BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Three men reportedly froze to death in Serbia as a cold spell throughout the Balkan region slowed traffic, disrupted power supplies and closed schools in some areas.
Serbian state TV reported that the body of a 48-year-old man who apparently died overnight was found in the snow in a northern village Monday. The broadcaster also said a 61-year-old man whose body was found in the northwestern town of Sid, also succumbed to the cold.
The third victim was a homeless man whose body was found in an abandoned house in southwestern Serbia, state TV said late Monday.
In central Serbia, several villages have been left without electricity. Authorities warned the citizens to pay attention in the streets and parks to branches breaking off trees because of heavy snow.
In Bosnia, schools closed down for two days Monday in the central municipalities of Konjic and Jablanica, while trucks and heavy vehicles have been banned from some snow-covered roads.
Romania’s education ministry said it will close down schools in western and southwestern Romania on Tuesday after heavy snowfall hit parts of the country, causing power outages and travel delays.
Already, some schools were closed Monday mainly in western Romania because of power outages, the ministry said.
Bosnian authorities say they have taken a group of migrants who were rescued Sunday after they got lost in a mountainous area on the border with Croatia to a hospital in the nearby town of Bihac.
Two migrants had suffered severe frostbite after spending a day out in the snow-covered area trying to reach the European Union country.
Another Philippine tourist spot will soon get a makeover of its own.
Yesterday, the chief of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said that they plan to rehabilitate Manila Bay, just as it did with Boracay.
“We are preparing for an all-out strategy to bring the coliform concentration in Manila Bay to a safe level so that the people who reside near the bay will enjoy its waters and marine resources without fear of getting sick,” Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu said, as quoted in multiple reports.
Rappler reported that Cimatu promised to have the “same level of political will”in rehabilitating Manila Bay, once the jewel of the Philippine capital.
While many locals and tourists still visit the bay walk, it’s not exactly a pleasant experience because the water is littered with trash.
Trash from the bay routinely covers Roxas Blvd. beside it whenever waves and flooding during a typhoon prove to be too much.
Most low-income families prefer buying products in sachets rather than in bulk, which is why the Philippines has a huge problem with single-use plastics, many of which end up in the bay.
Apparently, the goal of the DENR is to make the bay so clean that people can swim and go skin diving in it, the Manila Bulletin reported.
At the moment, doing such activities in Manila Bay is unthinkable. If the smell and sight of garbage do not immediately put you off, maybe knowing how high its fecal coliform level will.
According to a report by the DENR, it has reached over 330 million most probable number (MPN) per 100 milliliters, way beyond the safe level of 100 MPN/100ml, the Manila Bulletin reported.
In April, the Philippine government controversially shut down the tourist favorite Boracay island for 6 months in order to counter overdevelopment and improve its waste management system after President Rodrigo Duterte called it a cesspool.
Like in Boracay, the DENR plans to take down establishments along Manila Bay that do not follow environmental regulations, The Philippine Star reported.
Manila Bay has a coastline 190 kilometers and is bounded by Cavite and Metro Manila on the east, Bulacan and Pampanga on the north, and Bataan on the west and northwest.
According to Cimatu, they will establish a Manila Bay Command Center which will be in charge of offices in Malabon-Navotas, Manila, Pasay-Parañaque, and Las Piñas.
These offices will have DENR personnel who will work with local government units in overseeing and implementing clean up activities, The Philippine Starsaid.
According to the Manila Bulletin, the Environment department will also turn to technologies that could treat the water that has been polluted by human waste from the surrounding shanty neighborhoods.
They also plan to work with authorities in going after those who violate environmental laws.
This article, Beach to bay: Boracay-style rehab planned for Manila Bay, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company. For more Coconuts stories, you can download our app, sign up for our newsletters, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Storms with the greatest potential to disrupt travel will focus on the East and the Northwest in the days leading up to Christmas.
Some of the best weather-related travel conditions are likely over the Southwest and over portions of the Plains through Christmas. Delays and disruptions due to weather in these areas are likely to be brief when compared to other parts of the nation.
The combination of commuter traffic around the major cities and the beginnings of holiday travel are likely to make Thursday, Dec. 20, the worst day to travel for the Christmas holiday this year, not including weather-related issues, according to the American Automobile Association.
A record-breaking 112.5 million are expected to travel by means ranging from their car to an airliner, bus and train, AAA stated.
The weather will contribute to delays and may cause a number of flight cancellations in parts of the nation during a percentage of the extended holiday.
Download the free AccuWeather app to see when weather might through a wrench into your specific holiday travel plans.
Major rainstorm in eastern US to cause substantial travel dangers, delays
A major storm is forecast by AccuWeather meteorologists to bring drenching rain and thunderstorms beginning on Wednesday near the upper Gulf of Mexico coast.
However, the risk of slick roads is likely to expand northward from along the Interstate 10 corridor on Wednesday, Dec. 19, and encompass areas from the Southeast states to part of the Midwest and Northeast by week’s end.
There is the potential for damaging thunderstorms centered on the Florida Peninsula on Thursday. The storms may become intense enough to spawn a few tornadoes.
Enough rain is likely to fall from the storm as it moves along to aggravate the small stream and river flooding situation in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic regions and may lead to urban and small stream flooding in New England.
Motorists should expect delays related to rain, fog and low-lying area flooding to become more extensive as the week draws to a close. A swath of heavy rain is likely to shift northward along the I-95 corridor from Thursday to Friday night. Philadelphia, New York City and Boston may be hit hard with the consequences of heavy rain for a time.
As the storm strengthens as it travels northeastward, winds generated may become strong enough to knock over poorly rooted trees in the soggy soil.
At least 16 locations in the eastern U.S. have already set the mark for the wettest year on record and a couple dozen more currently are experiencing the second or third wettest year on record, according to the National Weather Service.
Motorists venturing on secondary roads in wooded areas during their travels should be wary of the added risk of isolated trees coming down during the storm.
Airline delays in the East are likely due to episodes of fog and low cloud ceiling.
In part of the Midwest, while the same storm will bring rain initially, a change to snow is likely on the back side from the middle part of the Mississippi Valley to the Great Lakes region. The potential for rain to change to or end as snow includes the cities of Chicago, Milwaukee and Indianapolis on Friday and perhaps Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh during Friday night.
More storms to hit northwestern US into next week
The train of storms that began to affect the Pacific coast last week will continue until near the end of this week.
Each storm has the potential to increase the risk of flash flooding and mudslides, while rounds of snow over the high country raise the risk of avalanches.
While the coastal Northwest will be between storms on Wednesday, snow will shift inland over parts of the northern and central Rockies with wintry travel this day.
On Thursday, the next storm in the train will hit areas the I-5 corridor from western Washington to coastal Northern California with drenching rain.
While most of the snow will fall above pass level with the storm in the Cascades and northern Sierra Nevada, rain may end as snow late Thursday night. Snow from this storm will then spread inland over the northern Rockies on Friday.
Additional storms with coastal rain and mountain are scheduled to roll ashore in the Northwest, including one on Saturday night. Expect snow to fall as far south as the central Sierra Nevada and higher elevations of the Great Basin with that storm on Sunday.
Yet another storm may drench the coastal Northwest on Christmas Eve, while more snow spreads over the interior Northwest by Christmas Day.
Chance of some snow in Midwest, Northeast just prior to Christmas
Cold winds and lake-effect snow are forecast for the eastern Great Lakes region in the wake of the big rainstorm this weekend for a time.
There is the potential for a swath of wintry travel conditions that may extend well beyond the snow belts of the Great Lakes during the first part of next week.
A weak storm may gather enough moisture to produce a swath of snow or a wintry mix from the Ohio Valley during Sunday night and Monday to parts of the Northeast from Monday to Christmas Day. Rain showers would extend farther south over the lower Mississippi and Tennessee valleys to Texas from the storm.
The timing of the storm and extent of the snow are not set in stone, as a large pool of dry and chilly air over Ontario and Quebec, Canada, at that time may suppress the storm’s snowfall.
If you’re one of the 112 million Americans traveling for Christmas, a soaking rainstorm could lead to air and road headaches across a large part of the southern and eastern U.S. later this week.
In many ways, thanks to mild temperatures, the storm looks to be quite similar to the one that drenched the eastern U.S. over the past few days: Lots of rain, but little in the way of snow or ice.
The storm should start to ramp up in intensity by Thursday, which is expected to be the busiest travel day of the season this year, according to AAA.
Folks traveling for the holidays will have lots of company this year: 112.5 million travelers are expected to take to the nation’s runways, roads and rails, AAA said. This „represents a 4.4 percent increase over last year and the most since AAA has been tracking holiday travel,” the organization said in a statement.
On Thursday, rain is likely from the Southeast to the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley, weather.com said. Some strong thunderstorms could also wallop parts of Florida, which would lead to airline delays in Tampa, Orlando and Miami.
AccuWeather meteorologist Maura Kelly warned that „flooding will once again be a concern across the Southeast, especially in areas already experiencing minor to moderate river flooding from the last round of rain.”
Soggy conditions will continue for most of the East Coast by Friday, including the Northeast and New England. The storm will move away on Saturday, and clear sailing is expected for most of the East on Saturday.
The other travel trouble spot this week will be in the northwestern U.S., where a series of storms are forecast to pelt the region with rain and snow throughout the week and into the weekend. As much as 5 to 8 inches of rain is expected to drench coastal Washington and Oregon, weather.com said.
Most of the central and southwestern U.S. should see dry weather this week.
Temperature-wise, a mild week is forecast from coast-to-coast; above-average readings are likely. No big cool-down is likely in the days just before Christmas, which means chances for a white Christmas are very low for most of the nation.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Christmas travel weather forecast: Mostly wet, but not white, for travelers this week
More than 40 people were injured in an explosion on Sunday night at a restaurant in northern Japan.
The explosion occurred in Sapporo, the capital city of Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido, and caused nearby apartment buildings and houses to shake.
Police said 42 people were injured, most of them mildly, though one was in serious condition. They were rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment.
The cause of the explosion, which occurred at a two-storey restaurant in the Toyohira district, is under investigation, police said, adding that they had no further details.
TV footage from Japanese public broadcaster NHK showed the restaurant in flames, with debris scattered on the ground.
The footage later showed grey smoke billowing from the restaurant as dozens of firefighters poured water onto the building, which was charred and nearly collapsing. Windows on an apartment building next door were broken, and cars parked outside were partially covered with debris that had fallen on them.
A witness told NHK that he smelled gas after the sound of an explosion. The broadcaster said the district office was to set up a shelter for neighbours of the restaurant to stay overnight so they could escape the smoke.
As devastating wildfires appear to worsen each year, many residents who might face potential impacts from future blazes might choose to take additional steps to ensure that their homes are adequately insured against fire damage.
While homeowners insurance does typically include coverage for destruction of a home and belongings as a result of a wildfire, coverage can vary based on the policy and where the home is located, according to Allstate. Some insurers also don’t sell homeowners insurance policies in places that commonly experience wildfires.
What type of wildfire coverage can you expect?
Homeowners should be aware of what type of protection their insurance policy covers in the event of wildfire damage.
Insurance will typically offer coverage for your dwelling, which includes your house and attached structures like garages or decks, according to Allstate. Dwelling coverage may also help pay for any repairs or necessary rebuilding.
„If a wildfire damages a home, a standard homeowners policy typically covers the cost to fix the damage and replace any belongings that were damaged or destroyed as a result of the fire,” said Michael Crowe, CEO of Clearsurance, an online publisher of insurance consumer data.
If the home is left uninhabitable, Coverage D in a standard homeowners policy, which covers loss of use, is designed to help homeowners with additional costs of living expenses, according to Crowe.
„Some of the expenses that may be included are hotel accommodations, additional meals that exceed the regular cost of living, pet boarding, storage fees and laundry bills,” said Crowe, who added that it’s important to keep all receipts for these expenses.
However, coverage for additional living expenses doesn’t mean all costs after a wildfire are covered, according to Crowe. „For example, a homeowners mortgage payment or other expenses like birthday presents aren’t included,” he said. „The additional living expenses only covers expenses a homeowner wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for the wildfire, like temporary housing or a storage facility for belongings while the home is rebuilt.”
You can also expect your belongings to be covered. Personal property including clothing and furniture are normally covered in a standard policy, but homeowners should review their specific policies for any limits on coverage.
You should review your homeowners insurance for possible landscaping coverage it may offer for your land and yard, as there might be limited coverage for damaged trees, shrubs or plants, according to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
Important steps to take
„It’s important to double-check with your policy, because some companies decide to have special exemptions for fire damage, especially with the increase in frequency and damage that has been caused by fires in the last decade,” said Nathan Barber, digital content specialist for insurance comparison marketplace QuoteWizard.
„First, make sure to create a digital home inventory that itemizes all the things in your home, including estimated values and photos,” Barber said. „Compare the total value of your belongings in your home inventory with the amount of coverage for your belongings in your policy.”
It will also be helpful to create a list of and note the values for collectible items that are typically excluded from a homeowners insurance policy, including art, coins, jewelry, china, rugs and wine.
After you create your digital home inventory, you can then work with your agent to ensure that your valuables are covered, according to Barber. He also recommended remembering to take photos of the various materials and equipment in your home.
„If you have done extensive remodeling with new appliances, floors, roof, etc., you want to make sure it’s covered in your policy if your home is destroyed,” Barber said.
„Have your home inventory stored away from the home,” he advised. „If it burns due to a wildfire and you lose your home inventory as a result, you won’t have the proper information to get reimbursed in a timely manner.”
When it’s time to file a claim
The sooner a homeowner files a claim after wildfire damage, the better, experts say, as insurance companies in the area are likely to be inundated with an influx of claims after a wildfire.
„In order to get the claims process started quickly, the earlier the claim is filed, the more likely it is that you’ll be helped sooner,” Crowe said. „Insurance adjusters will also be requesting a description of each damaged item from the wildfire, so being organized with a home inventory will help make for a smoother claims process.”