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  • Elsa is back at Hurricane strength,…..

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


    • but is now a Tropical Storm
      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


      • Tropical Storm Elsa kills 1 in Florida, possible tornado injures 10 at Georgia Navy base

        Tropical Storm Elsa has killed at least one person in Florida and injured 10 others at a Naval base due to a possible tornado in Georgia on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported.

        In Jacksonville, one person died after Elsa caused a tree to crash down and hit two cars, according to local authorities.

        At the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, located near the southeast corner of Georgia, recreational vehicles were hit by a possible tornado, injuring 10 people, according to AP. A spokesperson for the base told the news outlet that the people were taken to the hospital. Elsa damaged some of the buildings on the base.

        The National Hurricane Center registered 45 mph winds for Elsa as of Wednesday night. It made landfall in Taylor County, Florida just hours earlier around 11 a.m. on Wednesday, according to AccuWeather.

        The AP reported it was close to Valdosta, Ga. by around 5 p.m. Wednesday.

        According to AccuWeather, Elsa had max sustained winds on Tuesday evening at 75 mph, strengthening into a Category 1 hurricane. However, it weakened early Wednesday morning into a tropical storm.:

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        • Thousands displaced by floods in southwest China

          Flooding in southwest China has displaced thousands of people after days of heavy rain – and more could be on the way, authorities warned.

          Across Sichuan province, rainstorms have pushed up water levels in 14 rivers, affecting more than 120,000 residents and causing an estimated 176 million yuan (US$27 million) in damage since Friday, according to state news agency Xinhua.

          In the city of Dazhou in the north of the province, the authorities relocated more than 4,600 residents due to floods and landslides and activated the highest alert level for more rain.

          China has been on high alert since severe floods hit the region in 2020, with flood-response and rescue drills carried out ahead of the May rainy season.

          Last year saw the worst flooding in decades, affecting tens of millions of people in dozens of provinces and resulting in at least 86 billion yuan in economic losses.

          Authorities have warned that the amount of rainfall this year could be even higher, with the Ministry of Water Resources issuing a call in June for flood prevention efforts and for communities to prepare for heavy rainfall that may persist until August.

          Firefighters have been dispatched across the country for evacuation operations, often rescuing people from their homes and rowing them to safety.:
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          • At least 60 dead after parts of Europe see 2 months of rain in 2 days

            More than 60 people have died and dozens are missing in Germany and Belgium after record rainfall caused water to overtake streets, sweeping up cars and bringing down buildings, AP reports.

            Driving the news: Storms across parts of western Europe caused rivers and reservoirs to burst through the banks, triggering flash floods overnight.

            • At least 30 people died in North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany’s most populous state), 28 deaths were reported in Rhineland-Palatinate state, per AP. Belgian media reported eight deaths in the country.
            • Rescuers encountered blocked roads along with phone and internet outages. Some villages were reduced to rubble as water gushing through the streets took down trees and debris.
            • Two firefighters died in rescue operations in North-Rhine Westphalia, per AP.
            • Hundreds of soldiers are helping with rescue efforts, employing tanks to clear roads and remove fallen trees.

            What they're saying: "I grieve for those who have lost their lives in this disaster," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, according to AP. "We still don’t know the number. But it will be many."

            • "There are people dead, there are people missing, there are many who are still in danger,” the governor of Rhineland-Palatinate state, Malu Dreyer, told the regional parliament, per AP. "We have never seen such a disaster. It’s really devastating."
            Between the lines: Climate change is increasing extreme water events worldwide — both the excess and absence of rain, Axios' Andrew Freedman notes.
            • In many areas of Europe and the U.S., for example, the odds of extreme precipitation events and flooding have sharply escalated, with warming air and ocean temperatures providing more moisture to fuel storms.

            The big picture: The equivalent of two months of rain has fallen on some areas over the last one to two days, per AP, which cited the French national weather service.

            • More heavy rain is expected in southwestern Germany later on Thursday and Friday.

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            • Record rainfall leaves over 120 dead in western Europe, devastating parts of Germany

              Catastrophic flooding in western Europe has killed more than 120 people, with hundreds more missing, authorities said Friday, as large-scale rescue efforts continue amid rising water, landslides and power outages.

              Shocking images of the devastation in Germany and Belgium showed entire villages underwater, with cars wedged in between collapsed buildings and debris. The Netherlands and Luxembourg have also been affected by the extreme rainfall.

              In Germany, at least 105 people have been killed across two western states. In the hard-hit district of Ahrweiler, in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, authorities told CNN that 1,300 people remained unaccounted for.

              "There is no end in sight just yet," Ulrich Sopart, a police spokesman in the city of Koblenz, told CNN. He said that authorities are hopeful that they will be able to revise down the number of missing people as the rescue operation continues and phone lines are restored.

              ''Our hopes are that some people might have been registered as missing twice or even three times -- if for example a family member, a work colleague or a friend has registered a person as missing," Sopart said.

              ''Also, [in] some places phone lines are still down and reception is difficult. We do hope that people will get in touch with a relative, work colleague or friend to let them know they are fine," he said.

              A dam along the river Rur in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia broke Friday night, according to the regional government. Officials have started the evacuation of about 700 residents in the Ophoven neighborhood in the city of Wassenberg. Dutch officials ordered the evacuation of 10,000 people in the municipality of Venlo, where the Maas river rose faster than expected. The high waters are expected to last until Sunday evening.

              Officials fear more dams can break and are closely monitoring reservoirs in the region.

              Barring any more severe weather, people who evacuated the flooding in the county of Euskirchen in North Rhine-Westphalia can most likely return to their home sometime on Sunday, the county said on its Facebook page. This comes as water is being drained from the Steinbach dam to reduce pressure. Officials said creeks are filling, but are not expected to overflow their banks.:

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              • Death toll from Germany and Belgium flooding rises to 170 as focus turns to rebuilding

                The death toll from catastrophic flooding in western Germany and Belgium has risen to at least 170 as thoughts were now turning to the lengthy job of rebuilding communities devastated in minutes.

                Key points:

                The flooding has caused destruction in Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic

                The large number of people initially reported missing has been partly blamed on miscommunication

                Authorities are preparing for a massive recovery effort in areas devastated by the flooding

                Some 143 people died in the flooding in Germany's worst natural disaster in more than half a century.

                That included about 98 in the Ahrweiler district south of Cologne, according to police.

                Another 43 people were confirmed dead in neighbouring North Rhine-Westphalia state.

                Belgium's national crisis centre said the country's confirmed death toll rose to 27.

                Days of heavy rain turned normally minor rivers and streets into raging torrents this week and caused the disastrous flooding that swept away cars, engulfed homes and trapped residents.

                Immediately after the floods hit, authorities in both Germany and Belgium listed large numbers of people as missing — something apparently caused in large part by confusion, multiple reporting and communications difficulties in the affected areas, some of which lacked electricity and telephone service.

                By Saturday local time, authorities still feared finding more people dead but said numbers unaccounted for had dropped constantly.:

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                • Mumbai monsoon mayhem: Freak bursts of rain sign of climate crisis

                  Such short bursts of intense rain bear a climate change signature and as these effects become more pronounced, India’s financial capital and the country’s west coast will have to be better prepared, experts said.

                  Mumbai’s Santacruz and Colaba recorded extremely heavy rainfall--23.4 cm and 19.68 cm rain respectively between Saturday and Sunday morning—a span of 24 hours according to official records. But most of that rain happened in an intense spell between 11 pm on Saturday night and 4.30 am on Sunday morning, according to senior officials at IMD Mumbai.

                  Such short bursts of intense rain bear a climate change signature and as these effects become more pronounced, India’s financial capital and the country’s west coast will have to be better prepared, experts said.

                  “Generally, monsoon patterns over India have altered, and now we’re having long dry periods intermittent with short spells of heavy rains within the monsoon season. In fact, the number of extreme rains has increased by threefold across several parts of India, including the west coast. Annual floods in Mumbai could be a result of this observed change in rainfall patterns (other than local factors leading to water-logging),” said Roxy Mathew Koll, climate scientist and lead author of a 2017 research paper published in Nature, which found a threefold increase in widespread extreme rain events over central India during 1950–2015.

                  Climate experts also warned that topography of the west coast in combination with sea level rise and rise in extreme rainfall events puts cities such as Mumbai at great risk. “This region always received heavy rains during monsoon. But in recent decades, the frequency and intensity of extremely heavy rainfall events have increased which can be attributed to climate change. There are long dry spells followed by episodes of heavy to extremely heavy rain. Population has also increased leaving more people vulnerable to urban flooding. The impact is exacerbated by urbanisation related issues like clogging of drains, overflowing water bodies etc,” said DS Pai, scientist and head, climate research and services, IMD Pune.

                  “There are low lying areas which are vulnerable to sea-level rise and there are ghats or hilly areas which are also vulnerable due to a combination of deforestation, land use change and others,” he added.

                  “Extreme rainfall events are on the rise across the globe not just over the west coast. We saw it happening in Germany last week. Our modelling systems are not able to forecast such extreme rainfall happening over a short period of time, in advance. Only nowcasting is possible. So preparedness time is reduced increasing risk for people. We are faced by this challenge in recent years. Mumbai recorded extremely heavy rain in the span of few hours which was unpredictable,” said OP Sreejith, head, climate monitoring and prediction group, IMD.

                  “Landslides may have been triggered by several geological factors but most of the intense rain recorded on Sunday was only within a span of 5-6 hours,” said a senior scientist of IMD Pune.

                  Several research papers have red-flagged these vulnerabilities in recent years. The major urban flood events of India in recent years have occurred in Mumbai (2005, 2014, 2017), Bengaluru (2005, 2007, 2015), Chennai (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2015), Ahmadabad (2017) and Kolkata (2007, 2017).

                  Floods in Mumbai and Kolkata are mainly attributed to the impact of climate shifts, urbanization, sea-level rise and other regional factors, the report said while not directly linking such events to climate change.:

                  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                  • At least 12 dead and 100,000 evacuated amid severe flooding in China

                    Torrential rain caused severe flooding in parts of China's Henan province on Tuesday, killing 12 and forcing more than 100,000 people to evacuate their homes, per Reuters.

                    The latest: Zhengzhou, Henan's capital, picked up 21.75 inches of rain over the 24-hour period ending on Tuesday. That's roughly 87% of the city's average annual precipitation in 24 hours, and about the same as its average seven-month total from April to October, according to the Weather Channel.

                    The big picture: Over a dozen cities were affected by flooding, though it was particularly bad in Zhengzhou where at least 12 people are dead.

                    The city's subway system was inundated, trapping passengers in waist-high floodwaters. Several cars were washed down streets.

                    In Dengfeng, an aluminum alloy plant exploded after floodwater entered a tank containing a high-temperature solution. No one was reported injured or missing from the accident, according to Reuters.

                    The Chinese military said a dam in Luoyang has developed a breach and was on the verge of collapsing, the BBC reported. The rain was forecast to stop by Thursday, per Reuters.

                    By the numbers: From Saturday to Tuesday, 3,535 weather stations in Henan recorded rainfall exceeding 2 inches, Reuters noted.

                    1,614 of the stations reported levels above 4 inches (100 mm) and 151 were above 10 inches during the same period.

                    Thought bubble, via Axios' Andrew Freedman: Studies show that as the planet warms due to human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels for energy, heavy precipitation events are becoming more likely and more severe.

                    The rains and flooding come barely a week after floods devastated parts of Europe killing more than 180, with the biggest toll in Germany.

                    This has played out worldwide in recent years and showcased the inadequacy of current infrastructure to withstand a more volatile climate.:
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                    • Almost 200 dead, many still missing after floods as Germany counts devastating cost

                      Almost 200 people were dead and more than 700 injured, with many still missing Monday, as Germany counted the cost of the devastating floods and asked whether more could have been done to save lives.

                      Torrential rain last week led to severe flooding and destruction across western Europe, wreaking havoc in parts of Belgium and the Netherlands, and leaving Germany reeling from its worst natural disaster in decades.

                      As the death toll continued to grow, the country grappled with what or whom to blame, from climate change to political leaders.

                      Officials confirmed the deaths of at least 117 people in the worst-affected German region, Rhineland-Palatinate, bringing the total confirmed dead to 196 with another 749 injured as of Monday morning.

                      Another 46 were killed in the neighboring state of North Rhine-Westphalia and at least two people died in the southern state of Bavaria, while 31 were killed in Belgium.

                      Rescuers were engaged in a desperate search for survivors, with hundreds of people still unaccounted for.

                      Police in Koblenz told NBC News they are currently searching for as many as 170 people who have been reported missing in Rhineland-Palatinate.

                      Meanwhile, in neighboring North Rhine-Westphalia, police in Cologne have said they are still searching for at least 150 people who are still unaccounted for.:

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                      • Chinese city picks through debris after record rains kill 33

                        ZHENGZHOU, China: Piles of cars were strewn across a central Chinese city on Thursday as shocked residents picked through the debris of a historic deluge that claimed at least 33 lives, with more heavy rain threatening surrounding regions.

                        An unprecedented downpour dumped a year's rain in just three hours on the city of Zhengzhou, weather officials said, instantly overwhelming drains and sending torrents of muddy, swirling water through streets, road tunnels and the subway system.

                        Hundreds of thousands of people in the surrounding area have been affected by the flood, authorities said, as farmland was inundated and road and rail links severed.

                        In worst-hit Zhengzhou, grim images of the horror inside the subway system were relayed in real-time over social media, showing water rising during Tuesday's rush hour from the ankles of passengers to their necks.

                        At least a dozen people died before rescuers were able to cut survivors free from carriages.:

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                        • Typhoon Fabian weakens, but monsoon rain drags on

                          MANILA, PHILIPPINES

                          Zambales and Bataan are expected to see heavy to torrential rain in the next 24 hours, warns PAGASA on Friday evening, July 23. Several other areas, including Metro Manila, continue to have rain as well.

                          Typhoon Fabian (In-fa) weakened on Friday evening, July 23, but the impact of the enhanced southwest monsoon or hanging habagat was still very much felt in parts of Luzon.

                          Fabian now has maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers per hour from the previous 150 km/h and gustiness of up to 170 km/h from the previous 185 km/h, said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in a briefing past 11 pm on Friday.

                          The typhoon was located 560 kilometers northeast of Itbayat, Batanes, inching north northwest at only 10 km/h.

                          It is still bringing strong winds to Batanes, which remains under Signal No. 1.

                          The southwest monsoon enhanced by Fabian, meanwhile, will trigger more rain on Saturday, July 24. Below is PAGASA's updated rainfall forecast for the next 24 hours.:
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                          • China shuts down ports, cancels flights as Typhoon In-Fa nears

                            China has shut down railways and ports, with cargo ships ordered out of the sea and flights cancelled, before Typhoon In-Fa’s expected landfall.

                            The storm is projected to hit the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang near Shanghai late on Sunday, just as other parts of the country struggle to recover from devastating floods earlier this week.

                            In-Fa had sustained winds of 155km per hour (95 miles per hour) with gusts up to 191kmph (120mph) as it moved northwest away from Taiwan, where it caused high waves and heavy rain but there were no reports of deaths or injuries.

                            Schools, markets and businesses in Zhejiang were ordered to close, the official Xinhua news agency said, adding that road traffic would be suspended when necessary.

                            Authorities have issued a level III alert – the third-highest – for In-Fa, while more than 100 trains travelling through the region have been cancelled, according to China Railway.

                            Shanghai authorities closed some public parks and museums and warned residents on Saturday to “stop large-scale outdoor gatherings” and to stay indoors.

                            The airport in the provincial capital of Hangzhou, southwest of Shanghai, cancelled 90 percent of flights on Sunday and was expected to cancel more on Monday, the newspaper Zhejiang Daily reported on its website.

                            Meanwhile, all container ship docks were shut down from Yangshan Port south of Shanghai and 150 vessels including passenger ships and cargo vessels were evacuated from the area.

                            In central China’s Henan province, where historic floods this week have now killed at least 58 people, authorities are gradually clearing and reopening roads blocked with vehicles and debris.

                            Millions have been affected by the floods, with some trapped without fresh food or water for days and others lifted to safety in excavator buckets.

                            More than 495,000 people have been evacuated, according to the Henan government, with the flooding causing billions of dollars in losses.:
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                            • India monsoon death toll climbs to 124 as rescuers search for missing

                              The death toll from flooding and landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains in India climbed to 124 Sunday, officials said, with rescuers searching for dozens more missing.

                              The country's western coast has been inundated by torrential rains since Thursday, with the India Meteorological Department warning of further downpours over the next few days.

                              In Maharasthra state, 114 people have been killed, including more than 40 in a large landslide that hit the hillside village of Taliye, south of Mumbai, on Thursday.

                              Villager Jayram Mahaske, whose relatives remained trapped, told AFP that "many people were washed away as they were trying to run away" when the landslide hit.

                              It flattened dozens of homes in a matter of minutes, leaving just two concrete structures standing and cutting off power supply, local residents told AFP.

                              Rescuers were scouring the mud and debris for 99 others still missing.

                              "My entire team is engaged in rescue operations now," National Disaster Response Force Inspector Rajesh Yawale, who was coordinating rescue operations in the village, told AFP Saturday.

                              He said many bodies were washed away, with some found stuck among trees downstream.

                              A dozen others were killed in two separate landslides, also south of Mumbai.

                              In parts of Chiplun, water levels rose to nearly 20 feet (six metres) on Thursday after 24 hours of uninterrupted rain submerged roads and homes.

                              Eight patients at a local Covid-19 hospital also reportedly died after power supply to ventilators was cut off by the floods.

                              In neighbouring Goa, a woman drowned, the state government told the Press Trust of India, in what Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said were the "worst floods since 1982".

                              In the coastal plains spanning Maharashtra and Goa, floodwater levels remained elevated after rivers burst their banks.

                              Terrified residents climbed onto rooftops and upper floors to escape swelling waters.

                              Further south in Karnataka state, the death toll rose from three to nine overnight, with four others missing, officials said.

                              Power supply was disrupted in the 11 affected districts and officials added that there were crop losses across vast swathes of land.

                              Flooding and landslides are common during India's treacherous monsoon season, which also often sees poorly constructed buildings buckle after days of non-stop rain.

                              Four people died before dawn on Friday when a building collapsed in a Mumbai slum, authorities said.

                              The incident came less than a week after at least 34 people lost their lives when several homes were crushed by a collapsed wall and a landslide in the city.:

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                              • Sandstorm caused a 22-car pileup on a Utah highway that left 8 people dead, according to authorities

                                KANOSH, UTAH — A sandstorm caused a huge 22-vehicle pileup on a Utah highway that left eight people dead, including four children, authorities said.

                                The Sunday afternoon crashes on Interstate 15 near the town of Kanosh came at the end of a holiday weekend for the state that often leads to increased highway traffic. At least 10 people were taken to hospitals, including three in critical condition, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.

                                Ground and air ambulances were used to transport crash victims.

                                The pileup occurred during a period of high winds that caused a dust or sandstorm which reduced visibility, the highway patrol said.

                                Five of the eight people killed were in one vehicle, while two others were in another vehicle, according to a news release. Another fatality was in a third vehicle.

                                Race Sawyer, 37, of Lehi, was driving his 12-year-old son Ryder, his sister-in-law Kortni Sawyer, 30, of St. George, and Sawyer’s children 2-year-old Franki and 6-year-old Riggins.

                                In a second car, Richard Lorenzon, 51, was driving his wife Maricela Lorenzon, 47. Both were from Salt Lake City. A passenger in another car, 15-year-old Cameron Valentine, of Yuma, Arizona, also died, said highway patrol.

                                “We have vehicles all over. Several vehicles tried to swerve off the roadway. We have vehicles that are flipped up on their sides,” Highway Patrol Sgt. Cameron Rhoden told KUTV in Salt Lake City. “One of the vehicles that was pulling a trailer, the trailer has pretty much completely been destroyed and is on the freeway.”

                                I-15 remained partially shut down late Sunday. Traffic was redirected around the crash site.:
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