World weather news

World weather news, December 2014

A moist air mass associated with a storm system over the Mediterranean lifted north, interacting with the cold air to give areas of snow and freezing rain. Elsewhere, the increase in moisture helped produce thick fog, which froze to objects resulting in widespread icing. With temperatures hovering just below freezing and ample moisture in the atmosphere, ice continued to build on trees and power lines causing them to snap to the ground. Radio Prague reported numerous accidents related to icy roadways, while the rail system was brought to a standstill, leaving some passages stuck in railcars overnight. The complete shutdown of the rail system is the first of its kind due to poor weather. More than 100,000 passengers were affected.
As the demand for chocolate grows worldwide, farmers are producing less cocoa than the world eats, creating a deficit, according to Bloomberg. The chocolate deficit is expected to grow to 1 million metric tons by 2020 and to 2 million metric tons a year by 2030, Bloomberg reported. Drought is compounding the concern in many major cocoa growing areas of the world. Drought conditions have been gripping Western Africa, which includes the number one area in the world for cocoa production, the Ivory Coast and Indonesia, according to the Global Drought Monitor. Indonesia is the world's number three cocoa producer.
Schools and offices were shut in parts of the central Philippines and residents stocked up on supplies and food, as provinces yet to recover from last year's devastating super-typhoon Haiyan braced for another category 5 storm. Typhoon Hagupit was churning across the Pacific at about 860 km east of the island state, packing winds of up to 195 km/h and gusts of up to 230km/h. It was expected to strengthen to a category 5 storm before slamming into Eastern Samar province in the central Philippines on Saturday. Eastern Samar and Leyte island were worst-hit in November 2013 by Haiyan, one of the strongest storms to make landfall, which left more than 7,000 dead or missing and more than 4 million homeless or with damaged houses. Local government officials and emergency teams from the Red Cross, army and coastguard were braced for swollen rivers, landslides, flash floods, and storm surges, said Roger Mercado, governor of Southern Leyte province. The government said it had moved the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting next week from Legazpi to Manila to avoid the likely path of the typhoon. About 20 typhoons strike the Philippines each year, most hitting the north along the main island of Luzon.

World weather news, November 2014

The worst flooding in years in southern France has claimed five lives and forced more than 3,000 people to evacuate their homes, officials said. The latest victim was a 73-year-old man who died of heart failure in Rivesaltes, in the Pyrénées-Orientales region, while trying to force his car through a dip in a road that was flooded. Along the banks of the Agly river in the same region, the government said about 2,800 people were evacuated by late afternoon on Sunday. The flooding was considered more serious than the deadly overflows seen in 1999, with the government saying it would evacuate residents within 200 m of the river. Another 560 people had already left their homes in Canet, Argelès-sur-Mer and Barcarès, on the Mediterranean coast. The river Berre had also flooded, reaching a metre above the level seen during flooding in 1999 that left 35 people dead and one missing in the region. About 250 people fled Sigean, in low-lying land and lagoons just south of Narbonne.

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Last updated 4 December 2014.

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