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Mississippi River flooding is worse now than in the last 500 years

Mississippi River Delta

Mississippi River Delta
Guest post by David Middleton
04 APRIL 2018

Mississippi River flooding worse now than any time in past 500 years Efforts to control the river's flow with levees and other structures have increased the risk of dangerous floods.

Floods on the mighty Mississippi River are larger and more frequent today than at any time in the past 500 years - in part, a new study suggests, because structures erected to control the river have increased the flood risk.


The US Army Corps of Engineers, the government agency that manages the river flow, declined to comment on the study. But Robert Twilley, a coastal-systems ecologist who directs the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, says that the study "should be on every desk of every Corps engineer who is designing infrastructure for the Mississippi River".

To reconstruct the river's history, Samuel Munoz, a geoscientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, and his colleagues looked at oxbow lakes and oak trees on the lower Mississippi between southern Missouri and Louisiana. Oxbow lakes are coils of river that became detached from the main flow as the Mississippi changed course.

Cloud Precipitation

Disasters caused by heavy rains kill 41, injure more than 160 in Rwanda since March

At least 41 people were killed and more than 160 others were injured across Rwanda by disasters triggered by heavy rains since March, Rwanda's Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs said on Monday.

The disasters also killed more than 600 animals, destroyed property including school structures, more than 3,000 houses and more than 1,700 hectares of plantations, said Philippe Habinshuti, director of disaster response and recovery of the ministry.

The destruction and deaths were mainly caused by floods and lightning, Habinshuti told media.

Comment: Lightning bolt kills 16 at Seventh-Day Adventist church in Rwanda

Cloud Precipitation

Heavy rain causes major New York City subway station flooding

NYC subway flooding
Water poured into the 42nd Street Bryant Park subway station on Monday.
Normally the labyrinthine New York City subway system can be counted on for shelter from the rain at the very least.

For many commuters, however, heavy rain sent water flooding into the subway system itself to start the week -- and in full torrents rather than just the occasional drip here and there

"As happens during heavy storms like today's, water is entering some stations from the street. We're sending emergency maintenance teams and customer service staff to locations where they're needed," subway administrators tweeted Monday morning.

Monday's rain is part of a system that has brought snow, freezing rain and heavy rain across much of the Northeast and Midwest. New York City was under a flash flood warning until the early afternoon, followed by a flood advisory.

The subway flooding became so severe that trains on some routes bypassed some stations for a time Monday. Below is a sample of what subway riders had to endure for their morning commute.

Cloud Precipitation

Severe flooding and mudslides hit the Caribbean island of Martinique - up to 9 inches of rain in 6 hours

Floods and landslides in Martinique, 16 April 2018.
© Prefet Martinique
Floods and landslides in Martinique, 16 April 2018.
Heavy rain, lightning strikes and hail struck the Caribbean island of Martinique, causing landslides and major flooding.

The severe weather hit on on Monday 16 April, 2018. The communes of Le François, Rivière-Pilote, Le Lamentin and Le Robert were the worst affected.

Meteo France issued orange level warnings for the island. In just a 6 hour period, 175 mm of rain fell in Saint-Joseph, 160 mm in Le Robert and 250 mm in Le François, with 125 mm of that falling in just 1 hour, according to Meteo France.

Cloud Precipitation

Over 20 dead and 33,000 displaced as flooding continues in Kenya

Flood rescues in Tana River County, Kenya.
© Kenya Red Cross
Flood rescues in Tana River County, Kenya.
Further flooding in Kenya has left over 33,000 people displaced. Local authorities say that more than 20 people have died over the past 10 days.

Several counties have been affected, with Kisumu, Samburu, Turkana and Tana River among the worst hit. Floods have cut major road networks, causing major transport issues. Homes and crops have been destroyed and power supply severely damaged.

In many areas local officials have urged communities to vacate their homes near rivers and flood-risk areas and move to higher ground. Kenya Red Cross were called on to rescue around 50 people from flooded areas in Tana River County.

Comment: For further details of the 2 earlier flooding episodes in March, see: Floods kill 15 people in Kenya, scores of families displaced (VIDEOS)

Heavy rainfall pounds, floods parts of Nairobi, Kenya (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

Cloud Precipitation

9 dead as floods swamp Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

Floods of 12 April 2014 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
© Eric Luda
Floods of 12 April 2014 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
At least 9 people have died in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, as heavy rain caused buildings to collapse and widespread flooding in the city.

The rain has been falling since Saturday 14 April. Reuters reported television footage showing residents seeking shelter on rooftops. Authorities have ordered schools to be closed for two days starting on Tuesday to assess infrastructure damage.

Dar es Salaam recorded 81.8 mm of rain from 14 to 15 April, and 99.6 mm in 24 hours the following day. Other areas of the country have also seen heavy rain over the last week, including Zanzibar and Mtwara.

On 16 April Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) warned of further heavy rain in Tanga, Dar es Salaam, Pwani, Morogoro, Lindi and Mtwara regions. Some areas are likely to see in excess of 50 mm of rain in 24 hours.


Flash floods, accumulated hail and a large tornado hit northern Algeria

tornado in Algeria
© YouTube/Natural Disasters (screen capture)
Large tornado in Batna Province, Algeria on April 14, 2018
Extreme weather hit northern parts of Algeria on April 14, 2018 bringing destructive flash floods, accumulated hail and a large tornado in Batna Province reported 3bmeteo.

Residents of Algiers were braced for flooding as more than double the rainfall the Algerian capital receives during all of April was expected to pour down last weekend. Rainfall of 25-50 mm (1-2 inches) was reported across north-central Algeria through Saturday afternoon according to AccuWeather.

Unusual weather is becoming more common in Algeria. In February Ain Sefra was covered in snow for the second time this year. Following a 37-year spell of no snow which ended in December 2016, the desert town in the country's northwest, has seen snow no less than four times.

Cloud Precipitation

Hawaii floods, mudslides destroy homes and close roads - UPDATE

Destructive Flooding and Mudslides Batter Parts of Hawaii

Destructive flooding and mudslides batter parts of Hawaii
Mudslides and flooding triggered by heavy rain spread damage and shut down roads in Hawaii over the weekend.

At least two homes were torn from their foundations in Kauai, HawaiiNewsNow.com reports. Officials say the houses appeared to be empty at the time of the incident. Dozens more homes were reported flooded or otherwise damaged.

Roadways had to be closed due to flooding and debris, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reports. Friday, officials shut down Kalanianaole Highway because of flooding that left vehicles stranded in over a foot of water.

Comment: Update - 17.04.18:

Hundreds of people were evacuated from Kauai, Hawaii, after 2ft of rain lashed the island in just 24 hours causing heavy flooding and landslides reports the Daily Mail:
'It's definitely the worst storm in recent memory,' said county spokeswoman Sarah Blane. Some residents said it was worse than Hurricane Iniki in 1992.

The National Weather Service recorded 28.1 inches (71.3 centimeters) of rainfall in Hanalei between 2am Saturday and 2am Sunday. The record for a 24-hour period in Hanalei was set in 2012 at 28.54 inches.

'It's highly likely that the record was broken by heavy rainfall after the gauge stopped recording,' said meteorologist Chevy Chevalier. The weather service is trying to figure out why the gauge stopped recording, he said.


Colombia: Floods kill a dozen people and displace 1,000

flood Colombia
© Reuters FILE
The rainy season in Colombia usually lasts until June
Marquez instructed all municipal and regional administrations to activate contingency plans and prepare for possible preventive evacuations.

Flooding from persistent rains have claimed the lives of 12 people in Colombia and displaced more than 1,000, EFE has reported.

Director general of the National Unit for Risk Management, Carlos Ivan Marquez Perez, told reporters that "flood alerts (have been issued) in the sectors surrounding the Magdalena, Cauca and Atrato rivers."

Marquez has instructed all municipal and regional administrations to activate contingency plans and prepare for possible preventive evacuations. "Do not let your guard down, you always have to maintain prevention and care mechanisms," he warned.

He added that Narino, Choco, Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Antioquia, Santanderes, Boyacá, Cundinamarca and the zone of the Coffee Axis, are currently under flood watch following heavy rains on Saturday.

The rainy season in Colombia usually lasts until June.

Comment: For the bigger picture, don't miss:

Cloud Precipitation

Major flooding after rivers overflow in north-eastern Spain

© Policía Nacional ‏
Flooding has hit parts of Navarre and Aragon regions in north-eastern Spain after snow-melt in river catchment areas and a period of heavy rain caused rivers to overflow.

Some rivers have reached similar levels to those of the 2015 floods. One person has died in a swollen river in Zaragoza province, Aragon.

Areas of Navarre region, including in the district of Pamplona, are under water after rivers burst their banks yesterday, 12 April, 2018. The regional government posted videos on social media showing wide areas of land under water after flooding from the overflowing Ebro, Aragon, Araquil and Arga rivers.