Displaying items by tag: extreme weather
On 2 November, Storm Ciarán hit the UK and Channel Islands, bringing strong winds and heavy rain as forecasters warned lives could be at risk. Dozens of people in Jersey were evacuated to hotels overnight after wind gusts of up to 102 mph damaged homes. More than 300 schools were shut across southern England while major incidents were declared in Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Jersey. Roofs were blown off, thousands were without power, and some train lines completely ground to a halt. The Port of Dover suspended all sailings, sparking long lorry queues: it later reopened for shipping, but passenger ferries were cancelled. Amber and yellow weather warnings - indicating potential risk to life and property - were in place covering parts of England, Scotland and Wales.
Almost 3,000 people have had to evacuate their homes in Tenerife as a wildfire, caused by embers left smouldering from an August blaze, re-ignited on the Spanish island. Unseasonably hot weather (up to 39°C) sparked the flames, which engulfed the north east of the island on 5 October. About 2,400 people have been evacuated from the town of Santa Ursula and another 600 from La Orotava. Teams of firefighters and six water-dropping helicopters worked to battle the fire overnight. The August fire had been brought under control but was never completely extinguished, with embers still burning in the forest. The firefighters have requested support from the army’s military emergency unit. The island’s councillor in charge of emergencies, Blanca Perez, told local radio this fire ‘has been stabilised, we are seeing how it evolves to determine if in a few hours residents can return to their homes’.
European countries suffering under sizzling heat waves for weeks can hope for respite as ‘subtle changes in the jet stream’ are expected to start to bring temperatures down by 2 August. Until then we can continue to pray for the safety of firefighters who are running towards the flames as others are running away. Ask God to comfort those whose homes and businesses have been destroyed. Pray for help and wisdom for those who have to rebuild their livelihoods after the fires are extinguished. May God be with people mourning those killed by fire, and may He help those who continue struggling with health issues worsened by heat and smoke.
An intense heatwave continues to swelter large swathes of the USA, with temperature records forecast to be broken from coast to coast. Millions of Americans have been urged to avoid going outside. It has been an extreme-weather summer across the continent: brutal heat, a barrage of tornadoes, flooding in the USA and unprecedented wildfires in Canada. Now the Biden administration has introduced an ‘all-of-society response’ to help manage a challenge that is only getting worse. Canada’s government has a strategy geared towards helping the most vulnerable, including older people, indigenous communities, inner-city residents and people who work outside. The US plans new research centres to help underserved communities prepare for future heatwaves, as well as work on a national strategy focused on equity and environmental justice. The administration also plans to gather mayors and indigenous leaders from across the country to meet emergency response officials to discuss what additional tools they may need. Please continue praying for over 140 million people still sizzling under heat alerts which will extend into August.
The southern United States is in its third week of an extreme, stubborn heat wave that refuses to budge. 100 million Americans remain under heat alerts from South Florida to northern Nevada as record breaking temperatures hit 128°F (53° C) in Death Valley. Above-normal temperatures and sauna-like humidity have made things intolerable, with triple-digit temperatures continuing for days. Sardinia has approached 117° (47° C), and Rome 108° (42° C) - which would eclipse the all-time record by 3°. Iran’s international airport posted a suffocating heat of 152° (67° C). Pray for the people who have problems regulating their body temperature, such as the elderly, pregnant, babies, children, and those with chronic or mental health conditions. Pray for those without air-conditioning to recognise symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion and go to a place which is air-conditioned. The heat is also worsening wildfires. Pray for the safety of firefighters, and the protection of homes and businesses.
On 10 May heavy storms caused flash flooding in southern England and a major incident was declared in Somerset. On 11 May yellow warnings of thunderstorms and flash flooding were issued from Kent to Scotland. South and East Anglia has issued 36 ‘expected or possible’ flood alerts. Dozens of homes were evacuated after mudslides. Torrential rain is causing treacherous driving conditions, damage to homes and businesses, blocked roads and disrupted rail services. Teams are checking flood gates and clearing waterway drains’ trash screens. More rain is forecast for 12 May. People are urged to sign up for flood warnings, continue to monitor weather reports, and not attempt to drive through flood water. Pray that people check the road situation before going on a journey. A farm lost 200 chickens, garden walls and outbuildings were demolished, cars floated away, and people living in low-lying properties were stranded. May God give the rescue services stamina and wisdom.
The worst April heatwave in Asian history is causing deaths and forcing schools to close. Temperatures of over 40C in Bangladesh have caused road surfaces to melt, and if the heat does not abate the ministry of environment will declare a temperature emergency. Six cities in India recorded temperatures above 44C. India has become particularly vulnerable to extreme heat recently; experts fear 2023 could be even worse. As temperatures and humidity soar, causing an orange severe heatwave warning, rural workers and labourers are forced to work outside. Weekend thunderstorms could abate conditions, but extreme heat is projected to continue into next week. Thailand has issued heatstroke health warnings and the high temperatures could continue beyond the usual summer months, causing drought and crop failure. China reported record-breaking temperatures for April in many locations, and over a dozen countries are experiencing similar problems. The death toll is expected to rise. Pray for the frail and elderly to drink enough fluids, including in the UK as meteorologists forecast an even hotter summer for us than in 2022.
Severe tropical cyclone Ilsa has intensified to a category five system and will hit Port Hedland late at night on 13 April. A red alert has been issued across the region. Northern Australia is no stranger to cyclones, but this storm will be the strongest to hit the region in fourteen years. The very destructive core of the storm will bring extreme wind gusts of 195mph, 15.7 inches of rain and abnormally high tides, with the storm's impact felt across a 370-mile region. The Meteorology Bureau said, ‘There is a threat to lives and homes. You are in danger and must act immediately.’ Port Hedland’s 15,000 residents have been ordered to shelter inside, staying away from doors and windows. ‘It is too late to leave. Stay indoors until the authorities give the all clear’, the red alert warning states. Pray for those unable to get to evacuation centres, for those in remote communities, and for the frail and elderly.
Residents across a wide swath of the USA experienced destruction from fierce storms which spawned 52 tornadoes in 11 states, killing at least 32 people, between 2 and 3 April. Storms tore a path through the Arkansas capital, and the roof of a packed Illinois concert venue collapsed. People throughout the region were stunned by the extent of the damage. Pray for families mourning the loss of loved ones, desperately waiting for news of others fighting for their lives, and sorting through the rubble of their homes and businesses. President Biden declared broad areas as major disaster areas. Arkansas declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard for destroyed neighbourhoods. Then on 5 April, a tornado with 130 mph winds tore through Bollinger County, Missouri. It will take days to confirm the number of all the recent tornadoes and deaths.
Mississippi has declared a state of emergency. Rolling Fork has been almost entirely wiped out. Dozens are dead. One man survived after sheltering in his bathtub. The lush farmland surrounding Western Sharkey County is completely untouched, but when you reach Rolling Fork, a rural town with a fifth of the 2,000 families living in poverty, nearly all homes are flattened, and the rest are damaged by the furious tornado. Trucks were lifted onto houses, trees uprooted, and power lines brought down. The next day dazed survivors could be seen walking around in shock. But soon it was a hive of activity, with clean-up operations and volunteers opening stations to distribute sandwiches and water. Pray for the communities grappling with destroyed homes and possessions, for those in damaged buildings without electricity. Pray for those mourning the dead. Pray for adequate government support to provide homes for the homeless and rebuild the infrastructure.