Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the North Atlantic Ocean: Invest 90L is an area of disturbed weather in the North Atlantic that may have potential for further tropical development.

In the South Pacific Ocean: Tropical Cyclone Debbie located approximately 108 nm southeast of Townsville, Australia, is tracking southwestward at 05 knots.

Monster cyclone Debbie smashed into northeast Australia Tuesday, cutting power, damaging buildings and uprooting trees, with coastal residents battling lashing rain and howling winds. Great Barrier Reef islands popular with foreign tourists were battered by the category four storm which slammed into the coast of Queensland state with destructive wind gusts of up to 270 kph (167 miles) near its broad core. By late evening it had been downgraded to category two and was expected to weaken further.

NewsBytes:

Indonesia – Floods claimed four lives and rendered one missing in Padang Sidimpuan, North Sumatra, on Sunday evening. Five residents were swept away by the flooding, of which four were found dead, while another is still missing. Several homes were flooded in the sub-districts of Padang Sidimpuan Angkola Julu, Padang Sidimpuan Batunadua, South Padang Sidimpuan, and North Padang Sidimpuan. Also at least 2,500 people in five sub-districts in Bima, East Nusa Tenggara, have fled their homes to escape flash floods, following heavy rain on Sunday.

Kenya – Floods cause traffic jam on Kampala roads. Floods caused heavy traffic jams on all major city roads following a heavy Monday afternoon downpour. Along the Kampala-Jinja Road, floods cut off the road at Kyambogo junction.

Wildfires

Wildfires – Ireland

The current dry spell in Ireland has brought with is a host of wild fires across the country. Since Friday the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) says it has recorded 15 wild fires from counties Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Galway, Donegal, Louth and Mayo.

It says eight of these were in areas protected for nature conservation – all are illegal as setting fire to vegetation is prohibited between March 1and August 31 each year.

Disease

New cholera outbreak flares up in Malawi

Malawi health officials reported a new cholera outbreak in Nsanje district, located in the southern region of Malawi. The outbreak began on Mar. 11 and laboratory testing revealed that the agent was Vibrio cholerae Ogawa O1. As of 24 March 2017, a total of 14 cases with no deaths have been reported.

Lassa fever in West Africa: Outbreaks confirmed in 5 countries

Lassa fever outbreaks have been confirmed across five West African countries, including Nigeria, Benin, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Burkina Faso.

Nigeria – In Nigeria, the index case emerged on 16 December 2016 in Ogun state. Since then, the outbreak has remained active. During the week ending 19 March 2017), 15 suspected cases were reported, with two testing positive for Lassa fever. Between 16 December 2016 and 19 March 2017, a total of 283 suspected cases including 56 deaths (case fatality rate of 19.8%) have been reported. Of the suspected cases, 99 were confirmed by the Lagos University Teaching Hospital Lassa laboratory in Nigeria. The cases have been distributed across 13 states: Ogun, Bauchi, Plateau, Ebonyi, Ondo, Edo, Taraba, Nasarawa, Rivers, Kaduna, Gombe, Cross-River and Borno.

Benin – The outbreak of Lassa fever in Benin started on 12 February 2017 from Tchaourou district, Borgou province, close to the border with Nigeria. It was established that this case had epidemiological link with the ongoing Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria. On 23 February 2017, another suspected case from L’Atacora province was reported. Samples obtained from the two cases tested positive for Lassa fever in the laboratory in Cotonou, Benin and in the Lagos University Teaching Hospital Lassa laboratory. Both cases died, giving a case fatality of 100%.

Togo – In Togo, Lassa fever was confirmed on 23 February 2017, with the case having established epidemiological linkage to Benin. A total of 12 suspected were subsequently reported, seven of them were confirmed at the Institut National d’Hygiène in Lomé, Togo. Four of the confirmed cases died, giving a case fatality rate of 57%. The cases originated from Oti and Kpendjal districts.

Burkina Faso – On 26 February 2017, the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso notified WHO of a confirmed Lassa fever case admitted in a hospital in the northern part of Togo. The case originated from Ouargaye district, central eastern part of Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso has not had any other case.

Sierra Leone – Sierra Leone has been reporting sporadic suspected cases of Lassa fever since 28 December 2016. However, the outbreak situation escalated in the months of February and March 2017 when a cluster of 24 cases were reported and investigated. Out of these, four cases were laboratory confirmed and all of them died, thus giving case fatality rate of 100% among the confirmed. The outbreak has since subsided.

Measles in Damascus, Syria

A “major outbreak” of measles is hitting the encircled, rebel-controlled Damascus suburbs of East Ghouta, with doctors telling Syria Direct that vaccine shortages are to blame for more than 350 cases of the easily preventable disease in under two months. As a result, hundreds of East Ghouta children now suffer from dangerously high fevers, severe respiratory issues and, in at least two instances, death.

In patients with access to quality health care, measles can be managed. But for populations with malnutrition and inadequate health care, “mortality can be as high as 10 percent,” the France-based Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) reported earlier this month. Children affected by measles within East Ghouta face an added risk of serious health complications given the dire food and medical shortages resulting from the opposition-held area’s five-year encirclement.

Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

6.1 Earthquake hits the Near Islands in the Aleutian Islands.

5.2 Earthquake hits Maule, Chile.

5.2 Earthquake hits Kepulauan Babar, Indonesia.

5.1 Earthquake hits east of the South Sandwich Islands.

5.0 Earthquake hits Yunnan, China.

5.0 Earthquake hits the Solomon Islands.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the North Atlantic Ocean: Invest 90L is an area of disturbed weather in the North Atlantic that may have potential for further tropical development.

In the South Pacific Ocean: Tropical Cyclone Debbie located approximately 295 nm east- southeast of Cairns, Australia, is tracking west-southwestward at 04 knots.

In the South Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone 12s (Caleb), located approximately 200nm south of Cocos Island, is tracking westward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

Japan – Eight teenagers from a high school mountaineering club were killed Monday during an avalanche in an area of northeastern Japan that had been blanketed by unusually heavy spring snows, the authorities and the Japanese news media said. The students were climbing in an area in Tochigi Prefecture, about 100 miles north of Tokyo. The weather bureau in Tochigi had issued an avalanche warning on Sunday.

Middle East – Freak weather has caused carnage across the Middle East, after a series of flash floods, dust storms, hail and lightning shocked the region. This week, schools were shut down in Oman, while several accidents were reported when drivers lost control of their vehicles. In the UAE, thunderstorms and lightning lit up the night sky, following flash floods on the roads. Saudi Arabia suffered dust storms, which put several densely-packed cities on alert, and prompted a medical warning for those who venture outside. Earlier, in February, a bizarre blizzard snowstorm blanketed Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Global Warming

Climate change is shifting global air currents

Huge jetstreams that circle Earth are being altered by climate change, scientists have warned.

The researchers claim that man-made global warming has slowed down the way that air flows and distributes weather – and the consequences could be severe.

They say the shift will see an increase in extreme weather globally, including more deadly droughts, floods and heatwaves.

Jetstreams are influenced by the difference in temperatures between the equator and the Arctic. These streams circle the Earth and transport heat and moisture from the Arctic to the tropics. But when the planetary waves stall droughts or floods can occur.

Warming caused by greenhouse-gases from fossil fuels stall airstreams, the international team of researchers found.

They found changes that show extreme and persistent shifts in the jet stream that can trigger extreme weather events. Human activity has been suspected of contributing to this pattern before, but the researchers say they have now uncovered a ‘clear fingerprint’ of human activity. ‘If the same weather persists for weeks on end in one region, then sunny days can turn into a serious heat wave and drought, or lasting rains can lead to flooding,’ explains co-author Professor Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany. ‘This occurs under specific conditions that favour what we call a quasi-resonant amplification that makes the north-south undulations of the jet stream grow very large. It also makes theses waves grind to a halt rather than moving from west to east. Identifying the human fingerprint on this process is advanced forensics.’

Since the Arctic is more rapidly warming than other regions, its temperature difference with the equator is decreasing.

Also, land masses are warming more rapidly than the oceans, especially in summer. Both changes have an impact on those global air movements. This includes the giant airstreams that are called planetary waves because they circle Earth’s Northern hemisphere in huge turns between the tropics and the Arctic.

When airstreams stall thanks to man-made temperature rises droughts or floods can occur. This image shows before (2011) and after (2014) photos of the Enterprise Bridge over Lake Oroville in Butte County, California after recent droughts:

Screen Shot 2017 03 27 at 1 48 31 PMScreen Shot 2017 03 27 at 1 48 42 PM

Disease

Measles in Italy

The number of measles cases recorded in Italy since the beginning of this year has increased considerably, a phenomenon that worries health authorities because of parents’ resistance to the vaccine. According to the Ministry of Health, 700 cases were registered in the first three months of 2017.

India – Foot and Mouth Disease

Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) has affected Karani village on the outskirts of Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvallur district. It is feared that all of the village’s 500 cattle may be affected.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the South Pacific Ocean: Tropical Cyclone Debbie located approximately 320 nm east- southeast of Cairns, Australia, is tracking west-southwestward at 03 knots – Queensland is bracing for a large scale natural disaster ahead of the arrival of Cyclone Debbie, with authorities ordering evacuations, the closure of schools, ports and airports and thousands of military and emergency services personnel on alert. The Bureau of Meteorology predicts the “very destructive core” of Debbie will hit the mainland near the northern town of Ayr as a category four cyclone early Tuesday. There are concerns Debbie, which has slowly tracked southwest from the Coral Sea, could intensify to category five – the most severe category with winds in excess of 280km/h – by the time it makes landfall.

In the South Indian Ocean: Tropical cyclone 12s (Caleb), located approximately 919 nm west- northwest of Learmonth, Australia, is tracking westward at 03 knots.

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Disease

Sri Lanka – Dengue fever

During the first three months of 2016, Sri Lanka reported less than 14,000 dengue fever case, and 2016 was one of the most active dengue years in a long time. According to the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health’s Epidemiology Unit, as of Mar. 24, the island country has seen 24,562 cases, and there is a week to go.

Diseases such as dengue fever and even bird flu are spreading in Asia, and millions of poultry are being destroyed in South Korea today. The spread of diseases in Sri Lanka may be a part of a regional Asian health crisis – according to Sri Lankan Authorities.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the South Pacific Ocean: Tropical Cyclone Debbie lingered as a tropical wave for days in open water, but on Saturday was upgraded to the equivalent of a tropical storm. As of 4pm local time the system was 640km east of Cairns and 560km east northeast of Townsville, with sustained winds of 65km/h per hour. Currently the cyclone is expected to make landfall along the northern Queensland coast between Townsville and Proserpine on Tuesday morning. Forecast models were predicting that Debbie could intensify to a category 4 cyclone with wind gusts of up to 260km/h near it’s centre before making landfall.

In the South Indian Ocean: Tropical Cyclone Caleb is located about 270 nautical miles (310.7 miles/500.4 km) east-southeast of Cocos Island. Caleb was moving to the south-southeastward at 4 knots (4.6 mph/7.4 kph).

NewsBytes:

Angola – Eleven people have died and several more are missing after torrential rain hit northern parts of Angola between Tuesday afternoon and Thursday. In addition to the deaths, about 700 homes were destroyed and more than 5,000 properties flooded. The country’s capital, Luanda, has been badly affected after a month’s worth of rain, 76mm, fell in just over 24 hours. There was widespread traffic disruption in the city and electricity and drinking water supplies were affected. A church and a school were also destroyed by the floods.

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Disease

Meningococcal disease – Nigeria

As of 19 March 2017 (epidemiological week 11), a total of 1407 suspected cases of meningitis and 211 deaths (case fatality rate: 15%) have been reported from 40 local government areas (LGAs) in five states of Nigeria since December 2016. Zamfara, Katsina and Sokoto account for 89% of these cases. Twenty-six LGAs from all five states reported 361 cases in epidemiological week 11 alone. Twenty-two wards in 15 LGAs have crossed the epidemic threshold. Three of these LGAs share borders with Niger.