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Posts Tagged ‘La Niña’

South Africa: Floods kill 120 and destroy crops

January 29, 2011 Comments off

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — South Africa is reeling from unusually heavy rainfall that has caused flooding in many parts of the country, wiping out crops in what is the continent’s main breadbasket.

More than 120 people have been killed in the thunderstorms and flooding since mid-December, and some 20,000 people are in need of assistance. The South African government has declared disaster areas in eight of its nine provinces.

And it’s not over yet. Above-average rainfall is forecast for South Africa and neighboring countries for the next few months.

Much of southern Africa is now on flood alert, including Mozambique, where at least 13 people have died from floods and thousands have fled their homes for higher ground. Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia are also on alert for flooding.

While this is the annual rainy season in southern Africa, the heavier than usual rainfall has been blamed on La Nina, the weather pattern behind the severe flooding in other southern hemisphere countries including Australia, Brazil and the Philippines.

In South Africa, the government has put the flood damage at $211 million, but this is an early estimate and expected to rise. At least Read more…

Australian ‘inland sea’ flood threatens towns

January 24, 2011 Comments off

MELBOURNE — Australia’s flood crisis deepened Saturday with a giant “inland sea” threatening more communities in the southeast, as officials continued the grim search for bodies in worst-hit Queensland.

Sandbagging was underway in some villages in Victoria, where weeks of floods have affected as much as one-third of the state, with swollen rivers overflowing in 75 towns and flooding some 1,770 properties.

“We know that this is the most significant flooding in the north west of Victoria since records began… about 130 years ago,” a spokeswoman for the State Emergency Service told AFP.

“We are still on alert for towns in the north of the state.”

Floodwaters which national broadcaster ABC described as a moving “inland sea” covering an area 90 kilometres (56 miles) long and 40 kilometres wide, were threatening towns around Swan Hill, some 300 kilometres northwest of Melbourne.

“In the actual Swan Hill township itself, we are very confident that the levee system around the town is built to a very high grade and will protect the township,” Mayor Greg Cruickshank told ABC radio.

But rural and outlying areas “will have significant amount of inundation through them,” he said.

While thousands of people around the state have been urged to evacuate, emergency services warned that those people who choose to remain on their properties in the rural areas could be stranded by the floods.

“A number of these communities will be isolated for days as this huge amount of floodwater comes through,” SES spokesman Kevin Monk said. Read more…

Year of Extremes, Strongest La Nina: What It Means for Coming Months

January 17, 2011 Comments off

2010 was a year of extreme weather events with epic flooding, snowstorms, drought, heat waves and severe cold unfolding across the U.S. and the globe. It tied 2005 as the warmest year on record, and was also a year in which one of the strongest December La Niñas in recorded history was observed.

La Niñas, which occur when sea surface temperatures across the equatorial central and eastern Pacific Ocean are below normal, play a significant role in the overall weather pattern across the globe. The current La Niña has been influential in 2010’s extreme events. Details on those events and their connection to La Niña can be found in this AccuWeather.com news story.

While some of the extremes have fallen in line with overall weather conditions typically expected during a La Niña, other events have been the complete opposite. Disastrous flooding in Southern California during December and recent extreme cold, snow and ice in the Southeast are examples of events in contrast with what is typically expected during Read more…