Global Weather Highlights
Some of the most potent seasonal monsoon rains to hit India and Pakistan are devastating the two countries, causing landslides, home collapses and the worst flooding to hit the region in more than five decades. So rain related catastrophes have claimed the lives of at nearly 300 people across the two countries. Rain has been falling in the Indian controlled area of Kashmir and far eastern Pakistan for five days straight, inundating hundreds of villages, some with up to 12 feet of water. Thousands of homes have collapsed from heavy rain and floodwaters, killing some and forcing many others out into the flooded streets. All told, at least 120 people have been killed in India and another 160 killed in Pakistan from heavy rain related catastrophes. The scope of the devastation prompted government officials to call the situation a "national emergency."
Typhoon Kalmaegi cut across the northern Philippines early in the week (Sep. 14-20)with wind speeds in excess of 70 knots, covering most of Luzon with heavy showers. Later in the week, Tropical Cyclone Fung Wong brought additional heavy rainfall to the northern Philippines as the storm clipped northern Luzon on a path close to that of Kalmaegi. The weekly rainfall totals from both storms exceeded 600 mm across the western sections of Luzon, with more manageable amounts (100-200 mm) in eastern areas. Typhoon Kalmaegi moved west and made final landfall in northern Vietnam, where rainfall amounts approaching 200 mm boosted moisture supplies for winter rice. Fung Wong was tracking northward past Taiwan and the eastern coast of China as of September 22 (additional information will be provided in next week’s Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin). Elsewhere, monsoon showers produced highly variable rainfall amounts (1-100 mm) in Thailand, with the higher totals occurring in key rice areas. Monsoon showers typically begin to recede from Thailand in October as rice starts to mature.
While the monsoon is retreated across northwestern and northern India, a round of heavy monsoonal rain sparked deadly flooding and mudslides in the northeast on the 22 and 23. So far, at least 55 people have died as a result of the recent extreme weather in India. Many people remain missing as flood waters continue to flow through many villages across the region.
Locally heavy rain lingered in southeastern Europe. A slow-moving storm over southeastern Europe weakened and drifted east, dropping an additional 10 to 100 mm over much of the Danube River Valley. Total rainfall from this system tallied 50 to 200 mm over a large swath of southeastern Europe, with 100 mm or more noted across the central Danube River Valley as well as Hungary, Slovakia, and eastern Austria.
Heavy rain covered a large part of southern Brazil with the highest rainfall (greater than 100 mm) was recorded in western sections of Parana and in neighboring sections of Paraguay, with amounts of 25 mm extending from northern Rio Grande so Sul to southern locations of Mato Grosso do Sul and southern Sao Paulo.
Powerful storms swept through the Southwest over the weekend, ravaging local infrastructures with destructive winds and slashing rain on the 27-28. At Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, more than 40 flights had to be diverted to other airports due to unsafe landing conditions as winds howled up to 67 mph at the site on the 27th. The same winds tore apart the airport's roof, littering debris over parts of the tarmac. According to the National Weather Service in Phoenix, the rattling thunderstorms were created due to a low pressure system that pulled in monsoonal moisture. As the system encroached toward the area, wind shear was strengthening, resulting in a severe weather outbreak. Though the storms moved at a quick pace, a trail of widespread damage was left behind. Multiple trees were downed, utility poles crashed onto roadways and winds peeled roofing off of several local buildings.
Tropical showers pushed into the northwest, providing a needed boost in reservoirs after last week’s diminishing monsoon showers. Much of the rain (locally exceeding 100 mm) was the result of the remnants of Hurricane Odile, which also brought torrential rain to the southwestern United States. Later in the week, onshore flow from Hurricane Polo contributed to locally heavy showers (greater than 50 mm) along the southern Pacific Coast (Nayarit to Guerrero). Heavy rain (25-100 mm) also boosted irrigation reserves along the western and southern Gulf Coast. Following a dry start to the season, Tamaulipas has now recorded 3 weeks of heavy rain, bringing seasonal totals to above-normal levels.
Tropical storm Rachel became the 17th named storm of the eastern Pacific hurricane season last week, making this the third most active season on record, behind 1985 and 1992. Winds peaked at 75mph over the weekend, before the storm weakened into a tropical depression as it moved over cooler water west of the Baja California peninsula on the 28-29. Meanwhile, across the north-west Pacific, a thundery area of low pressure originating near the Mariana Islands, developed into tropical storm Kammuri, as it tracked northwards towards the east coast of Japan. Wind gusts approached 80mph on Sunday, but the storm has now decreased in strength, avoiding landfall.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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