Friday, July 12, 2013

EXTREME WEATHER: Most Severe Heat Wave Grips Japan - 12 Dead!

July 12, 2013 - JAPAN - A severe heatwave that hit Japan a week ago has claimed at least a dozen lives, reports said Friday.

The mercury has topped 35 degrees celsius (95 degrees fahrenheit) in areas right across the country for several days, with no immediate end to the misery in sight, forecasters say.

Thousands of people have been taken to hospital suffering from heatstroke or exhaustion, with at least 12 of them dying, Jiji Press and other media reported.

Most of those affected are over 65, but there have also been groups of schoolchildren who were participating in school activities outside.

One recent death was that of a 90-year-old man whose body was discovered by his son inside an apartment. The air conditioner was turned off, Jiji said.

On Friday, the day's highest temperature was 38.3 degrees celsius (101 F) in Kawanehon town in Shizuoka prefecture. More than 40 other spots recorded highs of 35 degrees or more, Japan's meteorological agency said.

News reports feature frequent reminders to drink plenty of fluids and avoid prolonged periods outdoors, in what has become a regular feature of Japan's sticky summer months. - Space Daily.

DELUGE: Flash Flood Sweeps Car Down Colorado Highway - Heavy Rains Create Rivers Of Mud!

July 12, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Flash floods rising as high as 2½ feet caused a massive mudslide Wednesday that swept away a car, stranded many others and closed a busy highway in the Colorado Springs area.

An SUV was one of at least 21 vehicles that were left stranded along U.S. Highway 24 after flash
floods near Manitou Springs, Colo. Colorado State Patrol.

The flooding shut down a four-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 24 for almost three hours west of Manitou Springs as motorists rode out a summer storm that dumped heavy rain and golfball-size hail on the region.

El Paso County officials said at least 21 vehicles were stranded on the highway. And at least one was swept off the road — an incident that was captured in the dramatic video at the top of this story.

The driver wasn't injured. In fact, no injuries were immediately reported, even as mud-splattered disabled vehicles, some of them apparently damaged, lined the highway, NBC affiliate KUSA of Denver reported.

The highway reopened in one direction shortly after 6 p.m. (8 p.m. ET).

The flooding was the result in part of the Waldo Canyon fire last year and the Black Forest fire this year, the National Weather Service said. The fires destroyed soil and vegetation that normally would have absorbed much of the rainfall.

WATCH: Heavy rains create rivers of mud in Colorado.

State troopers working the Black Forest fire were diverted to help with evacuations, patrols and roadblocks, the state patrol said.

A severe thunderstorm watch remained in effect until 9 p.m. (11 p.m. ET) for much of the eastern half of the state. - NBC News.

DELUGE: Northern India Hit By Worst Flooding In 50 Years - 100 Villages Swamped In Bihar!

July 12, 2013 - INDIA - Flood waters entered over 100 villages in Bihar in the past 24 hours, forcing people to abandon their homes, as many rivers in the state rose and posed a threat to other villages too, officials said Thursday.

All the inundated villages are in the flood-prone districts of Purnea, Araria, Kishanganj, Muzaffarpur and Katihar. “Flood waters entered more than 100 villages of Amaur block in Purnea, Forbesganj and Sikti in Araria and Kochadham in Kishanganj. In Muzaffarpur, dozens of villages were inundated in Aurai and Katra blocks,” an official of the state disaster management department said.

The department officials told IANS that fear of floods is gripping villages again in Bihar, with water levels rising in several rivers following heavy rain in the state and in the catchment areas in neighbouring Nepal. “Water levels in the Mahananda, Bagmati, Kamla Balan, Gandak, Bodhi Gandak and Kosi rivers are showing rising trend over the past two days, threatening hundreds of villages in over half a dozen districts,” the official said.

An unconfirmed report said that at least eight people, including three schoolgirls, have drowned in the flood water. The Bihar government has alerted engineers and asked them to keep a 24-hour vigil in the area. “All engineers have been directed to be ready with necessary equipment and boulders to face any situation and to protect the embankments,” Rajeshwar Dayal, engineer-in-chief (north)at the water resources department, said.

However, Bihar Water Resources Development Minister Vijay Kumar said all embankments were safe, and there was no need to panic. He said the eastern Kosi embankment, which had breached in 2008 flooding five districts of northern Bihar, was totally safe.  “The embankment was strengthened and breach repair work was completed,” he said.

In 2008, more than three million people were rendered homeless in Bihar when the Kosi river breached its bank upstream in Nepal and changed course. It was said to be the worst flood in Bihar in the last 50 years. - First Post.