HomeNews1Extreme weather causes loss of life and property damage in several countries

Extreme weather causes loss of life and property damage in several countries

Extreme weather causes loss of life and property damage in several countries

This week, extreme weather has wreaked havoc across the globe as cyclone Freddy killed more than 400 people in Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar whilst torrential rains triggered flash floods in Turkey that killed 13 people, and also the mixed blessing of California’s exceptionally wet winter is likely to play out this spring with somewhat heightened flood risks in a state left largely drought free for the first time in three years, U.S. government forecasters reported.

It’s no easy task to join the dots between climate change and any given extreme weather event, such as a cyclone or heat wave.

The main idea in attribution science is to model extreme weather events under present-day climate conditions, and then do it again when the model is run with no human-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This process is repeated many times to try to understand the likelihood of a weather event occurring with and without human-driven warming.

Cyclone Freddy
Cyclone Freddy has now killed more than 400 people in southern Africa, according to latest casualty figures.

The death toll in Malawi has to climbed to 326, with at least 201 more missing, President Lazarus Chakwera announced on Thursday night. “The number of displaced people has more than doubled to 183,159, including 40,702 families.”

In Mozambique, at least 50 deaths have been confirmed so far, but the figure is expected to rise as rescuers continue searching for dozens of missing people.

The cyclone struck Mozambique and Malawi over the weekend for the second time in a month, destroying scores of homes and triggering widespread floods.

Formed in early February off the coast of Australia, the cyclone, which is on its way to being classified as the longest ever recorded, made an unprecedented crossing of more than 8,000 km from east to west in the Indian Ocean, one of only four storms in history to do so.

It made landfall for the first time on the east coast of Madagascar on 21 February, then hit Mozambique, total killed 27 people.

It then turned around and hit Madagascar a second time in early March, killing another 10 people. It also moved on to Mozambique, where it killed another 63 people.

Freddy has finally been declared over by the French Meteorological service. The storm was named by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology on 4 February and and finally came to an end on 14 March.

It was strong enough to be officially classified as a tropical system for at least 39 consecutive days.

However, we need to wait for confirmation by the World Meteorological Organization before we can say whether it is officially the longest-lasting recorded storm.

The classic way of measuring the strength of a storm is by its wind speed. At its strongest Freddy was the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane with winds in excess of 160mph (260 km/h).

It was also the first storm in the Southern Hemisphere to undergo four separate rounds of rapid intensification – this is an increase in the maximum sustained winds of a tropical cyclone of at least 30 knots in just 24 hours.

Since landfall, rainfall amounts have exceeded 600mm (24 inches) in some areas with torrential rains leading to mudslides in vulnerable areas.

With hurricane-force winds, the storm also brought large storm surges as it kept re-energising over the warm waters of the Mozambique Channel.

Turkey flooding
Floods caused by torrential rains have hit two Turkish provinces that were devastated by last month’s earthquakes, killing at least 13 people and increasing the misery of thousands who were left homeless, officials say.

Turkish media said the floods this Wednesday killed 11 people in Sanliurfa, about 50km (30 miles) north of the Syrian border. 2 people also died in nearby Adiyaman, including a one-year-old, the reports said.

A number of other people were reported missing.

The two people died in Adiyaman when surging waters swept away a container home in the town of Tut where a group of earthquake survivors was living, Governor Numan Hatipoglu said. Four people were reported missing.

Rescuers found the bodies of five Syrian nationals inside a flooded basement apartment in neighbouring Sanliurfa province and retrieved two other bodies inside a van that was trapped at an underpass.

Four other people were killed and two firefighters were reported missing, Sanliurfa Governor Salih Ayhan told HaberTurk television.

Several people were evacuated from a drenched campsite where earthquake survivors were sheltering in tents. Patients were also evacuated from a hospital, HaberTurk reported.

‘Atmospheric rivers’ in California
The latest in a series of atmospheric river storms soaked California on Tuesday, causing flooding and mandatory evacuations for residents in 10 counties. 17 people have died in this natural disaster.

These “rivers in the sky” are relatively common, with about 11 present on Earth at any time, according to NASA.

Most atmospheric rivers are weak and do not cause damage. In fact, they can provide much needed rain or snow.

Atmospheric rivers of the kind that drenched California and flooded British Columbia in recent years will become larger — and possibly more destructive — because of climate change, scientists have said.

This article was reported by multiple sources.