August got off to a hot start across much of central and western Europe. A blast of hot air spread across the region allowing temperatures to soar into the mid- and upper 30sC on the 1st-2nd. The hot spell preceded a storm system moving into the northern United Kingdom. Ahead of this storm, a flow of hot air from the south made for a very uncomfortable Thursday and Friday in many places. Some of the hot temperature observations include 35C in Rome, 34C in London, 33C in Frankfurt and 38C in Madrid. While cooler weather pressed into England Friday, the heat was still on in central Europe. Florence, Italy, climbed to 37C late in the afternoon while Frankfurt reached close to 35C.
Hot air remains in place over much of central and eastern Europe. In Sandanski, Bulgaria, which normally has high temperatures around 32C, 38C was reached on the 4th. Helsinki, Finland, recorded 27C, compared to the normal maximum of 221C. The core of the heat remained over Italy, the Balkans, Hungary, and Romania from Monday through Thursday with temperatures of 33-37C and even 38-39C in places.
A hail storm has smashed windows and damaged roofs in part of France on the 7th. The storm only lasted a few minutes, but dozens of houses as well as cars were damaged in Champdieu.
The Leeds music festival in northern England experienced torrential rainfall that resulted in flooding on the 23rd-24th. The heavy rain hit just as the headline act was about to begin on Friday night. This rain turned much of the outdoor music festival into a mud pit. Rainfall at Leeds Bradford International Airport totaled 29.7 mm from Friday afternoon through to Saturday morning.
It was unusually warm across Alaska; temperatures in Barrow and Anchorage have averaged approximately 1.7C above average, while temperatures in Fairbanks have averaged nearly 2.5C above average. In Fairbanks, the high soared to 83F on Saturday. The high has reached 80F or higher for 33 days this summer. That is the most such days in Fairbanks, since record-keeping began in 1904. The average number of days Fairbanks reaches 80F or warmer is 11. Currently, this summer is ranked as the second warmest for the city, falling behind the warm summer of 2004. This warmer weather has also contributed to development of lightning-producing thunderstorms that ignited of dozens of wildfires burning across Alaska over the past few weeks. According to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center, there are currently 73 active wildfires across the state.
The temperature climbed to 40.6C at Xujiahui Observatory, Shangha on the 6th-7th. This equaled the previous all-time record high temperature there. On Wednesday 40.8C was reached.
Flash floods in Afghanistan's Kabul province have killed 22 people on the 11th. The flooding hit a village in the Shakardara district following a weekend of heavy rain. The floods also destroyed homes, agricultural land and fruit gardens, officials say. Earlier this month, dozens were killed in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan after a storm system caused torrential rain, washing away homes and destroying summer crops.
At least 27 members of a Yemeni wedding party have died after the vehicles they were travelling in were swept away by heavy floods on the 17th. The victims, including women and children, were travelling through Wadi Nakhla in Taiz province, in the south of the Arab country. Several other people have been killed by flash floods in Yemen over the past two days. Yemen, at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, is prone to flooding during the Monsoon season.
Some of the Philippines' heaviest rains on record fell for a second day on Tuesday, turning the capital's roads into rivers and trapping tens of thousands of people in homes and shelters on the 18th-20th. The government suspended all work except rescues and disaster response. Officials reported at least seven people dead, 11 injured and four missing. The flooding followed two nights of heavy monsoon rains, exacerbated by Tropical Storm Trami. The storm hovered over the North Philippine Sea and drenched the main northern island of Luzon with more than 30mm of rain an hour. Flooding has become more frequent in Manila because of deforestation of mountains, clogged waterways and canals where large squatter communities live, and poor urban planning. According to an assessment from the Department of Science and Technology, rainfall reached 600 mm in and around Manila Bay on Sunday alone – more than a month's worth of rain in a day. In the disastrous 2009 Typhoon Ketsana, the strongest cyclone to hit Manila in modern history, 455 mm of rain fell in 24 hours.
More than 30 people have been injured by a tidal bore in the Qiantang River in the eastern Zhejiang Province of China on the 22nd. Given extra impetus by a typhoon, the huge and powerful tidal wave gathered momentum and crashed into the river bank in the city of Haining.
Flash floods have destroyed half of the tents and caused widespread damage at three camps for internally displaced people in Yemen on the 29th. More than 8,000 camp residents near Haradh, in the north-west of the country, have been affected. In recent days, torrential rains and flooding have killed 39 people and destroyed homes, schools and infrastructure.
Flooding across Laos so far this summer has claimed more than 20 lives with more downpours on the way for the rain-weary country. An already wet summer worsened by torrential rain from several tropical systems has led to flooding in many provinces across northern and central Laos. "An estimated 116,518 people have been affected by the flooding with over 20 people killed," a report issued by Relief Web stated. Much of the rain came from two tropical storms, Jebi and Mangkhut, that appeared in quick succession.
Tropical Rainstorm Mangkhut continued to bring locally heavy rainfall to parts of Vietnam and Laos on the 8th. Earlier, Mangkhut had clipped southwestern Hainan Island, China, as a tropical storm. Several inches of rain were reported across the island. Northern Vietnam endured flash floods from Tropical Rainstorm Jebi less than a week ago making flooding a major concern over the next 24 hours before rainfall diminishes from Mangkhut.
As Hurricane Fernand pushes farther inland over Mexico as a tropical rainstorm, the threat of widespread flooding rainfall will diminish. As of late Monday (the 26th) at least 13 deaths were reported in the storm's aftermath. All of the deaths were the direct result of landslides in the eastern state of Veracruz. Reported rainfall was upwards of 300 mm. Another man drowned after being swept away by fast-flowing floodwaters in the state of Oaxaca, bringing the total reported deaths from the storm to 14.
Torrential rains fell across the midsection of the nation; causing flash flooding that killed a woman and a child, damaged homes, and forced multiple water rescues on the 8th. Up to 250 mm of rain pounded southern Missouri overnight. Flash flood warnings were common in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Some rain gauges near Waynesville Missouri) recorded 370 mm of rain in a two-day period.
Russian authorities are preparing to evacuate the far eastern city of Khabarovsk on the 21st amid the worst flooding in over a century, following President Vladimir Putin's warnings not to allow a repeat of flooding last summer that killed 170 people. Already, more than 23,000 people have been evacuated from the three regions along the Chinese border – the Khabarovsk Territory, Jewish Autonomous Region and the Amur Region – affected by heavy rains and flooding, state news agency RIA-Novosti reported on Wednesday, and the authorities and residents continue to build protective dams and temporary shelters. Heavy rains killed 21 construction workers on Tuesday in the Chinese city of Haixi across the border from Blagoveshchensk as the number of dead or missing in China increased to more than 200.
Forty-eight people have been killed and more than 500,000 affected by the worst floods in Sudan in quarter of a century on the 23rd. The region around the capital, Khartoum, was particularly badly hit, with at least 15,000 homes destroyed and thousands of others damaged. Across Sudan, at least 25,000 homes are no longer habitable. A UN official described the situation as a disaster. The flooding, caused by continuous rains, has damaged public buildings, including schools, clinics, offices, shops, markets and water and sanitation facilities. Roads have been inundated, disrupting transport.
Unusually cold weather and snow in parts of South America have affected thousands of people in several countries on the 30th. The cold spell has killed at least seven people in Peru, four in Bolivia and two in Paraguay. In the latter, the authorities blamed the weather for the death of more than 5,000 cattle too. In Bolivia, roads closed by the snow have disrupted supplies to mines in the province of Inquisivi, in La Paz. One of the driest places on earth, the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, also saw snow earlier this week. Forecasters said the snowfall was the heaviest in the area, about 1000 km north of the capital Santiago, in three decades.
The recent string of warmer than normal months continued in August with the month coming in at second warmest on record for maximum temperatures (anomaly +2.60C) and mean temperatures (anomaly +1.60 degC). Minimum temperatures were closer to the median, with an anomaly of +0.59C. August also contributed to Australia recording its warmest 12-month period on record; with the September 2012 to August 2013 mean temperature anomaly a record 1.11C above the long-term average. Mean temperature is the average of maximum and minimum temperature.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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