Flooded towns and meters of snow on the west coast, deadly hurricanes in the south-east: According to the authorities and the media, at least 26 people have died in the USA due to extreme weather.
In usually sun-kissed California, there is still no end in sight to the powerful winter storms. “We’re not over the hill yet,” warned emergency services director Nancy Ward, according to the Los Angeles Times, with a view to the new, severe storms predicted: “The threat to communities remains, and the water will continue to rise, even when the storms are over.” According to media reports, at least 19 people have been killed in the west coast state, for example by falling trees or flash floods.
Rain after years of drought
Despite the threat, the rains are also welcome. In recent years, California had been suffering from an historic drought. According to scientists, climate change is exacerbating drought, heat and extreme weather, which can also contribute to more violent forest fires.
Many reservoirs and water reservoirs are now filling up again, and the snow cover in the Sierra Nevada is higher than it has been for years. The most recent series of storms brought several meters of snow to ski resorts in the California mountain range.
Clean-up after tornadoes in the USA
At the same time, the search for other possible victims and the clean-up work continue after the severe tornadoes that killed at least nine people in the southeastern United States. In the hard-hit Autauga district in the state of Alabama, where seven people died, several residents were rescued unharmed from a damaged shelter, local media reported on Friday evening.
In the town of Selma, about 50 kilometers away, Mayor James Perkins called on volunteers to help clear away the rubble. According to the fire brigade, 25 people were injured in the city of around 17,000 inhabitants. But there were no deaths there. However, as in Autauga, dozens of buildings were destroyed or damaged.
Five-year-old child killed in tree
In neighboring Georgia, a five-year-old child was killed when a tree fell on a car. An employee of the Georgia Department of Transportation was also killed, it said. The governor of Georgia confirmed both deaths on Friday.
A tornado was also spotted near Atlanta International Airport, the busiest US airport by passenger numbers. According to the US aviation authority FAA, aircraft had to remain temporarily on the ground on Thursday due to severe storms. According to the website poweroutage.us, around 20,000 households in both states were still without power on Saturday.