Extreme Weather

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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