Displaying items by tag: extreme weather
As temperatures reached 106F (41C) in Montana and Arizona, animals scorched their paws on blistering asphalt. Texas residents must limit cooking and cleaning to preserve the power grid in one of the most excruciating heat waves to hit the USA this early in the year. 40 million people are experiencing 100F (38C) temperatures, and 50 million are under excessive heat warnings. Across the south-west wildfires have spread, with lightning and gusty winds threatening to spark more. The extreme heat and drought complicate firefighters’ efforts to contain the blazes. Arizona’s large aerial firefighting tankers couldn’t fly due to high temperatures and diminished water supplies. Cooling and hydration stations have opened across the American west and the hottest months of the year are yet to come. Scientists say, ‘Climate change is a human engineered change; fire suppression is a human thing too. It is a result of our activities and decisions.’
Intense storms and violence forced 40.5 million people to become displaced within their countries last year, despite strict restrictions on movement globally to halt Covid spreading. Conflicts and natural disasters forced one person every second to flee within their own country in 2020, pushing up the number of people living in internal displacement camps. The number of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) was more than double the 26 million people who fled across borders as refugees. Three-quarters of the people who fled were victims of extreme weather. Intense cyclones, monsoon rains and floods hit highly-exposed and densely-populated areas in Asia and the Pacific, while the Atlantic hurricane season ‘was the most active on record’. Extended rainy seasons across the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa uprooted millions more. Experts say climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of such extreme weather events. Norwegian Refugee Council chief Jan Egeland described the report’s findings as ‘shocking’.
By 18 February millions were still without electricity after a week of snowstorms, with more snow expected to sweep across the South and East in the coming days. An electricity supply crisis is forcing millions to endure days without power and heat. Ambulances in San Antonio were unable to meet the surging demand, and Galveston county called for refrigerated trucks to hold the bodies they expect to find in freezing, powerless houses. 31 bodies have been found so far. Texas has problems getting natural gas and renewable energy generators back online. It is not known when the power will be fully restored. Every source of power has been compromised. Several state agencies are uniting to meet the demands of nursing homes, hospitals and dialysis centers, which have reported a variety of problems including water main breaks and oxygen shortages. Over 300 warming centres provide blankets, cots and water to vulnerable citizens.
The UK has experienced a week of dangerous snow and ice culminating in below -20C temperatures. Local councils are warning residents to take extra care while the cold snap lasts, as the weekend weather will turn ‘quite hazardous’. The Centrepoint charity for homeless young people is urging the public to contact them if they see people living out in the cold. Charities are also advised to offer anyone seen to be sleeping rough a hot drink, meal, blankets or clothing. Over 100 street cleaning and waste collection teams have been diverted from regular duties to clear snow from footpaths and routes to medical centres to enable COVID immunisation to continue. On 11 February nine flood warnings indicated flooding is very likely; a further 88 flood alerts indicate that flooding is possible as the snow melts and further freezing rain continues.
In the USA a powerful storm sent waves crashing into sea walls and caused flooding in coastal communities from New Jersey to Maine. In Australia bushfires have forced thousands to flee Covid-19 lockdowns in an ‘unprecedented situation'. By 3 February the fire had destroyed 71 homes and injured six firefighters. In addition to the dangerous blazes, tropical storms churning off the coast could help to contain fires. Also widespread record-breaking snow pummelled northeast America, shattering centuries-old records, and is expected to spawn another whopper next week. Pray for God to watch over all who have lost their homes and businesses to the Australian fires. May they be able to achieve social distancing in relief shelters. Pray for God to give peace to people experiencing travel disruption, particularly those in stranded vehicles. Pray for aid and help to reach isolated rural communities, particularly those with power cuts.
By 9am on 20 January large parts of England and Wales experienced severe rain disruption on roads and railways. 2,000 properties in Greater Manchester were evacuated overnight. More residents were evacuated in Wales and Merseyside as heavy rain and snow fell. High rivers called for warnings of danger to life at Didsbury, Northenden, and Maghull. Despite the best efforts of all agencies, more evacuations have been necessary, and people advised to evacuate must do so urgently. Pray for all needing rescuing to be reached, and for those ravaged by 2019 floods who are now watching water rise again. Covid-safe emergency centres are in leisure centres. There are 130 flood warnings and 225 flood alerts, and most of England, Wales and NI have yellow weather warnings. The Met Office said Christoph is not a traditional storm; most disruption is by rain, and ‘we are going to see further rain over the next 24 to 36 hours’.
Deep snow left by Storm Filomena turned to ice, disrupting transport and lowering temperatures to -25C (-13F). The elderly are warned to stay at home. At least seven people have died due to the weather. ‘We are going to have this cold for a few more days, but we all pull together’, Yoli Asensio said, ‘Day-to-day life is difficult, access to homes and roads are blocked.’ There were 1,200 fracture cases in one day, caused by accidents on the ice - an average of fifty an hour. 1,300 snow-clearing vehicles managed to push snow off 12,100km of roads, to keep them ice-free. In contrast, Greece is basking in unusually warm weather, with Athens recording temperatures of 23C (73.4F) - the average January temperature is 10C.
Louisiana and Mississippi were hit by two hurricanes and two tropical storms already this year; before recovering they are being hit again, by Hurricane Zeta, which is intensifying into a stronger-category storm as it moves north. Pray for five million residents preparing for the eye of the storm and the repair of damaged voting sites with the election days away. Across Indonesia high tides caused by the La Nina phenomenon in the Pacific has caused dozens of landslides and widespread flooding across most of 17,000 islands where millions of people live who are also bracing for further monsoon floods. Pray for emergency workers and residents, already battling the new coronavirus. May God assist them in responding to crises. A landslide at a coal mine on Sumatra killed 11 miners. After heavy rainfall over Vietnam a landslide killed 14 at an army barracks, burying many more. Typhoon Molave has now made landfall in Vietnam.
On 13 October, the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, the UN released a report saying the world needs rapidly to raise investment for early warning systems for extreme weather events. Over the past 50 years, recorded disasters have increased five-fold and could increase by 50% over the next decade; one in three people on Earth are not adequately covered by warning systems. The researchers are calling for a change in emphasis, from simply forecasting what the weather will be to showing the impact of that weather system. Pray for good-quality warning systems in the least developed countries and in small island states. The advent of coronavirus has made building early warning systems more difficult. Pray for governments to add climate change threat to pandemic threat as they strategise to save lives and livelihoods, and to focus investment on turning early warning information into early action. See
At the time of writing (18 June - midday) Somerset media have reported torrential rain, flash floods, thunder, and lightning strikes in the last 24 hours, with more on the way. Pray for the owners of flooded homes and businesses, for those desperately laying sandbags against further flash floods, and for those experiencing power cuts and hazardous driving conditions as storms spread across the country. Other parts of England had torrential rainfall, and some houses were set alight by lightning. A local chamber of commerce in Gloucestershire said it was ‘heart-wrenching’ to see that shops which had just reopened after lockdown were now flooded.