From the South Pacific to Central Asia
The Spring/Autumn Equinox is Next Week
Much of the Northern Hemisphere, especially Central Asia and parts of North America, have not yet escaped winter weather conditions. At the same time, the South Pacific is still in its annual hurricane season, which will officially end on April 30. This week, we’ll look at some of the ongoing hazards in Central Asia, and focus on Tropical Cyclone Lusi in the Pacific.
Flooding, Mudslides, and Avalanches
According to the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (NOAA), despite below-average temperatures across Central Asia in February, the temperatures in March have been one to four degrees centigrade above average. So, “only localized areas in Kazakhstan and higher elevations in Afghanistan and Tajikistan are forecast to observe temperatures below -20 degrees C.” However, during the cold months, snow accumulated, and with the warmer temperatures much of the new precipitation is falling as rain. “The heaviest rains are expected in western Afghanistan and, combined with snow melt, could cause localized flooding.”
Further east, in Pakistan and Indian Kashmir, a UN WFP Emergency Preparedness bulletin released Monday predicted heavy rains with flash flooding and mudslides (ReliefWeb). In some areas, the expected flooding has already begun. More significantly, avalanches, not mentioned in the first report, have killed six on the Indian side of the Kashmir border (ReliefWeb), and the Army of Pakistan issued a news release saying that 22 soldiers had been rescued and 4 died in avalanches on the Pakistani side of the border.
Lusi Upgraded to Category 3 Cyclone
This week, the path of Tropical Cyclone Lusi ran through Vanuatu and passed east of New Caledonia. UN OCHA reported on Monday (ReliefWeb) that one person had died in a cyclone-related event in Vanuatu, but by Wednesday OCHA officers were telling news media about three such deaths, with numerous islands not yet reporting (OCHA News).
New Zealand Civil Defence (NZCD) forecasts now show Lusi, as a category 3 tropical cyclone, arriving at the country’s North Island on Saturday or early Sunday. The storm is expected to “track southwards over central New Zealand before moving out to sea east of the South Island on Monday.” New Zealand MetService provided a more detailed description of Lusi to One News (TVNZ) earlier today, “advising Aucklanders to prepare for road closures and power and phone outages.”
Current Hazard Warnings
Drought: United States and northeast Thailand
Earthquakes: United States (Alaska and Oregon), Tonga, Mexico, Japan, and Papua New Guinea
Flood: Ecuador, United States, Afghanistan, Australia, Peru, UK, Brazil, and Africa (Mozambique, Zambia, southeast Africa)
Severe Weather: Canada, Central Asia, Finland, Thailand, and United States
Tropical Storm: South Pacific (TC Lusi)
Volcanoes: Guatemala, Mexico, Indonesia, and Peru
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