Freak weather claims 68 lives

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The freak weather season claimed 68 lives yesterday as torrential rains brought floods to China, mudslides to Peru and the first tropical storm of the year to Florida.

The freak weather season claimed 68 lives yesterday as torrential rains brought floods to China, mudslides to Peru and the first tropical storm of the year to Florida.

The worst loss of life was in the north-east of China, where a flash flood at a school in Shalan killed 62 students and two villagers. In northern Peru, a week of heavy rains produced landslides that swept three people to their deaths and left another 400 homeless.

And in north-western Florida, residents were battening down the hatches again as tropical storm Arlene swept in. It stretched from Pascagoula, Mississippi, to Destin in the western Florida panhandle, and inland communities were also braced for a hit. At 1pm British time yesterday, the storm was becoming somewhat less organised and was 105 miles south-southeast of Mobile, Alabama, meandering north-northwest at 15mph. But forecasters said Arlene could build into a category 1 storm by the time it reaches land, with its heaviest winds and rains east of the storm's centre.

Arlene had moved northwards on Friday through the Gulf of Mexico, soaking western Cuba and causing heavy rains, gusty winds and rough seas in south Florida. A Russian exchange student died after she was pulled from the rolling waves off Miami Beach early on Friday.

Yet in Australia, the rains brought joy. The first major deluge in four years fell in the drought-hit east, sending, as wheatgrower Chris Groves put it, "farmers out dancing in the rain".Eastern farmers have endured three months with barely a drop from the sky.

Comments