Category Archives: natural disasters

Disasters that are attributed to natural causes

Hurricane Matthew nears Western Haiti 4 and 5 October 2016

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Hurricane Matthew threatening Florida

Hurricane Matthew continues it's slow movement north towards the western portions of Haiti. The storm is moving at 9 km/h northwards as a powerful Category 4 storm sustaining winds of 120 knots at the core with higher gusts to 140 knots (Approximately 220 km/h with higher gusts to 260 km/h).
cimssmodelformatthewThis is the most powerful storm since Hurricane Felix in 2007 and news reports already confirm 3 fatalities at the present time. Further fatalities cannot be ruled out especially across Haiti.forecastcone




Path of Hurricane Matthew

Path of Hurricane Matthew

According to the National Meteorological Centre of Haiti, the Hurricane Matthew has a central pressure of 943 hPa. Hurricane winds are occurring within 45 km of the centre and storm force wind extend outwards to 315 km from the eye.

Western Haiti affected by Hurricane Matthew

The CIMSS forecast models suggests that the eye of Matthew would pass over the far western fringe of the country placing the towns / cities of Jeremie and Les Cayes at significant risk. Other smaller towns at risk include Dame Marie, Port A Piment and Tiburon

Haiti is an impoverished country and such a storm would have a significant impact and cause major disruption to the country.

Very heavy rainfall, storm surges and landslides are being forecast given the strength of the storm. The outer rain bands are starting to impact the southern coastal fringe of the country.

The western part of Haiti does not contain too many substantial towns or cities as shown on the “Urban Extents Map” but as shown on the population density map, the western side of the country is moderately to densely populated implying the region includes numerous small villages, farms, farming communities and rural towns. In this regard, the storm will have a major impact to the country.

The storm will also have a significant impact to eastern Cuba due to the number of large towns or cities within the region.

Forecasts are being made for rainfall to reach as much as 1,000 mm in isolated locations of Haiti which would cause landslides and serious flooding.

Forecast models suggests the storm emerging into the Bahamas within two days and traversing towards or close to Florida and possible impact within the Carolina's of the United States in six days. Major uncertainty exists beyond three days but it is clear that the whole south eastern sea board of the United States including the states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina is now under threat from the storm. There is a possibility of landfall in eastern North Carolina in six days but this is to early to tell at the present time.


1 - CIMSS - Forecast model for Hurricane Matthew acquired 4/10/2016.
2 - National Meteorological Centre Haiti.
3 - National Weather Service (USA).
4 - NASA Worldview - Population plots for Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica.

Hurricane Matthew Carribean Sea – October 1 to 5 2016

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A small but intense tropical storm just to the north of Columbia (South America) within the Carribean Sea transitioned from a Category 1 hurricane into a Category 5 hurricane rapidly. The transition appears to have taken place within a span of 12 hours. The storm has since weakened to a Category 4 storm.

Meteorologists are stunned as this storm developed from almost nothing to a Category 5 hurricane within a time period of 36 hours.

The storm briefly reached Category 5 on the Saffir Simpson Scale with peak winds at the core approaching 146 knots (Approximately 270 km/h). The storm is currently sustaining winds of approximately 130 knots (Approximately 241 km/h) close to the core. It is still a significant storm and a potentially dangerous storm for Haiti, eastern Jamaica and Cuba.

The storm initially tracked west but is now turning northwards and threatening Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba. The storm is currently located at 13.2 degrees north and 73.3 degrees west and expected to maintain its course as suggested by the CIMSS model.

The storm is expected to weaken as it encounters landmasses but once it reaches the Bahamas, the storm is forecast to regain some strength as a Category 3 storm. There is significant uncertainly at the present time as to whether the storm will impact Florida or traverse along the eastern seaboard of the United States and remain off the coast.

Given its strength, it is one storm being watched by NOAA and Hurricane Hunter aircraft are being flown into the storm to allow meteorologists to monitor its progress.

There appears to be an eye wall replacement cycle occurring or trying to occur but satellite photos clearly shows a tiny eye surrounded by deep convection.

Given the strength of the storm, this has potential to be a significant and damaging event especially for Haiti. Forecasts are being made for rainfall of 400 to 625 mm over southern and western Haiti.

A forecast of 250 mm to 500 mm of rain is being made for eastern Jamaica.

Such rainfall would be life threatening with flooding and mudslides suggested.

This is one storm given its behaviour that will receive much media attention across the region over coming days due to its strength.


1 - CIMSS - Forecast track of Hurricane Matthew acquired 2/10/2016.
2 - CIRA - False colour of Hurricane Matthew acquired 2/10/2016..
3 - National Hurricane Centre.
4 - NASA Worldview (TERRA) satellite photo of Hurricane Matthew dated 1/10/2016.

Significant weather event South Australia 28 – 30 September 2016

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Significant Weather Event hits southern Australia

During the period 28 to 30 September 2016, a significant weather event unfolded across southern Australia that resulted in numerous weather phenomena occurring including thunderstorms, hail events, possible tornadoes, heavy rain, wind and flooding.


murray darling significant rainfall

Murray Darling significant rainfall




Significant Weather Event hits southern Australia

During the period 28 to 30 September 2016, a significant weather event unfolded across southern Australia that resulted in numerous weather phenomena occurring including thunderstorms, hail events, possible tornadoes, heavy rain, wind and flooding.

South Australia was by far the worst hit state with thunderstorms causing significant and widespread power outages across most of the state. It appears that two tornadoes may have occurred although the location has not been identified.

Up to 22 electricity towers and three high voltage power lines were brought down and an inter connector to the Victoria power grid was shut down. A multiple loss of 275,000 volt power lines during significant storm activity is the cause of the widespread state wide power outages. Power was restored to most of the state Thursday morning.

Severe Storms and Heavy Rainfall

A significant thunderstorm passed over the town of Clare north of Adelaide that dropped 34.6 mm of rain with most of that falling between 3.45 pm and 4.30 pm on the afternoon of the 28 September. The storm dropped 18.6 mm of rain between 3.47 pm and 4 pm which is more than 1 mm per minute.

Storm damage occurred at Melrose in the Flinders Ranges, Blyth and Clare and the towns of Blyth and Cleve were affected by significant hailstorms.

Thunderstorms passing over the Adelaide Hills during Wednesday afternoon dropped 25 to 35 mm of rain. By 9 am 29/9/2016, rainfall totals across the Adelaide Hills ranged from 30 to 79 mm with the highest totals around Mt Lofty.

The town of Clare had 53.8 mm of rain till 9 am 29/9/2016 followed by a further 32.8 mm to 9 am 30/9/16 for a total of 86.6 mm.

Strong wind gusts also featured and a peak wind gust of 91 km/h was observed at the Snowtown weather station at 3 pm on the 29/9/16 and a gust to 89 km/h occurred at Port Augusta at 12 noon (29/9/16).

A small number of rivers or localities are in flood and major flooding is occurring at South Para Reservoir while moderate flooding is occurring at seaustraliaweatherHeaslip Road.


The storms and rain has caused havoc in the Barossa Valley with flooding occurring in low lying areas

The weather system moved across much of New South Wales and Victoria but the dramatic events that occurred in portions of South Australia did not occur. Reasonable rainfall totals were observed across the highlands of North East Victoria and southern New South Wales but significant downpours did not occur. For the week ending 1/10/16, the whole of North East Victoria and Southern New South Wales had received between 50 mm and 100 mm of rain but this was spread across 7 days. This was enough to cause renewed rises in local rivers and streams and minor flood warnings exists for the Kiewa River.

There were renewed snowfalls across the higher peaks of south east Australia and the Mt Hotham weather station recorded a peak wind gust of 144 km/h. A weather station at Falls Creek registered peak wind gusts to 107 km/between 2.15 am and 3 am on the 29/9/2016. Such winds were limited to alpine regions only.

As the system passed over, a numbered of centres experienced peak wind gusts of 80 km/h or greater including Ballarat (Victoria) and Broken Hill (Western New South Wales).

Across the farming belt of of New South Wales, rainfall was not heavy but it was persistent. There was enough rain to aggravate a significant flooding situation on the Lachlan River. At the present time, a major flood peak is passing along the Lachlan River between Euabalong to the west and Forbes to the east. That is a separate event in itself but it is causing significant disruption to communities in affected areas as it slowly passes downstream. Further rainfall across the region only aggravates the flooding situation.

Much of Tasmania was impacted by moderate to heavy rain on Friday morning. For the week ending 1/10/2016, parts of north west Tasmania had received in excess of 200 mm of rain while 50 to 100 mm fell around Hobart.

The satellite photo of southern Australia from NASA Worldview (AQUA) with overlays acquired 1/10/16 is showing an interesting cloud feature swirling around the southern part of the country. The low was centred over north west Victoria. Tasmania is being affected by heavy rain while a surge of cold air and low cloud surges north into South Australia.


Bureau of Meteorology - (Data from various weather stations) acquired 1/10/16.
Bureau of Meteorology - “Water and the Land” for rainfall plots.
NASA WORLDVIEW - Satellite photo of southern Australia for the 29/9/2016.