Wednesday, March 25, 2015

ICE AGE NOW: Scientists Say The Gulf Streaming Is Slowing Down Faster Than Ever, "The Day After Tomorrow" Just Got One Step Closer To Reality - Bogota, Colombia Covered In 24 Inches Of Snow And Ice From Hail Storm; Giant Hailstones Fall In Queensland, Australia; Huge Chunks Of Ice Break Up Along Ohio River Toppling Cemetery Stones; Worst Hailstorm In 40 Years Destroys Avocado Crop In Mexico; Deep Freeze Over The Great Lakes Halts Cargo Shipments; Severe Weather Risk Of Damaging Winds And Large Hail To Stretch From Texas To Indiana Into Wednesday Night!

March 25, 2015 - EARTH - The Gulf Stream that helps to keep Britain from freezing over in winter is slowing down faster now than at any time in the past millennium according to a study suggesting that major changes are taking place to the ocean currents of the North Atlantic.

Ice age on the way: Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say

An iceberg in Ilulissat, Greenland; researchers have been studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers
and their long-term ramifications for the rest of the world. © Getty Images

Scientists believe that the huge volumes of freshwater flowing into the North Atlantic from the rapidly melting ice cap of Greenland have slowed down the ocean "engine" that drives the Gulf Stream from the Caribbean towards north-west Europe, bringing heat equivalent to the output of a million power stations.

However, the researchers believe that Britain is still likely to become warmer due to climate change providing the Gulf Stream does not come to a complete halt - although they remain unsure how likely this is.

Calculations suggest that over the 20th century the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation - the northward flow of warm surface water and the southward flow of deep, cold water - has slowed by between 15 and 20 per cent, said Professor Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany.

Gulf Stream stops Britain from freezing over in Winter

"There is more than a 99 per cent probability that this slowdown is unique over the period we looked at since 900 AD. We conclude that the slowdown many have described is in fact already underway and it is outside of any natural variation," Professor Rahmstorf said.

The scientists calculated that some 8,000 cubic kilometres of freshwater has flowed from Greenland into the Atlantic between 1900 and 1970, and this rose significantly to 13,000 cubic kilometres between 1970 and 2000.

Freshwater is lighter than salty water which means that it tends to float on the surface of the ocean and in doing so disturbs the normal sinking of dense, cold saltwater to the ocean floor, which is the main driver of the Atlantic circulation.

Scientists believe that huge volumes of freshwater flowing into the North Atlantic from the rapidly melting ice cap of Greenland
have slowed down the ocean “engine” that drives the Gulf Stream. © Getty Images

In a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, Professor Rahmstorf and colleagues point out that maps of global surface temperatures have consistently indicated an overall warming trend around the world, except for the region of the North Atlantic south of Greenland.

"It is conspicuous that one specific area of the North Atlantic has been cooling in the past hundred years while the rest of the world heats up," said Professor Rahmstorf, who added that previous research had indicated that a slowdown in ocean currents may be the explanation.

"Now we have detected strong evidence that the global conveyor has indeed been weakening in the past hundred years, particularly since 1970," he said.

The study used proxy measurements of the Atlantic currents, using ice cores, tree rings, coral growth and ocean and lake sediments, to estimate regional temperature variations and so assess how the Gulf Stream has changed over the past 1,000 years.

Machair, a grassy coastal habitat found only in north-west Scotland and the west coast of Ireland, is one of the several elements of the
UK’s “cultural heritage” that is at risk from climate change.   © Getty Images
Jason Box of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, who helped to calculate the amount of freshwater flowing into the Atlantic from melting ice caps, said that the slowdown can be linked to man-made climate change.

"Now freshwater coming off the Greenland ice sheet is likely disturbing the circulation. So the human-caused mass loss of the Greenland ice sheet appears to be slowing down the Atlantic overturning, and this effect might increase if temperatures are allowed to rise further," Dr Box said.

Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University said: "Common climate models are underestimating the change we're facing, wither because the Atlantic overturning is too stable in the models or because they don't properly account for Greenland ice melt, or both."

WATCH: Lord Stirling - Damaged Gulf Stream Affects Jet Stream.

 - The Independent.

"The Day After Tomorrow" just got one step closer to reality!

© Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In the 2004 blockbuster The Day After Tomorrow, abrupt climate change plunges the world into chaos. According to new research published Monday, the idea that underpins the film's plot—that rapid Arctic ice melt could cause dramatic changes to the global climate system—just got one step closer to reality.

Of particular concern are the profound changes happening in the Greenland ice sheet: It appears that the massive amount of freshwater from melting Greenland glaciers has now begun to slow the ocean's circulating currents.

Monday's study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, is as frightening as it is significant. Among its authors are some of the biggest names in climate science: Jason Box, a glaciologist at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, whose ongoing "Dark Snow" project is measuring the rapid melting of ice in Greenland; and Michael Mann, a meteorologist at Penn State University, whose famous 1999 "hockey stick" graph showed the sharp influence of human greenhouse gas emissions in context of 1,000 years of temperature data from ice cores and tree rings. Mann's graph was so powerful it became a lightning rod of climate denial.

Fresh water is less dense than saltwater. So when glacial melt from Greenland enters the ocean, it resists the natural sinking motion at the northern edge of the Gulf Stream and slows down the Atlantic's deep current—creating a ripple effect across the entire planet.

The study uses a library of ice cores, tree rings, coral, and sediments to generate a new reconstruction of the historical strength of the Atlantic's circulation based on temperature changes. The team found recent changes in ocean circulation are "unprecedented" since at least the year 900 A.D., about as far back as these proxy data can reliably go. According to the paper, the probability of a similar circulation slowdown caused by natural variability alone (with no influence from human-caused climate change) was less than 0.5 percent.

The effect they identified is "stronger than what current state-of-the-art climate models predict," said Mann, likely due to the increasing influence from a melting Greenland.

But don't expect a new ice age like in the movie. Nearly every square inch of the Earth's surface has been warming for decades now—the 2000s were one of the warmest decades in more than 11,000 years, and the 2010s are on pace to be even hotter. Global warming is still the dominant trend and will overwhelm most of the effect of a slowdown in ocean circulation. But a small portion of the North Atlantic near southern Greenland has bucked the trend. It's here that the new paper focuses its attention. That small patch of ocean actually experienced its coldest three-month stretch on record this past winter.

Despite all the warming that's taken place since 1970, one little blip of the North Atlantic (shown here in green) has begun to actually cool.

In a blog post describing the study, lead author Stefan Rahmstorf of Potsdam University in Germany says this past winter's pronounced cooling in the North Atlantic "suggests the decline of the circulation has progressed even further now than we documented in the paper." Rahmstorf's past work has focused on the impact of climate change on ocean circulations, particularly the thermohaline circulation, Earth's primary oceanic "conveyor belt" circulation, which is driven by geographic differences in temperature and salinity. (Thermo=heat, haline=salt.) That's the same mechanism The Day After Tomorrow identified as a tipping point in the global climate system. (By the way, Rahmstorf is also a fan of The Day After Tomorrow.) Since fresh, warm water is less dense than cold, salty water, scientists like Rahmstorf have long argued the thermohaline circulation may slow down as the climate warms and Arctic ice melts.

Monday's study showed that process has likely already begun. In a press statement, Rahmstorf said, "we have detected strong evidence that the global conveyor has indeed been weakening in the past hundred years, particularly since 1970."

In emails to Slate, both Box and Mann agreed Monday's paper was one of the most important of their careers. "This is yet another example of where observations suggest that climate model predictions may be too conservative when it comes to the pace at which certain aspects of climate change are proceeding," said Mann.

Previous research by Box and others has shown Greenland's melting is accelerating, but the scientific community had been unclear on how fast those changes were impacting ocean circulation. "We now see an effect of Greenland melting besides the obvious sea level rise contribution," said Box.

Now, before you go calling Dennis Quaid for backup as you plot your southward snowshoe journey on I-95, the movie's apocalyptic global-warming-induced cool-down was vastly overdone. In the real world, rapid changes in the climate system take years or decades to play out, not days. Long-term cooling would likely be limited to that spot in the North Atlantic, far from land. But even that seemingly slow rate of change, while not as thrilling on the big screen, has potentially major implications for slow-adapting cities and ecosystems.

"If the slowdown of the Atlantic overturning continues, the impacts might be substantial," says Rahmstorf. "Disturbing the circulation will likely have a negative effect on the ocean ecosystem, and thereby fisheries and the associated livelihoods of many people in coastal areas. A slowdown also adds to the regional sea-level rise affecting cities like New York and Boston." A separate recent study found a sharp 4-inch surge in East Coast sea levelsin just one year, around 2009, that was linked to the slowdown in the Atlantic current as water piled up.

Should melting of Greenland continue to accelerate, there's a small chance that the entire thermohaline circulation could collapse, though that's not likely to happen for several more decades. Still, the implications would be huge: up to 30 inches of extra sea level rise along the East Coast, stronger winter storms, and an interruption of the Atlantic marine food chain. Prior to Monday's study, a survey of experts put the risk of a full collapse scenario at around 10 percent over the next century. Those odds were likely boosted a bit with the new results.

The study comes as the Northeast United States, particularly Boston, finishes one of the coldest and snowiest winters in history—though, in an email to Slate, Mann said it was "unclear" there was any connection between the implications of his new study and the recent spate of cold weather.

WATCH: NASA - The Thermohaline Circulation.

- Slate.

Bogota, Colombia covered in 60 cm (24 inches) of snow and ice from hail storm

Colombia's capital Bogota was surprised on Sunday by a major hail storm that covered the south of the city with a 60 centimeter (24-inch) layer of icy snow.

The excessive hail caused a number of emergencies across the city.


The most affected were Santa Isabel, La Fragua and El Restrepo.

The Bogota Fire Department reported that rainfall "generated water depths of between 15 and 20 inches accompanied by ice". However, no cases of gravity are presented.

The first census said at least 500 homes were affected. Late into the night Sunday, backhoes worked on the streets to remove the ice.

Among the most serious events was at a parking lot where the roof collapsed and trapping four adults and three children, rescued by firefighters.

WATCH: Massive hail storm in Bogota.

Entire streets became either covered in ice or formed rivers, while rooftops were damaged and trees fell down.

"Fortunately there are no victims, just material damage," Javier Pava of the Bogota Disaster Rick and Prevention unit was quoted as saying by newspaper El Espectador.

The unit was called to rescue four people from a parking garage where the collapsed roof was impeding the victims from leaving. - Qcostarica.

Giant hailstones fall in Queensland, Australia

This shard of hail measuring about 12 centimetres crashed down in Chinchilla on Saturday afternoon

Weather watchers around the world have been stunned by giant chunks of ice that smashed an outback Queensland town in recent days.

Hailstones up to 12cm in diameter smashed cars and windows and left lawns checkered in the western downs town of Chinchilla during a freak storm on Saturday afternoon.

The downpour that stunned the state has now attracted interest overseas, with many in the US shocked at the "weird" weather that no one saw coming.

Some have pointed out the hailstones were about the same size as the small marsupials the town shares a name with.

"Shocking footage," wrote Keith Estiler, a New York City resident who shared video of the giant balls of ice bouncing off an oval in Chinchilla.

WATCH: Queensland's giant hailstones cause viral news storm.

"Meanwhile in Australia..." another person said.

While intense weather is a typical part of Australian life, the Chinchilla storm that has foreigners talking also managed to surprise locals.

Marina Baker and her children were sprayed with glass when their car was pelted with projectiles at the local sporting fields.

"We had the back window smashed in (and after) about 30 seconds of moving one came through and landed in the back seat," she told ABC.

"The kids were on the floor screaming. We had my sister and husband in the front and they (were) trying to get the kids away from the glass.

"There were cars everywhere around us (with) windows just breaking everywhere."

Another local, Vicki Muhling, shared a photo of one the stones which caused havoc on her property next to a tape measuring 12cm in length.

The region's mayor, Ray Brown, told ABC nobody was injured in the freak storm, though property damage was widespread.

He said some 1300 homes were left without power with another 3000 customers experiencing supply interruptions.

However, draught-stricken farmers in the area welcomed the "much needed rain".

The Bureau of Meteorology said the intensity of the storm was a result of two troughs which caused heavy instability. -  Alfred Jacobs Channel [YouTube].

150+ Year Ice Floes Wake the Dead

WATCH: 150+ Year Ice Floes Wake the Dead.

150+ year ice flows in Ohio along the Ohio River March 16, 2015 Riverside Cemetery in Maumee, Ohio.
Huge chunks of ice that broke up along a northern Ohio River pushed into a low-lying cemetery and toppled Civil War-era headstones from 1865.
Some parts of Riverside Cemetery were covered with pieces of ice stacked at least 4 feet high. About 90 percent of the headstones, some dating to the mid-1800s, were knocked over, said Joe Camp, the city of Maumee's public service director.
Ice Topples Civil War Cemetary Headstones
Ohio River Basin
East USA Ice jams 2014 Rivers Maumee River Thaw 2015 at Orleans Park in Perrysburg Maumee River Backup
Eliza crossing the ice floes of the Ohio river to freedom, illustration from 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' by Harriet Beecher Stowe, engraved by Charles Bour (1814-81) (litho), Bayot, Adolphe Jean-Baptiste (1810-66)

- Adapt 2030.

Worst hailstorm in 40 years destroys avocado crop in Mexico

The most severe hailstorm in 40 years has hit the Mexican state of Michoacan, destroying avocado crops in some of the country's (and the world's) most productive municipalities.

The most affected Michoacan municipalities are Ziracuaretiro, San Juan Nuevo, Tancítaro and Uruapan.

It is estimated that more than 17,000 hectares have been seriously affected, and that the production of other fruits, such as blackberries and blueberries, has also been lost.

The extent of the destruction has been such that it has endangered the health of avocado trees in Tancítaro, which grows almost 20% of Michaoacan's total annual production, which in turn represents 85% of Mexico's total production.

"In Tancítaro, there will no longer be any production this season, as the trees will not recover and flower again until November," explained the delegate of the Secretariat of Rural Development (Sedru), Andrés Ciprés Murguía.

In San Juan Nuevo and Uruapan, the damage was not as great as in Ziracuaretiro, as due to their warmer climates the fruit was already in a more advanced development stage.

"We were informed that the hailstones were the size of ping-pong balls, and that even some people were injured," stated Andrés. - Fresh Plaza.

Deep freeze over the Great Lakes halts cargo shipments

 The trip to pick up a load of iron ore powder in Conneaut, Ohio, was supposed to take four days by way of the Great Lakes.

But within sight of its destination, the cargo ship, the Arthur M. Anderson, got trapped in ice. Two heavy icebreakers from the Canadian Coast Guard eventually broke the vessel free.

It was a 24-day ordeal, and the ship returned to its home port in Wisconsin without picking up the cargo.

A deep freeze this winter left much of the Great Lakes blanketed in thick ice, sidelining the ship lines and companies that move vast amounts of grain, cement and other commodities through this system of waterways. And now the spring thaw, which creates piles of impassable ice, will most likely create more delays.

"There's a lot of ice out there, and we need to understand the impact of that ice," said Mark Barker, the president of the Interlake Steamship Company, which carries mostly iron ore, coal and limestone on its nine ships. "Last year, we pretty much lost the month of April."

The ship berth of the Mission Terminal grain elevator in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The shipping season has begun, but ice remains.
Cold spells and snowstorms have taken a bite out of businesses across the Northeast and Midwest of the United States, as well as in Canada. Car manufacturers have blamed the weather for weak sales. Housing starts, too, have slumped. And blizzards in places like Boston have been brutal for many local businesses.

Michael Dolega, who analyzes the United States economy at the Toronto-Dominion Bank, says he expects that the weather will cut first-quarter growth by as much as three-quarters of a percentage point. And not all of that loss will be made up later in the year, he said.

"I don't think it's a welcome development," said Mr. Dolega, who is based in Toronto.

The ship Arthur M. Anderson got underway on Lake Erie on Saturday after getting help from Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers. © Canadian Coast Guard

The ship berth of the Mission Terminal grain elevator in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The shipping season has begun, but ice remains.
© Ian Austen for The New York Times

The Great Lakes shipping trade largely hibernates during the late winter months, with occasional sailings for supplies like road salt. The Arthur M. Anderson was making its last run of the season in early February when it became stuck.

Shipping is usually up and running again by March. But the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the critical system of locks that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, has been postponed until April 2. Even when the locks open, there is no assurance that all of the lakes, particularly choke points prone to ice buildup, will be navigable.

Last year's ice-induced delays reduced early shipments from the United States by seven million tons, according to the Lake Carriers' Association, which represents American shipowners. That amounts to about 10 percent of all American shipments on the lakes.

The Great Lakes are a vital conduit for companies in a wide range of industries. Grain from farms in Western Canada makes its way to markets around the world. Iron ore travels to steel mills along the shorelines. Power plants depend on the coal that travels via the lakes. Companies in steelmaking, electrical generation, construction and agriculture — like Cargill, United States Steel and Lafarge — all need the waterways.

For companies now facing dwindling stockpiles, there are few alternatives to ships for restocking. Shipping by rail is more costly, even if the tracks were not already overloaded. And hauling large quantities of, say, iron ore by truck is neither practical nor cost-effective. Replacing a single Great Lakes ore-carrying ship requires about 2,400 tractor-trailer trucks.

During a normal winter, some ships can continue to make relatively short treks without much trouble, particularly when ice cover is light. But the last two winters have been particularly harsh.

In 2014, ice cover peaked at 92.5 percent, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich. Ice persisted in some places until June. This year, ice cover was 89.1 percent.

"Two especially severe winters back to back — we haven't seen that in a long time,"
said George A. Leshkevich, who tracks the ice for the research laboratory. "All the lakes seem pretty brutal."

It has created nightmarish troubles for vessels that must continue to attempt runs through the worst of winter.

Truck and train cargo that is too dangerous or too large for the bridge and tunnels spanning the international border between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, must instead travel the Detroit River. But dense ice stopped the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry for 31 days this year, 25 of them consecutively. At one point the ferry's tug was stuck in Windsor with its barge separately frozen to a dock in Detroit.

Ed Bernard, vice president of the Toronto-based Precision Specialized Division, a heavy haul company, said he waited more than two weeks to ferry across the river sections of large chimneys destined for Ohio.

Gregg Ward, the co-owner of the ferry, said, "Our expenses continue, so it's a tragedy for us. By the time this is over, we've lost 20 percent of the year."

As the thaw gets underway, the shipping situation can actually worsen if wind causes ice to pile up in stacks. "I've been on a 235-foot Coast Guard ship going full speed ahead, and when it hit one of those, the ship shuddered to a stop," said Lt. Davey Connor of the Coast Guard district in Cleveland, which is responsible for the Great Lakes.

Many companies are now playing the waiting game.

A United States Coast Guard icebreaker made initial attempts at breaking up ice last week in the port here. Eight imposing grain elevators, which collectively have the largest storage capacity in North America, make the Thunder Bay port an important hub for Canadian exports heading to the Atlantic Ocean.

Once again this year, the season's first ships will not get loaded in March as they normally are. As the Canadian Wheat Board's elevator nears capacity, Paul Kennedy, its manager, says that he may soon be forced to stop daily unloadings of 90 or so rail cars, which have come from the western part of the country.

"They're starting to hunt and peck a little bit for space," Mr. Kennedy said of his employees in the concrete elevator. "You don't want to get to the point where you can't unload any more cars and you've got loaded cars sitting on track."

Railroads impose a $100-a-day charge for every loaded but idle car stuck on their tracks. Last year, when shipping didn't start in Thunder Bay until April 26, Mr. Kennedy estimates that about 2,000 rail cars destined for the eight grain elevators along the city's shoreline were backed up in rail yards.

The delays are just as painful for the companies that depend on the various commodities.

Robert Lewis-Manning, the president of the Canadian Shipowners Association, said that last year, two large steel makers "were getting awfully close to having to lay off people" because their stockpiles of iron ore, coal and coke almost ran out in the spring. He declined to identify the companies.

As his fleet of 22 ships gears up to resume service, Allister Paterson, the president of Canada Steamship Lines, said he expected that the most anxious customers would be suppliers and users of road salt along the lakes and the east coast of North America. With their stocks all but wiped out, such players will need to immediately start the long process of rebuilding.

"They were still recovering from last year, trying to get inventories up," he said. "And now we have another brutal winter, so I suspect they will be in a restocking mode for quite a while."  - New York Times.

Severe Weather Risk of Damaging Winds And Large Hail to Stretch From Texas to Indiana Into Wednesday Night

Severe weather is forecast to develop the Central United States into Wednesday night, impacting a similar area that saw spottystrong storms on Tuesday. A risk of flooding will follow the storms on Thursday.

Warm, moist air will surge into the central and southern Plains to the Ohio Valley at midweek.

The severe weather risk area into Wednesday night is home to approximately 12 million people. The storms have the potential to bring damaging wind gusts, large hail and incidents of flash and urban flooding.

The area that could be hit by dangerous thunderstorms extends from just north and west of Dallas to near St. Louis, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Evansville, Indiana. Locally severe storms are likely to pass through the metro areas of Oklahoma City; Fayetteville, Arkansas; Paducah, Kentucky; and Springfield, Missouri.

People traveling through this area or spending time outdoors in the region should be on the lookout for rapidly changing weather conditions. Seek shelter indoors if a severe thunderstorm or tornado warning is issued.

According to Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity, "While only a small number of tornadoes is likely to occur with this event, the risk for a tornado and damaging wind gusts is slightly elevated in portions of central Oklahoma to north-central Texas and northwestern Arkansas."

Should a tornado occur, it would be the first such storm of the month, not counting waterspouts. The last tornado in the United States was very weak and occurred on Feb. 23, in Kern County, California.

According to AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions Storm Warning Meteorologist Alex Avalos, "Odds are against a more robust severe weather threat from Missouri and southeastern Kansas on eastward with hail and heavy rain being the primary characteristics of the storms."

As a storm system swings to the northeast and chilly air settles in, the risk of severe thunderstorms will diminish by Thursday. However, as the severe thunderstorms collapse, several hours of drenching rain will occur from portions of Arkansas to the Ohio River Basin.

The heavy rainfall will be enough to cause streams to rise and raise new concerns about flooding toward the end of the week. Much of this region has received 3-6 inches of rain plus melting snow earlier in March.

Levels on the lower Ohio to part of the lower Mississippi rivers were hovering at minor to moderate flood stage this week, due to runoff from prior storms and thaw earlier this month.Chilly air will continue to suppress the severe weather risk for most areas east of the Mississippi River into the weekend. - AccuWeather.

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

March 25, 2015 - EARTH - The following list constitutes the latest reports of high tides, heavy rainfall, flash floods, widespread flooding, sea level rise and catastrophic storms.

Bangladesh – Embankment Collapse on Kholpetua River Floods 16 Villages

An embankment on the Kholpetua River has in south-west Bangladesh, leaving 16 villages under water and 2,000 families marooned.

The collapsed occurred during the evening of Sunday 22 March 2015, in Shyamnagar upazila (borough) in Satkhira district, Khulna Division. Paddy fields and hundreds of shrimp enclosures have also been badly affected, according to local authorities quoted in Bangladesh media.

File photo – Escaping the floods in Bangladesh. Photo: Bangladesh Department of Disaster Management

File Photo: Bangladesh floods, south-western district of Satkhira, 2012. Photo: ECHO

Twelve villages in Athulia union and 4 villages in Burogoalini union were flooded. Many people appear to have remained in the area, despite the flooding. Others have evacuated their homes and are staying in villages nearby.

Work to repair the embankments began on Monday, according to Bangladesh Water Development Board. Causes of the embankment collapse have not been given.

In July 2014 as many as 30 villages
in the Bhola District in the Division of Barisal, Bangladesh were flooded after embankments along the overflowing Meghna River collapsed.

Torrential Rains Destroy 400 Homes in Algeria

JENDOUBA, TUNISIA – FEBRUARY 28: A bus is seen in the flood water caused by heavy rainfall in the Bu Salim district
of Jendouba City of Tunisia on February 28, 2015. Photo: AA

Hundreds of homes have been destroyed in Algeria‘s southern city of Tamanrasset following several days of torrential rainfall, a local humanitarian aid official said Wednesday.

The city was pounded by rainfall from March 19 to March 24, according to Ghanom Sudani, a member of a government-appointed humanitarian aid committee.

He added that heavy rains had destroyed as many as 400 residences.

“Hundreds of families have had to leave their homes after they were inundated with water,” Sudani told The Anadolu Agency.

Last month neighbouring Tunisia experienced heavy rainfall and flooding in Jendouba City.

Heavy rainfall floods Bangkok, Thailand

A heavy downpour for more than one hour around noon Tuesday in inner Bangkok has caused floods on several roads and traffic jams.

Traffic police reported at least seven locations in Bangkok were flooded.

In some areas, the water is as high as the footpath level.

The flooded areas are Asok Montri Road, some sections of Phetchaburi and Ratchadaphisek roads, Soi Suan Phlu, Sukhumvit Sois 1, 2 and 24, Phloenchit Road, Mitmaitri Road near the Thai-Japanese Stadium in Din Daeng and Silom Road.

The flood in Asok Montri road after the heavy downpour in Bangkok. © Nattapol Lovakij

An image tweeted by Twitter user @hs3nza via @js100radio at 1.45pm Tuesday shows a deep flood in Ratchaphisek Soi 3.

Twitter user @nuto96 tweets via @js100radio an image of Asok intersection taken from a high-rise building at around 1.15pm.

A traffic radio @fm91trafficpro tweets an image of the flood on Surawongse Road at 1.45pm

Satellite Images of Ohio River Floods

The rain and melting snow during March 2015 increased levels of the Ohio River to some of the highest seen since in almost  20 years. On Sunday 15 March, The Ohio River at Cincinnati reached 57.72 feet on Sunday 15 March 2015, the highest level since March 1997 when it stood at 64.7 feet.

Parts of Ohio and Kentucky experienced some flooding, although flood damage was kept to a minimum and was considered a success for recent flood mitigation projects around the affected areas.

Below are satellite images from NASA of the Ohio River during the March 2015 floods, and of the same location this time last year when the river was at normal levels.

Ohio River floods, 17 March 2015. Image: NASA

Ohio River, 20 March 2014. Image: NASA

Body of Missing Man Recovered
One man was reported as missing in northern Kentucky after he was swept away by flood waters near his home in Transylvania Beach, Louisville, on Saturday 14 March. A body fond near the river over on Friday 20 March 2015 was identified as the missing man.

Heavy Rain Floods Sao Paulo Again But Drought Persists

Heavy rain on 20 March 2015 brought flooding to the streets of São Paulo, Brazil. Some areas were under 50cm of water. The rainfall lasted a few hours in an almost identical repeat of the heavy rain and flash floods that struck the city a month ago on 25 February 2015.

Floods in São Paulo, 20 March 2015. Photo: Fernanda Carvalho/Fotos Públicas

Floods in São Paulo, 20 March 2015. Photo: Fernanda Carvalho/Fotos Públicas

Floods in São Paulo, 20 March 2015. Photo: Fernanda Carvalho/Fotos Públicas

The floods caused minor damage and disrupted trains and traffic in the city. However, the flood water soon receded, unlike the situation endured by the populations of the Brazilian states of Acre and Amazonas earlier this month.

Drought Conditions Remain

Despite the heavy rainfall, the drought situation remains for the south-east of the country, according to Professor Paulo Carneiro of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Local observers say the drought is the worst in the region in 80 years.

11 Dead and Over 1000 Evacuated After Landslides and Floods in Ecuador

File photo of floods in Salitre, Guayas 2010.- Photo: Emilio Sánchez/Presidencia

Six days of heavy rain have left several provinces in Ecuador suffering from overflowing rivers, flash floods and landslides. The severe weather has been blamed for the deaths of at least 11 people and forced over 1,000 people from their homes.

According to a statement made on Monday 23 March by Ecuador’s disaster risk management agency, Secretaría de Gestión de Riesgos (SGR), 736 of the displaced are being housed in temporary shelters and 449 are staying in temporary accommodation with relatives or neighbours.

The heavy rainfall has affected large areas of the country and flooding has been reported in several provinces including Los Rios, Esmeraldas, Napo, Bolivar and El Oro. The heavy rain has caused numerous landslides, with the most severe occurring in Pichincha and Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas Province.

Satellite image showing areas of heavy rainfall in Ecuador 23 March 2015. Image: INAMHI


WMO report that 53mm of rain fell in 24 hours on 22 March 2015 in Pastaza province and 64.1 mm in Nuevo Rocafuerte, Orellana province.

Ecuador’s meteorological agency, INAMHI, warn that the heavy rain will continue over large parts of the country for a further 48 hours. Central and southern provinces are likely to be the worst affected.

Tanzania Floods – 7 killed, 5,000 Left Homeless in Dar es Salaam

At least seven people have been confirmed dead and over 5,000 displaced by heavy rains that have pounded Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

“The death toll has reached seven while over 5,000 people are homeless after more than 500 houses were surrounded by water,” Vice-President Mohamed Gharib Bilal told reporters.

“The government is doing all necessary efforts to help those in need,” he said.

Heavy rainfall has lashed Tanzania’s coastal areas since last week.

According to Dar es Salaam Regional Commissioner Said Mecky Sadik, five people have drowned while two were electrocuted while attempting to push a truck in a ditch after hitting an electricity pole.

Flooded Dar es Salaam!

Flooded Dar es Salaam!

Tanzania’s electricity supply company has urged people in affected areas to exercise caution when approaching electricity wires or poles.

“The two who were electrocuted were not aware of the live electric wires that had fallen on the vehicle when they tried to push the truck,” company spokesman Adrian Mvungi told The Anadolu Agency.

Agnes Kijazi, director-general of the Tanzania Metrological Agency, expected heavy rain to continue for another three days or more.

“Apart from Dar es Salaam, other regions that are expected to receive abnormally heavy rains are Mtwara, Lindi, Zanzibar and Tanga,” he told AA.

More than 38 people were killed and thousands displaced early this month when rains pounded northwestern Tanzania’s Shinyanga region.

In April of last year, at least 46 people died and hundreds were left homeless following heavy rainfall and flooding in the Morogoro region.

Colombia – Floods and Landslides Hit after Days of Heavy Rain

Several departments in Colombia have been affected by heavy rain and hailstorms over the last few days, resulting in floods and landslides. One person is believed to have died in a landslide in Tolima department, around 600 buildings have been damaged in Bogotá and at least 1,000 people have been affected by floods in Valle del Cauca department.


At least 5 districts of the capital, Bogotá, were flooded by heavy rains which were accompanied by a massive hailstorm.

Floods and Hail in Bogota, Colombia. Photo: Defensa Civil Colombiana

According to Defensa Civil Colombiana, the worst affected areas are Restrepo and La Fragua, in the south of the city. TV reports say that floods and hail caused damage to over 600 buildings and roads.

WATCH: Deluge in Colombia.

Bogotá suffered a similar hailstorm in 2006.

Bogotá hailstorm in 2006. Photo: Ju98 5

Valle del Cauca

A river overflowed in Valle del Cauca, damaging houses, roads and bridges. At least 1,000 people have been affected in the municipality of El Aguila, where a state of public calamity has been declared, according to media reports.


Local media
are also reporting that one person has been killed in a landslide that occurred in Tolima Department after several days of heavy rain.

Weather Alerts and Warnings

Colombia meteorological agency IDEAM, reported yesterday that heavy rainfall was recorded in the Andean, Pacific and Orinoco regions, 90 mm of rain in 24 hours between 23 and 24 March 2015 fell at Samaná in Caldas province.

IDEAM have issued orange alerts (mid level) for landslides in Boyacá, Caldas, Cundinamarca, Cauca, Huila, Santander, Meta, Choco, Nariño and Valle del Cauca. Yellow alerts (lowest level) are in place for possible flooding of several rivers, including the Caquetá, Putumayo and Mocoa rivers.

Infrared Image of Rainfall in Colombia 23 March 2015. Image: IDEAM

Heavy Rain in Peru Causes Landslides and Floods – At Least 8 Dead

The regions of Junin, Lima and Cajamarca in Peru have been hit by landslides over the last few days after periods heavy rain across the region. The heavy rain has also increased river levels. Rain is expected to continue along coastal regions until 28 March 2015.

Neighbouring Ecuador has recently experienced similar severe weather, resulting in floods and landslides which, as of yesterday 24 March 2015, have left at least 11 people dead. Landslides and floods have also occurred in Colombia over the last few days, affecting 100s and leaving 1 dead.

Landslides in Peru

ECHO report that a landslide occurred in the district of Lurigancho-Chosica, Lima region, on 23 March, killing eight people and injuring 25, while another six people were still missing and over 150 houses were destroyed, as of 24 March 2015. Another landslide occurred in Huarochiri province of Lima on the same day, injuring 30 people and destroying 110 houses.

In Cajamarca region, landslides have been occurring since 18 March, killing three people in Cutervo and destroying 22 houses in Cutervo and Chota provinces. The region of Junin has also been affected by landslides, although no casualties have been reported.

Increased River Levels

INDECI – Peru’s National Institute of Civil Defence – warned on 23 March 2015 that the heavy rain had increased levels of rivers, in particular the Rímac at Chosica, the Chillón at Obrajillo and the Chancay (Huaral) at Santo Domnigo.

As of yesterday, 24 March 2015, levels of the rivers Marañon, Ucayali, Napo and Huallaga were also all above normal.

Further Heavy Rain

INDECI have also issued a level 3 warning for further heavy rain in coastal areas until 28 March 2015. Affected departments include Ancash, Arequipa, Callao, Ica, La Libertad, Lambayeque, Lima, Moquegua, Piura, Tacna and Tumbes.

Floods in Peru, 2015

Peru has seen regular flooding and landslides caused by heavy rain since December 2014. Two people died after the Shemacache river overflowed in the Mariscal Cáceres province of the San Martin region in northern Peru in December after 140mm of rain fell in 24 hours .

In late January at least 3,000 people were displaced by floods in the same region after the Huallaga and Huayabamba rivers overflowed. Peru’s central government later declared a state of emergency for the area.
The state of Acre in Brazil, which borders parts of Peru, suffered from severe flooding during March 2015 after the Acre River overflowed.

Bangkok Post | Floodlist.  

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Sinkholes And Landslides Keep Popping Up Across The Globe - SUV Swallowed By 20-Foot Sinkhole In New Jersey Suburb; Massive Sinkhole Appears In Pietermaritzburg, South Africa; Huge Landslide Buries Parts Of Peruvian Town, At Least 7 People Dead; Sinkhole Devours Street In Cleveland, Ohio; Man Rescue Out Of Sinkhole In Dania Beach, Florida; And One Dead After Cliff Collapse In Point Reyes, Northern California!

March 25, 2015 - EARTH - Here are several of the latest reports of sinkholes and landslides across the globe as monumental planetary transformations continue.

SUV swallowed by 20-foot sinkhole in New Jersey suburb

Crews pulled a car out of a huge sinkhole in South Amboy, New Jersey Tuesday afternoon - and some neighbors still were not being allowed back in their homes.

Around 6:15 a.m. Tuesday, authorities were alerted about the 20-foot-deep sinkhole that opened up on Gordon Street. Throughout the day, it was a bad, tense scene - with people wondering why the ground collapsed and if there was still any danger.

Authorities said a broken water main that undermined the earth was to blame for the sinkhole.

A neighbor first called to report that his car had been stolen - but that was not what had happened at all. He discovered that it actually had been swallowed up by the sinkhole, along with part of his yard.

"My dad, he said around 6 o'clock, he heard some crackling, high winds — almost like a recycling truck, it sounded like," said Dawn Matthews, the daughter of the man who lost his car. "He looked to the front and he didn't see a recycling truck, but then he went to the back, and saw in the back of the house, the neighbor's fence was kind of going down, and saw that part of road collapsed."

About an hour later, more of the street collapsed. Video from the scene showed a small SUV covered in mud that appears to have been swallowed up as the road gave way.

"All of the utilities have been shut off to these houses, we've evacuated three houses and there's a car at the bottom of the hill," Fire Chief Mike Geraltowski said.

A broken fire hydrant was also visible amidst the rubble.

"At one time there was a fire hydrant at the end of the street, which you can no longer see," Geraltowski told 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa. "The water broke and caused a sinkhole, for lack of a better word."

Neighbors were shocked at the sight.

"As a child, I used to play down there, and it was pretty steep," said 50-year South Amboy resident Jack Roberts, "and when you hear of sinkholes, you think of Florida or someplace, but there's one over at the end of the street there."

Residents of three homes were evacuated and will not be allowed to return Tuesday night.

WATCH: Massive South Amboy Sinkhole Forces Evacuation Of Nearby Homes.

"Our priority right now is to make the roadway safe so that the residents can get into homes. Like I said, I don't think that's going to happen tonight," Geraltowski said. I was talking to OEM coordinator, and that's not going to happen tonight.

On Feb. 20, another water main broke on Bordentown Avenue a block away from the site.

Neighbors said they are lucky this happened when it did and not on Sunday when Gordon Street was lined with kids and families taking part in South Amboy's St. Patrick's Day parade.

South Amboy police said Gordon Street will be closed until further notice in the area east of Pine Avenue as crews make emergency repairs.

Drivers and pedestrians are being urged to avoid the area. - CBS News.

Massive sinkhole appears on N3 highway in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

© Jonathan Burton

A massive sinkhole over two metres deep and three metres wide appeared on the N3 highway in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday, leading to the closure of one of the busy freeway's lanes.

The Durban-bound portion of the road near the Peter Brown offramp has been repaired numerous times, but it collapsed when a bus travelling over the sunken area collided with a truck in the early hours of Thursday.

Easter weekend

WBHO engineer Jacques Grobler, who has been contracted to repair the sinkhole, said he was hoping to fix the portion of road before the Easter weekend.

"We had a machine on site this morning to start excavating the bottom of the sinkhole and to investigate the problem."

He said once they identified the cause of the collapse, they would build up the hole layer by layer and "try to repair it before the Easter weekend".

Road Traffic Inspectorate spokesperson Zinhle Mngomezulu said the hole was 2.4 metres deep and would easily swallow the nose end of a car.

Photos of the sinkhole were plastered all over social media as local residents and travellers shared concerns over the collapsed portion of road.


Comments poured in on The Witness's Facebook page from locals who said they had hit the sunken patch of road days before it collapsed.

Local Andries Keyser said he hit the sunken patch of road on Monday whilst towing an empty bulk fuel trailer behind his bakkie.

"There was a few split seconds where my vehicle was less of a bakkie and more of a light cargo aircraft," he said.

Another local, Yolanda Jacobs Ogilvie, said whilst driving over the sunken portion of road, she could feel the road was not stable.

"I drove over that patch one million times going home and you could feel something was up as it really knocked your car when you hit it."

To add to the congestion caused by the sinkhole on Thursday, a truck overturned a few metres behind the sinkhole, causing a two-kilometre traffic jam.

Mngomezulu said the truck lane was closed for almost two hours as a tow truck worked to remove the damaged vehicle. - News24.

Massive landslide buries parts of Peruvian town amid heavy rains - 7 people dead

Seven people were killed and more were feared dead in Peru after a massive landslide buried parts of a town amid heavy rains, authorities said on Tuesday.

Six were missing and 25 injured in the disaster in Chosica, some 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) east of Lima, said Alfredo Murgueytio, the head of the National Civil Defense Institute, Indeci.

"There are likely more dead bodies under the debris," Murgueytio said on local broadcaster RPP.

A woman carries a baby as she walks past debris of houses after a massive landslide in Chosica, March 24, 2015. © REUTERS/ Mariana Bazo

People remove debris of cars and houses after a massive landslide in Chosica, March 24, 2015.

TV images showed water and mud rushing over the town's sloped streets and a distraught woman waving a picture of a missing girl.

The main road connecting Lima to the center of Peru, a top global producer of copper and gold, remained blocked since Monday, police said.
 The landslide destroyed 65 houses and rendered another 45 unlivable, said Indeci.

Landslides and avalanches in Peru, mainly in rural towns in the Andes and Amazon, have killed 28 people and destroyed 1,245 houses so far this year, according to Indeci.

Chosica, a town tucked between mountains and next to a river, has been damaged by landslides several times in the past. - Reuters.

A mud-heavy torrent has sent auto-sized rocks crashing into a highlands town along Peru's main east-west highway and national civil defense chief Carlos Castro says it killed at least seven people and destroyed 65 homes.

The central highway remained blocked by debris on Tuesday from the previous night's catastrophe.

In this photo provide by government's Andina news agency, rescue personnel work in the debris of a house destroyed by a mudslide caused by heavy rains in
Chosica, Peru, Tuesday, March 24, 2015. According to authorities the mudslide blocked a major road to Lima, destroyed more
than 60 homes and killed several residents.  © AP/Andina, Carlos Lezema

© AP/Andina, Carlos Lezema

A man stands inside his destroyed house after a massive landslide in Chosica, March 24, 2015. © Reuters/Mariana Bazo

Boulders loosed by two hours of heavy rains smashed through brick walls and floodwaters carried cars, animals and furniture through Chosica's streets.

Televised images showed police breaking through the wall of one home to recover the bodies of 23-year-old Ana Marino and her 3-year-old son, Stefano. Mother was clutching child.

WATCH: Massive mudslides hit central Peru.

Residents asked authorities to send heavy equipment to clear the wreckage.

A 1987 mudslide in Chosica killed 64 people.

Peru's weather service predicts heavy coastal rains through the rest of March. - Yahoo.

Sinkhole devours part of street in Cleveland, Ohio

Part of Eddy Rd. collapsing. (Source: WOIO)

While drivers across the city look out for potholes, residents who live along Eddy Road, south of the Shoreway worry about a much bigger problem. Part of their street was swallowed up by a big sinkhole.

"It's scary, it's scary. That's literally at the corner of my street," said Unique Patterson, a resident who has to drive past it on her way home.

Several neighbors say they noticed part of the asphalt collapsing yesterday. Within a matter of minutes there was a car crater in the middle of the street.

While many potholes have the potential to do some costly damage to vehicles, this hole can swallow up an entire car and everyone in it. That's why the people who live on this street are worried.

"We might be running down the street and another part of the street be messed up," said Antonio Adams.

Like Adams, many here are wondering if there are other sinkholes nearby and whether they should be driving so close to this one.

WATCH: Drivers dodge big sinkhole on Eddy Road.

19 Action News reporter Bill Safos made sure the soil in and around it was stable before stepping into it to find several feet of hallow ground extending under the roadway that cars were still driving on.

"We might get injured," said Adams.

According to the Mayor's Media Relations Director, the City of Cleveland was told about the sinkhole Friday night.

It couldn't be fixed then but city workers put up yellow tape and orange barrels to keep cars away. Until it's fixed, neighbors say they're watching drivers dodge a disaster. - 19 Action News.

Fire Rescue officials pull man out of sinkhole in Dania Beach, Florida

Fire Rescue officials have pulled a man out of a sinkhole at a boat yard in Dania Beach.

Sky 10 was above the scene about 4:30 p.m. as firefighters could be seen helping a man, as his legs appeared to still be stuck in the sinkhole in the area of Northeast 7th Avenue off S. Federal Highway.


Firefighters were eventually able to pull the man onto a stretcher just before 4:45 p.m.

He was then rushed to a nearby hospital by ambulance.

No other details were immediately released.  - Local10.

Hiker dies, another injured after cliff collapse in Point Reyes, Northern California

One person is dead and another person suffered critical injuries after an apparent rockslide at Point Reyes National Seashore Saturday evening, according to a park employee.

Emergency medical crews with the Marin County Fire Department responded at 5:55 p.m. to a report of a rescue in the area of Arch Rock in the West Marin park, Marin County fire Battalion Chief Mike Giannini said.

Two hikers were walking along Bear Valley Trail when they reached the end of the trail, the Arch Rock overlook, John Dell'Osso, a spokesman for the U.S. National Park Service said.

The cliff unexpectedly gave way and they fell an estimated 60 feet below. They were covered in rubble and rock, Dell'Osso said.

Both people were airlifted out of the area. Dell'Osso said one person was pronounced deceased at the scene and the other was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

Photo: National Parks Service

Photo: National Parks Service

Photo: National Parks Service

Photo: National Parks Service

Giannini described the person's injuries as potentially life-threatening but Dell'Osso said the person is expected to survive.

Dell'Osso said a fissure appeared at the "tip" of the overlook on Wednesday and park officials immediately put signs up at the trailhead and visitor center to warn visitors they could not hike to the end of the trail.

The park service issued a trail advisory on its website on Thursday warning hikers that fissures along the top of Arch Rock may have weakened it. "Bluffs along the California coast are inherently unstable. They are prone to crumbling and sliding," the website reads. "It is very dangerous to climb or walk along the edge of cliffs."

Dell'Osso said park officials even put a 24-inch by 40-inch sign just past the start of the trail to warn visitors of the unstable bluff.The Marin County coroner's office will release the identity of the decedent pending notification of next of kin, Dell'Osso said. The U.S. Coast Guard, Marin County Fire Department, and Sonoma County sheriff's helicopter team also responded to the scene. - SF Gate.