Snowstorm sweeps Southeastern U.S.

Southeast USA snowstorm

Man cuts fallen tree blocking a road in South Carolina, 09 Dec 2018 (Reuters)

Several deaths have been reported after a massive snowstorm buried parts of the Southeastern United States with more than 30 cm falling in several major cities to as much as 60 cm in the Appalachian Mountains.

North Carolina and Virginia were especially hard hit by the storm system which slowly moved out into the Atlantic Ocean today.

Highways became hazardous as snowy, icy conditions led to hundreds of collisions, dozens of flights were cancelled and schools and businesses shut down.

About 300,000 customers also lost electricity during the peak as the storm knocked trees onto power lines.

Will rain really help California wildfires?

Heavy rain is not exactly being welcomed in California despite recent wildfires in the northern and southern parts of the state which have been ferocious and deadly.

Officials are now warning about the threat of mudslides as rain falls on dry or parched land and it runs downhill bringing rocks and debris with it.

About 100 mm of rain could fall in the north where the so-called Camp Fire has wiped out the mountain town of Paradise, north of the state capital Sacramento, claiming more than 77 lives with 1,000 still missing.

In the south, nearly 50 mm could dampen the so-called Woolsey Fire in the western suburbs of Los Angeles which has claimed at least three lives and destroyed some of America’s most expensive real estate including the homes of numerous Hollywood celebrities.

The cause of both fires is still under investigation but a lawsuit alleges problems with electricity transmission lines may have played a role.

Gerard Butler, Instagram

Actor Gerard Butler in front of his destroyed home in Malibu, CA, USA, 11 Nov 2018 (Instagram)

Florence creates historic flooding

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Fallen tree traps residents inside home, Wilmington, NC, USA, 15 Sept 2018 (ABC)

Since making landfall near Wilmington, North Carolina on Friday morning as a Category 1 hurricane, Florence has claimed at least 15 lives.

Strong winds have toppled trees trapping some and even killing others in their own homes.

Now a tropical depression, the storm has been dumping epic amounts of rain (800 mm or more) on North and South Carolina which has caused flash flooding as rivers and streams spill their banks.

First responders have rescued almost 1,000 residents from floodwaters while nearly one million are without power and tens of thousands have sought refuge in emergency shelters.

Many highways have been left impassable and officials are urging drivers to stay at home and off the roads.

Deadly mudslides in California

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Aftermath of mudslides in Santa Barbara, CA, USA, 09 Jan 2018 (US Coast Guard)

Only a month after California endured searing wildfires, the southern part of the state is now grappling with deadly mudslides thanks to heavy rain and barren ground from a recently scorched landscape.

Santa Barbara County has been the hardest hit area with hundreds of homes damaged and at least 65 destroyed.

The death toll stands at 17 with almost 30 injured and more than 40 reported missing.

Thousands lost electricity and a portion of a major highway (US 101) had to be temporarily closed due to the mud which covered it.

Deadly wildfires in California 

Wildfires destroy entire neighbourhoods in Santa Rosa, CA, USA, 11 Oct 2017 (Getty Images)


Fire officials say wildfires will get worse before getting better in the wine country of northern California.

High winds and dry conditions have fuelled the flames destroying entire neighbourhoods in Santa Rosa and at least 13 wineries been either damaged or completely wiped out.

The death toll stands at about 30 with many residents being found in their homes not being able to escape the fires.

More than 3,500 homes and buildings have been destroyed so far and firefighters continue knocking on doors trying to evacuate thousands more being affected by the catastrophic blazes.

Wildfires tear through Tennessee

Burned buildings and cars aftermath of wildfire in Gatlinburg Tennessee

Wildfire devastation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA, 29 Nov 2016 (Reuters)

It sounds all too familiar in 2016 – wildfires devastate a community.

This time it’s autumn in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and last time it was spring in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

About 1,000 homes and businesses have been destroyed by wildfires in the eastern part of the southern U.S. state of Tennessee.

Officials believe the fire was human-caused and began earlier this week in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Strong winds toppled trees and power lines and spread embers to nearby Gatlinburg where 14,000 people had to be evacuated.

Rain has helped fire crews but months of drought has left the ground bone-dry.

At least two Canadians are among 13 people who have died in the wildfires.

Hurricane Otto strikes Central America

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Heavy rain and flooding swept away bridges in Costa Rica, 25 Nov 2016 (Reuters)

Otto has become the strongest storm so late in the Atlantic hurricane season to make landfall.

Otto struck the coast of Nicaragua and Costa Rica as a category 2 hurricane but has since been downgraded to a tropical storm as it weakens in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Forecasters say exceptionally high sea surface temperatures of around 29 C added extra fuel to the storm which delivered a month’s worth of rain in a few hours.

Officials say the death toll was nine but could have been higher if the storm had hit major population centres.

Matthew finally weakens

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Flooding after Hurricane Matthew in Charleston, SC, USA, 08 Oct 2016 (Getty Images)

The U.S. National Hurricane Center finally downgraded Matthew to a post-tropical cyclone today after pounding North and South Carolina with strong winds, heavy rain and record flooding before moving east out to sea.

Matthew made landfall near Charleston, South Carolina yesterday as a category 1 hurricane after hugging Florida’s Atlantic coast.

Hundreds had to be rescued from floodwaters in the Carolinas including one woman who was forced to cling to a tree overnight before emergency workers arrived.

The most powerful Atlantic storm in a decade has claimed at least 20 deaths in the Southeastern United States and more than 900 in the Caribbean, mostly in Haiti.

 

Florida braces for Matthew

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Hurricane Matthew passes over Les Cayes, Haiti, 04 Oct 2016 (Reuters)

Hundreds of thousands of Florida residents along its east coast from Fort Lauderdale to Cape Canaveral have been told to evacuate in advance of Hurricane Matthew.

The powerful category 3 storm is churning through the Bahamas after a brush with eastern Cuba and has maximum sustained winds at 185 km/h.

Floods and mudslides from the storm in Haiti and the Dominican Republic have claimed more than 800 lives.

The U.S National Hurricane Center believes by early Friday, Matthew will track parallel to the Atlantic coast from Florida to the Carolinas and is not certain yet if the storm will hit land.

The last time a major hurricane made landfall in the United States was Wilma in 2005 which was blamed for 35 deaths and billions of dollars in damage.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre doesn’t believe Matthew will have any significant impact on Atlantic Canada.

Earl kills dozens in Mexico

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Mudslides in Tlaola, Puebla State, Mexico, 07 Aug 2016 (AFP)


Torrential rains from Tropical Storm Earl triggered mudslides in eastern Mexico where officials say at least 40 people have been killed.

The worst affected state was Puebla where some towns including Tlaola were almost completely destroyed by mudslides.

Emergency workers are searching through mud and rubble to find survivors.

Meantime on Mexico’s west coast, Tropical Storm Javier is moving closer to Baja California and has already brought heavy rain and flooding to Cabo San Lucas.