Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Flooding, mudslides claim more than 300 lives in Sierra Leone

By Courtney Spamer, AccuWeather meteorologist
August 15,2017, 12:01:08PM,EDT
 Repeated plumes of moisture brought torrential rain to the west African country of Sierra Leone this week, claiming the lives of more than 300 people in and around the capital of Freetown, according to the Associated Press.
An estimated 600 people are still missing.
The rain fell at its heaviest on Sunday and Sunday night across the western coast of the country, where Freetown is located.
A partial collapse of Sugar Loaf mountain occurred around 6 a.m. local time on Monday, according to BBC. The mudslide buried homes in the Regent area of Freetown.
Rescue efforts began on Tuesday morning in an attempt to search through the rubble for survivors. Vice-President Victor Foh warned that the death toll may rise much higher.
Rescue workers gather at the summit of a mudslide in Regent, east of Freetown, Sierra Leone, Monday, Aug. 14 ,2017. (AP Photo/ Manika Kamara)

In addition to the estimated death toll, the Red Cross has estimated that more than 3,000 people were left homeless by the flooding and mudslides in the area. Many communities remain without electricity.
Sierra Leone is not unaccustomed to waves of heavy rain, especially during this time of year. It is this rain that pushes off the west coast of Africa and eventually forms tropical waves in the Atlantic. The middle of August into late September is often when the height of this moisture occurs.
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The plume of moisture helping to cause the flash flooding that occurred in Freetown is also responsible for a series of thunderstorm clusters that may spawn a tropical depression in the Atlantic later this week.
Waves of thunderstorms are expected to continue across the country through Wednesday night. More rounds of rain are possible into the weekend which could cause more mudslides in the already saturated soil.

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