HD Weather News #52

March 16, 2023
3-5 minutes

Cyclones in Vanuatu

The Pacific archipelago suffered an unprecedented natural disaster on the weekend of March 05. Indeed, two successive cyclones, category 4 and 5 and named respectively Judy and Kevin, hit the Vanuatu archipelago in the space of two days, with winds reaching 200 km/h. These two phenomena caused considerable material and human damage.

In addition, an earthquake of magnitude 6.5, occurring off the coast of Vanuatu, aggravated the situation. This natural disaster has put this island state in the Pacific, composed of 83 islands stretching over 1,300 kilometers, in a state of emergency for a period of 6 months.

Faced with this critical situation, several countries have offered their assistance to Vanuatu to cope with the consequences of cyclones. Australia, New Zealand, France and the United States have offered their assistance in assessing the damage, providing relief equipment and humanitarian aid, as well as for reconstruction.

ⓒ Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer

Earthquake in the Philippines

The southern Philippines was hit by two powerful earthquakes, Tuesday, March 7, causing widespread damage and forcing many residents to leave their homes.

The first earthquake of magnitude 6, according to the USGS, occurred at about 2 pm local time, a few kilometers from the municipality of Maragusan, on the island of Mindanao, in the south of the archipelago. Local authorities did not report any casualties or major damage.

However, a second earthquake of magnitude 5.6 struck the neighboring municipality of New Bataan, causing the collapse of several houses. Nearly 300 people fled their homes, linked to the collapse of many houses. In addition, about 100 people in a shopping mall in Tagum City, in the neighboring Northern province of Davao, were injured by broken glass.

For your information, the Philippines are regularly hit by earthquakes due to its geographical location on the Pacific "Ring of Fire".

Floods in Ghana

Accra, the capital of Ghana, was hit by heavy rains on March 7 that lasted several hours, causing flooding in parts of the city and the east of the country before moving to the center, west and parts of Ashanti. The heavy rainfall disrupted traffic in a city that is regularly affected by flooding.

Local media reported that two young children died after a building collapsed in the west of the city. Another person also died after being electrocuted by wires as the water rose in a Mallam West home.

The flooding has caused garbage to spill onto the streets, making the situation even worse.

Flooding in video here.

Weather deterioration in France

On March 13, a southwesterly flow brought a warm and humid air mass from the west of the Maghreb towards France, causing temperatures to rise to remarkable levels for the season. Temperatures reached up to 27°C in some areas of the southwest and Burgundy, with a record of 25.8°C in Clermont-Ferrand. The Agen station also broke its monthly temperature record, with 26.5°C compared to 26.3°C on March 21, 1990.

Just after these remarkable temperatures for this time of year, a wave of thunderstorms spread from the southwest to the east. The thunderstorms were organized and sometimes violent, with a total of 28,473 lightning strikes recorded, making this the stormiest March day ever recorded in France for over 30 years.

9 549 lightning strikes were recorded on the same day, a record in France for a month of March.

These thunderstorms generated hail, including ping-pong ball sized hailstones in the south of the Lot department, causing damage. In other regions such as Burgundy, Franche-Comté or Vosges, hailstones of 2 to 4 cm in diameter were reported.

ⓒAu jardin du Lac de Lartigue

Hurricane Freddy Returns

According to meteorologists, the return of Cyclone Freddy is exceptional. It appeared in February off the coast of Australia and has been raging in the Indian Ocean for more than 37 days, which is a record.

After hitting Madagascar and Mozambique, resulting in the loss of 17 lives, thousands of displaced people and the construction of a large number of houses, the cyclone strengthened in intensity and humidity, turning around over southern Africa two weeks later. Its return resulted in the death of 10 more people in Madagascar and widespread devastation in Malawi, with a death toll of about 200 and more than 500 injured.

Malawi is currently the country most affected by the phenomenon. A state of disaster has been declared in several areas, including the economic capital Blantyre, and Freddy is set to become the longest cyclone ever recorded by meteorologists.

See the damage on video here.

ⓒ REUTERS/Eldson Chagara