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Heavy rains hit Australia’s flood-drenched northeast

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2011 at 4:13 am

 Heavy rains threatened further flooding in Australia’s drenched northeast Thursday as besieged Rockhampton cut supplies to “irresponsible” residents who refused to leave water-bound homes.

Torrential downpours could cause flash-flooding and worsen existing floods, the weather bureau said, as water levels slowly started to recede in regional centre Rockhampton, a town virtually surrounded by a brown inland sea.

Australia’s coal-mining and farming belt near Brisbane is suffering “biblical” floods across an area the size of Texas, after La Nina, a weather system, deluged Queensland state with its wettest year on record.

Emergency personnel look for residents in need of evacuation after the swollen Fitzroy River broke its banks and flooded the city of Rockhampton on January 5, 2011

Waters peaked in Rockhampton at lower levels than feared and slowly started to recede, while downstream other communities braced for the floods. The disaster, described as the state’s worst, has inundated or cut off 40 towns.

Entire towns have been airlifted as the murky tide gushes across Queensland, destroying crops, roads and bridges and sweeping 10 people to their deaths, along with thousands of animals.

The crisis has cost about Aus$1 billion ($1 billion US) in lost production at Queensland’s coking coal mines, which account for half the world’s supply, putting upward inflationary pressure on the shaky global economy.

Meanwhile, thousands of people have evacuated or are trying to salvage homes and belongings, while dealing with the threat of poisonous snakes, crocodiles and disease-carrying mosquitoes as they negotiate the sludge and rain.

Rockhampton’s mayor Brad Carter angrily slammed residents, including those with children, who refused to evacuate and now relied on food and groceries brought by emergency personnel wading through snake-infested waters.

“We have taken a decision, and we make it very clear, that we cannot put emergency services resources at risk bringing in those supplies,” Carter said.

“They have to now respect and understand that because they make that choice… they will not be getting resupply of essential services, goods and grocery items provided by emergency services personnel.”

Acting police superintendent David Peff said that wading into the waters — sometimes up to chest height — was dangerous for his men and backed the mayor’s pleas to isolated residents in the town of 75,000.

“Every time we put police or SES (State Emergency Service) people into that water… my personal concern is people that are helping will end up being bitten by a snake,” Peff told reporters.

Residents of Condamine, which was completely evacuated, were making their way back to the deserted town, while only about 100 of Emerald’s 11,000 inhabitants remained in emergency shelters as of Wednesday night.

Australia’s sodden 2010 — the third wettest year on record — broke a decade-old drought in some areas and brought the unusual sight of waterfalls cascading off Uluru, or Ayers Rock, as torrents raced along parched riverbeds.

Lush, green landscapes in New South Wales state forced film-makers to postpone shooting for “Mad Max 4”, set in a post-apocalypse desert, while an Outback yachting regatta went ahead for the first time in 10 years.

Source: SGGP

Floods kill 37 in China’s northeast: media

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2010 at 7:18 am

The death toll from floods sweeping through northeastern China has risen to 37, state media said Saturday, as the country continues to battle the worst floods in a decade.

Torrential rains in Jilin province have left a further 35 missing as more than 364,000 people were evacuated from waterlogged areas, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The weather bureau has predicted more heavy rain for the central and eastern parts of the hard-hit province, with experts warning of further flooding and landslides.

Water, electricity and telecommunications services were cut in parts of the province, while train services in the town of Kouqian were suspended after the railway station was surrounded by flood waters, previous reports said.

More than 95,500 buildings have been damaged in the floods, with 25,400 destroyed, Xinhua said.

A general view shows the town of Kouqian in China’s Jilin province, on July 28

Floods up to three metres (10 feet) deep in some places submerged factories and houses, reports said earlier this week, before the waters receded to about one metre.

Elsewhere in Jilin, hundreds of workers scrambled to recover 3,000 barrels full of explosive chemicals that were washed by flood waters into the Songhua River, a major waterway.

Water supplies to the nearby city of Jilin were temporarily cut after the incident on Wednesday, leaving 4.3 million people dependent on bottled water.

A total of 7,000 barrels were washed into the river, with 2,500 containing the chemical trimethyl chloro silicane — a highly explosive, colorless liquid — while 500 contained the compound hexamethyl disilazane, Xinhua said.

About 3,700 barrels had been recovered by Friday afternoon, the report said, but it was not clear how many of them contained the chemicals.

Jilin is the latest province to have been hit by recent deadly floods that have killed more than 300 people since July 14 and left another 300 missing, according to the latest official figures.

Until now, torrential rains have mostly hit China’s south, swelling the Yangtze River — the nation’s longest waterway — and some of its tributaries to dangerous levels.

In the far-western Xinjiang region, rescuers were trying to reach 700 residents, construction workers and tourists trapped by floods.

Floodwaters have damaged three bridges and a dozen buildings in Kuqa county in the central part of the region, with more than 13,000 people from the area preparing to reinforce dykes to contain floods.

The worst floods in a decade have left 991 dead and 558 missing since the beginning of the year and caused more than 28 billion dollars in damage, latest official figures show, and authorities have warned of more to come.

Source: SGGP

Rain, winds, record heat hit Northeast on same day

In World on December 4, 2009 at 4:42 am

A storm packing blustery winds and driving rain knocked out power to thousands of homes and businesses in the Northeast on Thursday before giving way to sunny skies and record high temperatures — all in the same morning.

Utility officials reported sporadic power outages from Maine to New Jersey after wind knocked down trees and power lines early Thursday. Winds reached up to 49 mph in Brunswick, Maine, while the Isle of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire recorded a 61 mph gust. In New Jersey, wind speeds topped out at 45 mph.

But the rain and wind that battered the region early Thursday gave way to sunny skies and unseasonably high temperatures by mid-morning.

Visitors to Fort Williams Park watch the heavy surf explode onto the rocks, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009, in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

In Boston, the temperature hit 69 degrees, breaking the old record of 65 set in 1932. In Portland, the temperature climbed to 68 degrees — crushing the old high of 55 for the date. Providence, R.I., had a record high of 66, and Concord, N.H., set a record at 65.

“It’s not right. It’s December. It’s supposed to be snowing,” said Jennifer Sporzynski, who sat on a park bench Thursday in Portland’s Old Port. “I like warm weather — but not in December.”

But for others, the balmy weather was just fine.

In Boston, joggers ran downtown in shorts and T-shirts, while walkers strolled through the city with jackets tied around their waists.

David Montero, 36, exited his Downtown Crossing apartment Thursday morning wearing a heavy coat to walk his 2-year-old Boston Terrier named Bolt.

“I personally would take this all week, if we could have it,” Montero said as he watched Bolt play with two other dogs in the Boston Common.

Still, Montero said he couldn’t get over the sight of seeing people in the grassy park exercising in shorts. “Totally bizarro,” he said.

For many, the day started with lashing rain. Central Maine Power, the state’s largest electric utility, reported 6,700 customers in the dark at the storm’s peak. In New Jersey, more than 10,000 homes and businesses lost electricity. Other northeastern states, including New Hampshire, also suffered power outages.

High winds disrupted some ferry services from Cape Cod to the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Two scheduled passenger ferries and a freight ferry from Hyannis to Nantucket were canceled Thursday morning, while ferries from Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard were running on a trip-by-trip basis, the Steamship Authority reported.

Heavy waves pounded the shore, causing beach erosion up and down the Atlantic coast. Coastal flooding closed several roads in New Hampshire at high tide late Thursday morning.

Jim Brown from the National Weather Service says the cooldown will be nearly as swift as the arrival of the record warmth. Seasonably cooler weather is expected by the weekend in the Northeast.

Source: SGGP Bookmark & Share