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.

Bizarro Earth

US: Flooding Forces Mass-Evacuation of Wisconsin City Homes

A powerful storm system passing through the upper Midwest has flooded a small Wisconsin city where police are urging more than half of residents to leave their homes for higher ground.

Arcadia City Clerk Angela Berg says officials are going door to door to tell up to 1,500 of the city's 2,500 residents to evacuate their homes. Berg says about 15 businesses were closed downtown due to flooding.

Classes in Arcadia schools have been canceled and two highways leading into town have been closed.

Berg says two creeks burst their banks in the city, which sits along the Trempealeau (TREMP'-eh-loh) River.

Bizarro Earth

Typhoon Fanapi Kills 54 in China

© Agence France-Presse79,000 people have been evacuated due to Fanapi, according to Xinhua news agency
Typhoon Fanapi, one of the strongest storms to hit China in years, has left 54 people dead and 42 missing in flooding and landslides in the south of the country, state media said on Thursday.

Xinhua news agency said 79,000 people had been evacuated due to Fanapi, which hit China on Monday a day after raking Taiwan with heavy rains, killing two people and leaving more than 100 injured on the island.

All of China's deaths occurred in the southern province of Guangdong, which has been battered by its worst rains in a century, it said.

Authorities in Guangdong had to use helicopters to air-drop relief supplies to victims in some areas, it added, quoting provincial flood control authorities.

Of those missing, 25 people disappeared in a rain-triggered mudslide, state media reports had said.

Bizarro Earth

Indian Floods Wash Away Thousands of Homes

© Stringer/ReutersPeople stand on a damaged bridge on an overflowing canal in Haridwar, India. Thousands of homes have been washed away.
At least 17 people killed and some 2 million forced to evacuate as rain triggers floods in Uttar Pradesh

Floods triggered by heavy rain in northern India have killed at least 17 people, washed away thousands of homes and forced the evacuation of some 2 million people in a 24-hour period.

A swath of Uttar Pradesh state has been covered by floodwaters spilling over the banks of several rivers that crisscross the region, the state spokesman Diwakar Tripathi said. Soldiers and paramilitary troops were working to evacuate people from marooned villages and move them to relief camps.

"At least 17 people have died overnight. More than a thousand houses have been washed away. Large areas are under water," Tripathi said.

Northern India has experienced unprecedented rain since August, according to the India Meteorological Department. Most rivers are flowing above the danger mark, including the Yamuna and Ganges that run through Uttar Pradesh.

Cloud Lightning

47 killed in Indian rains and landslides

© AP Photo/Anupam NathA homeless man tries to protect himself from rain with plastic sheets as he sits in a pavement in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Sept.19, 2010. Monsoon rains are active this year in most parts of India.
Heavy monsoon rains and landslides swept the hilly areas of northern India over the weekend, killing at least 47 people, officials said today.

Twenty-four people died yesterday as falling boulders crushed their homes in three villages in Almorah district in Uttrakhand state, said Prashant Kumar Tamta, a state government spokesman.

Another 23 people were either swept away by floodwaters or died when homes collapsed in landslides in Pitthoragarh, Champawat and Uttarkashi regions of state on Saturday and yesterday, Mr Tamta told The Associated Press.

Rains continued to lash the region today, threatening dozens of villages near the Tehri Dam whose water level was nearing the danger level.

The area is 250 miles (400km) south-west of Lucknow, the capital of Uttar Pradesh state.

On Friday, a boat carrying mostly schoolchildren capsized in a flooded river near Faizabad, a town in Uttar Pradesh state, drowning 15 people, said Surendra Srivastava, a police spokesman.

The annual monsoon season from June to October brings rains which are vital to agriculture in India.

Cloud Precipitation

Torrential rains soak quake-hit area in SW China

More than 6,200 residents were relocated Tuesday as torrential rains pounded Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County in southwest China's Sichuan Province, local authorities said Tuesday.

A rain-triggered landslide has blocked the outlet of the Tangjiashan Barrier Lake formed during the catastrophic quake of 2008, threatening lives and properties, according to a statement issued by the county's government.

Some 300,000 cubic meters of debris brought by the landslide caused a dam, blocking the lake's outlet. The dam's lowest point is 10 meters higher than the present water level, the statement said. Debris still continue to come down from the hills, and if there were more rains, then the lake level would further rise, threatening the lives of people in nearby townships.

The rains had disrupted the normal life of 58,000 local residents in the county, causing huge economic losses, the statement said.

Cloud Precipitation

Igor kicks up dangerous surf along US East Coast

© AP Photo/Gerry BroomeA man walks by the excursion boat 'Bermudian' after it broke loose and was pushed to shore by Hurricane Igor in St. George, Bermuda, Monday, Sept. 20, 2010.
Hurricane Igor kicked up dangerous surf along the eastern U.S. seaboard Monday after brushing past Bermuda and knocking out power to a large share of the population.

The storm, already blamed for sweeping three people to their deaths, clung to hurricane status with winds of 75 mph (120 kph) as it sped away from the United States on a path projected to take it close by Newfoundland, Canada, on Tuesday.

In this tiny British Atlantic territory, the storm toppled trees and utility poles as its center passed 40 miles (65 kilometers) to the west overnight. Several boats ran aground, including a ferry, The Bermudian, that is used to bring cruise ship passengers to shore. No major damage or injuries were reported.

By Monday afternoon, the hurricane's center was about 350 miles (560 kilometers) north-northeast of Bermuda and moving to the northeast at 36 mph (43 kph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami reported.

Cloud Lightning

India: Flood hits Uttarakhand, death toll reaches to 63

Following two days cloudburst, heavy rain and landslides, the death toll in Uttarakhand reached to 63 on Monday, Sep 20. According the state government source, Naintal accounted for 11 deaths, Haridwar seven and Pauri three.

Flowing two meter above the danger mark in Haridwar, river Ganga flooded several areas in the district with holy place Har-Ki-Puari completely submerged under water. Rescue operation reached to the region and one official informed that seven people were still trapped under the debris of flattened houses in cloudburst-hit villages.

State government on Sep 20, issued order to shut all the schools for three days.


September snow surprise in Montana

Snow began falling in some areas of north central Montana and along the Rocky Mountain Front early on Friday, leaving some people checking their calendar to see if it is still, in fact, summer.

A rain-snow mix in and around Great Falls turned to all snow around 10 am in some areas. Up to an inch of accumulation may be possible throughout Friday, and temperatures will remain in the upper 30s to low 40s.

While snow in September is not unusual at higher elevations and in Glacier National Park, many lower elevations also received a dusting, with some areas reporting several inches of snow by mid-day on Friday.

Cloud Precipitation

Igor nears Bermuda as Category 1 hurricane

© AP Photo/Gerry BroomeWind and rain batter the trees and boats in Mangrove Bay as Hurricane Igor moves onto Bermuda, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010.
Fierce waves pounded the breakwaters and shores of Bermuda on Sunday, straining yacht moorings and battering oceanfront hotels as Hurricane Igor lashed the wealthy British enclave.

Bermudians battened down their homes in pelting rain to wait out Igor, a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph (130 kph). Some storm-seasoned islanders ventured outside to gawk at the 15-foot (5-meter) surf or to triple-tie boat moorings even as officials warned them to stay indoors.

"We are urging residents to please go home and stay in until it is all over," said government spokeswoman Beverle Lottimore.

Those who did venture outside were met with howling winds, and gusts of hurricane force were reported by midday. Flooding was reported in low-lying areas and streets in downtown Hamilton, the capital, were covered in several inches of water and littered with tree branches and other debris.