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Flood Zone MPs Issue Plea To “Radically Reform” Green Plans After Alarming Climate Report

Reprint

by Alain Tolhurst @Alain_Tolhurst

After this week’s “code red” climate report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned the planet is warming at a more alarming rate than expected, MPs from both major parties fear recent flooding is set to get much worse and are calling for more to be done at both a local and global scale.

The report forecasts rising sea levels, extreme heatwaves and droughts with only urgent and deep cuts in carbon emissions able to reverse the rising temperatures.

In Europe, it predicts “extreme precipitation and pluvial flooding are projected to increase at global warming levels exceeding 1.5C in all regions except the Mediterranean.”

The IPCC also warned of more rainfall during winter and highlighted threats to cities due to the “urban heat island effect”, as warmer air can hold more water.

PoliticsHome spoke to Labour’s Stella Creasy, whose east London constituency of Walthamstow was hammered by flash flooding this summer, and the Conservative MP Mark Garnier, whose Wyre Forest seat in Worcestershire contains the town of Bewdley, which has repeatedly been devastated by the River Severn bursting its banks after prolonged rainfall.

Two very different areas, facing very different versions of the same problem, and both are equally concerned about what the future holds for their areas in light of the IPCC report.

“We need to radically reform how we respond to extreme weather events in local communities,” Creasy said.

“We don’t have that level of logistical organisation, because this is new, but it is not going to go away.”

Creasy told us she has constituents “who are actually terrified of the weather because if you see the predicted rainfall you don’t know what the impact will be”. Some have said they avoid watching the weather reports altogether in case there’s more rain predicted.

Walthamstow was one of a number of London neighbourhoods hit by storms last month dumping several weeks’ worth of rain in a matter of hours, flooding homes and Tube stations, closing roads and even leading to one hospital closing to admissions. 

“We have underlying issues with our infrastructure,” Creasy explains. “There are certain roads and places where it’s very clear that work has needed to have taken place to improve drainage.

“But two weeks ago we had over 100 roads flooded, that isn’t one or two problems from running an antiquated infrastructure system, but it’s a whole new ballgame of water and variation in weather, but we are going to have to cope with it.”

Creasy wants to see an end to the privatisation of water companies and a move to the mutualisation model seen in Germany, where the firms are not for profit and invest in its infrastructure.

“I think the public has to be part of this, because it’s not just about running a service, this is about radically reorganising services to cope with the fact that we’re going to get changeable weather,” she added.

Creasy also highlighted insurance issues, with a lack of flood cover leaving people to foot the bill for the “absolute devastation” left behind.

“I’ve got the 10th-highest level of child poverty in the country in Walthamstow,” she said. “That is driven by housing so this is an equality issue for me.”

She fears “the least equipped in our communities will suffer the most unless there is collective action”.

Flooding may be a recent phenomenon for Creasy’s London constituents, but it is a depressingly more recurrent one for Garnier’s in Worcestershire.

In the past three years Bewdley has faced three consecutive “once in a hundred years” flooding events, and while millions of pounds have already been spent on protecting the area, homes and livelihoods have been destroyed. Boris Johnson was heckled by residents as a “traitor” when he visited the town in 2020.

“Through the millennia we’ve been changing the way we live due to our circumstances, and the problem with Bewdley is it was built hundreds of years ago and much of it can’t cope with what’s been happening,” Garnier explained.

“At the end of the day, you’re going to have to come up with ways of fighting back. The danger towns like Bewdley and other places face because of where they are, and the environment is changing around it, is you need to make a decision about what to do about that.”

Last month the government announced £6.2million would be spent replacing the temporary barriers at Beales Corner with a more permanent solution as part of an ongoing record £5.2billion investment between 2021-27, which will create around 2,000 new flood and coastal defences to better protect 336,000 properties across England.

Garnier said the current protections have to be put up well in advance of a potential flood caused by a build-up of water upstream, meaning locals would be worried just by the forecast of storms, and massive disruption would be created even if the rain never came.

He welcomes the investment but says more needs to be done so areas like his can cope with an increase in flooding as the planet continues to warm.

“Ultimately I think most people will come to the conclusion that you do not abandon these towns, you protect them,” he added.

The former minister’s Tory party has committed to ambitious targets in cutting emissions ahead of hosting the COP26 global climate conference in November, but is facing a backlash from some of its own MPs with pushes to scrap petrol and diesel cars and switch gas boilers for more eco-friendly heat pumps.

Garnier, who met with local Extinction Rebellion climate campaigners the day before the IPCC report came out, said he understands some of his colleagues’ concerns.

“I think everybody’s concerned about climate change but I think we have got a bit of a challenge in terms of how do we bring people along on this journey and how do we make this journey a sustainable one”, he said.

“You can come up with these ideas but if you’re going to take somebody’s job away from them, they’ve just been forced to vote against that.”

He said the government must “work out a way where we can change the economy at a pace that is quick enough to deal with this problem, but also a place where people can understand how their lives will change and where they’re comfortable with it”.

“Ultimately the electorate will determine the pace at which we move on this, but I do think everybody collectively is wanting us to move quicker on that,” Garnier added.

Creasy is less equivocal: “We need to move much further and faster than we have been about reducing targets because that [IPCC] report is just terrifying.”

“We’re not being straight with the public about what the choices are that we’re going to face, and the longer we leave it, the harder it’s going to be,” she continued.

“I think if you treat the public as children, don’t be surprised if they act like toddlers. Treat the public as grownups and you involve them and you engage them in the proper conversation.

“I would say that to the campaigners too. This is not about frightening people, this is about presenting people with a plan, and the choices that they can make and how quickly we can get there.

Creasy said she had “every confidence” that the British public were supportive of radical action on climate change.

“They are not daft, and they can see the benefits to themselves, they can see the benefits to their kids, and they can see the benefits to their communities,” she said.

“That’s the conversation that should be taking place, not one that either downplays what is happening, or suggests that it’s all to do with, you know, some kind of dinner policy agenda about greening the countryside.”

Posted in Climate/Weather, Environment, International, Local0 Comments

Premier-Hurricane-statement-TMR05-jun04_21-br-pg3

2021 Hurricane Message

by Premier, Hon. Joseph E. Farrell

Fellow Montserratians I extend warm greetings to all of you.

  As we begin the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season, I want us to take some time to reflect on the past year, and how we have been able to adapt to a world in which COVID-19 has dominated our everyday lives and actions.  It has also reinforced the need for us to take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and our families.

 As we enter the 2021 Hurricane Season, we have to ensure that our desire to protect ourselves and our families are amplified to include hurricane precautionary measures to protect not only human life but also our homes, our businesses, and our infrastructure.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season is constant each year; from June 1 to November 30 and Mother Nature does not pause to give us a break because we have been dealing with other matters such as the COVID-19 pandemic; and so, we should not be complacent as it relates to hurricane preparedness. 

The predictions are for another active hurricane season, and while God’s favour and mercies have spared us over the past few years from any direct impact, I urge you to not let down your guard.  Regardless of the level of activity predicted, I want to remind you that it only takes one hurricane to directly impact us and seriously affect us.

Some of us might believe that a hurricane is not a real threat or assume that we will be spared because we have not been directly affected in recent years.  But, I strongly urge you to take all precautionary measures to safeguard your families, businesses and communities.

The Government’s work to protect lives and livelihoods continue, and even as we maintain our efforts on COVID-19, we have also been actively preparing for this hurricane season.  In fact, the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) has been working with key stakeholders, prior to the start of the hurricane season to ensure steps are taken to prepare for any eventuality.

Our government Ministries and departments have been updating their hurricane plans and work to protect our infrastructure has already started as the Public Works Department has been clearing our waterways to reduce the likelihood of flooding.

As I do every year, I encourage you to:

  • Follow the advice from officials at the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) – they are our experts in disaster preparedness and response.
  • Stay informed by monitoring communication channels for official information from Government.
  • Update your hurricane preparedness plans for your family and your business. Everyone in your family or business should know what to do and where to go if impacted, and;
  • Pack essential supplies in an Emergency Kit.—Supplies should include non-perishable food and water for everyone in your home, medications, sanitisers, face-covering, items for personal hygiene and batteries.

I encourage you to remember those in your communities who are not as mobile as you are and need your assistance, the vulnerable, elderly and persons with disabilities, please lend them a helping hand.

Do stay safe and look out for each other. 

May God bless and protect us.

June 1, 2021

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Grenada-to-SVD

St. Vincent and the Grenadines volcano erupts – thousands evacuate

by Bennette Roach

This is La Soufriere, St. Vincent – may remind of Soufriere Hills, Montserrat

The largest volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent is home to La Soufrière erupted beginning at about 8.30 a.m. “Four days shy of its anniversary on the second Friday on April 9, 2021, in spectacular fashion, sending an ash plume shooting an estimated 52,000 feet into the atmosphere and forcing the evacuation of thousands.

Later, what University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Center scientists called an “explosive eruption,” reportedly sent plumes over 100,000 feet.

The explosion of ash was so large that it was visible from space on weather satellites. Southwesterly winds carried the cloud of ash over northern parts of St. Vincent and over the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean between the islands of Saint Lucia and Barbados, as seen from a photo on the front page.

Throughout the weekend, much of the island was covered in ash from the eruptions that continued on through Friday night. By Sunday night, eruptions were firing up again as conditions worsened,

Dozens of residents required rescuing from the northern part of the island as the new dangers place even more islanders at risk.

Richard Robertson, a geologist with the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, very well known and remembered having worked for long stints in Montserrat, eventually heading the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, said during a Sunday night news conference that there is evidence of pyroclastic flows, the rush of super-heated gas and debris traveling down the mountainside as fast as 120 miles per hour, in the areas around the volcano.

“These flows are really moving masses of destruction,” Robertson said. “They just destroy everything in its path. Even if you have the strongest house in the world, they will just bulldoze it off the ground.”

The abrupt eruptions continued to launch debris and a cloud of ash into the air throughout Sunday night, leaving its remnants scattered throughout the island.

On Saturday, he said the roughly 110,000 residents of St. Vincent, many of whom have already sought refuge on other islands, should expect to see the largest blast of their lifetimes in the coming days

“The explosive eruption has started and it is possible you could have more explosions like these,” he said during a press conference on Saturday, according to NPR. “The first one is not necessarily the worst one, the first bang is not necessarily the biggest bang.

Very early Sunday morning, the National Emergency Management Organization of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (NEMO SVG) said on Twitter that a “massive power outage” was underway following another “explosive event” of the volcano. The island-wide power outage began just after 1.00 a.m., local time, on Sunday morning as loud rumblings continued to emit from the volcano, according to News 784 in St. Vincent.

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves said water supplies to most of the island had been cut off and its airspace had been closed due to the smoke and plumes of volcanic ash moving through the atmosphere,

The NEMO SVG reported later in the morning that the ash plume had fallen at Argyle International Airport.

The island had been preparing for the eruption, but not the magnitude of it. Around 6:00 p.m. Thursday, Gonsalves announced in a press conference the evacuation order for residents in “red zones” on the northeast and northwest sides of the island.

This evacuation includes roughly 16,000 people on the island, Ralph Gonsalves @ComradeRalph  said:

I have issued an evacuation order to all residents living in the RED ZONES on the North East and the North West of the island. All residents are asked to act accordingly with immediate effect to ensure their safety and that of their families.

The Government-led evacuations immediately began, but they were to be assisted by nearby cruise line ships, arriving Friday, to help get people to safety.

However, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, evacuations are more complicated than usual.

Gonsalves said in his press conference that people have to be vaccinated before boarding a cruise ship or going to another island. The minister also highly recommended those taking shelter in Saint Vincent be vaccinated.

Flights were canceled at the Argyle International Airport on St. Vincent as well as the Grantley Adams International Airport on the nearby island of Barbados on Saturday, further complicating evacuation efforts.

Even on Friday morning, fresh magma near the surface of the volcano left the sky aglow.

https://www.facebook.com/uwiseismic/photos/a.112065204326/10158019592044327/?type=3

https://www.facebook.com/uwiseismic/photos/a.112065204326/10158019592044327/?type=3

The La Soufrière volcano on St. Vincent has had five explosive eruptions in the past, with the most recent being 1979. There was, however, an uptick in seismic activity more recently in December of 2020.

Gonsalves urged people to be patient and continue to take precautions as experts warned that explosive eruptions from the volcano could continue for days or even weeks, NBC News reported.

In an interview with NBC Radio, Gonsalves said that it could take up to four months for life to return to normal, depending on the extent of the damage. He added that agriculture will be badly affected.

In extremely powerful volcanic eruptions, the ash and aerosols released in the eruption can pass through the troposphere, the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere, and penetrate into the stratosphere, the second layer of the atmosphere.

If enough of the ash and other pollutants released in the eruption make it into the stratosphere, they can influence the climate around the globe. The boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere is about 6 miles (10 km) above the ground, a little higher than where commercial jets typically fly.

Response was immediate from the region

CARICOM governments and especially OECS governments immediately responded to these eruptions by sending and offering assistance to the stricken 16,000 populated area immediately affected by the continuing explosions and eruptive events.

The “Stronger Together Campaign

OECS Commission Launches “Stronger Together Campaign”

The OECS launched the  “Stronger Together Campaign” an Emergency Response for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines” is an initiative organized by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission relative to a coordinated approach to assist with relief and recovery efforts on behalf of our Member State, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Donations are invited from individuals and corporations across the Caribbean and globally. All funds (100%) raised via this campaign will be directly transferred to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

There is no limit on the value of pledges and contributions. Pledges are invited from individuals and corporations across the Caribbean and globally.

Montserrat had earlier sent one of its MVO scientists in the leadup to the eruption. Christopher Thomas joined other UWI) Seismic Research Center scientists who included Richard (Richie) Robertson with he worked here in Montserrat, for the team that monitored the volcano up to its eruption and after.

Government of Montserrat Officials at Warehouse with Supplies for St. Vincent & the Grenadines

On April 28, 2021 GIU release advised “The Government of Montserrat will deploy a shipment of emergency relief supplies to help address the immediate needs of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines affected by the ongoing eruption of the La Soufrière Volcano.

It informed further: “Twelve pallets of relief supplies from Montserrat’s emergency stockpile containing 7,200- N95 masks, 400 blankets, 200 cots, 140 helmets, water pump and accessories, eight folding tables and push-brooms, will be shipped on April 29, 2021. These were to be collected by the vessel MV Promise Kept to arrive in St Vincent and the Grenadines the following day, Friday, April 30, 2021.

The relief supplies from the national emergency stockpile managed by the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA), are designed to meet the basic needs of residents staying in Emergency Shelters, overseen by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The move was a follow-up to the GoM’s April 12 announcement that Montserrat will donate humanitarian supplies, contribute $150,000.00 (US$55,555), and establish a local team to provide support to the people of the volcano stricken islands.

Other islands as reported from OECS headquarters

The Government of Grenada will provide $1 million in support for the Government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, to help deal with the impact of the explosive eruptions at the La Soufriere volcano.

Grenada initially pledged to accept hundreds of Vincentian evacuees if they opted for relocation and immediately began making arrangements to do so, in collaboration with St. George’s University. Meanwhile, preparations continue to be made to host evacuees in the event that persons decide to take advantage of the opportunity.

These items include drinking water, water tanks, collapsible water bladders, buckets, portable toilets, sleeping mats, field tents, respirator masks with filters, hygiene kits, disinfectants, and sanitisers.

As the volcanic disaster in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines continues to unfold, regional solidarity is once again at the forefront of relief efforts.

Antigua and Barbuda

The Government of Antigua and Barbuda was among the first and began its response efforts on Thursday, April 8, 2021 after Prime Minister Hon. Gaston Browne consulted with his counterpart in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Prime Minister Dr. Hon. Ralph Gonzalves.  It was at this juncture that Antigua and Barbuda agreed to accept 250 Vincentian evacuees who would be accommodated at the Jolly Beach Hotel. The gesture was part of a wider regional response to the developing situation in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 

In addition to accommodation, the GoA extended support and services to evacuees.  While in Antigua, the Ministry of Health will provide medical support; the Transport Board will provide the necessary transportation for official movement; the Ministry of Education will facilitate the education of students; the security forces will provide security as necessary for the well-being of all, and the Ministry of Works will assist with physical security if necessary.

Donations from corporate and civic organizations as well as the national warehouse in Antigua and Barbuda were coordinated through the National Office of Disaster Services.  So far, support has been received from Mega Distributors, the Lion’s Club, Best Buy, the Rotary Club of Antigua, Premier Beverages, GCS Bottling Services Ltd, and the Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross. These donations, which included water, water tanks, housing supplies, personal care items, mosquito nets, generators, lanterns, flashlights, and relief kits, were shipped in a 20-foot container on April 12, 2021.

World Bank

The World Bank disbursed US$20 million to support the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ response to the crisis posed by the La Soufrière volcano eruption.

The explosive eruption began on April 8 and has required the evacuation of 20,000 people from the high-risk zones around the volcano, both to other parts of Saint Vincent and surrounding countries. Explosions are continuing, and the falling ash is causing air quality concerns and interruptions in electricity and water supply.

The funds are disbursed from a contingent credit line from the World Bank, known as the Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO), approved in June 2020.

Dominica

The Government and people of Dominica continue to stand in solidarity with the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and reiterates the support of all Dominicans during the volcanic crisis unfolding on the island, Prime Minister Skerrit said.

Following an eruptive event of ash flow

Before April 12 he conversed with Hon. Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, and offered support to assist with the evacuation of residents during this natural disaster as the Government worked to confirm logistics and make preparations for the accommodation of a group of Vincentians for a period of up to five months.

All local partners and international organizations on the island are collaborating with the Government and a national response is being finalized.

He said also ‘the expressions of concern and outpouring of support for the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines have been exceptional and reflects the kindness and brotherhood we are known for.’

St Lucia sends assists with transporting stranded OECS workers from St. Vincent

Meanwhile, St. Lucia on the receiving end of ashfall assisted with 139 Stranded Agricultural Workers in the wake of the La Soufriere Volcano explosion. They were farmworkers en route to Canada were part of the seasonal agricultural workers’ programme.

It was reported already that Dominicans have reached out and offered assistance to house individuals who need to be evacuated from St. Vincent. In this regard, a special hotline was established for the general public to offer support for housing or other areas of assistance.

The agricultural workers, 95 Vincentians, 18 Saint Lucians, and 23 Grenadians, were en route to Canada for employment on the seasonal agricultural workers’ programme when their flight from St. Vincent to Canada was canceled. The workers arrived via the Cruise Ship “Serenade of the Seas” on Saturday morning and remained in Saint Lucia for a few days until they were able to board a flight to Canada.

Grenada sends personnel and other support to St Vincent

While wreaking havoc on the lives of residents, many of whom had to evacuate the northern part of the island categorised as the Red Zone, the entire population continued to cope with a myriad of issues, from the destruction of property, livestock, and crops, the presence of volcanic ash which is dangerous to human health, disruptions in telecommunications services to contaminated water supplies. To this end, the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) came to the aid of the people of St. Vincent with a donation of bottled water.

La Soufrière Eruption – ECTEL Sends Water to St. Vincent and the Grenadines
https://cdn.uc.assets.prezly.com/c457c8f5-ac3d-4bb1-a9da-c3b11e34733f/-/format/auto/

ECTEL’s Managing Director, Mr. Andrew Millet learned of the urgent need for water.  He said, “ECTEL stands in solidarity with the people…We cannot begin to comprehend the distress they must be feeling, having to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic, and now this natural phenomenon.”  The matter of further assistance to St. Vincent and the Grenadines was discussed at the 41st Meeting of ECTEL’s Council of Ministers, the result being a donation of 24 pallets of water departed Saint Lucia on Wednesday, April 14, and arrived in St. Vincent on Friday, April 16. 

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Environment, International, Local, News, OECS, Regional, TOURISM, Volcano, Volcano0 Comments

21 ultramarathon runners killed by extreme weather in China

21 ultramarathon runners killed by extreme weather in China

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer

May. 24, 2021 – Copied

Of 172 runners participating in an ultramarathon through northwest China on Saturday, 21 were killed when severe weather swept through the area.

Freezing rain, hail, and high winds killed 21 ultramarathon runners, including two of China’s elite marathon athletes, during a 62-mile cross-country mountain race in northwest China, local officials reported on Sunday.

“A front moved through the area and that could have caused those strong winds and hail to happen,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Robert Richards said.

The extreme weather struck Saturday afternoon in a high-altitude section of the race held in the Yellow River Stone Forest in northwest Gansu province, Yahoo reported.

“In a short period of time, hailstones and ice rain suddenly fell in the local area, and there were strong winds. The temperature sharply dropped,” Baiyin City Mayor Zhang Xuchen said.

China Xinhua News @XHNews · May 23 China state-affiliated media The death toll has risen to 21 after extreme weather hit a 100-km cross-country mountain marathon race in northwest China’s Gansu http://xhtxs.cn/fk2

There were a total of 172 participants in the race, the other 151 have been rescued and are now safe, according to official news agency Xinhua.

Some of the runners suffered from hypothermia, and Zhang said earlier that eight people were being treated for minor injuries and were in stable condition, Xinhua reported.

“My whole body was soaked through, including my shoes and socks. I couldn’t stand up straight because of the wind, I was very worried I’d be blown over. The cold became more and more unbearable,” one survivor was quoted in local media.

Marathon organizers dispatched a massive rescue team with more than 1,200 rescuers assisted by thermal-imaging drones, radar detectors and demolition equipment after receiving messages for help from the participants, according to Reuters.

At around 2 p.m. local time, weather conditions worsened and the race was called off, Zhang said.

The deaths have sparked public outrage over the lack of contingency planning.

“Why didn’t the government read the weather forecast and do a risk assessment?” one commentator wrote. “This is totally a manmade calamity. Even if the weather is unexpected, where were the contingency plans?”

Baiyin officials bowed and apologized at a news briefing saying they were saddened by the tragic deaths of the runners and that they were to be blamed, Reuters reported.

“As the event’s organizer, we feel a deep sense of guilt and self-blame, express our deep mourning for the victims and deep condolences to their families and the injured runners,” Zhang said.

“The weather appears to be dry for the next few days there,” Richards said.

Related: Drone gives stunning bird’s-eye view of erupting volcano It’s been 10 years since the deadly Joplin tornado Extreme weather leaves city looking like winter wonderland on 80-degree day

Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier, Spectrum, FuboTV, Philo, and Verizon Fios.

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Accu-Weather

Ana becomes first named system of 2021 in Atlantic

By Jake Sojda, AccuWeather meteorologist & Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist

Published May. 22, 2021

It begins. The official start to hurricane season is more than a week away, but the first-named storm of the season formed early Saturday morning as Subtropical Storm Ana took shape over the Atlantic Ocean, east of Bermuda. AccuWeather forecasters had been monitoring an area of low pressure since early in the week and on Saturday, the system organized and was packing sustained winds of 45 mph.

Satellite view of Ana pinwheeling in the Atlantic northeast of Bermuda Saturday afternoon, May 22. (RAMMB/CIRA)

Ana developed 200 miles northeast of Bermuda early Saturday morning. As of Saturday afternoon, Ana is slowly moving northeast at around 5 mph.

Friday, before it reached tropical storm strength, the area of low pressure being watched was dubbed Invest 90L by the National Hurricane Center. A second area with the potential for further tropical development, known as Invest 91L, became better organized early Friday in the western Gulf of Mexico before moving inland over Texas early Saturday morning and ending its chances for development.

Satellite showed clouds becoming more organized around the center of low-pressure east of Bermuda early Friday, May 21, 2021, indicating the development of tropical characteristics. (RAMMB/CIRA)

Since Invest 90L strengthened, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) named it Ana, the first name on the list of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

Ana developed from a system that earlier this week was a non-tropical storm associated with a pocket of cool air high up in the atmosphere. However, occasionally, over time, features such as this can acquire tropical characteristics, provided ocean water is warm enough to allow such a transition. When this happens, subtropical depressions or storms can be named by the NHC.

AccuWeather meteorologists do not expect Ana to develop into anything stronger than its current status. However, as it brushes Bermuda, breezy conditions with showers are likely to impact the island nation.

“Heavier rain and stronger winds will stay to the northeast of the islands,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty explained.

The flurry of activity comes a year after the Atlantic hurricane season, which later turned hyperactive, began early with two systems developing before June 1.

Tropical Storm Arthur formed southeast of Florida on May 16 last year, and Tropical Storm Bertha was named after a non-tropical system rapidly strengthened over the western Atlantic, off the Georgia coast, on May 27. The tropical storm crashed ashore near Isle of Palms, South Carolina, a few hours after forming. Bertha unleashed locally flooding rainfall and dangerous rip currents and surf along the coast.

The 2020 season went on to become the busiest on record with 30 named systems. There were so many storms that the Greek alphabet was tapped to name nine different systems once the pre-designated list of names for the season had been exhausted — a naming convention that will no longer be used by the National Hurricane Center (NHC). A record 11 tropical systems made landfall in the United States in 2020.

The last time the name Ana was used to name an Atlantic storm, it was given to another pre-season storm that developed in the basin. In 2015, a subtropical storm formed from a non-tropical system — in a manner similar to how Ana formed — north of the Bahamas. The system went on to strengthen into a tropical storm while over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream on May 9 about 130 miles southeast of Myrtle Beach. It made landfall near North Myrtle Beach in South Carolina the next day.

In 2012, Tropical Storm Beryl also followed a similar evolution from a non-tropical system, becoming the earliest B-named storm when it became a subtropical storm on May 26. The next day it transitioned into a tropical storm and then made landfall near Jacksonville, Florida, on May 28. With maximum sustained winds of 65 mph at landfall, Beryl was the strongest out-of-season tropical cyclone to make landfall in the United States.

In any event, direct impact on the U.S. is not expected with Ana.

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Ana is expected to be pulled northward and absorbed by a non-tropical system that is forecast to emerge from the southeastern coast of Canada early next week.

Many may wonder whether the early signs of development could signal a busy season ahead, since a similar trend occurred in 2020, and AccuWeather forecasters say there may be some echoes and similar trends to last year, albeit with less non-stop action.

“We are expecting another very busy Atlantic hurricane season for 2021,” Kottlowski said.

“There is the potential for more than 20 named storms this season in the Atlantic with three to five impacts anticipated in the U.S,” Kottlowski said.

Several tropical systems may continue to churn over the basin from mid-October through November, which is a time when tropical conditions typically diminish. How active the season gets or remains may depend on the return of La Niña.

La Niña is part of a cycle of water temperatures in the tropical Pacific that oscillates between warm and cool patterns. When waters are cooler than average over the tropical Pacific, known as La Niña, the Atlantic is often more active than average in terms of tropical activity. On the other hand, when waters are warmer than average over the tropical Pacific, known as El Niño, the Atlantic is often less active than average.

Currently, water temperatures are relatively close to average over the tropical Pacific, with a neutral phase present. Conditions are expected to remain in this state well into the summer season before a La Niña pattern may develop again. The timing of that transition will be key to just how active the season becomes.

Back in late March of this year, AccuWeather’s team of tropical weather experts, led by Kottlowski, released its annual forecast for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. The team predicted 16-20 named storms, including seven to 10 hurricanes. Of the storms projected to reach hurricane strength, three to five are expected to become major hurricanes — Category 3 or higher storms that have maximum sustained winds of 111 mph or greater.

Related: New study exposes multi-billion dollar factor in Superstorm Sandy’s destruction One city slammed by hurricanes in 2020 is working ahead to prepare US to face above-normal strikes from tropical systems in 2021… again Greek alphabet will no longer be used to name hurricanes

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AccuWeather

St. Vincent and the Grenadines volcano erupts, prompts thousands to evacuate – an update

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AccuWeather

https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/st-vincent-volcano-erupts-prompts-thousands-to-evacuate/929927

By Courtney Travis, AccuWeather senior meteorologist

Updated Apr. 12, 2021, 7:48 AM AST Copied

Hours after an initial eruption of the La Soufriere volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, a second explosion was reported, resulting in a massive plume of smoke and ash.

The largest volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent erupted on Friday in spectacular fashion, sending an ash plume shooting an estimated 52,000 feet into the atmosphere and forcing the evacuation of thousands.

Through the weekend, much of the island was covered in ash from the eruptions that continued on through Friday night. By Sunday night, eruptions were firing up again as conditions worsened.

Dozens of residents required rescuing from the northern part of the island as the new dangers place even more islanders at risk.

A man rides his bicycle along the main Black Rock road, covered with ash coming from the eruption of La Soufriere volcano in the neighboring island of St. Vincent, on the outskirts of Bridgetown, Barbados, Sunday, April 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Chris Brandis)

Richard Robertson, a geologist with the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, said during a Sunday night news conference that there is evidence of pyroclastic flows, the rush of super-heated gas and debris traveling down the mountainside as fast as 120 miles per hour, in the areas around the volcano, NPR reported.

“These flows are really moving masses of destruction,” Robertson said. “They just destroy everything in its path. Even if you have the strongest house in the world, they will just bulldoze it off the ground.”

The abrupt eruptions continued to launch debris and a cloud of ash into the air throughout Sunday night, leaving its remnants scattered throughout the island.

On Saturday, he said the roughly 110,000 residents of St. Vincent, many of whom have already sought refuge on other islands, should expect to see the largest blast of their lifetimes in the coming days

“The explosive eruption has started and it is possible you could have more explosions like these,” he said during a press conference on Saturday, according to NPR. “The first one is not necessarily the worst one, the first bang is not necessarily the biggest bang this volcano will give.”

https://twitter.com/NWSElPaso/status/1381084579616985088?s=20

Very early Sunday morning, the National Emergency Management Organization of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (NEMO SVG) said on Twitter that a “massive power outage” was underway following another “explosive event” of the volcano. The island-wide power outage began just after 1 a.m., local time, on Sunday morning as loud rumblings continued to emit from the volcano, according to News 784 in St. Vincent.

The Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves said water supplies to most of the island had been cut off and its airspace had been closed due to the smoke and plumes of volcanic ash moving through the atmosphere, according to the BBC.

St. Vincent is a volcanic island located in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean and is home to La Soufrière, its largest volcano.

Around 8:30 a.m., local time, on Friday, the volcano underwent what the scientists at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Seismic Research Center called an “explosive eruption,” spewing ash high into the air.

The NEMO SVG reported later in the morning that the ash plume had reached about 5 miles (8 km) into the air, and ash had fallen at Argyle International Airport. A NOAA-SSEC satellite estimated that the ash traveled an astonishing 52,000 feet into the atmosphere, or about 10 miles up.

Photo from the explosive eruption that occurred at La Soufriere, SVG at 8:41 a.m. local time. Ash has begun to fall on the flanks of the volcano and surrounding communities including Chateaubelair and Petite Bordel. (Photo/UWI Seismic ReasearchCentre)

The explosion of ash was so large that it was visible from space on weather satellites. Southwesterly winds carried the cloud of ash over northern parts of St. Vincent and over the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean between the islands of Saint Lucia and Barbados.

NEMO reported that the ash was extending at least 20,000 feet (more than 6 km) to the northeast of the volcano.

This GOES-16 true-color satellite loop shows what the La Soufriere volcano eruption looked like from space on the morning of April 9, 2021 (GOES-16/NOAA)

Geologist Richard Robertson told News 784 in St. Vincent on Friday that the volcano had returned to a quieter period, but more eruptions are expected to follow.

A second eruption occurred later Friday evening, NEMO reported, jettisoning ash over 2 miles into the atmosphere.

Ash venting resumed at La Soufrière at around 2:45 p.m. local time, the UWI Seismic Research Center reported Friday evening, and lightning could be seen in the ash column. Continuous tremors have been recorded since 3 p.m., and the center noted that the volcano continues its explosive phase which may last several days to weeks.

Friday afternoon, lightning was visible in the volcano’s ash column due to its highly charged nature. (Photo/UWI Seismic Research Centre)

”If there is a much bigger explosion, the ash can spread further to the south,“ Robertson said, adding that, “This could continue for days or weeks, and monitoring will continue.”

The UWI Seismic Research Center first noticed gases spewing from the dome of the volcano on Thursday morning.

As seismic activity continued and became more intense, with magma visible near the surface later on Thursday, the country’s National Emergency Management Organization raised the island’s alert level from orange to red, according to NPR, meaning that eruption was considered “imminent”.

Smoke spews from the glowing dome of the La Soufriere volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on Thursday, April 8, 2021 (right), and the resulting eruption (left) on Friday, April 9, 2021. (Photos/The UWI Seismic Research Centre)

Around 6:00 p.m. Thursday, Gonsalves announced in a press conference the evacuation order for residents in “red zones” on the northeast and northwest sides of the island.

This evacuation includes roughly 16,000 people on the island, according to WFAA, a WABC affiliate in Dallas, Texas.

Government-led evacuations immediately began, but they were to be assisted by nearby cruise line ships, arriving Friday, to help get people to safety.

However, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, evacuations are more complicated than usual.

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Gonsalves said in his press conference that people have to be vaccinated before boarding a cruise ship or to go to another island. The minister also highly recommended those taking shelter in Saint Vincent be vaccinated.

Flights were cancelled at the Argyle International Airport on St. Vincent as well as the Grantley Adams International Airport on the nearby island of Barbados on Saturday, further complicating evacuation efforts.

Even on Friday morning, fresh magma near the surface of the volcano left the sky aglow.

https://www.facebook.com/uwiseismic/photos/a.112065204326/10158019592044327/?type=3

According to CNN, the La Soufrière volcano on St. Vincent has had five explosive eruptions in the past, with the most recent being 1979. There was, however, an uptick in seismic activity more recently in December of 2020.

Gonsalves urged people to be patient and continue to take precautions as experts warned that explosive eruptions from the volcano could continue for days or even weeks, NBC News reported.

In an interview with NBC Radio, Gonsalves said that it could take up to four months for life to return to normal, depending on the extent of the damage. He added that agriculture will be badly affected.

In extremely powerful volcanic eruptions, the ash and aerosols released in the eruption can pass through the troposphere, the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere, and penetrate into the stratosphere, the second layer of the atmosphere.

If enough of the ash and other pollutants released in the eruption make it into the stratosphere, they can influence the climate around the globe. The boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere is about 6 miles (10 km) above the ground, a little higher than where commercial jets typically fly.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Climate/Weather, Climate/Weather, COVID-19, Environment, Featured, Features, International, Local, News, OECS, Photos, Regional, Volcano0 Comments

No photo description available.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines was preparing for the eruption of La Soufriere volcano

St. Vincent and the Grenadines, preparing for the eruption of La Soufriere volcano

EMERGENCY SHELTERS FOR A VOLCANIC ERUPTION (EXPLOSIVE)

 28th March 2021

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1RjQeofFX46htCMxbnyArqfxxCSOkbD70&ll=13.25264487913983%2C-61.1971605&z=11

National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO)

EMERGENCY SHELTERS FOR A VOLCANIC ERUPTION (EXPLOSIVE)

LA SOUFRIÈRE BULLETIN #56 APRIL 10, 2021 5:00 P.M

LA SOUFRIÈRE BULLETIN #56 APRIL 10, 2021 5:00 P.M 

  1. The seismic tremor generated by voluminous energetic venting of La Soufrière Volcano continued overnight.

Volcanic Hazard Zones

April 2021 S M T W T F S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Weather Forecast

Meteorological Services, Argyle

10 April 2021

10 April 2021

Press/News Release

No photo description available.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, CARICOM, Climate/Weather, Climate/Weather, Columns, COVID-19, Environment, Featured, Health, International, Local, News, OECS, Police, Regional, Volcano0 Comments

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Progressives say Biden infrastructure bill isn’t big enough: “We can’t go back to business as usual”

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“This is not nearly enough,” Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez says
By Jon Skolnik
April 1, 2021 5:34PM (UTC)
main article image

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Joe Biden (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden proposed a $2 trillion federal spending package on Wednesday that would revamp the country’s crumbling infrastructure, taking specific aim at pollution, job creation, housing, and corporate taxes. But many on the left who have championed the Green New Deal say the president’s plan isn’t big enough. 

“This is not nearly enough,” tweeted Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y, regarding the size of the bill. “The important context here is that it’s $2.25T spread out over 10 years. For context, the COVID package was $1.9T for this year *alone,* with some provisions lasting 2 years. Needs to be way bigger.

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“I think it’s a step towards our vision of a Green New Deal,” Ellen Sciales, a spokesperson for Sunrise Movement, echoed. “But the truth is this does not meet the scale and the scope of what we need to meet the true scale and urgency of the climate crisis.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, likewise called the bill a “fine starting point.”

Under Biden’s current proposal, the federal government would, among other measures, allot $621 billion to transportation infrastructures such as bridges, ports, and roads; put $580 billion toward American manufacturing, job training, and research and development; designate $400 billion to care for elderly and disabled Americans; invest $300 billion into constructing and repairing affordable housing, as well as schools; infuse the U.S. electric vehicle industry with $174 billion, and dedicate $5 billion to repair every lead pipe and service line nationally.

“These are investments we have to make,” Biden said of the bill on Wednesday. “We can afford to make them. To put it another way — we can’t afford not to.”

However, many progressive Democrats have already proposed a spate of separate bills designed to expand the bill’s scope of influence. For instance, Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Rep. Andry Levin, D-Mich., introduced a bill that would subsidize the purchase of sustainable products made in America. 

The Progressive Congressional Caucus on Monday floated the Transform, Heal and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy (THRIVE) Act, which calls for a $10 trillion investment in green infrastructure, renewable energy, and other climate justice measures over the next decade. The bill heavily addresses racial inequality and dedicates 40% of federal investments to minority groups that have been “excluded, oppressed and harmed by racist unjust practices.”

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“We are facing a series of intersecting crises,” Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass, the bill’s co-sponsor, said. “Climate change, a public health pandemic, racial injustice and economic inequality. We can’t defeat any of these crises alone. We must develop a roadmap for recovery that addresses them all.”

An analysis conducted by the Sierra Club, an environmental nonprofit, found that the THRIVE Act would generate 15 million jobs. The bill is part of a broader push spearheaded by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, who unveiled the THRIVE agenda when she was representative for New Mexico. According to Data for Progress, Haaland’s agenda drew broad support from Americans, especially swing voters.

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“We need a plan that will end the unemployment crisis, but we need this plan to also fight systemic racism, protect public health and drastically cut down on climate pollution,” Markey said. “We cannot go back to business as usual. We have a chance to truly, in this moment, to build back better and greener than ever before.” 

Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, AlterNet, and The New York Daily News. MORE FROM Jon SkolnikFOLLOW @skolnik_jon

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Energy, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology, Technology, TOURISM0 Comments

Senators come together to make daylight saving time permanent

Senators come together to make daylight saving time permanent

Reprint

Sarah K. Burris – March 09, 2021

Senators come together to make daylight saving time permanent

Marco Rubio (MSNBC/Screenshot)

Year after year, particularly in the spring and fall Americans lament Daylight Saving Time, an antiquated way of adjusting the time to help preserve as much light as possible. Many believe it was due to the U.S. agrarian society, but according to the History Channel’s factoids, the agriculture industry actually opposed it.

Germany was the first country to implement the idea on April 30, 1916, and the U.S. first did it in 1918, with Congress attempting to repeal it in 1919.

“Rather than rural interests, it has been urban entities such as retail outlets and recreational businesses that have championed daylight saving over the decades,” said History.com. Tired of ads? Want to support our progressive journalism? Click to learn more.

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), James Lankford (R-OK), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Cindy Hide-Smith (R-MS), Rick Scott (R-FL), and Ed Markey (D-MA) are all endorsing the Sunshine Protection Act, according to a release. Fifteen states have changed their Daylight Saving Time rules and dozens more are also considering doing it. States include Arkansas, Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The time was once isolated to just a few states, but now that there are more states it can create more confusion. The growing list of states is causing more problems as Americans start traveling again and have no idea whether a state is observing the time change or not.

See the release below:

Image

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Climate/Weather, Culture, Environment, International, Local, News, Regional, Science/Technology0 Comments

Devastation in the village of Harris’ Below is the same area two weeke before

25 years unforgotten memory of volcanic destruction – ‘fighting’? volcano destruct, now COVID-19

In a Government of Montserrat release, for what or any significance that may be attached, superstitiously or otherwise, it declared that July 15, 2020, was “declared a public holiday on Montserrat, in observance of 25 years since the start of volcanic activity.”

It almost evaded my attention until the very day, having not seen the promised “order of service” which, “with other details was to be published at a later date. Meantime the day July 15, would be “observed as a National Day of Prayer, Reflection, and Thanksgiving, under the theme ‘25 Years on, we are still here’.  The National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving service will be held at 5:00 p.m. at the Look Out Catholic Church.”

Yet to be forgotten as a time in history, with Montserrat is not yet near a place or time a quarter of a century (25 years) later that it can say the loss was for better days, as it has been for others with somewhat similar experience.

It is still confusing why that holiday was not given on the eve which was Friday.

As for the theme, which seemed an effort at expressing some pride by those saying it, but to me, it is quite empty. Giving God thanks, of course, but…

Five years ago, remembering this day from 20 years prior, in the article under a headline caption “Bringing 20 year volcanic crisis perspectives – Recapturing: THE VOLCANO and DEATH, we opened: “In this week’s issue we mostly feature articles and reports from first issues after July 18, 1995 and from immediately after June 25, 1997.

“This, especially in light of discussions that have taken place as a committee set up to plan the 20th-year anniversary of the beginning of what is still referred to as the eruption of Soufriere Hills volcano; “where we came from, where we ought to be, and where we want to go.”

There were some memorable times from that commemoration. It is that which makes us declare the theme of this year’s Thanksgiving seems wrong. Expect more on this.

At that time we also wrote referring to articles from 1995 on…, “… we still hope our readers may now, following, hearing or having heard or followed the debate and discussions, make their own determination as to where we are and know where we are going.

We wish the conversation now would be updated with real pride but we still find we must say, Really, as is said it is time for action. “Everyone”, they say, “has their part to play.” And isn’t odd though that those last words, we have heard them time and time again. Still more to come.

So like 20 years ago and often enough we present as we recapture for the benefit of going forward and for those who might now get a sense of then.

For Bishop Melroy’s references:

https://www.themontserratreporter.com/mdc-shut-down-montserrat-back-five-years/

It is fifteen years on and featured speaker Bishop Melroy Meade said that one day was not enough. In a passionate message, he called for a week of Thanksgiving during which time residents would give thanks to God for his protection, preservation, and faithfulness over the last fifteen years. The congregation that came together to give God thanks appeared to have agreed with him.

Bishop Meade likened the experience in Montserrat to that of Job when everything he had was taken away, but he pointed to a better day which is coming. He also referred to the determination, resoluteness, and pride of a people who have suffered greatly. Like Job, people don’t understand what Montserratians went through but when they become familiar with the island, the resilience of the people they too want to embrace it, he said.

According to Bishop Meade, “The truth is our trials come to make us strong and life cost what it cost and it never goes on sale.”

By Bennette Roach

Devastation in the village of Harris’ Below is the same area two weeke before
Devastation in the village of Harris’

One of the conditions the British Governor of Montserrat and the local Government never wanted to exist, is that they would ever have to report that lives were lost as a direct result of volcanic activity in Montserrat.

On the night of July 18, 1995, residents not far away from Soufriere Hills could hear what they later described as roaring sounds like those that come from jet planes, and it was soon realized by all that a volcano that lay in waiting at English Crater in Soufriere Hills had come alive.

Soon after from several and continuous radio broadcasts, and interviews from scientists, the Governor and the Chief Minister, his office and the offices of the Emergency Operating Centre (EOC), we were to learn that there has always been this volcano, that there have been activities at approximately 30 – 35-year intervals since the turn of this century; that there have been studies, one as recent as the mid-80s, which suggested that there will be serious activities around this time.

No attention whatever was paid to these facts and so here we were in July, less than a month under two years ago, with an erupting volcano and every resident as ignorant as ever to the dangers that this could pose for Montserrat. Since that time it has been a downhill battle, which may have not yet culminated, but which has now directly claimed the lives of at least 10 people with more almost certain to be confirmed when the ash becomes cool enough to be cleared in some way.

1997 6 24 pics
Home demolished by the power and volume of the flow

June 25, 1997, will be long remembered as the worst day of the volcano (I hope) because lives were lost. And the question that is being asked, “Could this have been avoided?” Amazingly, the homes in Long Ground are still standing untouched but for the September 17 last year’s eruption. It may well be that the Tar River valley is their protection or perhaps it is early yet.

MVO Reports

The Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO) report for that morning read as follows: The latest earthquake swarm has just reached a peak, with 4 or 5 earthquakes occurring every minute. At the time of the highest activity, the hybrid earthquakes could more accurately be described as continuous tremors. There have been several small pyroclastic flows in Mosquito Ghaut in the last hour. Observations of the dome last night showed that the top of Mosquito Ghaut is the only active area of the dome at the moment, as the focus of activity has switched from the eastern side to the north in the last few days.

Further pyroclastic flow activity is expected, and the high level of activity means that these flows could happen at any time and be larger than before. The current area of activity makes Mosquito Ghaut the most likely pathway, but further flows in Gages, Tuitt’s, or Tar River are probable as well.”

The following recently became a standard part of the report: Bramble Airport remains operational, but the public is reminded that it is open only for essential travel purposes. The sirens will be tested as usual this afternoon.”

Now following is the evening report following the disaster: “An intense swarm of hybrid earthquakes began at 11 a.m., and rapidly escalated to repetitive events which merged into continuous tremor after 12:15 p.m. At about 1 p.m. major pyroclastic flow activity began in Mosquito Ghaut, which generated an ash cloud to over 30,000 ft within minutes. The flow traveled into Farms River to Trants Bridge. Downriver of Bramble, the flows fanned out into Bethel and Spanish Point almost to the sea. On the northern side, Farms and Trants villages were affected, and the surge reached to Trants bridge. A total of at least 2 square kilometers of land was covered by the pyroclastic flow and surge.

The lower half of Harris village was also impacted, and an ash surge traveled from the Farrell’s area down to the west at least as far as Dyers, and into the upper reaches of Dyer’s Ghaut. There was no activity in the Gages valley during the afternoon.

During the time of the reported activities above, there were people tending their animals and gardens in the Farrell’s and surrounding areas, some of whom perished; there were people in Harris’ and areas way down to Trants, Bethel and Spanish Pointe, Bramble village, etc. who were either visiting their properties or living there. Except for those properties on the perimeter of Mosquito Ghaut in Harris’, individuals were able to avoid the fury of the ash surge from the flow by moving to even higher grounds, but not those in the other areas which were all on lower ground and not far from the ghaut which became more shallow as it nears the sea.

So that just as the report above described, confirmed by the eye witness account of Roy ‘Slim’ Daley from Bramble village who was in Harris’ at the time. He said: “I saw the surges coming back up the hill from the pyroclastic flows, which moved at incredible speed down towards Farms and Trants, breaking over the walls at Brambles and rushing down towards Spanish Pointe through Bethel.”

Fatalities

Soon we were to hear the calls of the authorities for persons to advise them of persons who were known to have been in the areas for one reason another. Both the Governor and the Chief Minister appeared on the radio to tell the nation about the rescue efforts that were underway, never admitting then that there might be fatalities following the activities.

But having seen the results of the forerunning pyroclastic flows, I was certain that the persons who I discovered were in their homes or in the area, had met an unfortunate end.

Other than the sketchy and well-monitored reports that came from Government Information Unit (GIU) and ZJB, the rest of the local media was reduced to press conferences which were cut short and severely limited by interviewees who gave much too long answers, having been denied views from the helicopter or access to the area other than the rest of the general public was entitled to.

By the end of the following day, the admission of fatalities was announced and the count grew each day from four to ten by Monday. It was on Saturday when the CM came close to saying that there may be more dead who are still difficult to get to because of the still searing hot ash that lay deposited on the ground.

THE DISASTER

1997 6 24 pics a
Helicopters involved in the search and rescue missions

I was finally afforded a trip to look at the damage done on Wednesday by EMAD, on a helicopter which is one of four helicopters brought in from different sources to aid the ‘search and rescue’ effort.

The trip was not like any I’ve had and did not afford me the opportunity for detail as I rode with David Brandt and 2 others, plus Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU) cameraman and video cameras. with another from Trinidad. It was only a 20-minute trip, far too short.

However, the devastation is much greater than I imagined. The lands (forest) between Tuitts and Mosquito Ghauts is no more. Although not filled with material the pyroclastic was extremely powerful as it left the volcano and that’s when the surge immediately went over Farrells and down Streatham and across Windy Hill. The Farrells estate house is completely gone and so is Mandy’s garage on the corner below the graveyard. It went through the bottom of Windy Hill and well across and into the ghaut beyond.

Escapee

One eye witness woman who escaped and who eventually went back to collect money she left in a vehicle, found it but had walked via Water Works, retracing her steps to get to it. She said she had to go reap the carrots because she was under so much pressure from the government to supply vegetables to shelters.

She got the money but the vehicle she had to leave. She described the flow that she saw as “sweet oil” running down the hill, noting how the flow backed up when the heat.

Looking down on the Harris’ road Mosquito ghaut is next to it. The surge reached across the road to the Police Station and burnt all those houses including the Church. These were not completely demolished but nevertheless destroyed, from the Morgan’s house down the hill towards farm, then there is one mass of destruction down through Farms, Bethel, Spanish Pointe, Trants.

Since that of course more flows and reports have stated that more damage was done in Harris’. I could see the walls of some of the houses in Farms, Bramble village, and Spanish Pointe, but it is obvious that truly there may be about 10 feet of material lying on the lands.

Trants village was completely demolished, hardly recognised any walls standing and it did seem such a vast area.

I saw how the flow over Farrells ran down and into the top of Belham.

I can now report that for Plymouth, we can expect worse to come along, it already looks a disaster. The flows that have been going down Gages and Fort Ghaut seemed to have damaged houses high up on the Gages corner and down the fringes of the ghaut. The Catholic convent and infant school and even the Church are now like the rest of the property in that vicinity are now in line for certain disaster as long as flows continue. At the foot of Gage’s mountain, the ghauts as I can remember are somewhat shallow, so that serious flows are likely to spread early over to Amersham as it has reportedly done.

I hardly had time for any detail or even good photographs as I was shooting through the helicopter sealed windows. Looking at the photographs, I do not remember where the various scenes are, and I was unable to make notes.

The helicopters are being operated from Geralds and joining them is that from the British navy ship.

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