Mitch Joel WARNING... LONG RANT! It takes a lot for me to both get angry and publish about it. Canada’s…
Climate change, natural disasters August 2019-March 2022
Queensland floods raise questions about the ‘ethical obligation of planners’, industry figures say
As flood waters rose across Brisbane, Brent O’Neill, the director of design at Wolter Consulting, logged on to his computer and asked: “As development professionals, what is our responsibility to ensure we do not put people’s lives and property at risk?
“I cannot help but reflect on the numerous times that as professional planners and engineers we continually push councils on the development footprint and boundaries, proposing engineered solutions to significant hydrological issues, ultimately rewarded by our developer clients when we achieve higher densities, or development in flood prone areas,” O’Neill wrote on LinkedIn.
… “The health of individuals and communities is at the heart of modern planning practice, which grew from a response to the dreadful health outcomes in post–Industrial Revolution European cities,” Johnson says. “But we’ve moved from that really clear mission of planning in the public interest to become facilitators and enablers of development.”
… [planner and academic Dr Laurel ]Johnson says the planning industry needs to “pause and recalibrate”, given the dire warnings contained in last month’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.
The IPCC says unchecked climate change will dramatically increase the frequency of deadly flooding to several times a year and will cause sea levels rise to the point where, in some coastal areas, retreat is the only option.
(Reuters) – Scientists are struggling to monitor an active volcano that erupted off the South Pacific island of Tonga at the weekend, after the explosion destroyed its sea-level crater and drowned its mass, obscuring it from satellites.
Concerns mount for Tonga after tsunami triggered by underwater volcano
(Reuters) – Pacific nations and humanitarian groups struggled to establish communications with Tonga on Sunday after a tsunami triggered by a massive volcanic eruption cut telephone and internet connections, raising concerns for the tiny island nation.
An underwater volcano off Tonga erupted on Saturday, triggering tsunami warnings and evacuation orders on the shores of Tonga as well as several South Pacific islands, where footage on social media showed waves crashing into coastal homes.
Colorado winter wildfires destroy hundreds of homes as thousands flee
Gusts of up to 105 mph whipped up flames, destroying hundreds of homes and prompting the governor to declare a state of emergency
Hospitals and shopping centers had to be cleared as the flames swept closer, and a nearby portion of US Highway 36 was also shut down because of the fire. Several structures were documented as they burned and officials said initial estimates show more than 580 homes had likely been consumed by the flames. A Target shopping center and hotel also burned
Strong winds, which downed power lines and overturned big-rigs in the area, are expected to continue into the evening, according to the National Weather Service. With gusts of roughly 80 mph. More than 24,000 people lost power during the windstorm, limiting some from being able to open their garage doors while trying to evacuate. An evacuation center also had to be relocated after the original location lost power.
Cold, heat, fires, hurricanes and tornadoes: The year in weather disasters
Vicious wind and tornadoes put a deadly exclamation point on the end of an extraordinary year for extreme weather in the United States.
Earlier in 2021, Texas froze and Seattle roasted. Parts of California flooded, burned, then flooded again. A hurricane that slammed Louisiana was so waterlogged that its remnants inundated New York City. A blizzard hit Hawaii.
The weather was wilder than usual this year, and the reasons vary, climate experts say.
Kentucky governor requests major disaster declaration -FEMA chief
(Reuters) – Kentucky’s governor on Sunday asked the federal government to declare the aftermath of tornadoes that have devastated the state a major federal disaster, the head of U.S. disaster response agency FEMA said.
Democratic President Joe Biden has already declared the flurry of tornadoes that hit Kentucky on Friday a federal emergency and FEMA is assisting in the aftermath as thousands face housing, food, water and power shortages.
But under an emergency declaration assistance is limited to $5 million, according to the FEMA website.
Kentucky requests ‘major disaster’ declaration amid tornado wreckage
A group of storms swept through the midwestern and South region of the U.S. over the weekend, leaving more than 80 people dead.
First Fires, Then Floods: Climate Extremes Batter Australia
There’s a tendency to think of such extremes as “natural disasters” or “acts of God” that come and go with news reports. But Australia’s nightmares of nature ebb and flow. Its droughts and floods, though weather opposites, are driven by the same forces — some of them timeless, others newer and caused by humans.
Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Center of Excellence for Climate Extremes at the University of New South Wales, said the ups and downs of weather had been severe for millenniums on the Australian landmass, which is as large as the continental United States and surrounded by powerful climate-driving oceans, from the tropical South Pacific to the colder Southern Ocean off Antarctica.
Hawaii braces for ‘catastrophic flooding’ as storm brings heavy rain, knocks out power
On Oahu, where four shelters had been opened, most of the beaches in Waikiki were empty Monday as only a few people walked with umbrellas during passing heavy showers. Roadways were flooding in the area and cars crept through downtown as water gushed out of manhole covers.
On Maui, power outages and flooding already have been reported, with more than a foot (30 centimeters) of rain falling in some areas.
To prevent floods, China is building ‘sponge cities’
(The Economist) About one in 10 Chinese people lived in cities in 1950. Now six in 10 do. About 70 per cent of those cities are in floodplains. “We overbuilt, and we built it wrong,” says Yu Kongjian, a landscape architect at Peking University.
Yu was among the first to urge that urban areas become “sponge cities”, meaning they must be capable of absorbing rain without creating floods. He drew inspiration from old Chinese irrigation systems, such as “mulberry fish ponds” that act as natural reservoirs. He estimates that urbanisation has resulted in a third of farmers’ ponds and half of all wetlands disappearing.
The government has embraced the idea, and has adopted the term sponge city. In 2015 it released a series of guidelines for building them. The aim is for 80 per cent of cities to collect and recycle 70 per cent of rainwater by 2030.
Vancouver is now completely cut off from the rest of Canada by road
There is currently no way to drive between Vancouver and the rest of Canada.
The Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley are now completely cut off from the rest of British Columbia and the country by road.
Flooding and mudslides had closed most routes between the coast and BC Interior over the past 24 hours, but the back route through Whistler on Hwy 99 remained open this morning.
That changed shortly after 11 am, when DriveBC reported that a mudslide 42 kilometres south of Lillooet had shut down Hwy 99 as well.
30 August-2 September
Hurricane Ida shows the increasing impact of climate change since Katrina
Jack L. Rozdilsky, Associate Professor of Disaster and Emergency Management, York University
(The Conversation) Given the scope of the emerging impacts of Hurricane Ida, we see that while this is not a repeat of a Katrina disaster, questions are being raised about the effect of climate change and the resiliency of lifeline infrastructure like electricity.
In looking back at Katrina, forces of nature were not the only causative factors for the disaster. … numerous disaster response debacles complicated the immediate aftermath of Katrina. The disaster exposed racial- and class-based segregation that resulted in disproportionate disaster impacts being felt by racialized populations. What started as a natural disaster played out more like a complex humanitarian emergency.
Katrina’s behaviour is remembered for its devastating water-related hazards with storm surges inundating New Orleans neighbourhoods such as the Lower Ninth Ward.
For Ida, the entire breadth of the storm’s wind field stood out as significant. The storm’s behaviour will be remembered for its wind-related hazards. Ida had a slow path of inland movement with highly destructive sustained winds of 200 kilometres per hour for eight hours over a 120-kilometre long path through portions of Jefferson and LaFourche parishes.
In 2005, Katrina crossed a cooler water column in the Gulf of Mexico as it neared the shore, weakening it from a Category 5 to a Category 3 storm at landfall. In 2021, Ida did not encounter any cooler waters, resulting in its rapid intensification. Rising water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are related to climate change.
Hurricane Ida Proves That We Need to Step Up the Political Fight on Climate Change
Amid the torrent of news reports and Webcam photos of Hurricane Ida’s effects, it’s worth reminding ourselves that this calamity is the predictable result of simple physics.
By Bill McKibben
(The New Yorker) Hurricanes…draw their power from heat in the ocean. If there’s more heat, the hurricane can get stronger. Physics. Warm air can hold more water than cold air can. So in warm, arid areas you get more evaporation, and hence more drought, and hence more fire. Physics. The water that’s been evaporated into the atmosphere comes down: more flooding rainfall. Physics. The earth runs on energy. We’re trapping more of it near the planet’s surface because of the carbon dioxide that comes from burning coal and gas and oil. That energy expresses itself in melting ice sheets, in rising seas, in the incomprehensible roar of the wind as a giant storm crashes into a city of steel and glass. It’s not, in the end, all that complicated.
Lake Tahoe Suffocates With Smoke
Smoke from the Caldor fire is overwhelming one of California’s most iconic regions — and confounding thousands of newcomers who fled there in recent months to escape the coronavirus.
The smoke and the wildfires that produce it in the West are coming in a time of drought, heat waves, power cuts and, of course, the coronavirus pandemic.
With California halfway through its peak fire season, the Caldor fire is only one of about 100 large wildfires burning in the West. The Dixie fire, the second-largest in California history, started more than six weeks ago and now has a perimeter of more than 500 miles. On Wednesday alone, four large new wildfires spread in California, drawing increasingly scarce firefighting resources.
Hurricane Grace slams Mexico’s Gulf coast, killing 8 in flooding and mudslides
Weakened to tropical storm as it moved across country’s mountainous interior
Aid slow to reach people in need in Haiti following devastating quake
More than 1,900 people killed in Saturday’s deadly 7.2-magnitude quake
On Tuesday night, Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency put the number of deaths from Saturday’s earthquake at 1,941. It also said 9,900 were injured, many of whom waited for hours outside in the stifling heat for medical assistance.
The Greek wildfires: What went wrong and what can be fixed?
An executive state and an elite whose priority is profit-making cannot lead the way in the struggle against wildfires.
(Al Jazeera) Firefighters are up against a 20km fire front. People are fleeing their homes once again and many are afraid that this will critically affect the environment and air quality of the capital city, Athens.
During the past month, over 58 major wildfires broke out across Greece, destroying a quarter of a million acres of forests. The number of fires this year is 26 percent above the average of the past 12 years, but the area burned dwarfs the average by a staggering 450 percent, fitting a pattern of destruction that is now seen across the Mediterranean region.
The northern part of Evia island became the showcase of global climate collapse for a week this August, as nearly a quarter of the island burned. But the magnitude of the destruction cannot be attributed to the climate crisis alone
Southern France wildfire turns deadly as inferno rages for third day
(France 24) The blaze has scorched a region known for its forests, vineyards and fauna since it broke out in the Plaine des Maures nature reserve on Monday evening.
Some 1,200 firefighters were deployed, using high-pressure hoses and water-bombing planes and helicopters to control the flames.
High temperatures and strong winds forced local authorities to evacuate around 7,000 people from homes and campsites, the Var prefecture said Tuesday, many to the safety of municipal buildings and schools.
A significant increase in fire activity over the weekend because of gusting winds created challenging conditions for firefighters. Rain, cooler temperatures and relatively high humidity in parts of B.C.’s Interior has diminished fire behaviour in the short term, but the amount of rain received in many areas wasn’t enough to have any lasting effect on the fires, as deep layers in the ground are still dry.
Surging wildfire tears through northern California town and threatens others
The Caldor fire, which erupted over the weekend, exploded in size on Tuesday and ran through the town of Grizzly Flats, destroying many buildings and forcing residents to leave. Two were injured. Officials estimated that the blaze had blown through 30,000 acres – up from 6,500 acres reported by the California department of forestry and fire protection (Cal Fire) earlier that day.
In a First, U.S. Declares Shortage on Colorado River, Forcing Water Cuts
Years of drought have severely depleted the reservoirs that feed the Colorado River, and deeper restrictions on water use are expected. “Additional actions will likely be necessary in the very near future,” a senior official said
(NYT) The declaration triggers cuts in water supply that, for now, mostly will affect Arizona farmers. Beginning next year they will be cut off from much of the water they have relied on for decades. Much smaller reductions are mandated for Nevada and for Mexico across the southern border.
But larger cuts, affecting far more of the 40 million people in the West who rely on the river for at least part of their water supply, are likely in coming years as a warming climate continues to reduce how much water flows into the Colorado from rain and melting snow.
Hundreds killed after major earthquake hits Haiti, government agency says
Prime Minister Ariel Henry declares a month-long state of emergency
At least 304 people have died and hundreds are injured or missing after a major earthquake struck southwestern Haiti on Saturday, authorities said, reducing churches, hotels and homes to rubble in the latest tragedy to hit the impoverished Caribbean nation.
The 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck eight kilometres from the town of Petit-Trou-de-Nippes, about 150 kilometres west of the capital Port-au-Prince, at a depth of 10 kilometres, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.
That made the temblor, which was felt as far away as Cuba and Jamaica, potentially bigger and shallower than the magnitude-7 earthquake that struck Haiti 11 years ago, killing an estimated 250,000 people in the poorest nation in the Americas.
The USGS said a significant amount of the population was at risk of landslides, with road obstructions likely. Haiti’s Civil Protection service said a landslide had blocked the highway between Les Cayes and the town of Jérémie.
Likely to complicate relief efforts is the fact that Haiti is now in the probable track of tropical storm Grace, which could bring heavy rains and winds early next week.
Death toll from flooding along Turkey’s Black Sea coast rises to at least 57
Torrential rains that pounded the Black Sea provinces of Bartin, Kastamonu and Sinop on Wednesday caused flooding that demolished homes, severed at least five bridges, swept away cars and rendered numerous roads unpassable.
Floods hit Turkey’s north after south ravaged by wildfires
The floods are the most recent disasters experts say are connected to climate change to hit Turkey in recent weeks.
In photos: Europe battles wildfires amid scorching heatwaves
A summer of record-setting heat in southern Europe has set off devastating wildfires that have torn through forests, homes and destroyed vital infrastructure from Turkey to Spain.
In Greece, firefighters battled flames moving towards ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games.
Powerful winds helped fan the flames in Turkey, where apocalyptic scenes followed more than a 100 blazes that broke out across the country. As the country reeled from scorching temperatures.
Experts say the heatwaves and fires in Europe this summer are signs of the impact of climate change, and that extreme weather will only get worse in coming years.
China attacks foreign media’s ‘twisted and groundless’ reporting as flood death toll rises
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has filed a formal complaint with the BBC over the broadcaster’s “twisted and groundless reporting” on recent flooding in the central Chinese province of Henan.
In a statement Wednesday, a ministry spokesperson said the BBC had “produced fake news time and again, spread false information on issues related to Hong Kong, Xinjiang and COVID-19, attacked and vilified China in serious deviation from the professional ethics of journalism.”
Brutal heatwave scorches southern Europe as continent’s summer of extreme weather rages on
(CNN) Extreme heat and wildfires continued to plague parts of southern Europe on Wednesday, a day after the top temperature in Greece reached 47.1 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit) — just shy of the highest ever recorded in Europe.
Greece is facing one of its worst heatwaves in decades and the country remains on high alert as it continues to battle blazes across the country.
Heat warnings have also been issued for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Italy, Romania, Serbia and Turkey. Deadly wildfires have swept across parts of Turkey in recent days and forced the evacuation of tourist resorts.
The region’s heatwave comes on the heels of devastating wildfires last week in Spain, Greece and the Italian island of Sardinia and less than a month after catastrophic flooding in northern Europe claimed more than 200 lives.
How years of fighting every wildfire helped fuel the Western megafires of today
Susan J. Prichard, Research Scientist of Forest Ecology, and Affiliate Assistant Professor, University of Washington; Paul Hessburg, Research Ecologist, United States Forest Service
In this era of warmer, drier summers and longer fire seasons, there are no fire- or smoke-free solutions. The current approach to fire management poses unnecessarily high stakes for Western forests. There is no doubt that the future of Western forests is a fiery one. How we choose to live with fire is still up to us.
(The Conversation) After so many smoke-filled summers and record-setting burns, residents of Western North America are no strangers to wildfires. Still, many questions are circulating about why forest fires are becoming larger and more severe – and what can be done about it.
Is climate change fueling these fires? Does the long history of fighting every fire play a role? Should we leave more fires to burn? What can be done about Western forests’ vulnerability to wildfires and climate change?
At least 6 dead in Turkey wildfires; blazes in Italy, Greece prompt evacuations
Heat wave fed by hot air from Africa has led to wildfires in Mediterranean
Satellite imagery showed smoke from the fires in Antalya and Mersin was extending to the island of Cyprus, about 150 kilometres away.
With deadly heat waves, flooding and wildfires occurring around the world, calls are growing for urgent action to cut the CO2 emissions heating the planet.
Turkey’s agriculture and forestry minister, Bekir Pakdemirli, said a total of 98 fires had broken out in the past four days, of which 88 were under control.
There are subtitles to this video. The host said that a staff of one crematorium in Zhengzhou disclosed that there were 19,577 dead bodies piled up there from the flood.
Drought and water mismanagement spark deadly protests in Iran
The driest conditions in 53 years have brought chronic mismanagement of water resources to crisis point
(Climate Home News) Iran’s water resources have been depleted by a lack of rain, the building of hydro-electric dams and farming of water-intensive products like rice, wheat and sugar cane. Farmers hit by water shortages are fleeing their villages to live in precarious settlements on the outskirts of cities.
Protests against these water shortages began two weeks ago in the south-western province of Khuzestan, inflamed by a heatwave with temperatures of up to 50C.
China floods: thousands trapped without fresh water as rain moves north
Extreme rainstorms are continuing their path of destruction, dumping 260mm on the city of Xinxiang in just two hours
(The Guardian) Thousands of people remain trapped in central China as floods continue to batter the region, killing at least 51, a number that is expected to rise again sharply as recovery crews access previously submerged roads and tunnels in the capital city.
Record-breaking rainstorms – which dumped a year’s worth of rain on and around the capital of Henan province, Zhengzhou, earlier this week – have since moved north, affecting outer cities and regional areas, trapping people without electricity or fresh water, including at hospitals.
On Friday 29 of the region’s 30 reservoirs had overflowed, local authorities said, and 65 others were at full capacity. At least two major reservoirs near Zhengzhou were also damaged or at risk of collapse earlier this week, but authorities have refuted suggestions the dams have played a role in subverting the regular water flow.
As Henan’s disaster continues, eyes are already moving to China’s east coast and an approaching typhoon. Typhoon In-fa has brought heavy rain to northern Taiwan and Japan’s southern islands, and is predicted to make landfall near Shanghai over the weekend. In-fa was credited with partly driving Henan’s rainstorm even while hundreds of kilometres to the east of Taiwan.
Amid summer of fire and floods, a moment of truth for climate action
Massive floods deluged Central Europe, Nigeria, Uganda and India in recent days, killing hundreds. June’s scorching temperatures, followed by a fast-moving wildfire, erased a Canadian town. More than a million people are close to starvation amid Madagascar’s worst drought in decades. In Siberia, tens of thousands of square miles of forest are ablaze, potentially unleashing carbon stored in the frozen ground below.
Wildfires have erupted across the globe, scorching places that rarely burned before
(CNN) The wildfires are part of a vicious climate cycle. Not only is climate change stoking the fires, but their burning releases even more carbon into the atmosphere, which worsens the crisis.
The world is on fire — literally
Wildfire season around the world has been unprecedented this year — even Siberia is burning. Already, Canada has recorded 4,300 wildfires this year across British Colombia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario, reported BBC. The southwestern province of British Colombia — which borders Washington and Montana — has been particularly hard hit.
British Colombia declared a state of emergency Wednesday due to the ongoing wildfires. The province has about 300 fires currently burning, reported Al Jazeera.
Similarly, wildfire season in the U.S. has been more intense than in previous years. There have already been more than 4,000 blazes, mostly in Western states, reported BBC. This is almost double all of last year’s total fires.
Oregon’s Bootleg fire, still the largest active fire in the U.S., … is burning about 364,000 acres and has burned so intensely that it is now creating its own weather, reported Yahoo News. The Bootleg Fire can be seen from space.
Deadly flooding, heatwaves in Europe, highlight urgency of climate action
(UN news) Heavy rainfall that has triggered deadly and catastrophic flooding in several western European countries, is just the latest indicator that all nations need to do more to hold back climate change-induced disasters, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Friday.
Record heatwave may have killed 500 people in western Canada
British Columbia reports jump in number of ‘sudden and unexpected deaths’ and links them to extreme weather
Underpaid firefighters, overstretched budgets: The U.S. isn’t prepared for fires fueled by climate change
Biden announced more resources for tackling wildfire Wednesday, but experts say, ‘We need a new approach’
Historic heat wave in Pacific Northwest has killed hundreds in U.S. and Canada over the past week
‘There’s No Town Left’: Fukushima’s Eerie Landscapes
Ten years after a devastating earthquake and tsunami (Powerful Quake and Tsunami Devastate Northern Japan) led to a nuclear meltdown in northern Japan, residents are readjusting to places that feel familiar and hostile at once.
Fukushima’s tragic legacy—radioactive soil, ongoing leaks, and unanswered questions
The ripple effects from one of the world’s worst nuclear catastrophes continue after a decade, with implications for human health and remediation efforts.
Huge quakes hit near New Zealand, tsunami threat passes
(Reuters) – A powerful series of undersea quakes struck north-east of New Zealand on Friday, but tsunami waves that forced many people on the country’s North Island to flee to high ground passed without causing substantial damage.
Cost of flood damage to U.S. homes will increase by 61% in 30 years
(Reuters) – Rising sea levels and extreme weather could cause $20 billion of flood damage to at-risk U.S. homes this year, rising to $32 billion by 2051, according to research from New York-based flood research non-profit First Street Foundation published on Monday.
Storms Bring Punishing Cold, Snow and Ice From Coast to Coast
The harsh weather was a prelude to another winter storm that is expected to bring more snow, sleet and freezing rain to over 100 million Americans over the next several days.
Extreme winter weather gripped large swaths of the United States on Saturday, bringing heavy snow and ice and knocking out power for thousands from the Pacific Northwest to the Mid-Atlantic.
Texas deep freeze leaves millions without power, 21 dead
(Reuters) – A historic winter storm has killed at least 21 people, left millions of Texans without power and spun killer tornadoes into the U.S. Southeast on Tuesday.
The brutal cold has engulfed vast swaths of the United States, shuttering COVID-19 inoculation centers and hindering vaccine supplies. It is not expected to relent until the weekend.
Freezing weather stilled giant wind turbines that dot the West Texas landscape, making it impossible for energy companies to meet escalating demand.
Scores feared dead as glacier causes dams to burst in north India
(The Guardian) Around 140 missing and nine dead after floods force evacuation of villages and witnesses report avalanche creating wall of dust, rock and water
Indonesia earthquake: dozens dead after tremors and landslides hit Sulawesi
Thousands flee for safety and higher ground after island’s second quake in 24 hours
Rebecca Ratcliffe in Bangkok, and Febriana Firdaus in Kalimantan
(The Guardian) At least 37 people have been killed and hundreds injured following a strong earthquake that shook the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia early on Friday morning, prompting landslides and destroying houses.
Thousands of people fled their homes to seek safety when the 6.2-magnitude earthquake hit just after 1am local time on Friday morning. The epicentre was 6km north-east of Majene city in West Sulawesi.
Hundreds of buildings were destroyed or damaged, including a hospital, which collapsed with more than a dozen patients and staff trapped beneath it.
The full extent of the damage caused by the quake, which was 10km deep, is still emerging. Accessing affected areas is a challenge: roads are blocked, bridges have fallen and the local airport in Mamuju has also been damaged. Electricity is cut and phone lines are down.
Fires, floods, hurricanes, and locusts: 2020 was an epic year for disasters
A record number of billion-dollar disasters struck the US in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The year began with a series of bushfires in Australia that forced thousands to flee, and killed at least 29 people and more than a billion animals. The fires that sent smoke around the world had ignited amid weeks of record-breaking heat and drought.
- Swarms of locusts descended on East Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, threatening food supplies for millions of people in the spring. The swarms were triggered in part by torrential rainfall in East Africa.
- This summer, California experienced its worst fire season on record in terms of area burned, as well as its largest single wildfire on record. Colorado also had its largest wildfire in history, and blazes in Washington and Oregon created an unprecedented disaster.
- A record number of wildfires this summer swept through the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetlands, spanning Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay. Many of these blazes were illegally ignited to clear land for agriculture, and spread because of hot and dry conditions in an area that’s usually wet.
- A powerful storm known as a derecho swept through South Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois, and Iowa in October and became the most costly thunderstorm in US history, causing an estimated $7.5 billion in damages
- Typhoon Goni became the largest tropical storm to ever make landfall when it struck the Philippines in October, whipping the country with winds reaching 195 miles per hour.
- More than 100 people died in Vietnam in October amid the worst flooding in decades, triggered by tropical storms and typhoons.
- The Atlantic Ocean experienced its most active hurricane season on record, with 30 named storms as the season closed in November. The hurricanes wrought destruction across the Caribbean and Central America, while forcing thousands to evacuate in the United States. More than 400 people were killed by Atlantic tropical storms this season.
- In the waning days of 2020, Tropical Storm Chalane struck the coast of Mozambique, bringing heavy rains and 75 mph winds to a region that is still recovering from the devastating strike by Cyclone Idai last year.
These disasters were deadly and destructive, and several of them nudged records even higher. But while their origins are in nature, humanity’s actions are what made these events truly devastating. From continuing to build in high-risk areas, to failing to evacuate people at risk, to changing the climate, disasters often end up with a far higher toll than they would otherwise. As populations increase in vulnerable areas and with climate change pushing weather toward greater extremes, the risks are poised to grow.
Hurricane Iota Live Updates: Category 5 Storm Nears an Already Battered Central America
“If Iota hits with the strength they’re forecasting, it will be chaos,” a relief coordinator warned as the storm neared Guatemala.
Iota was upgraded to a Category 5 hurricane on Monday, the first to reach that strength in what has been a record-setting Atlantic hurricane season.
It was expected to make landfall by Monday night, bringing “catastrophic winds, life-threatening storm surge, and torrential rainfall” to Central America, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
The region is still reeling from Hurricane Eta, which struck less than two weeks ago. Aid workers are still struggling to reach communities cut off by washed-out bridges, downed trees and flooded roads.
Already, flooding from the heavy rains is being seen in Colombia.
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which is set to end on Nov. 30, has had 30 named storms, 13 of them hurricanes. And six of those hurricanes were considered “major”— Eta and Iota among them — meaning they were Category 3 or higher.
Scientists have found that climate change affects how hurricanes form and strengthen, and that rising ocean temperatures linked to global warming can lead storms to weaken more slowly and remain destructive for longer.
In a recent study, scientists found that 50 years ago a typical storm would have lost more than three-quarters of its intensity in the first 24 hours.
Now it would lose only about half.
Australia’s Witnesses to Fire’s Fury Are Desperate to Avoid a Sequel
Eight months after blazes devastated a wide swath of Australia, the most battered communities are trying to burn their way to safety as another fire season approaches.
From the American West, where hundreds of thousands of acres are now burning, to Australia, Siberia, Portugal, Brazil and Indonesia, the world is being forced to change how it lives with fire. Some call it “nature’s revenge.” As the earth warms from the burning of fossil fuels, wildfires are becoming larger, hotter, more frequent and far more destructive
Tropical Storm Sally Moves Toward Gulf Coast As Bermuda Braces For Hurricane Paulette
As Wildfires Grow More Intense, Iconic Western Forests May Not Come Back
Forests become grasslands, and that’s bad for carbon emissions
(NPR) High-severity fires leave behind massive burn areas with almost nothing alive. And any baby trees simply can’t thrive in the increased heat and drought brought on by climate change.
If there is forest regeneration…it happens in bands along the forest edge, where surviving trees can still drop their seeds. But…even that isn’t happening at lower elevations, where it’s hotter and drier. She’s not sure this area of the Hayman fire will ever reforest.
A new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder also finds large parts of the Southern Rocky Mountains will become unsuitable for ponderosa pine and Douglas fir tree regrowth as the climate continues to warm.
Wildfires Live Updates: Dozens Reported Missing in Oregon
Oregon’s governor said there were concerns for dozens of people reported missing in a state where more than a million acres have burned. California and Washington State are also battling fires.
A Climate Reckoning in Fire-Stricken California
By Thomas Fuller and Christopher Flavelle
If climate change was a somewhat abstract notion a decade ago, today it is all too real for Californians fleeing wildfires and smothered in a blanket of smoke, the worst year of fires on record.
(NYT) The crisis in the nation’s most populous state is more than just an accumulation of individual catastrophes. It is also an example of something climate experts have long worried about, but which few expected to see so soon: a cascade effect, in which a series of disasters overlap, triggering or amplifying each other.
States Are in Desperate Search for Help Battling Record Wildfires
With millions of acres ablaze across the West Coast, states are having a tough time finding available fire crews. California resorted to calling in a team of firefighters from Israel.
Facing a historic year of wildfire destruction across the West Coast, including more than three million acres consumed in California, the national emergency systems that rely on state-to-state assistance have been buckling under the strain. That has left emergency responders struggling to keep pace with fires that have destroyed entire towns and led to at least 15 deaths, with seven more people found dead on Thursday from a fire north of Sacramento.
Wildfire forces 2,400 to evacuate in Spain’s Andalusia
(Canadian Press) Around 2,400 people have been evacuated due to a wildfire that is out of control and ravaging Spain’s southern region of Andalusia, authorities said Sunday.
The blaze broke out on Thursday in the mountains near the town of Almonaster la Real, 120 kilometres (75 miles) northwest of the city of Seville. It has already scorched 90 square kilometres (35 square miles).
Twenty-four planes and one helicopter helped some 450 people including firefighters and army emergency personnel, who worked through Saturday night to tackle the fire.
Hurricane Laura Comes Ashore Threatening ‘Unsurvivable’ Storm Surge
(NPR) While most storms tend to weaken before landfall, three storms in recent years have continued to strengthen as they approached shore: Harvey in Texas in 2017, Michael, and now Laura.
California fires: Governor asks Australia for help
(BBC) California is struggling to contain huge wildfires burning forests and homes, warned Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday as more than 12,000 fire-fighters battled blazes that have killed six people.
Help was on its way from several US states as Gov Newsom put in a plea for assistance from Australia and Canada.
More than 12,000 dry lightning strikes started the blazes during a historic heat wave in which thermometers in Death Valley National Park reached what could be the highest ever temperature reliably recorded.
By Friday, emergency officials said some of the fires had doubled in size in a day, forcing 175,000 residents to flee.
Two fires are now the 7th and 10th largest in the state’s history, Gov Newsom said as he urged President Donald Trump to sign a major disaster declaration.
China raises flood alert to second highest level
(Reuters) – China raised its flood response alert on Sunday to the second highest level as heavy rain battered regions along the Yangtze River, with the eastern provinces of Jiangsu and Jiangxi among the worst hit, state media reported.
Flooding in the Poyang county of Jiangxi pushed water levels of Lake Poyang, China’s biggest freshwater lake, to above 22.52 metres (74 feet), a historical high and well above the alert level of 19.50 metres (64 feet).
According to the Ministry of Water Resources, 212 rivers have exceeded alerting levels since early July, with 19 of them rising to historical highs.
China has blamed unusual weather conditions, including humidity carried from the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, as the immediate cause, but it has also said long-term changes in climate patterns have made it more vulnerable.
Earthquake sparks fears of landslides above Three Gorges Dam
Chinese seismologist predicts earthquake above Three Gorges Dam, warns of ‘catastrophe’
(Taiwan News) — An earthquake that struck Sichuan early on Thursday morning (July 2) has sparked fears that it could cause landslides that could further imperil China’s Three Gorges Dam.
On June 26, a Chinese seismologist who goes by the YouTube handle Feng Tian Lao Wang (奉天老王) predicted that the ongoing flooding in the Yangtze River Basin would peak on July 2 and that an earthquake would also take place that day, exacerbating the situation involving the Three Gorges Dam. He predicted that a “catastrophe” would strike the river basin on that day and advised residents in the area to make preparations in advance.
The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) on July 2 issued a heavy rain warning across China for the 31st straight day, and as the seismologist had predicted, an earthquake struck the region that day. At 4:07 a.m., a magnitude 3.2 earthquake rattled Zoige County in Sichuan Province at a shallow depth of 8 kilometers, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.
China denies millions of lives at risk as catastrophic flooding threatens Three Gorges Dam
As many as 400 million lives may be at risk as torrential rain in China threatens the world’s largest dam.
The Chinese government has moved to defend the structural integrity of the massive Three Gorges Dam, as a hydrology expert took to international media over the weekend to warn it could collapse at any moment.
The warning came as more details emerged over the drowning of eight children swept to their deaths in the swollen Fu River, upstream of the dam, on Sunday.
Disaster season is upon us. The pandemic changes everything.
[W]e are now at a point that many of us have long feared and for which we are not remotely prepared: the lethal confluence of an uncontrolled pandemic and a slew of large-scale natural disasters.
The pandemic is about to be joined in the headlines by multiple catastrophic events that will cost lives, wreck communities and exact severe economic tolls on affected populations. Last week, catastrophic dam failures and massive flooding forced at least 10,000 people to evacuate their homes in Michigan, which happens to be among the states hardest hit by covid-19. In South Asia, one of the deadliest cyclones ever in the region swept across Bangladesh and India, reaping devastation where covid-19 cases are also surging. Both hurricane and wildfire season are quickly approaching in the United States.
It is already clear that 2020 be a year for the history books. The world has lurched from one mega-disaster to the next, witnessing devastating wildfires in Australia, plagues of locusts across East Africa and South Asia, and a pandemic that has crippled the global economy.
But we are now at a point that many of us have long feared and for which we are not remotely prepared: the lethal confluence of an uncontrolled pandemic and a slew of large-scale natural disasters. … Beyond the overall response capacity concerns, conflicting protocols for simultaneous disasters pose unique challenges. How do we reconcile pandemic control guidance to stay at home and practice social distancing with a hurricane-related evacuation order or being housed in a crowded shelter with many people of varying degrees of covid-19 risk?
Indonesia’s capital hit by serious flooding for second time this year
(Reuters) – Torrential rain brought floods to Indonesia’s capital on Tuesday, paralyzing large parts of the city as rescue workers used boats to navigate streets turned into murky, brown waterways to get people to safety.
At the beginning of the year, the city was hit by some of the heaviest rain since records began, causing floods that killed more than 60 people and displaced about 175,000.
A spokesman for the Disaster Mitigation Agency said it was too early to assess the number of displaced or the scale of the damage in Tuesday’s floods. The army and police would help to rescue people, said the spokesman, Agus Wibowo.
Eastern Kentucky Has Been Underwater, but You Probably Didn’t Notice
An out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality can take hold when people lose their connection to nature.
(The Atlantic) A study released in late 2018 by the American Meteorological Society showed that record wet and dry spells are occurring around the world, and that the events are connected to climate change. The study predicted that the extreme weather would only increase in the future, which means that flooding like the kind that recently hit Appalachia will continue.
About $1 billion poured in after a fire destroyed part of Notre Dame last spring. Rightly so, as the church is a sacred and storied space. But the 25 million acres of Australia that recently burned are no less holy. The estimated 1 billion animals and at least 30 rural people who perished in the Australian fires should not be considered less precious than the spires of a cathedral, surely. Yet Australian authorities report about $500 million in donations. In Kentucky, the local newspaper reported that Whitley County sustained more than $1 million in damage from the flooding. People are receiving help from the Red Cross, and plenty of locals are showing up ready to shovel out mud or serve food, but there is no national effort to help, because the nation doesn’t notice.
‘In the bullseye.’ Floods caused severe damage in KY and potential remains for more.
Flooding that reached near-record levels last week affected more than 217 homes in southeastern Kentucky, state officials said at a news conference Thursday. (13 February)
Locust swarms threaten more countries in eastern Africa – FAO
(Reuters) – Swarms of desert locusts could ravage more countries in eastern Africa and threaten the livelihood of many more people, the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) said on Monday.
Even before the locust invasion, some 11 million people in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya were experiencing food insecurity, and the swarms will worsen the situation, the FAO said.
The only solution that works is aerial spraying (of pesticides).”
Conflict and chaos in much of Somalia make spraying pesticide by airplane – which the FAO calls the “ideal control measure” – impossible, the agency said in December.
21 Dead, 62,000 Displaced in Deadliest Flooding to Swamp Jakarta in Years
Unusually heavy rain began to fall in and around the Indonesian capital Dec. 31, 2019: 377 millimeters (approximately 14.8 inches) were recorded New Year’s Eve at an East Jakarta airport by the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG). That’s the highest rainfall tally for a single day since records began in 1996, BBC News reported.
“This rain is not ordinary rain,” the BMKG said in a statement reported by The Jakarta Post.
The BMKG said the extreme rainfall was caused by the combination of a monsoon and the fact that warmer Indian Ocean temperatures south of Java had allowed more water vapor to accumulate in the atmosphere.
The climate crisis generally is causing more extreme rainfall because a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture and because more water is evaporating off the ocean, The Climate Reality Project explained. Jakarta is also especially vulnerable to flooding because it is the fastest sinking city in the world: a combination of sea level rise and land sinking caused by the drilling of groundwater wells and the weight of its buildings means much of North Jakarta could be underwater by 2050.
Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world, is running dry due to climate change
(Quartz) Victoria Falls, known locally as Mosi-oa Tunya, (“The Smoke that Thunders”), has seen its water levels slow to a relative trickle this dry season as drought ravages the region due to the impact of climate change. The drought, which already threatens the livelihoods of regional farmers, could also hurt the tourism industries in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
This year the two southern African nations have experienced a long-running drought which has resulted in incessant power cuts due to a reliance on hydroelectric power. It has also left over five million people in need of food aid in Zimbabwe alone.
The storied falls stretch for a kilometer across the border with a drop of some 110 meters. … During this year’s dry season the falls have dried up at unprecedented levels as the Zambezi river, which feeds it, has shrunk.
9 – 10 December
Why Were Tourists Allowed to Visit an Active New Zealand Volcano?
Visitors were allowed to tour the mouth of the White Island volcano despite recent warnings about bursts of gas and steam.
New Zealand volcano: Photos show chaos, aftermath of deadly eruption
(Global) A volcano on an island in New Zealand frequented by tourists erupted Monday, spewing a thick plume of ash and smoke thousands of feet into the air and killing at least five people.
The death toll is likely to rise, as eight people are still missing. Police do not expect to find any more survivors.
Victoria Falls Dries Drastically After Worst Drought in a Century
(EcoWatch) The climate crisis is already threatening the Great Barrier Reef. Now, another of the seven natural wonders of the world may be in its crosshairs — Southern Africa’s iconic Victoria Falls.
The falls are located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. They are also called Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means “the smoke that thunders” in the indigenous Lozi language, according to AccuWeather. But contrasting photographs taken by Reuters in January and December 2019 show how a severe drought has shrunk the falls into something closer to the steam that whispers.
The falls usually decline somewhat during the dry season, but the worst drought to bake the region in a century has reduced its water flow to the lowest level in 25 years, Reuters reported. This has led to concerns that the attraction that draws millions of visitors to Zambia and Zimbabwe could dry up all together.
Revealed: ‘monumental’ NSW bushfires have burnt 20% of Blue Mountains world heritage area
More than 10% of forest in NSW national parks destroyed by fire this season, with the damage to Gondwana rainforest a ‘global tragedy’
(The Guardian) The amount of bushland destroyed within NSW national parks dwarfs that of the entire previous fire season, when 80,000 hectares were lost.
The damage caused by fire in the Gondwana rainforest world heritage area in the north of the state is a “global tragedy” and an “absolute crisis” a Nature Conservation Council ecologist says.
The chief executive of the council, Chris Gambian, said the loss of 800,000 hectares in NSW national parks, out of a total of 1.9m hectares burnt in the state since 1 July, “changes the calculus of nature conservation in the state”.
The “monumental” scale of the fires meant conservation of land would now be “more important than ever”, Gambian said.
Storms in France, Greece and Italy leave ‘biblical destruction’
Seven people die as weekend of heavy rain brings landslides, floods and collapsed overpass
(The Guardian) Jean-Pierre Hameau of Météo France said the storms and flooding should not be blamed on climate change. Hameau said the phenomena, known in France as cévenols, or Mediterraneans, were relatively frequent in the region. … “However, we have noted an increase in the intensity of the rains.”
In Italy, a woman died after her car was swept away by the flood of the Bormida River in the north of the country. There was flooding in Turin, landslides in the Liguria region and Lake Como overflowed on Sunday, while the River Ticino burst its banks overnight in the northern city of Pavia. Venice, which has suffered recurrent flooding in recent weeks, was again hit with acqua alta, or high water. The Emilia-Romagna region was on high alert for extreme weather on Monday.
Venice is underwater. Other major European cities could be next.
(WaPo) As the Italian city of Venice was deluged this week with the highest tidewaters in more than 50 years, images of the historic floods stunned the world and captured the scale of the floods: A centuries-old city facing potentially irreversible damage. Residents and tourists wading through knee-high water in popular spots.
… Less noticed, however, were floods on the northern and western edges of Europe. In England, some communities have been hit in recent days with the worst floods in years. In France, at least three people died in flooding late last month.
Even though the world’s attention this week was largely focused on Venice going underwater, the floods in England and France are at least similarly indicative of how climate change could increase Europe’s vulnerability to extreme weather phenomena.
On coastlines across Europe and the world, low-lying cities like Venice are facing rising sea levels that could make vast stretches of land uninhabitable. A recent study suggested about 300 million people may be living in low-lying areas that are expected to flood by 2050. … researchers worry that floods are set to worsen in Europe’s northwest, far away from the coastlines, according to an expansive recent study that focused on river flooding. … the focal points of flood protection will increasingly move to some of Europe’s most populous cities in the north that are built along mighty rivers, including London, Paris, Hamburg and Prague. Given their historic and densely populated centers, city planners have struggled to come up with solutions that would protect those cities against major floods.
7 major Venice tourist sites damaged by historic flooding
California’s governor declares statewide emergency over wildfires as mass evacuation continues
(WaPo) In Sonoma, one of the largest evacuations in the county’s history was underway as ferocious winds and dry air fueled a wildfire that has raged in the region for days. The county sheriff’s office estimated that 180,000 people had been ordered to flee the Kincade Fire, which has spread to 30,000 acres and was only 10 percent contained. Officials rapidly expanded the number of areas under mandatory evacuation orders in the early hours of the morning as gusts as high as 93 mph swept through the hills and valleys north of the San Francisco Bay area.
Hurricane Dorian Is Not a Freak Storm
Its record-breaking power is in line with recent, worrisome trends.
(The Atlantic) Each of these trends, in turn, can be traced back to climate change, and so is likely to get even more severe. A hurricane is more likely to have strong winds, and to rapidly intensify, if the waters it traverses are warm. And as temperatures rise worldwide, air will move more slowly, failing to push hurricanes around as speedily as it used to, which will lead to more stalled storms.
That last prospect might be the scariest of all. It’s one thing for a community to weather Category 5 winds for a matter of hours, as Florida did during Andrew. It’s quite another to withstand more than a day of hurricane-force winds and sheets of rain, to huddle inside amid feet of water long after the roofs have been torn off houses, while the storm surge continues to float cars and toppled trees past the window. (3 September)
By the numbers: Measuring the fury of Hurricane Dorian.
At peak intensity, Dorian was a powerful Category 5 hurricane, the fourth year in a row that there was a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic basin. This stretch started with Matthew in 2016, Irma and Maria in 2017 and Michael in 2018.
Dorian has been the strongest of the bunch with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph and wind gusts topping 220 mph. To be classified as a Category 5 hurricane, sustained winds must exceed 157 mph.
These incredibly high winds make Dorian tied for the second-strongest hurricane to make landfall on record in the Atlantic basin, falling just shy of Hurricane Allen, which packed winds of 190 mph back in 1980. It is also the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the Bahamas.
This two-week lifespan puts Dorian in the top 10% of all named storms in the satellite era.
Saturday marked the 15th day that Dorian was an active tropical cyclone, dating back to Aug. 24, 2019, when it first became a tropical depression.
However, this comes nowhere close to the all-time record for the longest-lived storm in the Atlantic. That record is held by the San Ciriaco Hurricane of 1899 which was classified as a hurricane for four weeks.
Atlantic Canada braces for Hurricane Dorian
Nova Scotia faces brunt of storm, power outages expected
Hurricane Dorian has smashed all sorts of intensity records in the Atlantic Ocean
Hurricane Dorian is taking extreme to the next level. With sustained winds of 185 mph Sunday afternoon and evening, the Category 5 storm has risen to the top of the charts among the most powerful tropical systems ever observed in the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s the strongest storm on record to occur east of Florida in the Atlantic and so far north. After striking the northern Bahamas, it matched the 1935 Labor Day hurricane for the strongest winds of any storm making landfall. These are just a few of the incredible feats Dorian has already accomplished, and more may be ahead.
Bahamas taking horrific direct hit from intense Category 5 Hurricane Dorian
The Amazon, Siberia, Indonesia: A World of Fire
The growing intensity of wildfires and their spread to new corners of the globe raises fears that climate change is exacerbating the dangers.
In South America, the Amazon basin is ablaze. Halfway around the world in central Africa, vast stretches of savanna are going up in flame. Arctic regions in Siberia are burning at a historic pace.
>While the Brazilian fires have grown into a full-blown international crisis, they represent only one of many significant areas where wildfires are currently burning around the world. Their increase in severity and spread to places where fires were rarely previously seen is raising fears that climate change is exacerbating the danger.
Hotter, drier temperatures “are going to continue promoting the potential for fire,” said John Abatzoglou, an associate professor in the department of geography at the University of Idaho, describing the risk of “large, uncontainable fires globally” if warming trends continue.
Wildfires contribute to climate change because not only do they release carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere but they can also kill trees and vegetation that remove climate-warming emissions from the air.
Monsoon downpours that set off flooding and a landslide in Myanmar late last week have killed at least 51 people and left dozens more missing, the authorities said, in the deadliest natural disaster to strike a part of the nation’s southeast in decades. (NY Times https://buff.ly/2YVVlG2) The death toll from a powerful typhoon sweeping across China’s east coast rose to 30 on Sunday, with at least 18 still missing, after torrential downpours forced more than one million to leave their homes, the state news media reported. (NY Times https://buff.ly/2ZTcKfv) At least 66 people have died and some 360,000 have moved to relief camps following flash floods and mudslides caused by days of torrential rains in the southern Indian states of Kerala and Karnataka, a news report said Saturday. (AP https://buff.ly/303N6VL)
Desertification a Frontline Against Climate Change: IPCC
(IPS) – A new United Nations report has described farming, land degradation and desertification as critical frontlines in the battle to keep the global rise in temperatures below the benchmark figure of 2 degrees Celsius.
The 43-page study from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released this week says better management of land can help combat global warming and limit the release of greenhouse gases.
“Climate change poses a major risk to the world’s food supply, and while better land management can help to combat global warming, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors is essential,” U.N. spokesman Stefan Dujarric told reporters Thursday.
The report offered “compelling evidence” for redoubling global efforts and shows that while “food security is already at risk from climate change, there are many nature-based solutions that can be taken,” added Dujarric.
Climate Change and Land – Summary for Policymakers
An IPCC Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems
This Land Is the Only Land There Is
Here are seven ways of understanding the IPCC’s newest climate warning.
(The Atlantic) If the report has an overarching theme, it’s that land is extremely scarce, we need it for everything, and we are already using most of it. More than 70 percent of the planet’s ice-free land is already shaped by human activity, the report says. As trees are felled and farms take their place, this human-managed land emits about a quarter of global greenhouse-gas pollution every year, including 13 percent of carbon dioxide and 44 percent of the super-warming but short-lived pollutant methane.Here are seven ways of understanding the IPCC’s newest climate warning.
The end of the rainy season last week brought a dangerous heat wave that claimed the lives of 57 people in Japan and sent tens of thousands to the island nation’s hospitals for heat related illness, the Japan Times reported.
The week that started on July 29 saw triple the number of heat-related hospitalizations as the week before. At 18,347, that’s the second highest number since heat-related records started in 2008, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, as the Japan Times reported.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said the surge in hospitalizations, deaths and people collapsing from heat stroke is partly due to people’s bodies, which adapted to the cool weather of the rainy season and did not sweat much, have been unable to cope with the sudden spike in temperature, according to the Japan News.