Heavy rain brings flooding and loss of life


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Heavy rain brings flooding and loss of life” was written by John Lee, for The Guardian on Sunday 30th July 2017 20.30 UTC

After wet winter weather across New Zealand, the South Island has suffered from a deluge of flooding in the past week. Severe storms caused widespread flash flooding and landslides, which led to a state of emergency being declared across the affected areas; including Canterbury and the island’s largest city, Christchurch.

In the worst affected locations, about 200mm of rain fell in only 24 hours, inundating multiple roads and buildings, with members of the armed forces being rallied to help rescue people trapped in their homes.

A steward clears water at the AMI stadium oin Christchurch, New Zealand.
A steward clears water at the AMI stadium oin Christchurch, New Zealand. Photograph: Kai Schwoerer/Getty

A severe thunderstorm also developed near Washington DC in the US last week, spawning an unusual night-time tornado. The tornado was primarily fuelled by local wind shear, a weak stationary surface front and the warm waters of Chesapeake Bay as it tracked eastwards.

The tornado, classified as an EF-2 based on the scale of intensity, had winds reaching 125mph and, although it only touched the ground for a few minutes, caused extensive damage as it passed through Stevensville on Kent Island. The tornado caused severe devastation, but no lives were lost.

Brandon Testerman, 14, and his dog Tippy, sit on what was once part of their roof on Kent Island, Maryland.
Brandon Testerman, 14, and his dog Tippy, sit on what was once part of their roof on Kent Island, Maryland. Photograph: Paul W Gillespie/AP

Across India, however, torrential rainfall has lashed western India and the desert state of Rajasthan, killing 83 people since the start of the monsoon season. Tens of thousands of people have also been displaced as multiple buildings collapsed beneath the sheer weight of water.

The monsoon season lasts from June to September and, although torrential rain is not uncommon, two circulating areas of low pressure over West Bengal and south Rajasthan this past week brought widespread and relentless rainfall, subsequently causing flooding as multiple rivers and dams broke their banks.

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