GLOBAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
A small tornado caused some damage in Leverburgh, Isle of Harris (Scotland) on the 2nd. The twister reportedly hit some buildings and caused some minor damage to infrastructure.
A week of heavy rain in addition to meltwater from the Pyrenees has caused the River Ebro to burst its banks and flood areas in the Spanish autonomous community of Aragon, northeast Spain, including in the city of Zaragoza. Though the number of affected properties is not yet known, around 1,500 people are said to have been evacuated from local towns. Some roads and bridges have been damaged by floodwaters. Levels of the Ebro at Zaragoza are now thought to have peaked, though there is now a fear that communities downstream will be affected by flooding.
Strong, gusty winds (northeasterly winds that are known as Bora winds) are affecting Italy and the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. Winds gusted to 148 km/h at Italy's Capo Mele Lighthouse, 129 km/h at Florence, Italy, and 113 km/h at Split, Croatia. A trail of wind damage, including widespread downed trees, was left across northern and central Italy.
10th Thousands of homes have been left without power after 90mph winds battered parts of Scotland overnight on the 5th. The strongest gusts were recorded in South Uist late yesterday and into the early hours of this morning, with properties in Skye, Sutherland and Wick also affected. At the height of the problems more than 14,000 customers lost electricity but around 10,000 have been reconnected, Scottish Hydro said. Winds of 60mph swept large parts of the central belt last night but conditions are expected to improve throughout today.
21st For 10,000 visitors, a supertide in France did not disappoint as it immersed the only connecting point of Mont Saint-Michel (N France) to shore. It inundated the area near Mont Saint-Michel and created a short-lived island as overflowing water made the causeway impassable. Once every 18 years, experts say a supertide cuts off the only access point, one thin strip of road, to a home of medieval structures. Drawing more than 3 million visitors a year, UNESCO named Mont Saint-Michel a World Heritage Site. The supertide occurs when the path of the earth, moon and sun are all very closely aligned in their orbits.
Storms that brought flooding to northern India Sunday into Monday on the 2nd. The brunt of the storm blasted areas from northern Pakistan to northwestern India on Monday with rounds of heavy rain and thunderstorms. Downpours created flooding problems in and around New Delhi, Lucknow and Nagpur where rainfall totals of 25-75 mm were common.
A rapidly advancing storm system affected southern California, bringing more than an inch of rain, and prompting warnings of mudslides and flash flooding on the 2nd. Winter thunderstorms are not uncommon in California but these particular storm cells created the unusual sight of beaches and palm trees smothered 20-30mm deep in hailstones. A waterspout was also spotted just off the coast of Santa Monica. The same winter storm left more than a foot of snow in Californian ski resorts, including Bear Mountain, and other south-western states such as Arizona and Utah, also saw large snowfalls.
Hundreds of thousands of American students and government workers stayed home as a major winter storm hit from Texas to the northeastern United States on the 5th. In the nation's capital, government offices and schools were shuttered, along with most national Smithsonian museums, leaving the city's core eerily quiet as freezing rain turned to snow by mid-morning. Many schools and government offices were also closed in Philadelphia and Baltimore, while Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear declared a state of emergency for the state, where some cities were pounded with 20 inches of snow. Southern United States was not spared - with Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico all facing weather warnings. The National Weather Service said 65 million people were under a winter storm warning, and other another 29 million were under a winter weather advisory.
The Ohio and lower Mississippi rivers continue to run above flood stage in response to rain and melting snow in recent weeks on the 18th. Several storms have impacted this part of the country during the first half of March, including multiple rainstorms and a major snowstorm. This influx of rainwater combined with melting snow has caused ice jams, and road closures have put lives and property at risk. The Ohio River is one of the rivers in the region being most affected from the recent storms. On Sunday, the river crested in Cincinnati at its highest level since 1997.
After a weekend storm dropped more than 2 inches of snow across the region, Boston has officially endured the snowiest season on record this winter on the 18th. Breaking the 1995-1996 record of 107.6 inches, Boston Logan International Airport received a colossal 108.6 inches of snow this season. The city endured a barrage of snowstorms that severely hindered travel throughout the area. Streets and sidewalks became home to massive snow piles as removal crews struggled to keep up with the continual punches of heavy snow.
Several tornadoes touched down across areas of Arkansas and Oklahoma, including Moore, late Wednesday afternoon on the 25th. One person died after a storm hit a mobile home park near Sand Springs, Oklahoma.
A Turkish Airlines plane skidded off a runway as it attempted to land in Kathmandu, Nepal, amid dense fog early on Wednesday morning. The Airbus 330 was arriving at Kathmandu's Tribhuwan International Airport from Istanbul, Turkey. The plane circled for a half hour over Nepal before making a second attempt to land. After it slid off the runway, the plane sustained some damage to its front. The 238 people on board escaped serious injury, but passengers reportedly had bumps and bruises.
Rains and hailstorms lashed the state of Rajasthan killing 12 people and damaging Rabi crops in the last 24 hours on the 15th. 12 people were also injured in separate rain-related incidents besides scores of cattle perishing in the thunderstorms, they said.
24th-25th Flash floods in one of the driest regions in the world - Chile's Atacama desert - have left two people dead and 24 missing on the 24th and 25th. Thousands of people are now without electricity or water, as heavy rains in the Andes sent floodwater down into the valleys and towns below. In the city of Copiapo, the river burst its banks. The storms, which began on Tuesday evening, have cut off roads, caused power cuts and severed communications. Local officials say 38,000 people are without electricity and 48,500 without drinking water.
The capital of Vanuatu went into lockdown as a 'once-in-a-lifetime' storm bore down on the South Pacific island nation, threatening up to a quarter of a million people in its path. Tropical cyclone Pam, a category five storm with predicted wind gusts of more than 280 km/h at its core, was on track to hit the capital, Port Vila, at about 11pm Friday night, local time. Evacuations across the country followed warnings of a life-threatening weather event bringing storm surges, torrential rain, flash flooding and landslides. The United Nations agency Unicef, which along with aid agencies was on the ground with personnel and emergency supplies, warned about 260,000 people were in the potential disaster zone.
At least 11 people have been confirmed dead across Vanuatu, after the island was hit by cyclone Pam. This number was lowered from an earlier count of 24, but the number is feared to rise as communication remains limited across the islands. Vanuatu, a country between Fiji and mainland Australia, took a direct hit from Pam when the tropical cyclone was at its peak intensity on Friday, local time. Maximum sustained winds reached nearly 270 km/h, making Pam the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane or a super typhoon. An estimated 103,000 people in Vanuatu have been affected by Cyclone Pam, with thousands more blighted in nine countries across the Pacific, according to figures from the New Zealand Red Cross. The effects of cyclone Pam have been felt beyond Vanuatu, as the storm whipped its way across the South Pacific. Enele Sopoaga, the prime minister of Tuvalu, said 45% of the population has been displaced and a state of emergency has been declared. Damage has been reported in other islands, including Kiribati - where New Zealand Red Cross reports that it is carrying out assessments of the damage caused by huge sea swells - Fiji and the Solomon Islands, though details are still scarce. Gusts on Vanuatu peaked at 320 km/h.
16th Western Australian towns and communities ravaged by Tropical Cyclone Olwyn have been declared natural disaster zones by the federal government on the 16th. The category 3 cyclone smashed into a number of towns in the North-West of Wesgern Australia on Friday night, ripping roofs off homes, cutting water supplies and destroying banana plantation crops in Carnarvon.
A highly unusual March rainstorm has brought rare rainfall to parts of western and central Mexico. During the month of March, many areas from Michoacan and Colima into Jalisco and Nayarit average less than 6 mm of rainfall. This slow-moving, moisture-packed storm system brought 25-50 mm to these areas with localized amounts over 100 mm. This is 20 times or greater their normal rainfall for the entire month, falling in a matter of days and in some cases just hours. As of Monday morning, at least 145 mm of rain had already fallen at Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve in Jalisco. Tepic had already received more than 50 mm while the normal monthly rainfall in March is only 2 mm.
24th Tropical cyclone Nathan has crossed the Northern Territory coast (Australia) as a category one cyclone. It hit the coast about 300km east of Darwin between Goulburn Island and Maningrida about 6.30am. A state of emergency has been declared on Goulburn Island, and all 427 residents were flown to Darwin on Monday on 51 flights before gale-force winds picked up. At 6.30am, the Bureau of Meteorology said Nathan was about 45km east-south-east of Goulburn Island and 45km west-north- west of Maningrida, moving south-south-west at 6km/h. Winds near the center of Nathan are 75km/h with gusts to 100km/h.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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