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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

https://tinyurl.com/yb2ehjjp

UK Met Office Issues Heat Health Level 2 Yellow Alert

HEAT HEALTH ALERT - LEVEL 2 03.08.2018

UK Met Office Issues Heat Health Level 2 Yellow Alert

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

Drivers stuck for 17 hours in the snow as cold snap batters the UK

An abandoned car near Blackstone Edge in the Pennines
An abandoned car near Blackstone Edge in the Pennines
The severe weather has claimed several lives, with the Army drafted in to help hundreds of motorists stranded across the UK. 
 
Drivers have reported getting stuck for 17 hours as snow and high winds continue to batter the UK.
 
More than 100 cars and lorries were trapped overnight on the A303 between Ilminster in Somerset, and Mere in Wiltshire.
 
One motorist said a gritter “slid sideways” and got stuck in the snow itself.
 
Avon and Somerset Police said about 40 people travelling from London had been stranded through the night. They included a baby, elderly and vulnerable people, and some requiring medication.
 
Thomas Hamilton said he left his home in London at 6pm and was heading to a friend’s farm when he got caught up, coming to a “standstill at the start of the A303 around midnight”.
 
He was only 10 miles from his destination when he got stuck.
 
Wiltshire Council has described it as a “major incident”, urging people not to travel in the area.
An overturned gritter lorry in Devon
An overturned gritter lorry in Devon
On the M20 in Kent, a number of crashes have been reported after the fire service warned of “black ice” on the carriageways.
 
In Devon, a gritter overturned on the A379 near Shaldon. Devon County Council said that “fortunately”, no one had been harmed.
The M80 motorway is completely empty after being closed to clear vehicles stranded by bad weather overnight, near Banknock, Scotland
The M80 motorway near Glasgow after being cleared of traffic stranded overnight
The freezing weather has left several people dead and hundreds stranded amid closed roads and cancelled flights.
 
A seven-year-old girl died after a car slid off the road and hit a house in Cornwall on Thursday.
 
Widespread heavy snow and strong easterly winds are expected to bring “blizzard conditions” and “severe drifting” to affected areas. The Army has been drafted in to help stranded motorists.
An intrepid cyclist navigates his way through the snow outside Sterling Castle in Scotland
An intrepid cyclist navigates his way through the snow outside Sterling Castle in Scotland
Nearly all train operators are warning of cancellations and disruption to services throughout Friday.
 
Flights at the majority of UK airports have also been hit by the severe weather, with Heathrow warning of a “consolidated flight schedule” and Gatwick confirming that “many flights are cancelled or delayed”.
 
Hundreds of schools have been forced to close, resulting in another snow day and a long weekend to thousands of children.
West Midlands Police dashcam footage
West Midlands Police dashcam
Met Office meteorologist Steven Keates warned there is “further snow to come, as well as a wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain”.
 
He said: “Even parts of London and the South East are not immune to seeing more snow through the afternoon – not as much as yesterday, but still enough to cause further disruption.
 
“We are not out of the woods yet.”
Planes grounded by the weather at Dublin Airport
Grounded and going nowhere!
The sub-zero cold snap and Storm Emma have combined to deadly effect.
 
On Thursday, a 75-year-old woman was found dead on a snow-covered street in Leeds; a 46-year-old man died in a collision on the A34, and a 60-year-old man died after being pulled from a lake in Welling.
 
On Tuesday, three people were killed in a car crash in Lincolnshire; one man died in a collision in Cambridgeshire and a homeless man was found dead in his tent near St Swithun’s Church in Retford.
Workers try to clear the runway at Aberdeen Airport
Workers try to clear the runway at Aberdeen Airport
Military forces were called in to assist with a major incident in Hampshire after a build-up of traffic left motorists stranded on the A31.
 
The South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust put a call out for drivers of 4x4s and SUVs to meet at their Hampshire headquarters to help staff get to where they needed to go.
 
The Royal Air Force was drafted in to help Lincolnshire residents, with reports of some remote villages receiving up to 61cm (2ft) of snow.
Making the most of the amenities on the 1705 Waterloo to Weymouth service
Making the most of the amenities on the 1705 Waterloo to Weymouth service
Passengers on the 5.05pm service from London Waterloo to Weymouth found themselves stuck at Brockenhurst station after a broken down train ahead left them stationary on the tracks.
 
With “frozen conductor rails” blamed for the front train’s breakdown, about 50 passengers were left at a standstill until 3.30am. Staff reportedly gave out blankets and refreshments.
 
In Scotland – which saw the first of the snow when it hit on Thursday – hundreds of motorists spent hours trapped in cars on the M80 motorway near Glasgow.
 
Some remote areas of the Scottish Borders remain completely cut off.
 
Most of the Republic of Ireland has been placed under red alert after being hit by the worst snow in 65 years.
 
Residents have been warned to stay indoors, with the severe weather warning in place until at least 6pm on Friday.
Courtesy of Sky News