August 2021 Current Events: Disaster News

Updated September 1, 2021 | Infoplease Staff

World News | Science & Technology News | US News

The world is a very busy place, and it's hard to stay on top of everything. Infoplease has got you covered. Here are the disaster news events you need to know so far for August 2021:

  1. Fires and Tropical Storms Continue to Ravage Areas
  2. Tropical Storms Fred and Grace and Henri Loom Overhead
  3. Landslides, Wildfires, and Storms, Oh My!
  4. Wildfires Rage Across the US
  5. Wildfire Season Continues Around the World

Fires and Tropical Storms Continue to Ravage Areas

Hurricane Ida

Photo Source: AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa

On Sunday, August 22, the Caldor Fire continued to burn across Northern California, searing 98,000 acres. More than 320 structures have been burned with 13,000 more in danger. The fire is still 0% contained and isn’t expected to be fully contained until the end of August. Increased winds pushed the fire further east and firefighters remain on the ground fighting, but the system is taxed.[1] On Sunday, August 22, Tropical Storm Henri made landfall. Though the storm was intense, it wasn’t a hurricane as previously thought once it made landfall. More than 130,000 people in the Northeast are without power, most of whom reside in Rhode Island. Heavy rainfall is expected to devastate parts of the area come Monday.[2] On Monday, August 23, rescue efforts after flash flooding in Tennessee continued. At least 21 people were killed and another 25 are missing after the floods suddenly took over the area. The flooding also damaged infrastructure and even swept away some buildings.[3] On Wednesday, August 25, it was reported that 7 states - Colorado, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana - are under air quality alerts as the smoke from wildfires becomes almost unbearable. As air quality becomes unhealthy, officials worry that paired with the pandemic, hospitals may be close to a crisis. Winds later in the week may help the situation, but it’s too soon to tell.[4] On Thursday, August 26, hundreds of California residents were placed under evacuation orders as the fires traveled up to 8 miles in just 24 hours. An incoming heatwave is only expected to worsen the flames. The Dixie Fire is only 45% contained. The Monument Fire, which is only 20% contained, has burned 157,287 acres. The Caldor Fire is only 12% contained and has burned 136,643 acres. The city of Lake Tahoe has declared a state of emergency as the fires continue to blaze.[5] On Friday, August 27, Hurricane Ida hit Cuba and made way towards US states, which it is expected to hit on Sunday. The Category 1 storm is expected to turn to a Category 3 storm by the time it hits Louisiana. Areas across the state have issued mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders. In Cuba, the storm has hit and is expected to cause some deadly flash floods across the area. It has mainly impacted the Cayman Islands.[6] On Sunday, August 29, Hurricane Ida became a Category 4 storm, reaching winds as high as 150 mph. The storm is just 7mph away from becoming a Category 5. It is expected to be a deadly hurricane once it makes landfall in Louisiana. Both a hurricane warning and tornado warning are in effect for surrounding states. There have also been mandatory evacuation orders, as schools and casinos close and flights have been cancelled.[7] On Tuesday, August 31, both Nevada and California declared a state of emergency due to the Caldor Fire. At least 50,000 people were placed under a mandatory evacuation. The Caldor Fire has burned close to 200,000 acres and is only 16% contained.[8] On Tuesday, August 31, Hurricane Ida officially hit the US, leaving more than 1 million people without power, something that could occur for weeks. The Category 4 hurricane has killed at least five people in Louisiana, but luckily hundreds more have been rescued. Search and rescue teams, however, have not been able to attend to the areas that have been hit the worst. Intense heat is expected to hit the area, making the long power outage deadly.[9] Elsewhere, in Mississippi, the heavy rains caused part of a highway to wash away, killing at least two people and injuring another ten. Seven vehicles were involved in the tragedy in Lucedale, Mississippi. The rains were due to Hurricane Ida.[10]
Source: [1]CNN [2]CNN [3]CNN [4]CNN [5]CNN [6]CNN [7]CNN [8]CNN [9]CNN [10]CNN

Learn more about the last major hurricane to hit Louisiana, Hurricane Katrina

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Tropical Storms Fred and Grace and Henri Loom Overhead

Tropical Storms

Photo Source: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

On Monday, August 16, Tropical Storm Fred made landfall in the Florida Panhandle. The storm was expected to bring thunderstorms, river flooding, and tornadoes, but has seemed to weaken since making landfall. A tropical storm warning has still been issued for Fred. Many schools across Florida cancelled classes for the day, but they are expected to resume tomorrow as the storm continues to weaken.[1] On Monday, August 16, Tropical Depression Grace looked menacing to the already devastated Haiti. So far, 1,297 people have died from the earthquake that hit Haiti last week. Now, it is predicted that Tropical Depression Grace will pass over the areas that have already been affected the worst. Rescue workers are attempting to beat the storm as hope for survivors remains strong. The heavy rain that is predicted could potentially cause landslides, which will greatly affect the rescue missions. Roads that have already been greatly damaged could also become unusable with the tropical storm. The entire area is under a tropical storm watch.[2] On Wednesday, August 18, at least 30 people were unaccounted for after Tropical Depression Fred hit North Carolina. Search and rescue missions are already in full effect as the state faces some intense flooding. Water levels are rising much faster than residents are accustomed to. As the storm continues, flooding is expected to worsen and there is a possibility of tornadoes.[3] That same day, it was reported that Tropical Depression Grace is now a hurricane that is set to hit Mexico twice. Winds have reached as high as 75 mph, with rip tides becoming life-threatening and a foot of rain predicted. Grace recently just passed over Haiti, which was just devastated by an earthquake that killed nearly 1,500 people.[4] On Wednesday, August 18, officials warned that Tropical Storm Henri is on the horizon and could hit the US northeast over the weekend. Though Henri may not make landfall, it is still expected to bring severe winds and heavy rains.[5] On Friday, August 20, hurricane warnings were posted across Long Island and New England as officials warned that tropical storm Henri will make landfall on Sunday. More than 4 million people have been placed under a hurricane warning. As of Friday, Henri was showing winds as high as 70 mph.[6] On Friday, August 20, Tropical Depression Fred hit North Carolina, killing four people and leaving five more missing. Rescue teams have been deployed as the area is devastated by flooding. More heavy rain could increase the number of those dead and those missing. Rescuers are using cell phone towers in an attempt to track people.[7]
Source: [1]CNN [2]BBC [3]CNN [4]CNN [5]CNN [6]CNN [7]CNN

Learn more about how weather happens

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Landslides, Wildfires, and Storms, Oh My!

Haiti Earthquake

Photo Source: AP Photo/Joseph Odelyn

On Wednesday, August 11, a huge landslide in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh left at least 1 person dead and dozens more trapped. A truck, passenger cars, and many other vehicles have become either crushed or trapped by falling boulders. This is one of several recent landslides to hit India after an unusually intense monsoon season. Local reports stated that at least five people have been rescued, with rescue efforts continuing. Officials still don’t know the exact cause of the landslide.[1] On Wednesday, August 11, a wildfire raged through the forests of Algeria, killing at least 65 people. At least 28 of the fatalities were Algerian soldiers, with another 12 in critical condition. The area of the fires has had a severe heatwave with temperatures reaching as high as 118 degrees. Thousands of civilians are currently trying to fight the fires. At least 50 fires are raging, and some officials suspect foul play. While wildfires aren’t uncommon to Algeria, the sheer number has led to suspicions of arson.[2] On Thursday, August 12, temperatures in Sicily set an all time high, coming in at 119 degrees. The weather is only exacerbating wildfires around the region, which some are due to weather and others due to arsonists.[3] On Saturday, August 14, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. The Prime Minister stated that the country can expect several casualties as well as several damaged properties; however, numbers and further information has not been released as of yet. That same day, it was reported that a tropical storm is making its way to Haiti in the next few days, bringing heavy winds and rains.[4] On Saturday, August 14, at least five million people in Japan were placed under evacuation orders after heavy rains hit southern parts of the country. The torrential rains are expected to cause severe flooding and landslides. Water levels in surrounding rivers are also becoming very high and are at risk of overflowing. Disaster control has been set up in areas.[5] On Sunday, August 15, flash flooding in the Black Sea has led to at least 40 deaths across Turkey. Apartment buildings have been destroyed and rivers have overflowed. Many search and rescue missions have been deployed across the coastline. While the floods continue to damage the country, they may be helpful with some of the wildfires that have recently ravaged the land.[6]
Source: [1]BBC [2] CNN [3]CNN [4]CNN [5]CNN [6]BBC

Learn more about earthquakes

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Wildfires Rage Across the US

The Dixie Fire

Photo Source: AP Photo/Noah Berger

On Sunday, August 8, the Dixie Fire became the largest wildfire currently burning in the US. It also became the second-largest in California history. The blaze has burned at least 463,477 acres in northeastern California. It is only 21% contained and has burned at least 100 historic buildings across four counties. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate and at least 3 people have been reported missing. California currently has 11 wildfires burning, whereas Montana has 25 active fires, Idaho has 20, and Oregon has 16.[1] On Sunday, August 8, it was reported that the wildfires were causing the worst air quality Denver, Colorado has ever experienced. At an Air Quality Index of 167, Denver has the most polluted air quality due to the fires. At least 107 fires are currently burning across the US.[2]
Source: [1] CNN [2]CNN

Look back at the worst forest fires in the US

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Wildfire Season Continues Around the World

Greece Wildfires

Photo Source: AP Photo/Thodoris Nikolaou

On Sunday, August 1, CNN reported that 91 wildfires are currently burning across the US. The Bootleg Fire, which is raging across Oregon and dangerously close to the California border, is the largest, burning over 400,000 acres. The Bootleg Fire is only 74% contained. At least 1.8 million acres have been burned since these fires began, with hot temperatures and dry weather exacerbating the issue. However, monsoon season is expected to hit the West soon, which may bring floods and mudslides, but also some relief to the fires.[1] On Monday, August 2, the small town of Kacarlar in Turkey faced a devastating scene as wildfires swept the nation. Farms, animals, and houses have begun to burn, ruining the livelihoods of many in the village. Thousands of people have been evacuated and at least 8 people, 2 of whom were firefighters, have died since the fires began. Over 100 blazes are happening around Turkey at the moment.[2] On Wednesday, August 4, the situation in Greece was only intensified after the area saw record-breaking temperatures of 117 degrees. The heatwave in both Greece and Turkey has exacerbated the wildfires. Residents have been told to stay inside with the windows closed due to poor air quality caused by wildfire smoke. Many famous landmarks in Greece have been closed due to the situation. On Saturday, August 7, the wildfires continued to rage across Greece, killing at least two people. Hundreds of people have been evacuated as the fire rages just outside of Athens. Temperatures have been over 104 degrees all week. Unpredictable winds have also fanned the flames and worsened the situation.[3]
Source: [1] CNN [2] CNN [3] CNN [4] CNN

Learn More about a decade of wildfires.

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