“NSW declared its earliest total fire bans on record on Wednesday in an ominous sign of what could become a disastrous season of bushfires unless substantial rain arrives, fire experts say.
“Fire crews battled at least 83 fires across the state after stronger-than-expected winds prompted authorities to take the unusual step of declaring fire bans in Sydney, the Illawarra and the Hunter regions part way through the day…
“The bans beat the previous earliest such declarations anywhere in NSW by almost two weeks… While the big dry has drawn much attention – all of NSW was declared in drought earlier this month – the driest start to a year in the state since 1965 and record daytime temperatures have fed growing concern among fire researchers for some time.
“For Sydney, year-to-date daytime temperatures have averaged 23.7 degrees, eclipsing the previous highest of 23.6 degrees in 2016, the Bureau of Meteorology said.”
“A severe drought has gripped an area of Australia more than twice the size of Texas, turning normally fertile crop areas into dust bowls, draining water reserves and leaving wine-producing regions parched. Hungry kangaroos are turning up in cities. Millions of dollars of farm equipment is idle across vast expanses of agricultural land in the continent’s east and farmers are wondering if they should bother planting crops.”
“”We’re in a record-setting streak right now,” Mark Moede, a National Weather Service meteorologist in San Diego, said in an interview. “It’s unprecedented — typically it’s pretty temperate.” Since July 1, San Diego hasn’t had a single day where the high temperature fell below normal.”
“The heat wave that has recently swept the US has put 100 million Americans under heat warnings; caused power cuts in California where temperatures in places such as Palm Springs approached 122 degrees; and resulted in deaths from New York to the Mexican border, where people smugglers abandoned their clients in the desert. Further north, in Canada, more than 70 people perished in the Montreal area after a record burst of heat. Record temperatures raise wrenching questions about the future viability of cities such as Phoenix…”
“Storm clouds gathered over southern Oregon and northern California early on Wednesday, threatening to spark more wildfires with lightning strikes as emergency crews battled several deadly blazes, forecasters said. The clouds carried little rain and offered little chance of a break from the bone-dry conditions plaguing the region, the National Weather Service said.”
“Williamsport, Pennsylvania, is likely to have two back-to-back months of record rainfall. Following the wettest July on record, the wettest August on record is on the doorstep.”
“A researcher from the University of Calgary says temperatures are on the rise across Alberta, but Calgary, along with Banff and Jasper national parks, is really feeling the heat.”
“In July, extreme heat set new all-time records in northern parts of Norway, pushing temperatures over 30 degrees celsius (86℉). The Norwegian Meteorological office showed continued high temperatures up to 40 degrees celsius (105℉) in some areas for the beginning of August.
In these tinder-dry conditions, wildfires start very easily, and a prolonged drought and gusty winds have exacerbated the problem. In May, the warmest on record, the fire service was battling several outbreaks in up to 1,000 acres.”
“Three places in central Norway recorded their wettest August day in the past 78 years, but the drought isn’t over.”
“The researchers say that at its current rate of droughts, the Amazon could dry up with devastating consequences.”
“The Government of Venezuela decreed on Tuesday the red alert after the flood in the rivers Orinoco and Caroni, after the latter registered 18.02 meters above sea level, a situation that was not seen for more than 40 years in the country… “The floods are products of the rains and climate change is the fault of the capitalist model,” said a spokesman.”
Further flooding in Trinidad & Tobago:
“As the end of the rainy season approaches, and dams have yet to reach a 60% provincial average, Cape Town may be dealt another drought blow. South African Weather Services has predicted that another El Niño event may hit the country at the beginning of Spring.”
“A study of the world’s largest colony of king penguins has found that their population declined by 88 percent over the last 35 years – from 2 million to less than 200,000. The majestic birds live on the Ile aux Cochons island, halfway between the tip of Africa and Antarctica. The decline likely began around 1997… when a major El Niño temporarily warmed the southern Indian Ocean, killing off or displacing the fish and squid the penguins rely on.
“The species does not fly or migrate, so they found themselves stuck on their foodless island. El Niños typically come in 2-7 year cycles but can be amplified by global warming, which make the cycles last longer.”
Guangdong province, China prepares for another typhoon – pictures:
“Heavy rains and flash floods in the Philippines have forced more than 50,000 people from their homes.”
“A tsunami of waste and plastic washing up and being thrown to shore as volunteers avoid being hit by rubbish has been caught on camera. Rippling and swirling piles of bottles, bags and packaging can be seen being carried by waves that send waste flying into the air. The heartbreaking footage was captured at Manila Bay, Philippines…”