World weather news, May
- Intense rains accompanied by powerful winds and sandstorms wreaked havoc in Qatar over the past few days.
On 1 May, severe storms destroyed a field hospital at the Umm Salal area, north of Doha. It was constructed just two weeks ago, specifically for accommodating patients with coronavirus.
A video posted by Arab News showed violent winds ripping through the establishment. The aftermath was captured in another video, showing the hospital shredded in crumbles, with a few people captured running away from the area.
In a separate incident, two expansion tents at Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital collapsed after winds of 45 mph hit the area, according to the Ministry of Public Health.
- A cold front originating from Antarctica is sweeping across Australia, with states in the southeast set to see their coldest start to May. The wintry conditions came after the country recorded its fifth warmest April on record, according to the BOM's monthly review.
New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, ACT, South Australia, and Queensland already experienced cool temperatures on Friday morning.
In Victoria, residents woke up to the coldest start to May ever recorded, with -4C in some areas. Mount Hotham experienced blizzards amid the coldest temperature at -4C.
- Dangerous thunderstorms developed across portions of western France and northern Spain on Monday afternoon into Monday night.
Thunderstorms first developed on Monday afternoon across northern Spain. As storms strengthened and tracked to the northeast, they raced across western France Monday evening and Monday night.
The strongest storms brought frequent lightning strikes and strong wind gusts to the region. The strongest wind gusts led to damage in parts of northwestern Spain.
A wind gust of 130 km/h was reported as the Port Estaca de Bares along the northern coast of Spain.
- Heavy rains battering much of Rwanda since 1 May triggered severe flooding and landslides, resulting in eight fatalities and hundreds of damaged homes and roads, the Ministry of Emergency Situations reported on May 4.
The affected areas are mostly the mountainous and hilly areas in the country's northern and western, particularly the low-lying and plain areas in those regions.
As of today there eight fatalities from floods and landslides, five others injured, more than 100 damaged houses and several roads closed across the country.
In the Rutsiro District in the Western Province, the Mushubati weather station recorded 81 mm of rain on 2 May.
- Mother's Day weekend got off to an unseasonably snowy start in the NE USA thanks to the polar vortex.
Some higher elevation areas in northern New York and New England reported snowfall accumulations of up to 9 inches, while areas as far south as New York City reported a dusting.
The spring snow and accompanying low temperatures came courtesy of the polar vortex, a batch of cold air being pulled down from the north.
Massachusetts hadn't seen measurable snow in May since 2002, while in Manhattan's Central Park, the flakes tied a record set in 1977 for latest snow.
Nine inches of snow were reported near Maine's Sugarloaf Mountain, while rural regions near the New York-Vermont border reported similar accumulations. Weather service observers reported 8 inches in northern New York's Washington County and 9 inches in Shaftsbury, Vermont.
- Flooding as a result of recent heavy rains has killed more than 260 people across East Africa.
Kenya has been the hardest hit with the government recording 194 deaths.
In Rwanda, 55 people have died and floods have killed 16 in Somalia. In Uganda high water levels have trapped an estimated 200 patients inside a hospital.
East African countries have also been hit by a locust invasion and Covid-19.
The water has also washed away 8,000 acres of crops and some vital infrastructure, the government has said.
- Lockdown restrictions in the Philippines are impeding efforts to help victims of Typhoon Vongfong, which struck the east of the country on Thursday.
Relief workers are trying to move hundreds of thousands of people into evacuation centres, but social distancing rules have thrown up complications.
Some 200,000 people need to be rescued from their homes amid fears of flooding or landslides.
Typhoon Vongfong is the first to hit the country this year.
- Tropical Storm Arthur become the first named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season on Saturday evening over the warm waters offshore of Florida.
Tropical Storm Arthur is currently producing sustained winds of 40 mph.
Although the official start of hurricane season is June 1, there has been a preseason tropical system for most of the last 10 years, so it is not uncommon to have tropical activity this early.
Residents in South Florida saw impacts from Tropical Storm Arthur before it fully developed. A number of flash flood warnings were triggered along the southeastern coast of Florida as heavy downpours and thunderstorms continued on Friday night. Street flooding was reported across the Miami metro area.
Thursday was the second wettest May day on record for the city of Marathon in the Florida Keys. Heavy rain totalled 5.76 inches, stopping short of the city's rainiest May day record of 6.60 inches set on the 27th in 1959. Marathon picked up a total of 6.45 inches during 14-15 May, when the normal precipitation for all of May is 3.35 inches.
- Tropical Depression Ambo, also known as Vongfong, gave parts of the northern Philippines torrential rain and high winds late last week and into the weekend as it made landfall across several areas in the region. The risk for flash flooding will continue for some as the storm begins to move away.
Ambo strengthened throughout the week as it tracked over the warm waters of the Philippine Sea and became the first-named tropical system in the Northern Pacific Ocean of 2020. On Thursday afternoon, the former typhoon had wind speeds around 155 km/h.
As of Friday afternoon, 13,000 have been forced to leave their homes, according to the Philippine News Agency. A total of 48 towns also suffered power cuts across Samar and Biliran.
The PAGASA issued heavy rainfall warnings and flooding advisories issued across regions of Luzon, including a red warning in Metro Manila on Friday evening. A total of 93 mm of rain fell in parts of the city on Friday.
- About 10,000 residents have been evacuated in the US state of Michigan after two dams collapsed following days of heavy rain, officials say.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for areas near the Tittabawassee River after the Edenville and Sanford dams burst.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Midland County in mid-Michigan after the dams collapsed on Tuesday, and said the city of Midland - of population of more than 40,000 - could see a "historic high water level".
- The eastern Indian city of Kolkata has been devastated by a powerful cyclone which has killed at least 22 people across India and Bangladesh.
Storm Amphan struck land on Wednesday, lashing coastal areas with ferocious wind and rain. It is now weakening as it moves north into Bhutan.
Thousands of trees were uprooted in the gales, electricity and telephone lines brought down and houses flattened.
Many of Kolkata's roads are flooded and its 14 million people without power.
The storm is the first super cyclone to form in the Bay of Bengal since 1999. Though its winds had weakened by the time it struck, it was still classified as a very severe cyclone.
- Australia's western coast is being battered by a huge storm, with strong winds buffeting the main city of Perth.
Torrential rains and waves of up to eight metres are forecast in some areas.
The severe weather is the result of the remnants of tropical cyclone Mangga interacting with a cold front, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
A senior official in the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) said it would be a "once-in-a-decade" storm.
"Normally our storms come from the south-west and this will come from the north-west," DFES acting assistant commissioner Jon Broomhall told journalists.
A severe weather warning is in place for much of Western Australia.
More than 60,000 homes and businesses are without power across the state, ABC News reports.
Wind gusts of 117 km/h have been recorded in Perth, the Bureau of Meteorology said. Some areas could see up to 100 mm of rain.
- The Indian capital, Delhi, saw temperatures rise to 47.6C today, as most of north India faced severe heatwave conditions.
The heatwave, which officials say is likely to last until the weekend, comes even as the region struggles with rising Covid-19 infections and swarms of locusts that are ravaging crops.
Churu in Rajasthan state recorded a temperature of 50C - India's highest.
Officials have warned people to stay indoors as far as possible.
The temperatures are the highest that the country has seen in decades for this time of the year.
World weather news, April
- The coronavirus pandemic may affect the accuracy of the initial weather forecast model output originating from national and global weather prediction centers because of a cutback in the number of aircraft flights that generate vital weather data, according to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and other experts.
The aircraft collect temperature and wind data, among other information, that help improve the initial atmospheric conditions that drive global and regional weather forecast models. This data is used routinely to improve the forecasts created by national weather prediction centers across the globe.
However, the pandemic has drastically reduced the number of such flights in Europe and increasingly in the U.S. This impact will be a reduction in global forecast performance. For regional models, the impact may be even greater.
The announcement from ECMWF notes, "At ECMWF, aircraft reports are second only to satellite data in their impact on forecasts. However, recently added satellite wind observations will help to mitigate the drop in the number of aircraft-based observations."
The AMDAR program (Aircraft Meteorological Data Relay) uses existing aircraft onboard sensors, computers and communications systems to collect, process, format and transmit meteorological data to ground stations via satellite or radio links. The global AMDAR system, during typical air traffic, produces more than 700,000 high-quality observations a day of air temperature and wind speed and direction, together with the required positional and temporal information and with an increasing number of humidity and turbulence measurements being made.
More than 3,500 commercial aircraft provide more than 250 million observations per year in the U.S., National Weather Service (NWS) spokesperson Susan Buchanan told the Washington Post.
- Dozens of people are missing and feared dead after a ferry in the Solomon Islands set sail despite warnings not to embark during a cyclone.
The MV Taimareho was travelling on Thursday night from the capital Honiara, on the island of Guadalcanal, to West Are'are, on Malaita island.
The vessel hit choppy seas whipped up by Cyclone Harold. Up to 60 people are reported to have been on board.
Rescue efforts are under way but have been hampered by the bad weather.
Cyclone Harold has brought flooding and run boats aground in the Solomon Islands.
- A cyclone bringing winds of 135 mph has arrived in the Pacific nation of Vanuatu.
Cyclone Harold is a category five storm - the most severe - and has already killed 27 people in the neighbouring Solomon Islands.
The victims were swept off a ferry that defied cyclone warnings.
Vanuatu, home to around 300,000 people, is already in a state of emergency because of the coronavirus - and is awaiting general election results.
The storm is particularly affecting Sanma province, home to the country's second biggest city, Luganville.
Although there have been no injuries reported, photos showed roofs blown off buildings and power lines brought down. Some people took shelter in caves.
The Vanuatu meteorology department recorded winds of 135 mph in Sanma but said gusts were reaching 145 mph.
- Despite being spared a direct hit from Tropical Cyclone Harold, the island of Fiji suffered extensive damage from high winds, heavy rain and a battering storm surge mid-week.
After battering Vanuatu, Harold passed just south of Fiji. Ahead of the cyclone, Fiji Airways moved several aircraft overseas to avoid damage.
Fiji's National Disaster Management Office announced evacuation orders on Tuesday afternoon, local time, asking those in low-lying areas to move to higher ground ahead of Harold.
Early reports coming out of Fiji state that popular tourist destinations on the island have suffered heavy damage from the cyclone's storm surge and high winds as well as by the high tide that followed the storm.
Power cuts and road closures were also reported.
- Thousands of swallows and swifts migrating from Africa to Europe have been left dead by high winds battering Greece, bird watchers say.
The birds have been found in the streets of Athens, on apartment balconies in the capital, in the north, on Aegean islands and around a lake close to the seaport of Nauplia in the Peloponnese.
"It's a major disaster," said Maria Ganoti of the wildlife protection group Anima.
"Over the last three days because of high winds in the north and over the Aegean Sea, thousands of small birds have been found dead or gravely injured," she said.
The Greek ornithologist association said: "The night of April 5-6 was disastrous for migrating birds due to strong winds, low temperatures and rain in some regions.
"Southerly winds pushed flocks of birds from north Africa into air currents from the north of the Aegean sea and particularly the islands.
"To escape, exhausted birds, mainly swallows and swifts, which catch flying insects for food, headed for the Greek mainland."
Greece is on the flight path for hundreds of thousands of birds which migrate north in spring and south in autumn.
- At least 26 people have died after storms triggered tornadoes and flooding across several southern US states.
As many as 60 tornadoes ripped through Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi on Sunday, while severe storms also hit parts of Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas.
In Louisiana, a number of homes were destroyed in the city of Monroe.
Last week, the American Meteorological Society issued guidelines for taking shelter during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Do not let the virus prevent you from seeking refuge from a tornado," the society said.
Public shelters in many communities are closed because of lockdown measures. People were urged to still follow social distancing guidelines if they must seek safety in a public space like a school.
- Acrid smoke from wildfires, including blazes near the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant, has blanketed Ukraine's capital Kyiv, making its air pollution among the worst in the world.
Kyiv's pollution now ranks alongside that of several Chinese cities, Swiss monitoring group IQAir reports.
Ukraine's health ministry says radiation levels remain normal and Chernobyl faces no immediate threat.
At one point during the day Kyiv's air pollution was the worst in the world, according to the IQAir index.
But the dramatic global slump in economic activity, caused by the coronavirus pandemic, has made the air in many cities cleaner. That partly explains why Kyiv's smog looks especially bad now.
- Europe is heating faster than the global average as new data indicates that last year was the warmest on record.
While globally the year was the second warmest, a series of heatwaves helped push the region to a new high mark.
Over the past five years, global temperatures were, on average, just over 1 degC warmer than at the end of the 19th century.
In Europe, in the same period, temperatures were almost 2 degC warmer.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says the physical signs of climate change and impacts on our planet have gathered pace in the past five years, which were the hottest on record.
The European data, which comes from the EU's Copernicus Climate Service, indicates that 11 of the 12 warmest years on record on the continent have occurred since 2000.
- At least six people were killed after severe storms tore through a number of southern states late in the day, adding to weeks of extreme weather that had already killed more than two dozen people and destroyed hundreds of homes.
Some areas in Louisiana had experienced "extreme flooding".
Wednesday's storms caused havoc in many rural communities, causing damage to factories at multiple facilities across the south. At least two factory workers have been killed.
In Louisiana, a worker's body was found more than a quarter-mile away after an apparent tornado struck, severely damaging the factory and nearby town.
A tornado in Marshall county, Oklahoma, killed a worker after a storm hit the Oklahoma Steel and Wire plant as employees were leaving for the day.
Elsewhere, at least three people were killed when an apparent tornado touched down in south-east Texas near Onalaska, about 120 km north of Houston, the Polk county emergency management system said.
Heavy thunderstorms caused flooding as well as large hail in southeastern Turkey. There are reports that one person was killed after being struck by lightning and three others were injured after another lightning strike.
In addition to Turkey, much of Georgia, Armenia and western Azerbaijan had unsettled weather conditions during the middle of the week.
- High winds caused trouble across Egypt, as a major sandstorm forced the closure of several Red Sea Ports and major highways across the country. Authorities urged Egyptians with respiratory illnesses to stay inside. The storm was so significant it turned skies of Cairo an eerie yellow colour.
- Heavy rains triggered flooding in the city of Najran in southwestern Saudi Arabia.
The rains were dumped by a storm system from the Mediterranean Sea which merged with a cold front, bringing wet and windy conditions from Turkey to Saudi Arabia.
This caused an unsettled weather pattern that unfolded across the region.
- Melbourne recorded 138 mm of rain in April 2020, making it the city's wettest April since 1960 when 195 mm was recorded. Unseasonably low temperatures were also recorded and almost 50 cm of snow across Victoria's ski resorts.
- This April is set to be one of the driest Aprils on record for Germany, and there are worries a second drought in two years could be just around the corner. According to DWD, the German Meteorological Service, less than 10 mm of rain had fallen across the country between 14 March and 18 April. In areas of the lower Rhine just 4 mm of rain has fallen this April - that's only 9% of the monthly average.
Aprils in Germany have been trending drier over the long term and it's notable that the last eleven Aprils have been much drier than average - but it remains unclear whether this is natural climate variability or a symptom of climate change.
The lack of rainfall has also contributed to the plummeting of some river levels. The Rhine is a vital transport artery for the German economy and with water falling to such low levels, river barges cannot be loaded to full capacity so transport costs of goods are rising.
In Geneva in Switzerland, a record-breaking 43-day drought has recently ended. In Spain, spring has seen exceptionally wet weather. According to AEMET, in Barcelona between 1 March and 26 April over 300 mm of rain has been recorded, more than four times the usual amount.
World weather news, March 2020
- Two powerful tornadoes that ripped through central Tennessee on Tuesday killed 24 people, according to the state's Emergency Management Authority.
In Nashville, Tennessee's biggest city, the tornadoes caused widespread damage to homes and other buildings.
The storm hit after midnight and moved so quickly that many people sleeping didn't have time to take shelter.
Much of the damage is centred in Putnam County - 80 miles (130km) east of Nashville - where 18 deaths, including five children, were reported.
There was also "significant damage" to John C Tune Airport, about eight miles from the city centre, the airport said.
The National Weather Service reported that winds of 165 mph hit Nashville. The storms were the deadliest to hit Tennessee since 2011.
- Scientists have recorded a massive reduction in pollution over China during the last two months, which is believed to be a result of measures taken to stop the coronavirus outbreak.
A pair of images captured by NASA and European Space Agency pollution monitoring satellites reveal a significant change in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in the air over the country between Jan. 1 and Feb. 25.
The timeline for the improvement in air quality coincides with when health and government officials in China acknowledged the threat of coronavirus and put Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, on lockdown.
NO2 is emitted by motor vehicles, power plants and industrial facilities - and the quarantine placed on the city shut most of these things down, likely leading to the improved air quality.
According to NASA, the reduction in NO2 pollution was first apparent near Wuhan but eventually spread across the country.
The drop in nitrogen dioxide in 2020 also coincided with Lunar New Year celebrations in China and much of Asia, experts said. During this celebration, businesses and factories will often close from the last week in January into early February.
While previous observations from NASA have shown a dip in pollution during this period, it is typically followed by a return to normal levels later in the month.
- An unusually deep area of low pressure, nicknamed the "dragon" on social media, brought severe disruption to western parts of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The low formed rapidly across Egypt, before moving slowly north-eastwards into Israel and Lebanon, bringing outbreaks of heavy rain and strong winds. Thunderstorms caused particularly severe flooding in parts of Egypt, forcing authorities to shut schools and urge people to remain at home. Latest reports indicate at least 21 people have died.
A mosque in the city of Qena, Upper Egypt, collapsed.
The storms dumped at least 2.4 inches of rain on Cairo, which normally receives just 0.15 inches for the entire month. The storm also kicked up a dust storm to the south of the city.
- About 150 people have been killed or are missing following record-breaking heavy rains, landslides and flooding in three Brazilian states this year.
Monsoon rains kill Brazilians every summer, with floodwaters filling streets and landslides afflicting poorer communities and favelas built on steep hillsides, often without proper drainage or sanitation.
In Guaruja, a coastal town 25 miles from Sao Paulo, 282 mm fell in just 12 hours last week more than the total expected for the entire month of March.
Days earlier, five people died during heavy rains across Rio de Janeiro. One man drowned when the Acari favela in north Rio was flooded.
- Levels of air pollutants and warming gases over some cities and regions are showing significant drops as coronavirus impacts work and travel.
Researchers in New York said their early results showed carbon monoxide mainly from cars had been reduced by nearly 50% compared with last year.
Emissions of the planet-heating gas CO2 have also fallen sharply.
With global economic activity ramping down as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it is hardly surprising that emissions of a variety of gases related to energy and transport would be reduced.
Scientists say that by May, when CO2 emissions are at their peak thanks to the decomposition of leaves, the levels recorded might be the lowest since the financial crisis over a decade ago.
While it is early days, data collected in New York this week suggests that instructions to curb unnecessary travel are having a significant impact.
Traffic levels in the city were estimated to be down 35% compared with a year ago. Emissions of carbon monoxide, mainly due to cars and trucks, have fallen by around 50% for a couple of days this week according to researchers at Columbia University.
- Australia's Great Barrier Reef has suffered another mass bleaching event - the third in just five years.
Warmer sea temperatures - particularly in February - are feared to have caused huge coral loss across the world's largest reef system.
Scientists say they have detected widespread bleaching, including extensive patches of severe damage. But they have also found healthy pockets.
Two-thirds of the reef was damaged by similar events in 2016 and 2017.
The reef system, which extends over 2300 km, is a World Heritage site recognised for its "enormous scientific and intrinsic importance".
- Jonesboro, Arkansas, took a direct hit from a tornado that left buildings flattened in its wake on Saturday. At least 22 injuries were caused.
Rounds of severe thunderstorms erupted from the southern Plains to the Ohio Valley, with the dangerous weather packing damaging winds, hail the size of softballs and destructive tornadoes like the one seen in Jonesboro.
The tornado ripped through Race and Caraway Streets, destroyed many homes and continued to Brookland, and the Arkansas/Missouri border after destroying the Mall at Turtle Creek.
World weather news, February 2020
- Storm Herve marked the end of unseasonable warmth across parts of France and Germany last week as the system brought a cooler airmass, strong winds, and fresh, heavy snowfall to the Alps. Prior to this, south-west Europe as a whole was experiencing exceptional heat, and temperatures rocketed to 29.6C in Valencia in Spain on Tuesday (4th), setting a new all-time February record.
The official station in the city of Alicante has hit 28.6C which is the fifth highest winter temperature ever recorded at this location since 1859. Back in 1910, Alicante reported a hot day with 30.0C recorded.
- Severe flooding and heavy rainfall in New Zealand have forced evacuations to be carried out, after nearly 200 tourists were left stranded.
A landslide hit the Howden Hut, near Fiorland's Lake Howden at around 1.30 am the 3rd, leaving two people with minor injuries and more than 30 people awaiting evacuation from the site.
A state of emergency was declared on Monday 3 February after 382 people were left trapped in the Fiordland region, with torrential rain causing slips and flooding damage, restricting access to roads.
A further 195 tourists in Milford Sound are also still stranded and will remain there until Wednesday when they can be safely evacuated.
Elsewhere in Gore, fire and emergency staff have been working to help a number of houses that have been hit by surface flooding.
- Rescue efforts have been put on hold after two avalanches killed at least 39 people in eastern Turkey.
Most of the dead were hit by an avalanche on the 5th while trying to recover the victims of another downslide which happened a day earlier.
Further rescue work continued but was paused because of concerns about a possible third avalanche.
The operation, involving more than 700 personnel, is expected to continue on Thursday after inspections.
- Early Wednesday morning, temperatures in Denver (Colorado, USA) plunged doen to -5F after a jarring cold front gripped the region. This reading came fewer than three days after the city saw temperatures soar into the mid-70s on Sunday.
The cold front also brought snow accumulations of around 3 to 5 inches in and around Denver, and a range of totals in the Boulder area of anywhere between 3 and 21 inches, depending on elevation, according to the National Weather Service. Farther to the south, places around Colorado Springs saw a general 3 to 5 inches of snow, with a few pockets picking up a little bit more.
Sunday (2nd) was an unseasonably warm day across parts of the western United States. In Denver, temperatures rose to 30 degF above average, tying an 86-year-old record for the warmest 2 February on record. With temperatures hitting 74F, the Mile High City was also warmer than Miami on Sunday, which topped out at 68F.
- A record high temperature of 18.3C has been logged on the continent of Antarctica.
The reading, taken on Thursday by Argentine research base Esperanza, is 0.8 degC hotter than the previous peak temperature of 17.5C, in March 2015.
The temperature was recorded in the Antarctic Peninsula, on the continent's north-west tip - one of the fastest-warming regions on earth.
It is being verified by the UN World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).
While 18.3C is a record for the Antarctic continent, the record in the wider Antarctic region - which includes the continent, islands and ocean that are in the Antarctic climatic zone - is 19.8C, logged in January 1982.
- Torrential rain across the east coast of Australia has extinguished a third of the fires in the region - and could put more out, officials say.
A wide band of rain sweeping New South Wales (NSW) has put out 20 of about 60 fires in the state in the past day.
Authorities have welcomed the downpour, but warned of flash flooding in Sydney and other cities along the coast.
Some of the affected areas had received the most rain recorded in over a year, said the Bureau of Meteorology.
Australia's largest city, Sydney, recorded its wettest day in over 15 months on Friday.
Authorities have issued a severe wet weather warning for a 1,000 km stretch of the state - with damaging winds, heavy rainfall, and "abnormally high" tides forecast.
Over 280 mm of rain was recorded at the holiday town of Byron Bay in northern NSW. Locals there described the downburst on Thursday night as heavier than that experienced in a 2017 cyclone.
Nationally, blazes have killed at least 33 people and destroyed thousands of homes. More than 11 million hectares of land - an area comparable to the size of England - has been scorched.
- More than 300,000 homes and businesses in the south-eastern US were without power early in the day after a powerful storm raked the region. At least five people were killed.
North Carolina had the most customers without electricity, followed by Pennsylvania, according to the data website poweroutages.us. The outages matched states that were under high wind and winter weather advisories issued by the National Weather Service.
As much as 10 cm of snow fell overnight in Ohio, part of a band of snowy weather stretching from Tennessee to Maine. Blowing snow contributed to several accidents in the Akron area, and the Ohio department of transportation urged people to make room for nearly 1,300 state crews working to improve the icy conditions.
The weather destroyed mobile homes in Mississippi and Alabama, caused mudslides in Tennessee and Kentucky and flooded communities that shoulder waterways across the Appalachian region. Rain kept falling over a path of splintered trees and sagging power lines that stretched from Louisiana into Virginia.
- Antarctica has exceeded 20C for the first time, after researchers logged a temperature of 20.75C on an island off the coast of the continent.
This latest reading was taken at a monitoring station on Seymour Island, part of a chain of islands off the same peninsula, at the northernmost point of the continent.
The previous record for the entire Antarctic region - which includes the continent, islands and ocean that are in the Antarctic climatic zone - was 19.8C, logged in January 1982.
- A powerful storm is battering parts of north-west Europe with heavy rainfall and strong winds of up to 150 km/h.
Storm Ciara - known as Sabine in Germany and Switzerland and Elsa in Norway - has caused hundreds of flights to be grounded and rail services cancelled in Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK.
Access to exposed areas such as parks and coastlines has been restricted and motorists have been warned to take care as the weather continues to cause severe travel disruption.
On Monday, large parts of northern France were placed on an orange weather alert - the second highest warning - with thousands of homes in Brittany left without power.
- Sydney has been hit by its heaviest rain in 30 years, bringing widespread flooding but also putting out two massive bushfires in New South Wales.
Australia's weather agency said 391.6 mm of rain had fallen in the past four days in Sydney, more than three times the average rainfall for February.
About 100,000 homes are without power, and officials have warned flash floods could be life-threatening.
But the rainfall means only 17 fires are still burning across the state.
The NSW Rural Fire Service said on Monday afternoon that the rains had extinguished more than 30 fires over the weekend, calling it "the most positive news we've had in some time".
The latest to be declared out is the Gospers Mountain blaze, north-west of Sydney. Since October it has burned 512,000 hectares, and was considered a mega-blaze that was "too big to put out".
On Sunday, the Currowan fire, around the town of Shoalhaven, was also put out. It had burned for 74 days, destroying nearly 500,000 hectares and 312 homes.
However, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned that fire-hit areas can be particularly prone to flooding, and that fast-moving waters can carry large amounts of debris.
- At least seven people have died across Europe as Storm Ciara moves east, shutting down transport and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.
High winds in Poland ripped the roof off a ski rental shop, killing a woman and her two daughters. Their father was injured.
One man died after his boat capsized in southern Sweden. One other person on board remains missing.
Two people were killed in their cars - one in Germany and one in Slovenia.
A 58-year-old British man was killed on Sunday after a tree fell on his car.
France's Mediterranean island of Corsica recorded winds of more than 220 km/h on Monday night, as heavy rains, powerful winds and flooding spread across the continent.
Authorities there said the winds fuelled a fire in the north of the island. Corsican ports and flights remained disrupted on Tuesday.
Wind speeds of up to 200 km/h were also recorded in northern Italy. A woman of 71 was killed when she was hit by debris from a roof in Traona in the Lombardy region.
After first sweeping across Ireland and the UK on Sunday, the storm thrashed the north coast of mainland Europe.
Transport shut down and schools were forced to close across Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Dutch authorities reported traffic jams of more than 720 km across the country on Monday, and there was still some flight disruption on Tuesday after airlines cancelled hundreds of journeys.
Austria has also seen high winds, which caused waves to crash over a pier on Lake Constance.
In Germany, a crane smashed into Frankfurt Cathedral, damaging parts of the roof. Hamburg's fish market remained flooded on Tuesday after a storm surge reportedly forced the tide 2.7 metres above the norm.
The Oresund bridge between Denmark and Sweden was closed for several hours on Monday while winds in the Czech Republic reached 180 km/h. Police in the country said the storm was probably to blame for a car accident which killed a man.
However, the powerful gusts did bring one unexpected benefit in Germany. Wind turbines there produced a record amount of electricity, reportedly equivalent to 44 nuclear power plants.
- A French ski resort has used helicopters to deliver snow after mild weather dried out its slopes, threatening it with closure.
The Luchon-Superbagneres resort in the Pyrenees arranged for around 50 tonnes of snow to be dropped on its slopes.
Taken from higher mountains, the snow was dumped on slopes for beginners and children on Friday and Saturday.
Temperatures have risen above 10C across the Pyrenees this week, leaving ski slopes devoid of snow.
- One man died, dead, thousands of people were without power and transport services were disrupted on Wednesday morning after thunderstorms wreaked havoc across Sydney (Australia) and coastal regions, just weeks after record downpours caused major flooding.
Damaging winds of about 110 km/h hit North Head, with other areas also blasted by gusts over 100 km/h on Tuesday night.
A 37-year-old man died after being hit by an airborne gas bottle that struck him around midnight when he was walking in Harrington Street in The Rocks.
Transport for NSW said commuters on the North Shore line should plan their trips, with delays expected on several routes affected by a fallen tree at Pymble.
- Strong winds carrying sand from the Sahara have affected airports in the Canary Islands.
Poor visibility led to AENA, Spain's airport operator, cancelling, suspending or diverting flights.
The country's national weather service has warned that winds of up to 120 km/h could hit the Canaries until Monday (24th).
The winds have also affected ferry services, and hampered efforts to fight a wildfire in Tasarte, Gran Canaria.
- Over a thousand families are displaced in Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta as heavy rain filled the streets with floodwaters into Tuesday.
Areas of rain and thunderstorms developed across the islands of Indonesia Monday night into Tuesday. Northerly winds along the northern coast of the island of Java ushered in tropical moisture, fueling tropical downpours across the island.
Widespread rainfall totals of 50-100 mm were reported across western Java. The heaviest downpours produced 100-275 mm of rain across Jakarta.
Of the 275 mm of rain reported at the Jakarta Observatory, about 156 mm came within about 3 hours.
- Residents have had to evacuate their homes as flood waters rose above defensive barriers in Worcestershire (England).
It comes as two severe flood warnings remain in place in Shropshire with the River Severn at risk of breaching defences in Ironbridge.
Ironbridge, Shrewsbury and Worcester are among the areas at risk of flooding along the River Severn.
Rescue operations are under way to get people from their homes in Bewdley
Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service is going house-to-house in the area with a dingy and helping people from their homes.
The flood barriers in Bewdley are temporary barriers, they were overtopped last night at about 19:00 GMT. It started as a trickle then turned into a torrent.
Train lines remain closed out of Shrewsbury railway station due to high water levels under the Severn Railway Bridge and trains are only running out of the station towards Crewe and Chester.
Roads around the Ironbridge Gorge have also been closed to stop people driving in floodwater, Telford and Wrekin Council said.
River levels are also continuing to rise in Worcester, however the city's main bridge remains open.
World weather news, January 2020
- At least 21 people have died in flooding in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, after the city had its most intense rainfall for at least 24 years.
The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) measured 377 mm of rainfall in a day at an airport in East Jakarta.
That's the most rain in a single day since at least 1996, when records supplied by the agency began.
"The rain falling on New Year's Eve... is not ordinary rain," said the agency.
The agency said the intensity of the rain was due to several factors, including the monsoon season, as well as a high amount of water vapour in the air.
At least 62,000 people have been evacuated out of the city. Some people spent the night on the roofs of their buildings while awaiting rescue.
Elsewhere in East Jakarta, 335 mm was recorded, while in Bekasi, further east, 259 mm fell.
Rainfall above 150 mm per day is considered extreme by the agency.
- Western Norway is experiencing a rare heatwave for early January, at a time when temperatures should normally be below freezing.
The highest temperature of 19C - more than 25C above the monthly average - was measured in the village of Sunndalsora.
This makes it Norway's warmest January day since records began.
- Skies reddened and darkened in areas of south-eastern Australia as wind gusts exacerbated the fires.
Temperatures passed 40C in some areas. In Penrith, west of Sydney, the temperature reached 48.9C.
- The Bureau of Meteorology has released its 2019 Annual Climate Statement, showing 2019 was both the warmest and driest year on record for Australia.
Australia's average mean temperature in 2019 was 1.52 degC above average, making it the warmest on record since consistent national temperature records began in 1910 and surpassing the previous record in 2013 of 1.33 degC above average.
Meanwhile the national average rainfall total in 2019 was 277 mm, the lowest since consistent national records began in 1900. The previous record low was 314 mm set during the Federation drought in 1902.
Bureau of Meteorology head of climate monitoring Dr Karl Braganza said the record warm and dry year was one of the key factors influencing recent and current fire conditions in large parts of the country.
- At least 11 people have died as a result of severe storms sweeping across parts of the southern US, bringing high winds and heavy rain.
Deaths were reported in the states of Alabama, Louisiana and Texas.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by power cuts as a result of the storms, while homes have been destroyed and roads flooded.
Several tornado warnings were in place on Saturday, with Alabama said to be most at risk.
The storms have also brought the threat of ice and snow to parts of the Midwest. Hundreds of flights were cancelled on Saturday at Chicago's two main airports.
The Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana said an elderly couple died on Friday, when a tornado destroyed their mobile home, carrying it some 200ft (61m) from its foundations. The couple's three dogs remained unaccounted for.
The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed that three people were killed in Pickens County, Alabama. Details were not immediately clear, but local media reported that they died as a result of an apparent tornado.
Authorities say buildings have been damaged in the extreme weather, while there were widespread reports of trees and power lines being felled.
The states of Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas suffered property damage on Friday but reported no injuries.
- At least 62 people have been killed and more are missing after avalanches and landslides hit Pakistan-administered Kashmir over the past three days.
The region's Neelum Valley was particularly hard hit, with many people left cut off from help.
While the area is prone to weather disasters, the current toll is one of the deadliest in recent history.
The harsh weather has also killed dozens in other parts of Pakistan, and in India and Afghanistan.
In most places the weather improved on Tuesday, but many of the worst affected areas remain cut off.
- Dalila Jakupovic, who retired from her Australian Open qualifying match because of the air quality, says every player she has spoken to had "headaches and problems breathing".
The Slovenian had to be helped off court after suffering a coughing fit in her first-round match in Melbourne.
Wednesday's qualifying was delayed because of the "very poor" air quality from the ongoing bushfire crisis.
- Cities across southern Europe are experiencing dangerously high levels of smog caused by a prolonged period of dry sunny weather and light winds.
Temporary bans on diesel vehicles have been ordered in major Italian cities, including the capital, Rome, in an effort to reduce the pollution.
The restrictions, which are set to remain in place over the next three days, are expected to affect about one million vehicles.
At least nine of the 13 areas in Rome that monitor particulate matter - a fine dust known as PM10 - have recorded levels this week in excess of the legal limit, Italy's Il Messaggero reported.
Further north, where air pollution is typically worse, Milan, Turin and Bologna are among other cities to take similar action after recording a sharp rise in particulate matter.
Meanwhile, protests have been taking place in cities and towns across Bosnia-Herzegovina.
On Wednesday, hundreds of people wearing respirators and face-masks gathered in the northern city of Tuzla to demand urgent action to improve air quality.
In the capital, Sarajevo, government officials have been holding emergency meetings to discuss measures to curb the pollution.
Local residents have also been advised to head for the mountains, where the air is cleaner, with cheap tickets made available for cable cars.
- Parts of eastern Newfoundland remain under a state of emergency as residents dig out from a storm unlike anything seen in decades or more.
Environment Canada says 76 cm of snow was measured at St. John's International Airport on Friday the most for any day since records started being kept in 1942.
All flights in and out of St. John's were cancelled, and the airport remains closed until at least Sunday night.
Businesses in the capital city, as well as other municipalities in the Northeast Avalon Peninsula, were ordered to stay closed for a second day.
Given the high levels of snowfall there are some cases of snow drifts as deep as 5 metres the extent of the damage is not known at this point.
- Torrential rains and thunderstorms caused further misery for Australians in states already suffering from devastating bushfires.
Several major highways were cut off, while theme parks closed in southeastern Queensland after some of the heaviest rain in months fell in the state. Local media showed video footage of dozens of vehicles being swept away in flash flooding.
Standing water reached 30 cm in some areas and Australia's Bureau of Meteorology tweeted that over 100 mm of rain was expected to fall across the night and early Saturday morning in many other locations.
Major highways were cut and residents flooded in as more than 300 mm of torrential rain bucketed down on south-east Queensland overnight.
The deluge hit the Gold Coast the hardest with 325 mm of rain falling at Loders Creek and more than 200 mm in the Gold Coast hinterland.
- Storms have brought heavy rain to fire-hit regions of eastern Australia - but authorities warn the nation's bushfire crisis is still "far from over".
More than 80 blazes were still burning across New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, despite the downpours.
Melbourne and Canberra have been hit by heavy storms, with hail as big as golf balls falling in some areas.
Hundreds of emergency calls were made as hail smashed office windows and car windshields in the nation's capital.
- Powerful storm Gloria has battered much of eastern Spain, with officials linking at least four deaths to it.
The region around Valencia and the Balearic Islands were the worst-hit on Monday, with heavy flooding and strong winds causing havoc.
More than 30 provinces in Spain were put on high alert. The storm later moved into southern France.
Social media users in Spain have been publishing footage of flooded streets in Valencia and other cities and towns in Spain.
Spanish forecasters on Monday reported winds of up to 115 km/h, and huge waves on the Mediterranean coast.
Alicante airport was forced to close, resulting in the cancellations of many flights.
Storm Gloria then moved to Pyrenees-Orientales, France's southernmost Mediterranean department, which was placed on high alert.
Dozens of extra police and firefighters have been deployed in the region.
The A9 motorway on the French side of the border was closed as a precautionary measure.
Gloria was the worst storm to have hit the region in the winter period since January 1982, Meteo France forecaster Olivier Proust told Franceinfo.
- A storm surge on the east coast of Spain has swept 3 km inland, devastating rice paddies in the Ebro river delta south of Barcelona.
Storm Gloria began wreaking havoc on Monday and five people have died. The storm has wrecked beach facilities, blocked roads and caused power cuts.
Seawater has caused major damage to beaches around Barcelona, Valencia and on the Balearic Islands.
The mayor of the delta region, Lluis Soler, said "we've never had anything like this before". Seawater has flooded about 30 sq km of rice plants.
The Barcelona port authorities say it is too dangerous for boats to venture out to sea.
- The UN has called for international help to fight huge swarms of desert locusts sweeping through east Africa.
Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are all struggling with "unprecedented" and "devastating" swarms of the food-devouring insects.
The agency fears locust numbers could grow 500 times by June.
Ethiopia and Somalia have not faced an infestation on this scale for 25 years, while Kenya has not seen a locust threat this size for 70 years, the FAO said earlier this week. South Sudan and Uganda are also at risk if the swarms continue to grow and spread.
The swarms have spread from Yemen across the Red Sea. Heavy rainfall at the end of 2019 created ideal conditions for the food-devouring insects to flourish.
And the problem could get worse as the year goes on. Aside from growing numbers in east Africa, locusts have also been breeding in India, Iran and Pakistan, which could turn into swarms in the spring.
Locusts can travel up to 150 km in a day. Each adult insect can eat its own weight in food each day.
- At least 30 people have died during severe rainstorms in Brazil's Minas Gerais state, the country's emergency services said on the 26th.
Many of the victims were buried in landslides or washed away in floods after intense rain on Friday and Saturday.
More than 2,500 people were evacuated from their homes, and local TV showed images of ruined houses under red mud.
Rescue work continued overnight into Sunday, with 17 people missing.
The Brazilian weather service said on Saturday that the state capital of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, had 17 cm of rain in one 24-hour period - the heaviest rainfall since records were first kept there 110 years ago.
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Last updated 28 May 2020.