Serious snow storms are have recently battered the East coast and the West coast of North America. Alaska saw its most powerful storm in over thirty years, with wind speeds matching a category 3 hurricane. In Fredericton, New Brunswick and surrounding areas, thousands of denizens are without power. The freezing temperatures there naturally make this a dangerous situation.
In Sydney, Australia, massive hail, some larger than golf balls caused serious damage to cars and roofs. The same storm also caused flash flooding and even a tornado. A tornado is a very rare event for Sydney. While no deaths have been reported, there were at least four injuries, including a head injury. In contrast, nine people have lost their lives and thousands more have lost their homes in the Philippines after devastating weather there. Mindoro Governor, Alfonso Umali, described the typhoon as one of the most powerful that has ever hit the region. Many more may die due to the deluge’s effect on potable water and electricity. Disaster official Jonathan Baldo reported that thousands of homes were reduced to “matchsticks.”
California was hoping this year’s El Niño would bring enough rain to end their longstanding drought. While that is not expected to happen, at least it will be alleviated. However, it is not all good news. California will be at higher risk of landslides and flooding, as they are likely to experience intense rain. Queensland, Australia is also experiencing extreme drought conditions, and a number of farmers have had to de-stock, (sell all their cattle) because grass has not been growing (although rains in the winter kept it alive.) Now instead of cattle, at least one farm, Donald Brown’s, has kangaroos. The kangaroos are starving, and that is tragic as it is, but they are also damaging the land and eating whatever sparse grass is left. In Maharashtra, India, the crippling drought is decimating pulse harvests. Black lentil harvests are expected to decline by about 74%. Sorghum is also slated to decline 73%. Oilseeds (oil producing seeds like rape, cotton, etc.) are expected to decline 43%. Lentils and other pulses are the mainstay of the Indian diet, so the average price of food in the region would likely rise considerably. The shortfall is expected to amount to approximately $65 million US.
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.