Monday, Oct 03rd

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Climate change likely helped cause deadly Pakistan floods, scientists find

Climate change caused Pakistani floods

It is likely that climate change helped drive deadly floods in Pakistan, according to a new scientific analysis. The floods killed nearly 1500 people and displaced more than 30 million, after record-breaking rain in August.

The analysis confirms what Pakistan's government has been saying for weeks: that the disaster was clearly driven by global warming. Pakistan experienced its wettest August since the country began keeping detailed national weather records in 1961. The provinces that were hardest hit by floods received up to eight times more rain than usual, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department.

Climate change made such heavy rainfall more likely, according to the analysis by a group of international climate scientists in Pakistan, Europe and the United States. While Pakistan has sometimes experienced heavy monsoon rains, about 75 percent more water is now falling during weeks when monsoon rains are heaviest, the scientists estimate.


Fury over ‘forever chemicals’ as US states spread toxic sewage sludge

PFAS found in sludge

States are continuing to allow sewage sludge to be spread on cropland as fertilizer and in some cases increasing the amount spread, even as the PFAS-tainted substance has ruined farmers’ livelihoods, poisoned water supplies, contaminated food and put the public’s health at risk.

Michigan and Maine are the only two states in the US to widely test sludge, and regulators in each say contamination was found in all tested samples. Still, in recent months, officials in Virginia increased the amount of sludge permitted to be spread on farmland without testing for PFAS, while Alabama regulators have rejected residents’ and environmental groups’ pleas to test sludge for the chemicals.

Similar fights are playing out in other states, including Georgia and Oklahoma, and public health advocates fear regulators are ignoring the dangers to appease the waste management industry.


Delaware basin fracking ban to continue

Delaware River BasinAn attempt by state lawmakers to overturn a ban on fracking in part of Pennsylvania has failed in a federal appeals court.

The lawmakers, led by Sen. Lisa Baker and Sen. Gene Yaw, sued to reverse a ban on fracking in the Delaware River watershed.

Last year, the Delaware River Basin Commission voted to prohibit hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

An attempt by state lawmakers to overturn a ban on fracking in part of Pennsylvania has failed in a federal appeals court.

The lawmakers, led by Sen. Lisa Baker and Sen. Gene Yaw, sued to reverse a ban on fracking in the Delaware River watershed.

Last year, the Delaware River Basin Commission voted to prohibit hydraulic fracturing or fracking.


Major earthquake strikes Mexico on Sept. 19 for third time since 1985, this time a magnitude 7.6

Earthquake in MexicoA 7.6 magnitude earthquake shook the west coast of Mexico on Monday, coincidentally on the same day that two previous major quakes had rattled the country years before.

There were no immediate reports of major damage from the quake, which hit at 1:05 p.m. local time, the U.S. Geological Survey said. One person was killed in the port city of Manzanillo, Colima, when a wall at a mall collapsed, according to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Michoacan’s Public Security department said there were no immediate reports of significant damage in that state beyond some cracks in buildings in the town of Coalcoman.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum also tweeted that there were no reports of damage in the capital.

The quake hit on the same day as major quakes in 1985 and 2017. Alarms for Monday's quake came less than an hour after alarms sounded in a nationwide earthquake simulation to mark the previous quakes.


Puerto Rico on edge as Hurricane Fiona closes in; 'catastrophic flooding' expected

PR braces for storm

Puerto Ricans braced Sunday as Hurricane Fiona barreled closer, nearly five years to the day after a blockbuster system ravaged the island and left thousands dead.

Fiona, a Category 1 storm, was expected to unleash life-threatening rainfall and dangerous mudslides, forecasters said. "Catastrophic flooding" was likely across Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, the National Hurricane Center said as the eye of the storm approached the southwest coast of Puerto Rico.

“It’s time to take action and be concerned,” said Nino Correa, Puerto Rico’s emergency management commissioner.

Hundreds of thousands of customers were already without power in the U.S. territory of 3.2 million people Sunday afternoon, and President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency.


Japan tells 2m to shelter from ‘very dangerous’ Typhoon Nanmadol

MJapan typhoon

Two million people in Japan have been told to seek shelter before the arrival of Typhoon Nanmadol, the national broadcaster, NHK, said, as the weather agency issued a rare “special warning” about the powerful storm.

NHK, which compiles alerts issued by local authorities, said level four evacuation instructions – the second highest – were in place for people in Kagoshima, Kumamoto and Miyazaki in the southern Kyushu region.

Japan’s weather agency had issued its highest alert for the Kagoshima region. It is the first typhoon-linked special warning issued outside the Okinawa region since the current system began in 2013.


A 'historically powerful' storm brings seas of up to 54 feet toward Alaska, NWS says

Alaska storm

A huge chunk of Alaska's western coastline is now under flood and storm warnings, as forecasters warn that the remnants of a Pacific typhoon could bring seas up to 54 feet and winds up to 75 knots (86 mph) to the shore this weekend.

"Typhoon Merbok has transitioned into a historically powerful Alaskan storm in the Bering Sea," the National Weather Service said on Friday. "Significant, damaging high winds and storm surges are expected to slam into southwestern Alaska, especially along the southern Seward peninsula."

Power lines could be blown down, and roads and houses could flood as water levels are expected to be 3-8 feet higher than normal high tide marks, the agency said.

By 11 p.m. local time Thursday night, a weather buoy in the Western Aleutians was recording seas reaching 41 feet, the NWS office in Anchorage said. The storm's tropical origin was evident on the outlying Adak Island, where wind gusts reached 75 mph and the temperature rose to 70 degrees.


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