“Parts of Northern Australia are being evacuated as the region braces for two cyclones to make landfall in the coming days — one of which has the potential to be the region’s most powerful storm in years.
“Cyclone Trevor is expected to strengthen and hit the Northern Territory on Saturday as the equivalent of a category 3 or 4 Atlantic hurricane, bringing with it destructive winds up to 155 miles per hour (250 kilometers per hour), heavy rain and storm surges.
“To Trevor’s west, Cyclone Veronica has strengthened to the equivalent of a category 3 hurricane since Wednesday. It is expected to peak in intensity off-shore, before making landfall Sunday as a weaker system.
“Authorities have declared a state of emergency in the Gulf of Carpentaria ahead of Trevor’s arrival. The Northern Territory is now undertaking the largest evacuation ahead of a cyclone in its history, Chief Minister Michael Gunner said at a Thursday press conference.”
“Mass burials are being planned as the death toll rises from the Sentani flash floods in Indonesia’s Papua Province [Indonesia].
“Disaster agency officials said the death toll had climbed again with 104 people now confirmed dead, 160 injured and 79 others still missing. With 40 victims who had not yet been identified, the Jayapura Regent decided that the victims would be buried en masse.”
“Expedition operators are concerned at the number of climbers’ bodies that are becoming exposed on Mount Everest as its glaciers melt. Nearly 300 mountaineers have died on the peak since the first ascent attempt and two-thirds of bodies are thought still to be buried in the snow and ice…
“”Because of global warming, the ice sheet and glaciers are fast melting and the dead bodies that remained buried all these years are now becoming exposed,” said Ang Tshering Sherpa, former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association.”
“According to the Groundwater Department, the state [of Kerala] in India is heading for a severe drought [after historic flooding last year], with the groundwater level in most parts of the state recording a sharp decline from 75 cm to 2 m.
“The water level in Palakkad, Kasargod, Kozhikode, Idukki and Alappuzha were the worst-hit.”
“Sporadic, below average rains and persistent drought since 2016 sees an estimated 1.7 million people in critical need of humanitarian assistance in Somaliland, a figure ballooning by hundreds of thousands in recent months.
“Communal water resources are drying up at an alarming rate…”
“Zambia and Zimbabwe reduced hydropower output from Kariba Dam, because a drought has reduced water levels.
“The amount of water allocated for power generation is being cut to 36 billion cubic meters from 38 billion cubic meters, while electricity supplies will be reduced to 890 megawatts from 1,476 megawatts, the Zambezi River Authority said in an emailed statement on Thursday. Water is currently five meters above the minimum-operating level, it said.”
Meanwhile, not far away:
“New satellite imagery is giving us a look at the scope of a massive flood, described as an “inland ocean” up to 30 miles wide in places, that has developed in Mozambique following the landfall of Tropical Cyclone Idai late last week. Hundreds of people have died as a result of the cyclone and its flooding across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, and officials there fear the total death toll will top 1,000.”
“Emergency teams are running out of time to save thousands of people in Mozambique trapped since last week by rising floodwaters. Torrential rain is hampering efforts to reach survivors marooned in trees and on roofs.
“Aid agencies warned that their chances of survival without clean water or food were narrowing since cyclone Idai hit the southern African country’s coast a week ago.”
This doesn’t augur well for summer. Portugal very vulnerable to wildfires:
“With extended forecasts showing little or no chance of rain, it has been revealed that more than half of [Portugal] is currently in a state of drought. The Government has already requested water tankers prepare to supply worst affected areas with their most urgent water supplies. According to latest data, the Western Algarve is the hardest hit by the current lack of rainfall, and has been classified as being in a state of extreme drought.”
Tinder dry conditions over in parts of Spain, too:
“Just 10mm of rain between December and February and hardly a drop in March [region of Murcia].”
“The cows and horses would have come for the last blades of grass. Now their bones are scattered on the cracked earth, victims of drought that wiped Santiago’s weekend playground Lake Aculeo [Chile] from the map.
“Lake Aculeo’s demise is so sudden and complete it seems as if someone had pulled a giant plug and let all the water out.”
“Volcan Chimborazo, Ecuador: When the springs dried up the local indigenous leaders raised their eyes to the heavens. They knew what they would find. Up above, the glacier that capped Chimborazo volcano was receding.
“But something equally dramatic was happening further down the slopes of Ecuador’s highest mountain. And the consequences for the indigenous population living there are far-reaching.”
“Honduran conservationists are worried.
“A deadly insect that wiped out more than a quarter of the Central American country’s conifers between 2013 and 2017 is back. The southern pine beetle — or gorgojo, as it is known locally — appears in large numbers during droughts brought on by El Nino, a climatic phenomenon that occurs every few years and can be a threat to agriculture and even drinking water sources.”
“After years of drought-like conditions, parts of Southern California have seen some of the wettest days in years — and in some cases in decades — this winter.
“Following the record rainfall, much of Southern California’s Anza-Borrego desert is now experiencing a super bloom of wildflowers, including poppies, primroses and lilies, which are now drawing tens of thousands of spectators from across the state.”
“March in Denver is known for big snow storms, rapidly changing weather and, usually, an early taste of spring-like warmth.
“But it’s usually not known for the persistent, bitter cold that’s enveloped the region all month long. With an average temperature of 29.7 degrees through Monday, Denver was running more than nine degrees below average for the month, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder.”
“Historic river flooding persisted throughout the north-central United States following a ‘bomb cyclone’ that struck the region last week. The recent storms triggered massive snowmelt and dropped heavy rain that have both overwhelmed rivers and waterways…
“Also on Tuesday, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds extended the disaster proclamation to an additional five counties impacted by the recent flooding. The governor has issued proclamations for 41 of Iowa’s 99 counties.”
“Oregon’s first notable wildfire of 2019 is currently burning. Yesterday, it was still officially winter…
“While the warmer-than-normal weather has been a relief after a particularly cold and snowy February, it’s alarming that the year’s first significant wildfire arrived so early.”
“All-time March record highs were smashed in parts of Alaska, western Canada and Washington State in an end-of-winter warm spell that sent temperatures soaring to heights never seen this time of year so far north.
“Tuesday’s high in Klawock, Alaska, about 200 miles south-southeast of Juneau, topped out at 70 degrees… it was the earliest in the year any Alaska location had reached 70 degrees by a whopping 12 days…”
“…much of Alaska, Europe, central Russia and the Far East had temperatures that were 7.2°F above average or higher. Additional areas with record warm February temperatures include parts of Alaska, Central America, the Barents Sea, the Southern Ocean off Australia’s southeastern coast, the Indian Ocean, the East China Sea as well as parts of northeastern Brazil.”
“Global ocean temperatures reached their second highest temperature on record in February at 60.6°F. As a result of warming on both land and at sea, NOAA said there is a persistent decline in the amount of sea ice.”
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