News Severe thunderstorm in Nepal leaves 25 dead, hundreds injured By Gopal Sharma•By Gopal Sharma KATHMANDU (Reuters) – Over two dozen people were killed in a severe thunderstorm that swept through parts of southern Nepal late on Sunday and hundreds more were injured, police and officials said.Nepal’s Prime Minster K.P. Sharma Oli in a tweet said 25 people had been killed, and around 400 were injured.”Helicopters have been kept ready for immediate rescue and relief,” Oli said in his post. He offered condolences to the families of the victims.Rajesh Paudel, the top bureaucrat of Bara district, where the storm hit, said the death toll may increase as rescuers were still trying to reach many of those affected. Bara is located about 62 km (39 miles) south of Kathmandu, and borders India’s eastern state of Bihar.Pre-monsoon thunderstorms are common in Nepal during the spring season, but are rarely of an intensity that causes high casualties.Police officer Sanu Ram Bhattarai said rescue teams had been dispatched to the affected villages, but reaching the victims was difficult at night.Television channels said the storm and accompanying heavy rainfall, uprooted trees and electric and telephone poles, crushing some people to death.(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Susan Fenton)
DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran said on Saturday it faced an emergency in a southwestern province threatened by flooding and worked to evacuate dozens of villages as forecasters predicted more of the heavy rains that have killed at least 45 people this week, state media reported.
Some 56 villages lying near the Dez and Karkheh rivers in the oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan may have to be evacuated as officials released water from two major dams along the rivers due to forecasts for more rain, the provincial governor, Gholamreza Shariati, told state television.
„Some residents are resisting (evacuation calls) because of their livestock…and because they’ve experienced similar circumstances in the past,” Shariati said, adding Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli had agreed to call an emergency in Khuzestan.
Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian, who is in charge of water resources, said authorities were working round-the-clock to „control floodwaters and to minimize possible damage”.
„It’s estimated that in the next five days about three billion cubic meters of water will flow into dam reservoirs in Khuzestan due to rainfall … 1.8 billion of which (is above capacity and) will have to be released,” he told state television.
The semi-official news agency ISNA quoted Shariati as saying floods could also threaten the provincial capital Ahvaz if the rain is at the highest end of forecasts.
In the neighboring province of Lorestan, at least eight villages and parts of the town of Dorud were being evacuated, the semi-official news agency Fars reported.
Officials have said the government would compensate residents for flood damage.
At least 45 people were killed this week in flash floods in northern and southern Iran after the heaviest rains recorded in Iran in at least a decade, the state news agency IRNA quoted Health Minister Saeid Namaki as saying.
Western and southwestern parts of the country are expected to bear the brunt of the storms in the days ahead.
Police renewed calls for people to avoid unnecessary journeys even though Iran is celebrating the Nowruz new year holiday, a time when many families travel.
Iran has implemented measures to prevent rain and flooding affecting its main crude oil export terminal on Kharg Island in the Gulf, the head of the Iranian Oil Terminals Company told the semi-official news agency Mehr on Saturday.
National Iranian Gas Company said earlier its pipeline network had not been affected by the bad weather.
(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Helen Popper, Edmund Blair and Marie-Louise Gumuchian)
„At Barrow, through yesterday, they’ve had daily record high temperatures five separate days this month … and that’s quite an achievement,” Thoman said.
„This is following on the heels of the very warm, and in some places record warm February,” he added. „We now have April or May weather in March.”
In Barrow, for example, the temperature jumped to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 Celsius) on Thursday when the normal high is minus three Fahrenheit.
„Deadhorse, AK, is set to finish March about 23°F (12.7 Celsius) above normal for the month,” Brian Brettschneider, a climatologist based in Alaska tweeted on Thursday.
Thoman predicts the warm streak to continue through April, with the highest temperature spikes expected in the western part of the state.
– Frozen rivers melting early –
He said the dramatic warming Alaska has experienced in recent years — which is partly linked to a decline in sea ice and Arctic ocean warming — had wreaked havoc on local communities, wildlife and the economy.
Many recreational sled dog races have had to be canceled this year and the routing of the famed Iditarod race had to be changed as what is normally solid sea ice was open water on part of the race route.
Crab fishing has also been affected as the sea ice used as a platform for fishermen was non-existent or too thin in some areas.
Thoman said the seal population is also likely to be affected in the coming months as some of the species give birth on solid ice.
Amy Holman, regional coordinator for Alaska at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the warmth has in addition had a deep impact on transportation as two thirds of communities in Alaska are not accessible via roads.
„In the winter, frozen rivers become major transportation corridors connecting villages,” she told AFP. „The Kuskokwim River is a primary example of this.
„The warmer temperatures have melted the rive ice to the extent it is no longer safe for truck or car travel.”
Thoman said global warming had led to the lowest ice levels in the Bering Sea — which connects with the Arctic Ocean — since 1850, when sea ice records began.
„My worst fear is the speed of change and being able to cope,” he said. „Alaskans are resilient, our indigenous culture has been here for 10,000 years but change has never occurred at this pace.”