The Watchers News Brief: August 8, 2018


Extremely dangerous flash floods in Chamoson, Switzerland 

A torrent of rock and mud erupted onto the streets of the small Swiss village of Chamoson on August 7 after record-breaking rains hit the area. The incident was triggered by an intense thunderstorm which caused a riverbed to expand and burst. The event comes after 10 days of extreme heat.

10 minutes maximum precipitation was 18 mm (0.70 inches) and 1 h was about 50 mm (1.96 inches), a few kilometers east of Chamoson.

There are no reports of injuries.

Rare early morning tornado forms in northeast Colorado

A rare early morning tornado touched down in a field outside of Keota, northeast Colorado at 06:37 local time on August 8. NWS describes it as 'extremely rare' event.

NWS meteorologist Kyle Fredin told Denver7 tornadoes don’t typically occur that early in the day. The National Severe Storms Laboratory says that tornadoes can occur at any time of the day throughout the year, but most occur between 16:00 and 21:00.

The nighttime or early-morning tornadoes are often produced by so-called 'nocturnal thunderstorms,' which the National Science Foundation says happen most often in June and July. Such storms will typically produce tornadoes every 3 – 5 years.

This tornado did not cause any damage or injuries, NWS said.

Wildfires ravage 27 structures in northwest British Columbia, Canada

Wildfires have ravaged 27 structures in the small northwestern British Columbia community of Telegraph Creek on August 7. This is 30 to 45% of buildings in the community.

Tahltan Band Chief Rick McLean said that the town has sustained significant damage, but fortunately, no lives have been lost.

"That's the town. We are the community. We are resilient, we're going to lean on each other, and we're going try to continue to fight the fight as best we can," he said.

Waterspout forms near Istanbul's Yeniköy neighborhood, Turkey

A large waterspout formed in the Sea of Marmara near Istanbul's neighborhood of Yeniköy on August 8.

The twister made landfall and dissipated soon after. There are no reports of damage or injuries.

Very rare waterspout forms on Lake Ladoga in Zaostrovie, Russia

A rare waterspout formed on Lake Ladoga near Zaostrovie on August 7 and dissipated before reaching the shore.

Waterspouts are a very unusual phenomenon for this region.

New eruption at Nevados de Chillan, alert level remains at orange

A new eruption took place at Nevados de Chillan volcanic complex in Chile on August 8. The event took place in the middle of the peak snow season at the mountain, but authorities said no evacuations were necessary. 

The alert level for the volcano remains at Orange.

Mandatory evacuation due to Holy Fire, California

Mandatory evacuations were issued on August 8 for McVickers, Rice Canyon, Horsethief, Glen Eden, El Cariso Village, Sycamore and Rancho Capistrano due to the Holy Fire which grew to 1 659 ha (4 100 acres) by the morning of August 8 and spread closer to homes. 

The fire is burning in Cleveland National Forest since August 6 and is only 5% contained.

A total of 12 structures have been destroyed.

This area has not burned since the early 1980s, leaving hillsides covered in dry brush that provides fuel for the fire. 

Three dead beaked whales found in 'highly unusual' strandings, west Ireland

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) described the strandings as "highly unusual" for the deep-diving mammal. One whale was found floating in Sheephaven Bay in Donegal, another on Gola Island and the third at Tirraun on the Mullet Peninsula.

According to the IWDG, three or four strandings of the animals, which are known as Cuvier's beaked whales, in one year is relatively normal but 'it is highly unusual to have three recorded in separate locations on the one day.'  

The number of dolphins and whales washing up on Irish coasts reached record levels last year with 263 cetacean strandings reported around the country. 

15 m (50 feet) high 'firenado' recorded as massive fire engulfed plastics factory in Derbyshire, UK

A large firenado was recorded as massive fire engulfed a plastics factory in Derbyshire on August 8.

Firefighters in Leicestershire, who helped tackle the blaze, shared the video on Facebook, saying: "Whilst we were firefighting at Occupational Lane we witnessed a firenado or a fire whirl . "It’s created as cool air enters the top of the hot air causing a swirl similar to how a tornado is formed."

Wildfire in Portugal injures 31, forces hundreds to evacuate

A wildfire in the municipality of Monchique (Faro district, Portugal) continues burning with two active fronts heading south-southeast toward the municipalities of Silves and Portimao. This fire, as of August 8 at 8.00 UTC, has already burned an area of approximately 17 300 ha (42 749 acres).

According to local media, 31 people were injured of which 30 lightly. Hundreds have been evacuated in Monchique, Portimao and Silves, as of August 8.

Dozens of houses have been damaged in the municipality of Monchique.

Over the next 24 hours, dry conditions, temperatures overtopping 26 °C (78.8 °F) degrees and northwest winds up to 29 km/h (18.8 mph) may affect the area.

More train cancellations in southern Sweden as heatwave continues

The Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) has decided to close a number of routes in Götaland between August 8 and 10 due to fear that the ongoing heatwave could cause tracks to move.

The temperatures in the area are expected to reach between 30 and 34 °C (86 – 93.2 °F).

Routes between Kalmar and Linköping, Nässjö and Vetlanda, Jönköping and Vaggeryd, and Värnamo and Landeryd are among those closed.

Indonesia earthquake update: 131 dead, 1 477 seriously injured and 156 000 displaced

The number of people killed in M6.9 earthquake on August 5 reached 131, authorities said August 8.

1 477 people were seriously injured and 156 000 displaced. 42 239 houses were damaged as well as 458 schools.

The numbers are still expected to rise as data collection is still not completed.


A post shared by BNPB Indonesia (@bnpb_indonesia) on

At least 5 dead as floods hit Algeria's Tamanrasset Province

At least 5 people have died and one is still missing after floods hit Algeria's province of Tamanrasset last week.

Algeria Press Service reported on August 5, 2018, that the victims died after they were swept away by flood waters in In Guezzam and Tin Zaouatine districts. The Civil Protection Service was called on to rescue several people.

Crops, homes and roads were all reportedly damaged in the flooding.

New South Wales now 100% in drought, Australia

New South Wales was officially listed as "100% in drought" on August 8, with 23% of the region deemed to be in 'intense drought,' leading state and federal governments to offer A$576m (£330m; $430m) in emergency relief funding. 

Around 60% of neighboring Queensland is also in drought, as well as parts of Victoria and South Australia.

Across Southern Australia, 2018 saw the second-driest autumn on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, with rainfall 57 mm (2.24 inches) below average.

Severe hailstorm wreaks havoc on Northern Platte County crops, Nebraska

A severe hailstorm that moved through Nebraska's Northern Platte County on August 4 caused minor to severe defoliation in soybeans, corn, and alfalfa fields. There was also bruising on pods, ears, and stems. 

The damage was documented around Tarnov, Creston, and Humphrey.

Exceptionally long hailstorm sweeps through Nebraska Panhandle

Another hailstorm swept through Nebraska Panhandle on August 6, leaving a 240 km (150 miles) long and 8 km (5 miles) wide trail of damage.

The storm was exceptionally powerful and long-lived, said Nathan Jurgensen, a meteorologist with the weather service in North Platte. "Normally, these types of storms last an hour to an hour and a half before weakening. This storm lasted for nearly four hours."

Jurgensen said the weather service received extensive reports of damage, and in Oshkosh, the north-facing sides of buildings sustained broken windows and damaged siding. He said a rural property owner in the path of the storm reported hailstones as large as baseballs.

Near Grant, even larger hailstones, as big as softballs, were reported, he said.

Severe flooding as month's worth of rain hits Toronto in less than 3 hours, Canada

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for Toronto, Mississauga and Brampton late August 7, ahead of a slow-moving area of tropical moisture-fueled rain showers.

According to EC, approximately 50 to 75 mm (1.9 – 2.9 inches) of rain fell in the span of two to three hours across parts of the city but some areas received more than 100 mm (3.93 inches), which is more than the city receives during the entire month of August (average: 78.1 mm (3 inches)). However, many areas of Toronto received much less than 22 mm (0.86 inches) of rain, showing the very localized nature of the heavy shower.

Massive landslide hits Himachal Pradesh, India

A massive landslide hit Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, after days of heavy rain battered the region. 

While it reportedly washed away many vehicles and a few houses, there are no reports of deaths or injuries.

According to local media, Himachal Pradesh suffered over a dozen deaths this year due to landslides and it is feared the number could increase further.

Featured image credit: Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service. Edit: The Watchers

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