GLOBAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
On Tuesday (2nd) the coldest June temperature in five years was recorded at Observatory Hill in Sydney (Australia). The temperature of 7.3C at 7am felt more like 0.3C, the BOM said. The following day it fell to --7C in Canberra.
Violent storms across Colorado have swirled into tornadoes that destroyed homes, popped open a sinkhole that swallowed a police cruiser and dropped so much hail on a Denver neighborhood that residents had to dig out of waist-deep ice with shovels. No serious injuries have been reported from the storms that raked areas from Fort Collins in the north to Pueblo, nearly 180 miles south. Tornadoes damaged at least six homes near Simla, on Colorado's eastern plains, Elbert County officials said. A new twister touched down Friday afternoon but lifted off before causing damage, the National Weather Service said.
The Pacific Northwest continued to face stifling heat this week, as triple-digit temperatures baked the region (28th). Spokane, Washington, set an all-time June record high of 105F, breaking the previous record of 96F set in 1896.
Special police units called to Tbilisi (Georgia) zoo during this weekend's devastating flood have been accused of overreacting by unnecessarily shooting many of the animals, as hundreds of volunteers joined the clear-up effort at the flattened site. Some policemen were seen taking selfies alongside the bodies of tigers, lions and other large animals that they had shot, posing like big-game hunters, two zoo staff in Georgia's capital city told the Guardian. In one case, staff said a wolf they had successfully tranquilized and safely tethered was then shot by police as it lay on the ground. Only three of the zoo's original 20 wolves survived. The Georgian government says at least 13 people were killed when a small river running through the city burst its banks, flooding several residential areas and the zoo in just minutes. After a disaster that caught the city completely off guard, 11 people are still reported missing. The zoo now believes it has lost more than half of its animals, including all its tigers, and most of its lions and bears. And, while some escaped, including bears and a hippo, it now appears most animals either drowned or were shot inside the zoo park boundary. More reports came in during the day on Monday of escaped animals in the streets, including a panther, but so far 'all have turned out to be hoaxes and rumors', said zoo director Zurab Gurielidze, as he fielded an endless series of calls.
Residents have been evacuated from Sochi in Russia after flash flooding submerged part of the city that staged the Winter Olympics in 2014 (the 25th). Several hours of torrential rain brought trains to a standstill and rendered roads impassable in the Black Sea resort. Sochi international airport had to be closed and a Formula 1 circuit in the nearby Adler district was flooded. A state of emergency was declared but there were no reports of casualties. Footage showed residents with water up to their knees, one attempting to clear her property with a broom. In one village, a snake could be seen swimming through the floodwater. Sochi saw more than three weeks' worth of rain in an hour, environmental officials told Interfax, flooding the Hosta, Kudepsta, and Herota rivers.
An area between London and Reading in Berkshire is the most likely part of Britain to be hit by a tornado, according to a team from the University of Manchester on the 16th. Using witness reports of UK twisters over a 32-year period, the scientists found the area most likely to be struck was west and south-west of London, which had a '6% chance per year of a tornado occurring within 10 km of a given location'. But they also described this as a 'one in 17-year event'. The UK experiences on average 34 tornadoes a year, the most per area of land mass in the world, the scientists said. The strongest seen were categorized as F2 on the Fujita scale used to assess their power, with winds of up to 157mph, compared with the F5 storms seen in the US, where winds can exceed 300 mph. Kelsey Mulder, of the university's school of earth, atmospheric and environmental sciences, and the report's lead author, said: 'F2 tornadoes are still quite strong and are perfectly capable of causing damage and injury. For example, there was the twister that hit Birmingham in 2005 that caused 19 injuries and £40m of damage. Because tornadoes are capable of causing such damage, it is important that we have some kind of idea where they are most likely to hit.
Temperatures climbed to near 40 C across Madrid with the all-time June high at Gatafe Airport being broken and a close call for the record of 39.9C recorded at Madrid-Barajas Airport (29th). Prior to this heatwave temperatures had not hit 38C in Madrid since the Barajas Airport recorded a high of 37.8C on Sept. 2, 2014. Cordoba also challenged its June record high of 45C 26 June 1965. The temperature peaked at 43.7C on Sunday. Temperatures soared again on Monday with the high reaching 42.7C. Widespread highs in the 30s and lower 40s (C) are expected to continue across most of eastern Portugal and the interior of Spain. More typical June highs range from around 23C in Logrono in northern Spain to 28 C (82 F) in Madrid to 33C in Cordoba in southern Spain.
An official in Pakistan says at least 749 people have been killed in a heatwave as temperatures have finally begun to drop in the country on the 24th. The hardest-hit city was Karachi, where temperatures have soared to 45C. Meteorologists say the heatwave is the worst in at least a decade. The situation was worsened by long power cuts, little running water and the majority of people fasting for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The cooler temperatures on Wednesday appeared to be helping. Hospital officials said admittances had dropped compared with previous days, when dehydrated patients lay in corridors and outside of clinics. Winds have shifted to the south-west, blowing cooler air into the port city from the Arabian Sea, and the Pakistani Met Office has predicted rain, which would bring lower temperatures. The government has demanded urgent action to deal with the crisis, and the administration in Sindh province declared Wednesday a public holiday to encourage people to stay indoors out of the sun. Some residents on Tuesday took to hosing each other down with water to avoid collapsing from heatstroke.
Tropical system Blanca reached major hurricane status on Wednesday (3rd), however has gone through a period of weakening to a category 2 hurricane. Blanca was expected to strengthen as the storm moved northwest. This is the earliest on record, since 1971 that two major hurricanes have formed in the Eastern Pacific. There have been four other seasons that have had two major hurricanes develop before the end of June. If Blanca were to reach Category 5 strength it would become the earliest on record in the eastern Pacific. That record is currently held by Hurricane Ava which reached that threshold on 6 June 1973. While Andres brought only rough surf and rip currents to Mexico, Blanca will bring more direct impacts as it continues to strengthen over the next few days and eventually approaches Baja California.
Tropical Storm Blanca's center made landfall in the southern Baja California peninsula near the town of Puerto Cortes early on Monday, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 45 mph. Blanca became the earliest-in-season tropical cyclone to make landfall in the Baja peninsula. According to NOAA's database, only one other pre-July 1 tropical cyclone tracked within 150 nautical miles of the southern Baja peninsula, a 14 June 1958 Category 1 hurricane whose center passed just south of Los Cabos. As of late Monday morning, June 8, up to 5.18 inches of rain was measured unofficially in Loreto, Mexico. Overnight Saturday night, June 6, as Blanca made its closest approach, an automated station on Socorro Island recorded a peak sustained wind of 74 mph and gust to 101 mph. A somewhat strange early June pattern delivered some early-season leftover moisture from Blanca to parts of the Desert Southwest and southern Rockies. An enhanced rain and thunderstorm threat began Tuesday in parts of Arizona and New Mexico. From there, it spread north into the Great Basin, central and southern Rockies Wednesday. Thunderstorms even fired up over parts of interior northern California and the Sierra. Tucson, Arizona, picked up 0.21 inches of rainfall from Blanca's moisture. This exceeds their average rainfall for the entire month of June which is 0.20 inches (1981-2010). Measurable rain fell in Yuma, Arizona, on Tuesday for just the seventeenth time in June since records began in 1876. Yuma had seen 0.31 inches of rain, which makes it the second wettest June on record in the city. While only amounting to 0.30 inches of rain, Santa Barbara, California had its third wettest June day on record, Tuesday, June 9. San Francisco International Airport picked up 0.26 inches of rain the following day, more than double the average June monthly rainfall of 0.11 inches.
As once-Tropical Storm Bill made landfall in eastern Texas, copious amounts of rainfall accompanied it, causing an already saturated south-central United States to flood. The storm had the largest effect on Texas and Oklahoma into Tuesday and Wednesday as flood waters rose, power lines were downed and roads became impassable. On Wednesday night, massive flooding occurred in Davis, Oklahoma. A rockslide occurred in the same area on Thursday, closing portions of Interstate 35. The National Weather Service recorded 12.53 inches of rain in Healdton, Oklahoma. As Bill lashed the Plains, the Southeast continued to simmer in near-record heat. Record highs were set in several locations, including Columbia, South Carolina, where the temperature hit 101F on Wednesday, breaking the previous daily record from 1944.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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