Another shorter week, but one that was jam packed with weather and environmental news from here and around the world…
We started the week watching the situation in the Philippines, where an approaching typhoon prompted the evacuation of more than 24,000 people on Saturday.
Storm surges, flash floods and landslides were cited as potential threats from the storm even though Maysak, once a super-typhoon, had weakened, with maximum sustained winds of 115 kilometres per hour.
After making landfall, the storm left a trail of destruction, with at least seven people dead and 26 people injured in the north-east of the country over the weekend.
Micronesia Red Cross executive director Isao Frank says it will take years to rebuild and recover.
“Many of the homes are no longer there,” Frank says.
“We’re going to need not only immediate support for basic physiological needs but also long term support for rebuilding people’s homes and lives.”
While one very fierce and short-lived disaster was unfolding in Asia, people on the West Coast of the United States were contemplating their very own, long burning catastrophe.
There’s a major drought throughout the West and Southwest, but California is the hardest hit state of all – with the prolonged dry spell affecting more than 52 million people overall.
The drought is having knock-on effects across the United States, after the slowly expanding natural disaster, now in its fourth year, this week prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to announce a mandatory 25% cutback in water consumption in all cities.
Also on the drought, CNN contributor, atmospheric scientist and Clumbia University Professor Adam Sobel wrote an engaging opinion piece asking the question “is the drought a result of climate change?” – you can read it here.
Closer to home, and Australian farmers are suffering some mixed fortunes right now – both good and bad.
In New South Wales, the Central West region received a dousing of “important rain” this week, with more than 65mm of rain falling over Easter Weekend in some parts, after a statewide average of just 5mm over the preceding two months.
Over in Queensland however, three years without “decent” rain is forcing some farmers off the land – with one young family telling their story to the ABC, which you can read here.
Back on the home front, two months after a Queensland fruit fly was found in Grey Lynn, a decision has been made by the MPI and Auckland Council to keep the so called “fruit fly zone” in place for another year.
That means residents and businesses inside the zone will have to continue to refrain from taking fruit and vegetables out of the suburbs inside the controlled area.
Since the initial find in mid-February, 14 more fruit flies have been discovered in Auckland.
And finally, Fonterra this week launched a scheme to prevent farmers getting into too much bank debt, and find alternative sources of investment.
The dairy giant set up an ‘Equity Partnership Trust’ to facilitate farmers looking for alternative capital investment outside the bank debt – something becoming increasingly necessary as weather patterns hamper farming projections and year to year operations.
Don’t forget to vote in this week’s poll, below, and check out what the weekend has in store for you weatherwise, here!
– Drew Chappell, WeatherWatch.co.nz
– Photo: CNN