Japan has been hit by Typhoon
Hagibis, the worst storm for 60 years.
The eye of Typhoon Hagibis made
landfall on the country’s main island shortly before 19:00 local time, in Izu
Peninsula, south-west of Tokyo.
The typhoon is now moving up the
eastern coast, with wind speeds of 140mph.
One man was killed in Chiba, east of
Tokyo, when his car overturned, and at least 60 people have been injured.
More than seven million people have
been urged to leave their homes amid severe flood and landslide warnings, as torrential
rain and tornado-like winds are lashing large parts of the country.
However, it’s thought only 50,000 are staying
Train services have been halted, and
more than a thousand flights grounded. Thousands of homes lost power in and
around the capital earlier on Saturday, though some were swiftly reconnected.
Two Rugby World Cup games scheduled
for October 12 have been canceled and declared as draws – England-France and
New Zealand-Italy. Formula 1 has also canceled qualifying races for October 12
Japanese Grand Prix.
“Dorian is anticipated to remain an extremely dangerous
major hurricane while it moves near the north-western Bahamas and approaches
the Florida peninsula into early next week,” the NHC said.
The NHC warned that Dorian could cause “incredibly catastrophic
In an advisory on August 31, the NHC said Dorian was not expected to make
landfall in Florida but the possibility that it will cannot be ruled out.
“Life-threatening storm surge and
devastating hurricane-force winds are still possible along portions of the
Florida east coast by the early to middle part of next week,” the NHC
Residents of Georgia and South Carolina have been told to keep an eye on the
forecast as Dorian churns towards the US coast.
Dorian’s exact path toward Florida remains uncertain but millions of people
could be affected, as well as holiday attractions such as Walt Disney World and
President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
Dorian is expected to drop up to 12in of rain on the coastal US, with some
areas getting as much as 18in. Tides in the region are already at some of their
highest levels of the year, owing to a naturally occurring event.
A new moon, combined with the coming autumn equinox, has created what are
known in Florida as “king tides”. These are likely to exacerbate
dangerous levels of flooding, forecasters warn.
Florida governor has activated 2,500 National Guard troops, with another
1,500 on standby.
Shoppers in Florida have been queuing around the block to snap up supplies
such as medication and fuel. Some petrol stations reported fuel shortages,
while a few shops had run out of bottled water.
The coastal city of Miami ordered the removal of electric rental scooters
from the streets to avoid any potential hazards.
Officials fear the rental scooters, operated by firms such as Lime, Lyft and
Uber’s Jump, could be swept away by strong winds, turning them into
No immediate mass evacuations have been ordered by state authorities but
President Trump, who had warned that Dorian “could be an absolute
monster”, said a decision could be made on Sunday.
People have been asked to bring their pets with them in case of evacuation.
On social media, the names of hotels that accept pets are being shared.
Orlando International Airport announced it was halting commercial flights
from 02:00 on September 2 “out of an abundance of caution”. Tourist
resorts in the city remained open, however.
President Trump canceled a planned trip to Poland because of the storm, sending Vice-President Mike Pence instead.
Lekima is one of two typhoons in the western Pacific at the moment. Further
east, Typhoon Krosa is spreading heavy rain across the Northern Mariana Islands
and Guam. According to forecaster, it is moving north-west and could strike
Japan sometime next week.
On August 9, Lekima was passing the north of Taiwan, causing flight cancelations
and the closures of schools and offices.
According to local media, power was cut to more than 40,000 homes and the
island’s high speed rail service was suspended north of the city of Taichung
The huge storm came a day after eastern Taiwan was rattled by a 6.0
magnitude earthquake. Experts said the risks of landslides triggered by the
tremor were made more likely by the typhoon dumping up to 35 inches of rain on
Taiwan’s northern mountains.
On August 9, Lekima also brought heavy rain and high winds to south-west
Japan, cutting power to about 14,000 homes, broadcaster NHK reported.
China’s weather bureau said typhoon Lekima was expected to have weakened further by the time it made landfall. The country has a four-stage color-coded warning system, with red representing the most severe weather.
Giant waves caused by the storm saw freezing floodwaters inundate parts of the New England coast.
According to reports, the extreme weather has so far been linked to up to 19 deaths in the US and two more in Canada.
Four deaths were reported in traffic accidents in North and South Carolina. Further fatalities occurred in Wisconsin, Kentucky and Texas.
In Philadelphia, a car was unable to stop at a railway line at the bottom of a steep hill and was hit by a commuter train, killing a passenger in the vehicle.
In Virginia, a girl was fatally struck by a car while sledging, and a 75-year-old man was killed after being hit by a snow plough.
In Perth Amboy, New Jersey, where the temperature averaged 20F on January 4, a 13-year-old girl died and 35 others suffered carbon-monoxide poisoning in an apartment building. Seven of those treated were first responders.
The extreme weather caused travel chaos and led to the cancellation of thousands of flights on January 4 and 5.
Most flights have since resumed at airports in New York and Boston.
Experts say the so-called bomb cyclone storm drew moisture and strength from as far south as the Caribbean Sea.
New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, which boasts of having the “world’s worst weather”, was forecast to experience a wind chill temperature as low as -90F on January 5.
Law enforcement in Indiana issued a joke warrant for the arrest of the heroine in Disney movie Frozen, blaming her for the cold snap.
Most of northern Europe, including France and Germany and the UK, has been battered by winter storm Eleanor leaving tens of thousands of homes without power and affecting transport.
In France, a skier died in the Alps and 15 others were injured elsewhere in the country, four of them seriously.
A train was blown off its tracks in Switzerland, leaving several people with minor injuries. One person was hit by a falling tree in the Netherlands.
Wind gusts may reach 124mph.
In northern France, Eleanor cut power to more than 200,000 households and it is set to move to other regions throughout the day, including Corsica.
Air travel was also disrupted in the capital, Paris, and in the east of the country.
In Paris, the Eiffel Tower was closed because of the strong winds. The French capital’s parks have also been closed until the storm dies down because of worries over falling tree branches.
A skier was killed by a falling tree in Morillon, in the Haute-Savoie region of eastern France.
Image source Flickr
In Germany, the storm – named Burglind there – has swept over much of the country. It packed gusts of more than 75mph in the west of the country and led to transport disruption, reports say.
Switzerland has also been badly hit, with some 14,000 homes without power. The high winds left several people stranded in a ski lift in St Gallen canton, overturned a light airplane in Stans and snapped the 42ft high Christmas tree in the capital Bern, Reuters reports.
Meanwhile, record wind gusts of 122mph were recorded on Pilatus Peak near the Swiss city of Lucerne, broadcaster SRF reported.
Belgium was put on “orange” alert, the third of four warning levels, with officials urging people to be cautious when going out because of tree branches and other flying objects.
In the Netherlands, gusts of more than 68mph were recorded as hundreds of flights were cancelled at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.
Several main roads and train lines were also closed.
Dutch authorities have, for the first time, shut all five major sea barriers to prevent flooding, as large areas of the country are below sea level.
In the UK thousands of homes are without power and travel has been disrupted after Storm Eleanor hit there.
Specialists recorded gusts reaching 100mph overnight with a weather yellow warning still in place for Wales, England, most of Northern Ireland and parts of southern Scotland.
In the Republic of Ireland, 97mph gusts were recorded, and there was flooding, travel disruption and damage to buildings.
President Trump has approved a federal aid for the worst-affected areas and praised emergency services in a tweet: “You are doing a great job – the world is watching! Be safe.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned of record flooding in multiple regions after Harvey made a double landfall: north-east of the city of Corpus Christi initially, then just north of Rockport a few hours later.
Rockport, normally home to about 10,000 people, appears to have been the hardest hit. Emergency services there say a number of buildings have suffered structural damage.
Images posted on social media show collapsed trees and houses.
They say Hurricane Harvey could remain in the area, dumping rain until the middle of next week.
On top of that, the central Texas coast is likely to see a significant storm surge – this happens when low pressure at sea “lifts” tides to a level higher than normal, up to 12ft in this case, and high winds then blow the water in land.
Image source Wikimedia
The NHC said it expected “catastrophic flooding” across the coast and in some inland areas throughout south-east Texas.
Energy companies have been evacuating staff from offshore platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Texan oil refineries on land are also shutting down in preparation for the storm. As a result, US fuel prices have reached a three-week high.
Joe McComb, mayor of Corpus Christi, a coastal city of more than 300,000 people, urged householders to take the warnings seriously and evacuate low-lying areas.
“I hope people will listen to forecasters when they say <<beware of flash floods>>,” he said.
“Flash floods can come quickly, and they can be deadly.”
According to the NHC, the wind speed is currently almost 110mph, though gusts are even stronger.
New Zealand’s authorities have ordered evacuations in towns along the north coast, where severe weather warnings are in place ahead of Cyclone Cook.
Heavy rain has begun to hit the North Island, ahead of what is being called the worst storm in generations.
Cyclone Cook is due to make landfall from 19:00 local time over Bay of Plenty. Officials have warned of high waves, storm surges and landslides.
It is then expected to move to the South Island early on April 14.
Cyclone Cook comes after severe floods caused by the remnants of Cyclone Debbie hit some parts of New Zealand last week.
The storm – expected to bring torrential rain and winds gusting at up to 93mph – has been classified as an extra-tropical cyclone.
Image source Wikimedia
According to the New Zealand MetService, that means it has changed into a different kind of weather system on approach to New Zealand, but has not necessarily weakened or been downgraded.
Parts of New Zealand’s North Island are now under a state of emergency, with residents in the low-lying parts of Coromandel, which has already seen landslips and closed roads, being told to leave immediately.
Schools and businesses across the island have been shut early while residents in Auckland, which has already seen flooding, have been stocking up on emergency supplies.
The New Zealand military and emergency service teams are on standby. Flights across the country have either been delayed or canceled, and national carrier Air New Zealand has suspended operations from Tauranga Airport in the North Island.
Cyclone Cook formed around Vanuatu on April 9 and moved towards New Caledonia, bringing heavy rain and winds and causing cuts to power and water supplies. One man died in New Caledonia when he was trying to cross a river to a friend’s home.
New Zealand weather officials say that Cyclone Cook will be the worst to hit the country since 1968.
They have also warned that it is a “really tightly packed cyclone” that will bring a “phenomenal” amount of rain and wind, reported The New Zealand Herald, compared to Cyclone Debbie which was more spread out.
Cyclone Debbie hit Australia at the end of March, before its remnants moved towards New Zealand.
Authorities are now worried about how Cyclone Cook will impact land that is already saturated from heavy rains.
Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the storm’s slow speed had created a “battering ram effect”, adding: “We are going to get lots of reports of damage, and sadly I think we will also receive reports of injuries, if not death.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said assessing damage was difficult because communities had been cut off from power and phone reception.
Electricity providers said it was not known when power would be restored to houses.
Australian authorities warned people to stay indoors until it was safe to go outside.
Caribbean storm Otto has been upgraded to a hurricane and is threatening Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua, forecasters say.
Forecasters warned that Hurricane Otto may have winds of 90 mph when it makes landfall early on November 24.
At least four people have already died in Panama in severe weather caused by the approach of the storm.
Otto is moving west at 2 mph after being almost stationary throughout November 22, experts say.
According to the US National Hurricane Center, Otto is now blowing at about 75 mph as it approaches northern Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua.
The storm is now centered east of Limon, Costa Rica. When it makes landfall on November 24 its heavy rain is expected to create numerous mudslides. It is then expected to cross over into the Pacific.
The Washington Post says that very few hurricanes have formed so late in the season – which ends on 30 November – and that across the Atlantic since 1851 only 35 storms have reached tropical storm intensity on or after November 15.
Earlier in Panama two people died in a mudslide; a girl drowned in a river and a boy died when a tree fell on a car taking him to school. His mother, who was driving, survived.
According to officials, about 50 homes were destroyed by mudslides and flights were delayed.
The governments of Nicaragua and Costa Rica have issued a hurricane watch from Costa Rica’s southern border to the city of Bluefields in Nicaragua.
There is also a likelihood of dangerous surf and rip current conditions over the next few days along the coasts of Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, officials say.
Mexican authorities are on high alert as Hurricane Newton is heading north-west towards the southern end of the Baja California peninsula with winds of about 75mph.
According to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), Hurricane Newton could trigger flash floods.
The NHC warned that preparations to protect life and property “should be rushed to completion”.
On September 5, overcast skies in the Los Cabos municipality gave way to heavy rain and the wind was building in strength.
Image source NASA
Twelve shelters opened and drivers queued to fill their cars with fuel ahead of the hurricane’s arrival.
The same weather system lashed areas of the south-western state of Guerrero over the weekend before strengthening to a tropical storm.
Torrential rain that began on September 3 caused more than 30 mudslides across Guerrero, forcing main roads to close.
In Acapulco, floods and landslides affected dozens of homes and schools and about 200 people had to be rescued from a housing complex.
Newton reached hurricane strength over the Pacific on September 5, prompting the Mexican government to issue a hurricane warning for the west coast of Baja California Sur from north of Puerto Cortes to Cabo San Lazaro.
The region is a popular tourist destination.
The NHC said that at 15:00 local time, the eye of the hurricane was about 215 miles south-east of Cabo San Lucas and grinding towards the coast at about 16mph.
It said that on its current path, Hurricane Newton should be near or over the southern end of the peninsula on Tuesday morning, September 6.
The NHC said it would move across the peninsula and reach north-western Mexico early on September 7.
Over the weekend, Florida was battered by Hurricane Hermine, before it weakened to a post-tropical storm and drifted off the US east coast.
Rivers in Midwest brought flood warnings for over 12 million people on December 30 as scores of buildings were submerged after days of intense rain in which 24 people have died.
Two rivers west of St. Louis crested at historic levels, flooding local towns, disabling sewer plants and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents.
Major rivers including the Mississippi are expected to reach record highs as flood waters rush toward the Gulf of Mexico, the National Weather Service said.
The flooding has closed many roads and parts of I-44, a major artery running from west Texas to St. Louis. It poses a threat to livestock and crops in farm areas stretching from Illinois to Louisiana.
Water rose to the rooftops of homes and businesses in Missouri, where Governor Jay Nixon called the flooding “historic and dangerous”.
Jay Nixon spoke with President Barack Obama on December 30 and received a pledge of federal support.
About 300 people in Valley Park, Missouri, west of St. Louis, were evacuated in case a levee is breached on the Meramec River, said Chief Rick Wilken of the Valley Park Fire District.
At least 24 people have died, mostly from driving into flooded areas, in Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas and Oklahoma after days of downpours with as much as 12 inches of rain.
In Eureka, Missouri, along the Meramec River, Mayor Kevin Coffey said a man was rescued from atop the cab of his pick-up truck after spending the night in a parking lot to watch over his gun shop business.
Historic floods on the Mississippi in 1993, 1995 and 2011 occurred during warm weather, after snow melts in the north.
While the rains have stopped for now, freezing weather is setting in.
Agriculture experts said water standing more than a week could kill the soft red winter wheat crop. Export premiums for corn and soybeans were at their highest levels in weeks because of stalled barge traffic on swollen rivers.
NASA has warned that the effects of the current El Nino weather phenomenon could be as bad as those of 1998, the strongest on record.
That El Nino played havoc with world weather systems and was blamed for several extreme weather events.
The current El Nino has been linked to several floods and unusually warm conditions in the northern hemisphere.
The phenomenon sees warm waters of the central Pacific expand eastwards towards North and South America.
El Nino, which occurs every two to seven years, usually peaks late in the calendar year, although the effects can persist well into the following spring and last up to 12 months.
NASA says the current El Nino “shows no signs of waning”, based on the latest satellite image of the Pacific Ocean.
It bears “a striking resemblance” to one from December 1997, NASA says, “the signature of a big and powerful El Nino”.
This year’s El Nino has been linked to the worst floods seen in 50 years in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
The floods there have forced more than 150,000 people from their homes.
More than 100,000 of those have been in the Paraguayan capital Asuncion alone.
In the US, 13 people have died in Missouri as a result of flooded rivers after tornadoes and storms hit the region.
El Nino has also been cited as a factor in the floods that have hit northern parts of the UK, forcing thousands from their homes and leaving thousands more without power.
Storm Frank, which is expected to bring fresh rain and flooding to the UK this week, is part of a weather system which could see temperatures at the North Pole 50F higher than normal for this time of year.
Higher temperatures than the seasonal average have been noted in many parts of Europe and the US.
Average temperatures on Christmas Day in France were the second highest on record, just below those of 1997.
The mild weather has forced farmers to harvest crops such as salad, strawberries and asparagus early, with reports of large amounts of produce going to waste.
In Italy, experts say the unusually calm and dry weather has exacerbated pollution over the cities of Milan and Rome.
By contrast, in Mexico El Nino is being blamed for freezing temperatures in the north of the country, with snow seen in parts of the Sonoran desert for the first time in 33 years. Three deaths have been blamed on the cold in Sonora.
More than 40 people have been killed over the past five days by severe storms in the South and Midwest.
Flash floods, tornadoes and now snow have destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses and snarled transport links.
The National Weather Service has issued tornado warnings for Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mississippi.
The governors of Missouri, Oklahoma, and New Mexico have declared states of emergency.
In Illinois, three adults and two children were swept away in their car by the flood waters. In Texas, at least 11 people were killed by powerful tornadoes with winds of up to 200 miles an hour.
Hundreds of homes in Texas were reduced to rubble and cars were blown off the road. Five people died in their cars on a highway passing the city of Garland. Pedro Barineau of the local police said they had no chance.
“There were sirens that were going off, I mean multiple times and in multiple areas, notifying people of a tornado. However, people on the highway that were driving through they had no idea that the sirens were going off and the tornado was on them in a matter of seconds,” he said.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said his office had declared Dallas County and three nearby counties a disaster area. He also warned people to be wary of snow in western parts of the state and of rivers spilling their banks.
Parts of New Mexico, where a state-wide emergency has been declared, are expecting up to 2ft of snow. The New Mexico city of Roswell recorded 12.3 inches of snow on December 27 – an area record for a single day.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency on December 27 in anticipation of blizzard conditions and an ice storm.
The bad weather forced the cancellation of nearly 1,500 flights on December 27, according to tracking service FlightAware.com. About half of the cancelled flights were in Dallas, a major US flight hub.
While extreme weather in the United States around Christmas is not unknown, meteorologists say that unseasonably high temperatures in some areas contributed to the severity of the storms.
The forecast for the eastern US is for high temperatures to continue – Washington DC pushed close to 70F on December 27.
Worldwide, the number of intense tropical storms has increased 80%, according to an article published by Science magazine in 2005.
According to recent studies, while the total number of hurricanes per year did not increase, the percentage of category 4 and 5 hurricanes did sharply increase during the last 35-40 years.
Most researchers agree that the warming oceans are the result of rising amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, also known as global warming. This process occurs when there are high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Global warming and hurricanes are linked because heat essentially is the fuel of these storms. Researchers have described hurricanes as heat engines that draw their energy upward from the warm ocean water to drive their winds; the increase in ocean temperatures is like throwing a log on a fire.
Typhoon Tip, October 1979: largest and most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded with wind speeds of 190mph, killed 99 people in its path across the Pacific, mostly in Japan
Hurricane Allen, August 1980: strongest Atlantic hurricane by wind speed, with sustained winds of 190mph, caused nearly 300 deaths in Haiti and severe damage in the US state of Texas
Bangladesh cyclone known as 02B, April 1991: at least 138,000 died and up to 10 million made homeless after a 20ft storm surge
Odisha or Paradip cyclone,October 1991: the strongest ever recorded in the northern Indian Ocean, killed about 10,000 people, mostly in India
Hurricane Katrina, August 2005: killed at least 1,836 people after striking states of Louisiana and Mississippi and was the costliest storm in history, causing $81.2 billion in damage (with wind speeds of 175mph)
Hurricane Wilma, October 2005: most intense tropical cyclone in the Atlantic basin with wind speeds of 185mph, killing 87 people on its path through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico
Typhoon Haiyan, November 2013: the strongest storm recorded at landfall, with one-minute sustained wind speeds of 197mph, it devastated parts of the Philippines, killing at least 6,300 people