Tuesday, January 11, 2011

**The snow itself is lonely or,
if you prefer, self-sufficient.
There is no other time when the whole world
seems composed of one thing and one thing only.**
Joseph Krutch

This morning -

Yesterday -
1/10/11 -

No current tropical cyclones.


AUSTRALIA - Parts of Brisbane evacuated by police. The latest flash floods in Queensland are some of the most violent so far. Police have urged the evacuation of parts of Australia's third largest city - Brisbane - as the biggest floods in years approach the Queensland state capital. Residents have been encouraged to leave their homes in low-lying areas. The waters are rising fast and one local official said he saw the river level go up by 1.5m (4ft 10in) in just an hour.
At least nine people have been killed and more than 70 are missing. "This has been a night of extraordinary events. We've seen acts of extreme bravery and courage from our emergency workers. We know they're out on the front line desperately trying to begin their search and rescue efforts, and we know we have people stranded and people lost." The death toll was likely to rise.
Sandbags have been given out to residents of Brisbane, where the flooding is expected to peak Wednesday. 6,500 homes, businesses and other properties were likely to be flooded by Thursday. "Today is very significant, tomorrow is bad, and Thursday is going to be devastating for the residents and businesses affected."
Torrential rain has already caused flash floods in other parts of Queensland. A massive deluge overwhelmed Toowoomba, a city west of Brisbane, without warning. The flash floods there were called Queensland's "darkest hour" since the flood crisis began. "The event that started in Toowoomba can only be described as A COMPLETE FREAK OF NATURE, an extraordinary deluge that almost came out of nowhere. What we have here in Queensland tonight is a very grim and desperate situation." Toowoomba's mayor described the scale of the floods as "unbelievable'' and said the city was in shock. "It would be ironic if it wasn't so tragic. Toowoomba sits in the cradle of an extinct volcano about 2,000 feet (610m) above sea level, and we have just endured 10 years of drought, unable even to wash our cars with town water for the last several years." "We've had multiple calls requesting urgent assistance from people caught in vehicles, caught on the street, caught in flood ways. It is an evolving and obviously quite desperate situation for them. There has been no warning of this event."
The tropical storms began in November, triggering the worst flooding in the state in decades. Some 200,000 people have been affected across Queensland. The flooding has been so widespread that while some communities are still bracing themselves for the worst, in others the clean-up is well under way. The forecast is for more rain to come, and there are reports of flooding in neighbouring New South Wales. Heavy rain has lashed the region for the last 36 hours, with 16cm (6in) falling in just one hour. Most of the rainwater hit an already saturated catchment. (photos)
72 people are missing after the flash floods which have already claimed nine lives. Queensland's Police Commissioner compared it to 'an INLAND AND INSTANT TSUNAMI with a massive wall of water'. People waited on roof tops to be rescued, as the flooding intensified in the area of Grantham west of the city of Toowoomba.
Brisbane floods will double in height by Thursday with 6500 homes inundated. As the disaster continues, a body of floodwater larger than Sydney Harbour threatens Brisbane, with only the Wivenhoe Dam's 2.3km-long earthen wall standing in its path. "Ipswich and Brisbane are now facing THEIR GREATEST THREAT AND TOUGHEST TEST IN OVER 35 YEARS." The waters in Brisbane will rise to more than 3m tonight, most likely peaking on Thursday when the levels will exceed 5.45m. This is the height waters reached during the Brisbane's flood crisis in 1974. "The situation continues to deteriorate. We are now in a very frightening experience. At times like this we all need to be calm and stay patient."
A wall of flood waters is heading towards the city, with residents warned to prepare for a major flood, up to 32 suburbs expected to be hit and parts of the CBD being evacuated, including businesses. New forecasts meant that the "big shock absorber" - the Wivanoe dam - could no longer cope with continued inflows. "There is a lot of water on its way." Authorities were already planning to evacuate up to 3000 Brisbane residents. Power supplies have reportedly been cut to some suburbs, as residents race to supermarkets to clear the shelves of bread, bottled water and batteries. It was "pandemonium" at local supermarkets as residents raced to stock up on essentials, with shoppers clearing out bread, bottled water, vegetables and other essentials such as large plastic storage containers.
Caboolture, north of Brisbane, is already isolated by floodwaters and police have told all residents in low-lying areas to immediately move to higher ground. Strathpine residents also to the north have been told to go, while inner-Brisbane suburbs New Farm, West End, Fortitude Valley and Bowen Hills have also been ordered to evacuate. Rising flood waters have cut train services north and west of Brisbane. Strong currents in the Brisbane river have also caused the cancellation of all river cats and ferries. Residents to the north and west of the city have also been told to shift to higher ground. As the waters rise several barges and pontoons have broken from their moorings and are floating down the Brisbane River. Earlier, the Brisbane City Council has released a list of 32 at-risk suburbs and says 200 properties could be flooded. The water that fell in the Toowoomba area will move into the catchment of the Wivenhoe dam, and from there it must be released, at a controlled rate, into the Brisbane River. Releases from the dam are being ramped up to cope with the enormous volume of water it's holding back. "Releases from Wivenhoe are not optional, there is no discretion here."
More water was flowing into the dam than the Brisbane River had received in the 1974 floods. Wivenhoe is rising fast, but it has the potential to go past 200 per cent capacity before overflowing. The dam was doing its job but could not fully protect the city because of the dimension of the floods. The 1.45 million ML flood compartment is close to half full, with managers yesterday scrambling to increase releases from 116,000ML to 170,000ML a day as rain fell in its 7020sq km catchment. It also holds a further 1.17 million ML of drinking water supplies. "At this rate the compartment could fill within 1.5 days." Peak flows varied depending on rainfall but releases under way will provide relief from the inflows. Under conservative operating rules set by State Parliament, managers must empty the flood compartment within seven days to prevent a second flood. The combination of heavy rain, dam releases and higher than usual tides meant the river could rise significantly. The biggest impacts could be felt tomorrow and particularly Friday week (January 21) due to a king tide. "This is currently the projected worst-case scenario for the next few days, and I hope it doesn't happen, but people need to be forewarned so they can prepare themselves for flooding." (photo and map)


U.S. - Freezing rain and sleet have caused power outages, icy roads and school closures in the south-eastern US, following a snow storm that struck in the region over the weekend. As much as 9in (23cm) of snow has blanketed states from Louisiana to North Carolina. At least eight people have died in weather-related car crashes in the area over the past few days.
The winter mix is expected to turn to ice by today. Governors in the states of Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee declared emergencies, while many schools in the south called off classes on Monday because of the storm. About 2,000 flights have been cancelled throughout the south as the result of the storm. Atlanta, which does not typically receive heavy amounts of snow but received 4in (10cm) , has only eight snow ploughs.
But the heaviest snow fell in Tennessee, coating parts of the state with about 13 inches. Motorists were killed on icy roads in Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas. The storm was centred on South Carolina, with heavy snow stretching into North Carolina on Monday afternoon, while a mix of sleet, snow and freezing rain extended from Alabama to northern Georgia. The wintry weather was expected to head north toward the state of Ohio by today.
The nor'easter barreling up the Atlantic is expected to drop as much as 17 inches of snow on areas of Southern New England beginning sometime this morning. New York may get up to 14 inches.

INDIA - New Delhi is one place in India you don't want to find yourself in at the moment. With the biting cold, the foggy weather and the dipping temperature, this is one heck of an existence for Delhi-ites. The weather is showing no respite either with the fatalities mounting every day. Sunday, Jan 9 saw Delhi reeling under THE COLDEST DAY EVER IN THE LAST 20 YEARS. In fact the whole of North India is suffering from the extreme weather situation. Uttar Pradesh saw 13 deaths on Sunday alone taking the number of casualties to 81. The icy winds are not helping matters either. Delhi recorded a temperature of 5 degrees putting life to a standstill. Schools and colleges remained closed. Its not just humans that had to bear the brunt of the chill, animals too seemed to be hit adversely. In Punjab, cultivation was hit with farmers suffering huge losses. The temperature there was 5 - 7 degrees below normal. The cold wave is acting as a major deterrent to normal life. The met department has forecasted further worsening of climatic conditions.


-La Placita Botanas Mexicanas, Inc. of South El Monte, California is recalling Wheat Snacks with Chile, Potato Chips with Chile, and Corn Churritos with Chile because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.