|Big waves batter Las Brisas beach, Mazanillo, Colima State Mexico ahead of Hurricane Jova [AFP]|
The Philippines has been hit once again by torrential rain which has led to widespread flooding. This is the third significant storm to hit the country in the space of just two weeks. The one consoling factor is that on this occasion the worst conditions did not occur across northern Luzon as was the case when Typhoons Nesat and Nalgae hit the country recently.
On Tuesday, Tropical Depression 23 brought torrential rain to central parts of the country. Most areas had around 60 to 80 mm of rainfall in 24 hours, with many places enduring heavier downpours still. Surigau had 126mm of rain, with Maasin to the southeast of Cebu getting 147 mm of rain in the same period. This has inevitably lead to widespread flooding with some mudslides over the higher ground.
The system has now moved out into the South China Sea and has now strengthened to become Tropical Storm Banyan. It will strengthen further over the next few days as it moves across the warm waters.
Concerns will then re-focus, yet again on southwestern China and northern Vietnam. These two areas were hit by the previous storms, and it looks like Banyan will follow a similar path as it tracks towards mainland China. Even ahead of the storm, this already saturated region, is still suffering heavy downpours, typically, around 60 mm a day. Even as far east as Hong Kong we had 63 mm on Tuesday, and, as far south as Hue, we had 141 mm rain on Monday.
Further afield, Hurricane Jova is now making landfall in southwestern Mexico, it is quickly weakening in terms of wind strength and it will soon be downgraded to a tropical storm. Thankfully, it is also a relatively small storm so the heaviest rain will not be as widespread as it might have been. However, there will still be some flooding and mudslides are likely as it moves over the higher ground.
Meanwhile, the higher ground of Europe has also seen some mudslides this week. Days of heavy rain in southern Switzerland have swollen many of the Alpine streams to record levels causing landslides and some roads have also been washed away.
The Defense Ministry declared on Tuesday that the army has been deployed to the Bernese Highlands and the Valais region in the south to help evacuate people and livestock from villages cut off by the severe floods. So far, there have been no reported fatalities.