World weather news, March 2017

1st
Three skiers were killed and another five were injured after an avalanche struck the northern Italian Alps. The incident occurred near the Italian ski resort of Courmayeur around midday local time. An official with the national alpine rescue corps said the group had been back-country skiing. Around 8 inches of snow reportedly fell on Tuesday at Courmayeur but no additional snow was reported on Wednesday.
1st
Tornadoes ripped through the midwestern United States causing destruction in many communities late on Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday night. A preliminary rating of EF3 or greater is expected with the storm damage just to the south of Crossville, Illinois, according to NWS Paducah. An EF3 tornado has wind speeds between 136 to 165 mph and produces extensive damage, as seen below. One person died in Perryville, Missouri, while two people were killed in Illinois. Near the town of Crossville, Illinois, a 71-year-old man was killed when a tornado struck a building near his home. In Ottawa, Illinois, one person was killed after a tree was uprooted. Severe thunderstorms moved through the Washington, D.C. area on Wednesday afternoon producing wind gusts as high as 78 mph. These strong gusts brought down trees and power lines, leaving more than 40,000 without electricity across the region for a time after the storms moved through.
3rd
The 45th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race will have its ceremonial start in Anchorage on March 4. From there, the teams will travel about 350 miles north to Fairbanks where the official race will begin on March 6 at 11 a.m. local time. The Board of Directors of the Iditarod Trail Committee voted on Feb. 10 to move the restart location from Willow to Fairbanks, according to the Iditarod Trail Committee. This is only the third time in history that the restart has been moved to Fairbanks due to poor conditions in the Alaska Range. As in 2003 and 2015, this year's official start was moved north to Fairbanks due to insufficient snow in the mountain passes.
3rd
Moose calves across northern New England (USA) are dying at alarming rates, and scientists believe that deadly parasites benefiting from shorter winters are the primary culprits. Winter ticks have taken a toll on moose across Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, killing about 70 percent of moose calves. Winter ticks attach themselves to a single moose by the tens of thousands. The ticks may be thriving in part due to the New England ecosystem being disrupted by global climate change. The average winter temperature in Maine has climbed 4 degF between 1895 and 2015. According to Michael Bentley, a staff entomologist for the National Pest Management Association, the winter tick benefits from a warming climate. 'In the past, snowfall and freezing temperatures in early/mid spring have curbed winter tick populations by killing a percentage of those ticks that dropped off their host,' Bentley said. Rising air temperatures have led to shorter winters and less snowcover in the spring, allowing tick populations to climb, he added.
7th
Tropical Cyclone Enawo made landfall between Farahalana and Antalaha late on Tuesday morning local time as an intense tropical cyclone. Enawo packed winds over 225 km/h. At least five people have been killed and seven injured; about 22,000 have either been left homeless or suffered property damage. There are fears that the cyclone has destroyed vanilla crops in northeastern Madagascar, where much of the world's vanilla comes from, the Associated Press reports. The cyclone also destroyed roads and cut off communication to the Antalaha district, which is home to 230,000 people in northeastern Madagascar. Around 500 people of the nation's capital, Antananarivo, reportedly had to take shelter in a local sports hall as a major waste canal overflowed. The city of Sambava was pounded by strong winds and heavy rainfall on Tuesday as Enawo made landfall. Rainfall totaled more than 300 mm, leading to flooding. The cyclone is the strongest to strike Madagascar in 13 years. Tropical Cyclone Gafilo struck similar areas in 2004 and resulted in the deaths of 363 people.
8th
Powerful winds knocked out power lines and caused widespread damage across much of the Great Lakes and the Northeast USA. By Wednesday evening, nearly 1,200,000 utility customers lost power from the Great Lakes to the central Appalachians. Crews worked through the night in several states to restore power. DTE Energy in Detroit said it was the largest storm in the history of the utility company as thousands of power lines were knocked down. Hundreds of thousands remained without power in metropolitan Detroit on Thursday morning A plane taking of from Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti, Michigan slid off the runway on Wednesday afternoon amid high winds, causing extensive damage, the Associated Press reported. All plane passengers and staff were safe, including the Michigan men's basketball team, which was on its way to the Big Ten Tournament in Washington, D.C. In Batavia, New York, a cargo train derailed Wednesday afternoon. According to WIVB, 15-20 train cars went off the tracks around 2 p.m. EST due to the high winds. No injuries were reported. The winds forced the closure of the skydeck at the Willis Tower in Chicago on Wednesday morning.
10th
Late season snow has cut off parts of northern India around the foothills of the Himalayas. The winter storms have lingered across the states of Himachal Pradesh along with Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir for much of this week. Jammu And Kashmir State was badly hit on Friday after heavy snow blocked the arterial Mughal Road, disrupting traffic movement and leaving commuters stranded.
10th-12th
A further wave of torrential rain drenched areas around Auckland, Northland and Waikato Peninsula (New Zealand) over the weekend. The heavy rain was brought by a storm system dubbed 'The Tasman Tempest' that has affected northern areas for the last week. Last week many of the same areas of the North Island recorded high levels of rainfall - some as much as 250 mm in 24 hours. Over the six day period, Whangamata recorded 475 mm of rain, which is around the same amount it would normally see for the whole of autumn. Auckland Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) said on Sunday 12 March that Titirangi recorded 65 mm of rain in just 1 hour. New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) said that some areas saw over a month's worth of rain fall in a 24 hour period 10 to 11 March. Coromandel recorded 130 mm, Rotorua 97 mm and Auckland 91 mm. An average March rainfall ranges between 75 to 110 mm in Auckland. According to latest reports from emergency responders, 321 homes in Auckland have suffered flood damage. Power was cut to almost 4,000 homes, and nearly 600 emergency calls were made. According to local media around 50 people have been forced to leave their homes and are currently staying in temporary accommodation. Ten people had to be rescued from flood water by emergency crews.
13th
The worst drought in over half a century has hit parts of East Africa affecting more than 10 million people. Thousands of families have travelled for days across scorched scrubland from Somalia to Kenya, including barefoot children with no food or water after their crops and livestock were destroyed by drought. More than 10 million people have been affected across the Horn of Africa. Acute malnutrition has reached 37% in some parts of north east Kenya and child refugees from Somalia are dying of causes related to malnutrition either during the journey or very shortly after arrival at aid camps. The drought has been partly caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon which has affected east and southern Africa.
14th
The north-eastern US states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia have declared states of emergency as a huge winter storm sweeps in, bringing heavy snow. The US National Weather Service issued blizzard warnings from eastern Pennsylvania to south-west Maine. Schools are closed and thousands of flights have been cancelled. The conditions caused German Chancellor Angela Merkel to postpone a trip to Washington to meet President Trump. With winds of up to 60 mph, the storm is causing severe disruption for commuters across many parts of the north-east, and authorities in several states are advising residents to stay off the roads. In all, about 50 million people across the country have been warned about the severe weather. Less snow than originally anticipated is now expected to fall in New York City, with the forecast downgraded to between 10 and 20 cm by the US National Weather Service. More than 6,800 flights have been cancelled, tracking service FlightAware reported, with airports in New York, Washington, Boston, Baltimore and Philadelphia worst hit. Declaring a state of emergency, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said commuters should expect road closures, delays and cancellations. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie also declared a state of emergency and ordered all state employees not involved in the response to stay at home. The winter storm follows a spell of unusually mild weather in the north-eastern US, with last month being the second warmest February since record-keeping began in 1895.
15th
Four people were killed when a large avalanche swept away a ski group in the Austrian Alps, police say. The avalanche hit the remote Jochgrubenkopf peak in the Tyrol region at about 12:30 local time. It engulfed a group of eight foreign tourists, but four managed to free themselves and seek help, according to Austrian reports. Rudi Mair from the Tyrol avalanche warning service said "tonnes of snow" had come down the 2,400 m mountain. The avalanche was said to have been about 700 m long.
16th
Four people have been rescued from rising waters overnight as torrential thunderstorms continue to soak northern New South Wales and parts of south-east Queensland, causing flash flooding. Emergency crews in NSW received more than 80 calls for help on Wednesday night, mainly for leaky roofs, as heavy rain drenched the north and mid-north coast regions, from Taree to Lismore. The week started with intense thunderstorms when an upper-level low-pressure system interacted with warm, moist air flowing in from the Tasman Sea. Severe storms produced damaging winds, flooding rain and large hail in parts of Queensland and NSW. The town of Sawtell, 500km north of Sydney, received 250 mm in the 24 hours to 9am on Thursday. Smokey Cape, 450 km north of Sydney, had its heaviest March rainfall in 43 years, recording 180 mm in the 24 hours to 9am. Port Macquarie received 166mm of rain, the heaviest in 10 years for any month.
17th
Sixty-seven people have been killed and thousands more forced to evacuate by intense rains which damaged 115,000 homes and destroyed more than 100 bridges in Peru's worst floods in recent memory. 'We are confronting a serious climatic problem,' said Peru's president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, in a broadcast to the nation on Friday afternoon. 'There hasn't been an incident of this strength along the coast of Peru since 1998.' The disaster - which came after a period of severe drought - has been blamed on abnormally high temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, and fuelled criticism that the country is ill-prepared for the growing challenges of climate change.

World weather news, February 2017

3rd
In the UK Supermarket giant Tesco has rationed customers to three iceberg lettuces per visit - blaming poor growing conditions in Europe for a shortage in UK stores. It said bad weather in Spain had caused "availability issues" but suppliers were working to resolve the problem. Morrisons has also limited shoppers purchasing iceberg lettuces and broccoli to prevent "bulk buying". It follows a UK courgette shortage last month, after wet and cold weather in southern Europe devastated crops.
5th
A series of avalanches was sparked by heavy snowfall in Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing at least 119 people, officials say. "At least 89 people have been injured and 190 homes destroyed by avalanches in multiple provinces," said Wais Ahmad Barmak, the Afghanistan minister for disaster management and humanitarian affairs. According to Reuters, dozens more were missing after an avalanche buried a village in eastern Afghanistan, provincial governor Hafiz Abdul Qayum said. An avalanche in neighboring Pakistan killed at least 14 people and buried five homes, Nizamud Shah, a local official in the northern town of Chitralv told the Associated Press. He added that several other people are missing.
7th
Seven New Orleans parishes and the Baton Rouge area were hit by tornadoes in an afternoon of tumultuous weather across south-eastern Louisiana. The tornadoes that struck parts of south-eastern Louisiana destroyed homes and businesses, flipped cars and trucks, and left thousands without power, but no deaths were reported, said Louisiana's governor, John Bel Edwards. The governor took an aerial tour and made a disaster declaration before meeting with officials in New Orleans. The worst damage was in the same Ninth Ward that was so heavily flooded in 2005's Hurricane Katrina.
8th
Treacherous travel was reported in Massachusetts early Wednesday after freezing rain slicked roadways. Multiple crashes involving dozens of vehicles were reported near the town of Wakefield, Massachusetts, according to the Massachusetts State Police. Approximately 55 vehicles were involved in a crash which shut down Route 128 northbound. Several injuries were reported but none were believed to be serious, according to law enforcement officials.
8th
Heavy rain has lashed parts of Fiji the past several days as a tropical low passed through the region. Rainfall has totalled more than 450 mm in Nadi causing widespread flooding and cutting off some people from their homes for several days as the Nadi and Ba Rivers overflowed their banks.
9th
Intense heat building back across Sydney, Australia, late this week should cause a 121-year-old record to fall. Temperatures are set to soar to around 38C on Friday and Saturday in Sydney with a strong area of high pressure overhead. For a city where a high of 26.5C is more common in February, this latest blast of heat will not only put a strain on residents but will also enter history books. Friday and Saturday could make for the 10th and 11th days this summer of highs exceeding 35C at Sydney's Observatory Hill (the city's official weather station). Never before have so many such days been registered in a summer since record-keeping began in 1859. The current record for the most days is nine, which was originally set during the summer of 1895-96, according to data from the Bureau of Meteorology. The record was tied this summer on 31 January as the city's hottest month on record came to a close.
13th
Following the worst drought Bolivia has seen in more than 25 years, severe thunderstorms plagued parts of central South America last week. Whilst rainfall helped alleviate drought conditions, more than 75mm of rain fell in just a few hours across parts of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, triggering severe flash floods as water inundated the dehydrated and impermeable ground. Other regions were hammered by crippling hailstorms, leaving at least two fatalities.
13th
Thousands of dead bats are dropping from trees after temperatures topped 45 degrees in parts of New South Wales (Australia). The area worst affected was Casino in the Richmond Valley region of northern New South Wales, where more than 2,000 dead flying foxes have been found. Richmond Valley Council general manager Vaughan Macdonald said many of the dead bats were difficult to access because they were scattered along riverbanks. He said the council was working as fast as it could to dispose of the animals, but residents should brace themselves for the stench of decay.
13th
As a blizzard unloads feet of snow in eastern New England, authorities have reported numerous car crashes, school closings and flight cancellations. Slick and hazardous travel will continue to unfold across New England into Monday night as blowing and drifting snow occurs in the wake of the storm. The Maine State Police are urging people to stay off the roads as conditions are extremely treacherous on major roadways across the state. Some locations have already totalled more than 2 feet of snow in the central part of the state. Visibilities are only a couple hundred yards at best. Conditions are too severe for snow plough trucks to continue operation in Waldoboro, Maine, according to the Waldoboro Police.
14th
Severe thunderstorms erupted across southeastern Texas in the morning, leaving thousands without power around Houston and causing significant damage to homes and businesses. Wind damage, downed fences and tree branches on roadways was reported in the town of Stafford, Texas, according to the Stafford Police Department. In addition, several buildings and homes had their roofs blown off. There were also several reports of a funnel cloud. Another tornado touchdown was reported southwest of the town of Rosenburg, Texas, according to a National Weather Service trained spotter. The Houston Chronicle reported that the storms may have been a factor in one fatal crash.
15th
Storm Orson has made an impact on parts of the north-east US, leaving more than a metre of snow over the past week as it underwent explosive cyclogenesis, dropping 24 mb in just 15 hours. Prior to the birth of Storm Orson cold continental air spilled southward from Canada and collided with the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream, creating a sharp temperature gradient and fuelling the rotation of a cyclone. These events most commonly occur during winter when there is a stark temperature contrast between high and mid latitudes.
16th
The heatwave that engulfed southeastern Australia at the end of last week has seen heat records continue to tumble like. On Saturday February 11, as New South Wales suffered through the heatwave's peak, temperatures soared to 47C in Richmond, 50km northwest of Sydney, while 87 fires raged across the state amid catastrophic fire conditions. On that day, most of NSW experienced temperatures at least 12 degC above normal for this time of year. In White Cliffs, the overnight minimum was 34.2C, a new record for the state's highest observed minimum temperature. On Friday, the average maximum temperature right across NSW hit 42.4C, beating the previous February record of 42.0C. The new record stood for all of 24 hours before it was smashed again on Saturday, as the whole state averaged 44.0C at its peak. At this time, NSW was the hottest place on Earth. And still the records continue to fall. Mungindi, on the border of NSW and Queensland, broke the Australian record of 50 days in a row above 35C, set just four years ago at Bourke Airport, with the new record now at 52 days. Meanwhile, two days after that sweltering Saturday we woke to find the fires ignited during the heatwave still cutting a swathe of destruction, with the small town of Uarbry, east of Dunedoo, all but burned to the ground.
16th
California ski resorts are experiencing a significant snowfall season, with some areas breaking records for snowfall amounts. In the first month of the year, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows in Olympic Valley, California, had snow totals that were 405 percent of their usual average for January. While the average January snowfall for the past 45 years sits at 70 inches, January 2017 capped out at a total of 282 inches of snow. Resorts have had improved ski conditions and have been able to offer guests access to more terrain. "There are areas that just haven't been skiable like they are now," said Sam Kiekhefer, a public relations coordinator for Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. The January 2017 record surpassed the previous record, 175 inches in January 1982, by 107 inches. The season total by the end of January was 387 inches of snow. Less than halfway through their usual 175-day season, the resort had already received 86 percent of the average for seasonal snowfall.
19th
At least three people have died after one of California's strongest storms in years brought torrential rain and flash floods to the state. More than 100 homes have been evacuated over fears of mud slides near Los Angeles after the Pacific storm parked itself over southern California, opening sinkholes and cutting power to thousands of people. More than 300 flights at Los Angeles international airport have also been cancelled or delayed. The storm stretched far out into the ocean and was at its strongest late on Friday afternoon. One man was found dead in a submerged vehicle in the desert town of Victorville after several cars were washed down a flooded street, San Bernardino county fire spokesman Eric Sherwin said. A second man was electrocuted in the Sherman Oaks area of LA when a tree falling in heavy rain downed power lines that hit a car. Later in the same neighbourhood, a sinkhole swallowed two cars, the second on live TV as viewers watched it teeter on the edge before plunging in. Firefighters rescued one person from the first car, and the driver escaped from the second vehicle before it fell into the hole. Amtrak cancelled services for much of California's southern and central coast, and several stretches of road were closed by flooding. "The storm looks to be the strongest storm to hit south-west California this season," the National Weather Service said. "It is likely the strongest within the last six years and possibly even as far back as December 2004 or January 1995." By Friday evening, Ventura county and northern Los Angeles county had recorded 24-hour rain totals of up to 7.5 in, with the San Marcos mountain pass in Santa Barbara county receiving nearly 8.5 in.
23rd
A woman was killed and at least two people were seriously injured as Storm Doris brought winds gusting to 94 mph, snow and rain to the UK. West Midlands Ambulance Service said the woman had suffered head injuries when a piece of debris fell on to a street in Wolverhampton. Strong winds led to flight cancellations and road and rail disruption across much of the country. About 1,500 homes and businesses were without electricity in Northern Ireland after trees fell on overhead lines. More than 21,500 customers had their power restored earlier. Northern Powergrid says nearly 900 homes were left without power in Sheffield at one point. UK Power Networks said 12,030 properties lost power in Suffolk and about 40,000 homes in total were without power across East Anglia at one time. Energy company SSE said about 700 customers had experienced power cuts in Scotland, mainly in rural Perthshire, Kinross, Dunblane and Milnathort, as a result of heavy snow damaging its overhead network. Highways England later re-opened the Dartford Crossing linking Kent and Essex, the Orwell Bridge on the A14 in Suffolk and the M48 Severn Bridge, which were all closed due to high winds. The M80 reopened after earlier closures in both directions due to snow. Heathrow has flagged at least 77 flights as cancelled on its website and says its schedule was reduced by 10% because of the weather. Aer Lingus cancelled 19 of its 111 flights between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Gale-force winds led to the cancellation of ferries and flights between the Isle of Man and the UK Speed limits of 50mph were imposed on several train lines affecting Arrival Trains Wales, Chiltern Railways, East Midlands Trains, Grand Central, Great Northern, South West, and Southeastern services.
26th
Millions of people are without water after heavy rains struck Chile over the weekend during the country's usually dry summer months, leaving three people dead and at least 19 missing. The rains, which caused rivers to overflow their banks in mountain valleys near Chile's capital, Santiago, had isolated 373 people, the Onemi emergency service said late on Sunday. The drinking-water supply for over a million households in Santiago had been affected, and Aguas Andinas, the company that provides water to the capital, said rains were making repairs difficult. Agence France-Presse estimated four million people were affected.
26th
51 cm of snow fell in Reykjavik, Iceland this week, the most snow to cover the city in more than 80 years.
28th
Snow caused disruption in Manchester, England. Airline and train delays were reported as snow covered the city during the Tuesday morning commute.

World weather news, January 2017

2nd-3rd
At least five people were killed across the Southeast USA following an outbreak of severe weather that affected the region from Monday into early Tuesday. Four people died in the southeastern Alabama town of Rehobeth after a suspected tornado swept through the area Monday night and blew a tree onto a home, authorities said. A fifth fatality was reported in Florida after a man was found dead of an accidental drowning following flooding near Shoal River in Walton County, Florida. Sheriff's deputies found the victim, 70-year-old William Patrick Corley of DeFuniak Springs, floating face down near his trailer and his car partially submerged shortly after noon on Monday. The potent storms caused widespread damage due to powerful winds that caused trees to topple onto cars and homes and heavy rains that triggered the flooding. The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center listed 12 tornado reports from Monday among other storm reports.
2nd
The first week of 2017 brought a deadly severe weather outbreak in the Southeast USA. At least six people were killed across the Southeast on Monday as severe storms spawned strong winds, heavy rain and tornadoes. Four women in southeastern Alabama were killed when a tornado swept through the town of Rehobeth and blew a tree onto their home. A fifth fatality occurred in Florida when a 70-year-old man died as the result of an accidental drowning. In Georgia, a woman was killed when storms moved through the town of Albany and damaged about 1,000 homes, the Associated Press reported.
3rd
New Year's Eve fireworks contributed to dangerously high levels of pollution in several German cities, official figures suggest. In Munich, particulate levels briefly reached 26 times the EU-recommended daily limit of 50 micrograms of particulates per cubic metre of air. National figures suggest that firework displays ejected some 4,000 tonnes of particulates into the atmosphere. That reportedly equates to 15% of yearly vehicle particulate emissions. Airborne sooty particulates are mostly emitted during the burning of fossil fuels and contribute to deaths from respiratory illnesses. The German figures have prompted environmentalists to call for restrictions on the sale of private fireworks.
4th
A thick fog settled over large parts of China, including the capital of Beijing, early in the week prompting hundreds of flight cancellations across the country. The dense fog also forced highways to be shut down with visibility being reduced to just a few hundred feet. Officials in Beijing issued a red smog alert on Wednesday, the highest possible warning level for smog, Reuters reported.
8th
Flooding from heavy rains hammering Thailand's south has left at least 18 people dead and thousands of villages partially submerged. The flooding, which was roof-high in some areas, has affected nearly one million people in 10 southern provinces since it started a week ago, according to the country's interior ministry. At least 18 people had died and one was missing, the government said, with the rains turning roads into rivers, inundating farmland and damaging more than 1,500 schools in the region. The downpour was expected to persist for at least two more days, according to Thailand's meteorological department, which warned of flash floods.
8th
The famed Pioneer Cabin tree, known for its hollow centre that allowed cars to pass through, collapsed during the intense storm that blasted California with heavy rain. The giant sequoia was located in the Calaveras Big Trees State Park in Calaveras County, about 80 miles southeast of Sacramento. The tree was a popular tourist site since the 1880s when a group of pioneers carved out the centre. It became an iconic part of the state park. Until recently, cars were allowed to drive through. Jim Allday, a park volunteer, found the collapsed tree on Sunday as a major storm affected central and northern California.
9th
More than 20 people are now known to have died as icy temperatures continue to grip much of Europe. Ten people died of cold in Poland on Sunday. The bodies of three migrants, two Iraqi and one Somali, were found near the Turkish-Bulgarian border. Deaths have been reported in Italy, the Czech Republic, Russia and Ukraine. Dozens of flights have been halted. In Turkey, the Bosphorus is closed to shipping after a snowstorm. Even Greece's islands are covered in snow. In Serbia, all river transport is suspended on the Danube. The Medecins Sans Frontieres aid organisation said it was "very concerned about the thousands of vulnerable people across the continent in danger and stuck in undignified conditions". It said "of particular concern are the 2,000 people living in informal settlements in Belgrade where temperatures are currently reaching -20C". In Russia, temperatures in some regions have plunged below -40C. Normally milder Greece has witnessed temperatures of -15C in the north, where an Afghan migrant died of cold last week and roads were closed. In Athens, the temperature failed to rise above 0C over the weekend and many of the islands were covered in snow. Some of the Greek islands are home to thousands of migrants and many are being moved to temporary housing and heated tents. Some of Rome's famous fountains are now covered in ice. Children had a rare opportunity to play on the frozen Esca River in Burgui, northern Spain. Homeless hostels in Italy are opening their doors day and night as the weather has been blamed for the deaths of seven people, five of them living out in the open. Airports in Sicily, Bari and Brindisi closed over the weekend. Rome, too, saw freezing temperatures. In Russia, Moscow experienced its coldest Orthodox Christmas in 120 years on 7 January.
11th
2016 ranked as the United States' second warmest year in 122 years of record keeping, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The average annual temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 54.9F - 2.9 degF above the 20th century average and not far behind the warmest record of 55.3F set in 2012. Virtually all states had annual average temperatures in the top 10 percent on record, according to the data. Additionally, the average low temperature was 43.1F, the highest on record, exceeding the previous value of 42.9F set in 2012.
13th
The drought was declared over in northern California this week as storms continued to dump rain and massive amounts of snow across the state. The storms caused flash flooding, power outages, mudslides and a high avalanche risk across the Sierra Nevada. As many as 15 rivers were reported to be above flood stage at one point, while state officials opened the Sacramento Weir for the first time in a decade to lessen the flood risk. A stretch of Interstate 80 along Donner Pass was closed for several days as crews worked to clear the heavy snow from the roads. Blizzard warnings were issued as well.
14th-16th
A long-duration ice storm in the Great Plains and Midwest (USA) claimed the lives of six people, caused treacherous travel conditions, prompted the delay of an NFL football game and left thousands without power. Freezing rain, ice and winter storm warnings were in effect from the Texas panhandle north into Iowa and east through central Indiana. Multiple crashes occurred due to drivers losing control of their vehicles on the ice-covered roadways, including at least four fatalities, according to Missouri and Oklahoma State Highway Patrol. Two fatal accidents also occurred in Kansas on Saturday, the Kansas Highway Patrol reported. Missouri and Oklahoma declared states of emergency. The same storm also produced some severe weather in parts of Oklahoma and Texas on Sunday.
17th
Days of heavy rain have caused flooding and several deaths across the Philippines. At least seven deaths were reported and 6,800 people were displaced from their homes by the flooding. A combination of a frontal boundary and ample tropical moisture have resulted in several days of heavy rainfall across the central an southern Philippines. Rainfall totalled 311 mm in Borongan, Visayas, since Saturday. This is around 50% of the normal rainfall for the entire month of January. Farther southwest, 7.32 inches of rain fell in Dipolog City in only six hours with a total of 8.26 inches falling on Monday. Normal rainfall is close to 5 inches for the entire month of January.
18th
Low elevations of southeastern Spain received a rare coating of snow this week. With cold, dry air in place ahead of a storm, the stage was set for snow to fall outside of the mountains of southeastern Spain at midweek. While only lasting a few hours before changing to a chilly rain, the most snow since 1983 whitened Murcia. The city averages a high of 16.6C and a low of 4.7 in January.
18th
Provisional full-year figures for global average near-surface temperatures confirm that last year, 2016, was one of the warmest two years on record, nominally exceeding the record temperature of 2015. When viewed alongside 2015, the two years are the warmest in an annual series of figures that starts in 1850. Scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit produce the HadCRUT4 dataset, which is used to estimate global temperature. The global temperature series shows that 2016 was 0.77+/-0.1 degC above the long-term (1961-1990) average, nominally a record since at least 1850. When compared with the 1850 to 1900 baseline - which is indicative of pre-industrial temperatures - the 2016 average global temperature anomaly was around 1.1 degC. For comparison, 2015 was 0.76+/-0.1 degC above the long-term (1961-1990) average.
19th
The number of devastating floods that trigger insurance payouts has more than doubled in Europe since 1980, according to new research by Munich Re, the world's largest reinsurance company. The firm's latest data shows there were 30 flood events requiring insurance payouts in Europe last year - up from just 12 in 1980. Globally, 2016 saw 384 flood disasters, compared with 58 in 1980, although the greater proportional increase probably reflects poorer flood protections and lower building standards in the developing world Ernst Rauch, the head of Munich Re's corporate climate centre, said: "Flood events together with wind storm events are the two perils where we have the biggest increase in frequency worldwide."
19th
A powerful 'weather bomb' has hit New Zealand, cutting off rural towns, flooding major roads and dumping snow on to bare alpine ski fields at what should be the height of the southern hemisphere summer. The significant low edged over the South Island late on Thursday afternoon, causing landslips and snow, and went on to lash the country throughout the weekend. Auckland in the North Island suffered major power outages, while rivers on the west coast of the South Island rose rapidly in a matter of hours, lapping at road-sides and carrying large debris, including trees washed down from the Southern Alps. A landslip also buried the famous Sylvia Flats hot pools, and residents of Dunedin reported having to burn their fences to stay warm after being caught off guard by the unseasonal weather. 'This weather bomb was caused by a burst of really hot air coming out of Australia and forming a low when it moved into the Tasman Sea, and then picking up moisture and increasing in intensity,' said Mads Naeraa-Spiers, a forecaster for the MetService.
22nd-23rd
Deadly weather in the south-eastern US has left at least 18 people dead and injured dozens more as residents along the Georgia-Florida line braced for more intense, fast-moving storms including unusually strong -long track tornadoes. On Sunday, a tornado blew through a mobile home park in rural Cook County in southern Georgia, sheering off siding, upending homes and killing seven people, officials said. Coroner Tim Purvis said an apparent tornado 'leveled' the park before dawn and that emergency responders searched for survivors for hours. Purvis said the park had about 40 mobile homes and roughly half were destroyed. Four people were killed in adjoining counties on Sunday and another three were confirmed on Sunday evening in Dougherty county where Albany is located, said Catherine Howden, spokeswoman for the Georgia Emergency Management. A further four were killed in Mississippi by a tornado on Saturday making a total of 18 fatalities. The weather service's Storm Prediction Center warned on its website of a 'dangerous outbreak of tornadoes' on Sunday afternoon and pressed for residents to prepare. There were 4.8 million people under the high risk area; the total in the area of bad weather in the south east, who came under the slight risk category or worse, was about 38 million people. While the central part of the US has a fairly defined tornado season - the spring - the risk of tornadoes 'never really goes to zero' for most of the year in the south east, said Patrick Marsh, warning coordination meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
25th
Northern Territory aircraft are struggling to deliver food to flood-affected remote communities as torrential rains are luring swarms of insects into central Australian outback towns. Several Indigenous communities west of Alice Springs, including Kintore, Kiwirrkurra, Willowra and Nyirripi, have been cut off by heavy rainfall and need food supplies to be flown in. But some dirt airstrips in the region have become too wet to land safely and conditions in Alice Springs are too dismal for takeoff. "We can't see the mountain ranges at all today, we're going to have to delay flights out of here," Chartair's Robyn Lelliott said. "Kiwirrkurra is one of the most isolated communities in the world - they are so reliant on our services. The next couple of days are not looking good for flying." Katherine has been cut off and the deluge has caused a goldmine north of the town to release contaminated water, with the nearby Edith river flowing at a high enough rate to dilute it. A minor flood warning is now in place for the Katherine Gorge. Several Arnhem Land communities are now islands. Meanwhile, thousands of grasshoppers have descended on Alice Springs and the surrounding desert region after the recent storms.
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Dramatic TV footage has captured the moment a three-storey hotel collapsed into a swollen river in Peru. Dating from colonial times, La Hacienda was located near the bank of the river Sicra in the town of Lircay. Heavy rains began in the area on Wednesday and continued for 10 hours, eroding the river edge and then the building's foundations. The 50-room hotel was evacuated as the situation worsened and nobody was injured when the hotel finally crashed into the fast-flowing torrent. Other buildings in the town in Peru's Huancavelica region were also destroyed or damaged as a result of the constant heavy rain. Roads have also been blocked by landslides.
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There are fire bans across the Australia's south-east, with Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT all heading for sweltering temperatures in the high 30s and even 40s (Celsius). In NSW, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a fire warning for much of the state's south and the far western region, with the Rural Fire Service declaring a total fire ban for those areas. The town of Moree in northern NSW was set for its 33rd day in a row over 35C. The city broke the previous state record for the most days in a row over 35C - 17 - about two weeks ago, and is expected to continue to break its own record for at least the rest of the week.

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Last updated 23 March 2017.