Police in Calgary, home to Canada’s oil industry, ordered 75,000 residents to leave their homes and closed most of the downtown business district after heavy rains flooded parts of the city and corporate headquarters lost power.
Suncor Energy Inc. (SU), Canada’s largest energy company by market value, was among businesses closing offices as workers were told to stay home and schools, bridges and roads were shut. The Bow and Elbow rivers, which meet near the middle of Calgary, surged from their banks into neighborhoods and were expected to remain high for several days after 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain fell over two days. As many as 3 more inches are expected in the next 48 hours.
Dirt is almost all that people can talk about these days in communities along U.S. 50 and 287. Photos of fierce dust storms rolling across the state’s Eastern Plains are showing up on Facebook and local TV news, harking to the Dust Bowl years that devastated southeastern Colorado in the 1930s. Farmers and ranchers are tolling their losses. People are praying for rain.
It’s the inevitable result of three seasons of extreme drought in the area — D4 this year, the worst on the U.S. Drought Monitor scale, and no relief in sight, said state climatologist Nolan Doesken.
"The first year, it was very dry, but there was still reasonable vegetative cover," he said. "That started deteriorating last year, with more and more bare ground."
For miles on either side of U.S. 287 between Kit Carson and Lamar, the earth is brown and bare during a season that should be bursting with green native grasses and wheat. Even weeds aren’t growing. Failed crops mean vast swaths of land with no roots to anchor parched topsoil.
Pollution levels soared for a third day in a row in Singapore, as smoky haze from fires in Indonesia shrouded the city state.
The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hit 401 at 12:00 on Friday (04:00 GMT) - the highest in Singapore’s history.
The index also reached 400 in one part of Indonesia, which is readying helicopters and cloud-seeding equipment in an effort to tackle the fires.
The death toll from flooding and landslides following heavy monsoon rains in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand has passed 500.
The state’s Chief Minister, Vijay Bahuguna, said 556 bodies had been seen floating or buried in “slush”, and that the army was working to recover them. The charity Action Aid says 5,000 people are missing in the area.