Bizarro Earth

Belgium Floods Kill 2

© Yves Logghe/Associated PressA man cycles through a flooded street in Geraardsbergen, Belgium, on Sunday.
Belgian authorities called in the army Sunday to assist with emergency evacuations after severe flooding killed two people in the southwestern region of Beaumont, near the French border.

A 72-year-old woman drowned overnight after her husband lost control of their vehicle, Lt. Fabrice Pierart of the local firefighters told Belgian broadcaster RTL. A second victim, who was on his way home, was found just metres away, Pierart said.

"This is a catastrophe for our region," the mayor of Beaumont, Charles Dupuis, told RTL.

Officials described the flooding as the worst in 50 years. The national weather service said that in two days Belgium absorbed as much rainfall as it normally gets in a month.

Rivers and creeks overflowed in the western and central parts of the country, causing basements and streets to flood in scores of towns and cities. Rail traffic was seriously interrupted on Sunday morning, but returned slowly to normal in the afternoon.

Local authorities called in the army and civil protection units to reinforce firefighters who had been working overnight. The situation appeared particularly serious in the Brabant region, just outside Brussels.


US: Upper Midwest digs out after heavy snow

© Kyndell Harkness/Associated PressA pedestrian makes her way over piles of snow Saturday near the IDS Center in Minneapolis.
Minneapolis -- Parts of the Upper Midwest dug out from a heavy snowfall Saturday that caused more than 400 traffic accidents in Minnesota, and wintry conditions also were being blamed for a collision in northern Wisconsin that killed two people.

Nearly a foot of snow had fallen in parts of the Twin Cities area by Saturday evening, downing trees and causing sporadic power outages.

The storm that began late Friday night was blamed for a collision Saturday morning that killed both drivers and left a passenger hospitalized. The sheriff's department in Wisconsin's Bayfield County said the storm produced "rapidly deteriorating road conditions" that likely contributed to the crash.

Kevin Kraujalis of the National Weather Service's Duluth office estimated that Bayfield County had a couple of inches of snow on the ground when the collision occurred. The meteorologist said the county had about 5 inches as of 6 p.m. Saturday.

The Minnesota State Patrol responded to 401 crashes as of 4 p.m, with 45 of them involving minor injuries, Patrol Capt. Matt Langer said. There were no other immediate reports of fatalities or major injuries.

Life Preserver

Ireland Battered by New Storms

© Irish IndependentA fallen tree comes down next to a school just before closing time in Claregalway, Co Galway
Heavy rain and winds of 140kmh cause havoc nationwide

Stormy conditions rolled right across the country again yesterday afternoon and last night, as strong winds and heavy rain spread in from the Atlantic.

With a severe weather alert issued well in advance by Met Eireann, most areas had done as much as they could in preparation, but winds of 120kmh and heavy rain uprooted trees and caused localised flooding in a number of locations.

The west of the country got the worst of the storm, as the Atlantic coast from Kerry to Donegal was battered by huge swells and gusts of up to 140kmh yesterday afternoon. The coastguard said a record swell of 11.5 metres was recorded in the sea off Valentia.

On dryer land, uprooted trees and fallen telephone lines proved to be a significant concern for motorists, with gardai and the emergency services called out to various locations to deal with traffic disruptions in Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Limerick, Westmeath, Louth and Dublin.

Cloud Lightning

Woman Passenger Killed After Being Impaled by Branch as 100mph Winds Sweep Britain

© Yorkshire News/Media ServicesWinds of up to 100mph struck the country leading to the woman's death in Wakefield, West Yorkshire
A woman has been killed after being impaled by a branch when a tree crashed into a car as high winds battered Britain, police said today.

The woman was a passenger in a Vauxhall Zafira travelling through Wakefield last night when the tree smashed into the road, causing the freak accident.

She was taken to Pinderfield's Hospital a short distance away but died soon afterwards. The male driver of the vehicle was also hurt but his injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

West Yorkshire police said a number of homes in the area were evacuated overnight and part of the road - the A642 - is likely to remain closed until this afternoon.

Three fire crews were called to the scene last night to free the casualties. A fire service spokesman described the woman as having been 'impaled'.

Neighbour Christine Wright said: 'It is a freak accident. I heard a loud thud about nine-ish, but there was so much noise with the wind I didn't think much of it, initially.

'Something made me look out of my window and I saw two police officers in yellow jackets. I then heard the ambulance sirens. It's so worrying, there are lots of tall, old trees around here. Someone needs to look at them.'

The incident happened as high winds and heavy rain battered many parts of the UK.

Cloud Lightning

Severe Weather Alert as Britain Battered by 70mph Winds, Snow in the North and Up to Three Inches of Rain Across the South

© Press AssociationIcy blasts: A walker wraps up warm as he braves the snow near Glenshee, Scotland
  • Up to three inches of rain expected in the South East
  • Four flood warnings, 37 flood watches in place across UK
  • Motorists rescued by police as six cars are trapped in snow in Cumbria
  • Snow falls on high ground from the midlands to Scotland
Britain has been placed on flood alert after torrential rain and high winds battered the country.

Following a day of snowfall, gales and downpours that brought disruption to the roads, the Environment Agency issued flood warnings across the Midlands, the North East and Wales.

With thunderstorms and flash floods forecast for last night, a weather warning was also issued for the South East.

Gale-force winds and snow disrupted road, train and ferry services - but the worst of the wintry blast is yet to come.

Snow fell across high ground from the north Midlands towards Scotland, with the Highlands particularly affected.

Elsewhere, winds of up to 70mph and torrential downpours were in force.

Cloud Lightning

Flash flooding in Vicenza, northern Italy (VIDEO)

© 81oettamThe flooding did bring some relief to locals: it forced the closure of the enormous US military base there for two days.
Spectacular flash flooding swept away cars and forced the closure of the nearby US military base in Vicenza, northern Italy on November 1st. A low-pressure system over the western Mediterranean Sea dumped almost 10 inches of rain on the region since Halloween (October 31st).

Cloud Lightning

Massive winter storm to hit Ireland tonight and tomorrow

A massive winter storm is set to hit Ireland with hurricane-like winds and flooding on Sunday night and Monday authorities say.

Coastal areas are expected to be hardest hit and major flooding alerts have been issued for counties Dublin, Waterford, Cork, Clare and Galway.

The surprise winter storm will pack a real punch say Irish weather forecaster,s who have issued an early alert of severe flooding and dangerous driving conditions.

Cloud Lightning

Costa Rica landslide kills at least 20 as storm hits

Costa Rica landslide
© ReutersVolunteers search for landslide victims in the San Antonio de Escazu district
A landslide in Costa Rica caused by heavy rain has killed at least 20 people in a suburb of the capital, San Jose, officials say.

A number of people are still missing following the landslide in the western district of San Antonio de Escazu.

A hillside gave way, sending tons of rock and earth onto the houses below.

The Costa Rican government is considering declaring a national emergency.

Cloud Lightning

Cholera-Hit Haiti Braces for Looming Storm

© AFPHaitian refugees await word of Caribbean storm Tomas at a tent city in Port-au-Prince
Haiti reeled from a spike in cholera deaths as authorities planned mass evacuations from squalid tent cities ahead of a major storm set to lash the Americas' poorest nation beginning Thursday.

Tropical Storm Tomas was barreling toward Haiti, threatening a direct hit early Friday as a hurricane bringing "life-threatening flash floods and mudslides over mountainous terrain," according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

A hurricane warning was issued, which means hurricane conditions are expected in the affected area within 24 to 36 hours, while tropical storm-force winds and rain were expected to buffet the Caribbean nation from late Thursday.

"These conditions make outside preparations difficult or dangerous, and preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion," the Miami-based center warned.

Cloud Lightning

India: Andhra faces cyclone threat, 20 killed in rains

Andhra Pradesh is facing the threat of a cyclonic storm while heavy rains in the coastal region have claimed 20 lives and damaged crops in over 100,000 hectares, officials said Tuesday.

Nearly 400,000 people were affected, dozens of villages and residential areas in several towns remained inundated as rains under the influence of a trough of low pressure over Bay of Bengal and vigorous northeast monsoon caused havoc in north and south coastal districts.

Over 26,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas in four districts while the authorities alerted the armed forces for possible deployment. At least 20 people were killed in rain-related incidents in the last three days, according to the disaster management department.