Things That Matter

Victims Of Hurricane Barry Are Sharing Devastating Photos Of The Aftermath And Experts Are Calling This “The New Normal”

Tropical Storm Barry has officially made its way to New Orleans. As of this morning, it has been reported that Storm Barry has dumped rain slowly as it sweeps inland through Gulf Coast states. There is currently a flash flood watch set in place in Southeastern Louisiana active for the next 6 hours, according to the National Weather Service.

While it appears that it has spared New Orleans a direct hit, others in the state fear for their safety as Storm Barry continues to cause flooding, tornadoes and power outages.

On Wednesday, July 10, preliminary storm swamped New Orleans streets and affected traffic in the city significantly. Tropical Storm Barry had also been categorized a Category 1 hurricane but then weakened to a tropical storm.

According to poweroutage.us., about 125,00 customers in Louisiana and 6,800 customers in Mississipi are without power as of today.

According to AP News, “forecasters warned of a continued threat of storm surge and heavy rains as the center of the storm trudged inland and rain bands along its back half moved onshore. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Sunday parts of south-central Louisiana could still have rainfall totals of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters), with isolated pockets of 15 inches (38 centimeters).”

Storm Barry is expected “to continue weakening and become a tropical depression Sunday, moving over Arkansas on Sunday night and Monday.”

However, forecasts also showed the storm heading to Chicago. This could be a potential cause for concern if it swells the Mississipi River basin.

Ahead of Storm Barry, there were fears that the storm might devastate the city of New Orleans like Hurricane Katrina did in 2005 but everything looks to be going better than expected. However, the National Weather Service still said that “rain in the forecast could still cause life-threatening flooding.”

Check out some scenes below from New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana.

(Photo credit: AP Images via Instagram)

As mandatory evacuations were ordered last Thursday ahead of Storm Barry, residents of New Orleans tried to make their way to safety.

People have been sharing the disheartening images of their devastated households.

(Photo credit: AP Images via Instagram)

While Storm Barry wasn’t set to hit until Sunday, residents of New Orleans still felt the impact as the rains that fell last week were still strong enough to cause irreparable damage to residents’ homes.

Instagram users shared photos of the flooded streets of New Orleans.

(Photo credit: Instagram)

Instagram user @the.viking.witch shared a photo of a flooded street in St. Roch, New Orleans with a car nearly submerged underwater. She captioned it, “we woke up to a severe storm with flash flooding and somewhere even a tornado [hit].”

New Orleans residents could be seen cleaning and preparing for the storm that was anticipated to come on Sunday.

(Photo credit: Instagram)

While Storm Barry was anticipated to hit today, folks also saw flooding earlier last week. For example, this photo shows some early flooding happening on Music Street and St. Claude. A man can be seen wearing rain boots, preparing for the storm that’s to come.

Vehicles in New Orleans were nearly submerged due to the flooding.

(Photo credit: Instagram)

Freelance photographer based in New Orleans, Mary Margaret, shared an Instagram photo of the city streets flooded with water. Cars can be seen parked almost submerged fully in the water.

Volunteers and New Orleans residents also came together to make as many sandbags as they could.

(Photo credit: Instagram)

The community of St. Roch, New Orleans were coming together last week to prepare for Storm Barry. According to Instagram user @robert_savina, neighbors were getting ready by preparing sandbags in order to avoid homes, local businesses, and roads from flooding.

After filling up sandbags, volunteers and New Orlean’s residents were ready to distribute them to those affected.

(Photo credit: Instagram)

According to United Cajun Navy’s photo on Instagram, the disaster response group of volunteers were busy filling up sandbags for the local community and had filled a total of “7.5K and counting.”

Trash cans filled with water were also used as a way to stop cars from driving the flooded streets.

(Photo credit: Instagram)

Folks living in Lower Garden District in New Orleans attempted to block streets using garbage cans filled with water. This was done in order to block the streets from incoming traffic to avoid causing any accidents, but the Instagram user who took this photo wrote that “people still tried to drive around them.”

Residents of New Orlean were using anything they could to stop the flooding from worsening.

(Photo credit:  @karonreese/ Instagram)

Instagram user @karonreese captured this lighthearted photo of local business owners attempting to use anything they could find to block flooding into their stores. Are those tortillas or pita bread?

Other New Orlean’s residents had a less panicked approach to the tropical storm.

(Photo credit: Paul Zansier/ Instagram)

Meanwhile… other New Orleans residents didn’t seem to feel as panicked on social media. One Instagram user Paul Zansier, shared a photo of his “commute to the office.”

Tornadoes also hit places in Louisiana and they could be seen from miles away.

Other folks on social media captured tornadoes that could be seen from miles away. One Instagram user captioned their photo, “Tornados and flooding on my way to work today in New Orleans! People parked and standing along the interstate brings me back to Katrina. An adventurous drive to work, to say the least.”

Flooded streets didn’t stop people from trying to get around the city––by bike.

(Photo credit: Austin Fischer/ Instagram)

Earlier last week, Instagram user and photographer Austin Fischer, shared a photo of the flooding in the French Quarter. “The flooding in New Orleans this morning.  I woke up to the sound of lightning crashing across the sky and water gurgling under the door into our room, ran to move my car to a place where it wouldn’t flood, and went out to document the flooding in the French Quarter,” he wrote in his caption. (Photo credit: Instagram)

Residential neighborhoods were looking less like neighborhoods and more like swamps due to flooding.

(Photo credit: Instagram)

Another user on Instagram shared what looks like a residential street completely flooded.

Here is hoping everyone in the city of New Orleans and Louisiana experiences a safe and swift recovery.

Three More Have Died In Puerto Rican Earthquake And Survivors Say It’s Worse Than Hurricane Maria

Things That Matter

Three More Have Died In Puerto Rican Earthquake And Survivors Say It’s Worse Than Hurricane Maria

Carlos Giusti / AP

In Puerto Rico, an island still in recovery mode after the devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Maria, people are now worried about damaging earthquakes.

Although seismic activity isn’t rare in the Caribbean – remember the trauma of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake? – the island has been seismically calm for many years. So it’s no surprise that Puerto Ricans are shaken over the recent tremors that have left people homeless as houses collapse.

The quakes have also exposed the vulnerability to infrastructure on the island still struggling to bounce back after Maria.

The major 6.4 earthquake rocked Puerto Rico just a day after two large quakes had residents panicked.

Credit: Carlos Giusti

A magnitude 6.4 earthquake shook southwestern Puerto Rico this morning, according to the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS); this is the largest yet in a series of quakes that have hit the region.

At least one person died as walls collapsed around the area, and eight more people were injured, according to NPR. Electricity went out across Puerto Rico as automated systems shut down the island’s power plants, recalling power outages that lasted 11 months after Hurricane Maria, which caused the worst blackout in US history.

The North American and Caribbean tectonic plates meet in this area, but the quake doesn’t appear to be the result of those plates grinding together, according to USGS. Instead, a release of energy and stress inside the Caribbean plate seems to have caused the shaking

This major quake comes after a pair of powerful earthquakes hit the Caribbean Island early on Monday morning.

Credit: USGS

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Puerto Rico on Monday morning, followed by a 4.9 magnitude quake and several smaller ones in the following hours.

The largest quake originated south of the island at 6:32 a.m., cracking some houses’ walls and collapsing at least five homes in the coastal town of Guánica. No casualties have been reported, and there was also no threat of a tsunami even as the residual quakes continued to hit.

Several smaller quakes ranging from 4.7 to 5.1 in magnitude have hit Puerto Rico since Dec. 28, leading Guánica resident Alberto Rodríguez to tell The Associated Press “We haven’t slept … you can’t remain calm here. Guánica is no longer a safe place.” His home collapsed Monday.

Although there aren’t any reports of injuries or casualties, the quakes have caused damage across the island.

The Mayor of Guánica told AP at least 29 other homes were heavily damaged after the latest quake. A rock formation popular among tourists called Playa Ventana also was damaged in the earlier quakes, and completely collapsed Monday.

Helicopters buzzed overhead and terrified residents jumped up from their folding chairs every time the earth shook, yelling at others to stay away from power lines.

Puerto Rico doesn’t have a public earthquake warning system, except for sirens that are supposed to ring in case of a tsunami. Residents in this neighborhood criticized the government for what they believe is a lack of action.

Dr. Sindia Alvarado, who lives in the southern coastal town of Penuelas, said she was petrified.

“My entire family woke up screaming,” she told the Washington Post. “I thought the house was going to crack in half.”

The seismic activity comes as the island, and much of Latin America, celebrates Dia de Reyes Magos.

Most residents have been wary of returning home to celebrate Three Kings Day, and some children ended up opening their gifts on sidewalks outside. Some people had already been prepared since the earlier quakes with clothes, food, and water already packed in their cars.

Geologists warn of more tremors to come.

“More earthquakes than usual (called aftershocks) will continue to occur near the mainshock,” the USGS said.

“When there are more earthquakes, the chance of a large earthquake is greater which means that the chance of damage is greater.”

The agency advised anyone in or near vulnerable structures to be extra cautious and said those caught in potential quakes should drop, cover and hold on.

Puerto Rico has a history of devastating earthquakes dating back thousands of years.

Victor Huerfano, director of Puerto Rico’s Seismic Network, told the AP that shallow quakes were occurring along three faults in Puerto Rico’s southwest region: Lajas Valley, Montalva Point and the Guayanilla Canyon. He said the quakes overall come as the North American plate and the Caribbean plate squeezes Puerto Rico, and that it was unclear when they would stop or if bigger quakes would occur.

One of the largest and most damaging earthquakes to hit Puerto Rico occurred in October 1918, when a 7.3-magnitude quake struck near the island’s northwest coast, unleashing a tsunami and killing 116 people.

Christmas Brought A Pair Of Strong Earthquakes To Colombia And Left Residents Fleeing Their Homes

Things That Matter

Christmas Brought A Pair Of Strong Earthquakes To Colombia And Left Residents Fleeing Their Homes

Luisa Gonzalez / Reuters

Colombia is no stranger of earthquakes. The country is located in a highly seismically active area – along the world’s ‘Ring of Fire.’ So the news of an earthquake on Christmas Day wasn’t a huge surprise given the country’s seismic activity, however, it still left many Colombians in shock as cities and towns shook from Bogota to Medellin.

Although the earthquake was strong, so far there are no reports of severe damage or deaths.

Central Colombia was shaken by two major earthquakes on Christmas Day.

Credit: The Weather Channel

Two strong quakes, of magnitude 6.0 and magnitude 5.8, struck central Colombia, according to the US Geological Survey. The quakes were strong enough that buildings shook.

The epicentres were very close to each other, about 93 miles south of the capital Bogota, and were very shallow, which amplified their effects and caused the shaking to be more widespread across the country.

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake is considered strong and is capable of causing severe damage, however, the area is not densely populated.

The quakes struck in the Caribbean Sea near the island of Providencia and about 19.9 miles from Lejanías, Colombia, according to the survey.

Shaking was felt across the nation’s capital city, Bogota.

Sirens howled across the Colombian capital of Bogota. According to many on Twitter, the sirens started in the middle of the shaking caused by the first earthquake and then gave several minutes warning before the second quake struck.

Like many countries along the Pacific Ring Of Fire, Colombia is home to a large earthquake monitoring system that allows officials to warn residents of impending earthquakes. Though the alarms often only give warnings of less than 90 seconds, this is often enough time to get outdoors or seek shelter in the most secure parts of one’s home.

Although shaking was felt across several major cities, the quake was centered in largely uninhabited areas.

The region of the epicenters is home to agriculture and oil activities, but the country’s disaster management agency said on its Twitter account it had not yet received any reports of damage.

A spokesperson for state-run oil company Ecopetrol, which has much of its infrastructure in the country’s eastern plains, said all installations were operating normally.

Earthquakes are relatively frequent in Colombia.

The Colombian region (in fact, the entire Pacific Coast of South America) has a well known high seismic risk, due to the triple junction that occurs at the northwest corner of the South American Plate where the Nazca, Cocos, and Pacific plates converge.

In fact, just 20 years ago Colombia was struck with a major 6.2 magnitude earthquake that left nearly 2,000 people dead. The earthquake hit Colombia’s coffee-growing region, and toppled tower blocks, hotels, and historic churches in Armenia. Most of the buildings that collapsed were old and poorly constructed, or were built on poor soil such as old landfill sites or steep slopes.The newer structures, for the most part, survived intact due to safety measures being established in 1984. The worst hit part of the country were regional capitals of Armenia and Pereira.