Volcanic Lightning (?!)

While this may not be a specific disaster, it is a less known hazard that comes (rarely) with volcanic eruptions, and it’s just really cool. It is not crazy dangerous to humans, as it happens straight up from the volcano where there is an ash cloud and other, more hazardous things (like lava) to worry about. Volcanic lightning can occur when the lava at the surface causes an electrical charge to build up in the ash column, which eventually becomes overwhelming. To balance it out, lightning literally comes out of the volcano and flashes up towards the sky. Scientists have not done extensive research on this phenomenon and do no now a lot about it, but this is because it is very rare (and it looks like an epic clash between Zeus and Hades).


Several Severe Storm Predicted to Hit West Michigan

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.



Deadly Spring Storm Slams West Coast, Toppling Trees and Killing at Least 5

On Saturday, April 8th, a very powerful spring storm started to shy away from the West Coast, after ravaging up the coast and bringing heavy rains, wind, and downed trees and debris. 5 people were killed, 1 man was killed in Portland on Friday, April 7th when winds blew over a tree which fell on him. The other four died in a small plane crash outside the Oregon town of Harrisburg. While officials aren’t 100% sure what was the cause of the trash, it is assumed that the high winds contributed substantially.

In California, a BART barge sank in the San Francisco Bay around midnight on Friday, and dozens of homes in the Oakland Hills were forced to evacuate because of a mudslide, but nobody was killed or injured.

Around 168,000 people were without power in Washington County, and the winds also caused power outages in a dozen or so schools in Portland.

In Vancouver, Washington, a tree fell onto a fire truck but none of the firefighters were injured.

Carolinas bracing for next round of severe weather

Update of Severe Weather outbreak in the South April 6th, 2017

The Carolinas are bracing themselves for severe weather that has crossed the southern portion of the US leaving damage from tornadoes and flooding. The first round of severe weather produced snow, hail, and heavy rains that lead to flooding in areas. Coastal areas are to be on the lookout for waterspouts and high storm surge.

The NWS is asking residents to keep radios and cell phones with them ahead of these storms to get immediate warnings and updates. Schools have delayed opening to avoid students traveling during until the storms have passed.

Luckily throughout the southeast there have been limited death and injury reports follow these storms. However, residents are without power and the damage from possible, and known, tornadoes is significant.

The image below shows flooding in Atlanta from the storm that is bound for the Carolinas. Severe flooding is a factor in these severe storms.

Southern Weather Storms: Update

The severe weather expected in the Southeastern states has started, kicking off with a tornado that touched down and travelled through Goodman, Missouri on Tuesday night.  Local news channels have reported two people injured and damage to the fire department, an elementary school, and parts of the downtown area. Fortunately, no fatalities have been reported. The tornado was assigned an EF – 2 rating by the National Weather Service based on a damage survey of the area. The town was under a  tornado warning last night.

As the impending storms begin, the more southern states have began preparing for the severe weather. The Governor of Alabama declared a state of emergency Tuesday in anticipation of Wednesday’s forecasts. 50 National Guard soldiers have also been deployed to the area to assist any rescue and recovery efforts during the warning. Schools were closed as well in an effort to keep everyone safe and off the roads.

The PGA Master’s Tour in Augusta, Georgia had to suspend a practice round as storms began around 11am this morning. Warner Robins, a town in central Georgia, is using Facebook as a means of communicating to local residents that they’re city hall has opened the doors to be used as a storm shelter.

Link to article:

Tornado Potential in Bangladesh and East India

Large thunderstorms, known locally as Kalboishakis, are currently threatening Bangladesh and parts of east India. In the past two days, the city of Sylet recorded 11.5 inches of rain. Along with the Kalboishakis often come tornadoes. We normally associate tornadoes with the southern U.S., but during early spring the climate in this region is similar to that of Tornado Alley in the U.S. – warm, moist air at low levels and drier cooler air at higher levels makes for perfect tornado conditions.

So far, no tornado has formed this season, but the risk for disaster is certainly present. Bangladesh has one of the densest populations in the world, which, coupled with weak infrastructure, makes the area particularly vulnerable to natural hazards. In 1989, a deadly tornado ripped through the Manikgani region killing 1,300 people and leaving 80,000 homeless.

Look out for tornados during the peak risk period of April 5th-11th. After the monsoon season hits in May we can expect the risk of tornadoes to decrease.

Read the AlJazeera story here.

Brothers Killed By Downed Power Lines In Fort Worth

Two brothers were electrocuted and killed by a downed power line following storms that hit Forth Worth Texas on Wednesday, March 30th. The arcs from the power line also sparked a small grass fire nearby. The storm had produced tornadoes and left damage throughout the area 12 hours prior to the deaths. The electric company stated there is no way of knowing when a specific power line is down and there were so many down throughout the area, they were not able to make it to this particular one before this tragedy occurred.

This is a sad realization that people need to be cautious following storms regardless of how much time has passed. Fallen power lines are a main hazard that follows severe storms. Children, parents and adults need to stress and understand the importance of being aware of the hazards that follow severe weather and avoid any risk.

Severe Thunderstorms in Texas and Oklahoma

An out break of severe weather last night and this morning in Texas and Oklahoma caused lots of damage. The storm flooded roads and knocked out power for over 200,000 people in northern Texas. The thunderstorm also produced damaging wind sheer that knocked over trees and caused property damage. The same storm also produced baseball size hail that shattered car wind shields casing people to be sent to the hospital.  Along with the flooding, hail, and wind sheer the thunderstorm also spawned at least 14 tornadoes. Which is very impressive. All of the tornadoes were in Texas, so the damage sustained in Oklahoma was not a tornado but due to the wind sheer over 95 mphs.  So far there has only been one person reported dead.

2.7″ hail a few moments ago in Seymour, TX @NWSNorman

Severe storms in forecast for US much of this week

Here is an article forecasting the rest of this week with a picture of what potential hazards we have:

Forecasters with the Storm Prediction Center say damaging winds and large hail are the biggest threats Monday, particularly in western Kentucky, northern Mississippi and western Tennessee, including the Memphis and Nashville areas.

Storms lash America and Australia, and chill returns to Spain.

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.

A storm cell which battered North-Western Sydney, on Wednesday, March 22.