Thursday’s bogl, here today: The summit of his ambitions… Israel -some lessons are better left unlearned… No, don’t let him out… GW: flushin’ hot and wet

As his wealth increases by $275 million a day … “Jeff Bezos makes more wealth in 10 seconds than the median Amazon employee makes in a year.” – Bernie Sanders

 

“Keep ’em coming, he’ll be here any minute…”

“I have just witnessed this treasonous president grunting like a pig with his trousers round his ankles while singing for Putin’s Russia and throwing America and its allies under a bus” – Comment on CNN web page.

The summit of his ambitions

Look. President Trump now leaves a concerned world no options.

He is either a fool or a tool.

There is no inbetween, no workaround, no theory of Mind, no alternative universe in which this appalling man might dwell, sane and cogent and free from the malign clutches of the shrewd little KGB man in the Kremlin, either due to his incomparable stupidity or his fathomable treachery.

No fewer than seventeen security agencies in the USA (who knew?) stated back in 2016 and have stated many times since, their conviction on the basis of glaring evidence that Russia “meddled” in the election.

On balance, “meddled” must be a euphemism for “crashed in like a bull elephant with a bloody great stiffy after a herd of females on heat”. Endlessly polite, Americans.

US security agencies were apparently slow to react to the promptings of their European allies. Obama did as little as possible to respond, not out of treachery but – give him the benefit of the doubt – out of moral order: he was sensitive to the probability that the Republicans would have roasted him for nobbling the chances of their man, had he done more than expel a few diplomats and close a couple of ‘rest facilities’ Mr Trump immediately spoke of reopening while complaining that Obama had “done nothing” about the cyber-attack he himself imagined as having been carried out by a 400-lb gorilla..

Within months, arraignments were flying thick and fast against Trump appointees of one sort or another who had all had to admit, they had lied to FBI interrogators about the extent of their dealings with Russian officials, or even the extent of their paid lobbying work on behalf of Russian clients.

Even the Attorney-General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions 111, an olde timey Southern Confederate  garden gnome, Trump’s misguided appointment to the Justice Department (does he ever get anything right?) was not immune, and was obliged to recuse himself from further investigations; a stance President Trump has reportedly raged over now and then as it has left him exposed to allegations of obstructing justice and unable to fire his tormentors at will.

For the benefit of the few Americans who don’t understand, Britain’s GCHQ is not a security agency per se, like MI5 (domestic) or MI6 (foreign). It is a hi-tech, sensitive listening post, a resource bristling with antennae, an information black hole, that monitors global communications traffic, yours and mine, for signs of sedition, supplying security data to the world’s intel agencies.

In 2015, GCHQ flagged to the FBI and NSA that certain Trump cronies in the campaign and the transition and eventually the fragmenting administration team were getting on the phone to Moscow rather too often, discussing ways of subverting the 2016 and 2018 elections. The espionage monitoring teams were alerted and individuals put on watch, who were not already on watch. (You see, The Thing has been running on for some time, which is why it is strange to imagine Americans who are only beginning to rub their eyes and scratch their woolly heads in wonder.)

Since then, Congressional committees have reaffirmed it: Putin had sought to block Clinton and take whatever else was on offer; which, to his enormous delight, was the most ignorant, incompetent, narcissistic, greedy, careless and biddable candidate on the planet.

Donald J Trump, reality TV show presenter, superannuated playboy, six-times bankrupt property developer, international “business tycoon” with known US and Russian mob associates, billion-dollar debtor and former Democrat voter with liberal values, now a self-deluding political opportunist attracting a disaffected working-class voter base he would scrape off his shoe.

“Maxillo-facial surgeons will be having a field day, so many dropped jaws will need wiring”.

Robert Mueller, the special counsel looking into possible collaboration, has now indicted 25 named Russian politicians and intelligence agents who, he is fairly convinced, were behind various hacking and disinformation operations in the runup to the 2016 election.

To see the Trump brand on a Moscow skyscraper, to hold another beauty pageant, to put himself in a position where he could profit ad libitum from the office of President and remain immune to indictments concerning his many dubious financial deals, this prisonable individual Trump was apparently prepared to sell his country down the river.

Or so a growing majority of Americans believe, who can now be in no doubt after witnessing the most humiliating press conference in modern history, that they have elected a President who is either unfathomably stupid, or impeachably corrupt.

Despite the mountain of evidence with which he was forearmed before going into the conference chamber, Mr Trump claims he confronted Mr Putin in private over his attempts to subvert American democracy, and Mr Putin not only hotly and plausibly denied it, but offered to help with any investigations into the affair, which was good enough for Mr Trump as the two of them had gotten along so well together.

Maxillo-facial surgeons will be having a field day, so many dropped jaws will need wiring.

Mr Trump then returned to his familar themes: the FBI’s “witch hunt” against him, the lies of the “Fake News” media, his nonpareil economic and polling successes, the evils of immigration, the duplicity of his former opponent, Hillary Clinton, and her thirty thousand deleted emails – which were without a shred of a doubt hacked by the GRU with his approval – her use of a “private server” thought to be AOL, but which the technologically illiterate Trump believes has gone missing – no, really!

His final conclusion was that there was no reason to believe Russia was behind the hacks and the misinformation. Why would they be? he asked, disingenuously. It must have been the Democratic party. (He cannot stop rerunning obsessively in his mind, the election that brought him to power, only on a minority vote.)

If this is Watergate repeating itself as farce, it’s actually no longer funny.

“America has been toppled by a global syndicate of billionaire disruptors, not by Bernie Sanders.”

After a week in which Trump insulted and demeaned his principal allies, attempted to “meddle” in German and British internal politics, played with himself photo-opportunistically on one of his loss-making golf courses (then billed himself £50k on the US taxpayer) and generally did whatever he could to aid Mr Putin’s scheme of breaking-up NATO and the EU in advance of their summit, few Americans outside his crazed evangelical voter base, whose jobs are fast disappearing behind his lunatic trade wall against China; whose health insurances are evaporating in the wake of his $1.4 trillion tax giveaway to the wealthiest 1%, can be in any doubt now that he is hell-bent on the destruction of America, if not the entire Free World.

There can be no doubt that it is deliberate policy, that he is somehow “owned” by Putin, whose smirk when asked about that said it all, and that America has been defeated by a weaker opponent without a shot being fired. While some may hail the premature end of the neoCon experiment known as the Project for the New American Century, we should be wary of the alternative. America has been toppled by a global syndicate of criminal billionaire disruptors, not by Bernie Sanders.

Nothing will now be done to prevent Russia from doing whatever it can to ensure another Republician majority in Congress in November. Indeed, a party of Republican congressmen travelled to Moscow two weeks ago to cement Trump’s treachery; leaving behind the question: can he be stopped?

Whether on his own account, motivated by the Iago-like, nihilistic whisperings of his former security advisor, Steve Bannon, or whether he is doing Putin’s bidding for fear of exposure of some secret so terrible he would not survive it – and that would have to be pretty terrible – Trump surely has to be finished now. Vice-President Pence’s endorsement of every filthy, rotten word of Trump’s Helsinki press conference surely looks like a positioning maneuver for the Big Job; his repellent sycophancy reminding everyone why they have so little appetite for regime change.

Even were he not the world’s most egotistical sociopath, both intensely sensitive to and yet inured to public opprobrium, The Great Negotiator must now see he has nowhere to go; no chips to play with. After the disastrous miscalculation of his North Korea summit, that everyone warned him about beforehand, this latest debacle has revealed him for what he is.

Nothing, and nobody: a made-for-TV cartoon businessman, far out of his depth on the world stage.

A pretentious, self-interested, helium-filled blimp.

A fool – and a tool.

Postscriptum

This may be one of the most important pieces of reporting you will see this week: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySZvUCFR4tk

In it, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow explains clearly and unambiguously what the President’s statements might mean in the light of new indictments in the Mueller probe; and warns America to be prepared for the revelation that their entire administration, President Trump and the Republican party in Congress have been deeply compromised by a sophisticated Russian spying operation, of which there is now incontrovertible evidence.

 

…and here are the Jews (sorry… couldn’t resist.) (You’re fired. Ed.)

Some lessons are better left unlearned.

“Writing in the progressive-leaning Haaretz newspaper, Mordechai Kremnitzer, from the faculty of law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said the bill would “remove the mask so as to reveal the ugly face of ultranationalist Israel in all its repugnance”.

If you or I had said that, we would be hysterically accused by the Vested Interest Lobby of rabid antisemitism. Thank God, there are still many Jews who resist the idea of an Israeli apartheid state run on religious lines. Especially as the row has erupted at a time when Israel is again deploying its high-tech, high-explosive, low-risk ordnance to smash Hamas’ feeble home-made rocket batteries in Gaza.

I agree, all Hamas has to do is stop resisting. That would be to overlook 70 years of armed struggle with no conceivably good ending. But it would end the pain for Israel of constantly having to explain its policy of summarily executing Palestinian teenagers for throwing stones into no-man’s land from behind the Gaza fence.

You want to say it, whoever you are. Compassion is not a religious matter, sometimes it goes hand-in-hand with righteous anger. But of course, it’s an outrageous offence to use the N-word about today’s Israel when making gratuitous historical comparisons.

It’s just that some lessons are better left unlearned.

“Israel is in the throes of political upheaval as the country’s ruling party seeks to pass legislation that could allow for Jewish-only communities, which critics have condemned as the end of a democratic state. For the past half-decade, politicians have been wrangling over the details of the bill that holds constitution-like status and that Benjamin Netanyahu wants passed this month.” – Guardian

What is proposed is, ironically, a law that would be totally unconstitutional in the USA, Israel’s major sponsor, where the imposition of a State religion is expressly forbidden. It conflicts profoundly too with the hugely hopeful speech the founder, David ben-Gurion, gave to the United Nations in 1948, promising that Israel would be a sanctuary for all peoples of the region, of all religions.

The pragmatic Mr Netanyahu has crapped on that. So where are the noble aspirations now?

No doubt, the squalidly self-interested Trump regime will welcome the move on various grounds: the President’s son-in-law’s deep connections with both uncle Bibi and with organized crime figures in Israel; the convenience of the new law in enabling the annexation of East Jerusalem; Trump’s doctrinaire monoculturalism and brute support for whatever measures seem cruellest in any situation.

And, look, why is Netanyahu, who is close to arraignment on corruption charges, so emboldened now as to push for this “repugnant” legislation to pass through the bowels of the Knesset? Could it be that Trump’s infantile support and praise for ‘hard men’, tinpot dictators like al-Sisi, Duterte, Orban and Alayev, is giving hope and succour to greedy authoritarian bastards the world over?

Can we really say that the lights are going out? Not to put a fine a point on it, people the world over were probably asking the same question in 1938 and it still took them by surprise.

 

“The average cashier at McDonald’s would have to work over 895 years to make what the company’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook, earns in one year.” – Bernie Sanders

 

Don’t let him out

Last week in my cups I trolled the Blessed Mary Greeley website after she republished uncritical comments on the case of “Tommy Robinson”, the gaoled racist, and attracted a deal of sympathy from the Deplorables.

I wanted to write more but had no time, so here’s what I would have written on her Comments thread:

 

I apologize for my brief outburst earlier, and would like to Britsplain what is going on in the case of “Tommy Robinson” for American followers of Mary Greeley, who may be receiving an oversimplified version of the story. (I hesitate to use the word ‘facts’, for fear of being branded some sort of realist.)

As for me, It is true that I had an urban education, being brought up by a couple of jobbing actors with a love of words, but I am only a retired domestic caretaker and handyman, I have no special status as a pinko liberal snowflake.

Among other media, The Independent reported:

“Robinson was jailed after admitting contempt of court by live-streaming details of a trial that was subject to blanket reporting restrictions at Leeds Crown Court last month.

“The 35-year-old, who was jailed under his real name of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, had already been handed a suspended sentence for the same crime and was told he could have caused the trial to collapse.”

Now, this is my comment: He admitted the offence. Let’s think about that.

Had there been a re-trial of the offenders, who were found guilty and sentenced to long jail terms through the proper exercise of our justice system, it would have involved their victims facing an uncomfortable cross-examination a second time.

Robinson (Yaxley-Lennon) was clearly not, as some say, hoping to expose a cover-up by the authorities of crimes committed by “Muslims”, at some personal sacrifice; his arrest was a publicity stunt, around which far-right groups from all over Europe have mobilized, provoking the reaction of politicians, Christian, Islamic and Jewish groups, the press, ‘people of decency’ and of course, Antifa activists. Which, of course, he is very happy about.

And while his lawyers appeal, he is keeping the pot boiling with alarming claims that he fears being assassinated by Muslims while in jail; statements for which he has no evidence but which play to the gallery and are unfortunately swallowed whole by Mary Greeley followers.

It’s pretty clear that Robinson did not care about the victims at all, but was only seeking an opportunity to amplify his paranoid views on a wider stage about a ‘Muslim takeover’ of Britain. Otherwise he could have waited one more day for the trial to finish and expressed his views happily without running the risk of arrest and prosecution.

Nor did he seek to defend himself; clearly hoping that his imprisonment would galvanize support for his anti-Islamic campaign. Whatever your views on immigration, and frankly I cannot see why people should not be able to live freely wherever they choose, there are a quarter of a million Americans living in Britain and welcome, the #freetommyrobinson movement has provoked a kneejerk reaction by a wide range of social extremophiles to a dogwhistle act of self-martyrdom by a convicted criminal.

Muslims – many of whom migrated here decades ago as citizens of former, exploited British dominions – comprise just 3.6 per cent of the population and cannot be regarded as some threatening monolithic bloc or an “invasion”. Islam in Britain is not under any centralized control. There are factions and degrees within Islam just as there are within Christianity.

Islamist extremists comprise a tiny minority that may be growing as a result of Islamophobia; mostly native to Britain, their views have been shaped by propagandists mining the history of abusive Western interventions in majority Muslim countries; as well as by aggressive policing.

Many of his supporters have tried to argue that Robinson was merely exercising his right to demonstrate lawfully in a public place, ignoring that he was livestreaming himself on Facebook – ensuring a worldwide audience for his views on British justice while prejudicing the trial.

We have long had “Judges’ rules” here in Britain about not commenting publicly on court cases while they are ongoing. The anonymity of witnesses is always enforced in the case of minors and sexual abuse charges. Robinson knows this perfectly well.  The right of free speech in Britain does not extend to breaking a legal injunction protecting children from intrusive harrassment.

Another argument that is being put forward in Robinson’s defence is that he has said no more about the trial than has been reported in mainstream media. The same supporters then go on to argue that the “politically correct” media has kept silent on the subject of grooming and rape cases involving organized groups of mainly Pakistan-origin migrants. They cannot have it both ways.

And in fact, such cases until they come to trial have been extensively reported in the media, which helped to expose the perpetrators in the first place. No-one is excusing their vile behaviour; the point being, these were not religiously motivated crimes, as Robinson and his supporters insist, demanding a wrongful interpretation of Islamic practices.

I don’t burgle a house because I was baptized a Christian, I do it because I’ve found it’s an easy way to make money.

Many supporters, while claiming that theirs is a nonviolent, non-racist movement and that Robinson is opposed to the far-right, although he seems to share many of their views, do so with a great deal of violence in their voices, the occasional Hitler salute and a willingness to oppose those whom they perceive as Islamist fellow-travellers in a never-ending war (when was the last time any of you Christian soldiers saw the inside of a church?). Forgive us older ‘lefty luvvies’ if we see echoes of the 1930s in all of this, but they are there.

It is true that officials locally failed for years to intervene in those sex trafficking rings, fearing accusations of racism and possible revenge attacks; but there was no centralized policy of politicians and the media to avoid charges of bias against immigrant communities of mainly Pakistani origin, suggesting that organized sexual abuse of vulnerable minors is a cultural norm in Pakistan. It may be outside the cities, I don’t know.

And that the victims were mainly vulnerable young white teenagers? It’s surely a matter of the easy availability of a victim pool: we need to look at the economics of austerity: poor housing, inadequate schools, homeless families, hopeless parenting, drug abuse, underinvested industries and underfinanced local authorities, before we even start to blame Muslims as a clade.

I don’t expect the bulk of Mary Greeley followers to understand or agree with my analysis, but you might do us the courtesy of appreciating that we are governed by laws in Britain that have evolved over centuries of struggle against the ruthless authoritarianism of a privileged landed class to be as fair and tolerant as the mass of people deserve.

Make no mistake, we will defend them.

You on the other hand have put yourselves under the autocratic rule of a demented old thug, a serial liar and incompetent administrator; possibly even a compromised Russian asset, whose only interest in the presidency is to enrich himself and his children. I accept it may be difficult to see it from your position; or perhaps you just don’t care anymore.

MAGA? Good luck with that. But let’s not free the Tommy Robinsons of this world. Not just yet. In any case, he’s achieving more from his cell than he ever did outside.

 

GW: flushin’ hot and wet

Nigeria: Over 30 people have reportedly died in flooding. Severe flooding struck Ogun State in south western Nigeria on 13 July after a period of heavy rain caused rivers to overflow. Torrential rain between 15 and 16 July caused deadly flooding and widespread damage in the northern state of Katsina, situated on the border with Niger. Flooding in south eastern Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) has left at least 2 people dead. – edited from Floodlist.

Update, 17 July: The Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari, has confirmed that 48 people have now died in the flooding. 20 people are still missing. “This is the worst natural disaster I have ever witnessed in my life. I believe this is the worst ever seen in the state,” the governor said.”

China: Severe flooding since 12 July in Sichuan and Gansu provinces in China has left at least 15 people dead and caused widespread material damage. Almost 1 million have been affected by the flooding in Sichuan province, where 3 people have died. As many as 100,000 people have been evacuated in Santai, Beichuan, and Pingwu counties, state news agency Xinhua reported. 12 deaths were reported in neighbouring Gansu province.” – edited from Floodlist.

Japan: a 39 deg. C (102F) heatwave has resulted in over 2 thousand hospitalizations and at least 7 deaths in the wake of the devastating floods and landslides in the southwest that killed around 200 and forced the evacuations of 5 million people.

USA: 100 deg. F-plus temperatures are persisting over much of the SW this week while New York and much of the east coast is experiencing 90 deg. F. plus. Phoenix Az once again leads the way with 42 deg. C (107F). Cooler conditions are forecast for Canada, where more than 50 people have died from heat-related conditions this month. (source: The Weather Channel)

Europe:  “At least 11 wildfires are raging inside the Arctic Circle as the hot, dry summer turns an abnormally wide area of Europe into a tinderbox. The worst affected country, Sweden, has called for emergency assistance from its partners in the European Union to help fight the blazes… The Copernicus Earth observation satellite, which gives daily updates of fires in Europe, shows more than 60 fires burning in Sweden, with sites also ablaze in the Arctic latitudes of Norway, Finland and Russia.

The Weather Channel/ Floodlist/ Guardian

 

Spanish onions

“Problems with the submarine first became apparent in 2013 when it was discovered it would be too heavy to float, necessitating a redesign to make it lighter and spread the weight over an extra 10 metres.

“But that means the vessel is now too long to fit into the submarine dock in the Spanish naval base at Cartagena…” which is having to be lengthened at a cost of €16m. – Guardian report, 19 July

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Brexit means sod it… It’s Magic: How to become President of the United States of Amerika… Close down the immigration functions of the Home Office. They are not fit for purpose.GW: kickin’ up a storm… Fantasy fiction

“After one of the coldest Aprils in U.S. history, last month delivered a stunning switch—the warmest May for the contiguous U.S. in records going back to 1895. May came in at 5.21°F above the 20th-century average….” – The Weather Channel.  More fun weather stories from Granny Weatherwax, down the page!

 

“Dear Theresa, don’t say we didn’t warn you about a No-deal Brexit.”. From: Michael, and all at ‘Inter-ministerial Preparedness’, c/o The Bunker, Whitehall, London SW1.

Brexit means sod it…

In one scenario, “not even the worst”,

“…the port of Dover will collapse on day one. The supermarkets of Cornwall and Scotland will run out of food within a couple of days, and hospitals will run out of medicines within two weeks. … Officials would have to charter planes to airlift medicines into the country, and within a fortnight petrol would also be in short supply. … Meanwhile, EU agreements on everything from medicines regulation to aviation govern key aspects of everyday life, and it has not yet been agreed whether, and how, Britain could continue to benefit from them as a “third country”.

Thus, The Observer, quoting a rival Sunday Times interview with an unnamed “civil servant” from a Whitehall department close to the inter-ministerial group on Preparedness, calling herself presumptuously “M. Gove, Prime Minister-in-Waiting” – who has revealed something of the contingency plans being drawn up in secret by the Government in the event of a ‘No-deal’ Brexit, for which the libertarian self-help neo-Thatcherite hard-cases and swivel-eyed Empire loyalists in the Tory party are again pressing in the absence of any detectable progress on the Irish border issue – or, indeed, on anything.

The worst-case scenario, by the way, is described as ‘Armageddon”. For which, read: “Boris becomes Prime Minister”.

A spokesman for the Department for Exiting the European Union said: “These claims are completely false. … none of this will come to pass.”

“Come to pass”? Now that’s a pretty Biblical choice of phrasing.

Apocalyptic, even.

x

Alone at last.

Magic: How to become President of the United States of Amerika

Simples. You bullshit your way past the low-bar credulity of the average US voter.

Here’s how it works, as exemplified in a BBC News feature about the great mid-20th century (and first star TV) magician, Sorcar:

“Sorcar was born Protul Chandra Sarkar on 23 February 1913 in the village of Ashekpur in Bengal. At school, he excelled in maths … but his real calling was magic. Changing his name to Sorcar – it sounded like “sorcerer” – he started performing in clubs, circuses and theaters.
“Still a complete unknown outside a few cities in Bengal, he decided to call himself “The World’s Greatest Magician” … The ploy worked. Invitations started to pour in from across the country.”

Yes, it really is that easy. People will go along with whatever you tell them, they have too much to worry about already without doubting that you are the world’s greatest ever Presidential candidate, if you say it often enough.

“‘Trump’ was born Donald J Trumplestiltskin 111 in Queen’s, New York, on June whatever, 1946, the son of a respected property developer and founding member of the Ku Klux Klan, Manhattan chapter. His immigrant grandfather, Herr Professor Doktor Friedrich von-und-zu Drumpfelstiltskin was a respected German draft dodger and brothel-keeper. The family changed their name to sound more American.
“At school he excelled at smuggling women into the dorm, but his real calling was lying about that. Still known only as a respected reality show host and serial bankrupt, he embarked on a career as a professional liar. Unsuccessful at first, he eventually succeeded in persuading a sufficient minority of US voters that migrants were animals and he would Make America Great Again.”

Your Uncle Bogler has taken close note of the career trajectory of “Sorcar”, who made a name for himself in Britain during the 1950s in a single memorable night by pretending that his pièce de resistance, sawing a lady in half in plain sight, had gone hideously wrong in front of a screaming television audience of several thousand future PTSD cases.

The exiled Russian journalist, Arkady Babchenko, similarly became famous for 15 minutes last week when, at the suggestion of Ukrainian Intelligence agents, he was revealed to have participated in a fake assassination of himself in order to help them catch the real Smersh hitman they believed was coming from Moscow to rub him out.

In a neat reversal of the Sorcar trick, he miraculously resurrected himself three days later in Kiev, in front of a screaming and fainting TV studio audience, much to the disgust of the world’s journalistic community, who had hoped he really was dead so they could write about another evil Russian plot to exterminate Putin’s critics.

I have decided therefore to rebrand myself as “The World’s Most Insightful Bogler”, although I have yet to decide whether to fake my own death or stage my own resurrection, or maybe run for President.

See what happens.

Can’t hurt.

 

Close down the immigration functions of the Home Office. They are not fit for purpose.

The Home Office has just rejected my husband’s application for a leave to remain and work in the UK visa, stating: “In regards to the care of your child you have provided no compelling evidence that her welfare in the UK could not be maintained to a sufficient level in the absence of your partner.”

Thus runs a petition we’ve received seeking another 20 thousand signatures to force a Parliamentary debate on the immorality of breaking up families purely on nationalistic grounds.

The letter further goes on to suggest impertinently that if the petitioner wishes to continue her teacher training unencumbered, she could foist the child onto her mother.

This is carrying conventional State-sanctioned abuse beyond parody. Britain is becoming more like Nazi Germany, worse perhaps Arizona, the nearer we draw to the final act of betrayal of our European partners.

Ausweise, bitte.

I’m wondering, not for the first time, why anyone in their right mind would want to live here? Certainly, if the Home Office were to offer me 100 thousand pounds to leave, I would happily make space for an immigrant, his or her dog and cat tomorrow.

Why Parliament needs to be forced to a debate on such an issue is a moot question.* It is only one of thousands of desperate injustices perpetrated by the cowardly bullies at the Home Office that have been coming to light since the ghastly Theresa May’s six-year regime there, that make us all thoroughly proud to be British. Mr John Crace, the parliamentary sketch writer of The Guardian, wittily dubbed Mrs May “The Maybot”. I suspect beneath the caricature of an automaton performing to a program he correctly senses her for what she is: a Frankenstein patchwork creature, a cypher without a soul.

That some deeply unpleasant little stamp-wallah – probably an immigrant themselves – should seek to split up a couple who have been legally married in the UK for eight years, the mother is British, the child is British – he is not a “partner” – who are merely seeking to confirm their residential status, and force the poor woman on to the barely exigent mercies of the State, which we had thought disapproves of unwed mothers, merely because her husband lacks the necessary piece of paper to stay with her, is an outrage – a bureaucratic crime, for which Mr Sajid Javed or whatever the name of the follically challenged son of a Pakistani bus driver is, should be arraigned before a properly constituted committee and his little brown balls torn off.

Although this case started, I suppose, under the auspices of his short-lived predecessor, the financial whizz Amber Rudd (see Private Eyes passim for enlightening information as regards her business dealings).

We laugh at the USA under the corrupt oaf, Trump, do we not, his vile prejudices and his heartless diktats, the licensed brutalities of his ICE immigration gestapo.

Are we any better?

These dreadful apparatchiks at the Home Office need to be prised from their brown faux-leather seats, to which they are stuck by some foul-smelling secretion,  and sent to a quite uncomfortable camp in the bleak Welsh countryside, to be “re-educated” in our decent, civilized, liberal British values.

What’s left of them.

*Yes, I know what a ‘moot’ is. It was a pun.

x

GW: kickin’ up a storm

Once again it is necessary only to republish just the menu of video clips of extreme weather events around the world from the most recent issue of Climate and Extreme Weather News (#125, 05 June) to understand the gravity of the situation, so without apology:

Germany: Magdeburg, Schoningen, Betzdorf, Saarland, Soest & Gronau flash floods Belgium: Liege flash floods Luxembourg: Mullerthal & Waldbillig flash floods Austria: Burgenland floods France: Gougenheim & Morlaix flash floods Spain: Tordomar, Socovos & Antzuola flash floods Georgia: Rustavi flood Russia: Saransk & Kazan windstorms The USA: North Carolina flash floods & mudslides; The Ute Park Fire & The 416 Fire Guatemala: Retalhuleu flash flood Mexico: Heatwave India: Storms & floods Indonesia: Tolitoli flood China: Inner Mongolia wildfires & Hong Kong heatwave Malaysia: Penampang flood Yemen: Sanaa flash floods…

It goes on, and on.

USA: “Devastating wildfires have ripped through Durango, Colorado this weekend, burning more than 2,000 acres in a 24-hour period. Mandatory evacuations have been issued in the region after 1,900 homes are threatened by raging blaze.”

And a massive fire in Colfax County, New Mexico, had grown to 27,290 acres by Saturday morning and was 0% contained, according to InciWeb. Nearly 450 personnel were battling that fire. A mandatory evacuation order was in place for the town of Cimarron, where 296 structures were threatened by the blaze, called the Ute Park Fire, InciWeb said. CNN.

“Since 1970, the annual average number of wildfires larger than 1,000 acres has more than doubled in the western U.S. The typical wildfire season has also stretched by about two and a half months longer over that time. U.S. forests sucked up approximately 250 million metric tons of carbon in 2010, offsetting more than 15 percent of all of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions. Wildfires threaten to turn forests from a carbon sink into a source of emissions by releasing that stored carbon into the atmosphere.” – WX Shift.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has declared a state of emergency in eight counties affected by flooding from heavy rains. National Weather Service Charleston, WV, said that saturated soils and continued rainfall are leading to flash and other forms of flooding across the West Virginia mountains, adding that “this is a life threatening situation for many folks who have had their fill of rain.”

Two massive storm systems have merged over the Texas/Louisiana coast, and there’s a potential Cat 3 hurricane brewing (from weather-watcher, MrMBB333). “An American Airlines plane was forced to make an emergency landing Sunday night in El Paso, Texas, after a hailstorm damaged the windshield. One of the pilots said they could barely see as Flight 1897 flew into the storms in southern New Mexico before having to turn around.” (The Weather Channel) (Actually a photo shows the damage was to the nosecone, which contains the navigation equipment, and was largely missing.)

In Mexico, a heatwave has reportedly hit 50 deg. C (122F) with temperatures persisting in the high 40s over five states, although across the country May as a whole was not the hottest on record; unlike El Norte, where May turned out more than 5 deg. F. above the 20th century average for the contiguous United States.

Guatemala: as if the devastating eruption of Mt Fuego, causing hundreds of casualties, was not enough, there’s also been flash flooding in the city of Retalhuleu after torrential rain. At the site of the volcano, the thick ash deposit that has buried whole villages is turning to concrete in the rain.

France: “Parts of Eure department in Normandy recorded 70 mm of rain during the night, 04 to 05 June. AFP reports that a man was found dead, drowned in his vehicle in Piseux, Eure department earlier today. This is the second major flood event in France in the last 2 days. A storm that hit Brittany caused severe flooding. Fire and emergency crews were called out to over 450 incidents, over half of them in the town of Morlaix. Social media showed flood water raging through the streets (after) around a month’s worth of rain fell in less than an hour. The Jarlot river that runs through Morlaix reached its highest ever level.” (edited from Floodlist report)

Spain: “Torrential rain in parts of southern Spain from 02 to 03 June caused severe flooding in Valencia, Albacete and Murcia provinces. 116.8 mm of rain fell on Valencia in 24 hours. Roads and tunnels were flooded and transport severely disrupted. Firefighters rescued 3 people trapped in their car in rising flood water. In the province of Albacete, El Gallego recorded 180 mm of rain in 24 hours, according to local observers. (edited from Floodlist report)

Bulgaria: Over 70 mm of rain fell in 24 hours (04 June) in the port city of Varna on the Black Sea coast, flooding streets and causing severe traffic disruption. “…the city would normally see 46 mm of rain during the whole of June.” (from Floodlist)

Russia: the cities of Saransk and Kazan have been hit by ferocious windstorms ripping off roofs and overturning cars. Siberian Times (22 May) reports 40 injured in “hurricane-force winds – worst-hit were Chelyabinsk, Kurgan and Yekaterinburg in the Urals, with Tyumen suffering a spectacular sandstorm.” Temperatures in the north have been in the high 20s C (79 F). Reports from the former Soviet state of Tajikistan on the Afghan border say that 6 people drowned in floods and mudslides in late May after torrential rain – the third such incident since 2015.

Siberian Times also reports on the mystery deaths of “thousands” of reindeer in Yamalo-Nenets (“an area twice the size of Germany”). The proximate cause appears to be rain falling on frozen ground and snowfields, coating their forage in ice, so that they starve; however an underlying reason may be a pandemic caused by anthrax spores released by the summer melting of the permafrost.

India: 17 people have been killed in the state of Uttar Pradesh after more wind and dust storms brought on by the intense heat caused houses and trees to collapse. The death toll from these storms in northern India has reached 150 since 01 May. In the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram at least 10 people died when a building was swept away by a landslide triggered by heavy rains. … “a flash flood on 03 June washed away a temporary bridge over the river Tuirini in the northern part of Aizawl district, cutting off 37 villages.” (Floodlist, citing Times of India)

China: 4 thousand draftees have been battling up to 14 wildfires that broke out in primeval mountain forest in Mongolia on 01 June, caused by lightning strikes and fanned by hot, dry winds. Hong Kong has received more heat advisories after beating a previous record of 13 consecutive days over 33 deg. C, 91F. Two storms brewing in the S China sea are expected to ‘blow away’ the heat over the weekend.

Vietnam: “at least” 1 person has died and properties have been damaged by heavy rain causing flooding and landslides as Tropical Cyclone Ewinar passes over the country. Warnings are out for several southerly Chinese provinces. Thousands of hectares of rice crops are again disrupted by flooding. (from Floodlist, 07 June, citing official sources.)

CEWN #125/ Floodlist/

x

Fantasy fiction

Writing on the possible collapse of the “carbon bubble” – a phrase implying the rapid withdrawal of investment in fossil fuels – Fiona Harvey, “Environment correspondent” for The Guardian, informs us that:

“Separately, an analysis in Nature Energy forecast that global energy demand would be about 40% lower than today by 2050, despite rises in population and income, and a growing global economy. The authors found that such a scenario would allow the world to stay within 1.5C of warming, the aspirational goal set under the Paris agreement.”

It’s going to have to be a good trick, that, since we are already at well over 1.5 degrees of warming and there is scant possibility that the present civilizational paradigm can hold together in the face of growing food insecurity and rising temperatures until 2050, always assuming the worst predictions of the Extinction 2030 group of scientists haven’t already happened by then.

The necessary preconditions for 8 to 10 degrees of warming are already in place, cannot be reversed, and such an outcome is not survivable by a population of, by then, 10 billion people, all demanding food, protection from pandemics and a higher standard of living with a “growing economy”. There is little prospect either of rising incomes, that in general have not progressed since the financial crash – another may be imminent.

Analysts who write absurd papers like that require psychiatric help.

 

Happy landings

Hawaii: Kilaueia’s vast caldera is reportedly collapsing under its own weight, at a rate of 5 ft a day, into the void left by its magma draining out underground, still popping up in people’s gardens 25 miles away as mass evacuations take place. More earthquakes have rocked the even huger Mt Mauna Loa to the north, the world’s largest active volcano, but these have now stopped (05 June) Good sign? A new cone is forming on the side of Pu’u o’o. Big Island has experienced over 4 thousand earthquakes since the eruptions began last month.

Still on a geological tack, there’s more activity at Mt St Helen’s in Washington State, where 64 people were killed in a devastating eruption in 1980. The magma dome inside the crater is starting to rise again.

Yellowstone: the Steamboat geyser went off again at the weekend, the 9th eruption this year – previous annual record 3, in 2003. Webcam at Old Faithful geyser viewing point shaking violently with earth tremors. (Mary Greeley)

And Mount Fire (Fuego) in Guatemala erupted without warning on Sunday, killing possibly “dozens” of villagers on its slopes; enough, that is, to feature on the news; while ‘Dutchsinse’, the St Louis-based amateur geologist with an 80% or better record of predicting the locations and size of earthquakes, has drawn attention to the unusual number of magnitude 5 earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in virtually all the “usual” locations around the Pacific rim including California and New Zealand, and a cluster of deep M3 or larger quakes around the Aegean running through Turkey into Iran, portending possibly larger activity to come.

Express/ CNN/ Dutchsinse/ BBC News/ Floodlist/

The Pumpkin – Issue 53: Fork handles… “I just want to bang my daughter”… “Don’t worry, there’s not going to be a hurricane…” … GW: Off to the seaside wiv’ me bucket ‘n spade… No Fly Zone.

“And my new range of Trump underpants will be produced by some very fine workers in Pyongyang. The finest, best-pressed Y-fronts, believe me.”

 

“Could we possibly tax Trump himself when he arrives, as an unwanted import?”

Fork handles

In the wake of President Trump’s cretinous imposition of trade tariffs on the US’s own allies (but not so much on China? Oh, no, he’s gone and done that now. They’ll be wanting the money back…), Canada, Mexico and the EU are threatening retaliation. According to BBC News, in addition to steel and aluminum:

“Canada also plans a 10% tariff on more varied items:

  • Yoghurt, soya sauce, strawberry jam, “mixed condiments”, pizza and quiche
  • Orange juice, whiskies, coffee, soups and waters
  • Manicure and pedicure products, hair lacquers, shaving foam, toilet paper and dishwasher detergents
  • Playing cards, felt-tipped pens, inflatable boats, lawnmowers and sleeping bags

“The list, published by the Department of Finance, also includes a tariff on candles…” Although birthday-cake candles are sweetly exempt, demonstrating the moral difference between Canadians and Americans.

Then, the Washington Post reports, “The Mexican government said it would target U.S. exports of pork bellies, apples, cranberries, grapes, certain cheeses and various types of steel. ”

Pork bellies. Hairspray. Felt-tipped pens. Candles. It’s all proof, if proof were needed, that America makes and exports absolutely nothing of any value. The list reveals an obsession with consumerist junk, nothing more. You can scrap the whole fucking list, and maybe help save the planet, if not your corner drugstore.

The Pumpkin has racked his brains to come up with anything the US produces that we could slap punitive tariffs on as a reprisal here in Britain. Obviously, Coke and Pepsi, although they’re brewed here under license, like Ford cars. Anyway, we’ve already slapped a sugar tax on them. Star Wars prequels (made in UK?), pitiful “superhero” movies… Meghan Markle?

Could we possibly tax Trump himself when he arrives, as an unwanted import? His quasi-state visit will cost the taxpayer a fortune in absurd displays of willy-bragging Imperial security measures, we should claw some of it back.

What value would you put on him?

Over in Brussels, Herr Juncker can manage to find only bourbon, Levi jeans and Harley Davidson motorbikes to tax, a combination more suggestive of his own mid-life crisis than of official EU trade policy.

No-one of course has dared to mention Boeing aircraft, Lockheed-Martin’s problematic F-35 fighter planes, Microsoft Office, Google and Raytheon cruise missiles. A 45% import tariff on US-made arms sales might go some way toward mitigating Trump’s horrendous foreign policy blunders. (But please leave Amazon alone, I buy a lot of jazz recordings off them!) A tax on phenomenally expensive and more-or-less compulsory software might reduce our dependence on malevolent technology and its evil wizards.

Does he even know, the vast majority of “imported, cheap, subsidized Japanese cars” he hates for stealing American jobs are in fact made in America, by American workers, who will lose their jobs BECAUSE of his tariffs? Too many US manufacturing companies are industrial dinosaurs, that will go to the wall behind his protective screens. It’s investment they need, not share-ramping buybacks by tax-cut glutted shareholders.

Jesus, he’s so dumb. Why did that preening little prick he fired, Scaramucci go on BBC radio today to defend him? What secret hold does the demented old thug have over this ambitious crew of maladjusted ratbags?

 

“I just want to bang my daughter”

The following story has been lifted pretty wholesale from The Young Turks’ YouTube news discussion channel, 01 June, and is verified by a short piece in The Guardian:

“Nathan Larson, a 37-year-old accountant from Charlottesville, Virginia (site of last year’s notorious antisemitic neo-Nazi rally), is running for Congress as an independent candidate in his native state.

“He is also a pedophile, as he admitted to the Huffington Post on Thursday, who has bragged in website posts about raping his late ex-wife” (He’s also an avowed white supremacist who says he admires Adolf Hitler, who never, so far as we know, raped anybody.)

“In a phone call, Larson confirmed that he created the now-defunct websites suiped.org and incelocalypse.today ― chatrooms that served as gathering places for pedophiles and violence-minded misogynists like himself.

“HuffPost contacted Larson after confirming that his campaign website shared an IP address with these forums, among others. His sites were terminated by their domain host on Tuesday.

“On the phone, he was open about his pedophilia and seemingly unfazed about his long odds of attaining government office:

“’A lot of people are tired of political correctness…’ (he said)”

He goes on to compare women with animals and to argue that sex-slavery at least allows them some freedoms. It gets almost unrepeatably silly, into the realms of caricature, as no real human being, not even psychotic mass killers like Ted Bundy, Ian Brady, Peter Sutcliffe or the late Dennis Nilsen, actually thinks or talks like this.

Larson is either another revolting. self-publicizing. whining alt-right narcissist, a more way-out Milo Yannopoulos reared on Ayn Rand’s disturbing sub-Nietzschean philosophy of unprincipled self-interest, an extreme sociopath who should be locked away for life and kept muzzled in case he bites; or he is just a troll, taking the piss in order to draw attention to the seeming invulnerability and gross popular appeal of Donald Trump in today’s “anything goes” America.

Since acquiring office, the President has virtually licensed this kind of ultra-extreme attitudinizing through, for instance, his support of pedophile candidate Roy Moore, the shit-for-brains newly retired comedienne Roseanne Barr and the racist abuser, “Sheriff” Joe Arpaio; statements about many neo-Nazis being “good people”; his employment of so many accused wife-beaters; claims that undocumented migrants are mere “animals” (as if animals have no rights); his evident Islamo-, Hispano-, homo- and trans-phobic prejudices, his obsessional abuse of Hillary Clinton (the ultimate unavailable woman) and his acknowledgement that his religious-right dumbfuck support-base is willing to forgive almost any monstrous conduct on his part in order to reinstate their imaginary white Christian caliphate and bring about The Rapture.

Not surprisingly, Larson’s wife committed suicide, and he has lost custody of their daughter, three years old, who, he says airily, he just wants to “bang”. He complains he can’t get another girlfriend. Not many people seem to think he’s going to win the seat, unless it’s an electrified one.

Yet not many people gave the grossed-up, abrasive, made-for-TV cartoon businessman character and cheater at golf, “Donald Trump”, a cat in hell’s chance of winning the presidency, a totally transparent old fraud, a superannuated playboy, and look what happened to that.

Only in America, we sigh wearily.

 

Give us your dosh

Appealing for money to carry on their campaign, OpenDemocracy.org cites the following story they’ve recently been pursuing, about the London Evening Standard essentially selling its news content for a one-off fee of £3 million to three giant US corporations. It sounds like a good wheeze, frankly, as the Standard hasn’t been a real newspaper for many years.

“George Osborne’s London Evening Standard newspaper has just sold ‘money can’t buy’ (clearly it can. Ed.) positive coverage to Uber, Google and other commercial giants – leaving millions of Londoners unaware of who’s paying for their news. OpenDemocracy broke the story about the brazen £3 million deal, which blurs the critical line between news and advertising – but here’s what shocked us most.

“Before publishing, we asked politicians from all major UK parties to speak about the story ‘on the record’. None would. They were too afraid of the power that Osborne’s newspaper wields – several even admitted this to us. We also offered a national broadsheet paper the chance to cover our scoop, exclusively, ahead of publication. They turned us down. We don’t know why.”

I hope they won’t mind me retweeting or whatever I’m doing with this story by reprinting just part of the appeal, but if it’s true it deserves to be out there and not buried by snowflake politicians – it’s only the fucking Evening Standard, Evgeny Lebedev’s personal social diary, it has no influence, nobody outside the M25 beltway gives a fuck what that smarmy cunt Osborne thinks – and the Guardian, which is presumably hoping to break the story themselves as they’re also desperate for money, so much so that they only write as if they’re a broadsheet, the famously pleasing and distinctive Berliner format having gone tacky tabloid in March.

Next thing, Kath Viner will be switching the font to cheaper Comic Sans.

Your BogPo (incorporating The Pumpkin) has on occasion appealed entirely fruitlessly for some financial support from somewhere, anywhere. We do so again, as we needs a new laptop thing on account of an act of pardonable domestic abuse against this recalcitrant and misbegotten little HP bugger, with its disappearing lettering.

Psst – wanna buy some nooze?

x

“Don’t worry, there’s not going to be a hurricane…”

Thus, BBC weatherman Michael Fish, just before a 100 mph cyclone trashed the south of England in 1987. But, technically, it wasn’t a hurricane….

While the public can get quite excited and terrified at the thought of a hurricane, a deadly and impressive-looking extreme weather event of which the world sees perhaps only 30 to 40 a year – in the Pacific they’re called typhoons – other kinds of storms can be just as lethally destructive, but aren’t perhaps as exciting or newsworthy.

One exception is “Sub-tropical depression Alberto’, that is carving a path from its birthplace in early May off the coast of Belize in the Gulf of Mexico, across Cuba, through the southern and south-eastern states of America. It doesn’t sound like much, just a sub-tropical storm named after the waiter at your second-favorite restaurant, but it’s causing massive devastation. Richard Davies at Floodlist writes:

“After making landfall as a Subtropical Storm near Laguna Beach in Florida on 28 May, Alberto has continued to move north as a Subtropical Depression, bringing heavy rain to areas that had already seen one of the wettest Mays on record. … Flooding has affected areas of Alabama and Georgia, as well as parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. … !n North Carolina, areas along the Blue Ridge have received 10-20 inches (250 to 500 mm) of rain since 15 May. … McDowell County is experiencing its most significant flooding since 2004 during Hurricanes Frances and Ivan. At least 4 deaths have been blamed on the storm. Two people died after a home collapsed under a mudslide in Watauga County. Previously two TV workers were killed when a tree fell on their vehicle.”

More than 50 roads have been closed, hundreds of households evacuated and properties destroyed.

And it’s a similar story elsewhere in the world. Out of the news cycles, massive storms that don’t fit the precise description of a hurricane – it has to be rotating around an ‘eye’ and meet certain windspeed conditions – have brought chaos to many places. A huge storm in April covered virtually the whole of the eastern Mediterranean and surrounding areas through to the Persian Gulf, over a thousand miles from edge to edge, across the supposedly permanently dry Middle East. Just last weekend, a system of interlinked storms pushed up from southwest France to cover most of continental Europe and on up into Britain and Scandinavia, bringing with it high winds, tornadoes, torrential rain, flash floods, hail causing ice flows up to 18-in deep, tens of thousands of lightning strikes and even snow in central France.

In all cases these storms follow a pattern, requiring tropically warm waters to breed and an unusually warm lower atmosphere. They merely lack the right wind and pressure conditions to organize as hurricanes. So as the world warms they can only get worse: bigger, wetter and more destructive.

Meanwhile, here on the perennially wet west coast of the UK, we’ve been enjoying a balmy few weeks under high-pressure, with much less rainfall than average and plentiful sunshine. Real holiday weather, for a change. June, however, has become notorious in recent years as the month most likely to end in monsoon-like conditions, although the long-range forecast this year is for hot and dry. following the very late Spring.

But, oh-oh, the light just dropped two f-stops as I was writing this…. a sea-mist has come rolling in and it’s time for our walk!

 

GW: Off to the seaside wiv’ me bucket ‘n spade.

The UK: “… has enjoyed its sunniest May on record, provisional figures show. A total of 245.3 hours of sunshine were measured across the country last month, according to the Met Office. This is more than any May since current records began in 1929. It was also the warmest May on record. The average daytime maximum temperature was 17.0C (62.6F), just beating the previous all-time high of 16.9C set in May 1992.” – Guardian.

So, good news, also possibly a bit bad… but look. The Met Office’s sunshine records start in 1929, temperature records go back only as far as 1910, what is going on? People have been keeping scientifically accurate weather records in Britain certainly since the 18th century. From a global warming perspective the shorter timeline masks a much more concerning cumulative rise post- the Industrial Revolution of the 1760s, of more than 2.3C as compared with, for instance, the IPCC’s “Don’t panic!” post-1981 estimate of only 0.89C.

Time the truth was told.

The EU: most of continental western Europe has once again been battered by heavy thunderstorms, with torrential rain, flash-flooding and mudslides in many parts of Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic,.

Atlantic: Owing to some cooling of the waters, as the season gets under way Colorado State University is predicting only an average Atlantic hurricane season, with possibly six named stprms out of 30 reaching hurricane proportions. As the Weather Channel points out, it only takes one… an article in this week’s New Yorker magazine draws attention to the dreadful aftermath in Puerto Rico of Hurricane Maria and the shoddy response of the Trump administration. Meantime we hear nothing more of any recovery efforts in the Virgin islands and other pirate haunts such as Tortuga and Barbuda, devastated by last year’s three most powerful storms.

The media may not be “fake nooze”, but its climate-change-averse agenda sure needs questions answering.

The Weather Channel/ Floodlist/

No Fly Zone

It is two in the afternoon on a warm, sunny, sultry day in coastal West Wales. It is early June. We had a shower first thing, but it has brightened up since. It’s been going along like this for almost a month now, the warmest May month certainly since 1910.

The Pumpkin is a lazy old baboon. He lives alone with his fur-bearing quadrupedal mammalian associates, Katz and Hunzi, and has done no washing-up since yesterday.

Plates, smeared with last night’s food residue; open packs, unwashed cutlery, a mostly consumed can of sardines (“there’s always a little bit in the corner” – Alan Bennett) litter the kitchen worktops. An ungrateful cat has nobly disdained her breakfast, a slimy lump of Whiskas slowly putrefying in its bowl on the floor. Empty catfood sachets are stuffed into a box on top of the fridge until recycling day comes around – she insists on ignoring three meals a day – you can smell them from here.

The kitchen door and various upstairs windows are open to receive what fresh air we are allowed these days. I’m in my shed, eating a pungent shellfish salad lunch. On the path outside, drying in the sunshine, is a small pool of sick thrown up, I expect, by Katz, who gets several more daily meals out of the neighbors. On the postage-stamp-sized “lawn”, Hunzi has left his latest meaty beef bone to ripen.

And guess what? That’s right.

There isn’t a single fly in the place.

Please don’t tell me this is normal.

Special feature: A Year in the Death

A Year in the Death

Summaries of extreme world weather events logged on The Boglington Post, in the ‘Granny Weatherwax’ column (GW also stands for Global Warming!) between roughly June 2017 and June 2018.

 

Introduction

Only a handful of the following events were ever reported in UK mainstream news, on a piecemeal basis and with the usual filter: the number of casualties; but it surely has to be evident that there is a much wider contextual story unfolding around the globe, at which it is probably too late for us to be alarmed. As the massively depressed “apocalyptic ecologist” Dr Guy McPherson exhorts us, just be kind to one another before the end, 

My principal sources have been mainstream and local TV weather news websites and independent weather reporters such as Dr Jeff Masters of ‘Wunderground’ (The Weather Channel), Richard Davies at Floodlist, Accuweather and Climate & Extreme Weather News, a website collecting ‘citizen journalist’ cameraphone footage of extreme events from around the world. Some credits have fallen off in the editing, while not all the Posts are represented here. There is obvious overlap, and some updating. I’ve tried to maintain chronological order, but it’s not a scientific report….

Your auld granny has been careless to the point of recklessness, too, in mixing up her Celsius and Fahrenheit and metric and imperial measurements. cm and mm and so forth. Where possible, altetrnatives have been included.

Generally, each section covers a week or less – the dates relate to the first posting but each entry is added to over the following few days, so dates are not archival. Some additional text, comment and any photos have been edited out for speed.

The picture in 2017 was pretty similar to 2016 and 2015. 2018 is shaping up to beat them all for chaotic events. ‘Extreme’ has become the new normal. As tipping points are exceeded – air and sea temperature anomalies north of the Arctic circle are giving grave cause for alarm, while wildfires are pouring CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and depositing solar-radiation-absorbing black soot particles over sea ice and glaciers – the Paris targets are fast becoming irrelevant.

South Korean TV for instance reports 1.8C of warming in the past century, well on the way to exceeding the Paris targets. British winters are said to be 2C warmer now than in the 1970s. With 35 deg. C anomalies regularly reported in the Arctic and sea ice again at a record low, Arctic News’ science team warns we are already well past Paris 1.5C and heading for 2C by 2021. On some measures, they note, we are already at 2.3C post-industrial.

But it can still get pretty cold, as US eastern seaboarders found in the first three months of 2018…!

 

 

2018, 05 June

Once again it is necessary only to republish just the menu of video clips of extreme weather events around the world from the most recent issue of Climate and Extreme Weather News (#125, 05 June) to understand the gravity of the situation, so without apology:

Germany: Magdeburg, Schoningen, Betzdorf, Saarland, Soest & Gronau flash floods Belgium: Liege flash floods Luxembourg: Mullerthal & Waldbillig flash floods Austria: Burgenland floods France: Gougenheim & Morlaix flash floods Spain: Tordomar, Socovos & Antzuola flash floods Georgia: Rustavi flood Russia: Saransk & Kazan windstorms The USA: North Carolina flash floods & mudslides; The Ute Park Fire & The 416 Fire Guatemala: Retalhuleu flash flood Mexico: Heatwave India: Storms & floods Indonesia: Tolitoli flood China: Inner Mongolia wildfires & Hong Kong heatwave Malaysia: Penampang flood Yemen: Sanaa flash floods…

USA: “Devastating wildfires have ripped through Durango, Colorado this weekend, burning more than 2,000 acres in a 24-hour period. Mandatory evacuations have been issued in the region after 1,900 homes are threatened by raging blaze.”

And a massive fire in Colfax County, New Mexico, had grown to 27,290 acres by Saturday morning and was 0% contained, according to InciWeb. Nearly 450 personnel were battling that fire. A mandatory evacuation order was in place for the town of Cimarron, where 296 structures were threatened by the blaze, called the Ute Park Fire, InciWeb said. CNN.

“Since 1970, the annual average number of wildfires larger than 1,000 acres has more than doubled in the western U.S. The typical wildfire season has also stretched by about two and a half months longer over that time. U.S. forests sucked up approximately 250 million metric tons of carbon in 2010, offsetting more than 15 percent of all of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions. Wildfires threaten to turn forests from a carbon sink into a source of emissions by releasing that stored carbon into the atmosphere.” – WX Shift.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has declared a state of emergency in eight counties affected by flooding from heavy rains. National Weather Service Charleston, WV, said that saturated soils and continued rainfall are leading to flash and other forms of flooding across the West Virginia mountains, adding that “this is a life threatening situation for many folks who have had their fill of rain.”

Meanwhile, 2 massive storm systems have merged over the Texas/Louisiana coast, and there’s a potential Cat 3 hurricane brewing (from weather-watcher, MrMBB333). “An American Airlines plane was forced to make an emergency landing Sunday night in El Paso, Texas, after a hailstorm damaged the windshield. One of the pilots said they could barely see as Flight 1897 flew into the storms in southern New Mexico before having to turn around.” (The Weather Channel)

In Mexico, a heatwave has reportedly hit 50 deg. C (122F) with temperatures persisting in the high 40s over five states, although across the country May as a whole was not the hottest on record.

Guatemala: as if the devastating eruption of Mt Fuego, causing hundreds of casualties, was not enough, there’s also been flash flooding in the city of Retalhuleu after torrential rain. At the site of the volcano, the thick ash deposit that has buried whole villages is turning to concrete in the rain.

France: “Parts of Eure department in Normandy recorded 70 mm of rain during the night, 04 to 05 June. AFP reports that a man was found dead, drowned in his vehicle in Piseux, Eure department earlier today. This is the second major flood event in France in the last 2 days. A storm that hit Brittany caused severe flooding. Fire and emergency crews were called out to over 450 incidents, over half of them in the town of Morlaix. Social media showed flood water raging through the streets (after) around a month’s worth of rain fell in less than an hour. The Jarlot river that runs through Morlaix reached its highest ever level.” (edited from Floodlist report)

Spain: “Torrential rain in parts of southern Spain from 02 to 03 June caused severe flooding in Valencia, Albacete and Murcia provinces. 116.8 mm of rain fell on Valencia in 24 hours. Roads and tunnels were flooded and transport severely disrupted. Firefighters rescued 3 people trapped in their car in rising flood water. In the province of Albacete, El Gallego recorded 180 mm of rain in 24 hours, according to local observers. (edited from Floodlist report)

Bulgaria: Over 70 mm of rain fell in 24 hours (04 June) in the port city of Varna on the Black Sea coast, flooding streets and causing severe traffic disruption. “…the city would normally see 46 mm of rain during the whole of June.” (from Floodlist)

Russia: the cities of Saransk and Kazan have been hit by ferocious windstorms ripping off roofs and overturning cars. Siberian Times (22 May) reports 40 injured in “hurricane-force winds – worst-hit were Chelyabinsk, Kurgan and Yekaterinburg in the Urals, with Tyumen suffering a spectacular sandstorm.” Temperatures in the north have been in the high 20s C (79 F). Reports from the former Soviet state of Tajikistan on the Afghan border say that 6 people drowned in floods and mudslides in late May after torrential rain – the third such incident since 2015.

Siberian Times also reports on the mystery deaths of “thousands” of reindeer in Yamalo-Nenets (“an area twice the size of Germany”). The proximate cause appears to be rain falling on frozen ground and snowfields, coating their forage in ice, so that they starve; however an underlying reason may be a pandemic caused by anthrax spores released by the summer melting of the permafrost.

India: 17 people have been killed in the state of Uttar Pradesh after more wind and dust storms brought on by the intense heat caused houses and trees to collapse. The death toll from these storms in northern India has reached 150 since 01 May. In the northeastern Indian state of Mizoram at least 10 people died when a building was swept away by a landslide triggered by heavy rains. … “a flash flood on 03 June washed away a temporary bridge over the river Tuirini in the northern part of Aizawl district, cutting off 37 villages.” (Floodlist, citing Times of India)

China: 4 thousand draftees have been battling up to 14 wildfires that broke out in primeval mountain forest in Mongolia on 01 June, caused by lightning strikes and fanned by hot, dry winds. Hong Kong has received more heat advisories after beating a previous record of 13 consecutive days over 33 deg. C, 91F. Two storms brewing in the S China sea are expected to ‘blow away’ the heat over the weekend.

Vietnam: “at least” 1 person has died and properties have been damaged by heavy rain causing flooding and landslides as Tropical Cyclone Ewinar passes over the country. Warnings are out for several southerly Chinese provinces. Thousands of hectares of rice crops are again disrupted by flooding. (from Floodlist, 07 June, citing official sources.)

CEWN #125/ Floodlist/

2018, 30 May

USA: As “6 to 10 in.” of rain falls in two hours, Civil War-heritage Ellicott City in Maryland has suffered a “once-in-a-thousand-years”-size flood over the weekend.

For the second time since July 2016.

“Brown water rushed through Ellicott City’s historic Main Street, toppling buildings and upending cars, as the nearby Patapsco River swelled to a record-breaking level. In some areas, water levels reached above the first floor of buildings.” 30 people were rescued, a National Guardsman is missing. More rain is expected. – CNN

At time of writing, Sub-Tropical Storm Alberto is still out in the gulf, contemplating an assault on Panama City, Fla. as a near-hurricane, just to the east of New Orleans. Forecasters suggest with 31 deg. C sea temperature off the coast, it’s holding maybe 10 in. to a foot of rain. Storm totals of 25” in Cuba are not out of the question.

2 journalists killed by a tree while covering the storm in N Carolina, where there are fears for the safety of the Lake Tahoma dam after a landslide. Central midwestern states posted record May highs over the weekend, up to 96F, 36C.

Puerto Rico: “The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM, open-access paper) reported that the death toll from Hurricane Maria was likely far greater than any estimates to date. The study’s initial estimate of the death toll through December 2017 was 4,645, but when adjusted for household-size factors (see below), the revised best estimate was 5,740, with a 95% confidence range that somewhere between 1,506 and 9,889 people died as a result of Maria in 2017. (Report: Wunderground, 29 May)”

Most of those deaths are post-hurricane “excess mortality”, attributed to the utterly inadequate response of US authorities, led by the self-congratulatory shitbrains, Donald Trump, to the destruction of the US island’s infrastructure.

Get rid of him.

Cuba: floods. 22 thousand evacuated ahead of SubTropical Storm Alberto now moving north-eastward, up Florida and over midwestern states, dumping a lot of rain.

Oman: Cyclone Mekunu… “High waves and torrential rain caused wide areas of flooding in Dhofar and Al Wusta governorates. Social media images showed torrents of flood water racing along the streets of Salalah (and an incredible cascade of water pouring off the mountain behind). By early 26 May, Salalah had recorded 278.2 mm of rain. … the city would normally see around 95 mm of rain in a whole year. …risk of flash flooding from further heavy rain through the weekend (26-28 May). High waves and storm surge continue to be a risk, with wave heights of 5 and 8 meters expected.” – edited from Floodlist quoting local authorities. Only 2 casualties were reported, 10 thousand people having been evacuated in advance of the unusual Cat 2 hurricane (now downgraded to TS).

Ethiopia: 16 die in flash flooding and landslides the afternoon of Wednesday 23 May. Houses, roads and vehicles are damaged.

India: 3 die in violent storm causing flooding. Local observers said that Panambur in Karnataka province recorded 334 mm of rain to early 30 May, 2018, breaking the previous high of 330.8 mm set in 1982. Roads around the city were inundated, bringing traffic to a standstill and damaging homes and businesses. Many people were left trapped in their homes or vehicles.

Mercury in Churu, Rajasthan hits 47.3C, 117.4F. Continuing 40C-plus heatwave in Pakistan tops out in Karachi at 48C, 118F.

China: Hong Kong heatwave continuing, 35C-plus (96F) in the city, and over 38C, 100F in places) – reservoirs drying up. 4 injured as ‘small’ tornado wreaks havoc in Jilin.

Malaysia: a man and his daughter are swept away in flash flood in Kulim.

Indonesia: Town of Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan underwater after heavy rain.

Europe: heatwave brings on powerful storms, flash flooding, big hail and much lightning… over 400 thousand bolts counted. France, Germany, Spain – massive hailstorms.

Turkey: city of Bursa underwater. Residents of Ankara clear up after 18 inches of hail buries streets in ice.

UK: 80-year old man dies after driving into floodwater in Walsall, north of Birmingham, Sunday 27 May. Up to a meter of flooding occurred locally in the West Midlands and across into Wales at the weekend after torrential rain. Over 150 thousand lightning bolts were counted in a 24-hr period as storms made their way northwards from France.

Tuesday 29th: “Thunderstorms and flash-flooding have brought parts of south-east England to a standstill as the region received a month’s worth of rain in a few hours.” – BBC News. 31 May, the forecast is for more, with amber warnings.

MrMBB333/ CNN/ BBC News/ Floodlist/ Wunderground/ CEWN #122, #123.

2018, 22-28 May

As if war, plague and famine are not enough, Yemen has experienced – a hurricane.

Jeff Masters at Wunderground wrotre (22 May): “This forecast has TC 2A approaching landfall near the Oman-Yemen border (25 or 26 May) as a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds and a central pressure of 960 mb…”

24 May, BBC reports:

“The island chain of Socotra, famed for unique plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet, is coping with the aftermath of a powerful cyclone. The archipelago was struck by Cyclone Mekunu on Wednesday night, leaving at least 19 people missing and forcing its native population to flee floodwaters. Socotra is part of Yemen.”

Floodlist reports authorities calling for international aid as low-lying coastal areas were flooded by a tidal surge. “Residents of Socotra are still recovering from damage caused by the recent Cyclone Sagara which struck the island on 17 to 18 May, 2018.”

Sea temperature in the Arabian Gulf is around 32C, 5.5C higher than the lowest temperature required for hurricanes to form. The main danger is from intense rainfall: “Salalah (population 340,000) is a major port city and tourist destination, and receives just five inches of rain per year on average. The region could easily see double that amount of rain from TC 2A, leading to significant flash flooding.” (Wunderground)

STOP PRESS Friday pm 25 May: Mekunu has reportedly strengthened to a Cat 3 with a sustained windspeed of 115 mph and is heading at 10 mph straight for the city of Salalah. This is not – repeat not – normal weather for the region. Wunderground reports:

“Waves estimated by JTWC as high as 32 feet will be slamming into the coast atop a significant storm surge. Because Mekunu is making landfall at a nearly perpendicular angle, its winds will be slamming against a wall of mountains just a few miles inland from Salalah that extend up to 4900 feet in elevation. The upslope flow will greatly enhance local rainfall totals on the seaward slopes of these mountains, and the runoff will pour down normally dry valleys known as wadis onto the coastal plain into and near Salalah, with the risk of potentially devastating flash floods on top of any surge-related flooding along the coast. Residents in valleys and low-lying areas were advised to evacuate by Oman Civil Defense, according to the Khaleej Times.”

Postscript: 2 dead, much damage. Full report at http://floodlist.com/asia/oman-cyclone-mekunu-may-2018

Wunderground also reports, “invest 90L”, the first possible hurricane of the Atlantic season is causing some interest in the Gulf of Mexico, currently as a disorganised tropical storm off the coast of Belize but moving north. The first name on the Atlantic list of storms for 2018 is Alberto.

Weather blogger, MrMBB333 later remarks that Alberto is organizing around an eye, that it runs the risk of stalling over the coast, like Harvey did last year, dumping huge rain – and that its forecast track thereafter is remarkably similar to that of hurricane Sandy, that trashed New York city a while back.

One we missed a couple of weeks ago: “An exceptionally rare subtropical storm appears to have formed off the central coast of Chile in the southeast Pacific Ocean, typically one of the world’s most tropical cyclone devoid ocean basins. The cyclone formed late last weekend several hundred miles west of the South American coast.” – The Weather Channel.

Your old Granny W. just needs to show you the menu for Climate and Extreme Weather News #120, released last night, 22 May; and four days later, #121:

“Afghanistan: Flash floods Cyclone Sagar Pakistan: Heatwave  India: Tripura flood; Uttarakhand wildfires & heatwaves Sri Lanka: Floods & landslides Indonesia: Sulawesi floods China: Chongqing landslide; Wanzhou flood & southern heatwave Russia: Siberian wildfires; Krasnodar flood; Dagestan flash flood & Yakutia Spring floods Spain: Lucena & Ciudad Rodrigo flash floods Portugal: Alcoutim flash flood Turkey: Ankara hailstorm/flash flood Egypt: Heatwave The USA & Canada: inc. Oklahoma storm Mexico: Huejutla, Apizaco & CDMX hailstorms/flash floods Guatemala: Floods Venezuela: Puerto La Cruz flash flood… and add #121: Cyclone Mekunu  Kazakhstan: Astana windstorm Indonesia: Pekalongan & Kaitetu floods Sri Lanka: Floods  Pakistan: Karachi heatwave  India: Heatwaves China: Sichuan floods & Hong Kong heatwave Australia: Perth storm Europe: Thunderstorms, hailstorms & flash floods Canada: Heat & Snow  USA: Ft Collins hailstorm….”

This is getting mad.

Pakistan: 65 people have died as a result of heat-related conditions in the city of Karachi, where temperatures have loitered for days over 44C, 112F.

Kazakhstan: horrendous storm trashes Astana. 9 injured, buildings damaged in wind strong enough to propel a cast-iron park bench and blow a 15-tonne truck backwards along the street. (Video: CEWN http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGSnde1Ksig at 12’38”.)

China: major flooding in Sichuan province after heavy rains. 90,000 affected in Lichuan city, buildings collapse, crops lost. Meanwhile, Hong Kong swelters after days at 35C-plus (95F).

India: Floods in Tripura have killed at least 6 and displaced over 20 thousand. Uttarakhand in northern India is experiencing many wildfires started by farmers burning stubble, fears are growing for the air quality in places like Srinagar and New Delhi. In Rajasthan, Maharashtra and other parts of central India a 40C-plus heatwave may peak this week at up to 50C, 122F. Monday 21 May, the capital, New Delhi experienced 44C, 112F.

Sri Lanka: “Over 80,000 people have now been affected by floods, according to disaster management officials. More heavy rain has fallen since the flooding began on 20 May and 12 people have now lost their lives.” Over 20 thousand are “in need of assistance”.

Australia: huge storm batters Perth, WA. 100 km/h winds, power outages… and wildfires!

New Zealand: South Island, record snow – 40 cm dumped in a night.

Uganda: “heavy rainfall in eastern Uganda from around 22 May caused the River Manafura to break its banks. Local media report that around 150 homes have been flooded, forcing (2,000) people to evacuate to nearby schools or churches.” It’s been raining there for several weeks.

Russia: vast areas of Siberia are now burning and many parts resemble the aftermath of a nuclear blast, with nothing living, everything blackened for miles. Torrential rain has flooded the city of Krasnodar.

Turkey: The capital, Ankara is battered by an extreme hailstorm, streets turned to flowing rivers of ice.

Meanwhile, Europe is hotting up, with near-heatwave conditions expected everywhere. There’s been flash-flooding in Spain and Portugal, while: ”

“Storms across northern Europe have caused surface flooding in Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and France, including the capital Paris. The region has seen several violent storms over the last few days, in particular on 22 May, where Meteo France said that 13,964 lightning strikes were reported across the country. The storms also brought hail – some areas of Germany have recorded hail 50 cm deep – strong winds and localised heavy downpours which have flooded streets and damaged homes. No fatalities have been reported.” (Floodlist, 24 May)

UK: the Bank Holiday weekend was expected to produce temperatures getting up to 30C, 86F as a plume of warmer air arrives from Spain. So far it’s been a bit disappointing.

27 May: scrolling through impressive photos of some of the more than 15 thousand lightning bolts recorded in the night as heavy storms moved up from France and pounded the south of England. Heathrow briefly out of action. Even hardened weather forecasters are saying they’ve seen nothing like it before.

Despite the late winter cold snap, bookies are offering odds on 2018 being the warmest year on record and a bumper strawberry crop is forecast, with no-one to pick it owing to seasonal labor shortages, USA please note.

Meanwhile….

“Children in London schools are being exposed to higher levels of damaging air pollution inside the classroom than outside, putting them at risk of lifelong health problems, a new study has revealed. …children – who are more vulnerable to airborne pollutants than adults – are breathing in fine particle pollution (PM10 and the even smaller PM2.5) at levels higher than WHO guidelines of 10μg/m3 and 20μg/m3 respectively.” – edited from Guardian report, 24 May.

The USA and Canada are warming too after a bitter winter – wildfire alerts are once again a feature as Canada expects record high temperatures to set in. A wildfire in the Prince Albert country park, Alberta has already consumed 31 thousand Ha. and fires in Saskatchewan have forced whole towns to evacuate. Meanwhile to the east, it’s snowing in Newfoundland. In Colorado, a huge hailstorm has battered Fort Collins (rivers of ice, etc.). Otherwise record heat is forecast for the midwest.

(Reports edited from CEWN #120, #121/ Floodlist/ the Guardian/ BBC News

2018, 16 May

Afghanistan: “At least 40 people have died and 4 injured in flash floods over the last 7 days. Many areas of the country are still struggling with drought conditions after an unusually dry winter. The number of people forced by drought to migrate within the country has reached more than 20,000″ (Edited report from Floodlist, 16 May.) PS: 21May,

India: “At least 80 people have died as powerful storms swept through northern India, demolishing houses, uprooting trees as winds turned the skies brown with dust and sand, officials said Monday. More storms are expected in the region this week. Less than 2 weeks ago, similar storms caused 134 deaths and injured another 400. The extreme weather comes amid withering summer heat and approaching monsoon rains.” – Wunderground

Sri Lanka: The “Department of Meteorology said that Anamaduwa, Puttalam, North Western Province recorded 35.3 cm of rain (1 ft) in 24 hours to early 21 May.” (Floodlist). Possibly 5 people have died as a result of flooding and landslides as the island is battered by storms, dumping up to 15 cm of rain a day over several days.

“Far East”: US scientists at NOAA are trying to track down a major unexplained source of the globally banned ozone-killing refrigeration-to-aerosols chemicals, CFCs, detected as a result of research showing the ozone holes created in the 1980s aren’t repairing themselves fast enough.

S Korea: flash-floods in and around Seoul, 1 dead, 1 missing as 20 cm of rain falls in 36 hours.

Syria: Heavy rainstorms caused flash-floods in parts of the country, including Banias and Aleppo, on 12 May.

NE Africa: A rare tropical cyclone, Sagar is concentrating in the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and Somalia. Sagar’s main threat is dangerous flash flooding in the deserts of southern Yemen, northern Somalia and Djibouti into the weekend. (The Weather Channel) … “Severe flash flooding and river flooding across the region will lead to a loss of human life, livestock, and the destruction of crops, property and infrastructure. Very heavy rainfall occurring across Western Yemen … is likely to promote cholera infection rates in the weeks ahead.” – (UK Met Office)

16 dead, many missing. On Sunday, forecast models indicated that a disturbance dubbed 92A could develop into an intense hurricane-strength cyclone this week, possibly threatening Oman by late in the week.

N Africa: the town of Setif in Algeria experiences flash-flooding following a heavy rainstorm.

Russia: Vast plumes of smoke are visible from space along the Amur river near Komsomolsk and around Chelyabinsk, blowing towards the Arctic, as Siberia continues to burn out of control after a month of wildfires. (Siberian Times report)

USA: “Severe storms caused major damage in Northeastern USA on 15 May. 2 deaths were reported – an 11-year-old girl in Newburg, New York, the other in Danbury, Connecticut (where 4 tornadoes, 3 at max. TF-1, touched down on 17 May) – as a result of falling trees. Almost 400,000 people were without power in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Heavy flooding was reported in parts of Maryland, in particular Montgomery and Fredrick counties, where up to 6 inches of rain fell during the storm. Hail up to 2.5 inches (63.5 mm) was also reported.” (Edited report from Floodlist, 16 May. More “severe” storms are forecast for the midwest at the weekend.)

USA: “…the California Energy Commission has unanimously voted to approve measures requiring solar panels on all new homes, condos and multi-family buildings up to three stories high beginning in 2020. – (The Weather Channel.)

Alabama Senator, Mo Brooks distinguished his brilliant Republican self in a committee hearing when, while browbeating a climate scientist, he attributed sea-level rise to rocks and soil falling into the water, “like the White Cliffs of Dover”…

Colombia: severe thunderstorm inundates Medellin. (CEWN #118)

Guatemala: 10 cm rain in 24 hrs, floods. 2 dead, 80,000 flooded out. (Floodlist, 19, 21 May)

Europe: It’s been snowing in the highlands of central France, the Alps and over into the Balkans. Up in Scandinavia and northwestern Russia there’s a record spring heatwave, with temperatures in Finland and Sweden touching 30 deg C, 85F. Lapland is bracing for its worst spring thaw floods in decades. Severe thunderstorms and torrential rain have brought flash-flooding to parts of the Netherlands and Germany. The town of Bistransky in Croatia was underwater. (CEWN #118)

Germany: on 16 May, during a powerful storm two people were injured by a huge tornado that hit Viersen, near Dusseldorf. (CEWN #119)

UK: Good news, bad news…. “Britain’s windfarms provided more electricity than its 8 nuclear power stations in the first three months of 2018, marking the first time wind has overtaken nuclear across a quarter.

“Funds going into renewable energy fell more than 50% in 2017, having dropped by 10% in 2016, bringing annual investment in the sector to its lowest since the financial crisis in 2008. ( –  The Guardian)

2018: 10 May

Arctic: Weather.com reports that temperatures in the Arctic are hovering around the zero deg. C mark yet again, 35C above the 1981-2010 average for the time of year. Wunderground makes the point that it has been colder in some northerly US states during April than it’s been at the North Pole. The Norway Ice Service reports the loss of 32,000 sq miles of ice in just three days last week. NOAA concludes that the multi-year trend to a hot Arctic could not be happening without a rapid rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

Australia: “Storms in Tasmania have caused severe flash flooding in the capital Hobart and south eastern areas of the state. (The) Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said that 129 mm of rain fell in Hobart in 24 hours to early 11 May, 2018 (local time). Mount Wellington recorded 236 mm of rain during the same period.” Over 1 thousand lightning strokes were recorded.

“Scientists in New Zealand have documented what they believe is the largest wave ever recorded in the southern hemisphere. The 23.8m (78ft) wave was measured by a buoy on New Zealand’s Campbell Island in the Southern Ocean on 08 May.”

Canada: around 3000 people have been told to evacuate their homes in British Columbia as rivers peak half a meter above records going back 200 years, due to a heatwave producing rapid snowmelt. “The flood water in British Colombia rivers has made its way downriver and into Washington state, USA, where the governor has declared a state of emergency.”

Kenya: “A dam has burst overnight 09 May, after heavy rain, causing “huge destruction” and killing at least 44 people. The breach happened in the town of Solai, 190km (120 miles) north-west of the capital, Nairobi. The Kenyan Red Cross says it has rescued 39 people so far. Hundreds are said to have been left homeless.” 150 people are known to have died in widespread floods this year.

Ecuador: 70 mm of rain in 24 hours causes local flooding in El Oro province.

Colombia: Baranquila underwater. If you want to know what mother nature thinks of cars, watch 9 minutes of citizen journalism on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmd7K-k6Duo from 04′.42″.

China: Quangjou, Fujian province underwater. 3 dead, 2 missing. Luchuan, Gianxi province underwater. 72,000 people affected, 4,500 Ha crops lost.

Sri Lanka: The start of the monsoon season (as last year) has brought immediate flooding with some 8000 people so far affected. “As much as 166 mm of rain was recorded in Galle in 24 hours to 12 May.”

Iraq; 4 killed in Duhok floods, Kurdistan.

Italy: “Homes and businesses were flooded in San Polo, Tuscany after an intense storm dumped over 50 mm of rain in about 3 hours. The storm hit d “uring the afternoon of 08 May, 2018, flooding areas near Sinalunga (Siena province), San Polo in Chianti (Florence) and Volterra (Pisa).” Legnano, Northern Italy, massive hailstorm, rivers of ice, etc.

Germany: “Severe thunderstorms, hail and heavy rain affected parts of Germany on10 May, 2018. Flash flooding was reported in Hamburg and areas of Schleswig-Holstein, where emergency services received over 2,000 calls for help. The Schleswig-Holstein town of Quickborn, north west of Oststeinbek, recorded 58.7 mm of rain in 24 hours to early 11 May. 42 mm fell in just 30 minutes.”

Elsewhere in Germany a severe hailstorm affected Rhön-Grabfeld in Bavaria

Greece: Flash-flooding in Thessaloniki after torrential rainstorm.

UK: Barry Gardiner, the shadow international trade and climate spokesman, said: “2018 is the year when countries have been asked by the UN to ratchet up their commitments on climate change. Instead our government is actually proposing to count emissions savings made from as far back as 2010 towards fulfilling their obligations in the next decade from 2021-2030.”

Hurricanes: The Eastern Pacific hurricane season officially starts on May 15. “… for the second year in a row, we have the potential to see a record-early start to the season. A concentrated area of heavy thunderstorms … 1200 miles southwest of the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, had acquired plenty of spin, but was not yet organized enough to be labeled a tropical depression. The first name on the Eastern Pacific list of storm names in 2018 is Aletta.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the isthmus: “The peak season for Atlantic storms, which officially starts on 1 June, is set to spur as many as 18 named storms, with up to five of them developing into major hurricanes, according to separate forecasts from North Carolina State University and Colorado State University.” – Guardian

Weather.com/ BBC News/ Wunderground/ CEWN #117

2018, 06 May

Parts of India and Pakistan are continuing to experience unusually hot spring weather with temperatures in the mid-40sC, 114F. A reading of 50.2C (122.3F) in Nawabshah on 30 April “may count as the highest ever April temperature recorded on earth.” A news service in Hyderabad reports 19 heat-related deaths.

Elsewhere, in Africa:

Burundi: “Red Cross says that over 2,500 people have been made homeless after floods … close to the city of Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital … on 28 April, 2018, after a period of heavy rain. According to local officials, the situation worsened when one of the dykes of the Mutimbuzi River gave way, causing the river to flood nearby communities.”

Rwanda: “…as many as 200 people have died in disasters since January … heavy rains have affected the whole country, causing floods and landslides. Storms and strong winds have also affected some areas. Over 4,500 hectares of crops have been destroyed. 15 were killed on 6 May following heavy rains in the western region. A local official in the capital, Kigali, told the BBC that 3 people had also died in a mudslide in the city.”

Somalia: “The flood situation has worsened over the last few days. Observers say the current floods are some of the worst the region has ever seen. The UN says that flash and river floods have now affected 427,000 people.” The President is appealing for international aid. Good luck with that. Uganda also affected by widespread floods.

USA:  1 May saw “21 preliminary tornado reports posted to the … Storm Prediction Center’s database, most of them in Kansas. Very large hail—up to 4” in diameter—pummeled parts of Kansas and Nebraska. No major damage or injuries were reported.” More forecast storms affected the midwest over the weekend of 05 May accompanied by record high temperatures over the east, reaching 93F, 34C in Washington, DC and 91F in New York.

Record cold had ushered in May in parts of the midwest, giving way to severe storms as warmer air pushes northward, and there was more snow in upstate New York. Meanwhile, the wildfire season has kicked off in Arizona with thousands of acres of forest ablaze – the “Tinder Fire”. Forecast highs in Phoenix this week are expected back in the 100sF, 40sC.

Canada: heavy rain on snowmelt. 04 May, “the St John River in New Brunswick is at record levels and expected to rise further. Flooding has damaged homes and roads and prompted evacuations. Authorities have urged residents in the city of St John to leave their homes.” 2 killed, many injured and much property damaged by 100 Kph winds in Ontario. 200,000 left without power.

Caribbean: “Rain, flooding and landslides in parts of the Caribbean have caused at least 4 fatalities and displaced around 4,000 people. Heavy rain has affected Jamaica, Haiti and Dominican Republic since around 02 May”. Bahamas: a weather front stalled over the islands is given a 10% chance of becoming a rare tropical depression for early May as the sea temperature is already 2C above the 26C needed to generate a cyclone.

Argentina: a powerful storm rocks Buenos Aires on the 29th. Flash-flooding, power outages, 2 killed. “Flooding in the province of Entre Ríos (03 May, 300 mm rain) has left 1 person dead, more than 30 evacuated and 1,600 requiring assistance.”

Chile: city of Ancud underwater.

India: “At least 76 people have died and scores more were injured in a fierce dust storm that hit the northern Indian states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The storm on 02 May disrupted electricity, uprooted trees, destroyed houses and killed livestock. … The storm also hit the capital Delhi, more than 100km away, along with heavy rains late on Wednesday evening.”

Pakistan: a high of 49C, 120F was recorded over the weekend of 5 May in Karachi, with 9 fatalities attributed to the heat.

Iraq: “At least 4 people died in flash floods that hit the city of Duhok in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on Saturday, 05 May 2018.” Refugee camps are also affected.

Turkey: “Flash floods caused by heavy rain wreaked havoc in Ankara on 05 May. Further heavy rainfall the next day caused some surface flooding and traffic problems. Officials said 6 people were injured in the floods, with more than 160 cars and 25 businesses suffering damage.” (This actually made the news here in the UK.)

Australia: overall, the country experienced its hottest April on record, the maximum daily average being some 3.17C above normal.

New Zealand: record rainfall brings extensive flooding and a state of emergency is declared in the Rotorua region.

Europe: continent bewildered by a chaotic mashup of extreme cold, heat, rain, floods, hail, snow (in France), high winds and “even a tornado”. Basically anywhere to the west of a line down the Franco-German border through to southern Italy has been too cold, anywhere to the right too hot; south of the Mediterranean, North Africa is roasting. A huge chain of thunderstorms with almost half a million lightning strikes counted was recorded on 30 April stretching from the Spanish border across France to Italy and the Balkans, up through Switzerland, Austria, Germany and over into Poland and Slovenia, where big hailstorms were reported with streets turned to rivers of ice.

Italy: “Two days of heavy rain has caused flooding and landslides in Sardinia. Around 100 people have been evacuated from their homes. In the last 48 hours some areas have recorded over 150 mm of rain – more than four times the average monthly total for May.” (This last statistic can also be interpreted as “a year’s worth”)

UK: World Health Organization reports, the steel town of Port Talbot in Wales has the highest level of dangerous microparticulate pollution in the country, at 18 mg per m/3 of air. That’s considered pretty unhealthy, unacceptable in fact – so you won’t want to be moving to Muzaffarpur in India, with a figure of 197 mg per m/3 the world’s most polluted city. (BBC).

Forecasters say the May Bank Holiday high could approach or beat the previous Mayday record of 28.6C, 83F.

Globally: April was the 3rd warmest on record and 0.5C above the 1981-2010 average. Only the unusual cold in the eastern USA and Canada during the early part of the month kept April from being the hottest ever, everywhere. The high of 50.2C (122F) in Nawabshah, Pakistan on 30 April was confirmed as the hottest temperature ever recorded in an April month.

Acknowledgments to: Richard Davies at Floodlist/ Wunderground/ BBC News/ Climate and Extreme Weather News (CEWN) #115, #116/

2018, 27 April

A huge, rotating storm system hit the eastern Mediterranean area on 25 April, stretching from Algeria in the west to Sudan in the south, up into northern Syria and over to Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Torrential rain, damaging high winds, flash floods and big hail turning streets to rivers of ice were reported over almost the entire region. It’s not often we report on floods in:

Israel, where tragically 10 teenagers drowned after being washed away while hiking at Nahal Tzafit on an army introduction course near the Dead Sea. 9 others injured. 2 more teenagers died in flash flooding elsewhere.

USA: The BBC and others picked up on the big weather story originally reported on Wunderground: there have been NO TORNADOES in “Tornado Alley” this year! CNN recorded:

“Two of the US states most notable for tornadoes — Kansas and Oklahoma — have yet to see one so far this year. It is the longest into the year that Oklahoma has ever gone without a tornado since NOAA began keeping records. The previous record was April 26, 1062. If Kansas makes it to the end of April without a tornado, it will only be the fourth time this has occurred on record.”

(The story of course ignores the point that there are and have been tornadoes this month in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and many other states, the reason being that the loopy jetstream bringing Arctic weather penetrated farther south and east than normal, making conditions for tornado formation difficult in the central midwest but drawing warmer air up from the Gulf to batter the southeastern states with heavy rain and flooding.)

More severe thunderstorms bringing flooding and possible tornadoes are forecast for the central plains this week, all the way from southern Texas up as far as Minnesota.

Are we seeing more rain? From Dr Jeff Masters at Wunderground:

“The National Weather Service in Hawaii reported that preliminary data from a rain gauge on the north shore of Kauai at Waipa, one mile west of Hanalei, received 49.69” of rainfall over the 24-hour period ending at 12:45 pm April 15. If verified, this would break the all-time U.S. 24-hour rainfall record of 43.00” in Alvin, Texas set on July 25 – 26, 1979, during Tropical Storm Claudette.”

Let’s not forget too, the 64″ of rain that fell near Port Arthur in Texas last year over 72 hours during Hurricane Harvey.

Canada: “Snowmelt in the province of Alberta, Canada, has caused overland flooding and increased river levels over the last few days. Evacuations have been carried out in areas near Drumheller.”

South Africa: Remiss of GW, but we forgot to mention that the total ban on using water in Capetown, that was due to come into effect last week, has been staved-off until 2019 as there has been some relief from the drought and rationing has helped to preserve supplies. CEWN reports that there was “heavy rain” on the 26th that actually caused some flooding in the city.

Rwanda: death toll in floods and landslides in mountain region reaches 18.

Algeria: “Torrential rain in the north has caused at least 6 deaths as well as severe flooding that has damaged houses and washed away roads.” 200 children had to be rescued from a flooded school in Tissemsilt.

Egypt: heavy rain. Cairo floods. Lady filming a car washed away in a wall of floodwater fails to notice what looks like the body of a drowned man floating past. Giza also flooded.

Syria: a terrifying flash flood follows heavy rain on the 26th over the capital, Damascus, washing away hundreds of vehicles. Similar scenes were witnessed in Jordan; while in Somalia almost half a million people have been displaced by floods in April.

Kuwait: however, experienced a huge dust storm, that brought nighttime in the day to the oil-rich state on the 26th.

China: intense rainfall triggers flash flooding and a landslide in Anhui Province, that wiped out the state’s main highway.

Argentina: “A fierce storm struck areas around Buenos Aires on 28 to 29 April 2018. Some areas recorded over 110 mm of rain and wind gusts of 130 km/h. At least 2 people have died and 1,200 evacuated.” Some areas saw more than a month’s worth of rain fall in 24 hours. Rivers and streams overflowed, flooding parts of the city forcing hundreds from their homes.

Brazil: believe it or not, it’s STILL raining! The town of Maceio in the east was underwater on the 22nd.

Honduras: a powerful tropical storm batters Tegucigalpa, with more damage and flash-flooding on the 27th in neighbouring Panama.

Bangladesh: fears are growing for the safety and health of 600 thousand Burmese Rohingya Muslim refugees housed under canvas in the east of the country as the cyclone season begins. A powerful storm hit the capital, Dhaka on the 22nd.

Madagascar: French island of Réunion battered on the 24th by Tropical Cyclone Fakir, the latest ever recorded in the season. Capital St Pierre flooded. 2 dead reported in a mudslide.

2018, 19 April

Colombia: At least 2 people have died after a month’s worth of torrential rain fell in the city of Cali, Valle del Cauca department on Tuesday 17 April, bringing the death toll to 12 in the past week. Local officials said that 68.5 mm of rain fell in 2 hours.

Tanzania: death toll in Dar-es-Salaam flooding reaches 15. Further flooding in Kenya has left over 33,000 people displaced. Local authorities say that more than 20 people have died over the past 10 days.

USA:  flooding from Winter Storm Xanto in New York City and New Jersey. Emergency services were called on to rescue around 50 people trapped in their cars. Heavy rain also affected parts of West Virginia, where a state of emergency was declared. Floods from snowmelt and rain have also affected northern Montana, where a state of emergency is in force.

“The flooding follows a massive storm from 13 to 15 April, 2018, that reached from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest, bringing with it heavy snow, hail and tornadoes. Up to 2 feet of snow fell in the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin. At least 5 people are thought to have died as a result of the storm.”

2 people have died as a result of the extensive prairie fires still raging in Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. Hundreds of square miles and more than 25 homesteads have been destroyed. Storms are predicted for the weekend in the south, but generally an easing of the wintry conditions is forecast.

Martinique: Heavy rain, lightning strikes and hail caused landslides and major flooding on 16 April. In one 6-hour period, 250 mm rain drenched Le François, 125 mm falling in just 1 hour.

Puerto Rico: ignoring 2,000 dead in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina did little to improve George W Bush’s reputation, but the towel-chucking moron soldiers blithely on, having utterly failed the people of Puerto Rico, stricken by hurricanes Irma and Maria six months ago. News reaches us that the entire power grid for the island (pop. 3 million) was down again Monday after a digger accidentally knocked over a transformer. 40 thousand homes have still not been reconnected at all.

At the same time, authorities have approved $125 million for repairs in the wake of floods in Hawaii – another island in the middle of a big ocean.

India: 15 dead in Calcutta storm. Large parts of Central India including Rajastan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are under an extreme heat advisory as temperatures climb past 40C, 104F.

United Kingdom: Blown by an onshore breeze, Granny Weatherwax’s Wunderground location moves from West Wales to Nether Edge shock! “One of the 28 electoral wards in the City of Sheffield, England.” (Wikipedia) Pop. 18,990. Says Gran: “My, they do find some interesting places to send me to!”

11 April, and Arctic sea ice volume was again at a record low for the time of year, threatening an ice-free ocean between July and September (Arctic News website, 17 April).

Edited from Floodlist/ Wunderground/ CEWN #111/

2018, 13 April

US weather bureau storm prediction center (13 April) issued a rare special advisory warning known as a PDS or Particularly Dangerous Situation for an enormous swath of the midwest from the Texas border up to Iowa. The bulletin urges householders to find shelter in basements or in internal rooms “without windows”, as massive storm cells are forming over the Gulf and moving northwards, with a threat of major tornadoes and a “95 per cent probability” of the most severe wind and large hail “events”.

Ahead of the storms, fanned by winds and with temperatures already in the high 90s (38C-plus) after months of little rain, over 200 thousand acres of Oklahoma prairie have gone up in smoke, fires visible from space. Extreme wildfire conditions labelled “historic” (one above “extremely critical”) have been flagged for New Mexico and Colorado.

Meanwhile… “Blizzard warnings were plastered on Friday morning from northeast Colorado to southern Minnesota, along the north side of an (sic) sharpening stationary front. Heavy snowfall rates and wind gusts to 40-50 mph or more will paralyze travel across large stretches of the Northern Plains.” Xanto is being called a ‘once-in-a-lifetime storm’ as more than 30-in of snow is dumped over Wisconsin in 24 hours. Hundreds of thousands of homes without power, several deaths reported.

Major flooding in New Jersey.

Hawaii: “Hawaii Governor David Ige issued an emergency proclamation on 15 April after unprecedented rains caused major flooding and a series of landslides.  The National Weather Service recorded over 27 inches (685 mm) of rainfall in Hanalei on the island of Kauai during a 24-hour period from 14 to 15 April”, beating all records.

India: 15 dead in powerful storm over Calcutta.

Malawi: The “Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has reported heavy rain and flooding in parts of Northern and Central Regions, affecting over 2,000 people and damaging roads and hundreds of homes. As many as 4 people (including three children) have reportedly died or gone missing.”

Tanzania: “At least” 9 dead in the capital, Dar es Salaam as “heavy rain caused buildings to collapse and widespread flooding in the city. The rain has been falling since Saturday 14 April. Reuters reported television footage showing residents seeking shelter on rooftops. … Dar es Salaam recorded 81.8 mm of rain from 14 to 15 April, and 99.6 mm in 24 hours the following day.” Another 50 mm could be on the way. Floods also in Kenya.

Algeria: huge storm over Batna, massive waterspout comes ashore. Flash flooding.

Spain: tornado damages Seville. Thunderstorms cause flash flooding in Italy, Austria – where in Graz, big hail, rivers of ice in streets….

Martinique: big hail, flash flooding.

Brazil: STILL raining heavily! Floods in SE.

2018, 08 April

“On March 18, 2018, the sea surface temperature near Svalbard was 16.7°C or 62.1°F, i.e. 14.7°C or 26.4°F warmer than the daily average during the years 1981-2011.”

While the latest (leaked) report of the International Panel on Climate Change is claiming a mean global temperature increase of just 1°C 0ver pre-industrial levels, seemingly in a bid to validate the 1.5 degree target of the Paris accord, the 2 April Arctic News blog edited by a team of climate scientists going under the collective pseudonym of Sam Carana pours scorn on the finding.

Carana’s calculations take into account a number of different factors to produce a current figure of over 1.7°C: for instance, the obvious stupidity of basing global average temperature on figures derived only from the surface temperature of the sea. Indeed, if you take the highest monthly average figures rather than the lowest, use the 2 metres above sea-level readings and start the clock in 1750 rather than 1900, says Carana, we’re already at 2.3°C above pre-industrial.

With CO2 continuing to rise (note: CO2 level does not include other greenhouse gases having a forcing effect on the climate and so is only a partial indicator of the rate of warming) past the 410 ppm mark (11 March level), warns Carana, the prospect of an 8°C rise by 2026 and 10°C by 2031 becomes frighteningly real.

In other news:

USA: as far as the eastern US is concerned, March seems to be becoming the new February, with many areas again reporting colder, wetter/snowier conditions in the later month. Wunderground coins the hideous neologism “Marchuary”. March’s warmest day/night records across the whole of the USA marginally outran the coldest records last month thanks to record highs in the SW and record lows in the east. Winter Storm Xanto hit the midwest with blizzards, 10 April it was snowing again in Chicago, while parts of Florida were battered by storms, with big hail and tornadoes, including a monster over Fort Lauderdale.

California experienced an unusual weather event, the ‘Pineapple Express’. Aided by a 1°C rise in sea-surface temperature, the atmospheric river that arrived from Hawaii had swept up the remnants of 150mph supertyphoon Jelawat on its track across the Pacific and carried a record amount of water over the Sierra Nevada, some parts receiving over 4 inches of rain overnight. In “San Francisco, the two-day rain total (Fri.-Sat.) of 3.29” was its wettest for any April since before the Civil War”, but the rain avoided Los Angeles, which has had a record dry spell since October.

Southern California at the same time enjoyed a 90F-plus (32C) heatwave, setting records since 1890 for April. On 10 April the mercury topped 100F (38C) in the San Pasqual valley.

Brazil: believe it or not, it’s STILL raining. Widespread floods affecting central and NE regions (Recife underwater).

Colombia: floods.

Argentina: “severe flooding … “paralysed the city of Río Gallegos.”

Dominican Republic: floods. (“Over 99 mm of rain fell in 24 hours in Jarabacoa, La Vega Province between 05 and 06 April.”)

Fiji: in the path of intensifying 150 Kph sustained Cat 2 Tropical Cyclone Keni, many evac. warnings issued. “After the low pressure system that had been raining on Vanuatu moved away from the island nation, it intensified, organized and developed into a tropical cyclone.” It’s the second major typhoon to hit Fiji this month.

Indonesia: “At least” 1 dead in floods and landslides in West Java province on 7 April.

New Zealand: late Autumn cold spell. “Christchurch saw highs of 27C give way to highs of just 8C over just a few days, compared to the 17C that is the average high temperature for this time of year. In addition, up to 50cm of rain fell over the mountain passes of the South Island.” A powerful thunderstorm including hail, rain, snow, tornadoes, cyclone-force wind pounds Taranaki, North Island.

Saudi Arabia: Intense rainstorms cause flash-floods, including in Mecca. Yet again, huge hailstones smash car windscreens.

India: 12 people killed in powerful storms affecting the northwest, huge hail.

Spain: widespread flooding in Navarre – city of Pamplona underwater. Spain and Portugal still experiencing heavy snowfalls.

World: Scientists report, the Gulf Stream (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation – AMOC) is now 15 per cent weaker than it’s been for the last 1,600 years, threatening much colder, wetter conditions for western Europe, more heatwaves in central Europe and rapid sea-level rise for the eastern seaboard of the USA. 2018 is already looking like a colder outlier on the graph. Globally, March 2018 was the 3rd warmest on record, 0.4°C above the 1981-2010 average and 0.3°C cooler than March 2016, our most recent “hottest” year. But it’s still only April….

2018, 01 April

USA: caught in a loop of the jetstream, Winter Storm Wilbur is dumping another foot of snow over the northern states, from the Rockies to the Great Lakes, as the song goes. It’s the fifth major winter storm event of the year, but it’s a double-whammy as a second front is also hitting the east coast, including New York. Too warm to settle for long, though.

“A powerful late-season atmospheric river is headed for central California late this week, with the potential to bring near-record rains for April … Intense rain rates on Friday night will pose a flood risk in the Sierra Nevada, where the runoff will be bolstered by rain-induced snowmelt. By Saturday, high winds and heavy rains will rake parts of western Oregon and Washington … ‘This is really an historic event …’ said Cliff Mass (University of Washington)”.

“Torrential rain, strong winds, lightning strikes and flash floods hit parts of Indiana and Illinois” on 3 April, Indianapolis recording its wettest ever April day. Local forecasts for Phoenix Az. are predicting the return of 100F, 39C temperatures next week – still early mid-April. Dangerous UV levels already being measured.

Canada: powerful winds knock down buildings in Ontario.

Meanwhile northern Europe and Russia have also seen extreme cold and heavy snow persisting well into spring. These huge pools of arctic air make the northern hemisphere look like Narnia, but elsewhere across Africa, the middle East, the SW US, Australia there are enough hotspots still to keep global temperatures marginally above the 1980-2011 average for March/April.

Bangladesh, Nepal: 7 killed in severe storms, massive hail smashes houses down.

Brazil: STILL raining intensively in many areas, flash floods, cities underwater in Goias province and elsewhere. In Mexico, an intense hailstorm reduces streets in Tlalpan to rivers of ice.

Argentina: “Over 50 people were evacuated and dozens of streets closed after flooding in Río Gallegos, Santa Cruz province. Local media reported that the city received 3 times the amount of rain it would normally see for the whole of April.”

Fiji: “At least 4 people (now 6) were killed and another was missing after Cyclone Josie caused severe flooding in the South Pacific island nation. Josie moved past the island of Vitu Levu from 31 March as a category 1 storm, bringing with it heavy rain and wind gusts up to 100 km/h.”

Vanuatu: flash floods destroy homes.

Indonesia: Devastating floods in Sumatra and Java.

Greece: “Several rivers in the Balkans have broken their banks over the last few days, causing flooding in parts of northern Greece, southeastern Bulgaria and northwestern Turkey.” Police are searching for a party of “about 15” migrants thought to be missing after trying to cross a swollen river.

UK: “Snow and heavy downpours closed roads and caused travel disruption throughout the holiday weekend of 31 March to 02 April … Emergency services were called to rescue at least 8 people trapped in flood waters. Up to 10cm (4ins) of snow blanketed areas of north England, north Wales and Scotland. At one point on 02 April there were 271 flood alerts in place…” Interestingly, GW noticed absolutely none of these events taking place locally from her eyrie in Wales. Sorry.

World: “Storms, floods and other extreme weather events are hitting cities much harder than scientists have predicted, said the head of a global network of cities tackling climate change.” According to Mark Watts, executive director of the C40 climate change alliance: “Almost every (C40 member) city is reporting extreme weather events that are off all the scale of previous experience, and ahead of all the modeling of climate change.”

2018, 21 March

USA: California – 30 thousand people evacuated ahead of the latest Pineapple Express. Up to 10 inches of rain forecast for the Santa Barbara area and hillsides denuded of tree cover by last year’s fires threatening more landslips. Powerful storms sweep the south. Cars damaged by hail in Caldwell, Texas. Giant hail falls from the sky over Cullman, Alabama – Weatherman says “never seen a storm like it”, a car lot is trashed. Huge tornado forms over Russellville, Alabama. Homes trashed in Jacksonville, Al.

Storm Toby, fourth major Nor’easter in a little over six weeks, brings more feet of snow and strong winds misery to the east coast states.

Europe: mini-Beast brings more cold and snow across the continent, with disruption from Scandinavia and the British Isles down into Italy. Over in Spain, however, heavy rain causes flash-flooding in the south, boding poorly for the salad crop. 1 dead, 1 missing in Andalucia. Jetstream still lost somewhere over North Africa.

Australia: Sydney’s late autumn heatwave continues. 500 people were rescued from Sydney’s Bondi Beach as the mercury hit 41C, 106F. 70 homes were destroyed in a wildfire at Tethra, NSW. Elsewhere in the state, 1000 people were having to be rescued from floodwaters as the Lower Murray river rose following heavy rain.

Indonesia: Bandung, a powerful flash flood tears through Cicaheum, washing away cars.

Madagascar: a brief visit by Cyclone Eliakim kills 17 people in flash floods.

Brazil: No sign of a letup in the heavy rainstorms that have brought widespread flooding to many parts of the country over the past month. Lots round São Paolo, again. 3 dead, several missing. Valparaiso de Goias, genuinely heartbreaking, apocalyptic scenes.

Uruguay: Extensive flooding around the capital, Montevideo.

Dominican Republic: floods. Puerto Plata airport recorded 272.8 mm of rainfall in 24 hours (10.7 in), beating the previous record by 120 mm.

2018, 18 March

Canada: Alberta blanketed with 30 cm snow after two storms collide. Houses buried to the eaves under 20ft drifts.

USA: Storms land on both coasts. Heavy snow blankets Massachusetts in the east, Oregon in the west. An ‘energetic Arctic jetstream’ is threatening another Nor’easter this week, catching Alabama in the middle with ‘tornadic supercells’ with a high chance of damaging hailstorms. And another ‘Pineapple Express’ atmospheric river is set to bring big rain, possibly triggering more landslips on wildfire-damaged hillsides, to southern California.

Italy: Lit-up by exploding electricity substations, a huge tornado rips through Caserta, near Naples, on the night of 13 March.

Romania: Extensive flooding from rain and snowmelt. Croatia: heavy rain and snowmelt trigger mudslides, carrying away houses.

Ireland: Under several yellow warnings for extensive flooding following intense rainfall, 14 March.

Britain: greets curtain-call of the Beast from the East March 17/18 with two days of freezing weather and snowfalls disrupting schools, traffic and flights.

Australia: Cat 2 Cyclone Marcus kicks off the season, nibbling at northern coastal areas around Darwin and Kimberley with 130 Km/h windspeeds, uprooting large trees and damaging cars and buildings. Meanwhile… Sydney swelters in early autumn 40C, 104F heatwave, a lightning storm puts a power station out of action at Terang and rural properties are lost to an “out-of-control” wildfire burning around Brega in Victoria state.

(The NOAA 5-day forecast track for Marcus seems to be showing a slight possibility that having now headed out into the Southern Ocean, it could swing back toward land somewhere north of Perth, Western Australia state.)

Thailand: ‘freak’ storm with cyclonic wind, hail causes floods, damage. Indonesia: Java flooding.

Africa: floods in Kenya, Uganda and Lesotho, where 5 people died in an intense hailstorm. Madagascar, yet another cyclone, Eliakim brings strong winds and flooding.

World: Despite the Beast and the Nor’easters, February managed 6th warmest on record globally, thanks to persistent heat anomalies in the Arctic and across Africa, Australia/New Zealand and central Asia. It’s been a wild winter in the northern hemisphere, but as March progresses there seems to be some flattening-out of the global extremes and some cooling-off in the Arctic that is extending the icefields again, although larger temperature anomalies are appearing in the Antarctic now.

2018, 13 March

Australia: “Several rivers have burst their banks in North Queensland after 4 days of heavy rain. Disaster areas declared. Many areas have recorded 500 to 700 mm of rain during that time. This is the fourth serious flood event in the state in the last 2 weeks.”

New Zealand: flooding at Hawkes Bay. Vanuatu battered by Tropical Cyclone Hola, bringing torrential rain.

Albania: “Heavy rain and melting snow have caused flooding and landslides over the last few days. Shkodër County in the north west of the country is the worst affected area where the Drin and Bojana rivers have overflowed. Local authorities there said that 2,285 hectares of land were under water.”

Thailand: powerful cyclonic storm strikes Sakon Nakhon. Flooding in Bangkok. Extensive flooding in Indonesia, Bangka Belitung & Cirebon.

Brazil: Many central areas continue to experience unusually heavy rain, thunderstorms and flash-flooding in cities.

Argentina: huge storm trashes Villa Gesell on the northern coast with 140 kmh winds.

USA: Storm Quinn – the third Nor’easter this year and the second in a week – dumps three feet of snow and knocks out power on the east coast. State-wide states of emergency declared in New Jersey, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia battered. North of the border, Canada however seems to be basking in a warm spell. As again are California and the southwest…

USA: March 10, temperature in Austen, Texas hits 34C, 94F. 2 die as hailstones the size of baseballs batter Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas. Wunderground reports that, OVERALL, from September to March the USA has had a drier and warmer winter season than average. Although they have to admit, there has been record snowfall. And record flooding. With another freezing spell and another storm forecast for the East this week (Accuweather).

Portugal, Spain, France: Storm Felix brings wind, torrential rain, damage and flash-flooding to a wide area.

Kazakhstan: Heavy rainfall above river ice-jams causes extensive spring thaw floods. Many evacuated.

Africa, India, China: heatwave with temperatures “more like May/June than March” continues across a broad swathe of the globe. Temps in S. Sudan hit 48C, 118F. Floods in drought-stricken Malawi. 16 killed when lightning strikes a church in Rwanda.

Arctic: “The situation is desperate”. In February, 260 mph moisture-laden high-altitude winds split the polar vortex into 4 parts. The jetstream was looping and broken. Feb 25 the temperature at the North Pole was 1.1C, 34.1F  a 30C anomaly. The mercury hit 6C, 42.8F in northern Greenland; 8.9C, 47.9F in Hudson Bay. That’s before the sun has even risen above the horizon.

Sea ice extent was at record low for the time of the year and is due to start receding toward the summer about now: driven by gales and big waves, 5-metres thick sea ice between northern Greenland and Svalbard had given way to open water by Feb 27. Peak sea surface temperature near Svalbard rose from 12.4C, 55.4F on Feb 23 to 15.6C, 60F by March 2 – a 26F/16C anomaly above the 1981-2011 average. The rise was accompanied by a measurable methane release. March 1, CH4 levels as high as 3087 ppm were recorded, getting on for twice the global concentration averaged in 2015 (NOAA).

Floodlist/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #101/ Wunderground/ thehumptydumptytribe/ Arctic News, 3 Mar/ CEWN #102

1 March – short summary owing to illness:

USA: Boston, Ma. engulfed by 14ft sea surge as Storm Riley trashes the NE coast, 7 dead…

  • 7ft of snow dumped overnight in California’s Sierra Nevada…
  • 60 dead in Europe’s ‘Beast from the East’ high-pressure system…
  • small child killed by massive hailstorm at La Quiaca, Argentina

“The Rain in Spain” brings flooding – and to Java, the Solomons, Argentina, Brazil, Rwanda, Angola, Malawi, Indonesia, Australia… More idiots driving into 3ft of water and floating away.

Large parts of central India – Maharashtra, Kerala, Gujarat – experiencing heatwave, with temperatures of 38 to 40C degrees (100-104F) being 6-10C above normal for the start of March…

Hottest summer on record for New Zealand

Cat 3 Cyclone Dumazile heading away from Madagascar...

2018, 07 Feb

Tornadoes in Spain, Portugal… record lows again for both Antarctic and Arctic sea-ice extents.

5 dead in the Philippines as TS Basyang batters Mindanao.

Cordoba, Argentina experiences giant hailstones of 10 cm dia. and more, but we recall it is the city that had five feet of hail in fifteen minutes last August.

12 people have died in record snowfalls over coastal Japan in the past week.

Australia: Central Queensland is heading into a possible record heatwave for next week.

India: 4 people died in a cyclonic hailstorm in Maharashtra, with extensive crop damage.

Iceland: Reykjavik experiences total whiteout blizzard and hurricane-speed winds with 5-ft snowdrifts burying cars overnight.

Arctic sea ice is at another record February low, while a heatwave in the stratosphere is intruding over the Arctic and expected to play hell with the polar vortex over the next few days. The forecaster fails to mention however that the subArctic jetstream is somewhere over North Africa.

USA: “Heavy rain, flooding and landslides have affected areas of Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee since 10 February 2018.” 2 die as Chicago experiences 9 straight days of snow.

Bolivia: “Heavy rain and flooding has left 6 people dead and 9,600 families affected. As many as 14 municipalities have declared a disaster.”

Mediterranean: “Severe weather, including strong winds, heavy rain and high waves, caused damage in Malta on 10 February. 1 man was killed and a passenger injured when a car was hit by a fallen tree. A large ship ran aground during the storm. Over 100 mm of rain fell in some areas in 24 hours.”

Pacific: “Days of heavy rainfall brought by Tropical Cyclone Gita have caused flooding and landslides in Samoa. The storm dumped massive amounts of rain from 07 to 11 Feb. Some areas recorded over 600 mm in a 24-hour period.

Heavy rain in eastern areas of Malaysia caused flooding in parts of Sarawak from 03 Feb. Samarahan Division recorded almost 200mm of rain in 24 hours to 06 February. Schools and hospitals have been closed and thousands of people affected.”

Africa: “The south of Malawi is enduring a dire dry season that the country’s ministry of agriculture says will leave more than 700,000 farmers with less than 40 percent yield from their crops.” Mob violence has accompanied rumors that the drought is due to witchcraft. (Washington Post, 08 Feb).

Last week, however, GW was relaying news from Floodlist that northern Malawi was yet again underwater owing to intense rainfall. Maybe a pipeline or some buckets would be useful?

2018, late Jan-early Feb

(this next section was completed as an agglomerated set of reports over several days owing to illness.)

France: Paris – Seine overflows, 1,000 people and the basement at the Louvre evacuated – the Rhône has also flooded at Lyon – torrential rainstorms () in Argentina and Guatemala, large parts of Mexico and Bolivia (new rainfall records set and beaten) underwater, tens of thousands evacuated from rising rivers – floods in Scotland, etcetera.

Postscripta: 1: the supposed-to-be minus 40C winter temperature at the North Pole is about to go 1.5C POSITIVE over the next 24 hours. 2: there is a massive low pressure (957 mb) area equivalent to a Cat 3 hurricane moving northwards in mid-Atlantic pushing warm air up into the arctic.

In the USA the east has been experiencing record WARM winter temperatures again after the horrendously cold start to the year and a winter hurricane, however the polar vortex is expected to return by the weekend and to stretch down right into Florida.

Meanwhile a huge area of the midwest: Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and especially Kansas and part of Missouri is under a wildfire advisory warning today, with sustained, very dry wind of 25 mph and a lot of dead, dry prairie grass to burn.

And with the jetstreams looping and broken, polar air is expected to descend over northern Europe into next week, followed by another warm spell.

Meanwhile Morocco has had a record cold spell, with a six-inch snowfall at altitude.

Iran: It’s also been snowing heavily in Tehran, with roads blocked… and in Saudi Arabia where there have been hailstorms heavy enough to damage cars. However, a winter heatwave is forecast to engulf the Arabian peninsula by 7 Feb.

Northern Malawi is underwater again, 1 death reported.

The extreme cold affecting Siberia has relocated to China, Japan, Korea and as far south as Vietnam. Minus 30C in Harbin City reflects the lowest-ever cold alert that’s gone out for most of northern China. (Sad image: Adelie penguins in Harbin zoo, shivering!)

05 Feb, major flooding in western Java, Indonesia, 4 dead.

While in Australia, the 108F-plus heatwave that roasted tennis players in Melbourne at the weekend gave way to ‘freezing’ (‘only’ 54F!) temperatures yesterday as a mass of antarctic air settled over much of the country – remember, it’s high summer there. But the forecast is for blistering heat to return next week.

And when is a cyclone not a cyclone? When it’s a tropical “low”, according to defensive weathermen in Western Australia, where: “the tropical low has brought near record rainfall across the west Kimberley, dumping more than 639mm in 4 days over the Broome region — just shy of the 4-day total record of 653.8mm in 1978. (After another day it beat the 5-day record, since ever.) Winds reached 100 kilometres per hour — with gusts of up to 125kph.” (ABC News). (A cyclone apparently needs to form over the sea. This one just happened on land, causing widespread flooding.)

Postscript, 01 Feb Floodlist reported: “After causing severe flooding in New Caledonia (43 cm of rain dumped in 24 hrs), the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Fehi brought severe weather including thunderstorms, heavy rain and strong winds to parts of the South Island of New Zealand from 31 Jan, 2018. Thousands of homes left without power, local states of emergency declared in Buller and Dunedin…”

As the Understanding Climate Change website writes: There is no more normal.

2018, 10-24 January

Russia: According to the State weather bureau, Moscow had its darkest December ever, recording just 6 MINUTES of sunshine over the entire month.

“The cold in Yakutia, in the far east, dipped below -60C (-76F)”. (Schools are normally closed in Russia’s coldest province at -50C…) “Some residents recorded temperatures as low as -67C, -88F… in touching distance of -67.7C, the coldest-ever officially recorded for a permanently inhabited settlement anywhere in the world”.

In Anzhero-Sudzhensk, the body of a 26-year-old industrial climber was found frozen to the outside of a building.

Kazakhstan: Black snow has fallen on the city of Temirtan. Residents are blaming industrial pollution from the local steelworks. “In 2016, nearly 600,000 tons of harmful substances were released into the air in Karaganda according to Kazakhstan’s statistics committee. In December 2017 alone, the national meteorological agency recorded levels of hydrogen sulphide in Temirtau exceeding the government-mandated limit by more than 11 times.”

Mauritius: Tropical Cyclone Berguitta is likely to be the most powerful to hit the Indian Ocean island in over 30 years, with wind gusts of 130 mph. That’s according to the Meteo France/BBC report: Wunderground’s NOAA tracking map has the storm veering away from the island out to sea. Either way, the smaller islands of Réunion and Maurice are fully in its path (PS and were badly damaged but suffered no casualties).

Mozambique: 11 die in floods. 78 thousand people displaced by a tropical depression, 2 thousand properties affected. 240mm (10-in) rain fell in 24 hours.

Burundi: “severe weather, including strong winds, heavy rain and flooding has left almost 2,000 displaced and destroyed or severely damaged hundreds of homes since 14 January. Over 12,000 people have been affected.”

South Africa: After three years of intense drought, the first major city in the (modern) world is set to go dry in April: ” “Day Zero is the day that the water resource system runs out of water,” said Mark New, Research Chair in Climate Risk at the University of Cape Town. What does this mean? “No water coming out the taps. Toilets cannot be flushed. Fire services cannot get water out of the fire hydrants. People will have to walk to water tankers to fill up drinking water bottles.” And there will be knock-on effects, such as schools considering whether they can operate with no water on campus.”

New Zealand: hottest January on record (100 years). In nearby Australia, parts of New South Wales are experiencing 48C, 116F.

Philippines: “Heavy rain since 12 January has caused flooding and landslides in Eastern Visayas and Davao Region. Authorities say that at least 11 people have died and around 8,000 have been displaced.” 264 mm rain in 24 hours fell on Catarman – Jan 12 to 13.

Malaysia, Indonesia… more flash floods reported as storms hit Kuala Lumpur and Denipasa respectively.

USA: The death toll from the Montecito mudslides continues to rise. “At least 20 people (Now 21/2) have died and three remain missing as a result of the mudslides and floods that devastated Southern California, according to a Santa Barbara County Press Release on Jan. 15. The mudslides occurred early on Tuesday, Jan. 9, destroying an estimated 115 homes and damaging hundreds of others.”  Shocking footage on CEWN, see below).  In the East, very cold weather is set to return after a short lull.

Colombia: “At least 13 people have died in a landslide near the town of Túquerres in Nariño Department, Colombia. The landslide occurred on 21 January, 2018 after a period of heavy rain. A huge section of a hillside along the Tumaco-Pasto highway fell onto the road, pushing a bus carrying at least 15 passengers into a ravine.”

In fact much of South America has been badly hit by floods and landslides in the past week. Video reports showing powerful storms, torrential rain, urban flash floods, buildings wrecked and streets turned to debris fields have come in from SE Brazil (São Paolo/Santa Carina), Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.

UK: 80 mph winds and heavy snow are forecast this midweek, with amber warnings out for most of Scotland. It’s already bloody windy here in the west, with gusts to 65 mph. The 6th storm of the winter season, it’s been named Ffion in Ireland – doesn’t seem to be named at all in the UK, where it’s caused widespread power outages in the southeast – but the Germans are calling it Friederike.

Sunday 21 Jan: snowing in London (a rare event), minus 13C in Scotland, plus 14C in the Southwest (10C here…) as warm front meets cold. Met Office says 20C temperature gradient dividing the British Isles in half is ‘quite unusual’.

Europe: “4 people have been killed by falling trees or debris as a fierce storm tears across northern Europe. Storm-related accidents killed 3 people in the Netherlands and 1 in north-west Germany. Gusts of up to 140km/h (90mph) caused transport chaos. … Police temporarily closed the centre of Almere, a Dutch city with about 200,000 residents.  … warning people to stay at home because of risk from the storm.”

France: Sunday 21 Jan – virtually the entire country is covered by yellow and amber flood warnings. These convert to numerous avalanche warnings in mountain resorts affected by recent heavy snowfall. Meteo France reports, the country overall has seen 4 to 5 times the normal rainfall for December to January. Many rivers, including the Seine at Paris, are giving concern.

Far north… Temperature anomalies in the Arctic region are truly disturbing. “The sea surface near Svalbard was as warm as 15.9°C or 60.8°F on January 12, 2018, compared to 2.4°C or 36.4°F on January 12 for the period 1981-2011. … On January 1, 2018, Arctic sea ice extent was at record low for the time of year … Temperatures as high as 18.5°C or 65.3°F were recorded on Jan. 14 and 15, 2018 in Metlakatla, Alaska. … surface temperatures as high as 7.4°C or 45.2°F were reached on January 16 in Yukon Territory, Canada.” Record high methane levels are also being detected.

World: Figures adjusted to account for annual anomalies caused by the El Niño/La Niña currents show 2017 was ‘significantly’ hotter than 2016 – on unadjusted NASA and NOAA figures, 2017 was either the second hottest year after 2016 and 2015, or the third.

According to the anonymous team of climate scientists posting as ‘Sam Carana’ (Arctic-news.blogspot.com): “Global warming has crossed 1.5°C / 2.7°F above preindustrial and looks set to cross 2°C / 3.6°F soon. Due to accelerating warming in the Arctic, that could happen within one or two years’ time, i.e. much faster than the trendlines … may suggest.” After reviewing feedback loops now being triggered that will speed the process, they conclude: “Add up the impact of all warming elements and, as an earlier analysis shows, the rise in mean global temperatures from preindustrial could be more than 10°C in a matter of years.”

Meteonovosti / Siberia Times/ BBC Weather/ BBC News/ Floodlist/ Accuweather/ Wunderground/ Meteoalarm/ Natural Resources Wales/ Arctic News, posted 22 Jan./ Climate & Extreme Weather News #90, Pt 1 (10-24 Jan)

2018, 10 January

USA:  At least 17 people have died in mudslides and flooding in California after a powerful coastal storm followed weeks of unseasonal Santa Ana wind-driven heat and wildfires to drench hillsides scarred by the huge Thomas fire and denuded of tree cover. More than 30 miles (48km) of the main coastal road have been closed and police said the scene “looked like a World War One battlefield”. A group of 300 people are reportedly trapped in Romero Canyon neighbourhood east of Santa Barbara. 163 people have been hospitalized. The death toll is expected to rise.

Africa: 48 people have died in floods and landslides around the capital of the DR of Congo, Kinshasa. Powerful storms with hail have pounded South Africa after several days of 40 deg C (104F-plus) temperatures. Namibia is basking in 100F-plus temperatures. For the second year running, it has snowed in the Sahara. Cat 2 cyclone Ava killed 49 in Madagascar, now threatened by strengthening Tropical Storm Six.

China: at least 21 people have died in heavy early winter snowfall in the eastern part of the country. Up to 30cm fell in Henan province.

Australia: Weather Network reports roads melting in the Canberra region of Western Australia as temperatures exceeded 40C, 104F for the fifth day. Sydney hit 47.3C, 117F, almost but not quite the record (47.7C, 1939). Fires broke out around Melbourne on 6 and 7 Jan. Now the northwest is experiencing Tropical Cyclone Joyce, a cat 1 storm with 95 mph gusts.

S America: wildfires around Mendoza, Argentina consumed more than 200 thousand hectares (490 thousand acres) in the space of three days. Santa Cruz in Bolivia and Colon in Panama were underwater on 2 Jan after torrential rainstorms

Europe: Avalanches have blocked the railway line out of Zermatt, where 13,000 tourists have been stranded for several days by 7ft deep snow. A British snowboarder is feared dead. “Switzerland’s WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research said Tuesday afternoon that at least 80 cm (31.5 inches) of snow had dropped on the Zermatt area over the last 24 hours, raising the avalanche risk to a maximum level of (‘almost unheard-of’) five on an avalanche-warning scale.”

There’s been heavy snowfall too in northern Italy. New wildfires have broken out on Corsica, while Poland and Hungary have been experiencing a record warm ‘early spring’ – here in my part of the UK, daffodils are flowering a month early while Scotland, the north and east of England experience a real winter. In France, the river Seine flooded parts of Paris, in Germany the Rhine was closed to shipping.

World: despite talk of a new mini ice-age, the latest global temperature anomalies map from the University of Maine’s climate change unit shows that while the north and east of Canada and the USA are looking like the arctic, the arctic is looking more like California… outside the USA the world is still warming up fast. It’s frankly chaos!

BBC News/ Wunderground/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #89, citing China’s the World Today, Euronews, et al/ The Sun/ Pattaya Mail/

2017, 18 December

Australia: monster hailstones, some 6-in. across, precipitate over Grafton, New South Wales, continuing a summer-long tendency towards extreme hailstorms seen from Turkey to South America. And a years-long tradition of hailstorms at Grafton, it seems, where in 2015 a racehorse at the local track had to be euthanased after being startled by hailstones and trying to negotiate a gate in panic. To reassure readers who may have feared global cooling had arrived, temperatures up in the top left corner of the big island – the northwest – are back up in the 100s F.

Severe thunderstorms, strong cyclonic winds, 100 mm rain per hour and “thousands” of lightning strikes batter SE Queensland around Brisbane (10 Dec), causing widespread damage.

Italy: “The River Enza in the town of Lentigione burst its banks on Tuesday 12 December, forcing hundreds of residents to evacuate. Severe weather including snow, rain and freezing temperatures has affected much of Italy since Monday. Schools have been closed and road, rail and air travel all adversely affected. … Local security assessor Paola Gazzolo said: ‘We are in the presence of floods of historical significance.'” The county of Emilia Romagna was severely affected by flooding. Further north, heavy snow (up to 3 ft in places) has caused major disruption.

Red storm warnings were out for SE France, in the Grenoble area as Storm Ana moved eastwards.

USA: “As of Monday morning, CalFire reported that the Thomas fire had consumed 230,000 acres and at least 790 structures, making it the fifth largest and tenth most destructive wildfire in (California) state history. … none of the previous top 20 fires in terms of acreage occurred any later than October—much less in December, well beyond the typical tail end of wildfire season. It’s entirely possible this fire will burn till Christmas and beyond, and not out of the question it will roll past the Cedar Fire of 2003 (273,246 acres) to become California’s largest fire on record.” (PS – it did!)

Meanwhile the entire east coast of the US is locked-in from Florida to Maine with feet of snow and subzero temperatures.

Only… in Alaska, “The National Weather Service thermometer at Juneau International Airport on Friday hit 54 deg. F, the highest temperature ever recorded in December there, the Juneau Empire reported. It was warmer Friday in Juneau than it was in Houston Tx, Jacksonville, Fla or Monterrey, Mexico.”

Chile: “Heavy rain triggered a major landslide on 16 December leaving at least 5 dead, 18 missing and 12 injured. The landslide occurred in the town of Villa Santa Lucia in Chaitén commune, Los Lagos Region. Over 200 personnel from fire, police, military and civil defence are working in the area, searching for survivors.”

Philippines: 27 people have been killed as “Remnant Tropical Cyclone Kai-Tek (Urduja) passed over the islands Friday (15/16 Dec) at 2 knots before dissipating over colder waters. Several towns, including Calbiga, Samar province were left underwater. As of 18 Dec., over 230,000 people had evacuated their homes with 190,247 housed in evacuation centres, and a further 46,081 displaced.” NASA satellite data showed rainfall of up to 5.6 inches PER HOUR. “Several of the powerful storms in the area were found by GPM’s radar to reach altitudes greater than 16 km (9.92 miles).”

Indonesia: capital Jakarta yet again underwater (11 Dec).

S Africa: 50 injured and many very expensive-looking homes destroyed when a huge tornado struck Vaal Marina, in Midvaal.

Malawi: “At least 6 people have died in flooding that struck areas of Lilongwe District in the Central Region late on 16 December, 2017. According to a statement by the Government of Malawi, over 1,000 people from 200 households were affected by the floods. Two people have been reported injured.”

Arctic: temperature anomalies persist well above the 50-year mean to 2002. Ice extent, volume, thickness third/second lowest on record after 2012. Ahlstrom, Peterson et al (GEUS) report that a sudden and unprecedented acceleration in melt runoff from the SW Greenland ice sheet is affecting the atmospheric temperature gradient at the Arctic circle.

Independent/ Floodlist/ Wunderground/ Accuweather/ EurekAlert/ US News/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #86, citing Metro TV News (Indonesia); credit Katrina Finnson/9 News

2017, 28 December

UK: “…findings from power research group MyGridGB show that renewable energy sources provided more power than coal for 90% of 2017, figures up to 12 December show. British wind farms produced more electricity than coal plants on more than 75% of days this year. … In April, the UK had its first 24-hour period without using any coal power since the Industrial Revolution.” Snow has closed roads and airports, ahead of Storm Dylan (30 Dec.)

Malta: a private jet belonging to Britain/Belize’s tax-dodger-general, Tory donor Lord Michael Ashcroft, was picked up and blown through an airport fence, crashing into an office building Thursday, by a powerful gust of wind. Struck back in August by a ‘Med-icane’, the island has again been hit by a powerful storm system, with 5-meter waves, thunderstorms, hail, torrential rain and a single-digit cold snap all in the forecast.

Australia: SE Queensland swelters through a Christmas heatwave, until powerful storm cells bring strong winds, heavy rain and hail, smashing up homes, breaking car windshields and causing power blackouts. “Cricket-ball sized” hail batters the small town of Athol, near Twoowoomba (just as England’s Cook was battering cricket-ball sized, er, cricket balls for his 244 in Melbourne). More storms are forecast for the New Year’s weekend.

Philippines: the death toll from Typhoon Tembim (TS Vinta) stands at 240, with 107 still unaccounted for. Whole villages were washed away or buried. The remnant typhoon, downgraded to a TD, is now battering Vietnam.

USA: Much of the eastern mid- and NE US is experiencing record cold and snowfall in a huge swath from the Arctic circle down to Florida. Erie, Pennsylvania is under five feet of snow, that fell in a day and a night. “3 to 4 more feet” is the forecast. 50th State, Hawaii has had near-record rainfall and flash floods; 6-in fell on Maui airport in 24 hours. Meanwhile, heatwave conditions persist in the far SW and California, where the Thomas fire is 80% controlled.

And as for Alaska… temperatures this December have been “20 to 30 degrees above average”. 2017 is likely to be the costliest year ever for the US in terms of weather disruption. 700 scientific staff posts are reportedly vacant after a wave of resignations at the US Environment Protection Agency.

Oceans: “…on December 21, sea surface temperatures were as high as 31.7°C or 89°F north of Australia. In line with rising temperatures caused by global warming, sea surface temperature anomalies are high across the oceans. … temperature anomalies over the Arctic Ocean could be as high as 30°C, 54°F.” (Shome confusion here… 30°C is 86°F, not 54°F, which is 12°C. Ed.)

BBC News/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #88, citing CBS News, RUPTLY, Maui Now, et al./ Wunderground/ Arctic News

2017, 08 December

USA: “A swath of high-impact snowfall—in some places, among the heaviest ever observed—made its way from South Texas to Atlanta on Friday, en route to the big cities of the Northeast U.S. (see below).

Meanwhile, massive wildfires continued to scorch the landscape of Southern California, raging at unprecedented scope for December. … With no sign of any meaningful rains for Southern California over the next two weeks, it is quite possible that some of this week’s wildfires will burn until Christmas and beyond. … (Hurricane) Harvey’s 64 inches of rain near Port Arthur were the greatest on record for any storm in U.S. recorded history. Despite this unprecedented deluge, portions of the (Texas) region that received 20+ inches of rain are now in drought.”

“California’s coastal cities and mountains are on high alert this week, as an unusually (late) prolonged bout of (bone-dry) Santa Ana winds blowing toward the coast will lead to a multi-day period of extremely dangerous fire weather.” Rain in SoCal has been almost non-existent this autumn, with 30-year record low rainfall of just 0.2mm since 1 October.

(14 big fires break out. 120,000 evacuated in LA area – 8 Dec.)

“27,000 residents forced to flee (5 Dec) the cities of Ventura and Santa Paula, 70 miles (115 km) north of Los Angeles. Firefighters warned the fire was moving so fast they were unable to contain it. Fanned by 70 mph winds, the fire swept through 31,000 acres (12,500 hectares) in a matter of hours. One elderly woman was found dead in her car.” (edited from reports).

Early winter blizzards closed schools and delayed flights in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Extensive heavy snow warnings are out in the midwest. Winter Storm Benji threatens to blanket the entire east coast with 4-in or more snow.

Canada: Daytime temperatures in Edmonton, Alberta have been up to 10 deg. C (50F) above normal for the time of year.

Taiwan: experts are consulting the record books over a rainbow that hung over the city of Taipei for 9 hours.

Solomon Islands: “Hundreds of people have been forced to leave their homes on Guadalcanal after rivers overflowed on 05 Dec. Heavy rain has affected the country over the last few days. In a 24 hour period between 04 and 05 December, 97 mm of rain fell in Honiara, the capital.”

Brazil: Rio Casca underwater (Dec 4).

Panama: parts of Panama City underwater (Dec 2).

UK: Storm Caroline hit the north of Britain this week, with forecast winds of up to 90mph (135kph) prompting a severe Amber weather warning for northern Scotland. Oil rigs were being evacuated in advance of 15m (48ft) waves, and schools and bridges closed. A gust of 116 mph was recorded in the Cairngorms. It’s only the third named storm of the autumn so far. Snow and plummeting temperatures were forecast to affect the northwest of the country by Friday, moving south over the weekend.

France: heavy snowfall blocks roads in the south-east of the country.

Albania: five days after torrential rain caused extensive flooding, the country’s government has called for international aid, “Damage assessments suggest that more than 15,000 hectares have been flooded and the current assessment indicates the following damage: 4,715 buildings, 41 businesses, 127 road sections, 177 schools, 78 bridges, 30 water supply stations, 11 dams, 26 electrical stations, 29 dikes and one water pumping station.” Quite a Christmas list….

Spain, Portugal: believe it or not, after last summer’s record heat, drought and wildfires, potentially disruptive “extreme” low temperatures and snow are warned for this week, over much of the Iberian peninsula.

India: 100 fishermen “missing” after Cyclone Ockhi kills 37 in Tamil Nadu and 13 in nearby Sri Lanka.

Indonesia: Lokhsukon, Banda Aceh, under 3ft water (4 Dec).

Malawi: “About 2.8 million Malawians – nearly 20 per cent of the population – face food insecurity, making the country one of the worst hit in southern and eastern Africa, where the current drought affects 50 million people, according to United Nation figures.” So, that was April 2016 (report: Al Jazeera)… as the drought persists in 2017 water levels have fallen so low that the country, which is 98% dependent on hydro-power, is experiencing extended power outages lasting up to a day at a time. Hospitals are relying on generators.

Arctic: “Nov. 2017 averaged 17.2°F in Utqiaġvik (Point Barrow), Alaska, a new monthly record—besting the previous record of 15.3°F established in November 1950—and some 16.4° above average. … Eight of the warmest years on record for Utqiaġvik will have occurred in just the past 10 years.”

“While 2017’s summer melt season didn’t break the record, Arctic (sea ice) falls far below the 1981 to 2010 median extent by over 1.58 million square km (610,000 square miles). Moreover, surface cover isn’t everything when it comes to the state of the Arctic — what experts say matters most is the total volume of ice — a combination of thickness and extent, and 2017 saw summer volumes among the lowest ever recorded.” This translates to a loss of three-quarters of the total volume of ice at the annual minimum since 1981, with most of the loss occurring in the last 12 years.

BBC News/ Wunderground/ Floodlist/Neven1 Arctic Sea Ice blog, PIOMAS/ Arctic News/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #85

2017, 23–30 November

Australia: Superstorm warning for SE Australia. After an unprecedented November heatwave, a huge blocking system stalled off the coast is producing a “major weather event” as violent thunderstorms dump torrential rain (up to 300 mm in 36 hours) and cause flooding in almost all of Victoria state. Forecaster Scott Williams, from the Bureau of Meteorology, said “This is a vast, intense, high-impact event. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a deep low form over Victoria whilst we’ve got this moisture around.”

Indonesia: 19 dead as TS Sempaka brings floods and landslides to east Java. Houses destroyed in Pacitan. Extensive new flooding has left roads 1m deep underwater in Riau, Sumatra, cutting off 800 residents.

USA: Mount Vernon, Seattle, (24 Nov) the Skagit river bursts its banks after ‘worse than expected’ rainfall brought in by the Pacific ‘atmospheric river’ system.

Argentina: Rio Cuarto battered by sudden violent storm (24 Nov). Flash flooding, cyclonic wind, golfball-size hailstones.

Peru: Cajamarca, torrential rain floods town, streets flowing with muddy ‘red tide’ washes cars away.

India:  “A Test cricket match in New Delhi between India and Sri Lanka was repeatedly interrupted on 3 Dec with claims players were continuously vomiting due to hazardous pollution levels in the Indian capital. Commentators said it was the first recorded instance of an international match being halted due to toxic smog. Airborne pollution levels (were measured at) 15 times the World Health Organisation safe limit.”

Sri Lanka: “At least 13 people have died, 1 missing and 61 injured in Sri Lanka since 29 Nov after severe weather including strong winds and heavy rain brought by Cyclone Ockhi. According to the country’s Disaster Management Centre, as of 02 December more than 106,000 people in 16 districts across the country had been affected.”

World: thanks to the broken Arctic jetstream and weak La Niña, two polar vortices are sitting far down in the northern hemisphere, one over Europe and one over eastern parts of America, with temperatures well below normal and heavy snowfall. Elsewhere, at the same latitudes ‘heatwave’ conditions are persisting into December. The temperature north of the Arctic circle in Western Greenland is still 6.9 deg. C. above freezing, causing melt conditions.

ABC News/ News.com.au/ Jakartapost.com/ Metro.TV Java/ Floodlist/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #84/ Guardian

2017, ‘Early December’

Western Malaysia: “has been affected by flooding over the last few days. Around 13,000 people have been evacuated to special relief camps. Local media report that 2 people have died in the floods.  One area of Pasir Mas District in Kelantan recorded rainfall above 400 mm each day for 4 consecutive days from 25 November.”

Thailand: almost 400,000 people are affected by flooding in the south of the country. The department for disaster prevention reports at least 5 dead and states of emergency have been declared across a wide area. More heavy rain is forecast.

Australia: “December will commence on a volatile note across eastern Australia (Canberra area) with flooding rain and powerful thunderstorms expected. Residents should prepare for disruptions to travel, outdoor and weekend activities. The strongest thunderstorms may be capable of causing damage.”

Spain: “A short period of heavy rain in Andalusia, southern Spain, caused flash flooding in the provinces of Malaga, Granada, Seville and Cadiz on 29 Nov. A train was derailed near Seville with at least 21 people injured, 2 of them seriously. Local media said the derailment was caused by the heavy rain. Houses were damaged in several areas.”

Albania: “Torrential rain has caused flooding in central areas of the country, prompting dozens of families to evacuate their homes. A man died after he was electrocuted in flood water. Roads have been blocked, flights cancelled and schools closed. Over 70,000 homes have been left without electricity. Emergency services have evacuated 200 people after they were trapped inside a flooded shopping centre in Kashar. Heavy rain has also been reported elsewhere in the region, including in Macedonia, Croatia and Montenegro. More heavy rain and thunderstorms are forecast…”

Italy: a huge waterspout formed off the coast comes ashore as a tornado and trashes the town of San Remo.

USA: Good news; the official Atlantic hurricane season ended today, 30 November, with no last-minute major disasters. “Preliminary death toll from Harvey is 84, and 95 from Irma. Hurricane Maria, though, may be responsible for over a thousand deaths. New research that has not yet gone through peer-review puts the indirect death toll from Maria in Puerto Rico at 1,085 and rising, according to a story published Wednesday at vox.com”

Total US damage from this last, most busiest hurricane season has been estimated at $207 billion, comfortably beating an adjusted-for-inflation total of $185 billion for the second-most expensive ever hurricane year for the US, way back in 1893. These are insured losses and capital recovery project costs only, there’s no accounting for the rest, hoi polloi.

No figures have been added, however, for an extended flood-and-wildfire season; and the effects of prolonged drought across most of the midwest. Houston, New Orleans, Kansas City, Charleston and Las Vegas were all hit by severe flooding from non-hurricane weather systems during the summer, while the California wildfire season has been the worst ever in terms of damage and casualties.

Floodlist/ Wunderground/ Accuweather/

2017, ‘Late November’

Caribbean: Four hours of torrential rain – a ‘month’s worth’ for November – creates impressive flash flood in coastal resort of Montego Bay, Jamaica. overwhelming drainage defences.

Indonesia: Sidoharjo, East Java trashed by slow-moving tornadoes. 35 hospitalized, whole buildings destroyed. City then battered by heavy rain, 380mm falling in 24 hours.

“7 deaths were reported when a landslide struck in Klesem village in the Kebonagung Sub-district of Pacitan Regency. 2 further fatalities occurred in a separate landslide in Sidomulyo village, also in the Pacitan district in East Java. 2 other victims reportedly drowned in flood water in the same area where rivers have overflowed.”

Thailand: Phetchaburi river overflows after heavy rain, floods – city under 3ft of water. Hundreds evacuated. 2 more die in renewed flooding in Vietnam as Tropical Depression Kirogi crosses the country.

New Zealand: “a slow moving storm that began around 15:00 on Sunday 26 November caused flash flooding in the small town of Roxburgh in the Central Otago District. Local media said 42 mm of rain fell in just a few hours.”

Australia: there’s concern for electricity supplies as an unprecedented November heatwave over Melbourne continues into its second week and air conditioner sales boom. Records were broken too in Hobart, Tasmania, where a peak of 31.5C last Friday (24 Nov) was 13 deg. C. above normal for the time of year.

USA: record November temperatures ‘from the west coast to the plains’ are running 15 to 20 deg. C. above normal as strong winds, cold and snow affect more northerly and eastern states; SW states continue to be plagued by tornados. Anaheim, Cal. recorded a temp. of 100F on 22 Nov. “According to climatologist Guy Walton: November will be the 36th month in a row where U.S. daily record highs outnumbered record lows.”

UK: After a run of unusually warm winters, this year’s La Niña, a weak jetstream and colder air displaced from the Arctic have brought endless rain, gales and temperatures now falling into low single-figures (and forecast to continue downward in places to -10C (14F) to much of the British Isles, with night frost and disruptive snow in the north. Nevertheless as GW reported a few months back, average winter temperature in the British Isles has increased by 2 deg. C. since 1981.

Two rivers burst their banks at Mountmellick, Rep. of Ireland, flooding homes. Elderly residents couldn’t recall anything like it in their lifetime.

World: “Warming is accelerating. For some time, it has been warmer than the 1.5°C guardrail that the Paris Agreement promised should not be crossed. This conclusion follows from analysis of NASA land+ocean data 1880-October 2017, adjusted by 0.59°C to cater for the rise from preindustrial and with a trend added that also indicates that the global temperature looks set to cross the 2°C guardrail soon, with 2021 falling within the margins of the trend line.

This, warns Arctic News, does not take account of sub-surface ocean warming (93% of total warming has gone into the seas) and feedbacks that might speed up the process.

Arctic: “From 1981 until 2011, ocean temperature off Svalbard island during the early winter months of October/November remained stable – including a 1 deg C. cooling trend across the two months. Measurements this year (2017) however show that the ocean has warmed at the surface during this two-month period since 2011 by an average of 13.9 deg. C. with no cooling evident”

Saudi Arabia: “Hundreds of people have been rescued from stranded cars and flooded homes after heavy rain hit parts of western Saudi Arabia on 21 Nov. Civil defence teams reported that, as of late 21 November, they had rescued 481 people, mostly from vehicles stranded in flood water. Heavy rain was reported in Ha’il, with over 100 mm falling in 24 hours. Streets were under water up to 50 cm deep in some of the affected cities, causing major traffic problems. In rural areas, wadis turned into raging rivers, causing significant dangers for drivers. Local media are reporting that several people have died after being electrocuted in flood water in both Jeddah and Mecca.”

2017, 17 November

Greece: “At least 16 people died early Wednesday as major flash flooding tore through several towns on the northwest edge of the Athens metropolitan area. Mudslides poured through the region after torrential overnight rainfall, inundating roads with bright red-orange soil and tossing vehicles like toys. In the town of Nea Peramos, some 1000 homes were flooded (as reported by the Guardian).” A state of emergency was declared on the island of Symi.

The website Severe Weather Europe warned early Thursday that 48-hour rainfall amounts of 200-400 mm (8 – 16”) were possible on Saturday in parts of central and northern Greece.” The storm has been named Numa and was sufficiently violent to be classed as a rare “Medicane” – a hurricane-like weather system, that more usually affects the western Mediterranean – indeed, a similar storm hit Malta two weeks ago. (21 Nov: Greece death toll confirmed at 22.)

Turkey: Freak hailstorm batters the town of Mersin in the SE of the country. Streets turn to rivers of ice, etc.

France: warning of unstable glacier above the ski-resort town of Chamonix in the French Alps as basal temperature approaches melting point; many Alpine glaciers already gone.

Indonesia: “At least 2 people died in flash floods in West Nusa province of central Indonesia on 19 November… floods affected 2,280 people in 15 different villages … 367 homes and 14 bridges were damaged.”

Bolivia: Cochabamba province: town of Ivirgazama underwater after torrential rainstorm.

Paraguay: Powerful storm hits Ciudad del Este: cyclonic wind brings down trees, buildings.

Colombia: Extreme rainfall produces flash flooding and a giant mudslide in the city of Corinto (7 Nov.). People missing, streets left 6-in deep in mud. Raging torrent flows through Santa Marta, city centre, seafront inundated.

Haiti: Floods caused by several days of torrential rain have left 5 people dead and thousands of homes damaged. Haiti’s civil protection directorate said on Thursday that between 14 and 16 November at least 10,000 houses were flooded.

Australia: Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, hit by sudden tropical storm. Wind gusting to 107 kph tears down trees and power lines. 12mm hail falls in 15 mins.

Vietnam: Yet another Tropical Storm, Kirogi, crosses Vietnam, bringing down trees and power lines and causing flash flooding in Saigon.

USA: Pacific ‘atmospheric river’ dubbed The Pineapple Express brings heavy rain and snowfall to western states. 3 feet of snow dumped over northern California in 48 hours sets new November record. Tornado and 100 mph winds rip through midwest. To the east, ‘dangerously’ strong winds cause damage in New York; cold and snow cause commuter misery, 5 injured in scaffolding collapses. 100 million affected by storms.

Meanwhile the southwest and southern California are enjoying record high late November temperatures in the 90s F.

Wildfires in California last month that killed 40 people caused over $8 billion insured damage – it’s said, the costliest single fire-related event in US history.

World: “October 2017 was tied for fourth warmest October for Earth since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA; NASA rated it second warmest. The January – October period was the third warmest such period on record, and 2017 is on pace to be Earth’s second or third warmest year on record, behind 2016.” In Dr Jeff Masters’ analysis, the fact that 2017 has been 0.18 deg. C behind 2016 is due to there having been no El Niño event this year, which normally results in higher temperatures still – and not to any intrinsic slowdown in the warming trend.

Climate & Extreme Weather News #80, #81/ Enikos.gr/ Wunderground/ Floodlist/ Aljazeera

2017 Mid-October

USA: Tropical Storm Nate brings major flooding, after “at least 30” dead in floods and landslides in Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica and El Salvador. Oil and gas production shut down as it barrels at 25 mph towards the US Gulf Coast as Cat 1/2 hurricane, pushing a 6ft storm surge. Misses New Orleans, floods Biloxi Ms. Later reported dispersing with heavy rain up the east coast into New York state, almost 1ft of rain falling in North Carolina.

California: 17 dead, over 100 injured, 150 still “missing”, 1,500 buildings including entire suburbs destroyed, 20 thousand evacuated as “tens of thousands of acres” including many vineyards affected by “at least 14” wildfires that broke out Sunday in the Napa Valley, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. National Weather Service has issued a warning for the San Francisco area that “any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly” as dry, windy conditions persist.

Up to 30-in. of snow falls on Montana – heaviest snowstorm “since 1914”. 10 thousand without power. Winter storm warnings for up to 1ft of snow around Denver, Colorado – meanwhile the Autumn heatwave continues over the southeastern states with temperatures up into the high 80s F.

Germany: Storm Xavier brings strong winds, torrential rain, kills 7 in the far north of Germany. Storm surge floods Hamburg, Wilhelmshaven. 2 dead in neighboring Poland, 8 emergency workers injured. Local severe weather alerts for ‘disruptive’ thunderstorms are in place for the whole of southern Italy, Oct 9/10. Autumn heatwave continues in Portugal, where more fires have broken out, this time in Pampilhosa da Sierra region.

Norway: Torrential rain causes severe flash-flooding and river overflow around Kristiansand. Much property damage.

China: new flooding, landslides and rain damage has been reported in the provinces of Anhui, Henan, Hubei, Chongqing, Sichuan and Shaanxi – 23 dead, 5,000 homes destroyed. Engineers warning of relief efforts at Three Gorges dam causing more flooding downstream.

India: More flooding affecting Assam state: the fourth wave of flooding since the Brahmaputra river overflowed on 02 June. 78 thousand people affected. 4 dead. Power failure as central Hyderabad underwater. 48 hours more rain forecast.

Indonesia: Pangandaran, West Java underwater after heavy rains. River overflows. 4 dead.

Vietnam: “Torrential rain brought by a tropical depression has caused landslides and floods (12 Oct), leaving 37 dead, 40 missing – 21 in Hoa Binh, many of them in landslide. 11 people have also been reported missing in Yen Bai Province. 17,000 houses flooded, over 200 homes have collapsed. 20,000 acres of paddy fields destroyed and around 1,200 head of cattle and 30,000 poultry drowned.” (edited report)

Australia: Heavy rainfall on the 5th inundates Bundaberg, Queensland. Bureau of Meteorology sources, said “the Wide Bay city had received more than 340mm rain on Monday, breaking a 64-year record by more than 60mm”.

Brazil: San Bernardo del Campo, Saõ Paolo – massive ice storm. Buildings brought down, streets turn to rivers of ice.

Mexico: Tropical Storm Ramon brings new flash-flooding to Oaxaca and Tamaulipas provinces, for the fourth time this year: Altamira and Tampico underwater, 2 dead, 18,000 evacuated. More ‘torrential’ storms forecast.

Argentina: powerful hailstorm batters Corrientes. Cars damaged.

South Africa: Huge storm, tornadoes strike Johannesburg on 9 Oct. 8 dead, many injuries, shopping mall trashed, 150 homes destroyed. Electricity substation knocked out, large areas without power. Hailstones “the size of tennis-balls”. In Durban, a powerful storm-cell raises hurricane-force winds with torrential rain bringing flash-floods to large parts of the city and environs. Coastal storm surge washes away cars; “autoggeddon” inland too as busy roads become rivers under 5 ft of water. The storm moves on to Pietermaritzburg, where a man is swept away and drowned.

Atlantic: Out in mid-Atlantic and unlikely to threaten landfall other than possibly in the Azores, is a new Tropical Storm, Ophelia, that’s forecast to become a Category 1 hurricane. If and when it does, it will be the C19th-record-equalling tenth TS to become an Atlantic hurricane this year, with six weeks to go before the ‘end of the season’ (whatever that implies in this new record-setting year!).

UK: 12 Oct, the Met Office is warning that remnant hurricane Ophelia is on track to graze Portugal and Galicia in the next 48 hours and make direct landfall in southwest UK and southern Ireland as an 85 mph Tropical Storm, Monday. Another system that developed to the SW of Ophelia has a 20% chance of deepening into a Tropical Depression before running into the Bahamas. If it strengthens over warmer water to a Tropical Storm it will be known as Philippe.

Climate and Extreme Weather News #71, #72 citing AP, Euronews, Ruptly, TOI, etc./ BBC News/ Floodlist/ 13News Now/ Weather Underground

2017, 19-24 September

Hurricane Maria: weakening to a Cat 2 as it moves north over colder waters, the “will-it, won’t it?” make landfall along the US East Coast debate continues. Even if not, it will be felt as it passes between the Outer Banks of N Carolina and Bermuda. It is still a huge and violent storm bearing potentially 2-3 feet of rain. Death toll across the Caribbean now exceeds 30 and many remote areas have yet to be reached.

90% of homes in Dominica have sustained damage or destruction. Guajataca dam on Puerto Rico still threatening to give way (24 Sept.), 70,000 evacuated from communities in its path. “The storm dumped over 960 mm of rain in Caguas on 21 September.” High winds and flooding too claimed lives in Haiti and the Dominican Republic (24 Sept.).

Atlantic: Meanwhile, Jose is still toggling gamely around in the west Atlantic but has weakened to a depression and not likely to make landfall. Former Tropical Depression, Lee has woken up in mid-Atlantic after doing nothing for days and has strengthened to a Cat 2 hurricane, on a predicted northeasterly track – ie towards northern Europe, the UK, Iceland – but weakening to a TS over colder waters.

Australia: New South Wales/Sydney experiences its first-ever 40C (104F) heatwave – for equinoctial September (early spring month). System extends up into Queensland.

Guatemala: raging floods continuing after days of intense rainfall.

Spain: Another heavy ice-storm, this time on the lovely Moorish city of Teruel, Aragon. Rivers of ice flowing through the streets freeze solid for a time, trapping cars. Many lightning strikes. “35 litres of water per square meter fell in half an hour, causing localised flooding, as well as leaving a number of people requiring treatment for hypothermia. The storm hit just before 9pm, after a sudden drop in temperature of nearly 20 degrees.” Severe, possibly disruptive thunderstorm alert out for Vilabella, SE Spain.

Gran Canaria: wildfires raging in city outskirts, metres from hotels. Tourists sent fleeing.

Congo: death toll in Kivu state flooding officially now 12, over 100 missing. Torrential rain and landslides destroy many homes.

Malaysia: extreme flash-flooding and rivers overflowing in Perlis and Kedah regions.

Indonesia: Bengkulu region hit by extreme flash-flooding.

Thailand: Khuan Kalong hit by extreme flash-flooding. Satun province experiencing third major flooding event this year. Thousands of acres of rice paddy rotting. Major dam at Phitsanulok dangerously exceeding capacity.

India: Torrential rains continue to fall in Kerala province, with flash-floods and landslides, casualties reported. Schools and colleges shut. More rain over Mumbai (Bombay), flooded last month, is bringing September to a record month, already the second highest rainfall total recorded.

USA: weird weather has the country split in half:

“Parts of the U.S. Midwest and Northeast and adjacent Canada were running 12 – 20°C (22 – 38°F) above average, while parts of the Rocky Mountains and Great Basin were 12 – 20°C (22 – 38°F) below average.” Many northeastern cities have experienced 90F-plus temperature surges over the weekend, setting new record highs for late September. “Provo, Utah (Brigham Young University) had a daytime high of just 42°F on Sunday, which was its coldest day ever notched during September in records going back to 1916.” At the same time to the north of Utah it was 93F, 33.8C in Toronto, Canada, its hottest day of the year so far and hottest day ever recorded in late September.

Antarctica: ‘A-68’, the trillion-tonne monster iceberg the size of Cyprus, that calved from the Larsen C shelf three months ago, is thought finally to be on the move out into the South Atlantic.

The Weather Channel/ Moana Loa observatory/ Climate & Extreme Weather News #69/ Wunderground/ English Radio News, Spain/ Floodlist/ Reuters

2017, 10 August

Arctic: Sea ice ‘gone’ by mid-September? “On average, surface temperatures over the Arctic Ocean have been more than 2.5°C (or 4.5°F) warmer than in 1981-2010. The warmer air is now also melting the sea ice from above, as temperatures over the Arctic have risen to well above the freezing point.”

Greenland: ‘unprecedented’ wildfire burning since 31 July, 3000 acres destroyed (no firefighting available). Australian firefighters arriving in Canada to help with 28 new wildfires in British Columbia adding to the 100 already burning – some rain may arrive shortly to help, but not enough.

Russia: powerful storm brings flash flooding to Vladivostock, most easterly city in Europe and home of the Russian Pacific Fleet. Roads and bridges washed away. A 2000 km-long plume of smoke from wildfires over Siberia, its origin centred around the city of Krasnoyarsk can be seen from space.

Mexico: city of Campeche, Yucatan hit by Tropical Storm Franklin, with widespread flash flooding. Other parts flooded; Moncova, Cloahuila, Nuevo Leon. Heatwave affecting Hermosillo, NW Mexico, expected to peak at 44C, 111F on Friday.

USA: unseasonal ‘freak’ tornado injures 30, damages houses, shops and cars in Tulsa, Oklahoma. City pounded by powerful storm, 130 mph wind, localized flooding. Power out. Weather service taken completely by surprise.

USA: Kansas City: 8 inches of rain overnight brings more flooding to the city. 6in rain falls on Houston, Texas in 6 hours. Dallas, Texas on flood alert. New Orleans floods starting to abate. Tornado in Maryland blows cars away – again no warning. Storms and flood alerts in east.

Italy: Alpine ski resorts melting out under a layer of soot from fires, glaciers vanishing rapidly. 5 dead in violent storms following a week-long 120F, 48C heatwave. More amazing scenes as rivers of ice flow through Cortina’s streets from massive hailstones the size of hens’ eggs. Temperatures locally in south anecdotally touch 55C, 131F (not confirmed).

Austria: clearing up after flash floods in the mountains. Flash floods in Switzerland.

Spain: Drought. Towns in Andalucia and rural villages running out of drinking water, reservoirs at historic lows, intermittent mains water interruptions reported. A powerful storm with many lightning strikes floods the town of Denia, on the Costa Blanca. Violent storm over Ibiza brings torrential rain, property damage. New fires are raging through central Portugal.

UK: heavy rain has caused flooding in parts of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire as the Met Office warns of further rainfall. A huge bulk grain carrier has departed for Spain with 70,000 tonnes of barley on board to feed cattle starved of grazing by the drought.

Japan: Typhoon Noru hits mainland, dumps 500mm rain, flooding, ‘tens of thousands’ evacuated. Storm reported weakening over land as it approaches Tokyo.

China: As if the earthquake in Sichuan was not enough (death toll 25 and counting, 45 seriously injured, 85,000 evacuated) a flash flood and landslide carries away part of a village in Puge county. 25 people are missing, 71 homes destroyed. Heilongjian province, northeast China, the city of Harbin floods after torrential rain.

S Korea: deaths from heatstroke reported among the elderly. 37C – plus (100F) heatwave continues into fourth week. 2.7 million chickens and other livestock have died due to extreme conditions. Korean TV reports, annual average temperature is accelerating fast. Hospital admissions with heatstroke have doubled in the past five years.

India: new flooding in Assam, 65,000 evacuated.

Iraq: building workers given day off owing to extreme 50C–plus heat.

2017, 06 August

The Lancet reports, excess heat could kill up to 150,000 more people a year in Europe alone by the end of the century. I don’t suppose anyone much will be around to see that.

Europe: still in the grip of 40 deg C-plus heatwave Lucifer, expected to relent gradually after Wednesday.

Italy: Extreme heat in north. More fires across south. Drought persists in Italy’s grainbelt, 60% crop losses reported across all agri sectors. Deliveries to northern markets failing. Water shortages looming.

Greece: extreme heat. Island of Kythira ablaze. The entire Aegean area has been plagued by earthquake swarms in recent weeks since 2 were killed in the M5 on Kos.

Austria: powerful thunderstorms trigger flash floods affecting mountain communities.

Russia: noonday temperature currently (7 Aug) in Norilsk, northernmost city in Siberia, 21C, 72.6F. Desperate authorities have started chemically seeding clouds to combat wildfires consuming the Taiga.

Japan: Typhoon Noru claims 2 lives in Kyushu, moves on over Honshu main island, bringing 60cm rain in 48 hours. Flash floods in Osaka area. More heavy rain following on behind.

China: Heavy rain affecting the northeast up into Mongolia. Flash flooding, 100 thousand people affected, 25,000 acres of crops damaged. Liaoning – 1,000 flood refugees trapped on higher ground by rising water, being rescued a second time. 2 dead, 350,000 affected in Jiling province. Damage estimated at $700 million.

India: 10 dead, new widespread flooding in Uttarakhand. ‘Huge loss’ of property. More heavy rain forecast.

Pakistan: “At least 5 killed and others injured after floods and landslides in the Gilgit-Baltistan region. Met. department issued warnings for glacial lake outburst floods after heavy rain and temperatures up to 5 deg. higher than normal (caused) ice to melt.” 116 people have died as a result of flooding or landslides in Pakistan since the start of this year’s monsoon.

S Korea: severe heatwave continues.

USA: again, New Orleans experiences flooding with up to 3ft of water as a tropical storm brings up to 10 inches of rain in 4 hrs to the city. “The rate of rainfall in many neighborhoods of the city was one of the highest recorded in recent history.” New York State is on flash flood alert, as is Manhattan, with more heavy rain also forecast across Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Delaware. A ‘rare’, out-of-season tornado causes casualties and damage in Toledo, Ohio.

USA: Las Vegas, Nevada – one victim died and 7 others were rescued after flash floods in two areas of the city. Flash flooding submerged parts of Kansas City, shutting down parts of highway I-35 and flooding other streets across the city. Vehicles were submerged and drivers left stranded by flood water.

Staff at the US Department of Agriculture have been told to avoid using the term “climate change”, with officials instructed to reference “weather extremes” instead. The primary cause of human-driven climate change is also targeted, with the injunction to “reduce greenhouse gases” blacklisted in favor of “build soil organic matter”.* Sound policy indeed. Dig more shit in, the BogPo says. (The Guardian, 7 Aug.)

Mexico: Tropical storm Franklin now building over the Caribbean is expected to head across the Yucatan Peninsula towards the capital, Mexico City, bringing up to 300mm of rain.

Venezuela: as if the country doesn’t have enough to worry about, severe flooding after days of torrential rain has caused several major rivers including the Orinoco to burst their banks, with about 10 thousand people affected.

Arabian peninsula: It’s currently 43C, 117F in Baghdad and Kuwait, a little cooler in Riyadh – only 40C. Across North Africa temperatures are in the high 30s to mid 40s currently: 95 – 100F. Not as bad as July and August the last two years when searing 50 C-plus heat killed 100s. The forecast is for temperatures ‘building across the week’. Satellite map shows zero cloud cover across the region. Long drought is causing severe crop losses in Egypt.

Africa: heavy rains persisting across mid-western and central Africa, eg. Nigeria. Bad news for elusive anteaters:

“Hotter temperatures are taking their toll on the aardvark, whose diet of ants and termites is becoming scarcer in some areas because of reduced rainfall, according to a study released Monday. Drought in the Kalahari desert killed five out of six aardvarks that were being monitored for a year, as well as 11 others in the area…”

World: despite the record heatwaves in Europe, Asia and the US west and midwest, provisional global weather data give July as only the second hottest on record, after 2016; it seems Antarctica has been letting the side down. The US NOAA report for June states:

“June 2017 was characterized by warmer to much warmer-than-average conditions across much of the world’s land and ocean surface. The most notable warm temperature departures from average were present across much of central Asia, western and central Europe, and the southwestern contiguous U.S. where temperature departures from average were 2.0°C (3.6°F) or greater. … Overall, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature for June 2017 was 0.82°C (1.48°F) above the 20th century average of 15.5°C (59.9°F) and the third highest June temperature in the 138-year record, behind 2016 (+0.92°C / +1.66°F) and 2015 (+0.89°C / +1.60). June 2017 marks the 41st consecutive June and the 390th consecutive month with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average.

Strangest of all: Uni. of Ottawa’s much-Followed climatologist and podcaster, Prof Paul Beckwith reports that on July 20, for the first time he believes in history, the weakening and fragmenting northern and southern jetstreams crossed the equator at various points all around the globe into one another’s hemispheres, pulling hot and cold air masses with them and creating a huge vortex over the Pacific. The southern jetstream is dissipating and covers 95% of the hemisphere. This chaotic mixing is attributable to rapidly warming water in the Arctic and has no predictable weather outcomes, other than bad.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJYWvnuA9w8&t=563s

Climate and Extreme Weather News #51/ D Mail/ NW Global temperature report/ Floodwatch/ NOAA/ Paul Beckwith/ the Guardian/ local weather reports.

2017, 30 July – 4 Aug.

Japan: Typhoon Noru is expected to make landfall on Saturday, 5 Aug. in Kyushu island. Windspeeds estimated at 133 mph, wave heights at 16m (53 ft), up to a foot of rain forecast. South Korea also on alert for Noru’s plotted trajectory in the coming days. (PS it missed!)

Taiwan: Typhoon Nesat dumps 60 cm of rain overnight, 30 July. Flooding causes 10 thousand people to be evacuated, 130 injured. That was Saturday, on Monday Typhoon Haitang brought 100-mph winds and flooding to the north of the country. Half a million people were without electricity.

Myanmar (Burma): “Four western regions have been declared disaster zones after heavy floods, caused by monsoon rains, left at least 27 dead. Rescue teams have not yet reached many areas and are still awaiting reports on the worst-hit regions. In the neighbouring eastern Indian state of Manipur, a landslide buried a village, killing at least 21.”

Vietnam: More than 30 people dead/missing in flash flooding at Mu Cang Chai, North Vietnam.

Thailand: Flooding in the wake of Tropical Storm Sonca last week has claimed 23 lives in Sakon Nakhon and is affecting two-thirds of the country with up to 2 metres of standing water in some places.

Indonesia: Jayapura city under three feet of water.

China: Fujian, SE China, 70 thousand people evacuated in advance of Typhoon Nesat and bracing for Haitang. Another of those violent ‘freak’ hailstorms hits Sichuan, causing damage and flash flooding. Chongqing city hit by severe storm.

China: “Shanghai, the most populous municipality in the world, is in the midst of a brutal heat wave, with the region topping 100 degrees for eight consecutive days and counting.”

India: Gujarat flooding – death toll exceeds 215 as more bodies recovered from receding waters. West Bengal, “At least 48 people died this week in the western part of the country. In the desert state of Rajasthan, about 24,000 people fled to higher ground” – AP. Unknown number of casualties – min. 3 – in flash flooding in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Villages cut off.

USA: ‘Historic flood’ inundates Kansas City after 7-in of water dumped overnight, with river levels up to two feet above previous records. A ‘rare’ tornado (only the third ever recorded) causes extensive damage in Maryland, where 2 people drowned in flash flooding in Ellicott City on Monday. A sudden violent storm hits Phoenix, Az after weeks of 100F + heat.

USA: Tropical Storm Emily suddenly appears out of the Gulf, taking forecasters by surprise, flooding parts of Florida. While from Seattle, Washington State, comes news that it hasn’t rained for 47 days – approaching the record interval between showers. Las Vegas, Nevada, records its 55th day of 100F + heat.

USA: Portland, Oregon is basking unusually in record 42C, 108F sunshine – local readings topping 120F in parts of the city. Corona, Southern California is hit by a sudden violent storm causing damage and localized flooding.

USA: “Hot and dry conditions in the West continue to influence wildfire activity. Currently 36 large fires have burned nearly 580,000 acres. More than 11,500 firefighters and support personnel are assigned to incidents across the nation.” (1 Aug )

Canada: 150 wildfires are reportedly still burning in British Columbia, affecting over a million acres. People still being evacuated. Coastal cities smoke-ridden, asthma cases increase, 35C -plus heatwave warnings as far north as Vancouver.

Mexico: Violent storm, flash flooding washes away cars, buildings in the city of Ocampo.

Turkey: Another of those ‘freak’ hailstorms breaks car windows, causing extensive flash flooding in Istanbul for the second time in three weeks. An airliner is forced to make an emergency landing after sustaining damage from large hailstones.

Albania: “Armed forces joined hundreds of firefighters on Friday to battle dozens of forest fires as temperatures reached 40C. Albania has asked the European Union for emergency assistance to help prevent the wildfires spreading near the capital, Tirana.”

Russia: “‘By 2080 Siberia (will) become ‘the go-to place to live due to climate change. Vineyards will flourish as winters become almost 10C milder’, says new scientific prediction.” Meanwhile: “In Yamalo-Nenets officials reported 47 wildfires across 2,097 hectares after a blast of hot weather … Local governor Dmitry Kobylkin said: ‘The temperature in the region is extreme. The situation will remain the same for some time'”.

Arctic: sea surface temperature anomalies are well above 8°C (14.4°F) in several parts of the Arctic Ocean. Global sea ice extent is at a record low for the time of the year. “There is basically NO thick ice left on the Arctic Ocean surface.” (Beckwith). Sea temperature average is 2.5C, 4.4F above 1981-2010. Sea surface temperature in the Bering Strait on 22 July recorded at 19C, 62F.

Atmospheric methane is currently at 3.7 times pre-industrial level. High emission levels being recorded at both poles.

Mediterranean: A heatwave with a name! Lucifer…. “A surge of hot air will lift temperatures close to or above 40°C, 102°F across popular holiday destinations in the Med through to next week. Eastern Spain, Ibiza, Majorca, Italy, southern France, Croatia and Alpine regions will roast over the next (ten) days as temperatures climb to as high as 10-15C above average.” Severe thunderstorms are forecast for the whole of Europe.

Croatia: The temperature in fire-ravaged Split hit a record 42.3C (105F) on Friday. A lethal 46C (114.8F) is the forecast for northern Italy over the weekend. The heatwave is not expected to relent before Wednesday. Mysteriously, though Croatia Week carries a heat warning there is not one mention of the wildfires that have ravaged the country over the past two weeks. Tourism must go on.

Poland, Bulgaria, Romania all sweltering at 35C-plus, peak demand for electricity exceeded.

Spain: 300 evacuated from wildfire covering 2,500 acres of pine forest at Castilla-la-Mancha; firefighters have been battling a large fire 30 km south of Athens, Greece.

UK: The winter of 2016 was the warmest for England and Wales in records that stretch back to 1910, the Met Office’s annual State of the UK Climate report revealed on Thursday. The average temperature from December 2015 to February 2016 was more than 2C above the long-term average across the southern half of the UK.

Climate and Extreme Weather News #49, 50/ Extremeweather.co.uk/ US National Interagency Fire Center/ New York Times/ Washington Post/ Siberia Times/ Science Daily/ the Guardian/ BBC News/ Arctic News/ Croatia Week.

2017, 25-27 July

8: Number of tropical cyclones reported active in the Pacific region currently, a 40-year record.

Myanmar (Burma): widespread floods, storm surge drowns town: watch from 14’30” as a gilded buddhist temple is washed into the sea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smxPAG_yCzU&t=250s. Lack of drinking water affecting villagers.

China: Yulin province, widespread flooding in Yulin city washes away buildings, cars; smashes up streets. 4 die in Sichuan and Guangxi flash-floods. Buildings collapsing. 20 thousand evacuated.

China: Shanghai, highest temperature ever recorded in the city @ 40.9°C (105.6°F), 21 July. Humidity high.

South Korea: heat advisories for 95 deg. -plus in south, more forecast; widespread flooding follows torrential rain further north, around Seoul.

Assam, India: 5 million still displaced by flooding; death toll reaches 73. Kaziranga National Park underwater, many animals drowned.

Gujarat, India: widespread flooding. 113 dead. Millions affected. Many dams overtopped, towns inundated, national highways closed. Shortages of food and drinking water. More rain forecast.

Thailand: “Flooding has affected several provinces, damaging 10,000 homes, and crops. Disaster management authorities have issued warnings for further heavy rain for the next 4 days.”

Japan: “Authorities in Akita Prefecture, north western Japan, issued evacuation orders on Sunday 23 July due to flooding after a period of heavy rain. Some areas recorded more than 300 mm in 24 hours. Severe damage was recorded in 17 cities.”

New Zealand, South Island: widespread flooding. Dunedin cut off by road; states of emergency declared in Christchurch, Canterbury, Otago. (Odd UK media does not report any of this, instead focus is on Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s visit and his boorish insults to Maoris.)

USA: record-river-level flooding in Algonquin, Galina, Pearl City Il. Powerful storms, more rain forecast. Widespread flooding in New Orleans as tropical storm ‘stalls’ over the city. State of emergency in Wisconsin, power outages, roads broken up in DC. Flash floods, local states of emergency in Kentucky, Missouri. Storm cells moving east have caused extensive flood and wind damage in the midwest. Major flooding in Birmingham, Al.

USA: “Excessive heat warnings were in place Friday (21st) for Omaha, Kansas City, Des Moines, St. Louis, and neighboring areas, where heat indices will range between 105°F and 115°F. The Philadelphia area was also in an excessive heat warning for heat indices that could reach 103°F.” – http://www.wunderground.com

USA: Wildfires continue to burn in California, Nevada, Utah, but the huge Detwiler fire near Yosemite National Park, Wyoming, is said to be ‘coming under control’ after a week. 75 thousand acres burned. Heatwave abating slowly but still in the 90s – 105F again in Phoenix today, 95F across Florida, Texas.

Guadalajara, Mexico: City inundated after flash flooding, torrential rain.

Lagos, Nigeria: localised flooding in the city and outlying villages, continuing rain.

Ghana: 2 die in flash flooding in Tamale province.

France: Firefighters battling 1,400 acres of forest burning in the hills inland from St Tropez. 10 thousand tourists evacuated after spending the night on beaches and in gym halls.

Corsica: 4,000 acres burned, homes and villages threatened. High winds (‘Mistrale’) a factor.

Portugal: more big wildfires breaking out in central provinces inland from Coimbra. More dry heat and high winds forecast.

New heatwave forecast next week for W and S Europe.

Freak hailstorms trap cars in northern Italy, a foot of hail piles up somewhere in Croatia (location not clear from report).

Germany: flood forces evacuations in northern town of Goslar. Flash flooding in the Harz mountain region. Flash flooding in Romania.

The President of low-lying Palau, in the Pacific, Tommy Remengesau has complained that his garden is now usually underwater due to sea-level rise of 1 ft since 1989.

UK: weather service warns, rains to become heavier, more persistent.

2017, 19 July

State of emergency declared as ‘1-in-200-year’ floods inundate New Zealand‘s South Island (22 July).

USA: 100 sq miles of Mariposa County near the Yosemite National Park are ablaze. Thousands evacuated from town of Mariposa. Cal. Gov. Brown declares state of emergency. Dry heatwave (>10% humidity) continues into fourth week over California and parts of western USA, elsewhere in US severe storms are causing flooding.

USA: 10 drown, incl. 2 children, in flash flood while swimming in a river gulch in Arizona. Large areas of the state affected by floods as well as heatwave.

Major new floods ‘unprecedented’ following storms in Maryland, USA, around Baltimore, and into Washington DC.

Canada: 150 fires still burning around Williams Lake, British Columbia; reported joining up to form larger ones. 40,000 people evacuated.

CO2 concentration measured over BC: 743 ppm.

Croatia is an inferno after weeks of dry heat. City of Split menaced by huge fires. Vast areas burned out.

Turkey: violent storm, heavy rainfall with large hailstones floods parts of Istanbul.

Flash flood inundates the town of Halkidiki, in Greece.

Villagers evacuated on Corsica due to wildfires. Fires still burning on Sicily.

70 MILLION people now affected by flooding across northern India, seeking refuge. 100-plus drowned or buried in mud. 6 die in flash floods in Kashmir.

China: storm with large hailstones and flooding hit Beijing on 08/9 July, 1 dead. Still vast areas of Hunan, Sichuan and other provinces, cities underwater. ‘Torrential rainstorms’ hit Shangxi city. 1 in. (32.5 mm) rain falls in 1/2 hour.

Japan: violent thunderstorm, high winds, large hailstones batter, flood parts of Tokyo. Severe heatwave advisories across S Korea.

Widespread flooding in Timor, Indonesia.

Russia: Torrential rainstorm, hurricane-force winds, large hailstones batter, flood Kirov.

Wildfires in Kazakhstan – and in Mongolia, where CO2 level measured by satellite at 873 ppm.

Hong Kong, major flooding from Tropical Storm Talas. 2.7-in. rain falls in less than 1 hr.

UK: villagers and tourists evacuated as more storms hit across Cornwall and the south of England. 7-in. rain falls in three hours.

Nearly 700 wildfires recorded in Europe, EU area, so far this year = 3 times the annual average since 2008. Up to 60% crop losses from drought reported in Spain, Italy.

These wildfires remember are venting huge volumes of carbon and other g/h gases into the atmosphere.

 (Climate and Extreme Weather News #45, 46/ Arctic News/ Floodlist/ Copernicus

2017, 7-8 July

138 major wildfires burning in British Columbia, Canada.

USA: Palm Springs, California: 122 deg. F. (50 C.) Phoenix Az. still 111 F. Wildfires in Santa Barbara Ca, Arizona, Utah, Colorado. 90 mph winds, severe storms bring flooding to the east of the USA, Massachusetts – Cape Cod – into New York.

22 dead in floods in Japan‘s Kyushu island after Typhoon Nanmadol brings 3 ft of rain in 9 hours.

83 dead since mid-June in Hunan province, central China. 12 million affected, 1.5 million evacuated. Flooding and landslides hit North Vietnam.

26 million facing severe food shortages in East Africa after two-year drought.

Some 15 million are displaced by flooding and 44 dead in Assam, Manipur, India and southeastern Pakistan (8 July).

Kuwait: 96 deg. F. Oh, wait, that was at two a.m yesterday morning… 121 F. now… Watch CEWN as a truck slowly sinks through the tarmac up to its axles.

Madrid, Spain: parts of the city underwater after torrential rain, freak hailstorm. Metro system closed.

Greece basks in 42 deg. C., 107F heat. 28 major wildfires reported, 2 on Crete.

Mexico: historic centre of Veracruz under 3 feet of water.

2017, late June:

More than 35 wildfires burning across the southwestern USA. The uncontrollable fire at Brian Head in Utah has consumed over 54 thousand acres and continues to spread. The forecast is for continuing 95 deg. heat and rising windspeeds. (Less than a month ago, the governor of Arkansas was declaring a federal emergency owing to extreme flooding and storms.)

Mexico: A flash flood has left parts of Mexico City underwater. (A number of people were killed the previous week including 11 trapped in a bus in floods and landslides across Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.)

Russia: Multiple wildfires are reported in Siberia as boreal forest and tundra continue to blaze due to record temperatures ‘not seen in past 10 thousand years’, according to Russian meteorologists. Krasnoyarsk sweltered in 37 deg. C. last week and is still in the mid-20s this week. In the North Caucasus, record rainfall has caused devastating flash floods. Moscow has been hit for the second time in five weeks by an abnormally violent thunderstorm, leaving 2 dead and a dozen injured.

Gerona in Spain was battered on Friday by a freak hailstorm, leaving rivers of ice two feet deep flowing through the streets. Watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqfa6do4u50, at 25’30” in, it’s a most bizarre sight.

Germany: 150 mm of rain falling in a few hours has left parts of Berlin underwater.

Greece: reports a 42 deg. C (108F)-plus heatwave, with wildfires and melting roads.

The city of Chennai in drought-stricken Tamil Nadu state, India, has run out of water and rationing has been tightened. North of there large parts of Assam state are underwater, as are neighbouring areas of Pakistan, with deaths reported.

More severe flood warnings are out across Hunan province, central China, but the list of Chinese regions afflicted with major floods is now over 40, too long to include.

(Climate and Extreme Weather News #39, 26-30 June/ Floodlist.com)

2017, Early June

USA: Wildfires have destroyed 4,000 acres in northern Florida.

27 tornadoes touched down in Wisconsin and Oklahoma yesterday, trashing a trailer park and killing at least 2 people. More scary tornado warnings are out tonight (19/05) across the Midwest.

Carbon dioxide concentrations recently exceeded 560 ppm (NASA) in parts of West Africa and Central Asia, thanks to uncontrolled forest fires and annual agricultural burning. A problem with wildfires and crop-burning is that sooty particulates precipitate out over ice fields where the darker surface increases melting of glaciers and sea ice.

World: Record flooding with many casualties and mass evacuations has been reported just this week in Indonesia (Sulawesi/Borneo); the US: Arkansas (state of emergency declared), Mississippi, N. Carolina; Europe: Hungary/Romania; China’s Guangdong and four other provinces; Kenya and Kwa-Zulu Natal – South Africa; S America: Chile (where over 1m acres were destroyed by wildfires in January); the Caribbean: Haiti, Jamaica – and in Canada (state of emergency declared in Ontario province).

137 mm of rain fell in 24 hours in Alicante, Spain; 280mm in Kamphaeng Phet province, Thailand.

http://floodlist.com/america/usa/floods-arkansas-missouri-april-may-2017

France: Hundreds of religious pilgrims including many disabled have been evacuated as heavy flooding hits the southern French town of Lourdes after days of rain.

A record-breaking 42 deg. C (100F) heatwave is affecting the Chennai area of Tamil Nadu, in the far south of India for the second year running.

Two tropical cyclones are currently battering northeast and northwest Australia, with another Category 5 storm threatening Vanuatu, the second this year.

An earthquake ascribed to possible ‘isostatic rebound’ due to melting ice hit Greenland on May 8, triggering a tsunami (4 dead) and a massive release of methane. Methane levels have risen 256% from 1750 to 2015 and could double again by 2040 (Arctic News).

Svalbard: “The Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.” – BBC report. (The Norwegian-funded seed bank, said to be the most important reserve of plant genes in the world, was designed to last 1,000 years…)

Arctic: While Colorado enjoyed heavy snow last night (20 May), some scientists are forecasting an ice-free Arctic ocean by mid-September. Admittedly they have been saying this for the past four years. However, thanks to Arctic methane eruptions, some trendlines (best/worst-case scenarios) are pointing to possibly 3C. rise over 2018 and a potential, unsurvivable 10C. by 2026

April 2017 was the third warmest recorded across the USA, after 2015 and 2016 (NOAA). Temperature in Washington DC yesterday touched 34C, 93F.

Mr Trump appears not to have noticed.

Grenfell, a bonfire of the sanities… We can’t hear you, Mr Secretary – a letter to Rex Tillerson… Fore!… GW: warming her gnarly fingers by the light of the burning windmills… Dissertation: On the Tedium of Buying Stuff From Builders’ Merchants.

Two thousand liters of water are needed to produce just one kilo of avocados. – Guardian

This may explain why Avi, my avocado tree, has yet to produce fruit. She’s lucky to get a couple of pints a week…

x

Grenfell

A bonfire of the sanities

It is clearly not good enough nowadays to know what you are talking about.

Any “expert” who fails to court the approval of the Sun newspaper and the rag-tag and bobtail herd of self-publicizing, technologically unsophisticated and overpromoted windbag MPs is doomed to be ground to dust and scattered to the winds of history.

The BogPo has previously noted how the aptly named Professor Nutt, among the world’s leading experts on the neurological effects of recreational drugs, lost his post as head of a commission set up to review the regulatory framework when he published a scientifically determined recommendation that certain drugs could safely be declassified to save policing costs and cut the prison population, thereby incurring the predictable wrath of a scientifically unqualified but clearly panic-stricken Home Secretary.

Then there was the Attorney-General of Northern Ireland, who sensibly proposed abandoning an almost entirely fruitless and seemingly unending inquiry into the 30-years-old crimes committed during The Troubles, ordered in the wake of the Good Friday agreement to bring “closure” to victims’ families, as it was badly draining police resources sorely needed to fight today’s crimes. That cost him his job in a welter of Cameronian outrage.

You would think that these so-called “experts” would know better than to make sensible suggestions based on advanced knowledge and years of research. Would it not make perfect sense to save money by not having an education system at all, but to put children directly to work in call-centres?

(Subsequently a number of MPs have called for the Northern Ireland investigations to carry on, while demanding the inquiry overlook the clandestine role of the security services in well-publicized political assassinations. There clearly needs to be one law for the baddies and another for the good killers. It’s an insult to our brave boys to pursue them for their murky conspiracies after all this time. After all, there was a war on.*)

So, this morning a report is published by a leading engineer and public safety specialist, looking into the use and application of the building regulations in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.

This was not the fabled, judge-led “inquiry” into how 72 people came to lose their lives in that towering inferno, which hasn’t even started yet*, but merely a supportive technical report into building safety, human accountability and the regulatory environment.

Before anyone could possibly have read, let alone understood all 350 densely argued technical pages, the media and politicians – experts all – were stridently demanding the head of Dame Judith Hackett on a platter for failing, seemingly, to do the obvious thing.

Scrap 349 pages of the report and use Page One to call for an immediate ban on the filthy stuff: yes, killer cladding….

Cladding helped spread the fire. But was its use already banned?

Never mind that there are already explicit legal controls on the use of flammable materials in high-rise buildings. Controls that are not being properly enforced, as Dame Judith cogently reports, with local authorities, architects and builders cutting corners and costs. The point being that they need to be properly enforced through a thorough overhaul of the systems for specifying, testing and applying these materials safely, making certain people accountable for failures at every stage of the planning and construction process.

It’s not a cladding issue, so much as an enforcement problem. And Dame Judith argues that until the regulations are more tightly enforced and people made accountable, no amount of banning is going to help.

Tell that to the Marines, as they used to say.

Dame Judith is a serious academic and so failed completely to comprehend her role in all of this, which was simply to go along with the unlettered emotional demands of the lawyers, survivors and families of the victims of the fire, the media and Labour’s shadow housing secretary John Healey, and BAN the filthy stuff, whatever it is.

Just magic it away.

Why they don’t get sick-bitch Katie Hopkins or Trevor fucking Kavanagh of The Sun or Owen Jones and Polly Toynbee of The Guardian to handle these investigations – “experts” who understand that the real issues  are too much immigration, too little social equality, Tory indifference – is not immediately obvious.

It didn’t help either that, when asked three times on BBC Radio 4’s Today show why she did not call for a ban on flammable cladding and solve all of the problem forever, as if Martha Kearney was the only one who had thought of it, Dame Judith stupidly tried three times to explain that banning it was not really the solution.

Sometimes people are too clever for their own good.

It does not help that she is a former director of the Energy Saving Trust, an organization that in the past promoted the use of a similar type of plastic cladding insulation to that which contributed its toxic fumes to the high death toll at Grenfell House. (Guardian report)

Notwithstanding, the regulations already state that it must not be used on high-rise buildings, and Dame Judith’s point is that someone had been responsible for ignoring the regulations, while others had failed to implement safety measures recommended by previous inquiries, such as the mandatory retrofitting of sprinklers, which certain politicians still in office had determined would be too expensive to waste on the poor. Banning polyisocyanurate foam (PIR), she argues, will not help if people were simply going to break the rules.

A subtle distinction which, I fear, does not lend itself to the construction of crowd-pleasing headlines and sensible political statements free from electioneering and media-driven hysteria, pandering to the general ignorance of the public, promoting further socially damaging mistrust of people who do at least know what they’re talking about.

*

*Okay, it started the next day. By one of those astonishing synchronicities for which The BogPo is justly famed, this story resurfaced in the news just 24 hours after I posted the paragraph above about Northern Ireland, and in pretty much the same format as the original, in 2014:

Prosecutions for Troubles-related murders should be brought to a halt, according to Northern Ireland’s former Director of Public Prosecutions. Barra McGrory denounced proposals for a new Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) as “convenient politically”. But he added it had not been properly thought through. In response a UK government spokesman said it was “committed to building widespread consensus and delivering better outcomes”. (BBC News)

Let’s see how long McGrory lasts. Longer than this government, one hopes.

x

A Letter to Rex Tillerson

Former US Secretary of State, retd.

Dear Mr Secretary

You were, I believe, the Secretary of State for the United States government in 2017 exactly a year ago, when President Trump made his much-hailed visit to Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia – and then on to Tel Aviv, the erstwhile capital of Israel?

And the Secretary of State is, correct me if I am wrong, the senior diplomat, consulting on and implementing, if not always driving foreign policy?

Trump waggles his weapon. Was Qatar shafted to the hilt?

I am wondering therefore how you have responded, in your reserved and private fashion, to the emerging news of what might have happened, there in Riyadh and afterwards?

I am referring, obviously in the first instance (we’ll leave Israel out of it for now), to the Qatar affair.

For it seems that while you were supposedly in command of international diplomacy, being constantly undermined by your boss, the following narrative was playing out, very probably without your knowledge.

Qatar, Mr Trump assured us at the time of his visit, was a good friend of the USA and a key ally in the fight against ISIS. He met the Emir, vague promises of $billions in military sales were made for the cameras – it should be remembered that Qatar already hosts the biggest US military base in the Middle East, al Udeid, the forward operations headquarters of Centcom.

On the basis of what is currently suspected rather than definitively known, however, behind the young Emir’s back – and apparently yours, Mr Secretary –  Mr Trump was doing – or soon afterward did – one of his famous “deals” with the Saudis.

The presumption has to be, does it not, that he offered to go ahead with abrogating the Iran nuclear pact in Saudi’s regional hegemonic interest, in exchange for certain services?

(He is, as you well know, apart from Messrs Bolton and Pompeo, two convenient anti-Iran “hawks” he appointed to the senior security and foreign policy posts in his administration just before announcing US withdrawal, the only person in the foreign policy establishments of more than half the world who thinks it is a good idea to abandon the Iran treaty.)

The deal, I believe, was much as follows:

Saudi Arabia under its new Crown Prince, a US shoo-in, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would agree to put intolerable pressure on Qatar to meet certain, may we say incoherent, objectives. Economic and trade sanctions, a blockade of essential supplies, closure of the Al Jazeera news services, even military invasion were threatened. America would not be directly involved, but would explicitly support those actions.

Mr Trump in turn would make speeches to his not very bright support base, accusing Qatar of this and that, being a major funder of global terrorism, a secret ally of Iran, etc., etc., undermining their global credibility – especially that of their wealthy international investment community, to whom his comments were clearly addressed.

But why pick on poor little oil-rich Qatar?

Perhaps because Mr Charles Kushner, father of Trump’s son-in-law and “senior White House advisor” in charge of Middle East peace negotiations, the shining booby Jared, had – it’s reported – been lobbying the Qatari sovereign wealth fund, touting for a half-billion dollar investment to bail out his failing property empire in the States.

The Kushners were desperate for cash.

In 2007, while Kushner Sr was in gaol over fraud and witness tampering charges – he sexually blackmailed his own brother-in-law – left in charge, pathetically eager to please, Jared had done a hasty and ill-considered deal to acquire a massive piece of Manhattan real estate, 666 Fifth Avenue, and had caught a serious cold with the financial meltdown that year, incurring debts approaching two billion dollars from which he’s never recovered.

Chinese banks had originally offered rescue finance, but withdrew. On that basis, Qatar felt the Kushners’ credit was not good enough, and also withdrew. Two weeks later, the threats from Riyadh began; boosted in April this year by a further threat, directly from Washington to relocate the vital al Udeid airbase and its 10 thousand US service personnel to another country.

But then, by a fantastic stroke of luck, or in a sensible and informed change of heart, the New York Times reports, having granted Saudi Arabia its reward, not to mention Israel’s, this month Mr Trump began once again hailing Qatar as an important friend and ally. The UAE is backing off and all’s right with the world.

A sudden and, observes MSNBC News, a remarkable turnaround. Well, and how did that happen?

So, Kushner Companies are presumably celebrating the news from Bloomberg that the Qatari sovereign wealth fund is “looking again“ at the many obviously advantageous opportunities presented by becoming a part-owner of Manhattan’s most prestigious, near-empty office block.

Could it be there’s a connection? Nah, it’s too far-fetched. The President start a war just for personal gain? Preposterous! A conspiracy theory. Fake nooze.

(A building, incidentally, over the marketing of hard-to-shift units within which Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump were to be indicted for sales misrepresentation – until Mr Trump’s election, when the charge simply melted away, along with all the District Attorneys in New York.)

Mr Secretary, I wonder what you think of this criminal shakedown of a sovereign nation by the most corrupt US president in history? A nation which, we might mention, competes aggressively for major real estate deals around the world?

To bend US government policy to the fraudulent acquisition of public wealth might in some unimaginable but possibly plausible universe at least have benefited the nation.

But to conspire to extort foreign finance purely for the private benefit of his son-in-law, a government official to boot; to blackmail and threaten the existence of a sovereign nation, to risk a regional war leading to a greater conflagration and the security of a major US military facility purely for a sum of money which Mr Trump has extensively boasted he has in his own bank accounts, and much more, is surely a criminal and treasonous enterprise worthy of condign punishment?

Will you please, Mr Tillerson, for God’s sake and that of your benighted Republic, speak up about what you know, or suspect you know about this squalid “deal”?

We can’t hear you, Mr Secretary.

 

Fore!

And why wouldn’t Trump extort money from little Qatar, when as a quid pro quo he’s ordered his consiglieri, Wilbur Ross at the Commerce department to lift sanctions on ZTE, a giant Chinese telcoms company he previously accused of ripping off US tech firms, when by an amazing coincidence the Bank of China has just agreed a $500 million loan to finance a resort project in Indonesia featuring Trump-branded hotels and golf courses?

Let’s stop pretending, if we ever did, shall we? His modus operandi is becoming clearer by the day: he is abusing the power of his office and the might and global reach of the USA to extort vast sums of money from corporations and even nations for his own personal gain and that of his crime family.

(The latest one is Ukraine, whose government has reportedly paid $400 thousand into the Cohen slush fund for access to the White House.)

The President of the United States is one big, fucking crook. Not in the usual sense they all have been, one way or another. No, actions speak louder than words. Trump’s methodology is to run the world misusing US foreign policy as a vast protection racket. And to co-opt the American people as his accomplices in crime.

It’s doubtful that even the vast and rambling Mueller probe is going to unseat him, or even prevent him running for and probably winning, a second term in 2020.

Because, like all the best mobsters, Trump is untouchable. His lieutenants may go down, his wheeler-dealing may look heinous, the corruption blatant: but so far, nothing seems to be linking him directly with any actual crimes.

And even if it did, the constitutional issue of whether a President can be indicted for any common criminal activity short of treason remains an open one.

x want to extort money from Qatar

GW: warming her gnarly fingers by the light of the burning windmills

Afghanistan: “At least 40 people have died and 4 injured in flash floods over the last 7 days. Many areas of the country are still struggling with drought conditions after an unusually dry winter. The number of people forced by drought to migrate within the country has reached more than 20,000″ (Edited report from Floodlist, 16 May.) PS: 21May,

An update by Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) of 20 May reported that the total number of flood related deaths now stands at 72. “The flood situation has worsened over the last few days as heavy rain has continued to fall.”

India: “At least 80 people have died as powerful storms swept through northern India, demolishing houses, uprooting trees as winds turned the skies brown with dust and sand, officials said Monday. More storms are expected in the region this week. Less than 2 weeks ago, similar storms caused 134 deaths and injured another 400. The extreme weather comes amid withering summer heat and approaching monsoon rains.” – Wunderground

Sri Lanka: The “Department of Meteorology said that Anamaduwa, Puttalam, North Western Province recorded 35.3  cm of rain (1 ft) in 24 hours to early 21 May.” (Floodlist). Possibly 5 people have died as a result of flooding and landslides as the island is battered by storms, dumping up to 15 cm of rain a day over several days.

“Far East”: US scientists at NOAA are trying to track a major unexplained source of the globally banned ozone-killing refrigeration-to-aerosols chemicals, CFCs, detected as a result of research showing the ozone holes created in the 1980s aren’t repairing themselves fast enough.

S Korea: flash-floods in and around Seoul, 1 dead, 1 missing as 20 cm of rain falls in 36 hours.

Syria: Heavy rainstorms caused flash-floods in parts of the country, including Banias and Aleppo, on 12 May.

NE Africa: A rare tropical cyclone, Sagar is concentrating in the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and Somalia. Sagar’s main threat is dangerous flash flooding in the deserts of southern Yemen, northern Somalia and Djibouti into the weekend. (The Weather Channel) … “Severe flash flooding and river flooding across the region will lead to a loss of human life, livestock, and the destruction of crops, property and infrastructure. Very heavy rainfall occurring across Western Yemen (linked to, although not directly from the cyclone) is likely to promote cholera infection rates in the weeks ahead.” – (UK Met Office)

16 dead, many missing. On Sunday, forecast models indicated that a disturbance dubbed 92A could develop into an intense hurricane-strength cyclone this week, possibly threatening Oman by late in the week.

N Africa: the town of Setif in Algeria experiences flash-flooding following a heavy rainstorm.

Hold that taiga! Siberia burns, as seen from space. 15 May.

Russia: Vast plumes of smoke are visible from space along the Amur river near Komsomolsk and around Chelyabinsk, blowing towards the Arctic, as Siberia continues to burn out of control after a month of wildfires. (Siberian Times report)

USA: “Severe storms caused major damage in Northeastern USA on 15 May. 2 deaths were reported – an 11-year-old girl in Newburg, New York, the other in Danbury, Connecticut (where 4 tornadoes, 3 at max. TF-1, touched down on 17 May) – as a result of falling trees. Almost 400,000 people were without power in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Heavy flooding was reported in parts of Maryland, in particular Montgomery and Fredrick counties, where up to 6 inches of rain fell during the storm. Hail up to 2.5 inches (63.5 mm) was also reported.” (Edited report from Floodlist, 16 May. More “severe” storms are forecast for the midwest at the weekend.)

USA: “…the California Energy Commission has unanimously voted to approve measures requiring solar panels on all new homes, condos and multi-family buildings up to three stories high beginning in 2020. The requirement is a historic first in the United States and is in keeping with the state’s ambitious zero net energy goals to reduce greenhouse emissions.” The decision emerged the same day a 350-page report was released, highlighting rapidly accelerating climate change in the region. – (The Weather Channel.)

Alabama Senator, Mo Brooks distinguished his Republican self in a committee hearing when, while browbeating a climate scientist, he attributed sea-level rise to rocks and stuff falling into the water, “like the White Cliffs of Dover”…

Colombia: severe thunderstorm inundates Medellin. (CEWN #118)

The scene in Guatemala yesterday (Photo: Red Cross)

Guatemala: 10 cm rain in 24 hrs, floods. 2 dead, 80,000 flooded out. (Floodlist, 19, 21 May)

Europe: It’s been snowing in the highlands of central France, the Alps and over into the Balkans. Up in Scandinavia and northwestern Russia there’s a record spring heatwave, with temperatures in Finland and Sweden touching 30 deg C, 85F. Lapland is bracing for its worst spring thaw floods in decades. Severe thunderstorms and torrential rain have brought flash-flooding to parts of the Netherlands and Germany. The town of Bistransky in Croatia was underwater. (CEWN #118)

Germany: on 16 May, during a powerful storm two people were injured by a huge tornado that hit Viersen, near Dusseldorf. (CEWN #119)

UK: Good news, bad news…. “Britain’s windfarms provided more electricity than its 8 nuclear power stations in the first three months of 2018, marking the first time wind has overtaken nuclear across a quarter. Wind power produced 18.8% of electricity, second only to gas …. At one point overnight 17 March, wind turbines briefly provided almost half of the UK’s electricity.” However…

“Funds going into renewable energy fell more than 50% in 2017, having dropped by 10% in 2016, bringing annual investment in the sector to its lowest since the financial crisis in 2008. The environmental audit committee said (16 May) that the government would be unable to meet its pledges on carbon emission reductions if the collapse continued. The MPs also said the government was failing to implement policies to cut emissions. (Reporting: The Guardian)

As if that were not enough, British Environment Secretary, Michael Gove was summoned to Strasbourg earlier in the year to explain Britain’s failure to do anything much about NOx pollution. “On Thursday morning (17 May), after an apparently unconvincing performance and an extension of the deadline to come up with policies, the UK has now been referred to the European Court of Justice, along with the other big polluters: France, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Romania. The limits set out on air pollution under EU Directive 2008/50/EC had to be met in two stages, by 2005 and 2010, but are still being breached by the referred states as of 2018.” – The Independent.

Insectageddon

Mildly drunk, I’d left some of the dog’s meat out uncovered on the kitchen worktop overnight. This morning it was still there, gently oxidizing, and not a fly to be seen.

Normally after a week of warm sunny weather it’d have turned to fly-egg pie by then. There wasn’t a pregnant bluebottle anywhere in view; not even an egg. It’s late May, and 17 degrees.

Later, I took Hunzi for his usual walk. Apart from a few gnats, I saw no flying insects. No butterflies on the sedum flowers, no bees on the clover. There’s not much out by way of pollen-rich wildflowers, but there’s enough. This time last year we had a minor plague of click-beetles and false-wasps of various kinds feasting on the rotting umbrels of cow-parsley flowers.

No cow-parsley flowers.

Botanists using standard measurements for this and that say Spring is arriving 26 days earlier now than 100 years ago. This year it arrived 26 days late. The last trees – mainly ash – are only just coming into leaf now. Many have abnormal leaf development, while conifers around the sports ground here are massively overproducing cones, often straight out of the bare wood, and the Corsican pines all appear to have developed some kind of browning-off disease.

I think the reason for the lack of insects is not insecticides – we have no commercial or arable farming locally for miles, just sheep. It’s the dislocation of the seasons. Everything evolved in synch, now we have winter arriving in spring, wetter summers colliding with warmer, dryer winters; shorter autumns. Insects and plants evolved to emerge at times beneficial to each other: now the clock is broken.

Either that, or it’s those darned chemtrails. Plus, of course, Planet X Nibiru and the Hawaiian volcano.

A propos of which:

Hawaii’s Big Island increasingly resembles the pit of Hell. But the residents are mostly staying put. (Photo: D. Express)

“Lava destroyed four more homes and isolated dozens of others in the shadow of the volcano Saturday during a “very active” morning, according to scientists from the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. It advanced at rates of up to 300 yards per hour.

“It then entered the Pacific Ocean, forming lava haze, or “laze,” as the hot lava hit the ocean, the Star-Advertiser also reported. Residents were warned to stay away from any ocean plumes, as laze sends steam and hydrochloric acid peppered with fine glass particles into the air.”

22 fissures are now spewing molten lava into the air and a major eruption is still a possibility.

Awesome footage:

weather.com/news/news/2018-05-02-hawaii-kilauea-volcano-activity

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Dissertation

On the Tedium of Buying Stuff From Builders’ Merchants.

When our two nearest branches of the B&Q consumer DIY supplies chain closed two years ago (to “increase our consumer choice”, according to the press release), it left in the town no midrange supplier of useful materials for light amateur building work.

If you needed to buy things like bricks, paviors and fencing panels, timber, doors, paint or sheet materials, the choice came down to, either housewares stores and garden centers stocking none of those items, or the full-blown builders’ and agricultural Trade merchants, with their grudging back-store bins of tools, ironmongery, creosote and useful unexplained small architectural items.

There’s nothing inbetween.

So my new garden wall, all six feet ten of it (it’s taken ten days to get that far) that’s reached its final brick course with just two more bricks still needed – one-and-a-half, actually – and no more cement mortar, was sitting there in the sunshine on a Saturday morning before work (yes, I have work, for now!), inviting me to spend a few hours completing it, had I the requisite supplies (it’s always a fine calculation between ordering too much and too little).

Accordingly, as I wasn’t really needed in an exam room with only ten candidates still sitting, I took an unpaid hour off work to get to a local builders’ merchant I’ve been using for the project in time before they closed – at noon.

Arriving at ten minutes to, I found the front gate half shut. A surly young man warned me to turn around, as they were closing in “two minutes”. Can I have fifty bricks? I asked, having the previous week pre-purchased 250 to finish the wall but, having nowhere they could all be delivered to and stored simultaneously, suggested they hang on to them and I would collect them as needed. “Fifty?” he demanded, incredulously. “But we’re closing now!”

Eventually he relented and started loading the car. There were some other small items needed, but I thought better of going in to the Trade counter and even daring to ask, when obviously they were all hoping to fuck off early, presumably to catch the Royal Wedding… lolz.

This deliberately offensive recalcitrance is just so typical of the builders’ merchants’ anachronistic business model.

It is of course designed to suit the traditional bare-buttocks Trade builder, who doesn’t work weekends. Or doesn’t he? The Ukrainians putting up the 12 million-pound flats next door to my old mum in London worked weekends, evenings too. Drove her barmy. The times, they have a’ changed. Except in the wholesale supply business, obviously.

Who else still closes at 5 p.m. weekdays and noon on Saturdays, just when hardworking householders have done their supermarket shopping and are thinking about getting out and doing stuff around the garden? Here is an obvious consumer market opportunity being missed to suit the recidivist and curmudgeonly jobsworths who populate the building supplies trade.

Usually three or four blokes are hanging around the office area behind the counter, doing what looks suspiciously like nothing much. A phone will be ringing off the wall but no-one takes any notice of it – nor of the two or three crumpled-looking, dust-covered, boiler-suited customers – and you, trying to catch their eye. Instead, the customers catch yours, observing how your lack of a well-filled toolbelt and steel toecapped boots, your unlined face, plaster-dust-free hair and soft hands indicate you’re just another householder imagining you can do a man’s job and thereby save yourself a pittance.

Huh, little do you know!

One sales assistant will be listlessly doing something on an aged computer running Windows 6; another making tea, a third drinking his slowly. A fourth will be laboriously browsing through a trade catalog to find the price of the thing someone asked for, half an hour ago. None will actually be assisting.

Every request is greeted with much sucking of teeth and rolling of eyes. “Ooh, dunno mate, was it the triple-flanged 4 mil. squiggled wonkin you was wanting, or just the double? Only they don’t make those in brown anymore, purple do you?…”

Endless forms will be generated in triplicate, to be taken along by hand to the warehouse, way across the nine-tenths empty yard, as proof of purchase, plus VAT, where three more blokes doing nothing much will scan them for several long minutes before emitting deep sighs of frustration. “You want it cut to length? Here’s a saw…” Later, they will all guffaw over your CCTV footage.

It’s like finding yourself back in the early 1960s.

How do they do it? B&Q would have been open until 8 p.m. Saturday, and 4 p.m. on Sunday. Even the local recycling center, with its bolshy operatives and Hitlerian foreman is open on a Sunday. With five builders’ merchants in and around the town it’s a miracle how at least four haven’t gone out of business years ago, owing to their infuriatingly lackadaisical approach to customer service and short supplies of almost everything.

Yet miraculously they survive, while the Bs & Qs of this world are increasingly going under. Overpriced and poor quality, it’s no wonder we can’t build affordable homes that don’t leak.

I’d guess the key is, don’t try to be a supermarket unless you’re a supermarket. Builders’ merchants have understood the principle well, and there they still are, curse them, sitting on their grim industrial estates, resolutely closed at every opportunity.

The British love and deserve nothing better than to be monumentally frustrated, a service the builders’ merchants deliver with aplomb.

 

Yearning for a credible alternative… Support the zad… GW: stripped to me undies in the rain and snow… Bring on the ecopolypse… The fuckwitted booby… Memory Lane: Depression Blue.

“You could drive a bus through these legs…!
Bestriding the narrow world like a Colossus, our new Home Secretary vows with his reinforced trousers to fix the Windrush migrant crisis, before joining the Hard Brexit party and chucking out all the… er….

 

Yearning for a credible alternative

Here’s a long list of indictments for you to be going on with:

  • 100 thousand more children in absolute poverty than a year ago.
  • 120 thousand children living more than 6 months in temporary accommodation.
  • Housing starts remaining static; targets on social and affordable housing not being met.
  • House prices flatlined or falling.
  • Failure to make promised safety reforms in the wake of the Grenfell House fire.
  • Campaign of disinformation against critics of the government’s inaction in the wake of the fire.
  • Continuing welfare and benefit cuts affecting the poorest, e.g. “two children” policy; “universal credit” fiasco.
  • 1.2 million free “3-day” ration packs dispensed by food banks in 2017 to registered users.
  • Continuing “austerity” cuts to vital public services, including local authority, police, road repairs.
  • NHS in almost permanent crisis of undercapacity, staff shortages and mismatch of resources.
  • Little progress made on mental healthcare, especially for teens.
  • Failure to tackle shortages of social care beds and staff and integrate patient care across sectors.
  • Rising rate of violent crime; failure to tackle cybercrime (underresourced policing).
  • Failure to deal rationally and pragmatically with totally failed drugs policy.
  • Universities in meltdown over fees, falling rolls, demotivated lecturers and greedy Vice-Chancellors.
  • Schools having to beg parents for money to buy teachers, books and other essentials; support “grey” kids.
  • Mrs May’s disastrous “hostile” immigration policies resulting in incompetence, cruelty and injustice.
  • Failure to resolve post-Brexit status of legal EU residents here and Brits abroad.
  • Soaring cost of mostly successful immigration and disability “fit for work” appeals.
  • Massive cuts in legal aid making the law available only to the wealthy.
  • Continuing high wastage and incompetence in defence and computer procurement.
  • Failures of outsourcing partners, e.g. Carillion, Capita. Criticisms of G4S.
  • Continuing inability to address the additional costs to public finances of PPI projects.
  • Feeble and overly prolonged negotiations over the Brexit withdrawal arrangements.
  • Major split in the party over Brexit tactics; “magical thinking” on the Irish border issue.
  • Certifiable lunatics, failures and joke figures in seemingly unassailable positions; eg. Johnson, Gove, Williamson.
  • Long overdue reforms in the banking, money-laundering and offshore investments sectors.
  • High-level unminuted meetings with Russia-connected ‘hard Brexit’ thinktank The Legatum Institute.
  • Acceptance of almost £1 million in party donations from Russian exiles in London.
  • Dependence on DUP votes, a party having unexplained financial links to the Leave.EU campaign.
  • Attempts to bypass the sovereignty of Parliament; attacks on the Lords and the courts.
  • Impotence in the face of data breaches and other internet-related issues.
  • Failure to tackle large-scale corporate tax avoidance and offshoring of untaxed funds.
  • Sleaze and bullying culture in Westminster.
  • No attempt to tackle the problems of unearned CEO pay and bonuses.
  • Slavish support for Trump’s dangerously incoherent foreign policies (maybe not the Iran deal, but if it’s war? …).
  • GDP growth slowed to 0.1% in the first quarter of 2018
  • Being taken to court in  Europe for pathetic response to air pollution regulations …..

And of course, whenever any of these points are put to the very junior ministers and ex-ministers who do sometimes dare to go on radio and TV to answer journalists’ anodyne questions, what do we always hear?

“Oh, but we’re throwing lots more money at the problem, so there’s no problem. The experts are wrong.”

But they don’t mean it. The money is invariably already allocated and will simply be moved around at the expense of some other budget – more likely, not reallocated at all.

The Tory party: all smirk and mirrors.

It is quite beyond me how, after almost ten years in power, this headline-driven, rotten, heartless and inept government can still find a single person in Britain willing to vote for them, who is not out of their head on their designer drug of choice. And yet their poll lead is widening as Jeremy havers over Brexit, pissing off two-thirds of Labour voters who voted to remain.

Ending in a draw, the local elections seem to have been a case of “anybody but Jeremy”. (Incidentally, following the ‘draw’ at the polls it still appears from the numbers that there remain almost exactly twice as many Labour councillors in England than there are Conservatives…)

Possibly because the media tend to hype local government elections as a barometer of voter intentions for the next General Election, people forget that Councillor Jim Figgis from the next street has no influence over anything other than the binbag collections, meals on wheels and library closures. National issues are not relevant.

Or maybe not, and that’s why voters still feel they can vote Tory at the local level while yearning for a credible alternative in Westminster.

Don’t do it, it only encourages them.

 

“(Macron) sits in a primary school classroom. He speaks about the zad for a little over a minute, “republican order must be returned” he says, and “everything that was to be evacuated has already been evacuated”. As he speaks a hundred and fifty concussion grenades are launched in less than half an hour in the Lama Sacrée field, the explosions echo across the bocage, bursting the ear drums of those nearby…”

Support the zad

You may very probably not have heard of the zad.

It’s not the kind of thing the mainstream media owners like people to know about.

Thousands of protestors holding a huge area of land originally zoned for a new airport have daily since 8 April been battling against eviction by 2,500 riot police armed with plastic bullets, teargas and plastic fragmentation grenades, causing dozens of casualties.

Squatters who have lived on the site for a decade or more, occupying abandoned farmsteads, building their own camps, a complete rural society, a small township sprang up and has persisted as a kind of independent state. The airport plan was abandoned two years ago, but the French authorities, who can be pretty authoritarian, seem to have just gotten tired of this successful alternative anti-capitalist way of living. Despite the clever, mostly peaceful – ironic, even – tactics of the resisters, it all sounds pretty brutal, in the customary way of the French police.

Where is the zad?

It’s outside Nantes, in Brittany, near a village (scheduled to be bulldozed) called Notre-Dame-des-Landes – and it puts the “Swampy” occupations of 1980s British planning atrocities to shame; although we shall see what transpires once the British government starts trying to evict nice, middle-class, elderly people from the site of the new runway at Heathrow, bulldozing pretty, wisteria-clad C18th villages heartily redolent of our vanishing traditional British values.

“There is so much gas, we can no longer see beyond our stinging, running noses. The police are being pressurised simultaneously from the other side of the road by a large militant crowd with gas masks, makeshift shields, stones, slingshots and tennis rackets to return the grenades. They are playing hide and seek from behind the trees. The armoured car begins to push the barricade, some of us climb onto the roof of the two story wooden cabin, others try to retreat without crushing the beautiful vegetable plot. It’s over, the end of another collective living space on the zone. Then we hear a roar from the other side of the barricade. Dozens of figures emerge from the forest, molotov cocktails fly, one hits the APC, flames rise from the armour and the wild roar transforms itself into a cry of pure joy.”

That this incredible battle has been raging just a few hundred miles from here without comment, even from The Guardian and other faintly leftwing media, is astonishing. It is, after all, a powerful echo of “les événements” of exactly fifty years ago. Ah, 1968… The zad writes, collectively:

“From making our own bread to running a pirate radio station, planting herbal medicine gardens to making rebel camembert, a rap recording studio to a pasta production workshop, an artisanal brewery to two blacksmiths’ forges, a communal justice system to a library and even a full scale working lighthouse – the zad has become a new commune for the 21st century.

And we can’t have that, can we. There’s no room for nonconformity in little Macron’s unimaginative, dull and soulless technocracy.

For a good long read, turn to:

http://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/zad-forever/revenge-against-commons?utm_source=Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=68a8708f5b-DAILY_NEWSLETTER_MAILCHIMP&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_717bc5d86d-68a8708f5b-408090269

x

“…the highest ever April temperature recorded on earth.”

GW: stripped to me undies in the rain and snow

Parts of India and Pakistan are continuing to experience unusually hot spring weather with temperatures in the mid-40sC, 114F. A reading of 50.2C (122.3F) in Nawabshah on 30 April “may count as the highest ever April temperature recorded on earth.” A news service in Hyderabad reports 19 heat-related deaths.

Elsewhere, in Africa:

Burundi: “Red Cross says that over 2,500 people have been made homeless after floods … close to the city of Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital … on 28 April, 2018, after a period of heavy rain. According to local officials, the situation worsened when one of the dykes of the Mutimbuzi River gave way, causing the river to flood nearby communities.”

Rwanda: “…as many as 200 people have died in disasters since January … heavy rains have affected the whole country, causing floods and landslides. Storms and strong winds have also affected some areas. Over 4,500 hectares of crops have been destroyed. 15 were killed on 6 May following heavy rains in the western region. A local official in the capital, Kigali, told the BBC that 3 people had also died in a mudslide in the city.”

Somalia: “The flood situation has worsened over the last few days. Observers say the current floods are some of the worst the region has ever seen. The UN says that flash and river floods have now affected 427,000 people.” The President is appealing for international aid. Good luck with that. Uganda also affected by widespread floods.

A mad catfish is photographed from space, terrorizing the Bahamas. What is happening to our weather?

USA:  1 May saw “21 preliminary tornado reports posted to the … Storm Prediction Center’s database, most of them in Kansas. Very large hail—up to 4” in diameter—pummeled parts of Kansas and Nebraska. No major damage or injuries were reported.” More forecast storms affected the midwest over the weekend of 05 May accompanied by record high temperatures over the east, reaching 93F, 34C in Washington, DC and 91F in New York.

Record cold had ushered in May in parts of the midwest, Iowa and Wisconsin having their coldest April in 154 years, giving way to severe storms as warmer air pushes northward, and there was more snow in upstate New York. Meanwhile, the wildfire season has kicked off in Arizona with thousands of acres of forest ablaze – the “Tinder Fire”. Forecast highs in Phoenix this week are expected back in the 100sF, 40sC.

Canada: heavy rain on snowmelt. 04 May, “the St John River in New Brunswick is at record levels and expected to rise further. Flooding has damaged homes and roads and prompted evacuations. Authorities have urged residents in the city of St John to leave their homes.” 2 killed, many injured and much property damaged by 100 Kph winds in Ontario. 200,000 left without power.

Caribbean: “Rain, flooding and landslides in parts of the Caribbean have caused at least 4 fatalities and displaced around 4,000 people. Heavy rain has affected Jamaica, Haiti and Dominican Republic since around 02 May”. Bahamas: a weather front stalled over the islands is given a 10% chance of becoming a rare tropical depression for early May as the sea temperature is already 2C above the 26C needed to generate a cyclone.

Argentina: a powerful storm rocks Buenos Aires on the 29th. Flash-flooding, power outages, 2 killed. “Flooding in the province of Entre Ríos (03 May, 300 mm rain) has left 1 person dead, more than 30 evacuated and 1,600 requiring assistance.”

Chile: city of Ancud underwater.

India: “At least 76 people have died and scores more were injured in a fierce dust storm that hit the northern Indian states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. The storm on 02 May disrupted electricity, uprooted trees, destroyed houses and killed livestock. … The storm also hit the capital Delhi, more than 100km away, along with heavy rains late on Wednesday evening.”

Pakistan: a high of 49C, 120F was recorded over the weekend of 5 May in Karachi, with 9 fatalities attributed to the heat.

Iraq: “At least 4 people died in flash floods that hit the city of Duhok in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq on Saturday, 05 May 2018.” Refugee camps are also affected.

Turkey: “Flash floods caused by heavy rain wreaked havoc in Ankara on 05 May. Further heavy rainfall the next day caused some surface flooding and traffic problems. Officials said 6 people were injured in the floods, with more than 160 cars and 25 businesses suffering damage.” (This actually made the news here in the UK.)

Australia: overall, the country experienced its hottest April on record, the maximum daily average being some 3.17C above normal.

New Zealand: record rainfall brings extensive flooding and a state of emergency is declared in the Rotorua region.

Europe: continent bewildered by a chaotic mashup of extreme cold, heat, rain, floods, hail, snow (in France), high winds and “even a tornado”. Basically anywhere to the west of a line down the Franco-German border through to southern Italy has been too cold, anywhere to the right too hot; south of the Mediterranean, North Africa is roasting. A huge chain of thunderstorms with almost half a million lightning strikes counted was recorded on 30 April stretching from the Spanish border across France to Italy and the Balkans, up through Switzerland, Austria, Germany and over into Poland and Slovenia, where big hailstorms were reported with streets turned to rivers of ice.

Switzerland: 7 skiers, 2 climbers and a guide have died in 5 separate incidents after bad weather swept through the Alps region on 6 May. 5 skiing victims, from France, Italy and Germany, were among a group of 14 who failed to reach a mountain cabin.

Italy: “Two days of heavy rain has caused flooding and landslides in Sardinia. Around 100 people have been evacuated from their homes. In the last 48 hours some areas have recorded over 150 mm of rain – more than four times the average monthly total for May.” (This last statistic can also be interpreted as “a year’s worth”)

UK: World Health Organization reports, the steel town of Port Talbot in Wales has the highest level of dangerous microparticulate pollution in the country, at 18 mg per m/3 of air. That’s considered pretty unhealthy, unacceptable in fact – so you won’t want to be moving to Muzaffarpur in India, with a figure of 197 mg per m/3 the world’s most polluted city. (BBC).

Forecasters say the May Bank Holiday high could approach or beat the previous Mayday record of 28.6C, 83F.

Globally: April was the 3rd warmest on record and 0.5C above the 1981-2010 average. Only the unusual cold in the eastern USA and Canada during the early part of the month kept April from being the hottest ever, everywhere. The high of 50.2C (122F) in Nawabshah, Pakistan on 30 April was confirmed as the hottest temperature ever recorded in an April month.

Acknowledgments to: Richard Davies at Floodlist/ Wunderground/ BBC News/ Climate and Extreme Weather News (CEWN) #115, #116/

 

Bring on the ecopolypse.

Among other things, I’ve been thinking for a while about buying an air quality monitor.

Since I moved to live beside an increasingly busy main road I’ve had an itching sensation in my nose, low-level throat and chest congestion – rhinitis – am always bunged-up first thing in the morning and suffer from “dry-eye”, an obscure condition that is actually “wet-eye” as they’re constantly blinded with tears. Add to which, I’m always wiping a fine dust off every surface, that may have ruined my digital piano, and would like to have the scientific data to know how bad it is here so I can write to the local paper… lol.

And, as you know, your old Granny is always boring on about carbon dioxide concentrations. An air quality monitor of the right sort will tell you how well that’s doing too, both inside and outside your home.

Just now I went on Amazon, and while browsing the info about a particular model (see what I did there? Hahaha, particles!) costing a deterrent £229, was amused to see below it, a suggestion that (as, obviously, an eco-terrorist) I might (also? Instead?) like to purchase 1Kg of Sunwarrior “Warrior Organic Blend” drinking chocolate for £29.95.

Sod the pollution, I thought. Bring on the explosive dopamine.

And bring on the ecopolypse. The chocolate warriors are ready for anything.

(Photo: John Seach/ Volcanolive.com)

Even volcanoes.

The situation on Hawaii’s Big Island is looking unusually serious.

If you’re not paying much attention, Mount Kilauea has been erupting for over 20 years, and is one of a handful of volcanoes in the world to maintain a permanent lake of lava in its main crater. The lake has now escaped sideways through underground channels and the magma is erupting violently 24 miles away in a dormitory suburb. The nightmare of molten rock suddenly bursting out of people’s gardens and swallowing homes, roads and cars, huge fiery vents opening in the earth, the main ones now numbering 12, with thousands of earthquakes, the release of sulfurous poison gases, is like something out of Dante’s Ingerno and is expected to go on for weeks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNNoGCm3nqU

 

The fuckwitted booby

The Kremlins’ “Useless Idiot”, Trump recently presented an award to Teacher of the Year, Mandy Manning, praising her work in educating the children of America.

The poor booby apparently failed to spot a collection of faintly insulting anti-government campaign badges on Ms Manning’s dress; or to notice that she was refusing to speak to him on the platform.

Nor did he manage to understand that she doesn’t teach ordinary schoolkids: she specializes in English language development for refugees and other immigrants.

“Teachers like Mandy play a vital role in the wellbeing of our children, the strength of our communities and the success of our nation”, the US president said.

The story in today’s Guardian concludes by pointing to a certain irony in Trump’s position on foreigners:

“Trump has cracked down on both legal and illegal immigration and suspended the US refugee program … He has demanded that a wall be built on the Mexican border to keep out murderers, drugs gangs and other criminals”.

No wonder he didn’t know his lawyer, Michael Cohen, had paid Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) to keep quiet about the affair they never had, despite the existence of emails to the contrary, when he reimbursed the $130,000 Cohen says he borrowed from a bank using a false-front account just prior to the election, claiming it was his own money and that she had breached the confidentiality agreement Trump had failed to sign as First Party, the pseudonymous “David Dennison”, forbidding her from lying about whatever it was that never happened. As wealthy celebrities so often have to do. And of course, Trump says, he gave Cohen the money without knowing why. From what is now reported to be a slush-fund deliberately created to shut embarrassing people up.

Luckily, the orange imbecile has brought his friend, former NY Mayor and Rumpelstiltskin’s gropy grandad, Rudy Giuliani onto the legal team, so he could tell Sean Hannity on Fox News the exact opposite of the story Trump and Huckabee Sanders had been spinning the press for days: no affair, just ordinary blackmail; no precise knowledge of any payment; no payment. Poor sweaty christian Huckabee is taking the flak for lying.

There’s no argument any longer, he’s a total loser.

x

Memory Lane

Young IT baboons partake of TSB’s fermented fruit, prior to collapsing in a groaning heap. (Guardian/LinkedIn)

Banking on “facial recognition” technology – of the analog kind!

Depression Blue

At the time my wife and I separated in 2005 we had a joint account with Lloyd’s Bank. Being somewhat older, I had had accounts with Lloyd’s since 1972, including a period from 1991 to 1996 when we had our business account with them as well; and a mortgage with Lloyd’s-owned Cheltenham & Gloucester.

Not only that, but coincidentally as a senior advertising agency copywriter, between 1987 and 1990 I had worked on creating consumer and business-to-business campaigns for all five main divisions within the Lloyd’s Bank Group.

I’m not sure how much more “brand-loyal” any customer could have been.

We decided to close the joint account, and I set up my own personal account. As part of our voluntary separation agreement, because I was back in work (although pretty poorly paid) and my wife was not, I agreed to take on the £150 a month repayments of our joint £19,000 liability to the bank.

As it happened, we’d had to come to an earlier arrangement with the bank over the loan at a time when neither of us was in work (we had for some reason moved to a part of the country where there isn’t any), and my persuasive wife had succeeded as part of the deal in negotiating an unusually favorable rate of interest.

Despite micro-managing our tiny revenue to the nearest penny, going just a few pounds overdrawn for any reason would result in bullying phone calls from Brighton – one even threatening to have us arrested and charged with fraud over a dishonored check for £50 we had written in good faith weeks before. Yet we had the security of owning our own home! (We didn’t know it at the time, but it was going up in value by about £12 thousand a year.)

This concessionary interest rate was then turned against me by the bank when, on agreeing my new personal account, and although I had found a job, a managerial position, and still owned half a house, they nevertheless informed me that my credit score was being reset at zero. That would not allow me to have any form of credit, not even a check guarantee card.  Instead I was given a kind of Master-criminal card that would only allow me to withdraw up to £50 a day from an ATM, provided there was enough money in the account; which, as I was paying over half my salary in maintenance for my family, there often wasn’t.

This punitive situation lasted for three years during which I continued to make regular payments to the bank, while I enjoyed two pay rises; I was by now overseeing a £5 million business development project involving a culturally important institution, dealing with grants and government finance departments, yet I couldn’t pay for anything over £50, and it had to be in cash. Despite my appeals for greater flexibility, the bank remained obdurate.

Only with a change of manager did the situation improve, and in 2008 I was finally granted a debit card and a £50 overdraft facility.

Yet I had done nothing wrong, other than repay a loan!

On one occasion my employer (who lived abroad) failed to pay my salary on time – she had not realized it was a Bank Holiday in Britain. I became £5.72p overdrawn for one night and was immediately threatened with penalty charges and interest that, I calculated, amounted in the first year to more than two thousand pounds. I was tempted not to repay the fiver, just to see what might happen. It would have made a good story in the media.

In, I think, 2012 (there will be a letter somewhere), along with around two million other Lloyd’s customers, we were given the cattle-truck treatment. Our accounts were automatically being moved, certainly without my consent, into the TSB; a secondary bank of which, I imagine, few had ever heard, to, as Lloyd’s PR people charmingly put it, “increase our consumer choice”. (Fucking copywriters!)

Since then, however, I have found my local TSB branch staff – Lloyd’s immediately galloped out of town on their black horse – to be perfectly kind, helpful, efficient and friendly, to the point where I don’t even want to do Internet banking.

I enjoy a relationship “over the counter” with all the staff, who know me by sight and are able to sort out problems – as, for instance, the time when Experian informed them I didn’t exist – but that’s another story. I’ve had a couple of useful loans from them, plus a flexible overdraft arrangement, while my accounts – I can even save, and tragically have an ISA – remain miraculously in credit.

For the first time in my life I’ve found a bank that’s allowed me to breathe.

I don’t trust the internet, as it turns out presciently, and I appear so far to have escaped the worst of the consequences of the perfectly predictable IT meltdown at TSB, which has been trying to get the Lloyd’s monkey off its back (they are forced to pay £100 million a year to share Lloyd’s’ wheezing and clanking old systems but are now part of a different, go-ahead Spanish-owned group). I fear it may have ramifications that will eventually affect those customers who don’t rely on personal technology to rule our lives wisely and well – indeed, I don’t have any social media accounts, as I’ve never trusted them either.

What an old stick-in-the-mud. But you learn from experience, don’t you.

(Whouaahouaahouaa…. eerie flashback music)

My business had gone bust at the end of 1995, leaving me unemployed and with two credit card debts. I’d taken out one card earlier that year through the Institute of Directors (there was a case of claret on free offer) for the sole purpose of financing the acquisition of a computer we needed at work to service a lucrative new account, who insisted on compatibility with their own systems. A few months later, the client was ‘re-engineered’ without warning by its parent group and closed down over a single weekend, leaving us holding many thousands of pounds’ worth of promotional materials they hadn’t paid for.

The IoD-branded card was underwritten by Beneficial Bank, a rackety US corporation, who had sold me PPI – as indeed had Lloyd’s, on my personal credit card, through London & Edinburgh assurance. I was glad of it at the time. L&E paid out immediately, without a fuss, and even left me with £100 in the account. But Beneficial Bank’s Irish insurers refused to pay the principal, covering only the interest on a month-by-month basis – and I was out of work for the first time, with nothing coming in.

What happened next is still not fully explained, but the following year – 1997 – I started getting letters out of the blue from Beneficial Bank, demanding repayment of the principal in full, about £2,500, which I could not do. I eventually contacted them, and we came to an arrangement to pay a monthly amount. After several more months, however, I got another demand to repay the principal, again without being given a reason. So I resorted to the old trick of hanging on until their demands turned purple, then called the Credit Controller and offered him a minimal settlement figure, which I loaded onto a new “zero-interest” card taken out for the purpose. Well, why not? Our clients used to do it to us on a regular basis.

He told me nothing of what had happened. Subsequently, however, I began to piece together a narrative that puts them in a somewhat murky light.

Shortly after my original claim started paying out, it seems the bank had parted company with their Irish insurers without making arrangements for a new insurer to continue the business, which was why the interest payments had stopped – without telling me. That was on the grounds of “commercial confidentiality”, but it screwed my credit rating all the same. They had also managed to lose a large tranche of their customer records in a computer “upgrade” that had gone disastrously wrong, again without telling anyone, and so had no recollection of our arrangement and instead, pursued me for the balance.

Had I known at the time, I would certainly have filed against them for maladministration. But the PPI misselling scandal was still many years away, there were no “no-win, no-fee” solicitors chasing lucrative bank business, and now I no longer have any records on which to base a claim for damages.

But you can understand why, last week, after learning that TSB was “upgrading” its systems at the weekend, I made sure to go into the branch and transfer some savings into my current account, just in case, and get a paper record of the balances to use as evidence when (not if!) the records vanished.

Once bitten, as they say. The bank teller was super-confident. Oh no, she assured me, they’d been trialling the new system for weeks, nothing could go wrong. And so far, everything seems to be working normally, even using the debit card in shops. You can’t beat “facial recognition” technology – of the analog kind!

So, sorry to sound smug, but I hope this affair won’t bring TSB crashing down, I rather like them.

As long as CEO, Paul Pester doesn’t get his £1 million bonus for presiding over the screw-up, of course.

The Pumpkin – Issue 51: Kill Bilal – Ahmad too… He’s not a bad dream that is going to go away… “Suffer the little children” was not a suggestion… GW: Your old girl in a whirl… Denial News…

Something more going in here, Pumpkin…? Ed.

It’s complicated!

Maybe mention Trump’s heroic lying? He’s just reportedly broken the 3,000 barrier after 466 days in office. 6.5 fact-checked and certified lies a day represents an increased rate of lying over last year, by one a day.

Or the “Mueller probe questions” question? Seems the 49 questions that were going to be put to the President in a face-to-face with the Special Counsel until they were leaked to the media in advance by the White House – questions Trump says prove conclusively that there was no collusion with Russia or he’d have been asked about that, and which show that Mueller is clearly exceeding his authority – were actually written by Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow, they didn’t come from the Mueller team at all.

That’s quite a big lie, then – a group effort by the Trump legal team to thwart the judicial process. So what?

For interesting dirt on Sekulow (see past Pumpkins), by the by, visit: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americCounsel as/donald-trump-lawyer-jay-sekulow-christian-charity-ngo-christian-advocates-serving-evangelism-case-a7812061.html

 

“Looks like we’re both in the clear…”

 

“I witnessed the Trump Administration argue that people—American citizens included—had no right to be heard in court…”

Kill Bilal – Ahmad too

Ah, good. The story that’s been waiting to go in here has just arrived in my email inbox.

We’ve all been clucking recently over the plight of the children of the “Empire Windrush” generation, those West Indians, mostly, who were recruited in the 1950s and 60s to replace the casualties of war in the British workforce, have lived and worked here ever since and whose children appear now to have no settled immigration status.

It has emerged in the media that many of them have been caught up in a nightmare trawl of “illegal immigrants”, despite having lived in the UK continuously for decades, propping up the tottering health service and the transportation networks – victims of a crude quota system for deportations imposed by the former Home Secretary, now Prime Minister Theresa May; a woman whose housewifely Home Counties blankness hides a cruel and wanton Tory savagery.

As someone who has occasionally fallen into the so-called “safety net” of the British welfare state, The Pumpkin has also had some frustrating experience of the Kafkaesque illogicalities and ludicrous impositions with which one has to struggle in a modern bureaucracy.

But we ain’t seen nothin’, as someone once said.

Based on CIA analysis of their “travel patterns and phone calls”, two accredited journalists who have been covering the wars in the Middle East for years are in court – not in person, obviously – as I write, having to plead with the US Government to remove them from a list of “terror suspects” who are to be killed on sight.

I’ll repeat that slowly:

Based on CIA analysis of their “travel patterns and phone calls”, two accredited journalists who have been covering the wars in the Middle East are in court as I write, having to plead with the US Government to remove them from a list of “terror suspects” who are to be killed on sight.

One is an American citizen, the other an internationally acclaimed reporter who works for Al Jazeera.

Both are on a secret CIA “kill list”, against which there is no appeal; indeed, it is even forbidden to challenge the orders.

And the government appears in no mood to listen.

Reporting from the courtroom in Washington DC, Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, an attorney working for the Reprieve organization, writes:

“Ahmad Zaidin is a renowned reporter with Al-Jazeera, who won acclaim for his work with CNN and PBS and was the first person to interview Osama bin Laden in the 1990s. He was falsely assumed to be a terrorist based on a flawed analysis of his phone and travel patterns (referred to as “metadata”).

The other journalist plaintiff bringing the challenge, Bilal Kareem is “an American citizen asking his own government for the opportunity to hear his side of things before they kill him. He has reported on the conflict in Syria since it began. In 2016, he narrowly escaped being killed in drone strikes on five separate occasions, including two strikes on cars he was in and two strikes on the headquarters of his news agency.”

“Former CIA Director, Michael Hayden, famously said ‘We kill people based on metadata.'”

“Yesterday, I witnessed the Trump Administration argue that people—American citizens included—had no right to be heard in court, or even offer information to the agencies compiling the lists of people designated for death without trial. The decision to put a person on America’s Kill List, according to Trump, should be beyond the reach of the US’ judicial system.”

Two days ago, nine journalists were killed in a suicide bombing in Kabul, deliberately targeted while reporting on an earlier bombing at the same spot. The Taliban has claimed responsibility. From the enemy of the Taliban, the “leader of the free world”, there is only silence. One can only conclude that, in common with the Taliban, he recognizes the value of terror in silencing his enemies; the truth-tellers.

Mr Trump is the greatest, the most brazen liar in the history of the US presidency. He has an utter disregard for the truth, he poisons the air around him with his lies, he co-opts everyone he meets to become complicit with his web of deceit, and he lies that journalists are the ‘Enemies of the people’, peddlers of “fake news”. (That’s when he’s not feeding them stories about himself.)

News that we all hope and pray will one day very soon destroy him.

The British people should understand, those American spooks are the psychopathic, amoral, murdering bastards skulking in the shadows, unaccountable to anyone, the secret emissaries of a self-ordained global empire, who supposedly “share our values” as our “closest ally”. If they were not part of the security gang, hiding behind secrecy laws, many of them would be serving life sentences for their crimes against humanity.

Do you think you’re safe from them? When the President daily expresses his admiration for their filthy business?

This is the world they are making for us.

“Oh, but surely, if you are innocent you have nothing to fear?”

Fuck off.

x

“It’s not the word “fake” in Trump’s all-disparaging worldview that grates, sometimes it’s the idea that any of this is “news”…

He’s not a bad dream that is going to go away

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the effects of PTSD – President Trump Shock Disorder, a profound kind of neurasthenia hardening into fatalism, resignation and hopelessness in face of a continual barrage of negative stories playing out across the water.

Stories that make not the blindest bit of difference to the new and darker emerging world order, presentiments of impending disaster swirling around this singularly repugnant and amoral individual and his criminal cabal of cronies and horseshit-shovellers.

The best you can say of him is that he hasn’t actually murdered anyone. So far as we know. That’s because, like his Great Negotiator,  like his Billionaire Business Tycoon, his Mafia Don persona is all an act too. The danger lies in what his creepy-crawly lieutenants like Cohen and Stone are prepared to do for him.

Many times, The Pumpkin has felt like giving up the argument as the realization dawns that this is now, and for the foreseeable future. Resistance is futile, the monster thrives on it. Never in my remaining years is it likely that I shall again see even a modicum of patience and good intention restored to the management of world affairs. The drink isn’t helping, either.

The calamity that is this presidency has played out in the media day after day, week after week, for 15 months now, revelation and scandal and tangible evidence of Trump’s total unfitness for office piling atop one another like Peleon on Mount Ossa – yet he is STILL THERE.

Apparently there is absolutely nothing that anyone can do to shift him, no way to stem the base order of reality his malign presence is creating around him, reaching out to touch the whole nation with the stench of sleaze, corruption, incompetence, a new brutalism and the celebration of heartless stupidity.

One gets, for instance, a sense of dèjá vu about the “news” that his former personal physician, the eccentric Dr. Bornstein, has admitted he did not write the mandatory pre-election statement lauding the rude health of Candidate Trump. But it’s not dèjá vu, in the sense that we have heard it all before: MSNBC reported in – I forget exactly when, lies and lies ago – that Bornstein had merely amended and signed a piece of paper he believes was written by Candidate Trump himself. We knew it was all another Big Lie, that’s now confirmed, but he still got elected.

There was a historic inevitability about the process by which that happened, a candidacy built on the kinds of huge lies that simple folks can really get behind; great lies that just kept coming. While the good Dr. Bornstein says he felt “raped” when Trump’s goons invaded his office and took away the president’s medical records without his consent, an action that Trump’s flabby prostate, Huckabee Sanders, has told the press is “normal” with every new presidency, another lie, you feel not only for him, but for every well-meaning person this deranged old sack of composting fishburger has ever shat on.

Another insult there, I notice. They do no good.

And in the “news” – it’s not the word “fake” in Trump’s all-disparaging worldview that grates, sometimes it’s the idea that any of this is “news” – today, his unlikely new legal appointee, Rudy Giuliani, another superannuated, adulterous monster, has apparently blurted out on Fox & Friends that yes, Trump did pay Stormy Daniels off – at least, he reimbursed Michael Cohen, although he claimed to have not known why. Another multiply-repeated lie is nailed.

And in the real world, a bleak analysis in the Washington Post today of the never-ending war in Afghanistan, where secret numbers of US troops are fighting, who were in kindergarten when it started, shows up Trump’s utter inadequacy in being able to deal with the world in any terms other than impatient and ultimately futile displays of hard power against enemies of America’s own creating:

“So long as the Taliban believes it is winning, it is unlikely to agree to peace talks, no matter how generous the offer. And let’s be clear — the Taliban very much thinks it is winning. … That’s an unfortunate conclusion in the best of times. Under President Trump, who has shown little interest in the hard diplomacy needed to stabilize the country, it sounds even worse.”

– s2.washingtonpost.com/camp-rw/?e=cGRpbmdyYW1zQGdtYWlsLmNvbQ%3D%3D&s=5aea975afe1ff64f25122493

Now too, we are watching the train wreck of his dogmatic and ill-considered repudiation of the Iran deal approaching, there is apparently nothing anyone sensible can do to warn him of the grave consequences of such an action.

It is a ridiculous course he seems to have set himself on one day, out of sheer ignorance of international affairs and a perfervid ambition to scrub every last taint of the black man from the White House, as the dumbfucks in a stadium somewhere screamed their delight at each new wilder and more casual brutality he proposed to make government policy, to Make America Great Again.

It sounded like a policy – hadn’t W Bush included them in his “Axis of Evil speech? Weren’t the evil Iranians arming the Houthi rebels in Yemen and carving a path across Syria to connect with their militia in the Lebanon, threatening Israel? Never mind that the Hezbollah were fighting against ISIS while maintaining the uneasy peace in Beirut, never mind that Iran’s rival Saudi Arabia was committing daily war crimes with billions of dollars’ worth of American weaponry, while exporting Wahhabist terrorism to all corners of the globe. So long as they continue buying from us.

(It’s all about the money, who pays most.)

Never mind too, that a nuclear-armed Israel led by an aggressively racist party in the pockets of religious extremists and a corrupt coterie of billionaire Russian-connected mafiosi still has a doctrinaire belief that it can do anything, anywhere it likes, even bomb other countries and carry out extrajudicial killings, to maintain its muscular cultural security through post-Holocaust moral blackmail and censorship – a position wearing increasingly thin.

Never mind that Trump was proposing to tear up this “terrible deal” as he calls it – he won’t have actually read it, he doesn’t read – by which, after years of painstaking negotiations involving the US’s key allies, Iran had agreed not to pursue WMD in exchange for admission to the economic community of nations. Allies he has no hesitation in pissing-off at every turn, because – to put it bluntly – he has no fucking idea who they are, May, Merkel, Macron. They’re just more losers getting in his way.

Like his friend Netanyahu, Trump is a creature of total belief in his own mythology: in his case, however, it’s a bogus mythology. Trump the Reality TV Show Host, the caricature of a thrusting and successful, all-knowing businessman invented by the backroom writers at NBC.

That Trump doesn’t exist and never has, never will. But he’s too deluded, spoilt and vain to know it.

The Washington Post reports, Mr Netanyahu has cunningly shown him the little pictures, the colored maps and diagrams, the idiot-grade “see Jane run” captions he barely reads, explaining that Israel has found proof that Iran has a program to build weapons of mass destruction – “proof” that experts say is several years old, already discounted, and predates the agreement which, says the atomic weapons inspections commission, is holding just fine.

He won’t believe it. He’s seen a picture of Bibi’s impressive folders containing 100 thousand documents and shiny CDs proving that Rouhani is a lying sonofabitch, he respects Israel as a tough-guy that hits enemies with force, another country run by crooks, racists  and religious charlatans, so it must be true.

Meanwhile, his two new armchair warriors, Bolton and Pompeo are whispering to him in stereo that Iran needs a healthy dose of regime change, a bit of that good old US “shock and awe”; the tiny faces that yammer at him incessantly from his TV screens and in his cheeseburger dreams are echoing their demands for more war.

And this really is it now, the “new normal”.

Hunker down. Get used to it.He’s not a bad dream that is going to go away when you wake up.

Trump is now, forever.

x

“Suffer the little children” was not a suggestion

“In  2014 … the headteacher of a large secondary school told Education Guardian her school had helped to pay for the funeral of a student … Three years on, she has helped to pay for two more … The latest government figures show 100,000 more children propelled into poverty in just 12 months. There are 4.1 million children – nearly a third of the entire child population – living in households on less than 60% of the average income.” theguardian.com/education/2018/may/01/teachers-buy-children-food-clothes-mattress-funerals-child-poverty

Pumpkin sister bogl, the BogPo recently encountered a report on child poverty highlighting the increasing concern of already cash-strapped schools and even individual teachers who are struggling to ensure their pupils stay alive and awake long enough to receive some sort of education.

The Guardian returned to this theme today, 1 May, in its Education supplement.  When the government’s own figures damn them to Hell, it must surely be time for the Prime Minister to take stock of Mr Iain Duncan Cunt’s devastating social welfare policies, as awful in their own way as her vicious assault on illegal migrants that has caught so many perfectly entitled UK residents, black and white, in a fine-mesh net of bureaucracy, suspension of civil rights, detentions and deportations, as harassed and understaffed civil servants rushed to meet their secret expulsion quotas.

(The Pumpkin writes: They’re welcome to pay me to leave.)

It just occurs to The Pumpkin that one day, hopefully not too far in the future, America too will wake up to the insanity of a wealthy nation chopping itself off at the knees in the names of doctrinaire isolationism and government-sponsored inequality. Somehow, a powerful undercurrent of tribalism and hierarchy always seems to surface every other generation or two, to swamp the civilizing traditions of openness, fairness, tolerance and liberty we otherwise tell ourselves we like to strive for.

They’re never quite enough, when we could be baiting bears.

Coincidentally, the Washington Post today carries a lengthy piece on the economic xenophobia of the inter-war years and its effect on the poor, tired and huddled masses – especially foreigners, and especially Jews. The latter category has provided a good reason for the Holocaust Museum to create a new exhibition charting the progress of fascism in America, then and now. Ishaan Tharoor writes:

“Popular media was suffused with warnings and stories of a dangerous ‘fifth column’ of alien undesirables stealing into America. Lawmakers described unemployment as a problem ‘transferred from foreign lands,’ urging deportations of foreign-born workers taking American jobs. Even children were not exempt, as shown by a letter to the editor published by the Washington Post in 1939 criticizing a thwarted plan to shelter thousands of Jewish children from across the Atlantic. ‘There are many times 20,000 children in the country with no future! Help the American child,’ it read. ‘He (note the pronoun. Ed.) deserves our help more than the German child.'”

“Remembering a past many Americans would prefer to forget” – s2.washingtonpost.com/camp-rw/?e=cGRpbmdyYW1zQGdtYWlsLmNvbQ%3D%3D&s=5ae7f457fe1ff64f250b4afc

We recall, do we not, the “Kindertransport” program, when Germany permitted an exodus of about ten thousand Jewish children to Britain prior to the Holocaust. No doubt the British people felt a surge of pride at our national decency, while the parents of those lucky youngsters, denied entry visas, were shovelling one another’s freshly gassed corpses into the ovens of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Tharoor continues: “As the war in Syria drags on and global humanitarian crises have mounted, the United States has lowered its refugee quotas and ground the admission of Syrian asylum seekers to a standstill. Anti-Semitism has again become a disturbingly regular feature of politics.”

Those of us in Britain who optimistically assumed we were being kinder than most to Syrian refugees should note that we’re donating another £250 million in overseas aid over the next two years to keep them out, having taken in fewer than four thousand in seven years out of the four million believed to have fled their war-ravaged country. And that antisemitism is once again a feature of British politics; although strangely, there appears to have been a popular swell of opinion in favor of the Caribbean migrants from the 1950s and 60s being randomly persecuted by the Home Office. Led, even more strangely, by the Daily Mail (oh dear, look, the pro-Remain Home Secretary, Amber Rudd is gone. How sad.)

I note too that we’ve taken in no Rohingya Muslims at all, ethnically cleansed from Burma, although a new purge under their filthy rotten military junta and its racist chihuahua, the “High Counsellor”, the fragrant Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi, is apparently targeting a Christian minority; so we shall have to see about it, shan’t we.

And as both good and bad things come in threes, a new book by the US-born Prof. Sarah Churchwell – she of the American Literature department at the University of East Anglia – examines the histories of two well-worn and much-misunderstood political slogans: “The American Dream”, and “America First!”

Churchwell reminds us percipiently that The American Dream originated as a rallying call against the inequalities and brutal pragmatism of rampant capital, not as an excuse for them – or as a reason for every simpering American housewife to yearn for a Frigidaire in the kitchen; and that Trump’s brain-dead America First! policy was once the cry of the Ku Klux Klan before the First World War, being taken up in the 1920s and 30s by the lynch-mob-happy followers of the heroic aviator and notorious fascist, Charles Lindbergh.

Lindbergh’s Service Cross of the German Eagle medal, awarded to him personally by Hitler in 1938, just as the Kindertransport trains were leaving for the Hook of Holland, has pride of place in the Holocaust Museum’s exhibition. The South Korean president, Moon Jae-in is already proposing Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize, claiming his threat to evaporate North Korea in a peaceful nuclear strike was instrumental in bringing Kim Jong-un to the table.

Will that be the orange oaf’s reward for reviving the hideous nostrums of racism, anti-science, gun-totin’ biblical fundamentalism, xenophobia and class warfare in his own country?

Well, you know those Nazis. Some good people.

x

GW: Your old girl in a whirl

A huge, rotating storm system hit the eastern Mediterranean area on 25 April, stretching from Algeria in the west to Sudan in the south, up into northern Syria and over to Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Torrential rain, damaging high winds, flash floods and big hail turning streets to rivers of ice were reported over almost the entire region. It’s not often we report on floods in:

Israel, where tragically 10 teenagers drowned after being washed away while hiking at Nahal Tzafit on an army introduction course near the Dead Sea. 9 others injured. 2 more teenagers died in flash flooding elsewhere.

(If you think there’s a difference between the people of the West and the East, the cries of “Allahu akbar!” of the stricken Muslims as the lightning flashes and the hailstones punch holes through their cars are echoed by the repeated cries of “Oh my Gahd!” as Americans watch tornadoes barreling toward their homes. See CEWN #113. Either way, He’s not helping much. I thought He promised to stop doing this stuff?)

USA: The BBC and others picked up on the big weather story originally reported on Wunderground: there have been NO TORNADOES in “Tornado Alley” this year! CNN recorded:

“Two of the US states most notable for tornadoes — Kansas and Oklahoma — have yet to see one so far this year. It is the longest into the year that Oklahoma has ever gone without a tornado since NOAA began keeping records. The previous year was April 26, 1962. If Kansas makes it to the end of April without a tornado, it will only be the fourth time this has occurred.”

The story of course ignores the point that there are and have been tornadoes this month in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and many other states, the reason being that the loopy jetstream bringing Arctic weather penetrated farther south and east than normal, making conditions for tornado formation difficult in the central midwest but drawing warmer air up from the Gulf to batter the southeastern states with heavy rain and flooding.

More severe thunderstorms bringing flooding and possible tornadoes are forecast for the central plains this week, all the way from southern Texas up as far as Minnesota.

Are we seeing more rain? From Dr Jeff Masters at Wunderground:

“The National Weather Service in Hawaii reported that preliminary data from a rain gauge on the north shore of Kauai at Waipa, one mile west of Hanalei, received 49.69” of rainfall over the 24-hour period ending at 12:45 pm April 15. If verified, this would break the all-time U.S. 24-hour rainfall record of 43.00” in Alvin, Texas set on July 25 – 26, 1979, during Tropical Storm Claudette.”

Let’s not forget too, the 64″ of rain that fell near Port Arthur in Texas last year over 72 hours during Hurricane Harvey.

Canada: “Snowmelt in the province of Alberta, Canada, has caused overland flooding and increased river levels over the last few days. Evacuations have been carried out in areas near Drumheller.”

South Africa: Remiss of GW, but we forgot to mention that the total ban on using water in Capetown, that was due to come into effect last week, has been staved-off until 2019 as there has been some relief from the drought and rationing has helped to preserve supplies. CEWN reports that there was “heavy rain” on the 26th that actually caused some flooding in the city.

Rwanda: death toll in floods and landslides in the mountain region reaches 18.

Algeria: “Torrential rain in the north has caused at least 6 deaths as well as severe flooding that has damaged houses and washed away roads.” 200 children had to be rescued from a flooded school in Tissemsilt.

Egypt: heavy rain. Cairo floods. Lady filming a car washed away in a wall of floodwater fails to notice what looks like the body of a drowned man floating past. Giza also flooded.

Syria: a terrifying flash flood follows heavy rain on the 26th over the capital, Damascus, washing away hundreds of vehicles. Similar scenes were witnessed in Jordan; while in Somalia almost half a million people have been displaced by floods in April.

Kuwait: however, experienced a huge dust storm, that brought nighttime in the day to the oil-rich state on the 26th.

China: intense rainfall triggers flash flooding and a landslide in Anhui Province, that wiped out the state’s main highway.

Argentina: “A fierce storm struck areas around Buenos Aires on 28 to 29 April 2018. Some areas recorded over 110 mm of rain and wind gusts of 130 km/h. At least 2 people have died and 1,200 evacuated.”

Some areas saw more than a month’s worth of rain fall in 24 hours. Rivers and streams overflowed, flooding parts of the city forcing hundreds from their homes.

Brazil: believe it or not, it’s STILL raining! The town of Maceio in the east was underwater on the 22nd.

Honduras: a powerful tropical storm batters Tegucigalpa, with more damage and flash-flooding on the 27th in neighbouring Panama.

Bangladesh: fears are growing for the safety and health of 600 thousand Burmese Rohingya Muslim refugees housed under canvas in the east of the country as the cyclone season begins. A powerful storm hit the capital, Dhaka on the 22nd.

Madagascar: French island of Réunion battered on the 24th by Tropical Cyclone Fakir, the latest ever recorded in the season. Capital St Pierre flooded. 2 dead reported in a mudslide.

 

The boffins at Weather Underground are clearly fans of this, muh bogl! After I complained yet again on GW last week that they had moved my little house, this time up to Sheffield, I’ve now been returned to Boglington-on-Sea in time for the arrival of the cold and rain. Thanks, guys!

A special message to cameraphone contributors to weather porn sites: look, we can’t clearly watch you dying and your cars getting washed away if you keep on videoing your extreme weather events in portrait format. Turn the damn phone on its side so we can get the full picture in landscape, the peak End of Everything experience!

CEWN #113, 114/ Floodlist/ Wunderground/ BBC News

Thank you.

x

Denial News

Oh dear.

In addition to all his other little foibles and peccadilloes, the notorious attention seeker, Latin scholar, blabbermouth and Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson appears to be on the side of the demons on Pennsylvania Ave.

According to The Guardian‘s Green Light environmental monitoring service, he is following in the expensively shod footsteps of Mr Scott Pruitt, the profoundly corrupt avenging angel of the decimated US Environmental Protection Agency, which he reputedly runs along climate-change-denying policy lines dictated by the Orange Imbecile himself (see previous Posts), and is winding down climate research in his department:

“The number of full-time officials dedicated to climate change in the Foreign Office has dropped by almost 25% in the two years since Boris Johnson became foreign secretary, according to data released under freedom of information (FoI) rules.

“Johnson has also failed to mention climate change in any official speech since he took the office, in marked contrast to his two predecessors.”

Has he perchance joined the gravy train of Big Energy’s billion-dollar campaign to throw a spanner in the work of carbon reduction?

In another curious echo of the US policy position – which is to, basically, do nothing at all that will upset the Koch Brothers*, but essentially to let rip on fossil-fuel energy usage while rolling back all environmental and consumer protections,

“Climate change minister, Claire Perry said: “The UK is leading the world in tackling climate change while growing our national income, ensuring we are best placed to help other countries reduce harmful carbon emissions.” (Ibid.)

Sadly, thanks to the Beast from the East – a severe weather event in February brought on by polar air being displaced by panic-inducingly warm air and anomalous sea temperatures in the Arctic causing the fragmentation of the jetstreams – our national income grew by only 0.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2018.

So don’t expect too much from the Tories in the way of action on climate change, except more lies.

We’ll just cheer the rest of you on. Go, world.

Yay.

*For a devastating indictment of how these two multi-multi-billionaire coalmining philanthropists, the Chuckle Brothers of West Virginia, have come to own the Republican Party, I urge you to watch the courageous Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Dem. Rhode Island) giving a talk to a presumably empty Congress, entitled “Time to Wake Up”, which is found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG0AOHy1kQg