GLOBAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
In Colombia the southern city of Mocoa was engulfed on Saturday (1st)by a huge landslide of mud, rocks and gushing waters that swept away homes and cars and killed more than 250 people (the known total as of late n the 2nd). A spokesman for the local power utility said it could take two weeks to restore energy in the area. Without power, gas or telephone service and with little clean water, about 600 survivors spent Sunday in makeshift shelters, on high alert for any further rainfall that could trigger another mudslide. The disaster struck in the early hours of Saturday when the rushing waters of the Mocoa River and its tributaries converged on the capital of Putumayo province, catching many people by surprise as they slept. The tragedy was due to excessive rainfall; the accumulated rainfall in one night was almost half the amount Mocoa normally receives in the entire month of March.
Severe storms plagued much of the southern United States this weekend 1st-2nd), killing two. Violent storms swept from Texas into the Mississippi Valley over the weekend. Several tornadoes were confirmed in Louisiana and Mississippi. In Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, one storm produced a tornado that flipped a mobile home, killing a mother and her 3-year-old daughter on Sunday. The tornado was classified as an EF1 with peak winds at 110 mph and traveling for nearly a mile. Heavy rain inundated much of the region, resulting in flooding and slow travel. More than 9 inches of rain fell in Fullerton, Louisiana, throughout Sunday, more than twice the average precipitation for all of April (4.17 inches). Through Sunday morning, at least 22,000 Oncor customers lost power in Texas as storms swept through the area. Fallen power lines and downed trees were also reported. Strong winds tore off roofs in some areas. Out of the 11 tornado reports on Sunday, most were in Louisiana. There were about 100 wind damage reports and dozens of hail reports across the south-central region.
Intense rainfall led to flooding in parts of the Carolinas this week (25th) North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the rain was "like we haven't seen since Hurricane Matthew." Road closures and water rescues were reported in eastern portions of the state on Tuesday. Raleigh recorded 4.51 inches of rain on Monday alone, making it the wettest April day in the city's history. In Elkin, North Carolina, the Yadkin River approached moderate flood stage after rising from nearly 5 feet to 20 feet from Sunday night into Monday. Moderate to major flooding were forecast to persist along area rivers for a week.
At least 13 people have been killed by tornadoes and flooding in the south and Midwest, including a two-year-old girl who died after being hit by a falling soccer goalpost in Tennessee (29th). Tornadoes hit several small towns in east Texas, killing four people. Three people were killed by flooding and winds in Arkansas, with officials saying two small children were missing. In Missouri two people were killed by flood waters and two fatalities were reported in Mississippi, one of whom was a seven-year-old boy electrocuted after unplugging a golf cart. Flooding closed part of Interstate 44 near Hazelgreen, Missouri, and officials expected it would be at least a day before the highway reopened. Interstate 70 in western Kansas was closed because crews were waiting for snow falling at three to four inches an hour being blown by 35mph winds to subside. Rescuers in north-west Arkansas continued on Sunday to look for an 18-month-old girl and a four-year-old boy who were in a vehicle swept off a bridge by floodwaters in Hindsville, the Madison county sheriff's office said. Fifty-six people were treated at three hospitals and six remained hospitalized on Sunday morning, two in critical condition, ETMC Regional Health Care Systems spokeswoman Rebecca Berkley said. The National Weather Service confirmed at least three tornadoes swept through parts of three counties, with two of the twisters tracking nearly the entire south-to-north length of Van Zandt county. The first reports of tornadoes came about 4.45pm on Saturday but emergency crews were hampered by continuing severe weather, Kirkpatrick said. "We'd be out there working and get a report of another tornado on the ground," he said.
A 'once in 500-year' flood is swallowing up large parts of the east coast of New Zealand, as the tail-end of ex-cyclone Debbie sweeps east after devastating large parts of Australia (6th). States of emergency have been declared in numerous regions in the North Island, after rivers burst their banks following two days of heavy rain and gale-force winds. Thousands of people have been evacuated in the Bay of Plenty, on the east coast of the North Island, and welfare centers established to feed and house those whose homes are now under water. The town of Edgecumbe appears to be the worst affected, with brown water up to two meters high engulfing the town, after the Rangitaiki river burst its banks on Thursday morning. The New Zealand Defense Force and Red Cross has arrived to provide relief and assistance to local authorities, who have been working non-stop for days, sandbagging properties and key infrastructure, and clearing debris from roads to make way for emergency vehicles. Power outages, major landslides and roads are closed right across the North Island, including in Auckland, which received a month's worth of rain in 24 hours, and where many roads remain closed due to surface flooding. Numerous flights out of Wellington, Auckland and regional North Island centers have also been delayed or diverted due to the conditions, with passengers bunking down in the airport after being unable to find accommodation in the city.
A cold spell sweeping across central Europe has brought snow back to some countries including Germany, Poland and Slovakia (19th). Most of Romania is shivering under sub-zero temperatures and winds exceeding 70 km/h, and the mountainous regions have been blanketed in snow. In eastern Ukraine, a white coat, 30 cm thick in some areas, has covered the early spring blossoms. In Kharkiv, the country's second-largest city, the weight of the snow pulled down trees and electric supply lines, leaving over a thousand homes without any power. In Switzerland too, more than 20 cm of snow has fallen in two days, and the freezing temperatures are starting to worry farmers and winegrowers alike.
An unusual snowfall occurred in Munich and parts of southern Germany this week. Snow coated Munich and surrounding areas, when temperatures are normally around 15C at this time of year. The German Weather Service recorded temperatures as low as 0C and heavy snowfall around Munich and southern Allgau.
Today marked the hottest April day for New Delhi since 2010 (20th). Temperatures soared to 43.2C at Safdarjung Airport and 44.9C at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Safdarjung, which is located closer to downtown New Delhi, has not recorded a temperature that high since the middle of April 2010.
Record rain fell in parts of northeastern India and Bangladesh (26th). Silchar recorded more than 100 mm within a 24-hour period on Tuesday, marking the highest April 24-hour rainfall in decades. Locations in Bangladesh have received 250-500 mm of rain over the past week alone.
Beijing had the hottest April day in at least 19 years with the temperature soaring up to 33.1C (29th). This was the hottest day in April in Beijing since 1951, Sina News, a popular news portal in Mandarin, reported. According to the weather observatory, it was only the hottest since 27 April 1998, when 33C was reached.
Authorities are concerned four missing people may have fallen victim to floodwaters brought on by ex-cyclone Debbie in Queensland, Australia (1st). Landslides have made it difficult for police, who have had to bring in bobcats to clear roads before searching on foot. The Logan River peaked at 10 meters at Waterford, Logan about 1.40pm on Saturday, matching levels last seen 43 years ago. But it still fell short of a predicted 10.5-metre peak. While the 1974 levels remain unsurpassed, Logan mayor Luke Smith says the area has still experienced the biggest river peaks the city has seen since those devastating floods. Eagleby and Beenleigh - where the Albert and Logan rivers meet - are the most vulnerable areas and people have been forced to evacuate since Friday.
The remnants of former Cyclone Debbie caused chaos across New Zealand on Wednesday (5th), with floods, landslides, blackouts and more. Areas were forced to evacuate and roads were closed as the deluge battered the country, and Kaikoura was even cut off overnight. More than 100 mm of rain fell in the Kaikoura district over the 36 hours to Wednesday evening, causing a mudslide on State Highway 1, south of Kaikoura. The area would remain closed until at least 7am on Thursday after rock-filled containers were pushed over the edge of the road. SH56 at Opiki, near Palmerston North, was closed by flooding, while a stretch of SH25 north of Thames was closed because of multiple slips. A section of SH15, between Whangarei and Kaikohe, was closed because of flooding. SH30 was closed northeast of Rotorua by a large slip, while flooding closed SH34 between Edgecumbe and Te Teko. More than a hundred schools, as well as 92 early childhood education centres, closed their doors on Wednesday due to the weather. All schools in the Whanganui and Rangitikei districts shut their doors, after states of emergency were declared. More than 13,000 students were affected by the closures.
Cyclone Cook formed in the south-western Pacific Ocean on the 8th-10th, close to the island of Vanuatu. In a favorable environment of warm sea surface temperatures and low environmental wind shear, the cyclone intensified into a Category 3 storm as it made landfall in New Caledonia on the 10th. Both islands were severely impacted by the storm, which brought strong winds of up to 180 km/h and flooding rains of up to 400 mm to parts of New Caledonia. The heavy rains increased the risk of landslides in the island's mountainous interior. New Caledonia had not experienced a direct hit from a tropical cyclone since Cyclone Erica in 2003.
Cyclone Cook has struck New Zealand with power cuts, fallen trees and landslides reported around much of the central and eastern North Island, which bore the brunt of the storm (13th). Cook, which forecasters feared could be the worst storm to strike New Zealand in decades, made landfall just after 6pm local time but by then many coastal villages were abandoned as five-meter swells combined with high tide and smashed against the deserted shoreline. Schools and offices closed in Auckland at about lunchtime as civil defense staff urged residents to leave the city immediately and remain at home. Extra public transport was laid on for the thousands of people escaping the city. By late afternoon, however, the MetService said Cook had just bypassed New Zealand's largest and most populated city, and the weather warning was dropped. Further south in the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty regions, power remains out in tens of thousands of homes, and gale-force winds have been reported. Although flooding on Thursday was less severe than anticipated, hundreds of trees have fallen, and police said many roads had been closed in the North Island. Many rural communities on the east coast have prepared to be cut off for up to three days, and have laid in supplies of emergency food and survival gear to wait out the cyclone. Helicopters and emergency teams would set out at first light to check on isolated farms and communities, civil defense said.
The first subtropical depression of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season formed on Wednesday and became fully tropical Thursday (19th-20th). The system is running out of time to become Tropical Storm Arlene. A depression has a cyclonic circular motion with surface winds under 39 mph. A subtropical depression or storm has both tropical and non-tropical characteristics. Tropical storm formation over the Atlantic basin is very rare during the months of January, February, March and April. There has been only one tropical storm on record during April from 1851 to 2016, according to the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.
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