Hexbyte Glen Cove Cuba evacuates 180,000 as Tropical Storm Elsa approaches thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Cuba evacuates 180,000 as Tropical Storm Elsa approaches

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Frank Barakat carries his daughter Valentina, 2, through an shopping aisle dedicated for hurricane supplies as the Home Depot store prepares for possible effects of tropical storm Elsa in Miami on Saturday, July 3, 2021. Elsa fell back to tropical storm force as it brushed past Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Saturday and threatened to unleash flooding and landslides before taking aim at Cuba and Florida. Credit: Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP

Cuba evacuated 180,000 people amid fears Sunday that Tropical Storm Elsa could cause heavy flooding after battering several Caribbean islands, killing at least three people.

The Cuban government opened shelters and moved to protect sugarcane and cocoa crops ahead of the . Most of those evacuated went to relatives’ homes, while some people sheltered at . Hundreds living in mountainous areas took refuge in natural caves prepared for the emergency.

The storm’s next target was Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in 15 counties, including in Miami-Dade County, where a high-rise condominium building collapsed last week.

Late Sunday afternoon, Elsa’s center was near Cuba’s southern coast, about 15 miles (20 kilometers) west of Cabo Cruz, and was moving northwest at 14 mph (22 kph). It had maximum sustained winds of about 60 mph (95 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The center said the storm was expected to gradually weaken while moving across Cuba on Monday.

“After Elsa emerges over the Florida Straits and the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, some slight restrengthening is possible,” it said.

The storm killed one person on St. Lucia, according to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. A 15-year-old boy and a 75-year-old woman died Saturday in separate events in the Dominican Republic after walls collapsed on them, according to a statement from the Emergency Operations Center.

Home Depot department supervisor, Arnaldo Gonzalez, loads water bottles into Elena Arvalo’s shopping cart as shoppers prepare for possible effects of tropical storm Elsa in Miami on Saturday, July 3, 2021. Elsa fell back to tropical storm force as it brushed past Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Saturday and threatened to unleash flooding and landslides before taking aim at Cuba and Florida. Credit: Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP

Elsa was a Category 1 hurricane until Saturday morning, causing widespread damage on several eastern Caribbean islands Friday as the first hurricane of the Atlantic season. Among the hardest hit was Barbados, where more than 1,100 people reported damaged houses, including 62 homes that completely collapsed. The government promised to find and fund temporary housing to avoid clustering people in shelters amid the pandemic.

Downed trees also were reported in Haiti, which is especially vulnerable to floods and landslides because of widespread erosion and deforestation. Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency said Sunday that three people had been injured by downs trees.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for much of Cuba, Jamaica and the Florida Keys from Craig Key westward to the Dry Tortugas. A hurricane watch was issued for the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Granma, Guantanamo, Holguin, Las Tunas, and Santiago de Cuba. Some of those provinces have reported a high number of coronavirus infections, raising concerns that the storm could force large groups of people to seek shelter together.

  • Antony Exilien secures the roof of his house in response to Tropical Storm Elsa, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, July 3, 2021. Elsa brushed past Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Saturday and threatened to unleash flooding and landslides before taking aim at Cuba and Florida. Credit: AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn
  • An electrical pole felled by Hurricane Elsa leans on the edge of a residential balcony, in Cedars, St. Vincent, Friday, July 2, 2021. Elsa strengthened into the first hurricane of the Atlantic season on Friday as it blew off roofs and snapped trees in the eastern Caribbean, where officials closed schools, businesses and airports. Credit: AP Photo/Orvil Samuel

Elsa is the earliest fifth-named storm on record and also broke the record as the tropic’s fastest-moving hurricane, clocking in at 31 mph Saturday morning, said Brian McNoldy, a researcher at the University of Miami.

Portions of Cuba were forecast to get rainfall of 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 centimeters) through Monday, with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches (20 centimeters). Jamaica was expected to get 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters), with maximum totals of 15 inches (38 centimeters).



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Cuba evacuates 180,000 as Tropical Storm Elsa approaches (2021, July 5)
retrieved 6 July 2021
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Massive iceberg threatens remote penguin sanctuary  thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Massive iceberg threatens remote penguin sanctuary 

Hexbyte Glen Cove

King penguins like these could see their foraging routes cut off by the giant iceberg

The world’s biggest iceberg is on a collision course with a remote South Atlantic island that is home to thousands of penguins and seals, and could impede their ability to gather food, scientists told AFP Wednesday.

Icebergs naturally break off from Antarctica into the ocean, but climate change has accelerated the process—in this case, with potentially devastating consequences for abundant wildlife in the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia.

Shaped like a closed hand with a pointing finger, the iceberg known as A68a split off in 2017 from Larsen Ice Shelf on the West Antarctic Peninsula, which has warmed faster than any other part of Earth’s southernmost continent.

At its current rate of travel, it will take the giant ice cube—which is several times the area of greater London—20 to 30 days to run aground into the island’s shallow waters.

A68a is 160 kilometres (93 miles) long and 48 kilometres (30 miles) across at its widest point, but the iceberg is less than 200 metres deep, which means it could park dangerously close to the island.

“We put the odds of collision at 50/50,” Andrew Fleming from the British Antarctic Survey told AFP.

Many thousands of King penguins—a species with a bright splash of yellow on their heads—live on the island, alongside Macaroni, Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins.

A68a iceberg, drifting in the South Atlantic, could crush organisms and their seafloor ecosystem, which would need decades or centuries to recover

Seals also populate South Georgia, as do wandering albatrosses, the largest bird species that can fly.

If the iceberg runs aground next to South Georgia, foraging routes could be blocked, hampering the ability of penguin parents to feed their young, and thus threatening the survival of seal pups and penguin chicks.

Release of stored carbon

“Global numbers of penguins and seals would drop by a large margin,” Geraint Tarling, also from the British Antarctic Survey, told AFP in an interview.

The incoming iceberg would also crush organisms and their seafloor ecosystem, which would need decades or centuries to recover.

Carbon stored by these organisms would be released into the ocean and atmosphere, adding to caused by , the researchers said.

As A68a drifted with currents across the South Atlantic, the iceberg did a great job of distributing microscopic edibles for the ocean’s tiniest creatures, said Tarling.

Icebergs naturally break off from Antarctica into the ocean, but climate change has accelerating the process

“Over hundreds of years, this has accumulated a lot of nutrients and dust, and they are starting to leach out and fertilise the oceans.”

Up to a kilometre thick, icebergs are the solid-ice extension of land-bound glaciers. They naturally break off from ice shelves as snow-laden glaciers push toward the sea.

But global warming has increased the frequency of this process, known as calving.

“The amount of ice going from the centre of the Antarctic continent out towards the edges is increasing in speed,” Tarling said.

Up to the end of the 20th century, the Larsen Ice Shelf had been stable for more than 10,000 years. In 1995, however, a huge chunk broke off, followed by another in 2002.

This was followed by the breakup of the nearby Wilkins Ice Shelf in 2008 and 2009, and A68a in 2017.

Hydrofracturing—when water seeps into cracks at the surface, splitting the ice farther down—was almost certainly the main culprit in each case.



© 2020 AFP

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Massive iceberg threatens remote penguin sanctuary  (2020, November 4)
retrieved 7 November 2020
from https://phys.org/news/2020-11-massive-iceberg-threatens-remote-penguin.html

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part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.