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Wed, 19 Jan 2022
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Cloud Precipitation

Madagascar - 10 killed after heavy rains trigger floods and landslides in Antananarivo

Disaster authorities in Madagascar report at least 10 people have lost their lives after heavy rainfall caused floods and landslides in Analamanga Region, including the capital Antananarivo.

According to the national disaster agency, Bureau National de Gestion des Risques et des Catastrophes (BNGRC), heavy rain struck during the night of 17 January 2022. Antananarivo recorded over 75mm of rain in 24 hours to 18 January 2022.

BNGRC reported widespread damage in the capital and surrounding areas, including collapsed houses and bridges, damaged infrastructure and inundated farmland.

Cloud Precipitation

Montevideo in Uruguay under water following unprecedented heavy rains, a month's worth of rain in 2 hours - nearly 6 inches in just an HOUR

Social media users had been reporting all night that the situation was getting critical in different areas

Social media users had been reporting all night that the situation was getting critical in different areas
Some areas in the city of Montevideo dawned Monday literally under water following unprecedented heavy rains which caused damages to various homes and a traffic chaos, in addition to power outages, which reportedly affected some 12,000 users.

The storm reached its fiercest moment at around 6am, although social media users had been reporting all night that the situation was getting critical in different areas.

Sources from Uruguay's weather agency Inumet quoted by local media reported unofficially that in two hours more than 100 millimeters of rain had fallen in Montevideo. In two hours Montevideo experienced what usually takes a whole month to fall, it was reported.

Comment: Floodlist reports on January 18:
Uruguay - Floods in Montevideo After 150mm of Rain in 1 Hour

Residents evacuated their homes and cars were swept along city streets in Montevideo, capital of Uruguay, after torrential rain caused flash floods on 17 January 2022.

Flood rescue Uruguay January 2022.
© Uruguay Ministerio del Interior
Flood rescue Uruguay January 2022.
Interim mayor of Montevideo, Federico Graña, said the flooding was the result of "an extraordinary meteorological event" with between 90 and 150 mm of rain falling in just 1 hour early on 17 January. The city's average monthly rainfall for January is 92 mm.

The heavy rain was accompanied by strong winds which downed trees and power lines, leaving 20,000 without electricity across the region. Traffic and public transport were severely disrupted. The neighbourhoods of Malvín, Carrasco, Buceo, Punta Gorda and Punta de Rieles were particularly badly affected. Areas of the department of Canelones were also affected.

Uruguay's Ministry of Interior reported 164 people had evacuated their homes. Firefighters attended 248 interventions across affected areas, including 67 incidents of fallen trees and 9 downed power poles.

The storms and heavy rain follow a period of extreme high temperatures in the country. The country's meteorological agency Instituto Uruguayo de Meteorología (INUMET) reported temperatures of 44°C in Florida on 14 January, thought to be an all-time high.


Heavy rainfall causes floods, cars washed away in Minas Gerais, Brazil

The heavy downpour in Uberlândia (Minas Gerais) on Sunday, January 16, flooded homes and businesses in the city.

The city of Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil, registered floods in several areas after heavy rainfall on Sunday afternoon, January 16.

Videos show the damage caused by the waters, which swept away cars and flooded homes and stores.

The Uberlândia City Hall said on social networks that an emergency task force was set up to mitigate the impacts of the rain.

Cloud Precipitation

Israel hit by massive flooding

Flooding Israel
© Global Look Press / Xinhua
Cars were submerged under water and streets were turned into turbulent rivers in Israeli cities over the weekend after torrential rain and cold weather battered the nation and led to flash flooding.

A neighborhood housing some 18,000 people in the Israeli city of Lod was completely cut off by floods, Israeli media reported on Sunday. Local authorities warned the residents that the only way to get in or out of the area was by train.

Locals told the media that life in the area had come to a halt, with even health clinics and Covid testing centers ceasing operation.

Elsewhere in Israel, floods turned city streets into rivers and saw cars submerged under water. Rescue services were deployed to save people trapped in their vehicles.


Two people drowned by abnormally high waves in Peru after Tonga volcano

Two people drowned off a beach in northern Peru, the local civil defense authority reported on Sunday, after unusually high waves were recorded in several coastal areas following Saturday's eruption of an underwater volcano in Tonga in the Pacific Ocean.

The death of two people by drowning occurred on Saturday on a beach located in the Lambayeque region, Peru's National Institute of Civil Defense (Indeci) said in a statement.

The underwater volcano off Tonga erupted on Saturday, prompting tsunami warnings and evacuation orders in Japan and causing huge waves on several South Pacific islands, where images on social media show waves crashing against homes on the shores.

More than 20 Peruvian ports were temporarily closed as a precautionary measure amid warnings that the volcano was causing abnormally high waves, Indeci said.


Tsunami waves hit Tonga after massive underwater volcanic eruption sends debris and ash 20km into the sky

Dramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano erupted (pictured, satellite images of the volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday)

Dramatic official aerial maps showed the eruption cloud over Tonga after the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano erupted (pictured, satellite images of the volcanic eruption in the Pacific Ocean on Saturday)
Australia has become the fifth nation to issue a tsunami warning after an undersea volcano in the Pacific Ocean caused havoc in Tonga.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued an urgent alert that dangerous waves will start to affect Australia from 9.45pm on Saturday.

A tsunami struck Tonga sending terrified residents fleeing for their lives as surging waves crashed into homes and volcanic ash rained down from the sky.

Locals were warned to get out of the water and move to higher ground from as far away as Fiji as homes in the small South Pacific nation were swept away by the rising torrent.

Comment: Note how there's a lightning strike at 0:27, just as another vent erupts. This is due to an electric charge differential between the ash cloud, which is eruption debris that is now higher up in the atmosphere, and the freshly erupted material, which has just burst forth from inside the planet!

Comment: Spaceweather.com further reports:
The shockwave was recorded as a sudden uptick in air pressure as far away as Alaska, Belize and multiple locations in Florida. The global wave is expected to converge on southern Algeria, giving an especially strong signal there.

High-altitude balloon and satellite measurements indicate that the exhaust plume has reached the stratosphere, as high as 60,000 feet.
Here's footage showing the eruption's global shockwave:


Thousands displaced, at least 15 dead after more floods and landslides in Minas Gerais, Brazil - 8 inches of rain in 24 hours

Floods in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil, January 2021.
© Prefeitura de Brumadinho
Floods in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil, January 2021.
Heavy rainfall of more than 200mm in 24 hours in some areas has caused further flooding and landslides in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, where at least 15 people have died in the last few days.

Around 1,200 people have been displaced after wide areas of Brumadinho Municipality were flooded from the overflowing Paraopeba River on 11 January. Civil Defence also reported that 5 people died in a landslide caused by heavy rain in the municipality. Brumadinho is the location of the tailings dam tragedy of January 2019 where 270 people died.

Over 10,000 people were displaced by flooding from the overflowing Doce River in Governor Valadares municipality from around 12 January 2022. Minas Gerais Civil Defence reported around 55,000 people affected by the floods.

Cloud Precipitation

Schools and roads closed as flash floods hit south-west France

The river Gave d'Oloron overflowed its banks on Jan. 10, as heavy rain soaked France'sPyrenees mountains, causing widespread flooding.

The river Gave d'Oloron overflowed its banks on Jan. 10, as heavy rain soaked France'sPyrenees mountains, causing widespread flooding.
Parts of south-west France have been hit by electricity outages and road and rail disruption today (January 10) as heavy rain causes flash floods and high river levels in several departments.

Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne and Ariège are all under a red weather alert for heavy rain and/or flooding, while Gers and Tarn-et-Garonne have been placed on an orange warning for flooding.

At the time of the last Météo France update, a total of 50-80mm of rain was predicted on lower ground, 100-130mm in the Pyrenean foothills and 150-250mm in the mountains.

Cloud Precipitation

Cyclone leaves Fiji causing widespread flooding

People in Fiji are being warned of flash floods due to a category 1 tropical cyclone

People in Fiji are being warned of flash floods due to a category 1 tropical cyclone
Tropical Cyclone Cody is slowly moving away from Fiji but emergency management authorities say lingering heavy rain continues to create high risk for the country amid a third wave of the coronavirus.

The category 1 storm left one person dead, caused widespread flooding which forced close to 2,000 people to flee their homes and seek shelter at 110 evacuation centres activated across Fiji.

Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Inia Seruiratu said the capital Suva was spared by Cody, but it had belted the whole of the main island Viti Levu with heavy rains since late last week.

Flash flooding was reported across the country and Seruiratu said Cody may intensify to a category 2 storm as it moved south west out of Fiji.

"This will mean that flooding will continue to be a concern to us.


Geomythology looks to ancient stories for hints of scientific truth

Everyone loves a good story, especially if it's based on something true.

Consider the Greek legend of the Titanomachy, in which the Olympian gods, led by Zeus, vanquish the previous generation of immortals, the Titans. As recounted by the Greek poet Hesiod, this conflict makes for a thrilling tale - and it may preserve kernels of truth.

The eruption around 1650 B.C. of the Thera volcano could have inspired Hesiod's narrative. More powerful than Krakatoa, this ancient cataclysm in the southern Aegean Sea would have been witnessed by anyone living within hundreds of miles of the blast.

Thera Volcano
© Steve Jurvetson, CC BY
The massive eruption of the Thera volcano more than 3,500 years ago left behind a hollowed out island, today known as Santorini.
Historian of science Mott Greene argues that key moments from the Titanomachy map on to the eruption's "signature." For example, Hesiod notes that loud rumbles emanated from the ground as the armies clashed; seismologists now know that harmonic tremors - small earthquakes that sometimes precede eruptions - often produce similar sounds. And the impression of the sky - "wide Heaven" - shaking during the battle could have been inspired by shock waves in the air caused by the volcanic explosion. Hence, the Titanomachy may represent the creative misreading of a natural event.

In 2021 I published the first textbook in the field, Geomythology: How Common Stories Reflect Earth Events. As the book demonstrates, researchers in both the sciences and the humanities practice geomythology. In fact, geomythology's hybrid nature may help to bridge the gap between the two cultures. And despite its orientation toward the past, geomythology might also provide powerful resources for meeting environmental challenges in the future.