After tornadoes ripped through northern Texas on Saturday evening, the states of Alabama all the way up to Indiana can expect to see sever thunderstorms going into Sunday night. The storm, the same one who generated the tornadoes for Texas and Oklahoma, is moving in a northeast direction and is expected to bring storms into New York by Monday evening. With this system, the hazards expected are as follows:
Possible river-flooding on side-streets
The storm is fueled from the heat and humidity typical to these states. Unfortunately, this storm is coming on the heels of another one that passed through the same projected regions last weekend.
Last night (Saturday evening), five people were killed in the four confirmed tornadoes in Texas. All of the deaths occurred in Van Zandt county. In addition to the five deaths, fifty people were injured while the storm caused significant property damage to houses and businesses.
People in the projected path are being urged to keep track of the storm and the weather radar to know if and when they can expect any weather hazards.
In the area surrounding the Mississippi Valley there is currently the potential for life-threatening flash and river flooding. The area has already received significant amounts of rain and the land is as saturated as it can get. Slow moving thunderstorms from Wednesday were responsible for this. Roads in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri were shutdown already due to extensive flooding and there has been one recorded water rescue. The weekend promises more storms and much more rain. This is compounded by the fact that the storms themselves are moving so slowly. They are dumping all their water down on already saturated land and not moving on to drier climes in a timely fashion.
I chose Hurricane Katrina as the subject of my case study. Probably my primary reason for the choice was my personal involvement. At the time, I was still working for The Alexandria Fire Department in Northern Virginia. Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) requests starting coming in to Virginia for agencies able to assist int he response effort. The Northern VA Fire Departments started sending down 50 person task forces to assist in providing fire response service to Hancock County Mississippi. We were quartered at Stennis Space Center at one end of the county. We lived in a large tented camp (Camp Buzz) that had been put there to house us. We supplemented some of the few volunteer departments that remained (along with the full time department in Bay St. Louis). So my personal experience there was a little bit of why I chose it. I also posted a video below of storm surge that is quite long, but some pretty interesting footage. It shows buildings getting flooded a ways into the video. I will also post some pictures of my personal experience there. And will detail a bit more about the disaster below.
Hurricane Katrine would be the costliest US Hurricane causing a staggering 108 billion dollars in damage and changing the region for years to come and to some extent today with the changes in population from those displaced. I think it probably positively impacted the ways governments responds to disasters and how they work better together. The 2005 Hurricane Season was to be a busy one and a devastating one. Katrina formed differently than others normally form. This horrific tropical cyclone formed from the combination of a tropical wave, an upper level trough and the mid-level remnants of Tropical Depression Ten. It would make landfall three times in the US, first in Florida and then twice in the Gulf Coast Region. There was a significant loss of Life, approximately 1800 were killed due to the hazards associated with hurricanes. Storm surge and the flooding after the failure of antiquated levee system around New Orleans cause the largest loss of life there. The response of government at all levels was lacking and failure to issue mandatory evacuations early in New Orleans led to a large loss of life. The slow response from the state and federal government and the failure to coordinate resources which is critical were big reasons this response was a failure.
Track of the Hurricane Katrina
New Orleans was the center of most of the news coverage and I thought I would post some pictures from Mississippi, where I was deployed. This area too was devastated, but the loss of life was far less significant. Walking along the Gulf of Mexico, it looked like someone had carpet bombed the entire area as far as the eye could see. The bridge going to Pas Christian was gone, barring a lot of the columns. Portions of one side of the I-10 bridge going into New Orleans were completely gone, leave concrete columns standing only. The power of a major hurricane is amazing. The area we were in had water up to the I-10 bridge overpass, which was about 10 miles inland. I could not imagine losing everything as these people did.
Here is Camp Buzz where we spent some of our time. It was situated on The Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.
Here are the FEMA trailers that served as our fire station where I was working out of. We operated out of the Walmart Parking Lot in Waveland, Mississippi. Apparently the initial storm surge height was up to the Walmart lettering over top of the store, putting it somewhere in the twenty foot plus range.
The residents did not like FEMA, or even the mention of them at the time
These were common to find, at least in some form
This greeted us the first day we pulled duty in our station
During and after severe thunderstorm events, flooding will be a major threat over thousands of square miles for states in the central US. A general 3-6 inches of rain will fall from parts of the southern Plains to the middle Mississippi Valley this weekend. Widespread flash, urban, and small river floods are likely throughout the area. The ground is saturated and river and stream levels are already high because of prior rainfall. “Heavy rain and thunderstorms will form a train over the St. Louis area this weekend, increasing the threat of flooding,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Dean DeVore. A surge of water is also expected on the middle and lower Mississippi river and the lower part of the Ohio River next week.
There is even more flooding taking place in eastern counties of North Carolina, as a result of a storm which left 8 inches of water behind. Currently there are flood warnings for 15 different counties, and schools in Edgecombe county are closed today. Forecasters report that these rivers are the source of the flooding in their regions:
Along cape fear for Duplin, Bladen, and Pender counties
Tar river for Greenville, Rocky Mountain, and Tarboro
Roanoke River at Roanoke Rapids and the Neuse River for Goldsboro, Kinston, and Smithfield
Lumber River in Lumberton
Flooding is bad enough in Tarboro, that the American Red Cross has been called in and has set up a shelter there.
This seems to be a system of really bad river flooding, but it makes sense because 8 inches of rain is a lot. That much water in such a short period of time, definitely has a huge impact, even though 8 inches does not sound like a lot. The article did not speak of any damages, water levels, or any injuries, but I would be surprised if there were not later reports on all of these. North Carolina is a coastal state, and because most of this flooding took place in eastern counties of the state, I would hope that they would be fairly prepared to handle flooding. The article though does mention that one county had to close schools, but it did not say that they were necessarily closed because of flooding. These schools could have closed because of flooding, downed power lines, or moved debris. This just proves that rain is a potential hazard, and that all rivers including the 5 listed above all flood.
Sydney, Australia saw its average rainfall for the entirety of February in a single hour this year. Brisbane was flooded this March by Cyclone Debbie. This month, Melbourne’s average monthly rainfall fell in a single day. As the world’s climate continues to change, we can expect to see more of these “extreme weather events.”
According to “Intense Rainfall and Flooding: The Influence of Climate Change” by the Climate Council, “Bushfires, drought, heatwaves, storms, and extreme wind will be expected to become more frequent.” Australia’s heatwaves are already lasting longer and reaching hotter temperature highs and the Center of Excellence for Climate System Science’s research shows that Sydney’s summer heatwaves are already starting 19 days earlier. An intense heatwave in Victoria and Southern Australia during 2009 killed 432 people, 23 people drowned in the Queensland floods of 2011, and another 8 people died after a city-wide “asthma event” which was triggered by a freak thunderstorm during November of 2016 in Melbourne. In fact, heat extremes for 2030 are already being predicted since the number of heatwave days have a;ready doubled over the last 30 years. “The hottest day of their heat wave is 4.5 degrees hotter than it used to be,” says Amanda McKenzie, the CEO of the Climate Council.
I think it’s interesting that this article concludes with the statement – “We need to make sure we have a clear idea about what the changing climate will mean, and that we’re ensuring that our infrastructure is prepared, our emergency services are prepared, and communities are prepared too.” We’ve talked so much in class about how government can protect its people from natural hazards so I’m eager to see what mitigation will be put into place to protect the region. I also want to see how Australia’s government will react to the incoming of extreme weather events as its climate continues to change, and how the people can prepare for such event.
The current round of thunderstorms hitting the Mississippi River Valley has been severe, and have already caused some flash flooding in parts of the Orzaks. There has already been one water rescue in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and several roads in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri have been shut down due to flooding. Despite this, the major threat comes from this coming weekend, with flood warnings encompassing much of the mid-west region.
The general timeline for this weekend’s flooding is as follows:
“Through early Thursday: From northeast Texas, northern Louisiana and western Mississippi to as far north as Illinois
Friday night/early Saturday: From the mid-Mississippi Valley to Oklahoma, particularly the Ozarks
Saturday and Saturday night: From east Texas and western Louisiana to Illinois and Missouri
Sunday and Sunday night: From the middle and lower Mississippi Valleys into parts of the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys.”
The greatest potential heavy rain threat spans the Ark-La-Tex region north through the Mississippi River Valley, goign as far as southern Ohio. This threat is expected to stay through late Sunday, keeping the potential for flash floods high.
Parts of Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Arkansas have been experiencing tornados, flooding and hail. The tornados went through parts of Oklahoma while not particularly strong they still amassed damage. Parts of Missouri have been and are expected to receive more flooding as the severe weather moves in. Parts of Texas reported golf-ball sized hail.
More than 250 people are dead and hundreds are still missing after heavy rainfall triggered lethal mudslides and flooding in Colombia’s Putumayo province.
The survivors include 330 people who have been injured, 19 of whom remain in hospital.
A month’s worth of rain fell down in only a single night and created deadly flash floods in Mocoa. Houses and homes were completely destroyed and cars were lost and swam down the floods, away from their owners.
Three of the six rivers surrounding the small town burst their banks, leaving muddy water and tree limbs racing through the streets.
People are wondering why such a disaster occurred and why had Columbia’s Putumayo province not been better prepared. People are starting to question the government on this matter. Blaming them for having allowed them to build homes on areas that were at high risk.
In some parts of Columbia people are more aware of the risks for living in the area, but Marcela Quintero, a researcher with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture said: ‘Unfortunately, in Columbia said “We don’t have a good assessment of risk, or good land-use policies to prohibit people from settling in areas like these.”
These said risks were multiplied as trees were cut down for cattle ranching and other agricultural purposes, removing critical protection against flooding and landslides.
The flooding is one of the worst natural disasters in Colombia. President Juan Manuel Santos has said that he will rebuild Mocoa and make it better than it was before.
This article is about how two counties in a flood prone area to texas have teamed up to mitigate future disasters. Josh Davies, who is the Travis county executive of emergency services said “The comprehensive scope and collaborative nature of the agreement will bring together subject matter experts and elected officials from various disciplines and communities to strategically problem-solve,” and“The secondary networks and relationships that will emerge from this planning effort will pay dividends for years to come while improving the safety and quality of life for those who live, work and transit through Travis and Hays County.” This mitigation plan that the communities have put together shows how people will work together to stop disasters from becoming a catastrophe before it happens.