There was an avalanche that hit earleir today, in the western region of the country. More specifically, it hit the Retezat Mountains, which is an area popular for hiking and various winter sports. Officials reported an increase in the amount of snowfall this past winter season. The snow this year has been far more than just an increase though, it was extre,e in comparison to the past (photo in the second link), leading to today’s avalanche. Local officials warned the population that there was a high risk for an avalanche due to the inceased snow. Two teens either didn’t hear the warning or didn’t heed it and were caught in the fall. It was unclear what they were doing there, either skiiing or hiking, but the rescue workers pulled them out of the wreckage. Emergency situations chief Raed Arafat was the one to relay all this information to the Associated Press in the aftermath of the tragedy. Arafat mentioned that the conditions were too bad for even a helicopter to arrive safely in the affected area.
Over the weekend, New England and upstate New York had the pleasure of meeting Winter Storm Thesus on April’s Fools (Saturday). The cold air that was already in place combined with a low pressure in the Atlantic, right off the Jersey and Long Island coast. The storm dropped a good amount of snow and sleet with Vermont and Maine reporting snow accumulation into the teens. The stats from selected reports were given in the article.
Snow and Ice Reports
Here are selected snowfall and ice reports through Saturday evening:
- Connecticut: 4.0 inches of snow in Acton; 012 inches of ice in Tolland
- Maine: 13.4 inches in Steep Falls; 12.7 inches in Gray (NWS office); 10.8 inches in Portland
- Massachusetts: 8.7 inches in Ashburnham and 1.6 inches in Boston; 2.0 inches of sleet in Barre; 0.25 inches of ice in Rutland
- New Hampshire: 19.0 inches in Washington; 12.0 inches in Concord
- New York: 8.5 inches in Elizabethtown and near Keene Valley; 0.10 inches of ice in Lake Pleasant
- Pennsylvania: 0.13 inches of ice at the Pocono Mountains Airport
- Vermont: 15.8 inches near Rochester; 13.0 inches in Killington; 6.7 inches in Burlington
The article also went on to reminisce about the Blizzard that hit the same area 20 years ago. A low pressure system coming from the Ohio valley moved slowly over the region, leading to a steady snowfall averaging 3 inches per hour in some parts. Massachusetts received the brunt of the blizzard; half the state logged 10-20 inches and the other half, closer to the coast, reported 20-30 inches.
While Thesus may have been a rude introduction into a new month, it was certainly better than how New England started Spring in 1997.
Link to the Article: https://weather.com/storms/winter/news/winter-storm-theseus-northeast-new-england-april-fools-snow
I know that this is a far reach back; however, I hadn’t heard anything at all about this disaster and its impacts until I was browsing the internet today. On the surface, record low temperatures averaging at about 30 degrees Fahrenheit with a few, much lower extremes might seem laughable in Virginia, but throughout the entire month of January, an estimated 41 people were killed in various locations centered around Kashmir, India as a result of a massive, month-long cold wave. In reading various articles, I believe this story highlights one of our fundamental concepts of how we address or fail to address the effects of hazards on more vulnerable populations which then, in turn, became disasters and catastrophes.
Chillai-Kalan is the name for the period of lowest temperatures and maximum snowfall in India, lasting from December 21st to January 31st. However, the lowest temperatures during this cold wave, which was recorded as beginning on January 3, 2017, were felt in Gulmarg at 9.7 degrees Fahrenheit, Kargil at 7 degrees Fahrenheit, and Kashmir at 3.9 degrees Fahrenheit. Rain and snowfall battered areas without any form of heating. The banks of Dal Lake in Srinagar froze. At least 41 people died, some due to traffic accidents as a result of the lingering fog and lack of visibility, and others due to exposure or other reasons. Additionally, five people were killed in resulting avalanches near the Kashmir area in the last days of the month, while fifteen soldiers died in other avalanches in neighboring sectors. These temperatures reflect the coldest January experienced in over 50 years, along with many other record-breaking snowfall accounts.
I found it interesting that I couldn’t turn up anything about overall, widespread mitigation efforts, only individual rescue teams organized for specific avalanche events which impacted army camps, nor any personal accounts or interviews.
- Students were taking ski and climbing lessons as part of a mountaineering group
- Thirty-two students and teachers were able to safely get down from the slope
Tokyo (CNN)Seven high school students and a teacher are feared dead after being caught in an avalanche at a Japanese ski resort Monday, according to local police.
In an article that was published by The Guardian, author Tom Tobler discussed how multiple countries are under a serious watch. According to Tobler’s findings, the United States, Australia, and Spain are all dealing with various natural disasters. In the United States, Georgia had sever thunderstorms and severe winds all of last week. These winds were reported to reach 60 MPH which brought down a lot of trees, killing one individual. Furthermore, this severe storm left 170,000 people without power. In addition to the strong winds, rain and hail also fell down on Tuesday. Spain also dealt with its problems because of natural disasters. Average temperatures in the country have been reported falling much lower than the expected norm. The previous week, Spain, as well as other areas had to deal with a mixture of snow, rain, and hail because of the dropping temperatures. This has caused damage to the farming industry in Spain. This means production numbers are now dropping as a result.
In Australia, because of massive rain, flooding occurred. This left many without power and bad damage to Sydney. Flooding caused many trees to fall over, and bringing down power lines with it. Spain ran into more issues than Australia. Although they also some rain, the causation was different. According to recent reports, the temperature in Spain on average has been much lower than what is considered normal for the country. These low temperatures caused rain, hail, and frost. This coldness has caused issues for the farming industry in Spain, numbers in production have started to decrease. However, it has been reported that these cold temperatures have not been drawn out to a dangerous extent. I find it interesting that all three of these countries are experiencing drastic weather changes. I think that a part of this is the result of global warming. In the beginning of August, parts of Virginia exceeded the hottest days on recorded, and temperatures still continue to vary. I think that this should be a warning sign to us. We must seriously start to develop a plan that will help us to bring things back down to an equilibrium.
Currently the East Coast of the US has been experiencing Blizzard conditions that has created a sense of uncertainty for a lot of residents- especially Virginians- who in my opinion aren’t equipped to cope with such conditions. Virginia’s recorded precipitation related to this storm was on the lower end of the statistics, yet there were a lot of counties including my hometown (Fairfax County) that closed schools, according to fcps.edu. The New England states were more heavily impacted, but I feel as though those residents aren’t as frantic since they are used to colder conditions compared to the more southern states that were impacted. My family lives in Alexandria (43 miles north of Fredericksburg) and it amazes me that there is not much of a distance difference from Fredericksburg, yet they were more heavily impacted by the storm. There are more Inches of snow sticking in Alexandria instead of the ice/puddles that we have in Fredericksburg since the temperature has already risen to the mid 40’s today.
Blizzard warnings have been issued for the Northeast as Winter Storm Stella nears. The tri-state area (NY, NJ, and CT) are currently under a blizzard warning. More than a foot of snow is expected from Monday night into Tuesday. According to the article, “This major nor’easter will take shape as a strong area of low pressure develops off the East Coast late Monday in response to jet stream energy moving through the eastern states.” It is also expected to strengthen due to bombogenesis. Tree damage and power outages are a big concern when it comes to Stella because of strong winds. The low may end up closer to the coast, which means that the snow will change to rain or sleet and cut down on accumulations. Coastal flooding is also a concern for places like the Jersey Shore, Long Island, the Delmarva Peninsula, and Cape Cod. Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina have already experienced snow from Stella. Mooresville, NC is pictured below with the snow from Stella.
An avalanche struck in the French Alps at 6,900 feet in elevation off the ski runs killing four at a popular resort. Another avalanche occurred in Garfield County, Colorado killing a skier and injuring others. The natural disaster took place a few miles south of Vaughn Lake in a wilderness area in the remote back country.
Here are articles with details on the avalanche in France:
And an article about the avalanche in Colorado:
“At least 156 people have died along the Afghan-Pakistani border after three days of heavy snowfall caused a series of deadly avalanches Sunday.”
The death toll is expected to rise, as the National Disaster Management Authority says that more people are still trapped under the snow. Over 300 civilian homes have been destroyed, and most of the victims so far are women and children.
Evacuation efforts, however, are just being implemented two days after the series of avalanches.
Heavy snowfall along the Afghan-Pakistani border triggered a deadly avalanche that killed at least 119 people. In one area, more than 2,500 acres of farmland has been destroyed due avalanches in multiple provinces. Due to the heavily snow blocked roads slowing rescue teams, the death toll could be expected to rise. The article states the United Nations has offered assistance.