Monnday, February 28, 2011

Extreme weather battering the insurance industry - "What no one disputes is that the storms the industry EXPECTS AREN'T HAPPENING and the ones they DON'T EXPECT ARE HITTING them hard. The implications are profound for consumers as well as insurers. If hundred-year storms are now at risk of happening every 40 years or every three, it is difficult to know how much property insurance should cost. The last couple of months underscore just how much climate seems to be changing. Queensland state in Australia has suffered a virtual apocalypse - flooding in December, flooding in January and tropical cyclones in February that inundated at least 30,000 homes and crippled the local coal industry. Meanwhile in the United States, snow fell on Christmas Day in a number of southern cities for the first time since at least the 1880s. Los Angeles got six months' worth of rain in three weeks, causing some of the worst flooding in the state's history. The New York metropolitan area had an unprecedented blizzard the day after Christmas and a month later got almost the same, breaking historical records."

**I'm an excellent housekeeper.
Every time I get a divorce, I keep the house.**
Zsa Zsa Gabor

This morning -

Yesterday -
2/27/11 -
None 5.0 or higher.

NEW ZEALAND - Earthquake-scarred Christchurch is bracing for a violent windstorm as intense aftershocks rocked the city today, creating treacherous conditions for rescuers scouring the rubble.
The battered city also faced a new danger when cracks opened in a cliff overlooking suburban streets, forcing more residents to flee their homes in the wake of last Tuesday's 6.3-magnitude tremor. The death toll from the disaster reached 148 today but police have already said they expect the final tally to exceed 200, with more than 50 still listed as 'unaccounted for' in the rubble of New Zealand's second largest city.
A windstorm was forecast to whip through on Monday afternoon, officials said, meaning rescuers searching for bodies and possible survivors would have to retreat from ruins already on the brink of collapse. "(It) will of course, if you have gale force winds, impact on structures, it will affect rescue operations in the area where we have loose masonry. We're hoping the weather won't be as violent, in terms of wind, as it could be, but we need to be prepared."
In the suburb of Sumner, two road were evacuated and an access road was closed off after cracks appeared in a cliff, threatening to send the rockface tumbling onto streets below. There were also a series of strong aftershocks, one measuring 4.7, increasing the risk to rescue crews and further jangling the stretched nerves of locals, who have endured two major earthquakes in the past six months. No survivors have been found since a woman was pulled from a collapsed office building on Wednesday afternoon, although rescuers said they continued to hope for a miracle.

No current tropical cyclones.


AUSTRALIA - Torrential rain and flash flooding are hampering the recovery clean up in cyclone-hit north Queensland towns. The Cassowary Coast region has received 600mm of rain in the past four days. "The rain has eased off but there are still further falls forecast." The bureau has flood warnings issued for the Tully and Murray rivers. The Cassowary Coast was hardest hit when category five Cyclone Yasi rampaged through in early February, damaging more than 850 buildings. "We were pretty lucky to have a couple of weeks after the cyclone (with) little rain, so we were able to make some very good progress but this will slow it down a little bit. Work is still going on, but it will be affected because the flooding has cut many many roads."
The State Emergency Service has had dozens of call-outs over the weekend and today, the majority of jobs in Tully, Cardwell and Mission Beach. Some suburbs in Cairns were also hard hit with 516mm of rain recorded at Kamerunga and 497mm at Cairns airport over the past four days. "There's many reports already of roads that are impassable. It's not out of the ordinary, it happens every wet season."
A monsoon trough is causing the soggy conditions. Cardwell, south of Cairns, has had 168mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9am (AEST) today. A monsoon low over Queensland's Gulf and near the Northern Territory border would also bring heavy downpours until Wednesday.

BOLIVIA - Floods and landslides. People have been trying to salvage what they can from shattered homes. A landslide caused by intense rains has destroyed more than 300 homes in the Bolivian city of La Paz. The authorities managed to evacuate the poor Kupini II area before it was smashed by a collapsing hillside. Elsewhere in La Paz, at least five people drowned when a minibus was swept away by a swollen river. Across Bolivia, weeks of heavy rain have killed at least 40 others and left more than 10,000 homeless. Officials evacuated the Kupini II area on Saturday night after cracks began appearing in roads and bridges.
Residents have been trying to recover furniture and other belongings from wrecked houses, while crews with heavy equipment try to stop the landslide from threatening other areas. Much of La Paz is built on steep mountainsides, and landslides are not uncommon, but officials say this was ONE OF THE WORST THE CITY HAS EVER SEEN. Troops have been mobilised to help the evacuation and recovery efforts. So far the only confirmed fatalities in La Paz have been five people killed when a minibus fell into a raging river in the south of the city after a bridge collapsed. The Bolivian government declared a national emergency last Tuesday because of torrential rains across much of the country. The worst flooding has been in the northern Amazon lowlands, where dozens of rural communities have been cut off by rivers that have burst their banks. The government says this year's rainy season has been particularly severe as a result of La Nina, a climatic phenomenon caused by a shift in currents in the Pacific Ocean.
In recent months parts of Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico and Central America have also experienced severe flooding.


U.S. - Very active weather in the West on Sunday as a bitterly cold Arctic storm moves through the Southwest and into the Plains. The same storm brought RECORD-BREAKING minimum cold temperatures to parts of California on Saturday. Winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings are in effect for many parts of Arizona above a few thousand feet as several inches of new snow are expected. The snowfall will make travel difficult. Snow also will push into Colorado and New Mexico, but the biggest story in New Mexico will be the wind this storm produces. High wind watches are in effect for much of New Mexico as winds gust up to 70 mph and limit visibility as it blows around newly fallen snow.


TEXAS - High winds, dry weather spark fires across Texas Sunday. Roughly 15,000 acres on fire in separate Texas blazes. Heavy winds and dry weather helped set off a rash of fires across a wide swath of north, central and west Texas on Sunday.
The largest concentration of blazes broke out around the west Texas town of Midland and near the panhandle city of Amarillo, where meteorologists reported wind gusts of up to 69 miles an hour. There have been no fatalities. However, the high winds made it difficult for firefighters to use aircraft to contain the blazes.
Heavy winds were expected to blow across much of the state into Monday, thus making it more likely that firefighters could be many hours away from dousing the final flames spread by the winds. "Numerous homes" have been burned in west Texas and firefighters were continuing to battle the blazes as of Sunday night.
In Amarillo, the National Weather Service reported that as of 2:32 p.m. CT Sunday afternoon a mandatory evacuation order had been issued in northeast Potter County. A second evacuation order was issued for the city of Borger a half hour later. Throughout the afternoon, fires consumed large swaths of land ranging from 30 to 800 acres in Haskell, Mitchell, Howard, Randall and Tom Green counties, among others.