World Death toll from Philippine storm, landslides climbs to 126•The storm hit central and eastern Philippine islands on December 29 and caused massive flooding and landslides (AFP Photo/Simvale SAYAT)Manila (AFP) – The death toll from a storm that devastated the Philippines shortly after Christmas rose to 126, authorities said Sunday, adding landslides caused by torrential rain were the top cause.The storm hit central and eastern Philippine islands on December 29 and caused massive flooding and landslides. More than 100 people died in the mountainous Bicol region southeast of Manila, regional disaster officials said.While the Bicol region is often hit by deadly typhoons, many people failed to take necessary precautions because the storm was not strong enough to be rated as a typhoon under the government’s storm alert system, according to civil defence officials.Officials also said that many residents were reluctant to leave their homes during the Christmas holidays.”In two days alone, Usman poured more than a month’s worth of rainfall in the Bicol region,” national disaster agency spokesman Edgar Posadas told AFP, using the local name for the storm which had weakened into a low pressure area.”Our search and retrieval operations are ongoing but the sticky mud and the unstable soil are a challenge.”The death toll was likely to climb further with 26 people still missing, Posadas added.More than 152,000 people were displaced by the storm and 75 were injured, according to the national disaster agency.President Rodrigo Duterte visited the storm-hit areas on Friday and urged officials to build evacuation centres instead of using schools as shelters for the displaced.About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines each year, killing hundreds of people.The deadliest in recent years was Super Typhoon Haiyan which left more than 7,360 people dead or missing across the central Philippines in 2013.
A man rides his bike during snowfall at the seaside promenade of Thessaloniki
ATHENS (Reuters) – An elderly woman was found dead and two men were missing after blizzards hit parts of Greece, police officials said on Saturday.
Temperatures in central and northern Greece have remained below zero for almost a week, during which time heavy snow has disrupted transport services and forced flights to be diverted in the north of the country.
The body of the 66-year-old woman was recovered from a car found overturned near a stream in Keratea, a region 45 kilometers southeast of Athens. Two men who had been in the car were unaccounted for.
„Her husband and one more man, who were in the same car, have been reported missing since Thursday when bad weather conditions prevailed in the area,” a police official said on condition of anonymity.
The Greek civil protection service has urged municipal authorities to be on the alert ahead of a further spell of cold weather expected to hit Greece on Monday.
(Reported by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by David Holmes)
BERLIN (AP) — Heavy snow caused travel chaos in parts of Germany and Austria as authorities closed roads and train routes because of avalanche danger and airports reported weather-related cancelations Saturday.
Munich Airport, Germany’s second biggest, said 120 flights were canceled and others were delayed while workers cleared runways of snow and removed ice from planes.
German police said one person died and two people were seriously injured when their car skidded into oncoming traffic on icy roads near the town of Bad Toelz.
In Austria, training and the qualification stage for the annual Four Hills ski jump tournament was canceled after more than 50 centimeters (20 inches) of fresh snow fell overnight.
Authorities closed roads around Bischofshofen, where the competition is being held. Austrian railway company OeBB said several train connections in the country were suspended due to the avalanche risk.
Salzburg regional authorities warned against off-trail skiing, adding that „many large, several very large avalanches are likely in the afternoon and overnight” that could affect roads and rail lines.
Austrian public broadcaster ORF reported that the small village of St. Johann was evacuated because authorities feared strong winds could trigger a large avalanche. Meanwhile, some 600 residents and tourists were stuck in the village of Soelktal following a road closure, the station reported.
Innsbruck airport said „current weather conditions have caused major restrictions in air traffic” and urged travelers to check their flight status before heading to the airport.
Significant snowfall is forecast for southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland in coming days.
Separately, authorities in Greece reported travel disruptions due to snowfall in the north of the country.
A series of potent storms will slam much of the West Coast of the United States with rounds of drenching rain, heavy mountain snow, gusty winds and pounding surf through the middle of next week.
Following the storm into Saturday night, two additional storms will roll ashore.
One storm will hit late Sunday to Sunday night and another storm will roll ashore Tuesday night and last into Wednesday. The biggest and baddest of the bunch is likely to be the storm around midweek.
While the pattern will be a boon for the ski industry and go a long way toward drought relief, each successive storm will hinder travel and raise the risk of flash flooding, mudslides and avalanches.
Download the free AccuWeather app to view the details on each storm and any advisories that are issued for your location or points along your travel route.
The main bombardment of moisture from all of the storms and corresponding heaviest rain and mountain snow will be on Northern California, although heavy amounts of precipitation will also extend to western Oregon, western Washington and British Columbia. The cumulative amount of precipitation will be tremendous from the storm train in these areas.
Storms to unload inches of rain
Rainfall on the western slopes of the Pacific Coast Ranges in Northern California, northern Sierra Nevada and Olympics will be on the order of 5-10 inches with locally higher amounts.
The risk from flash flooding and mudslides will increase with each storm, with the greatest potential for life-threatening conditions likely during the storm spanning late Tuesday to Wednesday. By then the ground will be saturated and the hillsides in recent burn areas are likely to be unstable.
The storm at midweek may bring 3-6 inches of rain alone on the west- and southwest-facing slopes in Northern California.
People should heed all evacuation orders for their area, if given, as there may only be minutes to move to safety.
Motorists are reminded to not attempt to drive through flooded roads or around barriers. The water may be deeper than it appears and/or the road surfaces beneath the water may be weakened or washed away. A foot of water is enough to cause most vehicles to loose contact with the road. Two feet of water can cause even heavy vehicles to float into deeper water.
„Much of, and perhaps all of the rain may stay north of Point Concepcion from this series of storms,” according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Maggie Samuhel.
Some rain is in store for coastal areas of Southern California, but the most likely time for wet weather and slick roads in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas will be centered on Saturday night.
Feet and yards of snow forecast for the mountains
The storms will provide a tremendous boost to the snowpack, which then becomes much of the state’s water supply during the warm season.
„Snowfall is likely to be measured in yards over the high country of the northern Sierra Nevada and Cascades and peaks of the Olympics,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.
As much as 10 feet of snow may pile up on the ridges and peaks of the Northern Sierra Nevada through Wednesday evening.
„Freezing levels will vary with each storm and have a profound effect on travel over Donner Summit, California, Siskiyou Summit, Oregon and Snoqualmie Pass, Washington,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.
„At this time, we expect rain and not snow to fall over the Grapevine in Southern California with the siege of storms and especially the storm that has the best chance of bringing significant precipitation during Saturday night,” Pydynowski said.
Freezing levels and corresponding heavy snow and wintry travel conditions will exist throughout the duration of the storms over the passes from Northern California to Washington through Monday.
During the storm at midweek, rain may fall initially. However, as colder air moves in during the storm, a change to snow and wintry travel is likely as the storm progresses.
Motorists should expect major delays and possible closures when venturing over the passes. Vehicles attempting to venture over the passes in these conditions must have the proper winter equipment.
Whiteouts are likely with each storm over the passes and high country, but the most drastic sudden change from wet to blizzard conditions and strong winds over the passes is likely with the storm during Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Dangerous conditions forecast from the storms
Gusts over some of the passes in the mountains may reach 90 mph with the storms.
Along with the heavy snow, varying snow levels and strong winds over the mountains will be an increasing risk of avalanches. Snowboarders, skiers and snowmobilers should use extreme caution when doing off-trail adventures over rugged terrain.
Large waves will pound the coast with the risk of overwash and coastal erosion. Never stand on jetties or the beach to watch the storm due to the risk of large, unpredictable sneaker waves.
Localized winds may be strong enough with any of the storms to knock down trees and cause sporadic power outages. Gusts in coastal areas from Northern California to Washington may reach 60 mph.
Travel time suggestions through the upcoming week
For those with travel plans, the period from Monday afternoon to Tuesday midday may offer an opportunity from storm-free conditions. However, a better and longer opportunity for travel is likely from Thursday to Friday.
Another dose of rain and mountain snow may roll in Friday night to Saturday. That storm may bring soaking rain to parts of Southern California as well as Northern California.
BANGKOK (AP) — Ferry services and airports reopened in southern Thailand on Saturday as a storm moved west into the Andaman Sea after causing disruption and leaving at least one person dead.
Tropical Storm Pabuk barreled across the Gulf of Thailand on Friday but spared world famous beach resorts major damage.
The storm damaged houses, knocked down power lines and triggered flash floods in several east coast provinces.
On the island of Koh Samui, where the suspension of air and ferry services had trapped many visitors, lines were long Saturday for rides back to the mainland.
The area’s large fishing industry had to stand down, with ships ordered to stay in ports and small boats hauled ashore to keep them from being swept away. One fisherman died when his boat, caught at sea, capsized Friday. Another member of its six-man crew was missing.
The authorities prepared for the storm by evacuating almost 29,000 people in provinces most at risk, the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation said. In the hardest-hit province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, about 800 kilometers (480 miles) south of Bangkok, 32 electric poles were felled, transformers exploded and communications lines were down in some districts, according to the department.
Stormy weather continued Saturday, but its effects on the Andaman coast and the tourist hub of Phuket appeared marginal.
The storm lost strength as it crossed land, with the Thai Meteorological Department saying it packed maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers (34 miles) per hour as it moved west-northwest at a speed of 10 kph (6 mph).
With rain continuing in some areas, the department kept its warnings of possible forest runoffs and flash floods. It also said strong winds were still forecast with waves up to 3-5 meters (10-16 feet) high in both the Gulf and the Andaman Sea, raising the possibility of inland storm surges.