Hurricane Gustav: water flowing over Industrial Canal

Hurricane Gustav made landfall near Cocodrie, Louisiana, at around 1430 UTC (9:30 am local). Rainbands lashing New Orleans right now, with TV pictures showing waters flowing over the Industrial Canal. More to come.


Games of the XXIX Olympiad underway

The Beijing Olympic Games began today with the opening group matches in women’s football, two days ahead of the opening ceremony.

Today’s lineup (times local):
* Argentina 1–2 Canada (5 pm)
* Germany 0-0 Brazil (5 pm)
* Japan 2–2 New Zealand (5 pm)
* China vs Sweden (7:45 pm)
* North Korea vs Nigeria (7:45 pm)
* Norway vs United States (7:45 pm)

Germany v. Brazil and Norway v. United States are obviously the two big games of the bunch. As of this writing (7 pm local time in China), the first three matches are now complete — with the highly-anticipated Germany–Brazil clash of the titans ending in a dour 0-0 draw.

Also, Severe Tropical Storm Kammuri has hampered preparations for equestrian events in Hong Kong. The storm made landfall in Guangdong Province east of the Leizhou peninsula a few hours ago just west of Hong Kong.

Tropical Cyclone Nargis — the aftermath

Will update with latest news on the aftermath of Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Nargis, which hit Burma (Myanmar)1 last weekend.

1800 UTC Friday May 16: State media is now reporting an official death toll of near 78,000 people. Another 56,000 are missing.

1140 UTC Wednesday May 14: The tropical disturbance previously located in the Gulf of Martaban has moved over the Irrawaddy delta and could become a cyclone in the next 24 hours. However, while it will bring more rains and some gales to the delta, it will more likely make landfall in Bangladesh.

0825 UTC Tuesday May 13: Burma continues to insist that no foreign aid workers are required in the country. A new tropical disturbance has developed over and south of the Irrawaddy delta and is moving north. It is likely not to have enough time to develop into a cyclone, but will bring heavy rains to the delta.

1430 UTC Monday May 12: BBC News ticker: “LATEST: Burma says 31,938 died in this month’s devastating cyclone.”

0945 UTC Monday May 12: That U.S. aid plane has now landed in Rangoon.

0630 UTC Monday May 12: The BBC reports that the first U.S. aid flight to Burma has taken off from Bangkok. Three Doctors Without Borders (MSF) flights are also due in Burma today.

1345 UTC Sunday May 11: A cargo ship carrying enough aid for 1,000 survivors has crashed into a submerged tree and sunk in the Irrawaddy delta, dealing a blow to relief efforts. All on board survived.

1325 UTC Sunday May 11: New toll from the junta: 28,458 dead; 33,416 missing.

1250 UTC Sunday May 11: Reports that the Burmese junta has let the WFP distribute 38 tonnes of its aid which had been impounded in Rangoon upon arrival. If this is true and the junta are no longer controlling the distribution it’s good news.

0720 UTC Sunday May 11: Daily Mail journalist reports that two trucks of UN aid were driven to an abandoned pagoda and left there without distribution. Shameful.

0100 UTC Sunday May 11: The UN says that it fears only a quarter of aid has reached survivors of the cyclone. The ICRC has said it hopes seven more flights will arrive before Monday — but will they all be impounded?

1525 UTC Saturday May 10: Two more WFP aid planes have had their cargo impounded upon arrival in Rangoon. The junta continues to insist it will control aid distribution, severely hampering relief efforts. This also means that the eastern states of Burma bordering Thailand will likely see little to no aid, as there is an uprising against the junta there.

0755 UTC Saturday May 10: There’s a new official toll. The BBC is now reporting the official toll to be 23,335 dead; 37,019 missing.

0145 UTC Saturday May 10: CNN’s Dan Rivers — now out of Burma — reports that there was a massive police effort to find him while he was in the country. If the junta are now going after foreign journalists, they are wasting crucial resources and time on this instead of helping survivors. Another reason to pressure the junta more.

0130 UTC Saturday May 10: BBC reports “There are reports that a senior general over-rode requests from his officers to divert army resources to help the cyclone victims – in order to maintain security for the [constitutional referendum].” Two correspondents in the Irrawaddy delta are now reporting outbreaks of dysentery. The Burmese UN envoy now claims that his country is ready to accept help from anyone.

(Older updates after the jump)
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Super Tuesday – live as it happened

Super Tuesday as it happened:

Click “read more” for the full timeline.

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Weather updates

First post about weather on this blog.

Severe Tropical Cyclone Gene continues its trek through the South Pacific islands of Fiji and Vanuatu. Having already killed at least six people in Fiji, Gene continues to threaten the eastern Vanuatu and New Caledonia islands. It is now forecast to weaken, however.

Meanwhile, in China, record snowfall has cost the government in Beijing at least 54 billion RMB (US$7.5 billion) and killed 60 people. China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom was on the BBC World Service’s Newshour earlier today, and gave a figure of around 2,500 trains currently out-of-service for one reason or other. This is not good news leading up to Thursday’s Lunar New Year festivities, and one only hopes for the millions of people affected that the weather will clear up soon. Not if the weather bureaus are to be believed, though…