Cloud Lightning

Australia: More Flooding Forecast for Victoria

Aussie flood
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MARK COLVIN: Victorians are being warned to prepare for heavy rain and possible flash flooding this weekend as a tropical air mass from Cyclone Yasi moves south.

North-east and central Victoria are expecting to be the hardest hit and some of those areas still haven't recovered from flooding in January.

Samantha Donovan reports.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Many Victorians are still cleaning up after flooding rains last month. But with an air mass from ex-tropical Cyclone Anthony and Yasi feeding into a strong Southern Ocean weather system, the north-east and central areas in particular are facing a new flood threat.

Tim Wiebusch is with the Victorian State Emergency Service.

TIM WIEBUSCH: The north-east of the state is our main concern given the likelihood of seeing at least between 100 to 150 mils and maybe localised totals up to 200 millimetres. This will result initially in flash flooding and then, potentially, right through to major riverine flooding along the Goulburn, Broken, Mitta Mitta, Kiewa, Ovens Catchments and may affect places like Benalla, Wangaratta and right through the Ovens valley, including places like Bright and Myrtleford.


US: Snow, cold make Dallas feel more like Green Bay

© Matt Slocum/Associated PressFans pose for photographs near the NFL Super Bowl Experience during a winter storm, Friday, Feb. 4, 2011, in Dallas.
Football fans whose flights had been canceled struggled Saturday to get to Dallas for Sunday's big game, while those already in town for the Super Bowl were contending with temperatures and snow typical of Pittsburgh and Green Bay but unusual in Texas.

A fresh blast of snow and ice canceled hundreds of flights Friday, transformed highways into ribbons of white and caused dangerous sheets of ice to fall from Cowboys Stadium, sending six people to the hospital. It was enough to turn the biggest week in American sports into a Super Mess.

The injured included private contractors the NFL hired to prepare the stadium for the game, authorities said. One man was hit in the head, another in the shoulder. None of the injuries was considered life-threatening.

Alison Crombie, a spokeswoman for Getty Images, said Saturday one of its photographers, Win McNamee, also was hurt. He was flying home and would be assessed by his doctor there, she said.


US: Storm reaches South Texas, freezing Brownsville

Snow and ice hampered travel in parts of Texas as a winter storm closed Dallas Love Field and gave more students another day off.

Love Field, home to Southwest Airlines, closed early Friday. City of Dallas aviation spokesman Jose Luis Torres told The Associated Press that crews were working to clear snow from the runways.

About 120 flights were canceled Friday at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport as a winter storm warning covered much of North Texas.

Bizarro Earth

Landslides in Brazil

Brazil Landslide_1
© Earth Observatory, NASAAcquired February 2, 2011.
Brazil Landslide_2
© Earth Observatory, NASAAcquired May 24, 2010.
After weeks of persistent cloud cover, the skies above Brazil finally cleared enough for satellites to take stock of the mudslides that devastated the states of Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina, and São Paulo in mid-January.

The Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA's EO-1 satellite captured these true-color images of the hills north and west of Teresópolis, Brazil, on February 2, 2011 (top), and May 24, 2010. In both images, forested land is dark green, while land that has been cleared is light green. The 2011 image shows dozens of tan stripes where the hillsides have been overrun by mudslides, usually within or adjacent to those light green patches.

Nearly a month's worth of rain - 26 centimeters (10 inches) - fell on January 12 in the Serra do Mar mountain region and the nearby cities of Teresópolis and Nova Friburgo. The downpours provoked flash floods and sent rivers of mud flowing down steep hillsides, killing 860 people and leaving at least 8,700 homeless. 429 people have not yet been accounted for, according to Agencia Brazil, the state news service.

The unusually heavy rains were attributed by some meteorologists to La Niña, but human activity likely exacerbated the scale of the disaster. Rapid population growth in the area has led Brazilians to build favelas (self-built settlements) on the steep slopes above Teresópolis. Those structures have been built on previously forested land, so the reduced tree cover has diminished the ability of the soil to hold water and the hills to hold onto the soil. Many of the houses lost, according to reports, were built on slopes of 45 degrees or more or in the buffer zones around rivers and streams. The Brazilian Forest Code officially forbids building in such areas.

Bizarro Earth

7 Dead in Mindanao Floods - Officials

Mindanao Floods
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Zamboanga City, Philippines - At least seven persons, including three children, downed in floods that swept through three Mindanao towns on Wednesday and Thursday, officials said Friday.

Five of the fatalities were reported to have died in downtown Jolo Thursday evening as heavy rains, big waves and three coastal tornadoes battered the capital of the island province of Sulu, said the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council and a Roman Catholic priest.

Jolo Mayor Hussin Amin said reports reaching him indicated that three people, two of them children, were killed and two others were missing. It was not immediately known if the new figure released by the provincial disaster coordinating council included those missing.

The council said 25 persons were injured.

Amin said it was the first time a flood of that magnitude - up to eight feet deep in the Asturias and San Raymundo areas - hit the town.

"This is the first time I witnessed this kind of flooding," he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.

Amin described the situation in Jolo as akin to that experienced by some places in Metro Manila during the passage of Tropical Storm Ondoy in 2009.

Cloud Lightning

State on guard as another storm closes in

roof collapse
Auburn, Massachusetts - State officials renewed their warnings yesterday about the danger of roof collapses, as weather forecasters said a storm today could drop up to 6 new inches of snow on some parts of the region.

"This is not a reason for panic, it's a reason for care and diligence,'' Governor Deval Patrick said at a midday news conference in Auburn. "This is a very tough time, a very tough set of circumstances. But people can do things to keep themselves, their families, and their co-workers safe.''

He said the warning signs of collapse from heavy snow and ice included doors sticking or opening on their own because the jambs have become out of line. Leaks, windows jamming, and cracking sounds are other signs, the governor said during a visit to Interstate Battery Center in Auburn, whose circular roof collapsed Thursday. No one was injured.

Snowflake Cold

Tulsa Residents Trapped By Snow 4 Days After Storm

tulsa,snow storm
© Tulsa World, Christopher Smith / APTim Houchin walks in the snow to work downtown, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 in Tulsa, Okla. Blizzard conditions struck the Tulsa area stranding motorists and shutting down much of the city.
Marnie Fernandez had four children and a sick husband at home Friday but almost no milk or toilet paper. The blizzard that dumped 20 inches of snow, sleet and ice on Tulsa on Tuesday still had the area paralyzed, and while Fernandez had her driveway shoveled, several inches of snow and higher drifts blocked the streets of her neighborhood.

She had only a few granola bars and fruit snacks for the kids and worried that a new storm would collapse her roof. Looking outside, she watched water leak through the lights on the roof's overhang as it started to snow again.

"I've never seen anything like this where people literally can't get out of their houses," said Fernandez, 39, who's lived in Oklahoma most of her life. "You just realize you're not in control and you're at the mercy of Mother Nature."

Cloud Lightning

Tropical Storm Continues to Pound Australia

© APA library in the small community of Cardwell, Australia, is without a roof and badly damaged after Cyclone Yasi brought heavy rain and howling winds, February 4, 2011
Cyclone Yasi, which pounded northeastern Australia Friday, moved south as a tropical depression Saturday, bringing downpours and flash floods to the Melbourne region.

The Bureau of Meteorology said more than 175 millimeters of rain fell in parts of Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city, while powerful winds downed trees and power lines.

Queensland officials 2,000 kilometers to the north say the coastal communities of Cardwell, Tully and Mission Beach bore the full brunt of Cyclone Yasi, which made landfall early Thursday carrying winds as high as 300 kilometers an hour.

Cloud Lightning

Philippines: 5 die in Surigao landslides, floods

Five people have been killed in landslides and floods caused by heavy rains in Surigao provinces, authorities reported Friday.

Police found the bodies of Nenita Corpuz, 57 and Julie Culapu, 47 in Barangay Pantukan, Carrascal town in Surigao del Sur, around 7 p.m. Thursday.

Police said that Corpuz and Culapu were visiting their rice farms amid heavy rains when they were buried by a landslide.

In Surigao del Norte, Carlio Benocilla, 26 and Raymund Bonotan, 25 were also killed in a landslide in Barangay Masgad in Malimono town in Surigao del Norte.

Cloud Lightning

Hurricane force winds, rain and snow batter Scotland

Scotland was battered by a triple whammy of hurricane-strength winds, torrential rain and driving snow today forcing the closure of schools and causing problems on roads and communications.

The far north and north west bore the brunt of the weather as the storm tore in from the Atlantic this morning.

And tonight Strathclyde police advised drivers not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

One amateur weather station at Ness on the Isle of Lewis recorded a Hurricane gust of 91mph with more heavy weather expected tonight.

Schools and many businesses in the Western Isles closed at lunchtime to prepare for the high winds and heavy rains.

While the Northern Isles and Hebrides were facing winds of up to 90mph the central belt experiencing winds of 60-70mph on Thursday evening.