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Extreme Weather

  • 'Laura' ties for strongest Louisiana landfall hurricane on record

    Category 4 Hurricane "Laura" made landfall near Cameron in southwestern Louisiana at 06:00 UTC (01:00 CDT) on August 27, 2020, with maximum sustained winds of 241 km/h (150 mph) and minimum central pressure of 938 hPa. Catastrophic storm surge, extreme winds, and flash flooding are occurring in portions of Louisiana.

    Laura is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Louisiana since the Last Island Hurricane of 1856. Last Island also had maximum sustained winds of 241 km/h (150 mph) - tie for the strongest Louisiana landfalling hurricane on record.

    The table below, made by Dr. Philip Klotzbach of the CSU, shows 11 strongest hurricanes to make landfall in Louisiana since records began in 1851, based on maximum sustained wind. 

    Laura's minimum central pressure of 938 hPa is the 4th lowest for a Louisiana hurricane landfall on record, trailing Katrina (2005, 920 hPa), Last Island (1856, 934 hPa) and Rita (2005, 937 hPa), Klotzbach noted.

    Laura is also the 7th named storm to make landfall in continental US (CONUS) in 2020, breaking the old record of 6 named storms making CONUS landfall by the end of August, set in 1886 and 1916.

    It is also the 7th major hurricane (Category 3+) to hit the state of Louisiana during August since records began in 1851.

    "Louisiana has been hit by more major hurricanes during August than any other state except Texas," Klotzbach said.

    At the time of landfall, at 06:00 UTC today, the center of Hurricane "Laura" was about 45 km (30 miles) SSW of Lake Charles, Louisiana and 70 km (40 miles) E of Port Arthur, Texas.

    The storm was moving N at 24 km/h (15 mph) and this general motion should continue through the day. A northeastward to east-northeastward motion is expected tonight and Friday. 

    On the forecast track, Laura will move inland across southwestern Louisiana this morning, and then continue northward across the state through this afternoon. The center of Laura is forecast to move over Arkansas tonight, and over the mid-Mississippi Valley on Friday, and the mid-Atlantic states on Saturday.

    Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 95 km (60 miles) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 335 km (205 miles). 

    A Weatherflow site in Cameron recently reported a sustained wind of 163 km/h (101 mph) with a gust to 187 km/h (116 mph).  

    A National Ocean Service site at Calcasieu Pass reported a sustained wind of 150 km/h (93 mph) and a wind gust of 204 km/h (127 mph) within the last hour.

    A wind gust of 167 km/h (104 mph) was recently reported at Lake Charles, Louisiana.

    At 07:00 UTC, Laura's center was about 15 km (10 miles) SW of Lake Charles. It had maximum sustained winds of 225 km/h (140 mph) and minimum central pressure of 941 hPa. The storm was moving N at 24 km/h (15 mph). By 08:00 UTC, it was 25 km (15 miles) WNW of Lake Charles with maximum sustained winds of 210 km/h (130 mph) and minimum central pressure of 946 hPa.

    A National Ocean Service tide station at Calcasieu Pass, Louisiana observed a water level rise of 2.8 m (9.19 feet) Mean Higher High Water at 06:00 UTC (01:00 CDT).

    In Lake Charles, Louisiana, the airport reported a sustained wind of 158 km/h (98 mph) with a gust to 212 km/h (132 mph) and a University of Florida observing tower reported sustained winds of 153 km/h (95 mph) and a gust to 212 km/h (132 mph) within the past couple of hours.

    A Weatherflow site in Cameron, Louisiana reported sustained wind of 148 km/h (92 mph) and a gust to 188 km/h (117 mph) in the southern eyewall of Laura after the eye has passed overhead

  • Antarctic Cold Blast Engulfs Australia

    A blast of wintry air brought rare snow to South Australia's Flinders Ranges and smashed low daily maximum temperatures at several locations in the state on Thursday, August 6. The cold snap also brought historic temperatures to Tasmania as Liawenee plunged to -14.2 °C (6.4 °F) on Friday, August 7, 2020-- the state's coldest day since records began. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) labeled this week's weather as a "very significant event."

    In South Australia, some of the locations that recorded lowest daily maximum temperatures on Thursday included Hawker, Whyalla, Yongala, and Port Augusta.

    "Two annual records and eight August records for lowest daily maximum temperature were broken," BOM stated.

    On Friday, rare snow blanketed the Flinders Ranges creating winter-like conditions to the red outback desert.

    Staff from the Skytrek Willow Spring Station said although they had seen sow on the top of the hills before, it has not snowed much down in the valley.

    According to BOM, a low near the NSW border is causing the unusually cold and wet conditions.

    "Snow is falling about higher ground in the Flinders and Mid North, and this will continue through to early Saturday morning (August 8)."

    Liawanee, Tasmania recorded -14.2 °C (6.4 °F) at 06:01 LT, breaking the state's previous record of -13 °C (8.6 °F) set on June 30, 1983, at Tarraleah, Butlers Gorge and Shannon. By 07:02 LT, the temperature rose to -10.9 °C (12.4 °F).

    BOM said this week's weather is "a very significant event." It was so cold that it was warmer at the Australian Antarctic research station in Casey on Thursday, meteorologist Simon Louis told ABC. "I don't think that would happen very often at all."

    "Casey station in Antarctica it only got to -12 °C (10.4 °F), so it was actually colder up at Liawenee than it would have been at least at Casey in Antarctica last night," Louis added.

    ​​On Tuesday, August 4, Launceston saw more than 30 cm (12 inches) of snow-- the most significant snowfall the city experienced since the early 1970s.

    Victoria’s ‘once in a decade event’

    Victoria also received some snowfall in what BOM duty forecaster Tom Delamotte called a “once in 10 years” event.

    In the Dandenong Ranges, where they commonly get snow, it was the most significant snowfall since 2008 as well.

    In Melbourne’s CBD it doesn’t happen very often either. It’s hard to tell how much actually fell but it lines up to a one in 10-year kind of event.

    Heavy snow in Ballarat

    Ballarat in the Victorian Central Highlands received a flurry of snow on the morning of August 4 as a wintry blast from Antarctica caused temperatures to plummet in Australia’s southeast.

    The Bureau of Meteorology expected snow and strong winds in the region, including parts of Victoria and Tasmania, during the week.

  • Hurricane "Laura" aftermath: Widespread Destruction Across the U.S. Gulf Coast

    Hurricane "Laura" entered history books as a deadly, very powerful, and damaging hurricane that tied the Last Island Hurricane of 1856 as the strongest hurricane ever recorded to make landfall in Louisiana, U.S. Laura is the 12th named storm, 4th hurricane, and 1st major hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. At least 53 people were killed, as of August 30, 2020 -- 31 in Haiti, 4 in the Dominican Republic and 18 in the United States (10 in Louisiana, 7 in Texas and 1 in Florida).

    The storm started forming on August 16 as a tropical wave off the west coast of Africa. On August 20, satellite imagery revealed that the system developed a defined low-level circulation center, with convection firing up around it. As a result, the NHC began issuing advisories on Tropical Depression Thirteen, while the system was located about 1 670 km (1 035 miles) ESE of the northern Leeward Islands.

    Schools were closed in Anguilla and Antigua on August 20 as well as all ports in the British Virgin Islands.

    Laura intensified into a tropical storm on August 21 when it was about 375 km (230 miles) ESE of the northern Leeward Islands. This made it the earliest 12th named storm in the Atlantic Ocean on record, beating the previous record held by Hurricane "Luis" of 1995 by 8 days.

    The storm was strengthening as it passed just south of Puerto Rico and early on August 23, it made landfall near San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic with maximum sustained winds of 72 km/h (45 mph).

    On the same day, it passed near Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, and emerged from Haiti and crossed the Windward Passage, making a second landfall near Santiago de Cuba Province, Cuba with maximum sustained winds of 95 km/h (60 mph) and a minimum central pressure of 1 000 hPa. The third landfall took place around 00:00 UTC on August 25 in western Cuba's Pinar del Rio Province. The storm then entered the Gulf of Mexico and started reorganizing.

    Laura brought heavy rainfall to the islands of Guadeloupe and Dominica. In the Netherlands Antilles, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint-Maarten saw minor flooding. Scattered power outages affected 4 000 people in Saint Kitts and Nevis. In the Virgin Islands, a peak wind gust of 65 km/h (41 mph) was reported in Sandy Point, Saint Croix. The Virgin Islands reported some power outages and flash flooding.

    Puerto Rico authorities declared a state of emergency after roughly 200 000 customers lost power and nearly 14 000 access to running water. A peak 104 mm (4.09 inches) of rain was reported in Villalba and peak wind gust of 121 km/h (75 mph) in Salinas.

    In the Dominican Republic, the heaviest rains were reported in the country's southern coast. The highest 24-hour rainfall accumulation was recorded in Barahona at 300 mm (11.7 inches). According to media reports, approximately 1.1 million people lost power, and 1.56 million experienced water service disruption. Estimates made on August 24 included 1 791 damaged homes. At least 4 people lost their lives.

    Widespread flooding also hit Haiti where Peligre Dam overflowed, sending floodwaters down the Artibonite valley. Floods damaged 447 homes and destroyed 15 in the Artibonite. At least 31 people lost their lives and 8 went missing.

    In Cuba, 260 000 people were forced to evacuate. A wind gust of 146 km/h (91 mph) was recorded in Maisi, where residents reported downed trees and destroyed roofs. 231.5 mm (9.51 inches) of rain was recorded in Complejo Palma, Santiago de Cuba, and 190.6 mm (7.50 inches) in San Antonio del Sura, Guantanamo. A bridge in Buey Arriba, Granma Province, collapsed due to flooding, stranding residents of 30 communities.

    Flash flooding and significant disruption to road infrastructure were also reported across Jamaica.

    Florida, U.S. started feeling Laura's effects by August 21, with major flooding and a state of emergency declared in southern counties. On August 25, a St. George Island first responder drowned while trying to rescue a swimmer caught in rough surf. This was Laura's first fatality in the United States.

    Laura strengthened into a hurricane at 12:15 UTC on August 25 and started rapidly intensifying on the following day. At the time, the northern Gulf Coast was already under hurricane warnings caused by Hurricane "Marco."

    Approximately 58% of oil production and 45% of natural gas were shut down in the United States by August 23. This included the evacuation of 114 platforms. By August 25, 299 of 643 platforms and 27 of 28 mobile rigs evacuated.

    Three rare Extreme Wind Warnings were issued for Louisiana and Texas as Laura approached landfall.

    Louisiana declared a state of emergency for 36 of its parishes on August 21 due to the combined effect of Marco and Laura. Evacuations related to Marco were in place for Plaquemines Parish, Jefferson Parish, Grand Isle, and Port Fourchon. A mandatory evacuation was ordered for the entire Calcasieu Parish on August 25 -- approximately 200 000 people.

    State of Emergency was declared in Texas on August 23 for 23 counties in its eastern region. Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for low-lying areas of Chambers, Galveston and Jefferson counties, and the entire Orange County. This included the entirety of the Bolivar Peninsula and cities of Galveston and Port Arthur. A voluntary evacuation order was issued for coastal areas of Brazoria and Harris counties. In total, an estimated 385 000 people were under evacuation orders in the state, including the entire city of Beaumont.

    At 12:00 UTC on August 26, Laura intensified into a Category 3 hurricane and reached Category 4 strength by 18:00 UTC on the same day.

    At 01:00 UTC on August 27, Laura reached a peak intensity of 240 km/h (150 mph) and pressure of 937 hPa. By 03:00 UTC, the pressure began to fluctuate as the storm approached the Louisiana coastline.

    Laura made its fourth landfall near Cameron, Louisiana, with maximum sustained wind of 240 km/h (150 mph) and central pressure of 938 hPa at 06:00 UTC on August 27. This tied it with the 1856 Last Island hurricane as the strongest cyclone on record to make landfall in Louisiana, based on maximum sustained wind speed.

    It began to weaken quickly after moving inland due to frictional displacement and shear created by the trough that caused Hurricane "Marco" to dissipate two days earlier and became a tropical storm on the same day, while moving over northern Louisiana. Early on August 28, the storm weakened further, dropping to tropical depression status while over Arkansas. By that time, it was moving north-northeastward ahead of the westerly flow.

    NHC issued its last advisory for the storm at 09:00 UTC on August 29 when Laura degraded into a remnant low, 210 km (130 miles) E of Louisville, Kentucky. 

    Widespread power outages were reported near the landfall point in Cameron. Near Cameron, a wind gust of 204 km/h (127 mph) was recorded at Calcasieu Pass, which saw at least 2.8 m (9.19 feet) of storm surge. Extensive damage took place in Holly Beach:

    The Lake Charles Regional Airport saw a wind gust of 206 km/h (128 mph) and reported multiple hangars destroyed. Many windows were blown out of Capital One Tower in Downtown Lake Charles.

    A communications tower collapsed onto the KPLC studio building (which had been evacuated ahead of the storm) and a portion of a sky bridge was blown out.

    The radar at the NWS Lake Charles forecast office was destroyed around the time of landfall, with its dome and much of its internal equipment sheared from the radar tower's base. Its staff was evacuated before the incident.

    A large chemical fire started on the west side of Lake Charles after a chlorine leak. Extensive structural damage was also reported in Vinton in De Quincy and much of the town of Delcambre.

    Widespread flooding was also reported in Natchitoches Parish, where I-49 had to be closed past SH 174 west of Powhatan due to a downed tree.

    Authorities reported four fatalities across the state due to falling trees. One young person died in Calcasieu Parish and the entire family of 4 in Lake Charles due to carbon monoxide poisoning from generators run inside homes. The 10th fatality in the state as man who drowned while aboard a sinking boat during the storm.

    Mississippi reported 1 tornado and widespread flooding across Jefferson Davis County but other than that, the state was spared of devastating storm surge forecasters warned about.

    A large and extremely dangerous tornado was reported in Crowley's Ridge State Park, Arkansas, prompting a rare Particularly Dangerous Situation tornado warning. An EF-2 tornado was also reported southwest of Maynard and another in Lake City, causing significant damage.

    Over a million customers lost power in the United States and about 200 000 without running water.

  • Hurricane Sally: Catastrophic Flooding Unfolding Across Alabama/Florida

    Slow-moving Category 2 Hurricane "Sally" made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama at 10:00 UTC on September 16, 2020, with maximum sustained winds of 165 km/h (105 mph) and a minimum central pressure of 965 hPa.

    • Sally is now the 8th named storm to make continental U.S. (CONUS) landfall so far in 2020. This is the most CONUS landfalling named storms on record through September 16, beating the previous record of 7 landfalls through September 16 in 1916.
    • Sally is also the 4th hurricane to make landfall in CONUS so far in 2020. The most recent year with 4 CONUS hurricane landfalls by September 16 is 2004.

    Catastrophic and life-threatening flooding is occurring in parts of the northern Gulf Coast and more than 500 000 customers are without power in Alabama and Florida, as of 14:20 UTC.

    Sally is an extremely dangerous slow-moving hurricane, able to deliver flooding of historic proportions through the end of the week.

    Life-threatening conditions and significant damage reports are coming in from Orange Beach, Alabama, just 11 km (7 miles) E of Gulf Shores, and other nearby towns.

    A north-northeastward to northeastward motion at a slightly faster forward speed is expected later today and tonight, followed by a faster northeastward motion on Thursday.

    On the forecast track, the center of Sally will move across the extreme western Florida panhandle and southeastern Alabama through early Thursday, and move over central Georgia Thursday afternoon through Thursday night.

    At 14:00 UTC (09:00 CDT), Sally's center was located about 30 km (20 miles) W of Pensacola, Florida. Its maximum sustained winds were 140 km/h (85 mph) and minimum central pressure 972 hPa. The storm was moving NNE at 7 km/h (4 mph). By 15:00 UTC, winds decreased to 130 km/h (80 mph).

    Historic and catastrophic flooding is unfolding along and just inland of the coast from west of Tallahassee, Florida, to Mobile Bay, Alabama, NHC said.

    In addition, widespread moderate to major river flooding is forecast.

    Significant flash and urban flooding, as well as widespread minor to moderate river flooding, is likely across inland portions Alabama into central Georgia.

    Widespread flash and urban flooding is possible, as well as widespread minor to moderate river flooding, across western South Carolina into western and central North Carolina.

    Scattered flash and urban flooding is possible, as well as scattered minor river flooding in southeast Virginia.

    Life-threatening storm surge is occurring along portions of the coastline from Alabama to the western Florida Panhandle, including Pensacola Bay and southern portions of Mobile Bay.

    Hurricane conditions are expected this morning and then continue into this afternoon within portions of the Hurricane Warning area along the Mississippi and Alabama coastlines and the western Florida Panhandle.

  • Immense Storm Triggers Sea Foam Tsunami in South Africa

    Cape Town’s streets are clogged with vast plumes of sea foam

    In recent days, the South African Weather Service (SAWS) has warned about the impending bad weather stemming from an emerging cold front, but no one could have prepared for the sheer volume of foam that swept ashore.

    Warnings of high seas of between six and 13 meters, and gale force winds of up to 100km/h in certain coastal areas, with reports of vehicles being blown over.

  • Incredible Storm Triggers Tsunami in Upper Chesapeake Bay

    A rare meteotsunami formed in the Chesapeake Bay as thunderstorms rolled through Maryland Monday night.

    According the The National Weather Service’s Mt. Holly bureau the tsunami formed near Tolchester Beach in Kent County.

    A meteotsunami is a tsunami wave that is brought on by air-pressure disturbances often associated with fast-moving weather events like severe thunderstorms, squalls, and other storm fronts.

    The tidal chart showed that there was a sharp rise and fall along several smaller waves. This wasn’t due to any seismic activity, instead it was due to the substantial pressure created by the thunderstorm.

    This is the classic meteotsunami signature with a tsunami wave followed by several smaller waves in response.

    According to folks at Tolchester Marina, the storm was extremely intense. Cathy Bramble, marina president, tells Bay Bulletin the rain came down sideways and wind gusts were so strong that Tolchester’s 20-foot steel flagpole was bent. Bramble says the wind also blew a sign right into the marina’s palm tree, where it became lodged in the trunk.

    Boaters at the marina saw hail and one sailboater’s wind instrument clocked a gust at just under 70 miles per hour.

    Radar loops showed that the storm outflow – a line, or in this case a ring, of cool dry winds – move out of the thunderstorm cluster in a symmetric pattern. “This pattern would have produced gusty winds as it passed over the Cheapeake Bay and lowered the atmospheric pressure suddenly,” explains Snider.

    The last suspected meteotsunami on the mid-Atlantic coast was the result of a derecho back in 2013. The rare phenomenon is hard to predict and there is no warning system yet.

  • Megadrought Escalates in Southwest U.S.

    Much of the southwestern portion of the United States has been gripped by a drought that never seems to end, and there is a tremendous amount of concern that patterns that we witnessed back during the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s may be starting to repeat. 

    Phoenix has never had more days in a year when the high temperature has hit at least 115 degrees, and other southwestern cities have been smashing records as well.  At the same time, precipitation levels have been very low, and the combination of these two factors is starting to cause some major problems.

    A couple of weeks ago, NASA posted an article on their official website about the horrible drought conditions that we are now witnessing…

    As the United States moves into the last weeks of climatological summer, one-third of the country is experiencing at least a moderate level of drought. Much of the West is approaching severe drought, and New England has been unusually dry and hot. An estimated 53 million people are living in drought-affected areas.

    Since NASA posted that article, things have gotten even worse.  If you go to the U.S. Drought Monitor website, you will instantly see why so many experts are deeply concerned.  The latest map shows that nearly the entire southwestern quadrant of the country is now gripped by either “severe” or “extreme” drought.  Needless to say, this is not good news at all for farmers and ranchers in the region.

    Colorado is one of the states that is being hit the hardest.  At this point, more than 93 percent of the entire state is experiencing very serious drought conditions

    According to United States Drought Monitor, drought conditions have gotten significantly worse in Colorado in recent days and weeks.

    Last week, approximately 72 percent of Colorado was experiencing “severe” drought conditions or worse. This has now jumped to just over 93 percent.

    Because things have been so dry, it is really easy for the wind to pick up dust and start blowing it around, and this summer we have been seeing some really impressive dust storms.

    For example, earlier this month two giant dust storms actually “converged” in the Phoenix area

    Two dust storms converged over the greater Phoenix area on Sunday, hours after the city broke another record as a heat wave grips the West.

    Thankfully, at this point we still have a long way to go before we return to the nightmarish conditions of the 1930s.  The “Black Sunday” dust storm that so many history books talk about was actually 1,000 miles long, and it traveled at speeds of up to 100 miles an hour…

    A month later, one of the most severe storms of the era, nicknamed “Black Sunday,” enveloped the Great Plains. It was 1,000 miles long, contained 300,000 tons of dust, and traveled up to 100 miles per hour. This weather didn’t just affect the land: Farm animals choked on dust and suffocated. At least 7,000 people died from “dust pneumonia” as a result of breathing in the fine particulates, and countless more were driven from their homes and livelihoods by the endless, swirling dirt.

    Let us hope that we don’t see anything like that any time soon, but scientists are using the term “megadrought” to describe what the southwestern portion of the country is currently going through…

    The western United States and parts of northern Mexico have been suffering through drought conditions on and off since the year 2000 – and unfortunately it may not let up any time soon. A new study has examined extreme droughts in the region dating back 1,200 years, and found that the current conditions have the makings of a “megadrought” that could last decades.

    In fact, the lead author of that study is actually telling us that the current drought is “on the same trajectory as the worst prehistoric droughts”

    “We now have enough observations of current drought and tree-ring records of past drought to say that we’re on the same trajectory as the worst prehistoric droughts,” said study lead author A. Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University, in a statement. This is “a drought bigger than what modern society has seen.”

    Ultimately, the experts don’t know how long this new “megadrought” will last.

    It could theoretically end next year, or it could persist for the foreseeable future.

    But if it continues to intensify, it is going to become increasingly difficult for farmers and ranchers to make a living in the affected areas.

    In addition, supplies of fresh water are going to become increasingly stressed.  The once mighty Colorado River is now so overused that it doesn’t even run all the way to the ocean anymore, and experts are deeply concerned about the future of the river.

    In the end, this “megadrought” may force dramatic changes in cities all over the region.  Sadly, things have already gotten so bad that you can see the impact of the drought “everywhere”

    “You see impacts everywhere, in snowpacks, reservoir levels, agriculture, groundwater and tree mortality,” said co-author Benjamin Cook, of Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory. “Droughts are these amazingly disruptive events. Water sits at the foundation of everything.”

    Those that have been following my work for many years know that I have been watching developments in the southwestern quadrant of the country for many years, and things have really started to escalate here in 2020.

    What a crazy year this has been.  We are still dealing with a global pandemic, 58 million Americans have filed for unemployment over the past 23 weeks, civil unrest continues to rage in our major cities and major politicians are being chased down the street, and this month we have been hit by one natural disaster after another.

    Now a presidential election is rapidly approaching, and many people believe that what we have experienced so far is just the beginning of our problems.

    Without a doubt, our world seems to be going absolutely nuts, and that should deeply alarm all of us.

  • Rare Hurricane Force Storm Hits the Mediterranean

    The rare cyclone Ianos 'hit' the islands of Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Ithaca on Thursday evening.

    Greece's national meteorological service issued a top level Red Alert for winds, rain and storm conditions.

    "We are preparing to face a rare extreme weather phenomenon," Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said, adding that citizens living in regions likely to be affected by the weather front should limit their movements to only those that are strictly necessary.

    "Mediterranean cyclones are relatively rare phenomena, which we have encountered in Greece since 1995, but they have intensified and become more frequent in the Mediterranean region due to climate change," he added.

    The minister also called on the citizens of Achaia, Arcadia, the Argolid, Viotia (Boeotia), Etoloakarnania, Fokida, Attica and Evia, who live in areas that have flooded in the past or are near rivers, streams or shorelines, to avoid going in basements and ground floors for prolonged periods of time.

    
    

    He also urged them to stay with relatives or friends if possible and avoid crossing rivers or flooded roads “for any reason, either on foot or by vehicle.”

    ‘Ianos’ according to the forecasts, is expected to intensify during the night.

    Professor of Dynamic Tectonic Applied Geology & Natural Disaster Management, Efthymios Lekkkas confirmed while speaking to MEGA, that the powerful weather phenomena is expected for the next 48 hours.

    At the same time, he added that heading south is not a favourable development as “if it came to Attica, ie from land areas, the phenomenon would be greatly weakened… When it goes to the southern Peloponnese, I am very afraid that it will be strengthened even more. If it is exactly on the coastline, it is strengthened by the sea mass, and it is discharged intensively in the land area, that is, we will have intense phenomena in Patras, Kyllini, Zacharo, Kyparissia and Methoni.

    Meanwhile, the General Secretariat for Civil Protection warned residents about the extreme weather phenomena.

    On Friday, Ianos is expected to affect the Peloponnese, central Greece, Attica and Evia. The Cyclades islands are expected to be affected as of Friday night, while on Saturday it is possible that Crete will also be impacted.

    According to a study published in 2011, only one or two medicanes (a rare hurricane storm) occur per year. These powerful storms usually happen during the months of September and October, when sea surface temperatures in the Mediterranean are still quite warm, although they can occur at any time of year.

    Warmer sea surface temperatures in the Mediterranean can allow the storms to take on more tropical appearances and characteristics, increasing the wind speeds and making the storms more intense.

  • SUMMER Blizzard Buries Xinjiang, Northwest China

    A powerful summer blizzard hit parts of northwest China, killing hundreds of livestock and stopping traffic in the mountains.

    Herdsmen in Tekes County, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have endured heavy losses after blizzard froze to death over 400 livestock animals across the county.

    The snow also disrupted traffic in Nilka County of Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture. Over 400 tourists in 130 vehicles were either stranded in the Tangbra Mountain or on the Dushanzi-Kuche Highway, which runs through the Tianshan Mountain from its south end to north end.

  • Temperatures Plunge 60 Degrees in less then 24 hours across the Rockies

    Summer came to an abrupt halt in parts of the Rocky Mountains on Tuesday as temperatures reaching into the 90s plunged by around 60 degrees in less than 24 hours, with a powerful surge of cold air from Canada unleashing snow and damaging winds in several states.

    The roller coaster weather ripped up trees by their roots, piled up snow that shut down parts of the scenic road through Glacier National Park and knocked out power to tens of thousands.

    But the temperature drop gave some relief to crews fighting wildfires in Colorado and Montana that had ballooned in hot, windy weather and forced people to flee their homes.

    Heat and strong winds also hit California and parts of the Pacific Northwest over the holiday weekend, triggering destructive wildfires.

    Snow fell in Colorado, Montana and Wyoming, where portions of Interstate 80 closed and forecasters predicted up to a foot in the mountains and temperatures in the teens overnight.

    In Utah, where temperatures dropped by 40 degrees, wind gusts of nearly 100 mph roared through the Salt Lake City area, downing trees and leaving tens of thousands without electricity.

    Several northern Utah school districts canceled classes, and officials warned people to stay inside if possible to avoid flying debris, downed power lines and other dangers. Several semitrailer trucks blew over on northern Utah highways.

    The Utah Capitol, which was already closed to visitors because of the coronavirus pandemic, shut to employees as well Tuesday as winds ripped up large trees by their roots, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox tweeted.

    Six inches or more of snow could fall in the northern and central Rockies, with 1 to 2 feet dropping in the highest peaks, the National Weather Service said.

    It has issued scattered winter storm warnings and weather advisories from southern Montana to southern Colorado. Freeze and frost warnings also were posted for parts of Montana, Idaho, Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota and Minnesota.

    The cold and snow will help the fight against the Cameron Peak Fire in northern Colorado, which nearly quadrupled in size over the weekend, sending smoke and ash into Denver. The weather was gradually expected to warm up, with temperatures back up in the 80s by the weekend in the Denver area.

    In Montana, where the weather began to shift Sunday night, the small city of Red Lodge, a gateway to Yellowstone National Park, had received 10.5 inches of snow. 

    A bison stands in snow storm in Colorado. Picture: AP/David Zalubowski

    The storm forced officials to close Beartooth Pass on Monday, due to extreme conditions. Several inches of snow fell in the area, making some roads impassable.

    A windstorm in western Montana on Monday knocked down trees and power lines and damaged docks and boats on Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River in the contiguous U.S.

    Ken and Karen Brown, who live in Safety Bay on the southwest side of the lake, told NBC Montana that the community usually lives up to its name but that wind-driven waves took most of the planks off their dock.

    “This is probably one of the stronger storms we’ve had in the 23 years I’ve been here,” Ken Brown told the TV station.

  • Two Hurricanes Forecast to Develop in Gulf of Mexico

    We COULD possibly see two hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time in recorded history.

    The historically active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season continues to ramp up, with the National Hurricane Center identifying two tropical depressions, both of which could strengthen as they head toward the Gulf of Mexico and the U.S. coastline.

    Residents from Texas to Florida need to prepare for the TWO tropical systems that could impact the area in the coming days.

    Tropical Storm Laura

    The first system to watch is Tropical Storm Laura, which is about 200 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands.

    Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Puerto Rico, including Vieques and Culebra, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Saba and St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla, according to the National Hurricane Center.

    Tropical storm watches are in effect for the northern coast of the Dominican Republic from Cabo Cabron to the border with Haiti, as well as the northern coast of Haiti from Le Mole-St. Nicholas to the border with the Dominican Republic.

    Watches are also in place for the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, the NHC said.

    Tropical Depression Fourteen (TD-14)

    The second system, Tropical Depression Fourteen (TD-14), is about 150 miles east of Isla Roatan, Honduras.

    A hurricane watch is in effect for Punta Herrero to Cancun, Mexico. A tropical storm warning has been issued for the Bay Islands of Honduras. A tropical storm watch is in effect for North and west of Cancun to Dzilam, Mexico, according the NHC.

    Regardless of development, this disturbance will likely produce heavy rains across a large portion of Central America and southeastern Mexico late this week and this weekend,” the NHC said.

    TD-14 is expected to become better organized Friday, meaning an upgrade to Tropical Storm Marco is likely to occur in the next 24 hours.

    2 hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico

    Both systems are headed to the Gulf of Mexico.

    The longer-term forecast for [Tropical Storm Laura] looks to be complicated by the presence of another tropical system [TD 14] in the Gulf of Mexico next week,” said CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller. “Another tropical system spinning in the Gulf will make the forecast track less certain, as tropical storms and hurricanes in close range of each other can alter the winds in the atmosphere and influence each others’ tracks.

    So have we ever had two tropical storm strength systems simultaneously in the Gulf of Mexico before?

    Only two other times in recorded history has the Gulf of Mexico hosted two tropical cyclones at the same time, September 1933 and June 1959. “On June 18, 1959, we had an unnamed tropical storm (e.g., added after the season) and Beulah,” Klotzbach said.

    Right now both storms are forecast to intensify to Category 1 hurricane strength as they move through the Gulf of Mexico.

    We have never had two hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico simultaneously,” Klotzbach points out.

    In terms of named storms, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has gotten off to the fastest start in history, according to record-keeping dating back to 1851

    Forecasters are predicting much stronger storms over the remainder of the season, with several storms reaching Category 3 or higher, a potentially devastating strength if they make landfall with that intensity.

  • Video Compilation: Devastation in the wake of Powerful Hurricane Laura

    Laura made landfall overnight as a storm of historic proportions, with wind speeds of 150 miles an hour, surpassing Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

    Here are some incredible videos and images of the monster storm.

  • Widespread destruction after Medicane Cassilda (Ianos) strikes Greece

    Medicane Cassilda (Ianos) made landfall in Argostoli, Kefalonia, western Greece at 02:20 UTC on September 18, 2020, with maximum sustained winds up to 110 km/h (70 mph), gusts to 135 km/h (85 mph), and heavy rain.

    • Widespread destruction was reported.
    • At least 3 people have been killed and one is still missing. Nearly 1 000 were rescued.
    • The storm moved through central Greece after striking the Ionian islands and exited back into the Mediterranean Sea.
    • Cassilda is now weakening on its way toward the Libya-Egypt border region.

    Cassilda caused widespread infrastructural damage, downed trees and bridges, disrupted traffic, damaged roads, homes and buildings, sank boats, and left thousands of homes without power.

    Ionian Sea islands of Zakynthos, Kefalonia, and Ithaca, and areas around the cities of Kardiutsa and Farsala in central Greece are among the worst hit. 

    According to official estimates, 5 000 properties were flooded in Karditsa alone.

    At least 3 people have been killed -- one in Farsala, and two in Karditsa.

    Rescuers are still searching for a woman who went missing in Mouzaki after the car she was driving got swept away by floodwaters.

    Emergency service officials said they received over 2 500 calls for assistance and rescued nearly 1 000 people.

    Five boats reportedly sank off Zakynthos and Lefkada. One boat believed to be carrying 55 migrants was in distress off the Peloponnese peninsula, southwest of Athens, and urged vessels in the area to assist. On Friday, waves off the coast of the western Peloponnese were as high as 7 m (23 feet).

    Many farmers in central Greece said their crops and greenhouses were destroyed.

    Cassilda weakened into Severe Medistorm on September 19 as it moved south and is now back in the Mediterranean, weakening on its way toward the Libya-Egypt border region.

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