Displaying items by tag: extreme weather

Thursday, 06 January 2022 21:31

A rare ‘thundersnow’ to fall

The forecast for northern England and Scotland on 7 and 8 January is for thundersnow with freezing rain, followed by snow and lightning, disrupting travel and causing power cuts. On 9 or 10 January, wintry showers will likely be just over the higher tops and fells. Forecasters said thundersnow is driven by the same conditions which cause thunder in the summer - the difference in temperature between the ground and the air surrounding it. Pray for those whose balance could be impaired when walking on icy ground. Pray for drivers to be careful when rain is followed by frost and black ice appears. Pray for any power cuts to be shortlived, and for the vulnerable to keep warm in unnaturally freezing conditions. Also, strong winds will bring the risk of drifting and blizzards. Pray especially for the farmers with livestock out on the hills.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 25 November 2021 21:16

Storm Arwen bringing snow and gales

Swathes of Britain are set to be battered by gales as Storm Arwen brings winds of up to 75mph. The Met Office has issued weather warnings covering most of the UK for 27 November, with coastal areas hit hardest. Forecasters say high winds may cause some travel disruption and damage in the worst-affected areas. An amber alert issued for northeast Scotland and northeast England says ‘flying debris is likely and could lead to injuries or danger to life’. Longer journey times in those areas are likely, with rail, air and ferry services potentially disrupted. Parts of the UK are also set for a sprinkling of snow this weekend as an Arctic blast bites, sending temperatures tumbling towards freezing. The wintry mix of gales, rain and snow is predicted anywhere except the far south.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 28 October 2021 21:30

Italy: flash flooding and hurricane

An official In Catania, Sicily, called the situation ‘very critical’. Streets are completely flooded, and a red alert - the highest level warning - has been issued for flooding in northeast Sicily and the southwest region of Calabria. A depression on the Mediterranean is causing disturbed weather conditions in southern Italy. Over two feet of rain fell in half a day - never seen before. While storms continue, a Medicane (rare Mediterranean hurricane producing 5 metre waves) meanders south, with 150mm of rain predicted for Friday with localized areas receiving higher amounts. Schools and businesses are closed, and people are advised to stay indoors and banned from areas prone to landslides. Fire and rescue have had hundreds of callouts in one day. See alsowww.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-59048809

Published in Europe
Thursday, 02 September 2021 22:15

USA: Hurricane Ida

Ida, the strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in Louisiana, hit as Category 4 while the region's hospitals were under siege from rising Covid cases. Debbie and her family cowered on a stairway landing while four feet of muddy water rushed into her home. She and her son had earlier safely rescued her elderly parents from their home, but now they prayed the roof would not collapse on them all. ‘God blessed us that we all survived,’ she said after they were rescued. Her experience is just one of the tens of thousands rescued by crews in high-water trucks, helicopters and swamp boats desperately searching for survivors. Pray for Louisiana communities beginning the huge task of clearing debris and repairing damage. They are facing the depressing prospect of weeks without electricity in the stifling, late-summer heat because the region's power grid is down. On 2 September, New York City declared a state of emergency after flash flooding: see

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 19 August 2021 21:23

USA: devastating wildfires

The Dixie Fire is the largest of nearly 100 major wildfires burning across a dozen western US states, including Alaska. Two mountain communities were incinerated, and a utility company blacked out 51,000 customers to prevent new blazes. Two weeks after the fire destroyed Greenville, the Caldor Fire a few miles southeast exploded and ravaged Grizzly Flats, a forest community of around 1,200 people, destroying more than 50 homes. Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in El Dorado County. Both fires grew by tens of thousands of acres in two days. Numerous resources were put into the Susanville area, with 18,000 people. Residents were warned to be ready to evacuate. By 19 August over 2.4 million acres were burned in 104 large fires and complexes in twelve states, involving over 25,000 wildland firefighters and support personnel.

Published in Worldwide
Thursday, 12 August 2021 21:25

Wildfires around the world

The smoke plume of California’s Dixie Fire (the largest in US history) is so thick, only the red light of the sun can pierce the smoke particles, in a scene that looks like Mars. Over a hundred other large fires are raging elsewhere in the USA. Greece has been fighting the worst blazes in Europe amid blistering temperatures, leaving dozens in hospital. Their firefighting resources are strained, exhausted, and needing help; twenty countries including the UK recently sent reinforcements. Turkey’s blazes have swept through pine forests for two weeks. Fires rage in southern Italy, with Sicily and Sardinia among the regions hardest hit and hundreds evacuated. British Columbia has seen 5,800 sq km of forest burned since spring; 279 wildfires are currently raging. Smoke from Russia’s wildfires has reached the North Pole for the first time; smoke is drifting two thousand miles from Eastern Russia. See

Published in Worldwide

‘We’re waging a battle of the titans! - and the hardest is still to come,’ said the Greek deputy minister for civil protection. Wildfires in Athens suburbs mean that residents must shut windows against thick smoke containing harmful particles. Over 150 houses were destroyed by a fire that surrounded a monastery and twelve villages on the island of Evia, one of over 100 blazes in the country. The mayor of Olympia, birthplace of the Olympic Games, pleaded for help as flames threatened the site. Three monks from St David Monastery refused to leave. ‘We’re suffocating due to the smoke’, said one monk, describing flames 100 to 130 feet high surrounding them. Police will force them to evacuate if their lives are in danger. Villagers gathered on a beach to be evacuated on boats. Firefighters, helicopters and water-bombing planes were fighting the blazes. Blazes have also broken out in Turkey, Italy, Israel, Spain, North Macedonia and Albania: see

Published in Europe
Friday, 30 July 2021 10:14

Greece: wildfire out of control

Several areas north of Athens were evacuated on 27 July as an out-of-control wildfire swept through a hillside forest threatening homes near Athens. Winds have dropped now but on 29 July the battle against wildfires continued throughout the night. 180 firefighters, eight ground units, 48 tenders, 2 helicopters and 2 aircraft are fighting the fire. Local municipalities have also deployed water tankers and construction machinery. On the first day of the blaze, six houses were burnt down and residents in eleven villages were told to evacuate their homes for precautionary reasons. At the time of writing four out of 13 regions are at ‘very high risk’ of fire according to the wildfire hazard map. 

Published in Europe
Friday, 23 July 2021 09:57

China floods: 'worst rain for 1,000 years'

At least 33 people have died in the ‘heaviest rainfall in a millennium’ in central China. The torrential floods paralysed several cities, causing millions of pounds in damage. Vast swathes of Zhengzhou city are under several feet of water. Cars float down streets and 200,000 people fled flooding in Henan province, home to China’s agricultural industry. The subway flooded, trapping passengers inside carriages as water levels rose. Platforms were submerged and commuters clung to railings to keep their heads above the fast-flowing deluge as air was running out. Train services across the province have been suspended, highways remain closed, and flights cancelled. At least two dams in Inner Mongolia have collapsed. Other dams that enclose China’s reservoirs are threatening to fail. Rescue workers are evacuating residents from Hefei, and a hospital with 7,000+ beds lost power, with staff racing to relocate hundreds of critically ill patients. More rain is expected in the coming days.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 23 July 2021 09:55

USA: wildfires across the west

The Bootleg Fire in Oregon is the largest of 300 raging in the USA, more than 80 of which are described as major blazes. It has burned through over 300,000 acres, prompting thousands of evacuations. Over 2,000 firefighters are tackling the fire, one of the largest blazes in Oregon's history. Since starting on 6 July, it has already scorched an area larger than the city of Los Angeles. The fires raging across 13 US states are spurred by heatwaves and high winds. At least 160 homes and buildings have been destroyed so far. Fire incident commander Joe Hessel said, ‘We are running firefighting operations day and night. This fire is a real challenge, and we are looking at a sustained battle for the foreseeable future.’ It threatens to destroy thousands more properties as it continues spreading.

Published in Worldwide
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