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The US East Coast is shivering in a record-breaking freeze in the wake of a deadly “bomb cyclone” that dumped snow as far south as Florida.

In parts of US and Canada, temperatures were forecast to fall below -20F, with wind chill making it feel more like -90F on January 5.

In Canada, high winds have knocked out power for tens of thousands of residents in Nova Scotia.

Thousands of snow ploughs are clearing roads across the East Coast.

On January 5, the National Weather Service (NWS) predicted dangerously low temperatures moving into the weekend as frigid air lingering over the North Pole prowls towards the US mid-Atlantic region.

In Massachusetts, residents of Boston, which received over 1ft of snowfall, were clearing the streets with shovels.

It comes just days after a phenomenon described as a “bomb cyclone” brought heavy snowfall to a wide area along the East Coast, as well as hurricane-force winds.

Image source Fox News

Storm Eleanor Causes Power Outages and Affects Transport in Northern Europe

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.

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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.

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Hurricane Harvey has made landfall in Texas with initial winds of up to 130mph battering coastal areas.

The biggest storm to hit the US mainland in 13 years is moving slowly, with 16.43in of rain reported in one area.

Catastrophic flooding is expected, though Hurricane Harvey’s winds were downgraded from category 4 to category 1.

Some residents are feared trapped in collapsed buildings and there have been widespread power cuts.

More than 200,000 customers are without electricity, utility companies say.

Image source Wikimedia

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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.

Hurricane Harvey, which may be the worst storm to hit the US mainland in 12 years, is expected to make landfall on Texas’ central coast late on Friday or early Saturday.

The hurricane is currently a category two storm in the Gulf of Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center said storm surges may bring life-threatening floods in and around Houston.

Harvey may bring 35in of rain, 130mph winds and 12ft storm surges, say forecasters.

At 10:00 AM local time, the eye of Harvey was about 115 miles south-east of the Texas coastal city of Corpus Christi, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. It had sustained winds of 110mph.

Harvey – which has been gaining strength – is likely to strike at the heart of Texas’s oil refining industry.

Oil-rich Houston, the fourth biggest city in the US, could face up to 20in of rain over the coming days, officials there said.

Meteorologists are warning of extremely high volumes of rainfall as the storm stalls over the middle Texas coast.

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.

On August 25, the NWS said it expected Harvey to make landfall as a Category Three hurricane, out of a maximum of five.

If it does, Harvey will be the strongest to hit the US since October 2005, when Hurricane Wilma struck the coast of Florida.

Hurricane Wilma left 87 people dead, and was part of a record-breaking hurricane season that included Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and killed nearly 2,000 people in August of that year.

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A heavy snowfall has hit Santiago de Chile causing disruption and blackouts, leaving thousands of residents shivering in the dark.

According to officials, about 250,000 people were affected by power cuts, mostly caused by snow-laden trees falling on cables.

Image source EFE

One death was reported – of a worker trying to clear ice – and two other people were injured by a fallen power line, Chilean media said.

According to meteorologists, it was the heaviest snowfall in the Chilean capital since 2007.

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The snowfall came as Santiago and surrounding region were enduring an unusually cold snap.

As well as the power cuts, the weather has caused traffic disruption in the city and several sporting fixtures have been postponed.

The big freeze was not bad news for everyone, however, and thousands of children headed outdoors to build snowmen and throw snowballs.

Forecasters say lighter amounts of snow are still expected to fall.

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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.

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Cyclone Debbie has hit the north-east Australian coast, causing major damage, torrential rain and power cuts to tens of thousands of homes.

The powerful cyclone made landfall between Bowen and Airlie Beach in Queensland as a Category 4 storm, whipping gusts of up to 163 mph.

Debbie is moving inland as a Category 3 storm but could cause damage for hours yet. One serious injury has been reported.

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull told parliament he had activated a disaster response plan.

The extent of Cyclone Debbie’s devastation, which has a 30 mile-diameter eye wall, may not be known for some time, authorities said.

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.

 

Salvează

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The California “weather bomb” storm has eased in south, while pressing on further north in the state.

Heavy rains, flash floods and mud slides wreaked havoc on February 17 and 18, killing at least five people.

According to meteorologists, it was the worst storm to hit California in years.

Forecasters warned residents in the north, including San Francisco, to expect more heavy rain on February 19.

Meteorologists described the storm as “bombogenesis”, an intense extra-tropical cyclonic low-pressure area, or “a weather bomb”.

Image source AP

One man was killed after a tree fell and pulled a power line on to his car in the Sherman Oaks area of LA.

A second person died in a vehicle when it was submerged by a flash flood in the town of Victorville.

Two others died in car accidents in the San Diego area, and another person was found dead after being swept into a creek in Ventura County.

Evacuation orders were lifted in the towns of Duarte on February 18.

The northern California has already experienced fears of flooding at the tallest dam in the country, Oroville Dam, when more than 180,000 residents were evacuated from their homes last week.

Authorities at the dam have been working to lower the level of the lake and have said it has continued to fall despite the storm.

Up to 30 people are missing after a hotel in Abruzzo, central Italy, was hit by an avalanche, apparently triggered by an earthquake, rescuers say.

Rescue teams battled overnight to reach the Rigopiano hotel, with the first of them arriving on skis. Snow dislodged by the avalanche had blocked the roads in.

One person has been pulled dead from the snow. Two have been found alive but most others appear to be still buried.

One official said there were “many dead” in the hotel.

Central Italy was hit by a succession of four earthquakes on January 18 and further tremors were reported overnight.

The earthquakes have compounded problems resulting from recent storms, which have brought down power lines and cut off villages.

Rescue operations are under way in other parts of the region as well.

Image source CBS News

The roof on the four-star spa hotel, close to the Gran Sasso mountain in the Abruzzo region, partly collapsed on January 18. Rescuers said at least 20 tourists and seven staff were inside at the time.

Crews had been calling out to survivors but there was no response.

Local residents in Farindola alerted emergency services.

The first victim, a man, was pulled out at about 09:30AM local time on January 19, Corriere della Sera reported.

Antonio Crocetta, the head of a mountain rescue team, was quoted as saying: “There are many deaths.”

There were children among the guests, and media reports say children are among the dead.

According to Italian media, some guests at the hotel had been able to send text messages after they were trapped.

A snowstorm and blocked routes made access to the hotel difficult. Vehicles struggled to get through the snow, and some rescuers eventually resorted to skis.

Italian media said the first rescuers only reached the hotel on skis at 04:00AM on January 19.

Video footage showed them shoveling through a wall of snow.

Two people were found alive outside the damaged building, which was surrounded by fallen trees. They were taken to hospital, one suffering from hypothermia.

The civil protection agency said it was now trying to get rescue vehicles to the hotel. There are reports that there is an ambulance a few miles away, which cannot yet reach the building.

The January 18 quakes came after the regions of Abruzzo, Marche and Lazio were hit by days of heavy snow.

One person in the area died and another was reported missing.

The same region was hit by a strong earthquake in August last year, when 298 people died.

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Typhoon Nock-Ten is threatening the Philippines, as it heads towards the area around the heavily-populated capital Manila.

Civil defense officials have been put on “red alert”, as Nock-Ten is due to hit Manila on December 26.

The typhoon has weakened since making landfall on the eastern coast on December 25, but it still packs winds up to 87mph, meteorologists say.

Three people were reported killed in Albay province, south-east of Manila.

Nock-Ten (known as Nina in the Philippines)  has cut power lines and uprooted trees.

Manila’s civil defense office warned that the capital could be hit by “heavy to intense rains, flash floods and severe winds”.

Image source CNN

The coastguard has ordered beaches south of Manila to be cleared.

The storm hit the coast near Catanduanes Island on Christmas Day, knocking out power.

Hours later, local media reported that in Albay province a couple were swept away in a flash flood and an elderly man was killed by a collapsing wall.

About 100,000 people had been earlier moved from areas at risk in the Bicol region amid fears of widespread flooding and possible landslides.

There were fears Filipinos would ignore evacuation warnings to stay at home with family at Christmas, the biggest holiday in the largely Catholic nation.

Dozens of ports remain closed, with warnings of high waves.

Nock-Ten is expected to pass across the main island of Luzon, before heading into the South China Sea.

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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.hurricane-otto-2016

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.

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Super Typhoon Haima hit the Philippines killing at least four people in the north of the country.

Haima, which brought sustained winds of up to 140mph, made landfall over the northern province of Cagayan on October 19.

Nearly 100,000 people were evacuated from threatened areas as Typhoon Haima approached.

Image source University of Colorado

Image source University of Colorado

There was widespread damage overnight, with homes destroyed and power lines brought down.

According to Filipino authorities, two of those killed were buried in a landslide, and two others buried in a shanty town in a mountainous region.

Experts had feared the storm could prove as destructive as the catastrophic super typhoon Haiyan, which claimed more than 7,350 lives in 2013.

The Philippines endures around 20 major storms every year, many of them deadly.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who was in Beijing on a state visit, had said he prayed the Philippines would be spared but that they were “ready”.

“We only pray we be spared the destruction such as previous times. Everything has been deployed.”

Haima was upgraded to a super typhoon just before it hit in Penablanca, a town in Cagayan province, around 23:00 local time on October 19.

On October 20, there were reports of damage across a wide area.

Haima, known as Lawin locally, had a weather band 500 miles wide, and authorities had warned the public to expect fierce winds and storm surges up to 16 feet or higher.

It is the second typhoon to hit the Philippines in a week, after Sarika struck on October 16. At least one person was killed in that storm, and three people are still missing.

Typhoon Haima is now moving out across the South China Sea towards Hong Kong and southern China.

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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

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.

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Hurricane Hermine has killed at least one person in Florida and caused severe damage along the state’s northern Gulf Coast.

Hermine is the first hurricane to hit Florida in eleven years.

As the storm pushed into Georgia, it knocked down power lines leaving hundreds of thousands without power.

Gusts of 80mph caused storm surges that flooded part of the coast.

Photo NASA

Photo NASA

In Cedar Key, waters rose more than 9.5ft, among the highest surges ever seen, according to the National Weather Service.

After making landfall on September 2 in the morning, Hurricane Hermine swept through Florida and, weakening to a tropical storm, is now making its way towards South Carolina.

A tropical storm warning was issued for parts of New Jersey, Connecticut and New York City, the National Hurricane Center said.

The US Coast Guard also warned boaters and swimmers along the New York and New Jersey coasts to use caution in what is expected to be rough surf and hazardous rip currents this weekend.

Police in Taylor County, Florida, that has a population of more than 20,000, said the storm had inflicted “severe damage”.

In Tallahassee, where people were urged to move to higher ground to avoid flash floods, at least 70,000 homes were without power at one point, affecting 60% of people in the region.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott had earlier declared a state of emergency for 51 counties across the state.

According to weather officials, Hurricane Hermine could bring heavy rains along the East Coast in the coming days.

In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal also declared a state of emergency, for 56 counties, but the state was spared the havoc it had expected.

“We’re having a bit of a sigh of relief,” said Jim Butterworth, director of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

However, 107,000 customers were reported to be without power across the state as crews worked to repair damage.

Some models show that Hurricane Hermine will stall near the New Jersey coast next week, potentially bringing prolonged heavy rain to the area.

Hurricane Hermine has become the first to hit Florida in 11 years.

Hermine has made landfall in northern Florida early on September 2 as a Category one hurricane, bringing with it a heavy storm surge.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 51 counties as residents were braced for the dangerous storm.

Wind gusts reached 80mph on September 1, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

City officials in the state capital Tallahassee, which is in the path of the storm, said at least 70,000 homes were now without power.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

Tallahassee weather officials warned of the risk of flash floods and urged people there to move to higher ground, but winds have now started to reduce as the storm moves inland.

While the area is prone to storms and storm surges, it has not seen a hurricane in close to 4,000 days.

The last hurricane to strike Florida was Wilma in October 2005, which made landfall in the same year as Katrina and caused five deaths and an estimated $23 billion of damage.

Gov. Rick Scott said: “This is life threatening. We have not had a hurricane in years.”

He added that 8,000 members of the Florida National Guard were prepared to be deployed in the wake of the storm.

Rick Scott ordered evacuations in five counties in Florida’s north-west and called for voluntary evacuations in three other coastal counties.

St Petersburg was littered with downed palm fronds and tree branches, and low-lying streets were flooded.

According to weather officials, Hurricane Hermine will also hit Georgia and the Carolinas, and could bring heavy rains along the East Coast in the coming days.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency for 56 counties.

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Hurricane Earl makes landfall in Belize, in Central America, the US National Hurricane Center has announced.

Earl now has speeds of up to 80mph, with the eye of the storm now passing just north of Belize City.

Belize’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) warned of flash flooding and mudslides in Earl’s wake.

Heavy rains have fallen on Honduras. The storm is forecast to continue through northern Guatemala into Mexico.

Authorities have urged Belize City residents and other coastal communities to move inland and take advantage of higher ground or a network of storm shelters.

Officials ordered the closure of Belize City’s international airport while archaeological reserves and national parks were also shut.

Photo NBC

Photo NBC

The storm is expected to lessen when as it moves inland.

In the meantime, NEMO officials say heavy rain could cause flash floods and mudslides, with a storm surge possible along the shore.

They have warned of trees being blown down, power cuts and damage to houses and buildings which will be hit by flying objects and projectiles.

After Earl passes through across Belize, it is expected to go through a northern rural part of Guatemala and from there into south-eastern Mexico.

Guatemala at this time of the year has its rainy season with often fatal flooding and mudslides.

Meanwhile, Mexican authorities say that the southern states of Campeche, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Yucatan are likely to be affected by Earl and have issued an alert.

The storm knocked over a large numbers of trees and utility poles in Honduras, officials say.

At least nine people died on August 1 in Haiti and the Dominican Republic as the storm passed over the Caribbean.

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Several powerful tornadoes hit the southern United States on February 23, killing at least three people, officials said.

Homes and businesses have been destroyed after tornadoes lashed Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.

The deaths occurred when mobile homes were destroyed in Louisiana and Mississippi, officials said.

Meteorologists said the storm system could hit Alabama and Georgia later on Wednesday, February 24.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Two people died at a trailer park in Convent, southern Louisiana, where 90% of the homes were destroyed, emergency services said.

“These travel trailers were picked up, thrown a considerable distance and just mangled,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said.

John Bel Edwards said it was a “minor miracle” that more people had not been killed because most of the trailers were occupied when the storm hit.

At least 30 people were taken to hospital in Louisiana, most of them from the trailer park.

The other death occurred near the southern Mississippi town of Purvis, the National Weather Service said.

A tornado was also reported in the northern Florida town of Pensacola, the weather service said.

According to local media, three buildings in an apartment complex had been badly damaged and thousands of people in the region were without power.

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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”.Midwest flooding 2015

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.

Photo NASA

Photo NASA

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.

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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.Christmas storms 2015

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.

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At least 25 people are confirmed dead after a landslide hit Zhejiang province in eastern China.

More than 2,000 rescuers are searching for survivors in Lidong village after several days of rain sparked a torrent of mud and rock.

The landslide occurred shortly before 23:00 on November 13 and buried almost 30 houses.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

Parts of the village remain flooded, hindering rescue efforts. Reports say 12 people are still missing.

Local officials said one person had been rescued so far and is in stable condition.

As well as rescuers, sniffer dogs and machinery, psychologists have also been dispatched to the area to help family members of the victims, local officials said.

Most of the missing people are children and the elderly, according to local media, which also said that compensation had been agreed for those who lost homes in the disaster.

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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 Haiyan Philippines

 

  • 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

Mexican residents in parts of the country’s Pacific coast have been moved ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Patricia.

Authorities also closed ports in the area.

Officials have warned that the Category 5 Storm could be the strongest ever to hit Mexico’s Pacific coast.

A state of emergency has been declared in three states in the path of Hurricane Patricia.

The hurricane is expected to make landfall late on Friday, October 23, with winds up to 185 mph.

The US National Hurricane Center said Patricia was potentially catastrophic.

Photo AFP

Photo AFP

Some 400,000 people live in vulnerable areas, according to Mexico’s National Disaster Fund.

Hurricane Patricia, which will bring torrential rain, could trigger flash floods and mudslides, the US centre said.

It also warned of potential flooding from the sea.

According to forecasters, Hurricane Patricia will make landfall in the western state of Jalisco, home to the resort town of Puerto Vallarta, which could lie directly in its path.

Shop owners in Manzanillo, a major port in neighboring Colima state, have begun boarding up windows.

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Typhoon Koppu hit the northern Philippines killing at least two people and forcing tens of thousands from their homes.

Heavy rain and floods are affecting dozens of villages.

Troops have been deployed to help residents trapped on rooftops, but are struggling to access more remote areas.

Koppu has now been downgraded to a severe tropical storm by the Japanese Meteorological Agency, which is responsible for naming and tracking it.

However, the Philippines’ own weather agency, which calls the weather system Lando, is still characterizing Koppu as a typhoon.

Despite weakening, Koppu is expected to keep dumping rain on the country for a considerable time to come. Some forecasts suggest it may not be until October 21 that it moves past the Philippines and on to Taiwan.Typhoon Koppu Philippines floods

Typhoon Koppu made landfall near the town of Casiguran on the main island of Luzon on October 18, bringing winds of close to 124mph and cutting power to vast areas.

A teenager was killed by a fallen tree in Manila which also injured four others. A concrete wall also collapsed in the town of Subic, northwest of Manila, killing a 62-year-old woman, officials said.

On October 19, wind speeds were down to 93 mph in the northern town of Santiago, according to the state weather service.

However, floodwaters are preventing even military vehicles reaching many of the worst-hit villages, and rescuers report a shortage of boats.

“We haven’t reached many areas. About 60% to 70% of our town is flooded, some as deep as three meters,” said Henry Velarde, vice mayor of Jaen, a town in Nueva Ecija province.

“There are about 20,000 residents in isolated areas that need food and water.”

While the Philippines is no stranger to typhoons and tropical storms, the slow-moving nature of Koppu means heavy rain will fall for longer than usual, bringing greater risk of flooding and landslides.

Typhoon Koppu is the second strongest storm to hit the Philippines in 2015.

Typhoon Koppu has hit the northern Philippines forcing thousands of people to leave their homes.

According to local reports, homes have been flattened and power lines toppled.

Typhoon Koppu made landfall near the town of Casiguran on the island of Luzon on Sunday morning, October 18.

It brought winds of close to 124mph and whipped up coastal surges 12ft high.

Three days of torrential rain has been predicted, triggering major flooding and possibly landslides.

Alexander Pama, head of the government’s main disaster agency, said 10,000 people had been displaced in north-eastern Luzon but no casualties had been reported so far.

“Initially, we are getting [reports that] many houses were destroyed, power lines toppled and trees blocking major roads,” he said.Typhoon Koppu Philippines

The eye of the storm was moving west at a speed of just 2mph.

“It has slowed almost to a crawl. We were hoping it would speed up and spare us sooner,” Alexander Pama added.

Flights and ferry services in the north have been cancelled and some bus services in mountain areas suspended due to the threat of landslides.

On October 16, President Benigno Aquino made a televised warning, the first time he had done so since Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, which killed more than 6,300 people.

Typhoon Koppu, also known as Lando, is up to 400 miles across and producing winds of up to 155mph. It is slow moving, meaning it could bring intense rain over a long period of time.

Rain has also reached the capital Manila, though winds are not expected to be strong enough there to cause damage.

In his TV address, President Benigno Aquino urged the estimated six million people in the typhoon’s direct path to listen to government warnings and be ready to evacuate their homes if necessary.

He said aid agencies had already distributed emergency supplies to evacuation centers.

Meanwhile, the Philippine military in northern Luzon has been placed on alert for disaster operations.

Typhoon Koppu is not due to leave the Philippines until October 20, when it will be heading towards Taiwan.