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Why This Dust Storm in India Turned Deadly

Why This Dust Storm in India Turned Deadly 86

A man wraps a scarf around his nose as a dust storm envelops the city in New Delhi, India.

Photograph by Manish Swarup, AP

The onset of India’s monsoon season isn’t coming quietly for the northern part of the country. At least 100 people were recently killed by a massive dust storm that swept through the region on Wednesday night.

According to local reports, many of the fatalities occurred when intense wind knocked over large structures, killing or injuring those in its way.

Dust storms are an annual weather pattern seen in the region. The scale and intensity of this most recent storm, however, surprised officials on the ground. It stretched from the western state of Rajasthan to the eastern state of Uttar Pradesh and hit Delhi, which lies between them.

In past years, fatalities from the dust storms rarely caused more than a dozen fatalities.

Speaking with the BBC, secretary for disaster management and relief in Rajasthan Hemant Gera said, “I’ve been in the office for 20 years and this is the worst I’ve seen.”

What made the landlocked storm so deadly?

“The villain was a huge thunderstorm complex that swept through the area overnight, generating high winds that also carried lots of dust,” says Bob Henson, a meteorologist and writer at Weather Underground. “It appears the strong winds were probably downbursts, similar to those that can strike the central and eastern United States during intense thunderstorms.”

As the name implies, a downburst is characterized by intense, downward air movements during thunderstorms. They can produce some of the strongest wind gusts of all weather patterns. As the downward air hits the ground, it moves outward and back up. (Read about why these Indian farmers are protesting with skulls.)

While downbursts can span distances over 200 miles, some are more concentrated, impacting ground only a mile across. Downbursts smaller than 2.5 miles are called microbursts.

According to Henson, the dust itself likely did little to influence the storm’s intensity, but dry air could have intensified the downbursts. (This monster dust storm swept through the Middle East three years ago.)

Meteorologists speaking with Indian news outlet the Hindustan Times noted that the region’s unusually warm weather may have also intensified the storm. Earlier this week, temperatures in Rajasthan were as high as 113 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ken Waters is an expert on dust storms for the National Weather Service. He says that, while dust was present in these storms, what really delivered the biggest punches was the wind.

“Primarily [dust storms] effect transportation. The dust can take us by surprise, and you have zero visibility. You don’t even know you’re on the road,” he says, adding that dust storms can also cause health-related issues.

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Polar vortex: “wild” winter is coming in the US, Northern Europe and East Asia after the 16th of January

Polar vortex: "wild" winter is coming in the US, Northern Europe and East Asia after the 16th of January 99

In the upper atmosphere above the North Pole, experts saw a rapidly swirling vortex of cold air that could bring severe frosts to the United States, Northern Europe and East Asia. Serious cold snap and snowy weather are expected after January the 16th.

Snowfalls and a cold snap hit South Korea since the start of 2021, hitting historic snow maximums and temperatures. In the country, for the first time since 1964, television and newer communications are sending people cold snap warnings:

https://twitter.com/sonyeoljin/status/1346841272347082752?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The situation is similar in Japan, where a new snow storm hit historic highs:

On January 7, the thermometer In Beijing dropped to -20 degrees Celsius, breaking the 1966 record. In other regions of China, the temperature is also not sugar, and you can only move around in special uniforms:

The cold even reached Taiwan, where the temperature in some areas dropped below freezing point, snow poured down and people realized that rice terraces can be used as a ski jump:

Even more snow went to Spain, where on January 6, 2021, a temperature of -34.1 ° C was recorded – the lowest on record. After that, a snow storm hit the country, which has not been seen for 80 years:

https://youtu.be/pHU533Krs5M

The same thing happens in Canada and in the northern states of the United States:

It seems that after a stratospheric warming, the subpolar vortex began to split:

The vortex itself is a standard phenomenon. However, this time experts were surprised at his movement. It is possible that in the near future it will be divided into two parts. 

Scientists associate the strange behavior with the changed climate in the Arctic, which has become warmer. From September to December, the amount of ice cover decreased significantly.

The polar vortex is a low-pressure region located in the stratosphere and filled with cold air. When the jet stream of air that holds the vortex weakens, the low pressure area moves south. 

As the ice shrinks, more moisture will move inland. It will turn to snow, so snowfalls are expected. Snow, in turn, reflects heat, leading to a cold snap.

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Hospital in Naples was evacuated after a new, huge sinkhole appeared

Hospital in Naples was evacuated after a new, huge sinkhole appeared 100

Eyewitnesses said they heard a loud crash at dawn when a huge hole in the ground formed outside the Ponticelli Ospedale del Mare hospital in eastern Naples.

Early in the morning of January 8, 2021, a sinkhole occurred in the parking lot of a clinic in Naples. The depth of the formed cavity is about 20 meters, the total area of ​​the hole is about 2,000 square meters.

No casualties were found at the scene; firefighters say the sinkhole “affected an area of ​​about 500 square meters” and engulfed several cars parked near the hospital.

As the press writes and as a little can be seen from the videos, rescuers and firefighters were running around the pit together with the governor of the area.  But who should be there in the forefront are Italian geologists, since Naples stands in the very center of the volcanic system known as the Phlegrean Fields.

If the surface collapsed, moreover – the surface reinforced with concrete and reinforced from below with some kind of communications, then we are talking about serious soil deformations caused by the activity of magma.

Italy has been in doubt since the summer of 2020, because swarms were observed there in very atypical places in May, and according to the forecasts of old Italian seismologists, who had witnessed many strong earthquakes, it should have boomed in the August region.

Fortunately, nothing bad happened to Italy and there was no big earthquake. But, since there are swarms, it means that something is being prepared, the magma is gathering strength. 

Following this particular sinkhole event – an obvious sign that a major earthquake in Italy is already very close.

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A new great pandemic cycle has begun (again) in China

A new great pandemic cycle has begun (again) in China 101

In the first months of 2020, the whole world with a certain fright followed the events unfolding in China, where people fell on the streets during the day and astronauts wandered, and in the evening crematoria began to smoke. And now, with the onset of December, the cycle seems to be repeating itself.

Shunyi area in Beijing, where the authorities announced “wartime status” the day before. As you can see in the videos, thousands of people are lined up in the queue for mandatory testing:

Dalian city, where “wartime” is also declared. Neighborhoods are blockaded, people are walled up in entrances, familiar characters of George Lucas roam the streets:

https://twitter.com/UndergroundSilk/status/1341741036297723905?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Chinese ‘rescuers’, before performing a combat mission:

Chengdu City:

Daluo Port, Yunnan – tourists came for adventure and they received the ‘time of their life’ after leaving the ramp:

If something happens in Beijing, it does not mean that tomorrow the same will happen everywhere. However, the trend towards such dynamics is observed and, as the practice of the first wave of the pandemic has shown, all countries and people, to one degree or another, have taken into account the ‘Chinese experience’. 

Therefore, one must think that everything will now be in peace, as in spring – a new global round of the fight against the Covid has begun in China, a new great pandemic cycle!

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