World weatherwatch: snow wreaks havoc in Washington state

State of emergency declared in US’s Pacific north-west while flash floods hit Chile and Peru

A state of emergency was declared in Washington state as a snowstorm delivered deep snow along the coast of the Pacific north-west. More than 60,000 people lost power, with road travel chaos and hundreds of cancelled flights. The Pacific north-west is no stranger to snow events but the recent fall has already pushed Seattle into the snowiest February since 1949. Two further winter storms over the weekend contributed to further travel disruption.

Flash floods in Peru and northern Chile brought death and destruction. At least eight people have died after several days of thunderstorms triggered mudslides and submerged homes and transport networks. The excessive rainfall revived a waterfall in Pica, in the Tamarugal Province of the Atacama desert in Chile, which had run dry 10 years ago.

Thousands of residents have been evacuated ahead of a bushfire in New Zealand. The blaze started last Tuesday and threatens communities in the northern tip of the South Island, such as Wakefield, where a state of emergency has been declared. Strong winds and parched landscapes have contributed to the severity of the bushfire. Its large scale is unusual for New Zealand.

Scott Duncan (MetDesk)

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