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Super-Cyclone Giovanna Targets Madagascar, “Massive Destruction” Possible

Satellite image of tropical cylcone Giovanna as it nears the east coast of Madagascar Monday morning. (Joint Typhoon Warning Center)

Extremely dangerous cyclone Giovanna, equivalent to a category 4 hurricane, is set to make landfall on the east coast of Madagascar today. The powerful storm contains maximum sustained winds of 145 mph (125 knots) and may produce extensive damage on this island off the SE coast of Africa.

Satellites reveals a storm with a well-defined eye, excellent symmetry and deep convection around its core.Its outer bands are already lashing the coast and the eye should move ashore late today.

Concerns are mounting about the toll the storm may afflict on this relatively poor country, especially as it may target highly populated areas. John Uniack Davis, Madagascar’s director for the humanitarian organizationCARE, told the United Nations news agency IRIN that if the storm center moves just south of the coastal port of Toamasina “it has the potential to cause massive destruction.”

AccuWeather’s Jesse Ferrell,reviewing the history of storms to strike Madascar, found that Giovanna’s track most closely remembles cyclone Geralda from 1994. That storm “destroyed 80% of the city’s seaport Toamasina.” IRIN news said Geralda “killed about 200 people, displaced 40,000 and affected another 500,000.” In addition to the destructive category 4 intensity winds, a large storm surge and 4-8” or more of flooding rain are also likely with this storm.

Wunderground’s Jeff Masters notes an elevated risk of damage relative to past storms due to deforestation over the last 30 years, which will worsen runoff from flood waters.

As Giovanna crosses Madagascar, it will weaken considerably before it re-emerges over the water late Tuesday or early Wednesday. It is then forecast to strike Mozambique as a tropical storm or depression late this week.

…(Washington Post)

February 14, 2012 Posted by | Climate, Flooding, Major Alert, Weather | , , , , | 2 Comments

Australia Floods the Worst in 35 years

The worst flooding for more than 35 years has hit parts of northern New South Wales.

Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes. The flooding is in an area that stretches from towns like Moree and Wee Waa – to as far as Mitchell in south Queensland. Thousands have been evacuated from their homes and some airlifted to safety as floodwaters rose in. After three days of unrelenting rain, Moree residents were told they were now in a disaster zone and it was time to leave.

A month’s rain fell in 24 hours but it has been pouring for days. Emergency services helped 2000 to evacuate, those who chose to stay got to work sand bagging and formed their own flood plan.  The Mehi River in Moree peaked at over 10 metres this morning, a level not seen since 1976. It cut the township in half and put the town centre under water.

It is the same story for northern New South Wales towns stretching from Wee Waa to Taree where floodwater have isolated more than 10,000 people.

A defence force Hercules was sent top drop supplies but they could not deliver what everyone really wanted: A break in the weather.

Across the border in the south-east Queensland the story is the same.

…(3News)

February 3, 2012 Posted by | Climate, Flooding | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4,200 Evacuated as Flooding Hits New South Wales, Australia

About 4,200 people have been evacuated from their homes on the New South Wales far north coast, after the same weather system that drenched Queensland moved south. Ten flood warnings are in place for rivers in the state’s north-east, where up to 550 millimetres of rain has fallen in some areas over three days. People have been evacuated from parts of Chinderah, Fingal Head, South Murwillumbah, Condong and Tumbulgum. The Lower Tweed River at Chinderah peaked lower than expected about midnight (AEDT) and is causing only minor flooding.

Major flooding was also expected in the Tweed Valley. The Tweed River was predicted to exceed the major flooding level at Murwillumbah at 6pm, but it ended up peaking below at 4.7 metres. Minor to moderate flooding is expected in other catchments on the Northern Rivers. Warnings for minor to moderate flooding are in place for river valleys further south between Brunswick Heads and Tareewhile several other communities remain isolated by floodwaters.

Scott Hanckle from the Richmond Tweed State Emergency Service says more heavy rain is predicted to fall over the next 24 hours. “The greatest risk is for localised flash flooding and people that are moving around the district, could I just reiterate, not to under any circumstances go into floodwaters. Don’t drive, walk or ride in floodwaters,” he said.

“We’ve got a number of days of wet weather forecast. We need to be very cautious,” he said.

Police are urging people in the region not to drive after many drivers have been ignoring safety warnings. The SES is monitoring the Rocky Creek Dam near Lismore and the Clarrie Hall Dam near Uki which are both full, with water flowing over the spillways.

Residents downstream from the dams are being asked to prepare for possible evacuation.

…(ABC)

January 25, 2012 Posted by | Climate, Flooding, Weather | , , , , , , | Leave a comment