2014 Recent Disasters
Read the articles below to learn more about some of 2014's recent disasters.
Events are changing rapidly and while I do my best to keep up and post some of the latest disaster news, I can not read or post everything, so if you come across something that you would like me to include, please send us me an email using the Contact Me link above and I will get it posted.
Devastating Flooding in Arizona
According to the National Weather Service, some parts of Arizona received more rain in one 24 hour period than they received in the entire summer season the previous year. That is a lot of rain. The ground just can't soak up that much water, so it just rushes everywhere, damaging everything in its path.
In many cases, the water rises so quickly, people can't even get out of the way, so rescues must be performed by local law enforcement, fire fighters and other first responders. It will be a long road to recovery for those who were impacted by this storm and the flood waters it brought.
Twin Tornadoes - Never Seen Before in History
Two tornadoes within a mile of each other hammer Nebraska in what meterologists call an unprecedented event. Nature knows no boundaries. These massive tornadoes fortunately hit mostly flat farmland, but sadly did pound one small town.
Two people died in the destructive path of one of the funnels and 19 people were injured. According to cnn.com, "The rare twin tornadoes that spun through on Monday night wiped out the town's business district, obliterated its fire station and ground 40 or 50 homes into rubble", Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger said.
Six Hikers Likely Fall to Their Death on Mt. Rainier
In a statement by National Park officials, a tragedy unlike anything experienced on the mountain in a very long time has unfolded in the last 24 hours. A group of 6 hikers have fallen over 3,000 feet from their last known location on Mount Rainier. It has been said that it is nearly impossible for anyone to have survived the fall.
Because the trek they were taking was so difficult, the hikers had to meet stringent requirements before being allowed to hike that particular area, but nothing could have prepared them for the weather, falling ice and rock.
Terrorist Strike in China's Xinjiang region
Many lives have been lost and more injured as an explosion tore through an open-air market sending debris flying and smoke into the air. Two SUV's drove right into shoppers and then began to throw explosive devices into the crowds. Terrorists are to blame for the violence and it isn't the first time it has happened in the area.
In this case, most of the people were older citizens picking up food for their daily meals. The targets of late seem to be citizens who are unable to fight back. The Chinese government is hopeful to find and prosecute the terrorists.
Train Derailment in Lynchburg, Virginia
Four train cars came apart and 9 others are involved in a train derailment that caused crude oil to explode, catch fire and spill into the nearby James River in Lynchburg, VA. CSX was transporting the oil from Chicago, with the derailment happening around 2 pm local time. Black smoke billowed into the air from an intense fire.
These tank cars can carry nearly 32,000 gallons of crude oil each and while most oil is transported by pipeline, there are insufficient pipelines in place from many places like North Dakota, so railroads are used instead.
Tornadoes Devastate Arkansas and Oklahoma
I was tracking some of the storms in Arkansas last night as I have a daughter in college in Searcy, and here is one of the radar images of the tornado as depicted on RadarScope. That app is amazing, by the way.
The tornado which struck Arkansas may be one of the largest ever in the state. It began around Mayflower, wiping out that town and worked its way through Livonia and then headed in a north-easterly direction, staying on the ground for miles and miles. It missed Little Rock and many of the towns along a stretch of highway heading parallel to the track of the tornado, but that doesn't help the folks who lost their lives or their homes.
Okahoma wasn't spared, either. In the town of Quapaw, at least one person died and many homes were destroyed as well.
Northern Michigan Dam Fails
How common is dam failure? It is common enough to have occured in every state in the United States. According to FEMA, "About 11,800 dams in the United States are classified as high-hazard potential" and about 95% of all dams are state-regulated.
Was the Northern Michigan Dam one of the high-hazard dams? It is very possible. There are at least 80,300 dams listed in the National Inventory of Dams. With nearly 15% dams at risk, the dam failure in Michigan at least has the potential to be in the high-risk category. It will certainly be interesting to find out what the investigation determines down the road.
Chilean Tsunami Alert After 8.2 Earthquake
Thousands evacuated the coastal areas as an earthquake struck off the northern shores of the country. Fortunately, not much damage has been reported and only a handful of deaths, though those are certainly tragic. The toll could have been much higher with such a significant earthquake. Fires were reported in in some areas and landslides have been a problem as well. Chile has fantastic preparedness measures in place and this obviously has had a great impact on the low numbers of those killed and injured.
Of concern is the escape of some 300 female prisoners in one city. This is being addressed and will hopefully be under control soon.
Los Angeles Earthquake Registers 5.1
The earthquake in Los Angeles was strong enough to damage buildings and rattle even the toughest of nerves. It was centered about 20 miles southeast of LA and felt as far away as San Diego. Aftershocks continued to rumble through the area for a long time afterward, too.
According to earthquaketrack.com, there have been more than 83 earthquakes over 1.5 on the richter scale on March 29, 2014 alone. Power outages are effecting some people and others are displaced due to structural damage to their homes, whether they are apartments or residential homes.
4 dead, 18 missing landslide in Washington State
Rain-soaked ground gave way, sending mud cascading down a hillside, damaging homes and killing at least 4 and injuring many others. Screams of children under the debris could be heard, but rescuers were unable to reach them due to the continuing unstable layers of rock and debris.
It is possible that some people have simply not checked in, so the missing folks may be okay. It is difficult to get an accurate count in times of disaster. The Red Cross is hoping for everyone to contact them to ensure everyone is accounted for.
The landslide conditions could continue to worsen, too.
Malaysia Airlines Flight Disappears
It couldn't be more frightening. A plane takes off in Malaysia and two hours into the flight, suddendly there is no contact with air controllers. There are 227 passengers on board including 12 crew members. Now, it has been learned that an IBM executive from North Texas named Philip Wood was believed to be aboard the jet.
According to Fox News, "Vietnamese air force planes spotted two large oil slicks late Saturday in the first sign that the aircraft had crashed." Could this be the word of terrorists or mechanical failure?
Floods hit England: More to Come
It has been a wet 2014 for the UK and it does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. The waters keep rising with homes flooded around the Thames. As if that is not enough of a frustration, more rain is expected to fall in the area.
Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that he wants to do everything he can to help, but many people are complaining that the government has not done enough thus far. Of course, sandbags can only do so much as the waters continue to climb. The towns of Wraysbury, Chertsey and Datchet, among many others, hope the water levels recede soon.
Indiana hwy reopens after massive pileup kills 3, injures 22
A mile-long stretch of a busy northern Indiana interstate reopened Friday morning, nearly a full day after a massive pileup that killed three people and injured more than 20.
Nearly four dozen vehicles â€” many of them tractor-trailers â€” were involved in the chain-reaction wreck Thursday afternoon on Interstate 94, the main artery connecting Detroit and Chicago in Indiana.Read more about the Indiana Highway Pileup
Learn how protect yourself when winter weather hits hard: Severe Winter Storms
Pakistan bombing is latest in wave of attacks on polio workers
PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- January 21, 2014 - Six police officers providing security for a vaccination team, and a boy standing nearby, were killed when a bomb struck their vehicle Wednesday in the latest deadly attack on health workers and authorities trying to fight polio in Pakistan, officials said.
Seven others were injured in the attack in Charsadda, 15 miles outside the provincial capital of Peshawar in northwest Pakistan, where Taliban militants have deemed polio vaccinations a front for Western espionage and resorted to bombings and assassinations to stop the vaccine from being administered.
A day earlier, assailants gunned down three members of a polio vaccination team in the southern port city of Karachi.
Polar Vortex - January 2014
A deadly, record-shattering polar vortex was beginning to ease late Tuesday, with temperatures expected to be closer to normal Wednesday, but its effects â€” thousands more canceled flights and power grids straining as people cranked up the heat â€” will continue to be felt for days. Wednesday will still be unseasonably cold across the central and eastern U.S., but by the afternoon, subzero temperatures will be gone pretty much everywhere but extreme northern Minnesota, forecasters said.
All 50 states dipped below 32 degrees at some point Tuesday â€” even Hawaii, where it was 25 at the top of the Mauna Kea volcano, which is normally right at the freezing line this time of year.
Deadly Bombing in Beirut Suburb, a Hezbollah Stronghold
BEIRUT, Lebanon â€” The second deadly car bomb to strike the Beirut area in less than a week exploded on Thursday in a southern suburb of residential apartment buildings that is home to top Hezbollah offices and heavily populated with the group's supporters.
The blast created a black column of smoke visible across the city, shattered windows 11 floors up and hurled debris hundreds of feet. It accelerated the tempo of political violence, which is mostly fueled by deep splits between Lebanon's Sunnis and Shiites that have been inflamed by the civil war in neighboring Syria.