Tropical Cyclone Felleng continued to produce gusty winds and locally heavy rainfall across parts of Madagascar and the neighboring islands of Reunion and Mauritius. Felleng packing sustained winds near 70 mph, just below hurricane force. Flooding continued to be the primary threat for areas affected by the storm. Across Madagascar, the worst weather has been near the eastern coastline. The major port city of Toamasina reported over 7 inches of rainfall from the storm, with more than 5 inches falling in less than 24 hours. Felleng already made its presence known across the Agalega Islands as well as the Seychelles earlier this week. The Agalega Islands reported nearly 10 inches of rainfall in less than 48 hours resulting in widespread flooding.
Tropical Cyclone Rusty has hit the coast of Western Australia, bringing with it pouring rain and strong winds. Rusty made landfall in Pardoo town at about 0600 GMT on the 26th. At one point the storm was a category four cyclone. Weather data taken at the Pardoo Station showed rainfall of at least 19 inches from Sunday to Wednesday. It was unclear whether data accuracy were compromised by the cyclone's severe winds.
Dry, hot weather returned to top grower Ivory Coast's main cocoa regions, raising concerns over output and bean quality as the October to March main crop harvest wound down. Aside from a spate of showers in late January, there has been no measurable rainfall across most of the West African nation's cocoa belt since the onset of the dry season in mid-December. Dusty seasonal Harmattan winds have also dried the soil in some growing regions and hindered the development of new cocoa pods. Bean shipments to Ivory Coast's ports tapered off in January with volumes unlikely to recover until mid-crop harvesting picks up in April.
Torrential rain has this week brought devastation to northern parts of India and Pakistan, with reports of at least 45 people being killed, according to MeteoGroup. The deluge began on Monday, bringing near continuous rain in some parts for at least 48 hours and only slowly relented through Wednesday and Thursday. According to the Pakistan Meteorological Department, the first day of heavy rains on Monday saw 83mm recorded in just 24 hours at the Saidu Sharif weather station. The following 24 hours on Tuesday saw a further 91mm, leading to the almost doubling of the February average precipitation of 109mm in just 48 hours. The high surface run-off from the rain has led to mudslides, road blockages and disruption to communication and power lines. Reports have suggested that avalanches have claimed lives in the districts of Buner, Shangla and Upper Dir. There was also a fatal incident of a person struck by lightning in the town of Surab, Kalat District in thunderstorms associated with the highly unstable air mass.
Communities in Hokkaido and five prefectures of the Tohoku region in Japan had record levels of accumulated snow as of today, although total precipitation levels are about the same as an average year. In the Sukayu district of Aomori city along the Hakkoda mountain range, the snowpile measured 5.61 metres, a record for all areas where the Japan Meteorological Agency keeps records of accumulated snowfall. Thirteen locations have set records for their snowpiles this winter. Low temperatures in the region are a major reason for the deep snowpiles and some municipalities are facing problems from the accumulated snow. Hirosaki, in Aomori Prefecture, also had a record snowpile of 1.53 metres. Because so many residents have dumped snow in a local river, there is now the danger of flooding because the river has been dammed by the snow. Although city officials are asking residents to stop dumping the snow in the river, the practice has continued because some citizens claim they cannot use their kerosene stoves because the snow covers the exhaust vents. There have been many days in which temperatures have not risen so the fallen snow has not melted. The average temperatures since December have been about 1.2 degC lower than average in northern Japan.
Two storms merged quickly enough to bring colder air, tremendous snow and damaging wind to New England, causing airline and rail delays and creating a nightmare for travelers.
One of the greatest winter storms in New England history clobbered much of the region Friday night into Saturday. Snowfalls in excess of 50 cm were measured across Long Island and in five out of the six New England states (with Vermont being the exception). Hamden, CT. sits at the top of the blizzard's snowfall totals list with 40.0 inches. Other totals included
Dangerous battering waves and storm surge flooding have brought water over sea walls and caused significant coastal flooding along the Massachusetts coastline Friday night. The storm has been blamed for more than a dozen deaths, and some 345,000 homes and businesses remain without power. The states of Massachusetts and Connecticut put in place vehicle travel bans. In New York's Suffolk County, police said they had rescued hundreds of motorists stuck overnight on the Long Island Expressway.
A major winter storm pounded the Great Plains, creating hazardous travel that resulted in at least one death, closing schools, scuttling air travel and cutting off power to some communities. It is already blamed for two deaths has blanketed several states in up to 43 cm of snow. More than half of Interstate 70 in Kansas and Kansas City International Airport were closed as snow fell up to two inches per hour in some areas. The huge system moved to the north and east on Thursday evening, leaving behind 17 in in Hays, Kansas, 13 in in Wichita and 10 in in northern Oklahoma and parts of Nebraska.
A slow-moving storm that has paralyzed parts of the nation’s mid-section for days with heavy, wet snow that strained power lines, clogged roadways and delayed hundreds of flights, dumped at least 6 inches of snow on western Michigan early Wednesday as it moved eastward. The storm that made travel perilous from the Oklahoma Panhandle to the Great Lakes on Tuesday was expected to linger for another day over Chicago and parts of the Midwest. There was more than 15 inches of snow in parts of Oklahoma, up to a foot in Kansas and up to 13.5 inches in Missouri. In Iowa, officials warned of hazardous travel conditions as temperatures fell and ice formed on snowy roads. On Monday, whiteout conditions made virtually all Texas Panhandle roads impassable; a hurricane-force gust of 75 mph was recorded in Amarillo, where 17 inches of snow fell. The heaviest snowfall was in Follett, Texas, with 21 inches. The weight of the snow strained power lines and cut electricity to more than 100,000 homes and businesses. Hospitals closed outpatient centres and urgent-care clinics. At least three deaths were blamed on the blizzard.
Heavy snow fell over northern Italy, cutting visibility to between 1/4 and 1/2 of a mile in the Lombardy Plain. Meanwhile, along the Riviera in Liguria, high winds of at least 70 mph were clocked in Albenga, Italy. The snow was set up by a cold outbreak, coming southwards from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean late last week. Next, a storm that dipped southeastward over France to the Mediterranean met the cold air over northern Italy, triggering the widespread snowfall on Monday. Heavy snow has damaged some structures across the country, including the medieval walled town of Urbino and the ancient Colosseum in Rome. Fragments have fallen from the Roman amphitheatre and it remains closed to tourists.
The latest in a series of wintry storms blew into the U.K, causing high winds, bursts of snow and soaking rain. The instigating Atlantic storm was the same weather system that buried parts of the northeastern U.S. beneath up to 90 cm of snow over the weekend. Fresh snow covered the ground by Wednesday afternoon in much of Scotland and northern England, with snow reaching south to Manchester and Birmingham. There was travel disruption in places. Heavy rain, driven by winds of 35-50 kn, affected the northern areas.
Australia's summer has been confirmed as the hottest on record. Average temperatures across the country came in at 28.6C, 1.1 degC above normal, and exceeding the previous record set in the summer of 1997-98 by more than 0.1 degC. A new daytime maximum temperature record was also set at 35.7C, or 1.4 degC above normal, and 0.2 degC above the 1982/83 record. The most extreme heat occurred in the first three weeks of January during an exceptionally widespread and prolonged heat wave. The highest temperature recorded during the heatwave was at Moomba in South Australia at 49.6C.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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