GLOBAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHT
A hefty clean-up task waits after a destructive night of fire and wild weather stretched emergency services in New South Wales. More than 1,000 firefighters were deployed across NSW on Saturday to battle 70 bushfires, including a large blaze that destroyed two homes in the Blue Mountains, and a storm that lashed Sydney and surrounding regions brought down power lines, cut electricity and ripped trees from the ground. The storms claimed the life of a 15-year-old boy, who was struck by lightning on the coast of the Hunter region. The State Emergency Service responded to more than 1,140 jobs, mostly for around Sydney's western fringes. Two homes were lost by Saturday evening and several others had been badly damaged in the fire, which flared up and jumped containment lines on Saturday afternoon
A round of strong thunderstorms lashed the Brisbane (Australia) area with torrential rainfall and gusty winds on Oct. 19. The storms caused flash flooding and knocked out electricity in parts of the region. The city and surrounding areas were struck during the middle to late afternoon when thunderstorms developed to the south and blasted northward. Rainfall of more than 50 mm fell in 30 to 60 minutes resulting in flash flooding as many road ways were left impassable.
Across much of eastern Australia, so far this November, temperatures have been running above average and rainfall below normal. This has set the stage for an active start to the summer wildfire season across eastern New South Wales. Due do the continuous hot and dry weather, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued total fire bans across the region over the weekend. A total fire ban remains in effect on Monday in the Lower Central West Plains area. Even though a fire ban is not in effect across the rest of New South Wales, dry brush will keep the fire danger high across the rest of the state. In Sydney, temperatures have averaged about 3 Cabove normal this month. Less than 11 mm of rain has fallen in the city. This is only 20 percent of normal to date for the month. To the west of Sydney, in Cobar, no rain has fallen this month and temperatures climbed as high as 43.3C.
"We're making lots of snow, lots of it," Sugar Mountain Ski Resort in North Carolina boasted on Sunday, after a storm delivered 8-10 inches of natural snow to the slopes over the weekend. The bounty of the early snowstorm, paired with ideal temperatures for snowmaking, afforded the resort a head-start into the 2014-2015 winter season, beating the opening days of many competitors farther north. Sugar Mountain officially opened on Nov. 2, the second earliest opening on record, just behind the Oct. 31 record set two years ago. The storm delivered more than a foot of snow to parts of the southern Appalachians, setting a new date for the earliest snowfall in recorded history for Columbia, South Carolina. Tens of thousands of electricity customers across Maine were left in the dark at some point during the day on Sunday. Over 70,000 customers were still without power according to Central Maine Power's website early on Monday morning. According to an official snowfall measurement by the National Weather Service, Bangor, Maine, received 12 inches of snow on Sunday. This obliterated the daily record of half of an inch set in 1951. Other amounts recorded ranged from 15 to 21 inches across parts of Aroostook County in the northern part of the state.
Heavy snow blanketed parts of the upper Midwest USA with more than a foot of snow on Tuesday (Nov. 11), leaving residents there and in the Rockies waking up to frigid temperatures that plunged as much as 30 C overnight. More than a foot of snow fell in northern Wisconsin, while Michigan's Upper Peninsula was buried under more than 14 inches of powder with at least another foot expected before the storm moves out Wednesday. The blast of frigid air sent temperatures plunging as far south as the Texas panhandle, where balmy 70-degree weather fell into the teens overnight. In Oklahoma City, Monday's high of 80 degrees hit a low of 30 degrees Tuesday morning - a drop of 50F. And in the Dakotas, where single-digit temperatures - already about 30 degrees below normal - came with frigid wind chills, dipping as low as into the negative 20s in Dickinson, North Dakota. Minneapolis-St Paul international airport saw the brunt of the cancellations and delays Monday, with about 175 cancellations, while about 19 had been cancelled Tuesday, according to the airport. Elsewhere in Minnesota, the state patrol said at least two people were killed in accidents on icy roads, and troopers handled 475 crashes and more than 700 spinouts statewide by Monday evening.
A powerful storm has moved into the Bering Sea on Nov. 12 and has become the most intense storm to ever impact the region. The former Super Typhoon Nuri has tracked northward into the Bering Sea, located in between Alaska and Russia, and has lost all tropical characteristics. The system has undergone rapid intensification, producing howling winds as the central pressure plummets to near record levels. On Friday night, the Ocean Prediction Center analyzed the central area of low pressure to be 924 mb. This means that the storm has become the most powerful storm to ever move over the Bering Sea in recorded history in terms of central pressure. Previous to this storm, the old record stood at 925 mb from a powerful storm that moved over the Bering Sea on 25 October 1977.
An apparent tornado touched down early Monday (Nov. 17) at a state prison near Blountstown in Florida's panhandle, slightly injuring two people and damaging a number of vehicles. Workers were just arriving for their shifts early Monday at the Calhoun correctional institution and hadn't even got out of their vehicles when the storm struck around 4am CST. There was 'major damage' to between 25 and 30 vehicles in the parking lot and some of the fencing around the prison's perimeter was knocked down. No one escaped from the facility, which has a maximum capacity of 1,354 inmates.
Between 3 and 6 feet of snow and plunging temperatures have left thousands snowed in over upstate New York, and the cold and snow has taken lives. Four people died Tuesday due to the heavy snow. Three of the incidents were caused by cardiac arrest from shoveling snow, while the other one was due to an automobile accident. There were two additional deaths on Wednesday, bringing the death toll to six. Another two deaths were reported on Wednesday evening. A large lake-effect snow band formed on Monday night over Lake Erie as cold arctic air began sweeping over the relatively warmer Great Lakes. The snow band took aim at western New York and lingered for nearly 24 hours. Communities along the I-90 corridor in southwestern New York, from Silver Creek to the towns south of Buffalo, have been left in a disabled state, after several feet of snow fell on Tuesday. Parts of New York measured the season's first big snowfall in feet, rather than inches. Parts of western and northern New York state average more than 100 inches of snow during the winter season. The lake-effect snow this week represents a large amount of the seasonal average. Depending on the investigation of snowfall measurement activities, there is a chance the 24-hour United States snowfall record could fall. That official record belongs to Silver Lake, Colorado, with 76 inches, spanning April 14-15, 1921.
Thousands of people across New England had to spend their evening in darkness this Thanksgiving, as a powerful Northeast snowstorm wiped out electricity across the region on Wednesday. More than 160,000, or 34 percent, of people served by the Public Service of New Hampshire remained without power as of 8:00 a.m. As of early Friday morning, 119,000 were reported to be without power, according to the utility. An additional 18,000 people in the state served by until were also experiencing outages. The pre-Thanksgiving storm across the Northeast downed tree limbs and power lines across the region, knocking out power to thousands.
A potent storm system sits stubbornly over the region ( Nov. 4-15). The storm has already been responsible for heavy rain and flooding from southern France to northern Italy and western Austria with snow burying parts of the Alps. The storm already delivered tremendous rainfall to parts of southern France, southern Switzerland, northern Italy, western Austria, western Slovenia and northwestern Croatia. Rainfall in excess of 175 mm inundated Nice, France. Kotschach, Austria, picked up more than 300 mm of rain from Tuesday through Thursday morning. At the same time, 265 mm soaked Cevio, Switzerland. As rain inundated the lower elevations, heavy snow buried the higher elevations of the Alps. At Andermatt, Switzerland, rain in excess of 100 mm at the start of the storm changed over to 90 cm of snow from Wednesday through Wednesday night. Red alerts were issued for regions stretching from the Veneto to Umbria, Lazio and Sicily. Two people were injured in Naples where they were hit Wednesday morning by broken tree branches and lambs were reported drowned on farms in Tuscany, swept away as heavy rains pounded central and northern regions. In Tuscany and Liguria, boats and helicopters were used to rescue dozens trapped in their homes by flood waters and evacuations were ordered in the coastal regions.
The last storm in a series of four brought another 25-75 mm to parts of northern Italy on Monday (Oct. 17), with just some lingering showers on Tuesday. So far this month, rainfall has exceeded 250 mm in many areas from southeast France into northern Italy and southern Switzerland. Already over 600 mm has fallen in Genoa, Italy, and 420 mm has soaked Nice, France. In Genoa, this is almost half of the yearly average rainfall in just two weeks.
On the last day of the month, southern France experienced the worst flooding in years claimed five lives and forced more than 3,000 people to evacuate their homes, officials said. The latest victim was a 73-year-old man who died of heart failure in Rivesaltes, in the Pyrénées-Orientales region, while trying to force his car through a dip in a road that was flooded. Along the banks of the Agly river in the same region, the government said about 2,800 people were evacuated by late afternoon on Sunday. The flooding was considered more serious than the deadly overflows seen in 1999, with the government saying it would evacuate residents within 200 m of the river. Another 560 people had already left their homes in Canet, Argelès-sur-Mer and Barcarès, on the Mediterranean coast. The river Berre had also flooded, reaching a metre above the level seen during flooding in 1999 that left 35 people dead and one missing in the region. About 250 people fled Sigean, in low-lying land and lagoons just south of Narbonne.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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