The Stream, October 28, 2020: Hurricane Zeta Projected To Hit Gulf Coast By Wednesday


  • Hurricane Zeta moves out of the Yucatan Peninsula and heads toward the Gulf Coast.
  • A new report shows how extreme weather patterns made 2019 one of the hottest years on record in Africa.
  • Some Flint City Council members refused to sign a confidentiality agreement before discussing a possible settlement of civil lawsuits related to the Flint water crisis.
  • Negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam are set to resume.

Ice has yet to freeze in Siberia for the first time in recorded history.

“2020 is another year that is consistent with a rapidly changing Arctic. Without a systematic reduction in greenhouse gases, the likelihood of our first ‘ice-free’ summer will continue to increase by the mid-21st century.” – Zachary Labe, a postdoctoral researcher at Colorado State University. For the first time since records began, Arctic sea ice in Siberia’s Leptev Sea has yet to start freezing in late October, the Guardian reports. Rising ocean and air temperatures are to blame for the late freeze, climate scientists said. Labe added that this type of activity should be expected as human-driven climate change is accelerated. Leptev Sea ice typically drifts across the Arctic and spreads nutrients to Arctic plankton. Without it, the entire Arctic ecosystem could be disrupted.


Tajikistan, “House of Water,” Where Half of the Population Lacks Access to Water

On New Year’s Eve 2019, Tayyib Safarov, a resident of Somoniyon, Tajikistan, a small village along the Kyrgyzstan border, went to collect water for her family. On route, she was shot dead.

No one has been arrested in Safarov’s death, but locals like Umedi Jahon believe she lost her life because of ongoing conflict over water access between the neighboring villages. Many Tajik residents lack proper access to clean water. They, like Safarov, travel great lengths – even crossing borders each day – to collect the water they need for cooking and cleaning.

In Case You Missed It:  

HotSpots H2O: Proposed Dams Strain Water Politics in Iraq – A proposal by Kurdistan officials to build dozens of dams as a response to water insecurity has caused concern in Iraq, reported DW. The dams could increase water shortages and lead to environmental degradation downstream in the vulnerable Mesopotamian marshes, critics argue.

Extreme Weather Patterns Plagued Africa in 2019, Report Says

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released a new multi-agency report, “State of the Climate in Africa 2019,” which outlines extreme weather patterns that resulted in one of the hottest years on record on the continent. Major weather events such as Tropical Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, along with severe droughts in large parts of the continent, complicated existing humanitarian hazards like conflict, instability and economic crises. The report found that food insecurity was on the rise after decades of decline due to flood and drought ruining crops and displacing millions. The report suggests several long-term solutions, including investing in clean energy, strengthening multi-hazard early warning systems and strengthening gender equality.


80 MPH

Hurricane Zeta made landfall in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula Monday night with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (129 kilometers per hour), CBS News reports. The system, which has become the 27th to be named in the Atlantic this year, weakened to a tropical storm as it moved through the peninsula but is expected to regain its strength as it travels over the Gulf of Mexico. As of Tuesday night, Zeta was centered about 450 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River and could make landfall in Louisiana Wednesday evening.


Three members of the Flint City Council said they won’t sign confidentiality agreements before discussions begin about a possible settlement of civil lawsuits related to the Flint water crisis, MLive reports. Members Monica Galloway, Jerri Winfrey-Carter and Maurice Davis also blocked what would have been a closed-door session to discuss the settlement that was scheduled for Monday, Oct. 26, citing concerns of a lack of transparency between the government and Flint residents. A $600 million settlement was proposed in August by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel, but the details of the settlement have remained few and far between. An initial summary of the settlement proposal included a general outline of the agreement broadly but did not include information on the attorneys’ compensation or the process for filing the claim.


Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan are set to resume negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on Tuesday, the AP reports. The chairman of the African Union, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, said the three countries seem ready to come to a “peaceful and amicable resolution” to issues over the dam. Ethiopia has celebrated the construction of the dam, citing the opportunity to provide economic growth and electricity to millions of its citizens, while Egypt and Sudan have pushed back on the project, fearing the dam will deplete their water supplies from the Nile River.

In context: HotSpots H2O: Tensions Rise in Horn of Africa as Ethiopia Fills Controversial Dam

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