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flood

Nearly Entire Population Of California Remains Under Flood Alerts 

Currently almost the entire population of California remains under flood alerts as the state has experienced major rain storms within the past few weeks with more on the horizon. Officials are urging people to try to stay off the roads in the early days of this week, according to reports

Southern California is still recovering from a large storm that had some areas see record-breaking rainfall and hundreds of dangerous mudslides. The storm’s forecasted for this week aren’t projected to be that severe, however, parts of California could see up to 5 inches of rain, and currently 37 million residents are under flood watches, according to CNN

The National Weather Service office in Los Angeles warned of flooding and a possibility of 2 to 5 inches of rain, with up to 10 inches expected in other areas such as Santa Lucias. The office posted online to “avoid flooded roadways and prepare your property for flooding.” 

The office also warned of mud or rock slides on canyon roads as well as an increased presence of debris in areas recently overwhelmed by wildfires. 

“Multiple rounds of moderate to heavy showers, and perhaps a couple of thunderstorms, are expected to affect the region from this evening through Wednesday morning.”

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Central California saw the first round of rain late Saturday afternoon with a second storm on Sunday moving more slowly. At one point this weekend, around 38 million people were under a flood watch. 

State Governor Gavin Newsom’s office announced on Sunday in a news release that they’ve activated the state’s operations center. 

“Our state is taking this next storm seriously, and we ask all Californians to take steps now to prepare.”

The Weather Prediction Center has issued excessive rain outlooks through Tuesday for many parts of both California and Nevada. Santa Barbara is currently at a Level 3 of 4 risk through the rest of the day, and Los Angeles is currently at a Level 2. 

For areas at higher elevations, the National Weather Service in Sacramento also warned of winter storms, effective through Wednesday morning. 

“Heaviest snowfall will be tonight into Monday morning. Sierra travel will be difficult with possible road closures, chain controls and reduced visibilities,” forecasters said on X.

festival

Burning Man Attendants Trek Home After Storm Flooding Left Tens Of Thousands Stranded

Major flooding caused by a summer storm at this year’s Burning Man Festival left tens of thousands of attendants stranded for days. Finally on Monday, conditions improved enough for event goers to begin their trip out of the Northern Nevada desert.

storm

Tropical Storm Hilary Unleashes Flooding On Southern California

The first tropical storm to hit Los Angeles in more than 80 years has caused major flooding across Southern California, and officials are continuously urging residents to stay safe.

More Than 18,000 Evacuated In Australia Due To ‘Life-Threatening’ Floods 

More than 18,000 Australian residents have been evacuated in New South Wales (NSW) due to heavy rains and major flooding in the area which is causing some areas of the nation to resemble “island seas,” according to residents. 

The heavy rains have been impacting NSW since last Thursday but the flooding got really severe over the weekend. Images began circulating online of full roads, trees, and houses, completely submerged in water. Up to 38 areas across the state are considered to be natural disaster areas currently and 19 evacuation orders have been issued so far, according to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian who spoke at a news conference this morning. 

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, “much of the flooding has hit the mid-north coast, from Hunter Valley near Sydney to Coffs Harbour, but severe weather warnings have also been extended to include districts on the state’s south coast for Tuesday as the rains are forecast to shift. Heavy rainfall is also developing inland in the north of the state Monday, while in the east, life-threatening extensive flooding and heavy rain continues.”

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A severe weather warning has also been issued for Queensland which neighbors NSW.  According to Premier Berejiklian, the homes that were devastated by the 2019/2020 wildfires now have to cope with extreme flooding conditions.

“Communities who were battered by the bushfires are now being battered by the floods and a deep drought prior to that. I don’t know anytime in our state’s history where we’ve had these extreme weather conditions in such quick succession in the middle of a pandemic. You’ve been through three or four incidents which are life changing on top of each other. It can make you feel like you are at breaking point.”

Some places have seen close to 40 inches of rain in less than a week, and increased rainfall of about 2-4 inches is expected to hit Sydney this whole week. The worst-affected areas so far have seen rainfall that has been up to five times as strong as what the nation normally expects for this time of year. 

Bureau of Meteorology’s Jane Golding said in a news conference that “the huge rainfalls have been driven by two weather systems colliding. A slow moving coastal trough and the approach of another system coming through from the west is pumping down tropical moisture into the state, which is then being whipped up by strong easterly winds.”

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“With this approach of this new system coming from the west which is approaching today, we’re expecting this heavy rain to fall in areas that haven’t seen as much rain over the last few days, and we’re expecting the flood risk to develop in those areas as well,” she explained. 

Justin Robinson is the Bureau of Meteorology’s national flood manager, who recently spoke to the press about his extensive amount of experience with flooding in Australia. 

“I’ve been a flood forecaster for 20 years and this is probably the worst flooding I’ve ever seen. We’ve got a flood watch that covers all the way from the Queensland border down to the Victoria border, along all those coastal rivers.”

The NSW emergency service networks have said many of the areas across the state “resemble an island sea,” and they’re already preparing for the massive clean up effort that will need to be done once all the rain finally subsides. Premier Berejiklian claimed she has spoken with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison about calling in the military for backup when it comes time to clean and recover.

Flooding

Indonesia Hit By Extreme Flooding

Extreme weather conditions have been rocking the world recently and Indonesia has been one of the latest regions to be hit. Last week torrential rains hit Jakarta and its surrounding areas which in turn caused landslides and floods that have taken the lives of 29 individuals. At one point over 62,000 citizens had to be evacuated from Jakarta, although Agus Wibowo – a spokesman for the disaster mitigation agency – confirmed that the numbers of those evacuated had dropped to 35,000 people.

The city of Bekasi was also hit, although the waters are starting to recede, leaving muddy roads covered in garbage, as well as damaged cars littering the area. With so much damage locals were forced to use tire inner tubes or rubber lifeboats just to get around the city.

Many buildings showed signs that the water had reached the second floors after a local river broke its banks with local Deddy Supriadi saying he “saw the water coming and it just kept getting higher and higher. It swept away 40 or 50 cars that were parked right here.”

Many residents across the region became trapped in their own homes as rescuers were seen helping seniors and children evacuate via inflatable boats. The National Search and Rescue agency confirmed that they had been called to make many rescues, including an incident where rescuers had to wade through water that was ‘chin-deep’ so they could rescue a baby who was carried to safety in a small bucket.

The agency’s spokesman Yusuf Latif confirmed “we’ve been rescuing new-borns, mothers who just gave birth and babies trapped in houses without food.”

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“In some places, the rescue operation was quite challenging and difficult. The water was deep with a strong current. Some alleyways were so narrow that it was hard for our inflatable boats to pass through.”

However, children in the area were spotted swimming in the waters while others took to the streets with their fishing rods. Agung Rosiadi, 28, saw people fishing so he joined them, however he commented that “there were lots of fish before but I don’t know why they’ve all gone now.”

Sadly at least 26 people have lost their lives in greater Jakarta with a further three dying during flash floods in the nearby Lebak regency. Police have confirmed they are still looking for eight missing people with Social Affairs Minister Juliari Peter Batubara admitting “we hope the toll won’t keep going up.”

While most deaths were caused through hypothermia or drowning, there were also other instances including a 16-year-old boy who was electrocuted by a power line and an eight-year-old boy who died during a landslide.

One resident saw many families flee the floods in the western edges of Jakarta, telling reporters “the floods hit without warning. The water came very fast and it rose quickly. We couldn’t manage to get our stuff out, including my car.”

Other residents were evacuated from their homes in East Jakarta including Umar Dani who was rescued with his family on a rubber boat after the flood waters rose to neck height. “It has not flooded for so long here. We didn’t have the chance to bring anything. I have to live on the streets now.”

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Following several electrocutions, officials decided to turn the power off in many areas in Jakarta to prevent further incidents, thus resulting in several train lines being closed down, as well as a local airports, however the majority of services were back to normal within 24 hours.

Joko Widodo – Indonesia’s President – spoke to reporters and confirmed that both safety and evacuation procedures would be prioritized and demanded more planning between the central government and local administrations.

Speaking via his Twitter feed Widodo blamed flood control infrastructure projects being delayed for the flooding, with some being delayed for nearly three years as a result of land acquisition problems.

During a visit to areas in East Jakarta the governor of Jakarta, Anies Baswedan, announced that the authorities had been deploying hundreds of pumps in an attempt to remove the majority of the rainwater from several residential settings throughout the capital, meaning many residents could return back to what was left of their homes.

“They want to return home immediately and start cleaning up their houses as soon as they are able to enter their houses as water recedes.”

Reports confirmed that water levels have dropped dramatically in some of the affected areas with images showing many streets needing clearing of mud and rubbish.

However if locals thought the danger has passed authorities have warned them that the “extreme weather” is due to continue for another week – with heavy rainfall predicted until the middle of February – and urged people to “remain vigilant.”

Bushfire

2019 Was One Of The Hottest Years In History

2019 was officially the second-hottest year in world history, following 2016 as the hottest. In general, this past decade, and the past five years specifically (2015-now) were the hottest ever recorded by man. The data comes from the Copernicus Climate Change Service, an online climate change resource that, according to their website, provides “authoritative information about the past, present and future climate, as well as tools to enable climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies by policy makers and businesses.”

2016 overall was only 32 degrees fahrenheit (.04 degrees Celsius) warmer than 2019, and within the past five years the global average has reached about 35 degrees fahrenheit (1.2 degrees Celsius) more than what it averaged pre-industrial revolution. Scientists have claimed in the past that once the global average reaches 1.5 degrees Celsius more than what it was pre-industrialization, the planet will have reached a critical threshold for maintaining life on Earth. This means if the average increases by .3 degrees Celsius, we’re all in trouble. 

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The planetary destruction that scientists warned about if global temperatures rise are already occurring. A major increase in extreme wildfires, floods, and food shortages impacting millions are all current problems that we’ve been warned about for decades. Greenhouse gas emissions, plastic in our oceans, single-use plastic product distribution in general, and more are all worldwide problems that continue to plague our planet and raise our climate. The impact has been extremely devastating. 

Currently over half a billion animals are thought to be dead as a result of the deadly bushfires engulfing Australia. These fires have been the worst of hundreds of other wildfires that the planet has endured this past year, the Amazon rainforest and California being other notable ones. Additionally, the planet has seen an increase in flooding and starvation, as predicted, in Venice, which is currently still recovering from massive flooding throughout the city, and Yemen, which has been in the midst of a major famine since 2016. 

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According to Copernicus’ report, Europe, Australia, and the Arctic were hit the hardest with above average temperatures in 2019, but the entirety of the planet also experienced increases in temperatures throughout the year. 

Europe especially broke records this past summer. In June and July of 2019 Belgium, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Luxembourg all broke their summer heat records with average daily temperatures reaching 100-104 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reported at the end of 2019 that the nation had never experienced a drier or hotter climate in a given year. The average temperatures reported to be 35 degrees (fahrenheit) warmer than their yearly average, and they saw the worst of it during December, which only worked to further fuel the already devastating bushfires that have been taking over the continent for the past month. 

Finally, the report stated that both the Arctic and Alaska experienced the largest increase in temperature in 2019. This is a major red flag for scientists, as the Arctic itself is critical for regulating temperatures around the entire planet, meaning when the Arctic heats, so will the rest of the world, as the data is clearly showing. 

Scientists claim that the biggest contributor to global warming is greenhouse gas emissions that get trapped within our atmosphere, deplete our ozone layer, and thus leave the Earth exposed to increased levels of UV radiation. Systematic change is the solution, and living a greener life individually can help, but for now we must wait and continue to raise awareness for the massive levels of devastation occurring across the globe.

Venice Flooding

Venice Undergoes Historic Flooding; Mayor Blames Climate Change

The city of Venice is currently suffering from a flood of historic intensity. The highest tide the city has seen in 50 years has overwhelmed seawalls and destroyed docks, flooding roughly 85% of the famous lagoon city. Strong winds have worsened the impact of flooding. Already, two people have died in connection with the floods; an elderly man was electrocuted as he tried to run electric pumps to remove water from his home, and a second person was found dead elsewhere. Additionally, the floods have caused a tremendous amount of property destruction, as boats floated into the streets and countless homes and other buildings were partially submerged.

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According to a statement from Venice’s government, the city was struck by a tide of 187 centimeters, or 73.6 inches, on Tuesday night. This is the worst flood since 1966, when tides of 194 centimeters or 76.4 struck the city. The historic crypt of St. Mark’s Basilica, which has been standing for 1,200 years, flooded for the sixth time in its history. At a news conference, Venice’s mayor, Luigi Brugano, characterized the damage as “enormous,” and said that repairing the city would cost hundreds of millions of euros. He also claimed the flooding was a direct result of climate change, saying, “Now the government must listen… these are the effects of climate change… the costs will be high.” The city’s government will “submit a request for a state of emergency” to the country’s central government, in the hope of securing funds to repair the damage. Schools were closed due to the weather conditions.

Despite the immense level of destruction already, more high water is expected to come in the next several days

People have been seen wading through waist-high water in the streets of Venice, and in some areas the water is high enough to swim in. Tables and chairs from outdoor restaurants floated through the waters, and tourists had to leave through the windows of high-end hotels as six-foot-high water submerged the first floors of these hotels. A few boats used for public transportation in the city sank, and officials worry about the flood’s effect on the integrity of older historic buildings. On Twitter, Mayor Brugano said “Venice is on its knees,” and posted pictures of himself and a religious leader surveying the damage of St. Mark’s Basilica, wading through knee-high water.

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Because he is blaming the flood on climate change, the mayor has argued that serious work needs to be done for the future of the city to prepare for future floods. At the news conference, the mayor shared that while wandering through the city, he “found people in tears because they had lost everything,” adding “if we don’t want the city to be abandoned, we have to give certain answers. It’s not just about quantifying the damages, but about the future of this city.” A similar flood transpired last year, leaving many people homeless and destroying personal belongings. The Catholic church has pledged to provide lodging for people left homeless by the flood, giving priority to people who are the most in need.

Despite the immense level of destruction already, more high water is expected to come in the next several days, much to the dismay of the city’s 262 thousand residents, according to the city’s website. Italy’s Prime Minister, Guiseppe Conte, is scheduled to visit the city and spend the night soon. The country has also invested billions of euros in flood-protection technologies, but this technology has yet to be implemented. This flood-protection system, which is scheduled to go online in 2022 and involves offshore underwater dams, may have prevented the disaster if it had been operative. However, flood barriers are just one of the measures necessary for the city to combat climate change, as elements like the navigability of the canals are also involved.