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    Page Updated:
    July 14, 2021




     

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    Belgian City Ravaged By Flooding, The Signs Of Disaster Are Everywhere
    -NPR News
     
    July 17, 2021
    Street pavements burst open, houses flattened, and entire villages were destroyed in what's being described as one of the worst flooding disasters to hit Western Europe in more than two centuries.
    More than 165 people have been confirmed dead, while dozens of others remain missing after a record rainfall caused dams to burst and rivers to overflow into towns and streets across western Germany, Belgium, as well as parts of the Netherlands, Switzerland and northern France.
    In Liège, Belgium's third-largest city, water from the Meuse river overflowed Thursday evening into parts of the city center, prompting city officials to call for residents to evacuate the area or seek higher ground.
    "I've never seen anything like this in my 81 years," said Pierre Fouillen, a lifelong resident who came to the river Friday morning to assess the damage.
    Guy Leehan, a 62-year-old teacher who sailed into Liège earlier in the week, was waiting patiently in his boat on the docks of the Meuse for the water to go down so he could continue his journey south.
    "I've been trapped here for three days, and I expect to be stuck at least another 48 hours," he said. "The water needs to go down at least another 4 meters [13 feet] before I can safely take off again."
    Yellowstone’s Most Famous Geyser Could Shutdown- Huge Ramifications
    --The Guardian
    Climate Change
    July 2, 2021
    If temperatures rise 10F by the century’s end as projected, Old Faithful could stop erupting, and the snowpack that feeds rivers throughout the west may disappear.
    When a band of geological surveyors and US army scouts mapped out what would become Yellowstone in 1870, the geysers and springs seemed endless – a land so unbound that Congress moved to name it the world’s first national park.
    Nearly 150 years later, about 4 million people visit the park annually to see its most famous geyser: Old Faithful. It is a sight to behold, shooting tens of thousands of litres of boiling water hundreds of feet into the air about 17 times a day.
    While the geyser is highly predictable – it has erupted every 44 to 125 minutes since 2000 – a new climate assessment and a recent study have revealed that rising temperatures, reduced snowfall and increased rain threaten to shut Old Faithful off completely by the end of the century.
    While that could threaten the natural beauty of the park, it also means an ecosystem three times the size of Rhode Island, stretching 22m acres across Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, face a threat that no national park can protect against: rising temperatures.
    Condo Collapse Prompts Questions
    Over Climate Change's Role
    -The Guardian
     
    June 29, 2021
    The shocking collapse of a 12-storey building in the Miami area last week has raised questions as to the role played by the climate crisis, and whether the severe vulnerability of south Florida to the rising seas may lead to the destabilization of further buildings in the future.
    The exact cause of the disaster that befell the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside on Thursday has yet to be fully determined, although a 2018 engineering report on the structure warned of “significant cracks and breaks in the concrete” and that design flaws and deteriorating waterproofing could cause “exponential damage” via the expansion of these cracks.
    At the time of the building’s sudden collapse, repairs on its roof were taking place but the restoration of concrete had not started on the 40-year-old condo. A total of 10 people are confirmed dead due to the crumpled building, with 151 people unaccounted for.
    The disaster has highlighted the precarious situation of building and maintaining high-rise apartments in an area under increasing pressure from sea-level rise. Experts say that while the role of the rising seas in this collapse is still unclear, the integrity of buildings will be threatened by the advance of salty water that pushes up from below to weaken foundations.
    Big Sur Fire: 100''s of Firefighters Battle Blaze Raging in California
    -The Guardian
    June 21, 2021
    Firefighters are battling to contain a wildfire that erupted near Big Sur last week, as the flames continue to engulf the dry California landscape and threaten historical sites, cabins, and ranches.
    The fire is one of dozens of wildfires burning in hot, dry conditions across the US west, including in Arizona and New Mexico.
    In Monterey county, the so-called Willow fire has burned more than 2,400 acres since it broke out on Thursday evening. Roughly 450 firefighters face the difficult task of trying to contain the large forest fire in the rugged coastal mountains south of Big Sur. The blaze remained at 0% containment as of Monday morning and forced the evacuation of a Buddhist monastery and nearby campground.
    The area is also home to endangered species and contains cultural sites that could be at risk if the fire continues to grow, and the Los Padres national forest resource advisors have brought in biologists, botanists, and Chumash tribal members to aid in protecting sensitive areas.
    “We have to take our time accessing these areas because we can’t get the equipment in there,” said Amanda Munsey, a public information officer with California interagency incident management team 11.
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