Two teen campers among 5 dead as storms ravage Poland Severe storms passed over Poland causing damage to buildings, trees and electricity infrastructure in the Pomeranian province, where five people were killed and at least 30 people seriously injured (AFP Photo/DOMINIK KULASZKIEWICZ)Warsaw (AFP) – Five people including two teenage Girl Guides at a campground died in freak accidents on Saturday when violent storms hit Poland in the grip of a heatwave, fire officials and police said.The two girls, aged 13 and 14, were crushed by falling trees while sleeping in a tent.Around 20 other children were injured when the storm hit the campground for Boy Scouts and Girl Guides hosting 140 youngsters in the northern village of Suszek.It took hours for firefighters to clear away trees and other debris from access roads before they could reach and evacuate the scouts from the camp pitched in a forest flattened by violent wind.”We were really scared and we just stayed put until all the trees came down,” a boy scout who was not named told the TVN24 news channel.Aerial television footage showed trees in vast swathes of forest snapped like matchsticks by raging winds that meteorologists said were hurricane-force.Elsewhere a woman died when a tree fell on her house in the northern village of Konarzyny, while a man sleeping in a tent in a nearby village also perished after being hit by tree brought down by high winds.Authorities in the same region also confirmed the death of a fifth victim, a 48-year-old man, crushed by a tree.Thirty-seven people were reported injured nationwide while power was intially cut to around half a million homes and businesses as violent winds downed trees and ripped off roofs in northern, western and southern regions.Winds even blew off part of a reinforced concrete roof from a multi-family block of flats in the central city of Gniezno, TVN24 reported.Poland’s Prime Minister Beata Szydlo promised financial aid for the hardest hit municipalities after meeting with a crisis unit coordinating the emergency response from the Baltic port city of Gdansk.An unusual heatwave saw peak temperatures soar to more than 30 degrees Celsius (around 100 Farenheit) across Poland in recent days, but milder weather is expected this weekend when the mercury is forecast to dip to the mid-20s in most regions.More hot weather and storms are however forecast for eastern regions on Poland’s border with Belarus.
Two girl scouts, three other people die in storms in PolandA roof destroyed by a storm hangs from an apartment building in Bydgoszcz, Poland August 12, 2017. Agencja Gazeta/Grazyna Marks via REUTERSWARSAW (Reuters) – Five people, including two teenage girl scouts, died and more than 30 were injured as a result of falling trees in a series of severe storms that hit Poland overnight.The girls, 13 and 14, were crushed by falling trees while sleeping in a tent when a storm hit their campground late on Friday in the Tuchola Forest in northern Poland, according to the Regional Crisis Management Team office in Gdansk.Some 20 scouts were injured and taken to local hospitals.Adam Kralisz, chairman of the Lodz Region of the Scouting Association of the Republic (Poland), where the scouts were from, told the private Polsat television that evacuation was ordered immediately, but conditions were horrendous.”We had to force our way for kilometers through the forest, among falling trees,” he said.Three other victims also died as a result of falling trees and 10 people were injured in separate incidents in Poland’s north.More than 170,000 people were left without power and 800 buildings were damaged in storms that hit mostly Poland’s north and west, according to the Regional Crisis Management Team in Gdansk.More storms were expected on Saturday and warnings of severe weather conditions were issued for a number of regions amid unusually high for Poland temperatures that on Friday reached 35 to 38 Celsius.An emergency meeting of the government’s Crisis Management Team was called on Saturday and Prime Minister Beata Szydlo promised to help all those in need.Grzegorz Nowik, head of the Scouting Association of the Republic (Poland), ordered a month of mourning for the organization.(Reporting by Lidia Kelly and Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk; Writing by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Stephen Powell)
World Portugal fights record number of wildfires for 1 day in 2017
Storm near Turks and Caicos expected to become cyclone: NHC (Reuters) – A broad low pressure area over the Caribbean Sea has an 80-percent chance of developing into a cyclone, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Saturday.The Miami-based center said the showers and thunderstorms area, currently located some 250 miles (400 km) northeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands, was expected to form into a tropical depression later on Saturday.(Reporting by Sandra Maler in Washington; Editing by Alistair Bell)
Tropical storm forms west of Mexico, but quickly weakensMEXICO CITY (AP) — Tropical Storm Jova formed in the Pacific Ocean off Mexico’s west coast, but it quickly weakened into a depression Saturday and forecasters said it posed no threat to land.The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the depression was about 175 miles (285 kilometers) northwest of remote Socorro Island at midafternoon and was moving toward the west, away from land, at 14 mph (22 kph).Jova had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph). The hurricane center’s forecast said Jova would continue to weaken and likely dissipate by Monday.
Fire blocks route for dozens in Glacier National Park chalet MATT VOLZ,Associated Press 13 hours ago HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A wildfire has cut off the return route for dozens of people staying in a Glacier National Park backcountry chalet, leaving them the choice of remaining until rangers tell them it’s safe or hiking out along a longer and more difficult trail, park officials said Friday.Park rangers also planned to lead out 39 other hikers who were staying in backcountry campsites near fires that broke out after a passing lightning storm on Thursday, Glacier spokeswoman Lauren Alley said.It’s peak tourist season at the Montana park, and the stone chalet built more than a century ago is a top attraction in one of the busiest parts of Glacier. There are typically between 40 and 50 guests and 10 staff members at the chalet each night, with most visitors arriving by foot or horse along a steep trail nearly 7 miles (11 kilometers) from Lake McDonald Lodge on the park’s main roadway.A lightning strike ignited a fire in the forest somewhere between the lodge and the chalet. Neither structure is threatened, but park officials determined that it was unsafe for those at the chalet to return by the same trail Friday.Thirty-nine of the 42 guests staying at the Sperry Chalet decided to hike out and three stayed behind, said Suzie Menke, the office manager of Belton Chalets Inc., which runs the chalet.They must take a rugged trail more than 13 miles (21 kilometers) long that crosses two mountain passes and can take eight to 10 hours to walk. That trail ends up on the eastern side of the park, on the other side of the Continental Divide from Lake McDonald Lodge.For those who stay, the chalet has running water, a full-service kitchen and 17 private rooms — but it doesn’t have electricity and only spotty cellphone coverage.”The good news is they got resupplied yesterday,” Alley said.Park officials confirmed three small fires started after Thursday’s lightning storm. The one affecting Sperry Chalet is the largest at about 10 acres (40,500 square meters).Despite the sudden outbreak of fires, most areas of the park are still open to the record number of tourists who are flocking to Glacier this year. More than 1 million people visited the park in July, the first time so many people have been in Glacier over the course of a single month.Dozens of fires are burning across the West, and federal and state fire managers planned to raise the National Fire Preparedness Level to its highest point on Friday. That Level 5 signals most firefighting resources are being used and that assistance may be needed from military and other nations. The level was last raised to 5 in 2015.In Oregon, a fire on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation destroyed two houses and threatened dozens of others. The fire had burned more than 30 square miles (78 square kilometers) by late Thursday, and one firefighter suffered a minor injury.
Flooding and landslides kill more than 30 in Nepal: officialsBy Gopal Sharma By Gopal SharmaKATHMANDU (Reuters) – Flash floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains have left more than 30 people dead in Nepal in the past 24 hours, authorities said on Saturday.Ten more people were missing and the number of dead looked set to climb as large parts of the country were under water, officials said.Rescue teams of soldiers, police and local people have been deployed to help those trapped on rooftops or on higher ground, officials added, as TV pictures showed damaged roads and bridges.Weather experts said more rain was expected overnight and the government has told residents to remain alert. The Koshi river in the south of the country – a main waterway – was above the danger level, authorities warned.Monsoon rains from June to September are important for farm-dependent Nepal, but they also cause havoc each year.”It has left extensive damage,” Dipak Kafle, a spokesman for Nepal’s Home Ministry, told Reuters. He said there was no estimate yet for property losses.”We have more than 30 people confirmed dead. But we are more focused on rescuing those who are alive than collecting details about the dead,” he said, indicating the death toll could go up.In the eastern city of Biratnagar an airport runway was under two feet of water, TV footage showed, leading to a suspension of flights. Highways were either damaged or inundated, disrupting transport, police said.Local officials have opened temporary shelters for displaced people in schools or public buildings.(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Andrew Bolton)
Storms disrupt Beijing flights, authorities warn of flash floods, landslides By Josephine Mason and Shu Zhang View photos Tourists hold umbrellas as they visit Tiananmen Square during a rainstorm in Beijing, China August 12, 2017. REUTERS/StringerBy Josephine Mason and Shu Zhang BEIJING (Reuters) – Thunderstorms lashed Beijing on Saturday, disrupting hundreds of flights at one of the world’s largest airports, while authorities warned that rain and wind could cause landslides in the area where a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck this week.Beijing authorities raised their weather alert level to „orange” from „yellow” early in the afternoon, warning against lightning, hail, wind and as much as 70 mm (3 inches) of rain, threatening flash floods in mountainous areas.By early afternoon rain subsided in some parts of the capital, but nine roads were still flooded and 171 tourist sites were shut, the official news agency Xinhua said.At China’s busiest airport, almost 500 flights were listed as canceled from 9 a.m. until midnight and 182 were delayed, the website of Beijing Capital International Airport Co Ltd showed, urging travelers to check for flight updates.Air China Ltd said on its Weibo social media account that about 137 of its flights in and out of the capital had been canceled by 11 a.m. (0300 GMT).Torrential rainstorms are fairly frequent in Beijing in the summer months, often causing long delays at the airport.One user of China’s Twitter-like Weibo said she had been stuck at the airport for eight hours waiting for a flight home.”There are no free seats, I’m having to sit on the floor, I’m jetlagged and I’m really tired,” said the user, who goes by the handle ‘Vivian not soymilk’.Other airports affected by the downpours included Shanghai, Nanjing in Jiangsu province, Hangzhou in Zhejiang along the Yangtze River delta.The others were in northern regions: Shijiazhuang in Hebei, Taiyuan in Shanxi, Lanzhou in Gansu, Xining in Qinghai and Yinchuan in Ningxia.In a statement, China’s National Meteorological Centre cautioned rescue crews working in Jiuzhaigou, in the southwestern province of Sichuan, to be on alert for landslides and lightning.Heavy rain was expected across south-eastern China on Saturday, it said.Widespread flooding hit two towns, Xiangbei and Xiangxi in the southern province of Hunan, Xinhua said. Rainfall across the province ranged from 100 mm (4 inches) to 200 mm (8 inches).The extreme weather followed a tornado that struck Inner Mongolia on Friday, killing five people, injuring more than 50 and destroying homes in a major city.(Reporting by Josephine Mason and Shu Zhang; Editing by Eric Meijer)
U.S.How a California crash — and a ‘painful’ delayed recovery — are sparking an international incident Washington Post 19 hours agoOn July 26, a red rental car traveling on Highway 180 in central California crashed through a guard rail and hurtled off a cliff, falling 500 feet into the Kings River below.More than two weeks later, the mangled vehicle remains lodged amid rocks in the raging waters near Kings Canyon National Park. Attempts to retrieve the “presumed victims” from the car — reportedly two exchange students from Thailand — have been thwarted by weather and river conditions, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.The delays have frustrated the Thai communities in California, who have coordinated meetings with the families of the students and with American public officials to try to expedite the retrieval of the bodies. On Friday, the Royal Thai Consulate-General Los Angeles said in a Facebook post that there would be protests staged Monday in Los Angeles and in Fresno if the rescue and recovery had not taken place by then.In a letter sent to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors on Thursday, Thai Consul-General Tanee Sangrat acknowledged that several factors had “hindered the rescue and recovery operation” but said the delays were causing the families of the two students increasing anguish.“Notwithstanding the above, the families and Thai communities here in the U.S. and in Thailand cannot be more patient by the fact that it has been 16 days since the occurrence of the unfortunate accident,” Sangrat wrote. “It is painful for us having to report to the heartbroken families of the two students every day the preparation and postponements of the rescue and recovery operation.”[Thai students believed killed in crash; bodies stranded]Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims has reassured the Thai families that “recovering their loved ones is a top priority at my office right now.”“The Fresno County Sheriff Search and Rescue team has a lot of experience and is currently working to develop a plan that is safest for them to effectively do their jobs,” Mims wrote to the families Wednesday, according to a copy of the letter posted by the consulate. “I realize this is a difficult situation and want you to know that our goal is to recover your family members in a respectful manner as soon as an opportunity presents itself. We appreciate your patience and understanding.”Though the Fresno sheriff’s office said it cannot identify who was in the car until their bodies are recovered, its search and rescue team has confirmed there were two people inside. The sheriff’s office also acknowledged it was working with the Thai consulate amid reports the vehicle was carrying a man and a woman from Thailand who were exchange students at the University of South Florida.A spokeswoman for Thailand’s Foreign Ministry identified the two students as Bhakapon Chairatanathongporn, 28, and Thiwadee Saengsuriyarit, 24, according to the Associated Press.It is unclear when the Thai state officials were notified and became involved. On Aug. 3, the Royal Thai Consulate-General Los Angeles first publicly posted an update regarding the incident, including photos from the curvy portion of Highway 180 where the crash took place and interviews with law enforcement investigating the scene.The consulate’s post noted that authorities believe the car was headed to Kings Canyon National Park on July 26 when it crashed through a guard rail and plunged into the Kings River. Two days after the crash, police officers in nearby Reedley, Calif., learned that two Thai tourists had left the Reedley Inn Hotel two days before and never returned.“(California Highway Patrol) and local authorities have treated this case as a missing person’s case until officials can prove identities of those involved in the car accident,” the consulate wrote then. “On the day of the accident, water levels were high due to the summer snow melt adding to the strong current of the river.”Though a search and rescue operation began on the evening of July 26, the area’s steep terrain and the Kings River’s strong rapids prevented teams from retrieving the vehicle. A helicopter dispatched to the crash site was able to take pictures of the vehicle — but since all the air bags had deployed inside the car, authorities couldn’t say for certain whether anyone was inside.The consulate’s Aug. 3 post included a hopeful note: “Rescue team of the Sheriff-Coroner’s Office and CHP have explored the terrain and monitored the river levels daily to prepare to recover the vehicle and debris. The water level has continually decreased and the recovery operation may be done soon.”The following day, the families of the missing Thai students arrived in the United States. They have since visited the site of the accident and prayed at local Buddhist temples, according to the consulate.From that point, the families continued to anxiously await a recovery operation that was repeatedly delayed, first by wind storms and then by high water levels in the river.“Both Thai families feel disappointed and sad. Even more sorry to hear the news of not such a rescue tomorrow,” the consulate wrote Aug. 6. “The families are more distraught after hearing the update.”The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday that military personnel are now involved in planning a recovery operation. On Thursday, a military Chinook helicopter surveyed the area to take additional photos.“To reiterate, recovering the bodies is a top priority, but the safety of our personnel is also a top concern and it will dictate any efforts we make moving forward with the operation,” the sheriff’s office stated Thursday. “A date of when this will happen is stillto be determined.
Science Climate Models Overlook Hot Spots
Lifestyle Reward offered to catch Nevada lake invasive fish dumper SCOTT SONNER,Associated Press 7 hours agoRENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada game wardens who spend most their time hunting down big-game poachers are focusing on a serious threat to nature in a lake: An invasive fish species that eats all the other fish prized by anglers and then turns cannibalistic.The Nevada Department of Wildlife is offering a $10,000 reward to help nab the culprit who apparently dumped Northern pike in Comins Lake, a popular fishing spot surrounded by mountains near Great Basin National Park.By all accounts, Comins Lake was well on its way to recovery after the state restocked the fishery with largemouth bass, brown and rainbow trout in 2015.But the invading Northern Pike were discovered again last month by a fisherman who caught one and called state wildlife officials. Five more have been confirmed since then.”This malicious and illegal act seriously endangers our effort to restore this important fishery,” said Jon Sjoberg, chief of fisheries for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. „The people illegally introducing pike are destroying a fishery, not creating a new one.”Chief Game Warden Tyler Turnipseed announced the reward this week.”We intend to find who did it,” he said.Northern pike may not sound as scary as piranhas or the Asian swamp eel — two of the other half-dozen fish that Nevada law singles out as invasive, injurious aquatic species.But with its long, needle-sharp teeth, the voracious predator that sometimes grows longer than 4 feet (1.2 meters) can wipe out an entire fishery.”They eat all the trout we put in there,” Edwin Lyngar, spokesman for the state wildlife agency, said in an interview Friday. „Then they eat all the other fish they can find, and then they start to eat each other.”The remote eastern Nevada lake near Utah border covers about two-thirds of a square mile (1.7 square kilometers) and draws numerous anglers.”It brings tremendous economic activity to this part of the state,” Lyngar said. „Years ago, people came from all over the world to fish that lake.”At its peak in 2004, the lake logged 35,000 „angler user days” and generated more than $2 million for the local economy as the fourth-most visited fishery in the state behind Lake Mead, Lake Mohave and the Truckee River, which flows out of Lake Tahoe through downtown Reno. That fell to about 2,000 user days and $73,000 by 2013 as the non-native pike took over.The reward money was donated by several sportsmen’s groups, including Nevada Bighorns Unlimited and the Operation Game Thief Citizens Board. If officials catch a suspect, the person would face criminal penalties.Lyngar did not want to speculate on the perpetrator’s motives.”But we’ve had people put pike in waterways before because they want to catch pike. They are a good fighting fish,” he said.Authorities also cannot rule out a distant possibility that the fish found some natural way to get into the lake.”Anything is possible, but the evidence indicates very strongly that is not the case,” Lyngar said. „We believe very strongly they were introduced by someone on purpose.”Lyngar said state biologists are doing everything they can to stop the pike before they get a toehold and they’ve seen no evidence of any survivors since they netted the last four during an extensive electrofishing effort last week.A biologist „told me he doesn’t mind if one is left,” Lyngar said. „But if there are two, we’re in trouble.”