Bizarro Earth

Hundreds Feared Dead After Landslide Buries Mexico Town

© European Press Agency A landslide in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, Mexico. Reports suggest up to 1,000 people may have died in the remote area of south-western Mexico
'We can't even see the homes,' survivor says; 8,000 people impacted, more slides feared

Hundreds of people were buried in their homes early Tuesday after a rain-soaked mountainside gave way in southwestern Mexico, officials said.

Donato Vargas, an official in Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec reached by phone, said 500 people were missing and that 300 homes were buried after the slide around 4 a.m. local time.

"We were all sleeping and all I heard was a loud noise and when I left the house I saw that the hill had fallen," Vargas said.

"It has been difficult informing authorities because the roads are very bad and there isn't a good signal for our phone," Vargas said shortly before the call dropped.

Reached by the news agency AFP, Vargas added that "we fear that those missing are buried inside their homes because we've already searched nearby areas."

Cloud Lightning

Colombian Officials Put Mudslide Death Toll at 30

Bogota - Colombian rescue officials say it will take at least a week to unearth about 30 people who were buried by a landslide as they changed from one bus to another because a mountain road was blocked.

Regional disaster agency chief John Freddy Rendon says he doesn't expect any survivors from Monday's landslide between the towns of Giraldo and Canasgordas northwest of Bogota.


First Snowmen of the Season Spotted as Surprise Cold Snap Sweeps Across Britain

© UnknownThe Scottish Cairngorm hills have seen their first Winter snow in September
Britain has received its first autumn snowfalls for the year as a surprise cold snap sent millions reaching for the central heating controls this weekend.

Summer made a particularly swift exit from the Highlands as the first sprinklings of snow paid an early visit to the north of Scotland.

The last time Britain saw a September cold snap as severe as this current one was in 2003, when much of northern England was below freezing.

Two Scottish weather stations recorded record lows: Tulloch Bridge recorded a temperature of -4.2°C, and Tyndrum -4.4°C - the coldest temperatures recorded since the two stations opened in 1982 and 1990 respectively.

For the people of the Cairngorms particularly, it was a wintry end to September.

Snow fell on the Scottish mountain range overnight, and hill-walkers had to wear their winter woolies and specialist equipment as they enjoyed blue, sun-filled skies with slippery conditions underfoot.

As usual it was the children who took best advantage with some of the earliest snowmen ever built on the Cairngorms.

Cloud Lightning

Japan: Lightning strikes festival in Chiba, injuring 34

© MainichiPortable shrine-carriers battle in the ocean during the "Shiofumi" event of the "Ohara Hadaka Matsuri," three hours before the lightning strike in Isumi.
Chiba -- Lightning struck and wounded 34 people at a festival in Isumi, Chiba Prefecture, on Sept. 23, leaving two of them seriously injured, local fire department officials said.

The lightning strike occurred at around 6 p.m. at Ohara Elementary School during the "Ohara Hadaka Matsuri" (Ohara naked man festival), hitting 32 males and two females carrying portable shrines. A 65-year-old man and a 13-year-old boy were seriously injured.

The festival's executive committee told a news conference that the event's 18 portable shrines had been gathered onto the school grounds, and just as the festival was about to finish its climactic farewell ceremony, lightning directly struck two portable shrines that had been raised high into the air.

The injured were moved to the school's gymnasium and those requiring medical attention were sent to a hospital.

Bizarro Earth

5 killed as storm blasts through Haiti tent camps

© APAn earthquake survivor tries to set up her tent after it fell down due to heavy rain in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Sept. 24, 2010.
Port-au-Prince -- A freak storm blasted through Haiti's capital on Friday, killing at least five earthquake survivors as it tore down trees, billboards and tent homes, authorities said.

Three adults and two children were killed in the tarp, tent and shack camps that still dominate Port-au-Prince more than eight months after the Jan. 12 earthquake, civil protection head Marie Alta Jean-Baptiste told The Associated Press. Several more were injured.

"We are investigating to see how many tents and camps were damaged," Jean-Baptiste said.

The storm passed through the mountain-ringed bowl of the Haitian capital, exposing rubble-filled neighborhoods to wind and rain at levels far below a sustained tropical storm. But that was enough to provoke panic and chaos, especially in encampments still home to more than 1.3 million people.

Bizarro Earth

US: State Of Emergency Declared In Seven Wisconsin Counties

© Unknown
Buffalo, Jackson, Marathon, Portage, Wood Counties Added In Wake Of Flooding

Madison -- Gov. Jim Doyle declared a state of emergency in Buffalo, Jackson, Marathon, Portage and Wood counties on Friday following strong storms that caused flooding in the area.

Seven counties are currently under a state of emergency. Doyle announced a state of emergency in Clark and Trempealeau counties on Thursday.

According to state officials, Wisconsin's Emergency Management and Department of Natural Resources officials are working with the National Guard to assist in recovery efforts.

State officials say the declaration is a response to widespread flooding and storm damage in the affected counties. The storms caused damage to homes and businesses, flooding roads and bringing down power lines.

In Clark County, officials have reported at least three bridges washed away and damage estimates nearing $500,000.


Snowfall in Garhwal Himalayas nearly a month ahead of schedule

Gopeshwar - Nearly a month ahead of schedule, the higher reaches of Garhwal Himalayas today received snowfall, sending the mercury plummeting in Chamoli and Rudraprayag districts.

The hills around Badrinath and Kedarnath temples have received snowfall while lower areas received rainfall forcing the people to take out their woollens.

Usually, the Garhwal Himalayas experience snowfall during October.


Stadium lies in ruins after roof caves-in from weight of snow in New Zealand

© Wayne Calderwood Heavy snow caused the roof of Invercargill's Southland Stadium to collapse.
Heavy snow has severely damaged one of Invercargill's most important venues.

The weight of snow caused the roof on the main netball court to collapse at the multi-purpose and world-class Stadium Southland this morning.

Stadium Southland General Manager Nigel Skelt said it was lucky it did not happen during a busy time of week.

"We've never had a snow fall this big before, in our history. We've been going ten years and unfortunately in this instant it just hasn't been able to sustain it.

"The result could've been far more catastrophic."


'Freak' cold snap in Britain as temperatures fall 12C below seasonal average, follows coldest August in 17 years

Britain will be hit by the first frosts of winter this weekend - with warnings of snow in the hills.

The freak cold snap has come weeks early, after the coldest August for 17 years. Temperatures could plummet to -1C (30F) at night - 12 degrees C below the seasonal average, forcing millions to switch the heating on.

The chilly conditions come before the official end of summer - the autumn equinox on September 23 - and will see Britons digging out their duvets to keep warm at night. Forecasters warned the Midlands and Wales would be worst hit and the cold snap is a headache for farmers still harvesting spring barley.


Up to a millions lambs could die as New Zealand freezes over

Farm lobby group Federated Farmers says this month's spring storm in Southland looks set to cause the agricultural sector greater economic losses than the Canterbury earthquake imposed on farmers, and they want the government to declare it an adverse event.

"Federated Farmers is now working with Agriculture Minister David Carter on a medium scale adverse event declaration," a federation spokesman said tonight.

Such a declaration could give help such as that provided to farmers in recent serious droughts, including funding for a rural support trust to offer financial advice.

Agriculture Minister David Carter will tomorrow visit the small farm the federation's national president, Don Nicolson, and his wife Gail run at Waimatua, southeast of Invercargill, and the farms of Matthew and Vanessa Richards and David and Alana Clarke.