World weather news
World weather news, December 2008
- High tides hit Venice (Italy), leaving it submerged again, just a day after experiencing its worst floods in 20 years.
On Monday as water levels rose to a height of 156cm the city was brought to a virtual standstill. As much as 99% of the city was left submerged by the time the waters peaked mid-morning.
This was the fourth highest tide to have hit the city since records began in 1872, and the highest level seen since 1986. The highest tide recorded was during the disastrous floods of November 1966 when the water level rose to 193cm.
The recent high tides have been caused by low pressure which has been sitting in the eastern Mediterranean over the last few days. Strong winds funnelling up the Adriatic Sea have created the unusually high tides, driving the sea in across the country.
- The leading edge of the western Pacific North East Monsoon triggered seasonal cloudbursts over eastern Luzon Island, Philippines, and the eastern Malay Peninsula. Falls 60cm or more of rain hit northeastern Malaysia and nearby far-southern Thailand. In southeastern Luzon, rainfall topped 75cm at Daet.
- Heavy rain across Sri Lanka has led to widespread flooding in the past few days, with more than 370,000 people being displaced. The hardest hit area has been the city of Jaffna, where over 60,000 people have been left homeless.
The intensity of this rainfall is unusual for Sri Lanka at this time of year. Heavy rain is normally associated with the Asiatic Monsoon, which runs from June until October, often leading to widespread floods. From December through February the country experiences drier weather, with clear skies and little rain.
The result of this heavy rain is an area of low pressure which is currently lying over the Bay of Bengal.
- The increasing prospect of a white Christmas forced UK bookmakers to slash their odds today.
Predictions of snowfall for the 4th moved Ladbrokes to cut the chance of a white Christmas in London to 11-4 and 3-1 following another run of money.
The bookmaker was originally offering 7-1 for snow on December 25 in the capital. But plummeting temperatures means that a white Christmas could cost bookies up to £1m.
Bets on Glasgow to see snow is now 2-1, from an opening quote of 8-1, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester are at 4-1.
- Over the past few weeks, several records have been broken in Russia for unseasonably mild weather, including the warmest ever December temperature on record.
In Moscow, a temperature of 9.4 degrees Celsius was recorded on Saturday, the highest December temperature in the history of meteorological observations. Strangely, this record occurred at 3 oclock in the morning.
The unusual warmth has been due to winds from the south and southwest that have been bringing warmer air from southern Europe. Russia has not been the only country to feel the impact of this warmer air. High temperatures have also been recorded in countries such as Belarus, Hungary and Ukraine.
Autumn 2008 was the warmest autumn for more than 100 years in the Moscow region.
- Several severe storms swept across parts of New South Wales and Queensland causing flash flooding and damage.
In central and southern Queensland, violent storms struck on Sunday and overnight, downing power lines and leaving more 18,000 properties without power. In New South Wales, torrential downpours on Monday hit the Hunter Valley in the north of the state, causing flooding and minor damage to property. Cessnock in the Hunter Valley recorded 36mm of rain in half an hour, with nearby Tocal recording 48mm. Large hail up to golf ball size was reported at Raymond Terrace.
- Papua New Guinea?s northern provinces and parts of the north coast were swamped by huge waves on Tuesday afternoon.
Hundreds of homes and businesses were submerged and more than 1500 people were evacuated to higher ground. The Marshall Islands were also badly hit, with a high tide of over 1.2m.
It was this combination of a high tide, and high waves generated from a low-pressure system some 500 miles to the north, that caused the coastal flooding in the region.
- A night of unseasonably warm weather generated torrential rains and tornadoes that damaged two schools and dozens of homes in the Mississippi.
Later in the day snow was falling in western Louisiana, the National Weather Service said. Heavier precipitation was expected to the east, and forecasters predicted as much as 3-5 inches of snow in central Mississippi beginning early on Thursday. Mississippi averages around only 2 inches of snow a year.
- The Colorado State University hurricane forecasting team, formed by forecasting pioneer William Gray, said 2009 would be another "above-average" hurricane season after an active 2008m, with a predicted 14 tropical storms.
The long-term average during the six-month season, which begins on June 1, is for 10 or 11 tropical storms and six hurricanes.
Gray's team, now led by his protege Philip Klotzbach, predicted three of next year's hurricanes would be dangerous storms with a rank of Category 3 or above on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity.
- In the Alps, the north of Italy and parts of Germany large amounts of snow have fallen recently and is also forecast according to the KNMI-Hirlam model.
At several places as much as 30 up to 50 cm is forecast between 0600GMt/10th to 0600GMT/12th. The heavy precipitate coincides with a depression in the Gulf of Genoa that is pushing warm and wet air north from Mediterranean.
- Violent storms flooded parts of Rome, killing at least one person as the sea threatened to once more inundate Venice.
Firefighters in the capital said they had to evacuate dozens of people trapped in cars on flooded streets and on ground floors of buildings. Civil protection officials said more rain was expected Friday, further swelling the roiling Tiber river, which runs through the city.
From midnight to 8 a.m. Thursday, 60-100mm of rain fell in Rome - more than the average for the entire month of December.
- A rare snowfall blanketed south Louisiana and parts of Mississippi, closing schools, government offices and bridges, triggering crashes and leaving thousands without power.
Up to 20cm of snow was reported in parts of Louisiana. Snow also covered a broad swath of Mississippi, including the Jackson area, and closed schools in more than a dozen districts.
- A powerful ice storm knocked out power to about 1.5 million homes and businesses across New York and New England, closing roads, delaying trains and forcing the state of Maine to shut government offices.
At least four people lost their lives as a result of the storm, with officials declaring a state of emergency across parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York State and Maine.
- Over 50,000 people in northern Colombia remained homeless after weeks of heavy rain swelled the Magdalena River and flooded thousands of homes.
In the city of Plato in Magdalena province of northern Colombia, more than 20,000 people were left homeless after the river broke through levees inundating homes, roads and crops. In some places, floodwaters reached chest-high, completely submerging cars and washing entire homes away.
Since mid-September heavy rain has plagued much of Colombia. It has affected more than one million people and claimed the lives of 60 people.
- At least 10 people were injured after torrential rain caused a school roof to collapse as a winter storm affected parts of California.
The accident occurred at a technical college in Anaheim south of Los Angeles after a blocked drain buckled under the weight of water.
Ten people were reported to have suffered "mild to moderate" injuries in the accident.
The incident came as parts of southern California was deluged by between 1.5 to 3 inches of rain and thick snow in mountainous regions.
- According to the WMO, 2008 is likely to rank as the 10th warmest year on record since the beginning of the instrumental climate records in 1850. The global combined sea- and land-surface air temperature is currently estimated at 0.31C above the 1961-1990 annual average of 14.00C. The global average temperature in 2008 was slightly lower than that for the previous years of the 21st century due in particular, to the moderate to strong La Niña that developed in the latter half of 2007.
- At least four workers were killed when the upper floors of a hotel on the Spanish island of Mallorca collapsed after torrential rain.
"The hotel was being refitted and was closed to the public," an emergency services spokesman said.
Mallorca has suffered nearly two days of heavy rain, which has closed roads and forced the evacuation of 120 people from their flooded homes.
- The ongoing drought conditions in central and southern Mozambique are prompting concern for insufficient water resources and early-season cropping activities. The rainy season in Mozambique usually begins in October, with the heaviest rains falling between December and March, but this year, there is still no sign of the annual heavy rains. The UN World Food Programme said there is already an acute food shortage, with near half a million people in need of food aid.
- Flights resumed in and out of Las Vegas, but schools and highways were closed on Thursday after a record-setting snowfall coated marquees on the Strip, weighed down palm trees and blanketed surrounding mountain areas.
The city awoke to clear weather after a storm that left 3.6 inches at McCarran International Airport. It was biggest December snowfall on record there, and the worst for any month since a 7.5-inch accumulation in January 1979, forecasters said. In Washington state, Seattle got a rare 4-inch accumulation, and the 19.4 inches of snow that piled up at Spokane International Airport smashed the 24-hour record total of 13 inches set in 1950. And snow continued to fall - 23.3 inches had piled up in Spokane in the 36-hour period that ended at 4 p.m. on Thursday.
- A snowstorm blanketing much of the northeast of the United States snarled air traffic and prompted a government shutdown in Massachusetts. Half a dozen airports suffered delays, according to the Federal Aviation Authority, as the storm swept from Lake Michigan to the Atlantic coast. Snow and ice storms across the U.S. Midwest knocked out power service to more than 220,000 homes and businesses in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
- Weather originating from Siberia and Mongolia swept south across China over the weekend, sending temperatures plummeting and bringing heavy snow falls across parts of the country.
On Saturday the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) issued orange warnings for the cold weather, advising residents to prepare for a sharp drop in temperature, heavy snow falls and gale force northerly winds. This extreme cold weather warning was the country's second this winter. Shandong province was hit by heavy snow falls which closed major highways and delayed flights at Jinan International Airport. In Beijing, snow, strong winds and temperature falls of 8-10C gave the city a real taste of winter.
- A massive winter storm blanketed the US West Coast with snow, sleet and ice while blizzards and snow squalls struck the Northeast and Midwest, killing at least four people and making travel dangerous.
The storm snarled holiday air traffic across the country, with delays at major airports in San Francisco, Houston, Boston, New Jersey and New York.
The fierce weather was blamed for the death of two people in a single-vehicle crash on Interstate Highway 80 east of Des Moines, Iowa.
Another weather-related fatality was reported in northwest Iowa when a farm tractor being used for snow removal slipped off the driveway and overturned, killing the driver.
Drivers blinded by blizzard conditions created a 30-vehicle pile-up on Interstate 94 in western Michigan on Sunday. Dozens of the vehicles were also involved in a series of other wrecks nearby.
- A powerful winter storm hit Japan, covering much of the country in a thick blanket of snow.
Flights were cancelled between Japan's northern islands of Hokkaido and Honshu, leaving more than 6000 people stranded. Roads were closed and rail services disrupted, leading to travel chaos over the festive period.
In the city of Sapporo, 32cm of snow had fallen by Friday morning.
- As of early Saturday, the temperature at Oymyakon, Russia, dipped below -57C for the tenth time in the month of December. The low was -57.1C. The coldest stretch was the five days of -70s (degF) spanning the 18th to the 22nd. Respectively, lows were -71F, -75F, -76F (-60.1C), -74F and -76F (-60.2C). The coldest day, the 20th, had an average daily temperature of -74F, or -58.5C. Through to the 26th, the average monthly temperature is -47.6C, 1.4C below normal.
Meanwhile, the other infamous "pole of cold" site, Verkhoyansk, has yet to see -70F this season.
In European Russia, there has yet to be any true winter cold at Moscow where, as of the 26th, the average monthly temperature was 5.2C above normal. At the northern city of Arkhangelsk, average monthly temperature thus far is 6.4C, above normal. And the unusual warmth is still widespread from eastern Europe through European Russia to western Siberia and northern Kazakhstan.
- Several rain swollen rivers in central and eastern Bolivia have burst their banks, leaving roads closed and homes damaged.
The flooding was caused by days of torrential rain, marking the start of the annual wet season. Although the climate varies considerably throughout Bolivia, the majority of the rain falls during the summer months of November to March.
- The cold has weakened over the Siberian "pole of cold", so much so that the temperature as of Monday night, local time, was -27C at Oymyakon. Normal high for the date would be -46.7C.
- A dense blanket of fog has descended on Delhi over the last couple of days sending travel services into chaos and leaving hundreds of passengers stranded during the festive period.
The fog, said to be the worst seen for a few years, has not only shrouded Delhi but a large area from the Punjab to Haryana. Train services have been badly disrupted while flights from Delhi's International airport have suffered lengthy delays or cancellations. The heavy fog reduced the visibility to less than 50 metres in places and also brought lower temperatures.
- Torrential rain falling over consecutive days has led to floods across southern Mozambique. These floods are reported to have forced thousands from their homes and killed at least one person.
The southern coastal province of Inhambane has been worst affected. Over 500mm of rain fell in parts of the province causing major flash flooding that has severed road links, damaged crops and inundated thousands of homes.
The large Zambezi River swelled to alert levels and threatened to break its banks at Caia and Morromeu.
- A heatwave continues to grip Western Australia with temperatures remaining above the seasonal average. For the past week temperatures have stayed higher than normal in Perth, the peak of the hot spell was recorded today with a maximum of 39C, 11C above normal.
The hot weather has been caused by a slow moving area of high pressure running across the Great Australian Bight. This has brought hot easterly winds and the high temperatures from the desert interior.
World weather news, November 2008
- The death toll from mudslides caused by heavy rain in southwest China has risen from 15 to at least 22, with 45 missing, state media reported.
Torrents of mud and rock affected places near Chuxiong city in Yunnan province over the weekend, toppling or damaging nearly 1,000 houses.
Yunnan is dominated by steep terrain, and many of its farmers live in villages on steep slopes.
- Winter's cold has begun to clamp down over the "ice box" of north Asia, an area having the harshest winters of the inhabited earth.
In October, this region, the northeast of Siberian Russia, shared in the relative warmth that otherwise stretched from Arctic to India and from Far East into eastern Europe. In the Siberian "pole of cold" the mean monthly temperature was about 306C above normal (eg. Verkhoyansk +3.8C and Yakutsk +5.2C anomalies).
Four days into November and three of four mornings have seen the temperature break through -35C at Oymyakon (the November average is -32C).
In fact much of Siberian Russia has seen mild weather linger on into November. The first three days have been an average of 10-12C warmer than usual eastward from the central Ural Mountains to the Western Siberian Lowland. And the above-normal warmth has stretched east to the Lena River and the Sea of Okhotsk in eastern Siberia.
- A cold blast of weather hit New Zealand's South Island Tuesday night, with Southlanders waking this morning to a scene more akin to the depths of winter.
With the country now well into the throes of spring, the cold weather brought an unseasonable blanket of snow and hail across parts of Southland, Fiordland and Central Otago. The snow was heavy in places and not merely restricted to the mountains, but falling at lower levels too. As much as 20cm of snow fell across parts of northern Southland with locals describing it as the worst November snowfall they had seen in 30 years.
- Very hot over the Kalahari Desert this week. On the 5th and 6th temperatures have topped 100F over SW Botswana, NW South Africa and SE Namibia. Among the highest temperatures was 107F (41.7C) at Twee Rivieren, near the Botswana-South Africa border.
- A wintry blast of wind and close to 4 feet of snow in places pummelled the Northern Plains (USA) on Thursday, stranding unknown numbers of motorists for a day or more and knocking out power to thousands.
The Highway Patrol has responded to more than 400 calls for assistance, including 10 crashes.
The storm already has dropped 45.7 inches of snow near Deadwood, in the northern Black Hills. Reports of 10 inches to 2 feet of snow were received from many West River counties. In some towns, residents reported drifts were blocking their doorways, and in the southwestern corner of the state, 20-foot snowdrifts were reported on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
- Forecasters say Hurricane Paloma is gaining strength, with winds increasing to 80mph as it approaches the Cayman Islands.
A hurricane warning remains in effect for the Cayman Islands, and the Category 1 storm is expected to pass near there late Friday or early Saturday. The National Hurricane Center in Miami says watches and warnings may be issued Friday for parts of Cuba. At 4 a.m. EST, Paloma was about 110 miles south-southwest of Grand Cayman. The storm is expected to keep gaining momentum as it moves across open waters in the Caribbean. It could become a Category 2 hurricane later Friday and may reach Category 3 intensity by Saturday.
- Hurricane Paloma has caused destruction in Cuba, flooding coastal areas, uprooting trees, interrupting electricity and phone services, and forcing the evacuation of half a million people. Paloma is the 16th storm of the Atlantic storm season, the eighth hurricane and the fifth to hit Cuba. The storms have caused billions of dollars worth of damage, destroying thousands of homes.
Paloma also brought heavy rains and storm surges to the Cayman Islands and heavy rains to parts of Honduras and Nicaragua. Cuba has suffered almost $10 billion in damages from the hurricanes that struck the island this year.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Paloma is the second strongest Atlantic hurricane ever noted in November - winds peaks at 140mph. The strongest was Hurricane Lenny in 1999 which saw winds reaching 155mph. The 2008 season is also the only season in recorded history to feature a major hurricane in every month from July to November.
- An area of Low pressure lying over Quebec has brought strong winds and snow showers to a number of US states. Storms have been rolling across the Plains, bringing snow showers to the Great Lakes, before moving east towards Michigan. According to the Severe Weather Centre, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was hardest hit by snow today, with 11 inches falling in Shingleton.
Lake effect snow has been falling across the Great Lakes, with forecasters at the National Weather Service issuing snow warnings and advisories for the region.
- Some 12 people have been killed in two landslide incidents triggered by torrential rains in the Central and Rift Valley provinces of Kenya. At least 16 others were seriously injured, 20 families left homeless and others evacuated. Rains were hampering rescue efforts. The death toll from floods and mudslides has risen to 19 since the short rains started one month ago. The Kenya Meteorological Department says the short rains will end next month.
- Days of heavy rain across parts of South Africa have caused widespread flooding, leaving more than 5 people dead. Torrential rain has been lashing parts of the country since Sunday, with temperatures plummeting to the mid-teens. Thousands of people are battling the torrents of water, with the city of Bloemfontein one of the worst hit by the rains, which has destroyed schools and roads. The heavy showers have been caused by an upper trough which has been lying off the west of the country.
At Plettemberg Bay, rainfall totals included 44.2mm on the 11th, 11.9mm on the 12th and 69.1m on the 13th; the monthly accumulation so far is 148mm which is 48.2mm above the average for the whole of November.
- Thick brown clouds of soot, particles and chemicals stretching from the Persian Gulf to Asia threaten health and food supplies in the world, the U.N. reported, citing what it called the newest threat to the global environment.
The regional haze, known as atmospheric brown clouds, contributes to glacial melting, reduces sunlight, and helps create extreme weather conditions that impact agricultural production, according to the report commissioned by the U.N. Environment Program.
The huge plumes have darkened 13 megacities in Asia - including Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Cairo, Mumbai and New Delhi - sharply "dimming" the amount of light by as much as 25% in some places.
- The ongoing drought affecting much of the state of Georgia is growing worse. Northern parts of the state are hardest hit.
Georgian officials have now described the drought as 'exceptional' in the northeast. Water levels in lakes and streams right across the state have fallen to record low levels, with 60 percent of Georgia classified as being in moderate drought.
Georgian authorities are particularly concerned about water levels in Lake Lanier - Atlanta's main water supply, and other important reservoirs scattered across the state that have fallen to very low levels for mid-November. Water restrictions have been enforced in many parts since last year to save dwindling resources with a complete ban on all outdoor watering throughout northern parts of the state.
Authorities fear that many of the lakes and reservoirs may not fully recover this coming winter, even with average rainfall amounts. Georgia receives its largest amount of rainfall over the winter months and into the start of spring. There are no indications that the winter of 2008/2009 will be abnormally wet or dry; however, the last few winters across the southeast USA have generally tended towards being dry.
- A tropical storm hit central Vietnam, threatening severe floods, landslides and substantial damage to coffee output from the world's second-largest producer of the crop.
Tropical Storm Noul, with winds of 55 mph, made landfall around the beach resort of Nha Trang and weakened to a tropical depression.
- A river in Ethiopia's highlands burst its banks after heavy rains, killing 11 people and stranding hundreds more.
Flooding from the Wabe Shebelle river in southeast Ethiopia has submerged more than 100 villages.
Inhabitants in 116 villages in an area covering a 90km radius have been stranded on hillocks surrounded by the flood water.
- A deep covering of snow has arrived for several states in the northeast USA, in the first major snowstorm of the winter.
Areas to the southeast of the Great Lakes were hardest hit, as cold air from Canada and the Arctic swept southeastwards. Several inches of 'lake effect snow' were dumped on states including Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Over the snowbelt to the southeast of the Great Lakes, low lying areas widely received 5-10cm of snow during Monday and Tuesday. In higher places such as West Leyden, New York State, 70cm of snow had fallen by Tuesday night.
- A series of violent storms tore across Australia's eastern coast over the weekend, producing golf ball sized hail stones, strong winds and heavy rain. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology reported that between 50-70mm of rainfall of hit southern Queensland on Sunday, leading to widespread flash floods.
Brisbane was the hardest hit as 80mph winds lashed central and southern parts of the state. The winds uprooted more than 20 miles of power lines, leaving around 230,000 residents without power.
The storms have been some of the most damaging the region has seen in over 25 years. They have been compared with Cyclone Larry, which battered Queensland with 180mph winds and heavy rain in 2006.
- The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat in Bonn, Germany, has reported that greenhouse gas emissions in industrialized countries continue to rise. Data show that the emissions of 40 industrialized countries having greenhouse-gas reporting obligations under the Convention remained in 2006 below the 1990 level by about 5 per cent, but rose by 2.3 per cent in the time-frame 2000 to 2006.
The report comes two weeks before the UN Climate Change Conference takes place in Poznan, Poland (1-12 December 2008). The Conference constitutes the half-way mark of a two-year negotiating process, set to culminate in an ambitious international climate change agreement in Copenhagen in 2009. It will also be an opportunity for ministers to lay the foundations for long-term cooperation to address climate change.
- Lower winds of 32 km/h (115 km/h over the weekend) to the north, north-west and south of Los Angeles, California, have helped firefighters battling wildfires. The fires have destroyed more than 800 homes and prompted the evacuation of 50 000 people. It may yet be a few more days before the fires are under control.
- Two strong storms cut power to tens of thousands of homes and flooded streets along Australia's east coast, sweeping away one woman in her car amid the worst flooding in decades.
The first storm early on Thursday dumped almost 200mm of rain in a matter of hours on Brisbane, and surrounding towns. Strong winds lashed coastal areas in the southeast corner of the state.
Power was cut to about 800 homes and businesses.
But a second storm swept through the region on Thursday night, cutting power to 45,000 premises.
The storms have resulted in more than $95 million in insurance claims, with many more expected to come.
Elsewhere in Australia Alice Springs in the Northern Territoy which looks like
breaking it's all time record for November rainfall. They have almost had more rain in November than in the previous 11 months.
- Intense rains affected areas across northern Venezuela. Devastating floods and deadly mudslides, triggered by the rains, claimed nine lives and were responsible for leaving hundreds of people homeless. The heavy rains also prompted several rivers to flow over their banks, which contributed to the severe flooding, turning streets into rivers and causing damages to homes and crops.
- A plunge of cold Arctic air continues to head south across Europe bringing freezing temperatures and snowfalls.
For the UK the first signs of the cold weather were across Scotland on Friday, with snow showers affecting northern and eastern areas. Over the weekend the cold took hold, particularly over Saturday night and early Sunday, with an Atlantic weather front moving in from the west prompting warnings of snow and black ice.
Sweden, Finland and Russia, were also hit by the cold northerly winds. A blanket of snow forced runway closures at Helsinki and Stockholm airports, while thousands of residents were left without power.
The winter weather also spread south across France and the Netherlands, and arrived in northern Spain on Monday. Six provinces across the north of the country were put on alert for snow and freezing temperatures. Cantabria and Asturias remain on orange alert today, with up to 15cm of snow forecast.
Snow has arrived early across Europe this year prompting many ski resorts to open earlier than scheduled. Even across southern Spain, the Sierra Nevada resort has opened early for the first time in 20 years.
- Heavy rain on November 22-24 in southern parts of Brazil brought flooding and deadly mudslides, which affected 1.5 million people, paralyzed transportation, and resulted in almost 100 fatalities. It was reported that most of the fatalities were caused by mudslides that swept away homes and business. The heavy rain caused havoc across the region, leaving eight cities isolated due to overflowing rivers, and prompting the rupture of a pipeline that carries natural gas from Bolivia to Brazil, leading to gas shortages. Nearly 160,000 people were left without electricity and fresh water supplies. This event has been described as the region's (Santa Catarina state) worst weather tragedy in history.
- At least eight people were killed, six are missing and more than 14,000 affected by heavy rains drenching Panama.
Officials report bridges down and highways split by flooding, as well as millions of dollars worth of crops -- rice, yucca, yams and bananas -- destroyed in different parts of the country.
- Levels of climate-warming greenhouse gases continue to increase in the atmosphere. In 2007, global concentrations of carbon dioxide again reached the highest levels ever recorded. These latest numbers, published today in the WMO 2007 Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, continue the trend of rising emissions of greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution.
- A heat wave is under way over northern Argentina with temperature to 40C as of Wednesday mid afternoon. On Tuesday, Buenos Aires narrowly missed (by 0.2C) tying its all-time November high temperature of 36.7C.
The Argentina heat has sparked an outbreak of thunderstorms that began in the dry southern Cuyo and Dry Pampas on Tuesday and has lingered on northeastward into the Entre Rios of northeast Argentina as of Wednesday afternoon.
- Tropical storm Nisha movd from N of Sri Lanka inland into SE India.
Satellite imagery makes it clear that torrential downpours are still taking place. 10cm of rain fell on Cuddalore within three hours, making a total 0f 68cm in the past week.
Orathanadu in Tamil Nadu recorded 66cm in 24 hours; widespread flooding and devastation of winter crops resulted, especially in the Thanjavur-Thiruvarur-Nagapattinam belt (the so-called 'rice bowl' of South India), off where the storm hovered for 2 days before landfall.
- The 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, which ends Sunday, seemed to strike the United States and Cuba as if on redial, setting at least five weather records for persistence and repeatedly striking the same areas.
Data on death and damage are still being calculated, but the insurance industry recorded at least $10.6 billion in losses this hurricane season. That includes $8.1 billion in insured damage from Hurricane Ike, which ranked as the seventh most expensive catastrophe in the United States history.
Upper air currents helped storms get bigger and focused them into a few places - Cuba and the U.S. Gulf Coast - said Gerry Bell, the top hurricane forecaster at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center. Five of the six storms that hit the United States this season struck the Gulf Coast.
- Six consecutive named storms - Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike - struck the U.S. mainland, something that had not been seen in recorded history.
- It's also the first time a major hurricane, those with winds of at least 111 mph, formed in five consecutive months, July through November.
- Bertha spun about for 17 days, making it the longest lived storm in July.
- Rain-heavy Fay was the only storm ever to hit the same state - Florida - four times, leaving heavy flood damage in its wake.
- A record three major hurricanes smacked Cuba: Gustav, Ike and Paloma.
- This year wasn't the busiest ever. It merely tied for the fourth most named storms in history with 16. The 2005 season shattered all records with 28 tropical storms and hurricanes.
- An average season has 11 named storms, six of which become hurricanes. This year there were eight hurricanes, of which five - Bertha, Gustav, Ike, Omar and Paloma - became major hurricanes.
- Baghdad (Iraq) ground to a standstill after a rare rain and hail storm flooded city streets, leaving scores of cars stranded in muddy water half a metre deep.
- A storm system moving across the Great Lakes delivered Illinois' first snowstorm of the season Sunday and forced the cancellation of more than 50 flights at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
Low visibility also caused delays of up to 90 minutes for flights.
Snowy weather also created travel problems in Colorado. Blowing snow and ice closed parts of eastbound Interstate 70 through the mountains.
At Vail Resort, skiers enjoyed 9 inches of new snow.
- Temperatures in Scotland plummeted over the weekend, as much of the country was subjected to the coldest spell of the winter so far.
The lowest temperature recorded was -11C at Tulloch Bridge. On Sunday, the temperature in Glasgow remained below -2C all day, making it the coldest November day here since 1985.
One of the reasons that Glasgow was so cold on Sunday was due to the presence of some persistent freezing fog that covered the city for much of the day.
World weather news, October 2008
- Flooding following rare torrential rains on the edge of the Algerian desert have killed at least 30 people and injured 50, while damaging hundreds of homes.
Algeria's Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni said the floods are the worst for a century and warned of higher casualties in Ghardaia.
Rain had been falling since Monday in the region.
The storms this week caused a local wadi that remains dry for most of the year - to rise at some points by 8 metres within hours.
- Many mountainous regions in the northern hemisphere have received an early autumnal covering of snow.
In the northern Alps, a recent cold snap has brought winter conditions to altitudes above about 1,000m in parts of Switzerland and Austria. For some northern slopes in Switzerland, between 5 and 15cm of snow fell during Friday and Saturday. Several high roads and passes were closed to traffic.
In the UK, Scotland saw its first dusting of snow on Friday, with 2 to 3cm falling over the Cairngorms.
- Hurricane Ike's winds and massive waves destroyed oil platforms, tossed storage tanks and punctured pipelines. The environmental damage only now is becoming apparent: At least a half million gallons of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and the marshes, bayous and bays of Louisiana and Texas.
In the days before and after the deadly storm, companies and residents reported at least 448 releases of oil, gasoline and dozens of other substances into the air and water and onto the ground in Louisiana and Texas. The hardest hit places were industrial centers near Houston and Port Arthur, Texas, as well as oil production facilities off Louisiana's coast.
- At least one person is confirmed dead and many stranded after heavy rain and wind caused widespread damage to New Zealand's North Island.
The worst hit areas were in the south of the North Island, particularly around Wellington and Wairarapa.
The torrential rain and winds were triggered by a very active cold front that passed northeast over the country. Winds of up to 80mph were recorded in Wellington and 100mph in the surrounding hills.
Dozens of homes were damaged and streets were littered with broken power lines and tree debris. Mudslides were also reported, and emergency services were stretched to their limit.
In the South Island there has been a good deal of late-season snow, with up to 20cm falling over The Remarkables ski area.
- In northern Eurasia, it was much warmer than usual in a broad swath from the Russian heartland east to central Asia and most of Siberia. In Moscow, the average temperature was 5.3C above normal. Farther east, the departure above normal was 7.8C at Nizhniy Novgorod. Eastward into Asia, the Ural Mountain region had an anomaly of 9.2C at Yekaterinburg. In North America, exceptional warmth was the rule over Canada between the Rockies and Hudson Bay north through much of the Arctic Archipelago.
- A rare series of events occurred early Tuesday morning, October 7, as asteroid 2008 TC3 hit Earth releasing a huge amount of light and energy before exploding in the atmosphere over northern Sudan. This brief flash was captured by Meteosat-8 in Rapid Scan Service. The asteroid 2008 TC3, entered the Earth's atmosphere at a velocity of 12.8 kilometers per second at around 0246UTC above northern Sudan, Africa. As it entered the Earth's atmosphere, it compressed the air in front of it. The compression heated the air, which in turn heated the object to create a spectacular fireball, releasing huge amounts of energy as it disintegrated and exploded in the atmosphere, dozens of kilometers above ground. The asteroid exploded with the energy of around one kiloton, equal to the power of a small nuclear bomb. Infrasound detector arrays in Kenya also detected a sound wave from the direction of the expected impact corresponding to the energy of 1.1-2.1 kilotons of TNT.
- A British woman and her 14-year-old daughter have drowned in a flash flood in eastern Spain which has been lashed by torrential rains.
The pair had tried to cross a swollen stream on foot near the town of L'Olleria after rising flood waters forced them to abandon the car they were travelling in.
The flood waters reached between 12 and 16 inches "but they did not correctly measure the force of the stream and they were swept away," a spokeswoman said.
- Hurricane Norbert strengthened into a powerful category 4 storm on Wednesday, as it continued to track towards Mexico's Pacific coast.
Hurricanes of Norbert's strength are unusual over the cooler waters of the western Pacific. They are commonly formed over the warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where they use the greater amount of available energy from the water to intensify.
- The drought in southern and far western New South Wales (NSW), along with much of southeast Australia, is continuing, but there has been some easing of conditions in the north of the state according to the latest climate statement issued by the Bureau of Meteorology's National Climate Centre.
The last year in which there was widespread above-average rainfall across much of inland NSW was 2000. Since then there have been a succession of years generally below average, with two extremely dry years, 2002 and 2006, associated with El Niño events.
- Hurricane Norbert moved into Mexico with winds blowing over 100mph.
Norbert was the seventh hurricane of the east Pacific season. By Wednesday it had strengthened into a powerful Category 4 storm with winds over 135mph; however, it subsequently lost some of its strength and finally hit the southern Baja Peninsula at 1630GMT today. It is the first October hurricane to make landfall on the Baja Peninsula since Hurricane Pauline in 1968.
As the storm moved inland it tore off roofs, toppled palm trees and sparked widespread floods.
- The first major storm of the snow season hit western America, with parts of
Montana, Wyoming and Idaho hit by heavy snowfall. Winter storm warnings were issued for a number of western states, with several counties in Wyoming reporting as much as 33 inches of snow over the weekend.
In the 24 hours ending 8am on Sunday, the city of Red Lodge in Montana had the highest snowfall total, recording 42 inches.
- A tropical storm has affected the South China island province of Hainan and northern Vietnam with heavy rain for much of the week.
Originating in the South China Sea, the twenty-second tropical depression of the Eastern Pacific storm season brought as much as 400mm of rain to the region.
In Hainan, rains started on Saturday, and persisted until Tuesday, causing flash floods for low lying parts of the island. At least 3 people are reported to have died and thousands were evacuated, as over 150 small villages became submerged in the floodwaters.
The storm tracked northwest, between Hainan and northern Vietnam, before making landfall near Vinh on Vietnam's east coast on Wednesday. It has now been downgraded to a tropical depression, and is weakening in intensity as it moves inland over Laos and Cambodia.
- Two huge wildfires continue to rage across southern California. Thousands of residents have now been evacuated, as more than 1,000 fire fighters tackle the blazes.
High pressure over the eastern USA earlier this week created the first Santa Ana winds of the season, helping drive the fires. These strong offshore winds are extremely dry and sweep through Southern California in the late autumn. Wind gusts of more than 60mph were forecast to hit California.
So far the blazes have scorched over 1900 hectares of land, with the largest blaze to the north of the San Fernando Valley. The second fire was raging east of the main blaze, with the strong winds blowing smoke into nearby Los Angeles.
The fire risk is expected to continue over the next 24 hours, with the winds lowering the afternoon relative humidity to near 10%.
- The 14th tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season faded rapidly on but two new tropical systems developed in the Caribbean, threatening Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and also Central America.
Tropical Storm Nana, which developed on Sunday roughly midway between the Cape Verde Islands off Africa and the Caribbean, succumbed to adverse atmospheric conditions and weakened into a tropical depression on Monday morning.
The 15th tropical depression of the season, meanwhile, formed around 340 miles southwest Puerto Rico.
It was expected to drift northwestward for a while before strengthening into a tropical storm and getting the name Omar, and would then shoot off to the northeast near Puerto Rico and potentially grow into a hurricane over the open Atlantic.
- Hurricane Omar was rapidly losing strength as it headed out to sea, after pounding the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico as a category 3 storm.
At peak strength, Omar packed 125mph winds and heavy rains, but by 1500GMT maximum sustained winds were around 85mph.
So far, 2008 is in joint eighth place for the most number of Atlantic tropical storms in a season. However, records may be ambiguous as prior to the satellite era there is a likelihood some storms may have been missed.
- Autumn temperatures in the Arctic are at record levels, the Arctic Ocean is getting warmer and less salty as sea ice melts, and reindeer herds appear to be declining, researchers reported.
"Obviously, the planet is interconnected, so what happens in the Arctic does matter" to the rest of the world, Jackie Richter-Menge of the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H., said in releasing the third annual Arctic Report Card.
The report, compiled by 46 scientists from 10 countries, looks at a variety of conditions in the Arctic.
The region has long been expected to be among the first areas to show impacts from global warming.
"Changes in the Arctic show a domino effect from multiple causes more clearly than in other regions," said James Overland, an oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle. "It's a sensitive system and often reflects changes in relatively fast and dramatic ways."
- Heavy rain over the last four days in Costa Rica has resulted in widespread flooding and landslides. The week-long rains have led many rivers to burst their banks, with the floods causing widespread destruction and death. A tropical depression in the western Pacific was responsible for bringing the heavy rain, and despite not strengthening into a named storm, created intense downpours.
The amount of rainfall that has fallen over some parts of the country over the past few days was equivalent to October's entire monthly rainfall. According to the organisation, the intensity of the rainfall in the capital of San Jose has not been experienced since 1944.
- The Indian Meteorological Department has announced the official arrival of the Northeast Monsoon. The NE Monsoon begins during the autumn and normally lasts October to December. It is during this monsoon season that southern India receives most of its rain, especially across the eastern half. It is sometimes called the 'Retreating Monsoon' as it develops as the Southwest Summer Monsoon fades.
- Heavy rain and strong winds are set to affect northern parts of Australia in the coming six months, as the region enters its annual wet season. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a slightly more active season than usual, with an early start possible,
- A week of heavy rains in Honduras has caused landslides and flooding. At least 11 people are reported killed and two others missing. Flooding has forced evacuations, devastated crops and cut off communities. Two large landslides have blocked the Coyol River in the west of the country, forming a lake 150 m deep at some points and threatening towns downstream.
- Violent storms have battered much of Morocco producing torrential rain and flash flooding, killing at least seven people.
The thunderstorms and prolonged downpours lashed the country throughout Monday causing rivers to swell and break their banks. Dozens of homes were inundated by the flood waters and many clay homes completely collapsed leaving scores homeless. Five people were reported to have drowned in the fast flowing flood waters with at least two others killed by lightning strikes. Some of the worst affected areas were across the provinces of Zagora, Essaouira, Azilal and also Oujda in the northeast close to the border with Algeria.
- More frequent and powerful hurricanes from the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico since the mid-1990s have created one of the most dangerous and costliest storm eras in recorded history.
Since 1995, there have been 207 named storms in the Atlantic basin, which includes the Gulf of Mexico, a 68% increase from the previous 13 years, according to statistics from NOAA. Of those storms, 111 were hurricanes, a 75% increase over the previous period.
This year, with just over one month left in the Atlantic hurricane season, there have been 15 named storms, seven of which have been hurricanes.
- An exceptional heat over southern Pakistan at Karachi led to 8 days in the past fortnight reaching 38-39C; the normal average daily high for October in Karachi is 33C. October is the heart of a "second summer" in Karachi owing to the onset of offshore winds (related to the North East Monsoon) before lingering summer heat has faded.
- The center of Tropical Depression 03B came ashore over eastern Yemen in the region of Hadramawt near the town of Al Mukalla. This landfall has been accompanied by the inflow of deep tropical moisture triggering desert cloudbursts in an area the normally sees very little rain (25-50 mm on average).
- The deep depression that started making landfall over Yemen on Friday and continued over the weekend took the lives of more than 70 people.
The Yemen Meteorological Service reported that two automatic weather stations in southeast of the country were completely washed out.
- Hundreds of mountain runners spent the night in tents and hastily organized shelters after a long-distance race in England's Lake District was called off due to heavy rain and flooding.
Just after 2 p.m. Sunday, race organizers said all the participants had been accounted for. About a dozen people were treated for minor injuries and mild hypothermia.
About 2,500 athletes began the Original Mountain Marathon on Saturday morning before the race was called off around midday, police said. Almost 800 people stayed overnight in shelters such as barns, a school and a visitor's center, while some 1,700 camped out in the hills.
The area near the race had about 2.5 to 3 inches of rain over 24 hours.
- Floods and landslides caused by three days of incessant rain killed six people and left thousands homeless in India's remote northeast, one of the country's most flood-prone regions.
- The first wintry storm of the season snarled parts of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania as snow and high winds disrupted schools, roads and power lines throughout the region and up to a foot of snow was forecast in northern New York.
The National Weather Service said snowfall totals by Wednesday morning could range from a few inches in areas south of Buffalo and around Albany to 8 to 12 inches in the Adirondacks and the Tug Hill Plateau north of Syracuse.
Jersey Central Power & Light reported 60,000 customers without power, most in northern New Jersey. New Jersey's largest utility company, PSE&G, said nearly 7,000 of its customers lost power in scattered outages across the state.
- The "official" high temperature at Brasilia was 35.8C. This in an all-time record high for the capital city. It was far from being the nation's hot spot: for instance, Arinos had 41.7C and 41.4C was reached at Aracui (both in northern Minas Gerais).
- Jersey Central Power & Light says about 8,000 customers still don't have electricity two days (30th) after wet snow and powerful winds blew through New Jersey, USA.
A forecaster says the snow that also surprised western North Carolina came several weeks earlier than usual.
National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Krentz said the earliest known snowfall in the Asheville area was less than a half inch on 1 October 1952.
"We don't usually get these events this early, but it's not unheard of," Krentz said. "Normally we don't see snowfall occurring until like the third week in November."
- Heavy snowstorms have hit eastern Tibet over the last few days. Temperatures plummeted as snow started falling on Sunday.
At least two people are reported to have died and many more are missing. Snowfalls have blocked roads, caused avalanches and led to widespread power cuts.
Heavy snowstorms are rare for this part of Tibet in October, and temperatures are unseasonably cold. In Lhasa, the regional capital, the average maximum temperature in October is 17C, but yesterday the high was just 8C.
- Parts of the western USA have been reeling under unseasonably high temperatures. An area of high pressure off the western coast of the US has brought abundant sunshine and warm temperatures to much of Southern California.
Across California, numerous records were broken with temperatures in Los Angeles reaching 34C, around 10C above the typical temperature for the end of October. The last time temperatures were this high was in 1931, when downtown Los Angeles equalled Wednesday's high.
- East Devon and parts of Cornwall (England) have been hit by serious flooding after a night of storms, including severe rain and heavy hail.
Devon and Somerset fire service described the situation in the Ottery St Mary area as "absolute chaos".
An evacuation centre has been set up at the hospital in Ottery St Mary.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said 25 people had been rescued from flooded homes in Ottery St Mary and Feniton.
Susanne Reed, from the fire control centre, said it was the worst flooding she had seen in 25 years. "It got worse and worse and one crew got stuck in a 6ft [hail] drift," she said.
In Boscastle in Cornwall six premises were flooded overnight because of a blocked storm drain.
- Widespread rainfall deficits have resulted in October 2008 being the driest on record for South Australia. Most rainfall stations in South Australia have, for October 2008, recorded rainfall in the lowest 10% of records for the month.
This is combined with temperatures being significantly above average for October. Maximum temperatures were generally 2-3C above average. Minimum temperatures were about 1-2C above average resulting in the warmest October nights on record since 1950.
- Floods from heavy rain in Vietnam's central provinces have killed at least 14 people in the past week, including four children.
Many roads in the capital, Hanoi, were submerged, with up to 1m of water in some places, and some residents had abandoned cars and motorcycles.
Up to 330mm of rain fell in Nghe An province, 300km south of Hanoi, since Wednesday, while landslides had eroded many sections of the north-south Ho Chi Minh highway.
Typhoons and floods have killed several hundred people in northern and central provinces since the start of this year. The flood and storm season ends next month.
World weather news, September 2008
- Hurricane Gustav slammed into the heart of Louisiana's fishing and oil industry with 110mph winds, delivering only a glancing blow to New Orleans.
That did not mean the state survived the storm without damage. A levee in the southeast part of the state was on the verge of collapse, and officials scrambled to fortify it. Roofs were torn from homes, trees toppled and roads flooded. More than 1 million customers were without power.
Nearly 2 million people who left coastal Louisiana on a mandatory evacuation order; this was described as the biggest evacuation in US history.
In the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans, about half the streets closest to the canal were flooded with ankle- to knee-deep water as the road dipped and rose. Of more immediate concern to authorities were two small vessels that broke loose from their moorings in the canal and were resting against the Florida Street wharf.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Gustav hit around 9.30am near Cocodrie, as a Category 2 storm. The storm weakened to a Category 1 later in the afternoon. Forecasters had feared the storm would arrive as a devastating Category 4.
- Heavy rain fell across southern Chile on 31 August - 1 September. The heavy downpours triggered floods and landslides that affected more than 81,700 people, killed four people, and destroyed or damaged nearly 11,000 houses. According to reports, the rains were the heaviest in nearly four decades.
- Haiti's government says the death toll from Tropical Storm Hanna has more than doubled to 137, with most of the deaths coming in the flooded port city of Gonaives.
The Ministry of the Interior and the Civil Protection Department issued statements Thursday saying that 80 of the deaths were in Gonaives, which has been almost entirely cut off by floodwaters from Hanna.
Virtual lakes have formed over every road in the city and officials are attempting to get food and water to residents who were stranded.
- Tropical Storm Hanna left a trail of destruction across the Caribbean island of Haiti and has claimed more than 500 lives.
Hanna weakened from a category one hurricane to a tropical storm before it hit Haiti, but still produced huge amounts of rainfall, which flooded large parts of the island and caused landslides. Torrents of muddy water swept away roads and houses and vast areas of crops have been destroyed. One of the worst hit towns was Gonaives, which has been completely devastated.
As Hanna moves north along the Eastern Seaboard of the USA, authorities began evacuating several beach communities across North Carolina. Storm warnings were issued from Georgia to New Jersey as the eighth tropical storm of the season threatened the east coast with flash flooding.
The storm tracked towards the Eastern Seaboard, making landfall near the North and South Carolina border on the 6th). Hanna brought much needed rain to the Carolinas. The storm moved towards the Northeast region, dumping heavy rains and lashing the region with strong winds.
- Hurricane Ike developed as a tropical storm, west of the Cape Verde Islands, on 1 September. The storm quickly intensified, reaching its peak strength (a dangerous Category 4 hurricane) on the 4th when it had maximum sustained winds near 145mph and a pressure of 935mb. So far, Ike is the strongest storm in the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. Haiti was affected by Ike's outer rain bands. Torrential rain fell, producing swollen rivers, mudslides, and floods, which claimed the lives of 74 people. The storm tracked towards Cuba, which was preparing itself for a fourth time, evacuating nearly a million Cubans across the coastal areas. Prior to making landfall in Cuba, Ike slightly weakened to a Category 3 hurricane. Ike made landfall in eastern Cuba on 7 September with maximum sustained winds near 120mph. Ike's ferocious winds tore off roofs, toppled trees and power lines. As the storm roared across the island, Ike weakened; however, remained a dangerous Category 1 hurricane. The storm crossed over western Cuba, striking the area with additional flooding and storm surge. Hurricane Ike was responsible for seven fatalities in Cuba, the highest death toll for any storm in years, according to reports.
After lashing Cuba, Ike moved into the Gulf's warm waters, tracking towards the U.S.-Mexico coasts. As the storm moved steadily towards Texas coast, Ike strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane. Ike was a large storm. Long before it made landfall, Louisiana and Texas coast felt Ike's effects. The storm made U.S. landfall at Galveston, Texas on the 13th with maximum sustained winds near 110mph. Ike brought widespread floods across the Galveston area. Houston was also pummeled as the storm moved inland, blowing out windows and leaving millions of residents without power. As the storm tracked towards the Midwest, it weakened. However, Ike's remnants caused havoc across the Midwest. Torrential rain and strong winds were responsible for inundating homes and causing blackouts to more than a million homes and businesses. The storm dumped 150-200mm of rain across parts of Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. The storm was also responsible for spawning a tornado in Arkansas that caused damage to several buildings. Ike was blamed for 15 fatalities across the Midwest, which brought the U.S. death toll from Ike to nearly 40.
- Hungary has seen a sharp contrast in temperature over the last week, with values falling by almost 30C.
Under high pressure across Eastern Europe Hungary enjoyed some unusually hot weather. On the 7th the temperature in Szeged reached 37.6C, setting a new record high in Hungary for that date. It beat the previous record of 36.7C dating back to 1946.
A weather system straddled northern Italy across to Hungary late last week and over the weekend and brought wet and cooler weather across the country.
On the 15th records were again set in Hungary though for a different reason. The city of Sopron, set a new record for the coldest 15 September across Hungary, recording just 8.6C. The previous record was 10.5C set in Zalaegerszeg in 1925.
- Tropical storm Sinlaku edged slowly towards Luzon in the northern Philippines on Monday night, drenching the metropolitan Manila area.
The storm first developed in the Philippine Sea on Sunday and intensified into a tropical storm late on Monday. While still some way east of the Philippines, Sinlaku moved close enough for its effects to be felt across Luzon. Heavy downpours quickly submerged streets overnight, while residents in Camarin, Caloocan City, said that floodwaters quickly rose to shoulder-height engulfing their homes.
- Thunderstorms and downpours across northern Iraq and parts of Iran late on Wednesday and into Thursday have led to flash floods that killed 16 people and forced hundreds out of their homes.
Some of the worst hit places in Iran were Bazoft and Lebed, where muddy floodwaters inundated roads and fields, drowning livestock and submerging homes. Gale force winds accompanied the torrential rains, downing trees and power lines.
The summer months in Iraq and Iran are usually very hot and dry and run from May to September, and are virtually rainless, with the heaviest precipitation falling between December and March.
The recent heavy rain and flooding is thus a rare occurrence at this time of the year. A deep area of low pressure generated over the eastern Mediterranean was responsible for the intense downpours.
- At least 89 people have lost their lives in wildfires that have been raging across parts of South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland.
The fires started last week amid high temperatures and have been fanned by strong winds. Tens of thousands of acres of bush, forests and farmland have been scorched with hundreds of livestock killed.
In Mozambique, flames engulfed hundreds of homes forcing more than 3,000 people to flee, and dozens of schools have been destroyed. More than 50 people are reported to have been killed in central Mozambique alone from the fires.
- East Texas bore the brunt of Hurricane Ike, but on moving inland its influence has now been spread across several US states.
Hurricane Ike came ashore near Galveston Bay early Saturday, bringing widespread floods. As Ike moved inland across Houston it pummelled the city with torrential rain and hurricane-force winds, blowing out office windows and cutting power to millions of residents.
Ike is a huge storm and its effects were felt along the Texas and Louisiana coast long before it made landfall. Sabine Pass, Texas, reported a storm surge of approximately 14.5 feet early on Saturday morning. During Saturday, Ike's outer bands of rain stretched as far north as Chicago where a record 180mm of rain was dumped. When it came ashore Ike had mean winds of 110mph.
- A typhoon which brought down parts of two bridges and dumped as much as 1,400mm of rain in parts of Taiwan killed at least seven people with 14 missing.
One person died when a car plunged into a frothing river from a two-lane segment of a collapsed bridge in Taichung county in central Taiwan.
Typhoon Sinlaku also brought down a section of a bridge in Kaohsiung county in southern Taiwan.
Others died in mudslides, traffic accidents and a tunnel collapse, government disaster workers and local media said.
Sinlaku had brought sustained winds of 126kmph with gusts of up to 162kmph on Sunday with rain keeping up through Monday.
- Despite Hurricane Ike loosing much of its power as it made landfall in Texas, the remnants of Ike have wreaked havoc across the American mid-West, ranging from flooding to blackouts.
Ike's remnants dropped 150-200 mm of rain across parts of Illinois, Missouri and Indiana and spawned a tornado in Arkansas that damaged several buildings. The death toll from Ike rose to 28 people in eight states from Texas to the mid-west.
As Ike moved on quickly in a northeasterly direction, heavy rain arrived in eastern Canada with localised flooding over much of southern Ontario, Quebec and parts of the Maritimes.
Now just an area of low pressure, Ike's remnants quickly moved out of Eastern Canada across the North Atlantic and have reached Iceland, bringing gale force southerly winds and heavy rain to much of the island. Severe weather warnings have been issued for parts of eastern and southern Iceland.
- Monsoon rains have drenched many parts of India throughout the past three days, causing flooding, mudslides and damage to crops and property.
The state of Gujarat in north-west India has been particularly badly hit, with as much as 478mm of rain falling during Thursday. This was the third day of consecutive heavy rainfall.
- Incessant rains produced by a tropical disturbance affected Puerto Rico. According to a local newspaper, the tropical disturbance dumped as much as 660mm
of rain in a period of 24 hours. This amount of rain surpassed the previous record of 603.2mm set on October 1985. The southern portion of the island experienced the heaviest rainfall, prompting landslides and many rivers to overflow their banks that flooded hundreds of homes. Many homes were damaged or destroyed and four fatalities were associated to the floods. The heavy rain reportedly caused Puerto Rico's agricultural industry at least $14 million in losses. The hardest hit crops were coffee and bananas.
- As of today the raingauge at Darwin Airport (Australia) had gone 165 days without registering a single rain event. This is the longest spell of rain-free days recorded at Darwin Airport's official recording site since records began in 1941. The previous longest dry spell was 164 days, from 7 May to 17 October 1976.
- The city of Alice Springs in Central Australia was cleaning up on after heavy rain and dust storms brought down trees and cut power lines. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said that a very active line of storms had been sparked by a cold front moving across the southeast of the country. The storms followed heavy rain that has been lashing southeast Queensland and New South Wales over the weekend.
Winds in Alice Springs reached 75mph, leaving more than 4500 homes and businesses without power. Further north, warnings have been issued for the coastline bordering the Gulf of Carpentaria, with strong winds expected to develop through Wednesday.
- Hundreds of people evacuated their homes as Typhoon Jangmi pounded Taiwan with strong winds and heavy rain on Sunday, causing a major landslide and forcing the cancellation of flights.
Forecasters warned of possible flash floods saying Jangmi, the sixth and biggest storm to hit Taiwan this year, could unleash up to 1400mm of rainfall in some areas.
High-speed rail services were suspended and all domestic flights were cancelled, although international air traffic was largely unaffected.
Hundreds of residents were evacuated from remote villages and fishing boats sought shelter at ports.
- Mexican officials have evacuated 7,500 people and are keeping oil wells shut in Veracruz due to severe flooding from heavy rains along Mexico's Gulf coast.
Large sections of the towns of Minatitlan and Hidalgotitlan are under 3m of water.
- Many parts of Argentina have been experiencing a very dry spell over the past 6 months, which is widely being regarded as the most severe drought in a century.
Some respite came over the weekend, as showers eventually arrived in the country, but they have come too late to reverse excessive damage to both crops and cattle due to the lack of rainfall.
The average annual rainfall for the Pampas region is between 500mm and 1000mm per year, which makes it one of the driest parts of Argentina. However, this year, only around 200mm has fallen so far.
- Tropical Storm Kyle strengthened into a hurricane off the United States on the 27th as it took aim at New England and Canada's Maritime provinces.
Kyle, which developed as a tropical storm on Thursday, had top sustained winds near 75mph and was forecast to make landfall near the Maine-New Brunswick border early on Monday.
The hurricane -- spawned by the 11th named storm of a busy and destructive Atlantic hurricane season -- was forecast to dump as much as 6 inches of rain over parts of New England, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island through Monday. It was also likely to cause large and dangerous surf in some areas.
The disturbed weather system from which Kyle developed drenched Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Caribbean island of Hispaniola before it moved north into the Atlantic.
Authorities in Puerto Rico, a U.S. island territory, said at least four people were killed and scores of homes were flooded.
Kyle is the 11th named storm and the 6th hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane season. However, hurricanes rarely reach this part of the northeast USA and Canada.
The last hurricane to hit Nova Scotia was 5 years ago, when the devastating Hurricane Juan killed 8 people and caused over $200 million in damages.
- Strong winds and a sudden snowstorm disrupted Queenstown (New Zealand), closing the Lindis Pass and the airport, and causing disruption to what is the opening weekend of the school holidays. The snow, not typical for the time of year, also took farmers by surprise with the lambing season having just begun.
Up to 31mm of rain fell at Queenstown Aerodrome, with 20mm of this falling in a 3 hourly period.
- Typhoon Jangmi landed ashore in the evening in northeastern Taiwan.
Jangmi inundated most of northern and middle Taiwan with 25-50cm of rain. Amounts may have exceeded 75cm over the northern highland. At Taipei, rainfall was about 23cm.
- With 12mm for the month, Melbourne has recorded it driest September since records began in 1855. The previous driest was September 1907 when 13.4mm of rain fell. Historically September is one of Melbourne's wetter months averaging 57.9mm. The low rainfall was caused by dominance of dry air during the month, which meant that most fronts and low pressure systems produced very little rainfall.
- Tropical storm Mekkhala slammed into Vietnam's central coast during the morning before moving to Laos later the same day.
The storm, packing winds of 55 mph, destroyed or blew the roofs off of hundreds of houses and sank dozens of boats. It also triggered heavy rains across the region and killed at least eight people.
Mekkhala hit as northern Vietnam was still recovering from Typhoon Hagupit, which struck last Thursday. Floods triggered by the typhoon killed 41 people and caused an estimated $65 million in damage.
World weather news, August 2008
- The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) says that the temperature in the Netherlands has risen much faster than the global mean. The central Netherlands temperature is now about 1.5C higher than in 1950. This increase is twice as much as the rise in the global mean temperature over the same period. Research conducted at KNMI shows that the difference is very unlikely to be due to natural variability. The area of fast temperature increases extends over large parts of Europe.
- From Turkmenistan to Xianjiang Uygur of northwestern China, searing heat held sway, thereby tacking on another day to a heatwave that set in early this week. Here are few highlights:
- Uchajy, Turkmenistan: High of 46.7C followed highs of 47.1C (Thursday) and 47.5C (Friday). Low on Saturday morning was 34C.
- Urumqi, Xinjiang-Uygur: High of 38.5C Saturday. Overnight temperature hovered near 29 C which is the normal daily high at the start of August.
- Turpan, Xinjiang-Uygur:
This city is near the namesake depression, which is the "Death Valley" of China. Saturday's high was 45.3C.
- Three people were killed and at least nine were reported injured when a freak tornado tore through towns in northern France. Some 40 houses were destroyed in Hautmont, near the border with Belgium, including one which was split in two. Elsewhere, roofs were ripped off, trees uprooted and cars overturned.
- Heavy monsoonal rain fell across northwestern Pakistan during the first week of August. The floods affected 82,000 people, destroyed more than 3,200 homes, and were responsible for 27 fatalities.
- In the United States, severe storms ripped through parts of Illinois and Indiana, producing 10 preliminary tornado reports, damaging winds, and hail. The storms damaged 25 homes, prompted the cancellation of more than 350 flights at O'Hare International Airport, left nearly 288,000 residents without power, and were blamed for the deaths of two people.
- Tropical storm Kammuri developed as a tropical depression in the South China Sea on the 4th. Later that same day, the depression strengthened to a tropical storm, making landfall in southern China on the 6th. The storm brought torrential rain to parts of Hong Kong, causing the disruption of air and road traffic and forcing the closure of stock markets. No fatalities were reported. Kammuri began to weaken as it continued its course towards northern Vietnam. The storm's remnants generated heavy downpours that triggered deadly flash floods and landslides in mountainous regions in northern Vietnam on 9-11 August. It was reported that the copious rainfall prompted river water levels in the Yen Bai province to be near the record level set in 1968. Over 300 homes were destroyed, more than 4,200 buildings were flooded, and nearly 8,700 hectares of crops were washed out. According to reports, 120 fatalities were reported, with 44 others missing. The worst hit area was the Lao Cai province, where 36 people died and 38 others were missing. It was reported that 3 out of the 11 affected provinces have preliminary estimates of 105 million US$ in total property losses.
- A heat wave affected parts of the USA from mid-July through early August. In Denver, Colorado, temperatures were above 32C (90F) for 24 consecutive days (as of 5 August), breaking the previous record set in 1874 and 1901 with 18 consecutive days.
- Intense monsoonal rains pounded southern India. The heavy downpours claimed the lives of 59 people and another 40 were feared dead when the truck they were riding on was swept away by a flooded river. Intense monsoonal downpours also pummelled northern India, claiming the lives of 74 people, leaving 50,000 people homeless, and triggering buildings to collapse. Varanasi, one of the hardest hit, received a total of 292.1mm of rain in 24 hours. Meanwhile, in the State of Assam, floodwaters submerged about 100 villages, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate the area. In neighboring Nepal, the heavy rainfall caused the Kosi river to spill over its bank, flooding villages and leaving several people missing
- Heavy rain and thunderstorms which drenched the capital Beijing on Sunday continued into Monday, helping to clear the air and bringing more comfortable conditions for the Olympic competitors.
Pollution has been a major worry in the run up to the Olympics. The Beijing Government has gone to extraordinary lengths to remedy the problem by closing down factories and moving as many as 2 million vehicles off the roads.
On Saturday the air pollution index was recorded as 94 for the opening day of competition, where below 50 is considered healthy air. An index of over 100 is considered to be harmful to some people. On Saturday a third of cyclists dropped out of the men's road race unable to cope with the hot and stuffy conditions.
Some relief arrived Sunday in the form of heavy rain and thunderstorms, though some events experienced delays or had to be re-scheduled. Beijing woke to clearer conditions on Monday and lower temperatures, with the haze having cleared. Pollution levels taken on Monday indicated that the pollution index had more than halved, dropping to 38.
- In Laos, heavy rainfall triggered fatal floods and landslides that claimed the lives of 4 people. In Vientiane, the copious rains caused the Mekong river to reach 13.68m on August 14, surpassing the previous record high of 12.38m set in 1966.
- Tropical storm Fay developed over Dominican Republic on the 15th. The storm brought heavy rains across the island of Hispaniola, prompting floods that claimed the lives of 12 people. In Dominican Republic, Fay brought down trees and power lines, damaged hundred of homes, and was blamed for the lives of 5 people, whom were swept away by flood waters. Meanwhile in Haiti, a bus was swept away by a flooded river, causing the deaths of 7 people and leaving 3 others missing. Fay exited the Island of Hispaniola and tracked towards Cuba, where authorities had already evacuated residents from low-lying areas. The storm made landfall in western Cuba on the 17th. Fay made its first landfall in Florida, over Key West, on the 18th with maximum sustained winds near 60mph (CNN), and then again south of Naples on the 19th. The storm dumped copious amounts of rain across parts of Florida and spawned dangerous tornadoes. It was reported that Fay left more than 93,000 residents without power, downed trees, and flooded streets.
- Eyre, in the Eucla district of Western Australia, recorded a minimum temperature of -7.2C, setting an all time lowest temperature record for the state. The previous lowest temperature on record for the state was -6.7C at Booylgoo Spring, in the southeast Gascoyne, on 12 July 1969. The previous lowest August temperature on record for the state was -6.1C at Salmon Gums on 15 August 1970. Eyre is currently experiencing an exceptional spell of cold nights with the past six consecutive nights below
-2.5C (between 13 and 18 August). It registered its lowest August temperature on record of -5.5C on 15 August 2008, exceeding its previous lowest of -5.1C on 7 August 2002, but this was soon overtaken with -7.2C two nights later on 17 August. The previous lowest temperature recorded at Eyre was -5.9ºC on 14 June 2006.
- Typhoon Nuri developed as a tropical depression in the northwestern Pacific Ocean on the 18th, reaching typhoon status that same day. The storm reached its peak intensity on August 19 with maximum sustained winds near 109mph. On the 20th, Nuri made landfall in the northeastern tip of Cagayan province, located in northern Luzon, in the Philippines Islands. The storm battered the region with maximum sustained winds near 87mph and heavy rain. The torrential downpours triggered deadly landslides and floods that killed 7 people. As Nuri tracked towards southeastern China, the storm weakened, losing its typhoon status.
- At least three tornadoes touched down near Denver in Colorado in the afternoon as severe thunderstorms swept across the state.
Spectacular lightning displays were observed around Douglas and Elbert counties along with torrential rain that gave rise to temporary flash flooding. Much of Parker was pounded with hailstones as the storms moved away east leaving it resembling a winter scene for many.
- Tropical storm Gustav hit Jamaica after leaving 67 people dead in Hispaniola. Texas and Louisiana put their national guards on standby, and New Orleans said a mandatory evacuation might be necessary.
At least 59 people died in Haiti from floods, mudslides and falling trees, including 25 around the city of Jacmel, where Gustav first struck land Tuesday. Eight more people were buried when a cliff gave way in the Dominican Republic. Marcelina Feliz died clutching her 11-month-old baby, and five more children were smothered in the wreckage beside her.
There were no immediate reports of casualties in Jamaica, but many people lost power Thursday and the streets of Kingston were deserted as heavy winds and rain lashed the capital.
Forecasters said parts of Jamaica could get 25 inches of rain, which could trigger landslides and cause serious crop damage.
- Massive flooding in eastern India has caused a "national calamity," the prime minister said Thursday after touring the devastated region where more than a million people remain trapped.
Manmohan Singh announced a relief package of 228 million dollars and 125,000 tonnes of grain for those affected when a monsoon-swollen river changed course, flooding huge swathes of the country's impoverished Bihar state.
The Kosi river breached its banks ten days ago on the border with Nepal, flowing through a channel it had previously abandoned.
Nepalese disaster management officials said the river had washed away a series of dams and spurs, which control the water flow, sending huge torrents downstream that washed away further flood defences.
Nepali engineers were frantically trying to strengthen flood control barriers upstream to prevent increased water flow as more rain was forecast.
The Kosi, which flows into the Ganges, is known as the "River of Sorrow" due to its record of disastrous floods during the monsoon season.
- One woman was found dead and another was missing as torrential rain drenched central Japan, leading authorities to urge an entire city of nearly 400,000 people to evacuate.
Heavy rain since late Thursday has flooded hundreds of houses and roads, triggered landslides and destroyed bridges and river banks.
The worst-affected city was Okazaki, some 300 km southwest of Tokyo, which was hit by 146 millimetres of rain in one hour early on Friday.
The city in Aichi prefecture advised all of its 376,000 residents to evacuate temporarily.
However, only 50 people evacuated with most staying at home as the rain moved away by early afternoon.
The severe weather was caused by an area of low pressure which brought a band of rain across most of the country, with embedded severe thunderstorms through central parts.
- On the 30th Gustav made landfall in western Cuba as a category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 130kn. The storm caused major flooding, damaged crops, ripped roofs off houses, uprooted trees, and caused disruptions in power and phone services. However, no fatalities where reported. By the 31st the storm moved across the Gulf of Mexico.
- The sun has reached a milestone not seen for nearly 100 years: an entire month (August) has passed without a single visible sunspot being noted.
The event is significant as many climatologists now believe solar magnetic activity - which determines the number of sunspots - is an influencing factor for climate on earth.
According to data from Mount Wilson Observatory, UCLA, more than an entire month has passed without a spot. The last time such an event occurred was June of 1913. Sunspot data has been collected since 1749.
When the sun is active, it's not uncommon to see sunspot numbers of 100 or more in a single month. Every 11 years, activity slows, and numbers briefly drop to near-zero. Normally sunspots return very quickly, as a new cycle begins.
But this year -- which corresponds to the start of Solar Cycle 24 -- has been extraordinarily long and quiet, with the first seven months averaging a sunspot number of only 3. August followed with none at all. The astonishing rapid drop of the past year has defied predictions, and caught nearly all astronomers by surprise.
World weather news, July 2008
- Snow has blanketed the desert and Andean valleys of southern Patagonia as of this early week. High pressure that followed the last of the snow has made for bitter nighttime cold. A fine example of this chill can be found in the data registered at Perito Moreno in northern Santa Cruz, Argentina. Over fresh snow cover of 18 cm, the low on Tuesday was -15.6C. Warming to only -4.5C during the day, the site chilled further early Wednesday - to -19.7C. Calafate, in southwestern Santa Cruz, also weathered the deep freeze. The cold reached to Balmaceda, Chile, where -18C was reached early Wednesday.
- An unusually intense thunderstorm broke out across Norway's capital, Oslo, during Saturday afternoon, causing widespread havoc.
Torrential downpours gave rise to flash flooding which paralysed traffic on roads in and out of the capital and inundated the basements of dozens of buildings. The storm produced frequent lightning during its peak and caused power outages to thousands of homes in Oslo and Baerum. Lightning also interfered with telephone and TV signals.
Strong and gusty winds developed during the thunderstorm reaching 60mph in places. All train transportation was suspended through Oslo Central station due to power failure, after a large tree fell onto the line. Southern parts of Scandinavia have seen temperatures well above the seasonal average of 20C, with Oslo seeing highs of 28C over the last few days.
- Flooding, house collapses and lightning strikes caused by heavy rains killed at least 14 people in northern India, taking the reported death toll in the annual monsoon season to 79.
Heavy rains lashed the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh state, flooding all the major rivers in the region.
- At least 20 people have died and more than 20,000 left marooned as heavy rains over the past week triggered landslides and floods in southeast Bangladesh.
Three landslides caused by torrential monsoon rains killed 10 people while six others drowned in swirling flood waters in southeastern Cox's Bazar district.
- Up to 15 people were dead or missing after torrential rains in southwest China triggered landslides in mountainous areas toppling houses and burying villagers.
Nine people were confirmed dead and six others were missing since the rains last week set off mud and rock slides engulfing the Liangshan prefecture in Sichuan province.
- Days of torrential rain across parts of South Africa have led to floods that have washed away bridges, caused mudslides and forced hundreds to evacuate from their homes.
One of the worst affected areas was Cape Town where wild weather across the Western Cape left many homeless. Thousands of buildings in the city have been flooded, and mudslides have been blocking roads. The havoc left across the Western Cape could lead to government officials declaring parts of the province a disaster area.
A series of cold fronts have brought pulses of heavy rain to the same areas with some places seeing in excess of 150mm.
Rainfall within the last five days has risen to 250mm as of Wednesday evening at Vyeboom, Western Cape, South Africa. July rainfall is now above 150mm in Cape Town - nearly twice the normal monthly rainfall.
- A state of emergency was declared across a number of Mexican states after an unusually heavy rainy season lead to widespread floods. At least 20 people have been killed since the rainy season began at the beginning of June, with thousands more having to evacuate their homes. On Thursday, in the central Mexican town of Hidalgo, the Rancho Neuvo Dam overflowed, flooding hundreds of nearby homes.
The rainy season has been unusually heavy so far, and only a month ago many southern regions were badly hit by heavy rain. Most of the rain during the rainy season occurs from sharp thunderstorms, but over the past few weeks persistent rain has resulted from moist air moving in off the Gulf.
- Violent thunderstorms hit eastern parts of California over the weekend. These triggered flash floods, but somewhat helped to dampen wildfires which have been ravaging the state. California has been struggling to tame hundreds of wildfires since they were first ignited by a fierce lightning storm over three weeks ago. Flash floods sent mud cascading down an area near the town of Independence, on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, which was left devastated by last years wildfires, The storms were caused by rising moisture moving west from New Mexico and Arizona.
- More than 360,000 people have now been affected by heavy rain in southern China. Further torrential downpours over the weekend have caused flash flooding that destroyed houses, roads and agricultural land. In contrast the north of the country has been reeling under drought as temperatures hit 38C, with little or no rainfall being received in the area this year.
With the impending Olympics in Beijing, the Chinese government is keen to ensure the games run smoothly, and have decided to undertake cloud seeding in order to keep the rain clouds away.
- The centre of Tropical Storm Kalmaegi never reached the Philippines; nonetheless, the northern island of Luzon was inundated with heavy to extreme falls of rain. Even though the center of Kalmaegi lay northeast of Luzon during the cloudbursts, it was the northwest that observed the highest rainfall. Namely, Laoag stated that storm rainfall topped 70cm as of Wednesday night. Nearly half of this fell within one 6-hour stretch. Farther south, still on the west side of Luzon, rainfall was more 36cm at Vigan.
- Typhoon Kalmaegi developed as a depression in the western Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippine Islands, on 14 July and reached tropical storm strength on the 15th. The storm strengthened monsoonal rains in the Philippines, resulting in floods that affected thousands of people. Kalmaegi reached typhoon peak intensity on 17 July with maximum sustained winds near 92mph. Later that day, the storm made landfall on the island of Taiwan, quickly weakening to a tropical storm. The storm lashed the island with heavy downpours that prompted flash floods and landslides that claimed the lives of eighteen people and left seven others missing. According to reports, the city of Taichung received a total of 413mm of rain on the 17th, while other parts of southern Taiwan received as much as 1,100 mm. The damages across Taiwan were estimated to be 16 million U.S. dollars. Kalmaegi made a second landfall on the southeastern coast of China on July 18, affecting 360,000 people in the Fujian province.
- Hurricane Bertha, the Atlantic's first hurricane for the 2008 season, developed in the Atlantic Ocean on 3 July. Bertha reached peak intensity on 7 July with maximum sustained winds near 120mph, but as the storm travelled toward the Bermuda's, Bertha weakened into a tropical storm. Although Bertha did not make landfall, Bermuda was battered by the storm's heavy rain and strong winds, causing the roads to be flooded and leaving 7,500 people without electricity. Bertha was the longest-lived July Atlantic tropical storm when it entered its 16th day on 19 July. The second longest-lived July tropical storm was Storm Number 2 in 1960, lasting 12 days.
- Moderate to severe drought conditions persisted across parts of the western, central, and southeastern parts of the continental U.S. Drought conditions depleted across the western North Dakota, where extreme drought developed. Extreme to exception drought continued across parts of southern Texas, the southern High Plains, and the southern Appalachians. As of July 22, 30% of the western U.S., 45% of the South, 22% of the High Plains, 59% of the Southeast, and 27% of the contiguous U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
- Warm weather arrived across parts of Finland this week, with temperatures on Wednesday reaching 25C in Helsinki.
Summer has been a disappointment so far across Finland, staying mostly unsettled, cool, wet and windy. The first week of July was the coldest since 1993, with the temperature falling as low as -2.7C in the western town of Alajaervi, while parts of the country had 2.5 times more rain than usual in June.
July has also been unusually wet. Maanselkä in eastern Finland and Lake Kurkijärvi in Ostrobothnia, have both recorded over 100mm of rain this month; the average for the whole of July is around 70-80mm. Ostrobothnia is recovering from floods triggered by days of heavy rain early this week. Yesterday water levels finally steadied in the River Kalajoki and should now start to recede.
- Officials estimate that at least a half-dozen homes were destroyed and hundreds were damaged in the heavily wooded, sparsely populated terrain of central New Hampshire, USA as a tornado struck. The National Weather Service said nine towns suffered severe damage from the tornado, which at times reached wind speeds of 111-135mph; the tornado killed one person.
- Hurricane Dolly, Atlantic's second hurricane for the 2008 season, developed as a tropical storm in the western Caribbean Sea on 20 July. The storm moved over the Yucatan Peninsula on July 21 with maximum sustained winds near 50mph. The tropical storm brought heavy rains to parts of Guatemala where deadly landslides were triggered, killing 21 people. Dolly moved towards the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico where it strengthened to a category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 100mph on the 23rd. Later that same day, Dolly made landfall in the South Padre Island, southern Texas. The storm lashed the U.S.-Mexico border with strong winds that brought down trees and power lines and heavy rain that caused extensive flooding. One fatality was reported and nearly 250,000 people were left without drinking water in Mexico. Dolly was downgraded to a tropical depression as it moved further inland on the 25th.
- Torrential rains that lashed South Korea this week have led to the deaths of seven people and left six others missing.
Six people were also injured, with one in critical condition, in landslides and flash floods triggered by heavy rain that started battering the country Wednesday.
The rainfall also damaged or flooded about 620 houses across South Korea, prompting 1,240 people to seek refuge elsewhere.
Dongducheon, a city just north of Seoul, received about 15 inches of rain since Wednesday, and major cities in Gangwon had about 11 inches.
- An orange warning heat wave signal was issued for many provinces in south China. Nine counties in the region were hit by temperatures exceeding 38C, with a record 37.7C being recorded in the provincial capital of Guangzhou. Under the influence of the approaching typhoon it expected to remain warm and dry across much of southern China.
- A large and intense forest fire which has been raging for six days in Greece has now been brought under control.
The fire broke out on Tuesday on the Greek holiday island of Rhodes and was spread by strong winds over the past few days. More than 5,000 hectares of forest and scrub have been burnt, along with large areas of vineyards.
In central Rhodes, local residents and tourists were forced to evacuate the village of Laerma which was particularly under threat from the blaze. Firefighters were stretched to the limit, and aid was brought in from other parts of Greece, as well as from France, Italy and Cyprus to help extinguish the flames.
The Rhodes blaze is the latest Greek forest fire this summer, amid prolonged very hot and dry weather. High pressure has been dominating the weather across the eastern Mediterranean producing long, drawn out heatwaves. Very little, if any rain as fallen in the area over the past few months and temperatures have soared up to 40C.
- Four people died in central Japan after being swept away in torrential rains that caused floods and mudslides and prompted an evacuation order for 50,000 people.
A woman, two girls and a boy were found dead after being washed away by a swollen river in the port city of Kobe.
In the city of Kanazawa, about 180 miles northwest of Tokyo, heavy rain flooded houses and led authorities to issue a mass evacuation order.
The flooding also temporarily left 500 households without electricity and caused train delays.
More than 4 inches of rain fell in the region in about two hours.
- More than 600,000 people were evacuated as tropical storm Fung-wong made landfall on China's southeastern coast.
The storm was downgraded from typhoon level as it hit Fujian province late Monday after slamming into Taiwan, where it had whipped up strong winds and unleashed heavy rains that left two people dead.
In the hours before the storm landed, more than 205mm of rain fell on Monday in Fuqing city in Fujian province.
Power was cut off in Fujian's Puxia county, where 15 electricity transmission lines and nearly 500 transformer stations were damaged.
- More than 75 people stranded by massive flooding in and around the mountain resort town of Ruidossa (New Mexico) still awaited rescue on Tuesday. The weekend flooding, caused by the remnants of Hurricane Dolly, claimed the life of one man. An estimated 350 to 500 houses, campers, mobile homes and structures were damaged in the flooding, with about 350 people evacuated from homes and up to 500 vacationers initially stranded. Thirteen bridges were washed out.
- High temperature records for July were broken in many places in Iceland today. Maxima included Thingvellir 29.3C, Reykjavík 25.7C Pyrill 28.0C, Skrauthólar 28.4 and Skálafell by Esja iat 771m above sea level 23.1C.
- A searing heatwave has spread between the Caspian Sea and an area of Siberian Russia. Today, much of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and southern Kazakhstan heated to 43-46C. Tashkent, Uzbekistan, recorded 43-44C compared to a normal high of 32-33C. There was 41.1C to Pavlodar, northern Kazakhstan, and 39.5C at Slavgorod in nearby Siberian Russia.
- Floods in western Ukraine have killed 30 people and prompted the evacuation of nearly 18,000, after five days of rain caused rivers to spill over into villages and farmland.
Emergencies Minister Volodymyr Shandra announced the death toll in a parliamentary debate convened to discuss compensation and changes to the budget.
In neighboring Romania, four people died in floods in the northeastern county of Maramures. The Bucharest government put up 50 million lei ($22 million) this week to rebuild damaged infrastructure and provide aid to affected villagers.
Both the Dniestr and Prut rivers on the border of Romania/Ukraine burst their banks.
- A succession of winter storms have been battering many parts of New Zealand over the past few weeks giving heavy rain, snow and gales. Heavy rain is still falling and has caused widespread flooding across North Canterbury. Homes have been inundated with water and people have been forced to evacuate. The west coast of the South Island was badly hit by severe gales. Massive clean up operations are underway in Greymouth after severe gales wreaked havoc. Winds gusted up to 100mph damaging houses and bringing down power lines. Roads were blocked by fallen trees and public transport was badly affected.
Around 100 to 150mm of rain has fallen over parts of Mt Taranaki and the Tarauras over the last 24 hours.
The recent deepening low pressure systems have been moving in from the west across the Tasman Sea. As winds around the low have been drawing colder air from the Antarctic, heavy rain has turned to snow above 1000 feet, giving significant falls across the Southern Alps.
World weather news, June 2008
- Tropical Storm Arthur formed on 31 May - one day before the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season - and made landfall on the Belize-Mexico border. It headed west, weakening to a dissipating depression after soaking the Yucatan Peninsula, but threatening to drop some 12-25cm of rain leading to potential flooding and mudslides elsewhere in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Five people died from the effects of flooding in Belize.
- A flood alert has been issued for parts of Queensland as heavy rain continues to intensify across the region. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology warned that overnight rainfall totals of more than 100mm are expected through Monday night, with flash flooding likely. Most of the beaches on the Sunshine and Gulf coast have been closed.
The average monthly rainfall for June in Queensland is 66mm, meaning some places will receive nearly double their monthly rainfall over the next 24 hours.
- Three people drowned in heavy floods following thunderstorms in southwestern Germany overnight.
One woman died when she was surprised by the rising waters in her cellar, a spokesman said, adding two other people were killed when their car was swept away by the floods.
Water levels were several metres high overnight in the Killertal valley in southern Germany, where inhabitants had fled to the upper floors of their homes, police said. The floods had swept cars away and damaged several buildings.
- The death toll from a week of torrential rain across Sri Lanka has risen to 17 and more than 253,000 people have been driven from their homes, the island's disaster management centre said.
Heavy monsoon downpours have disrupted life in several districts but Kalutara on the south coast is worst affected with 11 deaths and more than 100,000 people displaced by floods and landslides.
- Tornadic thunderstorms developed across parts of the Mid-West causing flooding, hail damage and power cuts.
A cluster of violent storms pounded parts of Nebraska, unleashing torrential rain with golf ball size hailstones and producing a tornado which touched down near the town of Ulysses. Power lines were torn down, farm houses shattered and trees were left twisted and strewed. Another tornado was spotted in Chase County in the southwest of the state, near the town of Wauneta with further damaged reported. Much of the state remains under a tornado and flood watch, with flash flood warnings being issued for central and eastern Nebraska.
Tornadoes were also reported in Indiana where violent storms broke out yesterday injuring dozens and killing one.
- The heaviest rainstorms in 50 years drenched parts of Guangdong province (China) over the two days, killing at least 1 student and causing widespread flooding.
Torrential rains have affected the province over the past two weeks, with rainfall in some areas measuring more than 400mm in just the past two days.
- Rainstorms which brought the heaviest downpour since records began have swamped Hong Kong, causing landslides which claimed two lives.
A man and a woman died when a landslide crashed into a hut in which they were sleeping and 16 people were injured in other storm-related incidents.
Streets across Hong Kong were severely flooded, some roads were closed and some flights were delayed at the international airport.
Under the influence of an active trough of low pressure, rain was heaviest in the morning. The Observatory recorded 145.5mm during the hour from 8am, the highest hourly rainfall since record began. From midnight until 6 p.m., 304.8mm of rain fell at the Observatory, the fifth highest daily rainfall record in June.
- Unsettled weather has continued to plague parts of Spain over the last few days, with heavy rain triggering floods.
After months of severe drought, Spain's worst in over half a century, it is reported that May 2008 has been the country's wettest since May 1971. Since the beginning of June, low pressure has continued to dominate bringing more wet weather, mostly across northern and eastern parts of the country. Last week, heavy rain across Spain's Basque country triggered severe floods as streets were turned into rivers.
The rain has also caused a headache for the organisers of Expo2008 in Zaragoza in the run up to its opening. The event, with the theme of 'water and sustainable development' suffered some flooding as the Ebro River overflowed.
Further heavy rain caused severe flooding in Albacete, Castilla-La Mancha on Sunday with over 75mm of rain falling in 24 hours.
- Eastern states of the USA were reeling under a heat wave that saw temperatures peak at 38C in Raleigh, North Carolina. Extreme heat has affected almost a third of the US, with temperatures in Philadelphia, Richmond, Macon and Charlotte reaching record breaking highs for the time of year. Residents of New York sweltered under temperatures of 32C on Sunday, compared with the seasonal average of 25C.
- Some severe weather across the USA and Canada included
- 8th - Pounding rains were blamed for at
least three deaths in the U.S. Midwest, while a tornado was
spotted in Nebraska.
- 9th - Residents of the U.S.
Midwest were coping with extensive flooding Monday following weekend
rainstorms that claimed seven lives in the region.
- 11th - Four Boy Scouts were killed
and an unknown number more were hurt Wednesday when a tornado
slammed into their camp at Blencoe in western Iowa.
- 11th - Utility officials said
thousands of residents of New Jersey and the Detroit area were
without electricity Wednesday in the wake of severe weather.
- 11th - A cleanup was under way in Montreal
after a violent thunderstorm flipped trucks, downed trees
and left 208,000 people in Canada without electricity.
- 11th - A torrnado tore a path of destruction sixblocks wide through the town of Chapman (Kansas). One woman died, 100 homes were destroyed or heavily damaged, and 80 percent of the town had at least minor damage.
Elsewhere in Kansas, tornadoes caused extensive damage at Kansas State University in Manhattan and killed one person in the tiny town of Soldier.
About 35 miles away at Kansas State, storm damage was estimated to exceed $20 million.
- The Cedar River poured over its banks in Cedar Rapids (USA), forcing the evacuation of more than 3,000 homes, causing a railroad bridge to collapse and leaving cars underwater on downtown streets.
Officials estimated that 100 blocks were underwater in Cedar Rapids, where several days of preparation could not hold back the rain-swollen river. Rescuers had to use boats to reach many stranded residents, and people could be seen dragging suitcases up closed highway exit ramps to escape the water.
- Indian soldiers evacuated thousands of stranded people from submerged villages, as floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains swept across the country's east and northeast.
More than 300,000 people have lost their homes so far, and are scattered between camps, highways and makeshift shelters on higher ground. Rising river waters have broken through mud embankments and flooded vast areas.
- Heavy rainfall prompted severe flooding and mudslides across parts of South Africa. The worst hit was the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, where four people died. According to reports, Scottburg, KwaZulu-Natal received a total of 128mm of rain in just 24 hours.
- Over the past two weeks Dharan (Saudi Arabia) has been encased in a layer of dust and sand up to 1km thick due to the Shamal phenomenon. Compared to recent years these storm conditions have been much persistebt this year.
Daily, visibility has fallen to a few hundred metres. The heavy dust has wafted southeast over Bahrain, Qatar and eastern Saudi Arabia - Dhahran and Al Hufuf. In Iraq, whose land mass gave rise to much of the dust, visibility below 100m has been observed.
- Temperatures have soared across Cyprus with the fire services being put on full alert because of wildfires that have been burning out of control for the past week.
The temperatures peaked at 41.1C in the capital, Nicosia, with humidity levels rising, making it very uncomfortable for the city dwellers. Around the coasts, temperatures reached 37C.
The island is in the grip of a severe drought as there has been very little rainfall over the past few years. Dam levels are at a record low and much of the landscape is tinder-dry and parched. Several wildfires have broken out in the forests of the Troodos Mountain range. Six villages including Vasa, Kellaki and Sanida were evacuated as strong winds fanned the blaze out of control. Dozens of firefighters were injured as they brought the blaze under control.
- Typhoon Fengshen has continued to lash the Philippines over the weekend, bringing torrential rain and strong winds.
The typhoon first made landfall on Friday on the eastern island of Samar, with winds gusting over 85mph. Warnings were issued for the eastern provinces and residents advised of the risk of flash floods and landslides. Through the weekend Fengshen has continued to edge slowly northwest across the central Philippines, striking the capital, Manila on Sunday.
Over 700 passengers were lost when a ferry was capsized by the typhoon off the coast of Sibuyan Island. Meanwhile torrential rain has brought raging floods and triggered landslides across the central Philippines. In Iloilo, thousands of residents have been left stranded on roof tops as a dam overflowed. In the 24 hours up to midnight on Friday, Iloilo recorded 354mm of rain.
- A tornado in China tore up 650 houses in just five minutes and damaged nearly 1,000, but only one person died.
The tornado touched down in the eastern province of Anhui, causing $2.7 million in losses.
Forty-five people, including eight seriously wounded, were taken to hospital after the tornado hit in Lingbi county,
- Violent thunderstorms swept across large parts of Austria yesterday evening producing spectacular lightning displays and affecting the television coverage of the Euro2008 semi-final match.
Internet coverage of the game was also interrupted.
During the height of the storm, torrential rain lashed down causing temporary flash flooding and squally winds gusted to over 60mph, prompting officials to shut down Vienna's main Euro2008 fan zone and evacuate spectators.
- Tropical storm Fengshen struck China's southeastern coast, bringing torrential downpours to a region reeling from heavy rains and deadly flooding since early June.
The storm, which also packed high winds, made landfall in Guangdong province early in the morning, closing schools and disrupting air traffic across the region and in neighbouring Macau and Hong Kong.
More than 13,000 ships returned to Guangzhou's port in advance of the storm, the agency said.
Heavy downpours in the nearby city of Zhongshan limited road visibility to just a few dozen metres), forcing some motorists to stop their vehicles.
The Hong Kong Airport Authority said 70 inbound or outbound flights servicing the city were delayed or cancelled due to the storm; dozens of flights were similarly affected at other Chinese airports.
- More storms dumped crop-drowning rains on parts of the U.S. Midwest, threatening strained levees and slowing recovery from a multibillion-dollar flood disaster in the heart of the world's biggest grain and food exporter.
In Cedar Rapids, where 4,000 homes were flooded two weeks ago after water spilled over 1,300 city blocks, officials ordered 300 houses to be demolished.
Fears that as much as 5 million acres of corn and soybeans have been lost due to the flooding pushed corn and livestock prices to record highs last week.
- Spain is currently in the grip of a heatwave; an influx of hot air from Africa has sent temperatures soaring over the last few days, with the heat felt as far north as Madrid. On Thursday temperatures reached 36C in Madrid, but it is further south where temperatures were highest. Cordoba and Seville both reached 39C.
This week the national meteorological agency declared that they are expecting a hot summer across southern Spain, with temperatures rising one and a half degrees above the seasonal average.
- Strong winds, heavy rain and snow prompted the New Zealand Met Service to issue a number of warnings. Severe weather warnings have been issued from Northland in the far north, all the way down the eastern coast until Christchurch. Central plateau snow in the north has been affecting roads, with numerous ice warnings being issued.
After a dry start to the month in some northern regions, the recent snow fall has been welcomed across a number of ski resorts. In the resort of Turoa on Mount Ruapehu, they have had their biggest snow base in over 25 years for the time of year, a week before it's due to open.
- More than 800 severe wildfires, sparked by lightning, charred parts of northern California during the last week of June. Just 32 fires burned as much as 110,100 hectares of land.
- The Hong Kong Observatory has declared June 2008 its wettest month ever on record, with records dating back to 1884.
Up to midday on Monday June 30th, the total rainfall recorded at the Hong Kong Observatory was 1,346.1mm breaking the previous record set in May 1889. The previous rainfall record was 1,241.1mm.
The heavy rain is being attributed to active southwesterlies over the south China coastal areas during the first half of the month. Rainfall during the second half of June is being attributed to Typhoon Fengshen.
World weather news, May 2008
- A river swollen by heavy rain and melting snow overflowed its banks along the U.S.-Canadian border, forcing hundreds of people to flee homes and businesses in Fort Kent, Maine, and closing two border crossings.
The St. John River rose 30 feet and spilled into the town leaving stores and homes on Main Street under seven to eight feet of water, said John Bannen, Fort Kent's director of Community Development. Less than 24 hours earlier about 600 people were forced to leave the town in a hurry when the river threatened to rise above a 30-foot (9-metre) dike built to protect the area. The town is 430 miles north of Boston.
Town and state officials called it the worst flood in 80 years of record keeping.
- Tropical cyclone Nargis hit coastal Burma causing much damage and flooding.
The storm made landfall around the mouth of the Ayeyawaddy river, about 220km southwest of Rangoon. Tidal surges up to 3.5m were generated by the storm giving coastal flooding in low-lying areas.
Cyclone Nargis weakened considerably as it made landfall but winds reached gusts of 80mph ripping down power lines, damaging houses and unleashing torrential rain. Parts of Rangoon have been devastated by the storm with scores of roads cut off by fallen trees and strewed masonry.
Nargis has been brewing out in the Bay of Bengal over the past few days and was forecast to make landfall in Bangladesh, however the storm veered towards the east, taking it to Burma.
The highest sustained winds near the time of landfall were estimated to be 105 knots -a Category 3 hurricane.
Breakup of Nargis over highlands east of Yangon was such that little was left to reach Thailand. But the dying cyclone did spur an early shot of South West Monsoon rains including nearly 8 inches as of Sunday afternoon at Chanthaburi,
The Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH) of Myanmar started to issue forecasts on cyclone Nargis as of 27 April, several days ahead of landfall.
However, the storm surge was the major cause of the disaster as the cyclone hit the most populous and low-lying area and the cyclone maintained its strength (category 2 or above) and moved quickly. The storm surge affected not only the coastal area but also about 30-40 km inland. A problem was the lack of a radar network to monitor the storm.
Nargis was the first tropical cyclone making landfall in Myanmar for 40 years.
It was the first time such an intense storm hit the Irrawaddy delta; when the storm made landfall, its battering winds pushed a wall of water as high as 12 feet some 25 miles inland.
- The output of tea in the African country of Kenya has fallen in the first part of 2008 due to increasingly harsh weather conditions, it has been found.
According to the Daily Nation earlier this week, the output fell by 35 per cent to 70 million kilogrammes when compared with the first quarter of 2007.
Plantations, in the Rift Valley were the worst affected by the decline, with their production dropping by almost 50 per cent.
Tea Board of Kenya managing director, Sicily Kariuki, said that the decline was due to particularly harsh weather, including long hot, dry spells and incidences of frost.
- Meteorologists have confirmed 11 tornadoes hit Arkansas. One of them had winds between 136 and 165 mph and stayed on the ground for 45 miles.
Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in North Little Rock say the long-lasting tornado was classified an E-F3. It touched down near Birdtown in Conway County and continued through Van Buren and Cleburne counties.
The path was continuous for 45 miles even though it made several odd jogs that sometimes indicate different twisters.
The tornadoes killed seven people, damaged or destroyed about 400 homes and knocked out electrical and telephone service in nearly 20 counties.
The number of tornadoes so far this year is well above normal. There have been 694 tornadoes this year, a number that is not normally reached until early July.
- Three days after its surprise eruption on May 2, the Chaitén volcano of southern Chile was still pumping out dense clouds of ash. The plume stretches east from the peak and extends over the Andes Mountains, across Argentina, and hundreds of kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean.
- More than 60 people have now died as a result of a heatwave which has returned to northern India over the past few days. Temperatures in many regions exceeded 40C, with Sundargarh, Orissa recording a high of 44.9C today.
May is one of the hottest months in northern India, with the average maximum temperature hitting 40C in the first half and 41C in the second part of the month. Only two weeks ago parts of the north were reeling under extreme heat with widespread temperatures in the mid-40s.
Despite the mercury rising to almost 45C in Orissa, eastern India on Saturday, temperatures have yet to exceed the record 47.2C set in Delhi in May 1944.
- Poor weather has held up the Olympic torch's ascent to Everest summit, as last weekend two days of high winds and heavy snow destroyed some of the roped paths and camps. The upper slopes of the world's highest mountain have been sealed off to private expeditions as China attempts to take the Olympic flame to the peak. However by Wednesday, the penultimate camp at 7790m was renovated and the climbers braced for the final push.
- More than 22,980 people are now reported to have died in this disaster caused by Nargis in Myanmar and some 41,000 are missing, according to state media. It is feared that the death toll could eventually reach 100,000 or more. Swathes of land are under water. Up to one million have been left homeless, facing disease and hunger. A tidal wave 3.5 metre high engendered by the cyclone flattened the low-lying Irrawaddy Delta region and is reported to have caused more deaths than the cyclone itself.
- Tornadoes killed at least 22 people and injured hundreds as they ripped through the central and southeastern United States over the weekend, destroying homes, overturning cars and downing trees and power lines.
Authorities said 14 people died in Missouri, six in Oklahoma and one in Georgia as the storms tracked a course from the border of Kansas and Oklahoma on Saturday into Georgia on Sunday.
Hardest hit was Racine, a tiny community in Newton County about 170 miles south of Kansas City.
The path of destruction was a mile wide in some places.
There were indications that cars were thrown a quarter to a half mile, and frame homes that were swept off their foundations.
Damage indicated an EF3 tornado, which would have estimated wind speeds of 136 to 165 mph.
Hail the size of softballs and wind gusts of 80 mph were also reported in Missouri, where 85 people were injured, authorities said.
- A crowded ferry sank during a tropical storm in northern Bangladesh, killing at least 42 people and leaving more than 40 missing.
The death toll from the accident could rise because some of those missing were feared trapped inside the sunken ferry. Such accidents are relatively common in Bangladesh, a tropical delta nation with about 250 rivers. Ferries are a common form of transportation.
- Typhoon Rammasun is an impressive Category 4 storm, making it a super typhoon. The storm was moving northeast over the Philippine Sea. It was predicted to lose strength and dissipate without striking land.
- Days of persistent and heavy rain across southern, central and western Philippines has led to flash flooding and mudslides, which have killed two people and forced thousands from their homes.
The recent heavy rain across much of the country has been attributed to Typhoon Rammasun which has been hurtling towards Japan over the last few days. Rammasun, which is the name for the god of thunder in Thailand, reached category two strength two days ago. Rammasun is the third tropical storm of the season in the northwest Pacific.
Outer rain bands of Rammasun's western edge were responsible for the torrential rain and thunderstorms that lashed the country. One of the worst affected areas is the town of Ilog in the Negros Occidental province where nearly 3,000 people were evacuated.
- More than 34,000 people are reported to have died in the Burmese cyclone disaster and some 28,000 are missing, according to the latest official State figures. It is feared that the death toll will eventually exceed 100,000. Some 95 per cent of all homes were destroyed in rural areas and swathes of land remain under water. Some 1.5 million people have been left homeless and face disease and hunger. The worst hit area is the Irrawaddy delta, which was swamped by a 3.5m tidal wave.
- Strong winds of up to 47mph lashed through the north of India, killing several people and uprooting trees and power lines. The winds created a heavy dust storm which blew through the country's capital, New Delhi. Following the dust, a line of thunderstorms developed, giving the region torrential rain.
The storms were the result of a disturbance in the Jet Stream, a fast current of air flowing about 10km above the surface of the Earth. The heavy rain gave some relief from the intense heat which has gripped much of the country over the past few weeks, with temperatures falling from the mid-40Cs to 37C.
- Severe storms with damaging winds and possible tornadoes pounded southern USA, killing at least one person in Louisiana and shattering windows at the Texas Capitol.
Some schools in Louisiana cancelled classes, and there were reports of minor flooding throughout the region as already-soaked earth could absorb no more rain. City workers in Hammond filled sandbags for people to use at home.
In Louisiana, possible tornadoes were reported near Folsom and Pontchatoula in addition to the report in St. Martin Parish.
Record-breaking rainfall began late on the 13th. In northwestern Louisiana, officials reported that more than 10 inches of rain deluged the Shreveport area, flooding at least 125 homes.
Golf-ball-size hail also was reported as a thunderstorm moved across southeastern Louisiana.
- In Oregon (USA) Brookings Harbour residents turned up the air conditioning, hit the beach or fled to the Chetco River to escape the 38.3C afternoon temperature. It was the highest temperature recorded in Brookings in May since records began in 1931. The previous record high for May was 37.2C in 1943.
An unseasonably strong area of high pressure over the eastern Pacific has brought these high temperatures and low humidity air to the area.
- A cold front moved across Victoria (Australia) over the weekend bringing heavy rain, snow and falling temperatures.
Victoria's wettest place, Weeaproinah reported 57mm of rain over the weekend.
Snow fell at all three major ski resorts with less than three weeks to go to the start of the winter season. As much as 30cm fell at Falls Creek.
On Saturday, Melbourne had a high of 9.5C, giving it its coldest May day since 1977.
- 37 people died as a tropical storm that swept through the northern Philippines.
More than one million people weren affected by flash floods, landslides and heavy rains with more than 200,000 people still in evacuation centres on the 21st.
The storm lashed the northern Philippines on Sunday, with the provinces of Pangasinan and La Union in Luzon island bearing the brunt of its fury.
- Intense rainstorm activity was recorded in North Algeria. In the region of Jijel, east of the capital Algiers, 66mm of rain fell in 12 hours (18th-19th) corresponding to 130% of the normal May total for that district.
This thunderstorm activity, had started on Saturday evening on the steppe regions of the West as cold air penetrateed into the region. Falls included
66mm at Jijel, 20mm at Sétif and 30mm and Skikda.
- High pressure and southerly winds earlier in the week caused temperatures to soar not just across most of the western US. Phoenix reached 38C on Sunday and 41C on Monday, prompting the issue of excessive-heat warnings. Wednesday (21st) saw an area of low pressure collide with moist air off the Gulf of Mexico, triggering severe thunderstorms across the High Plains. Snow advisories were issued for the mountains of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Montana.
The storm also brought cooler temperatures and strong winds across Arizona, with a change to westerly winds off the Pacific. On Wednesday highs were nearer 34C in Phoenix with highs now forecast to drop into the low to mid 20Cs.
- Heavy rains and flooding have killed five people and forced about 13,000 from their homes in south-central Chile, some evacuated after rivers swelled and burst their banks.
Two died in landslides, one was struck by a boulder and another was hit by a falling tree. One man died of hypothermia.
Television images showed streets turned into rivers in the port town of Valparaiso, where 93 mm of rain fell in 24 hours during two storm fronts that began on the weekend.
- A large tornado bounced through several northern Colorado towns on Thursday, killing at least one person, damaging or destroying dozens of homes and flipping over tractor-trailers and freight rail cars. Dazed residents retrieved what they could from their homes in Windsor, a town of 16,000 about 70 miles north of Denver that was hardest hit.
The large storm cloud brought heavy hail and descended nearly without warning, touching down near Platteville, about 50 miles north of Denver. Over the next hour, it skipped along a 35-mile-long northwesterly track past Gilcrest, Milliken, Greeley, Windsor and Timnath before the system moved on into southern Wyoming, where a tornado was reported in Laramie.
- Over a week's worth of heavy rain across a swathe of Chile has led to flash floods, landslides and the evacuation of thousands of people.
At least five people have been killed with around 15,000 displaced by the floods. Rivers burst their banks around the port area of Valparaiso, flooding hundreds of homes and cutting off roads. One of the worst affected areas was across the Maule region, just south of the capital, Santiago. Here, much of the fertile agricultural land was washed away when the Lontue River bursts its banks.
At the peak of the rains, more than 90mm fell in the Maule region on Thursday.
- At least seven people were killed on Sunday by tornadoes and violent thunderstorms spawned by a powerful spring storm system that moved across the United States' midsection.
In Central Iowa, the small towns of Parkersburg and neighboring New Hartford suffered direct hits in the late afternoon from at least one powerful twister, killing six people and leaving a trail of 50 to 60 splintered or flattened homes and other structures.
This tornado was the strongest to hit the state in 32 years. It was three-quarters of a mile wide with winds of up to 205mph, and was ranked as an EF5 tornado - at the top of its scale.
- With the year not even half done, 2008 is already the deadliest tornado year in the United States since 1998 and seems on track to break the U.S. record for the number of twisters in a year, according to the National Weather Service. Also, this year's storms seem to be unusually powerful.
But meteorologists cannot explain exactly why this is happening.
"There are active years and we don't particularly understand why," said research meteorologist Harold Brooks at the National Severe Storms Lab in Norman, Okla.
- Days of torrential rain in parts of Columbia have lead to severe flooding and the death of at least nine people with scores of others injured.
Although it's currently the rainy season in Colombia, the past two days have seen unusually intense heavy rain that has caused the major rivers Cauca and Magdalena to swell to dangerous levels. Torrential rain in the mountains has lead to large amounts of runoff into the rivers causing them to swell and flood further downstream. Extensive flooding has occurred in the towns of Honda, La Dorada and Puert Salgar.
The recent downpours have been attributed to an area of low pressure which is sitting across much of Central America. This depression is impacting on northern parts of South America, especially Colombia, and is generating intense prolonged thundery downpours.
- Warm Saharan air led to high temperatures across Europe. De Bilt registered a summery 25.8C on the 27th. In Germany, Austria and the Balkans 30-33C was recorded; on the 28th Graz (Austria) had 34.9C, Chirpan (Bulgaria) 36.2C, while on the 27th Palermo (Sicily) had 38.9C.
- Typhoon Nakri has deepened explosively; the 1200GMT advisory of the JTWC located the eye of Nakri at 660 miles northwest of Agana, Guam. Nakri is still nearly halted over the open Philippine Sea even as its winds have risen sharply to 125knots. This ranks Nakri as a Category 4 hurricane.
- Tropical Storm Alma slammed into Nicaragua's coast Thursday as the first such storm of the eastern Pacific season, forcing tens of thousand of people to evacuate and flooding low-lying areas, before pushing into neighboring Honduras.
The National Hurricane Center said Alma was the first tropical storm in the available records to make landfall on Central America's Pacific coast. Such storms normally make landfall farther west, along Mexico's Pacific coast. Tropical storms often hit Central America's Atlantic coast.
- A landslide killed two people in an Alpine valley in northwestern Italy as heavy rains battered the area. Two other people, including a child, were missing.
One man died when a home in the Pellice Valley was hit by the landslide and another man was found dead nearby in his car, the Civil Protection agency said. After days of heavy rains in the Piedmont region, authorities monitoring the levels of rivers in the area have raised the alarm over possible floods.
dozens of people living near the Dora Riparia river were evacuated from a village west of the northern city of Turin. The river flows through Turin, where it meets the larger Po river, and bridges in the city have been closed or are being closely monitored as the waters rise.
- In France the SNCF train operator closed lines overnight between Turin and Lyon, southeastern France, to avoid accidents after heavy rains in the region.
Road tunnels linking France and Italy were closed to trucks for several hours after parts were affected by a mudslide. Several highways were blocked or closed for safety in the districts of Savoie and Isere.
In Corsica two hotels were evacuated overnight due to flooding, firefighters said.
Further north meanwhile, streets were turned to rivers of mud in the eastern Belgian city of Liege after a violent storm, but no casualties were reported.
Belgian television pictures showed flooded houses and cars swept along in the mud.
- Ajaccio (Corsica) suffered extensive flooding overnight. 179 people were evacuated from two flooded hotels. Meteo-France reported 133mm of rainfall in Ajaccio in 24 hours and placed the Corse-du-Sud on an orange alert. At Ajaccio, the rain caused rivers to opverflow to depths of 1.5m in places.
World weather news, April 2008
- Across the United States, moderate to severe drought conditions continued in the Southeast and in much of the central and western U.S. Parts of western North Dakota, northwestern Nebraska, and southwestern Texas experienced extreme drought. As of today, 36% of the western U.S., 59% of the Southeast, and 28% of the contiguous U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the Federal U.S. Drought Monitor.
- Melbourne's public transport system is in chaos following severe weather in the region. Many trains have been cancelled and travellers are experiencing delays on almost all other lines.
Winds of up to 100km/h hit Victoria, with gales blowing people over and knocking down trees.
The roads have also been badly affected due to road closures.
A woman was killed after a wall collapsed and the emergency services have reported over 1,600 calls for help.
- La Niña is now said to be weakening and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology reports that it is weakening ahead of previous model predictions.
For the time being Australian meteorologists expect the wet conditions to continue across eastern parts of Australia from April to June. Across the US the impacts of La Niña tend to become less pronounced during the spring. The presence of La Niña would normally bring a more active Atlantic hurricane season so it will be interesting to see what the summer will bring.
- The heavy snowstorms that hit Minnesota could have broken records. It proved to be one of the biggest snowfalls over several days and may be the largest April snowfall that Minnesota has ever seen.
Around 32 inches fell in the state, surpassing the previous high of 28 inches at Pigeon River in April 1933, although that total was in a single day.
Greg Spoden, an assistant state climatologist, said: "It looks like this report would hold for one of the big snow events ever in the state. It's a lot of snow for any time, but especially for April."
- Heavy rains have triggered flooding in north-east Brazil that has left at least 34 people and 190 000 homeless. Roads were washed out, bridges torn down, homes flooded and crops and livestock destroyed.
- A 30-minute hailstorm is reported to have killed five people, injured 66 others and damaged thousands of homes in central China. With wind gusting over 100km/h, the storm also dropped 60mm of rain.
- The updated forecast by William Gray's team at Colorado State University calls for 15 named storms in the Atlantic in 2008 and says there's a better than average chance that at least one major hurricane will hit the United States. An average of 5.9 hurricanes form in the Atlantic each year.
- Spain is in the midst of its worst drought in more than four decades. So far this year, wild fires have destroyed over twice as much land than during the same period in 2007. The country has received approximately 40% less rainfall than usual since the beginning of October last year, although the impact in some regions has been worse.
Spain's water reserves in the west of the country are just under half full, and due to the consistent lack of rainfall they have been reduced further. Many areas are considering using water that has been shipped in from other parts of the country where it is more abundant. In Basque County, Northern Spain, water has had had to be released from reservoirs, where it is exceeding its capacity.
- It has been announced that China is to implement measures to prevent rain at its Olympic opening ceremony in August. Officials believe there to be a 47 per cent chance of rain on August 8th and are planning to reduce those chances by performing cloud seeding.
Staff at 21 stations will send up rockets filled with silver iodide to attempt to make the clouds reduce their rain before they get to the Olympic stadium in Beijing. Practices will be conducted in June and July.
Wang Yubin, deputy chief of China's meteorological service, said: "We've worked with neighbouring provinces on a contingency plan for rainstorm and other weather risks during the ceremonies."
- Santa Ana winds have brought record setting warmth to California.
In El Cajon, San Diego, the temperature reached 34.4C breaking the previous record of 31.7C set in 2000. The same temperature was also recorded in Vista breaking the old record for this date of 30C set in 1994. In April average temperatures should be nearer 19 to 21C.
- Heavy rains and hailstorms have damaged fruit crops in Himachal Pradesh, in the far north of India. This part of India has been experiencing severe thunderstorms recently and orchard owners are expecting heavy losses due to the sudden rainfall and even snow in some parts.
The unexpected weather has destroyed flowers that were beginning to bloom on the fruit trees. Apple, apricot and almond trees are now left bereft as the blooms lie scattered on the ground, destroyed by hail stones and rain.
Meanwhile several people are reported to have died after having been struck by lightning in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Further south on the east coast, temperatures in parts of Orissa, hovered around 40C, a few degrees above the average for this time of year. The state capital Bhubaneswar recorded a high of 39.4C on Saturday and local weather offices reported a few places with temperatures over 40C.
- Police said they found the last two bodies of a group of seven people killed in a flash flood on a swollen river in New Zealand during an adventure course.
Six teenagers and a teacher were killed when their group was swept away Tuesday afternoon on the Mangatepopo River, near Turangi in the centre of New Zealand's North Island.
A total of 10 students, reportedly aged 16 to 17, from Auckland's Elim Christian College, were with a teacher and an adult instructor from the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre when they became caught in the flood. The New Zealand MetService noted: "MetService continues to receive a number of media inquiries regarding the tragic accident on the Mangatepopo River on Tuesday 15 April. The events of that day are now the subject of a number of investigations. MetService will assist those investigations in any way it can to help understand the course of events that led to the tragedy. Whilst those inquiries are progressing MetService will not be making any further comments to the media."
- Seattle's State department of transportation has been forced to override its annual budget for snow removal as the unusually harsh winter continues.
The extra money spent amounts to USD8.3 million.
As of 6 April, 526 inches of snow have fallen on the state's Snoqualmie Pass, amounting to 153 per cent of the usual amount that the area would receive in five years.
The extra money has been spent on an additional 30,000 tonnes of de-icer, as well as more avalanche controls and labour for workers needed to clear blocked roads.
- The ongoing drought in Australia could result in irrigators receiving as little as four per cent of their usual water allocation this year, officials have said.
Just 62 gigalitres of water flowed into the Murray during March, compared with the usual amount of about 200 gigalitres. The opening allocation will depend on rainfall in the catchment between now and the end of the water year in June.
- The first tropical storm of the year for Vietnam is expected to remain off the coast.
The storm, which is named Neoguri, has formed earlier than in previous years.
It is likely to strengthen to a category two typhoon by late on the 17th as it moves towards Hainan island in China.
Fishermen have been urged to refrain from heading out to sea until the storm has passed.
- A typhoon bearing down on the southern Chinese resort island of Hainan is the earliest to threaten the region in decades and may well be the strongest, state media said.
Hainan and the neighbouring province of Guangdong were braced for Typhoon Neoguri, the first of the year, with almost 22,000 fishing boats called back to harbor as the storm skirted Vietnam.
"Neoguri will be the earliest typhoon of the season to affect the south China region since the founding of new China in 1949," Chen Lei, deputy commander of the State Headquarters of Flood Control and Drought Relief, said.
The typhoon is expected to drop 40 mm to 90 mm of rain on Hainan and Guangdong. The heaviest downfall is expected to be 180 mm in southern Hainan.
- A strong sand storm affected Baghdad, Iraq. According to reports, this was the worst spring storm to affect the city in years. Many people were taken to hospitals after sustaining breathing problems.
- Three people have been confirmed dead and 40 are missing after Typhoon Neoguri hit southern China at the weekend.
Meanwhile, rescue teams were scouring the seas off the south coast of China in search of 40 missing seamen, 18 Chinese and 22 Vietnamese.
Neoguri is the earliest typhoon to hit China in nearly six decades, with the first usually not arriving until late June.
- Tripoli (Libya) recorded (44C), some 20C above the April mean maximum temperature. Qaryat Abu Njaym, which lies a good bit inland over central Libya, saw 44C on Saturday and Sunday followed by 43C on Monday. As of Monday, the severe coastal heat had reached Egypt with 42C at Tobruk.
- More than 1.2 million homes have been affected in Bolivia by the worst flooding some regions have seen in 50 years.
Beni, in the north-east of the country, had not witnessed such severe conditions in half a century.
The nation needs USD10 million to provide essential food and supplies to displaced residents and more than USD 800 million for disaster recovery, said officials.
- In just a week the daytime high in Regina, Saskatchewan, went from 28C in warm southerly winds, to just 3C in cold Arctic winds. It was even colder further north in Saskatoon, -6C on Monday afternoon - well below their April average of 9C.
The winter chill was accompanied by snow, from parts of Alberta to northwest Manitoba. Some places saw 20 to 30cm of snow, causing numerous problems on local highways.
Late cold snaps are not that unusual in Canada, with heavy snowfall events possible even in May. After an extremely dry winter, Agriculture Canada believes that a slow snowmelt will give the soil the moisture it needs for a good recharge.
- Monday brought the lowest temperatures of 2008 to the South Pole. The Amundsen-Scott station had a low -69.6C. At the same time, the Vostok station had a Monday minimum of -70.6C.
- Perth, Western Australia, has almost experienced its wettest April on record, needing just 3.6mm to do so.
Rainfall overnight added a further 6mm to this month's running total, making it 145.4mm so far. This is more than 3 times Perth's average April rainfall of 43mm. The current record rainfall for April is 148.8mm (5.86 inches), set in 1926.
- A heat wave in northern India, caused by hot, dry winds from the north-west with temperatures above 40C, has already caused the deaths of 17 people from sunstroke.
- High winds, rain and hail pounded North Texas as another round of severe storms moved through. Severe storms with hail stones the size of a cricket ball and winds of 70 mph caused damage to buildings and uprooted trees and power lines.
Motorists travelling on Interstate 20, south of Gordon (Palo Pinto County), struggled through thunderstorms with battering winds and extra large hail. Squally winds from another thunderstorm blew down barns in Covington, and in Stephenville several cars were stuck in high water.
As the storms moved east, at least one tornado was reported in Erath County, about 60 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
Sydney, Australia, has had 11 rainy days in a row this April - the longest run for 77 years. The longest spell of continuous rainy days in April was 24 days from 7 to 30 April in 1893 and 15 days in a row of April rain in 1931. Thus year, April has had an average of 6 hours of sunshine a day as opposed to the usual 6.9 hours.
Communities farther north have been warned to expect flash flooding. A severe weather warning has been issued, warning people to stay away from stormwater drains and creeks.
- Severe storms swept through the midwestern U.S., producing tornadoes, golf ball size hail, and winds near 80mph. The storms left over 1,000 residents without power.
- Karachi (Pakistan) endured a very hot day as the temperatore rose to 42.8C with the hot, dry weather forecast to continue over the next few days. The highest temperature ever recorded in Karachi during April is 44.4C, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department. The average maximum April temperature in Karachi is 32C.
- The US National Weather Service has confirmed that three tornadoes struck the state of Virginia, damaging some 140 homes and businesses and injuring more than 200 people. No deaths have been reported. Damage included roofs torn off buildings, cars overturned, trees toppled and the collapse of a new shopping centre.
- Torrential rain and thunderstorms have caused flash flooding and landslides in several areas in Sri Lanka, including Ratnapura, Kalutara and Galle. More than 60,000 families across the country have been displaced by the floods, and so far seven people have died. The floods triggered a number of landslides that blocked roads, crushed houses and forced the evacuation of dozens of schools.
Over the past few days, seasonal thundery downpours have lashed the country, with more than 150mm of rain falling within 24 hours, leading to flooding of low-lying areas.
- The first major fire of the summer season has destroyed some 140 hectares of brush in hills north-east of Los Angeles, California, USA, forcing the evacuation of some 1 000 people and the closure of schools. If the weather conditions continue to be favourable, the blaze could be contained in four to seven days. Southern California is currently undergoing a heat wave that has seen temperatures rise to 37C. No deaths or injuries have so far been reported.
World weather news, March 2008
- It is now official: in most parts of Finland, the ongoing winter has been the warmest ever measured since the beginning of regularly recorded readings. According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the mean temperature from December through February was approximately 1C higher than in the previous record mild winter of 1924-1925. When comparing the present winter with the average of the period from 1971 to 2000, the temperatures were as much as 4C to 6.5C higher, depending on the area.
- Crops and livestock have been lost in Chile as the nation suffers its worst drought in decades. The La Nina phenomenon was blamed for the conditions, which have seen precipitation in San Pedro reach lows not seen in half a century.
According to the news agency, some specialists believe the weather has not reached such dry levels in 80 years.
The agricultural ministry added 46 districts to the number of agricultural zones under a state of emergency this week.
- With winds measuring over 220 km/h in places, winter storm Emma struck much of western Europe on the 29th and 1st.
In the wake of the storm, winter is now making a comeback in central Europe. Some 30 cm of snow has fallen in the Eiffel, Germany, disrupting road traffic and causing accidents, and 5-6 cm in the southern Netherlands -the largest amount this winter. Snow has also fallen in the Alps and in Luxembourg.
Emma wrought serious damage to parts of Central Europe on Saturday, killing at least 13 people, knocking down trees, and cutting off electricity.
Germany has said that five people are dead, while four citizens of Austria have been killed, two people are dead in the Czech Republic and two fatalities have been reported in Poland.
Holiday traffic came to a standstill in many parts of Germany, leading to kilometre-long tailbacks as several motorways were closed by authorities. Airports ran behind schedule during the storm, and rail services between Munich, Germany, and Salzburg, Austria, ceased. In Central Europe, thousands of people were without electricity because of the storm. The high winds also brought hail and snow flurries, and in some areas, heavy rainfall caused flooding.
In the Netherlands, the Dutch Ministry of Traffic and Water Infrastructure placed the country on high alert status as the storm raged over the country on Saturday. North Sea water levels near Den Helder, in the far north-west of the country, were expected to rise 2.80 metres above Normal Amsterdam Level, a line designating standard water-levels in the Netherlands.
In ther UK winds were strong enough to cause severe rail delays on the West Coast mainline after containers from two freight trains were blown onto the tracks. At Salzburg Airport, in Austria, the winds were strong enough to blow over and badly damage some parked light aircraft.
Some of the strongest gusts reported include: Salzburg and Wien Schwechat Airport 87mph (thought to be a rare event here), Cap Corse in North Corsica 112mph, Feldberg in Germany 100mph, Wendelstein mountain in Germany 139mph.
- Verona (Italy) reported 27.2C and Ferrara 27.6C; these are new high March temperature records, remarkable given that the month has only just started.
- The Summit Camp of Greenland had one of its coldest days of the winter; the temperature at this lofty site (on the ice sheet - 3000 metres up) dropped to at least -59C.
It was among the summer`s hottest days in South Africa. Baking heat reached to the south shore in Eastern Cape: Port Alfred had 40C. Inland, Patensie reached 42C. But the worst of the heat was in the far northwest, where the Orange River carves a slot through a highland on its way to the Atlantic Ocean. Vioosdrif topped out at 44.2C.
- Snow, ice and flooding closed roads and schools across Ohio and left tens of thousands of customers without electricity in the aftermath of a storm system that had pummeled wide sections of the eastern half of the USA.
Scattered school closings were reported Wednesday from Indiana to Maine. The National Weather Service issued flood warnings and advisories for streams from eastern Oklahoma to North Carolina and as far to the northeast as Massachusetts.
In northern Maine, Caribou received 1.4 inches of snow overnight, giving the city a total of more than 160 inches so far this season, making this the second-snowiest winter on record there.
The edge of the storm also hit southeastern Michigan, dumping as much as 10 inches of snow during the night and closing hundreds of schools in the Detroit area.
The storm blacked out thousands of homes and businesses in parts of Indiana, Maine, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Virginia and North Carolina,
Earlier on Sunday, parts of the Plains had been enjoying record early spring warmth with highs ranging from 24C in Colorado to around 27C in parts of Oklahoma. However, behind the storm, temperatures plunged dramatically to below freezing.
- China, Japan and South Korea have been affected by the 'yellow dust' storms caused by sand from the Gobi desert being whipped away by high winds.
The annual spring storms, which originate in China's Gobi desert before sweeping south to envelop the Korean peninsula and parts of Japan, are blamed for scores of deaths and billions of dollars of damage every year in South Korea. The weather agency issued the year's first yellow dust warning at the weekend.
When the storm passes through industrial areas, it can pick up poisonous gases that are being pumped out by factories into the atmosphere. Weather authorities advise people to wash their hands frequently and drink more water, and to wear face masks and headscarves to protect themselves.
South Korea closed schools on Monday, as a choking pall of sand mixed with toxic dust from China covered most of the country and other parts of Asia.
The sandstorms have been increasing in frequency and toxicity in recent years, running from late February through to May and turning the skies to a jaundiced hue.
- Highway and utility crews cleared major highways in time for Monday morning commuters following the snowstorm that buried parts of Ohio (USA) in as much as 20 inches of snow during the weekend.
The storm battered a wide band from the lower Mississippi Valley to New England, dropping 17.5 inches of snow at St. Agatha, Maine; 14 inches at Milan, Ind.; and up to a foot in parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, western New York state and other parts of Ohio.
Ohio had one traffic death linked to the weather, and four men died while shovelling snow. Two traffic deaths were blamed on the storm in western New York state and one in Tennessee. Two people were killed Friday as tornadoes spun out of the eastern edge of the weather system in Florida.
- Tropical cyclone Jokwe brought heavy downpours and winds of up to 200 km/h to Mozambique for a third day yesterday, killing at least eight people and forcing thousands to flee their homes. Almost 20,000 houses have been destroyed, electricity pylons wrecked and trees uprooted. Rainfall of 22cm at Nampula, Mozambique, early in the day was tied indirectly to Jokwe.
- Strong winds in parts of southern England triggered travel chaos and flash floods.
By the following morning some 2,400 homes remained without electricity along the south coast, which took the brunt of gale-force winds and driving rain which swept in from the Atlantic, also hitting northern France.
The storm forced the cancellation of over 130 flights from London's Heathrow and other airports, while the main Channel port of Dover closed and three vessels ran into problems off the English and French coasts.
Amid winds of up to 80 miles per hour, sea defences were breached in a number of places, flooding homes and forcing residents and tourists to evacuate to higher ground.
At least two people died as a result of the storm.
A 26-year-old fell into the sea when his boat was hit by a large wave on Sunday in the port of Relecq-Kerhuon, close to Brest in Brittany.
Meanwhile, a motorist was crushed to death when a branch torn loose by gale-force winds hit her car at Saint-Denis le Ferment in southern Normandy.
MSL pressure reports on land included 950.1mb at Shannon Airport at 0600GMT and 951.3mb at Cork Airport at the same time. The lowest pressure ever recorded in the British Isles during March was 946.2mb at Wick in 1876.
- Hundreds of flights have been cancelled in Montreal after between 25 and 30 centimetres of snow hit the whole of Quebec.
The city's 38 snow removal sites have reportedly been filled, with five new ones opened due to the harsh weather.
Other regions have Canada have also experienced heavy snowfall this year.
Richard Hewitt, deputy city mayor manager in Ottawa, said that the economic cost of the severe conditions could run into millions of dollars.
- A third building has been destroyed as near-record snowfall covers Ottawa.
The Ottawa Citizen reported that three men escaped the arena at Equidae Stables in Greely when the roof collapsed at 10.00am local time.
A shed to the side of the main building collapsed onto a car, resulting in unspecified damage.
- A second storm has hit parts of the UK bringing severe gales, localised flooding and travel disruption to North Wales and Northwest England.
Northern Ireland saw the gales first last night and as the storm moved east, severe gales transferred into England and Wales. North Wales reported the strongest gust of wind with 90mph at Capel Curig.
As this second storm moved in, high tides caused a port in North Wales to flood over its harbour walls this morning. As the rising tide surged onto land, boat owners in Port Penrhyn in Bangor braved the cold waters to stop their boats from being damaged.
In Northwest England, residents in Merseyside woke up to damage. Winds over 80mph brought down trees and masonry off buildings. The M6 motorway at the Thelwall Viaduct in Cheshire was closed in both directions this morning after seven lorries overturned in storm force gusts.
- In Sri Lanka, flash floods triggered by torrential rains during March 12-25 affected more than 50,000 people. According to reports, about 40 houses were destroyed and 155 were damaged.
- Police and psychologists are attributing a spate of angry behaviour in eastern Canada to the region's record winter snowfall.
Snow-blower thefts and aggressive clashes are being described as "snow rage" incidents by authorities.
More than a dozen calls have been received by Quebec City police from neighbours complaining about fellow residents shovelling snow onto their property.
A man has been charged after threatening a fellow motorist with a toy gun in Montreal, while a 12-guage shotgun was pulled by a man in Quebec City, who claimed a snowplow operator was blowing snow onto his property.
Police spokesperson Sandra Dion said: "People are sick of snow."
- Adelaide today recorded its 12th consecutive day of maximum temperatures above 35C, continuing a record run for Adelaide and for any capital city in Australia.
March daily minumim temperature records tumbled at many locations around the state including Adelaide. This was the warmest March night for Adelaide since records began. Overnight Adelaide recorded a minimum temperature of 30.2C at 6.35am, breaking the previous record of 29.7C in March 1985. The highest daily minimum temperature record for the whole year for Adelaide is 33.5C set in January 1983. Adelaide was also the hottest place in the state overnight, while Yongala was the coolest location in the state recording 16.2C.
Many other locations around South Australia broke record March daily minimum temperatures overnight. These included were Victor Harbor 24.9C, Strathalbyn 27.9C and Kimba 25.8C. Average minimum temperatures across the state for March so far are generally 2C to 7C above average.
- An episode of severe storms swept across the southeastern U.S., producing 51 reported tornadoes along with damaging winds and hail. In Atlanta, Georgia, a category EF-2 tornado formed over downtown Atlanta, wreaking havoc across the city. According to reports, the storm damaged a number of buildings, killed two people, injured many others, and left about 30,000 homes without power. The widespread damage caused by the tornado forced Georgia's governor to declare a state of emergency. Damages are estimated to be near $150 million.
- In the United States, heavy rainfall caused widespread flooding across the central U.S. The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport recorded a daily rainfall of 60mm of rain on the 18th, surpassing the previous record set in 1984 by 21mm. The torrential rain flooded hundreds of homes across Texas and Missouri and cancelled more than half of the 950 scheduled flights at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
Also, the heavy rainfall prompted the overflow of rivers across the south-central states, causing historical floods. Arkansas was impacted the greatest with several of its rivers reaching their highest level in nearly 90 years. The floods washed out roads, damaged homes, and were associated with 17 fatalities across the affected states. The governor of Arkansas declared disaster areas in 39 Arkansas counties and President Bush issued a disaster declaration for 35 counties. In March, 15 new all-time daily record precipitation records were established across several of the affected states.
- Strong winds caused damage across Monterrey, Mexico on March 18. According to reports, the wind gusts were near 60mph. These powerful winds knocked power lines to the ground, leaving part of the city without power. Two fatalities were reported, due to the winds: one person died when a wall fell on him while the second person died in a traffic accident.
- Thick ice in the port of Sydney, Nova Scotia, resulted in a ferry being blocked, coast guard officials have said. More than 170 passengers and their vehicles had been stuck onboard the ferry since Monday, when a docking point was sealed off by an ice jam.
The direction of the winds is compacting the ice, making it very difficult for any movement at all.
- A winter storm affected parts of Maine with snow accumulations of 18-46cm observed across the state, while winds created blizzard conditions. The snow that fell across Caribou, Maine, brought the seasonal total snowfall, as of the 21st, to 468.6cm. This amount surpasses the previous seasonal total snowfall record of 460cm, set in 1954-1955. On 23 March, minimum temperatures in Caribou dropped to -21.1C, surpassing the previous daily record of -20.6C set in 1989. March 24-25 also brought new daily minimum temperature records when temperatures plummeted to -25.6C. The previous records were set on March 24-25, 1939.
- A winter storm dumped 13-46cm of snow across parts of Wisconsin. This resulted in a new all-time seasonal snowfall record for Wisconsin's capital, Madison, with a total of 254.2cm of snow as of 24 March. The previous record was set during the winter season of 1978-1979 when a total of 193.3cm of snow fell. Also, Milwaukee had its second snowiest winter on record with a total of 246.6cm as of 24 March. Milwaukee's snowiest snowfall season occurred during the winter of 1885-1886, which had a total of 278.9cm of snowfall.
- It was a white start to Easter for many people across the UK this Sunday with snow and bitterly cold conditions gripping much of the country. A low pressure system from Scandinavia brought wintry showers which spread southwards from Scotland through the early hours of this morning. By 5am snow was falling across parts of north-east England, Yorkshire and Manchester, with the band later travelling down through the Midlands and East Anglia.
Easter has fallen early this year, the earliest since 1812, and the UK's weather over the weekend could be a contender to break the record for the snowiest Easter. This took place between the 1st and 3rd of April during Easter 1983. Scotland, the Midlands and Kent received around 10cm.
- In Concord, New Hampshire, snowfall brought the 2007-2008 seasonal total snowfall to 292.6cm, the second snowiest season. Concord's all-time record was set during the winter of 1873-1874 when a total of 309.9cm of snow fell.
- Across Kenya, heavy rainfall caused flash floods that displaced thousands of people and caused seven fatalities.
- A number of grass fires across the Calgary (Canada) area this week, caused by the very dry conditions, forced the Fire Department to issue an early fire ban. The timing of this is months ahead of what would be expected in a normal year.
Calgary normally has a fairly dry climate with an average annual rainfall of 412mm (much of which falls in summer), March has been unusually dry. In contrast, eastern parts of Canada have seen no end of snow through the winter and start of spring.
As March draws to a close, only 2.2mm of rain has fallen so far across Calgary (approx. 12% of average). The dry weather is being attributed to the 'Chinook Winds.
- Short-term rainfall deficiencies expanded and intensified in central Australia as a result of below average March rainfall. In addition, continued higher than average temperatures exacerbated the effects of these rainfall deficits. In parts of eastern and southern Australia, there was a slight easing of rainfall deficiencies at the two-year timescale, although the overall pattern remains the same. For the 6-month period from October 2007 to March 2008, an area of serious to severe rainfall deficiencies covered much of the southern half the Northern Territory and some adjacent areas in far western Queensland. There were also some smaller patches near Marree in South Australia with serious to severe deficiencies. Maximum temperatures of one to two degrees above average have worsened the dry conditions.
World weather news, February 2008
- Seven European countries have issued 'orange-level' warnings as a strong depression continues to affect large parts of northern Europe and even the Iberian peninsula. It is causing extremely high wind speeds and difficult conditions on roads and along coastal areas. Passengers and non-essential crew were airlifted off a ferry at risk of capsizing in the Irish Sea some 13 km off the north-west coast of England during a storm yesterday. The ferry was hit by a freak wave and its cargo shifted in high winds. It later ran aground.
- A heavy snowstorm in the Norwegian capital forced the closure of both runways at Oslo Airport Gardermoen for five hours.
Services were delayed for two days after the closure as attempts were made to reschedule cancelled flights and redirect planes that had been forced to land at other airports.
- As much as 21cm of snow covered Shanghai, and officials posted a snowstorm alert for the first time in 135 years.
- Torrential rains have caused widespread flooding in southern Ecuador, eastern Bolivia and northern Argentina, with nearly 50 people killed and thousands made homeless, triggering international humantarian aid to the region.
In Bolivia some 45 people have been killed by incessant flooding since November.
It is estimated that more than 30,000 families have been affected by the floods, with thousands evacuated from their homes in Bolivia's lowlands.
In Ecuador, divil defence officials have reported two children killed when they were swept away by turbulent rivers in the southern region, where thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes.
- Road, rail and air services remained disrupted today after heavy snowfalls hit Japan over the weekend. The snow is said to be the heaviest to hit Japan this winter, affecting central and eastern parts of the country. Travel became severely disrupted as the snow closed roads, delayed trains and eventually led to over a hundred flights being cancelled at Tokyo's Haneda airport. Up to 200 people were reported to have been injured in weather related incidents.
The snow came as a big surprise to Thailand's football players who had arrived in Tokyo for a World Cup qualifier. More accustomed to tropical heat they woke to blizzards on Sunday morning and were forced to train indoors.
As much as 25cm of snow fell in Kawaguchiko city.
- Residents were forced to leave their homes in parts of the US state of Hawaii following a day of heavy rain.
Rainfall of 275mm was recorded at Mount Waialeale on the island of Kauai.
A number of evacuations took place in areas where homes were in danger of being inundated and a National Weather Service spokesman warned the situation posed "a danger to life and property".
More than 100 homes on Big Island sustained water damage when it was hit by the heavy rains 24 hours before the deluge on Kauai.
Waiakea recorded the highest rainfall over the three days running up to 6am today. At the Waiakea Uka rain gauge, 808mm of rain were measured. However the Waiakea Experimental Station rain gauge recorded almost 1200mm of rain.
- Residents in flooded parts of the Guadalcanal province of the Solomon Islands need to be aware of the threat posed by crocodiles.
The islands were hit by heavy rain associated with Cyclone Gene two days ago.
The resulting floods damaged bridges and roads, preventing farmers shipping supplies to the capital Honiara.
Officials from the country's disaster office warned the floodwaters could rise and that the rains may have swept crocodiles into residential areas.
- Violent tornadoes have killed at least 57 people in the southern US states of Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Damage was likely to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Tennessee's Madison County alone estimated it had suffered $47 million in property damages.
Some storms in Tuesday night's onslaught packed hurricane-force winds; at least two tornadoes had wind speeds from 165 to 200 miles per hour.
There were also many long-track tornadoes that hugged the ground for long periods, instead of skipping about as twisters often do.
It was the deadliest tornado outbreak in the United States since the mid-1980s.
In Tennessee the storms were the worst in terms of deaths since 1974 when storms took 47 lives.
In Kentucky the storm was so massive that all the state's 120 counties suffered damage.
- Heavy rain in Paraguay could result in a record soybean harvest, according to a local trade association. The country has experienced cooler than normal temperatures and heavy rain in recent weeks.
That has resulted in much improved conditions for growing crops.
A spokesman for the Paraguayan Chamber of Cereals and Oilseeds Exporters said this year's soybean crop could be as large as 6.5 million tonnes, compared with last year's harvest of 5.86 million tonnes.
- Flights from Toronto's Pearson International Airport were badly disrupted when the Canadian city was battered by a severe winter storm. Heavy snow, ice pellets and freezing rain struck the south of the province of Ontario in the evening. The snow continued to fall throughout the early hours and 16cm was measured at the airport in the morning, preventing planes from taking off or landing. More than 100 flights were cancelled and a spokeswoman for the airport, which is Canada's busiest, said further delays were likely because more snow was expected.
- Skies were clearer across most of China today. A three-day rain and snow 'severe alert' was lifted for the worst affected areas and temperatures had risen to above freezing in the south. Scores of Chinese citizens have died in snow-related accidents in the coldest winter in 100 years. Entire cities have been without power and water for than a week and livestock and crops have been destroyed.
- The Australian Bureau of Meteorology says that an unusual mid-level low-pressure system caused the city of Perth, Australia, to receive almost double its average February rainfall in less than one day: 23mm of rain fell overnight (6/7 February). Average February rainfall in Perth is 12mm. A total of over 40mm of heavy rain fell by the end of the 7th, breaking a 50-day drought and giving the city its wettest February since 1992.
- A cold morning across Alaska with minimum temperatures as follows:
The all-time official low in the lower 48 states is -70F at Rogers Pass (Montana) on 20 January 1954. The all-time official record low for Alaska is -80F at Prospect Creek on 23 January 1971. The all-time North American low is -81F at Snag, near Beaver Creek, in the Yukon Territory on 3 February 1947.
- Chicken -72F
- O'Brien Creek -66F
- Between Chalkyitsik and Fort Yukon -61F
- Tok and Fort Yukon -60F
- Lightning has struck a power station in Sydney (Australia), leaving tens of thousands without electricity as a wild storm dumped more than 30mm of rain over parts of the city. Violent storms battered many eastern parts of New South Wales and Queensland, producing torrential downpours of rain and hail with frequent lightning. With more storms forecast through today, a severe weather warning had been issued for Sydney and its suburbs with flash floods and large hailstone expected to cause delays at the city's airport.
- The cold spell in the Ladakh region of India has put the lives of 150,000 pashmina goats in danger.
The mountainous Changthang area has experienced unusually deep snow that has covered the pastures the goats normally feed on.
Local farmers are running out of fodder and are unable to obtain new supplies because all roads leading into the area are blocked by snow.
Tsering Dorjay of the Ladakh Hill Development Council is trying to persuade the army to fly in supplies and warned that the goats, which are highly valued for their wool, would die unless action is taken soon.
- Lightning tore a gash in the nosecone of a passenger jet, which was forced to abandon its flight from New York to London. The incident happened after a Continental Airlines Boeing 757 took off from Newark Liberty International Airport near New York. One passenger said people started screaming after a loud bang was followed by a flash of white light. The Gatwick-bound plane returned to Newark where it landed safely. The 122 passengers switched to another aircraft and reached Gatwick almost three hours late.
- A freak storm - that dumped more than a month's average rainfall in less than 24 hours - has swamped the Pacific island nation of Tonga, forcing evacuations.
Buildings, including the Australian High Commission, and houses in the main city of Nuku'alofa were flooded after roads turned into rivers during the storm.
"This is the greatest rainfall we have ever had in the kingdom," duty forecaster 'Ofa Taumoepeau said.
Climatologists called it "an extreme event" with up to 289.2mm of rain falling on parts of the main island of Tongatapu in the 24 hours to 10.00am on Saturday.
Most of the rain fell in a seven-hour period on Friday evening causing flash-flooding across the island and forcing animals to swim for their lives.
Tonga, with a population of 112,000, lies a third of the way between New Zealand and Hawaii and receives most of its annual rainfall between November and April.
A heavier than usual rainy period had been forecast as "a high probability" this year for January to March.
- Floods triggered by heavy rain have killed 12 people on the island of Java over the last two days, according to local officials.
Flash floods hit the region on Friday and have been inundating thousands of homes over the weekend. Many regions in the country's capital Jakarta remain underwater, with water levels in the Situbondo district in East Java reaching 3m in some places.
- Twenty people have been killed by avalanches and 15 others are missing in Indian Kashmir during the heaviest snowfall in recent years in the Himalayan region. More than 300 people have been rescued but many villages remain inaccessible.
- It lived up to its name: the temperature in International Falls fell to -40F today, just a few days after the northern Minnesota town won a federal trademark making it officially the "Icebox of the Nation."
Residents of the area use electric engine block heaters to keep their cars from freezing.
The previous record low for February 11 in International Falls was -37F, set in 1967.
New York state got more than 3 feet of lake-effect snow today along the east end of Lake Ontario as the cold wind picked up moisture from the lake. "The highway crews are having a difficult time keeping up with the amount of snow and blowing conditions," said Oswego Town Supervisor Victoria Mullen.
Classes also were cancelled Monday for a number of schools in Michigan, which remained in a deep freeze after a weekend of single-digit temperatures and gusty wind. One death was blamed on the weather there.
- La Niña conditions, which started in the third quarter of 2007, continue across the central and eastern Equatorial Pacific. Basin-wide features are now typical of the mature stage of a La Niña event, including in the western Equatorial Pacific. The magnitude of the event continues to be in the middle range of those observed in the historical record.
Sea surface temperatures are now about 1.5-2C colder than average over large parts of the central and eastern Equatorial Pacific.
The La Niña event is expected to continue at least through the first quarter of 2008. Many La Niña events in the historical record are found to decay rapidly during the March-May period, but it cannot be determined at this time whether or not this event will decay during the same period. By the middle of the year, La Niña and, what is referred to as 'neutral conditions' are considered to be about equally likely, with El Niño continuing to have a low likelihood of occurrence at this stage. Long-term statistics indicate neutral conditions should currently be considered a more likely outcome for the latter part of 2008.
- Around 2,000 cows have died during northern Vietnam's longest cold spell for more than 20 years.
Temperatures in the area the previous day had ranged from -3C to 11C as the cold spell extended to a 29th day.
Officials from the ministry of agriculture and rural development said thousands of hectares of farmland had been damaged by the conditions.
That has left a shortage of grass for livestock to feed on and many animals have died or been sold off cheaply by farmers who cannot afford to buy fodder.
- The President has declared a national emergency in Bolivia, where rain-induced floods have left more than 60 dead and 40,000 homeless.
This is the second straight year that Bolivia has been affected by devastating floods and it is estimated that this season's rainfall may end up exceeding last years by as much as 500-1000mm. The average total rainfall in La Paz from December to March would is about 250mm.
Bolivia is not alone in its suffering; the last few weeks have also seen torrential rains and widespread flooding across northern Argentina and into southern Ecuador.
- Residents of the Komandorski Islands off the east coast of Russia have been cut off by storms since before the turn of the year, according to local emergency services.
Storms have been so severe that planes and ships have been unable to deliver food supplies to the islands.
Food is now running short in some places and officials admitted that flour, fruit, vegetable and milk supplies are close to running out completely.
The latest attempt to deliver food to the islands was again hampered by the weather, as storms forced a cargo ship to seek shelter close to the coast of Kamchatka.
However, an emergency services spokesman was optimistic it would soon reach the islands, which have been cut off for the longest period in living memory.
- Hong Kong has recorded its second-longest cold spell of 21 days. The longest cold period - when temperatures fall below 12C - was 27 days in 1968.
During this period, the mean minimum temperature recorded at the Hong Kong Observatory was 9.9C, the second lowest during the same period (24 January - 13 February) since record began in 1885.
Hong Kong has also experienced more than 456 hours of cold weather this winter, which is twice the 205-hour record in January 2004.
This exceptionally long cold spell was a result of the cold air from Siberia moving south to reach central and southern China.
- China's meteorologists have admitted being 10 years behind world standards, after a surprise spell of freezing winter weather paralysed the country and killed more than 100 people.
"There is a 10-year gap between the Chinese (weather forecasting) model and advanced foreign models," National Meteorological Centre deputy director Duan Yihong said, according to the China Daily newspaper.
A lack of equipment also hindered meteorologists' forecasting skills, with the problem especially acute in remote mountainous areas, Duan said.
China's weather forecasters have come under scrutiny in recent weeks after large swathes of the country were hit with the coldest temperatures in decades.
The nation was unprepared for the weather, which was particularly severe in southern China, and led to the deaths of at least 107 people and more than 15 billion dollars in economic losses, according to official figures.
- Towns and villages in coastal areas of the Australian state of Queensland have been hit by flash flooding after a day of heavy rain, according to the local emergency services. the area received more than 350 millimetres of rain the previous day.
- The Australian city of Mackay, in central Queensland, has been declared a flood disaster zone after a record-breaking 625 mm of rain fell in one day - twice its average amount for the entire month. Some 1000 people had to be evacuated. The recent torrential rain has been caused by a monsoon trough which became stationary along the Queensland coast.
- Three people were killed after a severe storm led to flooding on New Zealand's South Island.
50mm of rain fell in Christchurch; a man drowned after being swept away in a rain-swollen river and flash floods were named as a contributory factor to a road accident that left two people dead.
Conditions were described as "hideous" by a police spokesman, but the heavy rainfall was welcomed by many farmers as it brought an end to the Canterbury region's drought.
- More than 900 people have now been killed across Afghanistan as the country suffers from one of its harshest ever winters. Below freezing temperatures and bitter snow storms have been gripping the nation since the onset of winter in mid December. At its peak temperatures in the region fell to -22C, the coldest in more than 30 years.
Nearly half the villages in western Afghanistan have been cut off from the major cities due to heavy snowfall, which reached 2 metres deep in some places. The cold snap has hit the agricultural and livestock industry hard with more than 130,000 cattle now perishing in the freezing temperatures.
- Almost 180,000 people have been stranded in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan by a return of snow and freezing weather which has blocked roads and caused blackouts.
More than 14,000km of roads have been affected and 20,000 vehicles are stuck, the official Xinhua news agency said.
Like much of southern and southwestern China, Yunnan had slowly been recovering from unseasonably cold, snowy weather which brought transport to a near standstill ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday and left millions without power.
The government is also struggling to bring the electricity grid back up in the eastern Yunnan city of Qujing.
- Total precipitation in Lisbon for the 24 hours ending 9am on Monday was 118mm, the highest February daily value since reliable records started in 1864 but much lower than daily highest values in other parts of the country. The rain was enough to cause floods in the city.
- More than 25 villages were cut off in Greece after heavy snowfall. Flights to Athens international airport were grounded and traffic was disrupted as far south as Crete.
Athens was covered in several centimeters of snow and the outskirts were cut off due to heavy snow and ice on the roads following two days of snowfall.
The snowstorm was the result of two cold fronts moving south from Russia and Scandinavia.
- At least 22 people are feared to have died after Tropical Cyclone Ivan made landfall on the east coast of Madagascar with wind speeds of more than 200km/h.
Ivan is one of the largest cyclones ever to hit Madagascar.
- Snowfall and subzero temperatures over the past two days forced schools and universities to close across much of Turkey and were the cause of hundreds of traffic accidents. At least two people froze to death. Hundreds of motorists were stranded, major roads closed and thousands of villages cut off.
In the mountainous eastern areas, night temperatures plunged to -20C and snow even fell on parts of Turkey's Mediterranean coast.
- A powerful winter storm which hit Greece and Turkey over the weekend, moved on to the Middle East yesterday, bringing Jerusalem its second heavy snowfall this year.
The storm arrived in Lebanon at lunchtime, lashing the country with snow, hail, rain and strong winds. Thunderstorms pelted the south of the country with hailstones. In Sidon strong winds and high seas forced the closure of the harbour while heavy rain flooded the streets.
Yesterday evening the storm moved on to Israel and this morning residents in Jerusalem were treated to another rare sight of snow. This is the second significant snow fall to descend on the City this year. While snow is often seen across other parts of the country, it seldom settles in Jerusalem itself. However this morning it is reported that snow lay to a depth of 5cm in places.
- Twenty-six people were injured in some 80 road accidents in Jordan, partly as a result of heavy precipitation and fog.
According to the Jordan Meteorological Department, a depression, accompanied by a cold front, brought snowfall to various areas, with up to 25cm falling in the north. Strong winds of up to 70km/h caused a power cut.
- A second duststorm in four days hit Kuwait yesterday with winds blowing at a speed of up to 40km/h, forcing ports to close of and disrupting air traffic. Visibility at the airport was reduced to 300m.
Kuwait has had little rain this winter which means that the desert sand is loose and easily carried by strong north-westerly winds.
The Department of Meteorology has forecast that the duststorm will last until Friday.
- A spell of cold weather in northern Vietnam has killed nearly 60,000 cattle and destroyed crops. The ongoing cold spell started on 14 January, beating the 31-day record set in 1989, according to the Hydrometeorological Service.
Temperatures have sometimes dropped to below 10C. In two localities, a temperature of -2C was recorded.
- Spain faces water restrictions widely this summer as it suffers its worst drought in more than a decade. In one of the worst affected areas, Catalunya, the Barcelona government is hoping to pre-empt a summer crisis by importing water by tanker.
A decrease in annual rainfall since the 1970s is said to have contributed to the low reservoir levels. At present Spain's Water Agency reports that reservoirs across the country are running at an average capacity of less than 50 percent. In the worst affected areas such as Catalunya and Andalucia the capacity in many reservoirs is said to be less than 20 percent Malaga is facing its fourth year of severe drought.
Barcelona plans to import water from southern France and ironically from drought stricken Andalucia. The water from the latter is to be imported from a desalination plant in Almeria. The Water Agency has been forced to address the growing problem of water shortages. It is currently investing over 100 million Euro in measures to import drinking water, and to build desalination and water purification plants.
The director-general of Spain's State Meteorology Agency said that the shortage of rain means that Spain is going to see its driest hydrological six-month period (October-March) for 60 years.
- Twelve people have died and thousands have been displaced as severe rains and floods batter Ecuador.
Heavy rains falling throughout the country since mid-January have caused some of the worst floods in country's history and have affected some 60,000 people.
Five coastal provinces have flooded, forcing thousands to abandon their homes, and four others have lost bridges and highway sections to rising rivers.
Ecuador's government declared a national state of emergency on Wednesday, ordering the military and police to help with aid in the affected regions.
- More than 12,000 people have fled their homes in Kazakhstan after rain-swollen rivers swept away houses and bridges.
Spring flooding is a recurring problem across Central Asia but a sudden rise in temperatures on 20 February following weeks of severe cold has exacerbated the problem this year.
One person was killed in the floods and 12,700 others had to be evacuated from Kazakhstan's most populous region bordering Uzbekistan.
Meltwater destroyed roads and schools and killed hundreds of cattle as rivers burst their banks.
- Gales in the north of Japan over the weekend left one fisherman dead and three people injured, grounded planes and halted trains. In all, some 46,000 travellers were affected.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said that a maximum mean wind speed of 65km/h had been recorded in Tokyo and Shirakawa.
- A storm hit Gothenburg in Sweden, resulting in hurricane-strength winds and disrupting power supplies for many. More than 80,000 homes in the region suffered from power cuts following the storm. One person was hospitalised as a result of the severe weather, while major traffic delays were reported and damage was inflicted on some buildings. Trees felled by the strong winds blocked more than 40 roads in the city, as well as six railway lines.
- The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) has two rules of thumb it has devised over the years to determine the arrival of winter and spring. For winter it is when the average temperature falls below freezing for five consecutive days.
As yet that has not happened in southern Sweden. In fact January 2008 was the mildest on record for the country and at present temperatures through February have been 4-7C above normal. The existing temperature record for the three month period December to February is 1.9C, set in 1972-1973. Current data for the 2007-2008 winter season suggests the final average will be near 2-2.2C, making it the mildest since records began in 1756.
Sweden's rule of thumb for the arrival of spring requires average temperatures to have risen above freezing for seven consecutive days. Since that has now been met by much of the country, spring has well and truly arrived.
- This winter might become the mildest winter in Northern Norway ever registered. So far the average temperature in parts of the region has been up to 8C above the normal.
The measurements started in 1866 at some weather stations and this winter seems to break all records. Some of the weather stations at Finnmarksvidda have had an average at 8C above the normal average in the three winter months. At the station Karasjok-Markannjarga the average temperature has been -7.9C, while it normally is -16C.
In Northern Norway's largest city, Tromsø, the average temperature this winter has been -0.4C. That is 3.6C warmer than normal, and is the warmest since the record winter in 1929/1930.
For Northern Norway as a whole the temperature in the winter months has been 5.1C above the average with five more days to go. If this temperature is maintained it will be the warmest winter ever, since the measurements started in 1900/1901.
- In the Alpine region over 20C was recorded this week. 22.8C was recorded at Chur, while Munich-Flughaven recorded 20.0C (previous February record was 18.7C on 28 February 2000). Hohenpeissenberg (980m high) recorded 19.7C.
in Austria Jenbach noted 20.8C on the 24th, with 20.7C in Salzburg and Innsbruck having 20.6C. On the 25th it was warmer in Austria and Graz reported 20.8C and Weiz 21.5C - the latter being the highest February temperature in the 67-year record there.
- Residents around the Illawarra and Sydney region of New South Wales had overnight storms that brought torrential rain, hail and strong winds. Flash floods were triggered as up to a months worth of rain fell in less than an hour.
Although short-lived the storms were severe and the intensity of the rain such that forecasters have described it as a one in 20 year event. To the south of Sydney, 44mm fell in just 30 minutes. The storms wreaked havoc across the city with strong winds tearing down trees and power lines. Hail the size of golf balls caused damage to property.
The overnight storms were the result of a trough of low pressure across the area.
- A severe windstorm swept through the western Sahara of Algeria. At Timimoun, winds rose to between 30 and 40 mph. Thick clouds of dust soared skyward, lowering visibility to a few hundred metres.
Winds at Adrar rose even higher - to 50-55mph.
- Persistent heavy rain has left 45 people dead and displaced hundreds of thousands in the Philippines. Landslides and floodings have affected 137 towns in the Philippines since last week, and have displaced some 873,000 residents who sought shelter in evacuation camps.
- Severe drought in the north Chinese province of Hebei could threaten the supply of water to the Olympics, it has been warned.
The province is to supply much of Beijing's water during the event as it lies next to the capital city.
Reuters reported that half a million people could face drinking water shortages due to the drought.
And demand for water is expected to rise by some 30 per cent during the Olympics.
Officials from the province's flood and drought office attributed the severe conditions to the lack of valuable precipitation since the winter.
- Snow has caused the collapse of buildings in New England this week.
The record-breaking weather saw a cafe roof fall in New England, causing several people to flee.
And the roof of an unoccupied pizza shop in Laconia sagged about halfway into the building, which was two storeys high.
Concord's (New Hampshire) record for the heaviest snowfall in December, January and February was lifted to 97.5ins by recent weather.
- Provisional figures released today by the Met Office show that the UK has recorded the sunniest February since the UK-wide record began in 1929.
Sunshine totals for the month up to and including the 27th reveals that UK-wide figure for the month was 106.1 hours, beating the previous record set in 1970 of 94.4 hours.
Around the UK national and regional records have also been falling with England and Wales setting new national records for February. Figures for Northern Ireland and Scotland have not beaten their previous sunshine records.
The UK, England and Wales have all had one of the sunniest winters since records began in 1929.
The provisional UK mean temperature for the winter so far (1 December - 27 February) is 4.8C, which is 1.1C above the long-term average.
At the Coventry (Bablake) weather station this has been the the sunniest February (137h) on record in Coventry (to 1894) with more than double the 30-year city average sunshine total, and it is now officially the sunniest winter on record locally, with 56% more sunshine than normal. The UK summary for the month can be found here.
- Torrential downpours pelted greater Buenos Aires, Argentina. At the Ezeiza airport, the rainfall total was 14cm which is 5cm above the normal monthly rainfall. Most of the rain fell within two-three hours.
World weather news, January 2008
- Thousands of people in the Canadian province of Quebec had reason to celebrate the heavy snow that greeted the new year, as it ensured they won a holiday, a travel firm has confirmed.
itravel2000 staged a promotion that guaranteed to refund the money its customers had spent on holidays for 2008 if there was more than 12.7cm of snow in their province on New Year's Day.
Meteorologists from Environment Canada said history suggested the chances of anyone winning were slim, but to the delight of holidaymakers from Quebec, snowfall of 14.7cm was recorded in Montreal.
Jonathan Carroll, itravel2000's president, said the company had struggled to find an insurer for the promotion as "you can never predict the weather", but was eventually able to take out the largest single weather guarantee in history with US-based firm Weatherbill.
- 275mm of rain and hail in 4 hours fell in the town of Rhodes on
according to an announcement by officials.
Considerably less rain fell at Rhodes Airport.
- The year 2007 was the warmest in 150 years of hydrometeorological measurements in the Russian Federation, according to the chief of the country's Hydrometeorological Centre.
- Torrential rain over the last three days has triggered flooding and landslides on the Indonesian island of Java, bringing the reported total number of dead or missing to 121.
- For many Australians, 2007 was the warmest year on record, although when averaged across the whole of the continent, it was only the sixth warmest year.
Statistically, the mean temperature for Australia was 0.67°C above average in 2007, making it the sixth warmest year since high quality Australia-wide records commenced in 1910.
But in the southern half of the continent temperatures were well above normal, with the Murray Darling Basin, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria all recording their warmest years on record.
- An intense winter storm wreaked havoc across parts of Europe, leaving Bulgaria, Romania and parts of Turkey and Greece under a blanket of snow.
Authorities in northeast Bulgaria declared a state of emergency, calling in the army to help clear roads and rescue stranded motorists. As the snow piled up thousands of travellers were left stranded at airports and in cars as the country's roads became blocked.
Thousands of passengers were also left stranded in Romania after Bucharest's two main airports were closed down by the heavy snowfalls. The snow also spread south into northern Greece and Turkey, causing traffic jams in Turkey's capital, Ankara. Meanwhile further west across Europe, ice and snow caused problems too in Italy and France, prompting the closure of the Mont-Blanc tunnel linking both countries.
- A spell of cold weather has killed at least 23 people in northern India over the last few days. The lowest minimum temperature of -2.2°C was recorded in Adampur (Punjab).
- Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said Thursday that the bodies of four people had been found on city streets since Wednesday, including one who died from pneumonia. Officials were investigating whether the other three deaths were also caused by the weather.
Temperatures dropped to -5C in central Puebla state, where residents woke to snow-covered mountains and authorities opened more than 100 shelters.
Snow is not uncommon at very high altitudes in Mexico during the winter, but this week's cold front brought frost and light snow to towns that normally don't see such weather. In the capital, residents accustomed to 25C afternoons bundled up in temperatures as low as 0C.
- In Bulgaria and Romania a state of emergency has been declared, many roads are impassable and the temperatures fell to between -10C and -18C. Miercura in Romania reported -24.5C. In the Alps Oberstdorf noted on the 2nd and 3rd -21.8C and -19.0C.
- Storms ripped through the western United States with strong winds, heavy rains and a blanket of snow that caused widespread power cuts in California, Oregon and Washington. The storm has been blamed for at least three deaths.
The current weather is part of three storms that will easily be the strongest system to impact the west coast this winter season and quite possibly for the last few years.
The first of the three storms swept through Northern California on Friday, blowing scaffolding off buildings and shutting down streets in San Francisco. Mountains in the eastern part of the state were hit by major snowfall and wind gusts as high as 150 mph were measured.
A canal levee broke near Reno, Nevada, flooding an estimated 800 homes and causing many more to be evacuated by helicopter and boat.
- Heavy rains caused flooding across parts of eastern Australia, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people as rural towns throughout the area were put on flood alert.
A cyclone watch was also issued for northern Australia after tropical cyclone Helen brought flooding rain and gale force winds to the city of Darwin and then moved eastwards, threatening isolated communities in the sparsely populated region.
In northeastern Australia, a low pressure system that has been battering the coast for the past week with high seas and heavy rains swelled rivers throughout southern Queensland and northern New South Wales states.
More than 500 people were evacuated from houses and caravan parks, with some homes damaged by floodwaters, but early expectations of major flooding were downgraded, said State Emergency Services spokeswoman Catherine Moyle.
Some parts of northern New South Wales state received more than 12 inches of rain overnight.
Authorities said the rains had brought some good news, boosting water levels behind parched dams in a region that has suffered from persistent drought in recent years.
- More than 20 people have died following heavy snowfall in northern and central Iran. 55 centimetres of snow fell in parts of the country during the preceding two days. The snow, believed to have been the heaviest in Iran for at least ten years, led to avalanches and caused severe disruption to the road network. The villages of Karimabad and Hashemabad in the Loot desert had been left covered in snow, after what local meteorologists believe was the area's coldest ever day.
- The U.S. Midwest was battered by rain, thunderstorms, and tornadoes; six people died. Tornadoes were sighted or suspected in Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. In Arkansas winds were strong enough to transport a cow almost a mile.
- Traffic in Georgia was severely disrupted after the temperature plummeted to its lowest level for 15 years.
Temperature dropped to -10C in Tbilisi and to -28C in mountainous areas.
Much of the country also experienced a severe frost and snowfall, which made driving conditions difficult.
Roads were left impassable in some areas and traffic levels in Tbilisi were much lower than normal.
- According to the UK Met Office, 2008 will be the coolest year on the global scale since 2000. This curbing of the warming trend will mostly be due to a strong La Niña in the tropical Pacific Ocean, but other factors such as increasing greenhouse-gas concentrations, cooling influences of industrial aerosol particles, solar effects and natural variations of the oceans were also taken into account in the forecast. The UK Met Office issues such global surface temperature forecasts every January for the coming year.
- 2007 ended with a heatwave that sent New Years Eve temperatures in Melbourne (Australia) to 41.1C. In fact, it turned out to be the hottest day of the hottest year. The heat caused residents of Melbourne to rush to the beaches for the second day running as they sweltered through the hottest New Year's Day on record, as values once more exceeded 41C.
Yesterday, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology forecasted a second January heatwave for Victoria. This sparked warnings from health officials about the need to take measures to keep cool, particularly children and the elderly.
In Bendigo temperatures were forecast to hit 40C which would make it the 15th consecutive day to have climbed above 30C. Temperatures in Melbourne today hit 41C.
- Light snow fell in Baghdad early in the day in what weather
officials said was the first time in about a 100 years.
Rare snowfalls were also recorded in the west and centre of Iraq, plunging
temperatures to 0C and below.
The snow in Baghdad, which melted as it hit the ground, began falling before
dawn and continued until after 9 am, residents said.
"Snow has fallen in Baghdad for the first time in about a century as a
result of two air flows meeting," said a statement by the meteorology
- Centres across the Pilbara area of Western Australia are experiencing a
burst of extreme heat. On 11th, Port Hedland, Onslow, Roebourne and Marble
Bar all reached 49.0C. Even in this part of Australia such high
temperatures are unusual. In Port Hedland it was the hottest temperature
ever recorded - in 60 years of records, beating the 48.2C on 18 February
1998. In Onslow it was also an all time record beating the previous of 48.3C
on 3 February 1959. In Marble Bar, one of Australia's hottest towns, it was
just short of the record 49.2C set way back on 3 January 1922. Recordings in
Marble Bar commenced in 1895.
Marble Bar has now experienced 62 days over 40C this season and the
11th was the 69th consecutive day above the 100F mark. Marble Bar holds the world record for consecutive days over 100F set
back in the summer of 1923-24.
- On Sunday morning Darwin Airport (Australia) recorded its second highest January daily rainfall total on record, and its fifth wettest day overall. It was the highest daily rainfall total since the 244mm recorded when Tropical Cyclone Thelma was nearby in December 1998. Most of this rain fell in just a few hours from about 2am Saturday night in an unusually intense downpour. A rainfall total of 242mm was recorded in the rain gauge for the 24 hours to 9am. Darwin Airport was the highest reading of the real-time reporting stations in the area, with figures around the suburbs generally around 150 to 200mm.
Previously, the highest daily rainfall recorded at Darwin Airport is 290.4mm on 3 January 1997, which was associated with Tropical Cyclone Rachel.
- A major snowstorm brought the road network in the US region of New England to a standstill. Snowfall of 15-30cm fell in just 12 hours across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. Authorities opted to lower the speed limits in a bid to prevent traffic accidents while snowploughs and gritter trucks attempted to clear the roads. Flights from Boston Logan, Manchester-Boston and Portland International airports were cancelled, while schools across the region were shut as a precaution and federal courts closed early.
- Rare torrential rains in the United Arab Emirates forced schools to close and created traffic nightmares in the desert country, while neighbouring Saudi Arabia and Kuwait shivered.
Pupils received an unexpected day off in Dubai, and five other emirates in the seven-member UAE were also ordered by the education ministry to shut on Wednesday and Thursday because of the weather.
Within a few hours on Wednesday, Dubai police recorded 584 accidents that killed two people in the emirate, usually a destination for tourists seeking a sunny break from cold weather at home.
Five people were killed and 1,307 accidents recorded on Tuesday amid forecasts of more rain.
In Bahrain, which had its lowest recorded temperature of 2.7C in 1964, the mercury dropped to between 5C and 7C over the past few days.
In Kuwait the temperature in the open desert dropped to -3C, while passengers landing at Kuwait airport were greeted by -1C.
According to Kuwait's meteorological department, the lowest temperature ever recorded in the open desert was -4C in 1964.
Snow has fallen on some northern Saudi cities where at least two people died from the cold.
Khaleej Times reported on 15 January that rainfall of 105mm was recorded in Dubai during a 24-hour spell. The previous record for a single January day was 85mm.
- Unseasonably rainy weather in the Oslo area, and subsequent flooding, was being blamed for new signal failures that delayed commuter trains.
Nearly 80,000 passengers were once again affected. Many trains were cancelled and at one point, Oslo's Central Station was threatened with closure.
- Residents of Siberia are likely to face a week-long period of extreme cold, the emergencies ministry has warned. Night-time temperatures of -55C have been predicted for the next few days.
An advisory notice on the emergencies ministry's website said there is a risk domestic heating systems would fail because of the cold.
The forecasted temperatures are around 15C lower than the norm for the time of year.
- Widespread flooding across Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi has displaced tens of thousands and left at least seven people dead. Mozambique is among the worst hit countries and the flooding is said to be that country's worst in memory. UN agencies have made appeals for assistance.
In Zimbabwe, at least 27 people have died where rains are reportedly the worst since colonial era records; washing away crops and worsening the country's economic woes.
Since late November when the rainy season started, the heavy downpours have led to a sharp rise in the levels of rivers Zambezi, Pongue, Buzi and Save. Currently the River Zambezi is almost 2m above the warning level.
- Cold weather and heavy snow have killed more than 100 people during the past week across Afghanistan. Avalanches have blocked major roads and bad weather has also caused massive livestock deaths.
- Eastern states in Australia are in the grip of floods and storms. Thousands of homes in Sydney were without power earlier this week, and gale force winds uprooted trees. Emergency workers helped drivers who were stuck in flooded roads in Townsville, Queensland as 50mm of rain fell in less than 40 minutes.
Heavy rain inundated communities in the north of Queensland earlier this week causing flooding and road closures. A monsoon low off central Queensland dumped more than 350mm of rain in the space of 24 hours in some areas. Relief crews had to be flown in because the main highway and other roads were cut off.
- The lone de-icing machine at Jordan's busy international airport worked frantically to clear planes for take off when a freak snowstorm blanketed this small desert country in a cold snap that has the whole region shivering.
While streets in the Jordanian capital, Amman, were icy and dangerous and traffic immediately clogged, farmers have welcomed the much needed precipitation in the midst of an unusually dry winter that has damaged crops and sent food prices soaring. The desert kingdom depends heavily on winter rains for its agriculture.
Meteorologists in the region are calling it the worst cold front since 1964 and attributing it to a high pressure zone in northern Europe that is forcing cold air into the Middle East.
The 10-day old cold front has also destroyed fruits and vegetables in the Jordan Valley, compounding worries that food prices will jump higher amid concerns about skyrocketing fuel prices as the government removes subsidies on basic commodities.
In Egypt, rain and the near-freezing temperatures have shocked residents, many describing it as the coldest winter in years.
- Unusually heavy snowfall in central China has been blamed for at least 10 deaths and has stranded hundreds of thousands of people ahead of the peak Lunar New Year travel season.
Heavy snow damaged thousands of homes, and at least one person was crushed to death when a roof collapsed at a petrol station.
Snow closed highways and forced the cancellation of scores of flights in the provinces of Hubei, Henan, Shandong, Jiangsu and Anhui, where snow in some areas was the heaviest in 17 years.
In Hubei alone, 300,000 people had their travels delayed as they began journeys home for the Lunar New Year.
The official forecasting agency said the heavy snow was caused by moist southern air colliding with frigid winds sweeping southward from Siberia.
- A foot of snow blanketed parts of Michigan and Wisconsin (USA)during the night, closing schools Tuesday and causing numerous traffic accidents.
At least three traffic deaths were blamed on the weather in Michigan. Winter weather also was blamed for deaths in Oklahoma and Kentucky.
- Farmers in the south of Israel are facing the prospect of substantial losses because of a drought. The Be'er Sheva, Arava and western and central Negev areas have received less than a third of the expected rainfall since the start of the winter.
The region has also been hit by frost and the combination has resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of winter vegetable crops earmarked for export.
- Residents of Nunavut, on the western Shores of Hudson Bay, are continuing to dig their way out after a week of blizzards. Although it is not unusual for this region to suffer from blizzards which can last a few days, a meteorologist for Environment Canada said that seven days in a row was 'one for the books'.
The communities of Rankin Inlet, Whale Cove and Baker Lake were effectively cut off as low pressure lingered across the region bringing heavy snow falls, strong winds and with temperatures in some areas dipping below -30C.
Nunavut has suffered a week long spate of these blizzards which forced the closure of schools and offices, stopped flights and crippled the road network. Conditions were made worse by the fact that the region currently experiences 18h of darkness a day. Snowdrifts are said to have got so deep that snowmobilers ventured dangerously close to overhead power lines. Food stores in Nunavut's Kivalliq region were also left bare with no means of fresh supplies being delivered.
- A long-running drought in the south-east of the US could force the temporary closures of nuclear power plants, according to industry officials.
24 of the 104 nuclear reactors in the US are in areas deemed to be in severe drought areas.
As the power plants use billions of gallons of water in the cooling process the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will order them to shut if the lakes and rivers they rely on drop below a certain level.
Some of the water sources used by power plants are already close to the permitted minimum and without rain, shutdowns later in the year are a real possibility.
- One person died and thousands of homes were left without electricity after central Europe was buffeted by strong winds.
A driver died in the Polish region of Masuria after a tree was blown on to his car. In Austria gusts of up to 75mph were recorded. Power lines were felled across the country, causing two small forest fires and leaving 100,000 households without electricity supplies.
Hundreds of homes in the Czech Republic were left without power supplies because of the winds and a major railway route was closed after trees were blown on to the track.
- Schools, government offices and roads were forced to close after a winter storm brought low temperatures and heavy snow to the west of the USA,
50cm of snow fell in parts of Idaho and 90cm in the Colorado mountains during the two days.
Midday temperatures of -24C were recorded in both Montana and North Dakota, with wind chill bringing them down to -54C.
- The Fijian Islands felt the full force of Tropical Cyclone Gene on the 28th.
Gene made landfall on Fiji?s north island of Vanua Levu overnight.
Gene has already caused damage and claimed two lives this morning, flattening houses, bringing down trees and power lines and leaving many without power.
- The China Meteorological Administration has issued a red alert for severe snowstorms for central and eastern China. Local governments and transportation, electricity and communication departments have been advised to prepare for bad weather. Citizens in these areas were advised limit their outdoor activities to a minimum.
The worst snow in many years has destroyed homes, caused power blackouts, closed highways and destroyed crops.
- Severe winter storms that battered downtown Los Angeles last week dumped more rain on the city than fell throughout the whole of 2007, National Weather Service figures showed.
A series of storms rolling in from the Pacific deluged southern California, with 173mm of rain falling in Los Angeles in the space of seven days.
The same rainfall measuring station received only 81.5mm of rain throughout 2007, the city's driest year since records began. On average Los Angeles receives 384mm of rain each year.
- Floods in Bolivia have claimed the lives of ten people in the past week, taking the total death toll to 40. Torrential rains have lashed the country since November, causing widespread flooding and landslides which have affected at least 32,000 families. Homes and roads have been destroyed, drinking water supplies have been cut off in some cities and the damage to crops has been estimated at GBP100 million.
- Around 70,000 homes were left without power after the US state of New York was buffeted by strong winds, according to a local electricity company.
Sustained wind speeds of 50mph and gusts of up to 70mph were recorded in the west of the state earlier in the day.
Felled power cables left many areas without electricity supplies and a spokesman for National Grid warned it could be two days before the necessary repairs are completed to reconnect affected households.
A spokesman for the National Weather Service said the winds were part of one of the "most extreme" cold fronts the US has experienced in recent years.
- A winter storm which was forecast several days ago arrived in Jerusalem, blanketing the Holy City with a rare covering of snow. The Israeli weather service said up to 20cm of snow fell in the city.
While snow is unusual in Jerusalem itself, as temperatures seldom fall low enough for it to settle, other parts of the country regularly see snowfalls. Neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and also the Mediterranean island of Cyprus were also held under the grip of icy weather. Snow closed roads into the Jordanian capital of Amman, and schools and businesses closed as the Jordanian government declared Wednesday a public holiday. There were also road closures in the Syrian capital, Damascus.
If you have a snippet of weather news that you feel merits inclusion, then please feel free to email it to me.
Last updated 6 January 2009.