World weather news, December 2013
- An blizzard hit Alberta, Canada, including the Calgary area.
Locally, more than 60 cm of snow fell and resulted in dangerous
Kootenay Pass, Alberta, received 61 cm of snow, while Paulson
Summit received 44 cm . Amounts were lighter at Calgary
International Airport, where 14 cm of snow were measured.
- The Canary Islands have experienced some flash flooding over the past few days.
In the 24 hours from 0600 GMT/2nd 195 mm of rain fell at Valverde in Tenerife. 57 mm seen at La Palma’s airport in just six hours during 0600-1200 GMT on the 2nd. The average monthly rainfall for the island of Tenerife is just 44mm in December and the annual average rainfall across the Canaries ranges from 100-300 mm.
- A major storm has hit northern Europe, leaving at least three
people dead, causing transport chaos and threatening the biggest
tidal surge in decades.
A lorry driver was killed when his vehicle was blown over in
Scotland, while a man died when he was hit by a falling tree in
In Denmark, a woman died after a lorry turned over in high winds.
In Germany, the port of Hamburg is bracing for a direct hit and a
massive tidal surge.
The hurricane-force storm Xaver hit northern Europe on Thursday,
leaving tens of thousands of homes without power.
Winds gusting up to 142 mph battered Scotland
Two sailors were reportedly swept overboard from a ship 22 km (14
miles) off the southern Swedish coast, and air-sea rescue services
failed to find them.
In the low-lying Netherlands, the Eastern Scheldt storm surge
barrier has been closed off for the first time in six years. Dutch
authorities said they had issued the highest possible flood warning
for four areas in the north and north-west of the country.
Dutch airline KLM cancelled 84 flights from Amsterdam's Schiphol
airport, while more than 120 were cancelled or diverted at Hamburg
Rail travel was badly affected, with all train services in Scotland
cancelled because of debris on the lines and damage to equipment.
Services in northern England were also hit.
The Oeresund road and rail bridge between Sweden and Denmark -
which links the Danish capital Copenhagen with the Swedish city of
Malmo and features in the hit television series The Bridge - was
due to close from 1500 GMT.
Railway lines in Sweden and Denmark were closed, while Germany's
national railway, Deutsche Bahn, warned of likely disruption across
a swathe of northern Germany.
Ferries to Germany from Sweden and Denmark were cancelled.
- A tidal surge has hit coastal towns on the east of Britain
after thousands of people were evacuated from their homes.
The North Sea surge, predicted to be the worst for 60 years,
reached north Norfolk in the evening and made its way south through
Scotland is facing snow alerts after a fierce storm earlier
battered the UK, claiming two lives.
The Environment Agency, which covers England and Wales, has dozens
of severe flood warnings in place.
Many of the severe warnings - which mean "danger to life" - relate
to areas in the east of England, where there are also about 200
lower-level warnings and alerts.
9,000 people have evacuated their homes in Norfolk, mainly in the
Great Yarmouth area, where at least 26 properties have been flooded
and a lifeboat station has been washed into the sea
There are also yellow warnings for ice in parts of Northern Ireland
and north-west England, and wind on England's east coast. Yellow
warnings mean "be aware".
- An ice storm, which could be the worst to hit the United States
in years, will unfold across portions of the southern Plains today.
The most significant icing is expected from Texas to Kentucky.
Widespread power outages are likely as ice weighs down tree
branches and power lines, while treacherous travel develops in
areas receiving freezing rain, sleet and snow.
In some locations, the storm has the potential to allow one half of
an inch or more of ice to accumulate on the ground and accrue on
Power suppliers in the path of the ice storm are mobilizing in
anticipation of major power outages. Entergy Arkansas, Inc., which
serves nearly 700,000 customers in 63 counties of Arkansas, lies in
the zone expected to receive ice for the longest duration.
- The storm that coated parts of Texas in ice struck with unexpected force Sunday on the east coast, blanketing some spots in a foot of snow, grinding highways to a halt, causing power outages and closing schools or delaying start times. The federal government was allowing workers to arrive up to two hours later than normal Monday or take unscheduled leave as freezing rain fell.
- More rain fell on Tuesday and into Wednesday around Rio de Janeiro, than would normally be expected during the entire month, meteorologists said. The downpour flooded major thoroughfares, toppled houses in working class suburbs, disrupted train and flight schedules and created such chaos that the city's mayor, Eduardo Paes, asked residents to stay home.
- US government offices in Washington DC and schools in many cities have closed as the east coast braced for a snow storm that did not arrive as feared.
More than 1,300 flights were cancelled, with some eastern airports reporting delays of up to five hours.
The wintry weather follows a storm that dumped several inches in Philadelphia and parts of Maryland on Sunday.
That storm contributed to several multi-vehicle pile-ups, including a 50-car accident that began when a man was struck and killed as he got out of his car following a smaller accident.
An ice storm also wreaked havoc on the southern US, especially Texas last week, forcing the cancellation of thousands of flights and stranding people in airports for several days.
Public schools in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC and parts of West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee were closed on Tuesday amid a winter storm warning from the National Weather Service.
By mid-morning, the National Weather Service downgraded its winter storm advisory to three inches and in Washington DC, the streets were virtually clear of snow by early afternoon.
- Dense fog has forced at least 280 flight cancellations at London's Heathrow Airport, causing disruption for thousands of air travellers.
Further cancellations are likely on Thursday as staff deal with the backlog and more fog, a spokesman warned.
London City Airport was shrouded in fog through the day, with every flight on Wednesday morning cancelled or delayed.
At Southampton Airport, the fog had cleared by midday but 16 flights were cancelled in the morning.
- As forecast, last night Scotland saw warmer temperatures than any other part of the country, with overnight maximum temperatures of 16.2 °C recorded in Ross and Cromarty. In fact, many parts of Scotland saw warmer temperatures overnight than they did during the daytime. Maximum overnight temperatures into this morning included Achnagart 16.2C and Kinlochewe 15.2C.
- Thousands of people across the Middle East remain isolated or without power following one of the worst winter storms in decades across the region.
Parts of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel were hardest hit with heavy mountain snowfall and flooding rain in the lower elevations.
Thousands were without power during the peak of the storm last week, and unfortunately many remain without power as unseasonable cold prevails over the region.
Since the beginning of the storm, temperatures have averaged 6.9 degC below normal in Tel Aviv and 8.8 degC below normal in Jerusalem.
These frigid temperatures have resulted in life-threatening conditions for those without power and cut off from any aid by the heavy snowfall or flooding.
- A winter storm dropped as much as 6-9 inches of snow across parts of the Northeast USA, causing flight cancellations and slow travel on the highways.
More than 600 flights were cancelled on Tuesday across the Northeast, most of them at Newark, LaGuardia and Logan International in Boston. Hundreds more were delayed as a result of the snowstorm.
Boston set a daily snowfall record on Tuesday with 6.4 inches, breaking the record of 3.8 inches set in 1970.
- A large high pressure system in the Tasman Sea is moving slowly eastwards, directing northerly-winds over much of Central Australia, which is driving hot air in a south-easterly direction.
In Western Australia Perth experienced a run of five days above 35C, between 12-16 December, with temperatures peaking at 40C on Saturday.
- The globally-averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for November 2013 was the highest for November since record keeping began in 1880, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center.
Russia had its warmest November on record, according to Roshydromet. The average anomaly in a month was almost 5 degC in certain regions of the Urals, the South of Siberia, in Khabarovsk territory. On the Arctic islands in the Kara Sea, the average monthly temperature was 8-9 degC above the long-term average.
Most areas of the world experienced warmer-than-average monthly temperatures; these included much of Eurasia, coastal Africa, Central America, central South America, parts of the North Atlantic Ocean, the south west Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean.
- Temperatures have soared above 32C for five straight days in the Argentina capital of Buenos Aires.
The extended period of heat has forced more energy usage, putting a strain on Argentina's power grid which resulted in numerous blackouts.
Thousands of people in the capital and its suburbs are without power or water due to the power outages, and some people have taken to the streets to protest.
- Thousands of properties have been left without power after gale force
winds hit the west of Scotland.
Electrity company SSE said about 5,000 of its customers were offline,
mainly around Oban, Thurso and the Western Isles.
Scottish Power said it was working to restore power to 500 properties
in the Dumfries area.
Snow has shut the A9 southbound between the Slochd Summit and
Carrbridge. Snow has also made driving difficult on other stretches of
The highest wind speed recorded in Scotland overnight was 90mph in
South Uist. There were gusts of up to 60mph in Glasgow and 66mph in
In Peterhead, a fisherman was blown into the harbour waters by strong
winds. He suffered minor injuries.
- Thousands have had their Christmas travel plans disrupted and around
75,000 homes are still without power as severe weather continues in the
Southern England has been badly affected, with floods in Surrey and
Kent. Some homes may not have power until Boxing Day.
Trains have been cancelled and there were delays and cancellations at
North-west Scotland has been hit by high winds.
In Devon, a man has died after jumping into the River Lemon to rescue
Around 800 homes in the north of Scotland are also without power,
mainly around the Deeside area, Buchan, Fort William and Wick - down
from 3,500 earlier in the day.
The severe weather caused disruption at some airports. At Gatwick, a
power cut at the north terminal left several thousand passengers
stranded, with delays and dozens of flights cancelled.
Two sailors - one French, one Swiss - were rescued after their racing
yacht was damaged by 30ft waves and Force 10 winds off Land's End.
In Dorset, 30 people trapped in cars by flood water were rescued by
In Devon and Cornwall, several properties have been flooded, while some
homes are without power.
More than 6,000 homes are without power in East Anglia, hundreds have
no power in Somerset, and 50,000 homes in Hampshire and the Isle of
Wight have been cut off.
A man is in hospital after being trapped under a fallen tree in St
Martin, in Jersey.
- The MSL pressure of 936.8 mb recorded at Stornoway at 1300 GMT today is
the the lowest value measured anywhere in the British Isles since 1886.
It beats the previous value of 937.6 mb recorded on 20 December 1982,
also recorded in Stornoway.
The lowest ever value recorded on land in the British Isles is 925.4
mb, at Ochtertyre (Perthshire, nr, Crieff) on 26 January 1884 - this
record remains unchallenged today.
- Hundreds of thousands of households in Canada and the northern US are
facing a Christmas without electricity after a severe ice storm.
Nearly 400,000 customers in eastern Canada and 390,000 in the US are
still without power, with Michigan worst hit.
In Toronto, a utility has said power may not be restored for most
residents until Thursday, and that some may be without electricity
until the weekend.
The city has opened several warming centres for those without power.
Torontonians are used to snow, but an ice storm is something different
- and dangerous. Virtually every tree branch and twig is encased in
ice. Many streets are blocked by fallen branches and festooned with
yellow safety tape where live power lines have come down.
Trams are running again now overhead cables have been cleared of ice,
but subway services are disrupted. Flights in Toronto, Ottawa and
Montreal have been delayed, if not cancelled altogether, at one of the
busiest times of the year.
Temperatures as low as -15C are expected in southern Canada over the
next few days. Five people have died in accidents on ice-covered
At least 11 deaths have been blamed on the storm system in North
America, including five people killed in flooding in Kentucky.
In Toronto more than 100,000 customers had power restored in the city,
but about 190,000 customers are still without power, he said.
Another 80,000 customers were without power in wider Ontario as well as
about 34,000 in Quebec, 49,000 in New Brunswick and another 6,600 in
- An intense heatwave this past week left many places in northern
Argentina and Uruguay reaching temperatures of about 38C.
Downtown Buenos Aires reached 100F degrees on Thursday which is about
15degF above average for late December.
On Christmas Day, the heat sent tens of thousands of people to area
rivers and lakes to try and beat the heat. Unfortunately for one
community along the Parana River in Argentina, the high number of
swimmers due to the searing heat were met by a school of piranhas which
ended up injuring around 70 people.
- Families were forced from their homes over the Christmas period as
storms swept across Italy, causing avalanches and power cuts.
Heavy snow in northern Italy left one person dead after an avalanche
hit the resort town of Les Arnauds, close to the French border.
Meanwhile, a boy from Trento was saved on Thursday when his father
pulled him out from under an avalanche.
Heavy snow left people stranded in their cars, while hundreds of
tourists were unable to reach their hotel in the Alps’ Puster Valley
after roads were closed.
Train travel between Italy and the Swiss Canton of Valais was also
paralyzed on Thursday night as heavy snow felled trees over the railway
Towns across northern Italy and north-west Piedmont suffered blackouts.
Winds reaching 100 kilometres an hour and heavy rain battered the
Liguria region. Nineteen families were evacuated from their homes after
an avalanche hit the Genova suburb of Pontedecimo, while further
landslides were recorded in the northern Lombardy region.
Bad weather also struck southern Italy, with sea storms on Thursday
stopping ferries and cutting off islands in the Bay of Naples from the
Ferries linking Sicily and Sardinia to the mainland were also
cancelled, as were connections to smaller southern islands.
- Flooding and mudslides have taken lives and caused injuries in the
Lesser Antilles around the Christmas holiday. The system causing heavy
rain over the region in December has moved away.
At least eight people have died and five others were injured in St.
Vincent and the Grenadines alone.
Other islands in the Caribbean hit hard by deadly and/or damaging
flooding include St. Lucia and Dominica.
Flooding and mudslides have damaged water and power lines and destroyed
This is the third wettest December on record for St. Thomas and at
least the fifth wettest on record for St. Croix, according to the
National Weather Service in Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico, has received nearly 7.50 inches of rain this
In the United States Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. Croix have also
received heavy rainfall. More than 7 inches of rain has fallen on St.
Thomas. The rainfall is nearly three times that of average for December
for both locations.
- A series of avalanches in the Alps on Friday left five people dead,
including a young Irishman, and several other skiers seriously injured,
according to mountain rescue teams.
Off-piste skiers have been warned there may be further avalanches this
Seven skiers were swept away when avalanches hit the popular resorts of
Val-Thorens, Courchevel, La Clusaz and Serre-Chevalier.
In Switzerland, where heavy snow has fallen for the past two days, two
skiers were declared dead in separate incidents, one in St Moritz.
Rescuers said they were unable to reach the second victim, said to be a
27-year-old Irishman, living in Zurich, swept away by an avalanche in
the Uri region south of Realp, because of weather conditions.
- More than 40 people have died following weeks of torrential rain in the
south-eastern Brazilian states of Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais.
The downpours have been described as the worst to hit Espirito Santo in
About 70,000 people have been forced to leave their homes.
Troops have been deployed to help distribute food, water and medicine
to areas cut off by flooding and landslides and to repair roads.
- Heavy rain and gales of more than 100mph have returned to Britain –
just days after the last storm caused Christmas misery for tens of
thousands of people.
Cheshire police reported "awful driving conditions" and a number of
roads had been blocked by fallen trees overnight.
About 4,000 customers in Northern Ireland were without electricity on
Friday morning after trees fell across power lines and electricity
poles were broken. Emergency crews and engineers were assessing the
damage and carrying out repairs.
Police and fire services across the country reported road closures
because of uprooted trees.
The Met Office recorded a gust of 109mph in Aberdaron, west Wales,
early on Friday morning – with general wind speeds of between 60mph and
80mph expected in the UK.
Dublin airport tweeted that it had had to divert six planes because of
The Irish Meteorological Service issued its highest weather warning,
urging people to protect themselves from strong winds, heavy rain and
very high seas arriving in the west and south of the country. The rest
of the country was on "amber alert", with the public told to be
prepared for disruption.
Friday's storm was expected to cause fresh travel problems for
airlines, train operators and bus companies as well as for drivers
returning to work or home following the Christmas break.
- 2013 is shaping up to be one of the driest calendar years on record for
many places in California.
This prolonged drought has contributed to the heightened risk of
wildfires over the past several months and is raising major concerns in
the agriculture industry.
Example of the rainfall in 2013 so far include -
Los Angeles (Downtown) (normal, 14.93 ins, 2013 3.60 ins, 24 % of
average), San Diego (10.34 ins, 5.57 ins, 54 %) and San Francisco
(20.65 ins, 3.30 ins, 16 %).
- A scientific mission ship, trapped in dense pack ice off east
Antarctica, is still awaiting rescue after a Chinese icebreaker failed
to reach it.
The Snow Dragon icebreaker was itself stalled by heavy ice, officials
The Russian Academic Shokalskiy, which has been trapped since Christmas
Day, has 74 on board and is being used by the Australasian Antarctic
They are following the route explorer Douglas Mawson travelled a
- Temperatures in Southern Manitoba, Canada, have been below normal for most of the late fall. The 24th-26th December were warm but a blizzard on the 29th brought cold weather back to 10 to 15 degC below the thirty year average.
It's been really cold again in southern Manitoba this week.
Temperatures in Winnipeg hovered around -31C in the afternoon, which were the coldest afternoon temperatures the area has seen in several years. Wind chill values, which had dipped to near or at -50C earlier in the day, were still hovering around -40C in the afternoon — cold enough to freeze expose skin in as little as five minutes!
World weather news, November 2013
- The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record high in 2012, continuing an upward and accelerating trend which is driving climate change and will shape the future of our planet for hundreds and thousands of years. See here for full details.
The World Meteorological Organization's annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that between 1990 and 2012 there was a 32% increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate - because of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases such as methane and nitrous oxide.
Carbon dioxide, mainly from fossil fuel-related emissions, accounted for 80% of this increase. The atmospheric increase of CO2 from 2011 to 2012 was higher than its average growth rate over the past ten years, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.
Since the start of the industrial era in 1750, the global average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by 41%, methane by 160% and nitrous oxide by 20%.
What is happening in the atmosphere is one part of a much wider picture. Only about half of the CO2 emitted by human activities remains in the atmosphere, with the rest being absorbed in the biosphere and in the oceans.
- Typhoon Haiyan is battering the central Philippines with sustained winds of up to 315 km/h.
Meteorologists say that if initial estimates based on satellite images are borne out, it could be the most powerful storm ever to make landfall.
The storm has forced millions to seek shelter in 20 provinces and at least three people have died, officials say.
The authorities have warned that more than 12 million people are at risk from the category-five storm, including in Cebu, the country's second largest city with a population of 2.5 million.
The typhoon arrived with gusts of up to 275 km/h, the Philippines' weather service said in its bulletin, issued at 05:00 local time (21:00 GMT).
The US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, which typically gives higher readings as they are based on a shorter period of time, said shortly before Haiyan's landfall that its maximum sustained winds were 315 km/h (195 mph), with gusts up to 380 km/h (235 mph).
- The authorities in the Philippines are struggling to bring relief to some of the areas worst affected by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the deadliest storms ever to hit the country.
Up to 10,000 are said to have died in Tacloban city and hundreds elsewhere (as of the 14th the death toll was over 3600). Hundreds of thousands are displaced.
The typhoon flattened homes, schools and an airport in Tacloban.
In many areas there is no clean water, no electricity and very little food.
Thousands of troops have been deployed to the disaster zones and military cargo planes are flying in supplies. However, rescuers are hampered by debris and damaged roads.
Houses have been flattened by the massive storm surge that accompanied Typhoon Haiyan.
The storm was so powerful that it washed large ships ashore in the city of Tacloban; a storm surge up to 10m high swept away vehicles.
The nearby town of Palo was also devastated.
- Tropical Storm Haiyan, which killed thousands as a typhoon in the Philippines, has made landfall in north Vietnam, near the border with China.
It still carried gusts of up to 98 mph as it arrived close to the Ha Long Bay tourist destination.
Nearly 900,000 people had been evacuated from regions at risk. Reports say at least 13 people have been killed and 81 injured.
The typhoon has decreased markedly in strength from the Category Five storm that swept through the Philippines in a day, causing mass destruction.
In China, Xinhua reported that the National Meteorological Center had issued a red typhoon warning - the highest alert in its four-colour typhoon warning system.
More than 13,000 people were evacuated from the major tourist resort of Sanya on Hainan.
More than 200 flights at Hainan's airports have been cancelled or delayed.
- The death toll from a tropical cyclone that hit Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region at the weekend has risen to 140, and the final figure could be 300.
Weather experts at the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said the cyclone, which made landfall on Saturday, brought unusually heavy storms. Latest rainfall data shows the cyclone has subsided after flooding the towns of Eyl, Dangaroyo and the Puntland capital, Garowe, though heavy rains are still expected inland.
The cyclone's heavy torrential rains caused flash floods that led to the loss of about 100,000 livestock. Many fishing boats were swept into the Indian Ocean. The FAO said about 65% of Somalia's population depended on livestock.
Winds of 50-100 km/h lashed the coastline Sunday into early Monday along with rough surf and coastal flooding.
- This year is the seventh warmest since records began in 1850, with a trend of extreme weather events and the impact of storms such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines aggravated by rising sea levels, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said.
The WMO, giving a provisional overview, said the first nine months of the year tied with the same period of 2003 as seventh warmest, with average global land and ocean surface temperatures 0.48C above the 1961-1990 average.
Among extremes have been Super Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most intense storms in history that smashed into the Philippines last Friday.
Other extremes this year have included record heatwaves in Australia and floods from Sudan to Europe, the WMO said. Japan had its warmest summer on record.
Apparently bucking a warming trend, sea ice around Antarctica expanded to a record extent. But the WMO said: "Wind patterns and ocean currents tend to isolate Antarctica from global weather patterns, keeping it cold."
As of early November 2013, there had been 86 tropical cyclones, from typhoons to Atlantic hurricanes, closing in on the 1981-2010 average of 89 storms, the WMO said.
- At least 900 homes in Illinois were either destroyed or badly damaged by Sunday's tornadoes, a figure that state officials say is likely to grow.
In all, the National Weather Service says, at least 15 tornadoes hit Illinois on Sunday, with 65 tornadoes reported provisionally across the country.
The death toll still stands at six.
Severe weather pounded the USA Midwest with tornadoes, intense thunderstorms and giant hail threatening 53 million people across 10 states and leaving tens of thousands without power.
A National Football League game between the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago was suspended amid high winds and heavy rain. Winds of over 70mph lashed Such strong storms are rare (but not unknown) this late in the year because there usually is not enough heat from the sun to sustain the thunderstorms.
- At least 18 people, including four children, have been killed in flooding on the Italian island of Sardinia after a cyclone and heavy rain.
A number of people are reported missing after rivers burst their banks. Cars were swept away and bridges collapsed.
The area around the north-eastern city of Olbia was worst-hit - in some places the water was up to 3 m deep.
Cyclone Cleopatra brought more than 440 mm of rain in 90 minutes overnight into Tuesday morning.
"We're at maximum alert," Giorgio Cicalo, an official from Sardinia's civil protection authority, said. "We haven't seen a situation as extreme as this, perhaps for decades - especially because it's been across the whole island."
The storm caused extensive damage to farms in Sardinia and disrupted a number of flights to and from mainland Italy.
- Tropical Depression 32W produced extreme rainfall and deadly flooding across parts of central Vietnam last week.
Rainfall totaled over 500 mm in Hue, while over 425 mm fell in Da Nang.
The National Floods and Storms Control Agency confirmed that 41 people died in the latest round of flooding, while about 80,000 people were forced from there homes.
- Rain from Helen is already inundating east-central India as the tropical cyclone nears landfall.
The strength of Tropical Cyclone Helen is currently equal to that of a strong tropical storm in the Atlantic Basin.
Helen will maintain tropical storm strength as it approaches and then moves into India's Andhra Pradesh state Friday morning local time.
- A severe storm has been blamed for up to a dozen deaths in the US and could threaten travel for millions over the approaching Thanksgiving holiday.
The icy storm started in the western states and has caused at least 10 fatal road crashes.
Hundreds of flights in Texas were cancelled amid freezing rain, which is expected to move east this week.
Three members of singer Willie Nelson's band were reported injured in a Texas bus accident during heavy rains on Saturday.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, cars slid around the road in the snow
Oklahoma received up to 25 cm of snow, while weather warnings were issued for Arkansas on Monday as the weather system moved east across the nation.
- Nine people are believed to have been killed after heavy snowfalls caused a building to collapse in Heilongjiang Province in north-east China.
Elsewhere the snow is continuing to cause traffic disruption, flight cancellations, and school closures.
- Tropical Cyclone 05B (Lehar) made landfall in India this morning.
Lehar weakened as it interacted with more wind shear than previous days. Lehar was the equivalent of a category 1 hurricane at its peak.
The storm made landfall between Nellore to the south and Visakhapatnam to the north.
This same area received rain from Tropical Cyclone Helen in the past week.
- In the USA residents and visitors in the South for the Thanksgiving holiday will face the coldest Thanksgiving in years in the wake of recent heavy rain and thunderstorms.
A frost and freeze will reach into new territory for the season so far in the Deep South, reaching the Gulf coast and into portions of central Florida.
Some unprotected fruits and vegetables grown in north-central Florida could be at risk.
Temperatures during the cold wave will dip to 15 to 25 degF below normal and will challenge record lows in some locations.
Since 1985, only two Thanksgiving days failed to reach 70 F in Tampa. A high temperature of 65 F is forecast in Tampa, Fla., this Thanksgiving.
- The 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, which ends today, was the
season with the fewest number of hurricanes since 1982, according
Overall, 13 systems spun up in the basin since 1 June, one more
than average for the season.
Hurricanes, however, were in short supply. Only two, Ingrid and
Humberto, formed this season, compared to the average of six.
Of those two, neither became major hurricanes. A major hurricane is
defined as a storm that reaches Category 3 or higher. Typically,
the Atlantic yields three major hurricanes per season.
Though the tropics looked prime for an active season back in June,
several factors developed which inhibited the strengthening of the
Above normal shear across the Gulf into the northwestern Caribbean
hindered development when it combined with a lot of dry air.
Additionally, cold water nosing southwestward in the eastern
Atlantic and a significant amount of African dust further stifled
the set up for stronger, longer-lasting storms.
World weather news, October 2013
- A powerful cold front unleashed damaging winds on parts of South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania Monday into Tuesday. Many homes lost power during the wind storm, including residences in the Adelaide and Melbourne. Power companies continue to try to restore power to customers across the region. At the peak of the storm, 90,000 people were without power according. Winds gusted to near 100 km/h at Melbourne International Airport while nearby neighbourhoods reported winds as high as 140 km/h.
- Blizzards have covered large parts of South Dakota and Wyoming in a heavy layer of snow, closing airports and making roads dangerous. Heavy rain, snow and tornadoes have also affected many other US states, bringing infrastructure to a standstill. In northeastern Nebraska and northwestern Iowa on Friday, severe storms spawned dangerous tornadoes. 15 were injured, the Associated Press reported. On Saturday, the National Weather Service Omaha office reported that the damage survey team in Wayne found some damage in an industrial park that suggested an EF-4 tornado had touched down. Mostly, however, the damage was rated EF-2 and EF-3, they said. On Friday and Saturday, several feet of snow fell across Wyoming and South Dakota, bringing blizzard conditions to the region. In the span of 24 hours, the scenic Black Hills in South Dakota were coated in up 1.1 m of wet, heavy snow.
- Heathrow Airport has cancelled 40 flights and several other planes were delayed because of poor visibility due to fog. The widespread fog and mist also led to delays and cancellations at London City Airport.
- Powerful Typhoon Fitow has killed at least five people in China, with four others missing. The tropical cyclone hit China's eastern coast early on Monday, with winds of up to 151 km/h. The storm flattened houses, flooded villages and farms, and affected more than 4.5m people, officials said. It has caused economic losses of more than 21bn yuan (£2.1bn), officials in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces said. Typhoon Fitow - named after a flower - made landfall at 01:15 local time in the city of Fuding, Chinese meteorologists said.
- Tropical Cyclone Phailin made landfall in northeastern India, but advanced warnings and evacuations may have been what saved hundreds of thousands of lives.
The approach of Phailin, among the most powerful historical cyclones in the region, led to the evacuation of close to 1 million people.
Reports of fatalities vary, but at this early stage, range upward to over a dozen people.
The storm, the strongest to hit India in more than a decade, destroyed hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of crops.
The threat for widespread heavy rain and flooding is over across much of northern India, however some areas remain flooded after days of torrential downpours.
Even though Phailin weakened slightly prior to landfall, destructive winds well over 160 km/h and flooding rain of at least 200 mm hit the region. A crippling storm surge of at least 3 m is expected to have swamped the coast near and just northeast of the point of landfall.
The India Meteorological Department confirmed that Phailin made landfall over Gopalpur on Saturday evening with winds over 200 km/h. Phailin reached peak intensity Friday night into Saturday when the storm was the equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane or super typhoon.
- Rotating frontal disturbances over the Netherlands led to some prolonged rainfall, especially in the southwest of the country where heavy rainfall caused flooding and damage.
Most of the rain fell Saturday to Sunday in South Holland: in some places more than 120 mm fell. In a much larger area of Zeeland, Zuid-Holland and Utrecht was totals amounted to 75 mm of rain or more. Such rainfall in one day on this scale occurs with a frequency of less than once every thirty years.
- After tens of millions of people in Japan felt the wrath of Wipha, the storm now races away from the country leaving behind both destruction and death.
Oshima, a small island south of Tokyo, reported 824 mm of rain from the storm in less than 24 hours.
The long duration of heavy rainfall caused fatal landslides. The Associated Press reported 17 deaths so far, many from Oshima. With 44 people still unaccounted for, it is possible the death toll will continue to rise.
Winds of hurricane force lashed parts of the greater Tokyo area as rainfall totals reached between 150 and 300 mm.
The center of Wipha tracked within 50 to 100 miles of Tokyo early on Wednesday morning, local time, having top sustained winds comparable to a minimal hurricane.
About 400 domestic and international flights were cancelled in Tokyo as nearly 20,000 people were evacuated from their homes.
Wipha was the eighth typhoon of 2013 and also the 26th named tropical cyclone of the year, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
- Almost 1,500 firefighters in the Australian state of New South Wales have been battling its worst bushfires in a decade after more than 100 blazes broke out across the region.
Hundreds of homes are feared to have been destroyed, and the NSW premier, Barry O'Farrell, said that it would be a miracle if there was no loss of life, warning that it would take days to extinguish all the fires.
Hot and gusty winds on Thursday worsened conditions, which were described as "difficult, dangerous and erratic" for firefighters.
The blazes followed the unusually early start to the bushfire season last month, well ahead of the start of the Australian summer which normally heralds their arrival. They are likely to prompt further debate about the impact of climate change, blamed by experts for the shift in bushfire seasons, at a time when Tony Abbott's government is trying to repeal the country's carbon pricing scheme.
The fires created traffic chaos around Sydney, with a 20km queue on the Hume highway for city-bound traffic.
The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Co-operative Research Centre said last month that "large areas" of southern Australia face a raised threat of fire, fuelled by an unusually warm winter and an abundance of burnable vegetation, grown after rain earlier in the year.
- A small tornado is believed to have swept through a seaside town causing damage to nearly 100 houses, trees and telegraph poles.
Hampshire constabulary said they had received reports of disruption in Hayling Island, thought to have been caused by the unusual weather.
A Havant council spokesman said the small tornado is believed to have caused damage to properties in Blackthorn Road and Ilex Walk, although no injuries had been reported.
- The Angolan government has been accused of being in denial over a drought that has affected 1.8 million people because the crisis threatens to tarnish the country's image as a booming economy.
Children as young as nine are digging wells to fetch water, amid a severe drought in southern regions of Angola that has forced people to use unclean water for consumption and cooking, according to the UN. Neighbouring Namibia, which has also been badly affected, has declared a drought emergency and appealed for humanitarian aid.
Angola has done neither, although it has appointed a special inter-ministerial commission to respond to the drought, delivered food aid and drilled boreholes. Government sources have told the UN that funding requirements are between $150m and $350m, but amounts disbursed so far have not been confirmed.
International relief agencies, including Unicef, the World Health Organisation and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, began responding to Angola's drought in 2012, but the Angolan government was slow to respond, according to aid officials.
- The European storm death toll has risen to 15 after Danish police say a driver was killed when he crashed into
a tree knocked down by violent gusts.
Monday's storm was one of the worst in years in western and northern Europe. Authorities said Tuesday that dozens
were injured in Denmark as wind gusts up to 194 km/h swept across the country.
In Denmark, train passengers spent the night in a sports facility due to fallen trees on the tracks. The storm
left a trail of uprooted trees, damaged buildings and collapsed scaffoldings across the country.
Germany had six deaths, Britain five, Denmark two and France and the Netherlands had one each.
Gusts of 99 mph were reported on the Isle of Wight in southern England, while gusts up to 80 mph hit the British
mainland. Later in the day, the Danish capital of Copenhagen saw record gusts up of to 194 km.h and an autobahn in
central Germany was shut down by gusts up to 100 km.h.
All across the region, people were warned to stay indoors. Hundreds of trees were uprooted or split, blocking
roads and crushing cars. The Dutch were told to leave their beloved bicycles at home for safety's sake.
London's Heathrow Airport, Europe's busiest, cancelled at least 130 flights and giant waves prompted the major
English port of Dover to close, cutting off ferry services to France.
Nearly 1,100 passengers had to ride out the storm on a heaving ferry from Newcastle in Britain to the Dutch port
of Ijmuiden after strong winds and heavy seas blocked it from docking in the morning. The ship returned to the
North Sea to wait for the wind to die down rather than risk being smashed against the harbour's walls.
A nuclear power station in Kent, southern England, automatically shut its two reactors after storm debris reduced
its incoming power supply. Officials at the Dungeness B plant said the reactors had shut down safely and would be
brought back once power was restored.
Trains were canceled in southern Sweden and Denmark. Winds blew off roofs, with debris reportedly breaking the
legs of one man. Near the Danish capital of Copenhagen, the storm ripped down the scaffolding from a five-story
Copenhagen's Kastrup Airport saw delays as strong gusts prevented passengers from using boarding bridges to
disembark from planes to the terminals.
In Germany, in addition to widespread rail disruptions, both Duesseldorf and Hamburg airports saw many flights
cancelled, stranding more than 1,000 passengers.
Thousands of homes in northwestern France also lost electricity, while in the Netherlands several rail lines shut
down and airports faced delays. Amsterdam's central railway station was closed due to storm damage.
Amsterdam was one of the hardest-hit cities as the storm surged up the Dutch coast. Powerful wind gusts toppled
trees into canals in the capital's historic center and sent branches tumbling onto rail and tram lines, halting
almost all public transport. Ferries in the Baltic Sea, including between Denmark and Sweden, were cancelled after
the Swedish Meteorological Institute upgraded its storm warning to the highest possible level, class 3, which
indicates "very extreme weather that could pose great danger."
Trains were cancelled in southern Sweden, and many bridges were closed between the islands in Denmark.
- A stream of thick, blowing dust crossing an Arizona (USA) highway led to a chain-reaction crash that killed
three people in an area where gusting winds often stir up towering clouds of dirt that can reduce visibility to
At least 12 other people were injured Tuesday in the 19-vehicle pileup on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and
- New South Wales (Australia) storms injured six people, including a woman struck by lightning.
Trees and powerlines fell on three people at Engadine in Sydney's south.
A severe weather warning for damaging winds and large hailstones was in place for parts of the greater Newcastle,
Cessnock and Maitland areas.
- From Anchorage to Fairbanks and Barrow, many cities in Alaska are seeing very mild temperatures this October
due to a persistent area of high pressure in the upper atmosphere.
In the interior Alaskan city of Fairbanks, the monthly average temperature is 2.6C through to the 30th. This is
about 7 degC above average and ranks among the warmest Octobers on record in the city.
Monday the 28th was extremely mild. The high temperature for the day reached a daily record of 10.6C, more than 18
degC above the late-October average high. Even the low temperature of 3.2C exceeded the average high by about 10
- Typhoon Krosa hit the northern end of the main Philippine island of Luzon on Thursday forcing around 60 families to flee.
The typhoon, packing maximum winds of 160 km/h, struck the coastal province of Cagayan, about 430 kilometres north of Manila on Thursday afternoon.
The highest level of a three-stage storm alert was raised over Cagayan and the northernmost provinces. Lower alerts were raised over neighbouring areas, she added.
The disaster-prone country is usually hit by some 20 typhoons each year, many of them deadly.
World weather news, September 2013
- A tornado ripped through parts of eastern Japan leaving dozens injured and many properties damaged. Police in Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo, say that 63 people were reported injured. Residents reported that roofs were carried off houses while electricity poles collapsed.
- Just a few days after the remains of Kong-rey flooded parts of Japan, Toraji brought another round of heavy rainfall to southern Japan.
Tropical Storm Kong-rey drenched parts of southern Japan, as well as northern Honshu and Hokkaido with 75-150 mm over the weekend. One of the hardest hit areas was Kagoshima, in the south, where more than 250 mm of rain fell Saturday through Monday. Toraji has brought around 100 mm of additional rain to the Kagoshima area.
- Peru has declared a state of emergency in 10 regions as temperatures in the Andes this week plunged to their lowest levels in decades.
Tens of thousands of animals, including valuable alpacas, have died and crops have been ruined as heavy snowstorms continue to sweep the area. About 100,000 people living in vulnerable mountain communities, some as high as 15,000ft, have been affected.
Although there have been waves of bitterly cold weather, overall temperatures have risen nearly 2C in the summer since 1965, while the range of temperatures over 24 hours has increased to nearly 27C, compared with 18C in 1980.
The changing climate and growing water scarcity has made many communities more vulnerable to disaster, as people move their herds to remote pastures at ever higher altitudes as the land near their homes wilt.
- A 130-car accident occurred just before 0615 GMT on the Isle of Sheppey (UK) crossing. This is a bridge that connects the island to nearby Kent.
There were many injuries, some serious.
Witnesses reported low visibility due to fog during the time of the accident and that the accident went on for nearly 10 minutes as cars continued to collide with others already involved in the accident.
- A freak hail storm has left part of Falmouth in Cornwall (UK) looking like a winter's scene.
The hail storm, which left cars sliding on roads, occurred at about 1600 GMT (lasting for about 20 minutes) after a Met Office warning of heavy rain in the South West overnight.
- Multimillion-pound flood protection schemes on Teesside (UK) were "overwhelmed" during torrential downpours on Friday evening, leaving 60 homes inundated.
Cleveland fire brigade received nearly 240 calls for help during the flooding, which washed away two cars. Their drivers escaped.
Hartlepool, Billingham and the A19 were also badly affected by flooding.
Alistair Baker, a spokesman for Northumbrian Water, said the ferocity of some storms was "well in excess of the design capabilities" of their defence schemes, completed last year at a cost of about £2.5m. The water company began work on the scheme, which was meant to deal with extremely heavy rainfall, in May 2011.
- After seeing little rainfall through the winter in Buenos Aires, some heavy rains have finally made an appearance which will only help farmers ready to plant crops in the next few weeks.
This heavy rainfall is occurring as a storm moves up the coastline and brings a wide swath of over one inch of rain to coastal Argentina and coastal Uruguay. In the last 24 hours, ending Saturday afternoon local time, 3.62 inches of rain fell in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This rain mostly came in around sunrise as over 2 inches fell in less than 6 hours.
This heavy rainfall caused some flooding across the city which has seen nearly half the typical rainfall for the winter months. Only a bit over 3 inches of rain fell in June through August, with normal rainfall of close to 8 inches. Being south of the equator, this is the time of year that Buenos Aires is coolest.
- Many places from southern Germany through the Balkans to Romania experienced a drier- and warmer-than-normal summer. Although a rainy stretch ended August in some areas of central and eastern Europe, the wet weather was not accompanied by lower temperatures. Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia and Herzegovina have been hit hardest with parched conditions. Belgrade, Serbia, has picked up just 44 per cent of normal rain since June 1 while places farther north like Budapest, Hungary, have only received 54 per cent of normal.
- Sea-ice extent in the Arctic appears to have passed its yearly minimum, scientists report. The US National Snow and Ice Data Center says this summer's marine floes were reduced in cover to 5.10 million sq km. It represents almost 50% more ice than the spectacular satellite-era record-minimum achieved this time last year - when floes were reduced to just 3.41 million sq km.
- A powerful typhoon has made landfall in central Japan, flooding scores of houses and forcing hundreds of thousands of residents to evacuate. Officials have asked at least 400,000 residents from four prefectures to leave their homes due to Typhoon Man-yi. The evacuation orders were issued to residents in Kyoto, Shiga, Hyogo and Mie prefectures. Overnight, Japan experienced "an unprecedented amount of rainfall" in Kyoto, Fukui and Shiga, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency. As much as eight centimetres per hour of rainfall was recorded, it added.
- The area of the annually recurring Antarctic ozone hole reached its peak at 24.0 million square kilometers on 16 September according to data from NASA. This is more than in 2012 and 2010, but less than in 2011.
The World Meteorological Organization’s newest Antarctic Ozone Bulletin said the ozone hole area averaged over the ten last days of September was 20.9 million km2 (data from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, KMNI).
This is more than in 2012 but less than in 2010 and 2011. The ozone mass deficit averaged over the same period was 19.59 megatonnes. This is more than in 2010 and 2012 but less than in 2011.
- At least 12 people have been killed in mudslides in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz as the country continues to be battered by two tropical storms. Hurricane Ingrid made landfall on the Atlantic coast, while Tropical Storm Manuel has triggered mudslides causing buildings to collapse in states along the Pacific. More than 20,000 people have been evacuated and moved to shelters.
- Emergency teams are searching for hundreds of people still missing after Colorado's deadly floods. State officials say more than 300 are still unaccounted for, but many are believed to be merely cut off in remote areas inundated by the historic rains. Several towns were encircled by raging waters. More than 3,000 people have been evacuated by air and ground. The floods have been blamed for eight deaths, 1,500 homes destroyed and another 17,000 properties damaged. Days of rain was followed by a flash-flood rainstorm in the early hours of Wednesday last week. The downpour dumped about 53 cm of rain in parts of Boulder city, nearly double the area's average annual rainfall. It is expected to take weeks or possibly months to search through all the flooded areas and confirm a final death toll. More than 400 lane-miles of state highway and some 30 bridges are destroyed or impassable.
- Hurricane Manuel, which has already caused devastation in south-western Mexico, has made landfall again in the north-west threatening more destruction. Authorities in the northern state of Sinaloa have set up dozens of temporary refugee centres. Meanwhile, those in the South are assessing the damage left by the hurricane. At least 80 people have died so far and dozens are still missing. Floodwaters also destroyed roads and bridges leaving communities cut-off.
- Heavy rain and howling winds are lashing the northern Philippines and Taiwan as Typhoon Usagi goes through the Luzon Strait which divides them. Villages have been evacuated, ferries suspended and flights cancelled. Meteorologists say the storm is the most powerful this year and will bring a cumulative rainfall of 1000 mm as it heads towards China. The US Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre said on Friday that Usagi was packing sustained winds of 240 km/h, with gusts of up to 300 km/h, making it the equivalent of a strong category four Atlantic hurricane. Taiwan is reported to have deployed more than 1,600 soldiers in "high risk" areas prone to flooding and landslides while placing 24,000 others on standby.
- A massive clean-up operation is under way across large parts of southern China, after one of the most powerful storms in the past 30 years hit the region. State media said at least 25 people were killed as Typhoon Usagi ripped through Guangdong province, with winds gusting at up to 155 km per hour. Millions of people on the Chinese mainland have also been affected by extensive flooding in many areas.
- Heavy rain has caused widespread flooding in Sochi, Russia, which will be the site of the Winter Olympics in 2014. During the 23rd-25th the region has received 196 mm of rain. Resulting flooding and mudslides caused Russian government officials to declare a state of emergency. Rivers flooded their banks and the rain caused some local highways to be impassable.
- Torrential rainfall across the northern Philippines, including the capital city of Manila, has led to widespread flooding problems since the weekend. Former Typhoon Usagi passed north of the Philippines on Friday before moving westward and making landfall in China on Sunday.
- A major international assessment of climate change adopted here by 110 governments provides conclusive new scientific evidence that human activities are causing unprecedented changes in the Earth's climate. Produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was established by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme in 1988, the report confirms that it is extremely likely (95-100% probability) that most of the warming since 1950 has been due to human influence. The IPCC's previous assessment, released in 2007, described the evidence for human-caused global warming as "unequivocal," with at least a 9 out of 10 chance of being correct. The new report further states that greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would induce changes in the oceans, ice caps, glaciers, the biosphere, and other components of the climate system. Some of these changes would very likely be unprecedented over decades to thousands of years. Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases.
- Several days of excessive rains in the Indian state of Gujarat have turned deadly. At least 13 people have been killed. Earlier reports stated at least 50,000 people had been displaced by the flooding rainfall. A slow-moving monsoonal low has led to an extended period of torrential rainfall across the state. One of the hardest-hit areas is around Rajkot, where more than two feet of rain has fallen since Monday. The rainfall led to the closure of many schools and universities while also bringing travel to a standstill due to road closures. Trains in and out of the region were also brought to a halt. Travel by road and rail is slowly being restored across the region.
- At least 30 people have died in Cambodia after two weeks of floods caused by heavy rains and the Mekong River overflowing its banks. More than 9,000 families fled their homes and about 100,000 hectares of rice fields were destroyed by rising waters, local reports say.
World weather news, August 2013
- August got off to a hot start across much of central and western Europe. A blast of hot air spread across the region allowing temperatures to soar into the mid- and upper 30s Celsius.
The hot spell preceded a storm system moving into the northern United Kingdom. Ahead of this storm, a flow of hot air from the south made for a very uncomfortable Thursday and Friday in many places.
Some of the hot temperature observations include 35C in Rome, 34C in London, 33C in Frankfurt and 38C in Madrid.
While cooler weather pressed into England Friday, the heat was still on in central Europe. Florence, Italy, climbed to 37C late in the afternoon while Frankfurt reached close to 35C.
- So far this summer has been unusually warm across Alaska; temperatures in Barrow and Anchorage have averaged approximately 1.7 degCs above average, while temperatures in Fairbanks have averaged nearly 2.5 degC above average.
Although Anchorage has averaged above normal, the city has yet to break any daily temperature records this summer. The persistent warmth has managed to break a different type of record for the city, however.
From July 17 to July 31, Anchorage either reached or climbed above 70F, a stretch of 15 days. This broke the old record set in 2004 when the city had a stretch of 13 consecutive days of at or above 70.
In Fairbanks, the high soared to 83F on Saturday. The high has reached 80F or higher for 33 days this summer. That is the most such days in Fairbanks, since record-keeping began in 1904. The average number of days Fairbanks reaches 80 degF or warmer is 11. Currently, this summer is ranked as the second warmest for the city, falling behind the warm summer of 2004.
This warmer weather has also contributed to development of lightning-producing thunderstorms that ignited of dozens of wildfires burning across Alaska over the past few weeks. According to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, there are currently 73 active wildfires across the state.
- The temperature climbed to 40.6C at Xujiahui Observatory, Shanghai. This equalled the previous all-time record high temperature there. On Wednesday 40.8C was reached.
- Hot air remains in place over much of central and eastern Europe. In Sandanski, Bulgaria, which normally has high temperatures around 32C, 38C was reached on the 4th.
Helsinki, Finland, recorded 27C, compared to the normal maximum of 221C.
The core of the heat remained over Italy, the Balkans, Hungary and Romania from Monday through Thursday with temperatures of 33-37C and even 38-39C in places.
- A hail storm has smashed windows and damaged roofs in part of France.
The storm only lasted a few minutes, but dozens of houses as well as cars were damaged in Champdieu.
- Tropical Rainstorm Mangkhut continued to bring locally heavy rainfall to parts of Vietnam and Laos today.
Earlier, Mangkhut had clipped southwestern Hainan Island, China, as a tropical storm. Several inches of rain were reported across the island.
Northern Vietnam endured flash floods from Tropical Rainstorm Jebi less than a week ago making flooding a major concern over the next 24 hours before rainfall diminishes from Mangkhut.
- Torrential rains continued across the USA's midsection, causing flash flooding that killed a woman and a child, damaged homes and forced multiple water rescues.
Up to 250 mm of rain pounded southern Missouri overnight.
Flash flood warnings were common in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
Some raingauges near Waynesville (Missouri) recorded 370 mm of rain in a two-day period.
- Homes were evacuated after a fire broke out at one of Venezuela's largest oil refineries.
According to authorities, the blaze at the Puerto La Cruz refinery in the eastern part of the country was sparked by lightning during a thunderstorm - but was extinguished after four hours.
- Flash floods in Afghanistan's Kabul province have killed 22 people.
The flooding hit a village in the Shakardara district following a weekend of heavy rain.
The floods also destroyed homes, agricultural land and fruit gardens, officials say.
Earlier this month, dozens were killed in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan after a storm system caused torrential rain, washing away homes and destroying summer crops.
- At least 27 members of a Yemeni wedding party have died after the vehicles they were travelling in were swept away by heavy floods.
The victims, including women and children, were travelling through Wadi Nakhla in Taiz province, in the south of the Arab country.
Several other people have been killed by flash floods in Yemen over the past two days.
Yemen, at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, is prone to flooding during the Monsoon season.
- Although the severe weather season of 2013 will likely become known for its destruction in the southern Plains, the number of tornadoes to occur this year bears a stark contrast to average.
As of today there have only been 716 preliminary local storm reports of tornadoes in the United States, compared to the 2005-2012 average of 1221 for this date.
- Some of the Philippines' heaviest rains on record fell for a second day on Tuesday, turning the capital's roads into rivers and trapping tens of thousands of people in homes and shelters. The government suspended all work except rescues and disaster response.
Officials reported at least seven people dead, 11 injured and four missing.
The flooding followed two nights of heavy monsoon rains, exacerbated by Tropical Storm Trami. The storm hovered over the North Philippine Sea and drenched the main northern island of Luzon with more than 30mm of rain an hour.
Flooding has become more frequent in Manila because of deforestation of mountains, clogged waterways and canals where large squatter communities live, and poor urban planning.
According to an assessment from the Department of Science and Technology, rainfall reached 600 mm in and around Manila Bay on Sunday alone – more than a month's worth of rain in a day. In the disastrous 2009 Typhoon Ketsana, the strongest cyclone to hit Manila in modern history, 455 mm of rain fell in 24 hours.
- Russian authorities are preparing to evacuate the far eastern city of Khabarovsk amid the worst flooding in over a century, following president Vladimir Putin's warnings not to allow a repeat of flooding last summer that killed 170 people.
Already, more than 23,000 people have been evacuated from the three regions along the Chinese border – the Khabarovsk Territory, Jewish Autonomous Region and the Amur Region – affected by heavy rains and flooding, state news agency RIA-Novosti reported on Wednesday, and the authorities and residents continue to build protective dams and temporary shelters.
Heavy rains killed 21 construction workers on Tuesday in the Chinese city of Haixi across the border from Blagoveshchensk as the number of dead or missing in China increased to more than 200.
- More than 30 people have been injured by a tidal bore in the Qiantang River in the eastern Zhejiang Province of China.
Given extra impetus by a typhoon, the huge and powerful tidal wave gathered momentum and crashed into the river bank in the city of Haining.
- Forty-eight people have been killed and more than 500,000 affected by the worst floods in Sudan in quarter of a century.
The region around the capital, Khartoum, was particularly badly hit, with at least 15,000 homes destroyed and thousands of others damaged. Across Sudan, at least 25,000 homes are no longer habitable. A UN official described the situation as a disaster.
The flooding, caused by continuous rains, has damaged public buildings, including schools, clinics, offices, shops, markets and water and sanitation facilities. Roads have been inundated, disrupting transport.
- The Leeds music festival in northern England experienced torrential rainfall that resulted in flooding.
The heavy rain hit just as the headline act was about to begin on Friday night. This rain turned much of the outdoor music festival into a mud pit.
Rainfall at Leeds Bradford International Airport totalled 29.7 mm from Friday afternoon through to Saturday morning.
- Flooding across Laos so far this summer has claimed more than 20 lives with more downpours on the way for the rain-weary country.
An already wet summer worsened by torrential rain from several tropical systems has led to flooding in many provinces across northern and central Laos.
"An estimated 116,518 people have been affected by the flooding with over 20 people killed," a report issued by ReliefWeb stated.
Much of the rain came from two tropical storms, Jebi and Mangkhut, that appeared in quick succession.
- As Hurricane Fernand pushes farther inland over Mexico as a tropical rainstorm, the threat of widespread flooding rainfall will diminish.
As of late Monday at least 13 deaths were reported in the storm's aftermath. All of the deaths were the direct result of landslides in the eastern state of Veracruz.
Reported rainfall was upwards of 300 mm.
Another man drowned after being swept away by fast-flowing floodwaters in the state of Oaxaca, bringing the total reported deaths from the storm to 14.
- Flash floods have destroyed half of the tents and caused widespread damage at three camps for internally displaced people in Yemen.
More than 8,000 camp residents near Haradh, in the north-west of the country, have been affected. In recent days, torrential rains and flooding have killed 39 people and destroyed homes, schools and infrastructure.
- Unusually cold weather and snow in parts of South America have affected thousands of people in several countries.
The cold spell has killed at least seven people in Peru, four in Bolivia and two in Paraguay.
In the latter, the authorities blamed the weather for the death of more than 5,000 cattle too.
In Bolivia, roads closed by the snow have disrupted supplies to mines in the province of Inquisivi, in La Paz.
One of the driest places on earth, the Atacama desert in northern Chile, also saw snow earlier this week.
Forecasters said the snowfall was the heaviest in the area, about 1000 km north of the capital Santiago, in three decades.
- The recent string of warmer-than-average months continued in August with the month coming in at second-warmest on record for maximum temperatures (anomaly +2.60 degC) and mean temperatures (anomaly +1.60 degC). Minimum temperatures were closer to the median, with an anomaly of +0.59 degC. August also contributed to Australia recording its warmest 12-month period on record; with the September 2012 to August 2013 mean temperature anomaly a record 1.11 degC above the long-term average. Mean temperature is the average of maximum and minimum temperature.
World weather news, July 2013
- The Bangkok Times has reported that a Bangladeshi cargo ship has capsized in the Andaman Sea. The Thai Navy reports that rescue missions are in progress to find 10 missing crew members after 18 were rescued. The missing were reportedly in a lifeboat that has drifted out to sea. The waves in the Andaman Sea were 16 feet high at the time.
- About 50,000 people are still without power a day after a heavy rainstorm in Toronto flooded parts of Canada's largest city. More than 90 mm of water - over a month's average - was dumped on the city late on Monday.
The rain flooded some major roads and subway stations, causing traffic chaos.
Hundreds of passengers were stranded for several hours on a flooded commuter train and had to be evacuated on police boats.
Water levels on the rush-hour Richmond Hill train rose so high that passengers fled to the upper decks of the coaches.
Average rainfall for the entire month of July in the area is 71 mm.
- One person has been killed in the Dominican Republic, as Tropical Storm Chantal skirted the southern coast of the island of Hispaniola.
The US National Hurricane Centre said Chantal had "degenerated into a tropical wave" by 2100 GMT, but was producing heavy rain and gusty winds.
- After days of excessive rainfall, a landslide in western China claimed the lives of at least 31 people, while more remain missing.
The number of those missing has climbed above 150 - attributed to the flooding and landslides.
The landslide in Dujiangyan, in the foothills of the Himalayas, was likely brought on by the excessive rain in this region of China in the past few days. Torrential downpours led to flooding in many areas across the city.
In nearby Wenjiang, over 300 mm of rain has fallen since Monday.
- China's army has been deployed to deliver emergency supplies after strong winds and heavy rains battered the country.
Some 300,000 people in eastern China were evacuated before Typhoon Soulik moved in on Saturday.
It has since been downgraded to a tropical storm.
In Sichuan Province, rainstorms caused widespread flooding, killing 86 people.
In the coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang, flights and train services were cancelled and fishing boats called back to shore.
Waves as high as 10 metres hit Yuhuan County in Zhejiang Province and authorities have warned residents to stay away from the dangerous coastline.
- More than 5,700 people missing since floods devastated northern India last month are presumed dead, officials have said, as rescuers struggled to bring aid to affected villages.
Vijay Bahuguna, chief minister of the state of Uttarakhand, said the government would give 500,000 rupees (£6,000) to the families of each victim who may have perished in the floods and landslides that hit the Himalayan region in June.
The state declared those missing for the past month presumed dead so it could compensate their families, but Bahuguna said there was hope that some could still be found alive. "The search for the missing persons will continue even after they are presumed dead," he said.
- The number of people suffering sunstroke, sunburn and heatwave-related injuries in the UK is stretching hospital emergency departments, doctors say.
Others injuries include toes amputated due to gardening accidents and people hurt in falls as more go out and about.
- As a heat wave ripples across the USA, temperatures will continue to soar. Accompanying the intense heat is an impending danger, as 20 children have died of heat stroke from being left in cars so far this year in the United States.
Last year 33 children died, according to Jan Null of San Francisco University.
- The combination of a slow-moving frontal boundary and tropical moisture has led to rainfall nearly every day of July across much of the Korean Peninsula.
Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, has reported rainfall on all but three days of the month. Rainfall has totaled 18.83 inches so far this month, more than 200 percent of normal.
More than 20 inches of rain has been reported in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, also more than double the monthly average.
This extended period of rain has led to flooding and mudslides that have claimed the lives of several people in South Korea.
- While the heat wave and virtual sauna over the Northeast and Midwest (USA) has broken few records, multiple days and nights of high humidity and light winds with the event are leaving an impression.
For many locations, Thursday was day five of the heat wave, which began last weekend. And in some areas there are a couple more days of sweltering to go.
"The duration of the heat index being 97F to over 100F has diminished the population's ability to respond to the heat," Dr. Kevin Baumlin, associate professor and vice chair for Clinical, Operations, Quality and Finance in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Ichan School of Medicine, said.
The heat wave is hitting around what is typically the hottest part of the summer, when the days are long, the sun is intense and the nights are short. (On Thursday, Alaska was the only state that did not reach 90 degrees).
During the overnight hours Thursday, temperatures did not drop below 80F in New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and in Milwaukee and Madison, Wis. In Traverse City, Mich., the overnight low Thursday was 82F. For Washington, D.C., temperatures have failed to drop below 80F for four nights in a row.
- Extreme temperatures are melting roads leading to emergency repairs, say council highways officials.
Vale of Glamorgan council gritting vehicles, normally used in winter, are laying crushed rock dust to protect road surfaces reaching 49C.
Similar problems have been reported in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, and Gwynedd.
Highways officials said UK roads were laid with bitumen graded for colder weather.
- Violent hailstorms have lacerated vineyards in a prestigious part of the Burgundy wine region, causing what local winemakers have described as "catastrophic" damage to this year's crop.
A strip of vineyards in the Beaune region were lashed by strong hailstorms and winds in a violent downpour on Tuesday afternoon, causing major damage in an area that covers four or five key wine-growing villages including Pommard and Volnay, prized for well-known and expensive crus. The worst-hit risk losing 90% of their crops.
The local trade body, the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne, said all the Côte de Beaune appellation area, which stretches over around 20km, was affected.
Burgundy, alongside Bordeaux, is one of France's two classic, best-known wine-producing regions. It is a big export area, currently prized by the Asian market, and produces some of the more expensive wines in France. The same area had already been hit by hail last year, causing high losses. This spring had also seen poor weather for local wine-growers, including flooding.
- An unusually warm July in Beijing saw temperatures reach 37-38C today.
Thursday will remain unseasonably warm but is not expected to be as hot as Wednesday with temperatures about 3 degC lower.
- Torrents of rain over the Philadelphia (USA) metro area late on Sunday afternoon turned roads into lakes, submerged cars and made travel very difficult.
8.02 inches of rain fell at the Philadelphia International Airport, with 7.35 inches falling between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. EDT.
The 8.02 inches also established a new record for the most rain on any calendar day, breaking the previous record of 6.63 inches on 16 September 1999 during Tropical Storm Floyd.
The 13.00 inches through to 28 July makes this July the wettest on record and the third wettest month overall, behind 19.31 inches in August 2011 and 13.07 inches in September 1999.
- Parts of southern Europe are experiencing a sustained heatwave, with temperatures in some areas exceeding 40 degrees Celsius.
In Sarajevo, Bosnia, emergency services treated more than 600 people for heat-related complaints in 24 hours.
- Temperatures in parts of China have hit record highs, leading to what is believed to be Shanghai's hottest July on record.
According to figures from the Shanghai Meteorological bureau, Shanghai has seen 24 days with temperatures at or above 35C in July.
World weather news, June 2013
- The remnants of a violent storm that claimed 20 lives in Oklahoma caused
flattened trees and utility poles in parts of northern New England, delayed flights in New York City and caused a tornado to touch down in South Carolina.
The weather service issued a rare tornado warning as a line of thunderstorms raced through New Hampshire into western Maine. It said a tornado warning was issued as radar indicated a possible tornado moving from Kingfield, Maine, to Bingham, Maine.
In north-western South Carolina, a tornado knocked a home off its foundation and blew part of the roof off.
The stormy weather in the New York City region shortened the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game to 5½ innings and produced backups at major airports. But by early Monday, delays were down to 15 minutes or less at airports on the east coast.
- Much of Europe, the United States of America, north-west Russia and parts of Japan had a much colder than average spring (1 March to 1 June), which ended with heavy rain in some European countries. By contrast, the Arctic region was considerably warmer than normal, as was a large area covering most of central and northern Africa (except Morocco and western Algeria), the Eastern Mediterranean, southern Russia and much of China.
This climate pattern started already in February, with cold Arctic air moving far to the south over Europe and the USA, and also wetter conditions over the eastern USA and western and southern Europe due to inclusion of the cold air in low pressure circulation. Corresponding sea level pressure anomalies showed higher pressure than usual over the Arctic and lower pressure than usual over mid-latitudes. This is a typical pattern of a negative phase of the so-called Arctic Oscillation (AO). The AO had several phases of outstandingly negative values during the first half of spring.
In the second half of the spring, the AO changed to a positive and then to a neutral phase. However, during the cold spell in late May there was still a similar pressure pattern with high pressure over Greenland and low pressure systems to the south, which caused Arctic air masses to flow to western and central Europe.
According to provisional figures, the UK reported the fifth coldest spring in national records dating back to 1910 and the coldest spring since 1962. France also reported below average temperatures from 10 May.
Germany reported its coldest spring since 1987, with an average temperature of 6.7C, 1 degC below the 1961-1990 average. Germany had its second wettest May since the beginning of records in 1881, with 178 per cent of the average May rainfall.
Switzerland also recorded below average temperatures with a big deficit of sunshine compared to the long term average. In Austria, spring was one of the seven wettest on record. May was one of the three wettest of the past 156 years (along with 1962 and 1965), with twice as much precipitation as the long-term average. Austria received as much rain from 30 May-2 June as it would normally receive in one and a half to two months.
The Czech Republic declared a red alert in the western part of the country 3-4 June for flooding, which also affected some southern parts of Germany particularly badly.
According to the Finnish Meteorological Institute, May was unusually, in many places even exceptionally, warm. The anomalies were particularly great in Lapland. The last days of the month were particularly warm in Northern Finland, where temperature records for May were broken at several observation stations. Hot days (over 25C) numbered nine in May, or the same as in 2010. The statistical average for hot days in May is three.
- Families were plucked from rooftops by helicopters, cars were swept away by raging torrents and levees failed without warning Wednesday as central European flooding continued.
Tens of thousands of people had to be evacuated in Germany and the Czech Republic and chemical plants along the mighty Danube and Elbe rivers were hastily shut down.
Near the southeastern German town of Deggendorf, two levees broke along the Danube and Isar rivers and their raging waters engulfed nearby houses. A southern German highway disappeared under the muddy floodwaters, cars were swept away and only the top of a few trucks peeked out above the waters.
Firefighters said more than 19,000 people were evacuated from the flooding in the Czech Republic.
In the eastern German city of Halle, the downtown area flooded despite frantic efforts to protect it with sandbag barriers. Authorities urged 30,000 residents to leave their homes as the Saale river reached its highest level in 400 years.
In the Czech Republic, authorities said the water in the Elbe was expected to reach 11 metres early on Thursday in the country's north, almost four times its usual height.
After inundating parts of Prague, a surge on the Elbe was now roaring north toward Germany, particularly the eastern city of Dresden, where hundreds were being evacuated. The river, which was expected to crest early on Thursday, was running about 7 metres over normal levels.
Overall, 16 people have died since the beginning of the flooding last week, including eight people in the Czech Republic, five in Germany, two in Austria and one in Slovakia. At least four other people were missing in the Czech Republic, according to the interior minister.
In villages around Usti nad Labem, a city of 100,000 in the northern Czech Republic, police in boats were handing out drinking water and medicine to those who had not evacuated.
In the Czech capital of Prague, Environment Minister Tomas Chalupa said the city's sewage treatment plant - which had to be shut down because of high water - might be operational again in the next 24 hours. Since the shutdown, the city's effluence has gone straight into the Vltava River, which runs through the city.
Floodwaters were slowly receding in the hard-hit Bavarian city of Passau after reaching levels not seen in 500 years, leaving behind huge amounts of debris.
- The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season smashed rainfall totals across the Northeast
USA and pushed some streams and creeks over their banks but sped up the Eastern Seaboard without causing
After bringing rain, strong winds and tornadoes to Florida, Andrea lost most of its tropical
characteristics late Friday into Saturday. But it brought record rainfall for the date of June 7 for many
cities and towns in the Northeast.
Andrea dumped 6.64 inches of rain on Gales Ferry, Conn., while 3.5 inches of rain fell at Philadelphia
Elsewhere, cars were submerged in floodwaters on Long Island, and about 50 residents were displaced by a
rising stream in Chester, Pa. The storm was blamed for one traffic-related death in Virginia.
In Florida, the weather service estimated that feeder bands from Andrea's remnants dropped more than 9
inches of rain on eastern Miami-Dade County and more than 6 inches of rain on eastern Broward County on
- Two derechos occurred across different areas of the Eastern United States. The initial derecho formed on
the afternoon of 12 June and tracked across a large section of the Midwestern United States, the central
Appalachians, and the Mid-Atlantic states before moving into the Atlantic Ocean during the morning of the
13th. A second, more widespread and intense derecho occurred on the 13th across the Southeastern United
States, resulting in major wind damage across North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, among other states.
They resulted in at least three deaths and caused extensive damage – resulting from both tornadoes and
straight-line winds – from Iowa to South Carolina. 24 tornadoes touched down in Iowa, Illinois, Ohio,
Georgia, and Maryland, with about half of the tornadoes occurring from supercells that formed on the 12th
before the initial derecho.
- The floods in Germany are likely to be even costlier than those in 2002, according to Fitch Ratings.
It says that if flooding progresses as it has in the past, economic damage in Germany is likely to be
around 12bn euros, with gross insured losses of between 2.5bn and 3bn euros.
- Some remote Japanese islands were drenched by the spiralling bands of Tropical Storm Yagi as the
disturbance passed about 200 miles to the south of Tokyo.
Yagi brought locally heavy rain to a long stretch of coastline of Japan’s Honshu Island that included
Osaka and metropolitan Tokyo, according to the Japan Meteorological agency.
Cold waters just to the south of Honshu were responsible for the storm weakening rapidly and posting a
significant threat to only shipping lanes in the far western Pacific.
- Onset of the southwest monsoon has taken place deep into Pakistan as many as four weeks earlier than
Monsoon onset was 13 June 2013, in Delhi, almost two weeks earlier than average. The 15 June onset at
Karachi and Islamabad was more like three weeks ahead of schedule.
The abnormally early advance of the seasonal weather phenomenon has left unusually early soaking rain in
many parts of Pakistan and northwestern India. The characteristic pre-monsoon heat has also been beaten
back, thanks to widespread rain-cooled air.
- The death toll from flooding and landslides triggered by heavy rain in northern India has risen to 70.
At least 45 people have died in Uttarakhand state, while flood-related deaths have also been reported in
Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Over 150 buildings in Uttarakhand have been damaged, and at least one building washed away.
Some 75,000 pilgrims on their way to shrines in the region are stranded.
Officials said that heavy rains were continuing in Rudraprayag, Chamoli and Uttarkashi districts, and the
Ganges river was flowing above the danger mark.
Heavy rains have also been reported in the northern states of Punjab and Haryana.
- Some of the warmest weather of the year arrived in Alaska over the weekend and will continue through
the first part of the week. The heat is also raising the risk of wildfires.
Heat challenged records in Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska's two most populated cities, over the weekend.
The high in Fairbanks on Sunday reached 88F, falling just 1 degF shy of their daily record.
Talkeetna was the hot spot in Alaska on Monday, climbing to a scorching 96F. The temperature shattered the
highest reading ever recorded for the site. The old record of 91F set on 26 June 1953, was equalled on
Sunday. The temperature hit 94F at McGrath and 90F at Cordova.
These record-challenging temperatures are due to a northward bulge in winds high in the atmosphere that
developed over central Alaska over the past weekend.
This particular jet stream pattern will hold its ground through the first part of the week, allowing the
above-normal temperatures to continue.
- A withering early summer heart wave has sent temperatures soaring throughout central Europe since
On Wednesday, excessive heat spread northward from the Alps to nearly all of Germany, where some hot spots
topped 35C. For a wide area surrounding the Alps, it was the third straight day of readings hitting 30-
Among the leaders for high temperature, Mulhouse, France, and Hohenems, Austria, reached 36C on Monday. On
Tuesday, Sion, Switzerland, hit the 36C mark. However, 38.5C was reported at Ajaccio, Corsica.
Frankfurt, Germany, reached at least 35C as did Salzburg, Austria. Readings around Berlin were at least
33C, and Kiel was near 34C.
- Singapore's prime minister has warned that the haze engulfing the city could last for weeks, as air
pollution in the city-state soared to record levels.
The pollution standards index peaked at 371 on Thursday, breaking previous records and well above
hazardous levels, before falling to about 300.
The haze is caused by illegal forest fires in Indonesia's Sumatra island.
The issue has sparked accusations between the two neighbours over who is responsible for the smog.
- A severe winter storm powered by a cold Antarctic outbreak has lashed New Zealand with severe winds,
slashing rain and heavy snow.
The weather has disrupted flights and ferries as deep hill country snow on the South Island blocked roads
Gusts to 84 mph were clocked at the Wellington airport amid heavy falling rain.
Two-day rainfall of 25-50 mm was widespread over the southern half of the North Island, reaching right
southward along the eastern side of South Island, data showed.
Temperatures near sea level hovered in the 30s to lower 40s on the eastern South Island, indicating that
snowfall was heavy down to 1,000 to 1,500 feet above sea level.
- Pollution levels reached a new record high for a third day in a row in Singapore, as smoky haze from
fires in Indonesia shrouded the city state.The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) hit 401 at noon on Friday
- the highest in the country's history.
The haze is also affecting Malaysia, with another 100 schools closed in the south of the country.
Indonesia has prepared helicopters and cloud seeding equipment to try to tackle the fires.
- Eight people have been killed in northern India when a rescue helicopter involved in flood relief efforts crashed near a pilgrimage site.
The Indian Air Force says five crew members and three civilians died when the helicopter hit the side of a mountain and fell into a river.
It was on a rescue mission near Gaurikund in the state of Uttarakhand.
The army is leading the evacuation of thousands of stranded people, including pilgrims visiting holy sites.
More than 800 have died in the flooding so far.
Officials fear the death toll could rise as more bodies are recovered from remote areas. About 97,000 people have been rescued since devastating floods hit the state on 15 June.
Early monsoon rains in India are believed to be the heaviest in 80 years.
Swollen rivers have swept away entire villages in Uttarakhand, where there were many travellers in what is peak tourist season.
At least 45 air force helicopters are being used in the rescue effort, which has been hampered by bad weather.
- Neutral conditions (neither El Niño nor La Niña) continue in the tropical Pacific. Model forecasts and expert opinion suggest that neutral conditions are likely to be maintained through the boreal summer and autumn of 2013, though a slight chance of La Niña or ElNiño development remains. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and other agencies will continue to monitor the conditions over the Pacific and provide outlooks to assess the most likely state of the climate through the remainder of 2013.
During the last year, El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indicators in the tropical Pacific (e.g., tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures, sea level pressure, cloudiness and trade winds) have generally been at neutral levels, indicating that neither El Niño nor La Niña conditions have been present. In January and February 2013, sea surface temperatures approached a borderline LaNiña level, and although the atmospheric characteristics of La Niña also appeared briefly, the ocean-atmosphere system as a whole did not remain in a La Niña state for long enough to be considered a weak La Niña event. Since March 2013 the central tropical Pacific Ocean, cloudiness and trade winds have been at neutral levels. However, in the far eastern tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures cooled to well below average during May and early June.
- Twenty-three boy scouts and three adults were injured Monday when lightning struck the Griswold Scout Reservation in New Hampshire.
The scouts and adults were reportedly under shelter when it struck, and were not hit directly. All were transported to the hospital.
Lightning was occurring throughout western and central New England Monday, but the frequency of the strikes was not anything unusual.
Typically, the frequency of lightning strikes is lower in New England and highest in Florida and along the central Gulf coast.
Twenty-eight fatalities were reported in the United States due to lightning in 2012, according to the National Weather Service.
- Flood warnings have been posted for some Sydney area (Australia) rivers after a strong winter storm lashed Australia's southeast coast.
Runoff from the rain-soaked Blue Mountains sent flood water over the Warragamba Dam spillway, prompting authorities to issue a warning for the Nepean River.
At least two other rivers in eastern New South Wales, the Georges and the Shoalhaven, were also under warning for minor flooding.
The storm, which began Monday, led to the closing of the Blue Mountains National Park.
The storm poured more than 5 inches of rain on Sydney's international airport. The storm left more than the average month of June rainfall here.
Meanwhile, much higher falls were registered elsewhere in the region. Rainfall of at least 10 inches since Monday was reported from the Shoalhaven and St. Georges basins, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology website showed. At one spot in the Kangaroo Valley, southwest of Wollongong, a
- The historic and dangerous heat wave that has been shattering records across the West turned deadly in Las Vegas on Saturday (29th).
Las Vegas paramedics found a man dead in a home without air conditioning on Saturday, when temperatures at the city's McCarran International Airport soared to 115F.
Saturday's high of 115F repeated Friday's high and marked the first time since late June 1994 that the McCarran Airport registered consecutive highs of 115F or higher. The heat became even more extreme on Sunday, reaching 117 degrees, which tied the all-time record for Las Vegas.
The National Weather Service Office in Las Vegas, located on the city's southwestern side, experienced its all-time record high of 118F on Saturday.
Death Valley tied its hottest June temperature of 128 degrees on Saturday (29th), followed by breaking the record on Sunday reaching 129F.
World weather news, May 2013
- The World Meteorological Organization’s Statement on the Status of the Global Climate says that 2012 joined the ten previous years as one of the warmest - at ninth place - on record despite the cooling influence of a La Niña episode early in the year.
The 2012 global land and ocean surface temperature during January–December 2012 is estimated to be 0.45C (±0.11 degC) above the 1961-1990 average of 14.0C. This is the ninth warmest year since records began in 1850 and the 27th consecutive year that the global land and ocean temperatures were above the 1961-1990 average, according to the statement. The years 2001-2012 were all among the top 13 warmest years on record.
- Schoolchildren in Minnesota and Wisconsin got a rare May snow day (a day off school) as a storm dropped up to 16 inches of sticky snow across a beleaguered region that was just starting to enjoy spring.
A two-day storm which dropped a wintry mix of snow and rain Wednesday from Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming into Nebraska, South Dakota and Iowa. It delivered the first May snowfall in Sioux Falls, S.D., in 37 years, knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses in several states, forced the closure of major roads and was a factor in at least one fatal crash.
The 11 inches recorded at Forest City and nearby Britt, Iowa, by Thursday morning was the state's largest snowfall in a 24-hour period in May, the state's highest snowfall total from any storm in May, and the state's most snow recorded ever in May.
- Australia's year of extreme weather is continuing as Sydney enjoys its longest late-season hot spell in 26 years, inland temperature records tumble and regions around Perth prepare for a cyclonic-strength storm.
The Harbour City is 17 days into its stretch of 20-degree or warmer days.
Only once in 150 years of records - in 1987 - has the city had such warm conditions lasting this long this late in the year.
Many other regions have been experiencing unseasonably warm weather this month.
Australia has experienced a string of heatwaves, roughly six weeks apart, for the past half-year or longer, climate experts at the Bureau of Meteorology say.
Those hot spells produced the hottest month on record, the hottest summer and a blitz of other national heat records.
A third of Queensland has already been declared in drought conditions and many parts of south-eastern Australia are recording rainfall far below average for the crucial crop-planting season.
The records to fall include some beyond the shores. Sea-surface temperatures along almost all of the southern coastal, for instance, and around most of Tasmania were the highest on record in the first four months of 2013.
- The central and eastern United States are not the only areas experiencing a colder-than-average spring. Alaska is also hanging on to winter's chill and snow.
The five-week period from April 3 to May 7 was the coldest for this period in 109 years of record keeping at Fairbanks, Alaska.
- Western Uganda has been experiencing its worst flooding since 1976 and authorities are racing to move people to safer ground before more rain hits over the coming days.
Over 130 km of main roads in Kibuku district of Uganda have considerably been destroyed by heavy rains experienced currently.
A total of 57 bridges along the main routes in the district that lies in the area endowed with numerous natural streams, have been washed away.
On Monday movement across the district became difficult as roads became flooded that motorists including cyclists got stuck.
- Worldwide levels of the chief greenhouse gas that causes
global warming have hit a milestone, reaching an amount never
before encountered by humans, federal scientists said Friday.
Carbon dioxide was measured at 400 parts per million at the
oldest monitoring station, which is in Hawaii, and that sets the
global benchmark. The last time the worldwide carbon level was
probably that high was about 2 million years ago, said Pieter
Tans of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
- Snow has fallen in parts of Devon in what has been described
as "fairly unusual" weather for May.
Winds of up to 65mph also struck the South West coast overnight
with a number of trees coming down, some blocking roads.
Western Power Distribution said homes in Cornwall were still
without power after thousands were cut off overnight.
Two inches of snow also fell in Shropshire and people were
warned to prepare for flooding.
The Met Office said the snow which fell in Devon was "a
The last really widespread snowfall in May was 17 May 1955 when
much of England and Wales was affected by several hours of snow.
Devon also saw significant snow on 17 May 1935.
- Forecasters say the tornado that claimed six lives and
destroyed dozens of homes in North Texas is believed to have had
winds up to 200 mph.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said the preliminary storm
estimate for the tornado in Granbury was an EF-4, based on the
Fujita tornado damage scale. That means the storm carried wind
speeds of 166 mph to 200 mph.
The NWS believes 10 tornadoes raked North Texas in a violent
system, including the one in Granbury, about 40 miles southwest
of Fort Worth. Other tornadoes damaged nearby Cleburne and
- The North Pole’s surprise trip toward Greenland is due to
Earth's rapidly melting ice sheets, a new study finds.
The distribution of mass across the planet determines the
position of Earth's poles. Because Earth is a bit egg-shaped,
the North Pole is always slightly off-center. It's also been
slowly drifting south, responding to long-term changes since the
last Ice Age, as the enormous ice sheets that once covered large
swaths of the planet melted and parts of the Earth rebounded
from the lost weight.
But in 2005, the pole suddenly started making a beeline east for
Greenland, moving a few centimeters eastward each year. The
cause? Rapid melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, finds a study
published May 13 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Ice loss and the associated sea-level rise account for more than
90 percent of the polar shift, Nature News reported.
- A tropical storm has lashed coastal areas of Bangladesh,
killing 12 people, destroying thousands of huts and forcing up
to a million people to flee.
Officials had prepared for a cyclone, but the storm, called
Mahasen, weakened considerably before making landfall.
The storm hit Patuakhali district with heavy rain and wind of up
to 100 km/h.
The United Nations had warned that 8.2 million people were at
risk from Mahasen in Bangladesh, Burma and north-east India.
The Bangladeshi government said it had evacuated 956,672 people
from coastal areas to more than 3,200 cyclone shelters.
- Flooding and landslides across nine southern Chinese provinces have killed more than 50 people and left 14 missing, officials say.
Guangdong was hardest hit, reporting 36 deaths after days of heavy rain.
- A record-smashing snowstorm has buried parts of Newfoundland under about 70 cm of snow.
There were no reports of serious damage or disruption.
Gander tallied a heavy, wet snowfall of 69 cm between Saturday morning and Sunday night. Of this amount, 46 cm fell within only 12 hours on Sunday. The snow depth reached at least 55 cm on Sunday and still stood at 51 cm on Monday morning.
The snowfall had a water equivalent of about 69 mm, which amounts to the lion's share of the normal May precipitation of 86 mm.
Normal snowfall for the month of May is 13 cm, according to Environment Canada. The highest snowfall for all of May was previously 49 cm, set in 1972.
An Atlantic storm, tapping cold air off the Labrador Sea, was the trigger for the snowfall.
The heavy falls of snow were apparently restricted to parts of central and eastern Newfoundland, mostly above about 100 m of elevation. In the provincial capital, St. John's, the storm brought only cold, windswept rain and drizzle.
- A devastating mile-wide tornado hit the US state of Oklahoma, flattening neigbourhoods, causing widespread fires and landing a direct hit on an elementary school.
Homes and buildings were reduced to rubble in Moore, south of Oklahoma City. Cars were strewn across roadways and entire blocks were flattened. The local medical examiner's office said 51 people had died, including seven children.
24 people died and at least 237 were injured by the effects of the tornado.
Authorities said that Plaza Towers elementary school in Moore took a direct hit from the tornado. The winds whipped off the roof, knocked down walls and turned the playground into a mass of twisted plastic and metal.
Local reports said 75 children and staff were in the school at the time, some of whom were feared trapped in the rubble.
It was the second day that tornadoes had hit the area. On Sunday, tornadoes and baseball-sized hail brought destruction to a mobile home park in Shawnee, a suburb of Oklahoma City.
Moore was struck by a severe tornado in 1999 that resulted in widespread destruction and resulted in the deaths of dozens of residents. On that occasion winds hit 302mph, registering F5 on the Fujita scale - the highest level.
The National Weather Service said Monday afternoon that an area covering population of almost 62 million was at risk of storms.
The tornado that struck the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore today was a rare EF5, the highest rating the National Weather Service assigns in classifying the strength of tornadoes.
An EF5 tornado can pack winds exceeding 200 miles per hour and damage is devastating, the service said.
Damage assessment teams also determined that the huge tornado cut a path of approximately 17 miles by 1.3 miles wide.
EF5 tornadoes are rare in the United States. The twister in Joplin, Missouri, on May 22, 2011, which killed 161 people, was rated an EF5.
- Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes after heavy rain caused flooding in southeastern Norway.
In Nesbyen, a mudslide reached properties, filling some basements with water.
A river overflowed its banks in Kvam, sending water through the centre of the village. Around 250 people had to be evacuated.
Roads and rail services have also been affected by the bad weather, including the busy E6 highway, which links Oslo to the Mjosa region and northern parts of the country.
Train services through Gudbrandsdalen and Østerdalen that connect Oslo and Trondheim have been closed.
The flooding in Norway this year is expected to be worst since 1995.
- Americans were warned today to brace themselves for an extremely active hurricane season - less than a year after the devastation of Sandy, which hit the east coast in October 2012 - with 13 to 20 named storms, including seven to 11 hurricanes.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, releasing its annual forecast, said 2013 would be prolific in raising storms out of the Atlantic and Caribbean. Of the predicted hurricanes, Noaa predicted that three to six could be major hurricanes, rated category three and packing winds of 111mph or higher.
The forecast was well above the average of 12 named storms, eight hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Administration officials also warned that the impacts of those storms - as with Sandy and Irene in 2011 - could be felt in areas far beyond those typically associated with hurricanes and tropical storms.
- Thunderstorms have diminished across southern Texas; however, flooding will continue into Sunday following the heavy rain the area has received since Friday.
San Antonia received 9.87 inches of rain on Saturday, making it the second wettest day for the city on record. This also helped make it the second wettest May on record for the city as well.
Flooding from the heavy rain did result in two fatalities. A woman drowned when she was swept from the roof of her vehicle during a water rescue. A second person downed when their vehicle was swept into a drainage ditch by flood waters.
- It's a snowy Memorial Day weekend for parts of the U.S. On the aptly named Whiteface Mountain in upstate New York, there's at least 34 inches of snow on the ground.
Most famous of all cold and snowy late season events would have to be the infamous 1816 'Year without Summer' and the snowfall in June that occurred in the eastern U.S. and Canada. Between June 6th and June 8th accumulating snow was observed as far south as the Catskills in New York (where one inch was reported) and highlands of central and northwest Pennsylvania. Snowflakes were seen at sea level as far south as ten miles north of tidewater on the Hudson River just above New York City.
But, Wrather Underground note, snowfall in the north east this late in the season hasn't been unheard of since then: the area tends to get some late season snowfall every 5-10 years. Just not nearly as much as this time.
On Friday, Syracuse and Binghamton, N.Y., broke the record for the latest day of the year that it has snowed. The previous record was May 17, 1973 for Syracuse and May 18, 2002 and 1973 in Binghamton.
- The National Guard has helped evacuate residents from a small community in Alaska's interior where a river ice jam caused major flooding, washing out roads and submerging homes and other buildings.
State officials estimate several hundred people have left the town of Galena, which remained mostly underwater Tuesday with the Yukon River ice jam firmly in place.
National Weather Service meteorologist Christopher Cox said 90 percent of the community's roads were flooded, and many buildings had 7 feet (2 metres) of water in them. Some of the people who were displaced said they escaped in rafts battered by ice chunks and floating debris.
- The heavy storm clouds have left Chile, having given some heavy rain and snow.
The storm left one person dead and 231 people injured.
Meanwhile, one metre of new snow was measured by one ski operator near Santiago.
Lifts were open as at Ski Portillo, although the highway linking the slopes to cities in Chile and Argentina was closed, the resort website said.
Snowfall since Monday was put 100 cm. The storm lifted seasonal snowfall to 126 cm.
Resorts at Farellones, east of Santiago, were also hit with heavy snow.
Flooding was a problem for coastal and valley cities of central Chile, following a two-day rainstorm, which gave 50-150 mm of rain.
Flooded homes were reported, as was a flooding of coastal roads, owing to a "heavy storm surge."
- Hurricane Barbara hit Mexico's southern Pacific coast, flooding roads, toppling trees and killing two men before weakening to a tropical storm as it moved inland.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Barbara, which had earlier moved close to the country's biggest oil refinery, was 50 miles west of the city of Tuxtla Gutierrez in Chiapas state. Winds were blowing at up to 60 miles per hour.
The hurricane was churning north-northeast at about 9 mph and should weaken rapidly overnight, the NHC said.
- The tornado that struck near the Oklahoma City suburb of El Reno was an EF5 strength - the strongest rating on the Enhanced Fujita scale. National Weather Service (NWS) storm surveyors also put the tornado's path at 4 km across at its widest point, making it the widest tornado on record.
20 people died as a result of the tornado and subsequent flooding.
The tornado was part of an outbreak that hit the area around the Friday rush hour and endangered thousands of people on local highways. Three storm chasers were killed in the outbreak after a tornado picked up and destroyed their vehicle - an event that has caused some soul-searching in the chaser community.
The tornado's maximum wind was clocked at 296 mph, close to the highest winds ever recorded on Earth. The wind speeds, as well as the path and width of the tornado, were measured by mobile Doppler units. These radar instruments can be moved around on vehicles and narrowly focused on tornadoes and storms. Unlike stationary radars, which only scan about once every 5 minutes, the mobile radars can be targeted to a narrow area of interest and complete scans every 5 seconds, giving researchers a more detailed picture of the storm.
The El Reno tornado was on the ground for 40 minutes, and travelled a total of 26 km, the NWS reported.
Previously, the record for the widest tornado was 4 km, held by a twister that ripped through Nebraska on 22 May 2004.
World weather news, April 2013
- This Easter was the coldest in Jersey since records began in 1894, according to the Jersey Met Department.
The average temperature for the weekend was 4.3C and it rounded off an exceptionally cold month.
It was the coldest March since 1962, with an average temperature of 6.1C.
The month was the wettest Narch since 2001, and the third wettest March on record.
- Emergency services in Poland are trying to clear icy roads and restore power to thousands of homes after heavy snow over Easter.
Polish national radio says more than 100,000 homes had no electricity on Monday, after trees collapsed on some power lines. Poland's central and eastern provinces were worst hit.
There were hundreds of domestic fires at the weekend, many caused by faulty heaters. Five people died in blazes.
Moscow also has unusually heavy snow.
Russia's state weather centre says the blanket of snow in Moscow reached 65cm on Monday - that is 9cm more than previous records for 1 April, dating back to 1895 and 1942.
About 30cm of snow fell across Poland on Sunday, making many roads impassable and delaying dozens of flights.
Residents of Katowice and Bialystok said that they had never witnessed such weather before at Easter.
- Emergency workers in Argentina continue to try to rescue residents stranded by flooding in Buenos Aires and La Plata.
More than 50 people are known to have died after one of the heaviest storms recorded caused flash floods.
Thousands were evacuated from their homes and dozens are still stranded on rooftops, treetops and the roofs of city buses.
Provincial officials said 40 cm of rain fell on the city of La Plata in the space of two hours late on Tuesday night.
Earlier, the storm had dumped 15 cm of rainfall on the capital, Buenos Aires.
Local officials said at least 48 people were killed in La Plata, six in Buenos Aires and two in its suburbs. The Red Cross said most of the victims had been elderly people who drowned in their homes.
More than 3,000 people had to leave their homes and 80,000 still do not have electricity, with two of La Plata's hospitals also affected by the power cuts.
- At least nine people have died in Angola's capital, Luanda, after weekend floods caused by torrential rains.
Four people are also missing after a storm led to the flooding of hundreds of houses.
Landslides forced the closure of some roads, including one near the port, it was reported.
- The death toll in a storm that brought snow and rain to a vast swathe of the US has reached three, with several more injured in a possible tornado.
The deaths were reported in the states of Nebraska, Missouri, and Mississippi.
Tornado warnings are in effect in parts of North and South Carolina, and thousands remain without power as the storm drives up the East Coast.
Wind speeds peaked at 101mph in Sullivan, Missouri, the National Weather Service said.
- Strong winds have hit parts of Scotland with reports of flying debris, dust storms and gusts of over 70mph.
In Moray, gales whipped up what were described as coastal "sandstorms" and trees, branches and an advertising hoarding were brought down in Glasgow.
Police Scotland said routes in the Moray and Banffshire area had been affected by sand and fallen trees.
Officers said sand was causing "zero visibility" in the Fogwatt area of the A941 Elgin - Rothes road.
Sand on road In one part of Moray sand was blowing in "dunes" across the road
There have also been warnings of poor visibility on the A96 between Inverness and Nairn.
The high winds caused disruption on the ferries, with delays and cancellations on CalMac services.
The Tay Road Bridge had been closed to all traffic at one point.
- More than 20,000 sheep were lost in the recent snow blizzard, and it may be next month before all the dead animals are found and counted.
The news emerged at a meeting of the agriculture committee at Stormont.
It is estimated that almost 800 farms were affected by the severe snow storm.
With snow still lying in some high parts of Northern Ireland, dead animals are still being recovered, but the committee heard that one sheep was found alive 25 days after the blizzard.
- On Saturday afternoon, the wet snow piled in the mountains of the Loveland Pass (Coilorado, USA) gave way, creating a fatal avalanche.
Adding to the already 19 deaths by avalanches during the 2012-13 winter season, five people were trapped and killed on Saturday.
Colorado Avalanche Information Center executive director Ethan Greene said "We are very much in a winter snowpack right now. The calendar may say it's April, but the snowpack looks more like February..."
That is due to the heavy snow that Colorado has seen for the start of spring, making it still feel like winter.
The last avalanche to cause this many deaths was back in 1962, when seven people were killed at Twin Lakes in January.
- Floodwaters rose to record levels along the Illinois River in central Illinois. In Missouri, six small levees north of St. Louis were overtopped by the surging Mississippi River, flooding mainly farmland.
The biggest troubles were in Illinois. Officials in Peoria said the Illinois River finally crested Tuesday at 29.35 feet, eclipsing a 70-year record. The river flooded roads and buildings in Peoria Heights, and inundated riverfront structures. Firefighters feared that if fuel from businesses and vehicles starts to leak into the floodwaters, a fire could be sparked in areas accessible only by boat.
- The earliest satellite maps of Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice have been assembled by scientists.
They were made using data from Nasa's Nimbus-1 spacecraft, which was launched in 1964 to test new technologies for imaging weather systems from orbit.
The satellite's old pictures have now been re-analysed to determine the extent of the marine ice at the poles in the September of that year.
Regular mapping from space did not begin until 1978.
One key finding is that marine floes around the White Continent in the 1960s were probably just as extensive as they are today.
The new snapshot, published in The Cryosphere journal, therefore helps put current ice conditions into a longer-term context, say researchers at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC).
- A series of April snowstorms has caused many records to fall and extreme temperature swings from Colorado to Minnesota (USA).
According to NOAA, 91.9 percent of the Upper Midwest is covered by snow currently, whereas only 0.4 percent of the Upper Midwest was covered by snow on April 23, 2012.
Snow and cold made it all the way down into Texas on Tuesday morning.
Childress, Texas, had a high of 92F on Monday before temperatures plunged into the 30s overnight with snow arriving.
- The latest storm in Duluth has allowed April to go down in the record books as the snowiest month ever with a total 51.0 inches. Previously, the snowiest month on record for Duluth was November 1991 when 50.1 inches fell.
- A record April snowfall has been recorded at Pierre, S.D., with 20.8 inches so far this month. The old record April snowfall was 17.5 inches set in 1986.
- Rapid City, S.D., has received a total of 43.4 inches of snow so far in April. That is more snow than the city typically receives during the entire season, which is 41.4 inches.
- The USA tornado season has been off to a slow start compared to the amped-up season last year.
The daily count and running annual trend of tornadoes in the United States has been significantly lower this season compared to last. According to NOAA, there were 592 tornadoes between Jan. 1 and April 25. This season during the same period, the U.S. has only endured 226 tornadoes. The average is 492.
- At least 13 people have died and four other are missing in flash floods in Saudi Arabia. Deaths were reported in the capital Riyadh, Baha in the south, Hail in the north and in the west of the country
The Saudi Civil Defence Authority urged people to avoid valleys and plains that have been flooded by the heavy rainfall that began on Friday.
The rain is said to be the heaviest experienced by the desert kingdom in more than 25 years.
- Spain has been struck by unseasonal weather which has seen snow falling across the country.
Extreme weather warnings are in place in 18 provinces, with small roads blocked as temperatures continue to hover around freezing. A snow depth of 18 cm was reported at the ski resort of Navacerrada, in the Sistema Central mountains, northwest of Madrid.
The wintry weather in April's last days resulted from the arrival of low pressure from the Mediterranean.
World weather news, March 2013
- A severe blizzard swept over northern Japan with at least nine people dying as a result of the weather.
The storm unleashed high winds, heavy snow and blinding whiteouts, the worst of which happened on the island of Hokkaido on the 2nd.
More than 30 cm of new snow fell at the Wakkanai Airport in northernmost Hokkaido. Sustained winds reached at least 52 mph with higher gusts.
The trigger for the blizzard was a severe winter storm that strengthened as it tracked eastward, directly over Hokkaido on Saturday. The storm also unleashed a blizzard on southern Sakhalin Island, Russia.
A hill town in northern Honshu, Sukayu, claimed a staggering snow depth of 5.5 metres, or 18 feet. The report showed houses all-but buried beneath the burden of snow.
- A high-speed Japanese bullet train derailed in northern Japan in heavy snow.
The train was carrying approximately 130 passengers and crew, although there are no reports of injuries.
The train was only traveling at about 20 kph at the time of the accident, which only led to one car derailing.
The current snow depth in Akita prefecture (where the crash occurred) ranges from about 18 inches at the coast to 90 inches in the mountains to their east.
- US government offices are closed as the East Coast braces for a blizzard that dumped heavy snow on Midwestern states in recent days.
Schools were shut and more than 1,500 flights cancelled at Washington DC and Baltimore airports, though by late afternoon on the 6th little snow had accumulated.
On Tuesday, Chicago saw heavy snowfall with about 10in reported in some areas.
The governor of Virginia declared a state of emergency after about 170,000 people lost power in the state.
On Tuesday, schools were cancelled across Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, and as much as 9in of snow was reported at Chicago's busy O'Hare airport by midnight.
- Dry weather conditions have hit the main maize growing areas in South Africa, wilting the crop and dashing prospects for better yields this year.
South Africa's provinces of Free State and North West, which together produce more than half of the country's total maize crop, have been the hardest hit by the dry conditions in recent weeks after good rains earlier in the growing season.
- South Australia has been experiencing unusually hot and dry conditions for many months.
The dry spell extends back to April 2012, particularly in central and northern South Australia, with many locations experiencing record low falls, less than 50 mm in the last 11 months (April to February). Oodnadatta recorded only 11.0 mm in that period, when they would typically expect to receive 164 mm, and Mount Barry only 8.8mm compared to an average of 150 mm (see http://www.bom.gov.au/announcements/media_releases/sa/20130307.shtml.
For the state as a whole, the rainfall was less than half of average (49%) during April 2012 to February 2013, and the third driest such period after 1982 and 1928. For cropping areas in South Australia it was the driest April to February period since 2006, and the 11th driest such period since 1900.
The dry conditions developed as a La Nina event ended in the Pacific, and Indian Ocean waters to the northwest of Australia cooled, with weak and sporadic tropical activity through summer also contributing.
- Approximately 47,300 homes lost power in Normandy due to snowfall that hit the north and west of France.
North Cotentin was particularly affected. By 3:30 p.m., 25 cm of snow had fallen with gusts up to 100 km/h on the coast.
Seine-Maritime prefecture received 15-25 cm of snow on Monday night, with locally 30 cm,.
In Belgium, the snowstorms caused massive traffic disruptions, with vehicles backed up on 1,600 kilometres of roads due to snowdrifts and ice. Buses and trains were cancelled or delayed in Brussels and other towns .
Long traffic jams because of snow and ice also snaked along motorways in the southern Netherlands, hampering travel to and from Belgium after an unseasonal fall of more than 10 cm of snow overnight.
Forecasters predicted that cold weather records were set to be broken again after Monday, the coldest March 11 in the southern Netherlands since 1928.
The high-speed Eurostar train service connecting London with the French and Belgian capitals and the Thalys line linking Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Cologne in Germany were both suspended.
Heavy snow in several parts of Germany caused travel disruption, with 161 flights cancelled at Frankfurt airport, Europe’s third busiest. Public transport in Berlin was affected with several regional trains cancelled or severely delayed. There were also a spate of crashes on icy German roads with several people seriously hurt and one death, according to police.
Frankfurt had about 12 cm of snow.
In Britain, drivers were trapped for more than 10 hours as ice, snow and freezing winds descended on southeastern England on Monday and Tuesday. Police, rescue services, snow ploughs and gritting lorries battled to help the stricken motorists in temperatures as low as -3C.
- Jersey farmers are concerned about the effect of heavy snow on the island's Jersey Royal potato crop, as the weight of the snow and the cold snap could damage the crop.
The potatoes were already two weeks behind schedule after what was described as one of the wettest winters in 50 years in Jersey.
- Freezing conditions are continuing to disrupt transport in north-west Europe, although heavy snow has eased.
Large parts of northern France have been placed on ice alert, with officials describing the situation as "very complicated".
Frankfurt airport had to cancel more flights on Wednesday, after hundreds of passengers remained stranded overnight.
Meanwhile the Eurostar high-speed train has resumed its service between London, Paris and Brussels but with delays.
The cross-Channel train had been forced to suspend all travel on Tuesday after a severe snowstorm struck France, Belgium, Germany and the UK.
French soldiers were mobilised to help workers restore electricity to about 80,000 homes in the country's north-east, left without power after the snowstorm.
The severe weather forced the Channel Tunnel's closure between England and France, causing a huge backlog of freight traffic as hundreds of lorries remained stuck on the M20 motorway in Kent.
The Channel Islands have experienced some of their worst conditions in decades.
- High pressure centered over SW parts of the USA is allowing temperatures to surge upwards here.
Temperatures in cities such as Phoenix, Ariz., and Palm Springs, Calif., are expected to make it into the 90s (degF).
At Palm Springs the heatwave started on Tuesday, with 90F being reached.
Phoenix last reached this temperature in the beginning of November; however, even for that time of the year, a temperature in the low 90s (F) is more than 10 degF above the climatological average.
- Tanks have been deployed to reach snowbound motorists in Hungary as cold weather causes transport chaos across eastern Europe.
T-72 battle tanks trundled along icy roads, while thousands of people waited in cars on the M1 motorway from Budapest to Vienna.
Many had been stuck on the road since Thursday evening.
In Bulgaria, a woman was killed when high winds brought down scaffolding in the town of Gabrovo.
Heavy snow paralysed parts of south-eastern Poland, where police were redirecting heavy lorries for fear they would get stuck
At least 19,000 households were left without power in eastern Slovakia after high winds damaged the grid and lorries backed up on a road
Melting snow caused flooding in Kosovo, with reports that a girl of 10 was drowned.
- Landslides triggered by heavy rains killed at least 24 people in the mountains above Rio de Janeiro
and prompted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to call for tougher action to eradicate precarious dwellings.
Firemen recovered the bodies of three children who were swept away by floods in the worst hit
neighbourhood called Quitandinha, a suburb of Petropolis, where dozens of homes were demolished by the landslides.
Most of the dead, including two civil defence rescuers, were buried under landslides caused by 420 mm
of rain that fell on the mountainous region in just 24 hours, almost double the rainfall average for the
month of March in the area.
- Record snow fall followed by a rise in temperatures has caused flooding in some parts of Moscow.
The heaviest March snowfall for 50 years saw almost a month's worth of snow fall in 24 hours.
Authorities say they have cleared 300,000 cubic metres of snow since Wednesday, with a predicted drop in temperatures expected to turn what is left of the melted snow back into ice.
- Several southern states are cleaning up after powerful winds and massive hail hammered the region.
Mississippi's insurance commissioner says the wind and hail storm that hit the state could result in
35,000 to 50,000 insurance claims. A lot of the
damage was in the Jackson area, where hail as big as baseballs pounded some spots.
The National Weather Service confirmed one tornado in Georgia and two in Alabama. Authorities
also reported that a man was killed in Polk County, Ga., after a tree fell on his vehicle.
- Snow whitened parts of the northern U.K. on Tuesday as winter's cold lingered over Europe.
In Scotland, more than 100 schools shut their doors on Tuesday.
Airport workers were dealing with snow at the Aberdeen and Edinburgh airports, while
Inverness airport was shut for a time due to snow.
Many of the affected schools were in NE Scotland. Here, snowfall reached at least 7 cm
at Aboyne and 4 cm.
- A blizzard sweeping across the Canadian plains caused a chain of traffic wrecks involving
a bus, semi-trailer trucks and cars south of Edmonton, Alberta, sending about 300 injured
travellers to hospitals.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police closed part of Highway 2, the main road between Edmonton
- Armoured personnel carriers are being used in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, to drag buses and other vehicles out of snowdrifts, amid a state of emergency.
The authorities say the normal monthly level of snow fell in just 24 hours.
The blizzard conditions caused power cuts in about 600 towns and villages across Ukraine at the weekend.
Hundreds of soldiers are helping Kiev's citizens to dig out cars buried in snow and the city is struggling to get public transport moving again.
A state of emergency was declared on Saturday, as some 50 cm of snow blanketed Kiev.
Most of the country's newspapers failed to appear on Monday.
The worst affected regions are Kiev, Ternopil, Rivne, Volyn and Khmelnytsky.
- A pile-up involving about 100 vehicles on a snow-hit Austrian motorway has left at least one person dead.
Emergency officials said the crash scene on the west-bound A1 west of Vienna stretched for more than 2 km.
Officials said the accident happened near St Poelten, about 60km from the capital, and involved about 40 lorries and 60 cars.
Franz Resperger of the Lower Austrian fire department said the icy carriageway was a likely factor in the crash.
Elsewhere, record-breaking snowfall in the Ukrainian capital Kiev has caused traffic chaos and seen many residents taking to skis instead.
Heavy snow blanketing three regions of Romania has closed schools and disrupted road traffic.
The freezing weather has also caused chaos on Serbia's northern border with Hungary where lorries queued for hours amid heavy snowfall.
Black ice coating roads in neighbouring Croatia has caused a spate of accidents.
- Today the snow depth in Moscow, Russia, was 76 cm their highest March snow depth in more than 20 years.
The Moscow Times reported that Moscow is having their coldest March since the 1950s. Colder temperatures there this spring have prevented the birds from migrating north from their wintering grounds.
- An entire troupe of performing fleas has fallen victim to the freezing temperatures currently gripping Germany.
Flea circus director Robert Birk says he was shocked to find all of his 300 fleas dead inside their transport box oin Wednesday morning.
The circus immediately scrambled to find and train a new batch so it could fulfill its engagements at an open-air fair in the western town of Mechernich-Kommern.
Michael Faber, who organizes the fair, said that an insect expert at a nearby university was able to provide 50 fleas in time for the first show on Sunday.
Birk said it was the first time his circus had lost all of its fleas to the cold in one go.
- A day of national mourning has been declared on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, where at least 11 people have died in severe floods.
Torrential rain hit the island's capital Port Louis. The Mauritian weather service says isolated thunderstorms could cause further flooding in the days to come.
- Easter Sunday brought the month of March to a close with severe storms across the Deep South and Texas.
Severe thunderstorms with a history of producing hail and damaging winds continued to race southeastward across the central Gulf Coast in addition to southeastern and central Texas well into the evening.
Golf ball-sized hail slammed the home of Twitter user @centralokstorms early on Sunday morning.
At 8.20 p.m. CDT a thunderstorm that passed through south Texas; west of Corpus Christi reported hail was as large as baseballs across both Duval and Jim Wells Counties.
- Unusual cold and snow made for a memorable month of March 2013 in the UK and much of Europe.
The month as a whole was coldest in what amounts to essentially the northern half of Europe, where average monthly temperature was at least 2-4 degC below normal. In Germany, one city, Leipzig, registered a mean reading more than 5 degC below normal.
So cold was March that it, in some spots, the month that normally ushers in spring was the coldest month of the winter season, even undercutting January.
Significant March cold also stretched over much of France, Spain and Italy to the northern Balkan region.
Exceptional falls of snow covered parts of the UK, the Low Countries, Germany, France, Austria, Poland, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and more.
World weather news, February 2013
- Tropical Cyclone Felleng continues to produce gusty winds and locally heavy rainfall across parts of Madagascar and the neighboring islands of Reunion and Mauritius. Felleng is currently packing sustained winds near 70 mph, just below hurricane force. The storm is expected to slowly weaken over the next day or two and remain over the open waters of the Indian Ocean as flooding continues to be the primary threat for areas affected by the storm.
Across Madagascar, the worst weather has been near the eastern coastline. The major port city of Toamasina reported over 7 inches of rainfall from the storm, with more than 5 inches falling in less than 24 hours.
Felleng already made its presence known across the Agalega Islands as well as the Seychelles earlier this week. The Agalega Islands reported nearly 10 inches of rainfall in less than 48 hours resulting in widespread flooding.
- Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow on Gobbler's Knob early today (Groundhog Day), and did not see his shadow. His prognostication is that there will be an early spring.
- Dry, hot weather returned to top grower Ivory Coast's main cocoa regions last week, raising concerns over output and bean quality as the October to March main crop harvest wound down.
Aside from a spate of showers in late January, there has been no measurable rainfall across most of the West African nation's cocoa belt since the onset of the dry season in mid-December.
Dusty seasonal Harmattan winds have also dried the soil in some growing regions and hindered the development of new cocoa pods.
Bean shipments to Ivory Coast's ports tapered off in January with volumes unlikely to recover until mid-crop harvesting picks up in April.
- See here for more details.
In 1999, a small group of oceanographers outlined a plan to set up an array of profiling floats to monitor the state of the upper 2 km of the global ocean. The initial objective was to maintain a network of 3,000 units, in ice-free areas, providing both real-time data and higher quality delayed mode data and analyses to underpin a new generation ocean and climate models. The programme was called Argo.
Argo is now a collaborative effort of over 30 countries and by November 2012, it had collected its millionth profile of temperature and salinity, twice the number obtained by research vessels during all of the 20th century. 120,000 new profiles are collected every year, at the impressive rate of 1 profile approximately every 4 minutes. Each profile consists of up to 1,000 measurements of temperature and salinity at varying depths.
Today Argo, with over 3,500 active floats, provides global-scale, all-weather subsurface observations of the oceans.
- Torrential rain has this week brought devastation to northern parts of India and Pakistan, with reports of at least 45 people being killed, according to MeteoGroup. The deluge began on Monday, bringing near continuous rain in some parts for at least 48 hours and only slowly relented through Wednesday and Thursday.
According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, the first day of heavy rains on Monday saw 83mm recorded in just 24 hours at the Saidu Sharif weather station. The following 24 hours on Tuesday saw a further 91mm, leading to the almost doubling of the February average precipitation of 109mm in just 48 hours. The high surface run-off from the rain has led to mudslides, road blockages and disruption to communication and power lines.
Reports have suggested that avalanches have claimed lives in the districts of Buner, Shangla and Upper Dir. There was also a fatal incident of a person struck by lightning in the town of Surab, Kalat District in thunderstorms associated with the highly unstable air mass.
- Two storms will merge quickly enough to bring colder air, tremendous snow and damaging wind to New England, causing airline and rail delays and creating a nightmare for travelers.
The storm will do more than end a recent snow drought in part of the New England. The list is long on storm characteristics and impacts. Some areas will be hit with an all-out blizzard and buried under a couple of feet of snow and massive drifts.
Numerous flight delays and cancellations are occurring throughout New England and elsewhere across the nation.
Amtrak has already adjusted its Friday travel schedule, reducing its service on Northeast Regional routes. Southbound service out of Boston South Station will be suspended following 1:40 p.m. Northbound service out of New York Penn Station will cease at 1:03 p.m.
The storm will bring strong winds causing not only white-out conditions and massive drifts, but also coastal flooding and power outages. Gusts can approach hurricane force in coastal areas. If the power goes out, it could take a while for crews to repair the lines.
The hardest-hit areas are likely to include Hartford and Providence to Boston, Worcester, Concord, Portsmouth and Portland. The worst of the storm will hit coastal areas of northern New England and southern Nova Scotia later Friday night into Saturday.
- One of the greatest winter storms in New England history clobbered much of the region Friday night into Saturday.
Snowfalls in excess of 50 cm were measured across Long Island and in five out of the six New England states (with Vermont being the exception).
Hamden, Conn., sits at the top of the blizzard's snowfall totals list with 40.0 inches. Other totals included
Peak wind gusts during the storm included:
- Gorham (Maine) - 35.5 inches,
- Portland (Maine) - 31.9 inches (all-time greatest snowstorm),
- Worcester (Mass) - 28.7 inches (the third highest storm total),
- Milford (Conn) - 38.0 inches,
- Medford (NY State) - 33.5 inches.
Dangerous battering waves and storm surge flooding have brought water over sea walls and caused significant coastal flooding along the Massachusetts coastline Friday night.
The storm has been blamed for more than a dozen deaths, and some 345,000 homes and businesses remain without power.
The states of Massachusetts and Connecticut put in place vehicle travel bans.
In New York's Suffolk County, police said they had rescued hundreds of motorists stuck overnight on the Long Island Expressway.
- Hyannis (Mass) - 77 mph,
- Marstons Mills (Mass) - 74 mph,
- Buzzards Bay (Mass) - 74 mph,
- Portland (Maine) - 81 mph
- Plum Island (NY State) - 75 mph.
- Heavy snow fell over northern Italy, cutting visibility to between 1/4 and 1/2 of a mile in the Lombardy Plain.
Meanwhile, along the Riviera in Liguria, high winds of at least 70 mph were clocked in Albenga, Italy.
The snow was set up by a cold outbreak, coming southwards from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean late last week. Next, a storm that dipped southeastward over France to the Mediterranean met the cold air over northern Italy, triggering the widespread snowfall on Monday.
Heavy snow has damaged some structures across the country, including the medieval walled town of Urbino and the ancient Colosseum in Rome. Fragments have fallen from the Roman amphitheatre and it remains closed to tourists.
- The latest in a series of wintry storms has blown into the U.K, giving high winds, bursts of snow and soaking rain.
The instigating Atlantic storm was the same weather system that buried parts of the northeastern U.S. beneath up to 90 cm of snow over the weekend.
Fresh snow covered the ground by Wednesday afternoon in much of Scotland and northern England, with snow reaching south to Manchester and Birmingham. There was travel disruption in places.
Heavy rain, driven by winds of 35-50 kn, affected the northern areas.
- A section of the roof at Ukraine's Chernobyl nuclear plant has collapsed - but there has been no increase in radiation at the site.
No-one was hurt when the roof over a turbine hall gave way under heavy snow.
The "sarcophagus" used to seal off the failed reactor was unaffected, officials said, but around 80 construction workers were moved away.
The 1986 explosion and reactor meltdown at Chernobyl was the world's worst-ever nuclear accident.
- Three people climbing in the Chalamain Gap area of the Ciarngorms in the Highlands of Scotland died after being were buried in the afternoon by an avalanche.
A call came in at about 1230 GMT, and after a search the three climbers were buried in snow when they were found.
- A meteor streaked across the Russian sky in the morning over the Ural Mountains, causing large explosions, bright flashes and numerous injuries.
The fragments of the meteor fell in the thinly populated Chelyabinsk region, located about 930 miles to the east of Moscow. The incident took place around 0320 GMT.
Many witnesses reported that the meteor caused a sharp explosion which shook the ground, much like an earthquake. This intense explosion caused many glass windows to shatter and set off car alarms in the Chelyabinsk region.
- This February, though not yet finished, has already secured its position in the top ten snowiest Februarys on record for Boston (USA).
As of February 19, Boston has had 32 inches of snow fall during the month, ranking it the seventh snowiest on record and surpassing the city's average February snow fall by 21.1 inches.
A whopping 24.9 inches of that total was delivered by the February 8-9, 2013 storm that yielded hurricane-force gusts and blizzard conditions to much of New England.
In February 2003, the snowiest February on record, 41.6 inches of snow fell.
- A major winter storm pounded the Great Plains of the USA, creating hazardous travel that resulted in at least one death, closing schools, scuttling air travel and cutting off power to some communities.
It is already blamed for two deaths has blanketed several states in up to 43 cm of snow.
More than half of Interstate 70 in Kansas and Kansas City International Airport were closed as snow fell up to two inches per hour in some areas.
The huge system moved to the north and east on Thursday evening, leaving behind 17 in in Hays, Kansas, 13 in in Wichita and 10 in in northern Oklahoma and parts of Nebraska.
- Communities in Hokkaido and five prefectures of the Tohoku region in Japan had record levels of accumulated snow as of today, although total precipitation levels are about the same as an average year.
In the Sukayu district of Aomori city along the Hakkoda mountain range, the snowpile measured 5.61 metres, a record for all areas where the Japan Meteorological Agency keeps records of accumulated snowfall.
Thirteen locations have set records for their snowpiles this winter.
Low temperatures in the region are a major reason for the deep snowpiles and some municipalities are facing problems from the accumulated snow.
Hirosaki, in Aomori Prefecture, also had a record snowpile of 1.53 metres. Because so many residents have dumped snow in a local river, there is now the danger of flooding because the river has been dammed by the snow.
Although city officials are asking residents to stop dumping the snow in the river, the practice has continued because some citizens claim they cannot use their kerosene stoves because the snow covers the exhaust vents.
There have been many days in which temperatures have not risen so the fallen snow has not melted.
The average temperatures since December have been about 1.2 degC lower than average in northern Japan.
- A slow-moving storm that has paralyzed parts of the USA's midsection for days with heavy, wet snow that strained power lines, clogged roadways and delayed hundreds of flights, dumped at least 6 inches of snow on western Michigan early Wednesday as it moved eastward.
The storm that made travel perilous from the Oklahoma Panhandle to the Great Lakes on Tuesday was expected to linger for another day over Chicago and parts of the Midwest.
There was more than 15 inches of snow in parts of Oklahoma, up to a foot in Kansas and up to 13.5 inches in Missouri. In Iowa, officials warned of hazardous travel conditions as temperatures fell and ice formed on snowy roads.
On Monday, whiteout conditions made virtually all Texas Panhandle roads impassable; a hurricane-force gust of 75 mph was recorded in Amarillo, where 17 inches of snow fell. The heaviest snowfall was in Follett, Texas, with 21 inches.
The weight of the snow strained power lines and cut electricity to more than 100,000 homes and businesses. Hospitals closed outpatient centres and urgent-care clinics.
At least three deaths were blamed on the blizzard.
- Tropical Cyclone Rusty has hit the coast of Western Australia, bringing with it pouring rain and strong winds.
Rusty made landfall in Pardoo town at about 0600 GMT on the 26th
A one point the storm was a category four cyclone.
Weather data taken at the Pardoo Station showed rainfall of at least 19 inches from Sunday to Wednesday. It was unclear whether data accuracy were compromised by the cyclone's severe winds.
- Australia's summer has been confirmed as the hottest on record.
Average temperatures across the country came in at 28.6C, 1.1 degC above normal, and exceeding the previous record set in the summer of 1997-98 by more than 0.1 degC. A new daytime maximum temperature record was also set at 35.7C, or 1.4 degC above normal, and 0.2 degC above the 1982/83 record.
The most extreme heat occurred in the first three weeks of January during an exceptionally widespread and prolonged heatwave. The highest temperature recorded during the heatwave was at Moomba in South Australia at 49.6C.
- A ring of radiation previously unknown to science fleetingly surrounded Earth last year before being virtually annihilated by a powerful interplanetary shock wave.
NASA's twin Van Allen space probes, which are studying the Earth's radiation belts, made the discovery. The surprising discovery - a new, albeit temporary, radiation belt around Earth - reveals how much remains unknown about outer space, even those regions closest to the planet, researchers added.
The first major find made here were the Van Allen radiation belts, zones of magnetically trapped, highly energetic charged particles first discovered in 1958.
These belts were believed to consist of two rings: an inner zone made up of both high-energy electrons and very energetic positive ions that remains stable in intensity over the course of years to decades; and an outer zone comprised mostly of high-energy electrons whose intensity swings over the course of hours to days depending primarily on the influence from the solar wind, the flood of radiation streaming from the sun.
The discovery of a temporary new radiation belt now has scientists reviewing the Van Allen radiation belt models to understand how it occurred.
World weather news, January 2013
- The coldest weather in northern India for at least 44 years has killed more than 100 homeless people, an aid group ActionAid said. The capital New Delhi saw a maximum temperature of 9.8C on Tuesday - the lowest since records began in 1969. Fog forced cancellation of flights and trains. The group said it knew of 107 people who had died in northern states because of cold.
- The drought-drained Mississippi River will rise slightly later this week between St. Louis and Cairo, Illinois, but later continue its decline toward historic lows, according to a National Weather Service forecast. Low water, due to the worst U.S. drought since 1956, has already impeded the flow of billions of dollars worth of grain, coal, fertilizer and other commodities between the central United States and shipping terminals at the Gulf of Mexico. A further drop in river levels could halt commercial shipping traffic entirely by this weekend, the American Waterways Operators and the Waterways Council Inc said in a statement.
- Brazil's Northeast is suffering its worst drought in decades, threatening hydro-power supplies in an area prone to blackouts and potentially slowing economic growth in one of the country's emerging agricultural frontiers. Lack of rain has hurt corn and cotton crops, left cattle and goats to starve to death in dry pastures and wiped some 30 percent off sugar cane production in the region responsible for 10 percent of Brazil's cane output. Thousands of subsistence farmers have seen their livelihoods wither away in recent months as animal carcasses lie abandoned in some areas that have seen almost no rain in two years. Dams in the Northeast ended December at just 32 percent of capacity, according to the national electrical grid operator. That puts them below the 34 percent the operator, known as ONS, considers sufficient to guarantee electricity supplies. As reservoir levels fell, state-controlled Petrobras imported nearly four times more liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the first nine months of 2012, a back-up for hydro-power generation that has hurt the firm's profits. Brazil's reliance on hydro-power to generate electricity has fallen to 67 percent of all electricity generated from about 75 percent five years ago, according to the government-run energy research group EPE.
- Australia was bracing for days of "catastrophic" fire and heat wave conditions, with fires already burning in five states and as a search continued for people missing after devastating wildfires in the island state of Tasmania. Tasmanian police said around 100 people feared missing in bushfires had been accounted for and there had so far been no deaths as authorities combed through still-smouldering ruins of homes and vehicles, while evacuating local people and tourists. Bushfires were ablaze in five of Australia's six states, with 90 fires in the most populous state New South Wales, and in mountain forests around the national capital Canberra. A record heat wave, which began in Western Australia on December 27 and lasted eight days, was the fiercest in more than 80 years in that state and has spread east across the nation, making it the widest-ranging heat wave in more than a decade, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
- This winter's snow total in Chicago finally exceeded an inch, but there are other snow drought records for the city that remain unbroken.
A bit of snow returned to Chicago late on Saturday, accumulating 0.4 of an inch and pushing this winter's snow total to 1.3 inches.
Only other three times, since snow record-keeping began in 1886, has it taken longer for Chicago to see the season's snow total reach an inch. Jan. 8, 1944, holds the record for the latest such occurrence.
Chicago's snow total, however, still lags behind cities located well to its south, such as El Paso, Little Rock and Oklahoma City, and the nearly 12 inches that typically falls in Chicago by this time of year.
- The Bureau of Meteorology confirms extreme temperatures will continue for the next week. The heatwave had broken national records. On Monday the average maximum daily temperature record for Australia was broken at 40.33C. The previous record, 40.17C on 21 December 1972, was held for 40 years. The daily average maximum temperature yesterday (8 January 2013) is a close third at 40.11C. The number of consecutive days where the national average maximum daily temperature exceeded 39C has also been broken this week-seven days (2-8 January 2013), almost doubling the previous record of four consecutive days in 1973. The heat wave, which is pushing the limits of previous temperature extremes, has required an adjustment of the scale used to represent forecast temperatures with new colours representing 50-52C and 52-54C. The current heatwave event commenced with a build-up of extreme heat in the southwest of Western Australia from 25-30 December 2012 as a high in the Bight and a trough near the west coast directed hot easterly winds over the area. Particularly hot conditions were observed on the 30th, with Cape Naturaliste observing 37.7C, its hottest December day in 56 years of record. From 31 December the high pressure system began to shift eastward, bringing well above average temperatures across southern WA between the 30 December and 2 January. Temperatures reached 47.7C at Eyre on the 2nd, its hottest day in 24 years of record, while Eucla recorded 48.2C on the 3rd, its hottest day since records began in 1957. By 4 January the high pressure system had moved off eastern Australia, with northerly winds directing very hot air into southeast Australia, while southerly winds eased temperatures in Western Australia. Hobart experienced a minimum temperature of 23.4C on the 4th (its hottest January night on record), followed by a maximum of 41.8 °C (its highest maximum temperature on record for any month in 130 years of records) and the highest temperature observed anywhere in southern Tasmania. The area of intense heat moved northeast on the 5th as the high pressure system, now centred over the Tasman Sea, and a low pressure trough directed hot northerly winds into the Riverina and western New South Wales (NSW). Areas affected recorded temperatures well in excess of 40C, with Marree in South Australia recording 48.4C, Yarrawonga in Victoria recording 45.7C and Hay in NSW recording 47.7C, breaking its annual daytime temperature record.
- A rare snowfall occurred in parts of Lebanon. Chilly air became entrenched in the storm with temperatures more than 5 degC below normal.
Coastal areas such as Tel Aviv saw intense storms with heavy rainfall, but received no snow.
Parts of North Lebanon saw accumulation of nearly five feet.
- Eastern Newfoundland was pounded by a raging blizzard that knocked out power for most of the island and forced much of the daily activity in the province to grind to a halt.
The storm, already considered the worst in at least several years with wind speeds topping 110 km/h in many areas, led to cancelled flights, closed schools, docked ferries and the shutdown of public services across the eastern half of Newfoundland.
About 47 cm of snow had accumulated in St. John's by lunchtime,
Parts of the Avalon Peninsula received anywhere from 25 to 55 cm of snow by the afternoon, with higher amounts likely in some areas, Environment Canada said.
It was the biggest snowfall in a single storm in seven years.
- One of Beijing's worst rounds of air pollution kept schoolchildren indoors and sent coughing residents to hospitals, but this time something was different about the murky haze: the government's transparency in talking about it.
While welcomed by residents and environmentalists, Beijing's new openness about smog also put more pressure on the government to address underlying causes, including a lag in efforts to expand Western-style emissions limits to all of the vehicles in Beijing's notoriously thick traffic.
The wave of pollution peaked Saturday with off-the-charts levels that shrouded Beijing's skyscrapers in thick gray haze. Expected to last through Tuesday, it was the severest smog since the government began releasing figures on PM2.5 particles - among the worst pollutants - early last year in response to a public outcry.
Air pollution is a major problem in China due to the country's rapid pace of industrialization, reliance on coal power and explosive growth in vehicle ownership.
- Searing heat over the Kalahari Desert has lifted the temperature to near all-time highs in northwestern South Africa.
The recognized claimant to the nation's all-time high, Vioolsdrif, reached at least 48C. This followed Tuesday's high of 45.8C.
The official high of 48.8C was reached in Vioolsdrif in January 1993.
Vioolsdrif lies on river bottom, surrounded by bleak hills and mountains. The rugged Richtersveld walls off the area from cooling Atlantic winds, allowing it bake in blazing summer sun.
- A helicopter crashed near the River Thames in London during the Wednesday morning rush hour. Police report that two people are dead, after the helicopter apparently crashed into a construction crane on top St. George Wharf Tower. About a dozen people were injured.
The London City Airport Observation from 0800 GMT showed broken clouds with bases of 100 feet, which is very low, and visibility of about 700 m. The temperature was -3C at the time.
- A blast of searing heat swept over southern Australia, bringing outback heat into two of the nation's biggest cities.
The dry heat, reaching 40-43C, kept fire services on edge in the states of Victoria and South Australia, both of which reported wildfires burning.
The Melbourne area of Victoria registered highs of 40.8C in the city and 41.3C at the main airport.
Highs to 45C were reached in Victoria's far north.
These readings were only marginally below seasonal highs reached on Jan. 4 and at least 15 degC above normal for the date.
In South Australia, the city of Adelaide registered a high of 43.1C.
The late onset of the monsoon has allowed extremely hot air to build up in northern Australia.
This year the monsoon onset is about three weeks later than we would usually expect to see it, although this is not a first. During the summer, or northern wet season, of 1972-1973 and 1992-1993 we also saw a late onset of the monsoon, in the last week of January.
- Heavy monsoonal rains have triggered severe flooding across the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, with many government offices and businesses forced to closed because staff could not get to work. Authorities said four people were killed and 20,000 had to evacuate.
Weather officials warned the rains could get worse over the next few days and media reports said that thousands of people in Jakarta and its satellite cities had been forced to leave their homes because of the torrential downpours this week.
- A day after the mercury reached 106F in Melbourne, the extreme heat pushed into Sydney, leading to the hottest day on record for the capital of New South Wales.
The population of over 4.5 million suffered through the scorching heat that peaked at 45.8C at the Observatory Hill. This broke the previous all time high of 45.3C set in 1939. The temperature rose even higher, reaching 46.4C at Sydney Airport.
- Much of Russia has been blanketed in a deep layer of snow. Although Russia is normally well accustomed to large amounts of snow, this season's snow events have been dubbed a 'snowpocalyse' by the Russia Times paper.
Unrelenting snow has brought traffic chaos, with flight cancellations, road accidents, highway closures and traffic jams. Moscow has woken up to over 11 inches of snow this weekend, no doubt a factor in the 13 km long traffic jam along one of the capital's main highways. The efforts of some 12,000 snow ploughs could do little to help. Meanwhile, the south-west region of Northern Caucasus saw the equivalent of over two months of snow fall in only two days. The avalanche-prone region was a focus of activity from emergency workers, who used anti-aircraft guns to clear over-hanging snow from roadside mountains.
- Frigid arctic air held the U.S. Midwest and Northeast in its icy grip with the cold so dangerous that municipal emergency warming centres opened up and ski resorts shut down.
The National Weather Service warned the wind chill could make the temperature feel like -40C in parts of Northern Minnesota until noon on Thursday.
Wintry conditions from Minneapolis to Washington marked the coldest conditions in many parts of the United States in four years, but were nowhere near the record lows for January.
- Climate change has shrunk Andean glaciers between 30 and 50 per cent since the 1970s and could melt many of them away altogether in coming years, according to a study published on Tuesday in the journal The Cryosphere.
Andean glaciers, a vital source of fresh water for tens of millions of South Americans, are retreating at their fastest rates in more than 300 years, according to the most comprehensive review of Andean ice loss so far.
The study included data on about half of all Andean glaciers in South America, and blamed the ice loss on an average temperature rise of 0.7 degC over the past 70 years.
- (See http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/statements/scs43d.pdf). An exceptionally extensive and long-lived heatwave affected large parts of Australia from late December 2012 until mid-January 2013. Whilst the heat was most extreme and persistent in the central and southern interior of the continent, most of Australia experienced extreme heat at some stage during the event. The heatwave was notable for its spatial extent and duration. Records were set in every State and Territory, including long-standing records at Hobart and Sydney, and the nationally averaged daily temperature rose to levels never previously observed in national records extending back to 1910. The heat, in combination with dry conditions over much of eastern Australia in the second half of 2012, also contributed to extreme fire weather at various stages during the event. Few previous heatwaves have had an extent and duration comparable to that of 2012-13, with events such as those of 1939, 1960 and 2009 confined to a much smaller area. The closest past analogue to the 2012-13 event occurred in late 1972 and early 1973, 4and was responsible for the national daily area-averaged temperature records which were broken in early 2013. Like the 2012-13 heatwave, the 1972–73 heatwave coincided with the late onset of the northern Australian monsoon, preventing moisture and cloud of tropical origin from moderating temperatures inland. However, the most extreme aspects of the 1972–73 event were confined to inland areas, whereas in late 2012 and early 2013, 40 °C was reaced at least once in every capital city except Brisbane and Darwin. A total of 44 stations with 30 years or more of data have set all-time record high maximum temperatures during this event, with a further 15 setting January records. For minimum temperatures, seven such stations set all-time records and a further 13 set January records. No States or Territories set all-time records during the event, partly a consequence of
the most extreme conditions (relative to previous site records) in Western Australia and
the Northern Territory occurring over elevated terrain. Moomba’s 49.6 °C ranks as the
eighth-highest temperature on record in Australia.
- About 6000 north Queensland homes are without power and the rail line between Mackay and Cairns is closed due to ex-cyclone Oswald.
The low pressure system is generating strong winds and heavy rain as it hovers southwest of Cairns.
There's a weak chance ex-cyclone Oswald could re-form as it heads out to sea at the weekend.
A massive monsoon trough spans as far south as Gladstone and some areas have had a metre of rainfall in the last four days.
More than 300mm of rain has fallen in parts of north Queensland, including 341mm at Paluma, north of Townsville in the past 24 hours.
The majority of north Queensland has received between 100 and 00mm in 24 hours.
- Record flooding has swollen rivers in eastern Australia, following days of extreme rainfall.
Thousands of people in eastern Queensland were driven from their homes, some fleeing to roofs as waters rose quickly.
The capital city of Brisbane was facing "commuter chaos" on Tuesday after severe storms damaged area rail lines.
More than 230,000 homes were blacked out after high winds downed more than 2,000 wires, and the electrical utility warned that some homes in southeast Queensland might not see power restored until Wednesday.
In hard-hit Bundaberg, police advised those stranded to "climb onto their roofs to be saved".
Following rainfall of more than 600 mm, some creeks in the Lockyer Creek catch basin topped 2011 levels.
- Following the blast of Arctic weather that hit the UK last week, it may have been the very last ailment expected to put the average commuter in hospital.
But for travellers in the south-east, the sudden unseasonal upswing in temperatures on Tuesday was enough to shut down a major rail hub when four passengers were simultaneously taken unwell after overheating in their winter garments.
As London went from biting Scandinavian snow drifts that cancelled hundreds of flights at Heathrow to balmier weather blowing in from the Azores in less a week, the London ambulance service (LAS) confirmed that three rush-hour commuters were taken to hospital with what initially appeared to be a mystery illness.
AS confirmed that after a call at 8.39am it sent its hazardous area response team to the scene at London Bridge station while witnesses reported that more than a dozen police cars and fire engines were in attendance.
The station, which serves tens of millions of underground and rail passengers each year, was closed and cordoned off as authorities enacted the Health Protection Agency's "step 1-2-3" guidance, which states that if three or more people are taken unwell at the same time and the cause is not known, those who are ill should not be approached and responders should "withdraw … and send for specialist help".
- Thick, off-the-scale smog shrouded eastern China for the second time in about two weeks, forcing airlines to cancel flights because of poor visibility and prompting Beijing to temporarily shut factories and curtail fleets of government cars.
Visibility was less than 100 metres in some areas of eastern China. More than 100 flights were cancelled in the eastern city of Zhengzhou, 33 in Beijing, 20 in Qingdao and 13 in Jinan.
- Tropical Cyclone Felleng has become the strongest cyclone of the South Indian 2012-2013 storm season and the strongest storm in this tropical cyclone region since last February.
Highest sustained winds rose to an estimated 115 knots, as of 1200 UTC Wednesday, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) said.
The dangerous storm, equivalent to a Category-4 hurricane, was centered less than 400 miles northwest of Reunion and within 360 miles east-northeast of Antananarivo, Madagascar. Storm movement was towards the south-southwest 13 knots, or 24 km/h.
- Tornadoes ripped through four USA states on Tuesday night and Wednesday, killing at least two people, as an Arctic cold front clashed with warm air to produce severe weather over a wide swath of the nation.
Tornadoes were reported in Mississippi, Georgia, Indiana and Tennessee, an unusual development in January when the focus is more likely to be on snow and ice.
The same storm system is moving eastward, bringing a risk of severe weather from the upper Ohio Valley south to the central Gulf Coast and east to the Mid-Atlantic and southeast coast, according to the National Weather Service. Damaging winds of up to 70 mph, hail and more tornadoes are possible.
Behind the severe weather, the Arctic front brought snowfall to the central Plains, where many schools were closed and driving was hazardous across eastern Nebraska.
- On 31 January 2013, the 60th anniversary of the flood, a memorial stone in the Lincolnshire resort of Mablethorpe, England will be unveiled. The stone is to be a permanent tribute to the 47 lives lost during the Great Flood in Lincolnshire.
On the night of the 31st, a fierce storm brought torrents of rain and strong winds to the eastern coast of England. The storm lasted into the morning hours of 1 February. In England alone, 307 people were killed.
The combination of the rain and a high storm surge (caused by the N'ly winds across the North Sea) left tens of thousands of people homeless in the UK.
Belgium, England, Scotland and the Netherlands were all impacted by the flood. In all, more than 2,000 people died.
- Australia recorded its hottest month on record in January 2013, with both the average mean temperature of 29.68C and the average mean maximum temperature of 36.92C, surpassing previous records set in January 1932.
The Northern Territory recorded 31.93C and Queensland 30.75C, also the hottest mean temperature on record for January for both states.
The heatwave in the first half of January was exceptional in its extent and duration. The national average maximum temperature on 7 January was the highest on record. Numerous stations set records for the most days in succession above 40C, including Alice Springs (17 days) and Birdsville (31 days).
A large number of stations set all-time record high temperatures during the January heatwave, including Sydney (45.8C on 18 January) and Hobart (41.8C on 4 January). The highest temperature recorded during the heatwave was at Moomba in South Australia (49.6C on 12 January).
- A lack of storms dipping to the south that started the year over California continues in the Bay Area. San Francisco International Airport recorded only 0.20 of an inch of rain during January 2013.
The prior driest January on record was in 1991, when 0.24 of an inch of rain fell.
If you have a snippet of weather news that you feel merits inclusion, then please feel free to email it to me.
Last updated 3 January 2014.