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Sun, 27 May 2018
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Floods

Cloud Lightning

Australia's Queensland faces 'biblical' flood

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A senior official has described the flooding in Queensland, Australia, as a disaster of "biblical proportions".

State Treasurer Andrew Fraser said the economic impact would be severe, with huge costs compounded by lost income from mining, farming and tourism.

Rockhampton, where 77,000 people live, is the latest city bracing for impact, amid warnings of 30ft (9m) floodwaters.

More than 20 other towns have already been left cut off or flooded across an area larger than France and Germany.

The crisis has been triggered by Australia's wettest spring on record. At least six river systems across Queensland have broken their banks. The floods have affected about 200,000 people, and many have been evacuated.

"We're still directly battling floodwaters, we haven't seen the peak of the flood yet at centres like Rockhampton," said Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who toured the stricken areas.

Bizarro Earth

"Biblical" Floods Threaten Australian Homes

foods
© Agence France-Presse
The floods prompted a message of support from the Queen, who said she had been following the news "with great concern"
Flood waters swept through vast areas of northeastern Australia Saturday, threatening to inundate thousands more homes in a disaster one official said was of "biblical proportions".

As Queen Elizabeth II sent her "sincere sympathies" to Queenslanders who rang in a damp new year, helicopters were being used to deliver food and other supplies to isolated towns.

Up to 200,000 people have been affected by the floods, which have hurt the nation's lucrative mining industry and cut off major highways as the water rushes through sodden inland regions to the sea.

"In many ways, it is a disaster of biblical proportions," Queensland State Treasurer Andrew Fraser told reporters in flood-hit Bundaberg.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who on Friday toured inundated regions, said the floods had been devastating and would clearly have an economic impact.

"We're still directly battling floodwaters -- we haven't seen the peak of the flood yet at centres like Rockhampton -- so the people of Queensland in many places are doing it tough today," she said.

Umbrella

200,000 Displaced in Australia Floods

flood, Emerald, Australia
© Philip Norrish/AFP
A suburb in the Queensland town of Emerald in Australia taken over by flood water yesterday.
Australia started forced evacuations of a major town on Friday as floods that have already affected 200,000 people swamped more communities in the stricken northeast.

As Prime Minister Julia Gillard consoled evacuees, police moved the elderly and those in low-lying areas from Rockhampton, where 4,000 homes are at risk from floods paralysing an area the size of France and Germany combined.

"Police will order people in affected areas to leave their homes," Rockhampton mayor Brad Carter told AAP news agency.

Meanwhile military Blackhawk helicopters evacuated residents and dropped batches of food in Emerald, population 11,000, after 80 percent of the rural town was deluged by mucky waters.

Floods triggered by tropical cyclone Tasha have hit the farming and mining belt near Brisbane particularly hard, cutting road and rail links and crippling the region's all-important coal production.

As river levels continued to rise, some 22 towns were inundated or isolated, with sugar cane centre Bundaberg, known for its rum, divided in two by the floodwaters.

Shops, homes and businesses have been swamped by the murky tide, with cars submerged and caravan parks sitting metres (feet) deep, as residents take to boats and kayaks to negotiate the waters.

Umbrella

Australians evacuate flood-hit Queensland towns

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© Reuters
Flooding in north-eastern Australia has forced residents to evacuate towns and closed down more than 300 roads.

In one town, Theodore, 300 residents are being flown out by a fleet of helicopters after floodwaters swamped buildings.

The floods have caused hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage to sunflower and cotton crops.

The state government of Queensland has declared several areas disaster zones.

The state capital, Brisbane, has recorded its wettest December in more than 150 years. Cyclone Tasha, which hit Queensland on Saturday, also brought torrential rain to the state.

Cloud Lightning

US: Damage from Southern California rains could top $60 million

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© Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times
Damage from the storms that battered Southern California is expected to top $60 million.

Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado declared a state of emergency Thursday for Los Angeles, Kings and Santa Barbara counties in response to the destructive rain, which caused some severe mudslides and flooding. States of emergency had already been declared in Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo and Tulare counties.

One of the hardest-hit areas was the foothill community of Highland in San Bernardino County. There, evacuations remained in place for 140 homes below an unstable 100-foot bluff. City officials said damage there was approaching $17 million alone.

At least 26 homes, most of them in another Highland neighborhood where a creek overflowed, sustained extensive damage. Floodwaters left behind 4 feet of mud and half-buried cars tipped up at odd angles. Dozens of homes and businesses were also damaged in Laguna Beach. Silverado Canyon and the surrounding area in Orange County were also hard hit.

Cloud Precipitation

Strongest Storm Yet to Hit Southern California

The latest in a week of storms could bring thunder, hail, flooding, tidal surges and even waterspouts and small tornadoes. Some foothill evacuations are ordered.

Authorities and residents were bracing for flooding, thunderstorms, hail, tidal surges and even small tornadoes Wednesday as the worst of a seven-day series of storms was expected to sweep into Southern California.

Wednesday's storm was projected to be the most intense of the week, the result of a powerful, cold storm from the Gulf of Alaska colliding with a river of subtropical moisture from the western Pacific Ocean.

"When you get the very cold air mixing in with the very warm air, it can be quite volatile," said Bill Patzert, a climatologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. Forecasters said the system could produce lightning and possibly waterspouts offshore and small tornadoes on land.

Patzert said Wednesday is "definitely going to be the main event."

Rainfall rates were expected to be as high as 0.75 to 1.5 inches an hour, which could cause flooding not only in foothills and mountains but also in low-lying areas, said Stuart Seto, a specialist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

"The ground is already permeated. There's already a lot of moisture," he said. "With the thunderstorms, the rain rates come faster.... We're going to see a lot more runoff."

Cloud Lightning

Storm causes hillside collapse, flooding in Southern California

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© AP
People attempt to pull a truck out of the rain-swollen Santiago Creek near Modjeska Canyon, Calif. on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2010.
A powerful storm dumped more rain on already waterlogged Southern California on Wednesday, washing hillsides onto highways, endangering houses in canyons and forcing rescuers to pluck dozens of motorists from flooded streets.

The storm was expected to ease as it moved eastward. Floodwaters washed away homes in Arizona, and inundated parts of Nevada and Utah.

The low-pressure system could be in New Mexico by Thursday and could reach the Gulf Coast by Saturday with some rain, but not the deluge that hit Southern California, forecasters said.

In Southern California, the burst of heavy rain in the morning left streets flooded and caused minor mudslides. The threat, however, of larger mudslides could last for weeks in the suburban Los Angeles canyon hillsides laid bare by wildfires.

"The ground is so saturated it could move at any time," said Bob Spencer, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.

Bizarro Earth

US: Los Angeles Evacuations Ordered; California Braces for More Rain

San Bernardino County Firefighter
© AP Photo/Daily Press/James Quigg
San Bernardino County Firefighters Jay Hausman, left, and Ryan Beckers, right, pull a victim from a car caught in swift water at Hughes and Avalon Road in Victorville, Calif., Monday, Dec. 20, 2010.
If six days of pounding rain wasn't enough to dampen holiday spirits, a seventh could prove to be downright dangerous. Forecasters expected heavy rains across California going into Wednesday, and authorities began evacuations late Tuesday as concern grew about potential mudslides in the wildfire-scarred foothills across the southern part of the state.

Officials ordered evacuation of 232 homes in La Canada Flintridge and La Crescenta, foothill suburbs of Los Angeles, because of forecasts of more heavy rains on already saturated mountainsides.

San Diego police evacuated dozens of homes and businesses but no structural damage was reported in the city, said Lt. Andra Brown. A commuter rail station was closed in the city's Sorrento Valley area due to heavy rains. About a dozen homes were evacuated in a cul-de-sac south of downtown.

Bizarro Earth

Southern California Braces for More Rain, Possible Mudslides

Worst Weather in Years Pounds West Coast, Utah and Nevada

From the mountains to the foothills, California residents are bracing for another round of heavy rains and threats of mudslides. For the past week, residents faced relentless rainfall along with snow and high winds.


In the northern part of the state, the storm knocked out power to thousands of customers, according to local utility companies.

Southern California has been hit hard by heavy rains since the weekend - creating scores of accidents and residents preparing to evacuate.

"I was just driving and the wind was actually what pushed me and caused me to hit the pole," said motorist Raquel Funches.

Cloud Lightning

2010's World Gone Wild: Quakes, Floods, Blizzards

tornado
© unknown
This was the year the Earth struck back.

Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed at least a quarter million people in 2010 - the deadliest year in more than a generation. More people were killed worldwide by natural disasters this year than have been killed in terrorism attacks in the past 40 years combined.

"It just seemed like it was back-to-back and it came in waves," said Craig Fugate, who heads the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. It handled a record number of disasters in 2010.

"The term '100-year event' really lost its meaning this year."

And we have ourselves to blame most of the time, scientists and disaster experts say.


Comment: This article supports the idea of human-caused global warming, and, as the above sentence says, blames us humans for most of the disasters that befell the world this past year. Find an analysis and rebuttal to this story here.


Even though many catastrophes have the ring of random chance, the hand of man made this a particularly deadly, costly, extreme and weird year for everything from wild weather to earthquakes.

Poor construction and development practices conspire to make earthquakes more deadly than they need be. More people live in poverty in vulnerable buildings in crowded cities. That means that when the ground shakes, the river breaches, or the tropical cyclone hits, more people die.