California may experience some relief from the crippling drought facing the state in recent years.  It turns out that there is a record high snowpack in the northernmost regions.  On the other hand, the powerful El Niño is causing serious problems with coastline erosion in Pacifica, California.  Heavy waves are causing landslides along the coast, and there are houses and infrastructure nearby.  Naturally, a lot of it is being damaged, resulting in a state of emergency for the city.  In South Africa, drought is having a devastating effect, and there are fears of impending famine.  They may have to import more than 5 million tons of maize, a crop that the country usually exports.  That amounts to roughly half the dietary requirements.  Farmers are also facing fire sales of their cattle, as there is no feed for them.  While maize is a staple for all South Africans, it is a particularly important food source for the poor, and prices are set to skyrocket.  This could lead to famine and civil unrest.  If and when it does rain normally in South Africa again, it will take the state up to three years to recover.

Meanwhile, near McBride, BC, five snowmobilers have been killed in a major avalanche.  While the trigger was the snowmobiling itself, unexpected rain set up the conditions for it to occur.  In Atlantic Canada, 11,000 homes were without power, as snow-laden branches toppled several power lines.  More than 50cm (1.5 ft) of snow blanketed Newfoundland.  Winds peaked at 108km/h (67mph) during the tremendous nor’easter.  In England, a powerful storm that has been wreaking havoc had high enough winds to push a tractor trailer off the road.  Wind gusts in parts of the UK were as strong as 90mph (144km/h).  The train service, ScotRail, suspended their services due to safety concerns around the extremely inclement weather.  Additionally, many roads are only partially open to traffic.  There is a serious risk of flooding, particularly in Scotland, and we will post an update when one is available.

One man is dead in Queensland, Australia after a powerful system caused a tree to fall on him.   Power was out for the majority of homes in the Hervey Bay region.   While the threat of flash flooding does not seem to have come to pass, Queensland is now enduring a heat wave, with temperatures soaring into the low 40sºC(mid 100sºF).  Denizens of Queensland were warned to check on their elderly neighbours and to watch children closely to ensure their safety in the searing temperatures.

Unfortunately, the tragic events we reported on are in no way a full reflection of what has been going on in the world. If you would like to see all of our recent headlines, please click here.

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