World weather news

World weather news, January 2018

Rescue workers in southern California are searching for survivors after mudslides and flooding in which at least 13 people have died. More than 30 miles 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, with rescue efforts due to resume at daybreak. The death toll is expected to rise. Some 163 people have been taken to hospital. Twenty had "storm-related injuries" and four were critically hurt. The first rain in months caused mudslides when it hit ground that had been scorched by December's huge wildfires. In some places mud was waist-deep, officials said. Thousands had to leave their homes, many for the second time in two months. The emergency services declared an exclusion zone, saying anyone moving around the area would be in the way of rescuers and would be subject to arrest. Boulders the size of small cars were rolling down hillsides and blocking roads.
Motorists were warned to drive with caution as snow and ice affected large parts of Scotland. Dozens of schools were closed in the Highlands and Dumfries and Galloway, after overnight snowfall. Police reported dealing with jackknifed lorries on the A9 at Dalwhinnie, and on the M74 between Lockerbie and Moffat. Wintry conditions forced Inverness airport to close for a time. Flights in and out of Aberdeen Airport were also affected and Glasgow Airport was closed for a while as the runway, taxi and passenger routes were cleared.
Snow swept across the southeastern United States on Tuesday and Wednesday, chilling the region and causing widespread road closures and flight delays from southern Texas through North Carolina. The winter storm unfolded across the Gulf Coast states on Tuesday with snow, sleet and ice making some roads impassable from Houston through Birmingham, Alabama. Stretches of Interstate 10 were closed from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday due to snow and ice. By Wednesday, the focus of the snow shifted from the Gulf Coast to the Carolinas. Areas near the coast saw little to no accumulation, but accumulations of 4 to 8 inches were common farther inland. The heaviest snow occurred in an area just to the northwest of Durham, North Carolina, where there was 8 to 12 inches. Wintry weather was blamed for a slew of road closures and accidents across areas from Texas to Kentucky. The snow and ice also forced school and government offices to close and numerous flight delays out of major hubs like Houston and Atlanta.
Hundreds of drivers spent the night in their cars after becoming stranded due to heavy snow. Mountain rescue teams were sent to help those stuck on the M74 in Dumfries and Galloway after severe weather led to closures at Millbank and Beattock. Public transport has been disrupted and schools remain closed in parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Disruption was also reported on the M62 trans-Pennine motorway, although by Wednesday morning traffic was able to move. Scottish Borders Council has said no schools will open in its area.
Severe gales caused disruption to much of the UK - with gusts of up to 70 mph. Police in several areas, including Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Gloucestershire, reported fallen trees on or near roads. Damage to overhead electric wires caused problems for train services in the Midlands, and drivers are being warned to take extra care on the roads. In Scotland, police urged motorists to drive with "extreme caution" in the wintry conditions. Drivers in Scotland and northern England were being warned not to travel at all until after 0500 GMT, the first such warning issued since high winds in January 2013. Rail commuters faced delays in London, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire, Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire. In Sydenham, south east London, a train hit a tree. Scottish Borders Council said no schools would open today, affecting 15,000 pupils.
Dutch authorities have suspended all flights to and from Amsterdam Schiphol airport as a severe storm causes transport chaos in the Netherlands. Most rail traffic has also stopped as winds gust at up to 140 km/h. Police have closed the centre of Almere, a city with about 200,000 residents lying just east of Amsterdam. They tweeted an alert warning people to stay at home because of risk from the storm. The Dutch Railways (NS) and operator ProRail said overhead power lines had been damaged by the wind, as well as some railway tracks. High winds have also toppled trees and caused structural damage in western regions of Germany, where the storm is called "Friederike". The national train operator, Deutsche Bahn, has suspended rail traffic in North Rhine-Westphalia and parts of neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state. Dozens of flights are also being cancelled in Germany - at Cologne/Bonn airport every fourth flight has been scrapped. An emergency siren wailed in the city of Duisburg, warning residents that they should stay indoors, German news website WDR reported.

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Last updated 18 January 2018.

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