Currently — May 5, 2023: Europe's new weather satellite and Rwanda floods

The weather, currently.

Europe has a brand-new weather satellite, and its first images are stunning. The hopes are that it will bring a forecasting revolution to Africa, too.

The new satellite, Meteosat-12, was launched back in December and is still in the testing phase, but the very first public images were revealed this week, showing swirls of white clouds across half the globe with the bright orange sands of the Sahara smack in the middle.

The new satellite was launched by a consortium of 30 European nations, but the primary benefit — in our opinion at least — will be the advent of near-real-time warnings for heavy rains and fast moving weather systems across Africa. For the first time, this satellite will be powerful enough to track rapidly developing severe thunderstorms — at four times the imaging resolution of the previous Meteosat satellite.

The first Meteosat was launched in 1977, and the new satellite is expected to stay in operation until at least 2025.

—Eric Holthaus

What you need to know, currently.

Flooding and landslides have killed over 130 people in Rwanda and Uganda, after weeks of torrential rain.

This is the worst flooding Rwanda has seen since May 2020, when about 80 people died. And because the soil stays soaked from previous days’ sustained rains, landslides are triggered, closing roads and displacing hundreds of people from their homes.

In a statement, Rwanda President Paul Kagame said his government is working on relief efforts, including burials and temporary relocations.

Both Rwanda and Uganda have been experiencing heavy rains since March and more downpours are expected throughout the rest of this month. It’s unusual for this time of year, but it’s been a much wetter spring than in previous years. As the world continues to warm, extreme,  excessive rainfall like this is more likely. Temperatures will continue to rise unless governments worldwide enact measures to heavily cut emissions.

—Aarohi Sheth

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