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Cloud Lightning

US Pacific NW: Snow, Hail Catch Many by Surprise

Lake Stevens, Wash. April snow
© Erika La Pierre-Burt
Lake Stevens, Wash. April snow
, Wash. - Residents in Western Washington's Convergence Zone received a winter's flashback Wednesday morning.

Snow and hail fell in several locations, catching many by surprise.

"We got two inches," said Kelvin Lawrence of Granite Falls. The city cooled off enough to see snow fall and stick around throughout the afternoon until the sun began to melt things.

"Not a pretty thing to wake up to in April," said Michelle Stetka. "I'm ready for spring."

A winter storm warning remained in effect for the Olympics and Cascade Range Wednesday morning.

Cloud Lightning

US: West Virginia residents wake up to storm damage

© Craig Cunningham
Trees blocked the road and knocked down power lines along Cantley Drive in Fort Hill after Monday evening's storm ripped through the area. Six large trees fell across the road, knocking down power lines.
The day after a powerful storm ripped through the Kanawha Valley damaging thousands of homes, the cleanup began.

While homeowners were busy with cleanup, insurance agents began assessing damage so repairs could begin.

Jill Bentz, president of the West Virginia Insurance Foundation - which represents several property and casualty insurers in the area - said it's still too early to estimate how much property damage was sustained in Monday's storm.

"Companies are just overwhelmed with the volume and they just need some extra time to respond responsibly and accurately to their customers' claims," she said.

"We just can't estimate the damage sustained right now."

But the damage does seem to be concentrated within the valley.

"Mostly what we've seen is trees are down because of wind," she said. "A lot of the claims we've received today have been isolated to the St. Albans-Charleston area, and some have been slightly north of Charleston."

Cloud Lightning

US: Henry County, Virginia: Storm destroyed trees, buildings

Henry County storm aftermath

Fred Martin Jr. gestures at damage to a machinery storage building and hay barn severely damaged by Tuesday’s storm. His father estimated the damage would top $1 million.
A pounding storm that hammered the area early Tuesday left a path of damage from one end of Henry County to the other.

In the Dyers Store area in eastern Henry County, Fred Martin Sr. initially estimated the damage at his Martin Stables at between $600,000 and $800,000 but later raised that to "way more than $1 million," considering all the vehicles that were damaged.

A machinery storage building, hay barn and half a cinderblock building were destroyed, left in a pile of rubble in the storm that hit around 2 a.m. Tuesday. Some of the buildings had been there for 40 to 50 years, Martin said.

His son, Fred Martin Jr., said the company's machinery lay beneath the rubble. Martin Sr. said the vehicles that were licensed for road use and his home nearby were insured; the buildings at the stables were self-insured. One furniture van alone was worth $60,000, he said, adding that one building held 12 farm tractors.

Cloud Lightning

Namibia: 62 killed, thousands displaced by floods as more rain expected

The United Nations says 62 people have been killed and thousands forced from their homes since the start of the year by flooding in northern Namibia.

In a statement Wednesday, the U.N. children's fund says the numbers could "dramatically increase" soon.

U.N. officials in Namibia say a new wave of water is expected from Angola, and the forecast is for more rains in northern Namibia in the coming days.

UNICEF says northern Namibia is already vulnerable. It is among the most densely populated and poorest parts of the country, with a high number of people carrying the AIDS virus. UNICEF says one in every fifteen children dies before reaching the age of five in the region.

Cloud Lightning

US: Seven killed as storms hit Southeast

Atlanta - Fast-moving spring storms packing high winds, hail and lightning blew through the Southeast, uprooting trees, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands and leaving at least seven people dead.

The strongest storms walloping the region carried with them dangerous wind gusts and the possibility of isolated tornadoes.

More than 125,000 people were without power early Tuesday around Atlanta and 147,000 across Georgia, according to Georgia Power.

The storms were moving across the Carolinas early Tuesday, knocking down trees and causing power outages.

Forecasters predicted the storms would move off the coast by mid-morning but that they would linger over central and southern Florida.

The Weather Channel also said a line of thunderstorms was heading to large parts of the mid-Atlantic region, from New Jersey to Virginia, where there was also the possibility of damaging winds and isolated tornadoes in the strongest sections of the storm.

Bizarro Earth

Thailand flood toll reaches 40

The death toll from heavy flooding in southern Thailand has risen to 40, the government said Sunday, with thousands of people forced to live in temporary shelters.

More than a week of heavy rain -- in what is usually one of the hottest months -- has caused floods in 10 of Thailand's 77 provinces, submerging homes, triggering landslides and washing away roads and bridges.

© Unknown
As of Sunday, the death toll stood at 17 in hard-hit Nakhon Si Thammarat province, 10 in Surat Thani, seven in Krabi, and two in each of Phatthalung, Chumphon and Trang, the department of disaster prevention and mitigation said.

A mudslide swamped at least one whole village in Khao Phanom district, Krabi province.


Winter Storm Blankets New England

Portland, Maine - An April Fools' Day storm brought heavy snowfall to parts of New England on Friday, giving thousands of kids a reprieve from school but also causing power outages and slippery driving conditions.

The storm was expected to last through the day Friday, dropping as much as a foot of snow around parts of northern New England.

Across coastal Maine and New Hampshire, snow covered road signs, blanketed the pavement and clung to trees, which drooped under the weight.

By late morning, falling tree limbs knocked out electricity for 30,000 homes and businesses in southern Maine and New Hampshire, officials said. Scores of cars and trucks slid off roads, but there were no reports of serious injuries.

National Weather Service meteorologist Brian Montgomery said the storm tracked farther east than some models predicted, sparing the region's most heavily populated areas of heavy snow.

Bizarro Earth

Unseasonal Heavy Rain Floods Thailand

Thailand Floods
© Earth Observatory, NASA
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using near-real-time data provided courtesy of TRMM Science Data and Information System at Goddard Space Flight Center.
Normally the end of March brings dry weather to tropical Thailand. In 2011, however, a powerful storm settled over the Malay Peninsula, bringing up to 1,270 millimeters (50 inches) of rain in little over a week. The intense rain flooded 8 provinces, killing 13 and affecting 842,324 people as of April 1, said the government of Thailand.

This image, made from the Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis based on data from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite, shows rainfall for March 23 - 30, 2011. Rainfall totals range from 200 millimeters (8 inches) to more than 1,200 millimeters (47 inches) across the Malay Peninsula. TRMM measured the most rain immediately south of the city of Surat Thani.

Bizarro Earth

US: Collapsing Roads Lead to Emergency Declaration

Collapsing Road
Oroville, California -- Butte County has declared a local emergency after saturated soil caused the ground to literally slide out from under two of the county's roads.

Oro Quincy Highway and Bardees Bar Road have been closed since Tuesday when public works crews discovered sections of the road had developed cracks and started to drop.

Once the declaration is approved by state and federal officials the county will be eligible to receive funding for the repairs which could total more than half a million dollars.

Nobody has been stranded by the closure of the roads.

Cloud Lightning

Thirteen Dead in Vietnam Rockslide

© AFP/Vietnam News Agency
A victim is seen buried in rubble after a rockslide at a stone quarry in Yen Thanh district, north-central province of Nghe An, Vietnam, on April 1. At least 13 people were killed and several others trapped beneath large boulders after the rockslide.
At least 13 people were killed and several others trapped beneath large boulders after a rockslide at a quarry in Vietnam, an official said Friday.

Troops were helping the rescue efforts but the chances of survival for the five missing "is very low," said Ho Duc Phuoc, chairman of the provincial People's Committee, the local government.

"The search is very difficult because there are several huge rocks and we have had to mobilise soldiers to help," Phuoc said.

The accident happened when hundreds of tonnes of rock fell onto workers at Len Co quarry in Nghe An province, north central Vietnam, a district policeman told AFP, refusing to be named.

"Continuous rains over the past few days might have been the reason for the rockslide," he said, adding that hundreds of rescuers had joined the search for the remaining victims.