Biblical events unfolding: Plagues Strike Egypt: Sudden Floods, Then 4-Inch Scorpions Called Deathstalkers
CAIRO — First came the lightning that strobe-lit the Nile skies a pale purply gray. What happened next checked all the boxes for a fierce storm: heavy rain, thunder and flash flooding that sent people scurrying for dry land and crumbled mud-brick houses around Aswan, the largest city in southern Egypt.
Then came the scorpions.
There were hundreds, if not thousands: yellowish four-inchers with as many as six pairs of eyes and a tail full of venom so toxic that the species is known, unscientifically, as the deathstalker.
Swept from their desert burrows by the rains, they came skittering into mountainside villages and burst into homes through cracks in the walls, stinging at least 503 people on Friday night alone, according to local officials.
“The floods in the villages of Aswan forced the scorpions out of their hide-outs, and they stung some people,” the administrator of a Facebook page dedicated to community news, Nubia, lamented after the waters had subsided. “O Allah, protect the land.”
In the final analysis, the storm that detonated over Aswan with biblical fury at about 9:30 p.m. on Friday inflicted its worst damage with flooding: Three people died, and local officials said 103 homes were partly or fully destroyed, though residents said the real toll was far greater.
On Monday, thousands of people were still doubling up with neighbors or sleeping outside as they tried to salvage whatever they could from the rubble. In a show of discontent rare for Egypt, where most dissent is suppressed by security forces, roughly a dozen protesters demonstrated in front of the Aswan governor’s office on Monday over the lack of electricity, water or any government assistance.
But it was the plague of scorpions that turned heads far from Aswan, a few hours south of the ancient temples of Luxor, where the Nileside pace of life is nonchalant, the small pastel-painted villages ramshackle and the weather dry — until Friday night.
We had severe high winds here, power outages and downed trees. I got my chainsaws out and got to work. But other parts of the state were hit far worse:
Major flooding has engulfed communities, while more than 170,000 customers are without power; British Columbia has also been severely impacted.
Parts of the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia can’t catch a break. Atmospheric rivers, or plumes of deep tropical moisture, have brought excessive rainfall, flooding and mudslides over the past several weeks. The latest, perhaps the most intense yet, lashed the region with downpours and damaging winds Monday.
The flooding was serious in parts of western Washington, inundating roads, homes and businesses while high winds cut power to more than 170,000 customers.
Some of the affected areas had seen more than three feet of water in the past month pushing river levels to all-time highs. Seattle had already clinched its third-wettest November on record and its wettest autumn on record is close to a lock.
‘Atmospheric river’ causes flooding, mudslides in British Columbia
Thousands of people are under evacuation order in southern British Columbia on Nov. 15 due to major flooding caused by an “atmospheric river.” (Justin Scuiletti/The Washington Post)
British Columbia also got walloped with record rainfall, flooding and high winds. Tens of thousands were without power in the Canadian Province, roads were closed and the city of Merritt, home to more than 7,000 people, was mostly underwater and had been evacuated.
Some of the worst flooding in northwest Washington was reported in Whatcom County, across the border from British Columbia.