A huge cyclone slammed into Fiji last week, leaving chaos in its wake. The storm has claimed the lives of at least 42 people. Record winds peaked at 296 km/h (184 mph). The storm also decimated infrastructure and left thousands homeless.
In Idaho, a large landslide has cut off access to the town of Elk City. The landslide, which seems to have been triggered by relentless rains will cost some $1.5 million to clean up. Additionally, an avalanche in British Columbia, Canada injured seven snowmobilers. While snowmobilers do cause avalanches, the conditions have to be right for them to do so. The avalanche involved 13 people in total and killed one, a firefighter from Calgary, Canada.
The wind patterns in the US have changed dramatically recently. Although the mechanism behind it is poorly understood, scientists believe it may be linked to a combination of the exceptionally powerful El Niño and the warm cycle of a phenomenon called the decadal oscillation. The lack of wind is causing serious problems for communities across the great plains that rely on wind generated power. In Virginia, 4 people are dead after a storm system battered the east coast of the US. At least 45 homes were also damaged. A Midwest snowstorm wreaked havoc on travel this week, with thousands of flights being grounded due to that same system. Likely, a tornado from the system is responsible for the death of a Mississippi man.
A massive ice storm pummeled Montréal, Quebec recently, knocking out power to over 250,000 residents. The storm knocked over a number of trees. Other than to power, there is no damage to infrastructure reported. More recently, a winter thunderstorm struck Montréal. There was no damage reported from this event, but the rarity of such an event is worth noting. In Beauceville, the situation was more severe for infrastructure, where an ice-jam in the Chaudiére River caused major flooding. The city declared a state of emergency, which has recently been lifted. Damage estimates are not in yet, but it will likely be no small number.
In other news, Sydney has set a heat record at 41ºC(107ºF) this week. It has also had temperatures higher than 26º (78.8ºF) for more than three weeks. This is a clear record. The Australian heat wave is threatening to have deleterious effects on the Great Barrier Reef, where scorching temperatures are contributing to coral bleaching. Hyderabad, India is also in the grips of a heat wave, with temperatures there soaring past 40ºC(104ºF).