World weather news, December 2011
- Widespread dense fog and ice could be to blame for a massive 45-car pileup outside of Nashville, USA.
The 45-car pileup happened northeast of Nashville in the suburb of Hendersonville around 7:30 a.m. local time on a road which reportedly was covered in dense fog and icy patches.
Multiple injuries were reported and at least one person was killed.
Observations at nearby Nashville Metropolitan Airport showed visibilities between 1/16 of a mile and zero from 6:49 a.m. to 9 a.m. eastern time.
- Parts of Central and Eastern Europe were suffering from a major drought in December. In Serbia, the Danube River\u2014one of Europe's largest rivers and busiest shipping routes\u2014fell to record low levels, stranding about 80 cargo ships on the Serbia-Hungary border. Sunken World War II ships surfaced on the river and unexploded bombs that fell during the 1940s were found along the Sava River, also in Serbia. In Bulgaria, the Danube was at its lowest level in 70 years and shipping in many areas was forced to halt. Transport was also affected along the upper Danube in Austria and Germany. Cargo shipping in Austria was only at about 25 percent of normal volume. Shipping was also disrupted in Germany along the Rhine and Elbe rivers due to low water levels. According to a media report, the Czech Republic was experiencing its worst drought since records began in 1775. In Bosnia, drinking water restrictions were in place in Sarajevo and other cities.
The start of Switzerland's ski season has been delayed by a shortage of snow across the Alps.
The country has experienced its driest autumn on record, meaning many slopes have yet to receive any snowfall.
The largest resorts such as Davos and St Moritz have used snow cannons to open in time for the traditional start of the season, while many other slopes remain closed.
Snow was spotted in some parts of the Swiss Alps on Saturday, although experts said it wasn't enough to mark the beginning of the ski season.
Ski resorts in neighbouring countries have also suffered from a lack of snow.
One hotel in Austria's Katschberg mountains has apparently hired 15 chimney sweepers - good luck symbols in the country - to pray for snow.
- With more than 2 inches of rain falling on Monday, Louisville, Ky., became the latest location to break its yearly rainfall record.
The city joins a long list of other Midwestern and Northeast cities to establish new wettest years on record.
With a little more than three weeks to go in 2011, Louisville has now recorded a total of 65.70 inches of precipitation, besting the previous record of 64.40 inches from 2004.
- Thick fog and smog have settled over North China early this week.
Traffic has been crippled on expressways, and hundreds of flights have been cancelled.
By Monday afternoon, local time, more than 200 flights through Beijing Capital International Airport had been cancelled. Moreover, the return of thick fog Tuesday night led airport operators to stop all outbound flights by domestic carriers.
Some people were resorting to masks to ward off the airborne pollution, and one on-line supplier reported a surge in sales to the capital city.
Winter fog and city smog are yearly occurrences in North China, being brought on by weak solar heating and temperature inversions.
- The winter storm that swung through the Northeast Wednesday into Wednesday night is one for the record books, in terms of its drenching rain.
The storm unleashed a widespread swath of 1.50 to 3.50 inches of rain from the spine of the Appalachians to New England's I-95 corridor.
Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., picked up 3.10 inches of rain on Wednesday, slightly more than the airport typically receives during the entire month of December.
Wednesday is now the airport's wettest December day on record, bypassing the 2.81 inches that fell on Dec. 18, 1977.
Numerous other locations set daily rainfall records on Wednesday or December.
- The Scottish government is warning that some people may not get the electricity back on in their homes until the weekend after the worst storm in a decade on the 8th.
Engineers are battling to reconnect more than 70,000 homes which were without power after the storms.
Most schools are expected to reopen after many councils and businesses closed early on Thursday.
Storm-force winds on Thursday brought down trees, closed roads and knocked out power lines.
About 150,000 homes are thought to have lost power during the day.
Overnight 8th/9th severe winds washed away part of a causeway road on the Orkney island of Hoy.
All schools on Orkney remain closed on the 9th and BBC Radio Orkney is off air after the transmitter was damaged in the storm.
In Aberdeen, several families were evacuated from a tenement in the Kincorth area after the gable end of a house collapsed on to a car.
Grampian Fire and Rescue dealt with 75 storm-related call-outs on Thursday night, three times the normal amount.
They also put out grass fires caused by electrical cables coming down.
In the Highlands, the Skye Bridge remains closed to high-sided vehicles.
The A82 at Corran is closed due to a landslide and will remain shut until at least 10:00 when a review will take place.
A wind turbine at Ardrossan Wind Farm, near the A78 in North Ayrshire, was destroyed after it caught fire.
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service said it had a high number of calls as the 100m tall turbine could be seen "far and wide".
Strong winds forced the closure of every major bridge in Scotland: the Forth Road Bridge between Edinburgh and Fife; the Erskine Bridge, which connects Renfrewshire and Dunbartonshire; the Skye Bridge; and Tay Road Bridge.
Som of the peak gusts included:
- Cairngorm Summit: 165 mph
- Aonach Mor: 145 mph
- Tiree: 90 mph
- Dunstaffnage: 86 mph
- Aberdaron: 81 mph
- Church Fenton: 73 mph
- Edinburgh, Gogarbank: 69 mph
- St Bees Head: 74 mph
- The city of Fairbanks, Alaska, is running at 16.8F above normal for the month of December so far.
Anchorage is 9.1F above average for December while Palmer is 10.8F above normal.
This mild stretch of weather follows a very cold November across the state. Fairbanks ended up 10.6F below average for November 2011, while Anchorage was 8.1F below average during the same time period.
Since then, a much milder pattern has scoured out the extreme cold, replacing it with above-normal temperatures and in many cases, some snowfall.
For about the last week, the jet stream has lifted northward into Alaska sending storms into the west coast and through the interior, rather than the Gulf of Alaska.
- A record-high wave has been measured off the Irish coast near the height of a severe North Atlantic storm. The height of the wave was 20.4m, measured by a sensor located off Donegal in the northern Republic of Ireland.
The instigating storm center was skirting northern Ireland, making its way toward northern Scotland, at the time the giant wave was recorded.
Some of the mighty waves heaped up at sea by Tuesday's gale also found their way to the Irish coast.
- More than 100 people have had to leave their homes with a further hundreds stranded in the area of Nelson and Golden Bay, New Zealand.
At least 50 houses have been severely damaged by flooding and landslips.
The highest rainfall in the area as of Thursday was 423mm within 24 hours at Takaka. Other 24-hour amounts reached 200-370mm, which the Civil Defense called "well in excess" of a 1-in-100 year event.
- Severe extra-tropical cyclone Joachim struck Western Europe. Heavy rain and snow, combined with high winds, caused travel disruption and hundreds of thousands of power outages across northern and western France, Germany, and Switzerland. The storm brought wind gusts as high as 94mph and pressure as low as 963.8mb No fatalities were reported. The storm made its way into the Austrian and Swiss Alps, bringing welcome snowfall to resorts that had started off the winter ski season with unusual dryness.
- Tropical Storm Washi (locally referred to as Sendong) made landfall over the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, a region unaccustomed to the tropical cyclones that frequently impact more northern regions of the Philippine archipalego. In addition to the uncommon location of the storm track, December cyclones in the Western Pacific basin are relatively uncommon, with only 15 reported from 1978 to 2010. Preliminary reports indicate that at least 976 residents perished due to major landslides. Cagayan de Oro and nearby Iligan in northeastern, coastal Mindanao, both built on the mouths of major rivers, were among the hardest hit. An estimated 140mm of rain was recorded at Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro in a 12-hour period. The heavy rain caused landslides and rivers to swell and overflow their banks. Eyewitnesses reported that water rose 3.3m in less than an hour in a section of Cagayan de Oro.
Damages were estimated to be close to $23 million U.S. dollars and by the 23rd some 1000 people were still missing.
- In the United States, a major winter storm brought blizzard conditions to parts of the Southern Rockies and Central Plains regions. Portions of major interstates and other roads and highways were closed from New Mexico to Kansas, stranding many holiday travelers. At least seven deaths were blamed on the storm. Pietown, New Mexico recieved 24 inches of snowfall, while several other areas in New Mexico and Colorado received at least 12 inches.
- The northern half of Argentina was at the heart of blistering heat. The hot spot was apparently La Rioja, which registered 46.0C; this fell a bit short of the respective all-time summer high. Roebourne, Western Australia, reached 49.4C. This was the state's hottest December day on record (previously 48.8C at Mardie in 1986). It was only 0.1C below of Australia's hottest December day on record (that was 49.5C at Birdsville, Queensland, on Christmas Eve 1972.)
Recent snowfall in the Alps means that the snow depth on Germany's Zugspitze has risen by about 95cm.
- On Christmas Day the temperature at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole site reached an all-time record high of -12.3C at 3:50 p.m. local time, eclipsing the former record of -13.6C set on December 27, 1978. The low temperature on December 25th was a mild (relatively!) -17.8C. The normal high temperature for December at the South Pole is -26.5C. Records at the site began in January 1957. Its elevation is 2835m.
Two other AWS sites near the South Pole (100 km to the north.along the prime meridian-and east of the pole) also broke their all-time heat records with Nico and Henry AWS sites reporting -8.2C and -8.9C respectively.
- News reports suggested that Northern Ireland experienced its warmest Christmas Day since records began as Murlough, Co Down, reached 14.3C. In Eire 14.6C at Piltown, Co. Kilkenny in 2002 was the highest recorded temperature on Christmas up to 2011; this year 15.0C was measured at Ashford, Co. Wicklow and 14.4C at Moorepark (Fermoy) in Co. Cork.
- In northern Australia, Tropical Cyclone Grant brought heavy rain and destructive winds that reached 80mph near the Tiwi islands north of Darwin. The storm caused flash flooding in the Northern Territory, knocking a freight train off a bridge and destroying large parts of a major highway, effectively shutting down transport routes to the region. One person was killed after their boat capsized off Whitsunday Island near the Queensland coast. The storm crossed into the Gulf of Carpenteria, weakening into a monsoonal low, and was expected to make landfall on December 30th over an uninhabited region of Cape York.
- Eastern Australia was affected by the remnants of Tropical Storm Fina. Fina created 4 metre waves along the northeastern coastline in Queensland, forcing many beaches to close from December 25th to 28th due to the large swells and dangerous surf conditions. In the southeast, large hailstones shattered glass in cars and buildings in Melbourne and a tornado touched down in nearby Fiskville. No fatalities were reported.
- Storm Dagmar pounded Nordic countries in northern Europe, cutting off electricity to an estimated 264,500 residents across Norway, Finland, and Sweden. The storm was the worst to hit the region since Janika in November 2001. Wind gusts of 145mph were recorded in Norway, with average sustained winds up to 100mph. In middle and northern Sweden, trains were halted and roads were temporarily closed. No injuries or fatalities were reported.
- In the Bay of Bengal, Tropical Storm Thane made landfall over southeastern India near the coastal town of Pondicherry. Torrential rains and sustained winds of 46mph damaged homes and was blamed for at least 11 deaths. The storm moved westward over land and quickly dissipated.
World weather news, November 2011
- The Thai floods are set to cause up to a 30% slump in hard disk production in the last three months of the year compared to the prior period.
A report says hard disks have already risen in price because of damage caused to factories. It warned supply shortages may continue throughout the first half of 2012. It also said Canon, Nikon and Sony's local camera-making plants had been affected by the natural disaster.
More than one-third of Thailand's provinces have been inundated by floodwater since July. The report estimated that a total of 14,000 factories had been damaged. Thailand is the world's second biggest producer of the devices after China.
- The global output of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated, a sign of how feeble the world's efforts are at slowing man-made global warming.
The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate experts just four years ago.
"The more we talk about the need to control emissions, the more they are growing," said John Reilly, co-director of MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.
The world pumped about 512 tonnes more of carbon into the air in 2010 than it did in 2009. That's an increase of 6 percent. That amount of extra pollution eclipses the individual emissions of all but three countries - China, the United States and India, the world's top producers of greenhouse gases.
It is a "monster" increase that is unheard of, said Gregg Marland, a professor of geology at Appalachian State University, who has helped calculate Department of Energy figures in the past.
Extra pollution in China and the U.S. account for more than half the increase in emissions last year, Marland said.
- About 2,000 people, including tourists, are stranded in the foothills of Mount Everest because bad weather has halted flights in the area.
Foreign trekkers and Nepalese guides and porters are among those who have been stuck in the region for four days.
The Tenzing-Hillary airport in Lukla is the gateway for trekkers wishing to scale the world's highest peak.
But correspondents say that hotels are overflowing and food is running out because tourists are unable to leave.
Some Nepalese guides have been sleeping outdoors as tourists have taken up all the spare capacity at hotels. Many hotel owners say they have sent word to inns higher up on Everest that trekkers based there should not descend as there is no space left.
- The number of people known to have died in a mudslide in western Colombia has risen to at least 38.
Rescuers are continuing to search for more than 20 people believed buried beneath 300 tonnes of earth and mud.
Fourteen homes were swept away when a hillside collapsed in the city of Manizales on Saturday.
Colombia is experiencing one of the worst rainy seasons in memory, which has forced the evacuation of about a quarter of a million people.
- Recent large rainfall totals in S France have included:
- 1st-6th: 359mm at Plans (equivalent to 2 monbths of rain), 217mm at Montpellier (3 months);
- Over le Gard during 1st-6th: 936mm at Valleraugue (6 months);
- Over l'Ardèche during 1st-6th: 719mm at Sablières dans les Cévennes (2 months);
- On Corsica, at Corte on the 5th 210mm fell(1 24-hour site record), of which 172mm fell in 6h (equivalent to one month's rain in 6 hours).
- Tropical Cyclone Four (04A) has taken shape over the western Arabian Sea within a week of another tropical cyclone landing in southern Oman.
Impact-wise, the biggest forecast problem is that of rain: will there be another shot of flooding rain along/near Arabia's southeastern coast? After all, T.C. Keila caused tragic, destructive flash flooding in the Dhofar region of Oman. At least 14 lives were claimed, and floodwaters swept cars along the streets.
- An Arctic snowstorm has hit the western coast of Alaska in what could be one of the worst storms on record in the area.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has reports of roofs blowing off in the US state's coastal city of Nome, and near-hurricane force winds.
Some areas have been evacuated and there are no reports of injuries.
The "superstorm" from the north-western Bering Sea is being compared to a November 1974 blizzard that was the strongest on record to hit the area.
Wednesday's extreme weather was described by the NWS as an "unusually severe and life-threatening storm".
Forecasters predicted up to 18in of snow and sustained winds of 60mph with gusts as high as 80mph.
Meteorologists said a storm surge could also cause serious flooding on Wednesday.
- A deep area of low pressure has brought heavy rain and strong gales force winds along the Cote d'Azur in southern France, bringing down trees and causing some structural damage to buildings.
- A man in southeastern Australia witnessed firsthand the fury of nature when a twister ripped the roof off his house. The tornadic storm was but one of a wider outbreak of damaging thunderstorms that unleashed high winds, hail and torrential rain in parts of Australia's southeast. The tornado struck the town of Bellbridge, Victoria, at about 1 a.m.
The thunderstorm showed the signature of a "mesocyclone," often the precursor to a tornado, according to a BoM spokeswoman.
Elsewhere, severe storms Wednesday night resulted in nearly two-thirds of Victoria's State Emergency Service units being called into action. In greater Melbourne, calls for help were related to flash flooding and building damage.
- Towering waves, some of the highest waves ever surfed, regularly hammer the Portugal coast during stormy weather, thanks to exceptional seafloor conditions.
It was here, at Nazare, that a wave reportedly standing 90 feet high was successfully ridden by an extreme surfer, according to multiple news outlets. The surfer, Garrett McNamara, is "set to earn a place in the record books," the Daily Mail said on Thursday.
The apparent record-setting ride took place during an event called the "ZON North Canyon Project" at Praia do Norte (North Beach), Nazare, Portugal.
The project's website attributes Praia do Norte's exceptionally high breakers to an offshore undersea canyon. The "Canhao da Nazare" (Nazare Canyon), said to be the deepest around the European continent, starts right off the bay at Nazare.
- See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dyBzYCEyUlE
- Flowers, insects and birds have been among the lifeforms observed showing unusual patterns of behavior, in light of average temperatures for central England about 3C above normal. The mean temperature for the month so far at Heathrow is 3.9C above normal with anomnalies of +3.6C at Lerwick and +2.4C at Malin Head.
The highest temperature of the month so far is 18.0C recorded at Heathrow and at St James's Park on the 3rd.
According to the Daily Mail, some flowers have bloomed a second time, apparently spurred to do so by the warmth. Crickets, grasshoppers and frogs have been heard calling. Bees have been sighted collecting nectar.
- In France the first half of November 2011 is the first hottest fortnight of November ever recorded. First half of November 2011 had a mean temperature anomaly of 3.7C; ahead of 1977 (+3.0C), 1994 (+2.9C), 1963 (+2.7C) and 1984 (+2.5C). Anomalies ranged from +4.4C for the South-western quarter of France to +2.7C for the North-East of the country. The was abundant precipitation at the beginning of the month in South-eastern places in the areas close to the Mediterranean with a notable surplus of autumnal precipitations since the beginning of September. On the other hand, three-quarters of France, excepting this south-eastern quarter, face a chronic deficit of precipitation exceeding 40% of the normal since 1 September.
Summer rain had brought previously some recovery following the driest March-May period in 50 years.
- At least six people have been killed and dozens more injured as a storm system that spawned several possible tornadoes moved across the Southeast.
Suspected tornadoes were reported Wednesday in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina. Dozens of homes and buildings were damaged and thousands of people were without power as trees and power lines were downed.
In South Carolina, three people were killed and five injured when a likely tornado swept through a rural community near Rock Hill, about 20 miles south of Charlotte, N.C. In north Georgia, a man was killed when a tree fell on his sport utility vehicle. Authorities also said an adult and child were killed in central North Carolina.
At least 10 people were injured when a possible tornado ripped through an area south of Lexington in North Carolina, destroying one building, damaging several others and leaving thousands without electricity.
- The WMO says La Nina conditions re-emerged in August and will likely continue through the rest of 2011 and into early next year.
The World Meteorological Organization says La Nina conditions could strengthen to "moderate intensity" but probably will be considerably weaker than the most recent ones linked to flooding and drought in parts of the world.
- Abnormally dry weather has left water supplies at worrisome levels in parts of the UK and France.
Following exceptionally low spring and fall rainfall, two key reservoirs in eastern England are only half full, prompting suppliers to urge conservation measures.
In eastern England, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and South Lincolnshire are having one of their driest years on record.
Anglian Water, which supplies six million homes and businesses, was seeking additional flow to its reservoirs, Pitsford Water and Rutland Water.
- Temperatures were more frigid than usual in Fairbanks, Alaska during the third week of November. Low minimum temperature records were set every day from the 15th to the 19th at Fairbanks International Airport. The coldest temperature of the week at the airport was recorded on the 17th, as temperatures dropped to -41C, breaking the previous record of -39C for that date set in 1969. It was even colder at North Pole, Alaska that day, where temperatures plunged to -45C, breaking its previous daily record of -43C, also set in 1969.
- One of the worst fires in Nevada's history broke out in southwest Reno on November 18th. Fanned by winds gusting to more than 70 mph, flames up to 30m in height forced almost 10,000 people to evacuate their homes and destroyed 32 houses. The fire was extinguished by the 20th and in total, 1,953 acres (790 hectares) were burned. According to the Reno fire chief, at times the fire spread at 20-30mph. The fire was particularly difficult to fight due to the combination of the high winds, rocky terrain, and accessibility. One fatality was blamed on the blaze.
- Four people died after hours of torrential rain caused heavy flooding and mudslides in northeastern Sicily. Italy's civil protection agency said the deaths occurred after a number of buildings were submerged in mud in the town of Saponara, near Messina.
Television pictures showed the streets of the town turned into mud-filled watercourses with cars almost completely covered under the sludge.
More than 20 people have died after severe weather across Italy in recent weeks, with the heaviest impact felt in northern and central regions.
- Hurricane Kenneth formed in the eastern Pacific Ocean early this week, a rare feat for this time of year. Kenneth, which gained monster Category 4 status, is the strongest hurricane ever so late in the season for the basin. Not since Hurricane Winnie in 1983 has a tropical storm in the eastern Pacific formed this late in the season. Winnie took shape on Dec. 4 of that year.
- The Northern Tablelands (New South Wales) is being flooded by its heaviest rain in years with 50 to 100 millimetres falling in the last 24 hours.
Armidale has received 79mm in the last 24 hours, its highest daily total in 11 years. Inverell's 56mm is a three-year high.
Glen Innes has had its heaviest rain in more than two years, receiving 90mm, which also breaks a 130-year November record for daily rainfall.
- A storm syetem north of the United Kingdom brought gale-force winds, chilly rain and rough seas to the Irish Sea, eventually capsizing a ship, the "Swanland" after the seas cracked its hull.
The Royal Air Force and Irish Coast Guard are currently searching for five crew members still lost at sea, despite continued difficult conditions.
- The season's first fall of snow has spread a cover of white across a swath of North China.
Affected areas were centered upon the provinces of Hebei and Shanxi, which are located south and west of Beijing.
The snow clung to roads, cars and trees, slowing traffic in cities such as Taiyuan, Shijiazhuang and Xingtai. It also brought out crews to clear sidewalks, some layered with a few inches of snow, images showed.
Taiyuan Wusu International Airport was closed due to heavy snowfall, affecting 117 flights.
Meanwhile, Beijing stayed dry, the snow narrowly skirting China's capital city to its south.
The wintry cold and snow was helping bring to a close what has been an unusually warm month of November in this densely populated stretch of China.
The snow was sparked when cold air seeping south out of Mongolia met a broad swath of rain spread over northern and central China.
- A possible tornado left an aftermath of damage in a part of northern England.
The phenomenon struck Heaton Moor, Greater Manchester in the afternoon, downing trees and damaging homes. One person was taken to hospital.
Witnesses described skies going "pitch black" and "all whirling around," as well as a sudden pickup in the wind.
Elsewhere, a report of a "small tornado" was also received by the Lancashire Police.
Weather observations at Manchester Airport showed a sudden wind shift from southerly to westerly near the time of the reported severe weather. Winds at the time were strong, though not damaging. A burst of rain followed the wind shift.
A strong storm system affected much of the U.K. during the day, with high winds and heavy rain in the north and west. Torrential rain caused problems in central Scotland, where many roads and some properties were flooded.
- At least five people have been killed with a further 30 missing in western Indonesia after a landslide crashed in a small village.
The deadly slide buried at least 37 houses in the village on the island of Nias, off Sumatra, following three days of rain.
Another village was the site of the five deaths, according to AFP.
The slide reportedly followed three days of heavy rain. Weather observations from nearby western Sumatra showed torrential rain late on Sunday and again on Wednesday.
- In Holland November was a record dry month with an average of 9mm of rain, compared to the 82mm normal. Previously, November 1920 with 11mm was the driest. The month was also exceptionally sunny with 95h nationally as compared to the 63h normal. In Maastricht 125h were measured, making it sunnier than in October.
- Christmas trees are the latest victims of the historic drought that has been gripping Texas and neighboring Oklahoma for more than a year.
The drought has killed thousands of trees throughout both states. The trees have either not had enough water or been scorched by wildfires.
The effects will be felt this Christmas by families having a more difficult time following traditions of cutting down their own tree.
Financially, the drought is devastating for Texas' Christmas tree farmers. The loss of young trees is an especially big hit.
Texas has had its driest summer and driest January-through-August period ever on record this year.
As of mid-November, 60 percent of the state remained in an exceptional drought, the worst category according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. All of Texas was experiencing abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions.
- The 2011 Atlantic Hurricane Season went down in history as one of the most active on record.
The list of final statistics for the season contained 19 named tropical systems over the Tropical Atlantic Basin this season, with seven achieving hurricane status and three major hurricane status (Category 3 hurricane or stronger).
With 19 storms, 2011 goes in the record books as tied for the third-highest total since records began in 1851 (joining 1887, 1995 and 2010).
However, the number of hurricanes and major hurricanes is only slightly above the average of six and two, respectively.
World weather news, October 2011
- Since the beginning of the records in 1901, De Bilt has had 8 days reaching 25C in October of which two occurred this year. On the 1st this year 26.0C was measured, and on the 2nd 25.6C. In De Bilt, 10 October 1921 with 26.7C degrees was the the latest 25C day in the autumn. That day Sittard measured 30.1C, the highest value ever in October in Holland.
On the 1st in northern Spain La Coruna recorded 33.6C, breaking its previous October record of 31.0C which had stood since 1945. Also of note was Santander at 33.5C (previous record 33.2C in 1983). The 2nd also produced a record October temperature of 34.1C in Ourense (a well-known hot spot in Galicia for its sheltered valley location), beating the previous 33.0C from 1983.
La Coruña was cooler than the previous day at 33.3C, but still higher than
its old 1945 record.
In the UK the Met Office reported that the UK October record of 29.4C at March in 1985 was passed by 29.9C at Gravesend on the 1st, and that thew Welsh October record temperature of 26.4C at in 1985 was passed by 28.2C at Harwarden also on the 1st.
- The early days of October in Manitoba Canada had some record temperatures recorded in Winnipeg amongst other locations. The first was over 24° and through the 7th all highs were above 23° with 32° recorded on the 5th. Because of the short day the temps are mostly not carrying over into the evenings. The normal highs are in the low to mid teens for this time of year. September was also above average temperatures for most days. After a spring with no sunny warm days and well above average precip we had a summer with almost no rain and only on the 20th we received 3" . A total more than in the previous two months.
- Heavy thunderstorms brought flash flooding to parts of Boston, USA, with 139mm of rain reported in Swampscott and 104mm in Peabody.
- A tropical depression storm pounding Central America has triggered floods and landslides that have left at least 18 people dead, officials say.
In Guatemala, at least 13 people were reported killed with four victims in Nicaragua and one in El Salvador.
Guatemala issued a "red alert" and reported at least a dozen landslides on roads and eight badly damaged bridges.
As rains drenched Central America, Hurricane Jova hit Mexico's Pacific coast, leaving at least four dead.
- Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that he had cancelled the annual Water Festival to preserve funds for addressing the effects of devastating floods that continue to sweep through the Kingdom.
Speaking at a special Council of Ministers meeting yesterday to assess damage from the flooding, the premier said that the annual three-day Water Festival celebrations next month, including the renowned boat races, would be cancelled and the money people saved could be used to aid flood recovery.
Flooding has destroyed more than 190,000 hectares of rice paddies, or 7.74 per cent of the total grown rice paddies, and affected another 390,000 hectares, or 16 per cent of the total rice paddies in the Kingdom.
The death toll from the flooding has risen to 247, with 17 out of Cambodia's 23 provinces suffering from its effects.
- The drying out of a Herefordshire river is "the worst in living memory" for the area, the Environment Agency said.
More than 200 fish have had to be rescued after a two-mile section of the River Dore, at Peterchurch, dried up.
The EA said levels dropped because of a lack of rain this year, following dry winters in previous years.
"Upstream, water is flowing quite nicely but where the geology changes the actual ground water disappears," said Mark Bowers, of the EA.
- Weathermen say the first snowfalls will hit Moscow as early as the weekend.
Hardly had Muscovites enjoyed the warmth of an Indian summer than sub-zero temperatures are looming large in Central Russia.
The first frosts are expected during the night with possible lows of minus two degrees, while the first snowfall of the year will hit the capital on Saturday.
Muscovites will also experience periods of snow and sleet with a north-westerly wind of between seven and 18 miles per hour.
The freeze, though, will be short-term and next week the weather is forecast to return to a type more usual for autumn.
Back in late September, wintry weather caught a number of large cities in Russia's Far East and southern Siberia off guard.
In the Chita and Magadan regions, heavy snow and strong winds paralyzed road traffic and left entire districts without electricity. Several small villages were cut off from the rest of the region because of poor visibility on the roads.
- A dust storm made a town in Texas look more like Mars on Monday, as winds of up to 70 miles an hour churned up a cloud of red dust almost 2.4km high.
The city of Lubbock saw power lines brought down and roofs damaged by strong gusts, and a small cargo plane was tipped back onto its rear wheels and tail.
No injuries were reported after the storm, thought to have been caused by a persistent drought in west Texas.
- The number of people killed by a week of torrential rains, triggering floods and landslides across Central America, has reached at least 80.
El Salvador is the worst-affected, with 32 people killed, mostly buried in their houses by mudslides.
El Salvador has seen a record 1.2m of rain, more than the previous record set by Hurricane Mitch in 1998.
International highways have been washed out, villages isolated and thousands of families have lost homes and crops.
The rain has also hit southeastern Mexico, where swollen rivers have affected thousands of people, notably in Tabasco state.
- The Thai government says it will be impossible to protect all of the capital from flooding because of a build-up of water to the north.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said sluice gates would be opened to allow a controlled release of water through parts of Bangkok.
Describing the flooding as a "national crisis", she said officials were doing all they could to solve the problem.
Over 320 people have died in the floods across the country since July.
Central Bangkok is protected by flood barriers which have been reinforced by troops in recent days.
But the run-off from severe flooding in central parts of the country has built up to the north of the capital, and several northern suburbs are already under water.
The floods - Thailand's worst in decades - have been triggered by heavy monsoon rain that began in July. More than one third of the country's provinces have been inundated.
- A torrential rainstorm battered Rome during the morning rush hour Thursday, causing flash floods that killed one man, felled trees and blocked thousands of commuters from reaching their workplaces.
The storm develop forced by an upper level trough combined with a low level humid southerly flow on central Italy.
The observations 19 to 20 Oct 06-06 UTC show more than 100mm in Rome and much smaller amounts around.
- The Earth's surface really is getting warmer, a new analysis by a US scientific group set up in the wake of the "Climategate" affair has concluded.
The Berkeley Earth Project has used new methods and some new data, but finds the same warming trend seen by groups such as the UK Met Office and Nasa.
The project received funds from sources that back organisations lobbying against action on climate change.
The Berkeley group says it has also found evidence that changing sea temperatures in the north Atlantic may be a major reason why the Earth's average temperature varies globally from year to year.
Funding came from a number of sources, including charitable foundations maintained by the Koch brothers, the billionaire US industrialists, who have also donated large sums to organisations lobbying against acceptance of man-made global warming.
- Months of deficient rainfall associated with the climate phenomenon La Niña, in combination with well-water contamination from development and population growth and unusually high tides that have mixed salt water with ground water, led to a major water crisis on the small South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu during early October. The situation was so extreme that buckets of fresh water were rationed daily to local families. La Niña conditions in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, which returned in September, continued to strengthen in October and were forecast to gradually continue to strengthen through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2011/12, according to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. Average rainfall in Tuvalu ranges from about 200-400mm per month.
- The ongoing drought in Texas, which began about a year ago, has had far-reaching impacts, including to ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico. The largest algal bloom in more than a decade - called the red tide bloom - formed along the Texas Gulf Coast and affected areas from Galveston to South Padre Island. The bloom, which depletes oxygen in the water, triggered fish kills and warnings about beach conditions, and released aerosols into the air that irritate respiratory systems. Some regions measured more than 100,000 cells per cubic millimeter of water. During years with normal rainfall, freshwater runoff into bays help keep salinity levels low enough stop these tides. The last red tide bloom occurred during 2009.
- Parts of south-west England, Northern Ireland and Wales that suffered flooding because of torrential rain on Monday have been returning to normal.
The wettest place was Cardinham, in Cornwall, which received about half a month's rain - 2.7in (68.4mm).
Flood alerts remain in place on the North Sea coast, and around the Upper River Tamar in south-west England.
Torquay's seafront was shut to traffic. Several roads in Torbay were also closed.
Eighteen people, including two children, had to be rescued by boat in County Tyrone as flooding affected many parts of Northern Ireland.
A river burst its banks in Beragh, leaving some residents trapped in their homes. The worst-hit areas included north and west Belfast, Ballyclare and Cushendall.
In the Republic of Ireland, search teams trying to locate a missing policeman have discovered a body close to where he was swept into a river in County Wicklow on Monday night.
The body of a woman was also found by firefighters when water was pumped from the basement of a flooded building in Dublin.
In Wales, homeowners in Pembrokeshire have been hit by flooding after Monday's heavy rain.
Pembroke Dock and Milford Haven were worst hit as fire crews attended 30 flooding incidents on Monday evening.
- At least six people have died and several others are missing after rains triggered severe flooding in northern Italy.
Heavy rains continued to fall Thursday night in Milan and other spots across the southern European nation, according to the Servizio Meteorologico.
Monterosso al Mare - between Genoa and Pisa on Italy's northwest coast, in the Cinque Terre region of Liguria - has been "isolated, accessible only by sea" because of earlier rains and floods.
Italy's defence ministry noted on Thursday on its website that 348 military personnel have deployed to the provinces of Massa Carrara and La Spezia to assist in the wake of flooding here.
The weather has also caused major travel headaches throughout the region. A mudslide that trapped a truck driver, who was eventually freed, has caused the A12 highway in Liguria to be blocked since Tuesday. Train service in Liguria has been halted, too, due to mud and debris on the tracks.
- The rare early-season winter storm that affected the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast over the weekend broke record snowfall totals for October.
Communities in western Massachusetts were among the hardest hit, with snowfall totals of 32 inches reported in Peru, Mass., and 30.8 inches reported in Plainfield. Jaffrey, N.H., reported 31.4 inches.
Dozens of locations from Virginia to Maine set daily snowfall records on October 29 and 30.
New York's Central Park recorded 2.9 inches of snowfall during the storm.
This is the first time since records began in 1869 that an inch or more of snowfall has been recorded during the month of October.
From January 1 through October 29, 65.75 inches of precipitation has fallen at Central Park - 24.10 inches above normal for the year to date - making 2011 the third wettest year on record,
The snowy, windy weather that began on Saturday was expected to exit Maine later on Sunday, but not before dumping up to a foot of snow on northern New England, particularly southern Vermont.
By Sunday evening, there were about 3 million households without electricity across the Mid-Atlantic and New England.
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said the state experienced the largest number of power outages in its history.
Throughout Connecticut and New Jersey, scores of public schools closings were announced for Monday.
Some 48 passengers on an Amtrak train bound for Boston were stranded for 13 hours overnight when a rockslide blocked the tracks near central Massachusetts.
Other Amtrak service was suspended between Providence and Boston; New Haven, Connecticut and Springfield, Massachusetts; and Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
JetBlue Airways was investigating reports 126 passengers were stuck for more than seven hours Saturday on the tarmac at Bradley International Airport near Hartford, Connecticut, without food, water or working lavatories. They were aboard Flight 504 from Florida, diverted to Bradley from Newark due to the storm.
Weather emergencies because of the storm were declared in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
Central Park, NYC - where a record 2.9in fell on branches still heavy with their red, amber and golden leaves - could lose an estimated 1,000 trees, ten times the loss caused by Hurricane Irene two months ago.
The storm, which broke record snowfall levels for October, left millions without power and 19 dead.
- Tokyo Climate Center (TCC)/JMA has issued a report of heavy rainfall over the Indochina Peninsula for June - September 2011.
Four-month total precipitation from June to September 2011 was 120% - 180% of the normal for most meteorological observation stations over the Indochina Peninsula. Four-month total precipitation for the period amounts to 921mm (134% of the normal) at Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, 1251mm (140%) at Bangkok (the capital of Thailand), 1641mm (144%) at Vientiane (the capital of Laos) and 835mm (107%) at Phnom-Penh (the capital of Cambodia). It is unusual that heavier-than-normal rainfall continued through the rainy season over the entire area of the basins.
- The long drought has lifted in southern and central Somalia, with fairly good rains now falling across much of those regions gripped by famine.
The rain brings some risks. There's particular concern among aid workers about communicable diseases like cholera spreading, above all in the crowded camps in Mogadishu.
Aid deliveries could also get bogged down on the region's notoriously bad roads.
But the rain also means it is planting time - a critical period for those families that have not yet abandoned their homes.
World weather news, September 2011
- Strong winds from Tropical Storm Lee, combined with record heat, drought, low humidity, and continued lack of rain, sparked numerous wildfires in Texas during the beginning of September. Dozens of fires burned across the state, including the most destructive fire in the state's history. The Bastrop County Fire burned over 34,000 acres and destroyed almost 1,600 homes, dwarfing the now second most destructive fire that occurred this past April near Possum Kingdom Lake, which charred 168 homes. The Bastrop County Fire covered an area of 39km by 32km. Two people were killed in that blaze on September 5th. Since November 2010, more than 3.6 million acres have been burned across Texas, including over 135,000 acres during the first week in September. All but 3 of the 254 counties in Texas reported burn bans during the month.
- At least 20 people have been killed and 50 others missing in Japan after the country's western coast was hit by typhoon Talas on Sunday.
The typhoon has unleashed heavy rains, triggering landslides, and is slowly moving north. The government has ordered evacuation of 460,000 people in western and central Japan. Hundreds of people are still stranded as the rescue efforts are being hampered by flooded rivers and collapsed bridges.
The typhoon has caused record amount of rainfall in some areas, making it the worst storm to hit the country since 2004.
- Helicopters have begun ferrying supplies to communities cut off from the outside world by Japan's worst typhoon in seven years.
The storm has left at least 37 dead and 54 missing in a nation still struggling to recover from its devastating tsunami just six months ago.
Aid helicopters descended on towns in the hardest-hit areas as police, firefighters and soldiers mobilised to clear roads so that they could distribute food, medicine and other assistance to communities fending for themselves since typhoon Talas made initial landfall on Saturday.
Dozens of hamlets in central Japan were still cut off, primarily because of flooding, landslides or other damage to access roads. Officials said they did not have an overall number for the stranded. More than 3,000 remained in evacuation centres, however.
As Talas approached Japan, nearly half a million people were advised to evacuate.
- The area covered by Arctic sea ice reached its lowest point this week since the start of satellite observations in 1972, German researchers announced on Saturday. "On September 8, the extent of the Arctic sea ice was 4.240 million square kilometres (1.637 million square miles). This is a new historic minimum," said Georg Heygster, head of the Physical Analysis of Remote Sensing Images unit at the University of Bremen's Institute of Environmental Physics.
- Pakistan's Meteorological Department issued two weather warnings. It said the latest meteorological conditions indicate that the strong monsoon weather system now lies over southeast Sindh and adjoining areas of Rajasthan (India). It said more widespread heavy to very heavy rains are predicted in Lower Sindh during next three days; Heavy spells would cause more flooding in already inundated areas.
The rains in Sindh are the highest ever recorded monsoon rains during a four week period. Sindh this year received 270% and 730% above normal monsoon rains respectively in August and September. Before the start of these rains in the second week of August, Sindh was under severe drought conditions and it had not received any rainfall during the last 12 months.
- The sweltering heat that gripped the southern United States throughout the summer continued to set records into the first half of September. On the 13th, Wichita Falls, Texas recorded its 100th day of 100F (37.8C) temperatures in 2011, shattering the old record of 79 days set in 1980. This is the first time in recorded history that any Texas locale has achieved this distinction. That same day, Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas recorded its most 100F days in a calendar year, 70, breaking the previous record set in 1980. It is interesting to note how that record was broken - the temperature reached 41.7C on the 70th day, surpassing the previous daily record set in 1965 by a full 4C. For the summer (June through August), the state of Texas recorded the hottest summer for any state since records began in 1895. Neighboring Oklahoma had the second hottest summer for any state on record. At least 46 deaths in Texas and 20 deaths in Oklahoma were attributed to the heat.
- Parts of England are still considered to be experiencing a drought, with low ground water levels despite the wet summer, the Environment Agency said.
Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, west Norfolk and parts of Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire remain in drought due to 2011's exceptionally dry spring.
September's rainfall for central and eastern England has so far been about 30% of the long-term monthly average.
Other areas in England and Wales had received between 41% and 65%.
The drought was first declared in June, and if normal autumn conditions prevail, the status could be lifted by November or December, the agency said.
- Heavy rains that have unleashed flooding across southwest China and left at least 14 people dead will continue to pound the region in the coming days.
Landslides and mudslides have toppled homes and blocked roads in the area, and the National Meteorological Center forecast that the torrential rains that caused them will last for another three days.
Flooding across the country this month - including in Henan, Shaanxi and Sichuan provinces - has left more than 80 people dead or missing and forced more than 1 million people to evacuate.
- Snow fell in the Swiss Alps overnight on Sunday to levels unseen for the month of September.
In the ski resort of St Moritz, in the southeast canton of Grison, a total of 45cm of snow was recorded on Monday morning.
The high levels of precipitation were due to a cold front which lowered the snow line to 800 metres.
Rainfall was also higher than usual, with around 100mm measured in the town of Santa Maria, also in Grison, the highest level since records began in 1901, Meteosuisse said.
The snowfall also caused traffic disruption in the mountains, with the St Bernard, Flüela and Nufenen passes closed.
- More than 1.3 million people were advised to evacuate on Tuesday as typhoon Roke approached Japan, threatening the industrial city of Nagoya with heavy rain and landslides.
In Nagoya in central Japan's Aichi prefecture about 1.1 million people were urged to evacuate, while other cities in western Japan also issued evacuation advisories on a smaller scale.
- Typhoon Roke struck Japan near the city of Hamamatsu on the 21st and made its way northeastward past Tokyo. The storm left the northern island of Hokkaido on the 24th but not before dropping up to 420mm of rain in some areas. The torrential rains triggered flooding and mudslides that left at least 16 people dead or missing.
- Typhoon Nesat (locally referred to as Pedring) made landfall on the northern Philippine island of Luzon on the 27th. Just prior to striking the island, Nesat was equivalent to a Category 3 storm. According to NASA TRMM satellite analysis, the highest rainfall amounts of about 375mm occurred over the central eastern Luzon coast. Large portions of the island recieved more than 150mm of precipitation. Water was waist high in the streets of Manila, the nation's captial. At least 39 people were killed and more than 100,000 families were affected. Preliminary crop and infrastructure damage was estimated at $76.8 million U.S. dollars. The storm then moved into the South China Sea and headed toward the southern Chinese island province of Hainan. On the 29th, Nesat made a second landfall on the island's eastern tip, with wind speeds up to 150km/h. Little damage was reported. The storm made a third and final landfall over Vietnam, where 4,000 residents were evacuated and the storm quickly weakened. Nesat lost all tropical storm status on the 30th.
World weather news, August 2011
- This was one of the hottest days, at least in the historical weather record, in the nation of Iraq. High temperatures at, or above, 50C were widespread from Basra north and west to at least Samarra, including Baghdad.
Highs were approximately 51C in Baghdad, Baqubah and Ad Diwaniyah.
Tallil, near An Nasiriyah, had a maximum of 52C.
- Rainfall across India as a whole (and by extension, the Subcontinent) has been somewhat below normal since June 1, 2011, the official start of the Monsoon season.
Through Aug. 3, weighted average rainfall was 6 percent below normal, as reckoned by the India Meteorology Department. The districts with the greatest shortfall (at least 20 percent below normal) were in the northeast, the far north, and scattered across central India. Eastern Gujarat, Haryana and Assam/Meghalaya were found to have rainfall 33 to as much as 37 percent below normal.
- Train operators have been working to fully restore services after heavy rain caused disruption in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Parts of Scotland saw rain in the last two days which was above average for this time of year, resulting in almost 30 flood warnings and 14 flood alerts.
It has also been reported that Glasgow saw one of the wettest 24-hour periods since records began.
- Residents of New Zealand's capital city Wellington are taking delight in the unusual sight of snowflakes falling in what forecasters are describing as a once-in-a-lifetime event.
Services across the country were disrupted Monday by the snowfalls, which were accompanied by heavy rain and high winds. Mail delivery in many centers was canceled, as were some flights. Some roads were closed and recreational facilities such as libraries and swimming pools were shut in many centres.
MetService head forecaster, Peter Kreft, told the New Zealand Press Association: "It's a once in many decades event. We are probably looking at something like - in terms of extent and severity - maybe 50 years," he said.
Services across the country were disrupted on Monday, with electricity cut to thousands of homes in Wellington and north of Auckland. Schools, universities and courts were closed across much of the lower South Island.
Flights and mail delivery had to be cancelled as well.Police warned that the snow would freeze overnight and create unsafe driving conditions.
An unusually strong northward outbreak of Antarctic air, centred upon the meridian of New Zealand, has coincided with a sharp northward buckling of the jet stream.
Rendered deeply unstable and moist in crossing long stretches of increasingly "warm" sea surface, the blast triggered waves of numbing-cold rain, sleet and snow. Inland and a few hundred meters up, mostly snow seems to have fallen.
- Eight people sustained injuries late Tuesday when lightning struck SeaWorld's Discovery Cove water park in Orlando, Fla.
The lightning strike occurred at 5:05 p.m. EDT as thunderstorms pressed across central Florida.
The thunderstorms were ignited by a stalled frontal boundary, which marked the boundary between steamy air across the southern half of Florida and more comfortable air to the north.
- Five people have been killed and more than 70 injured at a music festival after a stage collapsed during a heavy storm. The Chateau stage at the Pukkelpop festival, near the town of Hasselt in eastern Belgium, was apparently destroyed when trees were blown over in strong winds and crashed into rigging.
The Shelter stage was also damaged but is not thought to have caused any injuries. Some giant TV screens also fell down.
An estimated 60,000 people were at the three-day festival when the storm broke.
- In Canada, an EF-3 tornado struck the town of Goderich, Ontario. According to preliminary estimates, the twister had sustained wind speeds of 174mph and the path of destruction was roughly one-third of a mile wide. One person was killed and 37 others were injured as the tornado tore through the center of the town. The tornado was the most powerful recorded in Ontario in more than a decade. According to Environment Canada, fewer than five percent of tornadoes in Canada are rated EF-3 or higher.
- Super Typhoon Nanmadol (also referred to as Mina) formed on August 23rd in the northwest Pacific and reached its maximum strength of 155 mph (250 km/hr), just below Category 5 status on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Scale. The storm decreased in strength to 109mph before making its first landfall over Gaonzaga, Cagayan in the northern Philippines. More than 300,000 people were affected by the storm and agricultural damages were estimated to be close to $29 million U.S. dollars. At least 29 people were killed and 12 were missing. The typhoon made a second landfall over Taimali, Taiwan on August 28th with maximum sustained wind speeds of 86 mph, equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane. Some areas received more than 500mm of rainfall, including 528mm in Bruwan, Hualien County and 517mm in Hengchun, Pingtung County. One person was killed. The storm once again moved over open water into the Taiwan Strait and made a third and final landfall over Fujian, China as a tropical storm on August 30th, weakening rapidly as it remained over land. Hundreds of home were destroyed and 272,000 residents were impacted, according to a China state media report. Nanmadol was the 11th tropical cyclone to strike China this year.
- A heatwave across parts of Europe near the end of August brought temperatures of 35C) to northern Italy. At least 10 people reportedly died due to heat-related illnesses on August 23rd-24th. Cape Carbonara in Sardinia reached a record high 47C, according to local media reports. The Austrian tourism industry welcomed the heatwave. After cooler-than-normal temperatures and rainy weather during much of June and July, the warm temperatures were expected to provide a boost to that sector. Switzerland, Germany, France, and Spain were also impacted, along with the Balkan countries of Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, and Croatia, where heat warnings were issued on August 25th advising residents to stay indoors and drink plenty of water. In nearby Hungary, similar heat warnings were posted. In Greece, 2,500 hectares of forest and cropland were destroyed, prompting officials to declare a state of emergency. Numerous other wildfires were also reported across several countries. The heat wave was due to strong high pressure over Central Europe and subtropical air from northern Africa.
- Heavy rains during August 26th-29th in the southwestern Nigerian city of Ibadan led to flooding that killed at least 25 people and displaced 3,000. August is in the middle of Nigeria's rainy season, which lasts from April to September. However, according to a media report, rainfall is higher than normal this year and this flood was the worst in the past 12 years.
Rainfall was also heavy in part of East Africa. On August 29th, torrential rains caused a huge landslide in the Bulambuli district of Uganda near the Kenyan border that killed at least 23 people.
- New York's Central Park has just broken its all-time wettest single month on record thanks to Hurricane Irene today. The old record was 428mm set in September 1882 and the monthly total will today surpass 431mm. Philadelphia as well (with precipitation records dating back to 1819). They may end up close to 500mm for the month depending how much more rain falls today.
Hurricane Irene brought torrential rainfall to parts of New England also. Vermont, a landlocked state, suffered some of the worst damage from record heavy rains that led to catastrophic flooding in the state. Several towns, including Brattleboro and Bennington, were underwater. According to NOAA's U.S. Records, 26 monitoring stations, including 11 in Vermont, broke their all-time daily maximum precipitation records between the 27th and 29th. In New York, the Passaic River, as measured by the National Weather Service at the Pine Brook gauge, rose above major flood stage on August 28th and reached a new record height of 7.35m on the 30th, surpassing the previous record stage of 7.1m. Several towns and areas along the East Coast were cut off as roads and bridges were washed away. Newark also set a record for its highest recorded daily rainfall on the 28th, at 227mm. Damages from the storm were initially estimated to be around $7 billion U.S. dollars.
- By the end of August, Oklahoma City had seen 58 days of 100F (37.8C) temperatures during 2011, breaking the old record of 50 set in 1980. Twenty deaths were attributed to the extreme heat in Oklahoma. In north Texas, Dallas/Fort Worth had 40 consecutive days (July 2nd-August 10th) of maximum temperatures reaching 100F or greater, second only to the 42-day streak in 1980 (June 23rd-August 3rd). As of August 31st, Dallas had recorded 65 days of triple digit temperatures during this calendar year, second to the 69 days in 1980. Additionally, on August 17th, Dallas/Fort Worth broke the record for the most number of days in a calendar year with minimum temperatures above 80F (26.7C), at 40 days, breaking the old record of 39 in 1998. That number rose to 53 by the end of the month.
World weather news, July 2011
Heavy rains flooded hundreds of homes and several streets in Copenhagen, disrupting traffic and delaying trains.
Calls were received from more than a thousand homeowners whose cellars were flooded; four main roads surrounding the city were shut. Over 150mm of rain fell during the day.
A cold wave in Chile has brought snow to the Atacama desert, a region known for being the driest place in the world.
According to the national emergency centre in Chile, the area had not seen this amount of snow in close to 20 years.
Some areas received up to 80cm of snow, leading to closed roads and stuck vehicles.
According to local media, authorities rescued 36 people on Tuesday, whose bus had been stuck in heavy snow.
The temperature in Santiago, Chile dropped to as low as -8.5C on Wednesday.
A vast dust storm, up to 50 miles wide and gusting as fast as 60mph, swept across the US city of Phoenix on Tuesday night, choking the streets, toppling trees and briefly closing the local airport.
The storm began near Tucson, the local Arizona Republic newspaper reported, before rolling more than 100 miles north-west towards the state capital. A time-lapse video by the paper showed the storm completely enveloping downtown Phoenix at about 7.30pm local time (3.30am BST).
The city's airport closed for an hour, with the Federal Aviation Administration warning about continued flight delays.
The storm caused some power blackouts, leaving up to 8,000 people without electricity and police directing traffic. In one area live power cables brought down by the dust and winds briefly caused a fire. Elsewhere, streets were blocked by toppled trees.
While dust storms remain more common in the Middle East and, increasingly, northern China, they have occasionally plagued more arid parts of the US, most famously during the 'Dust Bowl' era of the 1930s.
A fast moving storm has dumped heavy rain in the Denver (USA) area, causing minor street flooding and trapping some people in their cars in high water in the afternoon.
In South Korea, 12 people were killed and four others were missing due to monsoon rain-induced landslides in the provinces of South Jeolla, North Jeolla, and South Gyeongsang. More than 400 mm of precipitation fell over South Jeolla province. The rains flooded more than 180 homes and more than 300 people were evacuated.
The sixth named storm and second typhoon of the 2011 Pacific typhoon season developed east of the Marianas on the 11th. Ma-on quickly gained strength and became a powerful Category 4 super typhoon on the 15th, with wind speeds of 212km/h as it moved northeastward toward the southern coast of Japan, according to NASA. The storm weakened significantly as it moved toward land and had been downgraded to a Category 1 typhoon when it briefly made landfall over southern Tokushima Prefecture on the 19th. Due to its slow-moving nature, copious rainfall poured over the region. Precipitation totalling 850mm was measured over the village of Umaji in Kochi Prefecture the same day Ma-on made landfall - a single-day Japanese record. Total rainfall from the typhoon exceeded 1000mm on the Pacific side of Japan in some locations. One person died and at least 60 people were injured due to the torrential rain and strong winds. More than 120 flights were cancelled and local train services were disrupted.
Heavy rainfall in northeastern Brazil led to flooding and mudslides across the region. nine people were killed in the state of Pernambuco with two others missing, and one person perished in Paraiba. More than 340 families lost their homes. Sixteen dams burst in the town of Lagoa Seca, where 250mm of rain fell - an amount roughly equal to the July monthly average rainfall, according to the local government.
Arctic sea ice extent declined at a rapid pace through the first half of July, and is now tracking below the year 2007, which saw the record minimum September extent. The rapid decline in the past few weeks is related to persistent above-average temperatures and an early start to melt. Snow cover over Northern Eurasia was especially low in May and June, continuing the pattern seen in April.
As of today the Arctic sea ice extent was 7.56 million square kilometers, 2.24 million square kilometers below the 1979 to 2000 average. Sea ice is particularly low in the Barents, Kara, and Laptev Seas (the far northern Atlantic region), Hudson Bay and Baffin Bay.
According to The Pategonia Times, up to 2.7m of snow fell in the city of Longquimay in the country's east central region during July 17th-20th. The Chilean president said that this was the worst polar front to affect the region in 30 years. An estimated 6,500 residents living in mainly rural areas were isolated due to the storm.
On July 19th, the United Nations offically declared a famine in the southern Bakool and Lower Shabelle regions of Somalia, the first time famine has been declared in this country since 1992. Overall, it was estimated that 10 to 11 million people in East Africa were in need of food from the drought, including 3.7 million in Somalia. In total, the areas considered to be in a state of emergency and classified as "critical" be the U.N. OCHA included the coastal region of Somalia northeast of Mogadishu, far eastern and southern corners of Ethiopia, and Kenya's northeast frontier. The central drought area lies in a nomadic region where people rely heavily on their livestock. This year, in some regions of Somalia, more than 80 percent of the livestock was destroyed, including many camels who are normally considered to be drought resistant.
Wild weather drenched coastal New South Wales with Sydney recording its wettest July day in 23 years.
Almost 80mm of rain fell in Sydney.
The record downpour almost ended in tragedy for one seven-year-old boy, who slipped into a stormwater drain and was swept away. The torrent carried him beneath a roadway near Newcastle for more than 50m before he managed to cling to the side of the drain and call for help.
The deluge brought down trees and tore open roofs from the Illawarra to the mid-north coast, prompting more than 250 calls for help to the SES.
A sizzling heat wave broke 16 records in communities across Canada Wednesday, despite cooler temperatures in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Markham, Ont., was the day's hotspot at 35.9C, breaking the record of 35.6C set back in 1991.
Eight Quebec towns broke their own high temperature records, along with six in Ontario and two in Manitoba. The regions saw temperatures in the low to mid-30s, with increasing humidity meaning humidex values in the low 40s.
But this isn't the hottest weather Canada has ever seen, said CBC meteorologist Nick Czernkovich.
"Some of the records that go back into the 1930s show much more in the way of heat," he said. "On July 5, 1937, Saskatchewan saw temperatures into the mid-40s, actually at 45 degrees," he said.
"The deadliest heat wave came in July of 1936 when temperatures exceeded 44 degrees in Manitoba and Ontario, and 1,180 deaths were attributed to that particular heat wave."
In northern Ontario, dozens of wildfires triggered by lightning and tinder-dry conditions continue to burn.
A heatwave and stifling humidity battered the central and eastern United States, leaving residents searching for the coolest oasis to fend off record temperatures that have left over 20 dead.
"The dangerous heatwave continues across much of the central and eastern United States, with excessive heat and humidity expected to expand into the Ohio Valley and East Coast states for the remainder of the week," the National Weather Service (NWS) said on its website.
Across the country the deaths of 22 people have been attributed to the heatwave, which has left some 17 states from Texas to Michigan battling temperatures over 100F (37C).
A heat index of 123F (51C) was registered in Iowa, in the central United States.
In Oklahoma City, forecasters said the city has had 27 days this year of triple digit temperatures. Things were so bad in the town of Enid, Oklahoma, that the asphalt at a busy intersection crumbled in the heat.
Cities like Chicago and Detroit have opened cooling centers. And in Omaha, Nebraska, one amusement park owner had to put two tonnes of ice cubes into his swimming pools to lower the water's temperature to 82F.
NOAA's heat alert procedures are based mainly on Heat Index Values. The Heat Index, sometimes referred to as the apparent temperature and given in degrees Fahrenheit, is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored with the actual air temperature.
The National Weather Service will initiate alert procedures when the Heat Index is expected to exceed 105-110F (depending on local climate) for at least 2 consecutive days.
See also heat index details.
Floods triggered by monsoon rains in southern Bangladesh have killed 6 people, displaced more than 10,000 and washed away shrimp farms close to the Bay of Bengal.
Unusually heavy snow fell in South Africa. Up to 60cm of snow fell across large parts of eastern South Africa on July 25th-26th; the area typically receives a dusting of snow once or twice each year. High winds accompanied the frozen precipitation. Major transport routes, including highways and shipping, were disrupted during the storm.
Two back-to-back tropical storms left their marks in parts of East Asia near the end of July. Tropical Storm Nock-Ten made landfall over the eastern mountain areas of Luzon, the Phillipines' main island, on July 27th, leaving at least 66 people dead and 17 more missing due to flooding and landslides. More than 645,000 residents were affected by the storm and damages were estimated to be about $24 million U.S. dollars. The storm moved across the South China Sea and was also responsible for two deaths in the southern Chinese province of Hainan on July 29th and three deaths as it hit Vietnam on the 30th. Nock-Ten was followed by Typhoon Muifa, which did not make landfall over the Philippines, but heavy rains from the storm led to four deaths in the country on July 31st. Nock-Ten and Muifa were the 10th and 11th storms to affect the Philippines to date in 2011. The country typically experiences an average of 20 named storms per year.
Excessive heat was not the only extreme event to occur in the midwestern United States during July. On the 27th, 190mm of rain fell over Dubuque, Iowa, shattering the previous daily record of 79mm set in 1896, according to preliminary reports from the National Weather Service. That rainfall contributed to the all-time wettest month for the city - 407mm - breaking the old record of 393mm set in September 1965. Chicago, Illinois reported its wettest July on record, at 283mm, breaking the old record of 243mm set more than 120 years ago in 1889. Much of the heavy rain was accompanied by thunderstorms. Tens of thousands of residents lost power in Chicago and Detroit due to hard-hitting storms.
A rare tornado struck the far eastern Russian city of Blagoveshchensk. The twister lasted 13 minutes in duration, killing one person, injuring dozens more, and leaving an estimated $2.9 million U.S. dollars in damages. According to a Russian meteorologist, this was the first tornado on record to hit a major Russian city; Blagoveshchensk has a population of around 220,000.
Much of July was defined by excessive heat across the eastern two-thirds of the United States. Millions of Americans were affected by the temperatures, which, when combined with relative humidity, produced heat indexes of 43C or higher across a wide swath of the nation, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Heat index values surpassed 49C at eight NWS stations on the 19th, including 54C at Newton, Iowa. Interstates and highways in several states buckled from the heat and thousands of farm animals housed indoors succumbed to the hot weather. For the month, 78 all-time high maximum temperature records were broken along with 209 all-time high minimum temperature records. The minimum temperature records are particularly noteworthy because the higher nighttime temperatures give people less reprieve from the extreme daytime heat. On July 12th, Richmond, Virginia recorded its all-time high minimum temperature of 27C. The heat wave brought at least 100F (38C) temperatures to Raleigh, North Carolina every day from July 20th to the 24th, breaking a new record for the most consecutive days the area has recorded triple digit temperatures. Newark, New Jersey sweated through its all-time highest temperature of 108F (42C) on the 22nd. At least 64 human fatalities were blamed on the heat, with countless more heat-related illnesses reported. Well over 140 million people were under heat advisories at some point during the month.
Abnormal heat broke out from the Caspian region, up the Volga valley and into much of European Russia during July. Records show that Moscow was 6.0C above normal for the month as a whole.
World weather news, June 2011
- At least four people were killed when tornadoes and severe storms tore through heavily populated western and central Massachusetts, causing widespread damage in 19 communities.
Tornadoes are rare but not unheard of in the northeastern United States.
- Rain-triggered floods in southwestern China have killed 21 people and left 37 others missing while damaging roads, bridges and thousands of homes.
The 21 deaths were reported in Guizhou province's Wangmo county, where 31 people were missing.
Some 45,000 residents in worst-hit Wangmo county have evacuated the area flood waters inundated Monday, said Tang Quanshu of the county's flood prevention office. She said another 3,000 people were still stranded.
- The death toll from days of heavy rains that triggered flooding and mudslides in earthquake-ravaged Haiti has climbed to 23.
- Record and near-record warm temperatures dominated the eastern half of the United States near the beginning of June. Five deaths - in Wisconsin, Tennessee, and Maryland - were attributed to to the heat. Milwaukee, Wisconsin reached a record high temperature of 97F on the 7th, breaking the previous record of 95F set in 1933. That same day, Memphis, Tennessee, the same area where two of the fatalities occurred, recorded a high temperature of 98F, breaking the old record of 96F set in 1953. In fact, Memphis toppled maximum temperatures records every day from the 4th through the 8th. In Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, the temperature soared to 103F, shattering the previous record of 95F set in 2004. This was the warmest day on record for the region since July 31st, 1988 and second warmest in the past 69 years. Fortunately, no heat-related deaths were reported in Minnesota during this time.
- Ten people working at a farm in County Londonderry (Northern Ireland) had a lucky escape after what they described as a tornado struck it in the afternoon.
It ripped the roof off the barn. A car was also destroyed when a wall collapsed on it.
Farmer Fergie Kelly, said the workers were trimming cows' feet in the barn near Eglinton, when they heard a bang.
- Wichita, Kansas experienced a "heat burst" last night. Their temperature spiked from around 80F to 100F near midnight, then dropped back down. Their humidity went from around 55% to 7%, then back up, all in less than two hours.
- Record spring rainfall has caused devastation for Ohio (USA soybean and corn farmers. The vast reduction in planting time and flood waters in the southern region of the state will likely mean higher produce costs for consumers. The soggy spring and livestock manure run-off may cost Ohio farmers $1 billion and leave thousands of residents wanting for naturally grown produce.
Massive flooding not only prevented the spring planting season from getting started on time, but caused contamination of waterways. Livestock manure in a solid form is a superb natural fertilizer for farm purposes. Once flood waters ravaged the southern region of the state, the stock piles of livestock manure turned from solid to liquid and ran over fields and into ponds, lakes and sunk into well reserves.
- The death toll from the deadliest tornado (at Joplin on 22 May) since modern record keeping began has climbed to 151 people. As the death toll stands now, the tornado is the seventh deadliest on record and the worst single twister since 1947. Official records were not kept until 1950. As many as 181 people died in Woodward, Okla., on 9 April 1947, when a 100-mile long path of destruction was caused by an F5 tornado.
- A third day of unseasonable heat blistered the eastern half of the USA, making tornado cleanup miserable in Massachusetts and sending country music fans in Tennessee to hospitals, while the surge in demand for energy knocked out power to sections of downtown Detroit.
In New Jersey, records for the date of 102F were recorded at the Newark and Atlantic City airports, beating their respective previous records of 99F and
98F set in 2008. The temperature also reached 102F at Ronald Reagan National Airport near Washington, matching a record set in 1874. Philadelphia hit 99F, 1F higher than a record set in 1933.
- Six people were killed and 27 others were missing at sea as Tropical Storm Sarika headed out of Philippine with many communities still flooded.
Four people drowned in the major southern island of Mindanao earlier this week while a boy died after falling into a swollen creek in Batangas city near Manila, and a woman drowned on the central island of Tablas.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said 26 Filipino fishermen were missing near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
- Parts of England are officially in a drought following the dry spring, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has said.
Areas of East Anglia are in drought, with parts of the Midlands, south-west and south-east of England in a "near-drought" state.
In the drought-affected areas, Anglian Water and Cambridge Water say there is no threat to public water supplies.
But Severn Trent Water says there may be restrictions if rainfall stays low.
And Thames Water, which serves London and the Thames Valley, has reassured its customers that hosepipe bans are unlikely this year. Rainfall for the current and past months can be seen here.
- Torrential rain brought a red-flag suspension to the Canadian Grand Prix after 25 of the scheduled 70 laps. The race had started behind the safety car because of the wet conditions.
- Above-average temperatures affected the southern United States, with drought-parched west Texas and north Florida bearing the brunt of the heat.
A high of 110F is forecast for Midland, Texas, which would shatter the city's daily record of 105F set in 1945.
- Sussex conservationists in the UK say the unusually warm and dry spring weather has increased the risk of Dutch elm disease.
The tree disease, which is one of the most serious in the world, is caused by a fungus spread by beetles.
The only way to control it is to cut down and burn infected trees.
There are about 50,000 mature English elms, thought to be the UK's largest collection of the trees, between Eastbourne and Shoreham.
- Flights into and out of Perth in Western Australia have been cancelled due to the volcanic eruption in Chile.
Airlines Qantas, Virgin and Jetstar said the ash cloud was too low around Perth for aircraft to fly safely.
Winds have carried particles 5,600 miles (9,000km) from the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcano range.
The eruption, which began on 4 June, has caused levels of flight disruption not seen since an Icelandic volcano paralysed Europe in 2010.
Experts monitoring the Puyehue volcano believe its eruption is likely to grow more violent in the coming days.
Previous eruptions in 1960 and in 1921 lasted for about two months.
See also here.
- Heavy rain has caused flooding in eastern Australia that has forced 2,000 people to leave their homes and isolated thousands of other residents.
New South Wales has declared some northern parts of the state disaster areas. Heavy rain has fallen for three days and more was expected overnight.
- China's flood control agency says that coastal Zhejiang province's main river is at its highest level since 1955. It said that the Qiantang River was 2.4m above safety levels. A dyke breached in the province on Thursday and flooded 18 villages.Heavy rains elsewhere in the province triggered flooding and landslides that toppled about 2,500 houses and flooded 350 roads.
- Hurricane Beatriz pounded the Pacific coast of Mexico, forcing tourists to flee the beaches as strong winds uprooted trees and heavy rains flooded roads. Maximum sustained winds on Tuesday morning were around 80 mph, with gusts considerably higher.
- A line of supercell thunderstorms moved eastwards over Germany and Austria, then continued across the Czech Republic and Poland overnight. These storms brought their typical strong winds and large hail, and gusts of over 80mph were recorded in western Austria. Torrential rain of 20-30mm in just a few hours caused localised flooding.
- The ash cloud affecting eastern Australia has cleared, and airlines are returning to normal operations this afternoon. Hobart will continue to be affected until at least tomorrow (Thursday), due to ash from the Southern Ocean continuing to drift into airspace over Tasmania.
Director of the Bureau of Meteorology's Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in Darwin, Dr Andrew Tupper, said current long term modelling predicts any third pass to be well south of Australia, more dispersed and unlikely to cause widespread disruption to aviation.
"The ash cloud from Cordón Caulle in southern Chile has circled the globe, and passed through Australian airspace for the second time this week. The last time volcanic ash circled the globe in the southern hemisphere was 1991. The ash affecting Australia now is from the initial eruption, more than two weeks ago and generally between 8km and 13km in altitude, with the leading edge at an altitude of approximately 10km," said Dr Tupper.
Cordón Caulle, part of the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle complex in southern Chile, erupted on Saturday 4 June 2011. The initial eruption reached a height of at least 15km. The volcano is still erupting, but to a lower height of 3-4km, with this ash dispersing over the Atlantic Ocean.
- In Japan, hot and humid southerly winds caused temperatures to soar to more than 10C above average. A high of 39.8C was reported in Kumagaya on Friday, the hottest June day on record, beating the previous highest of 38.3C, recorded on 27 June, 1991 in Shizuoka.
- Tropical storm Haima affected south China's Hainan province before travelling south-west to northern Vietnam, bringing strong winds and torrential rain. Heavy rain affected Thanh Hoa, Vietnam, with almost 500mm falling during Friday and Saturday.
- Eighteen schoolchildren and their teacher have been killed in a lightning strike in Uganda, police said.
The country has one of the highest rates of lightning deaths in the world and its capital, Kampala, has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.
The lightning hit the victims in a classroom at a school in Kiryandongo, 130 miles north of Kampala. Another 38 children were admitted to hospital.
The east African country has suffered several fatal lightning strikes in recent weeks during unseasonably heavy rains.
- Manitoba has been fighting floods since April. The Red River flood is an annual occurrence and inundates farm land and cause ring dikes to be raised and then drains into Lake Winnipeg and by mid-June is over. This year the heavy rains and melt from the west caused most of the flooding to be on going in the west of the province. The Assiniboine River comes from Saskatchewan through various dams on it and its tributaries and then joins the Red River in Winnipeg and then into Lake Winnipeg. Part of the water from from the Assiniboine is diverted around Portage La Prairie west of Winnipeg and into Lake Manitoba which in dry years is necessary to keep the water level stable. The rise in this lake has caused the destruction of many houses and cottages and the evacuation of thousands of people, along the shore and in farm land to the south as forced breaches in the dikes have flooded thousands of acres of farms. The entire area is part of the lake bed of pre-historic Lake Agassiz and the rising lake levels have caused a slow motion flood that is drowning out farms in the area. A ring dike is being constructed in St. Laurent, a village on the shore of Lake Manitoba.
The Souris river drains eastern Saskatchewan into North Dakota and then into the Assiniboine River about 25 miles east of Brandon MB. The river winds along a deep U shape into North Dakota and then back into Canada about 100 miles west of Winnipeg. This tributary of the Assiniboine flooded the city of Minot ND (pop 44,000) about 4000 homes, 11,000 evacuated @ June 22, This river crest will come in Melita, Souris and Wawanesa in Manitoba around June 30th and and then wind its way east through Portage,Winnipeg and into Lake Winnipeg. Small towns such as Melita have ten foot of extra diking to control the river through the town but the geography and the rapid rise of the water level due to heavy rain in the upper water shed in mid-June made it impossible to defend Minot and the towns upstream.
The flow in the Assiniboine is unprecedented and the tributaries are all flowing at sometimes as much as double normal rates for spring flooding. The provincial gov't said on June 28th that water levels would remain high through the winter of 2011-2012. The land on the prairie was wet from the fall and winter and the crops of grain and beans will be reduced this year. "Bruce Burnett, director of weather and market analysis for the Canadian Wheat Board, said Tuesday that somewhere between 2.4 million and 3.2 million hectares of farmland will go unseeded in the West, mostly in Manitoba and Saskatchewan."(@10,000 sq.mi.) Most of this food is export crop.
- Some parts of the Horn of Africa have been hit by the worst drought in 60 years, the UN says.
More than 10 million people are thought to be affected across the region.
The UN now classifies large areas of Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya as a crisis or an emergency.
A prolonged failure of rains, which began in late 2010, is now taking its toll.
Food prices have risen substantially across the region, pushing many moderately poor households over the edge.
The price of grain in affected areas in Kenya is 30-80% above average.
World weather news, May 2011
Massive waterspouts have been filmed spinning near the Honolulu International Airport in Hawaii.
Intense storms have drenched the area in recent days but the waterspouts were far enough offshore that no damage was caused.
- A long-lasting dry period persists over large parts of Europe since January 2011. According to data of the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC), especially the months February to April 2011 had a considerable rain deficit over large parts of Europe. The 3-month totals over this period ranged between 40 and 80% of the long-term mean 1951-2000 over large areas, in many parts of central Europe even below 40%.
The United Kingdom had extremely dry conditions in March and April especially in its southeastern parts and experienced its driest March since 1953. The other parts of western and central Europe all had a dry February, March and April. 2011 was up to now one of the driest 10 years in nearly whole Switzerland since 1864. April 2011 was one of the 10 driest April months in Germany since 1881, in continuation of similarly dry April months in 2007, 2009 and 2010. Also the preceding winter 2010/11 was very dry at least in western Europe, causing a very low soil moisture during March and April.
- Parts of the Mississippi Delta (USA) are beginning to flood, sending white-tail deer and wild pigs swimming to dry land, submerging yacht clubs and closing casino boats, and compelling residents to flee from their homes.
The sliver of land in northwest Mississippi, home to hardship and bluesman Muddy Waters, is in the crosshairs of the slowly surging river, just like many other areas along the banks of the big river.
To points much farther north, thousands face the decision of whether to stay or go as high water kept on rolling down the Mississippi and its tributaries, threatening to soak communities over the next week or two. The flooding is already breaking high-water records that have stood since the 1930s.
In Memphis, emergency officials warned that residents may need to leave their homes as the river rises toward an expected crest Wednesday of 48 feet - about 3 feet higher than Thursday. The record in Memphis, 48.7 feet, was set in 1937.
In Kentucky, authorities closed 250 roads in 50 counties. The Coast Guard rescued at least 28 people, 12 cats, and three dogs from rising waters.
In Missouri, the Army Corps of Engineers blew a third hole in a levee to relieve pressure and prevent catastrophic flooding there and in Illinois and Kentucky. The Mississippi continued to rise in Caruthersville, where a high-mark set in 1937 was surpassed on Wednesday, but was generally going down elsewhere in the state. The water was expected to crest Sunday in Caruthersville at 49.5 feet, just a half-foot below the top of the floodwall protecting the community of 6,700.
In Louisiana, National Guardsmen used sandbags to fortify levees in the northeast part of the state, and the state penitentiary stood ready to evacuate prisoners. Officials were planning to open a spillway in the southern part of the state to divert river water.
In Arkansas, truckers tried to rearrange their routes to avoid a 23-mile stretch of Interstate 40, a major link between the East and West coasts, where the rising White River forced the closing of the westbound lanes. Drivers were forced to take a 120-mile detour toward Little Rock.
- The tornadoes and thunderstorms that carved a swathe of destruction through the US southeast in late April left as much as $5.5 billion in insured damages.
Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide estimated the cost at $3.7-5.5 billion for the extraordinarily violent storms of April 22-28, which left 354 dead across seven states.
The deadliest tornado outbreak since 1925 destroyed thousands of homes, including an estimated 5,000 alone in the hard-hit Alabama city of Tuscaloosa.
- The Mississippi River may have reached its highest level at Memphis early on Tuesday just inches below the all-time record, according to the National Weather Service, as a wall of water moved south toward the Gulf of Mexico.
The level of the largest river in North America may have reached its peak at 47.87 feet on Tuesday morning in Memphis, and it has dropped since then, according to Andy Sniezak, meteorologist for the weather service.
Downstream, the U.S. government opened a spillway on Monday for the first time since 2008 to relieve flooding pressure on the low-lying city of New Orleans.
The government also prepared to open a second Louisiana spillway to ease flows at New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The state of Louisiana began to relocate inmates from the Angola prison.
Barge traffic is moving along the river although some restrictions have been applied to some sections based on size, speed and motor power of barges.
Downstream from Memphis, communities without levees north and south of Vicksburg, Mississippi, already were inundated and other residents near the swollen banks of the river eyed their flood protections uneasily.
Since the massive flood of 1927 that killed some 1,000 people, major improvements have been made in flood control with the building of dams and levees, reservoirs and floodways. Those fortifications have held all along the river this year.
- Tropical storm Aere left the Philippinesafter killing 24 people.
The storm was heading towards Japanese waters but had weakened after hitting the Philippines on Sunday, according to the Philippine weather bureau.
The death toll in the Philippines from Aere climbed from 15 to 24, the nation's disaster agency reported after gathering more complete information from remote provinces.
The Philippines is battered by an average of 20 storms or typhoons annually. Hundreds of people die each year due to the storms, with many of the victims living in poor, coastal communities.
- Eighteen-year-old twin sisters were killed on Wednesday when a tree fell on their home during thunderstorms that swept through the town of Ellenboro, North Carolina.
High winds from a southward-moving band of storms caused damage and power outages across western North Carolina starting about 10 p.m. Tuesday night and up until 1 a.m. Wednesday.
"There were big swaths of wind damage, lots of trees blown down," said Blair Holloway, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office covering the Charlotte, N.C., area.
Some areas reported hail up to two inches in diameter, he said.
- The UK should appoint a "snow supremo" to try to avoid another winter of chaos at airports, MPs have recommended.
The Transport Select Committee examined the impact of heavy snow last December which shut Heathrow, Gatwick and major train lines, and left roads impassable.
It said a culture change was needed in the rail industry to ensure the welfare of passengers was taken seriously.
The committee said the current seasonal predictions from the Met Office "do not provide a firm basis on which decision-makers can act with confidence".
The report singled out Heathrow, which was at a virtual standstill for days when the snow hit.
- In this period 116 large wildfires burned across the Canadian province of Alberta, and 34 of those fires were deemed to be out of control. By the 16th, nearly 33,000 hectares were burning across the province. The fires impacted the oil and natural gas industry across the northern parts of the province, shutting down thousands of barrels of output. The Canadian government sent 1,000 firefighters, 100 helicopters, and 20 water tankers to battle the blazes. The hardest hit town was Slave Lake, where all 10,000 residents were ordered to leave the area. Many of the residents fled to the outskirts of the town and set up a refugee camp in a Wal-Mart parking lot, while many others fled further. The fires had cut off all exit routes except for a single highway heading east, but the heavy traffic slowed the exodus. By the 17th, over 40 percent of Slave Lake had been destroyed by the flames.
- Monsoon is likely to enter India through the southern Kerala coast on 31 May, marking the start of the four-month rainy season that is forecast to be normal this year, possibly boosting the farm sector.
"The date of onset of south-west monsoon over Kerala is likely to be on May 31, with a model error of plus, minus of four days," state-run India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a statement.
- The unusually wet rainy season across northern Colombia continued into early May 2011. To-date the heavy spring rains have killed at least 425 people, left 482 people missing, and caused billions of dollars worth of damage. In all, nearly three million people have been affected. According to an official from Colombia's weather service, the country has received at least five times the typical rainfall for the season. This flooding is on the heels of Colombia's second deadliest flood year (2010), and many of the rivers and streams had not fully receded before this new round of rain. According to satellite data, up to 810mm of rain fell across the northern parts of Colombia during the first 14 days of May.
- In Manitoba, Canada snowmelt and heavy rains created incredible flooding along the Assiniboine River. The flood levels were determined to be at a 1 in 300 year flood level. Early during the spring snowmelt, the worst flooding was expected to occur along the Red River, which flows northward from the U.S. and through Winnipeg, but instead the brunt of the flooding occurred to the west, along the Red River\u2019s tributary. To prevent severe flooding further downstream on major population centers, the Canadian government breached a levee to divert water from the river into Lake Manitoba along a spillway. The diverted water flooded nearly 22,500 hectares of farmland and destroyed 150 homes, much less damage than what would have occurred if an unintentional breach had occurred or if the flood waters made it to Winnipeg. Property and economic damages were expected to surpass one billion dollars.
- The Mississippi River has crested in some areas and is causing widespread economic damage as it widens to more than three miles. Memphis, Tenn., and Tunica, Miss., are just a couple cities that have fallen victim to the inundation of the Mississippi River into farmland, residential and commercial areas along the river, as reported by the Associated Press.
In some cases flood waters from the Mississippi have not receded for three months in past floods.
There have been several floods along the Mississippi in the past but the following caused the most damage.
- Great Midwest Flood of 1993:
The Great Midwest Flood of 1993 was the most devastating flood in the United States at the time. The USGS report stated, "Near-record and record precipitation in June and July, falling on soil already saturated by as much as twice normal early spring rains, caused these record floods."
The damage that was incurred during this flood had far-reaching effects. The flood took 38 lives, caused $20 billion damage and destroyed 50,000 homes. The damage to farmlands and native vegetation was a long-term situation that may be in danger of occurring again with the latest flood.
- 1927 Mississippi Flood
The flood of 1927 was the widest ranging flood of the Mississippi River. The flood covered 11 states from Illinois to Louisiana. One thousand people lost their lives in the flood in the Mississippi Delta and 600,000 were left homeless. Mississippi History Now detailed the flood and its far reaching effects.
- 1937 Mississippi Flood
There is debate among those living along the Mississippi as to which flood was the most devastating. In 1937 those along the Mississippi were suppose to have learned from the mistakes of 1927. The flooding in 1937 was a result of the levees along the Mississippi holding but the tributaries running into the river flooded. Once again 11 states were under water resulting in a total of 12,721 square miles, according to the Arkansas historical site.
- As the Mississippi flood waters continued moving southwards, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to open the Morganza Spillway and the Bonnet Carre Spillway in eastern Louisiana. This was meant to protect the highly populated areas of Baton Rouge and New Orleans and the infrastructure around the ports of the cities. The ports of Southern Louisiana handle more tonnage of freight than any other region in the country. The diversion of the water into the Morganza spillway flooded thousands of acres of farmland and homes as the water moved towards the Atchafalaya River. This marks only the second time that the spillway has had to be opened, with the first being in 1973. The Bonnet Carre Spillway diverted water from the Mississippi, around New Orleans, into Lake Pontchartrain, causing fears of damage to the lake's fragile ecosystem. The total cost of the damage along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers will take several months to determine, but will likely exceed several billion U.S. dollars.
- Ukraine's national broadcaster has suspended its live weather broadcasts after a forecaster commented on the country's gloomy political climate.
The National Meteorological Centre's chief meteorologist praised the beauty of spring before berating "disorder, lawlessness and injustice" in Ukraine.
Lyudmila Savchenko was broadcasting live on National Radio when she made the disparaging remarks.
Forecasts will be now pre-recorded and edited before being aired.
- Late winter storms are packing a punch to the Rockies, piling snowpack on top of already record levels across the West where officials are concerned about historic flooding, avalanches and mudslides.
The northern Utah mountains could see up to a foot of fresh snow this week with a weather system that is dropping rain elsewhere and will soon head toward Colorado and Wyoming.
The winter storms are expected to dump up to 18 inches of snow in the northern Colorado mountains, where snowpack is already at up to 200 percent above average.
The record snowpack levels are almost too deep to measure in some parts of northern Colorado and have officials concerned about major flooding across the state's northern corners and down the eastern plains.
Utah, Wyoming and Colorado have already seen some minor flooding with recent warm-ups, but many rivers and streams have receded because of the return of cold weather and more snow locking the water back up in the mountains for now.
Snow in the higher elevations, where the greatest snowpack has accumulated, hasn't even begun to melt in most of places.
Wyoming's mountain snowpack already is at up to 250 percent of normal in some areas above the state's major river basins, which is where it will all come down eventually in the form of water, likely deluges.
- The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins on 1 June, looks to be another above-average year, US forecasters say, adding that residents along the Gulf and East Coast should make sure now that they know what to do if ordered to evacuate.
Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center are calling for a 70 percent chance of 12 to 18 storms with tropical-storm-force winds or higher.
Of these storms, which would receive names ranging from Arlene to Sean, six to 10 are expected to grow into hurricanes. Three to six of these are likely to become major hurricanes, with winds in excess of 111 miles an hour.
The outlook brackets a similar forecast from Colorado State University's Tropical Meteorology Project.
In April, the most recent outlook, Philip Klotzbach and William Gray, who pioneered seasonal hurricane forecasts for the Atlantic, called for 16 named storms, of which nine are expected to become hurricanes. Of those nine, five are expected to become major hurricanes.
In a typical season, the Atlantic basin might see 11 named storms, six hurricanes, and two major hurricanes.
- France, the EU's top wheat producer, has formed a national "droughtcommittee", limiting water consumption in many regions and lifting curbs on the use of fallow land for grazing.
The European Commission has just approved in principle France's request for an advance on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) payments its farmers are due to receive in December, bringing them forward to 16 October.
With parts of Europe seeing less than 40% of their long-term average rainfall between February and April, fellow EU states may follow suit.
Cracked earth and browned leaves are visible across the Ile-de-France region.
According to French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire, the dry spell may hurt livestock farmers just as hard, as they face both a shortage of feed and rising feed prices.
Farmers in the south-west German region of Rhineland-Palatinate were fearing "serious financial losses" from crop failure and mounting irrigation costs, the country's Deutsche Welle website wrote earlier this month.
In the English county of Hertfordshire, cereals sown this spring have been practically wiped out, according to a report this week.
- The hottest time of year is at hand across much of the South Asian Subcontinent. And it looms for the weeks ahead across across Arabia to Iran, where temperatures peak in June and July, depending upon location.
Central, north-central and northwestern India have already seen near, if not above, 45C on the hottest days. These same areas have been hottest with respect to normal, temperature departures from normal being mostly 1-2C.
Pakistan has been even hotter, as is normally true, with temperatures to at least 47-48C on the Indus River Plain. Late May to early June will likely bring even hotter weather here, as the hottest time of year is offset.
Oman to southeastern Iraq and southwestern Iran, including much of the Arabian Khaleej, has had highs near 45C during the last week to 10 days. Hot spots have had 46-47C.
- The Australian Bureau of Meteorology's latest climate update has announced the final curtain call La Niña.
This most recent La Niña [2010-2011] will go down in the record books as one of the strongest in living memory. It's been nearly 40 years [1975-76] since Australians have witnessed a La Niña event of this intensity.
The outlook for winter is for conditions to stay neutral. Over the coming months changes in the Pacific Ocean will give a clearer picture of the likely conditions for the coming Austral spring and summer, but at this stage it's a waiting game.
La Niña typically brings wetter conditions for Australia with cooler days, warmer nights and increased tropical cyclone activity. The 2010-11 La Niña brought all this and more, breaking rainfall records and delivering devastating floods and cyclones.
- Communities across the middle of the USA cleaned up from more tornadoes and high winds after another stormy night, while states further East began facing severe weather problems of their own.
A wave of storms started hitting the South and East Thursday afternoon, with softball-sized hail in Georgia and high winds downing trees in upstate New York.
Thunderstorms accompanied by heavy rains and strong winds in Atlanta late on Thursday caused three deaths from falling trees, and left more than 100,000 without power, according to local media reports.
- More than 500 people have been killed by twisters in 2011, making it the deadliest tornado year in the United States since 1953, according to the National Weather Service.
As of mid-Thursday, 505 people had died in tornadoes this year, including at least 123 who died as a direct result of the monster storm that tore through Joplin, Missouri, on Sunday. The official death toll from Joplin is 125 but a couple of those may not have been directly related to the tornado.
- Another Montana town (USA) was swamped with floodwaters that have washed out roads and rushed though houses across the state, and hundreds more homes downstream in the Dakotas could be hit as heavy rains and melting snow force record releases from bloated dams on the Missouri River.
Ongoing flooding in beleaguered Montana could end up being the worst in decades, officials warned.
The conditions are ripe: unusually heavy snowpack in the mountains, persistent spring rains and waterlogged ground incapable of soaking up any more moisture.
The U.S. Geological Survey said it was measuring record flows in many rivers and streams, topped by the larger Yellowstone and Musselshell rivers.
- The India Meteorological Department (IMD) have now said that the SW Monsoon of 2011 began in the country on May 29, based upon their objective criteria, in the southwestern state of Kerala.
Southern Kerala, along with neighboring Tamil Nadu, is normally the first part of India to feel the breath of the rain-laden South West Monsoon.
The determining criteria are three. These base Monsoon onset upon rainfall, wind direction and outgoing radiative flux.
First, the IMD say that it must rain significantly (2.5 mm or more) for two consecutive days at 60 percent of the available 14 specifically named weather observation sites in Kerala.
Next, winds must be westerly in a layer reaching upward to 600 mb on two consecutive days within a designated swatch (mostly over water) between the 10th parallel and the Equator. And winds should be "of the order of" 15-20 knots at 925 mb,
As for radiative flux, INSAT Outgoing Longwave Radiation should lower below 200 watts/metre for two straight days.
- Parts of the UK have had the driest and warmest spring for more than a century, latest figures from the Met Office confirm.
Across the whole of England and Wales, it was the second driest spring since 1910 and the driest spring since 1990.
Some farmers are losing their crops, and there are fears that many foods will go up in price.
Overall, England and Wales had only 45% of the long-term average rainfall for March, April and May.
But East Anglia had only 21% of the long-term average rainfall - giving the area the driest spring for over 101 years.
The south-east and central-southern areas of England were equally dry, also having their driest spring for over 101 years.
The average temperature across the UK for the months March, April and May, was 13.5C, 2.3C above average.
- Everyone reported missing since last week's massive tornado in Joplin (USA) has been accounted for, and at least 134 people have been confirmed killed.
- Cuba is battling the worst drought in 50 years that has lasted for nearly three years.
Crops have been destroyed and with strict water restrictions in place, farmers are now beginning to lose their livestock.
- Autumn 2011 will go down in the record books as Australia's coolest autumn since at least 19501, figures released from the Bureau of Meteorology's National Climate Centre show today.
Nation-wide, autumn 2011 beats the previous record low set in 1960 (-0.95C), with temperatures -1.15C below the 1961-1990 average. The abnormally cool temperatures are largely the result of the strong 2010/11 La Niña event which brought heavy rainfall and cool daytime temperatures to Australia, before decaying in late autumn. Of the five coolest autumns nation-wide since 1950, four have occurred during or following La Niña events.
World weather news, April 2011
- Depletion of the ozone layer - the shield that protects life on Earth from harmful levels of ultraviolet rays - has reached an unprecedented level over the Arctic this spring because of the continuing presence of ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere and a very cold winter in the stratosphere. The stratosphere is the second major layer of the Earth's atmosphere, just above the troposphere.
The record loss is despite an international agreement which has been very successful in cutting production and consumption of ozone destroying chemicals. Because of the long atmospheric lifetimes of these compounds it will take several decades before their concentrations are back down to pre-1980 levels, the target agreed in the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
- A mass migration of rats is under way into the inland deserts of Australia after a run of high rainfall seasons, scientists say.
The native long-haired rat, or Rattus villosissimus, normally lives in the Barkly Tableland of the Northern Territory and in western Queensland.
But now it has been spotted in Alice Springs for the first time in 25 years.
"Some of them get up to about 30cm [12in] long - fair lump of a rat," livestock manager Chris Giles said.
- The Earth sees about 760 thunderstorms every hour, scientists have calculated.
The figure, unveiled at the European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna, is substantially lower than numbers that have been used for nearly a century.
The new research uses a global network of monitoring stations that detect the electromagnetic pulses produced by major bolts of lightning.
It confirms that thunderstorms are mainly a tropical phenomenon - and the Congo basin is the global hotspot.
Thunderstorms also track the passage of sunlight across the world, with sunny conditions producing greater convection in the air.
"The monitoring stations might miss some bolts of lightning, but we think we're getting the big ones - and that's enough to tell you where the thunderstorms are," said Colin Price, head of the Geophysics and Planetary Sciences department at Tel Aviv University in Israel.
"And so with this global network we're able to improve on numbers that have been in standard use since the 1920s."
- More than 80 vehicles collided in a pileup on Highway 19 in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Ten people were killed and nearly a hundred were injured. The cause of the accident was apparently a cloud of sand stirred up by a storm. Dust storms are practically unheard of in Germany; especially something of this magnitude. The senior officer at the scene of the emergency services originally counted at least four dead. A police spokeswoman revised the number upward dramatically as the evening progressed and the severity of the accident became more apparent: Ten people were killed in the accident and 97 were injured. 40 of the cars burst into flames. Many had to be airlifted to neighboring hospitals for emergency medical care because of the severity of their injuries. According to the hospitals in Rostock and Bad Doberan Güstrow, many of the patients suffered broken bones, bruises, sprains and some traumatic brain injuries.
- A powerful storm system that moved through the USA's midsection over the weekend caused what may be a record-breaking seven tornadoes in Wisconsin.
"It's one of the most significant tornado outbreaks in April," said Rich
Mamrosh, meteorologist for the National Weather Service. He said if confirmed, the number of Sunday night storms may have broken a record for a single day in April in the state - the previous record was six.
A strong low pressure system moved from South Dakota to northern Wisconsin Sunday, moving warm, moist air into the state, which was followed by a cold front, producing the storms.
- Since January heavy rains have been pounding the northern parts of Namibia, resulting in high water levels in the Zambezi river along the northeastern Caprivi region and the Okavango river which borders Angola.
Some 62 people have drowned recently in Oshakati, 720km north of the capital Windhoek and 5,000 have been driven from their homes.
- Above-average snowfall and snowpack across the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains of the U.S. during the 2010/2011 winter primed the region for another spring of near-record flooding. The Red River which flows northward between the states of North Dakota and Minnesota into Canada, is particularly prone to spring flooding. These rivers and streams crested during the week of April 11th, causing the rivers to breach their banks. The first ten days of April brought particularly warm temperatures and rainfall to the region, causing an accelerated rise in the Red River, which rose more than 2.1m in 48 hours. In Fargo, North Dakota, the Red River crested at 11.8m, which is just shy of the record flooding which occurred in 2009 when the river crested at 12.4m. Thousands of volunteers and National Guard troops helped residents stack sandbags to keep the water out of towns. The governors of North Dakota and Minnesota declared states of emergency in the counties directly impacted by the flooding. Over 100km of roads had to be closed due to flood water inundation. The flooding also impacted Winnipeg, Canada which is bisected by the Red River. Hundreds of volunteers helped sandbag Canada's seventh largest city. Four people were reported to have died in flood waters in Minnesota. The death toll could have been higher, but communities in the region were well prepared for the floods, with this being the third consecutive spring with near-record flooding.
- Unseasonable heavy rains caused landslides across the Caribbean island of Grenada. April is typically part of the dry season for the island, and the rain caught many residents off guard. Up to 150mm of rain fell in 24 hours, causing landslides. More than 20 families lost their homes. The storm also caused 15 fishing boats to wreck along the island's coast. Fortunately, there were no reports of fatalities, injuries, or missing persons.
- During April, drought conditions persisted across eastern Africa, and particularly hard hit was Kenya and Somalia. The southwestern region of Kenya was impacted the most, including Marsabit, Moyale, and Mandera. In those three regions alone, more than 17,000 heads of livestock died during 2011 to date due to lack of water and malnutrition. Many of the water sources completely dried up by April, and most of the remaining water sources were contaminated by water-borne diseases.
- A strong dust storm moved across the Middle East, affecting several Persian Gulf nations, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq. The dust storm was driven by a strong cold front moving across the deserts of Turkey and Syria into the Persian Gulf region. In Basra, Iraq, visibility dropped to just 50m. Kuwait was particularly hard hit, prompting the country to halt all oil exports.Schools and universities were also closed across the small nation, as the blowing dust reduced visibility to less than 200m. According to media sources, this is the fourth dry winter in a row for the country, loosening desert sands. Dust storms are usually rare in winter, but become more common during the summer as hot temperatures return to the region.
- Heavy rains over the past few months across northern Australia have taken their toll on wildlife populations. The abnormal rainfall prompted a mass migration of native rats from the Northern Territory and western Queensland into the interior desert of the continent. Scientists at the Northern Territory Biodiversity Conservation group said the phenomenon was a 'huge wildlife event'. The rats were seen for the first time in over 25 years in the town of Alice Springs. The rodents typically are not found in Alice Springs due to the arid climate. It is likely the rats will not stay in Alice Springs for long, as they are just moving through the region.
- UK Bank Holiday weekends are notorious for being disappointing weather wise.
Easter this year, however, has beaten the odds for both warmth and sunshine.
In fact, Easter Saturday turned out to be the warmest April day since 1949, with 27.8C recorded at Wisley in Surrey.
- Traditional Easter fairs in the east and the north of the Netherlands have been cancelled because of the risk of fires posed by the extraordinarily dry weather affecting northern Europe. In the eastern half of the country, one of Europe's biggest traders, outdoor family barbecues, smoking and camp fires are a strict no-no.
In the Swiss canton of Zurich, officials began moving trout this week from the river Toess before their habitat dried up. This year threatens to bring 'one of the most significant droughts since 1864,' the year when records began in Switzerland. The drought in western Switzerland over the last 12 months is as severe as those recorded in 1884 and 1921. Several cantons have also imposed bans on lighting fire in and close to forests. A grass shortage could also lead to a fodder shortfall for next winter. Once the cows have fed on this spring's first greens, there may be little left for coming months.
While the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Baltic states of northeastern Europe are not reporting drought, the British Met Office warns it has been 'incredibly dry in many parts in March and April.'
Rainfall is at 40 percent of normal levels, and England and Wales had the driest March in more than a century. Soon, if the hot, dry spell continues, water use restrictions will be forced on residents and companies there.
Six out of 10 French reservoirs are holding water levels far below what is normal, meaning similar irrigation controls are likely there.
According to the UK Met Office, temperatures for the past six weeks have been significantly above average. In March, daytime temperatures averaged 4.1C above normal in south-east England.
Water use typically rockets in warm spells and this is at the time when river wildlife, species such as trout, salmon, kingfishers and water voles, need it most to survive. Low river levels affect the health of freshwater bugs, plants and fish that can have disastrous affects all the way up the food chain.
- Heavy rains have caused floods, blackouts, landslides and at least one death in Rio de Janeiro.
A storm on Monday night flooded several downtown streets and the Maracana stadium, site of the final game of the 2014 World Cup and major ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic games.
The website report says that several poor hillside communities suffered minor landslides.
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says March 2011 saw the second-most burned acres from wildfires. The most fire-intensive March proved to be the one in 2006, when the largest sum total of acres fell victim to an active fire season. An April update shows that this trend is likely to continue.
NOAA blames temperatures markedly warmer than seasonally average - in conjunction with less than average rainfall - for the spike in fire damage. The numbers are indeed sobering. Some 7,316 wildfires have already burned 385,043 acres of land. By comparison, this number stood at 1,438,255 acres in March 2006.
- Devastating storms and tornadoes raked the South of the USA, killing 128 people in Alabama and 32 others in Mississippi as they flattened houses, flipped cars and uprooted trees.
In all, authorities said 176 people (later revised to 327) died this week in storms that ripped through half a dozen southern states in what forecasters said were the deadliest in nearly four decades.
But the worst devastation was on Wednesday in Alabama, where a massive tornado slammed into the college town of Tuscaloosa, killing 15 people, including some students.
Deaths also occurred in Arkansas, where 11 were killed, and in Louisiana, Georgia and Tennessee.
The storms also forced the Tennessee Valley Authority to close three nuclear reactors at a power plant in Alabama and knocked out 25 high-voltage power lines. Hundreds of thousands of homes have lost power.
"We have never experienced such a major weather event in our history," said the Tennessee Valley Authority, a U.S.-owned company that provides electricity to 9 million people in seven states.
Images from Tuscaloosa, a town of around 95,000 in the west-central part of the state, showed widespread damage.
Damage in Alabama was spread over a wide area through the north and central part of the state.
The highest toll was in Franklin County in the rural northwest part of the state where 18 people died, according to figures from the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.
Eleven people died in Jefferson County, home to Birmingham, the state's largest city, the agency figures showed.
Authorities in Alabama and Mississippi said they expect the death toll to rise as emergency workers attempt rescues and recovery in the storm's wake.
- April 2011 set a number of records for tornadoes in the United States. The 24-hour outbreak from April 27 to 28 had at least 178 confirmed tornadoes, a number which may rise when National Weather Service investigators study the damage further. It broke a nearly 40-year record set in 1974 when 148 tornadoes were spawned in 24 hours.
The death toll stands currently at 344 and is the second-largest on record, dating back to 1925 when outbreaks of tornadoes killed 747.
- The UK ended the month with its warmest April on record, according to a provisional report by the UK Met Office, 3.7C above the 1971-2000 average.
Along with record-setting warmth, April brought unusually low rainfall to most of the UK and Northern Ireland. For the UK as a whole, the Met Office reckoned an average rainfall of 36.7 mm, or 53 percent of normal.
England had an average rainfall of only 11.5 mm, or 20 percent of normal. Moreover, rainfall locally was less than 10 percent of normal.
The Met Office cites a "blocked" pattern as the key to the warmth and drought during April.
World weather news, March 2011
- Across northern China swathes of land are dry, parched by drought.
In some areas these are the driest conditions in a lifetime. Snowfalls in recent days have helped a little, but still, across huge areas of land, water is in short supply.
This is China's breadbasket, the heart of its grain growing lands, and all around are Shandong's wheat fields. They are full of lines of seedlings, sprouting from the ground, but wilting and yellowing.
China is the world's biggest grower and consumer of wheat. In normal years it is self-sufficient. But if it has to import grain this year then that will have an impact far afield.
- Rivers and streams swollen by rain and melting snow spilled flood waters into communities across Illinois, Indiana and Ohio (USA), killing one woman whose vehicle was swept into a river.
There were also four storm-related deaths in Tennessee, and flash floods struck in the mountainous eastern part of the state.
Strong storms lashed the region with high winds and up to five inches of rain beginning on Sunday, adding to run-off from melting snow and ice to push rivers out of their banks.
- The 2010/11 wet season in Darwin (Australia) has been the wettest on record.
Bureau of Meteorology records show that the rainfall accumulated at Darwin Airport this wet season surpassed its previous wet season record of 2499.4mm, with a further 2 months to go in the season.
Not only has Darwin Airport recorded six consecutive months of above average rainfall since September, but each month has been close to double the long-term average,
- Northern Hemispheric sea ice extent still running well below-normal.
Sea ice in the northern hemisphere as a whole grew normally during the month of February, but February 2011 still ended up tied with February of 2005 for the lowest February extent on record, which goes back to 1979
The Labrador Sea and the Gulf of St. Lawrence saw the lowest extent relative to normal due to the persistent negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation, which persisted into mid-January. The Arctic Oscillation went back to a positive phase by late January, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center report.
- At least 25 people have been killed in heavy rains and flooding in the southwestern Angolan province of Namibe, a report said today.
- A winter storm that has pummelled southern Quebec (Canada) has been blamed for at least four deaths in road accidents.
The storm, expected to dump as much as 50cm of snow, blocked roads and led to school closures.
Montreal officials asked residents to use public transport rather than drive on icy roads, but warned pedestrians to be wary of snow-removal vehicles.
Authorities reported visibility had been reduced to zero on some roads in the province.
- In Carinthia, Southern Austria, the fire brigade and the federal armed forces are demolishing ice on Lake Klopeiner.
The lake is frozen solid and on top there is a giant ice cap, dangerous because of strong winds.
On the South shore the ice plate has been secured with steel cables.
The work will continue for over a week.
- Heavy snow has hit many parts of the Highlands (Scotland) and has led to disruption at Inverness Airport.
The airport's runway was closed for a time to allow snow to be cleared and although passengers have been asked to check in there will be flight delays.
Northern Constabulary said that despite the weather all main roads were open.
Snow has also fallen in Midlothian and parts of the Borders and there are strong wind warnings for both the Skye and Kessock Bridges.
Passengers on CalMac's Ardrossan to Brodick service are being told that the bad weather could cause disruption and cancellation.
One school in the Highlands, Stratherrick Primary, was shut because of the weather.
- On the heels of the Mardi Gras season, the National Weather Service says three tornadoes touched down in the New Orleans area, causing one injury.
The tornadoes developed in a line of thunderstorms that moved across the state.
- Soaking rains have cut roads to a handful of towns in northeastern Australia and added more misery to a region still cleaning up after a massive cyclone.
Fresh floodwaters have inundated several homes that were damaged and leaking from the earlier storm and caused authorities to close schools in at least one affected town.
A huge band of monsoon rain hanging over a coastal area south of Cairns has prompted flash flood warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology in Queensland state. The area was battered by months of deadly floods that began late last year and by a giant cyclone in February.
- A wildfire driven by dry, windy weather scorched at least 200 acres Friday in the foothills west of Boulder, prompting the evacuation of roughly 200 homes. An air tanker from New Mexico started dropping fire retardant on the flames by afternoon as wind gusts that had reached 60 mph eased to between 20 and 30 mph. About 100 firefighters also battled the blaze, which was burning near an area where a wildfire charred nearly 10 square miles and destroyed 169 homes in September.
- Transport disruption in freezing weather over the winter cost the UK economy about £280m a day, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has said.
Heathrow suffered "enormous damage" to its reputation from cancellations and delays just before Christmas, he added.
- Rains that battered Brazil's southern coast in the past week have left 8,000 people homeless and vast areas without electricity and potable water. The state of Parana has been most affected, with people facing water and electricity shortages, emergency management officials said in a report. Mudslides caused by heavy downpour blocked some national highways, and firefighters were working to restore the flow of traffic.
- The Upper Midwest (USA) isn't the only region expected to see potentially catastrophic flooding over the next few weeks. Almost half the USA, including much of the Midwest, Northeast and all the way down the Mississippi River Valley to New Orleans, has an above-average risk for spring flooding, according to a forecast issued by the National Weather Service.
Many metropolitan areas - where more than one million Americans live - have a greater than 95% chance of major flooding this spring, including Fargo and Grand Forks, N.D.; St. Paul, Minn.; Davenport, Iowa; Rock Island, Ill. and Sioux Falls, S.D.
- A strong storm slammed into the California coast, bringing heavy rain and snow to most of the state. Rainfall amounts of up to 250mm were reported in the San Fernando and San Joaquin Valleys. Burbank, California received 97.8mm of rain, breaking a 38-year old daily rainfall record. Los Angeles also broke a daily rainfall record with 61mm observed downtown on the 20th. Several feet of snow was reported across the mountainous regions of the state. Mammoth Mountain in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range received over 1.5m of snow from the storm. Other mountain locations received several feet of snow as well, trapping campers and hikers. In Yosemite National Park, 200 visitors were evacuated due to the deteriorating weather conditions. In Los Padres National Forest, 32 hikers had to be rescued, while a group of 100 teenagers was snowed in for over a day at a campground until the roads could be cleared by ploughs.
The storm brought an isolated and small tornado to the San Francisco Bay area, which caused no damage.
This year has brought extraordinary snow totals to date to W parts of the USA.
- The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado was responsible for destroying 30 homes and badly damaging about 60 more in western Pennsylvania (USA).
Meteorologists have been surveying damage in Hempfield Township in Westmoreland County, about 25 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Schools there were closed for a second day because of heavy damage from Wednesday afternoon's storms.
- Unusually heavy spring rainfall caused flooding and landslides across southern Thailand. In the Surat Thani province, as much as 50 inches (1,270 mm) of rain fell in six days. The March average rainfall for the province is 50mm, with the weather typically being hot and dry during the month. According to the Thai Interior Ministry, at least 40 people died due to flood waters and mudslides in eight provinces. In total, over one million people were impacted. Over 60 roads and rail links to the southern region of the nation were choked off and nearly 15,000 tourists were trapped. Ferries to popular tourist destinations in the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea were cancelled due to rough seas, also stranding tourists. Around 13,000 vacationers were isolated on Koh Samui, causing fears of food and fuel shortages on the island. The Thai military used their only air craft carrier to rescue a thousand people stuck on Koh Tao Island. Many of the tourists stranded were international and had come from the U.S., Australia, France, the United Kingdom, and Russia.
World weather news, February 2011
- Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi has developed in the Coral Sea, and is currently located around 14.4S, 154.9E at 0600UTC, 1 February, about 1000 km east northeast of Cairns and east northeast of Townsville of northeast Australia. It is of the intensity currently estimated at Category 3, and moving west southwest at 34 km per hour. It is expected to slowly intensify in the next 24 hours and continue moving in the west-southwesterly direction.
- It was near midnight, local time, or 1330 UTC, Wednesday, Feb. 2, that the eye of T.C. Yasi crossed the Queensland coast between Cairns and Townsville.
Australia media say that Mission Beach was the site of Yasi's landfall. The eye also crossed Dunk Island, Bingil Bay and, a bit inland, the town of Tully.
The north eyewall passed south of Innisfail, the town battered by T.C. Larry back in March 2006. Media have reported "unofficial" 220 km/h (137 mph) winds in Innisfail.
On the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, Yasi rated a top-end Category 4 hurricane, as the JTWC reckoned highest sustained winds to be 135 knots, or 250 km/h. At 136 knots, a hurricane would be Category 5 on this scale.
The Australian B. of M., using a somewhat different scale, deemed Yasi a Category 5 tropical cyclone.
The media are saying that the nearest site of official weather observations to the landfall was at Lucinda, near badly hit Cardwell. Here, B. of M. observations taken during the worst of Yasi show highest sustained speeds to 74 knots and highest gusts to 100 knots.
- A 50-vehicle pile-up caused by black ice has blocked a slip road at Paris airport Charles de Gaulle, leaving 30 people injured.
The road became blocked at 0600h local time after a night of freezing rain across northern France caused numerous accidents on the roads.
Hundreds of car crashes were also reported on roads in northern Germany, affected by black ice as well as snow.
As of 0830h, there were 210km of traffic jams in the Ile-de-France region, which includes the French capital.
- Defying an epic snowstorm that has crippled an enormous swath of the United States, America's iconic groundhog Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow Wednesday and predicted that spring is right around the corner.
The weather-forecasting rodent failed to see his shadow upon emerging from his hibernation, which according to US legend, augurs an early arrival of mild springtime weather.
- Bitterly cold temperatures set in Thursday as millions of Americans dug out from a massive storm which dumped snow, ice and sleet over a 3,000km stretch from Texas to Maine.
The storm -- one of the largest since the 1950s -- had ground travel nearly to a halt Tuesday and Wednesday, and authorities warned that road conditions remained treacherous even though the storm had dissipated.
An Oklahoma news crew captured the dramatic rescue of eight people whose truck skidded off a highway bridge into a frozen river near Tulsa Thursday morning.
Officials also warned people to be careful of slippery sidewalks and not to strain themselves while shoveling, noting that 40 people died of heart attacks in the aftermath of a 1999 blizzard in Chicago.
The storm, which affected around 100 million people, was epic in scope. Blizzard, winter storm, freezing rain and wind chill warnings were issued for more than 30 of the 50 US states.
In all, more than 18,500 flights were canceled across the country.
States of emergency were declared in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Oklahoma and the National Guard was called out to help rescue stranded motorists.
Snow drifts topped 10 feet in some areas with snowfalls between 10 and 27 inches in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Kansas, Massachusetts, and New York.
In Chicago -- which clocked its third biggest snowfall on record as near-hurricane force winds sucked moisture off Lake Michigan -- firefighters used snowmobiles to navigate the streets and help rescue hundreds of people trapped in their cars on Lakeshore Drive.
New York City was coated with more than a half inch of ice, turning sidewalks into skating rinks. Melting sun later sent ice crashing onto pedestrians.
Texas was forced to seek help from Mexico's state electricity company after rolling power outages due to the unusually cold temperatures Wednesday and utility companies warned of more outages Thursday as a new storm coated power lines with ice.
- Sydney's current spell of hot weather will extend into the weekend, but there is relief in sight.
This week minimum temperature records have been set at a number of locations across Sydney. February records were broken at Richmond (24.9C, 72 years of record) and Bankstown (26.0C, 43 years of record).
Records have also been set for successive hot nights. For example, Observatory Hill has had an unprecedented three nights, and Richmond two nights, above 24C.
The prolonged heat has been due to a hot northerly airstream coupled with high humidity, cloudy nights and high ocean temperatures.
There has been an increase in emergency department attendance for heat-related illness in Sydney over the past few days.
- The angry tail of Cyclone Anthony is lashing Mebourne and parts of Victoria tonight, bringing monsoon rains and flooding that is set to intensify tomorrow.
Melbourne's southeastern suburbs have suffered severe thunderstorms with up to 33mm of rain bucketing down in just 15 minutes in some suburbs. Mentone was virtually underwater by 7.15pm as water belted down.
- Freezing weather and snow have paralysed much of northern Mexico, which is experiencing its lowest temperatures in more than 50 years.
Thousands of homes have been left without electricity and water, and schools and factories have been closed.
At least six people are reported to have died from the cold.
Among the worst-hit cities has been Ciudad Juarez, which is already suffering the worst violence in Mexico's drugs war.
Temperatures in the border city have dropped as low as -18C.
"There have been cold temperatures in the past, but nothing that has lasted for so many days. It's been 40 years since the city has seen an emergency like this," city's civil protection chief Efren Matamoros told Reuters news agency.
The cold weather has shut down units at 17 power stations across northern Mexico, the Federal Electricity Commission said.
Factories have been asked to reduce their consumption of power, and there have been blackouts in some areas.
- Heavy rain triggered flooding in Sri Lanka that killed at least 11 people and is threatening up to 90 percent of the staple rice crop, heightening concern about supply shocks and inflation.
Heavy monsoon rain caused flooding across the Eastern, Northern and North Central provinces for the second time in less than a month. More than 250,000 people have been forced into temporary shelters by this latest inundation.
- 20.6C at Luchon at 618m in the Pyrenees, 19.6C at Chamonix in the Haute-Savoie at 1000m, 19C at la Mure close to Grenoble at 920m and 18.7C at Bourg-St-Maurice/les Arcs at 868m. These are temperatures never seen in February in the French Mountains. There has been no significant snowfall in the French Alps since the 11th January.
According to the French Weather Service it is one of the worst winters in 40 years with snow depths just 25% of normal. January also saw T-shirt weather. On the 8 January temperatures reached 19C in Grenoble, breaking previous records by a degree. Last month also saw strong winds and rain to 2500m leaving the mountains covered in a layer of ice. A period of cold at the end of month at least enabled snow canons to operate. However snow canons have difficulty operating at temperatures higher than -4C. Snomax, a nucleating agent, which helps snow making between -2C and -4C is under a voluntary ban in France. A return to colder weather may not help much as some ski resorts are now short of water for snow making. It is also extremely expensive in terms of energy consumption. In a typical season, and 2011 is far from that, a big resort like l'Alpe d'Huez uses twice as much energy snow making as running the lifts.
- Chinese officials are preparing for "a severe, long-lasting drought" in the worst-hit eastern province of Shandong, with the national weather bureau forecasting little if any rain for the region through to 17 February .
The U.N. food agency warned that the drought was putting pressure on wheat prices in China. Average flour prices rose more than 8 percent in January from the previous two months.
- Madrid's city council is calling on commuters to take public transport and combat a spike in air pollution levels.
The council has put up signs on motorway display panels advising drivers of high contamination.
The warnings began after nitrogen dioxide (NO2) was recorded at least five times above the limit set by the EU as the safe annual average.
The council is already under scrutiny for failing to tackle air pollution, and apparently distorting data.
- A powerful winter storm is ripping through the central plains states of the USA, dropping over a foot of snow in some areas and forcing temperatures to drop nearly 25 degrees below normal - the second major snowstorm in two weeks to hit the nation's midsection.
Heavy snowfall has forced statewide school cancellations, airport closures and government shutdowns in Oklahoma, as well as parts of Arkansas, Kansas, and north Texas. State highway patrols are urging travelers to stay off highways, to prevent more vehicles getting abandoned on roadsides.
Tulsa received 4.5 inches of new snow this morning. Added to the 14 inches it received last week, the city already approaching its record of 25.6 inches, set in the winter of 1923-1924.
Northeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas took the hardest hits, and will likely see up to 22 inches of snow by Wednesday night, according to the NWS. Harsh northerly winds accompanying the snow have caused snowdrifts topping three feet, making travel impossible in some areas.
- Oklahoma recorded its coldest temperature in state history today and records fell in cities in Missouri and Texas as a deep freeze gripped most of the nation.
Nowata, Oklahoma in the northeast part of the state recorded -31F. The previous lowest temperature in state history in Oklahoma was -27F in 1930 and 1905, said Gary McManus, associate state climatologist with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.
The cold came on top of two major snow falls, one on Tuesday night, which brought up to 20 inches of snow in parts of the state, and one during last week's blizzard, which brought 8 to 20 inches.
Cold temperature records which have stood for nearly 80 years also fell across the Plains Thursday morning, including Springfield, Missouri and Corpus Christi, Texas.
The South is coping with an unusual cover of snow and cold, as up to two inches of snow fell in eastern North Carolina, central South Carolina and east-central Georgia Thursday morning.
- The Sun has unleashed its strongest flare in four years, observers say.
The eruption is a so-called X-flare, the strongest type; such flares can affect communications on Earth.
The British Geological Survey (BGS) has issued a geomagnetic storm warning, and says observers might be able to see aurorae from the northern UK.
The eruptions are expected to hit the Earth's magnetic field over the next couple of days, causing an increase in geomagnetic activity.
The monster flare was recorded at 0156GMT on 15 February and directed at the Earth. According to the US space agency, the source of this activity - sunspot 1158 - is growing rapidly.
Solar flares are caused by the sudden release of magnetic energy stored in the Sun's atmosphere.
Preliminary data from the Stereo-B and Soho spacecraft suggest that the explosion produced a fast but not particularly bright coronal mass ejection (CME) - a burst of charged particles released into space.
- Darwin (Australia) residents are mopping up and assessing the damage left by Tropical Cyclone Carlos, as the storm today moved off the coast and away from populated areas.
Schools, courts, pubs, tourism attractions, the Northern Territory parliament and Darwin Airport are expected to remain closed today as authorities re-assess the situation.
The Bureau of Meteorology confirmed that many of Darwin's rainfall records had been broken or were under threat in the wake of the severe storm, which lashed houses and inundated the Top End.
Since 9am yesterday, Stokes Hill Wharf in Darwin had received 226mm of rain.
So far this month, Darwin has already recorded at least 830mm, beating the previous February monthly record of 814mm, in 1969.
The city needed to receive only a further 300mm by the end of April to beat its previous wet season record of 2499mm set in 1997-98.
- Heavy winds have blown down the National Christmas Tree of the US, which had stood near the White House since 1978.
Within hours of its fall, the 13m tall Colorado blue spruce was ground into mulch.
Plans are being drawn up by the National Park Service for a replacement, expected to be in place this spring.
- Heavy snowfall blanketed parts of the US Midwest, prompting hundreds of cancelled flights and icy conditions for road travellers, officials warned, with the northeast bracing for the system as it rolled towards the Atlantic.
Blizzard warnings were issued for parts of the Dakotas and the north central state of Minnesota as an Arctic airmass brought a cold front and localized heavy snowfall from Illinois to New York state, the National Weather Service said in a statement early Monday.
Some 25cm of snow has already dropped in parts of Michigan since midday Sunday, meteorologists said, also advising that freezing rain and heavy sleet were expected across the region.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul airport, including 700 flights from Delta alone, in anticipation of a steady accumulation of up to 45cm of snow, officials and local media reported.
- Space weather could pose serious problems here on Earth in the coming years, the chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said Saturday.
A severe solar storm has the potential to take down telecommunications and power grids, and the country needs to work on being better prepared, said NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco here at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Lubchenco is also the U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.
"This is not a matter of if, it's simply a matter of when and how big," Lubchenco said of the potential for a dangerous solar flare. "We have every reason to expect we're going to be seeing more space weather in the coming years, and it behooves us to be smart and be prepared."
- The all clear has been given for Europe to press ahead with the 3.4bn-euro project to build a next-generation weather satellite system.
Eumetsat, the international agency charged with looking after Europe's Meteosats, said that all participating nations had now agreed to the programme and its financing.
The new system should bring a step change in weather forecasting capability, guaranteeing European access to space-acquired meteorological data until at least the late 2030s.
- Another severe storm hit the Eastern USA, delaying flights, closing scores of schools and leading to at least one death.
The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for much of upstate New York. As much as 8 inches of snow fell in Albany by noon.
- Snow fell overnight in the highest reaches of San Francisco (USA) and northern California experienced record low temperatures overnight in several cities.
San Francisco got down to 37F, which tied the previous cold weather record for this day set in 1962.
San Jose tied a record low of 33F set way back in 1897, and Oakland got down to 34F, breaking a record set in 1987.
- The summer of 2010-11 has been the wettest in Victoria (Australia) since records began.
Victoria received a statewide averaged rainfall total in excess of 300mm for the season,
This breaks the previous record for the highest summer rainfall in Victoria of 237mm, set 100 years ago in 1910-11. The average summer rainfall in Victoria is 121.1mm.
Victoria endured significant rainfall and flooding events during each of December, January and February. These events contributed to the state recording its:
- 5th wettest December on record, and wettest since 1992
- Wettest January on record
- Wettest February since at least 1973, and provisionally the 6th wettest on record.
- Perth (Australia) has had its hottest and driest summer on record. Just 0.2mm of rain fell from the beginning of December to the end of February, compared to the average of 32mm.
There were 59 days over 30C, smashing the previous record of 53. There were also 15 consecutive nights where the minumum temperature did not fall below 20C breaking the previous record of 13 nights set in 1990. The average maximum temperature for the summer was a sweltering 32C.
World weather news, January 2011
- Unprecedented floods in Australia have affected more than 200 000 people, submerged or disrupted life across an area the size of France and Germany combined, according to the premier of Queensland state.
Floodwaters were fed by heavy rain over the Christmas period falling over areas already saturated by persistent above-average rainfall during the preceding months. The most severe impacts were in central Queensland and in the state's southern inland regions, according to the Bureau of Meteorology of Australia, which said the La Niña event had contributed to Australia's third wettest year on record in 2010.
The Bureau of Meteorology has declared further flood warnings for seven river systems in Queensland, with monsoon rains forecast for the state's tropical north and thunderstorms for the southeast.
- It has been reported that unusual cold has settled over northern India, leading to hardship and tragic loss of life.
Now that January has begun, the departure from normal has become substantial. For the first five days of the month, average temperature in New Delhi has been 4.3C below the normal daily mean of 14.7C. Coldest morning, that of Jan. 4, reached 3.7C, versus a normal low of 7.3C.
In India, exposure to even this moderate chill for long intervals, without adequate clothing and without proper intake of food, are enough to risk hypothermia.
Now, the usual coolness has spanned roughly the northern half of India, also Nepal, Bangladesh and much of Pakistan, marked by January temperature departures of 3 to 6 degrees C below normal.
Persistent fog and haze have been observed of late in the north, too. Thick fog has apparently been disrupting road and air transport.
- Rivers in western Germany are overflowing their banks due to pouring rain and melting snow, flooding many roads and parts of several villages.
Authorities in Rhineland-Palatinate, the worst-hit state, said Sunday the wine towns of Cochem and Zell along the Mosel River were partly inundated and dozens of basements had filled up with water.
The Rhine River had also dangerously swollen and many roads in the Rhine Valley were closed. Part of the city of Konstanz was inundated and commercial shipping was banned on the Rhine up to the city of Cologne.
- The winter storm that had the Southeast USA on alert this weekend has hit with a vengeance, causing hundreds of flight cancellations in Atlanta on Sunday and more in Tampa, Fla., today. Up to 9 inches of snow has already fallen, covering the South from the Carolinas all the way to Texas. Georgia has seen 6 inches in some places so far, and 4 inches in Atlanta.
- A heavy storm killed 10 people and seriously injured seven others in Mozambique's central province of Manica. The storm on Monday destroyed more than 100 houses and electricity pylons.
- Massachusetts lifted its state of emergency on Thursday as New England dug out from under deep snow following a winter storm that blasted the region with high winds and chilly temperatures.
The storm blanketed eastern New York and western New England with anywhere from 8 inches to unofficial reports of 38 inches of snow in Berkshire County in Massachusetts.
- Sustained heavy rain and floods in the central and southern Philippines have killed 42 people and damaged crops and infrastructure worth more than $23 million, disaster officials said.
Floods and landslides caused by more than two weeks of heavy rains in late December and January have displaced nearly 400,000 people.
- In Sri Lanka it has been raining almost continuously now for over fifteen days over an area of about 4000 square miles. According to data from the Meteorology Department, it has not rained like this in the worst-affected district of Batticaloa since 1917. "The whole of Batticaloa town is like a big tank," says Kirubantharasa Janoshini, a resident of Batticoloa. "The main roads look like large, nasty rivers."
By this morning, over one million persons have been cut-off by floods along Sri Lanka's eastern seaboard and nearby districts
- Rescue workers in Brazil braced for more rain on Friday as they struggled to reach areas cut off by massive floods and landslides that look certain to have killed more than 500 people.
In one of the country's worst natural disasters, rivers of mud tore through towns in the mountainous Serrana region outside Rio de Janeiro, leveling houses, throwing cars atop buildings and stranding thousands of residents.
More than 13,500 people have been left homeless.
The flooding likely caused billions of dollars in damage.
The Serrana region is an important producer of fruit and vegetables for the Rio area but the floods have not affected Brazil's main crops such as soy, sugar cane, oranges and coffee.
Hillsides and riverbanks in the area about 60 miles north of Rio, collapsed after the equivalent of a month's rain fell in 24 hours from Tuesday night.
- The heavy rain has been breaking records in northern Tasmania.
Yolla had its highest 24-hour January rainfall on record, registering 131 mm in the 24 hours to 9 am this morning. The record had been set just yesterday, when it received 100 mm in 24 hours, eclipsing its previous record of 70 mm in a January day in 1946. Together these have given Yolla its wettest January on record, and its second-wettest 2-day period. Rain has been measured at Yolla, inland from Burnie, since late 1905.
Burnie (87 mm) and Wynyard (107 mm) also had their wettest January days on record yesterday. Along long with Yambacoona and King Island Airport they have already had their wettest January on record.
- The swamped Australian city of Brisbane on Friday began the heartbreaking task of cleaning up after its worst floods in decades, as searchers made the grisly discovery of another body.
The river had dropped two metres from its peak of 4.46 metres (14 feet, eight inches), reached on Thursday, exposing damage that will add dramatically to Queensland's estimated flood reconstruction bill of Aus$5 billion ($5 billion).
More than 26,000 homes were flooded in Brisbane, 11,900 of them completely, leaving their owners set to be homeless for weeks or even months. Electricity remained cut to thousands of homes, and many key roads were still blocked.
At least 16 people have been confirmed killed in the floods in the last four days.
Meanwhile, as Queensland launched into recovery, parts of the southeast states of Victoria and Tasmania were evacuated as torrential rain -- thought to be connected to the northern rains -- caused flooding as rivers and dams burst.
- The unusually cold temperatures in Korea continue into January. The daily low this morning was the coldest of the winter, setting a new low in the recent cold snap.
According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, the Sunday morning lows came to -17.8C in Seoul, -24.3C in Cheolwon, -23.2C in Jecheon and -22.5C in Chuncheon.
The morning low in Seoul was the lowest in 10 years since 15 January 2001 when the temperature fell to -18.6C. The southern port city of Busan (-12.8C) saw a 96-year low since -14C on 13 January 1915. Other areas such as Geoje (-10.4C), Milyang (-15.8C), and Changwon (-13.1C) also experienced record morning lows since regional meteorological observation began in 1971.
- Floods have killed or left missing at least 40 people in South Africa and wrecked thousands of homes in neighboring Mozambique. Heavy rains from late December through most of January have unleashed floods in the two countries. Torrential downpours at the weekend again swelled rivers in the region.
South Africa's Cooperative Governance Ministry said at least 40 people had been killed or gone missing in the flooding, and seven out of the country's nine provinces had been declared disaster zones.
The army has been placed on stand-by to evacuate people from areas near major dams.
South Africa's 2009-10 maize surplus is likely to prevent any supply shortage of the grain this year but the extremely wet conditions may have an impact on the soybean and sunflower harvest.
- At least 207 people are still missing after Brazil's worst landslides in decades, as the death toll from the disaster in a scenic mountain region reached 741.
The list of missing people released by the Rio de Janeiro state prosecutor's office -- the first official estimate of the number of missing since the catastrophe struck a week ago -- suggests the final death toll could be close to 1,000.
Local officials in the worst-affected towns of Teresopolis and Nova Friburgo said the number of missing was at least 300. Many of them are believed buried under the avalanches of mud and debris from flash floods that destroyed hundreds of homes.
- A winter storm that blew across the Midwest USA was blamed for at least six traffic deaths in the region, as it dumped more than a foot of snow in some parts and was expected to leave sub-zero temperatures in its wake.
The wintry weather also closed down schools and offices and sent plows and salt trucks working overtime to clear the roads.
Northeastern Kansas had up to 8 inches of snow on Thursday, and Missouri residents saw as much as 15 inches north of St. Louis.
National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Sieveking said the storm was concentrated on a narrow band over Interstate 70 in the central part of the state. Despite hundreds of trouble calls, including several overturned tractor-trailers, Missouri authorities reported no serious incidents.
- The year 2010 ranked as the warmest year on record, together with 2005 and 1998. Data received by the WMO show no statistically significant difference between global temperatures in 2010, 2005 and 1998.
In 2010, global average temperature was 0.53°C (0.95°F) above the 1961-90 mean. This value is 0.01°C (0.02°F) above the nominal temperature in 2005, and 0.02°C (0.05°F) above 1998. The difference between the three years is less than the margin of uncertainty (± 0.09°C or ± 0.16°F) in comparing the data.
These statistics are based on data sets maintained by the UK Meteorological Office Hadley Centre/Climatic Research Unit (HadCRU), the U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), and the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Arctic sea-ice cover in December 2010 was the lowest on record, with an average monthly extent of 12 million square kilometres, 1.35 million square kilometres below the 1979-2000 average for December. This follows the third-lowest minimum ice extent recorded in September.
- Virtually every country in southern Africa is on alert for potentially disastrous flooding, the United Nations said, as exceptionally heavy rainfall was forecast to continue into March.
"We fear flash floods. It's rather common in the region and this time we are seeing heavier rainfall than in previous years," said Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
"Five countries are on alert for flooding -- Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia, -- and South Africa will now declare a disaster."
In South Africa flooding and storms have left 40 dead and forced 6,000 people to flee their homes so far, according to the UN, with reports of damage or casualties in Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi, Angola and Swaziland.
Two of the biggest rivers in the region, the Zambezi and Okavango, are at about twice their normal levels early in the rainy season.
Regional forecasts have predicted "normal to above normal" rainfall across the area in January to March.
- Rural Australian towns braced for another week of flooding Sunday as a vast lake continued to spread across the country's southeast and a potential tropical storm threatened the northeast.
The flooding began more than a month ago in Australia's northeast Queensland state, where 30 people have died, more than 30,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed and at least 3 billion Australian dollars ($3 billion) in crops and coal exports have been lost.
Record rains have shifted the flood emergency focus to southeast Victoria state, which is usually parched during the southern summer.
- Brazilian authorities say heavy overnight storms have caused new flooding in Sao Paulo, killing at least one man, toppling cars into buildings, downing power lines and halting traffic.
Officials say the death toll in mudslides north of Rio de Janeiro has risen to 809 people.
In the southern state of Santa Catarina, flooding has killed five people
and driven at least 18,000 driven from their homes in recent days.
- A significant La Niña episode, which is affecting climate conditions in different regions of the world, continues in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Its strength is expected to decrease during the course of the coming four months, according to a new Update issued today by the World Meteorological Organization.
Almost all forecast models predict a continuation of the current La Niña for at least the next 2-4 months, through the first quarter of 2011 and possibly into the second quarter (April or early May).
'The strength of the event is likely to decrease during the course of the coming 4 months,' says the El Niño/La Niña Update.
- New York shut down two airports and most city services in the wake of a rare thunder-snow storm that paralyzed air and ground travel over a vast area from Washington to as far north as Boston.
After building up early Wednesday with ice and freezing rain, the storm blindsided the US capital at the height of the evening rush hour, not even sparing President Barack Obama, who faced travel delays upon returning from a day trip to the US Midwest.
In New York, John F. Kennedy Airport and Newark Airport in New Jersey were closed for almost 12 hours as the storm, simultaneously erupting with lightening and thunder, blanketed the region in more than 30cm of snow.
They reopened later Thursday, but with long delays as airlines worked their way through huge backlogs of canceled flights and miserable passengers.
The storm, an unusual thunder and snow combination, was the fifth major snowfall in as many weeks for parts of the US east coast.
For New York City, this has been the most snow-filled January in history, with a total of 90cm breaking the record set 1925.
- Kuri Bay in the Kimberley has recorded 1339.5 mm of rainfall so far this month (1 to 27 January 2011) which is the highest monthly rainfall total ever recorded in Western Australia.
WA Regional Climate Services Manager Mr Glenn Cook explained that the high rainfall was due to an active monsoon season in the north of the state, as a result of the current La Nina and aided by warmer than normal waters off the WA north coast.
The previous record for WA was 1321.7 mm at Roebuck Plains in the Kimberley in January 1917; while the previous record at Kuri Bay was 1144.9 mm in January 1974. The average rainfall during January at Kuri Bay is 407.4 mm.
'The actual monthly total was probably higher,' said Mr Cook 'given that the rainfall gauge overflowed before the observer was able to check the total on the very heavy rainfall day of the 11th, when 388.6 mm was observed.'
While the 1339.5 mm at Kuri Bay is the highest monthly total recorded in WA, the Australian record was observed in Queensland where Bellenden Ker (Top Station) recorded 5387.0 mm in January 1979.
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Last updated 6 January 2012.