World weather news, December 2012
- Record high temperatures were tied or broken in over a dozen USA states from the Plains to the mid-Atlantic, including some all-time records for the month of December.
- The end of the 2012 hurricane season left an impression, as historic Sandy wreaked immense damage in the Northeast.
2012 tied 1887, 1995, 2010 and 2011 as the third most-active year on record in the Atlantic, with a total of 19 named storms in the Atlantic Basin. A normal hurricane season has around 12 storms, with around six hurricanes and close to three major hurricanes. The most active hurricane season was 2005, with 28 named storms, including Hurricane Katrina. In 2012 the peak hurricane intensity was as follows:
- Category 5 = 0
- Category 4 = 0
- Category 3 = 1
- Category 2 = 3
- Category 1 = 6
- Tropical storm = 9
- Powerful Typhoon Bopha has torn its way through the southern Philippines with winds as high as 130 mph at landfall.
The storm left at least 418 with many people reported missing.
By Tuesday evening, local time, the centre of the weakened Typhoon Bopha was near the southern end of Negros, about 350 miles south of Manila, heading towards the west-northwest at about 15 mph.
Bopha, keeping well south of Manila, was on track to clip the southwestern island of Palawan before entering the open South China Sea.
As Bopha bore down from the east, it was upgraded by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center to a "super typhoon", having Category-5 equivalent top sustained winds of about 160 mph.
It was the second stint of super typhoon status for Bopha, the other being on Sunday, as Bopha menaced Palau.
- Three people were killed and several injured after an unusual storm, described by witnesses as a "mini tornado", hit New Zealand's largest city of Auckland, toppling trees and ripping debris from a construction site.
The tornado, driven by a powerful storm cell, tore concrete slabs from a building site and dropped them onto a truck, killing two people inside.
Details on the third death were not immediately available. At least seven people injured in the storm were sent to hospital.
"I saw it coming across the river, the air went very electric and the sky went black. And then the wind started to whistle. This was like a juggernaut roaring through here," witness Suzanne McFadden told New Zealand's Newstalk ZB radio.
- Following the criticism of the National Hurricane Center's handling of Hurricane Sandy and the non-issuance of hurricane warnings north of North Carolina, it has been decided that the NHC will now have more flexibility in their policy regarding the issuance of advisories.
A spokesman for NWS said "A proposal was raised during the NOAA Hurricane Conference last week for NWS to have the option to issue hurricane and tropical storm watches and warnings for post-tropical cyclones that threaten life and property. This is one step in the process required before any proposed change to operational products becomes final. As part of our review of the 2012 hurricane season, including the Sandy service assessment, we will review all policies and changes through the existing and established process."
- Western and northern Argentina through much of Paraguay baked under a nearly overhead sun. Highest temperatures were over the dry inter-mountain basins of the Argentina Cuyo: 43.1C at La Rioja and 43.5C at Catamarca.
- Many eastern Canadians got their first true taste of winter early Monday as a storm spread snow, sleet and freezing rain from central Ontario to southern Quebec.
Widespread snowfall of 15-30 cm by Tuesday was forecast for a wide swathe of Quebec and Labrador.
- Tropical Claudia has been the second strong cyclone of the South Indian Ocean cyclone season. The first was Anais, which played out in mid-October north and northeast of the Mascarene Islands (Mauritius, Reunion).
Claudia was named on 7 December over the mid-Indian Ocean, southeast of Diego Garcia. Top sustained winds (1-minute average) were reckoned by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) to be 105 kn on Sunday into Monday.
- The last two weeks have had a number of snow outbreaks, some of heavy snow, across central and eastern Europe. Southern Germany, eastern Sweden, western Ukraine, western Russia and parts of the Balkan Peninsula are among the snowy spots.
Not surprisingly, the cold has coincided with a sharp cold outbreak. A wide area of europe has been 2 to 5 degC colder than normal since the start of December. Scandinavia and Finland, however, have been 5 to 10 degC colder than usual.
Blizzards blocked roads, stranded villages, disrupted power supplies and temporarily shut down an airport in the Balkans, the fourth straight day of tough winter weather in the region of southeastern Europe.
In one of the worst-hit areas, snowdrifts and avalanches blocked roads in hilly northern Montenegro, where about 1 m of snow fell overnight.
Across the border in southwestern Serbia, heavy snowfall blocked roads to more than a dozen villages, with some left without electricity and schools being closed for the rest of the week.
At least nine deaths across the region have been blamed on the snow and deep freeze, with temperatures as low as -15C.
To the south, in Kosovo, heavy snow blocked villages in the west, toward the border with Albania, where classes in local schools were suspended.
The milder climates of Montenegro's capital, Podgorica, and the nation's Adriatic coast usually escape tough winter weather, but snow is blanketing Podgorica, too, and closed its airport for much of the day on Tuesday.
In Bosnia, some areas were left without electricity. And in Croatia, doctors warned the elderly and sick to stay indoors as hospitals reported dozens of cases of broken limbs from falls on the ice and snow.
In southern Germany, snow depth reached 82 cm Tuesday at Oberstdorf.
Zugspitze mountain, Germany's highest, has picked up a hefty dose of snow lately. Since Sunday alone, snow depth has risen from 125 cm to 170 cm.
- Cold, continental air flowing over the Yellow Sea gave the Korean Peninsula its first widespread snow cover last week.
Snow has also fallen as low as sea level in western and northern Japan, as the first widespread "sea-effect" snows hit the country. By Tuesday, Sapporo had built up a 27 cm snow cover. Also in Hokkaido, but inland, Asahikawa has had as much as 50 cm of snow cover since late last week.
The cold has been significant. Seoul, South Korea, has been an average of 5.3 degC colder than normal for the first 10 days of December. Average temperature in Beijing, China, has been 3.1 degC below normal.
- At least 170 flights in London have been cancelled and others delayed after a shroud of icy-cold fog settled over much of England.
At Heathrow Airport, about 150 flights were cancelled, with more than 20 more being scrubbed at London City Airport.
Slow-moving, strengthening Tropical Cyclone Evan has dealt out destructive winds and flooding rain in the state of Samoa.
At least two people in the state of Samoa have been killed with widespread damage reported around the capital of Apia.
Winds and rains of Evan also swept over Pago Pago in neighboring American Samoa, which was bracing for a landfall later in the day.
Winds toppled trees and power lines, as crops and buildings were damaged or destroyed by the storm, called the worst to hit Samoa in 20 years.
Tropical Cyclone Evan made landfall on the island of Upolu, home to Apia, by early Thursday morning, Eastern Time. Highest sustained winds at the time were 80 kn.
- Tropical Cyclone Evan has crossed Fiji, leaving a trail of destruction. Evan, which smashed homes, flattened trees and triggered flooding, was called the worst cyclone to strike Fiji in 20 years. Thousands of people had fled ahead of the storm, which last week left a trail of destruction in Samoa. The powerful storm's eye clipped the western shore of Viti Levu, the "big island" of Fiji and home to Nadi. The nation's biggest airport, located at Nadi, registered hurricane gusts for at least six hours; one gust reached 104 mph.
- This year's Antarctic ozone hole was smaller than in recent years, both in terms of area and depth. Using information gathered from the ground, from weather balloons and from satellites, the Bulletin said that the ozone hole area reached zero on 10
November - earlier than in recent years. The reason for the weak ozone hole this year is twofold:
Firstly, relatively warm temperatures in the stratosphere (around 20 km altitude) limited the formation of polar stratospheric clouds which, through a chemical chain reaction between water, nitric acid and halogenated reservoir gases cause ozone loss. In this respect, the 2012 ozone hole was similar to the one in 2010, when a sudden stratospheric warming in July/August gave rise to a smaller amount of polar stratospheric clouds than usual.
Secondly, the polar vortex - a large low-pressure system where high speed winds (polar jet) in the stratosphere circle the Antarctic continent - was also relatively perturbed and this led to ozone rich air being transported in from lower latitudes. This transport of ozone rich air affected in particular the stratosphere at around 25 km altitude, which is above the region where most of the ozone loss takes place, which is typically in the 14-20 km height range. Ozone loss in the 14-20 km region took place at nearly the same extent as in recent
- After a busy evening of severe weather and tornadoes, 34 tornadoes were reported from Texas to Alabama, with high winds affecting the same areas, plus Florida. At least 14 people were injured and one man killed.
- A powerful winter storm system pounded the American heartland before barrelling into the north-east, where residents faced high winds and heavy snow that disrupted holiday travel, knocked out power to thousands of homes and were blamed in at least six deaths. More than 1,600 flights were cancelled or delayed on Wednesday, scores of motorists got stuck on icy roads or slid into drifts, and blizzard warnings were issued on Thursday, amid snowy gusts of 30mph that blanketed roads and windshields.
- Tropical Cyclone Freda has brought heavy rainfall to the Solomon Islands and continues to churn over the open Coral Sea. The storm ripped through the Solomon Islands, bringing heavy rain and damaging winds as it passed from north to south over the collection of islands. While not nearly as destructive as Evan was across Fiji or Samoa, the storm still caused flooding and wind damage. While tracking near the Islands of Makira and Rennell, both of which house major populations, the storm was expected to bring sustained winds of 60 mph, with higher gusts. Some locations easily saw over 10 inches of rain thanks to the slow moving nature of the storm.
- Chicago broke the all-time record streak of days without a sub-freezing maximum temperature on the 30th. Sunday was the 309th straight day with a high at 32 F or higher, a record that will be extended by one day later today before colder air arrives on 1 January.
- 2012 has been officially named the warmest year on record in the contiguous United States, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced. In November, when temperature trends showed October to be the fifth warmest across the globe since record. The average temperature for 2012 (excluding Alaska and Hawaii) 12.9C or 1.8 degC above the 20th-century average, and 0.56 degC above 1998, the previous warmest year. Every contiguous U.S. state had an above-average annual temperature for 2012, with 19 states boasting a record warm year and an additional 26 states experiencing one of their 10 warmest in 2012. Last year also was second only to 1998 in terms of extreme climate, as measured by U.S. Climate Extremes Index, which takes into account factors like high temperatures, dry spells and rainy periods. The historic ranking for 2012 was driven mostly by warm daytime maximum temperatures, warm night-time maximum temperatures as well as the footprint of the drought that swept much of the country.
World weather news, November 2012
- High tides have flooded Venice, leading Venetians and tourists to don high boots and use wooden walkways to cross St. Mark's Square and other areas under water.
Flooding is common this time of year and Thursday's level that reached a peak of 55 inches (140 centimeters) was below the 63 inches (160 centimeters) recorded four years ago in the worst flooding in decades.
Still some shops and ground-floor apartments were flooded.
Moveable barriers that would rise from the sea bed to protect Venice from high tides have been in the works for years but will not be operational before 2014.
- The total in New York City's Central Park stands at 4.7 inches when the snow from early this morning is added in,
as a result of the Nor'easter. Since record-keeping began in 1869, Central Park has never measured more than 3 inches of snow this early in the snowfall season. Nov. 23, 1989, previously held that distinction with 4.4 inches.
The 4.7 inches at Central Park now makes this month tied with November 1989 as New York City's sixth snowiest November on record. November 1898 sits at the top of that list with 19.0 inches.
Other nor'easter snowfall totals, as of 10 a.m. EST Thursday, include
Freehold (NJ) 13.0 inches and Clintonville (Conn) 13.5 inches. Along the east coast of the USA, snow fell from Maryland to Maine.
- Bad news for coffee aficionados - According to a study conducted by scientists at the United Kingdom's Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, wild Arabica coffee could go the way of the dodo well before the turn of the century, thanks to a familiar culprit: Climate change.
In their simulation, researchers ran multiple computer models to forecast how wild Arabica would be affected under three different carbon emission scenarios. The team found that in the best-case scenario, wild yields of the flavorful beans would see reductions of 65 percent by 2080. In the worst-case scenario? As the world heats up, wild Arabica essentially wouldn't survive, reaching near extinction-levels - with a reduction of 99.7 percent - by 2080. Farm-grown Arabica currently provides about 70 percent of the world's coffee.
- Environment Canada says warm weather that's had people in some parts of Ontario and Quebec donning shorts and T-shirts is forecast to cool off in the coming days.
Much of Central Canada saw a burst of unseasonable heat that remains in many areas today; temperatures in some areas peaked at almost 20C.
- One of Rome's most historic bridges was closed on Wednesday as the swollen Tiber River roared through the capital and flooded outlying neighbourhoods.
The Tiber's muddied waters rose to fill some of the supporting arches of the Ponte Milvio.
In Rome's northern outskirts, drainage pipes, irrigation canals and sewers backed up, flooding streets that feed into the country's main north-south highway and blocking traffic.
Storms that hit northern and central Italy at the weekend caused huge damage, washing out roads and isolating towns in southern Tuscany. Four people died there, including three electric company workers whose car fell off a collapsed bridge.
The river city of Venice was hardest hit by heavy rainfall as flood waters in the city on Sunday reached its sixth highest level since records began in 1872, according to the Italian Weather Service, and the highest since 2008. St Marks's Square and other low-lying areas were under so much water that some tourists were able to swim there. On the 12th Orbetello San Donato recorded 342.8 mm (previous November daily record 185 mm 03/11/1966).
Also affected were: Tuscany, Umbria and Liguria. Near Orvieto dozens of people were rescued from the waters after they took refuge on the roofs of their houses.
- Flights to and from Heathrow and London City airports have been disrupted because of fog.
Heathrow cancelled 78 services while London City Airport cancelled at least 20 flights across the day.
The Woolwich Ferry service in London was suspended during the morning rush hour but services were later resumed.
- Several consecutive days of heavy rainfall have led to devastating flooding across much of northern and central Italy.
For many, Thursday marked a fifth consecutive day with over a half of an inch (13 mm) of rainfall.
Some Italian meteorological officials blame global warming for the marked increase and ferocity of storms in recent years, noting that November precipitation totals have exceeded 100 mm 11 times in the last 40 years and seven times since 1999. The country averages 80 mm of rain for the month.
A tornado in southern Portugal on the Algarve damaged cars and vans; some with people still in them were blown into the air. Carvoeiro and Lagoa - between Portimão and Faro.
Eight people were injured and had to be hospitalized. Some places suffered from flooding. T
- The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2011, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Between 1990 and 2011 there was a 30% increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate - because of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases.
Since the start of the industrial era in 1750, about 375 billion tonnes of carbon have been released into the atmosphere as CO2, primarily from fossil fuel combustion, according to WMO’s 2011 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, which had a special focus on the carbon cycle. About half of this carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere, with the rest being absorbed by the oceans and terrestrial biosphere.
- High water has "cut off" areas of southwestern England after torrential rain pelted the U.K.
Flood warnings were posted for the South West, Midlands and other areas of England.
Flooding shut schools, blocked some roadways and hampered public transportation in the area.
Fire services in Devon and Somerset were called 18 times to rescue people from flooded cars.
Some villages in the area were made "impassible" by high water.
- A bitter cold blast is headed to Chicago, but not until after the city experiences one of its top-five warmest Thanksgivings.
The warmth will peak on Thanksgiving Day as temperatures soar to 61 degrees.
Such a high would make this Thursday tie Nov. 26, 1998, for the distinction of being Chicago's fifth-warmest Thanksgiving since record-keeping began in 1873. Nov. 24, 1966, sits at the top of that list with a high of 69 degrees.
- Torrential rain and high winds across much of the UK have resulted in widespread flooding.
A man died in floods in Chew Stoke near Bath on Thursday as downpours led to evacuations and road closures.
There are 86 flood warnings in force in England, Wales and Scotland.
Whitesands in Dumfries flooded for the second time in seven days, and about 500 homes in the region lost power after a lightning strike.
Fire crews have rescued a man who became trapped in his car in rising waters on the A45 at Stone, Staffordshire.
Ten elderly people were evacuated from their homes in Exeter after a 20ft (6m) wall collapsed at about 20:20 GMT on Thursday. Hundreds of tones of rubble was dislodged and no-one was hurt.
About 60 residents of the Billing Aquadrome caravan park in Northamptonshire spent the night in a nearby leisure centre after flooding forced them to leave.
In Wales, emergency rest centres were opened at Llandudno Junction, Caernarfon and Bangor overnight after drivers on the A55 in north-west Wales were forced to abandon their cars.
Winds gusting at about 90 mph battered south west Wales. In one major incident, the emergency services including an RAF Sea King helicopter rescued a driver trapped in her car in deep, fast-flowing water in a swollen river at St Clears, Carmarthenshire.
Train services between Bangor and Holyhead are suspended due to flooding on the tracks near Bodorgan. Arriva Trains Wales and Virgin trains are continuing to terminate trains at Gaerwen.
Between Devon and Somerset, 12 separate areas of rail track were impassable, and the line was likely to be closed for the next two days, said a First Great Western spokesman.
In Bath, a landslip at Upper Camden Place forced the overnight evacuation of the houses below. It was caused by a 7ft (2m) boulder becoming dislodged from a supporting wall.
In Ulverston, Cumbria, a hospice was evacuated after a nearby stream burst its banks, flooding bedrooms and offices.
- Two people have died and dozens were injured after a massive crash on a foggy highway in the U.S. state of Texas. More than 100 vehicles collided and more than 50 people had to be hospitalized, with at least eight in a critical condition according to local media.
- Blood-red water has left popular beaches closed to swimmers in and about Sydney, Australia.
The "red tides," a rare natural phenomenon, were the result of algal blooms.
The famous Bondi Beach was among the popular strands closed to swimmers, owing to health fears.
Contact with the algae can irritate skin and eyes. It is also known to cause fish kills and to render shellfish harmful to eat.
Visitors told of the crimson water's "fishy smell," and of its looking like "tomato sauce."
- Permafrost lands across Siberia and Alaska that contain vast stores of carbon are beginning to thaw, bringing with it the threat of a big increase in global warming by 2100, a U.N. report said.
A thaw of the vast areas of permanently frozen ground in Russia, Canada, China and the United States also threatens local homes, roads, railways and oil pipelines, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said in the report which was released at the U.N. climate talks being held this week and next in Qatar.
"Permafrost has begun to thaw," Kevin Schaefer, lead author at the University of Colorado told a news conference in Doha.
An accelerating melt would free vast amounts of carbon dioxide and methane which has been trapped in organic matter in the subsoil, often for thousands of years, the report said.
- Roof damage, broken trees and blackouts are the main impacts, following a blast of high winds in Australia's western metropolis of Perth.
No injuries were reported.
The high winds collapsed a chimney and tore off part of the roof of the Terrace Hotel.
Roof damage also hit homes and schools in the area.
Power was blacked out to more than 50,000 properties across the region.
Weather observations posted on the BoM website showed top winds of at least 63 knots at Rottnest Island.
- A large tornado tore through the southern Italian city of Taranto, hitting Europe's largest steel plant, with reports of 20 injuries.
- Parts of eastern Australia are sweltering as heatwave conditions take hold.
In Mildura, the temperature is expected to hit 44 degrees today, with 43 expected in Swan Hill and Nhill, 42 in Horsham, 41 in Echuca and 40 in many other cities and towns, including Bendigo, Shepparton, Warrnambool and Rutherglen.
V/Line trains across Victoria will be running at a slower speed, as required when the temperature hits 36 degrees.
A reading of 114.4C at Ouyen set a new high November temperature record for the state of Victoria. The standing state record of 45.0C was set in the early 1900s.
- Moscow was hit by more than 20 cm of snowfall, causing hundreds of flights to be delayed at the capital's three major airports.
Delays affected both arrivals and departures, according to the online information boards for Domodedovo, Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo airports.
Snow squalls began Wednesday afternoon in Moscow and the Moscow region, prompting the Emergency Situations Ministry to issue a warning of possible blizzard conditions.
World weather news, October 2012
- Dangerous animals, including crocodiles, snakes and hippos, have found their way into homes and communities in central Nigeria after devastating flooding, residents say.
The creatures were carried along flood-swollen rivers.
"There is now a hippopotamus in [my] house," Benue state resident Wuese Jirake told the BBC. "I hope that when it is tired, it may leave my home."
Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced by the flooding.
Hundreds also died in the worst flooding in decades.
Vast tracts of farmland have been completely destroyed.
- As temperatures generally head down across the nation this week, the Southwest USA will buck the trend and continue warming up.
The 90s and 100s that were felt in some areas this weekend will be commonplace early this week across many areas, most notably in California where the warmth will be nearly unprecedented for this time of the year.
In Fresno, it was the hottest start to October in 25 years.
- The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has released a detailed
analysis of the 2012 Arctic sea ice extent, which reached a record low. (link to article) http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ .
By contrast, winter sea ice extent in Antarctica has reached a record high. The
Antarctic extent increase is an probable response to changes in circulation
patterns in the Southern Hemisphere, according to NSIDC.
Arctic sea ice extent averaged for September 2012 was 3.61 million square
kilometres. This was 3.43 million square kilometres below the average for 1979
to 2000, the period of available sea observations form space, and 690,000 square kilometres less than the previous record low for the month that occurred in
- Damaging winds, some clocked above hurricane force, raked Australia's island state of Tasmania.
Winds downed trees and power lines, sparking several fires.
Diverted and canceled flights caused a backlog of passengers through the Hobart airport.
High winds to 85 mph were clocked at Droughty Hill, weather observations posted on the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) website indicated.
Homes and other residential property "bore the brunt of the damage,",
Power was blacked out to at least 9,000 customers in southern Tasmania, and continued high winds dogged crews in their struggle to restore power.
- While Nadine continues its reign in the Central Atlantic, Oscar has become the 15th named storm of the season. A large non-tropical storm that will influence the tropics is also gathering steam in the North Atlantic.
Tropical Depression 15 formed Wednesday midday, Oct. 3, 2012 from a tropical wave about half way between Africa and the Lesser Antilles. The system was upgraded to Tropical Storm Oscar late on Wednesday evening.
- The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Nadine has finally dissipated after spinning for more than three weeks across the Eastern Atlantic, but with only limited impact on land.
The National Hurricane Center, which is a WMO Regional Specialized Meteorological Center, issued a total 88 hurricane advisories about Nadine, which affected the Azores twice. Nadine will tie Ginger of 1971 as the second-longest Atlantic tropical storm on record at 21.25 days.
The record for the longest-lasting tropical storm in the Atlantic basin is 28 days, set by the "San Ciriaco Hurricane" of 1899.
Hurricane/Typhoon John holds the global record for the longest-lasting tropical cyclone at 31 days from 10 August to 10 September 1994. John was also the farthest-travelling cyclone, with a path of 13,280 kilometers from the eastern Pacific to the western Pacific and back to the central Pacific. Because it existed in both the eastern and western Pacific, John was one of the few tropical cyclones to be classed both as a hurricane and a typhoon. It barely affected land.
- Tropical Storm Gaemi developed in the South China Sea on Sept. 29. Since then, it has meandered to the east, stalling just west of the Philippines before turning back to the west on a track toward Vietnam.
While being stalled near the Philippines, Gaemi led to flooding problems in the north and west, including the capital city of Manilla where more than 4 inches of rain fell earlier this week.
The flooding was severe enough to cancel afternoon classes as well as some flights at the international airport.
Gaemi made landfall early Sunday (local time) as a tropical storm in Vietnam.
- Seattle and Portland will soon see the return of something that has been absent since mid-summer - significant rain.
July 20 was the last time Seattle recorded more than a tenth of an inch of rain (0.60 of an inch fell that day). That date for Portland is July 15 when 0.11 of an inch fell, but June 30 is the most recent date the city registered over 0.25 of an inch.
The dry stretch of weather has actually become historic for both Seattle and Portland.
Saturday marked the first time in Seattle's recorded history that 76 days elapsed with a rainfall total of only 0.03 of an inch. The city typically receives nearly three inches during those 76 days.
For Portland, the period from July to September is officially the driest on record. A total of 0.25 of an inch of rain fell during those months at the city's airport, well below the 2.45 inches that is normal.
Portland's driest July to September record was previously set in 1952 with 0.51 of an inch.
- Summer visitation to many top UK attractions was significantly lower than usual amid abnormally rainy weather.
According to a U.K. tourist association, outdoor sites bore the brunt of the drop in visits amid "appalling weather," the BBC News website said on Monday.
While the fall in the number of visits was noted through England and Scotland, the London area apparently took the greatest hit.
Summer visitor numbers to "garden" and "leisure" sites were 21 percent lower than usual, followed closely by the "heritage and cathedral" sector, which saw 20 percent fewer visits, the Association for Leading Visitor Attractions (Alva) indicated.
- An unusually cold storm in southern Australia has dished out the first October snow in a century.
Snow whitened the ground along the Mount Lofty and southern Flinders ranges, east and north of Adelaide, South Australia.
The snow and cold rain stemmed from a storm that swept in from the Southern Ocean, which separates Australia from Antarctica.
- Overnight storms injured at least seven people overnight in a front that swept from Mississippi to Missouri. There were also reports of homes and structures damaged in several states.
There are preliminary reports of six tornadoes in Eastern Arkansas and Northern Mississippi.
- The massive 2012 drought in the USA continued its slow retreat this week, though it continued to affect about five-eighths of the contiguous U.S. land mass, according to the latest weekly update from the U.S. Drought Monitor.
The percentage of the contiguous 48 states in drought fell just over one percentage point to about 62% this week, according to the multi-agency Drought Monitor report. Still, this is the 15th consecutive week above the 60% threshold, a level that had never previously been exceeded in the 12-year history of the analysis.
- The UK has just experienced its "weirdest" weather on record, scientists have confirmed.
The driest spring for over a century gave way to the wettest recorded April to June in a dramatic turnaround never documented before.
The scientists said there was no evidence of a link to manmade climate change.
But they say we must now plan for periodic swings of drought conditions and flooding.
The warning came from the Environment Agency, Met Office and Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) at a joint briefing in London.
Terry Marsh from the CEH said there was no close modern precedent for the extraordinary switch in river flows. The nearest comparison was 1903 but this year was, he said, truly remarkable.
What was also remarkable - and also fortunate - was that more people did not suffer from flooding. Indeed, one major message of the briefing was that society has been steadily increasing its resilience to floods.
- They were forged in an unusual weather system lurking deep in the super-cold stratosphere - golf ball-sized hailstones that shattered windows, dented cars and smashed windscreens.
In Gauteng, Ekurhuleni felt the brunt of the hailstorm on Saturday night. It was this same weather system, said forecasters, that was to blame for other adverse weather conditions across the country.
The system is called a cut-off low, which is made up of cold moist air riding high in the stratosphere, between 12km and 15km up.
The adverse weather experienced over the eastern parts of Gauteng was high winds and large hailstones.
Some claimed the hail was the size of golf balls, while others said they were bigger - more like tennis balls.
No casualties were reported, he said.
This system also caused the adverse weather conditions in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.
The Eastern Cape was the worst hit at the weekend, with severe flooding.
Sections of the N2 were closed to traffic after part of the highway collapsed, leaving a hole 25m wide and 50m deep between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown.
- Murjan was making a unusual tropical cyclone in that it made landfall in Somalia.
Ahead of landfall, top sustained winds were pegged at 40 mph, or marginally above the tropical storm threshold.
Drenching thunderstorms had already spread ashore in northern Somalia, ahead of Murjan, as it was being upgraded to named storm status.
Since 1945, when detailed historical records began, about 10 tropical cyclones, mostly depressions or moderate tropical storms, have tracked near Socotra and Somalia, "best track data" from the JTWC shows. Only a few of these made landfall.
- Hurricane Sandy hit Cuba, slamming the island with winds that reached 110 miles per hour and leaving a trail of destruction, especially in the historic city of Santiago de Cuba.
Cuban television showed fallen trees, damaged buildings and debris-choked streets in the country's second largest city, which took a direct hit when the storm came ashore in the early morning hours.
After striking Jamaica, Sandy strengthened as it crossed warm Caribbean waters and roared ashore just west of Santiago de Cuba, raking the 498-year-old city with heavy rains and wind gusts that exceeded 150 mph in higher elevations.
- As the United States braced for hurricane Sandy, the Caribbean nations that have already faced its fury were burying the dead, finding shelter for the homeless and counting the economic cost of the fiercest winds and rain that many have seen in a decade.
At least 69 people have died in six countries since the end of last week as Sandy ripped its way northwards with gusts in excess of 110mph and downpours that engulfed homes, crops and roads.
Hardest hit is Haiti with 52 confirmed dead and at least a dozen more missing as flimsy buildings were engulfed in mudslides or swept out to sea by flood tides.
Cuba is also picking up the pieces after extensive loss of life and economic impacts. The Communist party newspaper Granma reported 11 dead and damage to 137,000 homes. It said recovery would take years.
- Sandy produced long-duration, record high waves on lower Lake Michigan earlier this week.
According to the National Weather Service, the highest recorded wave height on the south mid-lake Michigan buoy during Sandy was 21.7 feet, at 11:50 a.m. CDT, Tues., Oct. 30.
This is the second-highest wave height on record, which spans approximately 31 years. The record of 22.9 feet on Sept. 30, 2011 still stands.
- Tropical Cyclone Nilam has unleashed torrential rain and damaging winds as it landed in southeastern India.
Landfall was within 50 miles south of Chennai (Madras), in northern Tamil Nadu state.
storm left at least two people dead, including a crew member of an oil tanker that ran aground off Chennai.
Rain lashed the region and strong winds uprooted trees in some places. Forecasters said the storm had maximum winds of 45 miles per hour after making landfall.
State authorities turned 282 schools into relief centres in Chennai. The city's port halted cargo operations and 23 ships were moved to safer areas.
About 150,000 people were moved to shelters in Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh state.
In Sri Lanka, authorities said two people were killed and thousands displaced due to heavy rain and strong winds from the storm.
Sri Lanka's Disaster Management Centre said 4,627 people across the island had been displaced by flooding, while 56 were evacuated in the central region because of threats of landslides.
- Numerous reports and descriptions will be found elsewhere in the web - so here are a few statistics from the storm as it affected the USA.
- Air pressure
- Sandy is not the strongest hurricane north of Cape Hatteras.
A near-record low barometric pressure occurred with Sandy offshore Monday afternoon. The pressure bottomed at 27.76 inches (940.1 mb). For a storm north of Cape Hatteras, N.C., Hurricane Gladys of 1977 holds the record at 27.73 inches (939 mb). Gladys was a Category 4 hurricane which remained off the coast of the U.S.
However, Sandy had the lowest pressure of any storm that made landfall north of Cape Hatteras. This includes the 1938 New England Hurricane with 27.96 inches (946.8 mb). 1954's Hazel, which had lower pressure at 27.67 inches (937 mb), made landfall south of Cape Hatteras.
- Highest rainfall totals by state include
Andrews AFB, Md.: 15.3 ins (388 mm, unconfirmed);
Easton, Md.: 12.55 ins (319 mm);
Wildwood Crest, N.J.: 11.67 ins (296 mm);
Virginia Beach, Va.: 9.57 ins (243 mm);
Milford, Del.: 9.55 ins (242 mm);
Maysville, W.Va.: 7.75 ins (197 mm);
Hanover, Pa.: 7.61 ins (193 mm);
Washington, D.C.: 5.44 ins (138 mm).
- Highest wind gusts by state include
Eatons Neck, N.Y.: 81 kn;
Montclair, N.J.: 76 kn;
Westerly, R.I.: 75 kn;
Madison, Conn.: 74 kn;
Cuttyhunk, Mass.: 72 kn;
Allentown, Pa.: 70 kn,
- Greatest snow amounts by state include
Mt. Leconte, Tenn.: 86 cm;
Clayton, W.Va.: 83 cm;
Redhouse, Md.: 74 cm;
Haywood County, N.C.: 61 cm;
Norton, Va.: 61 cm.
- Charleston, W.Va. had its snowiest October on record with 10.1" (.7" on the 29th and 9.4" on the 30th). The old record for snowiest October was 2.8" during 1961.
- Large waves
12 m about 800 km miles southeast of Atlantic City, N.J.;
9.9 m just outside New York Harbor entrance;
6.6 m on lower Lake Michigan.
- Greatest storm surges include
The Battery, N.Y.: about 2.7 m above normal;
Kings Point, N.Y.: about 3.8 m above normal;
New Haven, Conn.: about 2.7 m above normal.
- Record low pressure readings (on land) include
Atlantic City, N.J.: 948.3 mb;
Philadelphia, Pa.: 953 mb;
Harrisburg, Pa.: 963 mb;
Scranton, Pa.: 971 mb;
Trenton, N.J.: 958 mb;
Baltimore, Md.: 965 mb;
Harrisburg, Pa.: 964 mb.
- Some other effects
- About 8.5 million lost power; by comparison, Hurricane Ike had 7.5 million over the entire path.
- The massive storm that started out as Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast and morphed into a huge and problematic system, killing at least 75 people in the United States.
- In Massachusetts the storm shifted a dead whale that had been left to rot on the shoreline to a spot where scientists can now recover the bones before it is buried.
- In New Hampshire a "microburst" from vestiges of the storm toppled pines onto lake cottages. Trick-or-treating postponed to Sunday.
- Odd North Carolina the sea search continues for the captain of a tall ship (a replica of 'The Bounty') that sank.
- After 16 consecutive months of above-average temperatures, the U.S. enjoyed a cooldown in October. According to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, temperatures averaged across the contiguous 48 states were slightly below average for the first time since May 2011.
NCDC's State of the Climate report said the average temperature over the Lower 48 was 53.9°F, only 0.3°F below the long-term average.
But this was a marked contrast to month after month of unusual heat that has gripped the nation so far this year. Each of the first nine months of 2012 were among the 20 warmest when compared to their respective peers on the calendar (for example, comparing September to other Septembers since 1895).
World weather news, September 2012
- A stormy August has led to above-normal rainfall and record amounts of thunder across the "Entertainment Capital of the World."
In a statement released by the National Weather Service in Las Vegas, the city recorded 13 thunderstorm days during the month of August.
A thunderstorm day is defined as the number of days that thunder is heard at the official observing station. That observing station is located at McCarran International Airport.
The 13 thunderstorm days during August broke the old record of 12 days which was set back in 1955.
- Scientists in the Arctic are warning that this summer's record-breaking melt is part of an accelerating trend with profound implications.
Norwegian researchers report that the sea ice is becoming significantly thinner and more vulnerable.
Last month, the annual thaw of the region's floating ice reached the lowest level since satellite monitoring began, more than 30 years ago.
The melt is set to continue for at least another week - the peak is usually reached in mid-September - while temperatures here remain above freezing.
- Two rare tornadoes have hit the New York City borough of Queens and Brooklyn, damaging homes, causing blackouts and throwing debris into the air.
No injuries were reported, but the storms forced the suspension of the US Open tennis tournament.
- After a 12-day run through the Atlantic and a dance with Bermuda, former hurricane Leslie buffeted Newfoundland with storm surge, flooding rain, pounding surf and high winds.
Most of the hurricane-force wind gusts were confined to coastal areas along the Avalon Peninsula.
A wind gust of 132 km/h was measured in St. John's, Newfoundland, shortly after 7 a.m. ET on Tuesday.
The interaction with a cold front to the west not only delivered windswept rain in parts of Newfoundland, but also torrential downpours to Nova Scotia.
Twillingate and Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland received 47 mm and 38 mm of rain respectively. Tracadie, Nova Scotia picked up 116 mm with 112 mm falling on Caribou Point, Nova Scotia.
- A World Meteorological Organization panel has concluded that the all-time heat record held for exactly 90 years by El Azizia in Libya is invalid because of an error in recording the temperature. The announcement follows a danger-fraught investigation during the 2011 Libyan revolution. Death Valley National Park in California, USA, now officially holds the title of the world’s hottest place - as symbolic for meteorologists as Mt. Everest is for geographers.
During 2010-2011, a WMO Commission of Climatology special international panel of experts conducted an in-depth investigation of the long-held world-record temperature extreme of 58C (136.4F). That temperature (often cited by numerous sources as the highest surface temperature for the planet) was recorded at El Azizia, approximately 40 kilometres south-southwest of Tripoli on 13 September 1922. The investigation was conducted with the support of the Libyan National Meteorological Centre for the WMO Commission of Climatology World Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes (http://wmo.asu.edu/), the official WMO world meteorology-verified record of weather and climate extremes.
- This month, Russia's Vostok station has registered some remarkably low late-winter temperatures, even for the coldest known spot on Earth.
As of today, the average temperature for the month so far was -73.0C, or -6.7 degC below normal.
Three nights have have seen the temperature break through the -80C mark. Coldest of these, on Sept. 15, bottomed at -84.2C.
The station's lowest September temperature on record is -85.6C, the Vostok Wikipedia entry says.
- Hurricane gusts and flooding rains pounded areas of Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and southern Brazil as a severe storm blew up along the South American coast.
At least seven storm deaths were reported.
The website showed pictures of toppled trees and a boat washed ashore in hard-hit Uruguay.
Winds were as high as 150 km/h according to multiple media reports.
In the southern Brazil state of Rio Grande do Sul, rainfall exceeded 175 mm at Encruzilhado do Sul and was almost as high in Porto Alegre.
In Uruguay, the storm prompted a "red alert" by the government for southern and eastern districts, including Montevideo.
High tides were caused by the storm's powerful southeasterly winds piling Atlantic Ocean water into the Plata estuary.
These storms are known by the Spanish name "sudestada," which means, essentially, "southeaster." The are analogous to the "Nor'easter" of North America's Eastern Seaboard.
The storm began to form Tuesday over northeastern Argentina, as a cool outbreak from the south met a full-blown heat wave to farther north. Tuesday night, the clash of contrasts bred flooding cloudbursts in southern Brazil.
- lightning strike has caused a fire at Venezuela's El Palito refinery.
The bolt hit two storage tanks.
- At least nine climbers have been killed and another four are missing after one of the deadliest avalanches in recent years tore down a Himalayan peak obliterating everything in its path.
One tented camp nearly 7,000 metres above sea level was levelled and a second, 500 metres further down, was damaged.
- Nearly 1.5 million people have been forced to leave their homes by floods in the north-eastern state of Assam, officials say.
Eleven people have died in separate incidents of drowning in the past week, disaster management officials said in a statement.
Eighteen of 27 districts have been inundated by flood waters.
In July floods in Assam killed more than 100 people and forced over five million people to leave their homes.
The state government had said the July floods were the worst in the state since 1998.
Heavy monsoon rains have been again battering Assam for the past week and led to a second round of massive flooding.
- Coming off one of the worst droughts in state history, parts of the Lone Star state have recently been dealing with more rain than they know what to do with.
The downpours experienced over the three days have not only broken records, but dropped more rain in just 72 hours than was seen in all of 2011 in some locations!
It was the third wettest day ever in Midland on the 28th.
Three-day rainfall totals ranged from 2 to as much as 7 inches over a large part of Texas, especially throughout the central and southern parts of the state.
- As a result of unusually good rains and ecological conditions this summer, a second generation of Desert Locust breeding started this month in northeast Mali, in northern and central Niger and in northeastern Chad, according to the Food and Agriculture’s Locust watch. Hatching is likely to commence in the coming days in these countries. Hoppers are expected to be present during September and October, and fledging could start by mid-October, leading to an increase in the number of adults during the second half of October and in November.
- Typhoon Jelawat in the Western Pacific is forecast to curve toward the Japan mainland, although it lost its super typhoon status on Friday.
As of Saturday, Jelawat was briskly moving northeastward, moving through the Ryukyu Islands. Maximum sustained winds were near 105 mph, with gusts to 125 mph. Estimated seas near and just northeast of the centre of circulation were around 30 feet.
While not making a direct hit on Tawain, Jelawat delivered over a foot of rain on some of the mountains in the islands.
Jelawat weakened Friday afternoon and Friday night, but still produced heavy rain and damaging winds the the Ryukyu Islands. At Naha on Okinawa Islands, winds gusted to 136 mph Friday night as the centre passed near the island.
- At least 10 people have died after heavy rains triggered flash floods in southern Spain.
The strength of the floods overturned cars, closed roads and railway lines, damaged bridges and homes, and forced hundreds to leave their properties.
The hardest hit areas were the provinces of Malaga and Almeria, and the Murcia region.
Further north in the town of Gandia, a tornado struck a temporary fairground, injuring 35 people, 15 seriously.
Until now, there had been very little rain this year across Spain, and the south was particularly dry after the summer.
At least 600 people had to be evacuated from their homes in the Andalucia region, which contains Malaga and Almeria, officials said.
Some 245 mm of rain fell on Friday morning alone, according to Spain's weather agency.
- Tens of thousands of families are struggling to cope, after deadly monsoon floods swept across Pakistan.
An estimated 4.5 million people have been affected, many losing homes and possessions, and 400 people have died.
Some victims have criticised the authorities' response, claiming they have received little help.
World weather news, August 2012
- Typhoon Saola came ashore in northeastern Taiwan early on Thursday, before making a second landfall in eastern China early Friday as a tropical storm.
Meanwhile, Typhoon Damrey weakened to a tropical storm shortly after it made landfall a couple hundred miles north of Shanghai, near the city of Rizhao, Thursday night.
Strong winds buffeted central and northern Taiwan, home to Taipei, Wednesday night into Thursday, local time. The large city was being blasted by 60-mph winds and sheets of heavy rain.
Saola unleashed torrential rain throughout northern and western Taiwan, with three-day amounts topping 70 inches in at least one location, the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau said Thursday on its website.
The city of Taichung received over a foot of rain in 12 hours on Thursday, even as Saola began to pull away from the island.
The heavy rain triggered landslides and has been blamed for several deaths, according to media reports.
- The Philippines capital Manila is experiencing its worst floods in three years. This is due to a heavier than usual monsoon rainfall, fuelled by tropical storm Haikui in the Philippine Sea, northeast of Taiwan.
More than 270,000 people have fled their homes and more than 50 have died.
About 20 storms slam into the Philippines every year, causing heavy casualties and damage.
- Tropical Storm Ernesto has hit Mexico for a second time, bringing strong winds and flooding to several areas of the southern Gulf coast.
The storm, downgraded from a hurricane, has maximum winds of 70mph.
Ernesto hit Mexico on Tuesday after drenching parts of Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.
After blowing across the Yucatan Peninsula and open sea, it made landfall in Mexico again near the port of Coatzacoalcos, in Veracruz state.
- A rare fall of snow came to parts of South Africa. Pretoria, South Africa's capital, and Johannesburg were among the cities whitened by snow.
While snow is not observed every winter in the city of Johannesburg, it does occur every five years or so.
- Spanish firefighting teams in the Canary Islands are struggling anew to contain forest fires said to have forced some 4,700 people from their homes.
On the island of Tenerife, the blaze has cut road links and power lines.
On the neighbouring island of La Gomera officials say the fire has destroyed part of a nature reserve with "incalculable ecological value".
Spain has been hard hit by forest fires after its driest winter in 70 years.
Blazes are also raging in the mainland region of Galicia.
- At least 33 people have been killed by heavy flooding in central Nigeria's Plateau state.
Floods had destroyed homes and washed away roads and bridges, hampering rescue efforts.
More than 12,000 people were affected by the heavy rains in six districts, including Shendam.
Flooding killed more than 39 people last month near the state capital, Jos.
- Temperatures in Barrow (Alaska) typically only climb to 44F this time of year, but have been soaring well above that mark much of this week.
Highs in the 60s graced the city Monday and Tuesday with Monday's high falling one degree short of tying the day's record of 66F from 1991. Highs in the middle to upper 50s then followed for Wednesday and Thursday.
Overnight hours each of these days were also extremely mild, failing to drop out of the upper 40s. Thursday was the third consecutive day that Barrow registered a record warm low temperature.
- Western Europe has been in a blazing heat wave with Paris enduring its highest temperatures in nearly a decade.
Across Spain and France, area residents have been experiencing an abundance of heat over the past couple of days. High temperatures have been skyrocketing across the region, with highs Saturday pushing the mercury to the highest yet.
Temperatures in Paris Saturday reached triple digits for the first time since the heat wave of 2003, when a similar heat wave brought temperatures in the 100s for multiple days, peaking multiple times at 40C.
Temperatures today in Paris came close to cracking the century mark.
French television is airing public service announcements urging residents to drink water and wear hats.
- The summer of 2012 has been the hottest on record in many parts of Europe.
In Italy, the year's seventh major anticyclone - nicknamed Lucifer, following on from Nero and Caligula - brought temperatures Tuesday to over 40C in cities from the north to the south of the peninsula.
Staff at Rome's zoo took precautions to prevent the 1,200 animals living there from suffering heatstroke and dehydration.
They prepared giant ice cubes containing raw meat for the big cats, which include tigers, lions and leopards. Veterinary staff prepared smaller portions than usual and froze the meat with water.
A warm winter and spring and a hot summer are believed to be factors in the high drowning death toll in the Great Lakes so far in 2012.
According to Dave Benjamin, executive director of Public Relations for the Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project, there have been 74 drowning deaths in the Great Lakes that were caused by rip currents. There are four more cases pending. That number is well above normal for this time of year.
There was a total of 87 fatal drownings in 2011 and 74 fatal drownings in 2010.
- Heavy flooding in Niger over the past few weeks has killed up to 65 people and left 125,000 homeless.
After appeals from the country's president for international aid, the first supplies, donated by Ireland to Plan International, have now arrived.
The southern Dosso region has been worst affected, with over 10,000 homes destroyed according to the UN.
The capital Niamey was also hit when the River Niger burst its banks, flooding the city's suburbs.
- Intense heat and stubborn summer drought has withered crops and sparked wildfires in the western Balkan region, hitting Serbia and Bosnia especially hard.
Several thousand villagers in southwestern Serbia were ordered to leave their homes on Saturday, Reuters said.
Serbian villages of Miokovci and Gornja Gorevnica were "endangered", the head of the Emergencies Department said.
Temperatures on Saturday soared to 100F for a third-straight day across, not only the former Yugoslavia, but right across the Balkan Peninsula to Greece, Bulgaria and Romania.
Highest temperatures in Serbia reached at least 106F at Loznica with 104F at Belgrade.
An early August heat wave yielded all-time highest temperatures in some Balkan localities.
Furthermore, the impact of the heat has been heightened by drought. Belgrade, for example, has had less than 20 percent of its normal rainfall since June 1.
Orthodox worshippers in Serbia have prayed for rain in order to end a weeks-long drought that has ruined crops and caused forest fires.
The prayers were held in the central town of Valjevo in response to a call two days ago from the local bishop.
Weather forecasts suggest the prayers could be answered, with showers predicted in the early hours of Monday.
In south-west Serbia, army troops have been deployed to help contain a wildfire near the town of Cacak.
Russia has also sent two firefighting aircraft to help stem the blazes, which have damaged homes, forests and farmland in the area, about 90km south of the capital Belgrade.
- At least 36 people have been killed by incessant rains in the northern Indian state of Rajasthan in the heaviest rainfall in more than 30 years.
The state meteorological department has forecast "very heavy rains" for the next 48 hours in 11 districts.
The army has been called out to help in relief and rescue operations in the worst-hit Jaipur and Sikar districts.
These are the heaviest monsoon rains in the state since 1981 and officials say contingency plans are being made to deal with the flooding and water-logging.
In June, at least 27 people died and a million people were forced to leave their homes by floods as rains lashed the north-eastern state of Assam.
- Arctic sea ice cover melted to its lowest extent in the satellite record, breaking the previous record low observed in 2007, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA.
Sea ice extent fell to 4.10 million square kilometres on the 26th. This was 70,000 square kilometres below the 18 September 2007 daily extent of 4.17 million square kilometres.
The new record was reached before the end of the melt season in the Arctic, which usually takes place in mid- to late-September. Scientists expect to see an even larger loss of sea ice in the coming weeks.
- Hurricane Isaac pounded New Orleans with fierce winds and torrents of rain Wednesday, but the multi-billion-dollar flood defenses built after Katrina swamped the city seven years ago held firm.
Officials ordered the evacuation of about 3,000 people in Plaquemines Parish outside New Orleans, the area hardest hit by the storm with top winds still gusting at 70 miles per hour, triggering widespread flooding.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said at least one person may have died as a result of Isaac, which was downgraded to tropical storm status after making landfall.
Hundreds of thousands of people lost power, while others were forced to wait on roofs and in attics for rescue from their submerged homes.
Isaac may wind up causing as much as $2.5 billion in damage in and around Louisiana and in the offshore oil sector in the Gulf of Mexico, according to early estimates from natural disaster modeler Eqecat.
- Senegal's President Macky Sall has called for the country's Senate to be abolished, with the money saved going to pay for flood relief.
He had cut short a visit to South Africa to deal with the severe floods, which have claimed at least 13 lives.
Speaking at Dakar's airport, he said he would introduce an emergency bill to abolish the upper house.
- Typhoon Bolaven has caused damage to western parts of North Korea, already hit hard by flooding in recent weeks.
Hundreds of trees were felled and power supply cut as the storm struck.
The typhoon left a trail of damage in South Korea, killing 15 people and leaving almost two million temporarily without power.
A search is continuing off Jeju island for 10 Chinese fishermen still missing in the wake of the storm.
Typhoon Bolaven travelled up the western side of the Korean peninsula after causing transport chaos and limited damage on the Japanese island of Okinawa.
World weather news, July 2012
- High temperature records have been falling by the wayside so far this year, and the current heat wave now as added all-time record highs to its impressive list.
Recortds set Monday 2nd:
Evansville, Ind., in reaching 103, set a new daily record high for the fifth consecutive day (the old record from Monday was 101 set back in 1933). The new record highs through that stretch have ranged from 103 to 107.
Rolla, Mo., not only broke the previous record high temperature of 101 from 1901 by reaching 102, thunderstorms also dropped 3.45 inches of rain. This total smashed the old record of 1.70 inches from 1980.
The temperature at Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., only fell to 79 early Monday morning, smashing the previous daily record high minimum of 73 from way back in 1872.
Records set on Sunday 1st:
Chattanooga, TN tied the all-time record of 107, set just one day prior on Saturday. This high temperature also smashed the daily record of 101, originally set in 1953 and 1954.
Knoxville, TN tied the all-time record of 105, set the day prior on Saturday. This high temperature also smashed the daily record of 100 from 1954.
Charlotte, NC reached 104 and tied the all-time record for the third straight day.
- Severe thunderstorms packing winds estimated at 70 mph tore through a portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (USA), killing two, injuring dozens and knocking down numerous trees.
Park officials confirmed that two people lost their lives during the storms.
- The temperature in Chicago hit 100F (37.7C) for the third day in a row, while Nashville, Tennessee, was expected to hit 103 F (39.4 C). For Saturday, forecasters predicted the heat on Saturday in Washington may reach the all-time record for the city of 106 F (41 C).
At least 406,000 people were without electricity on Friday in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Ohio, power companies said. New storms knocked out power to parts of West Virginia on Thursday, while other areas have been without electricity since violent storms hit a week ago.
A powerful storm felled hundreds of trees and killed two people on Thursday as it whipped through Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
A man riding a motorcycle was killed when a tree limb crashed onto him, said park spokeswoman Melissa Cobern. Another tree fell onto a popular swimming hole, killing a woman and injuring three others, including a 7-year-old girl who was knocked unconscious. The child was pulled from the water, given CPR and taken to a hospital with her father, who suffered broken bones and a collapsed lung.
- The progression of an unusually cool upper-level system through portions of Chile over the weekend, resulting in nighttime low temperatures nearly 5degC below normal.
Santiago, Chile's capital, fell to -2C late on Friday night and Saturday night at the peak of the cold snap. Two homeless residents of the city lost their lives when they succumbed to hypothermia.
- Heavy rains brought major flooding to parts of Russia and India over the weekend, the likes of which have not been experienced in over a decade.
A slow-moving area of low pressure triggered soaking rain across the Krasnodar region of southern Russia Friday night. The storm system dumped as much as 280 mm of rain overnight, resulting in the worst flooding in 70 years according to Russian officials. Many cities in the region only see this much rain over the course of three or four months.
The devastating flash flood has resulted in 171 deaths, as of Monday morning, with most occurring around the city of Krymsk, where floodwaters quickly rose to 7 meters (23 feet), according to CNN.
Meanwhile, river flooding brought on by monsoonal rains ravaged the northeast Indian state of Assam over the weekend.
The Brahmaputra River and its tributaries were beginning to recede on Monday, but not before bringing about the worst flood in the state since 1998, according to officials.
The flooding resulted in 121 deaths and also devastated Kaziranga National Park, known worldwide for its diverse collection of rare and endangered animals.
- Emilia, which reached major hurricane status late on Monday, is expected to maintain its intensity or even strengthen a bit through the middle part of this week as it churns westward across warm waters in the Pacific Ocean, far away from any land masses.
The major hurricane designation is given to a hurricane when it reaches category three status with maximum sustained winds of at least 111 mph.
Emilia is already the third major hurricane of the 2012 eastern Pacific season, joining Bud from May and a presently weakening Daniel, which could actually impact Hawaii later this week.
- The intense heat that has baked much of the eastern two-thirds of the USA for the better part of two weeks has claimed dozens of lives.
At least 75 deaths have been attributed to the heat wave across more than a dozen states, according to various news outlets.
- The intense heat that has baked much of the eastern two-thirds of the USA for the better part of two weeks has claimed dozens of lives.
At least 75 deaths have been attributed to the heat wave across more than a dozen states, according to various news outlets.
It is possible that this number could rise over the coming days as health officials and coroners continue to rule in causes of death among other cases.
As is unfortunately the case in many heat waves, the majority of the dead were senior citizens who succumbed to heart disease or other ailments made worse by hot indoor temperatures.
- An avalanche struck a party of climbers in the French Alps early in the day, killing nine.
The 28 roped climbers were scaling one of the highest Alpine peaks, Mount Maudit, when the avalanche struck.
Nine other injured climbers were taken to a local hospital, but were later treated and released.
According to French authorities, three Britons, three Germans, two Spanish and one Swiss climber lost their lives.
At least fifteen people have been killed by flooding and landslides as unprecedented rainfall continues to pound southwestern Japan.
A further 11 people were missing in parts of the region, according to Fox News.
About 48,000 people were ordered to flee the city of Kumamoto. Blackouts hit thousands of homes and transportation infrastructure suffered disruption.
Meteorologists of the Japan Meteorological Agency were quoted as saying that rainfall in parts of Kyushu reached levels that have "never been experienced".
The rainfall totals were reportedly as high as 500 mm.
- Coastal Alaska has been experiencing the coldest first half of July on record.
Through the first 14 days of July, the average temperature in Anchorage was 53.1F, which makes it the coldest first half of the month on record according to the National Weather Service in Anchorage.
Should this temperature trend continue, it could threaten the record for the coldest July ever, which occurred in 1920 and had an average temperature of 54.4F.
- Powerful tornadoes that struck Poland have left at least one person dead and another 10 injured in their wake.
The twisters struck northern and western Poland in the regions of Kujawy-Pomorze and Wielkopolska, where some 100 homes were wrecked.
A potent cold front, associated with a storm over Norway, pushed through Poland on Saturday, triggering stormy weather. Unstable conditions remained in place on Sunday with very moist air.
About 550 hectares of forest near Tuchola was flattened.
Witnesses saw a camper van flying through the air with a family of three inside. Luckily, the occupants were not seriously injured.
The one reported fatality happened in the village of Wycinki, where a 60-year-old man was caught in a collapsing building.
- July is the most active month of lightning fatalities in the U.S. and July 2012 may be one of the deadliest yet.
Lightning deaths across the U.S. average 54 per year according to NOAA. Most of the fatal lightning strikes occur between the months of May and October.
Eight people have been killed by lightning between July 3 to 16, 2012. The most people killed by lightning in the month of July over the past five years was 14 in 2008.
There have been 14 deaths from lightning strikes in the U.S. so far this year.
- Some flooding and damage has been reported on the Korean Peninsula in the wake of Tropical Storm Khanun.
One person was killed in South Korea when parts of a house collapsed amid heavy rain and high wind.
By late Thursday, local time, Khanun was a weakening tropical depression aimed for the east coast of North Korea.
Hundreds of flights were grounded as Khanun made its way northward, passing over the city of Seoul. City streets saw some flooding.
Rainfall in the area was at least 3 to 5 inches.
- A massive iceberg larger than Manhattan has broken away from the floating end of a Greenland glacier this week, an event scientists predicted last autumn.
The giant ice island is 120 square kilometers in size, and separated from the terminus of the Petermann Glacier, one of Greenland's largest.
The Petermann Glacier last birthed - or "calved" - a massive iceberg two years ago, in August 2010. The iceberg that broke off and floated away was nearly four times the size of Manhattan, and one of the largest ever recorded in Greenland.
Although the new iceberg isn't as colossal as its 2010 predecessor, its birth has moved the front end of the massive glacier farther inland than it has been in 150 years, Andreas Muenchow, an associate professor of physical ocean science and engineering at the University of Delaware, said in a statement.
- A very concentrated area of Saharan Dust has travelled all the way from Africa to southern Florida, ending the stormy pattern that has dominated recently.
The northern Caribbean islands have already been dealing with Saharan dust with very hazy skies.
Saharan dust is a limiting factor for tropical development in the Atlantic and also causes nasty hazy skies when it is so densely concentrated. However, sunsets are stunning as a result of dust clouds high in the sky with notable, bright red colors on display.
Persistent northeasterly winds, squeezed between an area of high pressure over the northern Sahara and low pressure over the equator, are often strong enough to stir loose sand and dust in the Sahara. Although the coarser sand is not normally raised far above the land, the smaller dust particles can be lofted 2 or 3 miles high into the sky.
Especially strong winds can blow over thousands of square miles of the desert can scour enormous volumes of dust from the surface. According to a University of Wisconsin-Madison study by Amato Evan, the amount of dust is said to be in the millions of tons.
- The death toll from the worst rains to hit Beijing in more than 60 years has risen to 77.
Many residents of China's sprawling capital had expressed doubts about the official toll of 37 that Beijing authorities announced late Sunday, believing the true figure to be much higher.
Saturday's freak downpour, said to be the heaviest rain since records began in 1951, caused rivers to burst their banks and flood major highways, submerging large numbers of vehicles.
In the worst-hit area of Fangshan, on the city's mountainous southwestern outskirts, distraught residents reported cars being swept away and said many people were still missing.
More than six inches of rain fell in Beijing city, while outlying areas recorded as much as 14 inches in what is the heaviest rainfall in over 6 decades.
- Tropical Depression 09W took shape on Friday, then intensified into Tropical Storm Vicente Saturday afternoon.
Rain is expected to remain the biggest problem with Vicente as several inches have already fallen across parts of Luzon, the northernmost island of the Philippines.
One of the hardest-hit regions thus far is in western Luzon, near the city of Vigan where more than 11 inches of rain has fallen since Thursday. Another hard hit area is the area surrounding the capital city of Manila where flooding has claimed the lives of at least 2 people while more remain missing.
- Heavy rainfall in central Nigeria forced a dam to overflow, causing flooding that left at least 35 people dead and destroyed or damaged some 200 homes.
The downpour in Jos began at roughly 2000 GMT when many of the city's residents were at home for the night.
Much of the country has been affected by heavy seasonal rainfall, including Jos in the centre of the country and the economic capital Lagos in the south, where flooding has caused several road closures and other damage.
The rainy season typically runs from March to September.
Last week, at least three people were killed by flood waters some 150 km north of Lagos in Ibadan, an area where 102 people died following torrential rains last year.
- After Britain endured its wettest start to summer on record, the last thing visitors to the Olympic Park may have been expecting was for blazing sunshine to disrupt their travel plans.
But with temperatures in London reaching an unusually high 30C, rail operators were forced to cancel a handful of trains due to stop at the Stratford International station next to the Park and impose speed limits on others further up the line.
That led to minor delays on the main rail line out of northeast London, although the impact on passengers going to the Olympic site was said to be slight.
- Kenya's tea output fell 11.4 percent in the first half of the year due to extreme weather conditions, the tea board said, with full-year production projected to decline 5 percent compared to 2011.
The tea board said 2012 output was expected to fall to 360 million kg, down from 377 million kg recorded in 2011, mainly due to lower production in the first half of the year.
- The severe drought in the U.S. Midwest wreaked more havoc across the country on Thursday, forcing barges on the Mississippi River to lighten loads for fear of getting stuck and raising concerns about higher prices for food and gasoline.
Damage to crops in the most extensive drought in five decades and the pressure of the November elections sparked some action in the U.S. Congress to bring relief to farmers and make progress on a generous farm bill.
Crop scouts on Thursday reported corn yield prospects down about 27 percent from last year in central Iowa, the largest producing state. But dousings from recent night-time rains had helped soybeans.
One year after its waters swelled to historic proportions, the lower Mississippi River now sits so low that barge operators hauling some $180 billion in goods must lighten their loads for fear of getting stuck.
Almost 30 percent of the nine-state Midwest was suffering extreme drought as of July 24, nearly triple that of a week ago.
Wildfires in drought-hit areas were also a growing problem. Firefighters in three Nebraska counties battled expanding wildfires, and Ola, Arkansas, a town of 1,300 people, was evacuated because of an approaching fire.
- An outbreak of severe weather stretching from the Ohio Valley to southern New England made for a rough summer day as powerful thunderstorms left a path of destruction over hundreds of miles.
One person was killed and at least five others injured as the storms, many packing winds in excess of 60 mph, swept east ahead of an approaching front.
World weather news, June 2012
- After 2011, one of the deadliest tornado years on record, 2012 is setting some tornado records worth celebrating - for the first time in seven years, tornadoes didn't kill a single person in the month of May in the USA.
- Saturday is now in record books as the fourth wettest June day for Portland, Maine, and rain continues to fall.
The rain that has been slowly pivoting through New England this weekend began soaking Portland on Saturday morning and has since totalled more than 5 inches.
The 3.63 inches that fell on Saturday alone not only shattered the day's rainfall record of 2.65 inches from 2001, but also made Saturday the fourth wettest June day ever recorded at Portland.
Saturday surpassed June 13, 1998, and its 3.58 inches to claim the fourth place spot. June 18, 1922, remains at the top of that list with 4.35 inches.
Rainfall records in Portland began in 1871. The city typically receives 3.79 inches during the entire month of June.
- Stockholm registered its coldest June weekend in 84 years, with temperatures hitting a maximum of just 6C.
On Saturday, as blustery winds and heavy rain fell on the capital, "Stockholm reported a high of just six degrees. We have not seen such a low June temperature since 1928," the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute wrote in a statement.
- Conditions are improving after a rare snowstorm crippled travel in and around the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, leaving thousands without power.
3-6 inches of wet snow fell Wednesday morning local time, causing numerous flight cancellations at Christchurch Airport.
3,000 people were without power across suburbs of Christchurch.
The strong storm system responsible for the rare event arrived Tuesday evening, bringing gusty winds and rain. Overnight, temperatures plummeted to the freezing point and rain changed over to wet snow.
Snow is rare in Christchurch, with the city averaging only 1-2 snow events per season.
- The monsoon rainfall was 36 percent below average in the week to 6 June, the Indian Meteorological Department said, after the seasonal rains missed their usual arrival date of 1 June in Kerala.
- Severe weather slammed Denver and Colorado Springs on Wednesday evening and night, spawning tornadoes and causing deep hail to pile up. A total of seven tornadoes were reported along the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies.
A weak tornado touched down north of the Denver International Airport during the evening. Many other unconfirmed tornadoes touched down south and east of the city.
A tornado in Grover, Colo., ripped a tree out of the ground and threw it 20 feet. Later in the night, a funnel cloud was spotted southwest of Denver.
Hail up to the size of golf balls piled up several inches deep around Colorado Springs and Denver. The large hailstones damaged vehicles, tore leaves from trees and ripped gutters off homes.
- A round of severe thunderstorms caused tornadoes that led to widespread damage in and near Perth, Australia.
The reported tornadoes occurred near midday with some of the hardest-hit areas including Perth suburbs Dianella and Morley. A second tornado was reported near York, about 60 miles east of Perth.
Damage across the region ranged from downed power lines which left more than 5,000 people without power to damaged cars, homes and businesses.
- Each of the past 12 months from June 2011 to May 2012 ranked nationally in the warmest top third, the first such occurrence for the United States since 1895 and an extremely unusual feat.
The odds of such a feat occurring randomly are 1 in 531,441, according to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.
Temperatures from June 2011 to May 2012 throughout the contiguous U.S. averaged 12.3C, which is 1.8 degC above the long-term average.
- he combination of tropical moisture from the south and a frontal boundary arriving from the north led to torrential rainfall across Taiwan.
According to observations from the Central Weather Bureau, the heaviest rainfall during 24 hours was in Kaohsiung City where 582 mm fell. Meanwhile, since the rainfall began 1495 mm has fallen over the same area.
This heavy rainfall has led to many school and business closures across the region. Transportation has also been hit hard by the recent flooding as flights in out Taiwan have been delayed or cancelled at several airports.
Over 30,000 rail users were affected by the flooding as tracks between Taoyuan and Yingge collapsed. Other train stations were affected directly by rising flood waters, forcing delayed and cancelled trips.
- Another round of severe weather around Perth in Western Australia, has left more than 100,000 people without power.
A cold front crossing the region brought showers and thunderstorms, but the bigger problem was damaging winds. Wind gusts in excess of 90 mph hit the region, causing widespread power outages, fallen trees and damages to businesses and homes.
- Several strong thunderstorms cut a swath through North Texas late in the day, with baseball-sized hail stones smashing everything from car windshields to the marquee of a landmark East Dallas movie theatre.
The hail storms were the worst in the North Texas and Dallas area since April 2003, the National Weather Service said.
The storms likely caused hundreds of millions of dollars in insured losses, and may even top the $400 million in losses from a series of tornadoes two months ago, the Insurance Council of Texas said.
No serious injuries were reported.
Two intense storms swept through the Dallas area late on Wednesday afternoon and lasted more than three hours before tapering off.
The storms also shredded trees and blanketed streets with downed limbs and leaves. About 6,000 homes and businesses lost power for a time.
More than 40 flights were diverted and 10 delayed at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Wednesday evening.
- Puerto Rico is in the midst of an unusually dry and record-setting hot stretch of weather.
Record heat baked Puerto Rico's capital of San Juan both Tuesday and Wednesday.
Temperatures for Thursday are headed to near the day's record high of 96F from 1983, then they will challenge Friday's record of 94F from the same year.
This week's record highs are actually not that far above the 88F that San Juan typically warms to this time of year. What is really unusual and contributing to the heat is the absence of cooling showers and thunderstorms. Dry air limited the development of showers and thunderstorms over San Juan. No measurable rain has fallen so far this June, a month that typically records 110 mm of rain.
- A deadly tornado hit the town of Bethlehem in Orange Free State in South Africa leaving at least eight people dead, many others injured and several buildings damaged or destroyed.
In the town of Kessel, several people were injured when the tornado destroyed several informal settlements.
- Heavy rainfall and thunderstorms led to landslides that killed at least 18 people in the mountain district of Bududa.
2.40 inches of rain fell in six hours in Kampala, the capital of Uganda which is located southwest of the area impacted by the landslides.
Wednesday morning is when Debby is now expected to strike northern Florida, but the state is already enduring the tropical storm's fury.
Florida has endured heavy rain, strong winds, tornadoes and pounding surf since Debby developed late Saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately for residents and vacationers, there are no signs of these hazards letting up with Debby now set to reach Florida, in between Apalachicola and Cross City, Wednesday morning.
Debby is not a compact tropical system with torrential rain wrapping around its eye. Instead, the heaviest rain is east of its center and already soaking Florida.
- While parts of the U.S. are facing severe drought issues, the upper West Coast is having no such problem. Both Seattle, Wash., and Portland, Ore., are seeing one of the wettest months of June on record.
Seattle has received 2.83 inches thus far in June, 199 percent of the city's normal June rainfall total. This total ties June 1984 as the sixth wettest June on record. On average, June brings 1.57 inches of rain to the Emerald City.
Portland has been hit with even more than Seattle, with 3.77 inches thus far. This brings them to 242 percent of the normal 1.7 inches for June.
- Three days of heavy rain resulted in deadly flooding in Chittagong, forcing residents to find higher ground. In a 12-hour period on Tuesday, 15.75 inches of rain deluged the city.
- A "super derecho" of violent thunderstorms left a more than 700-mile trail of destruction across the Midwest and mid-Atlantic (USA), cutting power to millions and killing thirteen people.
More than 600 damaging wind reports were received by NOAA's Storm Prediction Center as the derecho took roughly 12 hours to race from northern Indiana to the southern mid-Atlantic coast.
- All-Time Record Highs set in the USA included:
- Columbus, GA set an all time record of 106, breaking the previous all-time record of 105 which was set on Friday. The daily record high was 100 set in 1959.
- Macon, GA tied the all-time record high of 108, which was last set in 1980. The record high for the day was 103 set in 1959.
- Knoxville, TN set an all-time record high of 105, breaking the previous all-time record high of 104 set on July 12th, 1930. The previous record high for the day was 100, set in 1952.
- Tri-cities, TN set an all-time record high of 103 degrees, breaking the previous all-time record of 102 set on June 29, 2012 and July 29, 1952. The previous daily record high was only 95, set in 1959.
- Chattanooga, TN set an all-time record high of 107 degrees, breaking the previous all-time record of 106 set on June 29, 2012 and July 28, 1952. The previous daily record was 103 degrees set in 1952.
- Charlotte, NC tied an all-time record high of 104 degrees, last set on August 10, 2007. The record high for the day was 102 set in 1959.
- Atlanta, GA set an all-time record of 106 degrees, breaking the previous all-time record of 105 set in 1980. The previous daily record was 98 degrees set in 1936, broken by a whopping 8 degrees!
- Columbia, SC tied the all-time record high of 109 which was set on Friday. The record for the day was 103, set in 1959.
- Raleigh, NC tied the all-time record high temperature of 105 which was last set on Friday and set before that on July 23, 1952. The record for the day was 102 set in 1959.
- June 2012 is officially in history books as the United Kingdom's wettest June since record keeping began.
Rainfall throughout the United Kingdom last month averaged 5.72 inches (145.3 mm), twice what is typically measured each June.
Not since the rainfall series began in 1910 has the U.K. experienced so much rain, according to the U.K. Met Office. The previous record was 5.36 inches (136.2 mm) from 2007.
- The past 12 months in the contiguous U.S. were the warmest since records began in 1895, according to a report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
July 2011 through June 2012 only narrowly surpassed the record broken last month for the June 2011 through May 2012 period by 0.5 degrees F.
The January 2012 through June 2012 period was the warmest first half of any year on record for the contiguous United States with the national temperature of 52.9 degrees, placing 4.5 degrees F above average.
World weather news, May 2012
- Flood warnings were posted for rivers in Essex and Suffolk, northeast of London, following heavy overnight rain.
Some roads in the two counties became impassible.
Passengers of a bus and car had to be rescued after becoming stuck in flood water at Debenham, Suffolk.
Widespread heavy rain during the last days of April triggered flooding in far-flung counties, from the west and south all the way north into Yorkshire.
The late-month downpours were enough to lift average U.K. rainfall for April to a new record high. A preliminary estimate for April 2012 showed that average rainfall for the nation nudged aside the previous record from April 2000. The rainfall series dates back to 1910.
- UK Strawberry growers expect to produce a record 56,000 tonnes of the fruit this year, up from 52,000 tonnes last year.
Growers had feared that a continuation of March's warm weather into April would have damaged the crop. This is because strawberries grow better in cooler weather, particularly at night.
However April's inclement weather provided a boost to fruit growers.
The national strawberry crop has been safeguarded from the recent heavy rain because the fruits are grown under protective polytunnels.
- Up to 64 people were feared dead after a flash flood swept through a Himalayas tourist spot in Nepal.
At least 17 local residents were known dead with no fewer than 47 others missing.
The flood swept down the Seti River at Pokhara, a spot popular with foreign tourists. Three Ukrainians were said to be among the missing.
down a river bed, pounding its banks and a bridge.
- A deadly tornado struck the Japanese city of Tsukuba, leaving devastation in its wake. Over 30 were injured, with at least one death.
Tsukuba, a city only 40 miles away from Tokyo, took considerable damage, with over 200 homes damaged by the twister.
Outside of the direct damage caused by the lethal tornado, the storm's lightning and gusty winds knocked out power to over 24,000 homes, according to the Tokyo Electric Power Company.
- A tornado was witnessed over the English Midland on Monday, and was captured on multiple videos.
No injuries were reported, but the storm did damage trees and roof tiles.
The twister was spotted outside of Oxford as a storm, apparently a "supercell", also unleashed "large" hailstones.
Eyewitnesses told of "heavy dark" and "spinning" clouds, sudden "extremely high winds" and "freak" hail.
video1 and video2.
- Above-normal snowpack has set up an "exceptional" seasonal flood risk in British Columbia, Canada.
Recent measurements of snowpack water content have showed regional amounts of up to 152 percent of normal in key catch basins, the British Columbia River Forecast Centre indicated in a report early this month.
The Centre spoke of "elevated" flood risk for the full length of the Fraser River mainstream. The lower Fraser River passes through greater Vancouver.
The province's flood season is now beginning. "Small to medium sized watersheds in the Interior tend to reach peak flows the earliest in the season (early May through June)," the Centre's report said.
Flooding has already hit some communities of interior southern British Columbia, following heavy rain combined with snowmelt late last month.
- Flooding has swept through Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, following heavy rain and snowmelt.
At least five people have been killed and dozens injured.
Floodwaters from the Mtkvari River, the main river in region, inundated roads, cut power and left behind a great deal of mud.
- Two British tourists have died while hiking Gran Canaria as the island was in the grip of a heat wave.
At least six others "suffered health problems".
The two victims, in their 70s, died in separate incidents Sunday as temperatures soared to at least 40 C. The others that suffered health problems were in their 60s, and were among a party of hikers that included one of the deceased.
Weather warnings for the heat, attributed to hot air from Africa, had been issued by Canaries authorities. Data also showed temperatures to at least 37 C, on the Canaries, where high temperatures near 25 C would be more typical.
- Lightning struck the new French President's plane while it was on its way to Berlin. According to the Associated Press, there were no injuries, but the plane returned to Paris to be cautious.
- The WMO annnounced that yhe 2011-2012 La Niña has ended. La Niña conditions in the tropical Pacific transitioned to neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña) conditions in early April 2012. Model forecasts and expert opinion suggest that neutral conditions are likely to continue into the Northern Hemisphere summer (austral winter). For the second half of 2012 a return of La Niña is unlikely, while neutral or El Niño conditions are currently considered to have equal chances of occurring.
- The largest Amazon River tributary has marked its highest historical level following weeks of heavy rain in its catch basin.
The flooding has caused headaches for the population of Manaus, Brazil, a city of 1.6 million people.
The Rio Negro crested last Wednesday, registering 29.78 m in Manaus. The top narrowly passed the previous high mark set in 2009.
River levels have been recorded here since 1902.
Waters of the Rio Negro have flooded the center of Manaus. Some neighbourhoods have been partially submerged and homes have been invaded by water.
- Sweltering heat, the hottest of 2012 in some areas, has spread discomfort across the Indian subcontinent, spurring anticipation of the coming rainy season. On Tuesday, Patna reached 44.4C, in its hottest day of the year thus far.
Heat wave warnings were posted by the India Meteorological Department for this part of India's north, including the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
Other parts of India have been even hotter. Tuesday's India hot spot was Brahmapuri, which topped at 46.3C.
Allahabad, Nagpur, Gaya, Raipur and Ramagundam were but a few of the cities reaching the heat wave benchmark of 45C.
Meanwhile, Pakistan recorded comparable readings, including several cities in the Sindh region topping 45C on Wednesday.
- Santiago (Chile), and regions southward to Concepcion, have suffered multi-year dearth of rainfall amounting to 20 to about 60 percent of normal.
So far in 2012, the city of Santiago has had only 9.6 mm (0.38 inch) of rain, or 23 percent of the normal amount, the Chilean Weather Service website said on Wednesday.
At Curico, the 2012 deficit has been even greater, with only 5 percent of the normal tally of 127.5 mm (5.02 inches) having fallen since the first of the year.
Rainfall at Santiago's Pudahuel Airport was less than half of normal each of the years 2009 through to 2011.
- Bud in the Eastern Pacific has strengthened into a major hurricane, the first of the season in waters of the Americas.
The tropical season is getting off to a fast start in the Eastern Pacific basin with the development of the second tropical storm and now the first hurricane.
Tropical Storm Bud formed early Tuesday and slowly strengthened into a major hurricane late Thursday evening EDT.
- After a cool start, around the 20th the UK's weather changed - giving way to a run of dry and fine weather, with some remarkably high temperatures. This included a new maximum May temperature for Scotland - with 29.3C recorded in Achnagart, Highlands, on 25 May, beating the previous record of 29C set in 1992 at Edinburgh Royal Botanic Garden, according to the Met Office.
- The remnants of the first hurricane of the East Pacific 2012 season, Bud, dumped heavy rain along Mexico's coast early in the day but caused little damage before it turned back into the Pacific.
The storm, which on Friday had threatened to hit land with hurricane-force winds, lost strength as it neared the coast and it was downgraded to a tropical depression early on Saturday.
Just south of Cihuatlan in the port city of Manzanillo, Bud toppled trees and washed out some roads but drainage ditches did not overflow as they did during last year's Hurricane Jova.
- Environment Canada says a tornado struck a community northwest of Montreal last night. A low-scale F-1 twister touched down in St. Benoit, in the Mirabel area, causing heavy property damage.
About a dozen buildings in the area suffered significant damage, including farms, homes and a small church. There have been no reports of injuries.
- A state of emergency has been declared in the Thunder Bay area after severe flooding struck Ontario's Lake Superior region. Roads have been washed out, and many school shut for the day.
Another consequence of the flooding was that it caused pump failures at a City of Thunder Bay sewage treatment plant.
Rainfall at the Thunder Bay airport was 100 mm within about 30 hours. However, 70 mm, nearly the normal monthly amount for May, fell within one six-hour stretch on Sunday evening.
- Ukraine is planning to fire rockets to break up rain clouds if bad weather threatens to upset soccer matches during next month's Euro 2012 tournament, a government official said.
"Our (missile) batteries are being prepared for dispersing rain clouds," the official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.
On 9 May when Ukraine celebrated World War Two Victory Day, the air force sent up an Antonov-30 cargo transporter to disperse a build-up of rain cloud by spraying it with chemicals, though no rockets were fired.
- The record books for Greenland's climate were re-written when the mercury hit 24.8Cat Narsarsuaq, Greenland, on the southern coast. According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, this is the hottest temperature on record in Greenland for May, and is just 0.7 degC below the hottest temperature ever measured in Greenland. The previous May record was 22.4C at Kangerlussuaq (called Sondre Stormfjord in Danish) on 31 May 1991. The 25.2C at Narsarsuaq on 22 June 1957 is the only June temperature measured in Greenland warmer than today's reading. The all-time warmest temperature record for Greenland is 25.5C set on 26 July 1990. The exceptional warmth this week was caused by the combination of an intense ridge of high pressure and a local foehn wind, said the Danish Meteorological Institute.
- The remnants of Tropical Storm Beryls pun off a tornado that destroyed three homes and damaged dozens of others near the North Carolina coast as the system sped toward the Atlantic.
Between 40 and 50 homes were damaged near Peletier in the western part of Carteret County. Heavy rains from the storm caused some scattered street and lowland flooding near Wilmington, N.C., as the system approached. Loris., S.C., near the border of the two Carolinas, received more than 3 inches of rain.
World weather news, April 2012
- Winds of typhoon strength have swept over parts of Japan, making for travel chaos, reports said on Tuesday.
One person has died and tens of thousands have been stranded.
At least 97 people suffered storm-related injury.
Winds were clocked to 150 km/h in western Japan.
Weather warnings and advisories spanned Japan's entire mainland, the JMA website showed. Advised threats included high winds, thunderstorms, heavy rain, flooding and high winds.
The extreme weather led Japan Airlines to cancell 230 domestic flights, along with seven Asia-bound flights, affecting 31,600 passengers.
- Poor weather conditions in Mexico and India are pushing the price of vanilla higher.
Mexico is among the top 10 producers of vanilla. Papantla, a city located in northern Veracruz, is at the center of Mexico's vanilla growing region but it has been abnormally wet here.
Production of vanilla in Mexico has decreased by 90 percent in the past year.
In the Indian vanilla-growing regions rainfall has been below average.
- Odds for any live rescues of 135 missing avalanche victims have fallen sharply more than 36 hours after the snow slide swept through a Pakistan mountain base.
The slide, said to be 3,000 feet wide, swept through the military post early Saturday morning, local time, potentially catching many of the asleep.
The base is located 16,000 feet above sea level in the Karakoram Range, where it overlooks the Siachen Glacier.
- Anchorage, Alaska, has received more snow this winter season than any other in recorded history.
Anchorage picked up 4.3 inches of snow on Saturday, pushing the city's annual snow total to a record 134.5 inches.
The winter of 1954-55 previously held the record with 132.6 inches.
Anchorage receives 74.5 inches during a typical winter and record-keeping began in 1915.
The path to Anchorage setting the annual snow record began on Oct. 30 when 1.1 inches whitened the city.
November, December, January and February then each ended up becoming ranked as one of the top 10 snowiest on their respective month's list.
The snowiest, November, had a total of 32.4 inches and is now the third snowiest November on record.
December and its 31.1 inches (seventh snowiest December), January and its 25.2 inches (sixth snowiest January) and February and its 27.8 inches (fourth snowiest February) followed.
A lull in the action came in March with a more typical 9.5 inches falling.
- Ice has melted from southern Lake Winnipeg earlier than any time in memory following months of unusual warmth in central Canada.
Normally, ice fishing season on Lake Winnipeg's southern basin would last until mid-April.
Winter was abnormally mild in Winnipeg and southern Manitoba, albeit plenty cold enough for ice to form on Manitoba's "great lake."
Winnipeg winter months of December through February had an average temperature of -9.6C, or 6.4 degC above normal.
- After an active winter, southern Europe has seen much less than their normal precipitation since March 1. Precipitation from Romania to eastern Germany has been less than 30% the normal precipitation during the time period, while much of the rest of central and eastern Europe has been under 50% of normal.
This is impacting many important agricultural areas, like grape growing regions in France and Germany, as well as more standard crops, especially hay, which rely heavily on early season precipitation in order to get seedlings going.
- Tornadic thunderstorms ravaged parts of the Plains (USA) during Saturday and Saturday night, killing six people and leaving behind incredible destruction.
According to the Storm Prediction Center, over 100 tornadoes were reported from Oklahoma through Kansas, Nebraska and southern Iowa on Saturday.
The deadliest of the tornadoes ravaged the town of Woodward, Oklahoma, where six people were killed and 30 injured.
Another tornado tore through the southern portion of Wichita, Kan., causing significant damage but no major injuries.
Wichita, Mid-Continent Airport recorded a wind gust of 84 mph just after the control tower evacuated.
Damage in the Wichita area is estimated at as much as $283 million.
A tornado ripped through the town of Thurman, Iowa, Saturday evening, destroying around 75 percent of the town.
Other notable storm reports from Saturday and Saturday night:
- Hen egg-sized hail damaged a law enforcement vehicle near Spalding, Neb., around midday Saturday.
- Three-inch diameter hail was reported near Petersburg, Neb., early Saturday afternoon.
- Quarter-sized hail covered the ground near Ringgold, Neb., Saturday afternoon.
- Two to three inches of hail accumulated near Stapleton, Neb., Saturday afternoon.
- Hail two and a half inches in diameter was reported in North Platte, Neb., Saturday evening.
- Baseball-sized hail was reported just east of Dodge City, Kan., Saturday night.
- Tennis ball-sized hail was reported near Greensburg, Kan., Saturday night.
- A 97-mph wind gust was reported at the Oskaloosa Airport in Iowa Saturday night.
- With temperatures surging into the 80s and lower 90s (F) over much of the East on Monday, many locations had their hottest day of the season so far.
Temperatures on Monday broke daily record highs in nearly two dozen major cities from Maryland northward to Maine.
In Albany, N.Y., the record high of 91 degrees was the earliest in the year ever for reaching the 90-degree mark.
While temperatures failed to reach record levels in New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., Baltimore equaled its record high of 90 set in 2002.
In Boston, temperatures failed to reach 90. However, western Massachusetts had the national high for the day on April 16 with a 93-degree reading at Westfield, beating Texas, Florida and the Desert Southwest.
Thousands of runners bowed out of the 116th running of the Boston Marathon before the race even started, fearing the mid-summer heat. Typically in the Boston area and its suburbs, temperatures peak in the upper 50s this time of the year.
More than 1,200 runners were treated for heat-related problems in this year's marathon. Some of these and others simply dropped out of the race after attempting it.
- Drought has been declared amid drying rivers and shrinking reservoirs in a swath of England that is home to more than 35 million people, multiple online sources said on Monday.
Expanding drought, which may last until Christmas, has left the U.K. with its most severe water shortage since 1976, according to the Environment Agency.
Water restrictions that were imposed earlier in the year have remained in effect for about 20 million customers in the English East and South East.
- Flash flooding has prompted rescues and hundreds of calls for help in eastern Australia.
Eastern New South Wales, including greater Sydney, the nation's biggest city, was pelted with bursts of heavy rain between Monday and Wednesday, swamping streets and invading buildings.
The storms also caused electrical outages. At one time, crews were working to restore power to about 900 customers in the region.
Two-day rainfall of 75 to 150 mm spread widely over the area during the 36- to 48-hour stretch, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website showed. Highest rainfall of about 180 mm was observed between Sydney and Newcastle.
Low pressure over the nearby Tasman Sea, driving moisture-laden winds against nearby slopes, triggered the downpours.
- A severe spring storm has unleashed damaging winds in western Turkey and Greece.
At least one person has died in western Turkey, and two others were injured in Istanbul.
Trees were toppled and roofs torn off. Boats were capsized at Bodrum.
High winds and clouds of dust disrupted flights in the capital, Ankara.
At Khania, in western Crete, midday gusts reached 107 km/h.
Meanwhile, the high winds spread eastward over mainland Turkey on Wednesday. The international airport of Istanbul clocked winds of 105 km/h.
The unusually powerful storm instigating the high winds was centered over the northern Aegean Sea on Wednesday, having earlier crossed the mainland of Greece with widespread rain and strong winds.
- More than 500 homes in central Russia's Ryazan region have been flooded recently as melting snow forced the Moksha River to overflow its banks.
A state of emergency is in effect for the region about 100 miles to the southeast of Moscow.
In the village of Kadom, floodwaters have affected at least 1,179 people.
Earlier this month, severe spring floods generated by snowmelt inundated almost 2,500 homes in the Republic of Tatarstan and the Saratov and Samara regions.
Those floods affected more than 5,200 residents and forced over 1,000 to be evacuated.
- Heavy seasonal rain throughout much of Colombia over the past several weeks have caused major flooding throughout the county. The increase in rainfall is attributed to La Nina.
The flooding became deadly earlier this week, claiming the life of one person in the nation's capital of Bogota.
Heavy rainfall in recent weeks have caused major flooding of the nearby Bogota and Chichu rivers. The resulting floods have affected more than 2,000 families in the region, forcing most to evacuate to higher ground.
In the town of Cota, which is located just north of Bogota, local officials reported flood waters as deep as 13 feet in some areas.
- A flash flood killed seven visitors at a national park in Kenya.
The seven members of a church group were swept away as they walked through a narrow gorge.
Eight others were rescued following the incident.
Localized torrential rain struck neighboring areas at Hell's Gate National Park, located about 90 km northwest of Nairobi.
- Over a dozen states in the West into the northern High Plains had record high temperatures for the day. Record highs will fall over the Plains the next couple of days.
Like much of the nation, temperatures here have averaged well above normal thus far during meteorological spring (March 1 to May 31).
Here is a sample of cities and their temperature departures from normal since 1 March: Omaha, Neb. +12.1 degF,
Des Moines, Iowa +11.6 degF,
Minneapolis, Minn. +10.3 degF,
Kansas City, Mo. +10.1 degF,
Fargo, N.D. +9.7 degF.
- Snow and blowing snow made for poor travel in Ontario after a big spring snowstorm invaded Canada from the central Appalachian region.
An area north and west of Toronto reported whiteouts in high winds, falling snow and blowing snow as of early Tuesday morning.
Orangeville, in Dufferin County, and some northern outskirts of Toronto picked up 10 to 20 cm. Amid visibility cut to nil, drivers in Dufferin were advised to stay off the road.
- Photos, video and rumours flew on Twitter and Facebook about what looked like a green ash cloud hanging above the city of Moscow, Russia. Today is the anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine, which had people on edge.
Officials say that the ash cloud is actually a cloud of pollen from birch trees.
According to Dale Mohler of Accuweather, it has been dry and warm for the past week in Moscow. With dry weather, pollen accumulates on leaves. With a sudden gust of wind, pollen can shake loose.
- A tent outside of a bar was blown over, killing one person and injuring 100, by high winds produced by a severe thunderstorms moving through the St. Louis area late in the afternoon. Winds were estimated to have gusted well over 50 mph.
The Storm Prediction Center reported 15 high wind reports and 155 reports of large hail in the evening. Most of the storms were centered between St. Louis, MO and Louisville, KY.
- Central and eastern Europe is having an early taste of summer with unseasonably high temperatures across much of the region.
April temperature records have been smashed in many parts with temperatures climbing well above the seasonal norm for many. The northern region of Lower Austria reported a record 32C and Vienna has seen temperature reach 28C which has drawn large crowds to the banks of the Danube.
Germany's capital has also recorded temperatures in the low 30s and Prague experienced its hottest April 28th since 1800 with a top temperature of 27.7C. The heat also extended into Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and western Russia.
The summer weather was due to a strong southerly flow from of Africa's Sahara desert.
- Lightning has killed 26 people in two states of India.
Sixteen people were killed in multiple lightning incidents in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh.
Victims were said to be farmers or the homeless, caught outdoors in the storms.
The storms also uprooted trees and damaged thatched buildings.
Another incident happened in Howrah district of West Bengal, near Kolkata (Calcutta), where 10 people were killed.
The people were returning from a religious festival and took shelter in a temple during a torrential downpour.
- More than 100 people have been killed with many still missing after a ferry sank in the Brahmaputra River of northeastern India during a thunderstorm.
A district authority said that the boat broke into two pieces after capsizing in heavy rain and high wind.
World weather news, March 2012
- Despite a year of record snowfalls across Alaska, the Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race has no plans to delay its start on Saturday, March 3.
The "Last Great Race on Earth," as it is often called, will begin in Anchorage, Alaska, and will span 975 miles across a northern route to its completion in Nome.
Known to be one of the toughest sled dog races in the world, the Iditarod hosts over 65 teams, averaging 15 dogs each, and thousands of spectators each year.
Despite being the snowiest period on record for Anchorage since records have been kept, conditions look good for the race, which will be commemorating its 40th anniversary this year.
- Rising Australian streams and rivers have prompted many flood watches and warnings, forcing evacuation orders, after further widespread heavy rain doused the nation's southeast.
People in hundreds of flood-threatened homes have have been ordered to leave.
Already, government flood advisories have been issued for three-quarters of the state of New South Wales, an area nearly the size of Texas.
The towns of Cooma, Goulburn, Cowra and Bega all had residents driven from their homes as of Thursday.
Widespread rainfall of 50 to 150 mm within 24 to 36 hours has soaked an area spanning southern New South Wales, northeastern Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, where more heavy rain will fall through at least Saturday.
A dam under construction near Canberra is expected to be overtopped by floodwaters, forcing workers to take precautionary measures to limit damage.
Sydney area residents were watching the Warragamba Dam, where heavy runoff from the Blue Mountains was expected to flow over the spillway on Friday, local time. The forecast overflow was said likely to inundate large swaths of lowland bordering the Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers, north and west of Sydney.
- Severe thunderstorms led to one of the worst March tornado outbreaks in U.S. history. A preliminary count of 120 tornadoes, as reported by NOAA's Storm Prediction Center, left massive destruction in their wake across parts of the Midwest and Southeast. At least 39 people were killed in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Alabama, and Georgia. Hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed in about a dozen states. The average number of tornadoes for the entire month of March is 80. One of the hardest-hit areas was in Clark County, Indiana, where an EF-4 tornado, with winds whipping up to 175 mph, struck the town of Henryville. In its entirety, the tornado left a 79 km long path of "total devastation", as described by an Indiana State Police Sargeant.
- Tropical Storm Irina skirted down the western coast of Madagascar during the first few days of March, killing at least 73 people, mostly in the town of Ifanadiana. The storm also left more than 21,000 homeless. Tropical Cyclone Giovanna struck Madagascar just a few weeks earlier, and Irina destroyed roads and residences already weakened by the effects of Giovanna. Four fatalities were reported in South Africa. In Durban, waves reached 3 m, closing beaches and forcing ships to remain in port.
- New South Wales has recorded its equal wettest week on record, after a slow moving rain-band delivered steady rainfall across Australia's southeast, delivering a statewide average of 123.9 mm.
The 2012 record of 123.9 mm is shared with 1974, also a La Nina year, with rainfall figures recorded between 7 and 13 January.
The record breaking rains were the result of an extensive, slow moving cloud band and associated low pressure trough that stretched from the northwest to the southeast of the country, affecting the Northern Territory, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.
Numerous rainfall stations and entire catchments broke records during the event [between 27 February and 4 March], with 186.5 mm at Charlotte Pass the highest daily figure reported so far.
As a result of this recent rainfall we are now seeing widespread flooding across southeast New South Wales, and the northern and Gippsland regions of Victoria.
Many stations with over 100 years of data collection reached new weekly rainfall records, including Ivanhoe Post Office (294 mm), Wilcannia (239.8 mm), Hay (189 mm), Mount Buffalo (525 mm) and Yackandandah (324 mm), between 27 February and 4 March.
A Special Climate Statement on this event has been prepared by Agata Imielska, Acacia Pepler and Aaron Coutts-Smith in the Bureau&'s climate information program: click here
- Scientists are monitoring the impacts of a recent solar storm. Such events are likely to become more frequent and more severe in the approach to the next peak in solar activity around 2013.
The U.S. National Weather Service Space Weather Prediction Center has indicated that a coronal mass ejection (CME) reached the Earth at 1045 GMT. The corona is the region around the sun (visible during a solar eclipse) where temperatures can reach more than a million degrees and X-ray radiation is emitted. Coronal mass ejections, often originating from active areas on the sun's surface (like groupings of sunspots), release huge quantities of radiation and matter into space.
Based on the overall field strength observed so far, the predictions for periods reaching the G3 (Strong) geomagnetic storm level look justified, according to the NWS Space Weather Prediction Center. So far, the orientation of the magnetic field has been opposite of what is needed to cause the strongest geomagnetic impacts but as the event progresses, this may change. The main impacts from this event are likely to be on high-frequency communication in the polar regions, rendering high-frequency (used in aviation) unusable at the highest latitudes. There are also several confirmed reports of commercial airlines avoiding the polar routes because of the disruption to high frequency communication.
After a relatively quiet sun, solar activity is expected to peak around 2013 and this will have an impact on the environment between the sun and the earth. Solar minimum occurs in years when the number of sunspots is lowest; solar maximum occurs in the years when sunspots are most numerous, sometimes numbering several hundred on a given day. During solar maximum, activity on the Sun and the effects of space weather on the Earth are high.
- Another heat wave is set to begin across Western Australia today, including the capital city of Perth.
In Perth, high temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday reached 32C and 33C respectively. This is a cooldown from highs above 35C earlier in the week.
- Perth's summer of 2011-2012 has landed in the record books, following a historical first eighth heat wave.
The heat wave was an apparent factor in a bushfire described as "fierce" and "threatening lives and homes".
The record-breaking hot blast began Friday, culminating in Sunday's high of 41.4C. Monday's high of 40.6C extended March's second major heat wave to a fourth day.
A heat wave is defined by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) as three-straight days of 35C.
- Tough water restrictions have been issued for 20 million UK residents in light of worsening drought in England.
The restrictions, including a "hosepipe ban" on a range of outdoor water usage, follow two years of low rainfall that has left reservoirs at record low volumes,
No fewer than seven water companies, serving London and, more broadly, the South and East of England, have taken the drastic measures, which will take effect on April 5.
This action has followed combined fall/winter rainfall of only 62 to 75 percent of normal within the region's key watersheds.
- Temperature records continue to be shattered across the eastern two-thirds of the nation as the springlike warmth bulges eastward.
In general, places farther north will have the largest departures from normal. For example, the normal high for International Falls, Minn., is in the low 30s. High temperatures this week are expected to climb near 60 degrees, almost 30 degrees above average!
Above average warmth will spread north and east throughout the week as high pressure builds.
Numerous daily temperature records continued to be broken across the country on Monday as the warmth spread eastward. Locations from Florida to North Dakota to Maine experienced record warmth; at Boston, Mass. 71F passed the old record for the 12th of 69F in 1902. On the 13th new records included Sioux City, Iowa with 81F (previously 74F in 1946).
- Scores of daily temperature records fell again in the USA, in some areas for the third straight day, making this unusual pattern a sort of March heat wave. New records set included St. Louis, Mo. 86F (previously 82F in 1971), Jackson, Tenn. 84F (80F 2007) and Minneapolis, Minn. 73F (64F 2010).
- Atlanta, Ga., measured record pollen levels today with 8,164 particles of pollen per cubic meter of air. This count was more than 35 percent higher than the previous record of 6,013 set on April 12, 1999, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic has labeled this count to be in the extremely high range.
- A major dust and sandstorm has swept over wide areas of the Mideast since late last week.
The choking, blinding airborne dust sent hundreds of people to hospital in Saudi Arabia. Schools in parts of the kingdom were shut.
The storm disrupted flights through Sanaa, Yemen.
In Kuwait, 277 residents on the island of Failaka were evacuated by the coast guard of Kuwait.
Drivers in the region were warned of very low visibility and strong winds.
The dust and sandstorm was kicked up by a strong cold front beginning in Friday eastern Syria and northwestern Iraq. The strong winds and very low visibility spread quickly southeastward, enveloping Baghdad, Iraq, through Kuwait, on Saturday.
The rest of the Gulf region, spanning Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and United Arab Emirates, was swept in clouds of thick dust and sand on Saturday night and Sunday.
Southern and western Arabia was caught up in the dusty shroud by Monday, some of the lowest visibilities being observed in Yemen.
Thousands of records, some thought to be unbreakable, have fallen over the past couple of weeks from the High Plains to the East Coast, and north into Canada.
Additionally, more than a dozen major cities established new all-time record highs for the month of March. This is especially impressive considering all of these records were set more than a week from the end of the month, which climatologically tends to be warmer than the middle portion. These include
Detroit, Mich. 86 F, and Lansing, Mich. 86 F; also Quebec City, Quebec 65 F.
- 9 - The number of consecutive days that Chicago, Ill., has broken a record high, from March 14 to March 22. Eight of those days saw the mercury climb above 80 F, which is normal for mid-June.
- 93 - The temperature swing that occurred over the course of just nine days in International Falls, Minn., from a low of -14 F on March 9, to a high of 79F on March 18. Also, 10 straight days of new record highs (March 13 to March 22).
- 26 - The number of inches of snow that melted over the course of just seven days in Caribou, Maine, from March 15 to March 22, thanks to the unusual warmth. Also, 18 inches of snow was still on the ground when the first record high fell on March 18 (64 degrees).
- 32 - The gap, in degrees, between the old and new record high on March 21 in Marquette, Mich. The new record high was 81F, obliterating the old record of 49F. The margin of defeat was so great that the low temperature that day was even higher than the old record high temperature.
- 20.7 - The temperature departure (in degrees fahrenheit) from normal for the month of March thus far in Winnipeg, Canada. This occurred despite temperatures having dropped below zero for four days early in the month.
- 1921 - The last year it was above 80F in Boston before March 28 of any given calendar year. In reaching 83 degrees on March 22, this came to fruition for the first time since March 21, 1921.
- 86 - The new all-time record high temperature for March in Detroit, Mich., set on March 22. In fact, a new all-time high temperature was set two days in a row, with the mercury first climbing to 84 F on March 21.
- 60 - The average low temperature in Chicago, Ill., from March 17 to March 22 of this year. Such low temperatures, about 30 degrees above normal, are more typical for mid-June.
- The annual snowfall record in Anchorage is being challenged late this week as a storm aims for south-central Alaska. A storm moving into the Bering Sea will reorganize over the northern coast of the Gulf of Alaska Friday into Friday night.
While the storm itself will not be huge, it may be enough to crash Anchorage's annual snowfall record.
As of March 22, 2012, snowfall in the Anchorage stands at 129.4 inches. The annual snowfall record for the city is 132.6 inches.
- Despite temperatures in the 60s and 70s (F), it looked like the middle of winter in parts of the Southeast USA today.
Hail that covered the ground up to 6 inches deep in some communities from southwestern Virginia into South Carolina.
The Storm Prediction Center compiled 80 reports of hail from Saturday ranging from 1 inch to 2.75 inches in diameter (baseball size).
Thunderstorms produced hail across a half dozen states, from West Virginia to Georgia.
- The National Weather Service has measured the largest hailstone to fall in Hawaii since 1950 (when measurement records began).
The hailstone was collected by a Windward Oahu resident in the neighborhood of Aikahi.
The hailstone fell during a supercell thunderstorm on March 9, 2012.
The official measurements of the hailstone were 4.25 inches long, 2.25 inches tall and 2 inches wide.
- More than 300 people were expected to leave their flood-threatened homes in northern Ontario, Canada.
Ice jamming on the Albany River near James Bay was menacing the indigenous communities of Fort Albany and Kashechewan.
During a recent warm spell, temperatures rose 15 to 25 degC above normal.
World weather news, February 2012
- A man was arrested in Chile for stealing ice from a fast-melting glacier that is protected by law.
The man allegedly stole ice from the Jorge Montt Glacier, one of 63 glaciers that was studied by NASA for melting rates back in 2003.
Jorge Montt Glacier is on northern edge of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field in the Bernardo O'Higgins National Park, located to the south of a town called Caleta Tortel, Chile.
- Europe's cold snap has claimed 164 lives, as countries from Ukraine to Italy struggle with temperatures that plunged to record lows in some places and with more cold weather forecast.
Entire villages were cut off in parts of eastern Europe, trapping thousands, while road, air and rail links were severed and gas consumption shot up during what has been the severest winter in decades in some regions.
In Ukraine, tens of thousands headed to shelters to escape the freeze that emergencies services said has killed 63 people - most of them frozen to death in the streets, some succumbing to the hypothermia later in hospitals.
- Nine more people died in Poland as the mercury dropped to -32C in some parts, bringing the country's toll to 29 since the fearsome spell of cold weather started.
- Russian gas giant Gazprom, said it had boosted deliveries to Europe, while several European countries reported drops in Russian supplies, with operators in Austria and Slovakia both reporting falls of 30 percent.
- Tens of thousands of people in Ukraine have sought help in more than 2,000 temporary shelters as temperatures fell to minus -33C in the Carpathians and -27C in the capital Kiev.
- In Romania, eight people died overnight, bringing the country's overall toll to 22. Schools remained closed in some parts.
- In Bulgaria, at least 10 people have died.
With parts of the Danube river freezing, authorities moved some vessels to ports further away to protect them from the advancing ice.
- In the Bulgarian capital Sofia, some residents found their money frozen as automated teller machines stopped functioning.
- In Latvia, 10 people have died around the capital Riga alone, with no figures available for the rest of the country. In neighbouring Lithuania a 55-year-old homeless man became the ninth victim of the deep chill.
- In Estonia, organisers had to postpone a trio of cross-country skiing events after temperatures plunged to -30C. Many Friday and weekend sports events have been cancelled elsewhere on the continent.
- In north and central Italy, hundreds were trapped overnight on trains as freezing temperatures and heavy snowfalls caused widespread transport chaos.
The cold has so far killed an infant in Sicily, a 76-year-old in Parma and a homeless man in Milan during what forecasters say is the coldest weather in Italy in 27 years.
- In France, 41 of the 101 regions were on alert for snow or "deep cold". In Paris, the army set aside nearly 600 places in military buildings to shelter the homeless from the cold.
- Two people died in Austria, and seven perished in Serbia, where 11,500 others were trapped mostly in remote mountain villages inaccessible by road.
- Five have died in the Czech Republic and two each in Slovakia and Greece.
- In Belgrade, homeless people unable to secure one of the 140 spots in the capital's sole shelter took refuge in trolley buses and trams.
- In neighbouring Bosnia, several remote hamlets in the east were cut off, forcing helicopter airdrops of food and supplies this week.
- Hollywood star and weather seer Punxsutawney Phil used to be the only groundhog that mattered in weather predicting, but Phil's shock decision Thursday that spring is still six weeks away put him out on a limb.
As the eastern United States enjoys an exceptionally mild winter, most would have guessed that spring is around the corner. But when Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow on Thursday, his handlers announced he was able to see his shadow. According to tradition, that signals six more weeks of winter.
The ritual in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania risked provoking skeptics, whether children looking forlornly at their unused sleds, or adults sweltering on their way to the office in winter overcoats.
As it happens, last year, in the thick of a particularly savage, snowy winter, Phil perkily suggested that he hadn't seen his shadow and therefore relief was around the corner. Maybe not so clever.
Americans might start paying more attention to Phil's often overlooked competitor Charles G. Hogg, the resident groundhog at Staten Island Zoo in New York City.
On being dragged out of his burrow Thursday in the presence of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chuck, as he's commonly known, did not see his shadow -- meaning, of course, that currently mild temperatures will stay that way right up until the official start of spring.
Groundhog Day, which falls each year on February 2, started with a German tradition in which farmers monitored the animal's behavior closely to make decisions about when their fields should be planted.
Punxsutawney held its first Groundhog Day in the 1800s, according to the official website.
- Several European countries recorded their coldest night of the winter on 2/3 February. These include Sweden, where the temperature in Kvikkjokk in the northern part of Sweden fell to -42.7C which is the lowest temperature in Sweden since 2001 In the capital Stockholm, it was about -14C.
It was also the coldest night of the winter in Poland. It was almost -20C, and in the coldest parts in the eastern Poland was almost -30C. Night-time temperatures in Belgium fell to -9C at the coast and -17C on the coldest heights. The normal minimum temperature for this time of year is + 0.4C.
In Germany, temperatures fell to -26.4C in Deutschneudorf. The lowest temperature was -11.3C in Powys, Wales. The Siberian air mass reached Portugal which had its coldest night in the last 10
- Frigid air gripping Europe has set the stage for rare snowfall in Rome. One of the major European cities up next to see snow is London.
Snow began mixing with rain in Rome during the early morning hours of Friday. Steadier snow followed during the midday and afternoon hours, especially across northern areas.
The heavy rate of the snowfall held visibility at or below a half of a mile throughout much of the afternoon hours at the Urbe Airport on the city's northeastern side.
Snow is definitely rare in Rome, where afternoon high temperatures typically warm to 12C at this time of year.
- Three of six transatlantic flights diverted to Shannon Airport on Sunday morning because of snow at Heathrow airport, have resumed their journeys.
The British Airways flights, were travelling from the US cities of Denver, Houston, Miami, Washington, Dallas and Atlanta.
Half of the 1,300 scheduled flights at Heathrow were cancelled.
Aer Lingus and Ryanair were also forced to cancel a number of flights as a result of the adverse weather.
Snow swept down to London and East Anglia on Sunday after covering parts of Scotland, Wales, northern England and the Midlands on Saturday.
- Motorists have been urged to take extra care in treacherous conditions as snow across much of the UK turns to ice.
The Met Office has issued nine warnings for ice after disruption to road, rail and air travel following up to 16cm of snow in some areas.
Half of the 1,300 scheduled flights at Heathrow were cancelled and some trains and Tube services also disrupted.
Earlier, hundreds of vehicles were stranded on the M25 and M40, with some drivers forced to spend the night in their cars.
Snow swept down to London and East Anglia on Saturday evening after covering parts of Scotland, Wales, northern England and the Midlands earlier in the day.
Church Fenton, in North Yorkshire, reported 16cm, which contributed to more than 60 accidents on the region's roads.
Heathrow operator BAA said it had decided to reduce the flight schedule at Heathrow on Saturday to "minimise disruption" and said airlines had been able to re-book some passengers as a result.
Temperatures have been so low that waterfalls in Yorkshire have frozen.
At Stansted Airport in Essex, flights were operating but queues in the terminals were busier than normal as schedules were disrupted. A dozen Ryanair flights were cancelled, some planes were delayed whilst de-icing took place, and there was a knock-on effect from 11 inbound flights being diverted away on Saturday night during snow clearing.
At Gatwick, flight arrivals and departures were operating, although passengers were warned they may face some disruption.
At Luton Airport, 10cm of snow fell overnight and its runway was closed for a period, causing three departing flights to be cancelled.
On the roads, Thames Valley Police said as many as 100 vehicles were stationary on the M40 between Junction 4 High Wycombe and Junction 9 Bicester for several hours and snow ploughs were brought in to help clear the roads.
Transport for London said several Tube lines were hit by suspensions or delays. earlier on Sunday.
- Delays and cancellations were reported by many train companies.
Forecasters warned of widespread ice in Wales as the worst of the weather eased
- A 55-year-old man was airlifted to hospital after injuring his spine in a sledging accident in Terrington, North Yorkshire.
- A 35-year-old woman was taken to hospital with hypothermia after being rescued from a frozen lake in Beeston, Nottinghamshire, on Saturday evening
London Ambulance Service experienced a surge in 999 calls with 2,500 in the 12 hours to midday - up 26% on the same period last Sunday.
- Key roads in and out of Dover were closed after heavy overnight snow in Kent, while rail operators reported delays and cancellations.
- In Staffordshire more than 100 vehicles were abandoned on the A50 in Uttoxeter after two lorries jack-knifed, although the road has been re-opened.
- There were warnings of icy roads after 5cm of snow fell in parts of Scotland
Sunday's Championship match between Derby County and Nottingham Forest was postponed and all three horse racing meetings in the UK - Fontwell, Kempton and Musselburgh - cancelled.
- Drivers are being warned of treacherous road conditions, after a six-vehicle crash in north Lincolnshire.
The collision on the southbound carriageway of the A15, just south of the Humber Bridge, closed the road for part of the morning.
Humberside Police said nobody was seriously injured.
In East Yorkshire, gritters worked through the weekend to clear hundreds of miles of roads after 5-10cm of snow fell.
East Riding Council said major routes had been kept clear but some minor roads were not treated.
- A 40km stretch of the A1 (in the UK) was closed northbound on following a series of accidents.
North Yorkshire Police said they had attended 54 collisions across the county between midnight and 1000GMT but no-one was badly hurt.
The fire service said up to 20 lorries had jack-knifed on the A1 between Allerton Park and the Catterick.
The closure had caused major traffic queues with many drivers stuck in their vehicles for more than four hours.
- Motorists are being warned to drive with care after freezing conditions in England led to a series of accidents.
Schools have also been affected with about 55 closed in Essex.
A total of 39 were closed in East Sussex with a further 19 closed in Kent and Medway.
A handful of schools were also closed in the East Midlands, Warwickshire, Surrey and Yorkshire.
Some rail services continued to suffer following the weekend's big freeze.
Southeastern hoped to operate a normal timetable, but said cancellations and delays were "very likely".
Heathrow Airport which had 2.4in (6cm) of snow, hoped to resume normal service on Monday. With only 50% of the 1,300 scheduled flights going ahead on Sunday, many travellers faced a night sleeping on terminal floors.
- Snow made a rare appearance in Algiers, the capital city of Algeria.
Cold air associated with a storm system diving into northern Africa provided for some decent accumulations of snow in the north African country.
Reports say the last time Algiers saw this kind of accumulation was in 2005.
- St George, Queensland, has seen thousands of residents evacuated as record-high flood waters invade their town.
The flooding Balonne River was one of many that have burst banks and spilled into towns on plains of inland Queensland and nearby New South Wales.
A record-high flood crest of 14.0m was forecast for the Balonne in St George during Monday night, local time.
About 30 homes outside of flood protection were already flooded as of Monday.
Emergency workers had earlier raised a temporary flood barrier at the 14.5m level.
Earlier, fears had been that the river would peak near 15.0m, resulting in a widespread inundation of the town.
Meanwhile, the town of Mitchell was beginning to assess what the Queensland Premier called a "terrible mess" left by the flooding.
More than 70 percent of the homes in Mitchell, a town of 950, were flooded, some to their roof.
In northern New South Wales, the rampaging Namoi left more than 2,000 people isolated ahead of its expected crest at Wee Waa.
Further record crests are forecasts in the area as runoff in the Darling River basin flows southward and westward during the coming days and weeks.
Exceptionally heavy rain bolstered by tropical moisture since late January sparked the record flooding.
- After unusually mild weather in December 2011 and early January 2012 almost all over Europe, the weather situation changed abruptly in the middle of January. An incursion of cold polar air, coming from northern Russia at the south flank of an extensive high pressure area brought extremely low temperatures over large parts of Europe and also some considerable snowfall especially over various parts of the continent.
This Siberian high pressure system is preventing milder temperatures and maritime storms from moving from the Atlantic Ocean eastwards over Europe. This high pressure area was very stable causing a continuous flow of cold air to Europe over many days. This blocking system is extremely large in its extent
but it is not an unusual phenomenon in the Northern hemisphere winter.
A similar high pressure blocking system was also responsible for the more significant cold winter of 2009/2010, when cold conditions started in mid December and continued over most of January and February period.
In the last few days of January and at the beginning of February, further extremely cold continental air from Russia arrived and brought ongoing frost to eastern, southeastern, central and large parts of western
Europe. Minimum temperatures in Moscow went down to -25C until the beginning of February. Some east European countries (Latvia, Belarus, northeastern Poland, Ukraine) experienced minimum
temperatures of around -30C, northern Russia down to -37C. In eastern Germany, minimum temperatures
below -20C were measured in many places, in wester n central Europe around -10C to -15C or below (e.g.
Luxembourg -13C on 3 February, Strasbourg in France at the Rhine river -15C on 5 February, Basel in
Switzerland -17C on 6 February).
However, all these minimum temperatures were not new records. The long duration of the cold period, its
relatively late onset and the extent of the cold area are noteworthy but not exceptional. The continental cold
air extended even over the Balkan peninsula; slight ongoing frost was recorded even in northern Greece.
The cold air coming from the north was fed with a strong moisture flux from the central Mediterranean Sea.
This caused heavy snowfall over parts of south eastern Europe such as the Balkans, Romania, Bulgaria,
Italy, and Algeria and other countries in Northern Africa.
In contrast, mild air moved over the North Atlantic northwards over Iceland up to the Arctic region. The
temperature in Svalbard, far north in the Arctic, reached repeatedly up to 5°C in recent days, more th an in
Milano (Italy) or in Istanbul (Turkey). Much of North America has also been unusually warm.
Part of the explanation is the the so-called Arctic Oscillation which is the difference in pressure between
Polar areas and mid-latitude areas (where most of the population in Europe lives). At the moment there is a
negative Arctic Oscillation, which favors cold conditions in Europe and relatively warmer conditions in the
Similar cold spells with similar weather conditions occurred several times during the past decades. Similarly
low temperatures in central Europe and even far higher snow depths were recorded as recently as February
Temperatures have been also been extremely low from the northern part of East Asia to Central Asia (in and
around Mongolia and Kazakhstan) since mid-January. The influence of cold air has extended to Central to
Western Europe as well as to all over Central Asia, such as Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, since the beginning
- Snow has blanketed parts of Libya, including the town of Gharyan which is southwest of the capital Tripoli. Snowfall is a rare occurrence in the country.
- Temperatures in England plummeted overnight but failed to match the coldest night of the winter so far.
Forecasters say the lowest temperatures reached -11.8C in Church Fenton in North Yorkshire.
However, this failed to beat the -12.4C recorded at South Newington in Oxfordshire on the night of 3 February.
Snow flurries fell overnight around Kent, Sussex and the Thames estuary. Northern Ireland and parts of the north of Scotland remained frost-free.
The lowest temperature ever recorded in England during February was -20.6C on 25 February 1947 in Woburn.
- Emergency services in Cumbria (UK) dealt with 97 crashes caused by freezing rain in less than six hours.
The A66 trans-Pennine route was closed for several hours after a number of lorries jackknifed near Stainmore. The M6 also saw a number of crashes.
The A66 was also the scene of a multi-vehicle accident near Penrith. There were no serious injuries reported.
Some schools have also been closed as a precaution.
A Cumbria Police spokesman said all the collisions were reported between 0500GMT and 1100GMT.
Elsewhere in the north of England, six vehicles, including a double-decker bus, crashed on the Felling bypass and several vehicles collided on Blaydon Highway flyover, both in Gateshead.
Durham Police said they had received reports of a number of minor collisions around County Durham and Darlington. They warned drivers to use "extreme caution".
Plunging temperatures and icy conditions also led to a number of road accidents across North Yorkshire. Police said black ice led to problems in Skipton, Otley and Settle and one motorist said the A65 near Giggleswick was "like glass".
- The Manneken Pis, or "peeing boy" statue, in Brussels, Belgium, cannot pee. That is to say, freezing temperatures have caused officials to turn off the the flow of water through the statue, according to Reuters. Water was shut off due to fears that the cold may damage the internal mechanism. On Feb. 7, the high temperature in Brussels was only -6.4C and the low temperature was -13C. The average temperature for Brussels on Feb. 7 is 2.8C.
- Severe weather warnings for ice and snow are in place across much of England, after the second significant snowfall in less than a week.
Snow fell in most parts of England and parts of Wales overnight but other areas of the UK largely saw rain.
Ice in parts of Wales and England is causing hazardous driving conditions.
The largest amount of snow fell in Lincolnshire - 8cm - and the coldest temperature, -7C, was recorded at Houghton Hall in Norfolk.
There should be a slight thaw setting in over the weekend, BBC forecasters said.
In south Wales, the A470 is closed after two vehicles crashed on ice near Nant Ddu between Brecon and Merthyr Tydfil at 0545GMT on Friday. Icy conditions on the roads are being reported in parts of north and south Wales, where temperatures remain close to freezing.
Meanwhile, charities are warning that elderly people are among the most vulnerable in the cold weather and urge people to check on their older relatives or neighbours.
- Snow as deep as 15 feet isolated areas in Romania, Moldova and Albania on Tuesday and turned a power plant in Kosovo into a park of dazzling ice sculptures.
Authorities have been forced to use helicopters and army trucks to deliver food and medicine and to help the sick reach hospitals.
Officials said five Romanians died in the past 24 hours due to the cold, bringing the total to 79 weather-related deaths. Neighbouring Moldova also has been hard hit by snow, and both countries have seen schools, borders, highways and train services shut down in some areas as temperatures plunged to -9F overnight.
The Romanian rail network CFR canceled 413 trains due to heavy snow on the lines.
Albania, meanwhile, has declared a state of emergency in the worst-affected areas. Army trucks and helicopters brought food and medicine to 250,000 Albanians who were isolated in their villages by deep snow, which has also caused power outages and feed shortages for farm animals like cows and sheep.
The roofs of about two dozen houses, including that of a 300-year-old church in southeastern Albania, collapsed under the weight of the snow, but no injuries were reported.
In Bulgaria, the soccer federation postponed the restart of the domestic league nearly a month, from Feb. 24 to March 20, because of the exceptionally cold weather and heavy snow.
- Tropical Cyclone Giovanna struck the island of Madagascar in the South Indian Ocean. According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, the storm roared ashore on the east coast near the port city of Tamatave with maximum sustained winds of 230km/h, equivalent to a category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. At least three people were killed as the storm moved westward over the island and quickly lost strength. Numerous trees and power lines were downed and several dozen families were forced to evacuate their homes due to rising floodwaters. After crossing the island, Giovanna made its way into the Mozambique Channel later the same day, where it was expected to restrengthen over the warm ocean waters.
- Historical snow and cold in Rome have not only tried the patience of its residents but have also taken a toll on one of its architectural wonders, the Colosseum.
The Colosseum had to shut its doors to tourists after bits of the massive structure crumbled and fell.
This was but one instance of adverse weather impact in Italy, which has suffered bitter cold and extreme snowfalls.
The loosening of plaster masonry and stone was attributed to ice forming on the walls, according to government spokesman Cristiano Brughitta - the "freeze-thaw cycle".
- Some 5.6 million urban shade trees were killed by the record drought that baked Texas last year, the Texas Forest Service reported.
Last year was the driest year on record in the state and the second-hottest.
The shade tree die-off represents some 10 percent of the state's urban forest, and is in addition to as many as a half-billion rural, park and forest trees that the forest service reported in December were killed in the drought.
The impact of the drought will be visible for decades because of the loss of the trees in yards and parks and along streets of the state's cities, according to the service.
The urban tree canopy loss may be far from over, said forest service lead researcher Pete Smith. Even though the drought appears to be easing in some parts of the state, many trees have been stressed beyond repair, he said.
- Water companies, farmers and wildlife groups amid fears that parts of Britain may face the worst drought since 1976.
Parts of south-east England, East Anglia and the east Midlands are among the worst affected areas.
Water restrictions could be introduced unless heavy and prolonged rainfall takes place before April, the Environmane Agency (EA) warns.
A lack of rainfall over the past few months means groundwater levels are still falling in many areas.
Last month EA experts said water levels were so worryingly low that twice the average rainfall was needed if rivers are to recover and a hosepipe ban is to be avoided.
The EA, which covers England and Wales, has had to oxygenate rivers and move fish that have become stranded in isolated pools and farmers have been prevented from drawing water from rivers in some cases.
- More than 40 people, most of them children, have frozen to death in what has been Afghanistan's coldest winter in years.
The government has recorded 41 deaths from freezing in three provinces Kabul, Ghor and Badakhshan.
All but three or four of those deaths were children, he said. Twenty-four were in the capital, Kabul, mostly in camps for people who have fled fighting elsewhere in the country.
Kabul has been experiencing its worst cold snap and heaviest snowfall in 15 years, according to the national weather centre. It said the weather was expected to improve by the end of the week.
- Destructive floods caused by the rapid thawing of the Danube River could add to the fatalities from an already harsh European winter, the head of the United Nations agency dealing with disaster risk reduction said.
In a statement, quoted by the UN News Centre, Margareta Wahlström, the head of the secretariat of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, voiced concern for the consequences faced by those countries traversed by the Danube, whose sudden thaw is taking many by surprise.
"The thaw is now setting in along the Danube. While thousands of people remain snowbound from Serbia to Bulgaria, there are warning signs that destructive floods will add to the loss of life and economic assets particularly in places where there is an absence of flood management infrastructure such as dams and dikes," Wahlström said.
According to media reports, the quick thawing of Europe.s second longest river has sent massive ice floes careening into boats and bridges, causing widespread damage to river vessels. The cold front had previously frozen large tracts of the waterway, making it unnavigable in areas of Germany and the Balkans.
- At least three people died and another 49 were injured when a twister struck central Indonesia.
The tornado hit the area of Sidrap on the island of Sulawesi, flattening homes and leaving more than 200 people homeless.
Strong tornadoes are unusual, but not unknown, in wet tropical climates like that of Indonesia. However, powerful thunderstorms, which are the parent storms for twisters, happen in Indonesia at some of the highest rates on earth.
- A late-winter tornado outbreak that pounded seven states Wednesday lashed the country music resort city of Branson, Mo., ripped into towns in other states and killed at least 13 people.
Communities in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee felt the impact of storms that spawned at least 20 tornadoes. Six people died in Illinois, three in Missouri and three in Tennessee.
It was a jolting early moment in the USA's tornado season after a brutal year of twisters in 2011. Last year, 550 Americans died in tornadoes, according to the Storm Prediction Center. That was the deadliest toll since 1925, when 794 people died.
Among places hardest hit Wednesday was Harrisburg, Ill., a town of about 10,000 where at least six people were killed and more than 100 were injured.
The National Weather Service said the Harrisburg tornado unleashed winds of up to 170 mph.
According to the Storm Prediction Center, the Midwest outbreak produced more than 250 reports of large hail and damaging winds in addition to the 20 tornadoes.
Before this eruption, February had been relatively calm for tornadoes after a wild January during which at least 95 twisters were reported in the USA. That was the third most-active January since official record-keeping begin in 1950.
- Late winter storms forced school and road closures from Seattle to upstate New York, but the snow was welcomed in California as it suffers through one of the driest winters in history.
The blast from the Gulf of Alaska was expected to bring up to 5 feet of snow at the highest elevations of the northern Sierra Nevada, delighting skiers and the 28 million Californians who depend on snowmelt to meet their water needs.
"It's a pretty typical storm, it's just not typical this year," said Johnnie Powell, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Sacramento.
World weather news, January 2012
- Southern Thailand has been hit with damaging floods following extreme rainfall topping 20 inches within two days. Tens of thousands of homes have been inundated in the four southernmost provinces, Yala, Pattani, Songkhla and Narathiwat. Meteorological data showed rainfall of 25.6in within 72 hours at Nakhon Si Thammarat. Normal monthly rainfall here would be about 7inches, November and December being at the centre of the local rainy season.
- 3rd and 5th
- Damaging winds with gusts in excess of 100mph affected the British Isles on these days; many trees were felled and two people died as a result of the weather. More details can be found here.
- A sequence of devastating earthquakes and a large number of weather-related catastrophes made 2011 the costliest year ever in terms of natural catastrophe losses. At about US$ 380bn, global economic losses were nearly two-thirds higher than in 2005, the previous record year with losses of US$ 220bn. The earthquakes in Japan in March and New Zealand in February alone caused almost two-thirds of these losses. Insured losses of US$ 105bn also exceeded the 2005 record (US$ 101bn).
- 2011 was another wet year for Australia, with data collected by the Bureau of Meteorology showing that the Australian mean rainfall total for 2011 was 699mm (234mm above the long-term average of 465mm), placing the year at the third-wettest since comparable records began in 1900. Back-to-back La Niña events led to a two-year rainfall total of 1402mm which is the second-highest total on record behind 1407mm in 1973-74. In addition 2011 gave Australia's first cooler than average year since 2001, Australia's coldest autumn since at least 1950 while the ten years from 2002 to 2011 were Australia's equal-warmest 10-year period on record.
- The snow drought across the U.S. so far this winter has raised questions about impacts on water supply, ski resorts and agriculture. Only 22 percent of the nation was covered by snow today; a snow depth analysis for the 4 January for 2004-2012 reveals the smallest area of the U.S. is covered by snow this year. The year 2007 ranks as the second smallest area of the U.S. with snowcover of about 27 percent.
- Record-shattering warmth that engulfed much of the Plains, USA. The impressively warm temperatures broke records from Wyoming to Wisconsin and from North Dakota to Kansas. Some places had records for the day broken by over 10F. However, in Philip, S.D., the mercury reached a balmy 74F, which absolutely obliterated the old record of 46F set back in 2002. The record warmth was due to an area of upper-level high pressure, which allowed westerly winds to flow down the slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
- Brazilian authorities are trying to evacuate at least 20,000 people after a dam burst in Rio de Janeiro state following days of torrential rain. The burst in the dam in Campos dos Goytacazes in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state was caused by days of heavy rains, which have been battering Brazil's south-eastern region since the beginning of the year. Mina Gerais and Espirito Santo in southeast Brazil have also been struck by torrential rains in recent days. Sixty six towns and cities in Minas Gerais have declared a state of emergency with many other areas in the the south-east of the country on red alert. An average of 125mm of rain usually falls during the whole month of January, but many locations are reporting this amount of rain in just 24 hours. Mudslides have already struck in the city of Belo Horizonte, and across the country six people have lost their lives to the severe weather.
- After starting 2012 with temperatures 10F above normal, winter has finally arrived in the Chicago area.
The first appreciable snowfall of the season snarled travel on Wednesday and Thursday night across the Midwest as a storm system intensified and slowly chugged eastward.
Snowfall totals ranged from 4 to 7 inches across northern and central Illinois with 4.7 inches at Chicago's O'Hare Airport as of early Friday morning. This was the first time an event produced more than 2 inches of snow this season.
- A Russian fuel tanker, led by a US Coast Guard cutter, has made some progress on its mission to deliver needed fuel to the remote town of Nome, on Alaska's icebound west coast.
The flotilla of two ships, the icebreaking escort Healy and the Russian tanker Renda, drew to within about 95 miles of Nome on Wednesday.
Progress was slowed by thick ice and strong currents on Tuesday, when the ships made 9 miles. However, when the ships stopped to rest, they drifted with the ice, thereby cutting the gain to 6 miles.
The unusual winter mission was made necessary following a severe fall storm, which caused Nome to miss its last pre-winter delivery by barge. Fear is that the town of 3,500 residents will run short of fuel before barge delivery becomes possible again in late spring.
The start of winter has been severely cold in Nome and throughout western Alaska. Since Dec. 22, average temperature in Nome has been -20.6F, which is 27F below normal.
- At least 3,500 homes and businesses were left without power following Tropical Cyclone Heidi's landfall in Australia's northwest.
A major port was forced to shut temporarily for the storm's early morning, strike on the Pilbara coast near the town of Port Hedland, in the state of Western Australia.
At the height of the storm, winds as high as 150 km/h lashed Port Hedland, according to multiple reports. Rainfall in the area was expected to be as high as 250 mm.
- Storms in four central USA states brought reports of at least 10 tornadoes touching down, a rare event for this time of winter, including two in the Louisville, Kentucky metropolitan area.
Another tornado touched down south of Nashville, Tennessee, and two others were reported in Mississippi along with reports of damage from high winds and hail.
Tornadoes are rare, but not unheard of, this time of year in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, and more common farther south.
- A Pacific storm blanketed Seattle in more than 4 inches of snow on Wednesday, forcing school closures and airline flight cancellations and snarling traffic throughout a city more accustomed to rain than severe winter weather.
But the storm, nicknamed "Snowmageddon" as it approached the Puget Sound region, proved less extreme than originally forecast, with the National Weather Service lowering its outlook for possible snow accumulations from up to 10 inches to around 6 inches.
The storm, which arrived on Tuesday evening, bore down more forcefully on towns in the interior part of Washington state, where snowfall totals ranging from 10 inches to 20 inches were forecast.
More than 38,000 customers had lost power late on Wednesday, as the state braced itself for icy, slick roads from falling temperatures and possible rain.
A new daily snowfall record was set at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport with 6.8 inches falling through 5:20 p.m. local time. This storm shattered the old record of 2.9 inches which fell in 1954. Furthermore, the half foot of snow is just shy of the seasonal normal of 8.0 inches.
- In the Pacific Northwest United States, back-to-back storms and cold arctic air brought snow and freezing rain to Oregon and Washington state during the third week in January. At least three people were killed across the two states. 10cm of snow, followed by heavy ice, estimated up to 13mm, in Seattle left at least 200,000 residents without power and forced Sea-Tac International Airport to close temporarily. According to NOAA's National Weather Service, the last major freezing rain event in Seattle occurred in December 1996. On the 19th, 58cm of snow were measured at Mullan, Washington, a region that saw some of the storm's heaviest snowfall totals.
- A major wildfire broke out near Reno, Nevada (USA) on the 19th. The fire was fanned by winds as high as 82mph. Twenty-nine homes were destroyed and thousands of residents were evacuated as more than 1,590 hectares rapidly burned. Flames as tall as 12m scorched dry sagebrush, grass, and pines. The area had just broken a winter record of 56 straight days without precipitation before light snow fell just days before the fire. The previous winter dry-spell record was 54 days, during the winter of 1960/61. Several daily high temperature records were also tied or broken around Reno and South Lake Tahoe during the first half of January, according to the National Weather Service. The fire was contained on the 21st as two inches of rain fell over the affected area.
- Tropical Cyclone Funso killed 12 people in the the central province of Zambezia in Mozambique. While the storm itself did not make landfall, heavy rain and winds from the storm affected land areas . On January 24th, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center reported that Funso was moving SSE'wards in the Mozambique Channel with maximum sustained winds of 132mph and was expected to maintain strength due to favorable conditions, namely low vertical wind shear and warm sea surface temperatures of 28-29C. The storm was no longer a threat to land.
- Severe thunderstorms spawned tornadoes northeast of Birmingham, Alabama (USA), killing two people and injuring over 100 others. Damage was extensive as homes were destroyed, and trees and power lines were downed. By the next day, the National Weather Service confirmed two tornado paths across north central Tuscaloosa County and was working to confirm reports in other regions. The storm also produced tornadoes and dangerous conditions in Arkansas on the 22nd. No deaths were reported in that state. Several powerful storms earlier in the month also affected several states and injured dozens of people, including Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Indiana, Kentucky, and Mississippi. In total, NOAA's Storm Prediction Center reported 47 preliminary tornado reports across the U.S. for the month 23rd, making this month potentially one of the top 10 busiest Januaries, with records dating back to 1950.
- The Northern Lights have lit up the skies above Scotland, northern England and northern parts of Ireland after the biggest solar storm in more than six years bombarded Earth with radiation.
The Canadian Space Agency posted a geomagnetic storm warning on Tuesday after residents were also treated to a spectacular show in the night sky.
Ken Kennedy, director of the Aurora section of the British Astronomical Association, said that the lights, also known as the aurora borealis, may be visible for a few more days.
The Northern Lights are sometimes seen from northern parts of Scotland but the unusual solar activity this week means the lights have also been visible from northeast England and Ireland, a rarity.
Geomagnetic storms cause awesome sights, but they also can bring trouble.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, problems can include current surges in power lines, and interference in the broadcast of radio, TV and telephone signals.
- Torrential rain has washed over western Viti Levu, the "big island" of Fiji, triggering flooding.
Two people were killed and more than 700 others were in temporary shelters.
The cloudbursts struck the area of Nadi, swelling the Nadi River to overflowing.
At the Nadi Airport, rainfall was about 23 inches within 48 hours ending on Tuesday.
The Southern Hemisphere's summer is the rainy season in Fiji, even on the drier western side of Viti Levu. At the Nadi Airport, about 13 inches of rain normally falls throughout the month of January.
The trigger for the extreme rainfall may have been weak low pressure together with onshore, upslope wind flow bringing sodden tropical air against the island's hills.
- A month's worth of rain inundated east-central Australia in only 24 hours, forcing thousands of Australians from their homes.
More than a half of a foot of rain poured down on the coastline of southern Queensland and far northern New South Wales Tuesday night into Wednesday.
Brisbane measured 168.4mm in 24 hours, ending at 9a.m. Wednesday.
Typically, the city receives just under 124mm during the entire month of January.
- A blizzard that has dumped more than 50cm of snow continues to unleash its fury on southeastern Europe.
The worst of the blizzard was bearing down on Bulgaria and southeastern Romania on Thursday afternoon, local time.
Sustained winds in excess of 30kn with stronger gusts were whipping many communities as snow continued to piled up.
Up yo 2p.m., snow accumulationsince Tuesday had amounted to 25 inches in the Romanian city of Craiova.
Other snow totals in Romania include 10 inches at Sibiu and a fresh 8 inches at Bucharest.
In neighboring Bulgaria, 17 inches buried Vratza with 14 inches measured in Pleven. The nation's capital of Sofia reported a fresh foot of snow.
The snow forced officials to close more than 100 national roads in Romania, according to the Romania Insider. Train service and flights have been canceled, including in the capital city of Bucharest.
Reuters reports that Romania has called in the army to rescue hundreds of motorists stranded in the snow.
Roads are also closed throughout Bulgaria, with vehicles stuck in the snow.
Officials are not allowing motorists to cross the Danube Bridge, which connects Bulgaria and Romania.
In addition, the heavy snow has put roughly 53,000 customers in the dark throughout western and southwestern Bulgaria.
- Gigantic waves up to 35 feet high drew hoards of spectators and surfers to the shores of Oahu.
Known to the locals as "winter waves," the massive breakers even forced the postponement of the Volcom Pipe Pro surfing competition along the island's North Shore.
A large northwest swell was responsible for the monstrous waves on the north- and west-facing shores of the Hawaiian islands. The energy driving the waves was even making for some hearty waves on the leeward Kona Coast of the Big Island.
- It's been an unbelievable winter for many in Alaska, while the rest of us in the Lower 48 are wondering when or if prolonged cold and wintry conditions will finally arrive.
After reaching into the -40F and -50F territory several times this winter across the central and northern part of state, satellite and even an amateur weather station recorded the peak of the cold over the weekend as temperatures dropped to -70F outside of Fairbanks.
If you have a snippet of weather news that you feel merits inclusion, then please feel free to email it to me.
Last updated 9 January 2013.