Bizarro Earth

Violent storm hits Russia after heatwave

A cold front has swept across north-western Russia, bringing with it driving rain and high winds in the wake of the devastating heatwave.

The storm hit St Petersburg, the country's second city, as trees came down and buildings were damaged.

Two 50-metre cranes fell on a construction site, seriously injuring the woman driver of one of them.

Across the region nearly 100,000 people had their power cut off.

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Six people injured in hailstorm in Prague

© ČTKWenceslas square hit by heavy rain.
Prague - Six people were injured in a hailstorm in Prague Sunday night, the rescue service told CTK.

One man suffered a serious injury after a broken roof window fell on him and the glass cut an artery on his leg.

Another man suffered a head wound and four women were treated with lighter head and back injuries after they slipped and fell down in the heavy rain.

Firefighters had to assist in the storm. They drained water from some cellars and removed fallen trees and branches from streets in the capital.

They also had to drain water from a hall of the Můstek underground station on Wenceslas square in the city centre.

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Summer storms bring chaos to parts of Spain

© EFEThe after effects of the hail storm in Cuenca
Two people were hit by lightening when on the beach.

Summer storms have been bringing scenes of drama to parts of Spain.

A 15 minute long cloudburst flooded the streets to Cuenca to a depth of nearly a metre of water. Vehicles were covered in places and some people found themselves wading up to the waist. Shops, garages and some homes were flooded in several regions of the city, and the hailstones reached three centimetres in diameter at times.

Valencia, Alicante and the south of Castellón saw the worst of the storms and the weather forecasters said that as much as 40 litres per square metre could fall in some areas.

Storms in Tarragona and Valencia caused delay to both long distance and local train services. The drainage system overflowed in Murcia, while fires were caused by lightening in Fortuna, Yecla and Jimilla.

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Sweden: Flooding in Malmö as heavens open

© B. Larsson Rosvall/ScanpixBus passengers were involved in a dramatic boat rescue in western Sweden on Friday morning, 13 Aug 2010
Torrential rain showers pummelled southern Sweden on Saturday night, causing flooding and road closures in parts of Skåne.

Emergency services were inundated with phone calls from home owners whose basements were flooded as the incessant rain made its presence felt.

The region's main city, Malmö, was pounded by 66 millimetres of precipitation in a few short hours, according to meteoroligical agency SMHI.

Rescue workers were also called out to help motorists whose cars had stalled in the rising waters.

Per Bergkvist was out driving on Malmö's inner ring road when he ran into difficulties around the Fosie exit, local newspaper Sydsvenskan reports.

"The water reached up to the car doors," he told the newspaper.

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More Landslides as China Mourns Victims of Gansu Disaster

© AP
At least 38 people are reported missing in a new landslide Saturday in China's flood-ravaged Sichuan province, as the nation observes a day of mourning for victims of last week's massive landslide in the northwest.

The State Council ordered flags throughout China and at all Chinese embassies lowered to half-staff Sunday to honor 1,239 people killed in Gansu province. The official announcement said public entertainment, including all games, music shows and movies, should be suspended on Sunday.

Authorities said more than 500 people are still missing in the northwestern province. Soldiers are working around the clock to clear debris from Gansu's Bailong River, to reduce the chance of further flooding with any new rainfall.

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Terrified trekkers recount flood 'hell' in Indian Himalayas

© AFPThe flooded Indus river passes through Leh. Hundreds of people were still missing in the Indian Himalayas on Tuesday four days after flash floods hit the remote region of Ladakh, killing at least 165.
Traumatised foreign trekkers caught in flash floods that killed 185 people in the Indian Himalayas recounted Thursday a week of "hell" battling rockfalls, raging mudslides and constant fear.

Exhausted and still clearly in shock, a group of mainly French tourists flew into New Delhi from Ladakh region, where a sudden, intense cloudburst one week ago turned their mountain trekking holiday into a battle for survival.

"There were mudslides and rocks tumbling down the mountains," said David Bressac, a mountaineering guide with a Franco-Indian tour agency.

"It was horrific. The mudslides were moving at an incredible speed," said Bressac, his eyes red from lack of sleep and a large rucksack flung over his shoulder.

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Deadly Typhoon Dianmu cuts across Japan

© AFPGraphic showing the path of Typhoon Dianmu, packing winds of more than 80 kilometres per hour
Typhoon Dianmu cut across northern Japan into the Pacific Thursday after leaving five dead in its wake in South Korea, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

With winds of up to 72 kilometres (45 miles) an hour, it moved across the northern tip of Honshu island for some three hours until around 8:00 pm (1100 GMT), after travelling northeast over the Sea of Japan, the agency said.

The storm's arrival on Honshu coincided with Japan's mid-August holiday break, when many people were visiting their hometowns and offering prayers to their ancestors.

The weather agency warned heavy rain could trigger floods and mudslides, and waves as tall as five metres (16 feet).

Rainfall could reach 20 centimetres (eight inches) in northeastern Japan in the 24 hours to midday Friday, according to the agency.

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More Rains Threaten China Mudslide Disaster Zone

© AFPMilitary personnel on clean-up operations work beside a demolished building amid the rubble of landslide devastation in Zhouqu on August 11, 2010 in northwest China's Gansu province.
Zhouqu - Rescuers racing against a potential new deluge on Wednesday hurried to drain an unstable lake formed by China's worst mudslides in decades, as the death toll surged past 1,100.

More than 10,000 soldiers and rescuers combed through the mountains of mud that buried a remote area of the northwest province of Gansu at the weekend, killing 1,117 people by the latest count and leaving more than 600 others missing.

But the window of survival was fast closing, with only two survivors found on Wednesday, so authorities have focused on averting further devastation in the form of new floods and possible disease outbreaks.

With days of heavy rains forecast from Wednesday -- sparked in part by Typhoon Dianmu, which ravaged South Korea -- troops were using excavators and explosives to clear debris blocking the Bailong river that runs through Zhouqu.


Cold Wave Kills 6 Million Fish in Eastern Bolivia

La Paz - Authorities in the eastern Bolivian province of Santa Cruz declared an alert following the death of 6 million fish from the unusually cold weather gripping the country in recent weeks.

The provincial government said the fish died in the Grande, Pirai and Ichilo rivers that run through the tropical region.

This is an "environmental catastrophe" brought on by the lowest temperatures registered in Santa Cruz in nearly half a century, Gov. Ruben Costas told reporters.

He said that environmental personnel who visited the disaster areas found that the three rivers are highly polluted by dead fish, and he warned locals not to use those waters.

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Australia: Wild weather whips Victoria

© BradThe tornado passes Michaels Moama JCB dealership on the Cobb Hwy.
Northern and western Victoria has been hit by severe winds and heavy rain, and eastern Victoria is set to follow.

And the Victorian SES has urged people to avoid flood waters as wild weather, including the tornado, hits the state.

Wind as strong as 139km/h and rain as high as 92 millimetres had already affected the Western and Wimmera districts, Weatherzone said in a statement.

Mt William in the Grampians was the windiest spot so far and Weeaproinah near the coast was the wettest.

Weeaproinah's 92mm was their highest 24-hour total in nearly three years and highest for August in 57 years.

Flash flooding had also occurred in other parts of the Western, Wimmera, Northern Country and Northeast, a result of the heaviest rain this winter, the heaviest in years for some.

It was the biggest rain since December 2008 for Mt William, Stawell, Warrnambool and Port Fairy, where 30mm to 60mm fell.