Surprisingly enough, places such as Kansas, Nebraska, Eastern Colorado and the Oklahoma panhandle are likely to get a huge amount of snow this weekend. Places such as Kansas and Nebraska are expected to get between two and eight inches of snow but Colorado and Oklahoma are expected to get around a foot of snow. An agricultural meteorologist explains that it is not that uncommon for these areas to be getting snow this time of the year but its the amount of snow expected is unusual. Because of the cold temperatures reaching those regions, it is expected to damage 20% of the regions wheat crop for the harvest season. Flooding is also a risk for the area because with snow comes the water when the snow melts and farmers are worried about all of their crops failing. Temperatures are then expected to reach the 70’s which should help dry up some of the rain and snow expected to fall. This article really made me think about the cause of the rapid temperature changes and I am wondering why there is so much snow falling in this time of the year. Although the temperature doesn’t seem out of the blue, the amount is because this region often doesn’t tend to drop this much snow. I am also curious to know if farmers change the way they plant their crops in the future due to these natural occurrences as a way of protecting their crops and livelihoods.
A strong earthquake hit tonight right off of the coast of Mindanao measuring to be 7.2. People have been advised to stay away form the coast as much as possible incase of more seismic activity and also incase of large waves that could inflict damage. So far there have been no immediate reports of severe damage or casualties, so hopefully it stays that way. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center reported that there was a huge risk for large waves that could extend out to 190 miles. The Philippines weren’t too concerned about this earthquake because due to their location around the ring of fire. The Philippines are used to getting large earthquakes every year so a 7.2 earthquake that hit off the coast, which didn’t inflict a lot of damage didn’t concern the authorities too much. They even decided against sending out a tsunami warning, believing it wasn’t necessary. The earthquake;s epicenter also was incredibly deep in the ocean, making it more difficult to feel the earthquake on land.
I chose to do my case study on the Oakland wildfire of 1991. It all began because a brush fire started out in the hills of Oakland. Oakland is a pretty big city with many well known companies such as Kaiser Permanente and Pandora radio. Most of the people that live there are very well educated and earn about $61,000 per year on average. The city is located in northern California and is known for wildfires especially in the fall. During the fall, temperatures often average around 104 degrees Fahrenheit with little to no precipitation.
In this wildfire in particular, the fire started off very small and the firefighters were able to contain it very fast and they had thought they put out the flames all the way. Unfortunately the firefighters went home because they thought the fire had been put out enough and they could no longer see since the sun went down. The next morning there were reports that the fire had once again began but took off so fast that the firefighters couldn’t regain control of the wildfire. Because the fire from the day before left a few embers, it cause the pine needles on the trees to heat up and fall to the ground. The pine needles then sparked the fire up once again but this time the hot, dry winds propelled the fire forward. It is reported that during the Oakland wildfire in the hills, houses completely fell to the ground and were overwhelmed with flames in less than 10 minutes. The houses in 1991 were built with mostly wooden frames and had wooden shingles on the roof so the homes were acting practically as fire starters for an already intense wildfire. There are locations during that fire that reached up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally around the evening time, firefighters and police officers were able to secure a perimeter, meanwhile 10,000 people were evacuated from the city and 1,000 homes were destroyed. The fire caused more than 1.5 million dollars in damages and was recorded as the worst fire in northern California when comparing lives lost and property damaged.
Many things changed about this city after the fire swept through in 1991. Laws and regulations were created so that homes had to be built to with stand future wildfires or at least not catch on fire quite as easily. There were also more regulations set up to removes non native vegetation and the park service now goes through and removes many of the young Eucalyptus trees because those were said to have pushed the fire forward even more. There were some issues during the fire that also changed the supplies of firefighters. One problem the firefighters faced during the wildfire was that because of the hills and narrow streets, radio communication didn’t always work so they had a hard time communicating with other people. They also weren’t prepared enough to tackle a wildfire rather than a regular fire. There was one more issue the firefighters faced which was the size of the fire hydrants. Some of the hydrants weren’t standard size so people and firefighters couldn’t always connect to the hydrants, which made it more challenging to access water to put the fire out. More non profit organizations also sprang to the ground in hopes to educate people better about wildfires and what to do if one starts near them.
Overall there have been a lot of changes made in this city because the likely hood of wildfires in that area is so common. there were 4 prominent wildfires in Oakland alone throughout the 20th century. Since the Oakland fire of 1991, there have been a few minor fires but all were put out almost immediately and response times were much quicker.
Overall the number of Ethiopian’s needing food aid has surged to more than 2 million from 5.6 million solely because of the drought. Previously the United Nations fought to get $900 million in aid for the horn of Africa to help them especially due to lack of food and water. In many of the areas of agriculture in Ethiopia the crops are failing during each harvest season. The reason the crops are failing is a lack of water and is becoming is severe problem now being looked into by the head of National Disaster Risk Management Commission. The number of people in need of water and food has now risen to 7.7 million people, requiring 432,000 tonnes of food solely until the end of the year. Ethiopia’s economy is on the rise currently but its economy still relies heavily on agriculture and if so many crops are failing what is to happen to the people that rely on their crops for money? The agriculture industry in Ethiopia employs over three quarters of the population so if these drought continue, it could really change the country as a whole.
After reading the article I was curious to know the causes of the drought. Does it have to do with global warming or is this just a characteristic of the region? I also wonder if this my change the focus of the economy and begin to create different things that are more suitable to the location.
South Africa is the worlds number one maize producer and was hit incredibly hard last year by a horrible drought. The government is considering now trying to create a reserve to secure the future of its people, food and economy of South Africa. There are concerns that there will be yet again another devastating drought so the government wants to find a solution to avoid it as much as possible. A strategic grain reserve would mean the government would have to buy up crops and then taking responsibility for the shortages. This leaves the government overall more responsible and should hopefully be able to help the people of South Africa. The Agricultural Minister explains that if it is a good crop season South Africa can flourish but because of the weather patterns which then caused a horrible drought, it could also severely affect the country. El Niño is the warming of the oceans surface in the eastern and central pacific, which occurs every few years. Because of El Niño, the east gets a huge amount of rain while the southern cone is left with little to no rain, causing a drought.
On April 18th, the Prime Minister came out and decided that they needed funding for better weather forecasting and preparations for natural disasters. While reviewing the natural disasters that occurred the previous years such as: droughts, extreme cold weather, floods and storms, ending up costing up to $1.75 billion in reparations alone. This is clearly a serious problem if it is costing the country so much money in only a one year time frame. Four out of ten of the tropical storms caused severe flooding, which then turned into severe landslides causing destruction. Throughout the year over 350,000 homes were destroyed and tons of people either died or are still missing. Due to all of the destruction of farms, Vietnam has seen an overall decrease in their countries economic growth. Although the Prime Minister recognizes that there are facilities and equipment to help with these natural disasters, they are often limited and the people responsible for rescues don’t act quickly enough and not all rescues are successful. This is obviously a huge problem and the Prime Minister wishes to add in $1.7 billion into better forecasting and having more successful restorations and rescues. That way the country doesn’t have quite the same problems as it currently has with loss of property but also loss of lives. This country has a hard time bouncing back from natural disasters so hopefully with an improved system in place that can change.
Today there are expected severe storms bringing in thunder, hail, heavy rain and a small chance of tornados. The strong storm surge is expected to enter the warm air system in west Michigan this morning. There will be around 3 different storms passing through, the first is expected to just be light showers and will end mid morning. The next storm to arrive in Michigan is likely to be more brutal. The second storm will come along the cold frontal passage and will likely last until 9pm tonight. Threats of this storm include heavy rain, hail and severe lightening; many people who live where the storm is expected to hit are advised to stay indoors and take precautions. There is a slight chance of tornados but not very likely.
The Storm Prediction Center predicts that the West Michigan is at slight risk for severe whether, which means that some aspects of the storm can be severe but not all.
Based on another weather forecast website, the region expecting to get hit by severe weather is now under marginal risk for severe weather, which means the risk is gradually decreasing. Areas such as Flint and the Northern Thumb are at highest places of risk based on levels of poverty but also the path of the storm.