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Papua New Guinea volcano erupts, forcing villagers to flee

Volcano Alert

An island volcano on the north coast of Papua New Guinea erupted early on Saturday, forcing 2,000 villagers to flee from lava flows, the National Disaster Centre said.

Manam Island, just 10 km (6 miles) wide, is one of the Pacific nation’s most active volcanoes and is home to roughly 9,000 people.

Three villages were directly in the path of the lava flow and residents had to be evacuated to safer ground, Martin Mose, director of the PNG National Disaster Centre, told Reuters by phone.

The Rabaul Volcano Observatory (RVO) reported the eruption began at 6 a.m. local time (2000 GMT Friday), sending an ash column 15 km (50,000 feet) above sea level.

The ash falls were so heavy that trees broke under the weight, the RVO said in an information bulletin.

“The most affected areas are Baliau and Kuluguma and due to the very poor visibility caused by the ash fall, people are using torch light to move around,” it said.

The RVO’s Steve Saunders said it was an unusually large eruption.

“There are no casualties as far as we know but we are telling people to keep away from valleys for risk of mud flows … there’s a heavy thick blanket of ash on the flank and if there is heavy rainfall, we are making people aware of the threat,” he said by phone.

Saunders said the initial phase of the eruption was over but a new vent had opened, indicating more activity may be likely.

The Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre (DVAAC) issued a threat warning to aviation to reroute around the cloud, which was above the cruising level of commercial airlines.

The cloud was expected to dissipate over the next 12 hours, DVAAC meteorologist Amanda Alford told Reuters.

Previous eruptions on Manam have killed residents who breathed in the ash or were buried by landslides, according to volcanic information website volcanodiscovery.com.

Courtesy of uk.reuters.com

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Beijing airport cancels 670 flights over heavy rain

Rain Storm Alert
Torrential rains have disrupted transportation in northern China on Monday, with some 670 departures of domestic flights cancelled in the Beijing Capital International Airport alone, the South China Morning Post reported. Bad weather has also brought traffic to a standstill in the capital. The Beijing Meteorological Bureau said the heavy rain could continue for as long as 18 days. No major incidents or fatalities were reported amid the poor weather conditions.
Courtesy of rt.com

Thunderstorms deliver more than 60,000 lightning strikes across UK

A streak of lightning illuminates London's Shard. Pic. Matthew Smith
A streak of lightning illuminates London’s Shard. Pic. Matthew Smith
Electric storms have swept through the UK, creating dramatic skyscapes worthy of a Hollywood film.
 
After a sunny start to the Bank Holiday weekend, with temperatures reaching 27C (80.6F), Saturday’s balmy evening eventually broke into a violent thunderstorm accompanied by heavy rain.
 
The UK was struck by lightning more than 60,000 times in 24 hours, according to the Met Office.
 
Temperatures overnight did not fall below 15C (59F), he said, adding: “For the end of May that’s a pretty hot and humid night, so everything was primed.
 
“We had some storms coming in from northern France and some building up in the Channel and they sort of spread out and have been working their way in.
 
“It looks like there just one huge area of thundery showers that worked across London just before midnight.”
 
 
London Fire Brigade said it received more than 500 weather-related calls, most of them due to flooding.
 
In Warwickshire, five properties were struck by lightning and in Dawlish, Devon, a phone box burst into flames after a telephone pole was also hit by lightning.
 
Flights from Stansted Airport were disrupted on Sunday after the fuelling system was damaged by a lightning strike.
 
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution posted a photo of the storm above the Thames, lighting up the water close to their rescue station.
 
A dramatic shot of lightning illuminating the Shard in the capital was captured by data journalist Matthew Smith.
 
Nearly 1,000 properties were left without power in the Midlands following the storm and 17 flood alerts have been issued for parts of the Thames Valley.
 
Sky News weather presenter Jo Edwards said: “Heavy thundery showers will be a feature of the weather over the next few days, developing over southern counties and the south-west.
 
“Some places will face a deluge, with torrential downpours bringing significant rainfall. There’ll also be frequent thunder and lightning with the risk of some large hail.
 
“Overnight the thunderstorms will move northwards to reach northern England, the Midlands and East Anglia by the end of the night.”
 
There is a Met Office warning of heavy thunderstorms until 6am Monday, covering much of England and Wales.
 
With the muggy weather set to continue through the start of the week, bringing with it cumulonimbus clouds, thunderstorms could last until Wednesday.
Courtesy of Sky News