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  • #91
    Two dead as Storm Ianos batters Greece


    A rare Mediterranean cyclone has caused electricity blackouts and road closures in parts of Greece

    At least two people have died as hurricane force hurricane-force winds and heavy rains battered parts of Greece, causing electricity outages and road closures.

    The Ionian Sea islands of Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Ithaca were all badly hit by Storm Ianos on Friday, as winds reaching 100 kilometres per hour (62 miles per hour) damaged buildings, uprooted trees, sank sailboats and left thousands along Greece's western coast without power.

    The rare storm - known as a "medicane", a combination of Mediterranean and hurricane - then swept through central Greece, hitting mainly areas around the cities of Karditsa and Farsala.

    The body of an elderly woman was found in a flooded house in a village near Farsala, fire brigade officials said. Authorities were searching for two more people who had been reported missing, police officials said. A fire brigade official later said a 63-year-old man was found dead near a hospital in Karditsa. It was not immediately clear whether he was among the two people reported missing.

    Ianos is now expected to track southeast, bringing high winds and heavy rainfall, but is not forecast to directly affect Greece's capital, Athens.

    Widespread rains of 150-250 millimetres (6 -10 inches) are possible over the next 48 hours, with some local areas seeing up to 500mm (20 inches).

    Authorities have warned residents to remain indoors and stay alert.

    Medicanes have similar features to hurricanes and typhoons. They can form over cooler waters and usually move from west to east, whereas hurricanes move from east to west.

    Warmer sea surface temperatures in the Mediterranean Sea can allow the storms to take on more tropical appearances and characteristics, increasing the wind speeds and making the storms more intense.

    Storm Ianos could end up being one of the strongest medicanes on record.: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/...084116396.html

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    • #92
      Ran out of names…..

      US Gulf coast braces as Beta set to strengthen into hurricane



      The storm comes amid an exceptionally busy hurricane season that scientists say is due, in part, to climate change.

      Texas is the latest place in the United States bracing for a storm during this year's exceptionally busy storm season, as Tropical Storm Beta is expected to strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall later this week.

      Both the city of Galveston and Galveston County on Saturday issued voluntary evacuation orders ahead of Beta's expected arrival, as did the city of Seabrook to the north of Galveston.

      Galveston's interim mayor, Craig Brown, said in a statement that high tides and up to 25cm (10 inches) of expected rainfall would leave roads impassable, especially along the city's west end and low-lying areas.

      Meanwhile, County Judge Mark Henry said during a Saturday news conference that he was concerned that rising waters could create a storm surge, but that a mandatory evacuation order is not expected.

      "If you can survive in your home for three or four days without power and electricity, which we're not even sure that's going to happen, you're OK," Henry said. "If it’s uncomfortable or you need life support equipment, maybe go somewhere else."

      Beta strengthening

      On Saturday, Tropical Storm Beta was strengthening in the Gulf of Mexico, 495km (307 miles) east-southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, and 395km (245 miles) south of Lake Charles, Louisiana, the US National Hurricane Center said in an advisory.

      The storm was forecast to become a hurricane on Sunday and triggered a tropical storm warning from Port Aransas, Texas, to Intracoastal City, Louisiana.

      In Lake Charles, Louisiana, where thousands of people remain without power more than three weeks after Hurricane Laura slammed into the coast, there were concerns that Beta could hit the area with rain once again.: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/...205728614.html

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      • #93
        Thailand - Storm breaks off entire section of island


        A large section of an island in the Mu Ko Angthong National Marine Park has split off from the main island, probably because heavy rain and strong waves caused limestone to crumble into the sea, according to park chief Piya Nunil.

        Mu Ko Angthong is a marine national park in the Gulf of Thailand in Ko Samui district. The park covers a total area of 102 square kilometres and comprises 42 islands. The islands in the Mu Ko Angthong National Marine Park are made of limestone that dates from about 260 million years ago.

        The southwest part of Ko Hintaek, one of the park's islands, sheared off from the rest of the island -- about 15-20% of the total area.

        Mr Piya said the phenomenon might have been caused by erosion sparked by heavy rain and strong ocean waves.

        A warning his been issued for boats to keep a safe distance from Ko Hintaek for safety reason, as chunks of limestone are still breaking off and falling into the sea, Mr Piya said.: https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand...tion-of-island

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        • #94
          Storm surge and debris already present along Gulf Coast as Tropical Storm Beta takes aim at Texas

          Tropical Storm Beta is churning off the coast of Texas with winds of 60 mph as it takes aim for a potential landfall Monday night or Tuesday morning.


          A storm surge warning is in place from Port Aransas, Texas, to Cameron Parish, Louisiana, where 2 to 4 feet of storm surge is possible.

          Beta's slow moving approach is expected to produce rain over a long period, causing flash, urban and river flooding, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday night.

          After the storm makes landfall along the Texas coast, it is forecast to head northeast across the Texas coastline into Louisiana.

          Storm surge causing damage

          Voluntary evacuations have been issued for several parts of Galveston County, including for residents west of the Galveston Seawall and Jamaica Beach, "which has already experienced some pretty significant flooding," Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said at a briefing Sunday.

          Storm surge has flooded some roadways, leaving debris and causing closures in the Houston area. Several roads in Galveston were closed Sunday night due to high water, the Texas Department of Transportation Houston district said on Twitter.

          "Crews are currently working to clear debris on SH 87 on the east end of Bolivar. We will continue to monitor conditions as we move into the overnight hours," the Houston district of the Texas Department of Transportation tweeted along with a photo of the roadway littered with debris Sunday.

          National Weather Service Houston tweeted video of powerful waters tearing down a fishing pier Sunday night along with a warning that "conditions will only continue to deteriorate through the night."

          High tide on Tuesday could bring "life-threatening storm surge" in areas of Texas and Louisiana, according to NHC.

          "Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions," NHC said. "Promptly follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials."

          The storm could also create tornadoes near the middle-to-upper Texas coast or the southwestern Louisiana coast, NHC said.: https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/21/weath...day/index.html

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          • #95
            California Wildfire Likely To Grow From Wind, Low Humidity

            The destruction wrought by a wind-driven wildfire in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles approached 156 square miles (404 square kilometers) Sunday, burning structures, homes and a nature center in a famed Southern California wildlife sanctuary in foothill desert communities.

            The blaze, known as the Bobcat Fire, is expected to grow through Sunday and Monday as critical fire weather conditions continued due to gusty wind and low humidity. Additional evacuation warnings were issued Sunday afternoon.

            Firefighters were, however, able to defend Mount Wilson this weekend, which overlooks greater Los Angeles in the San Gabriel Mountains and has a historic observatory founded more than a century ago and numerous broadcast antennas serving Southern California.

            The Bobcat Fire started Sept. 6 and has already doubled in size over the last week — becoming one of Los Angeles County's largest wildfires in history, according to the Los Angeles Times. No injuries have been reported.

            The blaze is 15% contained as teams attempt to determine the scope of the destruction in the area about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of downtown LA. Thousands of residents in the foothill communities of the Antelope Valley were ordered to evacuate Saturday as winds pushed the flames into Juniper Hills.

            Roland Pagan watched his Juniper Hills house burn through binoculars as he stood on a nearby hill, according to the Los Angeles Times .

            “The ferocity of this fire was shocking,” Pagan, 80, told the newspaper. “It burned my house alive in just 20 minutes.”

            Resident Perry Chamberlain evacuated initially but returned to extinguish a fire inside his storage container, according to the Southern California News Group, and ended up helping others put out a small fire in their horse stall.

            Chamberlain said Juniper Hills had been like a majestic “sylvan forest” but the fire burned the Juniper and sage brush and a variety of trees.

            “It used to be Juniper Hills,” he said. “Now it’s just Hills.”

            The wildfire also destroyed the nature center at Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area, a geological wonder that attracts some 130,000 visitors per year.

            Though the Bobcat Fire neared the high desert community of Valyermo, a Benedictine monastery there appeared to have escaped major damage, according to the Los Angeles Times.

            Statewide, nearly 19,000 firefighters continue to fight more than two dozen major wildfires. More than 7,900 wildfires have burned more than 5,468 square miles (14,164 square kilometers) in California this year, including many since a mid-August barrage of dry lightning ignited parched vegetation.

            Meanwhile, officials were investigating the death of a firefighter on the lines of another Southern California wildfire that erupted earlier this month from a smoke-generating pyrotechnic device used by a couple to reveal their baby’s gender.

            The death occurred Thursday in San Bernardino National Forest as crews battled the El Dorado Fire about 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, the U.S. Forest Service said in a statement.

            The name of the firefighter killed has not yet been released. A statement from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, said it was the 26th death involving wildfires besieging the state.

            Authorities also have not released the identities of the couple, who could face criminal charges and be held liable for the cost of fighting the fire.

            In Wyoming, a rapidly growing wildfire in the southeastern part of the state was closing in on a reservoir that’s a major source of water for the capital city, Cheyenne.

            The water system remained safe and able to filter out ash and other burned material that flows through streams and reservoirs after wildfires, said Clint Bassett, water treatment manager for the Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities.: https://myhughesnet.hughesnet.com/ne...s_nature_ce-ap

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            • #96
              • Tropical Storm Beta forecast to make landfall Monday in hurricane-weary Gulf Coast

              Tropical Storm Beta, the 23rd storm of the relentless 2020 hurricane season, is expected to bring days of flooding downpours to portions of storm-weary Texas and Louisiana this week after making landfall on Monday.

              The National Hurricane Center said that up to 15 inches of rain could fall in some areas.

              "This rainfall can lead to significant flooding, which may last for several days," AccuWeather senior meteorologist Rob Miller said.

              In addition to the heavy rain, storm surge up to 5 feet was forecast from San Luis Pass to Sabine Pass in Texas. Storm surge flooding was already occurring in some areas along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast on Sunday and early Monday.

              "There is the danger of life-threatening storm surge near times of high tide through Tuesday along portions of the Texas and Louisiana coasts," the Hurricane Center said.

              Beta is forecast to make landfall along the Texas coast later Monday. As of Monday morning, the storm's maximum sustained winds were 50 mph as it spun in the Gulf of Mexico about 55 miles southeast of Port O'Connor, Texas.

              The first rain bands from Beta reached the Texas coast on Sunday, but the heaviest rain wasn’t expected to arrive until late Monday into Tuesday.

              In low-lying Galveston, Texas, officials advised people to have supplies ready in case they have to stay home for several days if roads are flooded.

              “We’re not incredibly worried,” Galveston resident Nancy Kitcheo said Sunday. Kitcheo, 49, and her family had evacuated last month when forecasts said Hurricane Laura could make landfall near Galveston, but they’re planning to buy supplies and wait out Beta. Laura ended up making landfall in neighboring Louisiana.

              Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Sunday said that while Beta was not expected to bring rain like Hurricane Harvey in 2017, he cautioned residents to “be weather alert.”

              “Be weather aware because things can change. This is 2020 and so we have to expect the unexpected,” said Turner.

              Depending on the exact track of Beta, drenching downpours could reach the Southeast later in the week, including areas recently impacted by Hurricane Sally, according to AccuWeather.: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...ge/5850762002/
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              • #97
                • 'It was so terrifying': Bobcat wildfire destroys homes, LA nature center; 6 in hard-hit Oregon accused of starting blazes

                A wildfire burning through a swath of Los Angeles County for more than two weeks remained virtually unchecked Monday as fire managers struggled to gather resources needed to douse the inferno.

                The Bobcat Fire is one of scores of major fires burning across the West – including Oregon, where at least six people have been accused of igniting some of the blazes.

                The Bobcat Fire has burned more than 160 square miles in and around the Angeles National Forest, destroying an unknown number of homes and an iconic nature center. Thousands of residents have fled the flames.

                "We're still in the thick of a good firefight," U.S. Forest Service public information officer Andrew Mitchell told the Los Angeles Times.

                The fire "continues to advance in all compass directions depending on fuels and topography," according to report from the unified command battling the fire. The blaze was expected to spread into several communities.

                Wind gusts and low humidity have hampered efforts to control the blaze, listed as 15% contained.

                The report also cited concerns over stretched resources. Almost 19,000 firefighters are battling 27 major wildfires across the state. The Bobcat has more than 1,700 personnel on scene, but fire managers cited "limited resources for the fire. Critical need for resources continue."

                Sophia Mavrolas, a senior at Cal State Northridge and a resident of Juniper Hills, told the Press-Enterprise newspaper she evacuated Friday but returned home Sunday. She said she could hear propane tanks exploding.

                "It was so terrifying. The fire line stops within just walking distance of my neighbors," she said. "My neighborhood was extremely lucky to get out of this okay, but my heart aches so bad for my neighbors in upper Juniper Hills.”

                The county parks department tweeted that the fire's "devastating destruction" burned the nature center at Devil's Punchbowl Nature Area. No animals nor staff were injured at the 1,310-acre "geological wonder" that draws 130,000 visitors annually, the department said.

                The fire ranks among the largest in county history. The largest, the Station Fire in 2009, burned 250 square miles, killed two firefighters and burned almost 100 homes.

                Since the beginning of the year, there have been over 7,900 wildfires that have burned over 3.5 million acres in California. Since Aug. 15, when California’s fire activity elevated amid dry and windy conditions and a plethora of lightning strikes, there have been 26 fatalities and over 6,100 structures destroyed.

                There has been some good news in recent days – at least for Californians. Millions of them got a brief respite from smoky skies Sunday as westerly winds pushed smoke toward the east. The smoke is moving through the Great Plains, according to the National Weather Service.

                "What benefits us is harming others. Someone has to be downwind," said Brandt Maxwell, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

                At least 80 major fires are currently burning across a dozen Western states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Oregon also has been hard hit: More than 1,500 square miles have burned. The Almeda Fire, just north of the California border, destroyed more than 2,000 homes before being 100% contained.

                The Oregonian reports that at least six men across the state have been accused of intentionally setting fires in recent weeks, although only one involved a fire that burned homes and businesses. Michael Jarrod Bakkela is charged with setting a fire Sept. 8 that damaged 15 properties, threatened the lives of 14 people in neighborhoods near Medford – and contributed to the catastrophic Almeda Fire.

                None of the six accused men have ties to left- or right-wing groups or appear to have been motivated by politics, The Oregonian said.

                In Colorado, wind chased Cameron Peak Fire firefighters from battling the blaze and allowed for one of the fire's largest runs in weeks, authorities said. The fire has burned more than 160 square miles and overran one of the crucial fire lines defending thousands of homes, according to Cory Carlson, the fire's planning operations trainee.

                In Wyoming, the Mullen Fire was threatening the Rob Roy Reservoir, which provides water for the the city of Cheyenne.: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...er/5850852002/
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                • #98
                  In early 2005, officials across Florida gathered for the state’s annual hurricane conference, still weary and worn out from a disastrous 2004 hurricane season.

                  The state’s then-health department director, John Agwunobi, urged the group in a keynote session not to be complacent. In a prescient statement, he warned: Just because four hurricanes struck Florida in 2004 didn’t mean five couldn’t strike in 2005.

                  Phil Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University who makes seasonal hurricane forecasts based on climate variables such as ocean temperature and wind currents, remembers that quote – and the season that followed.

                  By the end of 2005, many records had been set. For the first time, the National Hurricane Center turned to Greek alphabet names after running through the list of storm names for the season. And five hurricanes struck Florida.

                  One of those was Katrina, which devastated a swath of the northern Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, making landfall twice Aug. 29, 2005. It became the fourth deadliest hurricane on record, claiming 1,833 lives and displacing hundreds of thousands of people.

                  One hurricane after another set records for low barometric pressure, until finally in October, Wilma’s central pressure dropped to 882 mb. (The lower the pressure, the stronger the storm.)

                  That low pressure record stands today. The 2005 season finally wound to a close with Hurricane Epsilon, only the sixth December hurricane in history. The season that caused more than $124 billion in losses was one many hoped never to repeat.

                  Fifteen years later, to some it seems like déjà vu.

                  Fifteen years ago this weekend, hurricane researcher Mark Sudduth, owner of HurricaneTrack.com, was on his way to Texas for Category 5 Rita. Sunday, he was on the coast of Texas documenting Beta's early storm surge flooding.

                  "We saw this coming in April, with the signals of a very warm Atlantic and the La Niña," Sudduth said. "When Beta makes landfall, it will tie or set the record for the most tropical cyclones to hit the U.S. in a single season. That's just crazy."

                  Given 23 named storms have formed already, Klotzbach said the chances are good that 2020 will surpass 2005 for named storms but not for hurricanes and major hurricanes.

                  After Teddy and Beta, the rest of September looks "pretty quiet," Klotzbach said. October "looks favorable" for more storms.

                  The big difference between the two seasons, Sudduth said, is "we haven't had the very long lasting, powerful hurricanes like we did in '05."

                  In that regard, Klotzbach said, it's unlikely 2020 will catch up to 2005.

                  In terms of the intensity and duration of the strongest storms, 2020 is unlikely to equal 2005, Klotzbach said. By the end of 2005, the accumulated cyclone energy – measured by the intensity and duration of all the storms combined – was 250, he said. Right now, the Atlantic's accumulated energy is around 90.

                  "I think it’s highly questionable we get five more major hurricanes this year to equal 2005," Klotzbach said.

                  This year will be "hard pressed to approach 2005," he said. "Of course, it is 2020, so I can’t rule out anything!"

                  Sudduth ageed. "We still have a ways to go," he said. "You never know.": https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...05/5838748002/

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                  • #99
                    Tropical Storm Beta Becomes 9th Named Storm To Make Landfall In U.S. This Year

                    It was also the first time a Greek letter named storm made landfall in the continental U.S.

                    Tropical Storm Beta stalled out Tuesday along the Texas coast, flooding streets in Houston and Galveston hours after making landfall amid an unusually busy hurricane season.

                    The storm made landfall late Monday just north of Port O’Connor, Texas, and has the distinction of being the first time a storm named for a Greek letter made landfall in the continental United States. Forecasters ran out of traditional storm names last week, forcing the use of the Greek alphabet for only the second time since the 1950s.

                    Early Tuesday, Beta was 10 miles (15 kilometers) east-southeast of Victoria, Texas, with maximum winds of 40 mph (64 kph), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The storm was moving toward the northwest near 3 mph (4 kilometers) and is expected to stall inland over Texas through Wednesday.

                    “We currently have both storm surge and rainfall going on right now,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Amaryllis Cotto in Galveston, Texas.

                    Cotto said 6-12 inches (15-30 centimeters) of rain has fallen in the area, with isolated amounts of up to 18 inches (45 centimeters). Dangerous flash flooding is expected through Wednesday, Cotto said.

                    Beta was the ninth named storm that made landfall in the continental U.S. this year. That tied a record set in 1916, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach.

                    Beta was forecast to eventually move over Louisiana and Mississippi on Wednesday night through Friday, and the biggest unknown was how much rainfall it could produce. Beta was expected to weaken into a depression, but flash flooding was possible in Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi as the system moves farther inland.

                    Earlier predictions of up to 20 inches (51 centimeters) in some areas were downgraded Monday to up to 15 inches (38 centimeters).

                    Forecasters and officials reassured residents Beta was not expected to be another Hurricane Harvey or Tropical Storm Imelda. Harvey in 2017 dumped more than 50 inches (127 centimeters) of rain on Houston, causing $125 billion in damage in Texas. Imelda, which hit Southeast Texas last year, was one of the wettest cyclones on record.

                    Storm surge up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) was possible in the Galveston and Beaumont areas through Wednesday morning, forecasters said. In Galveston, an island city southeast of Houston, there was already some street flooding Monday from rising tides and part of a popular fishing pier collapsed due to strong waves.: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tropi...b6a9b19b3dd965


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                    • Fierce, frequent, climate-fueled wildfires may decimate forests worldwide

                      Whether woodlands can survive more intense wildfire scenarios will depend on two key issues – how frequently the fires come, and how hot they burn.

                      Wildfires among ponderosa pines and Douglas firs of the U.S. West have long been part of nature’s cycle of renewal, as much as the changing of the seasons.

                      But as climate change makes the region more arid, wildfires have grown more frequent and ferocious. Scientists worry the hottest blazes could end up obliterating swathes of some forests forever.

                      “When you get these large areas burned there are no surviving trees to reseed these areas,” said Jon Keeley, a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “It is causing a shift from forest to other vegetation types, mostly shrublands and grasslands.”

                      Climate change has made these landscape-changing wildfires a concern worldwide. This year, record fires have also raged in Australia, Argentina and the Siberian Arctic. The fires in these regions have also been exacerbated by heat and drought conditions made worse by climate change, scientists say.

                      “What we’re seeing with fires in California and elsewhere around the world is that fire is really responsive to climate change,” said Jennifer Balch, a fire ecologist at the University of Colorado Boulder.

                      That is bad news for temperate and boreal forests, which unlike tropical forests such as the Amazon have evolved over millennia to need occasional fire outbreaks for their own renewal, scientists say. Whether these woodlands can survive more intense wildfire scenarios will depend on two key issues – how frequently the fires come, and how hot they burn.

                      This year’s deadly fires in the United States had devoured a record of nearly 5 million acres as of Sunday, a scale of devastation that fits into the longer-term trend of more acreage being scorched as temperatures rise.

                      Historically, fires in the region tended to burn low to the ground, eliminating dead conifer limbs, keeping competing species in check and prompting pine cones to open and disperse their seeds.

                      These days, fire crews are seeing increasing cases of massive “tree-torching” fires that engulf forests from the ground up through the canopy.

                      “Fires are not unnatural, but the kind of behavior and the times, places and conditions they are igniting in are very, very unusual,” said Timothy Ingalsbee, who heads the Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology, an Oregon-based advocacy group that promotes forest management to mitigate fire risks.

                      If fires sweep a forest too frequently, they will wipe out saplings before they can reach maturity. Too hot, and the fire can turn large areas into a moonscape barren of the seeds needed for new growth. Climate change could fuel conditions for both scenarios.

                      In California, a rise of 1.4 degrees Celsius in average summertime temperatures since the 1970s coincided with a five-fold increase in acreage burned annually, researchers reported last year in the American Geophysical Union.

                      The same dry conditions that aggravate the fires also undermine new forest growth.

                      “In some hotter and drier areas, the climate has shifted to the point where it’s no longer suitable for tree regeneration,” said Kimberley Davis, an ecologist at the University of Montana. “In those areas, once there is a fire, trees won’t grow back.”

                      In the Rocky Mountain region over the next 30 years, climate change and wildfires could shrink ponderosa pine areas by 16 percent and Douglas fir acreage by 10 percent, according to research by Davis and colleagues in Environmental Research Letters.

                      Scientists in Australia are already seeing evidence that fire is reshaping landscapes, possibly irreversibly.

                      A series of unusually frequent blazes in the southeastern Australian Alps since 2003 has caused forest systems there to collapse, said David Bowman, a fire scientist at the University of Tasmania.

                      “As we’re doing the research project, another fire happened: Then the system crashed,” Bowman said. “It went from a forested state to a non-forested state. No forest, no trees – Kaput.”

                      Even more worrying, scientists say, is an apparent increase in wildfires in the Siberian Arctic, which can thaw permafrost and release climate-warming methane from the frozen land.

                      Satellite observations over the last two decades revealed frequent burnings in Siberia’s boreal forest, which might have required a fire only once every 80 to 200 years to regenerate. That increase could be evidence of a fire regime change, said Thomas Smith, a geographer at the London School of Economics.

                      “It’s very difficult for ecosystems to adapt to that pace of change,” Smith said. “It’s going to be catastrophic in terms of the loss of carbon when you move from forest to non-forest, and that’s part of this positive feedback cycle.”: https://www.nbcnews.com/science/envi...rldwid-rcna131


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                      • California fire becomes largest in state history


                        The Creek Fire in California has become the largest single wildfire in the state's history, burning 286,519 acres in Fresno and Madera counties.

                        Cal Fire said the Creek Fire, which ignited on Sept. 4, has destroyed 855 structures and damaged 71 others. Forty crews involving more than 3,100 personnel have managed to contain only 32 percent of the blaze.

                        Wildfires have resulted in 26 fatalities in California this year, Cal Fire added Tuesday, scorching 2 million acres, another state record.

                        The previous record was set in 2018, when 1.96 million acres burned in California.

                        At least 50 major fires have raged across the West Coast this week alone, the U.S. Fire, Weather & Avalanche Center reported.

                        Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) warned earlier this month that this year could see the most significant loss of life and property from fires in the state on record, as more than 300,000 acres have burned across Oregon.

                        Smoke from the West Coast fires has been detected by National Aeronautics and Space Administration instruments all the way in the Netherlands and Hamburg, Germany.: https://thehill.com/homenews/state-w...-state-history

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                        • As wildfires burn the West Coast, residents face another challenge: High prices pushing people out of urban centers

                          Working-class Americans in states like California are more likely to see their homes go up in flames, but choosing a safer place to live isn’t necessarily straightforward in the age of climate change

                          Another tragic wildfire season will lead thousands of people across the West Coast — particularly in California — to move to greener pastures, by choice or by necessity.

                          But where they should move to is a difficult question, as a changing climate rapidly shifts how livable many parts of the country are.

                          Thousands of wildfires are burning across California. So far this year, more than 5,500 homes and businesses and over 3.4 million acres have burned as a result of more than 7,900 fires across the state, according to CalFire. The wildfires are so intense that they’ve turned the skies orange and forced thousands of residents to shelter indoors.

                          But California isn’t alone for its historic wildfire season: Infernos in Oregon and Washington have forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes, and blazes have also ripped across the state of Colorado.

                          And thousands more properties could be destroyed in the days and weeks to come. Over 23,700 homes are located in evacuation zones across California and Oregon, according to data from Realtor.com. Those homes have a total estimated value of $8 billion.

                          Many people across these states will have no choice but to find a new place to live if their homes are destroyed, but still more could relocate by choice amid growing concerns about the rising wildfire risk in these areas. “Because the fires are so bad this year and so broadly covered, the experience might be enough to get people to decide that they want to move,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com.

                          Who will choose to move because of the wildfires?
                          Moving is often an expensive proposition. There are of course the obvious financial costs associated with hiring a moving company or renting a truck to ship a household’s belongings. But then there are the less obvious costs in terms of the loss of one’s social network, which can provide contacts for things like available jobs or child-care.

                          As a result, folks in higher-paying, white-collar jobs are at an advantage. “Like we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, the jobs that tend to pay higher incomes tend to offer more flexibility in terms of working from home,” Hale said. “So you could logically assume those people have more flexibility in choosing where they could live and could be faster in making that decision.”

                          But in many cases, especially in California, the worst wildfires have occurred near lower-income communities. That itself is a reflection of the trade-offs many of the state’s residents have had to make in recent years.

                          Skyrocketing home prices and rents in cities such as San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles have pushed many working-class and middle-class Californians further and further away from urban centers. As a result, a growing number of these residents are living in communities located in an area called the “wildland urban interface,” where nature meets human development.

                          “They’ve been pushed into these very high risk areas, and they are bearing the consequences of this,” said Jesse Keenan, a climate change scholar and professor at Tulane University. The wildland urban interface poses a significant fire risk, as the construction of new homes and businesses disrupts native vegetation, which can make it more prone to igniting. And because those homes and businesses are in close proximity to these natural areas, when wildfires start they can quickly be destroyed.

                          When wildfires do destroy entire communities, wealthier residents are more likely to stay, research has shown. A project at California State University, Chico mapped where survivors of the Camp Fire in 2018 relocated. That fire destroyed the entire community of Paradise, a town with a population of nearly 27,000 residents. The researchers used mailing lists for the region’s residents before the fire and compared it with U.S. Postal Service data to determine who permanently changed their addresses and where they moved to.

                          Their study found nearly half of households making less than $50,000 in annual income moved more than 30 miles away from their previous home after the fire. Comparatively, half of household earning above $150,000 a year moved to the nearby city of Chico.

                          “People move in proximity to where they think the jobs are and to where their social relationships are,” Keenan said. “But that being said, when you lose everything, you’re almost free.”

                          The high cost of housing in California and other states affected by this year’s wildfires could lead to significant levels of out-migration. In the wake of a disaster, residents compete for a small number of homes, driving prices up. And those who look to rebuild their properties must contend with higher costs associated with labor and building materials.

                          “As if these counties weren’t already vulnerable enough to everything that’s happened in 2020, fire risks could be the proverbial ‘push over the edge’ in terms of making costs such as insurance higher, or unavailable completely, and sway buyers to other areas,” said Todd Teta, chief product officer at real-estate analytics firm Attom Data Solutions.: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/as...ove-2020-09-21
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                          • Drone video captures historic wildfire destruction in Lincoln County

                            The Echo Mountain Complex Fire destroyed nearly 300 homes. Matt Brandt flew his drone over neighborhoods in hard-hit Otis, showing the magnitude of the loss.

                            Matt Brandt is a professional photographer who often captures happy events. This past week, he documented a tragedy.

                            “This is one of those things, I felt like it needed to be captured in a photo, in a video; people need to see what’s happening here,” said Brandt.

                            The longtime Lincoln City resident was able to fly his drone over the neighborhoods in nearby Otis. The Echo Mountain Complex fire took dozens and dozens of homes there, burned to the ground.


                            “It was a pretty emotional moment. I had already had those moments where I was crying with people and talking with them about those things and then to zoom out and to see the whole scale, it was too much," Brandt said.

                            Brandt had spent time on the ground in Otis, too, donating individual aerial pictures to people who wanted them. The images capture the loss residents had suffered earlier this month.

                            “For me it was really difficult because I know a lot of these people, I know a lot of these stories, and I’ve seen a lot of these homes and you can’t wrap your mind around it,” said Brandt.

                            The 2,500-acre fire is now fully contained, however it burned more than 1,200 structures, including nearly 300 homes.

                            But there are homes still standing in the midst of the destruction. Like one on a half-acre, belonging to Brandt's good friend. Nicole Clarke works at the local newspaper, The News Guard, in Lincoln City. She and her family are still out of their house in Otis, but it’s still standing. Most of their friends and neighbors lost everything.

                            “I don’t know if they’re going to come back. I have no idea so a lot of it is that, and being there and being OK that our house has made it,” said Clarke.

                            Brandt shared a before and after picture of one section of a neighborhood that really brought it home.: https://www.kgw.com/article/news/loc...d-64168f01955a


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                            • Mexican firefighters arrive in California to help battle wildfires

                              Firefighters from Mexico are in California to help battle the record-breaking wildfires ravaging the state.

                              The US Forest Service in California welcomed firefighters from Mexico's National Forestry Commission on Wednesday.

                              "Fires do not have borders, fires do not have different languages and cultures. In the end we all speak the same language when it comes to fighting fire," said Eduardo Cruz, the Mexican agency's national fire director.

                              The crews from Mexico will help fight the Sequoia Complex Fire, which spans more than 144,000 acres and as of Thursday was only 35% contained.

                              "We're proud to have them here," said Tony Scardina, deputy regional forester of the Pacific Southwest region of the US Forest Service.

                              Canada also sent firefighting crews to California and Oregon this month, after the US Forest Service requested additional help through the National Interagency Fire Center.

                              At least 23 large fires are burning in California, with 12 more in Oregon. In California, more than 3.4 million acres have been burned -- the worst in the state's history. In Oregon, 938,000 acres have burned.: https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/24/us/me...rnd/index.html

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                              • Smoke from California wildfires may have killed up to 3,000 people, study says



                                More than two dozen deaths have been directly attributed to the wildfires, but researchers say toxic smoke could have caused significantly more deaths.

                                California has experienced an unprecedented fire season as wildfires driven by drought and high winds have burned through more than 3.4 million acres across the state and left heavy, toxic smoke hanging over the region.

                                Thousands were forced to evacuate in August and early September as hundreds of homes were destroyed.

                                Nearly 30 deaths have been directly attributed to the blazes, but researchers from Stanford University estimate the heavy smoke that has hung over California for roughly a month may have contributed to significantly more deaths.

                                Researchers estimate that the heavy wildfire smoke that blanketed California for almost a month straight likely led to at least 1,200, and up to 3,000, deaths in the state between Aug. 1 and Sept. 10 that would have otherwise not happened. About 4,800 extra emergency room visits were also connected to the smoke.

                                “While media coverage on fire impacts has justifiably focused on the lives that have immediately been lost to the fire, the total cost in terms of human lives and health is likely far larger, due to the immense amount of smoke that has been inhaled over the last 3 weeks by the very large number of people living on the West Coast,” researchers from Stanford’s Center on Food Security and the Environment wrote.

                                “These are hidden deaths. These are people who were probably already sick but for whom air pollution made them even sicker,” Marshall Burke, deputy director of Stanford’s Center on Food Security and the Environment, told the San Jose Mercury News.

                                The deaths occurred among people age 65 and older, most of whom had underlying conditions like heart disease, diabetes and respiratory illnesses.

                                The study tracked the toxicity of the air quality and the health toll from prolonged exposure using existing Medicare data on air pollution and mortality.

                                Researchers noted several caveats to the non-peer-reviewed study, such as the effect of the coronavirus pandemic in the number of excess deaths.: https://thehill.com/changing-america...ay-have-killed


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