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Extreme Weather

  • Biblical Floods Sweep Across Iraq and Saudi Arabia

     

    Immense rain dropped 127mm (5 inches)onto the streets of Mosul, or one-third of the year’s expected rainfall in less than 24 hours. Same in Saudi Arabia.

    In the town of Rabia, on the border with Syria, 187mm (7.4 inches) of rain was recorded.

    Iraq and Saudi Arabia floodings on March 2020. Picture via VK

    This much or more fell further north in the hills and mountains of northern Syria and Turkey.

    Video from Dahuk, Iraq on March 18, 2020:

     

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This storm system also brought 20cm (7.9 inches) of fresh snow in the mountainous Turkish province of Hakkari.

Iraq and Saudi Arabia floodings on March 2020. Picture via VK

This sort of rainfall creates landslides and flash floods. The result was thigh-deep flooding and boat rescue.

Heavy flash flooding in the city of Jizan, Saudi Arabia on March 19, 2020:

 

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This powerful storm also fed the headwaters of the Tigris. With the Euphrates, further west, the Tigris is the irrigation supply of Iraq.

 

  • Four months of Rain Falls on Spain in 24 Hours

    Torrential rains led to flash flooding in the coastal parts of Valencia, Spain, on Tuesday, March 31 into April 1, 2020. Up to 147 mm (5.8 inches) of rain fell in the region-- four times the average rainfall for this time of the year, which is 34 to 39 mm (1.3 to 1.5 inches). Castellon was also hit bad after recording up to 150 mm (5.9 inches) of rain-- its highest daily rainfall since 1976.

    The Castellon region has been affected badly, as well as the towns of Almassora, Burriana, and Villafranca. Inundations were worsened by the runoff of rainwater from the Desert de Les Palmes mountains, which rise inland to the city's northern area.

    Many properties were damaged and people were forced to evacuate. Firefighters rescued 91 residents who were trapped in their homes or vehicles in more than 40 operations-- mostly in Almassora, but also in Borriana and Oropesa del Mar.

    In Almassora, the city council has provided accommodation to around 20 people affected by the flooding along the coast.

    Together with firefighters, the local police, municipal maintenance, logistic service, and the civil guard were involved in the clearing of accumulated floodwater in the streets of the municipality's beach.

    Mayor Merche Gali assured people that the council will facilitate their temporary displacement until the beach goes back to normal.

    On Wednesday, Castellon received its highest daily precipitation since 1976 after 150 mm (5.9 inches) of rain, according to AEMET spokesperson Ruben del Campo.

    It also surpassed values of rainier seasons, such as those of early autumn or late summer, del Campo added.

    The municipality of La Pobla Tornesa registered 197.6 mm (7.7 inches) of rain in a 24-hour period to Wednesday, while Vilafames saw 48 mm (1.9 inches).

    Other areas also broke rainfall records, including Atzeneta where 133 mm (5.3 inches) of rain fell-- the highest since AEMET started record-keeping in 1948.

    "Never in this period and in the month of March had It rained so much," said physicist Melchor Rovira. "It is not normal for such torrential rains to occur outside of autumn. If this falls in the autumn, with the warm sea, there are no houses left. Now is when the sea temperature is colder and that complicates that more extreme episodes can occur."

    Meanwhile, cities in the southeastern region Murcia and Albacete were hit by hailstorms on March 30. This caused flooding in the towns of Caravaca de la Cruz and Hellin.

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  • Late season Artic cold smashes records across North America and Europe

    A late-season cold blast has been dumping spring snow from North America to parts of Europe since early May, causing records to tumble in several areas as the cold Arctic air ripped through west to east.

    The intense Arctic outbreak brought rare snow and record cold temperatures to portions of North America, with some areas experiencing below-freezing temperatures and significant snowfall.

    On May 5, residents across Northern New England woke up to unseasonal May snow. "As you go across the Great Lakes and the interior Northeast, we actually have wind chills in the freezing range," Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean described.

    On May 9, unseasonably cold air swept across Lake Erie, dumping snow as well in Lake View. Winter-like conditions then resulted in low visibility.

    On May 12, Toronto recorded -3 °C (26.6 °F), the coldest in the history of Canada. Local media noted that the last time Toronto residents felt temperatures this cold was back in 1939, during the Great Depression period, with -2.2 °C (28 °F).

    Thundersnow in Kingston and surrounding regions were reported in southern Ontario. According to the Weather Network, the Sun's angle caused air parcels to rise up into the cold and unstable air, where temperatures where around -20 °C (-4 °F).

    "The air aloft was so chilly that super-cooled water droplets accreted on the falling snowflakes before they reached the surface, distorting the classic snowflake," Weather Network meteorologist Tyler Hamilton explained.

    Hamilton noted that a thunderstorm is an unusual form of weather that usually occurs during winter, and it's particularly rare that it happened mid-May.

    Meanwhile, Ottawa also recorded its coldest May 12 ever as the Ottawa Airport recorded temperatures of -4.6 °C (26.7 °F), breaking the previous record of -1.7 °C (28.9 °F) set in 1940.

    Much of Europe reported heavy snow and piercing cold temperatures since the first week of May.

    In a video uploaded by Romania's National Road Infrastructure Management Company on May 7, roads along the Cluj area was shown covered in snow as snow continued to fall. Snow-removal operations were then carried out that day.

    In Lithuania, photos and videos on social media showed whiteout conditions as snow blanketed trees and flowers.

    Very rare snowfall also reached Turkey, with up to 10 cm (4 inches) recorded in high sections. Municipal teams conducted snow removal in some areas.

    On May 11, parts of Scotland were hit by snow as a mass of Arctic air traveled south on the back of a meridional jet stream flow. The polar blast came after the UK experienced a relatively mild April this year.

    In Germany, a blizzard reportedly struck the mountain peak of Brocken and engulfed the entire town of Wernigerode. 

    Snow was reported in higher elevations in Bavaria. It was very cold in many areas, with temperatures dropping around 2 °C (35.6 °F). Below freezing temperatures of -2.6 °C (27.3 °F) were recorded in Nuremberg on May 12.

    "Snowfall is occurring in some regions along the front, especially over Poland and Belarus," Severe Weather Europe reported on the same date. "Further south and southwest, storms were ongoing along the leading frontal boundary since yesterday afternoon." Tromso, Norway also reported heavy snow on the 12th.

    On May 14, an intense snowstorm hit the Kola Peninsula in the far northwest of Russia, resulting in traffic disruptions across the region. Murmansk citizens took to social media to share photos and videos of snowy streets.

    Unprecedented late night frost was reported in the Netherlands for the second night in a row on from May 14 into 15. In the Utrecht city, De Bilt the temperature dropped down to -1.2 °C (29.8 °F), it was -1.0 °C (30.2 °F) on the night before. 

    According to the weather agency Weeronline, such light night frost in De Bilt is special. 

    Two or more frost nights after May 10 were experienced in De Bilt only in 1909, 1941, 1946 and 1973. On average, the last frost day of the season in De Bilt is April 15.

    On May 16, the weather took a turn as a heatwave spread across the southern Mediterranean, spreading into south Italy, southern Balkans, Turkey, and Israel, among other places.

    Meanwhile, it was stormy over Barcelona, Spain, and cloudy over Germany. Several thunderstorms and wind warnings are in place to much of the continent.

    SEE ALSO: Sun entering into 'deep solar lockdown'

  • Melon-like hailstones pummel San Luis de Potosí, Mexico

    Giant ice balls the size of melons fell on San Luis de Potosi, Mexico on May 18, 2020.

    Given the curious about the phenomenon, many people went out to register these giant hail, filling social networks with photos and videos.

  • Powerful dust storm strikes Delhi, India

    Sunny morning skies went dark by noon as massive dust storm enveloped Delhi, India, in a sudden change of weather on Sunday, May 10, 2020. The storm came after the city recorded the season's second hottest temperature -- 40.9 °C (105.6 °F).

    "This activity was caused by a western disturbance. It has resulted in dust storms, thunder, and light rainfall," explained Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of the India Meteorological Department's (IMD) North-West Meteorological Center. 

    Light rains also hit isolated places in Delhi-NCR, with winds gusting up to 70 km/h (44 mph).

    Sunny skies turned hazy as the dust caused visibility levels to drop. The dust storm was witnessed in areas from Noida to Rajouri Garden in West Delhi.

    Skymet Weather meteorologist Mahesh Palawat emphasized that similar weather conditions will persist until May 14.

    "Till then, there will be short spells and some activity. Due to this condition, the temperature may drop by 2 to 3 °C (3.6 to 5.4 °F). It will be around 38 to 39 °C (100.4 to 102.2 °F). Heatwave will not come before May 15."

    Other states such as Haryana, Chandigarh, and Chhattisgarh are likely to be hit by light rains with thunderstorms over the next few days. 

    The air quality index in the capital is likely to improve after isolated rains and gusty winds on Sunday. According to the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research, the air quality stands in the moderate range, at 104 micrograms per cubic meter.

  • Rare Extratropical Cyclone Strikes the Atlantic Coast of Brazil

    Extratropical cyclone hits the Atlantic coast of Brazil, affecting State of Rio Grande Do Sul and State of Santa Catarina. April 3rd & 4th 2020.

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  • Series of Tornadoes Cause 'Catastrophic' Damage Across the Southern States

    Tornadoes in Mississippi and Louisiana have caused "catastrophic" damage and at least six deaths after touching down Sunday, emergency officials say.

    So far, officials say hundreds of structures have been damaged by the storms.

    Two people are dead in Lawrence County, Mississippi, according to Monticello Fire Chief Lyle Berard, saying there were reports of two tornadoes in the area."It's pretty bad," he said "We have downed trees and multiple homes with major damage."

    The Mississippi State Emergency Management Agency confirmed the Lawrence County deaths. It said on Twitter that one person had died in Walthall County and there had been three confirmed fatalities in Jefferson Davis County.

    In Covington County, Mississippi, every emergency worker available was working Sunday evening to respond to damage from what the National Weather Service described as "a large and destructive tornado," county Emergency Management Department director Greg Sanford told CNN.

    "Where there were houses, they are no longer there," Sanford said, describing the reports of damage in the tiny community of Mount Horeb.

    Sanford says the county have received many calls about people being injured but are not yet sure how serious the injuries are.

    There have been an unspecified number of fatalities and "several injuries" in Jones County, Mississippi, due to the storms, according to county Emergency Management Communications Director Ramona Dungan.

    Dungan said there was extensive damage around the town of Soso.

    Candice Pitts rode out the storm in a small hallway at the Soso Volunteer Fire Station.

    "All I had was my arms to put over my son and mother-in-law," she said. "Was near a solid glass door that blew out and the roof in many places tore off or collapsed. My car was park(ed) under a shed that is now blown over in a yard nearby. It's mangled."

    Tornado watches issued across the South

    As of 9:30 p.m. ET, the weather service has 25 reports of tornadoes across the South on Easter Sunday. More than 95 million people in almost 20 states in the South and East are facing the threat of severe weather on Easter Sunday and Monday, with tornado watches issued across areas of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana.

    CNN meteorologist Gene Norman said a tornado with winds approaching 200 mph had swept through southern Mississippi Sunday afternoon.

    "There was a tornado emergency in effect at the time and this tornado was likely on the ground for nearly 100 miles. The Southeast remains under the threat for more multiple, dangerous and destructive tornadoes into the evening as tornado watches are in effect through midnight and will likely be extended eastward by Monday," Norman said.

    The National Weather Service earlier issued its highest level of tornado alert, a tornado emergency, for parts of Covington and Jefferson Davis counties. The weather service said confidence was high that the area was seeing a "strong to intense" tornado with winds of 115-165 mph.

    The mayor of Monroe, a city in north-central Louisiana of about 50,000 people, says hundreds of structures in his community were damaged by a Sunday afternoon twister.

    "At least 200-300 houses have been damaged here in the city of Monroe alone," Mayor Jamie Mayo said. "We also have had damage throughout Ouachita Parish."

    Mayo said there had not been any fatalities reported from the storm, but emergency workers were responding to "minor injuries." Fire crews were also searching damaged buildings to ensure no one was trapped.

    Alfonzo Galvan, a journalism student, recorded video of one Monroe neighborhood with debris in the street and several homes with significant damage. He told CNN his family was safe and didn't receive any damage. He lives about 1.5 miles away from the area in the video.

    "I got there after the tornado went through the area, but it was just a bunch of people surveying the damage to their homes and looking for their friends and loved ones making sure they were OK," Galvan said.

    Sheltering amid coronavirus

    There have been more than a dozen tornado reports across eastern Texas, northern Louisiana and southern Mississippi and a tornado early Sunday was confirmed south of Marble Falls, about 50 miles east of Austin, in Texas the weather service said. It appeared to weaken as it moved northward.

    The threat from the storms coincided with the dangers from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Officials in Mississippi said most county safe rooms were equipped with hand sanitizer and advised residents to still wear masks in the rooms.

    "Social distance as best as possible while inside the safe room," said Malary White, a spokeswoman with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

    From a tornado shelter in Starkville, Mississippi, Craig Ceecee told CNN staff were telling people to practice social distancing.

    Alabama Gov. Kay Iveyissued a state of emergency ahead of Sunday night's expected severe weather, suspending coronavirus orders where life could be endangered.

    "Shelters and community safe rooms should remain open and accessible to all individuals seeking refuge from this severe weather, while implementing reasonable practices and procedures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 among those seeking shelter," she said.

    Monroe Mayor Mayo said he had asked local hotels to provide rooms to people made homeless by the storms as coronavirus made opening a shelter potentially dangerous.

    Tornadoes touch down in Texas and LouisianaMonroe posted photos on its Instagram page showing downed power lines and significant damage to an airport building. "PLEASE AVOID THE AREA as emergency crews do their jobs," the post read.

    Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards urged residents to stay home.

    "Even though the morning storms have left the state, many other dangerous systems remain across Louisiana. Please stay at home, follow the orders of local officials and tune in to your local weather person for updates," Edwards said on Twitter.

    "The images and reports of major tornado damage in the Monroe area are heartbreaking, and my prayers are with the people there. We are in contact with local officials in the area to provide support. I hope all of Louisiana is on high alert right now," Edward said in a separate tweet.

    Edwards declared a state of emergency over the "devastating damage" in his state. His office said the governor would tour the tornado damage in Monroe and Ouchita Parish on Monday.

    As of 9:30 p.m. ET, more than 250,000 customers in the South were without power as severe weather pummeled the region.

    There were 103,027 customers without power in Texas, 75,865 customers without power in Arkansas, 64,141 customers without power in Alabama, 37,842 customers without power in Louisiana, and 15,920 customers without power in Mississippi, according to PowerOutage.us, a website that tracks power outages in the United States.

    Storm system hit Texas on Saturday

    The large storm system that brought severe weather to areas of Texas on Saturday was expected to shift eastward, marring the holiday for many in the Southeast.

    Severe weather went through San Angelo, Texas, on Saturday, causing the roof of a shed to fly off.

    Strong, long-track tornadoes were forecast for Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia along with strong winds and hail the size of tennis balls or larger.

    "Widespread damaging winds are also in the forecast for much of the Southern states," CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. "Winds this strong have the potential to cause similar damage to some tornadoes."

    "These storms are typically warned as severe thunderstorm warnings and not necessarily tornado warnings, which is why it is important to heed all warnings issued by the National Weather Service offices," Brink said.

    Flash flooding is expected in some states in the mid-South, including Tennessee, North Carolina and parts of northern Georgia and Alabama, where rainfall totals could reach up to 8 inches.

    Most other areas will receive 3 to 6 inches.

    A second wave of severe storms

    Meteorologists warn that after a storm passes, residents shouldn't let their guards down.

    "For Georgia, we're expecting two possible waves of activity: The first will be in the afternoon on Sunday as a warm front moves through the area," said Kyle Thiem, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Atlanta. "The second wave of storms will likely come through overnight as the main system moves eastward."

    By Monday, the system will focus on the East Coast. There will still be a threat of tornadoes, damaging straight-line winds, and hail.

    To stay abreast of dangerous conditions, officials advise residents to have multiple methods of receiving severe weather alerts, including weather radio and smartphone apps. For apps, make sure they're not on "do not disturb" or "silent" mode.

    If a tornado touches down, sirens will likely sound. However, they're not intended to wake people up; they're meant to alert people who are outdoors that they need to go inside as quickly as possible.

  • Tropical Cyclone '"Harold" aftermath: Widespread destruction across the South Pacific Islands

    Tropical Cyclone "Harold" lashed Tonga on Thursday, April 9, 2020, after leaving major destruction across the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji. Harold is the first Category 5 severe tropical cyclone to form in the South Pacific basin since 2018 and so far the strongest storm of the 2019/20 South Pacific cyclone season. The storm demolished almost all tourist resorts in Tonga with winds of up to 260 km/h (162 mph).

    Harold intensified again into a Category 5 storm by early Thursday, April 9, leaving meteorologists surprised as forecasts initially showed that the storm's strength was dropping.

    Prior to the storm's arrival, the government had declared a state of emergency-- the second time in a month, following a similar declaration for the global pandemic, COVID-19.

    Strong winds caused power disruptions in parts of the island, particularly the capital Nuku'alofa. Heavy rains caused extensive damage to vegetation as well. At least three tourist resorts in the north had been completely eradicated, according to the authorities.

    "I think we're going to spend an Easter doing a lot of cleaning up and we didn't get the brunt of the cyclone, even the tailwinds were pretty strong," said RNZ Pacific correspondent Kalafi Moala, who is based in the capital city.

    "There are trees on the road that need to be cut and moved and that's why the power is still off in Tongatapu because we need to do a lot of clearance of the trees before they reconnect," he added.

    There were reports of fatalities on the island, however, the exact numbers and further information has not yet been confirmed due to impacted communication lines.

    An extreme high tide warning remains in force for the entire country until Saturday, April 11, while a gale warning for Vava'u and Ha'apai had been extended to Tongatapu and 'Eua. Meanwhile, Niua still has a strong wind warning in force, while a heavy damaging swell and small craft advisory is in effect for all of Tonga.

    The National Emergency Management Office urged residents to stay away from coastal areas until Cyclone Harold had completely exited. Tonga was the third island country in the South Pacific hit by the cyclone in just a matter of days.

    Among the islands impacted by the storm were the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji.

    On April 2, people from the Solomon Islands felt the storm's brunt as it spawned strong winds, heavy rains, and rough seas. 27 fatalities were reported after strong waves swept off a ferry that had more than 700 passengers on board.

    According to the National Emergency Operations Center, 57 houses were destroyed while another 20 were damaged. In addition, seven classrooms were hit.

    Knocked down trees and branches in Honiara caused widespread power outages, damage to buildings, and blocked several roads.

    Among the affected buildings was the National Referral Hospital and the San Isidoro school for the deaf, where one roof was torn. The Kukum highway was also impassable after floodwaters submerged the road.

    A swollen stream swept away a portion of a bridge connecting parts of the northwestern Guadalcanal to Honiara. Damages were reported as well in the provinces of Rennel and Bellona as flooding and torn trees hit several buildings.

    On April 6, Harold made landfall on Vanuatu's Espirito Santo island. It was the first Category 5 severe tropical cyclone to hit the country since Cyclone Pam in 2015.

    Luganville MP Matai Seremaiah said up to 70 percent of buildings have been reduced to rubbles in the area, the second-largest town in Vanuatu. It was transformed by the direct hit from the Category 5 storm, he added.

    Casualties have also been reported on the island a couple of days after the storm. Two people died on Malo island, while thousands more remain in evacuation centers.

    Electricity had been restored to a hospital, but water supply and shelter are still in dire need. "When I got down yesterday I was just lost, just don't know where to start," said Seremaiah on Thursday.

    "What we're doing now is we went on to some communities and started organizing young people to group up and to equip them with chainsaws and start clearing up the yards because if we don't clear up the yards they start to attract mosquitos and then the next thing we have malaria or dengue fever coming in."

    The MP added that help was desperately needed as many people are left homeless. Contact is still to be established in many rural areas, but assessments from other areas like Pentecost are grim.

    "There's a lot of injuries but all the dispensaries are down and they're airlifting them to Port Vila. The cyclone passed them at night and it's really bad, from the central part to the southern part of Pentecost. Many people are living outside at the moment," he stated.

    Later this week, the New Zealand military will head to Vanuatu to deliver aid. Foreign minister Winston Peters said the plane will be packed with other supplies as well, including satellite phones, agricultural kits, and chainsaws. The private chopper will also be used for medical evacuations.

    The National Disaster Management Office said all incoming relief will be sealed and managed by assigned people equipped with the appropriate protective gear.

    According to Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, the damage Fiji took from Harold has been severe. "We didn’t know it would be that bad but there was some very bad damage, a couple of schools, that one in Nakasi and there’s one photo that was taken in, one of the islands, I think it was Matuku, the whole school had gone."

    "In addition, we had some home that you may have seen in Waidamudamu that was taken out by Tropical Cyclone Harold."

    "I am pleading with Fijians to stay out of the floodwaters. Keep your children out of floodwaters. These waters are deadly, unpredictable and can carry debris that can maim or kill," he also stated.

    "This must end. Everyone must immediately shelter indoors, in their homes or evacuation centers."

    On the forecast track, Harold is expected to continue moving southeast over the Pacific, weakening as it travels off Tonga into Friday, April 10. Moderate to locally heavy rainfall with thunderstorms are predicted over southern Lau Islands group, while moderate to locally heavy rainfall with strong winds and storm surge are forecast over southern Tonga.

  • Twin landspout tornadoes form in Morocco

    Twin landspout tornadoes formed in Oued Zem, Khouribga Province, Morocco during the afternoon hours (LT) of March 15, 2020.

    Landspouts are usually smaller and weaker than supercell tornadoes and do not form from a mesocyclone or pre-existing rotation in the cloud. On rare occasions, a landspout can be as strong as an EF-3 tornado.

     

     

  • Violent Baseball Size Hailstorm Sweeps Across Oklahoma and Missouri

    Large hail caused major damage to cars in Oklahoma and Missouri.

    Some people reported seeing hails as big as baseballs as well as damage to homes and cars.

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    Frequent cloud-to-ground lightning with large hail again was the big issue as the storms pushed through.

    Missouri hailstorm March 27, 2020. VK

    Missouri hailstorm March 27, 2020 VK

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