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Disaster

‘Extremely dangerous’ Hurricane Michael nears Florida

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Hurricane Michael

Washington, Oct 10 : Hurricane Michael was upgraded to an “extremely dangerous” category 4 storm on Wednesday, hours before it is due to make landfall in the US state of Florida, where it could blow ashore as the strongest storm to hit the country this year.

“This is the worst storm that our Florida Panhandle has seen in a century. Hurricane Michael is upon us, and now is the time to seek refuge,” Governor Rick Scott said.

The hurricane was expected to make landfall in the afternoon, causing “potentially catastrophic” damage to the region, CNN reported.

Michael, packing winds of 230 kph (145 mph), was moving north at 20 kph (13 mph) towards the Florida Panhandle, the National Hurricane Centre said in public advisory.

More than 370,000 people in the state were ordered to evacuate and move to higher ground. Florida, Alabama and Georgia declared a state of emergency.

Forecasters said the storm’s torrential rains were likely to cause widespread flooding, cutting off low-lying areas on the coast.

At least 13 people reportedly died in Central America over the weekend as a result of storm rains and floods.

The Florida Governor called Michael a “monstrous storm” and urged residents to listen to officials. Schools and state offices in the area will be shut this week.

State officials issued mandatory or voluntary evacuation orders in at least 22 counties on the Florida Gulf Coast.
Scott extended a state of emergency to 35 counties and activated 2,500 National Guardsmen.

President Donald Trump approved a pre-landfall emergency declaration to provide federal money and help in Florida.

Heavy rains were forecast for the Carolinas, which were drenched by Hurricane Florence in September.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper told residents: “I know people are fatigued from Florence, but don’t let this storm catch you with your guard down.”

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared an emergency for 92 counties, while Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a statewide state of emergency, saying on Twitter it was “in anticipation of wide-spread power outages, wind damage and debris produced by high winds and heavy rain associated with Hurricane Michael”.

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Disaster

Tsunami alert on Pacific islands after 7.5-magnitude earthquake

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Earthquake

Noumea (New Caledonia), Dec 5: A 7.5 magnitude quake hit the coast of the Pacific island of New Caledonia, prompting warnings that tsunami waves of up to three metres can reach New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

The quake struck at a depth of about 10 kilometre at 4.18 GMT, the US Geological Survey reports. The epicentre was recorded as 168km east-south-east of Tadine, a town on France’s New Caledonia.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management though tweeted that there was no tsunami threat to the nation’s coasts even though the tsunami alert issued for coasts within 1,000km, the BBC reported.

The USGS also recorded a series of aftershocks, two of them at 5.9 magnitude.

New Caledonia has a population of about 270,000 and is part of the Pacific’s “ring of fire”, where many earthquakes occur.

IANS

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Cities

Tremors felt in Uttarakhand

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Earthquake

Dehradun, Dec 4: A quake measuring 3 on the Richter scale was felt in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand early on Tuesday forcing residents to rush out of their houses, officials said.

The tremors were felt in the Barkot region for a few seconds at around 6.20 am. Its epicentre was in Yamunanagar in Haryana, District Disaster Management officer Devendra Patwal said.

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Disaster

7.0-magnitude quake damages roads in Alaska

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Earthquake

Anchorage, Dec 1: A magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck near Anchorage, Alaska, damaged roads, buildings and also triggered a temporary tsunami warning, authorities said.

The booming quake hit at about 8.30 a.m. on Friday, some 10 miles northeast of Anchorage, at a depth of 21 miles, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS).

The USGS reported dozens of aftershocks even after the tsunami warning was cancelled, reports CNN.

The largest, registering 5.7, was located in Anchorage. Seismologists predicted many more in the coming days and weeks.

“It was very loud when it came,” Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said.

“It was very clear that this was something bigger than what we normally experience. We live in earthquake country so folks… But this was a big one.”

Social media and television news video depicted scenes of chaos, including students taking shelter under desks, roads buckling under passing cars, grocery store products tumbling from shelves, hospital workers scrambling for cover and panicked attorneys under tables as a courtroom rocked from side to side.

Despite the chaos, Anchorage authorities said on Friday night that no fatalities or serious injuries were reported.

The White House said von Friday night that President Donald Trump had been briefed on the disaster and he has approved a federal disaster declaration for Alaska that authorises the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster relief efforts.

IANS

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