14,000 forced from homes by flooding in San Jose

February 23, 2017 by  
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A series of heavy rainstorms has caused severe flooding near San Jose, California, forcing a mandatory evacuation of at least 14,000 residents overnight . About 250 of those people had to be rescued via boat by emergency crews. The flooding affected Coyote Creek and the spillway of the Anderson Reservoir, which was filled to capacity by the recent rain. An additional 22,000 have not been ordered to evacuate yet, but have been encouraged to leave their homes. Some of those affected have complained that they received no advance notice that they needed to evacuate until firefighters showed up, delivering notifications door-to-door, leaving them little time to prepare. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo has pledged to investigate the issue. Floodwaters have begun to recede, however, the danger may not have passed. Further rain is forecast for this weekend, but the break in the rain should allow authorities time to assess the current damage. Water levels in Coyote Creek are already at a 100 year peak, so any additional rain could be dangerous. Related: California storms could herald the end of punishing historic drought After a lengthy drought, heavy storms have pummeled much of California this year, causing mudslides and flooding. Earlier in the month, nearly 200,000 people were evacuated near the Oroville dam due to fears it might overflow. Via NPR Images via AJ+

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14,000 forced from homes by flooding in San Jose

Record winter storm pounds California

January 24, 2017 by  
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California is battling one of the strongest winter storms the state has seen in years, prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency in 50 counties. After a brutal five-year drought , the state needs rain but the severe weather has also led to mudslides, flooding, and evacuations. Southern California in particular has been hit with a deluge of rain , breaking records in some areas. Los Angeles County coastal areas received most of the brunt of the storm. Long Beach Airport actually saw a new rainfall record of 3.87 inches. National Weather Service meteorologist Brett Albright said some parts of southern California received up to four inches. He told the Los Angeles Times, “Today was very intense. It’s not a normal event…It’s not often we see higher rainfall totals on the coast than in the mountains.” Related: California storms could herald the end of punishing historical drought The storms continue the trend of more rain than usual in California. Since October 1, 2016, downtown Los Angeles has received over 13 inches of rain, which is 216 percent more than normal for this time period, or around 6.26 inches according to the National Weather Service. Swaths of southern California experienced extreme events connected to the storm. Rockslides in Malibu closed roads. In Isla Vista, close to Santa Barbara, a patio and a cliff crashed into the ocean. Residents were told to evacuate in Duarte, Glendora, and parts of Santa Barbara County and Orange County, where 2016 wildfires left behind burned areas that are more susceptible to mudslides. One death in Pomona has been likely connected to the storm; a driver lost control of their car and crashed while driving in heavy rain in the afternoon. Rainfall is supposed to continue into this week, and some areas could see four to six inches of rain during the next couple of days. The state of emergency will help secure state and federal funds to help those struggling with what Gov. Brown called “conditions of extreme peril.” Via the Los Angeles Times Images via Flickinpicks on Flickr and nosha on Flickr

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Record winter storm pounds California

72-ton elevating house lifts 5 feet into the air to escape flooding

November 11, 2016 by  
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Larkfleet Group has created a revolutionary Elevating House that literally rises above flood waters. In case of a flood , the house can rise nearly five feet into the air in under five minutes – even though it weighs almost 72 tons. Larkfleet recently requested planning permission to build the house and begin testing. The house is elevated via eight mechanical jacks, according to Larkfleet Group, and instead of building on a traditional foundation, they’ll construct the house on a steel ring beam. The company says the house will have a ” modular steel-frame design ” and can even be “disassembled and re-erected on another site on conventional foundations as a family residence.” Related: Six Flood-Proof Buildings That Can Survive Rising Tides If they obtain planning permission, Larkfleet aims to erect a three bedroom experimental house in Lincolnshire in the UK, possibly in 2017. Should they succeed in building the house, the company will test how the jacking system works and is maintained over a period of around five years. Larkfleet says Elevating House would be raised based on warnings from the UK Environment Agency before a flood strikes, but notes the home could still be raised quickly if necessary. Their plan is to ensure residents raise their home and then evacuate, but the home could still receive power from a battery and rooftop solar panels if necessary. Flexible hoses would keep Elevating House connected to water and sewage. Such a design could allow homes to be built in locations currently undeveloped because of concerns over flooding . Larkfleet Group CEO Karl Hick said in a statement, “The elevating house effectively eliminates the risk of flood damage to homes so that more land across the country can be approved for future home building. This will help to tackle the ‘ housing crisis ‘ that is being caused by the demand for new housing far exceeding the supply.” + Larkfleet Group Images via Larkfleet Group

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72-ton elevating house lifts 5 feet into the air to escape flooding

The Keystone XL Pipeline could be resurrected under Trumps administration

November 11, 2016 by  
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We’ve already written about how Donald Trump’s incoming administration could spell disaster for the environment. But it could end up being worse than we thought. Just days after the election, TransCanada announced it would attempt to revive its controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which was shot down by President Obama a year ago. Under Obama’s administration, the company spent seven years pursuing a permit from the State Department to build a cross-country crude oil pipeline. Ultimately, the company was denied the permit due to the project’s expected impact on the environment – specifically, its contribution to climate change . The Council of Canadians estimates that running the pipeline could increase the planet’s greenhouse gas levels by a shocking 22 million tons a year. The pipeline would also be bad news for anyone living nearby – farmers and ranchers alike opposed the initial project out of fears that a leak could damage water supplies. This effort is only the latest in a long line of stunts by TransCanada. Earlier this year, they attempted to sue the US government for shooting down the pipeline. The company also made a grab for land using eminent domain in Nebraska, much to the horror of local landowners. Related: What Trump’s victory means for the environment (it’s not good) While Donald Trump hasn’t released a formal statement on the pipeline, it would be trivial for the energy company to approach him for approval – he’s already spoken of his desire to scrap federal environmental regulations. First on the list is the Clean Water Act, one of the key rules barring the Dakota Access Pipeline from moving forward without a fight. With a cabinet full of climate deniers , it’s unlikely the Obama administration’s concerns will be considered at all. If we want to prevent this pipeline from going through, environmentalists are going to need to unite and mobilize to stop it. Why not make a donation to your favorite green charity today to get started? Via The Washington Post Images via Shutterstock ( 1 , 2 )

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The Keystone XL Pipeline could be resurrected under Trumps administration

Severe flooding in Vietnam wreaks havoc as Typhoon Sarika threatens further destruction

October 17, 2016 by  
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Severe flooding caused a wave of destruction and death in Vietnam . At least 21 people have perished in the country, and thousands of homes are completely underwater. Even as the country struggles to recover, Typhoon Sarika threatens even more devastation. Heavy rains caused the flooding, but according to local media, water rushing out from hydropower reserves made the flooding worse. One provincial official told local news organization VnExpress “dam operators should have informed locals properly in advance” and that water levels rose quickly after water flowed out from hydropower plants. Related: 21 rare one-horned Indian rhinos drown in monsoon flooding The Quang Binh province has been hit the hardest; there, around 11 people perished. Crops were damaged and floods carried away livestock. Over 70,000 homes were damaged by the flood in the stricken province, and in the nearby province of Ha Tinh, floods damaged nearly 25,000 homes. Some locals were trapped, and the government commanded military and police to rescue citizens. A major north-south rail transport was also affected by the floods. Conditions could worsen if Typhoon Sarika strikes the country. Vietnam’s weather bureau is predicting the typhoon will hit the northern part of the country possibly on Wednesday , and could lead to landslides and more flooding. Tran Le Dang Hung, a disaster official, told the AP, “We are worried. We have instructed district governments to outlet plans for evacuating people.” Typhoon Sarika caused at least two deaths in the Philippines over the weekend, and displaced over 150,000 people. According to meteorologists , the 2016 monsoon season in Asia has been one of the most extreme seasons in years. El Niño only worsened the weather. Hundreds of people have died in India, Nepal, China, and Pakistan. Millions have had to leave their homes. Via the BBC and The Guardian Images via S B on Flickr and screenshot

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Severe flooding in Vietnam wreaks havoc as Typhoon Sarika threatens further destruction

Cubicco’s hurricane-proof modular homes break into Miami’s construction scene

October 17, 2016 by  
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A standard model Cubicco home is far and above what one might expect from a prefabricated house. Stylish and modern in appearance, each home is also designed to be energy efficient. Packages include options for solar water heaters and photovoltaic panels to make use of Florida’s abundant sunshine and reduce reliance on grid power. Cubicco homes also include rainwater collection systems for landscaping (or for filtration and use inside the home) and vertical gardens (that can be irrigated using repurposed rainwater). Each home makes use of renewable building materials throughout, including a sustainably-harvested wood exterior and cork. Related: Hermine is first hurricane in 11 years to make landfall in Florida Additionally, Cubicco took the surrounding climate into consideration for its final designs. As a result, the state of Florida approved the modular homes for use in high velocity hurricane zones (HVHZ) where buildings must be able to withstand winds up to 180 miles per hour, which is stronger than a Category 5 hurricane . This rating makes Cubicco homes appropriate for all areas in Florida, including Miami-Dade County, where HVHZ codes are the most stringent. Cubicco’s homes are modular, so they can be as small or as large as desired. Additional modules can even be added later down the line, making it fairly simple for the home to grow along with your family. Would-be homeowners who live within 200 miles of a Cubicco assembly line have the ability to purchase a finished home and have it delivered to their site. Anyone living more than 200 miles away will have to purchase through one of Cubicco’s Certified Assembly Partners, which is a network of builders and developers approved to erect one of the flat-packed homes. + Cubicco Via New Atlas Images via Cubicco

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Cubicco’s hurricane-proof modular homes break into Miami’s construction scene

North Korea requests international aid after typhoon kills 133 and displaces thousands

September 12, 2016 by  
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North Korea’s official state media reported Sunday that heavy rains from Typhoon Lionrock caused severe flooding in the northeast region of the country , killing at least 133 people and leaving hundreds more missing. Reportedly, some 140,000 people have been displaced from their homes, and the effects of the disaster may continue to spread. For the first time in ages, the secretive nation has issued a plea for help from those outside its carefully protected borders. In a broadcast on Sunday, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported the country’s “heaviest downpour” since 1945 after Typhoon Lionrock triggered flooding in Musan and Yonsa counties and Hoeryong City in North Hamgyong province. The massive storm surge reportedly left “tens of thousands” of buildings destroyed and people homeless and “suffering from great hardship,” according to KCNA. The gravity of the disaster has been confirmed in a report by the United Nations. Related: Typhoon Lionrock drenches Japan, leaving at least 10 dead Bradley Williams, a international relations professor at City University in Hong Kong, told CNN the areas hit hardest by the flooding are known to be impoverished, and are the locale of prison camps and forces hostile to the regime there. KCNA’s report claimed Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) issued a public appeal to party members and service personnel of the Korean People’s Army to aid in the recovery efforts. Williams suspects that the call for flood relief assistance may not actually benefit those suffering the storm’s effects, but will instead be channeled into efforts to protect the regime and prevent social uprising. Red Cross rescue teams are responding to North Korea’s plea, but it remains to be seen whether the international community will respond. Via CNN Lead image via  Nasa Goddard Rapid Response Team , images via DPRK HCT Joint Assessment Team ,  United Nations  

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North Korea requests international aid after typhoon kills 133 and displaces thousands

Louisiana residents hit by flooding say weather advisories weren’t urgent enough

August 22, 2016 by  
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Last week’s flood in southern Louisiana is being called the worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Sandy , but as recovery efforts continue, it’s become apparent that some residents ignored flash flood warnings. NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday revealed interviews with locals who say they willfully ignored the flash flood warnings . Their neighbors told them it never flooded there—weather forecasts are notoriously unreliable, after all—so they chose not to evacuate. When the flood came, they had to make a quick getaway, and at least 13 people lost their lives trying to flee the rising water. It’s true that the area of Louisiana stretching from Baton Rouge to Lafayette has rarely flooded , despite being just slightly above sea level. The intense storms that caused rivers to overflow just over a week ago were unseasonably heavy, and although the National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for the area, evacuation was not mandatory. This combination of facts caused many local residents to be skeptical of the warnings, thinking that since many storms had come and gone without major incident, this one might as well. Unfortunately, that was far from the truth. Related: Unprecedented Louisiana flooding forced tens of thousands to evacuate Residents interviewed by NPR suggested that the lack of mandatory evacuation orders, as well as being under threat from an unnamed storm , contributed to the widespread underestimation of the storm’s potential to wreak havoc in their communities. When tropical storms and hurricanes are named, the threat seems more real, many said. The storm that caused this unprecedented flood, though, was neither a tropical storm or a hurricane, so it didn’t get a name. Climate change has contributed to the frequency and severity of inland storms, though. As a result of the tragedy in Louisiana, where recovery efforts are still underway, many are now arguing that weather agencies and government officials have a responsibility to adjust their procedures to adapt to these changing threats. It’s unlikely that residents of Baton Rouge will ignore future flash flood warnings , but the next heavy rainstorm that causes massive flooding is likely to hit a community that has, like Baton Rouge, never before experienced a weather event like this. Via NPR Images via Louisiana National Guard and  National Weather Service

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Louisiana residents hit by flooding say weather advisories weren’t urgent enough

Unprecedented Louisiana flooding forced tens of thousands to evacuate

August 15, 2016 by  
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Over the weekend, heavy rains across the southern United States caused severe flooding in Louisiana , putting tens of thousands of local residents in danger. Creeks and rivers near Baton Rouge overflowed, and water rushed into streets and homes faster than many people anticipated. Officials say over 20,000 residents have been rescued so far from the north and east parts of the cities, stretching west past Lafayette. So far, at least six people have been killed by the floodwaters. Of those who have perished in the floods to date, three were motorists drowned when their cars were swept away after many major roadways were overtaken by water. The floods left many other drivers stranded, but state officials report that all surviving motorists were rescued from the roads by Sunday evening. The flooding has destroyed thousands of homes and displaced at least 10,000 local residents so far. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards requested an emergency declaration, which President Barack Obama granted on Sunday, allowing the state to tap into federal funds for continued recovery and relief efforts. Related: 26-acre Louisiana sinkhole swallows whole trees in 30 seconds (VIDEO) The storms that spurred the flooding have dispersed, but officials say that does not mean the worst is over. As tributaries and backwaters continue to fill, fed by already swollen rivers upstream, more flooding is expected. How severe or widespread the flooding will be is anyone’s guess. “The simple fact of the matter here is we’re breaking records,” the governor told reporters on Sunday. “And any time you break a record, the National Weather Service cannot tell you what you can expect in the way of the floodwaters: how wide they’re going to be and how deep they’re going to be.” Although southern Louisiana caught the brunt of flooding from the weekend storms, the National Weather Service has a ‘flash flood threat’ warning in effect across the south and midwest, stretching from Texas to the Ohio River valley. That alert will continue through Wednesday, as more rains are expected across the region. + How to help Louisiana flood victims Via New York Times and NOLA.com Images via Wikipedia and Red Cross Mid-South

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Unprecedented Louisiana flooding forced tens of thousands to evacuate

Daan Roosegaarde is going to pour light into a historic 32km-long dike in the Netherlands

July 14, 2016 by  
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Daan Roosegaarde is at it again with a new public art project that is bound to dazzles onlookers. The Dutch artist will create a layer of light and interaction for the 32-kilometer long dike, which is slated for renovation in The Netherlands . The project, called ICOON AFSLUITDIJK, is designed to enhance the connection between humans and nature, and take drivers on a journey from the past into the future. https://vimeo.com/171561989 The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment invited Roosegaarde to take part in the renovation of the century-old dike that protects the country against flooding . The project will be executed in three phases over a period of more than two years, and include both temporary and permanent elements revealed gradually to the users. The program will kick off its first chapter in the late summer of 2016 with festive activities. Related: Twinkling solar bike path inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night pops up in the Netherlands Roosegaarde’s project aims to reinforce the iconic status of the dike and celebrate the relationship between Dutch residents and their landscape. A special part of the project will be “Afsluitdijk Open” , for which the officials will close one causeway for cars and allow pedestrians to experience the dike bathed in the light of the rising sun. + Studio Roosegaarde Images via Studio Roosegaarde

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Daan Roosegaarde is going to pour light into a historic 32km-long dike in the Netherlands

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