The blaze, the third in 10 days in the mountainous centre of the island, has forced the evacuation of several villages with a combined population of 9,000
Montaña Alta (Spain) (AFP) – A fire raged out of control on the Spanish holiday island of Gran Canaria Monday, forcing evacuations as flames rose so high even water-dropping planes could not operate in what was dubbed an „environmental tragedy”.
The blaze, the third in 10 days in the mountainous centre of the island, has forced the evacuation of several villages with a combined population of 9,000, a spokeswoman for the emergency services said.
The exact number of evacuees was unclear on the island that lies at the heart of the Canary archipelago off the coast of northwest Africa.
No fatalities have been reported and tourism on Gran Canaria, which boasts breathtaking views and is popular with foreigners, had not been affected.
„It’s a huge forest fire, extremely serious, which happened in a heatwave,” and it is still not under control, Canary Islands President Angel Victor Torres told reporters late Monday.
„This is an environmental tragedy.”
– Next 48 hours ‘critical’ –
Altogether, 1,000 firefighters and other crew and 14 water-dropping helicopters and planes were working on controlling the blaze, which is estimated to have destroyed 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres), according to emergency services.
This deployment „is the biggest ever carried out in the Canaries and one of the biggest implemented in Spain in the past few years,” said Agriculture Minister Luis Planas.
Firefighters said the blaze was propelled by high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity.
So fierce is the fire in what is part of a UNESCO biosphere reserve that in some areas, it „is beyond our extinction capacities,” Federico Grillo, head of emergency services in Gran Canaria, said late Sunday.
On the northwestern flank of the blaze, flames have risen as high as 50 metres (160 feet), preventing ground crew or water-dropping aircraft from approaching, the emergency services spokeswoman said.
She added around 100 people had been „confined” to the cultural centre of Artenara, unable to leave this village in the disaster zone as all possible evacuation roads were too dangerous.
Environment Minister Planas said the next 48 hours would be „critical”.
– ‘Firestorms’ –
The fire broke out on Saturday afternoon, just days after another wildfire in the same region forced the evacuation of hundreds.
Lourdes Hernandez, an expert on wildfires at WWF, told AFP the blaze had entered the Tamadaba natural park, an untouched pine forest that represents „the main green lungs of the island”.
The fire is also threatening the Inagua nature reserve, another area of major biodiversity.
„Tamadaba is lost, we can’t enter,” firefighter chief Carlos Velazquez told reporters.
„When (weather) conditions begin to change that is when we can begin to control the fire,” he added.
Two other fires hit the island’s centre last week without causing injury.
Hernandez said scientists blamed the rapid spread of the blazes on climate change, even if fires are often initially triggered by humans, intentionally or not.
„The virulence of the fire, the speed at which flames spread, the intensity of the fronts, mean that more extreme weather conditions are generated inside the fire and embers leap sometimes hundreds of metres away,” she said.
„That’s what is known as firestorms. And they’re blazes that cannot be approached and cannot be extinguished” by firefighting forces.
– Tourism continues –
The centre of the island, with its valleys, slopes and mountains offering breathtaking views, is popular with hikers.
But a large majority of tourists who visit Gran Canaria, the second-most populous of the Canary Islands, stay in beach resorts.
In a statement, the Canary Islands government said the tourism industry on Gran Canaria remained unaffected „given that the fire is confined to upland areas”, with no resorts impacted and no flight delays.
Torres said the „maximum priority” was to „preserve human lives”.
With its arid hot summers, Spain is frequently plagued by huge forest fires.
The Canary Islands received 13.7 million foreign visitors last year, over half of them from Britain and Germany.
Der Stadthydrologe Andreas Kuchenbecker hat einen Starkregen-Index für Hamburg entwickelt. Der soll helfen, sich rechtzeitig zu wappnen.
Was Regen betrifft, ist Hamburg Kummer gewohnt. Aber nicht solchen wie im Mai 2018, als eine so genannte urbane Sturzflut mehrere Grundstücke in Bergedorf-Lohbrügge verwüstete. Einige Forscher gehen davon aus, dass solche Starkregenereignisse in Zukunft zunehmen könnten. Der Stadthydrologe Andreas Kuchenbecker hat im Auftrag von Hamburg:Wasser einen Starkregen-Index entwickelt – ein Instrument, das beim Schutz gegen Himmelsfluten helfen könnte.
ZEIT ONLINE: Wenn es regnet, dann braucht man sich doch einfach nur die Pfützen anzusehen, schon ist klar, ob der Regen stark ist. Wozu ein Index?
Andreas Kuchenbecker: Man sieht, dass der Regen stark ist. Aber nicht wie stark – und wie gefährlich. Die Frage ist zum Beispiel, ob die Pfütze, die Sie sehen, gleich ablaufen kann. Oder ob sie sich vielleicht weiter anstaut, weil es den ganzen Tag weiter regnen wird und die Kanalisation an ihre Grenzen kommt. Mit unserem Index teilen wir starken Regen in Gefährdungsstufen ein, das funktioniert in etwa so wie die Windstärkeskala.
ZEIT ONLINE: Und dann?
Kuchenbecker: Dann kann jeder im Internet nachsehen, wo es gerade regnet und wie groß das Risiko ist.
ZEIT ONLINE: Woher wissen Sie denn, wie stark es gerade irgendwo in Hamburg regnet?
Kuchenbecker: Wir kombinieren die Daten, die unsere stadtweiten Messstellen sammeln mit den Aufzeichnungen des Regenradars, das der Deutsche Wetterdienst betreibt. Das Radar misst durchgehend, wie dicht der Regen fällt. Die Sammeltöpfe funken alle fünf Minuten durch, was davon gerade am Boden ankommt.
ZEIT ONLINE: Und wann gehe ich nach Hause und hole schon mal die Schöpfeimer raus?
Kuchenbecker: Tja … Das hängt davon ab, wie es um Ihr Grundstück bestellt ist. Haben Sie sich um die Rückstauklappen im Abflusssystem gekümmert? Werden die Dachrinnen regelmäßig gereinigt? Ist der Keller gegen eindringendes Wasser geschützt? Sobald das Gebiet auf unserer Karte nicht mehr blau oder grün eingefärbt ist, besteht Grund zur Sorge. Das kommt relativ oft vor: In den letzten zehn Jahren haben wir im Hamburger Stadtgebiet 181 Starkregen gemessen, jeder achte so stark, dass Keller oder Unterführungen volllaufen konnten. Rechnet man sie in den neuen Index um, dann waren acht davon sogar Index 6 und stärker. Da muss man sogar mit einer Katastrophenlage rechnen.
Umgestürzte Bäume und ein Blitzeinschlag in ein Stellwerk: Schwere Gewitter bereiten vielen Bahnreisenden Probleme – betroffen sind vor allem Hessen und der Südwesten. Nun ziehen die Gewitter weiter.
Berlin/Frankfurt (dpa) – Heftige Gewitter sind am Sonntag über Teile Mittel- und Süddeutschlands hinweggezogen und haben Probleme im Bahn- und Flugverkehr verursacht. In Walldorf (Hessen) schlug ein Blitz in ein Stellwerk der Deutschen Bahn ein, wie die DB via Twitter mitteilte.
Zwischen den Hauptbahnhöfen von Mannheim und Frankfurt sei deshalb derzeit kein Zugverkehr möglich, hieß es dort. Die Techniker seien bereits vor Ort. Es kam zu Verspätungen von 90 Minuten, bei einigen ICEs dauerte es noch länger.
Insbesondere in Hessen sei der Zugverkehr wetterbedingt gestört, sagte ein Bahn-Sprecher. Etwa auf den Strecken zwischen Darmstadt und Frankfurt sowie zwischen Hanau und Aschaffenburg gab es Oberleitungsstörungen. Umgestürzte Bäume lagen an mehreren Orten auf den Gleisen und behinderten vor allem den Regionalverkehr. Es könne in den betroffenen Bereichen zu Verspätungen und einzelnen Ausfällen kommen, sagte der Sprecher. Der Fernverkehr werde umgeleitet, einige Züge würden in Bahnhöfen zurückgehalten. Wie lange die Störungen anhalten sollen, war zunächst unklar.
Auch auf dem Frankfurter Flughafen machten sich die heftigen Gewitter bemerkbar. Um Personal und Reisende zu schützen, sei die Abfertigung auf dem Vorfeld vorübergehend eingestellt worden, sagte eine Sprecherin des Betreibers Fraport. Auch die Zahl der landenden Maschinen sei reduziert worden. Zunächst 26 Flüge seien bis Sonntagabend annulliert worden – größtenteils Inlandsflüge. Fünf Flüge wurden umgeleitet.
Die Gewitter zogen am Sonntagabend von der Pfalz und Südhessen in Richtung Südosten, wie ein Meteorologe des Deutschen Wetterdienstes sagte. Die Unwetter sollten bis ins nördliche Unterfranken und möglicherweise nach Thüringen ziehen. Es habe schwere Sturmböen, heftigen Starkregen und Hagel gegeben. Die Gewitter sollten dort aber in den Abendstunden abflachen.
Eine weitere Gewitterlinie zieht sich nach Angaben des DWD-Meteorologen von Mittelfranken Richtung Osten. Besonders die Regionen Nürnberg und Ingolstadt sollten am Abend betroffen sein: Es sollte zu Orkanböen und ebenfalls zu heftigem Regen und Hagel kommen, sagte er. Auch in Baden-Württemberg und Bayern sei für die Nacht zunächst keine allgemeine Entspannung in Sicht.
500 Jahre alter Großer Basar in Istanbul nach sintflutartigem Regen überflutet
As folks in the northeastern part of the U.S. sweat through heat and humidity in the next couple of days, they’ll have a bit of consolation – at least they’re not in the West.
The western portion of the country will be socked by record-challenging temperatures for the next week to 10 days as the heat wave could stretch into typically cooler northwestern states such as Washington and Oregon.
That’s according to AccuWeather meteorologist Randy Adkins, who estimated more than 100 million Americans will experience temperatures above average for this time of year in the early part of the week. Some of the sweltering spots will include large patches of the South as well.
“Broadly speaking, much of the Southwest and Intermountain West will be challenging records through the early and midweek period next week,” Adkins said. “Some locations stand a fair chance to break them, particularly in the Southwest.”
The mercury rising in mid-August might fit into the “dog bites man” news category, but some of the numbers are eye-popping even for normally broiling spots such as Phoenix and Las Vegas, where the average high these days tops 100 degrees.
The Arizona capital seems primed to set a new standard. Forecasts called for 113 degrees Tuesday and 114 Wednesday. Both would break marks for the day in Phoenix, the Aug. 20 figure of 112 tracing as far back as 1986.
By comparison, northeastern cities such as New York (90), Boston (90) and Philadelphia (94) are getting off lightly, although Adkins warned that once the high humidity is factored in, the actual sensation is like being exposed to temperatures in triple digits.
Although the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic (mid-90s Monday through Wednesday) will benefit from the chilling effects of a cold front later in the week, the Southwest can expect no such respite.
Residents of that region are used to that by now.
“This isn’t anything I’m looking at and is making me think, ‘Wow, what the heck is going on?’ It’s summer – this happens,’’ Adkins said. “It’s a little more uncommon to have as many days in the West when temperatures are going to be well above average, but it’s not yet to the point where I’d be alarmed by it.’’
Sick of the heat?Here’s where you can find a cool family vacation in summer
What might be more alarming is the unusual weather witnessed this summer in Alaska, where the average July temperature of 58.1 was 5.4 degrees above average. Even more noteworthy, the state’s largest city, Anchorage, hit 90 degrees for the first time, and this summer, it has had 30 days of at least 75 degrees, double the previous record.
More seasonal highs in the mid-60s are expected for the next two weeks. Adkins said Alaska in general is prone to extremes and can get locked into patterns that persist for three or four weeks at a time. He opted to steer clear of discussions about whether the higher temperatures this summer are the result of climate change.
Adkins did say long-range projections show well-above-average temperatures through August and well into September in parts of the country, especially California, which should serve as a reminder for people not to leave unattended children or pets in cars on hot days.
According to the National Safety Council, 32 children under age 15 have died of heatstroke this year, well on the way to surpassing the annual average of 38 and just short of the pace that would match the 53 from 2018, the worst year on record.
Adkins said the high temperatures commonly associated with summer may continue in the early fall.
“I think it’s likely we’re going to see more record events into September as well,’’ he said.
The district is against it: It’s so hot that teachers are pleading for fan donations in Baltimore
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Weather forecast: Northeast swelters, Southwest bakes in August heat
Dmitry Dub/Associated Press
- Evidence is mounting that Russia may be trying to cover up a tragic nuclear accident after a mysterious blast on August 8 killed at least seven people at a Russian naval weapons site.
- Russia has declined to say exactly what caused the deadly blast. But doctors who treated injured patients reportedly were not told of radiation risks, and authorities are said to have destroyed hospital records.
- Four nuclear monitoring sites near the testing range mysteriously went offline shortly after the deadly blast, something an expert called „a very odd coincidence.”
- Western experts and intelligence officials believe the Nyonoksa explosion was caused by a failed test of the 9M730 Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, a very dangerous doomsday weapon that NATO calls the SSC-X-9 Skyfall.
- All signs seem to point to a classic cover-up of a suspected nuclear accident, which Russia has a long history of trying to bury.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
Evidence is mounting that Russia may be trying to cover up a tragic nuclear accident after a mysterious explosion killed at least seven people at a Russian naval weapons testing range earlier this month.
Something — Russia has not said exactly what — mysteriously exploded at the Nyonoksa testing range on Russia’s northern coast on August 8, and in the aftermath a nearby town experienced a spike in radiation levels. Days later, local officials ordered an evacuation, only to cancel it a few hours later.
Doctors who treated the Russian engineers injured in the explosion were not informed that their patients were radioactive, The Moscow Times reported on Friday. After providing treatment, one doctor was found to have a radioactive isotope in their muscle tissue, the newspaper said.
Furthermore, four nuclear monitoring sites nearby strangely went offline after the deadly Nyonoksa explosion. All signs are pointing to a classic Russian cover-up.
Russia’s initial explanation for the explosion doesn’t make sense
Russian media initially reported that a „liquid propellant jet engine” exploded during testing. Western experts and intelligence officials aren’t buying that, as it doesn’t explain the radiation spike.
The explosion is believed to have occurred during a test of the 9M730 Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile, a superweapon that NATO calls the SSC-X-9 Skyfall. US President Donald Trump, in a tweet last week that was without context, referred to the incident as the „‘Skyfall’ explosion.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin boasted last year that the Burevestnik would be „invincible” and that it would have „an unlimited range, unpredictable trajectory and ability to bypass interception.”
But so far, Russia has had little success in making the one-of-a-kind weapon work. The US had a similar project in the 1960s — Project Pluto — but decided to pass on it because it was considered too dangerous, as well as too difficult to actually develop into a reliable weapon.
Following initial reports from state media, Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear agency, said that Russia was working on new weapons when the explosion occurred, adding that this sort of thing „happens when testing new technologies.” The Kremlin said the same, telling reporters that „accidents, unfortunately, happen.”
Putin said on Monday that there was no threat and that experts were monitoring the situation and taking preventive measures to avoid surprises.
Russia referred to those who were killed in the accident as „national heroes.” It said the same when 14 Russian sailors died in a mysterious fire aboard a top-secret nuclear-powered submarine last month. But the details of their purported heroism are being buried and kept a secret, from both the Russian people and the rest of the world.
Hospital staff members were asked to sign nondisclosure agreements
In addition to doctors not being informed of the radiation risks, the hospital’s medical staff members were asked to sign nondisclosure agreements, and the Russian security service is said to have deleted the hospital records, The Moscow Times reported.
Russian state media, citing the Ministry of Defense, initially reported that two specialists had died. Later, Rosatom said five engineers had died in the explosion, bringing the death toll to seven. It remains unclear how many were injured or exposed to possibly harmful levels of radiation.
‘A very odd coincidence’
The abrupt cessation of nuclear monitoring activities has raised more red flags.
Lassina Zerbo, the head of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization, told The Wall Street Journal that the facilities said they were having „communication & network issues.”
Daryl Kimball, the executive director for the Arms Control Association, called it „a very odd coincidence,” telling The Journal that the Russians were probably trying to „obscure the technical details of the missile-propulsion system they are trying and failing to develop.”
And as Stephen Blank, a former professor of Russian national security studies at the US Army War College, said in an op-ed article for The Hill last week, Russia tends to object to transparency when dealing with nuclear accidents, with not just Chernobyl but several other tragic incidents during the Cold War and even now.
A pair of tourists face up to six years in prison after allegedly stealing a large quantity of sand from the pristine beaches of Sardinia.
The French couple were found to have nearly 40kg (90lb) of fine white sand in the boot of their car.
The vehicle was stopped during a routine check by border police as the tourists were preparing to board a ferry in Porto Torres, on the north coast of the island, bound for Toulon in France.
The sand was found in 14 large plastic bottles and had been taken from a beach near Chia in southern Sardinia.
The couple told police that they had no idea they were breaking the law, but they now face between one and six years in jail.
The island has battled for years to stop tourists from pinching its sand, shells and pebbles, which are prized as souvenirs or in some cases, for indoor aquariums.
To try to stop the pillaging, some locals have taken on the role of self-appointed guardians of the beaches.
If they see tourists taking sand or shells, they ask them to return the material. If that does not work, they call the police or national park rangers.
One of them, Pina Careddu, told an Italian newspaper on Monday that visitors sometimes become rude and aggressive when challenged.
“A family of Germans were filling up some bottles with sand. I recorded them on my phone so they couldn’t deny it. The father came towards me in a threatening manner. But in the end he tipped the sand back onto the beach,” Mrs Careddu, 58, told Corriere della Sera.
Dubbed “the granny sheriff” of the Sinis peninsula, on the west coast of the island, she is strict even with her grandchildren. “They say, ‘Nana, can’t we take some pebbles home to play with?’ And I say no, if everyone did that, soon there would be no beach left.”