Thunderstorms, heavy rain pose threat to Gulf Coast, Southeast through the weekend originally appeared on abcnews.go.com
The combination of a powerful storm system and a stalled frontal boundary have brought multiple rounds of heavy rain to the Southeast this week.
A few of the top totals since Tuesday include 14.26 inches of rain in the Houston suburb of Richmond, Texas; 7.25 inches in Greenville, Mississippi; and 7.14 inches in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Despite a relatively quiet night in terms of flash flooding, more thunderstorms are on the way to parts of the Gulf Coast on Saturday morning.
The radar on Saturday morning was showing a couple of thunderstorms over parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, where cells are dumping rain at 1 to 2 inches per hour — which could cause some flash flooding. Additionally, there have been a couple tornado warnings due to a thunderstorm in southern Louisiana.
Flash flood watches have been issued from Texas to Mississippi Saturday morning, mainly because any additional rainfall in the region could aggravate existing river flooding and the saturated ground could cause flooding to occur quickly.
A system will help fire up storms along the southeast coast of Texas, including Houston, during the day. Very heavy rain — 1 to 2 inches per hour — is possible. During this window of activity, there could be flash flooding in southeast Texas.
As this low moves into the southern Mississippi Valley, it will fire up severe storms from eastern Texas, through much of Louisiana and Mississippi. The main threats with the severe risk Saturday are damaging winds and large hail. However, brief tornadoes cannot be ruled out. Of course, these thunderstorms will also bring more heavy rain to the waterlogged areas of the Gulf Coast.
On Sunday morning this complex storm system will spread heavy rain into parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Locally, 1 to 2 inches of rain can be expected due to downpours from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. Another round of storms are possible in parts of the Gulf.
Severe storms will fire up again from Georgia to North Carolina. The severe risk region Sunday includes many large cities: Atlanta, Charlotte and parts of the Raleigh metro area. Damaging winds and large hail will once again be the main threat. However, brief tornadoes could spin up in the region.
Some part of the Gulf and Southeast could see 2 to 4 inches of rain through the weekend. Some of this heavy rain will reach into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Sunday, and then parts of New England on Monday.
Any additional rain in southeast Texas could easily trigger flash flooding, while parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama could see thunderstorms develop on Saturday and Saturday evening. Thunderstorm activity with heavy rain from Georgia to Virginia on Sunday could bring some flash flooding due to terrain, and localized rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches hour.
A sign reading „road closed” blocks a street destroyed by the flooding of the Elkhorn River near Scribner, Nebraska — farmers in the area are suffering, their woes from a trade war with China compounded by the flood damage
Orchard (United States) (AFP) – Already hurt by the US-China trade war, farmers in Nebraska are reeling from this year’s devastating floods, which ravaged crops and left little time to plant for the next harvest.
Damage from the March rains in the Midwest is visible across the landscape north of Omaha, the state’s biggest city: trees have fallen, growing fields are caked in mud and rivers are at elevated levels.
„Road Closed” signs pop up often in particularly water-logged areas where bridges and dikes were overwhelmed, making neighborhoods uninhabitable and cutting off public services.
Cows are visible in some pastures but many breeders are still tallying their losses. Some animals died in the floods and others perished after being sickened by bad water.
„I know people who lost a lot of their animals because they were stranded in the floods,” said Jim Dinklage, a farmer in Orchard, about three hours from Omaha. „You couldn’t have access to them.”
Of Nebraska’s 93 counties, 81 have declared states of emergency, said Steve Wellman, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
„So 85 percent of the state of Nebraska has been impacted by either flooding or blizzard conditions from the middle of March,” he said.
Damages are estimated at more than $800 million, about $400 million in the livestock industry and $440 million in crops.
– Higher costs –
Among the 50 states, Nebraska is the third-biggest corn producer and second-biggest ethanol producer.
One out of four jobs is tied to farming, the state’s biggest sector.
In Scribner, north of Omaha, Ruth and Sid Ready describe a closing window of opportunity for the season.
Corn is usually planted from mid-April through May, while soybeans are sown through July 1.
„It’s not like we’ve got a lot of alternatives out here. You either get your crop in the spring, or you are out of income for the entire year,” said Ruth Ready, adding that the floods shrank this season’s usable acreage, threatening the next harvest.
The couple, who also raise cows, estimate the rains will effectively double the costs in the Nebraska farm belt this year.
Clare and Gayle Duda, corn and soy farmers in nearby Ponca Hills, said they were facing a similar situation.
„We planted 300 acres and we were only able to harvest five acres,” or just two hectares, said Clare, adding that losses were hard to bear without revenue to make up for the investment in the crop.
Flood waters had pooled in the middle of the Dudas’ corn field, splitting it in two and cutting off access to much of the crops, consigning them to ruin.
A church donation paid for antibiotics to treat E.coli infections in their goats, but the bacteria is also now present in mushrooms on the property.
„We should be out planting today but because the river flooded, the soil gets so saturated, so wet, that we can’t,” said a forlorn Clare.
Growers have fixed costs on land and machinery that do not lessen even if output is lower. In many cases, farmers already purchased seeds for the season. Plus, transport costs have essentially doubled due to the dismal state of the roads.
But there is a more fundamental hit to the region’s economic capacity, with nutrient-rich soil developed over generations suddenly stripped away.
After taking stock of the damage, the Dudas concede the reality of climate change.
„I accept it,” Clare said of the warming climate.
– Trade war hit –
Emergency calls from farmers to a hotline run by Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska have doubled over the last year.
In the wake of the disaster, growers have been granted extensions on credit payments and loans, as well as the possibility in some cases to renegotiate loans at lower interest rates.
The floods came as farm incomes have fallen about 50 percent since 2013 due to low crop prices, leading to debt levels not seen since the 1980s.
The situation has also been exacerbated by the trade war with China, which has closed off a key consumer market for some growers, particularly for soybeans.
The Ready family sells both soybeans and corn to China. But they are sticking with President Donald Trump.
„It was our products that are most affected by that trade war,” Sid Ready said.
„Does that mean that we are all very happy about it because it’s costing us?” he added. „No, but we understand it.”
„In the long run, we hope it works.”
May 11 (Reuters) – Heavy rainfall raised fears of flooding in the U.S. Gulf Coast region on Saturday, a day after Houston schools were closed due to the downpours and thousands of people were left without power.
The rainfall could cause flash flooding from Texas to the mid-Atlantic states of Virginia and North Carolina, with parts of southern Louisiana facing some of the most extreme risk, according to the National Weather Service.
Rainfall began in the region on Tuesday, flooding highways and downing power lines.
„It looks like today will be the end of the really heavy stuff,” said Bob Oravec, a meteorologist at the federal Weather Prediction Center.
Streets were flooded in several parts of the Houston area on Friday and authorities had to rescue dozens of stranded motorists, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The rainfall struck many areas that were evacuated in 2017 due to Hurricane Harvey, the newspaper reported. The hurricane killed 68 people across the U.S. Gulf Coast and caused an estimated $125 billion in property damage.
On Friday, Houston’s 209,000 public school students got the day off as the city’s Independent School District, the state’s largest school system, shut down its 280 campuses.
Power outages persisted in parts of the Gulf Coast on Saturday. About 19,000 customers of Entergy Texas were still without electricity in the southeast part of the state, after the company restored service for thousands of others overnight, Entergy said in a statement.
More than 10 inches (25 cm) of rain fell in parts of southeast Texas this week, including Richmond which received about 14 inches (35 cm), Oravec said.
The heavy rainfall followed flooding that occurred earlier this month along parts of the Mississippi River, including Davenport, Iowa, where the downtown was submerged. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles Editing by Matthew Lewis)
SULAIMANIYA, Iraq, May 11 (Reuters) – A magnitude 5.3 earthquake struck near the Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. Local medics said no injuries were reported and officials said there was no significant material damage.
USGS said the quake occurred 71 km southeast of the city at a depth of 10 km.
Sulaimaniya’s seismic monitoring office said it took place near the town of Darbandikhan and was felt in several other towns nearby.
Media reports in neighboring Iran said the quake had a magnitude of 5.1 and shook the border town of Ezgeleh, but that there were no immediate reports of damage.
„This earthquake occurred in Iraq and was felt in Ezgeleh, and thankfully so far no damage has been reported,” provincial emergency management head Jalil Balayi told the semi-official news agency Mehr. (Reporting by Ali Sultan and Catherine Evans in London, additional reporting by Dubai newsroom Editing by Alexandra Hudson, John Davison and Clelia Oziel)
After a one-day break from heavy rain, water-logged Houston braced for another round of precipitation Saturday from a lingering storm system along the western Gulf of Mexico.
The storm also has prompted Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards to declare a state of emergency because of the severe weather.
Houston, which sits just above sea level, has faced several days of heavy rains on extremely saturated ground.
Police rescued scores of stranded motorists since Thursday night from high water that even forced the shutdown of part of Interstate 10.
The storm knocked out power to nearly 160,000 customers on Friday, while Bush Intercontinental Airport diverted more than 62 flights, the Houston Chronicle reports.
The Chronicle itself faced storm-related headaches, advising readers that delivery of the Saturday newspaper could be delayed because of the severe weather. „The safety of our newspaper carriers is of the utmost importance to us and we ask for your patience,” the newspaper said on its website.
The latest forecast set up another round of likely flash flooding from rain expected throughout the day.
The threat of more rain also extended eastward along the Gulf Coast.
„Portions of the south-central U.S. have been inundated with flooding rain, large hail and continuous lightning this week, and the threat is not yet over,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said.
In Louisiana, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the Bonnet Carre Spillway on Friday for only the 14th time since it was built in 1927. The spillway, located about 12 miles west of New Orleans, allows floodwaters from the Mississippi River to flow into Lake Pontchartrain and eventually into the Gulf of Mexico.
Corps Maj. Gen. Richard Kaiser said this has been the wettest period in 124 years, WAFB reports.
“This is not business as usual. This is the first time in the 90 year history of that structure that we’ve opened it twice in one year,” he said. „So based on the weather conditions that existed here today and the excessive heavy rain that we experienced, we had no choice but to open the spillway today.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Houston braces for more flooding; Louisiana declares state of emergency
Jerusalem (AFP) – Nearly half of the vulture population in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights have died of apparent poisoning, Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority Friday, in a new blow to an already decimated breed.
Eight out of around 20 griffon vultures left in the area were found dead on Friday, the organisation’s director Shaul Goldstein told AFP, in what he described as „a mortal blow to the birds of prey population”.
The Israeli parks authority said the deaths constituted „a serious matter”, and vowed to find „those responsible for this poisoning and bring them to justice”.
A fox and two jackals were also found dead and two other vultures sick were taken to a wildlife clinic for treatment.
Goldstein declined to say if the poisoning was deliberate.
The vulture population on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights has declined significantly over the past two decades, with their number dropping from 130 in 1998 to around 20 before the latest deaths.
In 2016, UN peacekeepers helped return a vulture which had been captured across the border in Lebanon on suspicion of spying for the Jewish state.
Israel seized around 1,200 square kilometres of the Golan from Syria in a 1967 and later annexed it, in moves never recognised by the international community.
About 18,000 Syrians belonging to the Druze community — most of whom refuse Israeli citizenship — remain in the occupied Golan, alongside some 20,000 Israeli settlers in 33 communities.