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Super typhoon Haiyan just broke all scientific intensity scales

November 8, 2013 Comments off

gizmodo.com

Writing for Quartz, meteorologist Eric Holthaus says that the super typhoon Haiyan about to hit the Philippines is the worst storm he has ever seen. With sustained winds of 190mph (305km/h) and staggering gusts of 230mph (370km/h), its “intensity has actually ticked slightly above the maximum to 8.1 on an 8.0 scale.” Updated: It broke 235mph. Videos of the impact added.

Holthaus says that Yolanda—its Filipino name—beats “Wilma (2005) in intensity by 5mph—that was the strongest storm ever in the Atlantic,” which makes it a member of the select club of Worst Storms Ever in the Planet. Only three other storms since 1969 have reached this intensity.

That’s certainly foreboding enough, but the humanitarian disaster that may Read more…

Pakistan’s breadbasket buckles under new flood pressures

September 15, 2011 Comments off

Mail and Guardian

Residents assist a handicapped man while escaping to higher ground from their flooded village in Pakistan’s Sindh province (Reuters)

One year after record floods left 21-million Pakistanis homeless, thousands living on the country’s southern fertile plains have seen their homes washed away for a second time — despite the spending of millions of dollars in aid to avert a fresh crisis.

Anwer Mirani is one of 20 000 people living in Sindh province’s Jamshoro district who have been made homeless again after heavy downpours and rainwater from the surrounding mountains swept their homes away.

“We had just begun to restore our houses when we had to leave again because of the floods,” said the 38-year-old construction worker, wearing a tatty shalwar kameez, the traditional garb of baggy trousers and long shirt.

He took his wife, parents and three children in a boat Read more…

Tropical Storm Strikes Taiwan, Heads for Chinese Coast

August 30, 2011 Comments off

voanews.com

Tropical storm Nanmadol dumped as much as a half-meter of rain on Taiwan Monday, forcing mass evacuations and flooding homes, roads and farmland before heading toward southeastern China.

The storm was downgraded from typhoon status early Monday. It struck with torrents of rain and winds over 100 kilometers an hour as it began moving through the southern portion of the island before entering the Taiwan Strait.  There were early reports of one fatality.

The storm lurked for Read more…

Queensland counts Yasi’s huge cost

February 3, 2011 Comments off

By Greg Ansley

Under leaden skies and sheets of torrential rain that obscured its ranges, north Queensland was last night counting both costs and blessings as Cyclone Yasi raged far into the west, losing potency as it went.

The massive category-five cyclone – raging on to the coast between Cairns and Townsville early yesterday and cutting a 1000km-wide swathe – was the largest storm in the state’s modern history.

But while it caused huge damage, it missed the region’s biggest population centres and, as far as authorities could judge last night, left no one dead or seriously injured. However, last night, two men were missing in Innisfail.

In Cairns, three babies were born at Yasi’s peak – one a girl in an evacuation centre, helped by a midwife also sheltering there.

There may yet be some tragic shocks: Read more…

Australia Cyclone Yasi upgraded to Category 5

February 1, 2011 Comments off

Ian Hitchcock  /  Getty Images

Store windows throughout Townsville, located on Australia’s Queensland coast, were boarded up ahead of Cyclone Yasi.

CAIRNS, Australia — A powerful cyclone bearing down on Australia was upgraded to a maximum-strength Category 5 storm, with the likelihood of serious damage and risk to life.

“This is the most severe, most catastrophic storm that has ever hit our coast,” Anna Bligh, premier of Queensland State, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “We’ve seen a number of worst case scenarios come together.”

“This impact is likely to be more life threatening than any experienced during recent generations,” Queensland disaster officials added in an updated warning.

Yasi is expected to make landfall overnight on the Queensland coast between Cairns and Innisfail. Read more…

Storms hit Western Australia southwest as cyclone nears

January 29, 2011 Comments off

Saturday afternoon’s storms caused damage in parts of Perth and regional towns to the east, including Toodyay, Northam, York and Wongan Hills.

State Emergency Service volunteers have responded to 20 calls for assistance in Perth for rain damage, localised flooding and roof collapses, the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA) said.

In Northam and York, east of Perth, around 30 buildings were badly damaged, many with roofs torn off, and powerlines and other structures were also hammered, it said.

Between Northampton and Jurien Bay, north of Perth, there had been 18 calls for assistance for damaged roofs.

The stormy weather cut power to around 55,000 homes in WA’s south on Saturday as the category three cyclone Bianca approached across the Indian Ocean. Read more…

Seismic fault beneath us is ‘fully loaded’ after 311 years

January 28, 2011 Comments off

Julie Muhlstein, Herald Columnist

As if you didn’t have enough worries, here is one more to add to that massive list:

“It’s been 300 years,” Bill Steele said Tuesday. “We have a fully loaded subduction zone.”

Actually, it’s been 311 years since the .

Steele, a University of Washington seismologist and spokesman for the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, said scientists have determined the monster quake occurred Jan. 26, 1700 — 311 years ago tonight.

It happened off the Northwest coast, and created huge tsunamis that devastated shorelines here and in Japan.

What’s amazing is how much is known, considering that in 1700 there were no Europeans in the Northwest. British Capt. George Vancouver wouldn’t find his way here until 1792. The Lewis and Clark Expedition to the West didn’t start until 1804. Historians have no original account of the 1700 quake written from a Western perspective.

“There’s quite a detective story of how we know all that. It’s fantastic,” Steele said.

First, a quick explanation of what happened from the online encyclopedia HistoryLink: Read more…