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New cyclone lashes Australia's Darwin

Six hurt as record snow buries South Korean market
Seoul (AFP) Feb 16, 2011 - Six people were injured when an awning at a South Korean market collapsed Wednesday under the weight of record snowfall, a fire and rescue service spokesman said. Contrary to initial reports, no deaths had so far been reported but a search was continuing for people possibly still buried under snow, the spokesman in the northeastern coastal city of Samcheok told AFP. The accident happened at a traditional market in the city, which experienced a total 174 centimetres (70 inches) of snow over four days ending Monday.

Other parts of Gangwon province have also been hit by the heaviest snowfalls since record-keeping began a century ago. Homes in remote villages have been cut off, farms damaged, hundreds of schools temporarily closed and flights cancelled. Nearly 10,000 soldiers have been mobilised to clear roads. Provincial officials quoted by Yonhap put the cost of property damage at about 4.8 billion won ($4.3 million) as of Tuesday. Heavy snow also battered the southeastern industrial city of Pohang and nearby towns. The government is expected to designate Gangwon a "special disaster zone" next week, a move that would ease administrative and financial support for recovery efforts, presidential officials said.
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Feb 16, 2011
Torrential rain and high winds lashed Darwin Wednesday as a new tropical cyclone bore down on Australia's north, just two weeks after a top-strength storm caused massive destruction.

Schools and a major airport were closed as Tropical Cyclone Carlos formed off the far-flung northern city, which was hit by floods and downed power lines during a night of extreme weather.

Public broadcaster ABC said streets were flooded, while one house and an ambulance were crushed by falling trees. The weather bureau said some Darwin suburbs received up to 350 millimetres (14 inches) of rain in 24 hours.

Carlos was measured at category one on a scale of one to five. It was expected to peak at category two Thursday as it slowly circles away from Darwin and heads south-west, skimming the sparsely inhabited coastline.

Residents of Darwin, which has a population of about 120,000 and was largely rebuilt after being devastated by Cyclone Tracy in 1974, were warned to secure belongings and make plans to evacuate if their homes are not cyclone-proof.

The Bureau of Meteorology said winds were already gusting at up to 110 kilometres (68 miles) per hour and were expected to reach 130 kilometres, while Carlos would also bring abnormally high tides and some coastal flooding.

Relaying authorities' advice, the bureau told residents that "now is the time to make final preparations to your home shelter or identify which public emergency shelter to use".

Carlos comes soon after category-five Cyclone Yasi ploughed into northeastern Australia's Great Barrier Reef coast, destroying small towns and wreaking Aus$1 billion in damage, but miraculously not causing any deaths.

Another tropical low off resource-rich Western Australia was expected to intensify to a category-three cyclone late Thursday but was tracking away from the coast, the bureau added.

Australia has been hit by four tropical cyclones since January 1 and suffered weeks of devastating flooding which killed 35 people, swamped tens of thousands of homes and brought Brisbane, its third-largest city, to a halt.

The wild weather has been linked to an especially strong La Nina weather pattern in the Pacific, which traditionally brings cyclones and floods to the vast country.

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Cyclone Bingiza hits Madagascar
Antananarivo (AFP) Feb 14, 2011
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