Forest fire tragedy in Portugal


Burnt cars block a road in the Pedrogao Grande area, Portugal, 18 June 2017 (AP/Armando Franca)

A massive forest fire in central Portugal has claimed more than 60 lives and injured dozens of others with hot, windy conditions fanning the flames.

Many died in their vehicles trying to flee the blaze while others died from smoke inhalation.

Portugal has declared three days of mourning in what has been called the worst human tragedy in recent times.

More than 2,000 firefighters are on the scene with help coming from Spain and across Europe.

Officials believe lightning started the fire on Saturday in the mountainous area of Pedrogao Grande, northeast of Lisbon.


Severe thunderstorms roll through central N.B.

Flash flooding amid a severe thunderstorm in Fredericton, 28 May 2015 (Twitter)

Flash flooding amid a severe thunderstorm in Fredericton, 28 May 2015 (Twitter)

Severe thunderstorms brought strong winds, rain, hail and even flash flooding to downtown Fredericton during the afternoon rush hour yesterday.

Environment Canada says between 25 and 40 mm of rain fell in only an hour and storm drains couldn’t keep up with the deluge which led to flooding on many city streets.

Hundreds of lightning strikes and winds gusting up to 82 km/h brought branches and trees down on power lines with up to 10,000 outages reported at the storm’s peak.

Edmonton inundated by flash flood

Car stranded on Edmonton freeway, 12 July 2012 (Postmedia)

A number of drivers on an Edmonton freeway had to be rescued in a flash flood during a thunderstorm.

Others abandoned their vehicles and waded out into chest-high water.

No one was hurt when the thunderstorm packing heavy rain, intense lightning and hail struck the Alberta capital city early yesterday.

Residents in many neighbourhoods reported local flooding caused when storm drains couldn’t handle the runoff.

Environment Canada reports more than 70 mm of rain fell in the city on Thursday – almost the amount that falls during the entire month of July.

Thunderstorms linger in NB, NS

Downtown Halifax, NS, 02 August 2011 (TWN)

A lingering line of thunderstorms impacted much of southern New Brunswick along with central and nothern Nova Scotia for what seemed like hours yesterday.

The heavy weather was more intense in Nova Scotia where flights were grounded at Halifax Stanfield Airport, almost 20,000 lost power when lightning struck the grid and heavy rain – even hail in some areas – caused minor flooding.

Forecasters say the duration and intensity of the storms yesterday was more typical of Central Canada.

In the Maritimes, thunderstorms tend to come and go rather quickly.

More severe weather in SE NB

Heavy downpour and hail, NE Moncton, 20 June 11

New Brunswick has had its share of severe thunderstorms this spring in a region not especially known for them.

A series of severe storms rolled through Greater Moncton yesterday and at times dropped pea-sized hail over the area along with rolling thunder and lightning.

No major incidents were reported although there were some troublesome flash flood areas in the city.

Severe storm impacts SE NB

A light show over Moncton 09 June 11 (TWN)

A severe thunderstorm caused some localized flooding in Greater Moncton last night but public works officials say no major problems have been reported.

Environment Canada had issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Southeast New Brunswick last night after a brief storm rolled though the region.

About 22 mm of rain was recorded at the Greater Moncton Airport.

Some areas lost power as well due to high winds and lightning strikes.

NB Power says at the peak outage earlier today, more than 3,000 customers in Kent County were in the dark.

The outage forced the closure of two schools in St. Louis-de-Kent today.

Intense thunderstorm hits NB, NS

Lightning near Halifax, NS 01 Jun 11 (CTV)

Hundreds of lightning strikes and long periods of rolling thunder were recorded across Southeastern New Brunswick and Nova Scotia last night after cold, continental air from the north collided with warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico.

Weather officials say the number of lightning strikes in the region was remarkable given that few electrical storms are recorded here in a given year.

The fast moving system, which also impacted New England earlier in the day (see previous blog entry), knocked out power to homes and businesses and forced two schools near Moncton to close today.