UK WEATHER LATEST UPDATE: STORM DORIS SET TO BRING GALE-FORCE WINDS AND BLIZZARD-LIKE CONDITIONS

Damage to buildings, power cuts and travel disruption likely, warns Met office.

The worst storm of winter is set to bear down on the UK, bringing with it gales and blizzard-like conditions.

Winds of up to 80 mph and heavy snow were likely to disrupt travel, damage buildings and send debris flying, forecasters warn.

Severe weather warnings have been put in place for much of the UK, and amber alerts – telling people to “be prepared” – stretched across the much of the North and the Midlands.

More snow than initially expected is forecast for Scotland and northern England, with accumulations of up to 15 cm predicted in many areas.

Northern Scotland was set to be hit by winds of up to 80 mph on Wednesday before Doris arrives from the Atlantic on Thursday, the Met Office said.

Further south, blustery gales overnight will subside over the course of the day, before picking up again in the evening.

Amber warnings predicted gales and heavy rain in parts of North Wales, the Midlands, and east and north-west England, while winds as fast as 60 mph were also expected to batter southern England.

“We have got a fairly active area of low pressure coming in from the Atlantic,” said Met Office forecaster Emma Sharples.

“It is strengthening as it moves eastwards to the UK.”

The Met Office’s amber weather warning alerts people that “whilst the strongest winds look to be only short-lived, damage to structures, interruptions to power supplies and widespread disruption to travel networks are likely, with a danger of injury from flying debris”.

A weather warning for snow is also in place for Scotland, which could see treacherous blizzard-like conditions.

Storm Doris is expected to move on quickly, with the worst of the weather gone by Thursday evening.

While further Atlantic gusts will bring more rain and wind through the weekend and into next week, they are not expected to reach the heights of Doris.

Storms with the potential to cause substantial impact are named by the Met Office and Met Eireann, moving through the alphabet.

The first was named Abigail in November 2015, after members of the public suggested monikers for the “name our storms” project.

Storm Doris contrasts with Monday’s temperatures, where visitors to Kew Gardens, west London, enjoyed the warmest day of the winter so far, at 18.3 C.

Parts of London and the south of England had temperatures warmer than Ibiza, southern Spain and Menorca.

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk

 

HUNDREDS RESCUED FROM CALIFORNIA FLOODWATERS IN SAN JOSE

Rescuers chest-deep in water steered boats full of people, some with babies and pets, on Tuesday from a San Jose neighborhood inundated by water from an overflowing creek.

At least 225 residents were taken to dry land and rinsed with soap and water to prevent them from being sickened by floodwaters that had traveled through engine fuel, garbage, debris and over sewer lines, San Jose Fire Capt. Mitch Matlow said.

Residents went door-to-door searching for people who needed to leave the neighborhood and only residents who could prove they had been cleaned of the floodwaters were allowed to board buses to shelters.

“This is like once-in-a-lifetime,” said Bobby Lee, 15, of the water around him.

He was rescued with his brother and parents, who took clothes, electronics and some photos from their home in a neighborhood that ended up littered with submerged cars.

Earlier Tuesday, firefighters rescued five people stranded by flooding at a homeless camp along the same creek in San Jose.

Firefighters went door-to-door to tell residents to get out of their homes because the city does not have sirens or another emergency warning system, San Jose spokesman David Vossbrink said.

The rains were the latest produced by a series of storms generated by so-called atmospheric rivers that dump massive quantities of Pacific Ocean water on California after carrying it aloft from as far away as Hawaii.

The latest downpours swelled waterways to flood levels and left about half the state under flood, wind and snow advisories.

In another area of San Jose, the fire department was called to Coyote Creek amid reports of as many as 40 people being stranded at a homeless encampment.

That number turned out to be inaccurate and five people were located and rescued, fire Capt. Mitch Matlow said.

Their condition was not immediately available.

In the Sierra Nevada mountain range, part of Highway 50, one of the main routes to Lake Tahoe, was in danger of collapsing after a roadway shoulder gave way following heavy storms, leaving a gaping hole about 40 feet long and 17 feet wide, Caltrans engineer Jarrett Woodruff said.

Crews opened one lane open Tuesday as Caltrans workers tried to fix the road failure after numerous mudslides blocked it for days at a time in recent weeks.

Heavy storms over the last two weeks caused parts of the shoulder and part of one lane on the four-lane highway give way.

In the San Joaquin Valley in California’s agricultural heartland, farmers used their tractors and other heavy equipment to help shore up an endangered levee along the San Joaquin River.

Some farmers took their tractors and other equipment to the levee to help shore it up, arriving to fill a big breach within half an hour of noticing the break, said alfalfa farmer Tony Coit.

“The farmers ran it like a boss,” he said, using soil from the levee itself to fill in the 30-foot-wide break until they could truck in large rocks for more substantial repairs.

The water level rose at Lake Oroville for the first time since authorities ordered an emergency evacuation of 188,000 people more than a week ago after a damaged spillway caused major flooding concerns.

The rains have saturated the once-drought stricken region and wreaked havoc for residents hit hard by the storms. At least four people have died in the storms throughout the state in the last week.

A motorist in Northern California was swept into a creek Saturday during another in the series of storms and drowned inside her car, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Witnesses had seen the woman driving around signs blocking the road near Orland, Undersheriff Todd James of the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office told the newspaper.

The current storm system began to weaken Tuesday after dumping more than a half-inch of rain in the San Joaquin Valley, over an inch in San Francisco, and more than 5 inches in the mountains above Big Sur over the previous 24 hours, the National Weather Service reported.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com

THREE PEOPLE DIED AS STORM SOCKS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, FLOODING FREEWAYS

Three people were killed as a powerful storm soaked Southern California, flooding freeways and knocking out power to tens of thousands.

A 55-year-old man in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, died after apparently being electrocuted by live power lines brought down by a tree, and a person was found dead inside a submerged car near Victorville, fire officials said. A passenger was killed in a four-vehicle crash after a driver hydroplaned on a San Diego interstate, NBC San Diego reported.

A stretch of Interstate 5 in the Sun Valley neighborhood of Los Angeles flooded, causing huge traffic delays, and prompting crews to use generators to try and pump water off the road, the California Department of Transportation said.

Ten vehicles were stuck in a flooded road in Sun Valley and eight people trapped by fast-moving water were rescued by firefighters, the fire department said.

In Studio City, two cars plummeted into a large sinkhole that opened in a street Friday night, the fire department said. A 48-year-old woman around 10 feet below the street was rescued with a ladder, and was taken to a hospital in fair condition, the department said. The driver of the second car was able to get out unaided.

“At one point the wind was so strong I’m surprised it didn’t blow my windows out,” retiree Phoenix Hocking told The Associated Press in a Facebook message from Carpinteria on the Pacific coast. “I now have a pond in my patio. And my dog is starting to grow flippers so he can go out and do his business.”

The storm caused large power outages. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said electricity was knocked out for around around 82,000 customers as of 8 PM, and Southern California Edison said 67,000 of its customers were without power as of 9 PM.

Santa Barbara airport closed after runways flooded. Eight people were rescued from floodwaters in Los Angeles, the fire department said.

The storm was expected to be the most powerful in six years. Sixty-three flights scheduled to arrive or depart from Los Angeles International Airport were canceled Friday, and 270 others were delayed, the airport said.

Total rainfall predictions ranged from 2 inches to 6 inches on the coast and from 5 inches to 10 inches in foothills and coastal mountains.

Rainfall totals ranged from 3.5 inches in Santa Barbara to 9 inches in Santa Ynez Mountain Range, and Ojai in Ventura County got 6 inches of rain, the National Weather Service said Friday evening. Beverly Hills saw 2.45 inches of rain and Canoga Park in the San Fernando Valley got 4.73 inches, the weather service said.

Downtown Los Angeles got less than 2 inches, the weather service shortly after 9 PM local time (12 AM ET) but more rain was possible. The amount of rain downtown was likely to fall short of a record 2.18 inches set in 1884, the weather service said.

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com

CYCLONE DINEO KILLS 7 PEOPLE IN SOUTHERN MOZAMBIQUE

Officials in Mozambique say that seven people died and thousands of homes were destroyed in a tropical cyclone.

Parts of South Africa and Zimbabwe are anticipating high winds and heavy rain on Friday after cyclone Dineo hit southern Mozambique late on Wednesday and swept inland. It was later downgraded to a tropical storm.

Emergency officials in Mozambique are reporting downed power lines and blocked roads in Inhambane, the province that suffered the worst impact. They say food and tents are being provided to families in need.

Source: http://www.news24.com