Feb 21st 2017
The Met Office is warning of significant disruption from gale-force winds and heavy rains in much of Britain on Thursday as the balmy start to the week is due to be blown away by Storm Doris.
The newly named storm is likely to damage buildings, interrupt power supplies and cause widespread travel problems, the Met Office warned. There will also be a danger of injury from flying debris, it said.
An amber “be prepared” warning has been issued for a large band of the country stretching from northern Wales to Norfolk, where gusts of up to 80mph are forecast on Thursday, when Doris will surge in from the Atlantic.
The additional hazards of heavy rain and snow have also been forecast for much of the rest of Britain, where a yellow “be aware” warning has been issued. Rainfall of up to 30mm (1.2in) is expected to cause localised flooding and tricky driving conditions. Snow is expected over the high ground of northern England and Scotland and could fall at lower levels in Scotland.
The exact timing and course of Storm Doris remains uncertain, the Met Office said, but it is forecasting gale-force winds late on Thursday morning. The warning added: “There is potential for a shortlived core of very strong winds to develop. Whilst some disruption is expected outside of this stronger swath of winds, the amber area looks most likely to see more significant disruption.”
— Met Office (@metoffice) February 21, 2017
“Watch out for falling trees or tiles, secure garden furniture and move vehicles to a safe place,” a Met Office gif said.
Feb 2nd 2017
Hold on to your hats - Storm Doris may have arrived. Strong winds heralding the start of a new weather system are battering British shores on Thursday.
Coastal areas face gusts of up to 80mph as Devon and Cornwall bared the brunt this morning.
The Met Office has extended its yellow "be aware" weather warning covering the south of the country and East Anglia on Friday to include Saturday.
It is expected to bring travel disruption, surface flooding and possible electricity outages across the south.
Forecasters have said the system would be named if it was upgraded to an amber "be prepared" warning.
A Met Office spokesman said: "There is the potential for very strong winds to cross parts of England and Wales on Friday, with gusts of 60 to 70 mph in places and perhaps over 80 mph in exposed coastal areas.
"There remains considerable uncertainty around the developments - if such winds were to occur, we would expect damage to trees and perhaps to buildings, possible disruption to power supplies, as well as delayed travel.
"A number of potentially vigorous low pressure systems are likely to move quickly towards northwest Europe later this week.
"One of these, on Friday, may affect parts of southern parts of the UK. However it is worth stressing that there are a number of scenarios in which the strongest winds miss the UK altogether.
"Even so, spells of wet and windy weather will be affecting many areas later this week."
A hurricane wind is a system of rotating storm clouds that are very strong, they are called cyclones in the Indian and South Pacific regions, in the Atlantic and the northern parts of the Pacific they are called by this name and the name given in the northwestern Pacific is a typhoon.
These storms rotate anti-clock wise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere due to the rotation of the earth and are classified in metrology on the synoptic scale which is a simple linear scale that measures the width.
Here is an eyewitness account of experiencing a storm like this.
BEFORE THE STORM WINDS COME
Store an adequate supply of food and clean water.
Prepare foods that will not need cooking.
Keep flashlights, candles,matches and battery-powered radios within easy reach.
Examine your house and repair any unstable parts.
Always keep yourself updated with the latest weather reports.
Make sure you can receive warnings from buzcall.com
Harvest any crops that you can.
Secure domestic animals in a safe place.
Place all boats in a safe area moored so they don’t drift away but not tied down so that they sink
Should you need to evacuate, bring your grab-bag, clothes, first aid kit, candles/flashlight, battery-powered radio, food, etc. as recommended by buzcall.com
DURING THE STORM
Stay inside the house.
Always keep yourself updated with the latest weather reports.
If safe drinking water is not available, boil water for at least 20 minutes. Place it in a container with cover.
Keep an eye on lighted candles or gas lamps.
Do not wade through floodwaters; this avoids being electrocuted and contracting diseases.
If there is a need to move to an evacuation centre, follow these reminders.
Evacuate very calmly do not panic.
Close all the windows and turn off the gas and electric main power switch.
And we recommend putting important appliances and belongings as high as possible to avoid water damage.
Avoid the way leading to the river.
AFTER THE STORM
If your house was damaged, make sure that it is already safe and stable when you enter.
Beware of dangerous animals such as snakes that may have entered your house.
Check for live wires or outlets immersed in water before switching on the electricity.
Report damaged electrical cables and fallen electric posts to the authorities.
Also we recommend that you do not let water accumulate in tires, cans or pots to avoid creating favorable conditions for mosquito breeding.
Fortunately with modern radar systems the formation and path of these storms can be monitored easily and warnings issued by local government, civil defense, police, local radio and television.
The hurricane, the most powerful Caribbean storm in nearly a decade, took aim at Florida on Thursday after carving a punishing path through the region, also striking Cuba and the Bahamas.
A helicopter tour Thursday ofLes Cayes, a port city on Haiti’s southwestern coast, showed extensive damage, with cinder-block buildings knocked to the ground and metal roofs peeled back like tin can lids. Everywhere, trees were flattened, and the main river that runs through town was swollen to the top of its banks and running the color of milk chocolate.
Aid workers rushing to the scene to assess the damage feared that some towns were still cut off from the outside world, since bridges have been swept away and trees have fallen across rural roads. Thousands of people have been displaced.
“Flying over, we were able to see quite a lot of destruction. Storm surges, downed trees, crop damage, farm damage,” said Margaret Traub, head of global initiatives for International Medical Corps, who landed in Les Cayes with two colleagues and a journalist Thursday afternoon. “If I had to estimate, I would say at least 80 percent of buildings saw damage. Many of them were destroyed.”
The World Food Program also reported that in some areas up to 80 percent of the harvest has been lost threatening the country’s ability to feed itself in the aftermath.
Meanwhile, other alarming signs were emerging.
At least three cases of cholera were reported in Jeremie, on the tip of Haiti’s southwestern peninsula, said Holly Frew, a spokeswoman for the aid group CARE in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. At a central hospital in Les Cayes, two people with cholera had shown up Thursday, but the hospital staff didn’t have the intravenous fluids or antibiotics to treat the disease.
Cholera, a potentially deadly disease spread by contaminated water, is a main concern for relief agencies struggling with how to bring clean water and emergency sanitation systems to areas now accessible only by air.
“This is a very great danger for the city,” said Tony Guillaume, an orthopedic surgeon in the hospital in Les Cayes. “They can contaminate others.”
Only one nurse was available to treat the crowd that showed up in one of the muddy hospital waiting rooms. Some sat waiting with broken limbs. A young man vomited on the floor. Some residents had cuts from metal roofing that blew off in the storm and sliced into people.
Doctors said they hoped to soon reopen the cholera ward, which had closed before the storm swept in, dumping waist-high water around the hospital.
Cholera was once unknown in Haiti until its apperance after the 2010 earthquake and is believed to be linked to the presence of U.N. peacekeepers.
More than 800,000 people were infected and 10,000 died in that outbreak.
Aerial images provided by the U.S. Coast Guard showed scenes of near-total damage in some areas: wooden homes now just scattered timbers, roofs sheared off and palm groves leveled by the Category 4 storm. In some areas of Haiti, people have been living in makeshift structures since a major earthquake six years ago that killed 200,000 people.
Haitian officials said 38 of the hurricane deaths occurred in the department of Grand Anse in the southwest of the country, which was especially hard hit.
About 80 percent of the buildings were destroyed in Jeremie, said Frew, the CARE spokeswoman.
The U.N. deputy special representative for Haiti, Mourad Wahba, has described the hurricane as the country’s worst humanitarian crisis since the earthquake in 2010.
Matthew slammed eastern Cuba before churning Thursday over the Bahamas, where residents were urged to move to high ground and the capital, Nassau, was battened down for the strongest hurricane in the Caribbean since Felix struck in 2007.
In Les Cayes, white United Nations trucks drove through the streets Thursday afternoon carrying heavy machinery, such as bulldozers and earthmovers, to serve the rescue and rebuilding efforts. Residents were out clearing away debris and beginning their repairs. Many roads were flooded, but some main thoroughfares were passable.
Across the hurricane-hit region, many Haitians sought shelter in schools where votes were meant to be cast on Sunday. Haiti’s electoral council on Wednesday postponed a presidential election that has already been delayed several times. Authorities said the situation would be evaluated over the next week before a new date was announced.
The U.S. Navy has sent three ships to Haiti, including an aircraft carrier and a hospital ship. About 300 Marines were aboard the USS Mesa Verde, an amphibious transport vessel.
The Haitian Embassy in Washington described the next few days as “critical to the recovery process” and urged governments, organizations and private individuals to coordinate their aid efforts to avoid overlap and waste.
“It is expected that many will want to engage and take initiatives toward recovery and relief efforts,” the statement said. “The state of Haiti strongly encourages all individuals who are in the process of organizing specific responses and action plans, to work with the local organizations and institutions in Haiti.”
Murphy reported from Washington. Paul Schemm in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, contributed to this report.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Hurricane Matthew pelted Florida with heavy rains as the deadly storm steamed ever closer to the coast with potentially catastrophic winds of 130 mph Thursday. Two million people across the Southeast were warned to flee inland.
It was the most powerful storm to threaten the U.S. Atlantic coast in more than a decade, and had already left more than 280 dead in its wake across the Caribbean.
"This storm's a monster," Gov. Rick Scott warned as it started lashing the state with periodic heavy rains and squalls around nightfall. He added: "I'm going to pray for everybody's safety."
As it moved north in the evening, Matthew stayed about 100 miles or more off South Florida, sparing the 4.4 million people in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas from its most punishing effects.
By Thursday night, more than 60,000 homes and businesses were without power. Streets in Vero Beach were partially covered with water, and hotel guests in Orlando were told to stay inside, though a few sneaked out to smoke or watch the rain.
The hurricane was expected to blow ashore — or come dangerously close to doing so — early Friday north of West Palm Beach, which has about 1.1 million people, and then slowly push north for the next 12 hours along the Interstate 95 corridor, through Cape Canaveral and Jacksonville, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Forecasters said it would then probably hug the coast of Georgia and South Carolina over the weekend before veering out to sea — perhaps even looping back toward Florida in the middle of next week as a tropical storm.
Millions of people in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina were told to evacuate their homes, and interstate highways were turned into one-way routes to speed the exodus. Florida alone accounted for about 1.5 million of those told to clear out.
"The storm has already killed people. We should expect the same impact in Florida," the governor warned.
Haiti’s death toll has soared after rescue crews began reaching remote corners cut off when Hurricane Matthew slammed into the country’s south-west peninsula – the first Category 4 storm to hit the country in more than 50 years.
At least 283 people died in just one part of Haiti’s south west, the region that bore the brunt of the storm, Emmanuel Pierre, an Interior Ministry co-ordinator in Les Cayes, said.
The overall death toll in Haiti is not clear. Shortly before Mr Pierre spoke, the headquarters for Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency had put the number of confirmed deaths for the whole country at 122.
Authorities expect the number of deaths to rise, with mayors and other local officials in marooned areas reporting higher numbers. Most deaths are thought to have occurred in the south west region.
Bodies started to appear as waters receded in some places two days after Matthew’s 145mph winds smashed concrete walls, flattened palm trees and tore roofs off homes, forcing thousands of Haitians to flee.
Hurricane Matthew is bearing down on Haiti.
Towns and villages are bracing for “catastrophic” floods and mudslides that forecasters fear will be triggered by the storm’s 230 kph winds and a metre of rainfall.
Where is the hurricane now?
Winds and rain have begun to pick up in the southwest of the Caribbean nation.
The US National Hurricane Center says the centre of the intense Category 4 storm was due late Monday evening.
Is anywhere else affected?
Matthew is forecast to hit Cuba and the Bahamas on Tuesday.
The main airports have been closed in Jamaica and Haiti.
Evacuation operations are underway in Cuba. Tourists in the eastern town of Santiago de Cuba have been moved inland and told where to shelter in hotels during the hurricane.
The storm may also reach Florida by Thursday as a major hurricane.
It is one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recent history and was about 155 km south of the westernmost tip of Haiti at 0300 GMT on Monday.
Matthew is expected to drop between 30 and 101 cm of rain on parts of the island.
Is Haiti particularly vulnerable?
Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas.
A combination of weak government and precarious living conditions for most of its people make it particularly vulnerable to natural disasters.
More than 200,000 were killed when a 7-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in 2010.
Many survivors are still living in flimsy, temporary accommodation.
Haiti is also prone to flash floods and mudslides because most of its hillsides have been stripped bare by people cutting down trees to make charcoal to sell for fuel.
The authorities are ferrying 3,000 people off Ile-a-Vache by helicopter. The low-lying island is off Haiti’s southwest coast.
Interior Minister Francois Anick Joseph says 30,000 are affected.
150,000 also need to be moved to safety from Haiti’s largest slum, Cite Soleil in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
What they are saying
“It has the potential to be catastrophic,” – Dennis Feltgen, meteorologist
“After the hurricane, we will be miserable. We’ll be hungry..the houses will be destroyed,” – 44-year-old resident Rosette Joseph.
Oct 4th 2016
Hurricane Matthew, the category 4 storm currently lashing western Haiti with 145mph winds, is likely to at least brush the east coast of the US by the weekend, weather forecasters say. In Haiti, the storm is likely to drop as much as three feet of rain across hills where trees have been cut down, increasing the likelihood of flash floods and mudslides, threatening villages as well as shanty towns in the capital, Port-au-Prince. One person has already been killed. Matthew is forecast to sweep over Cuba to the Bahamas on Tuesday and possibly reach Florida – where a state of emergency has been declared – by Thursday as a major hurricane, though weaker than at present.
Oct 2nd 2016
Hurricane Matthew has turned deadly off Colombia’s Caribbean coast, killing at least one person as it heads north. Houses have been damaged and some of them submerged in ocean surges.
With winds peaking at 160 miles per hour Matthew is now at the highest level, five, meaning it’s the most powerful hurricane in the Atlantic ocean since Felix in 2007.
By Monday it will reach Cuba and Haiti and may eventually reach the United States.
Forecasters said up to 38cm (15 ins) of rain could fall across Jamaica and on southern Haiti.
Jamaica was hard hit by hurricane Gilbert in 1988, and the last major hurricane in the region was Sandy, in 2012. Matthew could be the most powerful storm to cross the island since records began, meteorologist Eric Holthaus said on Twitter.
Even though Matthew will only clip Haiti it’s likely to be most deadly there, where most people live in flimsy shacks with corrugated iron roofs that have little chance against high winds.
Worse, thousands still live in tents after a vicious earthquake in 2010.
“They’ve announced a hurricane. We’re keeping watch. We can’t do anything,” Marcel Dervil, a slum dweller in the capital Port-au-Prince said.
“We could have repaired our homes, but we do not have money. We can’t do anything but watch.”
Food and other aid is being stocked up by the authorities as Haitians pray that they’ll be spared another deadly natural disaster.
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