Wessington Springs Tornado

On Wednesday 18th June just before 8pm an EF2 tornado touched down in the small town of Wessington Springs. The town of 1000 people is located in central South Dakota. The tornado left a path of destruction with several homes and businesses being destroyed or damaged. 1 person was reported injured. 100 South Dakota National Guard soldiers and equipment were deployed by the Governor Dennis Daugaard in response.

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Pilger tornadoes

On 16th June 2014 a storm cloud produced 4 tornadoes, of which two were rare twin tornadoes a mile apart from each other. Although multiple tornadoes do occur, what made these rare was the fact that there was no dominant tornado and they were both strong EF4 tornadoes with winds of 200 mph. The tornadoes touched down in the small town of Pilger causing devastation. 2 people including a child and an elderly man were killed and 19 were left injured of which 16 were in critical condition. 75% of the building in Pilger destroyed or damaged. A local school also heavily damaged. The town was evacuated for the night.

The storm system also produced large hail, flash floods and noncyclonic damaging winds.

Incredible videos and photos of the tornadoes were caught.

The town is still suffering from the aftermath of the devastation and recovery and damage assessments are currently underway.

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Landslides kill thousands in Afghanistan

Heavy rainfall triggered two landslides on Friday 2nd May at 11am in the Badakhshan province of Afganistan. 4000 people have been displaced and fatalities vary from 350 to 2700. So far 350 bodies have been recovered but several more are missing and are feared to be burried under 300 feet of mud and rock. 1000 homes have been affected of which 370 have been entirely burried by the landslide.

Hundreds of rescue workers tried to search for survivors on Friday and Saturday, but their effort was made impossible by the lack of tools and machinery to dig through the thick material.

Search and rescue efforts have now been called off as officials nolonger have hope of finding victims alive and attention has been turned to the 4000 displaced.

Aid has started to arrive for those affected and the location of the landslide will be turned into a mass grave.

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Devastation in Southern US States after tornadoes kill 18 people

18 people have been killed and several injured by tornadoes that struck the Southern and Central US States on Sunday 27th April. 16 of the fatalities occurred in Little Rock, Arkansas and one in Quapaw, north-east of Oklahoma.

The intense storm system caused numerous tornado outbreaks, flash floods and hail storms as it travelled across the region. More than 8 tornadoes, EF2 or above in size were reported. Tornadoes were reported in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri.

The devastation caused by the latest outbreaks has lead to a state of emergency being declared throughout the affected States. The towns of Mayflower and Vilonia in Faulkner County have been the worse of the affected towns, taking a direct hit with widespread devastation left behind. According to reports, the tornado that touched down in Arkansas 16km west of Little Rock left a 65km path of destruction.

The damage caused by the events has been devastating and widespread. Hundreds of homes, businesses, public buildings, schools and infrastructure have been completely destroyed or been significantly damaged, cars and trailers were crushed by trees and power lines and debris were carried by the tornadoes and thrown meters away from the origin. In Baxter Springs, approximately 70 homes and 25 businesses have been destroyed.

As the reality of the damage and destruction caused came into light, officials warned that the number of death toll was expected to rise incredibly as search and rescue attempts continued in the affected States. Hundreds have been injured and left homeless. Astonishing and incredible witness accounts from the survivors of the tornadoes were told.

Tornadoes are formed when the right conditions exist, in this instance; a powerful jet stream was present, along with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and a cold front from the South. The Southern States are also referred to as the tornado alley, where conditions are perfect for the formation of these deadly natural phenomena. The conditions include; a powerful jet stream, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and a cold front from the South.

The situation is currently ongoing, further tornadoes have been reported and watches and warnings are in place. Parts of Mississippi, Alabama have been put on HIGH RISK. A tornado is currently heading towards Yazoo City and Tupelo, residents have been advised to take cover immediately.

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Tanzania Floods claim a further 10 lives

Severe floods in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania have claimed 10 lives on Sunday 13th April. The country has experienced heavy rainfall over the past few days which have triggered floods, causing numerous parts of the country to become inundated including the commercial capital Dar es Salaam. Two fatalities have previously been reported and a further ten have been… reported on Sunday. According to the regional commissioner the death toll is likely to rise over the coming days.

The floods have destroyed or severely damaged hundreds of homes leaving thousands homeless, farms and crops have also been destroyed and numerous livestock killed. Infrastructure such as roads, bridges and the drainage network have also been badly damaged or swept away. Major roads linking to the rest of the country have been cut off. The floods also caused the derailment of a train in the Dodoma Region in previous weeks which claimed the lives of 2 people.

According to reports, of the 10 victims 5 were children who died in different parts of Dar es Salaam. Rescue teams have been set up to respond in the worse hit areas.

Tanzania’s Meteorological Agency has forecast further heavy rain over the next few days. This has caused residents in Dar es Salaam to panic. The eastern part of the Country has received above average rainfall over the past few weeks.

It is likely that further heavy rainfall will worsen the situation over the next few days.

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Update on Cyclone Ita

Surveys of the damage caused by Cyclone Ita are taking place in northern Queensland. No fatalities or injuries have been reported. Ita left communities without power, caused damage to a few buildings, uprooted trees and destroyed crop plantations along the way, however no major damage has been reported and the country appears to have had a lucky escape. Heavy rainfall has a…lso caused floods which have inundated roads but not homes have been flooded.

According to reports the damage is estimated to have cost approximately $1 million.

Ita has now been downgraded to a category 1 cyclone with winds of up to 100km/h and is currently making its way south and is predicted to eventually make its way offshore by Monday. Warnings are still in place and according to the Australia Bureau of Meteorology between Bowen and St Lawrence; 100km/h wind speeds are likely and between Proserpine and Mackay and possibly Yeppoon and heavy rainfall up to 400mm and flooding is also a risk.

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Cyclone Ita

Tropical Cyclone Ita is a category 3 storm currently located over Queensland, Australia. The cyclone was downgraded from a strong category 5 to 3 and is the strongest storm to affect Australia since cyclone Yasi in 2011.

Ita formed on 1st April as a tropical depression and caused devastating floods on the Solomon Islands which left 23 dead and hundreds homeless. It gained its streng…th and intensified into a tropical cyclone on 5th April as it moved over the warm ocean. On the 10th it further intensified and became a category 5 but was eventually downgraded to a category 3 as it approached Australia on 11th April. Ita has made landfall in Queensland with wind speeds of 170km/h (105mph). According to the Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, Ita is forecast to head south-south-west overnight.

Destructive winds, intense rainfall and high storm surges causing coastal inundation and flooding is a significant risk that the residents are being warned about. Residents in the path of Ita have been warned to take precautionary measures in preparedness and evacuate into shelters set up where necessary. Warnings are currently in place for coastal areas from Cape Melville to Cardwell including Cooktown, Cape Melville, Port Douglas, Cairns and inland areas including Palmerville, Mareeba and Chillagoe.

According to the Meteorology Burea, Ita is expected to weaken after passing areas inland of Cooktown.

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Solomon Islands Flood

16 people have been killed and 40 are missing after floods devastated the Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands. 10,000 people have been left homeless and are currently staying in temporary shelters. Homes and bridges have been destroyed or swept away. The true scale of the disaster is still unknown, but officials say that it is likely that the death toll will rise. A state of emergency has been declared.

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Strong earthquake strikes Chile

A magnitude 8.2 earthquake with a depth of 20.1 km (12.5 miles) struck Chile on 1st April 2014 at 23:46. The earthquake, upgraded by the USGS from a magnitude 8.0 to 8.2 was located 95 km (59 miles) northwest of Iquique, northern Chile. According to the USGS the earthquake was a result of thrust faulting at shallow depths near the Country’s coastline. This earthquake follows on from increased seismicity in the area over recent days with earthquakes of magnitude 6.7 and below occurring with same faulting mechanisms.

6 deaths have so far been confirmed and several injured. 300 inmates in Iquique escaped jail amongst the chaos caused by the earthquake and 131 have now returned voluntarily. The Chilean army has been sent to the city to help relocate the remaining prisoners along with prevent looting.

The earthquake caused damage to houses, power cuts, fire, landslides and road blockages. Damage has however been limited considering the size of the earthquake. Several tsunami watches and warnings were issued in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Hondorus following the earthquake, causing thousands along the low-lying coastal areas to evacuate to higher ground. Most of these watches and warnings have now been lifted after a 2.1m wave hit some areas around the coast and residents have returned.

Strong aftershocks have followed on from the earthquake. The true extent of the damage caused will become clear over the next few hours as assessments are carried out.

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Large eruption at Mount Kelut forces evacuation

2 people have been killed and over 100,000 people have been forced to evacuate from the vicinity of Mount Kelut (Kelud) after it erupted explosively on 13th February at around 23:29 (local time).

Since the beginning of January 2014 there had been an increase in both shallow and deep volcanogenic earthquakes along with an increase in water temperature at the crater lake, leading to the alert level being raised to 3 (out of 4) and a 5km restriction zone around the crater.

Approximately 90 minutes before the alert was raised to 4, the volcano erupted resulting in the explosion being heard 125 miles (200 km) away and an ash column reaching 30 km into the atmosphere. Over 200,000 people in 36 villages located 6 miles (10 km) from the volcano were advised to evacuate immediately.

3 international airports in Surabaya, Solo and Yogyakarta have also been shut down due to the widespread ash which has been reported to be up to 5 cm thick. Towns and cities as far away as 80 miles (130 km) away have experienced ash falls up to 5 cm thick.

The ash fall also caused roofs to collapse under the weight of the ash leading to the 2 reported deaths. Just a few centimetres of ash can cause roofs to collapse especially poorly constructed ones made of weak material.

Kelut, also known as Kelud is a 1731 metres stratovolcano located on the island of Java. Eruptions have dated back to 230 BCE and the volcano has had episodes of eruptions as large as a VEI 4 since then. A VEI 4 eruption in 1919 lead to the death of over 5000 people and another VEI 4 eruption in February 1990 lead to the death of more than 30 people.

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