GLOBAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
For the month of November, Chennai reported 1,024 mm of rain, more than 300 percent of the normal rainfall that is expected for the entire month. December has continued this wet pattern as more than 300 mm of rain fell in Chennai on the first day of the month. The event marked the wettest December day in more than 100 years of records in Chennai.
The Indian military is struggling to evacuate thousands of residents stranded in the southern state of Tamil Nadu as the death toll from flooding rose to 269 after the heaviest rains in more than a century (3rd). Forecasts of incessant rainfall meant the army had to work on a war footing to rescue people trapped in inundated parts of Chennai, India's fourth most populous city. After carmakers and IT outsourcing firms suspended operations on Wednesday, the state-run Chennai Petroleum shut down its oil refinery due to the heavy flooding. There was sporadic rainfall on Thursday, after a 24-hour storm dumped as much as 345mm (14 inches) of rain on the city earlier this week.
Heavy rain on Thursday caused streams to overflow and drains to back up in Maryport, Flimby and Workington on the 3rd. . The fire service received 220 calls between 17:30 and 22:00 GMT with most reporting vehicles stuck in up to a meters of water. Landslips halted trains between Carlisle and Workington, Northern Rail said.
A rain gauge at Honister Pass recorded 341.4mm of rainfall in the 24-hours up to 1800 GMT on 5 December 2015, making for a new UK record for any 24-hour period (4th-5th). This beat the previous record of 316.4mm set in November 2009 at Seathwaite, also in Cumbria. A new 48-hour record (from 0900 to 0900 hrs) was also set, when 405mm was recorded at Thirlmere in Cumbria in just 38 hrs.
Police have urged people to stay indoors after a Cumbrian village was flooded for the second time within a few days (9th-10th). Fast-flowing water ran through the village of Glenridding on Wednesday night after yet more heavy rainfall. Rescue services, volunteers and the army rushed to the village to to rescue guests from the historic Glenridding House hotel. Evacuees and rescuers had to dodge fridges and other household goods that had been left out after the first flood and were floating away. The village has lost access to the north as Pooley bridge has been destroyed, and Glenridding bridge to the south of the village has been closed for safety checks. It is believed that mudslides up the mountains that make Glenridding a tourist attraction have blocked normal water channels into Ullswater.
A potent storm approaching western Alaska this weekend has tied the strongest recorded storm (measured by a central pressure of 924 mb) to impact the region. This storm comes a little over a year after ex-Super Typhoon Nuri became the most powerful system on record to cross Dutch Harbor, Alaska, which is located in the Aleutian Islands, with a central low pressure of 924 mb. The intensity of a storm is measured by the central pressure, with lower pressure equating to a stronger system. Previous to Nuri, the old record stood at 925 milliards (27.32 inches of Hg) at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, from a strong storm that hit on Oct. 25, 1977.
A storm described by forecasters as "particularly dangerous" has hit the south and Midwest of the US, killing at least six people and injuring scores more (23rd). Three people were killed as tornadoes moved through northern Mississippi, officials said, along with two in Tennessee and one in Arkansas. There have been reports of at least 20 tornadoes of varying severity. The high winds have also caused significant damage to homes. The storms have left a trail of destruction across several American states Planes at a small airport in Clarksdale were overturned and an unknown number of people were injured.
The final week of 2015 featured several outbursts of violent and disruptive weather across the United States. Severe storms struck northeastern Texas Saturday, Dec. 26, bringing flooding rain and multiple tornadoes. The Dallas Fort Worth, Texas, National Weather Service office confirmed that 12 tornadoes touched down killing 11 people on Dec. 26. In the town of Garland, Texas, an EF4 tornado, unleashed winds greater than 200 mph, left a trail of destruction. An EF3 tornado damaged at least 600 homes and injured at least 23 people, in Rowlett, Texas. As a result of the storms, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster for the affected counties. Heavy December rainfall and rising river levels contributed to the deaths of at least 20 people in Illinois and Missouri as thousands of homes were threatened by floodwaters and major roadways were closed. Record high flood levels were reached along portions of the Meramec River at Eureka, Valley Park and Arnold, Missouri, during the 30th. Mandatory evacuations were ordered when waters from the Mississippi River topped the levees in West Alton, Missouri, on Tuesday. The same storm that produced the tornadoes and major flooding also unleashed wintry weather to parts of the Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast. Travel advisories were issued after low visibility and icy and snow-covered roads were reported. Sleet, freezing rain and snow fell across these regions.
Severe thunderstorms have wreaked havoc across Sydney, with flash-flooding, golfball-sized hail and wind gusts of more than 200km/h - the strongest recorded in New South Wales history - as well as a likely tornado (16th). The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) issued warnings for tornados and 'very dangerous thunderstorms' on Wednesday morning. Rainfall of 144 mm was recorded in one hour to 10.30am at Long Island Point, just south of Nowra, while wind gusts exceeded 100km/h in several parts of Sydney. Emergency services were called to respond to multiple reports of building collapses, including businesses and residential properties. Torrential rain flooded vehicles, causing damage to numerous cars and engines. Multiple flights to and from Sydney airport were cancelled, while others were diverted. Gridlocked traffic in the suburbs surrounding the airport - with buses delayed by up to two hours - prompted some travelers to abandon their cars and walk the final kilometer or so to the terminal. By far the worst-hit area was Kurnell, a southern suburb of Sydney, where gusts of 213km/h were recorded at 10.30am in a likely tornado that caused significant damage. A spokesman for the BoM said it was the strongest reading recorded in NSW history. The strongest wind gust recorded on mainland Australia is 267km/h.
A sizzling heat was felt from Melbourne to Canberra and Sydney over the weekend ahead of a cold front. As this front pushed to the north, cooler air has returned in its wake. On Saturday, Melbourne experienced the hottest day since January, as temperatures soared to 43C at the city's international airport. The temperature rose to 39C by midday on Sunday before a cold front caused temperatures to tumble in the afternoon and evening. While an afternoon sea breeze kept much of downtown Sydney cooler over the weekend with highs near 32C each day, temperatures in areas that the sea breeze did not reach, such as the western suburbs, soared to near 38C. The heat resulted in the cancellation of all Victorian horse races in Sydney. The prolonged heat in Melbourne was rare for December. The Bureau of Meteorology said that prior to this heat wave, since 1855, there had only been three other occurrences of four consecutive 35C or hotter days during December. After temperatures hit their high midday on Sunday, it rapidly turned cooler as temperatures tumbled to near 18C by evening.
Parts of the North Island (New Zealand) basked in the heat today. Temperatures soared into the 30s C in eastern parts of the North Island after some of the South Island sweltered the previous day. The heatwave, which sent December temperature records tumbling throughout the South Island on Monday, yesterday gave the North Island a brief blast of unusually hot weather before Christmas. Whakatane sweltered in 31C, the hottest of the day, while Hastings hit 30.7C and Napier 30.5C. Tauranga hit 27C while Auckland remained cooler at 23C.
High-speed winds and heavy rain are causing severe disruption as Storm Desmond continues to batter the UK. People were evacuated from their homes as flash flooding swept through parts of Cumbria, and police in the area declared a "major incident". Dozens of train routes have been cancelled, and roads have been closed in Scotland, England and Wales. Scores of severe flood warnings are in place in England, with two more issued in south-west Scotland. Severe warnings - the highest level of alert - indicate there may be "danger to life". Adrian Holme, from Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, said flooding was "unprecedented". Rescue centers have been opened in the county, sandbags are being handed out and there is an appeal for doctors to volunteer overnight. Meanwhile, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's (RNLI) flood rescue team has been deployed to the area. The Environment Agency warned further flooding in Cumbria was likely over the weekend, with flood levels not expected to reach their peak until 12:00 GMT on Sunday. The village of Shap, in Cumbria, received the most rain, with 178mm falling in the 24 hours until 19:00 GMT on Saturday, while Keswick was hit with 156mm. The average rainfall for Cumbria for the month of December is 146.1mm, the Met Office added. Cumbria Police have declared a "major incident", with homes in Appleby and Keswick evacuated and many roads blocked More than 90 flood warnings and alerts are in place in Scotland, and some main roads closed due to landslides and flooding More than 600 homes in North Yorkshire were left without electricity Around 1,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in Hawick, in the Scottish Borders after flooding from the River Teviot Gusts of 85mph winds have been recorded in Wales and about 700 homes are without power In counties Down and Tyrone, in Northern Ireland, roads were closed due to fallen trees About 2,000 people in the Republic of Ireland are without power Severe flood warnings have been put in place for River Eden, at Appleby, the River Greta, near Keswick, and the River Kent, at Kendal. Storm Desmond is the fourth storm to be given a name by the public in a project by the Met Office and Met Eireann in Ireland to help raise awareness of severe weather.
Heavy rains pummeled the whole of the Philippines on Saturday, threatening to aggravate flooding that has prompted the government to declare a state of 'national calamity'. The death toll after a week of devastating weather has risen to 35, according to confirmed reports from national and local disaster monitoring agencies. A tropical depression that has weakened into a low pressure area brought rains to the central Visayas islands and Mindanao, the main southern island. Cold monsoon winds blowing from the north-east brought rains to Luzon, the main northern island, where large farming communities have been submerged in mostly waist-deep floods from typhoon Melor, which hit at the start of the week. Areas inundated by Melor have barely recovered from floods brought by typhoon Koppu in October.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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