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  • Subtropical Storm Theta Makes 2020 Busiest Hurricane Season On Record

    A history-making storm is gaining momentum over the middle of the Atlantic.

    Monday, Subtropical Storm Theta became the 29th named storm of the year, surpassing the 28 storms of 2005 and making the 2020 hurricane season the busiest on record.

    The system is not expected to make landfall in the U.S.

    As of 10 p.m. ET , the National Weather Service reported Theta is moving east through the Atlantic with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph with higher gusts.

    Forecasters say some slight strengthening is possible during the next 12 to 24 hours followed by little change through Thursday.

    Theta was named after the eighth letter of the Greek alphabet, which forecasters turn to when they run out of regular-season names.

    The World Meteorological Organization sets a total of 21 alphabetical names for each hurricane season, with each name used only once every six years. (The naming convention skips over Q,U, X, Y and Z.) In 2020, that meant forecasters had to turn to the Greek alphabet after Tropical Storm Wilfred.

    It's only the second season the WMO has run out of alphabetic names, the other being 2005.:
    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


    • Tropical Storm Eta Spreading Heavy Rainfall, Strong Winds, Surge Flooding Into Florida Gulf Coast

      Tropical Storm Eta is now weakening after briefly becoming a hurricane Wednesday morning in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and is headed toward a Florida landfall with heavy rainfall, gusty winds, storm surge and isolated tornadoes to portions of the Florida Peninsula.

      Eta is centered about 100 miles southwest of Tampa, Florida, and is moving to the north-northeast. Maximum sustained winds are now 70 mph, making Eta a tropical storm.

      Heavy rain and strong winds are buffeting parts of southwest and central Florida. A tornado watch is in effect for parts of central and southwest Florida until 5 p.m. EST, shaded in red in the map below.

      Wind gusts to 60 mph or higher have been clocked near Port Charlotte (69 mph), near Dundee (67 mph) and in Punta Gorda (60 mph) Wednesday in Eta's outer rainbands.

      St. Petersburg (55 mph), Naples (55 mph) and Sarasota-Bradenton (51 mph) have recorded gusts over 50 mph.A 60 mph gust was measured at Punta Gorda and a 51 mph gust was clocked at Sarasota-Bradenton Airport.

      Rain was falling at the rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour in Manatee County, according to the National Weather Service.

      Onshore winds to the east of Eta's center have driven water levels to 2 to 3 feet above normal in Naples, Fort Myers and Clearwater Beach, about 2 feet above normal in Tampa Bay, and 1 to 2 feet above normal as far north as Cedar Key.

      Overwash onto docks and over the sea wall was reported north of Marco Island at Isles of Capri.:

      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


      • Typhoon Vamco triggers worst floods in Philippine capital for years

        Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday ordered government agencies to rush aid to people affected by Typhoon Vamco, after the storm killed at least two people and brought the worst flooding in the capital Manila in years.

        Tens of thousands of homes in low-lying suburbs were submerged by the floods, prompting residents to scramble onto rooftops awaiting rescue.

        Vamco, the 21st cyclone to hit the Philippines this year, battered a nation still reeling from Goni, the world's most powerful typhoon this year that killed 25 people and destroyed thousands of homes early in November.

        "Rest assured, the government will not leave anybody behind," Duterte said in a national address, pledging shelter, relief goods, financial aid and post-disaster counselling.

        The latest typhoon, which has also left four missing, comes as the Philippines is still grappling with a wave of COVID-19 infections and a battered economy.

        In some suburbs east of Manila residents took refuge on their flooded homes.

        "Just a few steps remaining on our third floor and we have yet to see any rescuer," Carla Mhaye Suico, a resident in Pasig City, told DZBB radio, while sheltering with 15 family members and neighbours.

        Roughly 40,000 homes had been either fully or partially submerged in Marikina City, its mayor, Marcelino Teodoro, told DZMM radio station, calling the situation "overwhelming" and the worst since a typhoon flooded large swathes of Manila in 2009.

        "The local government cannot handle this," Teodoro said, requesting motorised boats and airlifts.

        Nearly three million households in and around Manila were without power as people waded through waist-high floods, carrying valuables and pets.

        Coast guards had to swim in flood waters as high as electricity poles, while rescue workers used rubber boats and makeshift floats to carry children and the elderly to safety.

        Big waves and strong winds in Manila Bay budged a tanker, damaging a bridge.

        Flights and mass transit in Manila were suspended while the coast guard stopped port operations. Government work was suspended and financial markets were shut.

        Vamco has now weakened, with sustained winds of 130 kilometres (81 miles) per hour and gusts of up to 160 kph (99 mph), after exiting Luzon island, home to half of the Philippines' 108 million people.

        The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, experiences around 20 tropical storms a year that often continue on their track to hit Vietnam, China and Taiwan.

        Vamco is forecast to head towards Vietnam. Floods and mudslides over the past month have killed at least 160 people in central Vietnam, left dozens missing and damaged 390,000 houses.:

        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


        • Philippines hunts for missing after its deadliest typhoon this year

          Philippine police and soldiers joined a search on Friday for missing people after Typhoon Vamco killed at least 42 people, as residents returned to devastated homes following the worst flooding in years in Manila and nearby provinces.

          Vamco, the 21st and most deadly cyclone to hit the country this year, tore through the main island of Luzon late on Wednesday and early Thursday, just as the country was reeling from Goni, the world’s strongest typhoon of 2020, which killed 25 people and flattened thousands of homes.

          Tens of thousands of homes were engulfed by the floods and as the water receded in areas such as Marikina, a suburb east of Manila, homes covered in debris and caked in mud emerged.

          “All the houses here were submerged in mud and in water,” said,” Mike Rusio, 51, told Reuters as he scooped buckets full of mud from his two-storey home.

          Heavy equipment was also being brought in to clear furniture, trash and cars blocking roads.

          Data published by the police showed that 42 people had died, 43 were injured and 20 were still missing.

          Successive typhoons - eight in the past two months - add to the challenges on a government battling community coronavirus infections and an economic recession.

          Among the casualties, five died and six more people were missing in a landslide in Banaue town. Three people died when a warehouse collapsed in Cavite province.

          A landslide near a gold mine killed 10 people in Nueva Vizcaya province north of Manila, police chief Ranser Evasco told DZBB radio. In Cagayan province, four died in a landslide and two drowned, said Governor Manuel Mamba.

          The disaster agency said nearly 75,000 people were still packed into evacuation centres, some without proper separation between families and many evacuees not wearing masks.

          Health Secretary Francisco Duque said makeshift shelters increased the risk of COVID-19 transmission, alongside leptospirosis and diarrhoea.

          The Philippines has the second-highest number of COVID-19 infections and casualties in Southeast Asia behind Indonesia.

          After Vamco, up to three more typhoons are expected to lash the Philippines before the end of December, the state weather forecaster warned.

          The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, experiences around 20 tropical storms annually.

          About 450,000 households in and around Manila remain without power and virtual classes and government work are still suspended in Luzon, home to half of the Philippines’ 108 million population.

          Vamco is approaching central Vietnam, where devastating floods and mudslides since early October have killed at least 160 people. It is expected to make landfall on Saturday.:
          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


          • Vietnam braces for Typhoon Vamco as death toll rises in the Philippines

            Vietnam is bracing for Typhoon Vamco to make landfall in the country's central coast late Saturday, as the death toll in the Philippines rose to 53 from that country's deadliest storm this year.

            Packing winds of up to 103 mph, Vamco is forecast to hit a swathe of Vietnam's coast from Ha Tinh to Quang Ngai province, the government's weather agency said on Saturday.

            "This is a very strong typhoon," Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said, warning provinces in Vamco's projected path to prepare for its impact.

            The provinces plan to evacuate 468,000 people by the end of Saturday, state media cited the government's disaster management authority as saying.

            Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline.

            Vamco will be the 13th storm that affects the Southeast Asian country this year, where more than 160 people have been killed in natural disasters triggered by a series of storms since early October.

            "There has been no respite for more than eight million people living in central Vietnam," said Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu, Vietnam Red Cross Society President. "Each time they start rebuilding their lives and livelihoods, they are pummeled by yet another storm."

            In the Philippines, coast guard and disaster agencies scrambled on Saturday to rescue thousands in a northern province after the 21st cyclone to hit the Philippines this year tore through the main island of Luzon, late on Wednesday and early Thursday.

            Vamco has killed at least 53 people, injured 52 and left 22 missing in the Philippines, according to the Philippines police and army.

            On Thursday Philippine President Rodrigo Dutertecut short his attendance of a virtual meeting of Southeast Asian leaders to inspect the damage from Typhoon Vamco, moments after a speech during which he urged his counterparts to urgently combat the effects of climate change.

            The typhoon forced residents to scramble onto rooftops to await rescue after tens of thousands of homes were submerged and flooded.

            It struck areas still reeling from Goni, the most powerful typhoon in the world this year, which killed 25 people and destroyed thousands of homes earlier this month.

            "Rest assured, the government will not leave anybody behind," Duterte said in a national address, pledging shelter, relief goods, financial aid and counselling.:
            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


            • Typhoon Vamco heads for Vietnam after 67 are killed in the Philippines

              Typhoon Vamco has made landfall in Vietnam after leaving 67 dead in the Philippines, making it that country's deadliest storm this year.

              Packing winds of up to 150 kph (93 mph), Vamco hit Vietnam's coast roughly 100km (62 miles) northwest of Da Nang Sunday local time, according to CNN Weather. Although the storm is weakening and will continue to do so as it moves inland, there is still a threat of flooding and landslides.

              "This is a very strong typhoon," said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, before the storm hit as he warned provinces in Vamco's projected path to prepare for its impact.

              The provinces planned to evacuate 468,000 people by the end of Saturday, according to state media citing the government's disaster management authority.

              Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline. Vamco is the 13th storm to hit the Southeast Asian country this year, where more than 160 people have been killed in natural disasters triggered by a series of storms since early October.

              "There has been no respite for more than eight million people living in central Vietnam," said Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu, president of the Vietnam Red Cross Society. "Each time they start rebuilding their lives and livelihoods, they are pummeled by yet another storm."

              In the Philippines, coast guard and disaster agencies scrambled on Saturday to rescue thousands in a northern province after the 21st cyclone to hit the Philippines this year tore through the main island of Luzon late on Wednesday and early Thursday.

              On Sunday, 21 people were injured and 12 were missing.

              More than 25,000 houses have been damaged and $9.7 million (469.7 million Philippine peso) worth of infrastructure has been destroyed, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council spokesman Mark Timbal said Sunday. Another $24.7 million worth of agriculture has been damaged by the flooding and landslides caused by heavy rainfall and strong winds brought by Typhoon Vamco.:

              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


              • Hurricane Iota Rapidly Intensifies, Heads For Another Catastrophic Strike on Central America

                Hurricane Iota is rapidly intensifying and is forecast to strike Central America as a major hurricane with potentially catastrophic rainfall flooding, mudslides, storm surge and damaging winds.

                Iota became the 30th storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season Friday afternoon, which is two more storms than the previous record for a season set in 2005. Just after midnight Sunday morning, Iota strengthened into the 13th hurricane of the season. Only 2005 (15) produced more hurricanes.

                Iota became the 10th storm of the 2020 season to meet the criterion for rapid intensification, an increase in its maximum sustained winds of at least 35 mph in 24 hours or less. This tied 1995 for the most such rapid intensifiers in any single season since 1979, according to Tomer Burg, an atmospheric science Ph.D. student at the University of Oklahoma.

                Hurricane warnings have been issued for portions of Nicaragua and Honduras, where hurricane conditions are expected by later Monday.

                Hurricane alerts have also been issued for Colombia's islands of Providencia and San Andres, which will experience hurricane conditions first, by Sunday evening.

                A tropical storm warning has been issued for northern portions of Honduras and farther down the Nicaraguan Caribbean coast, where tropical storm conditions are likely late Monday into Tuesday.

                This system is expected to be steered generally westward by clockwise flow around a mid-level high-pressures system that stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to the western Atlantic.

                On this path, Iota should make landfall late Monday night or early Tuesday morning along the coast of Nicaragua or Honduras, potentially in the same area Hurricane Eta made its Category 4 landfall on November 3.

                With plenty of deep, warm water, favorable upper-level winds and a lack of dry air, Iota is forecast to become a Category 4 hurricane by or before landfall.

                This would be the first time on record two major hurricanes - Category 3 or stronger - made landfall in Nicaragua in the same hurricane season, much less only two weeks apart. NOAA's hurricane database only documented seven such Category 3-plus landfalls in Nicaragua prior from the mid-19th century through 2019.

                Rainfall Flooding

                Once again, flooding rainfall is expected to be the biggest danger for Central America, including areas that were devastated by Eta's heavy rain earlier this month.

                Heavy rain has already apparently triggered a deadly landslide in northwest Colombia, prompting the evacuation of 150 in Dabeiba.

                Eta's flooding impacts killed at least 120 in Central America and southern Mexico, according to the latest report from The Associated Press. Scores of people are still missing, the AP said. Honduras was one of the areas hardest hit by Eta's flooding and any additional rain could worsen conditions.

                The National Hurricane Center has issued the following rainfall forecasts through Friday:

                -Honduras, northern Nicaragua, Guatemala and southern Belize may pick up another 8 to 16 inches with isolated totals of 20 to 30 inches

                -Costa Rica and Panama can expect 4 to 8 inches, with local totals up to 12 inches

                -El Salvador and southern Nicaragua can expect 3 to 5 inches, with localized totals of up to 10 inches

                -Northern Colombia: An additional 1 to 3 inches with localized totals up to 12 inches

                This rainfall would lead to dangerous, life-threatening flash flooding, river flooding and landslides.

                Storm Surge

                A life-threatening, potentially catastrophic storm surge of 10 to 15 feet above normal tide levels is expected north of where Iota makes landfall, along the northern coast of Nicaragua and coast of eastern Honduras.

                Destructive, battering waves will ride atop the surge.


                Potentially catastrophic winds of Category 3 or 4 intensity can be expected in the eyewall of Iota as it makes landfall late Monday night or early Tuesday morning in northeast Nicaragua or extreme eastern Honduras.

                This will lead to severe structural damage, particularly to poorly-built structures, and widespread power outages in northeast Nicaragua and eastern Honduras by Tuesday morning.

                As mentioned earlier, hurricane conditions are expected by late Monday within the hurricane-warned area in northeast Nicaragua and eastern Honduras. Tropical storm conditions could move in as soon as Monday morning, making last minute preparations difficult.:

                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • Most powerful Atlantic hurricane of 2020 makes landfall in Nicaragua

                  Hurricane Iota made landfall in Nicaragua late Monday as an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm, packing maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, per the National Hurricane Center.

                  Why it matters: The storm is the most powerful of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, with "life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds, flash flooding, and landslides expected across portions of Central America," the NHC said.

                  Iota made landfall near the town of Haulover, some 15 miles south of where the distractive Hurricane Eta also struck as a Category 4 hurricane on Nov. 3.

                  The big picture: Iota is the 13th hurricane of the 2020 hurricane season and was earlier Monday the first Category 5 storm of this year's record-setting Atlantic hurricane season before weakening slightly.

                  More Atlantic storms could see similar rapid expansion as seas warm because of climate change, the Washington Post notes. Typical seasons produce five or six named hurricanes.:

                  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                  • Hurricane Iota: at least six killed and 60,000 evacuated in Nicaragua

                    At least six people have been killed and more than 60,000 evacuated after Hurricane Iota smashed into Nicaragua, prompting Joe Biden to say that a surge in the number of powerful storms meant fighting the climate crisis was vital.

                    Reports in the Nicaraguan press said at least three children were among the victims as the hurricane hammered the Central American country on Tuesday after making landfall the previous night.

                    La Prensa newspaper reported that two of the victims, siblings aged eight and 11, were swept away by a raging river south of the capital, Managua. Thirteen people were reported missing after a landslide near the city of Matagalpa, including a 12-year-old girl.

                    Images from the Caribbean town of Bilwi showed the terrifying punch of a hurricane that wrenched utility poles to the ground and tore zinc roofs from seaside homes.

                    “The kids were screaming with fear. It was horrible,” Fatima Thomas Pérez told La Prensa, recalling the moment a tree came crashing down in her garden. “The ground shook just like an earthquake. We thought we were all going to die.”

                    As the hurricane swept west towards Honduras and El Salvador, Nicaragua’s vice-president, said “catastrophic” physical damage had been caused by what authorities called the most powerful storm to hit the country. “Thank God more lives have not been lost,” Rosario Murillo said.

                    Meteorologists say this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June to November, is the most active in history. There have been 30 named storms and 13 hurricanes in the six-month period, six of which had the potential to cause significant loss of life and damage.

                    Two of those “major hurricanes”, Iota and Eta, have struck in the past two weeks, with the latter killing scores of people and causing widespread destruction after making landfall on 3 November. Experts believe the climate crisis has contributed to the record-breaking number of powerful storms.

                    Biden tweeted on Tuesday: “I’m keeping in my prayers all of our friends and neighbours in Hurricane Iota’s path and those impacted by Hurricane Eta across Central America.

                    “The increasing frequency of these powerful storms is another reason that fighting climate change will be one of my top priorities.”:

                    On November 17, 2020, the strongest hurricane to make landfall this year slammed into the coast of Nicaragua. Hurricane Iota made landfall at 10:40 p.m. EDT as a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 155 mph (250 kph) along the northeastern coast of Nicaragua near the town of Haulover, about 30 miles (45 km) south of Puerto Cabezas. Hurricane Iota’s landfall location was approximately 15 miles (25 km) south of where Category 4 Hurricane Eta made landfall on November 3.

                    The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a true-color image of the large storm on November 17 after Iota had moved well inland and begun to weaken.

                    As of 2100 UTC local time (4:00 p.m. EST) on November 17, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported Iota was located inland at about 75 miles (125 km) east southeast of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Maximum sustained winds had weakened to 60 mph (95 km/h) and the storm continued to move westward. Forecasters warned of coastal storm surges as high as 4.5 to 6 meters (15 to 20 feet) and rainfall amounts between 250 to 750 millimeters (10 to 30 inches) across parts of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize.

                    According to Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS) reports, strong winds and heavy rainfall have damaged several buildings across Puerto Cabezas. More than 70,000 inhabitants of Nicaragua have been evacuated to 1,299 shelters. At least 50,000 people have been evacuated in Honduras. Several news outlets are reporting that Iota has left at least three people dead and significant damage in parts of Nicaragua already reeling from Hurricane Eta’s landfall less than two weeks ago. However, widespread power outages and communication disruptions in the country from Eta’s passage – and with still-heavy rains and storm surge drenching the county – damage assessments may be delayed.

                    Iota is the strongest hurricane and 30th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic season, the most since modern record-keeping began. (The previous record of 28 was set in 2005.) It also marked the first time that two hurricanes have formed in the Atlantic in any November. Iota is the 13th storm to reach hurricane strength this year; the average hurricane year brings 11.5 named storms and six hurricanes.

                    Tropical storm Iota reached hurricane strength early on November 15. Over the course of 36 hours, wind speeds increased by 160 kilometers (100 miles) per hour—well beyond the threshold of 55 kilometers (35 miles) per hour that meteorologists refer to as “rapid intensification.” The storm grew over particularly warm Caribbean waters, which are known to fuel hurricanes. La Niña conditions in the eastern Pacific may also have played a role, as such events typically reduce wind shear that can break up storms. Iota is the tenth storm to undergo rapid intensification in 2020.:
                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                    • Death Toll Climbs After Hurricane Iota Devastates Communities in Central America

                      Thousands of people across Central America face a lack of drinking water, food and basic supplies after back-to-back hurricanes slammed the region, destroying homes, hospitals and other critical infrastructure and piling one disaster on top of another.

                      "Hurricane Iota made landfall in a region struggling to recover from the widespread devastation caused by Hurricane Eta, which left tens of thousands homeless just two weeks ago," Raul Pineda, Latin America emergency response coordinator for the aid group Americares, said in a news release.

                      Iota came ashore Tuesday in Nicaragua, just 15 miles from where Eta made landfall on Nov. 3. Both were Category 4 hurricanes at landfall.

                      Countries hit by Eta were still assessing damage and beginning the recovery process when Iota struck. The number of people affected by Eta was still going up when Iota brought the second act of this hurricane season's one-two punch to the region.

                      "So this is very much still (a) developing emergency on top of which now slams another emergency with potentially catastrophic consequences," Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said in a news release Tuesday.

                      Eta caused widespread flooding and landslides that left at least 130 people dead and dozens of others missing or presumed dead. At least 19 deaths have so far been blamed on Iota.

                      The official death toll from Iota in Nicaragua rose to 16 on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

                      As many as 30 people were feared to have been buried in a landslide caused by rain from Iota in Matagalpa, Nicaragua, La Mesa Redonda reported.

                      Colombia President Iván Duque Márquez said two people were killed and one was missing after Iota passed over Providencia, a small island in the Caribbean Sea about 140 miles off the coast of Nicaragua.

                      Márquez said more than 112 people, including tourists and those with health problems, were evacuated from the island. Six were injured, he added. Fifteen tons of supplies, as well as nearly 200 troops and medical personnel, were being sent to the 10.5-square-mile island where about 5,000 people live.

                      "It is destroyed," Mateo Posada, a tourist who was evacuated, told La Prensa Latina. "In Providencia, there is not a single house that is well – all the houses are destroyed, all the vegetation is destroyed."

                      With sustained winds of 155 mph, Iota ripped roofs off homes and trees. Boats and other debris were strewn across yards and roadways.

                      "The island was destroyed and all the houses were erased. No house was left standing. Everything is destroyed," said Adrián Villamizar, an evacuee and pastor of the island's Adventist Church who was evacuated from Providencia.

                      More than 260,000 people in Colombia are estimated to have been affected by the hurricane, according to the European Commission's humanitarian aid agency. The agency said 63,000 people in Nicaragua were evacuated to 600 shelters. Thousands of people were also evacuated in Honduras.

                      "We are facing an incredible emergency," said Mirna Wood, vice president of the Miskito ethnic group in Honduras’ far east Gracias a Dios region, according to the AP. "There is no food. There is no water."

                      About 40,000 people in the area had moved to shelters. Some people had to be rescued, Wood said.

                      Officials in Panama said one person was killed and one was missing in Nole Duima in the Ngäbe Buglé region.:

                      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                      • Hundreds of thousands at Honduras' shelters after hurricanes

                        Shelters for people whose homes were flooded or damaged by hurricanes Eta and Iota in Honduras are now so crowded that thousands of victims have taken refuge under highway overpasses or bridges.

                        The International Red Cross estimates that about 4.2 million people were affected by the back-to-back Category 4 hurricanes in November in Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. Several hundred thousand are in shelters or informal camps across the region.

                        But nowhere are the evacuated victims piled up more densely than in the northern Honduras city of San Pedro Sula, where some neighborhoods are still under water. The evacuees say they fear that even when they are eventually allowed to return to their flooded neighborhoods, they will find everything gone.

                        Orlando Antonio Linares oversees a municipal shelter at a school in San Pedro Sula, where almost 500 hurricane victims have taken refuge. There are about 84 shelters across the city, holding as many 100,000 people.

                        “There is a shortage of everything,” Linares said, referring to water, food and medicine. “There is a shortage because, after these two hurricanes, the need is so great.”

                        The situation also reflects the difficulty of sheltering natural disaster victims amid the coronavirus pandemic. There is no room for social distancing at the school, and few people wear face masks.

                        “We are working against COVID,” said Linares, noting “we give people the material (masks), but then they don't use it. We have to educate people.”

                        For the moment, evacuees are much more worried about obtaining basic necessities, and dreading what they will find when they return to their homes.

                        Couple Rebeca Díaz and Jose Alberto Murillo and their five children have been at the shelter for about two weeks, after Eta and then Iota flooded their neighborhood.

                        “We have been sleeping on the floor for two weeks, the children are sleeping on the floor,” said Murillo. “We have been forgotten.”

                        Díaz is more worried about their home, than the coronavirus. “I need roofing sheets,” she said. “I have no way to get a roof over our heads.”

                        Housewife Irma Sarmiento voiced similar concerns. Her house in the Colonia Nuevo San Juan neighborhood, she said, is still under water.

                        “I feel the future is uncertain. We have nothing left,” said Sarmiento. “You work your whole life to be left with nothing.”

                        “What will we have when we go back? Nothing,” she said.

                        Still, there are those who are worse off. Former maquila factory worker Jarlin Antonio Lorenzo said he couldn't even find room at a shelter; instead, he and almost 500 other people have camped out under a highway overpass on the outskirts of the city.

                        “There are no bathrooms, people go up into the hills to go the bathroom,” he said. “People are dying of hunger here ... the shelters are full.”:

                        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                        • Somalia's Strongest Tropical Cyclone Ever Recorded Could Drop 2 Years' Rain In 2 Days

                          The strongest tropical cyclone ever measured in the northern Indian Ocean has made landfall in eastern Africa, where it is poised to drop two years' worth of rain in the next two days.

                          Tropical Cyclone Gati made landfall in Somalia on Sunday with sustained winds of around 105 mph. It's the first recorded instance of a hurricane-strength system hitting the country. At one point before landfall, Gati's winds were measured at 115 mph.

                          "Gati is the strongest tropical cyclone that has been recorded in this region of the globe; further south than any category 3-equivalent cyclone in the North Indian Ocean," said Sam Lillo, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Physical Sciences Laboratory.

                          Its intensification from about 40 mph to 115 mph was "the largest 12-hour increase on record for a tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean," Lillo added.

                          One reason Gati intensified so quickly is because the size of the cyclone itself is quite small, Lillo said. The warm water in the area coupled with low wind shear also contributed to the rapid strengthening, Accuweather reported.

                          "With climate change we're seeing warmer ocean temperatures and a more moist atmosphere that's leading to a greater chance of rapid intensification for tropical cyclones like Gati," meteorologist and climate journalist Eric Holthaus told NPR. "Gati's strength is part of that broader global pattern of stronger storms."

                          And those storms are leading to a lot more rain. Northern Somalia usually gets about 4 inches of rain per year; data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show Gati could bring 8 inches over the next two days — "two years worth of rainfall in just two days," Holthaus said. Some isolated areas could see even more than that.

                          "The system may impact Socotra, Somalia, Yemen and western Oman from [Sunday] night into Monday and potentially Tuesday, with the main threat being heavy rain and flash flooding," said AccuWeather's lead international meteorologist, Jason Nicholls, told the site.

                          A United Nations alert warned the storm posed an immediate threat to the marine shipping lane that links Somalia and the Gulf states.

                          Gati is much more intense than the previous strongest storm to hit Somalia — a 2018 cyclone that brought winds of 60 mph.: -

                          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                          • Cyclone uproots trees, floods streets in southern India

                            Parts of India’s southern coast were flooded Thursday after a cyclone slammed into its shores, triggering heavy rains, uprooting trees and cutting power lines.

                            Cyclone Nivar made landfall in Puducherry, a federal territory near the southern state of Tamil Nadu, with winds of up to 130 kilometers (81 miles) per hour, according to the India Meteorological Department. It said the storm was weakening as it moved north toward Karnataka state.

                            There were no immediate official reports of injuries.

                            In Chennai, a coastal city of about 10 million in Tamil Nadu, heavy rains flooded streets, knocked down trees and cut power for several hours. Many residential areas were flooded and people remained indoors.

                            India’s National Disaster Response Force said its teams were working to clear the roads after uprooted trees disrupted traffic in some areas.

                            City officials said the full extent of the damage was not yet known but its impact was mitigated by steps taken by the government.

                            On Wednesday, tens of thousands of people fled their homes in low-lying areas of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and moved to evacuation shelters provided by the government to escape the cyclone.

                            "It’s a solace that nothing untoward happened and the weakening of the cyclone is good news,” state minister R.B. Udhayakumar told reporters in Chennai.

                            Indian Home Minister Amit Shah said authorities were working to get all possible assistance to victims of the storm.

                            India's vast coastal regions are often battered by cyclones.

                            In May, nearly 100 people died after Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful storm to hit eastern India in more than a decade, ravaged the region and left millions without power.:

                            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                            • Strong winds fuel 6,400-acre wildfire in Southern California

                              Fire crews in Silverado Canyon are working around the clock to stop the massive Bond Fire in Southern California. They're dousing hot spots and carving out containment lines to prevent the wildfire from exploding like it did Wednesday night.

                              The wildfire has burned 6,400 acres and was 10% contained as of Friday afternoon, CBS Los Angeles reported. Several homes were reported destroyed but an exact number is unknown.

                              Two firefighters were injured while battling the blaze Thursday and have been released from the hospital, officials said.

                              The blaze was sparked by a house fire Wednesday night, according to the Orange County Fire Authority. Driven by hurricane-force winds, it quickly ripped through the canyon in a matter of minutes. Those in its path were forced to escape in the middle of the night.

                              "My daughter said she wanted to get some more clothes and stuff, I said, 'hey just get out of here,'" resident Bruce McDougal told CBS LA.

                              McDougal's truck, deck and trees were destroyed by the fire, though his home was spared.

                              "The firemen were here and they foamed the back of my house and I think that saved it. If those guys weren't here it would have been gone," he said.

                              For families in these canyons, dodging fire after fire has now become a way of life.

                              "This is the 6th fire in a year," said resident Susan Iwamoto.

                              It's been a record-breaking year in California. More than 4 million acres have already burned. Scientists say climate change is drying out vegetation too fast for modern fire-management techniques to keep up.

                              Exhausted crews face another round of dangerous conditions next week.:

                              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                              • Deadly Winter Storm Causes Floods, Avalanches in Europe

                                A weekend winter storm caused floods in Italy which killed one person, and several avalanches, killing another in the Swiss Alps.

                                A worker was killed in Italy when he was swept into a canal he was inspecting.

                                The flooding caused landslides and several rivers burst their banks in central Italy. At least 60 families in the Emilia-Romagna region were evacuated due to the flooding of the Panaro River STL News reported.

                                Northern Italy and regions of the Alps saw heavy snowfall over the weekend, and the winter storm also brought snow to Germany and Spain.

                                A 23-year-old skier was killed in an avalanche in Switzerland's Titlis area, south of Lucerne, on Monday, according to the Associated Press. Avalanche warnings continue on Tuesday in eastern Austria after several occurred due to the weekend's heavy snowfall, and authorities raised the avalanche warning to level three of five in a broad swath of the Swiss Alps.

                                Some areas in high elevations received between 20 to 32 inches over the last three days. East Tyrol and other areas of the Austrian Alps saw several road closures and some valleys were isolated due to the heavy snow. The AP reported that electricity provider Tinetz said 4,000 homes lost power in the storm.

                                Click through the photos above to see images of the flooding and heavy snowfall, as well as the path of an avalanche that struck in the Lana district in East Tyrol, Austria, isolating the small village of Kals.


                                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


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