by Good Friday.

Looking further ahead, the mercury is expected to sink even lower during the following week, as a violent kink in the jet stream (associated with the historically low solar activity we continue to experience) delivers Arctic air to the lower-latitudes.

Thermometers could sink to -10C (14F) in northern parts, which would topple all-time daily cold records.

The UK's lowest-ever recorded temperature for April 5, for example, is the -9C (15.8F) set in 1990, while 1935's -8.9C (16F) for April 7 could also tumble. In fact, most of the daily benchmarks between early-to-mid April are under threat, including some that have stood for more than a century.


Cascades snow depth running 109% to 167% of normal

snoqualmie snow

Snoqualmie snow
Skiers and snowboarders arrived Monday to fresh snow at Snoqualmie Summit.

"During different times this season it has been the number one snow pack in the county - currently it's over 600 inches (50 feet)at the top of Alpental," said Guy Lawrence, general manager at Summit at Snoqualmie. Fifty feet! That's the height of a 5-story building!

And that will continue growing, because more spring snow is expected.

"Next week we're probably going to get a couple of systems that will bring snow to the higher elevations in the Cascades," said Nick Bond, a professor at the University of Washington and a state climatologist.


Spring snowstorm hits southern Russia and Kyrgyzstan

Snow is everywhere! Terrible snow storm hits southern Russia and Kyrgyzstan! Bishkek.

Comment: View also: Spring snowfall suprises residents of Magadan in Russia's east