‘Potentially Catastrophic’ Laura nears U.S.

Currently churning in the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters describe Laura as an ‘extremely dangerous’ Category 4 hurricane which is packing sustained winds of 230 km/h.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says little time remains to protect life and property before water levels rise and winds become stronger.

Laura is projected to make landfall near the Texas-Louisiana border late Wednesday with an ‘unsurvivable’ storm surge.

More than 600,000 residents have been evacuated which experts say could cause a spike in Covid19 cases amid the pandemic.

Rain helps douse NW Ontario forest fire

Red Lake 49 fire, near Red Lake, ON, 10 Aug 2020 (Twitter/via @solmamakwa)

The so-called fire, Red Lake 49, was declared under control earlier today after coming within two kilometres of the Northwestern Ontario community a few days ago.

The roughly 4,000 residents of the gold mining municipality are now allowed to return home after having been evacuated earlier in the week.

Environment Canada says a strong low pressure system brought almost 60 mm of rain to the Red Lake area with lesser amounts falling further to the south.

Although local officials say the fire did not damage any homes or businesses, some power and phone lines were impacted.

Flooding in Fort McMurray

Fort McMurray under floodwaters, 27 April 2020 (Instagram/d_nyce.entertainment)

Almost four years after wildfires ravaged Fort McMurray, the northern Alberta city is now dealing with devastating flooding.

About 13,000 residents have been evacuated after ice jams on the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers forced floodwaters into the city.

Provincial officials say there are extensive ice jams on the rivers which will need to thaw before the flooding subsides.

The mayor says this is a one-in-a-100-year flood which unfortunately occurred this year on top of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Willa wallops Mexico’s Pacific coast

Willa

A boat rests on a street in Teacapan, Sinaloa, Mexico following Hurricane Willa, 24 Oct 2018 (Reuters)

Crashing into the Pacific coast of Mexico between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, Hurricane Willa was a Category 3 storm packing wind gusts up to 193 km/h.

The eye of the hurricane struck the town of Teacapan where roofs were ripped off buildings and the streets were turned into a muddy mess.

Roads leading into Teacapan were littered with dozens of fallen utility poles.

A massive evacuation effort moved thousands into temporary shelters inland and no deaths were reported.

Florence called a ‘monster’

More than two million residents have been evacuated as Hurricane Florence roars toward the Southeastern United States with sustained winds of more than 175 km/h.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says the Category 2 storm is taking aim at North and South Carolina on Thursday.

A life threatening storm surge is expected along the Atlantic coast with an incredible 800 mm (30 inches) rain possible.

Emergency officials call Florence “a monster” and cities like Myrtle Beach have become eerily empty as the hurricane approaches.

Smoke impacts Alberta air quality

Smoke over downtown Calgary, AB, 14 August 2018 (Dearing)

Smoke from forest fires in British Columbia is streaming into Alberta resulting in poor air quality and reduced visibility.

Environment Canada says smoke conditions can change quickly during wildfires but air quality will be poor for the rest of the week.

Small children, seniors and anyone with chronic conditions are especially at risk.

British Columbia has declared a state of emergency with over 560 out-of-control wildfires forcing 3,000 residents from their homes and another 20,000 are under evacuation alert.

Northeastern Ontario burning

ON fire

Helicopter drops water on eastern flank of Parry Sound 33 fire, 30 July 2018 (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources)

A forest fire in northeastern Ontario is edging dangerously close to the Trans Canada Highway which links the northern and southern parts of the province.

Known as Parry Sound 33, the fire has burned more than 100 square kilometres since it began on 18 July and smoke has been creating poor air quality.

Many small communities, south of Greater Sudbury, are either being evacuated or are on alert to leave at a moment’s notice.

More than 600 firefighters from across North America have arrived to help battle this blaze and dozens of others across the region.

Wildfires rage in California

CAfires

Wildfires burning in northern California, 29 July 2018 (Google Maps)

The largest of California’s wildfires has claimed five lives and destroyed more than 500 buildings near the city of Redding in the northern part of the state.

Fire officials say the blaze has grown in size to about 360 square kilometres thanks to hot, dry conditions and gusty winds.

Sparks from a vehicle ignited the fire on 23 July and now many of Redding’s 92,000 residents are on evacuation notice.

Further south, crews have made progress containing a wildfire outside Yosemite National Park but heavy smoke has closed the Yosemite Valley until next weekend.

Major flooding in B.C.

BC FloodingMay 11

Flooding in Grand Forks, BC, 11 May 2018 (Regional District of Kootenay Boundary)

A combination of heavy rain, warm temperatures and rapid snowmelt from the mountains has created major flooding in Interior British Columbia.

About 4,000 residents have been evacuated from their homes mainly in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

At the confluence of two rivers – the Granby and the Kettle – the city of Grand Forks has been hardest hit where firefighters have rescued dozens by boat.

The province has issued evacuation orders or alerts in six other regional districts and eight First Nations.

Officials say this spring’s flooding is worse than the devastating floods of 1948.

St. John River flooding reaches historic levels

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Flooding forces closure of Randolph Bridge on west side of Saint John, 05 May 2018 (Twitter/City of Saint John)

After steadily rising for more than a week, water levels along the southern portion of the St. John River have surpassed the historic flood in 1973.

Environment Canada is forecasting more rain for Southern New Brunswick with up to 20 mm possible by Monday after 30 mm fell Friday and early Saturday.

The Coast Guard and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans have provided vessels to help with evacuations and Transport Canada has deployed surveillance aircraft.

Almost 1,000 people have registered as evacuees with the Red Cross.

Many roads have been closed by the flooding including the Trans Canada Highway between River Glade and Oromocto – the detour through Saint John adds one hour of travel time between Moncton and Fredericton.