Hurricane Laura’s winds battered Louisiana killing at least six people.
Winds of up to 150mph caused severe damage, with power cuts to more than half a million homes and a chemical fire from an industrial plant.
However, the feared 20ft storm surge was avoided as the hurricane, Louisiana’s biggest, tracked further east.
Laura has now been downgraded to tropical storm status.
The hurricane has since crossed into Arkansas. At 19:00 local time on August 27, the National Hurricane Center said the storm had weakened to maximum sustained winds of 40mph , but was still bringing heavy rainfall.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said the state “did not sustain and suffer the absolute, catastrophic damage that we thought was likely,” but stressed they had still suffered “a tremendous amount of damage” and warned people to remain vigilant.
He tweeted: “Now is not the time to let your guard down. #Laura has left hazards like flooded roads, downed power lines and displaced wildlife in our communities that no one should take lightly. Everyone needs to remain vigilant and be safe. #lagov#HurricaneLaura”
At least six people are known to have died after the storm crashed into the US, Gov Edwards told reporters.
Of those, four were killed by falling trees. One man drowned in a boat that sank and another died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator in his home, authorities said.
There was more structural damage from winds than anticipated, but the water damage was less than feared.
A barge had collided with a bridge in the city of Lake Charles, quite close to where a suspected “chlorine chemical fire” at an industrial plant was being attended by emergency services.
Governor Edwards said people should stay off the roads where possible, as outer bands of the storm were still causing high water levels and winds.
Some 1,500 people, including National Guard troops, are being deployed in rescue and clean-up missions.
President Donald Trump was briefed at the FEMA in Washington and said he would go to the area at the weekend.
The president said he had been prepared to postpone his speech at the RNC on August 27 to travel to the region but added: “We got a bit lucky. It was very big and very powerful but it passed quickly.”
Vice-President Mike Pence, who joined President Trump at FEMA, said: “While this was a major storm with devastating impact it was not as bad as it could have been.”
President Trump will visit the states affected at the weekend.
Laura and another storm, Marco, earlier swept across the Caribbean, killing 24 people.
Nearly 900,000 homes and businesses lost power as the storm hit the US.
Hurricane Laura was one of the strongest to ever hit the US Gulf Coast, striking as a category four with winds of up to 150mph .
Governor Edwards said it was even more powerful than Hurricane Katrina, the 2005 storm that devastated New Orleans and killed more than 1,800 people.
It made landfall shortly after midnight local time near the district of Cameron, in Louisiana. It tracked north, just east of the Texas-Louisiana border.
As yet, there have been no casualties confirmed in Texas. Governor Greg Abbott toured the area hit by the storm with the US Coast Guard on August 27, and said the state was “ready to help communities rebuild”.
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.
In Canada, heat warnings have been issued for parts of the provinces of
Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia. Daytime temperatures in Toronto could feel
like 104F on July 19 and 20, when humidity is factored in. Severe thunderstorms
are also expected.
Canadian meteorologists say that in Montreal the temperature could feel like 113F with humidity over the next two days.
US meteorologists say the heat wave is expected to continue through the
weekend, and some cities may see their highest temperatures in years.
In some cities it might feel as hot as in California’s Death Valley – a desert region known for its extreme heat. But they say a dramatic change is on the way early next week, when it is expected to suddenly cool off.
A presidential spokesman and disaster response coordinator said almost all the deaths had been caused by landslides in the Cordillera and Nueva Vizcaya regions, adding that reports from other areas were still coming in.
One person was killed by a falling tree in the province of Ilocos Sur, he said.
Almost all buildings in the city of Tuguegarao, Cagayan’s provincial capital, sustained damage, a government official said.
The Philippines is routinely hit during the typhoon season but the strength of Manghukt evoked memories of the deadliest storm on national record – Super Typhoon Haiyan – which killed more than 7,000 five years ago.
However, preparation and evacuation procedures have been improved since then – warnings were issued, travel was restricted, schools shut and the army was put on standby in advance.
Mangkhut is still strong as it heads west toward southern China with current sustained wind speeds of 90mph but fears it will re-strengthen into a super typhoon have receded.
The NHC said: “There is an increasing risk of life-threatening impacts from Florence: storm surge at the coast, freshwater flooding from a prolonged and exceptionally heavy rainfall event inland, and damaging hurricane-force winds.”
President Donald Trump has cancelled plans for a rally on September 14 in Mississippi because of the hurricane.
In North Carolina, there have been long queues in supermarkets around communities near waterways and coastlines as residents clear shelves of water, batteries and plywood.
Governor Roy Cooper waived agricultural transportation restrictions in order to allow farmers to move goods more quickly.
Red flag warnings are keeping swimmers off beaches, as residents sandbag their homes in the communities of Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, and the Outer Banks in North Carolina.
Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval installation in the world, is preparing to send ships away from bases to weather the storm out at sea.
Two other hurricanes are currently churning in the Atlantic Ocean.
Hurricanes Isaac and Helene are expected to accelerate, but at this point, are not expected to threaten the US mainland.
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.
At least six people have been killed and scores more injured ahead of the Christmas break after a strong storm has hit the South and Midwest of the US.
The storm has been described by forecasters as particularly dangerous.
Three people were killed as tornadoes moved through northern Mississippi, officials said, along with two in Tennessee and one in Arkansas.
There have been reports of at least 20 tornadoes of varying severity.
The high winds have also caused significant damage to homes.
Authorities in parts of Mississippi – where a seven-year-old was among those killed – are conducting a house-by-house search-and-rescue operation after the state was hit by multiple tornadoes.
Planes at a small airport in the north-west of the state were overturned and an unknown number of people were injured.
“I’m looking at some horrific damage right now,” Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett was quoted by the AP as saying.
“Sheet metal is wrapped around trees; there are overturned airplanes; a building is just destroyed.”
Mississippi’s I-55 was closed in both directions as the tornado approached, the state’s Highway Patrol said.
The bad weather is also due to hit – or has hit – the states of Kentucky, Alabama, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Alabama.
The national Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma has released a “particularly dangerous situation” warning for the first time since June 2014, AP reports, when two massive tornadoes destroyed a rural Nebraska town, killing two people.
The possibility of bad weather just before Christmas in the US is not unusual, officials at the center say.
Parts of the eastern United States could experience historically low temperatures over the next few days, meteorologists predict.
Bitterly cold air from Siberia is producing dangerous and record-breaking low temperatures on February 19 and 20 stretching from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast. Lows close to zero will reach as far south as South Carolina.
Temperatures are 20 to 40 degrees F below normal for February from the Mid-Atlantic to the South.
Schools in Chicago have closed and trains in the north-east corridor have been affected by the cold.
Extreme cold warnings are also in effect in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba.
Frigid temperatures are expected to continue into Friday, February 20.
Record lows have already been broken in Kentucky, where it was -8F on Thursday morning in Paducah and most of state was below 0F.
Weather forecasters believe the cold air will help break more than 100 daily record lows, NBC News reports.
In Atlanta, temperatures dipped to 15F overnight and officials were trying to determine whether two people found dead had been killed by the cold.
The extreme cold is also threatening electricity grids in Tennessee – more than 30,000 lost power on February 18 and officials are calling for residents to conserve energy as the state remains in an emergency footing.
Temperatures in Washington DC are set to reach 2F, the lowest in 20 years.
Even Orlando, Florida, was expected to see temperatures fall below freezing.
The bitter cold comes after a series of severe snow storms have hit the north-east, with residents of Massachusetts and further north seeing more than 70 inches of snow within weeks, paired with sub-freezing temperatures.
More snow was forecast for parts of northern Maine and Canada as well as areas around the Great Lakes.
Forecasted Highs/Lows in the Eastern United States:
Australian firefighters are racing to contain a major bushfire before soaring temperatures and high winds fuel the blaze.
More than 30 homes are already feared destroyed in the hills behind South Australia’s city of Adelaide.
More than 500 firefighters are tackling the fires, which have been burning since January 2.
Officials say the blaze is the worst in the area since the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983, which left 75 dead.
Temperatures are forecast to hit 34C in Adelaide on January 5 before rising to as high as 38C on January 6 and 7, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.
However, the region is not yet out of danger, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said.
“We’re really racing against time to try to make sure that we get as much of this contained before the hotter weather and the stronger winds are expected later in the week,” he told a press conference.
“The objective of this is obviously to ensure that the fire does not spread under the worsening conditions, but also to open up as many areas as possible,” Jay Weatherill said.
He said South Australians should prepare for more severe bushfires.
A number of towns remained at risk from uncontrolled fire burning in scrub and grass, and some roads into the fire zone remained closed, said the state’s Country Fire Service (CFS).
Chief Officer for the CFS, Greg Nettleton, told local media the number one priority for firefighters was to prepare for possible catastrophic weather conditions expected to hit on Wednesday.
“The winds will swing around to the north. At the moment I think they’re predicting somewhere like about 35kph [22mph],” said Greg Nettleton.
“That’s enough given the dryness of the country for the fire to spread, so our number one priority is to secure the outer perimeter of that large fire so it doesn’t impact on further communities.”
An estimated 12,500 hectares of land have been burnt since January 2, according to local media, and firefighters from South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales are battling the fires’ 150 miles perimeter.
Large air tankers are dumping water on the fire front and back-burning operations are underway, where new fires are started in order to burn in the opposite direction to the line of advancing fire.
Of the estimated 1100 properties in the Adelaide Hills, 12 are confirmed destroyed with another 20 believed to have been burnt down. Twenty-two people, mostly firefighters, are reported to have suffered minor injuries.
The Insurance Council of Australia has declared the blaze a “catastrophe”, which means insurers can escalate their response, and claims arising from the bushfires should be given priority by insurers.
Australia has been hit with extreme hot weather, with temperatures of over 40C (104F) in some areas, and several bushfire warnings in place.
In Victoria, lightning strikes sparked more than 250 fires on Tuesday night, fire authorities said. A fire ban has been issued across the state.
In Melbourne, a tennis player and a ball boy at the Australian Open collapsed in the heat.
Temperatures in the city remained above 30C for much of Tuesday night.
Country Fire Authority chief officer Euan Ferguson said in a statement: “The extreme temperatures [in Victoria] over the coming three days will test fire services and the community. It’s critical we minimize the risk of any fires before Friday.”
Firefighters have been able to contain most of the fires in the state, although a number of fires remain out of control.
Emergency fire warnings have been issued for the Victoria communities of Yaapeet and Nypo, with fire authorities urging residents to evacuate due to “a fast moving, out of control bushfire travelling in a south easterly direction”.
Australia has been hit with extreme hot weather, with temperatures of over 104F in some areas
In 2009, fires in Victoria killed 173 people and destroyed 2,000 homes.
Meanwhile Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, experienced its fourth hottest day on record, reaching 45.1C (107F).
More than 14,000 properties have experienced power cuts, with many thought to be caused by thunderstorms and lightning strikes, ABC reported.
In Tasmania, there were reports of road tar melting in the heat.
At the Australian Open on Tuesday, Canadian tennis player Frank Dancevic collapsed during a match.
Frank Dancevic told reporters the heat made him “dizzy” and made him hallucinate.
China’s Peng Shuai said the temperatures caused her to vomit during her match. A ball boy also collapsed in a separate match.
Tim Wood, the tournament’s chief medical officer, said: “Of course there were a few players who experienced heat-related illness or discomfort, but none required significant medical intervention after they had completed their match.”
Typhoon Soulik has hit Taiwan, bringing strong winds and torrential rain to the island.
So far one person is reported to have died while 21 have been injured in the extreme weather.
More than 8,500 people have been evacuated from mountainous and other dangerous areas and thousands of soldiers have been deployed.
Typhoon Soulik is set to arrive in mainland China’s eastern provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang later on Saturday.
Local authorities there have been asked to implement emergency response plans, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reported, after recent torrential rain across large parts of the country reportedly left 200 people dead or missing.
Typhoon Soulik, a medium-force typhoon, had wind speeds of around 100 mph on Saturday morning.
It made landfall at around 03:00 local time on Saturday, Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau reported.
A police officer was killed by falling bricks but other people suffered mostly light injuries, including from fallen trees or being blown off their scooters.
Typhoon Soulik has hit Taiwan, bringing strong winds and torrential rain to the island
The strong winds and heavy rain have caused electricity disruptions, a run on food and essential supplies in supermarkets, and uprooted trees and signs in some areas.
This typhoon is the first to hit Taiwan this year and there had been fears of major damage because the island was the first place it made landfall.
Nearly 50,000 soldiers have been put on standby.
Schools and offices in Taipei and several other cities had closed on Friday afternoon as the tropical storm neared.
Some flights to Taiwan have been disrupted, with both Cathay Pacific and China Airlines announcing cancellations.
Precautionary measures have been taken to close the roads and bridges along areas most susceptible to disaster, officials said.
Fishing boats had been returned to the shore before the typhoon hit, and members of the public were urged to avoid mountain and coastal areas.
Evacuated residents – including 3,000 from Kaohsiung city and 2,000 from Pingtung county in the south of Taiwan – have been taken to local government buildings that have been turned into shelters, AFP reported.
More than 2,000 tourists had earlier been evacuated from Taiwan’s Green Island, near the city of Taitung, as a precaution.
Typhoons are common during the summer in parts of East Asia, where the warm moist air and low pressure conditions enable tropical cyclones to form.
In 2009, Taiwan was hit by Typhoon Morakot, which left hundreds dead in floods and mudslides.
Dozens of people across western US have been treated for exhaustion and dehydration, as the region is continuing to bake in a heat wave.
A man in Las Vegas is believed to have died from a heat-related illness.
Air-conditioned “cooling centres” have been set up in California, Nevada and Arizona, as officials warn the heat could be life-threatening.
Temperatures in some areas are expected to be near 130F (54C) – close to the world’s all-time record.
Several parts of California – including the desert town of Palm Springs – saw record highs on Saturday.
There are fears of wildfires, as the heat could last for several days.
More than 34 people were taken to hospital after attending an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, Nevada, officials said.
They also said that an elderly resident was found dead in a house with no air-conditioning. The man suffered medical problems, but his condition is believed to have been aggravated by the heat, according to the Associated Press news agency.
Dozens of people across western US have been treated for exhaustion and dehydration, as the region is continuing to bake in a heat wave
In Los Angeles, California, a number of people were treated for heat stroke and dehydration.
Shelters for homeless in Phoenix, Arizona, added extra beds as temperatures in the city were expected to hit 122F (50C).
The Running with the Devil Marathon in the Mojave Desert outside Las Vegas – which had been scheduled for Saturday – was later cancelled because of extreme heat.
The National Weather Service earlier issued a heat warning for several parts of the region until Monday morning.
Temperatures in Death Valley in the California desert are forecast to reach 130F (54C). The highest-ever temperature on Earth -134F (56.7C) – was recorded there on 10 July 1913.
The heat wave comes after one of the driest winters on record, and there is a fear of wildfires.
Energy suppliers are expected to be pushed to the limit in the next few days.
Weather officials say the extreme weather is caused by a high-pressure system stuck over the area.
The US Border Patrol’s rescue unit has added extra personnel this weekend as the threat of exhaustion and dehydration rises for those attempting to cross the US-Mexico border illegally on foot.
At least seven migrants were found dead in Arizona’s desert last week in lower temperatures. Border officials in Tucson, Arizona, rescued more than 170 people suffering from the heat during a thirty-day period in May and June.
At least one person is reported dead and at least 21 others injured in a series of tornadoes that have torn through Oklahoma and Kansas.
The worst damage was caused by a tornado near the town of Shawnee, 35 miles from Oklahoma City, local media report.
A mobile home park near Shawnee is said to have been leveled to the ground.
Twisters have been reported in other states, including Iowa, Minnesota, Kansas and Illinois.
The National Weather Service (NWS) warned of a dangerous tornado approaching the city of Wichita, Kansas. It had earlier issued urgent appeals for people in parts of Oklahoma to take cover.
In Oklahoma, local TV stations said at least one person was killed and several others hurt when a trailer park on Highway 102 near Shawnee was hit.
A Fox25 reporter in Shawnee said trees had been shredded and homes destroyed. Downed power lines were lying on roads, she said.
One resident, Amber Ash, said her home was hit by a tornado as she waited in a storm shelter.
At least one person is reported dead and at least 21 others injured in a series of tornadoes that have torn through Oklahoma and Kansas.
“Once it passed, we got out and saw the devastation. Everything I had was destroyed.”
There was also serious damage in the town of Edmond but no injuries were reported.
Thousands of residents in the affected areas have been left without power.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said a state of emergency had been declared in 16 counties to enable help to get to the worst-hit parts of Oklahoma.
At least four tornadoes ravaged the state on Sunday, part of a storm system that was moving north-east across the Midwestern states and Texas.
“Right now we’re in a rescue and recovery stage,” Mary Fallin said.
“We’re still not in the clear yet.”
The massive storm system prompted the NWS to issue a blunt warning to residents in the affected states.
The agency said: “You could be killed if not underground or in a tornado shelter. Complete destruction of neighborhoods, businesses and vehicles will occur. Flying debris will be deadly to people and animals.”
Meteorologists warn that the extreme weather is expected to continue on Monday.
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