World weather news, December 2015
- For the month of November, Chennai reported 1,024 mm of rain, more than 300 percent of the normal rainfall that is expected for the entire month.
December has continued this wet pattern as more than 300 mm of rain fell in Chennai on the first day of the month. The event marked the wettest December day in more than 100 years of records in Chennai.
- Heavy rain on Thursday caused streams to overflow and drains to back up in Maryport, Flimby and Workington.
The fire service received 220 calls between 17:30 and 22:00 GMT with most reporting vehicles stuck in up to a metre of water.
Landslips halted trains between Carlisle and Workington, Northern Rail said.
- The Indian military is struggling to evacuate thousands of residents stranded in the southern state of Tamil Nadu as the death toll from flooding rose to 269 after the heaviest rains in more than a century.
Forecasts of incessant rainfall meant the army had to work on a war footing to rescue people trapped in inundated parts of Chennai, India's fourth most populous city.
After carmakers and IT outsourcing firms suspended operations on Wednesday, the state-run Chennai Petroleum shut down its oil refinery due to the heavy flooding.
There was sporadic rainfall on Thursday, after a 24-hour storm dumped as much as 345mm (14 inches) of rain on the city earlier this week.
- High-speed winds and heavy rain are causing severe disruption as Storm Desmond continues to batter the UK.
People were evacuated from their homes as flash flooding swept through parts of Cumbria, and police in the area declared a "major incident".
Dozens of train routes have been cancelled, and roads have been closed in Scotland, England and Wales.
Scores of severe flood warnings are in place in England, with two more issued in south-west Scotland.
Severe warnings - the highest level of alert - indicate there may be "danger to life".
Adrian Holme, from Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, said flooding was "unprecedented".
Rescue centres have been opened in the county, sandbags are being handed out and there is an appeal for doctors to volunteer overnight.
Meanwhile, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's (RNLI) flood rescue team has been deployed to the area.
The Environment Agency warned further flooding in Cumbria was likely over the weekend, with flood levels not expected to reach their peak until 12:00 GMT on Sunday.
The village of Shap, in Cumbria, received the most rain, with 178mm falling in the 24 hours until 19:00 GMT on Saturday, while Keswick was hit with 156mm. The average rainfall for Cumbria for the month of December is 146.1mm, the Met Office added.
Cumbria Police have declared a "major incident", with homes in Appleby and Keswick evacuated and many roads blocked
More than 90 flood warnings and alerts are in place in Scotland, and some main roads closed due to landslides and flooding
More than 600 homes in North Yorkshire were left without electricity
Around 1,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in Hawick, in the Scottish Borders after flooding from the River Teviot
Gusts of 85mph winds have been recorded in Wales and about 700 homes are without power
In counties Down and Tyrone, in Northern Ireland, roads were closed due to fallen trees
About 2,000 people in the Republic of Ireland are without power
Severe flood warnings have been put in place for River Eden, at Appleby, the River Greta, near Keswick, and the River Kent, at Kendal.
Storm Desmond is the fourth storm to be given a name by the public in a project by the Met Office and Met Eireann in Ireland to help raise awareness of severe weather.
- A raingauge at Honister Pass recorded 341.4mm of rainfall in the 24-hours up to 1800 GMT on 5 December 2015, making for a new UK record for any 24-hour period. This beat the previous record of 316.4mm set in November 2009 at Seathwaite, also in Cumbria. A new 48-hour record (from 0900 to 0900 hrs) was also set, when 405mm was recorded at Thirlmere in Cumbria in just 38 hrs.
- The first ever "red alert" for poor air quality was issued for Beijing, China, by the city government due to heavy smog.
This alert began on Tuesday morning and will be in effect until Thursday, Reuters said.
The Beijing city government ordered all outdoor construction to stop and all schools to remain closed until the smog clears.
"Construction waste, excavation transport vehicles, cement trucks, gravel transport vehicles and other large-scale vehicles are prohibited from driving on roads," authorities said in the notice.
This poor air quality will impact the 22.5 million people who live in and around the city.
China has a four-colour warning system for pollution conditions, created in 2013 according to Xinhuanet news. The four levels are blue, yellow, orange and red.
A 'red alert' is issued when there is expected to be at least three consecutive days of very poor air quality, according to the Associated Press.
- Police have urged people to stay indoors after a Cumbrian village was flooded for the second time within a few days.
Fast-flowing water ran through the village of Glenridding on Wednesday night after yet more heavy rainfall. Rescue services, volunteers and the army rushed to the village to to rescue guests from the historic Glenridding House hotel. Evacuees and rescuers had to dodge fridges and other household goods that had been left out after the first flood and were floating away.
The village has lost access to the north as Pooley bridge has been destroyed, and Glenridding bridge to the south of the village has been closed for safety checks. It is believed that mudslides up the mountains that make Glenridding a tourist attraction have blocked normal water channels into Ullswater.
- A potent storm approaching western Alaska this weekend has tied the strongest recorded storm (measured by a central
pressure of 924 mb) to impact the region.
This storm comes a little over a year after ex-Super Typhoon Nuri became the most powerful system on record to cross Dutch Harbor, Alaska, which is located in the Aleutian Islands, with a central low pressure of 924 mb.
The intensity of a storm is measured by the central pressure, with lower pressure equating to a stronger system.
Previous to Nuri, the old record stood at 925 millibars (27.32 inches of Hg) at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, from a strong storm that hit on Oct. 25, 1977.
- Severe thunderstorms have wreaked havoc across Sydney, with flash-flooding, golfball-sized hail and wind gusts of more than 200km/h - the strongest recorded in New South Wales history - as well as a likely tornado.
The Bureau of Meteoreology (BoM) issued warnings for tornados and 'very dangerous thunderstorms' on Wednesday morning.
Rainfall of 144 mm was recorded in one hour to 10.30am at Long Island Point, just south of Nowra, while wind gusts exceeded 100km/h in several parts of Sydney.
Emergency services were called to respond to multiple reports of building collapses, including businesses and residential properties. Torrential rain flooded vehicles, causing damage to numerous cars and engines.
Multiple flights to and from Sydney airport were cancelled, while others were diverted. Gridlocked traffic in the suburbs surrounding the airport - with buses delayed by up to two hours - prompted some travellers to abandon their cars and walk the final kilometre or so to the terminal.
By far the worst-hit area was Kurnell, a southern suburb of Sydney, where gusts of 213km/h were recorded at 10.30am in a likely tornado that caused significant damage. A spokesman for the BoM said it was the strongest reading recorded in NSW history.
The strongest wind gust recorded on mainland Australia is 267km/h.
- The city government in Beijing, China, has issued the second-ever red alert for smog, according to the Associated Press.
This alert will be in effect from Saturday through Tuesday.
Calm winds and the lack of any precipitation are the main contributors to dangerous smog levels from Saturday to Tuesday.
The smog particles are expected to reach 20 times the level that is considered safe by the World Health Organization.
The first red alert was issued just last week.
Outdoor construction will be limited and schools will be closed until the red alert is lifted. Outdoor barbecues are also prohibited.
Cars will only be allowed to drive on alternate days based on whether the number on the license plate ends in an odd or even number.
- Heavy rains pummelled the whole of the Philippines on Saturday, threatening to aggravate flooding that has prompted the government to declare a state of 'national calamity'.
The death toll after a week of devastating weather has risen to 35, according to confirmed reports from national and local disaster monitoring agencies.
A tropical depression that has weakened into a low pressure area brought rains to the central Visayas islands and Mindanao, the main southern island.
Cold monsoon winds blowing from the north-east brought rains to Luzon, the main northern island, where large farming communities have been submerged in mostly waist-deep floods from typhoon Melor, which hit at the start of the week.
Areas inundated by Melor have barely recovered from floods brought by typhoon Koppu in October.
- One person has been killed and nine others injured after an avalanche buried about 10 houses on the Svalbard archipelago in the heart of the Norwegian Arctic.
The governor's office said a 40-year-old man was killed by the avalanche on the slopes of Mount Sukkertoppen overlooking Longyearbyen, the archipelago's remote capital where coal-mining families and polar bears live side by side.
A spokesman for the local hospital said nine people - four children and five adults - were injured, with two children and an adult listed in serious condition.
About 10 brightly coloured wooden houses, typical of the style found in the archipelago, were buried by the avalanche.
Witnesses said the snow had shifted the houses set on hillsides by about 20 metres.
- Sizzling heat was felt from Melbourne to Canberra and Sydney over the weekend ahead of a cold front. As this front pushed to the north, cooler air has returned in its wake.
On Saturday, Melbourne experienced the hottest day since January, as temperatures soared to 43C at the city's international airport. The temperature rose to 39C by midday on Sunday before a cold front caused temperatures to tumble in the afternoon and evening.
While an afternoon sea breeze kept much of downtown Sydney cooler over the weekend with highs near 32C each day, temperatures in areas that the sea breeze did not reach, such as the western suburbs, soared to near 38C.
The heat resulted in the cancellation of all Victorian horse races in Sydney.
The prolonged heat in Melbourne was rare for December. The Bureau of Meteorology said that prior to this heat wave, since 1855, there had only been three other occurrences of four consecutive 35C or hotter days during December.
After temperatures hit their high midday on Sunday, it rapidly turned cooler as temperatures tumbled to near 18C by evening.
Parts of the North Island (New Zealand) basked in the heat today.
Temperatures soared into the 30s C in eastern parts of the North Island after some of the South Island sweltered the previous day.
The heatwave, which sent December temperature records tumbling throughout the South Island on Monday, yesterday gave the North Island a brief blast of unusually hot weather before Christmas.
Whakatane sweltered in 31C, the hottest of the day, while Hastings hit 30.7C and Napier 30.5C. Tauranga hit 27C while Auckland remained cooler at 23C.
- A storm described by forecasters as "particularly dangerous" has hit the south and mid-west of the US, killing at least six people and injuring scores more.
Three people were killed as tornadoes moved through northern Mississippi, officials said, along with two in Tennessee and one in Arkansas.
There have been reports of at least 20 tornadoes of varying severity.
The high winds have also caused significant damage to homes.
The storms have left a trail of destruction across several American states
Planes at a small airport in Clarksdale were overturned and an unknown number of people were injured.
- Hazardous smog blanketing China's north-east has sparked more red alerts, with authorities advising residents in 10 cities to stay indoors.
The announcement follows last week's warning that a vast area of China would be badly hit by pollution.
Beijing saw its second red alert over the weekend. The latest wave of alerts includes the industrial port Tianjin.
Red alerts trigger advisories for people to stay inside, schools to stop classes, and restrict vehicle use.
An environmental ministry statement issued on Wednesday night said the 10 cities with red alerts include Tianjin as well as smaller surrounding cities Puyang, Xinxiang, Dezhou, Handan, Xintai, Langfang, Hengshui, Xinji and Anyang.
They are among 30 cities including Beijing seeing "severe pollution". Another 20 cities have "heavy pollution".
- Drivers in Milan will have to leave their vehicles at home between 10am and 4pm, for three days beginning on Monday, as authorities ban cars and motorcycles in an attempt to curb the city's smog problem.
A lack of rainfall has led pollution levels to climb in recent weeks.
Giuliano Pisapia, the mayor of Milan, appealed to all the city's municipalities to observe the three-day ban. "In these days of major emergency we cannot remain indifferent," he said.
The administration of the Lombardy region, of which Milan is the capital, also appealed to local officials to cancel traditional firework displays to prevent conditions worsening.
Milan was named as Europe's most polluted city in 2008 and it remains among the worst on the continent. City officials have limited traffic on several occasions in the past, first trying out a ban in 2007.
The capital Rome has limited traffic on several occasions.
Two major Spanish cities have also imposed measures to reduce pollution. A 90 km/h speed limit was introduced in the Barcelona area last week and parking for most vehicles has twice been banned from the centre of Madrid since last month.
- The final week of 2015 featured several outbursts of violent and disruptive weather across the United States.
Severe storms struck northeastern Texas Saturday, Dec. 26, bringing flooding rain and multiple tornadoes. The Dallas Fort Worth, Texas, National Weather Service office confirmed that 12 tornadoes touched down killing 11 people on Dec. 26.
In the town of Garland, Texas, an EF4 tornado, unleashed winds greater than 200 mph, left a trail of destruction. An EF3 tornado damaged at least 600 homes and injured at least 23 people, in Rowlett, Texas. As a result of the storms, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster for the affected counties.
Heavy December rainfall and rising river levels contributed to the deaths of at least 20 people in Illinois and Missouri as thousands of homes were threatened by floodwaters and major roadways were closed.
Record high flood levels were reached along portions of the Meramec River at Eureka, Valley Park and Arnold, Missouri, during the 30th.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered when waters from the Mississippi River topped the levees in West Alton, Missouri, on Tuesday.
The same storm that produced the tornadoes and major flooding also unleashed wintry weather to parts of the Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast. Travel advisories were issued after low visibility and icy and snow-covered roads were reported. Sleet, freezing rain and snow fell across these regions.
World weather news, November 2015
- The UK's November temperature record was broken on the 1st, with 22.4C being reached in mid
The temperature was recorded in Trawsgoed, Ceredigion.
The previous record was also in Wales, where temperatures reached 21.7C at Prestatyn in 1946.
On the 2nd Trawsgoed reached 22.3C.
The Eskdalemuir observatory in Dumfries and Galloway had its warmest November temperature on
record at 16.3C.
The previous record for Eskdalemuir stood at 15.7C which was set on 7 November 2003.
- A cyclone with hurricane-force winds made landfall on Yemen's Arabian Sea coast, flooding the
country's fifth-largest city, Mukalla, and sending thousands of people fleeing for shelter.
Officials and meteorologists say the cyclone is the most intense in decades in the arid country,
whose storm response is hampered by poverty and a raging civil war.
In Mukalla, the provincial capital, whose 300,000 people have been largely ruled by al-Qaida
fighters since the army withdrew in April, water submerged cars on city streets and caused dozens
of families to flee to a hospital for fear of rock slides.
Residents said the seafront promenade and many homes had been destroyed by the cyclone, called
Chapala, and officials in the dry hinterland province of Shabwa said about 6,000 people had moved
to higher ground.
The cyclone first hit the remote Yemeni island of Socotra on Monday, killing three people and
Meteorological agencies predicted cyclone Chapala would hit land around Balhaf, the site of
Yemen's liquefied natural gas terminal, and then weaken as it advanced towards the capital,
Sana'a, in the north.
The storm produced rainfall amounts over 600 mm of rain in the hardest hit areas. In some areas,
this amount was seven years' worth of rain in just 48 hours.
Estimated precipitation amounts from NASA satellites indicate that 250 mm of rain fell over parts
of central Yemen in a 24-hour period from Monday to Tuesday.
Chapala became the second strongest cyclone on record in the Arabian Sea. The pressure of Chapala
was 922 mb, close to the lowest pressure of Gonu, 920 mb, in 2007.
- A rare tornado has touched down east of Adelaide (Australia) as severe storms swept across the
state causing isolated flooding and other damage.
The State Emergency Service said the category F1 or F2 twister had likely brought down trees in
the Monarto area but there were no reports of any injuries or property damage.
- Melbourne and many parts of country Victoria (Australia) were cleaning up after a huge storm
brought tornadoes, heavy rain and strong winds to the state today.
Thunderstorms affected the CBD, Melbourne airport, St Albans, Sydenham and Williamstown by 2.20pm
and northern Port Phillip Bay, waters off Brighton beach, waters off Point Cook and waters off
Sandringham by 2.50pm.
It also brought havoc to the Spring racing carnival at Flemington racecourse where punters out in
their thousands for Oaks Day were forced to shelter from the afternoon downpour.
In a two-hour period from 2pm, the state emergency service (SES) responded to about 200 calls for
assistance, with the bulk of the calls coming from the CBD, the west and north-western suburbs of
Footscray and Essendon, and the south-eastern bayside suburbs. A tram was also derailed.
People were advised to stay indoors and to avoid driving and fallen power lines. Most of the calls
to the SES were to report minor building damage.
In the early afternoon a pilot reported a funnel cloud coming into Melbourne airport, indicating
the preliminary stages of a tornado forming. Three reports of tornadoes also came from
Craigieburn, Tullamarine and Campbellfield.
- Denpasar airport (Bali) reopened earlier than planned this afternoon after authorities had
earlier announced it would remain closed until at least Friday morning.
Ash from Mt Barujari on neighbouring Lombok island is now being blown in a more southerly
direction, and no longer towards Bali's airport.
Volcanologists have warned that the eruption may last for some time with the last one in 2009
lasting 18 months.
Bali airport handles 300 international and domestic flights a day and 40,000 passengers.
Indonesian authorities closed the airport at 11pm Tuesday night and the ban applies until 8.45am
tomorrow Perth time.
- Tropical Cyclone Megh penetrated deep into the Arabian Sea's narrow Gulf of Aden to make an improbable landfall in western Yemen near Aden at approximately 6 pm EDT Monday evening. At landfall, Megh was a rapidly weakening tropical storm with top winds of 40 mph. Megh rapidly dissipated after landfall, spreading only a few heavy rain showers over western Yemen. Satellite data suggests that Megh dumped very little rain over western Yemen, and only minor flooding and damage resulted. That's not the case on Yemen's Socotra Island, where Megh made a direct hit as a major Category 3 storm with 125 mph winds on Sunday, bringing a second round of devastation to an island hard-hit the previous week by the passage of Tropical Cyclone Chapala.
- At least 31 people were killed in the past two days in rain related incidents, including flooding in Tamil Nadu as the North East Monsoon continued to be active in several parts of the state.
The worst affected Cuddalore District accounted for 27 deaths due to drowning amid serious disruption in the basic infrastructure, including power supplies.
Tamil Nadu usually receives 440 mm of rains during the North East monsoon season between October and December. However in the past three days alone 300 mm rainfall has been recorded due to a deep depression. "On average Cuddalore district gets 697 mm rain. So far the district has got 500 mm
rains," the Chief Minister said.
- Gusts of up to 84mph and lightning strikes left 12,000 properties without power at the height of Storm Abigail.
About 1,300 customers remain without electricity after 30 faults affected the Western Isles, Shetland, Skye, Colonsay, Argyll and Angus.
Every school on the Western Isles and Shetland is closed for safety reasons.
The high winds and rain have been followed by wintry showers which have affected driving conditions on the A9 at the Slochd in the Highlands.
Hills, including mountain tops in the Cairngorms and Lochaber, have had fresh falls of snow.
SSE Power Distribution said engineers had restored power to most of the 12,000 customers affected by power cuts and its engineers were working to reconnect 1,300 still without power.
Ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne said 23 of its 26 services on the Clyde and Hebrides network have been disrupted.
A number of Northlink's Northern Isles ferry services have also been affected. Early morning sailings between Stromness and Scrabster were cancelled.
Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team have rescued a hillwalker who attempted to climb Ben Nevis via Observatory Gully as the weather closed in.
After the operation on Thursday evening, the team posted on social media that "on the scale of difficulty this route is certain death".
Forecasters warned of winds gusting to up to 90mph, heavy rain, lightning and large waves may affect coastal areas.
By early evening, the strongest gust recorded by the Met Office was 75mph, on South Uist.
Police have reported a number of trees down across Dumfries and Galloway and there has been disruption to some west coast rail services.
- At least three people have died and hundreds of thousands were without power on Tuesday as a severe storm packing high winds unleashed across the north-west USA.
Police said a woman in her 50s was killed when a tree toppled taking down power lines as it fell in Spokane on Tuesday afternoon. Fire crews were unable to resuscitate the woman.
Puget Sound Energy reported nearly 178,000 customers without power in its western Washington region Tuesday night as trees toppled onto roadways and power lines.
- Four people have died in bushfires burning out of control near the West Australian town of Esperance.
The fires were started by lightning strikes.
There are also severe and extreme fire danger warnings for South Australia over coming days. Temperatures were expected to exceed 40C in parts of the state on Wednesday, with a total fire ban in place across 12 districts.
A total fire ban is in place for the second straight day in the Mallee region in north-western Victoria, with severe fire risk and temperatures into the low 40s expected on Wednesday.
- Another powerful tropical low has renewed flooding and caused widespread disruption across southern India.
The slow movement of this storm will result in several days of tropical downpours for parts of India, further elevating the risk for flooding.
Areas from Nagapattinam northward to Nellore have already received 100-200 mm with localized amounts over 300 mm (12 inches) causing widespread flooding.
In Chennai, rainfall for the month of November has already reached more than 635 mm, which is more than double the normal rainfall of the entire month.
The flooding has closed schools and roadways and cancelled train service across Chennai, according to the Times of India.
- Thousands of people are without power in the Republic of Ireland as the effects of Storm Barney take hold.
RTÉ reports that a number of flights have been cancelled at Cork airport and weather warnings are in place.
A number of power outages have also been reported with about 25,000 customers affected.
Aer Lingus regional flights to and from Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol have been cancelled.
This is also the case with some City Jet flights to and from London City Airport.
- Up to 150 homes which had electricity cut off after winds of up to 85mph battered Wales have had power restored.
At its height, ScottishPower said 6,000 customers were off supply in north Wales while Western Power Distribution said 1,600 properties were affected.
But on Wednesday evening, ScottishPower said power had been restored, as did Western Power Distribution.
There were reports of roofs being damaged and trees blocking some roads.
Wrexham council said there were more than 20 incidents in the county, mainly trees blown over, in Gresford, Rossett, Ruabon, Erddig and Overton.
Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service received about 20 calls from people across Pembrokeshire and four calls from Swansea about trees down and parts of roofs being blown away.
Irish Ferries reports disruption between Pembroke and Rosslare due to adverse weather conditions.
There were peak gusts of 85 mph in Aberdaron, 84 mph in Capel Curig, 83 mph in Lake Vyrnwy and 80 mph in Pembrey.
- Highs of more than 30C have been forecast across most of Australia for Thursday, bringing an extreme risk of fire.
Many states were experiencing a heatwave on Thursday, with severe to extreme conditions continuing in the Top End of Australia and low intensity in much of New South Wales, the northern parts of Western Australia, northern Victoria and southern Queensland.
Sydney was forecast to reach 32C, with temperatures expected to reach 41C in the city's west on Friday.
Brisbane and Canberra were expecting peaks of 33C and 34C on Thursday, while Darwin and Adelaide were forecast to reach 35C.
With the hot weather expected to continue into the weekend, the Bureau of Meterology has issued fire danger warnings for several states in a bid to prevent bushfires.
- A rare November snowstorm blanketed Beijing and surrounding areas with snow on Sunday.
While snowflakes began to fly around Beijing on Thursday and Friday, the heaviest snow fell on Sunday.
The snow resulted in travel delays across Beijing and surrounding areas with many flights being cancelled.
- Rainfall has been relentless across southern India this month resulting in multiple events of flooding from Chennai to Kochi.
Up to the 24th, Chennai has reported more than 970 mm of rain, roughly 314 percent of the normal rainfall for the entire month of November.
There have only been three days so far this month with no rainfall reported in the city.
- Hurricane Sandra is steadily intensifying, and became the latest major (category 4) hurricane on record early Wednesday evening.
Sandra is the strongest hurricane so late in the season. Only three other eastern Pacific storms have formed later in the calendar than Sandra in records dating to 1949.
Hurricane Sandra became the second latest forming hurricane on record, behind Hurricane Winnie in 1983.
There is no record of an intact depression or named storm making a landfall on either Baja California or Mexico's Pacific coast so late in the season. If Sandra makes landfall as a tropical storm, it would be the latest landfall on record in the eastern Pacific.
The previous latest major hurricane in either the central-eastern Pacific or Atlantic was an unnamed storm in 1934, that remained a major hurricane into 23 November.
Sandra is the 30th Category 3+ tropical cyclone of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, far exceeded the previous record of 23 such storms in 1997 and 2004.
- A slow-moving wintry storm system that has been blamed for more than a dozen deaths began moving eastward out of Texas on Saturday but kept coating some states to the north in ice, making driving dangerous.
The band of storms that has been moving through parts of the plains and the midwest since Thursday has been blamed for at least 14 deaths, eight in Texas and six in Kansas. A 70-year-old woman whose car was swept away by flash flooding Friday in Fort Worth remained missing on Saturday.
On Saturday, authorities in Kansas blamed icy roads for four traffic deaths near Wichita on Friday, adding to two others in the state on Thursday.
In central and south-western Oklahoma, broken and ice-covered tree limbs downed power lines and cut electricity to more than 60,000 customers.
- The authorities in the Chinese capital, Beijing, have issued their highest smog warning so far this year.
The "orange level" alert declared on Sunday is the second highest possible, requiring factories to cut production.
On Sunday, some pollution readings in parts of the city reached about 17 times the level considered safe by the World Health Organisation.
Air pollution is a chronic health-risk for those living and working in the capital and other major Chinese cities.
China's state media says the declaration of this orange level alert requires industrial plants to reduce or shut down production.
Building sites are not allowed to transport materials or waste and heavy-duty trucks are banned from the city's roads.
Some reports suggest that visibility has fallen to a few hundred metres in some places.
World weather news, October 2015
- A family of three were reportedly among 16 people killed when torrential rain across the French Riviera sparked flash floods that upturned cars, submerged whole streets and inundated homes.
Witnesses on Sunday described how driving 'horizontal rain' struck the Côte d'Azur - a record 107 mm fell in Cannes in just one hour - along with hailstones the size of ice cubes.
Burst riverbanks sent torrents of water pouring through French towns in the area as a combination of lightning and water damage knocked out elecriticity to tens of thousands of homes.
Most of the victims died in vehicles, but three elderly residents of a retirement home near Antibes drowned after the river Brague burst its banks and left the ground floor of the building submerged.
The area was subject to an 'orange' weather alert on Friday when it began raining early in the morning. The weather improved briefly on Saturday morning, but the deluge began again by evening. Weather officials said parts of the region endured 10% of their average annual rainfall in a matter of hours. One local resident spoke of seeing two metres of water fall in less than two hours.
French weather experts were criticised for not forecasting the disaster but insisted they had issued adequate warnings and admitted they could not have predicted the severity of what they described as 'sudden and exceptional' meteorological conditions.
- At least 20 people died after an unexpectedly strong typhoon hit southern coast of China, unleashing deadly tornadoes in the region.
Typhoon Mujigae gained power quickly before it made landfall in densely populated Guangdong province, wielding winds as strong as 215 km/h.
The tornadoes created by the storm smashed into houses and other infrastructure in two major cities, Guangzhou and Foshan, killing seven people, Guangdong's civil affairs department said.
The storm's heavy rain also set off landslides that left seven people dead across the western half of the province, according to the civil affairs department. Another person died in a collapsed structure, it said.
Authorities said they had evacuated more than 200,000 people from vulnerable areas as the storm approached.
- A 'once-in-a-millennium' downpour has flooded large parts of South Carolina, causing at least seven deaths.
The storm had dumped more than 45 cm of rain in parts of central South Carolina by early Sunday. The state climatologist forecast another 5-15 cm through Monday as the rainfall began to slacken.
Though hurricane Joaquin did not hit the Carolinas and the rest of the southern US east coast as expected, instead passing out to sea over the Atlantic after battering the Bahamas, thousands in the state were still left without power by the rain.
Officials in the state capital, Columbia, said 100 people had been rescued by mid-morning Sunday from vehicles after trying to cross flooded roads. Police said another 200 rescue calls were pending and state officials reported a total of 200 swift-water rescues around South Carolina.
- The U.S. Coast Guard has abandoned the search for a missing container ship but continues to search for any signs of life after the El Faro is presumed to have sunk.
The crew contained 28 U.S. citizens and five Polish nationals.
At a press conference Monday morning, officials said the vessel is believed to have sunk in the last known position that was recorded on Thursday (1st) after it appeared to get caught in Hurricane Joaquin near the central Bahamas late last week.
The 790-foot roar cargo ship and was travelling from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Had crew members been able to abandon ship, they would have been in the midst of Category 4 hurricane conditions, officials said.
Recovery efforts to find the missing ship and crew were difficult and nearly impossible as Hurricane Joaquin remained across the Bahamas for a few days. As Joaquin began its track northward over the western Atlantic, search and recovery efforts improved over the weekend.
- An intense heatwave in southern California smashed records as temperatures topped 40C. The mercury peaked at 42C at
Camarillo airport, beating the previous all-time monthly record of 39.5C set in September 1976.
Temperatures for October are usually around 25C for south California but were 10C to 20C higher than normal in many places,
causing circuits to overheat and leaving about 9,000 people without power Friday and Saturday evening.
The heatwave was the result of an area of high pressure located over the south-west US, pulling in hot, dry, air from the
- Southern areas of Saskatchewan, Canada, were hit by extreme winds as a very active cold front swept through the region.
The strongest winds gusted at over 75mph in the city of Swift Current. Trucks were blown over and some roofs lost, while
toppling trees damaged power lines and led to numerous power cuts.
- In Croatia, over the weekend there was abundant, in places a record amount, of rain. Record 24-hour precipitation
amounts were recorded in Komiza, Split and Lipik. During the period from 8 am to 8 on 10th-11th, 46 mm fell in Lipik, 72.6
mm in Komiza and at Split-Marjan 102.8 mm.
At some stations more than the average October monthly rainfall occurred in 24 hours.
In addition to the rain, which caused severe floods, problems were also caused by strong winds.
- In the Limburg hills (Holland) today saw the first snow of autumn. Sleet admittedly, but of sufficient intensity for
the landscape to be coloured white.
In the Netherlands it rarely snows in October.
At De Bilt the earliest recorded snow in the autumn fell on 13 October 1975; this was followed in many places by several
centimetres of snow. Also on 18 October 1973 and on 24 October 2003 there was a thin layer of snow.
The 14th this year was particularly cold for October. In the eastern half of the Netherlands temperartures peaked around 5
-6C. Ell in Limburg recorded, on the 13th, the first frost this autumn with a minimum temperature of -0.1C; on the 14th
Deelen measured -0.4C.
De Bilt recorded a maximum temperature of 5.9C on the 13th this year; on 13 October 1975 De Bilt reached only 5.3C.
- Today, central and eastern parts of Germany woke up to some early season snow - even down to sea level.
A combination of chilly air and an area of low pressure, bringing moisture laden fronts, has blanketed these areas with as
much as 10 cm in some places.
Snow in October is common in the mountains but rare across low ground; snow below 200 metres was reported in places.
Overnight frosts were widespread and daytime temperatures on the 13th barely reached 4C or 5C in many places.
- Southern California authorities scrambled to rescue motorists stranded on roadways as flash floods and large hail
pounded areas north of Los Angeles.
Flash floods sent water flowing into roads, triggering mudslides that forced the closure of a portion of Interstate 5.
Some motorists fled, while others sat trapped in cars and called 911 for help, according to Lisa Williams of the Los
Angeles County Emergency Management.
Cars sat submerged in mud with their roofs barely visible. Hail the size of golf balls tumbled from the sky.
Between 4-6 inches of rain fell in parts of Kern and Los Angeles counties, prompting floods that led to nearly a half dozen
- At least five people have died after storms in central Italy caused major flooding and landslides.
Cars were submerged, shops inundated by mud and basements flooded.
Italian authorities are on high alert for further flooding and landslides in southern regions.
The Aniene river near Rome burst its banks late on Wednesday, with a man killed after a landslide hit the car he was
travelling in. A woman died in the adjacent Abruzzo province when a wall collapsed on her during the downpour.
Two women died in the southern region of Campania on Thursday due to the adverse weather, police said.
- Former Tropical Cyclone 03A tracked westward across the northern Arabian Sea this week and
arrived in Oman today bringing downpours and producing flash flooding.
Flash flooding was reported across north-central and northeast Oman where rainfall of 12-25 mm
was reported with isolated amounts up to 50 mm.
In some areas, floodwaters a metre in depth was reported.
- A storm akin to a subtropical depression brought a spell of wet and windy weather to southern parts of Spain and Portugal on the 17th and 18th. Portuguese tourist hot spots were some of the worst hit with Sagres and Faro receiving 76 mm and 74 mm of rainfall in the 72 hours to Tuesday lunchtime respectively. Some areas experienced gusts of over 40 mph during the peak of the stormy weather. Also, there were strong to near gale force winds off the western coast.
Granada coast and the village of Salobreña registered 81 mm in twelve hours, but 30.6 mm of this fell in just 10 minutes leading to flash flooding in many streets and the cancellation of school classes.
- Hail and torrential rain occurred across New South Wales (Australia) and thousands of homes
are without power, while reports say two people struck by lightning.
There were reports of two people being hit by lightning in Sydney's inner west and a video has
captured the moment that a Qantas jet narrowly avoided being struck by a lightning bolt as it
came in to land at the city's airport.
Thousands of people were left without power as the storm swept through in the late afternoon,
- Typhoon Koppu had gained 'Very Strong' status as of Saturday morning with a central pressure
of 930 mb and winds gusting to 155 mph around its centre.
It made landfall in the early hours of Sunday (local time) close to Casiguran in northern
Philippines as an intense Typhoon. At landfall it was equivalent to a category 4 Hurricane with
sustained winds averaged over a minute estimated to be close to 155 mph with gusts near 185 mph.
There were reports of significant storm surge/large waves.
Through Sunday Koppu tracked slowly west across Luzon and was near San Fernando this morning
(Monday) where it was downgraded to a Tropical Storm.
238 mm of rain was recorded in the city of Baguio in just 6 hours earlier today.
- The death toll from a ferocious typhoon in the Philippines climbed to 54 on Thursday, as
home-wrecking floods shifted downstream to coastal villages, displacing tens of thousands of
Residents of Bulacan and Pampanga province, around two hours' drive from the capital Manila, fled
by foot to evacuation centres as the waters rose quickly overnight, aggravated by a high tide.
Close to 60,000 people left their homes in Bulacan and Pampanga, a geographic catch basin for
waters from the upland provinces of Nueva Ecija and Aurora, which bore the brunt of Koppu on
Sunday and Monday.
Koppu made landfall on the east coast of Luzon, the Philippines' biggest and most populated
island, early on Sunday with 210 km/h winds.
Koppu, the second strongest typhoon to hit the country this year, then crawled over vast swathes
of Luzon for three days, bringing torrential rains that triggered landslides and massive
The Philippines is battered by an average 20 typhoons a year, many of them deadly.
- Hurricane Patricia became the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Pacific Ocean late
Thursday night less than 200 miles from the coast of Mexico, where residents and authorities are
rushing to prepare for what will likely be the strongest hurricane to ever make landfall on that
country's Pacific coastline.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) released a special advisory at 12:30 a.m. CDT Friday saying
Patricia's central pressure had dropped to 892 millibars, making it by far the lowest pressure
ever measured in a Pacific hurricane. NHC estimated Patricia's maximum sustained winds at 185
mph, well above the 157-mph minimum threshold required to make it a Category 5 hurricane.
Amazingly, the Air Force Hurricane Hunter reconnaissance mission responsible for those findings
has measured even lower pressures and higher wind speeds since then. At 2:03 a.m. CDT, NHC
released a data message reporting that an instrument dropped from the aircraft had measured a
pressure of 885 millibars at sea level inside the eye, though not in the exact center.
Shortly before that, winds at flight level (roughly 10,000 feet above the ocean) were measured as
high as 221 mph in the eyewall, the zone of powerful winds ringing the clear, relatively calm
The revisions came shortly after Air Force Hurricane Hunters flew through the eye of Patricia and
reported a sea-level pressure of 894 millibars as measured by a dropsonde inside the eye itself.
Wind measurements suggested that the pressure measurement was not in the exact center of the eye
and was probably not the absolute lowest pressure, prompting NHC to estimate the minimum central
pressure at 892 millibars.
Tropical cyclone strength comparisons are typically based on minimum central pressure. At 892
millibars, Patricia has shattered the Eastern Pacific basin's previous record of 902 millibars
set by Hurricane Linda in 1997. While a number of typhoons in the western North Pacific have been
stronger, Patricia is by far the strongest recorded in the eastern or central North Pacific,
where the term "hurricane" applies.
The eye of Patricia is expected to move onshore Friday night in the Mexican state of Jalisco,
which includes the popular coastal resort city of Puerto Vallarta as well as the inland
metropolis of Guadalajara, Mexico's second-largest city.
- Heavy rains fuelled by two storm systems, one of them remnants of hurricane Patricia, have hit south-eastern Texas, triggering flash floods in Houston and derailing a freight train.
Forecasters predicted 15-30cm (6-12in) of rain for coastal areas of the US, including south-west Louisiana, by Monday morning, exacerbated by tides up to 1.5 metres (5ft) high and wind gusts of up to 35mph.
The rain systems were intensified by the remnants of hurricane Patricia, which was downgraded to a tropical depression after crossing Mexico's west coast.
Navarro County, about 50 miles south of Dallas, was one of the hardest-hit areas. The tiny town of Powell got 50 cm of rain over 30 hours.
A flash flood swept a Union Pacific freight train off the tracks on Sunday morning, pushing locomotives and some rail cars on their sides. No injuries were reported.
Some 80 water rescues from vehicles, homes and businesses had been carried out in Navarro County since Friday.
Saturday's rainfall led to the cancellation of about 100 flights at Dallas/Fort Worth international airport, one of the country's busiest, according to tracking service FlightAware.
Retailers reported a run on supplies in anticipation of floods.
- A storm system that brought heavy rain and severe weather across Greece and western Turkey at the end of last week and into the weekend brought severe weather to Israel on Sunday.
On Saturday, heavy rain and severe weather was seen across southern Greece and the west coast of Turkey. Rainfall from Friday afternoon into Saturday surpassed 50 mm in many areas and reached 77 mm in Cesme, Turkey.
Marmaris, in southwest Turkey, received around 250 mm of rainfall from this storm system as of Friday morning.
As this system pushed to the east over the weekend, severe thunderstorms moved into Lebanon and Israel, bringing damaging wind gusts, large hail and flooding rain. These storms killed a worker in Israel as high winds toppled a wall at a construction site, burying him.
High wind gusts toppled a crane in Tel Aviv as storms rushed across the city.
Large hail fell and heavy rain caused also flooding in parts of Israel.
- As Patricia, the biggest storm ever recorded in the western hemisphere, made landfall on the Mexican west coast on Friday Bill Patzert, climatologist at NASA's JPL explained its origins. The current El Niño was 'high-octane fuel for hurricanes' because it had 'piled up a tremendous volume of warm water in the eastern Pacific'.
The water temperature is 30.5C, close to a record high and about 2 degC above average, creating ideal conditions for strong hurricanes. There is more energy to create stronger winds and pick up more moisture. The exceptional sea temperature is a combination of the very strong El Niño and climate change, which is raising average sea temperatures across the globe.
Patricia gathered pace dramatically reaching the highest category 5 hurricane but fortunately, as the storm made landfall in a mountainous region, the peaks took the brunt of the 200 mph winds and 'tore the bottom out of the storm.' However, the mountains caused the clouds to rise and cool down dumping large quantities of rain.
- No major damage has been reported after a hailstorm passed over south-east Queensland this afternoon.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 2:30pm, warning of heavy rainfall and large hailstones near Brisbane's CBD.
The Bureau said "golf-ball-sized hail" was reported at Indooroopilly at 2:15pm, with small hailstones reported south of Brisbane.
Heavy rainfall also lashed the city and inundated roads, with 39 mm of rain recorded in just 15 minutes at Toowong. There were also reports of isolated flooding in nearby Indooroopilly.
- A trailer from an RV park was whirled on to the roof of a Holiday Inn, buildings were shredded
and more than a foot of rain drenched Austin as storms hammered Texas, killing at least two
The small town of Floresville, near San Antonio, was hit by a suspected tornado early in the
morning. Local news footage showed damage to power lines, homes, businesses and a high school,
although no one was hurt.
There were reports of other tornadoes in counties including D'Hanis, 50 miles west of San Antonio,
where a bank and other buildings were wrecked. Several central Texas counties remained under a
tornado watch on Friday afternoon.
In and around Austin, intense rainfall caused rivers and creeks to overflow. Dozens of roads were
closed, including several major routes. One man who needed to be rescued after he was caught in a
flash flood shot a video from inside his car as it floated away..
Flights were suspended at Austin-Bergstrom international airport on Friday morning after six
inches of rain fell in one hour, flooding the ground floor of the control tower, officials said.
The airport received 14 inches of rain between midnight and 3pm Central Time. Parts were being
reopened in the afternoon, according to a statement, but dozens of flights were delayed or
In the Hill Country, a popular tourism area west of Austin, the Blanco river in Wimberley rapidly
rose from 4ft to more than 26ft, twice as high as its flood stage, though its level was receding
on Friday afternoon. Police in Hays County used Twitter to urge some residents to shelter in
place, while San Marcos city officials issued an evacuation order for people living along the
Blanco and San Marcos rivers.
The death toll from flooding in Texas reached at least six after authorities found the body of an
elderly woman who had been swept away from her home in the Austin area.
World weather news, September 2015
- Tropical cyclone activity across the north Pacific has been extremely high this year with numerous intense typhoons in the west Pacific and hurricanes in the east Pacific.
According to the Met Office, there have been 15 tropical cyclones in the northern hemisphere reaching category 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale - 6 more than the previous record.
Tropical cyclone activity across the northern hemisphere as measured by Accumulated Cyclone Energy (a combined measure of intensity and longevity) is 200% of normal and over 20% above any other year.
Six hurricanes have crossed the central Pacific region - more than any other year.
Three north Pacific hurricanes have crossed the International Dateline - more than any other year.
Hurricanes Kilo, Ignacio and Jimena were all at category 4 simultaneously in the Pacific east of the International Dateline - the first time three major hurricanes have been recorded at the same time in this region.
- An intense thunderstorm crossed the central Italian peninsula, sending down baseball-sized hail on Naples.
- Lightning strikes associated with the Indian monsoon rains killed more than 30 people in the south-east of India during the evening. Those killed were said mainly to have been farm labourers working in the fields.
Although an event of this severity is rare, lightning strikes are common in the Indian monsoon, from June to September, as a reversal of the prevailing winds brings onshore winds and rising air over the continent, causing torrential downpours.
- A large dust storm has hit western parts of the Middle East, putting dozens of people in hospital and leading to public health warnings.
After hitting parts of Syria on Monday, the dust spread to larger areas of the country on Tuesday morning.
Parts of Lebanon, Israel, Turkey and Cyprus were also affected. Lebanon's state news agency said two people died - one an elderly man found on a roof.
Syrian media said the weather stopped fighting in Hama and Idlib provinces.
The pro-government al-Watan newspaper said that government helicopters were prevented from flying because of the dust.
The poor weather was down partly to a low-pressure system over the entire region and sand blowing in from the east.
- In southern regions of Spain the clean-up underway after persistent torrential rain led to flooding. The town of Adra, in the province of Almería, was one of the worst affected areas; cars were washed away and buildings were damaged by water levels above half a metre in the main streets.
Fifty homes, 30 shops and 200 cars were damaged when flood waters swept through Adra.
Heavy downfalls particularly affected the regions of Andalucia, Murcia and Valencia with more than 300 rain-related incidents being reported to the emergency services.
In the province of Granada, three men drowned when they were caught in rising water.
- A storm that took a rare early-September track across northern Africa into the Mediterranean Sea this week brought flooding rainfall to parts of southern Italy and the Balkan Peninsula.
Areas from Sicily through Calabria received the heaviest rainfall from Wednesday into Thursday. Rainfall amounts of 50-100 mm were common with localized amounts up to 150 mm.
The flooding was so intense across parts of Sicily that cars were seen being pulled down streets by the flood waters.
- In parts of east Japan, over the past week, tropical cyclone Etau has been causing devastation. The storm made landfall early last Thursday but the effects are still being felt, with torrential rain, channelled by mountainous terrain, leading to severe flooding and landslides.
The heaviest rainfall was observed in Tochigi prefecture where more than 650 mm was recorded in a 24-hour period, well over twice the average monthly total for September. The northwest Pacific region gets on average 26 named tropical storms annually, with Etau the 20th so far in the 2015 season.
The storm brought historic and devastating flooding to parts of the country, with several towns under feet of water.
In the city of Joso, with a population of 60,000, aerial rescues were reported as people waited for help on the roofs of buildings. Flood waters were reportedly more than a storey deep.
- Seven hikers - six from California and one from Nevada - died when fast-moving floodwaters rushed through a narrow park canyon in Zion National Park (Utah) in the afternoon.
Some in the group were new to rappelling and were swimming through narrow canyons in a sport called canyoneering, but park policy prevents rangers from assessing their skill level or stopping them from going, even after repeated warnings of the flood risk on Monday.
The flash flooding also killed at least 12 other people, including nine children, in a nearby polygamous town on the Utah-Arizona border. Raging waters swept two cars downstream, leaving a six-year-old boy still missing.
- After waves of searing heat that spanned the summer, drought in Poland has reached critical levels.
In addition, the dry conditions led to the unearthing of historic artifacts buried in the terrain of the Vistula River near Warsaw.
According to the Associated Press, officials were aware of the settled artifacts but could not access them under the murky waters of the river and its tributaries.
A Soviet fighter plane, with human remains of the pilots, was one of the historic findings. The Red Army plane was downed by the Germans in January of 1945 and plunged into the frosty river, the AP reported.
- A possible tornado swept through Northamptonshire, early in the afternoon, video and news reports in the area reveal.
Radar and lightning data indicated a strong thunderstorm sweeping from south to north through the Northampton area on Monday.
The tornado has damaged a number of houses in Duston, a suburb of Northampton, and also some vehicles parked close to St. Luke's Primary School have been hit by falling roof tiles, according to the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.
Despite the damage, there have been no reports of injuries.
- Enhanced by the remnants of Henri, thunderstorms turned severe as they spread from France into Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany.
A strong cold front with Henri merged into a strong warm sector, creating a clash of warm air with the cool rain. This brought gusty southerly winds ahead of a line of thunderstorms moving through central France then a powerful line of thunderstorms that spawned a tornado and damaging winds.
In Saint-Dizier, winds reached a record 135 km/h.
Thunderstorms also contained wind-whipped rain; together, the storms brought widespread power outages and downed trees. Some trees and power lines fell on roadways, causing travel headaches through the evening.
The thunderstorms shifted from southeastern and central France up through Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne before moving into Belgium and western Germany.
- In Fairbanks, Alaska, winter arrived early with a blanket of snow. On average Fairbanks gets about 5 cm of snow in September; today more than 15 cm was measured at Fairbanks International Airport, making the third heaviest September snow-day on record. Wintry weather looks set to continue in Alaska, with up to 30 cm of snow forecast for this week.
- Taiwan faces a big clear-up after Typhoon Dujuan, which killed at least two people, injured more than 300, displaced thousands and left nearly half a million without power. On Monday night Dujuan made landfall in north Taiwan with wind speeds exceeding 150 mph along the island's east coast. It was accompanied by torrential rain triggering multiple landslides.
The heaviest rain was in north-east Taiwan in the mountainous Wulai district where more than 90 cm fell - nearly a third of the country's annual rainfall. Dujuan is the 21st typhoon of the season. It developed from a tropical depression to a category 4 typhoon before it reached Taiwan, where it weakened, becoming a tropical cyclone as it moved into mainland China.
- A severe thunderstorm hit Brisbane, Australia. It had moved towards the coast bringing with it 10,000 lightning strikes that hit the city in less than two hours. The storm moved across the city in the afternoon producing dark skies, hammering hail, torrential rain and gusty winds, and cutting the power to more than 4,500 properties, as well as causing flight delays and road accidents.
- For the second time in less than a week, Fairbanks, Alaska, was blanketed with heavy snow. This time, it was a record-breaker.
Officially, 11.2 inches of snow blanketed Fairbanks International Airport, setting an all-time September daily snow record, previously 7.8 inches on 13 September 1992.
This also topped the previous record for any 24-hour September snowfall of 9 inches in 1992, according to Rick Thoman from the National Weather Service in Fairbanks. Records in Fairbanks date to 1904.
- The summerlike temperatures that continued well beyond August will result in the warmest September on record for many locations across the Midwest and the Northeast.
In New York City's Central Park, the average temperature through to the 29th was 74.6F, nearly a full degree (F) above the record month in 1961, where the average temperature was 73.5F.
Record-challenging temperatures extend as far west as Minneapolis, where the average temperature in the same period was slightly below the warmest September ever (in 1897) at 68.8 F.
The warmest September on record for Pittsburgh was in 1881, when the average temperature throughout the month was 77.3 F. This September is likely to be the warmest since 1931. Through to the 29th, the average temperature in Pittsburgh has been warmer than that, at 70.0 F, about 5.6 degF above normal for the month.
Dozens of locations, including Boston, Hartford (Connecticut) and Burlington (Vermont) will have their warmest September on record this month. Many of these records date back to the early 1900s and a few go back to the late 1800s.
- September the coolest since 2001 in de Bilt (The Netherlands); the mean temperature of 13.4C was 1.1 degC below the 1981-2010 average. In Germany a hot and dry August was followed by a normal September, temperature-wise.
- Hurricane Joaquin grew into a category-three storm late in the day as it approached the central islands of the Bahamas on a projected track that would take it near the US east coast by the weekend.
Maximum sustained winds reached 185 km/h and the hurricane-strength winds extended 55 km from the centre of the storm over the Atlantic ocean, said the US National Hurricane Center in Miami, which predicted Joaquin would develop into a major hurricane in the coming days.
World weather news, August 2015
- More than 100 people have died and up to 1 million have fled their homes, with areas of Burma declared disaster zones and India also badly hit.
Heavy monsoon rains have continued to lash much of southern Asia, threatening further casualties and more destruction after a week of lethal floods and landslides.
In India, the chief minister of West Bengal, in the east of the country, described the situation as beyond control.
Local officials said 48 people are thought to have died in the state and hundreds of thousands of villagers have been taken to relief camps. The death toll is thought likely to rise.
Another 28 deaths were reported in Rajasthan, western India, where rescue workers evacuated nearly 1,000 people to higher ground. Five people were killed in the eastern state of Odisha.
The annual monsoon season in the region runs from June to the end of September but, though a lifeline for farmers, often causes hundreds of deaths as well as severe damage to homes and food crops.
- Soudelor is intensifying rapidly over the western Pacific Ocean after raking through Saipan, a U.S. commonwealth in the northern Mariana Islands, Sunday night and early Monday.
Super Typhoon Soudelor became the fifth super typhoon of this year Monday after undergoing a replacement of its eyewall, a process which occurs in all intense tropical cyclones. A super typhoon is defined by sustained wind speeds of at least 150 mph.
According to Monday's 5 p.m. EDT bulletin from the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Soudelor had strengthened into the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (one-minute average) with gusts to 220 mph.
Soudelor has maintained its strength and as of 11 p.m. EDT Monday, Soudelor continues to have maximum sustained winds of 180 mph and some additional strengthening is possible.
Low wind shear and very warm sea surface temperatures have allowed Soudelor to ramp up quickly; the cyclone was just a minimal typhoon 36 hours earlier.
- A heatwave has engulfed much of the Middle East, sending temperatures and humidity soaring throughout the region.
The searing heat, ailing infrastructure and power cuts have combined to create a particularly intolerable climate in an area already notorious for its hot summers.
In the southern Iraqi city of Basra, temperatures are expected to hover around 51C for most of the week and reach 52C at the weekend.
In Iraq, the government ordered a four-day holiday to help people deal with the heatwave, while residents in Lebanon without electricity have taken to sleeping on bare floor tiles to cool themselves amid the electricity cuts, unable to operate their air conditioning.
In Beirut, nestled on the Mediterranean coast, temperatures will hover in the 30s, but humidity levels of over 50% and the city's increasingly frequent power cuts have combined to create an oppressive heat that has residents sweltering, just a week after stinking garbage piles spilled over into the city's streets in a crisis that highlighted the government's chronic dysfunction.
The Iraqi meteorological agency said temperatures around the country this week would average 48-51C.
On Friday, a combination of extreme heat and humidity, made the air in the Iranian city of Bandar Mahshahr feel like 73C although the actual tempreture there was around 46C. The city, which has a population of around 150,000, is situated in Iran's south-western oil-rich province of Khuzestan, close to the Iraqi border.
- There are fears in California's wine industry over the possible impact of raging wildfires and whether they could damage this year's grape yield, potentially affecting the state's multibillion dollar business.
While safety for residents and containment of the fires is the clear priority for officials, some in the industry also fear the flames may harm what is a key business sector. Concern in Napa is focused on how the grapes interact with the billows of smoke from the massive Rocky fire in neighboring Lake County.
- Wildfires have forced more than 1,400 people to leave their homes in western Spain as dry, hot conditions spark warnings in other European countries.
Towns and campsites have been evacuated as planes and helicopters help to tackle the blaze in Spain's Sierra de Gata mountain area.
Nearly 80% of neighbouring Portugal is experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions, experts say.
In Germany, Kitzingen soared to 40.3C, equalling the national record only set a month before.
The current record was measured on 5 July in the same town in Bavaria.
Some 330 firefighters and other emergency crew members were deployed as fires, fanned by strong winds, threatened homes in Spain's Extremadura region in the early hours of Friday, according to reports.
The blaze has burned more than 5,000 hectares (12,400 acres), local police said.
More fires destroyed about 3,000 hectares of forest and scrubland near the towns of Lorca and Cieza, near Murcia, in the south-east of the country.
Exceptionally dry conditions, rising temperatures and moderate winds have also increased the risk of forest fires in Portugal, officials there said.
The Portuguese Weather and Sea Institute said in a monthly report published on Thursday that average rainfall in July was only 3.5 mm. The usual amount for July is almost 14 mm.
Warnings are also in place for extreme heat in eastern France.
- A Delta Airlines flight from Boston to Salt Lake City was forced into an emergency landing after being hit by a storm of 'baseball-sized' hailstones that stubbed the aircraft's nose cone and pockmarked its windscreen.
The Federal Aviation Administration said the plane from Boston to Salt Lake City was forced to land in Denver on Friday evening. None of the passengers were injured, but one was treated in hospital for shock.
- The number of people killed by typhoon Soudelor in China rose to 17, state media reported on Monday, with five more missing.
Three people were killed by a mudslide and one was missing after being swept away by floods in Ningde, in the eastern province of Fujian, the Fujian Daily reported.
In neighbouring Zhejiang province 14 were killed and four were missing. The official news agency Xinhua quoted local officials as saying that the dead and missing may have been washed away by floods or buried under ruined homes.
Billed as the biggest typhoon of the year with winds of up to 230 km/h, Soudelor - named after a Micronesian chief - has since weakened.
It made landfall in Fujian on Saturday night after leaving six people dead in Taiwan. The death toll there included twin sisters and their mother, who were all swept out to sea. It also knocked out power to a record four million households on the island.
About 379 people were injured by the storm in Taiwan, which saw rivers break their banks under torrential rain and towering waves pound the coastline.
The China Meteorological Administration lifted its typhoon warning on Monday as the storm weakened and moved further inland.
- Wroclaw (Poland) experienced an all-time high temperature on the 8th, reaching 38.9C.
- A blistering heatwave in Japan reached another milestone as Tokyo suffered an unprecedented eighth consecutive day above the "extreme heat" threshold of 35° C, reaching 37.7 °C; the previous record sequence (back to 1875) was just four days. The death toll from Japan's ongoing heatwave reached 55, with more than 11,000 people hospitalised.
- Another 21 people have died as a result of a heatwave in Egypt, the state news agency has said, raising this week's death toll to more than 60.
The Mena news agency said the latest deaths were from Tuesday, and were mostly of elderly people. It said 581 people were in hospital for heat exhaustion.
The Middle East has been in a heatwave since late July. Egyptian summers are usually hot, but this week temperatures soared to 46C (114F) in the south.
At least 40 people died on Sunday and Monday, including detainees and patients in a psychiatric hospital, according to officials.
- Wednesday marked the ninth consecutive day of Warsaw recording a high of 32.2 C or higher, a stretch of intense heat the city has not dealt with since the 1994 heawave that spanned late July to the start of August.
Amid this current heat wave, Warsaw set a new all-time August high temperature record last Saturday when the temperature peaked at 36.6. The previous record was 36.4C.
Much of eastern Europe is suffering from a rainfall shortage this year, which has become worse over the summer.
Since 1 June, Warsaw has received less than half of the normal (172 mm) rainfall. A total of 47 mm of rain has fallen in Belgrade during the same time, which is less than 30 percent of normal.
- A small tornado, known as a turbonada, hits the coast of southern Mexico on Thursday morning, damaging several homes. Beachgoers watched as the vortex headed towards the land at 10am local time. It lasted about five minutes, although there are no reports of anyone being injured. Turbonadas are uncommon in the area.
- Vast areas of California's Central Valley are sinking faster than in the past as massive amounts of groundwater are pumped during the historic drought, Nasa said.
The research shows that in some places the ground is sinking nearly two inches each month, putting infrastructure on the surface at growing risk of damage.
Sinking land has occurred for decades in California because of excessive groundwater pumping during drought conditions, but the new data shows it is happening faster.
- The remnants of typhoon Goni battered western Japan and southeast Korea with damaging winds and flooding rainfall on Tuesday before spreading rain into North Korea, China and Russia on Wednesday.
While flooding is possible, the rainfall is also needed in Vladivostok as the summer months have been abnormally dry this year. Rainfall from June 1 to 25 August was less than 40 percent of normal, with only 121 mm falling in the city.
Goni left 21 people dead, mainly due to landslides, in the Philippines, the Associated Press reports.
As Goni moved northward and passed through Ishigakijima, Japan, it produced sustained winds of 162 km/h and a gust to 255 km/h. The city endured sustained winds over typhoon force for four straight hours. The winds were strong enough to damage buildings and flip over automobiles.
- Rescue teams worked to reopen roads to remote communities after tropical storm Erika caused flooding and mudslides that killed at least 20 people and left more than 50 missing on the Caribbean island.
Erika whipped the island for more than five hours on Wednesday, bringing strong winds and intense rain that provoked flooding and landslides. Hundreds of homes were destroyed.
In Haiti the storm killed at least one person in a suspected landslide. Four others died when a truck hit a bus during the downpour.
- A hurricane with winds of up to 135 km/h has hit the island nation of Cape Verde, off the coast of West Africa.
The government grounded all flights as heavy rain and winds lashed north-western islands in the archipelago.
No hurricane has ever been recorded further east in the tropical Atlantic.
Late on Monday Fred weakened to a tropical storm as it moved away from the islands, the US-based National Hurricane Center.
It said the last time a hurricane was recorded hitting Cape Verde was 1892, although it cautions that records were less exact before the advent of weather satellites in the mid-1960s.
- Tens of thousands of people in Phoenix (USA) remain without power after a severe thunderstorm tracked over the city on Monday night.
At one point on Monday night, over 70,000 electric customers were without power between Arizona Public Service Co. and Utilities Salt River Project, two of the electric companies in Phoenix.
The Phoenix Zoo was also closed on Tuesday to allow crews to clean up fallen trees, but the zoo said on Twitter that all of the animals were well and accounted for.
World weather news, July 2015
- Continental Europe has had blistering heat over the past week, with Spain and Portugal becoming
particularly hot. Of Spain's 50 provinces 43 were put on alert for exceptionally high temperatures,
with the mercury widely topping 40C, and some places experiencing temperatures as high as 44C.
The intense heat has also increased the potential for forest fires; woodlands, within a large area, are
considered at extreme risk of catching alight. The heat-wave is expected to spread and persist for much
of Europe over the coming days.
Meanwhile, in the US mid-west heavy rains have exacerbated already serious floods. Numerous states have
been affected, and are expecting further rain.
The city of St Louis, in Missouri, had more than 33 cm of rain in June, 22 cm more than the monthly
Indiana, in the Great Lakes region, has also been hit hard, with $300m worth of crop damage having
already occurred before another deluge of rain happened over the weekend.
Finally, the province of Manitoba had severe thunderstorms developing during the afternoon, with a
particularly potent cell striking the town of Roseisle, about 70 miles south-west of Winnipeg.
Hailstones in Roseisle were reported to be measuring up to the size of tennis balls, and they damaged
cars and destroyed crops. These hailstones were driven in on a 60 mph wind, worsening the potential for
- Storms have swept across northern England in the wake of what for many places was the hottest July
day on record in the UK.
Up to 40,000 properties in the north-east were left without power after the violent storms struck.
Some properties have been damaged by lightning and vehicles were hit by golf ball-sized hailstones.
36.7C at Heathrow was, according to the Met Office, the highest UK temperature on record.
Delays were mounting for commuters on National Rail lines as soaring temperatures threatened to buckle
"Extremely high temperatures are forecast for today and because of this Network Rail will be
introducing speed restrictions on various parts of the network, throughout the day," the organization
said on its website.
- In the Netherlands, Maastricht set a new national record for July of 38.2C, previously 37.1C in 2006 in Westdorpe.
- In a state plagued by drought, California residents are advised to play it safe with fireworks this
Fourth of July.
In some areas, legal fireworks are banned as local officials work to prevent accidental fires caused by
the dazzling pyrotechnics.
While cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego will continue their annual fireworks as
planned, Cupertino, California, canceled their Independence Day display due to drought concerns.
A suburb of San Jose, California, Cupertino sits in an area of extreme drought according to the U.S.
Drought Monitor. Due to the volume of water needed to treat the fields at Cupertino High School, the
home for the fireworks, the school declined to host this year's event.
The city said more than 100,000 gallons of water are needed to treat the fields to prevent damage to
- A father whose home was struck by lightning says the ceiling collapsed on one of his children's
bedrooms minutes after the family fled the house.
A bolt struck the roof of father-of-four Darren Hobson's semi-detached house in Braintree, Essex, just
before 02:00 BST, causing a large fire.
He said his bedroom lit up blue and when he went to investigate, the house lights burst and he could
- A man had to rescue his son from a top floor bedroom after his roof was struck by lightning in
Two homes caught fire after being struck at about 02:05 BST in Nelson Crescent, Longstanton.
One of the owners said he rushed up to the third floor, where his six-year-old son was sleeping, after
hearing a "loud bang", before leaving the property.
Four crews from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service tackled the blaze.
- Two people have died and two others are in hospital, following separate lightning strikes in the
Brecon Beacons in Powys (Wales).
Emergency services were called to areas around Pen y Fan in the national park at midday.
Two individuals were airlifted to hospital in Merthyr Tydfil with what were described as life-
threatening injuries but were later confirmed to have died.
- Germany's all-time highest temperature record was broken today with 40.3C in Bavaria.
- A house in County Durham (England) caught fire when lightning struck during a storm, fire crews
Neighbours used a ladder and a garden hose to tackle the blaze in Blackburn Close, Bearpark, near
The property was empty at the time, as the family was on holiday.
- Holidaymakers from across Ireland have avoided injury after a major fire thought to have been
caused by a lightning strike gutted part of their hotel in the United States.
About 500 rooms in the Avanti International Resort in Orlando, Florida, were evacuated when the fire
started on Sunday night.
The blaze was "more than likely" caused by a lightning strike, fire services said
Fire services said it was likely that lightning struck the building's roof.
- Ice caves popular with hikers north-east of Seattle partially collapsed, killing one person and
leaving at least four others injured, officials said.
The collapse came after authorities warned that the caves were especially dangerous because of warming
The person who died remained buried under the debris at the Big Four Ice Caves east of Verlot,
Snohomish County sheriff's spokeswoman Shari Ireton said late on Monday night. The recovery effort was
suspended at nightfall.
The ice caves have been closed until further notice.
The US forest service warned hikers in May that the ice caves were in their 'most dangerous state' due
to unseasonably warm weather. The caves about 70 miles north-east of Seattle are a popular hiking
destination. Temperatures in the area on Monday reportedly were in the 80s (F).
- Torrential rain has caused severe flooding in Aberdeen.
Many streets were left under deep water after the downpour - accompanied by thunder - struck in the
Areas affected included Polmuir Road, Market Street, the Hardgate, Portree Avenue, Froghall Road and
Golf Road. The council was delivering sandbags.
Fire crews dealt with incidents including a nursery basement flooding as more than half Aberdeen's
expected July rain fell in just a few hours.
A yellow "be aware" weather warning for heavy showers had been issued earlier by the Met Office.
Heavy rain has also caused flooding in parts of County Londonderry.
The Bogside, Creggan, Foyle Road and Strand Road areas were among the worst affected parts of Derry,
according to Transport NI.
- Storms and heavy downpours inundated areas from the southern Plains to the Ohio Valley (USA) on
Tuesday and Wednesday, resulting in flash flooding, impassable roadways and numerous water rescues.
Flash flood emergencies were declared in three countries in Missouri as creeks and streams overflowed
The Missouri Department of Transportation temporarily closed Highway 165 amid the heavy rain.
Flooding was so widespread in Cassville, Missouri, that the Barry County Sheriff sent out an alert
Tuesday that the entire town was closed. Many roads were covered with water throughout the town. By
Wednesday morning, most roadways were back open and businesses resumed operation.
Abilene, Texas, broke their all-time record for the highest daily rainfall total with 8.26 inches of on
A total of 9.13 inches of rain fell across Brady, Texas, causing travel problems throughout the area.
Local law enforcement reported several cars were swept away on Highway 377 early Wednesday morning.
- Strong storms produced damaging winds, downpours and possibly isolated tornadoes in portions of the
Northeast USA on Thursday.
An elementary school in Berks County, Pennsylvania, was heavily damaged as the result of one storm that
moved through the region early Thursday evening.
Thousands of people were without power as a result of the storms that plowed into the mid-Atlantic
states Thursday afternoon and evening.
Before trekking off the East Coast, storms created lengthy flight delays at Philadelphia and New York
- Airports were closed across parts of Indonesia due to a volcanic ash cloud from the eruption of
Mount Ruang leaving thousands of international travellers stranded.
Bali holidaymakers were among the worst affected, with Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Garuda Indonesia
cancelling flights to and from Denpasar airport.
The cancellations, now in the third consecutive day, follow on from cancellations across the first few
days of July after Mount Raung erupted on 2 July.
- Typhoon Chan-Hom made landfall early in the day in
Zhujiajian Township in the island city of Zhoushan,
Zhejiang Province, as a category 1 typhoon before being
downgraded to a tropical storm on 12 Jul. Chan-Hom is decreasing intensity as it moves northeast. Some 1.9 million people in nine cities were affected by the storm, including more than 1.1 million evacuated as a precaution. No casualties are reported.
- Recent snowfall across parts of southeast Queensland has been called the most significant snowfall across the region in 30 years.
While Australia's Bureau of Meteorology has yet to confirm any records from the recent snowfall, local residents of Stanthorpe, Queensland have claimed it to be the biggest snowfall since 1984.
While is not uncommon for their to be snowflakes or a very minor accumulation of snowfall in this area, the amount of snow has not been seen for quite some time. The last significant snowfall in this area was 5 cm in 2007, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
- Thousands of teenage scouts and guides were evacuated from a camp in eastern France after a violent storm overnight.
The storm hit the camp organised by the Scouts and Guides France in the city of Strasbourg.
About 15,000 people were evacuated as authorities issued a warning of heavy winds.
Rescue workers said 35 people suffered "sprains, fractures or dislocations", but added there were no serious injuries.
Organisers received a warning from authorities half an hour before the storm hit at 02:00 (00:00 GMT), giving them time to move the scouts and guides to shelter in a nearby arena.
Images published by the newspaper L'Alsace showed extensive damage to the site and young people walking in thermal blankets.
The teenagers, from scout and guide associations around Europe, were allowed to return to the site on Saturday morning.
There were no reports of significant damage elsewhere in the Alsace region after the storm.
- A lightning strike has killed seven people, including four children, in a rural part of central Mexico, authorities have said.
The Guanajuato state Department of Public Safety reported two others were injured by the strike on Friday afternoon, though their lives were not in danger.
The incident took place in farming country near the towns of Mesa Cuata and El Terrero, about 40 km from the city of Queretaro.
- During July 22-28, Karachi, Pakistan, received 48 mm of rain. That's more rain than the city saw during the entire monsoon seasons of 2012, 2013 and 2014.
In Bhuj, India, more than 432 mm of rain were measured from Monday into Tuesday. The average yearly total is 374. In Badin, Pakistan, rainfall from Monday into Tuesday totalled 135 mm which is equal to the normal rainfall for the entire month of July.
World weather news, June 2015
- On Tuesday the coldest June temperature in five years was recorded at Observatory Hill in Sydney (Australia). The temperature of 7.3C at 7am felt more like 0.3C, the BOM said. The following day it fell to --7C in Canberra.
- At least 73 people were killed following a fuel station explosion in flood-racked Accra, Ghana, according to the Associated Press. That number is expected to rise as recovery efforts continue.
Many of the victims were seeking shelter at the fuel station when the explosion occurred Wednesday night, local time.
Spokesman for Ghana's national fire service, Billy Anaglate stated, "the flooding caused diesel and petrol to flow away from the gas station and into a fire from a nearby house which then led to the explosion."
- Tropical system Blanca reached major hurricane status on Wednesday, however has gone through a period of weakening and is now the equivalent of a category 2 hurricane. Blanca is still expected to strengthen as the storm moves northwest over the next 36 hours.
This is the earliest on record, since 1971, that two major hurricanes have formed in the Eastern Pacific. There have been four other seasons that have had two major hurricanes develop before the end of June.
If Blanca were to reach Category 5 strength it would become the earliest on record in the eastern Pacific. That record is currently held by Hurricane Ava which reached that threshold on 6 June 1973.
While Andres brought only rough surf and rip currents to Mexico, Blanca will bring more direct impacts as it continues to strengthen over the next few days and eventually approaches Baja California.
- Violent storms across Colorado (USA) have swirled into tornadoes that destroyed homes, popped open a
sinkhole that swallowed a police cruiser and dropped so much hail on a Denver neighbourhood that residents had
to dig out of waist-deep ice with shovels.
No serious injuries have been reported from the storms that raked areas from Fort Collins in the north to
Pueblo, nearly 180 miles south.
Tornadoes damaged at least six homes near Simla, on Colorado's eastern plains, Elbert County officials said. A
new twister touched down Friday afternoon but lifted off before causing damage, the National Weather Service
- Tropical Storm Blanca's centre made landfall in the southern Baja California peninsula near the town of
Puerto Cortes early on Monday, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 45 mph.
Blanca became the earliest-in-season tropical cyclone to make landfall in the Baja peninsula. According to
NOAA's database, only one other pre-July 1 tropical cyclone tracked within 150 nautical miles of the southern
Baja peninsula, a 14 June 1958 Category 1 hurricane whose center passed just south of Los Cabos.
As of late Monday morning, June 8, up to 5.18 inches of rain was measured unofficially in Loreto, Mexico.
Overnight Saturday night, June 6, as Blanca made its closest approach, an automated station on Socorro Island
recorded a peak sustained wind of 74 mph and gust to 101 mph.
A somewhat strange early June pattern delivered some early-season leftover moisture from Blanca to parts of the
Desert Southwest and southern Rockies.
An enhanced rain and thunderstorm threat began Tuesday in parts of Arizona and New Mexico. From there, it
spread north into the Great Basin, central and southern Rockies Wednesday. Thunderstorms even fired up over
parts of interior northern California and the Sierra.
Tucson, Arizona, picked up 0.21 inches of rainfall from Blanca's moisture. This exceeds their average rainfall
for the entire month of June which is 0.20 inches (1981-2010).
Measurable rain fell in Yuma, Arizona, on Tuesday for just the seventeenth time in June since records began in
1876. Yuma had seen 0.31 inches of rain, which makes it the second wettest June on record in the city.
While only amounting to 0.30 inches of rain, Santa Barbara, California had its third wettest June day on
record, Tuesday, June 9. San Francisco International Airport picked up 0.26 inches of rain the following day,
more than double the average June monthly rainfall of 0.11 inches.
- Special police units called to Tbilisi (Georgia) zoo during this weekend's devastating flood have
been accused of overreacting by unnecessarily shooting many of the animals, as hundreds of volunteers
joined the clear-up effort at the flattened site.
Some policemen were seen taking selfies alongside the bodies of tigers, lions and other large animals
that they had shot, posing like big-game hunters, two zoo staff in Georgia's capital city told the
In one case, staff said a wolf they had successfully tranquilised and safely tethered was then shot by
police as it lay on the ground. Only three of the zoo's original 20 wolves survived.
The Georgian government says at least 13 people were killed when a small river running through the city
burst its banks, flooding several residential areas and the zoo in just minutes. After a disaster that
caught the city completely off guard, 11 people are still reported missing.
The zoo now believes it has lost more than half of its animals, including all its tigers, and most of
its lions and bears. And, while some escaped, including bears and a hippo, it now appears most animals
either drowned or were shot inside the zoo park boundary.
More reports came in during the day on Monday of escaped animals in the streets, including a panther,
but so far 'all have turned out to be hoaxes and rumours', said zoo director Zurab Gurielidze, as he
fielded an endless series of calls.
- Newly discovered cloud Asperitas (Latin for roughness) has taken another step towards being
officially recognized and named in the International Cloud Atlas, according to the Met Office.
The cloud has been named Asperitas because it looks like rough or turbulent seas and has been put
forward for inclusion in the Atlas by the UK Cloud Appreciation Society.
Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society said "It's really exciting to see
Asperitas that bit closer to becoming official. It's great that the general public and amateur
observations have influenced the atlas, it feels very democratic. The internet has resulted in
increased connectivity, these days everyone has a camera at their fingertips, and this has resulted
overwhelming evidence for this new type of cloud".
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is currently updating the International Cloud Atlas, first
published in 1896, and has now presented details of the new cloud to the World Meteorological Congress.
- An area between London and Reading in Berkshire is the most likely part of Britain to be hit by a
tornado, according to a team from the University of Manchester. Using witness reports of UK twisters
over a 32-year period, the scientists found the area most likely to be struck was west and south-west
of London, which had a '6% chance per year of a tornado occurring within 10 km of a given location'.
But they also described this as a 'one in 17-year event'.
The UK experiences on average 34 tornadoes a year, the most per area of land mass in the world, the
scientists said. The strongest seen were categorised as F2 on the Fujita scale used to assess their
power, with winds of up to 157mph, compared with the F5 storms seen in the US, where winds can exceed
Kelsey Mulder, of the university's school of earth, atmospheric and environmental sciences, and the
report's lead author, said: 'F2 tornadoes are still quite strong and are perfectly capable of causing
damage and injury. For example, there was the twister that hit Birmingham in 2005 that caused 19
injuries and £40m of damage. Because tornadoes are capable of causing such damage, it is important that
we have some kind of idea where they are most likely to hit.'
- As once-Tropical Storm Bill made landfall in eastern Texas, copious amounts of rainfall accompanied
it, causing an already saturated south-central United States to flood.
The storm had the largest effect on Texas and Oklahoma into Tuesday and Wednesday as flood waters rose,
power lines were downed and roads became impassable. On Wednesday night, massive flooding occurred in
Davis, Oklahoma. A rockslide occurred in the same area on Thursday, closing portions of Interstate 35.
The National Weather Service recorded 12.53 inches of rain in Healdton, Oklahoma.
As Bill lashed the Plains, the Southeast continued to simmer in near-record heat. Record highs were set
in several locations, including Columbia, South Carolina, where the temperature hit 101F on Wednesday,
breaking the previous daily record from 1944.
- An official in Pakistan says at least 749 people have been killed in a heatwave as temperatures
have finally begun to drop in the country.
The hardest-hit city was Karachi, where temperatures have soared to 45C. Meteorologists say the
heatwave is the worst in at least a decade.
The situation was worsened by long power cuts, little running water and the majority of people fasting
for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The cooler temperatures on Wednesday appeared to be helping. Hospital officials said admittances had
dropped compared with previous days, when dehydrated patients lay in corridors and outside of clinics.
Winds have shifted to the south-west, blowing cooler air into the port city from the Arabian Sea, and
the Pakistani Met Office has predicted rain, which would bring lower temperatures.
The government has demanded urgent action to deal with the crisis, and the administration in Sindh
province declared Wednesday a public holiday to encourage people to stay indoors out of the sun.
Some residents on Tuesday took to hosing each other down with water to avoid collapsing from
- Residents have been evacuated from Sochi in Russia after flash flooding submerged part of the city
that staged the Winter Olympics in 2014.
Several hours of torrential rain brought trains to a standstill and rendered roads impassable in the
Black Sea resort.
Sochi international airport had to be closed and a Formula 1 circuit in the nearby Adler district was
A state of emergency was declared but there were no reports of casualties.
Footage showed residents with water up to their knees, one attempting to clear her property with a
broom. In one village, a snake could be seen swimming through the floodwater.
Sochi saw more than three weeks' worth of rain in an hour, environmental officials told Interfax,
flooding the Hosta, Kudepsta, and Herota rivers.
- The Pacific Northwest (USA)continued to face stifling heat this week, as triple-digit temperatures
baked the region. Spokane, Washington, set an all-time June record high of 105F, breaking the previous
record of 96F set in 1896.
- Temperatures climbed to near 40 C across Madrid with the all-time June high at Gatafe Airport being
broken and a close call for the record of 39.9C recorded at Madrid-Barajas Airport. Prior to this
heatwave temperatures had not hit 38C in Madrid since the Barajas Airport recorded a high of 37.8C on
Sept. 2, 2014.
Cordoba also challenged its June record high of 45C 26 June 1965. The temperature peaked at 43.7C on
Sunday. Temperatures soared again on Monday with the high reaching 42.7C.
Widespread highs in the 30s and lower 40s (C) are expected to continue across most of eastern
Portugal and the interior of Spain.
More typical June highs range from around 23C in Logrono in northern Spain to 28 C (82 F) in
Madrid to 33C in Cordoba in southern Spain.
World weather news, May 2015
- Five people are dead after excessive rainfall inundated southeastern Queensland, causing Brisbane to shatter its May daily rainfall record.
All five people died when the the cars they were riding in were swept away by flood waters.
Data obtained by Australia's Bureau of Meteorology indicates that one weather reporting station in Caboolture received 333 mm of rain from Friday morning (at 9 a.m. local time) to Friday evening.
The nearby town of Beerburrum was inundated with 233 mm on Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time. Out of that total, 148.6 mm fell in just three hours.
Queensland's capital of Brisbane recorded 183 mm on Friday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. That was preceded by 56.2 mm in the previous 24 hours.
Friday is now the wettest May day on record at the Brisbane Regional Office. The previous record was 149 mm from May 9, 1980. Brisbane averages nearly 74 mm during the entire month of May.
The excessive rainfall in Queensland was the result of a non-tropical storm system that slowly dropped southward through the area and tapped into deep moisture.
- Eastern Texas was struck by severe storms, which continued into early Monday morning. Softball-sized hail, damaging winds and tornadoes pummelled the region.
A tornado struck Rio Vista, Texas, about 40 miles south of Fort Worth, late Sunday night. Local emergency management reported about overturned trucks and various building damage, including to the local high school.
- The German town of Buetzow has been left extensively damaged by what residents described as a tornado that tore off roofs, overturned cars and ripped up trees, with more destruction reported in other parts of Germany.
Roof tiles and debris were strewn across the streets and buildings left severely damaged when the storm struck.
Dozens of cars were destroyed and people injured as trees were upturned and buildings damaged by the winds. One person in the city of Hamburg was killed by falling debris.
Eyewitnesses spoke of a track of devastation across the area caused by a tornado but the German weather service Wetter Online said the winds did not meet the exact definition of a twister.
- A series of tornadoes, including a major twister, touched down southwest of Oklahoma City, flipping cars and causing the escape of tigers and other animals from an exotic wildlife park, officials said.
There were no immediate reports of injuries but some structures were damaged as a storm system brought severe weather to several Great Plains states.
Tigers and other animals were able to briefly escape from the Tiger Safari park after a tornado struck the city of Tuttle, about 48 km south-west of Oklahoma City, though they were recaptured without further incident, the Grady County Sheriff's Office said.
Residents of Tuttle had been warned to stay indoors by authorities after the escape.
Meanwhile passengers, visitors and employees at the Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City were evacuated to a pedestrian tunnel for about 30 minutes as the storms moved through the area, the airport said on its Twitter feed.
The tornadoes flipped cars, downed power lines and snapped trees. Several roads were closed because of debris, the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management said.
- The Atlantic hurricane season doesn't start officially until
June 1, but this year has already seen the first named storm.
Tropical storm Ana spent this weekend off the southeast coast,
transitioning from a cluster of thunderstorms into a tropical system
late on Friday night.
Ana moved onshore just northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, at
6 a.m. Sunday, with 45 mph sustained winds.
She dropped 2 to 7 inches of rainfall near the South Carolina -
North Carolina border, and created some coastal erosion. Overall, an
unremarkable storm, except for how early in the year she developed.
NASA scientists estimate that a tropical system, strong enough to
get a name, occurs this early in the year only once or twice every
100 years. Ana was the second-earliest tropical storm or hurricane
to make landfall in the U.S., behind an unnamed storm in February of
- More than 100 award-ceremony attendees at a high school in Lake
City, Iowa, were caught in the midst of a severe storm outbreak on
Sunday evening as a possible tornado tore the roof apart right over
Fortunately, the 150 people inside South Central Calhoun High School
were moved to the basement and locker room area two minutes before
the potential tornado struck.
The storms that slammed Iowa were part of a multiple-day storm
outbreak across the Plains. On Saturday, one person was killed after
a tornado hit Cisco, Texas.
Five fatalities were reported on Sunday as storms swept from Texas
to South Dakota. One person died due to flooding in Corsicana,
Texas. The area received 9 inches of rain in six hours.
Secondary roadways in the area remained closed into Monday morning.
Two were killed in Nashville, Arkansas, after a possible tornado
swept through a trailer park Sunday night.
Two people were also killed in Van, Texas, the Associated Press
reported, after an EF-3 tornado ripped through a trailer park.
Thousands were without power Sunday into Monday morning in Texas and
Arkansas as winds up to 60 mph continued to lash the region.
Tornadoes also reportedly touched down in Colorado, Oklahoma and
Kansas on Sunday.
- At least nine people have been injured and dozens of homes
damaged in a hailstorm in southern Germany.
There were reports of hailstones the size of golf balls in the state
Winds of up to 120 km/h were reported on Wednesday night and
residents near the Bavarian city of Augsburg spoke of seeing a
Roofs were badly damaged, blocks of flats had to be evacuated and a
local school had to be closed on Thursday.
Two people were taken to hospital with severe injuries caused by
Seven more were hurt in Bavaria, where several houses in villages
near Augsburg were no longer habitable. Authorities appealed for
help from construction workers to repair the damage.
"First it rained, then very briefly hail, then there was a whoosh
and everything flew through the whole area!," one resident told
- Temperatures have risen to record breaking levels in the north
eastern region of Catalonia, while elsewhere the searing heat has
claimed its first victim.
It has been the hottest May on record in Catalonia, with the region
basking under unseasonably sizzling temperatures.
Temperatures of 36.6C were registered in Sant Romà d'Abella in
Lleida and 36.1C in Tarragona while Barcelona recorded temperatures
as high as 36C.
The previous highest May temperature recorded in Barcelona, since
records began over 100 years ago, was 34.9C, recorded on 9 May 1912.
That record has been shattered this week as a heatwave has swept
across the country which saw a construction worker die from heat
stroke in Badajoz, near the Portuguese border.
The heatwave currently baking Spain is due to a mass of hot air from
While Catalonia's coastal areas have enjoyed a cool sea breeze,
inland towns have felt the heat rise to record breaking
The hottest spot in Spain so far this year was Lanzarote where a
temperature of 42.4C was recorded at the airport on Wednesday.
Authorities have placed 33 provinces across Spain on alert, while
Valencia is on "red alert" with temperatures expected to reach 42C.
Alicante is on "orange alert" with the thermometer predicted to top
- The twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Gilgit-Baltistan (GB)
and Azad Kashmir received heavy rain on Sunday and at least eight persons were killed in rain-related
In Chitral, five members of a family were killed when a mudslide triggered by rain and lightning struck a
house in the Shishi Koh Valley.
Standing crops were also destroyed in the hail and windstorm. In Parachinar, four electricity pylons fell down
after heavy rain.
- An avalanche of mud and debris roared over an alpine town in western Colombia before dawn on Monday,
killing at least 58 people in a flash flood and mudslide triggered by heavy rains.
The disaster hit around 3am local time (0800 GMT) in the town of Salgar, about 100 km south-west of Medellin.
Dozens of rescuers supported by Black Hawk helicopters evacuated residents near the ravine for fear of another
- A deadly dust storm developed over northwestern India resulting in at least 17 deaths and more than 60
injuries. The storm which was focused primarily over Rajasthan, also brought low visibility to Delhi for a
time. The strong winds associated with the dust storm damaged homes and knocked down power lines.
Travel was disrupted as visibility dropped to near zero for a time. A positive consequence of the dust storm
was that temperatures were lowered briefly before another scorching day on Wednesday.
- A slow-moving, upper-level low has sparked rounds of flooding and severe thunderstorms from Greece into
Turkey this week. The low brought hail and flooding to Greece on Tuesday before moving farther east on
Wednesday. On Wednesday, flooding and hail was reported around Izmir, Turkey, bringing travel in the city of
more than 4 million people to a standstill. In fact, some parts of the city were inundated by so much water
that a raging river was seen pulling automobiles and anything else in its path down a narrow street.
- Fog season has officially hit south-east Queensland, with the region waking up to a thick blanket of white
that affected flights at several airports.
Brisbane was affected the most by the fog while parts of the Gold Coast were also blanketed.
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Michael Knepp said it was the start of fog season for the state, ahead
"Typically, we do have a fog season in Brisbane and it runs between April and October," he said.
"We have a storm season, a tropical cyclone season and now we're in fog season seeing some of the thickest fog
of the year.
"There is about eight fogs days each year and this is the first one."
Visibility at Brisbane Airport was down to about 50 metres at the domestic and international terminals earlier
this morning, with Archerfield airport in Brisbane and Amberley airbase, near Ipswich, also experiencing thick
- A North Texas city that a few months ago was in a drought so severe that it had to recycle sewage water
for drinking ordered residents on Thursday to evacuate certain areas due to flooding.
Wichita Falls, about 125 miles northwest of Dallas, issued a mandatory evacuation order for hundreds of
residents in vulnerable neighborhoods due to rising water levels on the Wichita River.
Wichita Falls and other parts of Texas that had been in an extreme drought for about a year have had their
water situation improve vastly this month due to storms that have helped to fill depleted lakes.
- Record rainfall and flash floods wreaked havoc across a swath of the US midwest on Sunday, killing three people, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee.
About 350 homes in the town of Wimberley were washed away by flash floods along the Blanco river, which rose 26ft in just one hour and left piles of wreckage 20ft high.
Tornados struck, severely damaging an apartment complex in Houston, Texas, with warnings across the midwest from Illinois to Kansas.
Dallas faced severe flooding, with the Trinity River expected to crest near 40ft on Monday and lap at the foundations of an industrial park. The Red and Wichita rivers also rose far above flood stage.
This May is already the wettest on record for several cities in the southern plains states, with days still to go and more rain on the way.
The widespread heavy rains are being caused by a prolonged warming of Pacific ocean sea surface temperatures that generally results in cooler air, coupled with an active southern jet stream and plentiful moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, said meteorologist Forrest Mitchell at National Weather Service (NWS) office in Norman, Oklahoma.
So far this year, Oklahoma City has recorded 27.37in of rain. Last year at this time, only 4.29in had been recorded. Such sustained rainfall may end the prolonged drought that has gripped the region for years, since moisture now reaches about 2ft below the surface of the soil and many of Oklahoma's lakes and reservoirs are full.
Wichita Falls was so dry at one point that that it had to get Texas regulatory approval to recycle and treat its wastewater as drinking water dried up. By Sunday, the city reached a rainfall record, nearly 14 inches in May.
- A tornado raged through a city on the US-Mexico border on Monday, destroying homes, flinging cars and ripping an infant from its mother's arms. At least 13 people were killed, authorities said.
The twister hit Ciudad Acuna, a city of 125,000 people.
The twister hit a seven-block area, which Victor Zamora, interior secretary of the northern state of Coahuila, described as 'devastated'.
Mayor Evaristo Perez Rivera said 300 people were being treated at local hospitals, and up to 200 homes had been completely destroyed. Three people were unaccounted for.
- At least 19 people have died since the weekend during torrential downpours in Texas and Oklahoma as parts of the deluged region brace for another dangerous turn, with forecasters warning of the potential for flash flooding from storms that could bring as much as 3 more inches of rain.
Numerous people remain missing in Texas after storms swept away homes, submerged roadways and stranded drivers during the Memorial Day weekend.
Houston residents are being asked to avoid unnecessary travel in areas of high water, and areas impacted by the storms.
More than 200 flights had been cancelled by early Tuesday evening at airports in Houston and Dallas, some of the nation's busiest, as blocked roads made it difficult for workers to get to their jobs. A sinkhole closed a runway at Dallas/Fort Worth international airport.
Roughly 100,000 customers lost power throughout the state after the storm due to high winds and rising waters that snapped power poles.
In Houston about 280 mm of rain fell on Monday, while parts of Austin were hit by as much as 180 mm. Helicopter crews in both cities plucked to safety people who had been stranded in cars and on top of buildings.
- A heat wave across parts of northern and central India has already claimed more than 1,400 lives this month.
The temperature has reached or passed 43C in New Delhi for seven straight days, with little relief at night.
While much of India suffers through dry and hot weather in the weeks leading up to the arrival of monsoonal rain each year, the magnitude and duration of the heat this year has resulted in life-threatening conditions for millions of people.
- Tropical Depression One-E formed early Thursday morning in the eastern Pacific, becoming the first tropical depression of the eastern Pacific season, which runs from 15 May to 30 November.
Only a few hours later the depression strengthened into a tropical storm, taking the name Andres as it continued to churn over the open Pacific ocean to the south of Mexico.
- Roads disintegrated as temperatures rise to almost 48C in India's capital Delhi. Some 1,700 people have died in one week, as reports suggest the heatwave could continue for another 48 hours. Hospitals are struggling with the highest number of casualties the country has experienced in more than 20 years.
World weather news, April 2015
- A major sandstorm engulfed Dubai on Thursday, with residents advised to remain indoors. The sandstorm disrupted air traffic and caused delays for motorists around the United Arab Emirates capital. Locals say sandstorms are common in Dubai but are rarely as extreme. Saudi Arabia has also been affected by the adverse weather
- At least three people died on Friday as a result of storms and flooding in Alabama and Kentucky, authorities said.
Severe thunderstorms, large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes threatened areas across Kentucky, Tennessee and into the Deep South on Friday night.
Storms dumped torrential rains across Kentucky, causing widespread flooding. More than 5 inches of rain fell in Frankfort, Lexington and Louisville.
Friday's storms ended a three-day stretch of severe weather across the Plains, Ohio and Tennessee valleys and the Deep South.
- Typhoon Maysak was downgraded to a tropical depression and made landfall in the Philippines on Sunday, forecasters said, easing fears after thousands of residents were evacuated from remote coastal communities to avoid potentially dangerous storm surge.
Maysak, which began as a super typhoon in the Pacific Ocean, reached the north-east coast of the main island of Luzon with winds of 34mph, chief state weather forecaster Esperanza Cayanan said.
- Rounds of severe thunderstorms left devastation across Bangladesh over the weekend.
Thunderstorms are common this time of the year in Bangladesh and can be particularly strong with flooding rain, damaging winds, hail and even tornadoes.
The most recent rounds of severe thunderstorms targeted much of Bangladesh including Chittagong, Dhaka, and neighbouring parts of India such as Agartala, where rainfall has topped 125 mm in recent days.
36 people have been confirmed dead with more injured following the powerful thunderstorms.
The storms have also reportedly downed trees and power lines while also damaging or destroying many homes.
- Residents of a small northern Illinois farming community that took a direct hit from a half-mile-wide tornado were allowed back into the area on Saturday.
The DeKalb County sheriff's office bused residents into Fairdale at 7am, so they could begin to take stock of what was left of their property.
Eight tornadoes are now confirmed to have roared across northern and central Illinois during Thursday's storms, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). The strongest of the tornadoes hit Fairdale, where two people were killed. That tornado also injured 22 people.
The NWS gave it a preliminary rating of an EF4 with winds of between 180mph and 200mph. It was a half-mile wide and remained on the ground for at least 28.7 miles, a record-long path for that part of Illinois.
- Twenty-six people have died and almost a thousand have sought medical treatment after wildfires swept through Siberia.
More than 5,000 rescue workers battled through the night to contain the blazes in the region of Khakassia in south-eastern Siberia, where 23 people died. Fires also raged in eastern Siberia, claiming three lives, authorities said.
The authorities blamed the fire on human carelessness, with people setting dry grass ablaze amid warm temperatures and high winds.
- At least six people were critically injured Thursday after a 45-vehicle pile-up on a snowy Interstate 80 between Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyoming (USA).
Speeds too fast for the blizzard conditions and loss of control are being investigated as contributing factors in the crashes that caused a "domino"-style chain reaction after the first couple of vehicles lost control, the Wyoming Highway Patrol said on its Facebook page.
Sixteen people were transported by ambulance and 11 others were taken by Between 11 a.m. and noon MDT Thursday, it was snowing between Cheyenne and Laramie with visibility down to one-quarter mile.
- A 3-D printer is creating the parts for affordable weather stations to be used in developing nations, where weather data is very limited.
Data from the stations will be used to help meteorological agencies and companies create improved forecasts that could help save lives and protect property.
Some areas that do not have weather observations are poorer countries, places where people do not live and areas in war or conflict.
A 3-D-printed weather station is being tested in Colorado for future use in developing countries to help meteorological agencies to forecast weather-related disasters and save lives.
"Syria and Yemen, for example, had much of their network destroyed," Douty said. "Some of the areas with the worst or non-existing networks are Syria, Afghanistan, across the Sahara Desert and central Africa."
Zambia is expected to be the pilot site this summer for the Micro-Manufacturing and Assembly (MMA) Project, created by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).
The shell and structure of the weather station is 3-D printed with two kinds of plastics, UCAR Project Manager Kelly Sponberg said.
"For the 'brain,' we use the Raspberry Pi, which is a small single-board computer," he said. "This is used to control sensing, data logging and communications. Finally, we utilize a variety of off-the-shelf sensors to measure temperature, humidity and other factors."
- Following a series of storms that brought clouds and rain across parts of northern India during the first two weeks of April, seasonably dry weather returned and allowed heat to build over the region.
For three consecutive days, the high temperatures in New Delhi have reached the highest temperature so far this year, 36 C on Friday, 38 C on Saturday, then 41 C on Sunday. The last time the temperature was higher occurred July of last year.
While on Monday, the high temperature reached 39C, a slight decrease from Sunday, this remained 3 degC above normal.
- A severe weather warning remains in place today (Wednesday) for damaging winds, heavy rainfall, and dangerous surf conditions for the Sydney Metropolitan, Hunter and Central Coast, Wollongong and Illawarra regions (Australia).
The conditions are being caused by an intense low pressure system, often referred to as an East Coast Low, combined with a strengthening high pressure ridge over the southern Tasman Sea.
Early this morning the low pressure system was just offshore of Newcastle, and expected to move slowly south, staying close to the heavily populated coastal regions including Newcastle, the Central Coast, Sydney and Wollongong as the system gradually weakens.
The strongest wind gusts were 135km/h recorded at Nobbys Head (Newcastle), Norah Head (Central Coast) and Wattamolla (Illawarra) on Tuesday. Peak winds today (Wednesday) have been 115km/hr at Wattamolla, and indicate the system is gradually weakening.
Rainfall has continued to be heavy overnight, but generally lower than 24-hour rainfall figures recorded on Tuesday. Significant falls have been recorded in the Hunter Valley, Newcastle and Sydney's northern suburbs:
Maitland - 301mm (AM, Wednesday), Tocal - 171mm (AM, Wednesday), Dungog - 312mm (AM, Tuesday) and Crawford - 259mm (AM, Tuesday).
- Following back-to-back major eruptions at Calbuco volcano in southern Chile, neighboring communities are covered in ash and flights have been suspended in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Wednesday's eruption is the first in more than 42 years.
After each eruption, the winds aloft pushed the ash to the north and east of the volcano; the volcanic ash dropped visibility down to 500 m at San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina, Thursday afternoon.
- Coast guard crews continued searching Sunday for five people missing in the water after recovering two bodies following a powerful storm that capsized several sailboats participating in a regatta near Mobile Bay, Alabama, USA. More than 100 sailboats and as many as 200 people were participating in the Dauphin Island regatta in Mobile Bay. Officials on Sunday said not all of the missing people were participating in the race.
- A strong thunderstorm crossed Sydney, Australia, on Saturday, covering the ground with hail.
The thunderstorm crossed the city during the late-afternoon hours on Saturday. In excess of 50 mm of rain and hail flooded roadways and covered yards. While individual hailstones were not large in size, the amount of hail was enough to bring significant problems
The centre of the storm and heaviest rainfall tracked just to the west and south of Sydney Harbourr, sparing the city-center from the worst of the conditions. However, highly populated suburbs were hit hard with flooding and damaging hail.
The hail has caused five warehouses to collapse from the weight of the hail. Reports from Fire and Rescue New South Wales said that buildings in Huntingwood had 50 cm of hail on their roofs which caused the collapses.
- A small-cyclone has torn through roofs and has brought down trees and power lines in north Pakistan, killing 45 people and injuring more than 200, officials have said.
The head of the local meteorological office, Mushtaq Shah, said: "We've never experienced such a devastating wind storm before in this region.
Its speed in the open was more than 75 mph and that's what caused destruction on such a large scale. It's a completely new phenomenon in this region."
The wind, accompanied by heavy rain and hail late on Sunday, disrupted power supplies and telecommunications services and damaged infrastructure and crops.
- Severe storms hot parts of eastern Texas Sunday into early Monday morning with softball-sized hail, damaging winds and tornadoes.
A tornado struck Rio Vista, Texas, about 40 miles south of Fort Worth, late Sunday night. Local emergency management reported of overturned trucks and various building damage, including to the local high school.
Strong winds, some reaching near the 70-mph mark, sent trees crashing down from Fort Worth to Houston. Thousands of people were without power into Monday morning as electric crews rushed to repair downed power lines.
Early Monday morning, Navasota, Texas, was struck by a tornado and two residences were reportedly hit.
Flash flooding also sparked travel delays across the region with multiple water rescues conducted in Johnson County.
Damaging storms swept through southern Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi on Monday. Storms with drenching rain also reached the western part of the Florida panhandle.
Thunderstorm winds blew several railroad cars off the Huey P. Long Bridge in Metairie, Louisiana Monday morning. Elsewhere, the roofs of several homes were damaged in Thibodaux, Louisiana. A tornado was spotted in the area by law enforcement.
More than 150,000 Entergy Louisiana customers were without power during the midday hours Monday. Power was also knocked out at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Wind gusts of up to 71 mph were measured at the airport during the storm.
World weather news, March 2015
- A small tornado caused some damage in Leverburgh, Isle of Harris (Scotland).
The twister reportedly hit some buildings and caused some minor damage to infrastructure.
- Storms that brought flooding to northern India Sunday into Monday.
The brunt of the storm blasted areas from northern Pakistan to northwestern India on Monday with rounds of heavy rain and thunderstorms.
Downpours created flooding problems in and around New Delhi, Lucknow and Nagpur where rainfall totals of 25-75 mm were common.
- A rapidly advancing storm system affected southern California, bringing more than an inch of rain, and prompting warnings of mudslides and flash flooding. Winter thunderstorms are not uncommon in California but these particular storm cells created the unusual sight of beaches and palm trees smothered 20-30mm deep in hailstones. A waterspout was also spotted just off the coast of Santa Monica. The same winter storm left more than a foot of snow in Californian ski resorts, including Bear Mountain, and other south-western states such as Arizona and Utah, also saw large snowfalls.
- A Turkish Airlines plane skidded off a runway as it attempted to land in Kathmandu, Nepal, amid dense fog early on Wednesday morning.
The Airbus 330 was arriving at Kathmandu's Tribhuwan International Airport from Istanbul, Turkey.
The plane circled for a half hour over Nepal before making a second attempt to land. After it slid off the runway, the plane sustained some damage to its front. The 238 people on board escaped serious injury, but passengers reportedly had bumps and bruises.
- A week of heavy rain in addition to meltwater from the Pyrenees has caused the River Ebro to burst its banks and flood areas in the Spanish autonomous community of Aragon, northeast Spain, including in the city of Zaragoza. Though the number of affected properties is not yet known, around 1,500 people are said to have been evacuated from local towns. Some roads and bridges have been damaged by floodwaters. Levels of the Ebro at Zaragoza are now thought to have peaked, though there is now a fear that communities downstream will be affected by flooding.
- Strong, gusty winds (northeasterly winds that are known as Bora winds) are affecting Italy and the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea.
Winds gusted to 148 km/h at Italy's Capo Mele Lighthouse, 129 km/h at Florence, Italy, and 113 km/h at Split, Croatia. A trail of wind damage, including widespread downed trees, was left across northern and central Italy.
- Hundreds of thousands of American students and government workers stayed home as a major winter storm hit from Texas to the northeastern United States.
Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York were expected to get as much as a foot and a half of snow, with wind chill temperatures dipping well below average in much of the region.
In the nation's capital, government offices and schools were shuttered, along with most national Smithsonian museums, leaving the city's core eerily quiet as freezing rain turned to snow by mid-morning.
Many schools and government offices were also closed in Philadelphia and Baltimore, while Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear declared a state of emergency for the state, where some cities were pounded with 20 inches of snow.
Southern United States was not spared - with Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico all facing weather warnings. The National Weather Service said 65 million people were under a winter storm warning, and other another 29 million were under a winter weather advisory.
- No fewer than 400 buildings have been wrecked, while thousands of residents are rendered homeless, after a windstorm ravaged some streets in Papa Ashafa/Dopemu in the Orile-Agege area of Lagos State, Nigeria. The incident was said to have happened around 4.30pm.
- Thousands of homes have been left without power after 90mph winds battered parts of Scotland overnight.
The strongest gusts were recorded in South Uist late yesterday and into the early hours of this morning, with properties in Skye, Sutherland and Wick also affected.
At the height of the problems more than 14,000 customers lost electricity but around 10,000 have been reconnected, Scottish Hydro said.
Winds of 60mph swept large parts of the central belt last night but conditions are expected to improve throughout today.
- The capital of Vanuatu went into lockdown as a 'once-in-a-lifetime' storm bore down on the South Pacific island nation, threatening up to a quarter of a million people in its path.
Tropical cyclone Pam, a category five storm with predicted wind gusts of more than 280 km/h at its core, was on track to hit the capital, Port Vila, at about 11pm Friday night, local time.
Evacuations across the country followed warnings of a life-threatening weather event bringing storm surges, torrential rain, flash flooding and landslides.
The United Nations agency Unicef, which along with aid agencies was on the ground with personnel and emergency supplies, warned about 260,000 people were in the potential disaster zone.
- At least 11 people have been confirmed dead across Vanuatu, after the island was hit by cyclone Pam. This number was lowered from an earlier count of 24, but the number is feared to rise as communication remains limited across the islands.
Vanuatu, a country between Fiji and mainland Australia, took a direct hit from Pam when the tropical cyclone was at its peak intensity on Friday, local time. Maximum sustained winds reached nearly 270 km/h, making Pam the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane or a super typhoon.
An estimated 103,000 people in Vanuatu have been affected by Cyclone Pam, with thousands more blighted in nine countries across the Pacific, according to figures from the New Zealand Red Cross.
The effects of cyclone Pam have been felt beyond Vanuatu, as the storm whipped its way across the South Pacific. Enele Sopoaga, the prime minister of Tuvalu, said 45% of the population has been displaced and a state of emergency has been declared.
Damage has been reported in other islands, including Kiribati - where New Zealand Red Cross reports that it is carrying out assessments of the damage caused by huge sea swells - Fiji and the Solomon Islands, though details are still scarce.
Gusts on Vanuatu peaked at 320 km/h.
- Rains and hailstorms lashed the state of Rajasthan killing 12 people and damaging Rabi crops in the last 24 hours.
12 people were also injured in separate rain-related incidents besides scores of cattle perishing in the thunderstorms, they said.
- Western Australian towns and communities ravaged by Tropical Cyclone Olwyn have been declared natural disaster zones by the federal government.
The category 3 cyclone smashed into a number of towns in the North-West of Wesgern Australia on Friday night, ripping roofs off homes, cutting water supplies and destroying banana plantation crops in Carnarvon.
- A highly unusual March rainstorm has brought rare rainfall to parts of western and central Mexico.
During the month of March, many areas from Michoacan and Colima into Jalisco and Nayarit average less than 6 mm of rainfall.
This slow-moving, moisture-packed storm system brought 25-50 mm to these areas with localized amounts over 100 mm. This is 20 times or greater their normal rainfall for the entire month, falling in a matter of days and in some cases just hours.
As of Monday morning, at least 145 mm of rain had already fallen at Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve in Jalisco.
Tepic had already received more than 50 mm while the normal monthly rainfall in March is only 2 mm.
- The Ohio and lower Mississippi rivers continue to run above flood stage in response to rain and melting snow in recent weeks.
Several storms have impacted this part of the country during the first half of March, including multiple rainstorms and a major snowstorm.
This influx of rainwater combined with melting snow has caused ice jams, and road closures have put lives and property at risk.
The Ohio River is one of the rivers in the region being most affected from the recent storms. On Sunday, the river crested in Cincinnati at its highest level since 1997.
- After a weekend storm dropped more than 2 inches of snow across the region, Boston has officially endured the snowiest season on record this winter.
Breaking the 1995-1996 record of 107.6 inches, Boston Logan International Airport received a colossal 108.6 inches of snow this season.
The city endured a barrage of snowstorms that severely hindered travel throughout the area. Streets and sidewalks became home to massive snowpiles as removal crews struggled to keep up with the continual punches of heavy snow.
- For 10,000 visitors, a supertide in France did not disappoint as it immersed the only connecting point of Mont
Saint-Michel (N france) to shore. It inundated the area near Mont Saint-Michel and created a short-lived island as
overflowing water made the causeway impassable.
Once every 18 years, experts say a supertide cuts off the only access point, one thin strip of road, to a the home of
medieval structures. Drawing more than 3 million visitors a year, UNESCO named Mont Saint-Michel a World Heritage Site.
The supertide occurs when the path of the earth, moon and sun are all very closely aligned in their orbits.
- Tropical cyclone Nathan has crossed the Northern Territory coast (Australia) as a category one cyclone. It hit the
coast about 300km east of Darwin between Goulburn Island and Maningrida about 6.30am.
A state of emergency has been declared on Goulburn Island, and all 427 residents were flown to Darwin on Monday on 51
flights before gale-force winds picked up.
At 6.30am, the Bureau of Meteorology said Nathan was about 45km east-south-east of Goulburn Island and 45km west-north-
west of Maningrida, moving south-south-west at 6km/h.
Winds near the centre of Nathan are 75km/h with gusts to 100km/h.
- Flash floods in one of the driest regions in the world - Chile's Atacama desert - have left two people dead and 24
Thousands of people are now without electricity or water, as heavy rains in the Andes sent floodwater down into the
valleys and towns below.
In the city of Copiapo, the river burst its banks.
The storms, which began on Tuesday evening, have cut off roads, caused power cuts and severed communications.
Local officials say 38,000 people are without electricity and 48,500 without drinking water.
- Several tornadoes touched down across areas of Arkansas and Oklahoma, including Moore, late Wednesday afternoon. One
person died after a storm hit a mobile home park near Sand Springs, Oklahoma.
- Governor Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for 25 Oklahoma counties after powerful storms rumbled across the state and produced tornadoes and flat-line winds that led to one death, numerous injuries and widespread damage.
Fallin announced the declaration on Thursday morning in Moore after touring Southgate-Rippetoe elementary school, which had much of its roof torn off and suffered major water damage. No students were in the building during the storm, and no injuries were reported at the school.
Wednesday's storms were the year's first batch of severe weather in the US tornado season. The tornado season usually ramps up for parts of the US in March, but until Tuesday - when a waterspout formed over an Arkansas lake - the US had not had a tornado in more than a month.
- Chile's government said on Monday that 17 people have been killed and 20 are still missing after torrential rains caused flooding in a northern desert region.
The heavy rains last week swelled rivers and led to flash-flooding that also caused power outages and blocked roads. President Michelle Bachelet's spokesman announced on Monday that the government will provide nearly $10m to the flood-hit areas.
The precipitation in the northern city of Antofagasta was a stark example of abnormal rain in the Atacama desert, which is one of the driest on Earth. From Wednesday to Thursday morning, 24 mm fell in Antofagasta, an area that typically receives only about 1.7 mm of rain in a year, according to Chile's meteorological service.
Communities in Chile's northern desert regions have been digging houses and cars out of the mud and working to reopen roads. The military has been deployed and the government said it has sent 700 tonnes in aid, including food, mattresses and medicine. But some said more help is needed.
- Super Typhoon Maysak went through a period of rapid intensification on Monday, eventually reaching super typhoon status and equalling Super Typhoon Mitag (March 2002) and Super Typhoon Ophelia (January 1958) with peak winds sustained winds of 160 mph.
This 160-mph threshold is the benchmark for the highest sustained winds recorded in a tropical cyclone during the months of January, February or March by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center since records began in 1945.
Another historic feature of this powerful cyclone is the estimated pressure of 905 mb from the JMA. Although not confirmed this could be the one of the lowest, if not the lowest, pressures for a cyclone during the months of January through March in the western Pacific Ocean.
Maysak already brought destruction to the Micronesian states of Chuuk and Yap and will continue to strengthen over the next 12-24 hours.
World weather news, February 2015
- A far-reaching winter storm created travel nightmares across two-thirds of the USA from the Midwest to the Northeast Saturday afternoon through Monday.
Two storms came together across the Southwest on Saturday, before meeting with an arctic press of air surging south from Canada. A swath of heavy snow spread across the Central states Saturday night into Sunday.
Near-blizzard conditions enveloped Chicago Sunday evening with severely limited visibility, heavy snowfall and blowing and drifting snow.
The storm snowfall total climbed to 19.3 inches in Chicago, placing this storm as the fifth-largest snowstorm ever to impact the city, according to Chicago NWS office records. The city also shattered daily snowfall records.
- At sunrise on Monday, Feb. 2, Punxsutawney Phil caught sight of his shadow and officially declared his prediction of six more weeks of winter.
Phil braved a major snowstorm that clobbered much of the Northeast on Sunday night and left icy, snow-packed roads for spectators in a quest to watch the famed groundhog's 129th prediction in western Pennsylvania.
- A West Australian man who was found dead on the footpath of a Perth suburb on Tuesday appears to have been struck by lightning, WA police have said.
The man, in his late 50s, was found dead on King William Street in Bayswater at 6.25pm.
A spokeswoman for WA police said it would be for the coroner to determine the cause of death, 'although it is believed the man was struck by lightning'.
- Spanish emergency services have rescued at least 220 people trapped by snow on roads in northern Spain.
Hundreds of cars were stuck for up to 17 hours overnight on roads between Cantabria and the province of Palencia.
Local media reported temperatures of -15C and up 40 cm of snow.
Around 100 British expats and tourists were among those trapped. Spanish police rescued several stranded in their vehicles shortly after arrival in Santander by ferry from Portsmouth.
Many had come to Spain hoping for a warm-weather holiday, but ended up having to spend the night in the sports hall of a local school and the dining room of a hotel.
The country is in the middle of a cold spell that is expected to worsen over the next three days, with cold weather alerts issued for 20 provinces.
Meanwhile, in Catalonia, winds of over 120km/h (75mph) have disrupted railway services.
Snowfall has also closed roads as far south as in Andalucia.
- Deforestation and soil erosion has exacerbated flooding in Albania that has forced the evacuation of hundreds of families, the country's prime minister has said.
Over the last two decades, many Albanian trees close to powerful rivers such as the Vjosa, Osum and Shkumbin have been chopped down by poor villagers desperate for wood, and by entrepreneurs clearing the way for buildings and dams in a construction boom that has largely benefitted foreign firms.
Fears that flood defences around the city of Vlore could now fail are especially acute. In just two days, 220mm of rain fell in nearby Gjirokaster - the usual amount for the whole of February.
In Novosela, where the Vjosa river burst its banks on Sunday, agricultural plains were still under water.
The floods are Albania's second worst on record - only a disaster in 1971 was worse.
- Flooding quickly ensued Sunday night to Monday morning in Jakarta as persistent rain
and thunderstorms unleashed 300-450 mm of rainfall. On Tuesday, nearly 6,000 people
were evacuated from parts of Jakarta.
Runoff from the rain flooded dozens of roads and severely affected public transport.
The TransJakarta busway was forced to halt operations on half of its corridors Monday
morning, while train services were disrupted.
Flood waters reached up to 60 cm around the Presidential Palace and the National
Monument and brought a rapid rise on the Ciliwung River.
State utility firm Perusahaan Listrik Negera shut down power grids in several areas of
northern, western and central Jakarta. The move was a precautionary measure to prevent
Jakarta is amid its rainy season when showers and thunderstorms rumble on a daily basis.
- Residents in far north Queensland are mopping up after the worst flooding in more
than 30 years, and they have been warned to expect further heavy rain by the weekend.
Houses and businesses were inundated on Sunday after more than 300 mm of rain fell in
parts of the region.
Towns on the Atherton tableland, west of Cairns, were some of the worst affected when
creeks around Malanda broke their banks.
In the 24 hours to 9 am Sunday, about 334 mm of rain was recorded at the Johnstone
river, southwest of Cairns, and 278 mm was recorded at Malanda.
No tropical cyclones have been detected in Queensland this wet season.
- An unusually cold storm is responsible for unusual snowfalls in Athens, Greece, and
was causing snow to whiten Istanbul, Turkey.
The unusual wet snow began flying in Athens on Tuesday morning with additional wet snow
that continued on the 11th. Away from the mountains, the snow struggled to accumulate
due to above-freezing temperatures.
Snow also fell in Istanbul with the most substantial snow falling on the city's eastern
half through Wednesday night.
Substantial snow also fell across western and central Turkey, including in Ankara where
8-15 cm was reported. Hardest hit areas, particularly in mountainous terrain of western
Turkey saw accumulating snow into Thursday.
- It has been an unseasonably warm summer in Santiago, Chile.
Temperatures have averaged 1.5 degC above normal since 1 November in Santiago with each
month having above-normal warmth.
The peak of the heat has been focused from January through Feb. 11 with temperature
anomaliess averaging 2.5 degC.
- For only the second time in 42 years, the famed Iditarod Sled Dog Race in Alaska has
been forced to shift its route due to lack of snow.
The start of the race, which begins March 7, has been moved from its traditional
location in Willow to Fairbanks; this happened once before, in 2003.
Members of the trail committee's board voted unanimously Tuesday to change the course
"due to low snowfall in some of the most treacherous sections of the trail's roughly
Over the past 50 years, wintertime temperatures across Alaska increased by an average of
more than 6.3 degF, due to man-made climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency
reports. Overall, Alaska's temperatures are rising twice as fast as those in the lower
The Iditarod begins with a ceremonial start March 7 in Anchorage. Dog teams carrying
passengers make a leisurely 11-mile run from downtown to an airstrip on the city's east
Actual racing begins a day later and usually starts in Willow. The trail takes mushers
and dogs through the Alaska Range, down the Yukon River and along the Bering Sea coast
to the old gold rush town of Nome.
- The fierce dust storm that has swept Israel over the past 24 hours has resulted in air pollution levels that are the highest recorded in the past five years, the Environmental Protection Ministry reported.
The pollution consists of tiny dust particles that in penetrating the respiratory system can irritate the lungs and blood vessels and cause particular problems for susceptible population groups such as the elderly, the chronically ill, pregnant women and infants. The ministry recommends that these groups avoid outdoor physical activity as much as possible.
Reports suggest that the dust was of Saharan origin.
- On Sunday, this winter officially secured the spot as Boston's (USA) third snowiest winter in the city's history with 95.7 inches. The record is 107.6 inches set in 1995-1996. Furthermore, with 58.5 inches of snow so far in February, it is already the snowiest month in the city's history, surpassing the 43.3 inches from January 2005.
- Snowy weather conditions hit various provinces across Turkey, including Istanbul, leading to the closure of many schools and the cutting off of access to many village roads.
One person died in Istanbul in a traffic accident caused by the heavy snowfall on Tuesday.
Due to heavy snowfall that hit the northern province of Samsun on Tuesday morning, school was cancelled for two days in the area. Schools were also closed for one day in the provinces of Ordu, Kastamonu and Zonguldak due to the snowfall.
A total of 96 village roads were blocked due to heavy snowfall in Zonguldak. Some parts of the Zonguldak-Istanbul highway were also blocked, but teams from the Zonguldak Municipality cleared the roads of snow in a short time.
Seventeen people who were stuck in their vehicles on the Mus-Kulp highway due to the heavy snow were rescued by response teams from the municipality.
Heavy snow also hit Istanbul, the largest and most populous city of Turkey, bringing daily life to standstill in the city on Tuesday. Turkish Airlines announced on Tuesday morning via its website that it had cancelled a total of 123 flights due to the heavy snowfall. Sixty-seven of these flights were domestic.
- More than 400 residents of Goulburn Island, one of the most remote places in Australia, were moved to safety in Darwin as cyclone Lam continued its approach.
Located off the north coast of the Top End, all residents of its Warruwi community were evacuated to Darwin.
There was no forced evacuation because all residents opted to leave, said the acting NT police commissioner, Reece Kershaw.
By late afternoon on Thursday, the cyclone remained a category three, with sustained winds near the centre of 150 km/h and gusts reaching 205 km/h.
Winds at the eye of the storm were expected to reach 230km/h overnight.
As of 5pm CST, Lam was 30 km north north-east of Galiwinku, on Elcho Island, and destructive winds were due to start lashing the community by early evening.
- Queenslanders are being warned to brace for wild and dangerous conditions brought on by a rapidly-intensifying cyclone Marcia.
The system, which is about 170 kilometres east-northeast of Mackay, is set to hit the Capricorn Coast as a category four storm.
The cyclone was reclassified from a category one to category three system within four hours by the Bureau of Meteorology on Thursday afternoon.
The bureau later predicted it would be upgraded again, bringing wind gusts of 260 km/h at its core early Friday morning just before it makes landfall north of Yeppoon.
- A second winter storm shifted southeast from Thursday into Friday, affecting the higher terrain of Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan.
The heaviest snow fell overnight Thursday into Friday, leading to as much as 25 cm of snow around Jerusalem that closed roadways, businesses and schools. Flights were also cancelled due to the weather along with some airport closures during the worst of the storm.
Snow blanketed the Israeli city of Be-er Sheva for the first time in years. Many desert areas also saw accumulating snowfall from this storm.
- Tropical Cyclone Marcia developed over the Coral Sea earlier in the week and then rapidly intensified just prior to making landfall in eastern Queensland on Friday, local time.
The storm reached peak intensity just prior to landfall near Shoalwater Bay, to the north of Rockhampton.
The storm reached Category 5 status in Australia, which was the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean. Marcia is only the sixth cyclone to make landfall in Australia at Category 5 strength.
Peak wind gusts up to 295 km/h were experienced as the cyclone came onshore, with damaging wind gusts expanding well inland as the storm moved inland across eastern Queensland.
- four people were killed and one was injured when they were hit by an avalanche while skiing in an area known as Death Valley in the Swiss Alps.
The five were skiing cross-country near a guesthouse in the Grand-Saint-Bernard pass, not far from the Italian border, when a massive sheet of snow, measuring 80 metres across and up to 300 metres long dislodged and swept them away.
The accident happened shortly after 1pm at an altitude of about 2,300 metres.
Weather conditions and thick fog complicated the rescue operation, police said.
- Dense fog prevented several ships, cargo freights and a major cruise liner from docking in Tampa Bay, Florida, stranding passengers for nearly two days.
Port of Tampa Spokesperson Andy Fobes called the thick fog a "freak weather event."
- A slow-moving storm that brought historic snow to parts of Turkey before unleashing travel-disrupting snowfall in the higher elevations from Syria through Jordan and Israel last week brought deadly weather to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The combination of the slow movement of this storm and moisture from the Arabian Sea led to rain and snow for Afghanistan, Pakistan and far northwest India.
This storm triggered numerous avalanches and areas of flooding across the region.
Fears remain high that the death toll will continue to rise as rescue efforts continue. The threat for additional avalanches will remain high over the next several days as the storm departs and warm air leads to an unstable snow pack across the region.
- As a snowstorm unravelled from Texas to North Carolina and Virginia, snow and ice left a trail of disruption on Wednesday into Thursday.
In some of the hardest-hit areas, hundreds of thousands were without power as the accumulation of snow and ice weighed down power lines. A swath of 6-12 inches of snow fell from far northeastern Texas to western North Carolina.
A record-breaking 8.1 inches of snow fell in Huntsville, Alabama, the second-highest daily snowfall to ever hit the city. In Starkville, Mississippi, more than 2 inches of snow blanketed the town, prompting Mississippi State University to cancel classes for the day. In-state rival University of Mississippi canceljed classes and activities Wednesday and Thursday as the storm hit.
Air travel was also inhibited by the hefty winter storm. At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, one of the country's busiest airports, nearly 600 flights were cancelled on Wednesday with another 500 delays.
- In the USA, February 2015 will go down in history as one of the coldest on record for several cities in the Midwest and Northeast. In fact, it will likely rank as a top five coldest February for many major metro areas from Boston and New York City to Chicago and Cincinnati. In some cases, it will finish as either the coldest or second coldest February on record.
Not only has the cold been persistent this month in the East, but the magnitude has been extreme at times. There have been all-time record lows for the month set in some locations, while others have seen their coldest temperatures in decades.
- A two-year-old boy has been killed after a tree fell on the roof of his family home on the outskirts of Melbourne (Australia), while a five-year-old girl has been taken to hospital with serious injuries.
The tree fell during a severe thunderstorm that hit Victoria on Saturday evening, landing on a two-story house at around 9pm in the outer Melbourne suburb The Patch in the Dandenong Ranges and causing substantial damage.
World weather news, January 2015
- Four passengers were injured Friday morning after strong winds caused an airplane to veer off the runway at Stornoway Airport, Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.
An inbound aircraft Saab 340 aircraft, operated by Loganair, went off the Stornoway runway at 8:33 a.m. local time, the airport said in a news release.
- Firefighters in South Australia say they are racing to contain a major bushfire before soaring temperatures and high winds fuel the blaze.
More than 30 homes are already feared destroyed in the hills behind the city of Adelaide.
More than 500 firefighters are tackling the fires, which have been burning since Friday.
Officials say the blaze is the worst in the area since the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983, which left 75 dead.
Temperatures are forecast to hit 34C in Adelaide on Monday before rising to as high as 38C on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology.
- Two development-level ski racers with the U.S. Ski Team were killed Monday in an avalanche that occurred near the Soelden ski area in the Austrian Alps.
Ronnie Berlack, 20, and Bryce Astle, 19, died as a result of the avalanche while skiing in a six-member group at the team's European training area.
The group was skiing near the Rettenbach glacier in the mountains over Soelden, the venue for the annual season-opening World Cup races, when the incident occurred.
An avalanche alert had been declared for the area after days of heavy snowfall and mild temperatures, the Associated Press reported.
- Australia has recorded its third-warmest calendar year since national records began in 1910, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says.
Frequent heatwaves and a marked reduction in cold weather characterised 2014, the Bureau said.
Mean temperatures were 0.91 degC above the long-term average in 2014, the BOM said.
The news comes as South Australia is facing some of the worst bushfires in the region in decades.
Firefighters are battling to contain a major blaze in the hills behind the city of Adelaide before forecast soaring temperatures and strong winds fuel it further.
- Temperatures across much of the northern and eastern US are plunging to "dangerously cold" levels, the National Weather Service says. High winds mean wind-chill temperatures are forecast to drop as low as -45C in Minnesota.
The freeze has led to the closure or late running of schools from north to south, from the Dakotas to Alabama.
Winter weather warnings have been issued for 17 US states and for Ontario and southern Quebec.
A storm dumped about a foot (30 cm) of snow in northern New York
another foot of "lake-effect" snow is expected in parts of New York state over the next two days
- Thousands of homes remain without power following the storms that have been battering Scotland.
A total of 29,000 Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution (SHEPD) customers in the north and 800 supplied by Scottish Power further south were affected by Saturday afternoon.
SHEPD said it would be unable to restore power in the north of Skye, Harris and Caithness until Sunday.
The company apologised but said weather conditions were very difficult.
It hopes to restore supplies to homes in other affected areas across the Western Isles and the Highlands by Saturday night.
It said driving snow, sheet ice and lightning were plaguing its efforts to restore power.
- Three people have been rescued from the Cairngorms (Scotland) in two separate operations over the weekend.
The Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team was called out to a climber who had fallen in blizzard conditions on Saturday.
The 25-year-old man was airlifted to hospital by an RAF search and rescue helicopter from Lossiemouth.
On Sunday, a man and woman were rescued from a bothy by Braemar Mountain Rescue Team after becoming stranded in the Loch Etchachan area due to snow.
Following the incident on Saturday, the RAF helicopter crew had to fly in whiteout conditions.
- The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for heavy rainfall for the Flinders, Riverland, north east pastoral and parts of the mid north districts.
Record rain was expected to fall over Alice Springs putting suburbs at risk of flooding.
Alice Plaza, in the heart of Alice Springs, had received 125 millimetres of rain since 9am on Friday. Charles River Big Dipper had received 114mm of rain and Mount Lloyd had received 100mm.
- A pub landlord is counting the cost after a Suffolk river burst its bank, flooding the building.
Water began "bubbling up" into The Harbour Inn in Southwold at about 22:00 GMT, Nick Attfield said.
Damage was limited as the Environment Agency had issued warnings, but the cost of closing for 48 hours and paying 20 staff to "clean up the mud" would be about £5,000, he said.
The Environment Agency issued 13 flood warning for parts of Suffolk overnight.
- The US work week got off to a slippery start Monday as a storm packing freezing rain, sleet and snow made travel difficult from the Ozarks to New England.
Roads and pavements began to glaze over Sunday night in central Indiana along the Interstate 70 corridor, but the storm produced lighter amounts of ice than forecasters had predicted due to slightly warmer air and lighter precipitation.
In upstate New York, a few more inches of snow are forecast to top off the 2 to 4-plus feet of snow that piled up from the most recent lake-effect storms. Snow fell Monday morning from Buffalo to Albany, causing minor delays for commuters in some areas.
- The Malawi government has declared half the country a disaster zone and appealed for international humanitarian help after torrential rains killed at least 48 people, left 70,000 homeless, and destroyed bridges and roads.
Downpours and flooding have also hit neighbouring Mozambique, where 25 schoolchildren were swept away by torrents on Monday, and where 18 other people have been reported missing.
The heavy rains of the past few days have damaged crops in Malawi, which last year harvested a bumper 3.9m tonnes of the staple maize crop - a surplus of almost 1m tonnes.
The country's Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has warned of heavy rainfall and flash floods for the next two to three weeks.
The crop outlook in the southern African country - where much of the agriculture is still done by subsistence farmers - has deteriorated after a late start to rains in the summer planting season, which usually gets under way in October or November.
- Wintry weather is causing disruption across parts of the UK, with warnings of severe gales forecast for England later.
More than 200 schools are closed across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In Scotland, several rail services were suspended and snow blocked roads causing problems for commuters.
A second spell of persistent snow has caused further disruption for commuters across parts of Scotland.
Almost 100 schools in the Highlands are closed. Some schools in Perthshire and Stirling are also shut.
No train services will run on four west coast routes from 18:00 on Wednesday until 18:00 on Thursday. Two HGVs have jack-knifed on the A9 at Ralia.
Police Scotland said the slow progress of another lorry had added to challenging driving conditions near Trinafour.
Travel on the A82 has been affected by snow and an accident at Invergarry.
- Despite above-normal temperatures to start the winter, concerns are rising about the natural gas supply in the United
Natural gas in storage in the U.K. is at its lowest level since 2011, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE). The gas
inventory was at 3.34 billion cubic metres today.
Some fear a repeat of the winter of 2012-13 when frigid air and the subsequent higher demand for heating nearly drained the
entire storage reserve. The combination of events helped to drive up natural gas prices in the U.K., according to
Analyst Rebecca Hermolle of Inenco Group Ltd., told Bloomberg that below-normal temperatures in the first quarter of 2015
may lead to the supply being depleted by April.
- Heavy winds and driving snow buffet northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Saturday evening, stranding
motorists on open roads around the capital Urumqi. The gale-force winds reduced visibility to within 50 metres on some
roads. More than 100 emergency services personnel were called in to help motorists trapped in their cars.
- Typhoon Mekkhala made landfall in northern Samar Island on Saturday night (local time).
As of Sunday night, local time, nearly 300 mm of rain had fallen in Catarman in northern Sumar. In southeastern Luzon 259
mm fell in Legaspi.
Samar is one of the areas hardest hit by former Super Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda. Pope Francis was visiting
eastern Visayas to interact with people who were severely impacted by this tragedy only a little more than a year ago.
Pope Francis's visit to Tacloban City on Leyte Island was cut short by 4 hours due to the approaching storm.
- Both NASA and NOAA reported that 2014 was the warmest year since global temperatures were first recorded in 1880. This
year was also the 38th consecutive year that global temperatures were above average.
Greenhouse gas trends are responsible for a majority of the trends that we are seeing, said Gavin Schmidt, director of
NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Temperatures are 0.9 degC above pre-industrial temperature averages.
- A deep trough of low pressure pulled moisture northward from the Arabian Sea into the Persian Gulf leading to flooding
across parts of United Arab Emirates, Oman and southern Iran.
The week began with rain from the United Arab Emirates into southern Iran and northern Oman. Thunderstorms produced heavy
rain totaling 12-25 mm with localized amounts in excess of 50 mm. This amount of rainfall occurring in a short time period
caused flooding problems as entire roadways became submerged.
- Sweltering heat has dominated a large portion of Brazil in January, including Sao Paulo and Rio de Janerio where
temperatures have resulted in blackouts over the past week.
Temperatures this month have averaged 4.4 degC above normal in Rio de Janerio and 5.7 degC aboce normal in Sao Paulo.
Making matters worse is an ongoing drought that dates back at least three years. This drought has put a stress on water
supplies across the region. Since Brazil relies heavily on hydroelectric power, the water shortage has now begun to impact
power supply as well.
- The Bureau of Meteorology (Australia) is forecasting extreme heatwave conditions to continue for large parts of Western
Australia, with severe heatwave conditions extending into the Northern Territory.
A very large, slow moving hot air mass currently situated over inland Western Australia is causing a build up of heat,
which has already seen widespread temperatures in the mid-to-high 40s for the Pilbara, Gascoyne and Interior regions this
Severe heatwave conditions are forecast to spread to the east, with the Northern Territory seeing temperatures well above
average over the weekend.
On 21 January the town of Carnarvon on Western Australia's northwest coast recorded its equal hottest day, and hottest
January day, with a maximum temperature of 47.8C.
The hottest temperature on record in Western Australia is 50.5C at Mardie (19 February 1998). The hottest temperature
recorded in Australia is 50.7C at Oodnadatta in the far north of South Australia (2 January 1960).
- The Blizzard of 2015 has hit with all its fury in central and eastern Long Island to southern and eastern New England. The storm that started off as a moisture-starved Alberta Clipper caused major disruption here.
Much of Long Island and southern and eastern New England was buried under 12-24 inches of snow. Localized snowfall amounts approached 3 feet in New England.
This storm brought the greatest snowfall on record to Worcester, Massachusetts, with 34.5 inches. Prior to the Blizzard of 2015, the biggest single-storm snowfall was 33 inches set during March 31-April 1, 1997.
Blizzard conditions occurred for approximately nine hours in Boston, where 24.6 inches of snow fell. The Blizzard of 2015 now ranks as number six on the list of greatest snowstorms on record for Boston. The greatest single-storm snowfall was during Feb. 17-18, 2003, when 27.6 inches fell.
Approximately 9.8 inches fell on New York City's Central Park with 11.4 inches at LaGuardia Airport.
Much less snow fell in the Philadelphia area. The storm delivered 1-2 inches to the city.
So why did New York City get much less snow that predicted?
Once the storm hit the Atlantic Ocean on Monday, it began to strengthen tremendously and move steadily northeastward, rather than stall. The storm also began to track a few dozen miles farther east than speculated on Sunday.
Had the storm swelled larger by 50 miles farther west, blizzard conditions would have reached New York City, and a heavy snow accumulation would have edged into the Philadelphia area.
Because of the storm's compact size, relatively speaking, the heavy wet snow was limited to extreme southeastern New England.
Storm surge flooding and pounding waves caused major flooding and considerable property damage along the seacoast in Massachusetts. Offshore waves reached 30 feet during the storm.
- Britons are more likely to agree the climate is changing than at any time in recent years, with nearly nine in 10 people saying climate change is happening and 84% attributing this somewhat or entirely to human activity, new research has found. Two-thirds say they are concerned by global warming.
When asked to name major threats to the UK in the next two decades, 15% of those polled listed climate change without prompting, putting it in fourth position behind immigration, the economy and health. But among people who had direct recent experience of flooding, the number nearly doubled, to 29%.
Nick Pidgeon, professor at Cardiff University, who co-authored the research, said this showed that there was a clear link between last year's severe flooding incidents, which left thousands homeless, and the perception of global warming.
- A number of major roads remain closed by snow in Cumbria (UK).
The A592 Kirkstone Pass between the Troutbeck and Hartsop junctions and the A686 Hartside Pass between Melmerby and Alston are both still closed to traffic.
Cumbria Police warned black ice was affecting stretches of A595 Muncaster and further south and advised motorists to drive with "extreme care".
Wintry weather is continuing to cause travel disruption in other parts of England.
Several roads and dozens of schools, including in Derbyshire and Yorkshire, are closed as snow and ice causes disruption for a second day.
Overnight, 30 abandoned vehicles on the Woodhead Pass, near Sheffield, were moved following heavy snowfall.
In the South West, ferry sailings from Plymouth to Roscoff have been cancelled until Sunday, due to the weather.
On Thursday, flights were suspended at Manchester Airport and snow caused disruption to travellers across the northern half of the UK.
At least 60 schools have been closed in Derbyshire, more than 30 in East Lancashire, about 20 in Leicestershire and Rutland, and at least 20 in Oldham, Manchester.
Overnight, snow and ice resulted in the diversion of at least one flight to East Midlands Airport.
Some train services have been suspended, including the line between Liverpool South Parkway and Hunts Cross, which is blocked due to frozen snow.
Earlier in Essex, a slip road on the M11 was closed due to "adverse weather" after reports some vehicles struggled to travel up the slope.
- Police in Switzerland say four people are dead after an avalanche hit a group of skiers in the south-east of the country.
Police in the canton of Graubünden said the avalanche on the slopes of the Piz Vilan mountain Saturday afternoon swept away seven members of a nine-strong group of skiers.
Rescuers recovered three bodies and four seriously injured people, who were flown to hospitals in St. Gallen, Zurich and Chur. Police say a fourth person later died at a hospital.
There was no immediate word on what triggered the avalanche.
- A blast of light 'shattered the air' the moment a Gold Coast (Australia) father was fatally struck by a bolt of lightning.
The 39-year-old father of two died in the Gold Coast University hospital about 7pm on Saturday. His wife and two children were also admitted and were in a stable condition on Saturday night.
The Highland Park family was sheltering from the storm under a park shed near Worongary state school when the structure was struck about 4pm.
It is believed the man took a direct hit, with electricity then travelling into the others, including a toddler aged 18 months and a 12-week-old baby.
If you have a snippet of weather news that you feel merits inclusion, then please feel free to email it to me.
Last updated 11 January 2015.