Wednesday, March 4, 2015

MONUMENTAL DELUGE: Widespread Flooding – The Latest Reports Of High Tides, Heavy Rainfall, Flash Floods, Sea Level Rise, And Catastrophic Storms!

March 4, 2015 - EARTH - The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.

Floods in Northern Spain as Ebro River Breaks its Banks

Floods in Zaragoza, March 2015. Photo: Ana

Levels of the Ebro River have been high for the last 3 to 4 days. By 28 February 2015, the overflowing river had flooded around 20,000 hectares in Aragon, north-eastern Spain.

Since then river levels have continued to rise and have now flooded areas along the river in Zaragoza, the capital of the region and Spain’s fifth largest city.

Levels of the Ebro at Zaragoza are now thought to have peaked. Early on Monday 02 March 2015, the river reached 6.10 meters. Several hours later the level had dropped slightly to 6.06 metres. According to Confederación Hidrográfica del Ebro, as of 11:00 today 03 March 2015, Ebro levels at Zaragoza now stand at 5.28 metres.

Ebros River Levels at Zaragoza since 18 February 2015. Image: Confederación Hidrográfica del Ebro

The worst affected areas are Ribera Alta del Ebro and Ribera Baja, according to the regional government of Aragon. Evacuations have been carried out in the towns of Boquiñeni (900 people) and Pradilla (600 people). The displaced found temporary accommodation with relatives or in local sports centres.

Ebro floods from the air, March 2015. Photo: UME

The flooding has caused damage to bridges and the ARA-1 motorway in Villafranca de Ebro, near Zaragoza.

Bridge / road collapse after Ebro floods, Spain. Photo: UME

Spain’s Unidad Militar de Emergencias (UME) or emergency military units, are providing support to flood victims and affected towns. The UME has deployed 450 troops and 145 vehicles to the flooded areas and are carrying out emergency repairs to roads and bridges, as well as carrying out evacuations and flood rescues.

UME troops working to clear the floods – Photo: UME

Pumping flood water –  Photo: UME

Floods Moving Downstream

A flood alert remains for Zaragoza, although river levels are dropping. There is now a fear that communities downstream will be affected by flooding. According to Confederación Hidrográfica del Ebro, levels of the Ebro are dangerously high at Ascó in Tarragona province, Catalonia, where the Ebro stood at 4.78 metres at 11:00 today, 03 March 2015.

WATCH: Floods in Spain.

38 Dead after Floods in Tanzania

AFP and BBC are reporting that floods have killed 38 people in Kahama district, Shinyanga region in north-western Tanzania. Around 80 others have been injured in the floods which struck late on Tuesday 03 March 2015 after torrential rain, hail and high winds.

Officials estimate that around 3,500 people have been affected by the floods. Homes, roads, crops and livestock have all been severely damaged. Police and authorities are still assessing damage and searching for survivors.

The Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest and richest city, was hit by severe floods in April last year, where at least 41 people were thought to have died.

In march last year, heavy rainfall caused deadly flooding in Tanzania’s Arusha and Dodma regions.
The BBC report for the recent floods in Shinyanga can be found here.

6 Killed in Floods in Papua New Guinea

Six people – 5 children and a mother – were killed when flash floods struck in Jiwaka province in Papua New Guinea on Friday 27 February 2015.
The victims were washed away by the flood waters of an overflowing river near to Kaip, a village, close to the border with Western Highlands province.

Around 200 families were affected by the flooding in the area. Jiwaka Provincial Disaster Coordinator and Deputy Provincial Administrator Mr Joseph Amban told local media:

“As a result of the flood up to 200 families were affected and are in need of relief assistance as their food gardens were destroyed by the flood. Domestic animals other properties were also lost.”

Jiwaka province was formed in 2012 and comprises of districts that were previously part of Western Highlands Province.

Recent flooding and landslides have caused damage to homes, roads and farms in the Western and Southern Highlands, Central Province as well as Jiwaka. Roads in the Highlands region have been particularly badly affected. Papua New Guinea’s National Disaster Office said it is still trying to fully asses the damage.

Further Rainfall Expected

Heavy rain has been falling across the country for several days and could be on the way. Rabaul, East New Britain province, saw 62mm of rain in 24 hours between 02 and 03 march 2015, according to WMO.

Papua New Guinea’s National Weather Service have said that rainfall will be at its peak during March, with the Highlands region expected to be worst hit.

Two people died after floods in Kimbe and across the province of West New Britain in early February this year.

Madagascar Floods – More Rain, Death Toll Rises, Antananarivo Remains on Alert

Floods in Antananarivo

More heavy rainfall in Madagascar over the last 24 hours threatens to worsen the flood situation for the 3 regions already suffering (Alaotra Mangoro, Analamanga and Vakinankaratra) and bring flooding to other parts of the country.

Mananjary in Vatovavy-Fitovinany region saw 95 mm of rain in 24 hours between 03 and 04 March, according to WMO. Ambohitsilaozana in Alaotra-Mangoro Region saw 88 mm of rain in the same period.


Antananarivo is still on a red alert for possible flooding. As of BNGRC’s latest report (03 March 2015, 19:00 local time) further rainfall has meant that levels of the Imamba, Sisaony and Ikopa rivers have started to climb again.

BNGRC are also warning of the threat of landslides in the slopes and hillsides of the city.

Death Toll Rises

There has been one further death since our earlier report, with the death toll from the Madagascar floods now standing at 20.

At least 71,854 people have been affected by the flooding, with 38,498 people displaced. 581 homes have been destroyed and 1,698 damaged in the flooding. BNGRC say that 6,339 hectares of crops, mostly rice, has been destroyed.

13 districts across the 3 regions of Alaotra Mangoro, Analamanga and Vakinankaratra have been affected by the floods. The recent heavy rainfall may widen the affected areas.


There is also fear of increased disease in the flood affected areas. BNGRC warned that drinking water contaminated by floods, standing water attracting mosquitoes and uncollected garbage in the flood zones may all add to the increase of diseases such as malaria, dengue and cholera. Recent floods in Malawi and Mozambique have resulted in outbreaks of cholera amongst flood victims.

Heavy Rain Turns Antananarivo into a City of Landslides

While residents of Antananarivo living near to the city’s rivers are suffering from the recent floods, those in the hillsides now live in fear of deadly landslides.

Madagascar’s disaster management agency, Bureau National de Gestion des Risques et des Catastrophes (BNGRC) has warned of possible widespread landslides in the capital Antananarivo.

Days of heavy rain have made slopes and hillsides around the city dangerously unstable. According to BNGRC, areas most at risk are Ambolokandrina, Ankatso and the slopes around Manjakamiadana.

Antananarivo Landslide Photos
BNGRC say that they are working with technical to carry out in-depth analyzes of the risks of landslides. The photos below were taken from a helicopter by the BNGRC assessment team. The numerous patches of bare earth dotted around the hillsides, sometimes partly covered with plastic or other material by locals to help stabilise the soil, indicate the location of recent landslides (some landslide locations have been marked in red by BNGRC).

Photo credits: Bureau National de Gestion des Risques et des Catastrophes, Madagascar

Three regions of Madagascar have been suffering from heavy rain and flooding since 26 February. At least 20 people are thought to have died in the floods.

25 Killed in Severe Weather in Pakistan – 161 mm of Rain in Islamabad

A total of 25 deaths have been reported in Pakistan over the last 7 days as a result of recent severe weather.
At least 15 of the deaths came after houses and buildings collapsed after torrential rainfall. At least 8 people were killed in Wah Cantonment in the province of Punjab after houses collapsed there. In similar circumstances, 7 people died in Mohmand Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the semi-autonomous tribal region in northwestern Pakistan, according to ECHO. Local media report that other deaths occurred in landslides and road accidents.

The country has experienced heavy rainfall since 25 February, when 5 people died in north west Pakistan.

Yesterday Islamabad saw 161 mm of rain fall in a 24 hour period. The town of Dir in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province saw 66 mm of rain, according to WMO figures.

Rain levels in Pakistan. Image: Pakistan National Meteorological Service

The heavy rainfall has caused flooding, disrupted transport and caused power and communication outages.

Further heavy rain and snowfall is has been forecast by Pakistan’s National Meteorological Service. For the next 24 hours at least. The severe weather is likely to affect Islamabad, FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhua and Punjab provinces.

Northern India

Parts of northern India are also seeing high levels of rain and snow, in particular Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh which has caused landslides and avalanches killing at least 6 people.

Argentina Floods – Thousands Evacuated in Cordoba

Floods in Idiazábal, Córdoba, Argentina, March 2015. Photo: Gobierno de Córdoba

José Manuel de la Sota, the governor of Cordoba province in Argentina, today declared a state of emergency throughout the province.

Parts of the province have been under water for the last 5 days. One local observer said the region had seen 18 consecutive days of rain. Six people died in floods in the province in mid February 2015 after 320 mm of rain fell in 12 hours. Further heavy rainfall over the last 2 days has worsened the situation.

WMO report that 75 mm of rain fell in 24 hours between 02 and 03 March 2015 in Marcos Juárez in Cordoba.

At least 2,000 people have been forced from their homes after flooding across the province. The worst affected areas are the towns of Idiazabal and Balnearia. Idiazábal has been under water since 27 February 2015, when at least 400 people had to evacuated their homes, according to La Voz.

After the recent heavy rain, Totoral, Jesús María, Caroya and Ascochinga can also be added to the list of affected areas.

In a statement, the government of Cordoba said: “The situation is critical, it rained abundantly in places that until now had not been affected and worsened in already flooded areas.”

The statement also said that flooding rivers and increase the flow of water from dams was hampering relief efforts. Affected communities are also spread over a wide area, in the east, north and central parts of the province.

San Luis and Santa Fe Provinces

The provinces of San Luis and Santa Fe gave also been affected by severe weather over the last 2 days. Around 350 people have been evacuated from their homes in San Luis province, which had also been badly hit by floods last month. In Sauce Viejo, Santa Fe, 61 mm of rain fell in 24 hours to 03 March 2015.

Deforestation in Cordoba

Greenpeace Argentina say deforestation is one of the main causes of increased flooding in Cordoba. Their report says:
“despite the enactment of the National Forest Act, land clearing for agriculture and urban development has wiped out native forests in fragile areas”
Greenpeace said that between 2007, when the Forest Act came into force, and mid-2013, as much as 44,823 hectares of forest was cleared.

Hernán Giardini, coordinator of Greenpeace forest campaigner, said:

“Scientists and environmentalists have long been warning that forests are our natural sponge, thus more deforestation means more flooding. It is necessary that politicians and businessmen strictly comply with the Forest Act”

Photos of the floods in Cordoba from Social Media below:

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Plane Crashes In Norfolk Botanical Garden In Virginia, United States - Three People Killed!

A 1967 Mooney M20F for sale in Boulder, Colo.(Photo: Larson Aircraft Sales)

March 4, 2015 - VIRGINIA
- Three people died Wednesday when a small plane crashed in foggy weather at Norfolk Botanical Garden just shy of the city's airport, according to Virginia State Police.

At 4:30 a.m. ET, the control tower at Norfolk International Airport lost contact with the Mooney M20F aircraft that was one to two miles outside the airport at the time, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Nate Littlejohn of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The four-seat plane was attempting to land on Runway 23, Battalion Chief Julian Williamson said. The runway is one of two at the airport and less than a half mile southeast of the crash site.

"At approximately 1.5 miles out, the pilot made a transmission to the tower," he said. "This would be the last communication the tower had with the pilot."

He did not disclose what the pilot said.

Visibility along the coast was at less than a mile when the plane went missing, according to Craig Moeller, WVEC-TV meteorologist.

The plane's wreckage was located at about 7:30 a.m. in a wooded area at north end of the 155-acre the botanical garden, which is almost surrounded by Lake Whitehurst. State police Sgt. Michelle Anaya confirmed two fatalities a little more than an hour later and news of a third death was released later that morning.

She did not release the names of the victims because family members have not been notified.

"We are still in the process of investigating the wreckage," said Lt. Curtis Hardison of Virginia State Police.

The plane is intact.

A Norfolk Fire and Rescue vehicle makes its way into the Norfolk Botanical Garden where a small airplane crashed in dense fog March 4, 2015,
while attempting to land at Norfolk International Airport.
(Photo: Rich-Joseph Facun, AP)

A US Coast Guard boat off Norfolk searching for an overdue plane on March 4, 2015 (Photo: Carl Leimer, 13News Now)

The plane took off from Palatka Municipal Airport about 60 miles south of Jacksonville, Fla., just before midnight Tuesday and was scheduled to arrive at Suffolk Executive Airport, about 25 miles southwest of Norfolk, before 3:30 a.m., according to FlightAware. It was still in the air at 4:12 a.m.

Its flight was to be about 570 miles, but the flight tracker shows that the plane overshot its destination, turned around to go back and then proceeded to Norfolk's airport, where it headed toward Runway 23, didn't land and made a loop to try the approach again. That's where its route ends.

The 1975 model plane with tail number N66BB is registered to James W. Beauchamp of Corapeake, N.C., who bought the plane in 2010, according to FlightAware. It was not immediately known Wednesday whether Beauchamp was on the plane.

WATCH: Plane crash leaves at least 3 dead in Virginia.

Sunrise was at 6:30 a.m., and both airports have beacons lit from sunset to sunrise to identify the path to the runway. After the crash, the beacons at Norfolk were tested and checked out OK, said Robert Bowen, the airport's deputy executive director.

Troopers, the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating, and the NTSB will determine a probable cause of the crash, FAA spokesman Jim Peters said. - USA Today.

ICE AGE NOW: Winter's Last Blast - Winter Storm Thor Set To Dump Snow, Sleet, Ice Mess And Widespread Flooding On The U.S. South, Midwest And East; Nearly 100 MILLION People In The Path; Storm Stretches 1,500 MILES!

Mundelein, Ill., resident Ramon Marcos walks along Elm Avenue as an icy drizzle falls after early morning snow turned to rain,
Tuesday, March 3, 2015, in Mundelein, Ill. (AP Photo/Daily Herald, Gilbert R. Boucher II) 

March 4, 2015 - UNITED STATES
- A storm sending an onslaught of snow, ice and rain across a 1,500-mile stretch from the Central states into the Northeast has caused flooding and travel delays on Wednesday.

"An area of sleet is expanding over northern Oklahoma to southern Missouri with a swath of snow farther north in eastern Kansas and central Missouri," Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

Widespread flooding problems have been reported as homes were evacuated and roadways were closed in Kentucky, West Virginia and into Pennsylvania.

"Ahead of the snow and ice, runoff from heavy rain and melting snow is leading to flooding problems from southwestern Pennsylvania to West Virginia and Kentucky," Sosnowski said. - AccuWeather.

Winter Storm Thor: Snow, Sleet, Ice Mess In South, Midwest, East (FORECAST)

A final swath of snow, sleet and freezing rain will lead to dangerous travel from the Southern Plains into the Ohio Valley and East starting Wednesday.

There is also the risk of heavy rain, which brings the threat of flooding, before the rain changes to snow.

The second chapter of Winter Storm Thor spread snow and a little ice into parts of the Midwest and Northeast Tuesday.

Forecast weather conditions and daytime high temperatures for Wednesday. Note that in some areas, daytime highs may occur at sunrise

Winter storm watches and warnings have been hoisted in parts of the South and Ohio Valley, ahead of Thor's final phase beginning Wednesday.

All told, more than 100 million people – were under some kind of watch, warning, or advisory for winter weather related to Winter Storm Thor as of Wednesday morning.

The daily forecast details from coast-to-coast are below.

Wednesday - Wednesday night

Rain, with perhaps even a rumble of thunder, is possible into early Wednesday from the Ohio Valley into the Mid-South region. This rain could be locally heavy, with 1 to 3 inches of rain possible.

Due to this rain, saturated ground from recent rain, as well as snowmelt adding to water levels in creeks, streams and rivers, flood warnings are in effect in parts of the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys.

The arctic front will gradually push to the south and east. At the same time, an active jet stream and moisture will intercept this sagging front.

As our forecast map for Wednesday shows, a change to snow, sleet or freezing rain is forecast to occur in a swath from the Ohio Valley to the Tennessee Valley and into the Southern Plains.

In some places temperatures will fall rapidly during the day Wednesday, causing rain to change over to wintry forms of precipitation and eventually all snow. (This is why you may be seeing puzzling combinations such as "icy, high 47" on the forecast map.) The rapid fall in temperatures could cause wet roads to turn into a sheet of ice while a significant amount of snow falls onto them.

Snowfall Forecast

If you have travel plans, bear in mind that roads may be difficult to treat as snowplows may be able to remove the snow, but not the sheet of ice underneath.

Wednesday night, rain should mix with or change to snow in a swath from the West Virginia and western Pennsylvania to southern New England, including the New York City, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh metro areas. Farther south, precipitation may transition to freezing rain or sleet, before switching to snow around sunrise in Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Mainly light snow will shift south from the High Plains of eastern Colorado into eastern New Mexico, before ending Wednesday night.


Lingering freezing rain, freezing drizzle or sleet is possible Thursday morning in parts of the Deep South and Southeast.

A second area of sleet and freezing rain is possible Thursday in parts of Virginia and northern North Carolina, before changing to snow later Thursday as Winter Storm Thor exits.

Meanwhile, accumulating snow will fall from the Mid-South and parts of the Tennessee Valley into the Appalachians, Mid-Atlantic states and I-95 corridor into southern New England, making for a potentially tricky pair of commutes from Boston to Washington, D.C.

The snow will end from west to east through the day, pushing off the East Coast Thursday evening.

Here's our latest snow and ice forecast:
  • Heaviest snow potential: 6 inches of snow or more is possible for parts of southeast Missouri, far southern Illinois, far southern Indiana, Kentucky, far northern Tennessee, southern Ohio and West Virginia eastward into the Delaware Valley and New Jersey. Parts of Kentucky may see up to a foot of snow, locally.
  • Accumulating snow will also blanket parts of Arkansas, Oklahoma, north Texas and the Texas Panhandle, southern Kansas as well as the southern Rockies and adjacent High Plains. In the East, accumulating snow, generally less than 6 inches, will fall in parts of southern New England and the Lower Hudson Valley, including the New York City metro area.
  • Ice potential: Some accumulations likely from north, perhaps central Texas to parts of Arkansas, northern Louisiana, Mississippi, northern Alabama, Tennessee into southern Virginia as well as northern and eastern North Carolina. Sleet accumulations may top 1 inch from parts of Arkansas and far northern Louisiana to western Tennessee, far northwest Mississippi, western Kentucky, southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina.
  • Impacts: Roads may become treacherous and locally impassable in the southern Plains and Ozarks Wednesday and in the Mid-South and parts of the Ohio Valley by later Wednesday. Lingering icy roads are likely into Thursday in ice-affected areas. Power outages and downed tree limbs are possible in areas where freezing rain is most persistent.
For a recap of the snow and ice totals from Winter Storm Thor so far, click here. - Weather.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Turkish Airlines Plane Crash-Lands In Nepal - Passengers Barely Escape Serious Injuries!

A Turkish Airlines plane lies on the field after it overshot the runway at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu March 4, 2015.
(Reuters / Navesh Chitrakar)

March 4, 2015 - NEPAL
- Turkish Airlines passengers barely escaped serious injuries after their Airbus A330 skidded off the runway in foggy Nepal and crash-landed nose down in a grassy field.

The flight THY726 coming from Istanbul missed the runway at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu early Wednesday morning.

Because the runway had become slippery after two days of rain and because of dense fog, the aircraft bounced off the pavement to land in the field.

According to Air Traffic Controller, the Turkish Flight missed the runway central alignment and landed in between the TIA runway and taxiway that forced the aircraft to skid on grassy land.

The front of the Airbus 330 was damaged and the plane became stuck in a field. Airport officials said no deaths or serious injuries have been reported on the plane which had 238 people on board, with passengers suffering bumps and bruises.

WATCH: Turkish Airlines crash.

Officials suspect bad weather conditions and low visibility to have been the main causes for the disaster. - RT.