Tuesday, October 13, 2015

'Super typhoon' Dujuan was swirling towards Taiwan Monday with thousands of people evacuated from outlying islands as the storm gathered strength on its approach. Torrential rains and high winds are predicted across Taiwan from Monday afternoon as Dujuan nears the east coast, with landfall predicted around 11:00 pm.

Taiwan's weather bureau upgraded Dujuan to a "strong typhoon" Sunday it's top category. Other regional weather bureaus, including the Hong Kong Observatory, categorised it as a "super typhoon" as it intensified to reach gusts of 227 kilometres (141 miles) per hour.

The whole of the island should heighten vigilance against severe winds and torrential rains." Almost 3,000 people, most of them tourists, were evacuated Sunday from Taiwan's Green Island and Orchid Island popular with visitors.

Authorities said Monday they were planning more possible evacuations as they assessed the impact of heavy rains. Taiwan's aboriginal mountain communities are particularly at risk during typhoons, often hit by flooding and mudslides. Some are still cleaning up after Typhoon Soudelor left a trail of destruction last month.

"A massive amount of rubble caused by the last typhoon is still seen on slopes and river beds. This may cause further damage," the weather bureau said. More than 24,000 troops are on standby for disaster relief and evacuations, with 100 shelters set up. Emergency response centres have been established in the north and east.

The storm threatens long-weekend plans for many as Taiwan celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival. A concert by US rock band Bon Jovi due to take place in Taipei Monday was cancelled. High speed rail was due to be suspended mid-afternoon.

Ferry services to outlying islands have already been suspended and flights to and from the islands will stop from noon. Dujuan will pass near the Japanese island of Ishigaki as it approaches Taiwan. Japan's meteorological agency has warned it could trigger waves 13 metres (42 feet) high. The storm is on course to hit mainland China from Tuesday, but is forecast to have weakened.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Two men, ages 71 and 51, were found dead in rice fields flooded by the levee breach in Joso, according to public broadcaster NHK. The men were not previously among the list of missing. Seven people are now confirmed dead and 15 remain missing in the wake of torrential rains associated with former Tropical Storm Etau that dumped unprecedented rainfall on parts of eastern and northern Japan Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Local officials in Ibaraki Prefecture said 1,344 people had been rescued via helicopter by the country's Self-Defence Force and rescuers from 10 of the country's 47 prefectures. The threat of rain largely failed to materialize Sunday in the Greater Tokyo area, giving search and rescue teams a few more days of favorable weather to look for the 15 missing in Joso, a city in Ibaraki Prefecture about 30 miles northeast of downtown Tokyo. However, rain is in the forecast later this week across much of Japan.

In addition to the flooded homes, seven dwellings have been destroyed and 23 partially damaged according to the FDMA. Dramatic helicopter rescues unfolded on live television in Japan on Thursday as water breached that levee, leaving scores of residents trapped on the roofs or upper floors of their homes.The Japanese government's Fire and Disaster Management Agency confirmed that a man found dead in a flooded vehicle in Tochigi Prefecture Sunday morning died of storm-related causes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

BANGKOK — Angry residents in flooded Bangkok protested on Monday, briefly blocking a major highway as frustration mounted that parts of the Thai capital are suffering badly while the centre stays dry.

Thailand's worst floods in half a century, triggered by months of unusually heavy monsoon rains, have left at least 562 people dead around the kingdom and damaged millions of homes and livelihoods.

After weeks of flooding, waters in some Bangkok districts have receded significantly. An AFP photographer said the water level in Lat Phrao and Mo Chit areas, on the northern edge of the city centre, had fallen by nearly a metre in 48 hours and inhabitants were no longer using boats to get around.

But elsewhere anger is growing that residential areas are being sacrificed to preserve Bangkok's commercial and tourist heart.

In the west of the city, around 200 people blocked a section of the Rama II road, the main route linking the capital to southern Thailand, to demand extra water pumps to help drain their swamped neighbourhoods.

"The villagers were not happy that there were not enough pumps to drain the floods," local police chief Colonel Nakarin Sukontawit said.

"The BMA (Bangkok Metropolitan Administration) agreed to bring two more pumps today, so the villagers decided to stop their protest."

Around 70 people also gathered at a major floodwall in northern Don Mueang district, watched by about 30 police officers, to ensure the authorities did not repair a gap they had opened to allow water to drain away from badly flooded areas.

Visiting the scene, Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra reassured locals that he had not received a government order to repair the barrier and his team would take time to "analyse the situation".

People in the area -- many of whom have been living in waters waist-deep or worse for almost a month -- have threatened to step up their protest if the opening in the structure is repaired.

The 15-kilometre (nine-mile) floodwall, mostly made up of huge sandbags weighing up to 2.5 tonnes, is a key defence preventing run-off waters from the north from swamping Bangkok's glitzy downtown area.

"The water in my house reaches as high as my neck," said 65-year-old Wattana Klongsakon, adding that she was "satisfied" to see the brown liquid rushing through to the other side of the damaged barrier.

"If they rebuild it, we will definitely block the toll road", she said, referring to a major nearby route linking Bangkok to the north.

In an effort to spare Bangkok's economic and political heartland, authorities have been trying to drain the floods through waterways in the east and west of the sprawling capital and out to sea.

Under-pressure Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, facing the first serious test of her fledgling premiership, pleaded for patience and unity on her Facebook page on Monday.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Heavy rains and flooding in southern France over the weekend forced the evacuation of about six hundred people, and three people died in weather-related deaths as a dozen local regions remained on alert on Sunday.

Rivers overran their banks, flooding streets and homes and leaving hundreds stranded. Television images showed cars floating along roads and residents mopping up their sodden, muddy homes.

A retired couple, both aged 71, in the southeastern coastal town of Bagnols en Foret died late Saturday night or Sunday morning from carbon monoxide poisoning while trying to bail out rising water in their cellar, police said.

On Saturday, police told Reuters they found the body of a 51-year-old homeless man who had been washed away from his campsite in the Herault southern region.

Some 600 people have already been evacuated along the coast and in the Alps in the south east of the country, authorities said. Firefighters helped rescue around 1,200 people affected by the storms, using helicopters to save about 30 people.

An orange alert -- the second-highest weather alert after red -- remained in place in 12 southern regions on Sunday, down from about 16 on Saturday.

The regions affected are the low-lying areas near the Pyrenees in the south west, where it continued to rain on Sunday, and in the flooded Alps region.

In the past two days, the level of the Var river in the southeast rose from 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) to 5 meters, said Europe 1 radio.

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Last month, Hurricane Irene left more than 260,000 PPL customers without power.

The rare October nor’easter that on Saturday dumped 5.5 inches of heavy snow in the Harrisburg area was worse.

Saturday’s storm left 315,000 PPL customers in central and eastern Pennsylvania and 257,000 Met-Ed customers without electricity.

By 7:15 p.m. Sunday, PPL still had 150,000 customers without electricity in its 29-county region, including 1,995 in Cumberland County, 3,027 in Dauphin County, 1,003 in Lebanon County, 1,288 in Perry County and 1,998 in York County.

The outages occurred when leaf-laden trees bent and broke under the heavy snow and fell on power lines and poles. In a company statement, PPL called the Lehigh Valley the hardest-hit region, with 125,000 customers affected, followed by the Harrisburg and Lancaster areas.

“With a storm of this magnitude, it could take days until we can restore service to all customers,” said David DeCampli, PPL Electric Utilities president. “Our crews are assessing the damage by foot, by vehicle and by air. We’re focusing on repairs that can restore power to the largest numbers of customers as quickly and safely as possible.”

He said about 1,000 workers on 250 crews responded to outages. An additional 150 crews from western Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee joined the restoration effort.

It was a familiar job for electricity workers, who in September replaced miles of power lines and more than 1,200 utility poles, 300 transformers and thousands of pieces of pole-top equipment damaged by Hurricane Irene.

The storm also affected transportation through the midstate.

Greg Penny, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation District 8 spokesman, said that as of 6 p.m. Sunday, about 30 roads in the eight-county district remained closed because of downed trees on power lines. Most of these were in York County, he said.

“PennDOT crews remove trees and branches from the roads when power lines are not involved,” he said. “But if the trees or limbs are entangled with power lines, we have to wait for the utility crew to come in and safely clear the electric power line. Right now, utility crews are busy restoring electricity.”

Penny also said Route 11 at the West Pennsboro and Penn townships border near Newville remains closed in both directions. He said state police requested the closure because they are concerned that a silo that appears to be leaning might fall on nearby power lines and the road.

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