GLOBAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
A heatwave called 'Lucifer' is causing havoc in Europe with 11 countries being issued 'danger' warnings over rocketing temperatures on the 4th. Across Italy, Spain, Croatia, Hungary and Southern Europe temperatures are higher than 40C which has led to forest fires, evacuations and safety fears for the vulnerable. Many holiday destinations popular with British tourists are now warning both residents and visitors to stay in the shade and carry water at all times. The Italians have dubbed the heatwave 'Lucifer' and it comes on the back of one of the longest drought's in history. The heatwave has caused a 15 per cent increase in hospital emergency admissions in Italy with 26 major towns and cities on the health ministry's maximum heat alert. Farmers are counting the cost after a prolonged drought and weather forecasters predict the hot weather is here to stay for at least another week. In Florence the 'perceived temperature' which is determined by temperature, humidity and wind and has been reported at more than 50C. In Abruzzo a 79-year-old woman was found dead in a field next to her home overcome by flames that engulfed two hectares of surrounding farmland. A section of the Via Aurelia coastal motorway that runs northwards from Rome to the Riviera had to be closed for several hours because of a major fire near Grosseto in Tuscany. And in Romania 'red alerts' have been issued after meteorologists have forecast 42C in western parts of the The heatwave has also caused wildfires in Italy, Spain and Croatia this week. In Greece, the seaside town of Kalyvia, south of Athens, had to be evacuated as a wildfires threatened homes in high winds. And in Romania, authorities told people not to go outside during the heatwave, and urged adults not to leave children in cars due to the fierce sunshine. Romanian police said there would be restrictions for heavy traffic on major roads during the heatwave. Europe is hot as hell thanks to a heatwave called 'Lucifer' In Greece local authorities yesterday issued an evacuation order for residents near a seaside town south of Athens as a wildfire threatens homes in high winds.
A local festival turned deadly after severe thunderstorms tore through northwestern Austria on Friday night (18th). High winds toppled a large tent at a festival in St. Johann am Walde, killing two people and injuring dozens more. At least 10 of the injuries were serious. Tables, chairs and concessions were strewn about by the sudden winds. Around 700 people were underneath the tent when the storm hit. A 130 km/h wind gust was reported at Salzburg, which lies about 55 km to the southwest of the festival, around the time that the tent collapsed.
Three tornadoes around the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area injured dozens on Sunday on the 6th). An EF2 tornado triggered extensive damage around the area and was later followed by two EF1 tornadoes. Roofs were damaged and trees were uprooted in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The tornadoes were part of a major storm system that also delivered flooding rain across Kansas City, Missouri. Up to 5 inches of rain fell in a matter of hours. Interstate 35 was shut down in both directions due to high water. Numerous rescues were performed as vehicles became stranded in the rapidly rising waters.
Hot and hazy conditions persisted in the northwestern United States this week (8th). Smoke from wildfires sprawled across Canada and the Northwest has continued to drift, creating dusky scenes in Seattle. Heat only exacerbated the issue, with temperatures rising up to 10C above average in some areas. A large high pressure system trapped smoke near the ground in the region. By today, Seattle had yet to record any rain for 52 straight days, breaking a six-decade-old record. The last time the Rainy City went without more than a trace of precipitation for that long was in 1951 at 51 days.
Typhoon Noru was the third-longest-lasting tropical cyclone of the Northwest Pacific Ocean on record -ranked only behind 1972's Rita and 1986's Wayne - and the most intense tropical cyclone worldwide in 2017. Noru also marked the latest occurrence of the first typhoon since 1998, reaching that intensity on July 23. Forming as the fifth named storm of the annual typhoon season, Noru formed over in the Northwest Pacific as a tropical depression on July 19. It intensified into a tropical storm two days later, and further to the first typhoon of the year on July 23. However, Noru weakened slightly on July 25 as it began to interact with nearby Tropical Storm Kulap, executing a counterclockwise loop southeast of Japan. Despite weakening to a severe tropical storm on July 29, Noru soon began to restrengthen as it turned sharply to the west. Amid favorable conditions, Noru explosively intensified to become the season's first super typhoon on July 30. However, Noru began a gradual weakening trend over the next few days while curving northwestwards and then northwards. After stalling off the Satsunan Islands on August 5, Noru began to accelerate northeastwards towards central Japan, making landfall in Wakayama Prefecture today, killing two people. The quickly weakening storm soon became extratropical over the Sea of Japan, and eventually dissipated on August 9.
While Europe battles with a heatwave named Lucifer, the Middle East is enduring a summer so brutal that even those accustomed to Baghdad's searing August weather are labelling it 'ungodly (10th)'. As temperatures rose towards 51C on Thursday, Iraq's government declared a mandatory holiday, allowing civil servants to shelter at home. So far this month in the Iraqi capital, every day but one has reached 48C or higher, and the forecast is for the high temperatures to continue for the next week. July was little different, in Iraq and in Syria, where the capital, Damascus, has also been several degrees hotter than usual nearly every day since late June. In Kuwait, where birds have reportedly dropped from the skies, and Riyadh, where building work has ceased this week, locals have called for mercy from a hotter-than-normal air mass that has remained nearly stationary over central Arabia for more than three weeks, stretching the capacity of electricity networks beyond limits. While the center of the region is being scorched, on the Mediterranean coast Beirut and Istanbul have also been blighted by a cruel summer - in their cases, extreme humidity that has made comparatively modest daytime temperatures seem far higher. In Baghdad, the perennially underfunded state power network has again failed to cope with the annual onslaught, as demand for power for air conditioners and water coolers far exceeds the capacity to supply it. In Lebanon, Faysal al-Banna, the chief of ground observation for Beirut's meteorological department said: 'We definitely do not have it as bad as Iraq and other places. Today it is 30 degrees but we feel it's much hotter because of the humidity. It's the humidity from hell, it's on fire this year. I guarantee you the next few days will be worse.'
A plane has maneuvered its way through three tornadoes hovering over the Black Sea, as it came in to land at a Russian airport (29th). Reports suggest the pilot wasn't properly informed about the presence of the tornadoes, all of which were at an alarmingly close distance to one another. Up to 12 twisters were spotted in the area earlier that day.
Nearly 250 people have died in the last few days as a result of flooding and landslides that have devastated parts of northern India (16th), Nepal and Bangladesh. Millions of people have been displaced across the region, and 245 people are recorded to have been killed by collapsed buildings or by drowning on the 16th). In Nepal, incessant rain has flooded hundreds of villages leaving 110 people dead. The government has come under fire for not responding fast enough to the disaster. As security forces scrambled to rescue those marooned on rooftops and helicopters distributed food and water to the worst-hit districts yesterday, the home ministry spokesman Ram Krishna Subedi said relief supplies were being mobilised as soon as possible. Elephants were deployed to help rescue those stranded following three days of torrential rain, including 700 tourists in the popular town of Chitwan. Across Nepal's southern border, 13 districts have been hit by severe flooding in the Indian state of Bihar, leaving 41 people dead.
Mass burials are being held on the outskirts of the Sierra Leone capital Freetown for the 400 people known to have died in a mudslide and flooding (17th). The search continues for an estimated 600 people still missing since Monday. Some 3,000 people are homeless in what is being described as a humanitarian emergency. Mortuaries have been overwhelmed by the number of bodies they have received - more than 100 of them are children. With concern mounting about an outbreak of disease, the chief pathologist of Freetown, Dr Simeon Owizz Koroma, said the burials had already begun for those who had been identified or whose bodies were badly decomposed. Homes in the hilltop community of Regent were covered after part of Sugar Loaf mountain collapsed following heavy rain early on Monday. Many victims were asleep in bed when disaster struck. Flooding is not unusual in Sierra Leone, where unsafe housing in makeshift settlements can be swept away by heavy rains. The rains often hit areas in and around Freetown, an overcrowded coastal city of more than one million people.
Tropical storm Franklin formed over the western Caribbean Sea on Sunday and made its first landfall near Pulticub, Mexico, with 60 mph winds (10th). The system made its second landfall as a Category 1 hurricane in the Mexican state of Veracruz early Thursday morning. Franklin was the first hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic season. Campeche, Mexico, received 159 mm of rain in a 24-hour period spanning Monday night to Tuesday night.
Catastrophic flooding is hitting Houston as tropical storm Harvey continues to stall over land (28th). It has dumped as much as 66 cm of rain in some counties in the past 72 hours. Thousands of people have fled to their rooftops or higher ground as rescuers struggled to keep up with calls for help. Houston emergency services have received nearly 6,000 appeals for rescues. The coast guard said it had rescued 1,200 people, of which 200 were from the air. The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, has predicted that the aftermath of the storm would require the agency's involvement for years. 'This disaster's going to be a landmark event,' Long said. The US military has released water from two major reservoirs to protect central Houston earlier than planned, a move that could itself flood several thousand homes. Water is being released from the Addicks reservoir. Nearby residents have been advised to monitor water levels and evacuate if in danger but to wait until daylight to do so. The release will push up the Buffalo Bayou - one of Houston's major waterways - by up to 15 cm per hour. The bayou is already suffering catastrophic flooding in the west of the city, at more than 7ft above flooding point. The tropical storm has strengthened slightly and there are fears it could return to the coast, where it would gather more power, before coming back to land. The damage bill is already drawing comparisons to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which caused $108bn of losses (including $80bn of insured losses). About 3,000 national and state guard member have been activated in Texas, and disaster relief crews have arrived from as far away as New York and South Colorado. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) has deployed more than 1,800 staff.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Corpus Christi late on Friday as a category 4 hurricane with maximum winds of 130 mph (25th). It was the first category 4 storm in the US since 2004 when Charley affected Florida; Texas had not endured such a powerful hurricane since Carla in 1961.Harvey was downgraded to a tropical storm after battering Rockport and another seaside town, Port Aransas. Reports indicated severe damage to infrastructure and buildings including a high school, a hotel and a senior living complex where a roof collapsed.
Tropical depression Harvey advisory number 44 contained these statistics:
Selected storm rainfall totals:
Alabama: Gasque 8.00 in
Florida: Milton 6.92 in
Louisiana: Bayou Conway 22.25 in
Mississippi: Gautier 8.27 in
Texas: Cedar Bayou at FM 1942 51.88 in
Selected peak wind gusts (mph)
Port Aransas 132
Copano Village 125
24.83 in of rain fell in Houston during the 25th-27th, which makes this the city's wettest month on record. 16.07 in of rain fell there on the 27th, the wettest day on record in the city. 19 tornadoes were reported on the Gulf Coast on the 25th and 26th. The large rainfall totals were a result of the system being slow-moving; after making landfall it then moved offshore and was then slow-moving there until the 30th, pushing rainbands onshore from the warm Gulf of Mexico.
Tropical storm Pakhar brought strong winds and heavy rain to Hong Kong and Macau, just four days after one of the strongest typhoons on record, Hato, caused serious flooding and damage in the territories and killed at least 10 people (27th). The two cities lowered their typhoon signal to No.3 in the early afternoon, after Pakhar brushed passed and landed in the southern Chinese city of Taishan in the morning. Hong Kong's weather observatory said in the early hours that winds occasionally reached storm force in the southern part of the territory and hurricane force on high ground on Lantau Island to the west of the city where the airport is situated. Pakhar's arrival comes as the cities are still reeling from Hato. While Hong Kong escaped major damage, Hato devastated Macau, the world's largest gambling hub, killing at least 10 people, injuring 244 and exposing critical infrastructure flaws after it left the city without water and power for days.
At least 12 people are dead and up to 25 more feared trapped after monsoon downpours that have brought death and destruction to south Asia caused a building to collapse in Mumbai (31st). The four-story residential building gave way on Thursday morning in the densely populated area of Bhendi Bazaar, after roads were turned into rivers in India's financial capital, which has been struggling to cope with some of the heaviest rainfall in more than 15 years. Thousands more buildings that are more than 100 years old are at risk of collapse due in part to foundations weakened by flood waters. Across the region more than 1,200 people are feared to have died and 40 million are estimated to have been affected by flooding in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Vast swaths of land are under water in the eastern part of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where about 104 people have died, 3,097 villages are submerged and almost 3 million villagers have been affected by flooding, according to local officials. Army personnel have joined local rescuers to evacuate people from the area. One third of Bangladesh was believed to be under water and the UN described the situation in Nepal, where 150 people have died, as the worst flooding in a decade. The floods have also destroyed or damaged 18,000 schools in the south Asia region, meaning that about 1.8 million children cannot go to their classes, Save the Children said on Thursday.
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