APRIL 2014




A spring blizzard that dumped up to 20 inches of snow in parts of the Upper Midwest isn't increasing fears of spring flooding.  There wasn't much of a flood threat going into Monday's storm, and the snow that fell was light and without much moisture, according to National Weather Service officials in North Dakota. Residents of the three states were digging out Tuesday as major roadways reopened—including large stretches of interstate highways in the Dakotas—though many schools in the region started classes late.

The National Weather Service said Bismarck set rainfall and snow records Monday for the date: Over half an inch of rain and 8.1 inches of snow. Grand Forks set a city snowfall record for the date with 11.5 inches, breaking the 13-year-old record of 4.1 inches.

Grafton, to the north of Grand Forks, received the most snow, with 20 inches.

In Minnesota, the weather service reported 18 inches of new snow at Thief River Falls and Warren and 16 inches in Salol in Roseau County. To the south, a tornado caused damage at three farms southeast of St. Leo in Yellow Medicine County, but no injuries were reported.


A powerful thunderstorm roared through southern Mississippi on the 15th, injuring two people and causing extensive damage to a trailer park in Gautier, Mississippi, authorities said. There were "20-25 camper trailers damaged from what appears to be straight line winds that blew" in the Gulf Coast community, according to Troy Earl Ross, the president of the Jackson County Board of Supervisors. A number of people have been displaced from their homes in the trailer park that houses seasonal workers.


Tornadoes tore through several states Sunday evening as severe weather slammed into parts of the central United States. Authorities confirmed at least nine fatalities: eight in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma. Damage is "widespread" after a tornado hit Mayflower, Arkansas, and there are numerous reports of injuries, said Matt DeCample, a spokesman for the state's governor. Damage is also widespread in Vilonia, north of Little Rock, he said.

"I can't even get down the main street down to the middle of town," Vilonia Mayor James Firestone said. "I am trying to make my way through the downed trees and power lines. What I am seeing, it is a lot of damage. I've been listening to the rescue folks. They're saying people have to be extracted from vehicles. ... It looks pretty bad. From what I understand, there has been a subdivision that's been leveled." In Mayflower, overturned, smashed cars were visible along the freeway as search and rescue teams combed the area. Interstate 40 was shut down as authorities removed debris from the highway after the tornado struck Mayflower, said Arkansas State Patrol spokesman Bill Sadler. Mayflower is roughly 25 miles northwest of Little Rock.

People were plucked off rooftops or climbed into their attics to get away from fast-rising waters when nearly 2 feet of rain fell on the Florida Panhandle and Alabama coast in the span of about 24 hours, the latest bout of severe weather that began with tornadoes in the Midwest. On Wednesday, roads were chewed up into pieces or wiped out entirely and neighborhoods were inundated, making rescues difficult for hundreds of people who called for help when they were caught off guard by the single rainiest day ever recorded in Pensacola. Boats and Humvees zigzagged through the flooded streets to help stranded residents. A car and truck plummeted 25 feet when portions of a scenic highway collapsed, and one Florida woman died when she drove her car into high water, officials said. Near the Alabama-Florida line, water started creeping into Brandi McCoon's mobile home, so her fiancé, Jonathan Brown, wrapped up her nearly 2-year-old son Noah in a blanket and they swam in neck-deep water to their car about 50 feet away.


Warmer weather returned to western and central Europe, while rain boosted crop prospects on the Iberian Peninsula. After last week’s hard freeze, temperatures averaged 3 to 10C above normal across Spain, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The warmer conditions allowed producers to assess the impacts if any of last week’s hard freeze on winter grains and oilseeds. The warmth was also accompanied by moderate to heavy rain (10-50 mm, locally more) in Spain and southwestern France, improving soil moisture for jointing to heading winter grains and boosting water reserves. Showers (5-25 mm) in Italy likewise improved soil moisture for winter wheat and increased reservoir levels for summer irrigation. Meanwhile, mostly dry weather prevailed from northern France, Germany, and the Low Countries into Poland and the Balkans, promoting small grain planting and other seasonal fieldwork while accelerating winter crop development.

However, soil moisture remained limited for wheat and rapeseed in Germany due to a drier-than-normal winter and early spring; rain will be needed in this key central European wheat and rapeseed area to prevent yield declines as crops approach reproduction.




Sharply colder weather settled over the region, while unfavorable dryness persisted in parts of Ukraine. A strong early week cold front was followed by temperatures up to 5C below normal, with nighttime readings dropping as low as -7C across central and eastern Ukraine as well as portions of Russia’s Southern and North Caucasus Districts.


Middle east


A hard freeze further occurred in in Turkey, while rain fell in Iraq and Iran. After an unseasonably warm winter and early spring accelerated winter crop development in turkey,

Temperatures during the past week plunged to -8c (locally Lower) in central portions of the country.




Heavy showers prevailed across the southern portion of the region, including Java, Indonesia. Rainfall typically begins to slowly diminish in the southern areas as tropical rainfall migrates northward. However, heavy rainfall has been intermittent over the recent weeks, particularly in Java, Indonesia, where widespread amounts of 100 to 200 mm of rain occurred for the recent week.




Tropical Cyclone Ita brought flooding rains to areas along the eastern Queensland coast. Rainfall amounts topped 200 mm in a highly localized area of the northeastern coast, with winds in excess of 135 knots (Category 4) occurring just prior to landfall on April 11. Ita weakened rapidly as it skirted the coastline and moved back out to sea on April 13 before dissipating completely. Rainfall for the week ending April 12 was primarily confined to south and southeastern Australia.




Strong winds have hammered the South Island on the 17th with the tail end of Cyclone Ita damaging homes, businesses and causing problems for motorists. Rain has eased in Canterbury and Eastern Otago but damage in many of these areas have already been done. In Christchurch almost 20 roads were closed today due to widespread flooding. The flooding also damaged homes which were drying out after the last deluge.

NZTA says SH1 Maheno to Oamaru remains closed due to flooding. Otago Regional Council managers are warning people to stay clear of the Silverstream at Gordon Road near Mosgiel, where heavy rain today has resulted in some minor overflow of floodwater.




Colder than normal weather dominated the region for much of the Prairies in March, resulting in monthly average temperatures up to 6C below normal. The month started under bitter conditions large areas experiencing nighttime lows of -30C) before the weather gradually moderated; portions of the southwest southern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan enjoyed only patchy snow cover at this time and some freeze damage to overwintering grains and pastures was possible. A mid-month period of much milder weather pushed daytime highs in most locations well above normal for several days, resulting in region-wide erosion of the snowpack. Although light precipitation total accumulations of 5-25 mm, liquid equivalent provided the southwest with additional snow before the next cold outbreak, southern most sections of Alberta and Saskatchewan according to satellite snow cover estimates were void of snow cover. Nighttime lows fell below -17C. The remainder of the Prairies recorded below normal precipitation for March. 



The weather system that brought chaos to the Solomon Islands and battered Queensland is about to hit New Zealand. The leading edge of the remains of Cyclone Ita expected to bring gales and heavy rain to much of the country started moving on to Northland today. The worst of the weather was expected to hit tomorrow, with metservice warning of the risk of wind damage to power lines and trees, while the rain was expected to cause rivers to rise rapidly, as well as surface flooding and slips. Driving conditions would be hazardous.


Jim G. Munley, jr.

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