GLOBAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
An intense thunderstorm crossed the central Italian peninsula, sending down baseball-sized hail on Naples on the 5th.
In southern regions of Spain the clean-up underway after persistent torrential rain led to flooding. The town of Adra, in the province of Almería, was one of the worst affected areas; cars were washed away and buildings were damaged by water levels above half a metre in the main streets. Fifty homes, 30 shops and 200 cars were damaged when flood waters swept through Adra. Heavy downfalls particularly affected the regions of Andalucia, Murcia and Valencia with more than 300 rain-related incidents being reported to the emergency services. In the province of Granada, three men drowned when they were caught in rising water.
After waves of searing heat that spanned the summer, drought in Poland has reached critical levels. In addition, the dry conditions led to the unearthing of historic artifacts buried in the terrain of the Vistula River near Warsaw. According to the Associated Press, officials were aware of the settled artifacts but could not access them under the murky waters of the river and its tributaries. A Soviet fighter plane, with human remains of the pilots, was one of the historic findings. The Red Army plane was downed by the Germans in January of 1945 and plunged into the frosty river, the AP reported.
A possible tornado swept through Northamptonshire, early in the afternoon, video and news reports in the area reveal. Radar and lightning data indicated a strong thunderstorm sweeping from south to north through the Northampton area on Monday. The tornado has damaged a number of houses in Duston, a suburb of Northampton, and also some vehicles parked close to St. Luke's Primary School have been hit by falling roof tiles, according to the Northampton Chronicle and Echo. Despite the damage, there have been no reports of injuries.
Enhanced by the remnants of Henri, thunderstorms turned severe as they spread from France into Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany on the 16th. A strong cold front with Henri merged into a strong warm sector, creating a clash of warm air with the cool rain. This brought gusty southerly winds ahead of a line of thunderstorms moving through central France then a powerful line of thunderstorms that spawned a tornado and damaging winds. In Saint-Dizier, winds reached a record 135 km/h. Thunderstorms also contained wind-whipped rain; together, the storms brought widespread power outages and downed trees. Some trees and power lines fell on roadways, causing travel headaches through the evening. The thunderstorms shifted from southeastern and central France up through Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne before moving into Belgium and western Germany.
A large dust storm has hit western parts of the Middle East, putting dozens of people in hospital and leading to public health warnings. After hitting parts of Syria on Monday 7th-18th, the dust spread to larger areas of the country on Tuesday morning. Parts of Lebanon, Israel, Turkey and Cyprus were also affected. Lebanon's state news agency said two people died - one an elderly man found on a roof. Syrian media said the weather stopped fighting in Hama and Idlib provinces. The pro-government al-Watan newspaper said that government helicopters were prevented from flying because of the dust. The poor weather was down partly to a low-pressure system over the entire region and sand blowing in from the east.
Taiwan faces a big clear-up after Typhoon Dujuan, which killed at least two people, injured more than 300, displaced thousands and left nearly half a million without power. On Monday night Dujuan made landfall in north Taiwan with wind speeds exceeding 150 mph along the island's east coast. It was accompanied by torrential rain triggering multiple landslides. The heaviest rain was in north-east Taiwan in the mountainous Wulai district where more than 90 cm fell - nearly a third of the country's annual rainfall. Dujuan is the 21st typhoon of the season. It developed from a tropical depression to a category 4 typhoon before it reached Taiwan, where it weakened, becoming a tropical cyclone as it moved into mainland China.
In parts of east Japan, over the past week, tropical cyclone Etau has been causing devastation. The storm made landfall early last Thursday but the effects are still being felt, with torrential rain, channeled by mountainous terrain, leading to severe flooding and landslides. The heaviest rainfall was observed in Tochigi prefecture where more than 650 mm was recorded in a 24-hour period, well over twice the average monthly total for September. The northwest Pacific region gets on average 26 named tropical storms annually, with Etau the 20th so far in the 2015 season. The storm brought historic and devastating flooding to parts of the country, with several towns under feet of water. In the city of Joso, with a population of 60,000, aerial rescues were reported as people waited for help on the roofs of buildings. Flood waters were reportedly more than a story deep.
A storm that took a rare early-September track across northern Africa into the Mediterranean Sea this week brought flooding rainfall to parts of southern Italy and the Balkan Peninsula 9th-10th. Areas from Sicily through Calabria received the heaviest rainfall from Wednesday into Thursday. Rainfall amounts of 50-100 mm were common with localized amounts up to 150 mm. The flooding was so intense across parts of Sicily that cars were seen being pulled down streets by the flood waters.
In Fairbanks, Alaska, winter arrived early with a blanket of snow on the 25th. On average Fairbanks gets about 5 cm of snow in September; today more than 15 cm was measured at Fairbanks International Airport, making the third heaviest September snow-day on record. Wintry weather looks set to continue in Alaska, with up to 30 cm of snow forecast for this week.
For the second time in less than a week, Fairbanks, Alaska, was blanketed with heavy snow on the 29th. This time, it was a record-breaker. Officially, 11.2 inches of snow blanketed Fairbanks International Airport, setting an all-time September daily snow record, previously 7.8 inches on 13 September 1992. This also topped the previous record for any 24-hour September snowfall of 9 inches in 1992, according to Rick Thoman from the National Weather Service in Fairbanks. Records in Fairbanks date to 1904.
The summerlike temperatures that continued well beyond August will result in the warmest September on record for many locations across the Midwest and the Northeast. In New York City's Central Park, the average temperature through to the 29th was 74.6F, nearly a full degree (F) above the record month in 1961, where the average temperature was 73.5F. Record-challenging temperatures extend as far west as Minneapolis, where the average temperature in the same period was slightly below the warmest September ever (in 1897) at 68.8 F. The warmest September on record for Pittsburgh was in 1881, when the average temperature throughout the month was 77.3 F. This September is likely to be the warmest since 1931. Through to the 29th, the average temperature in Pittsburgh has been warmer than that, at 70.0 F, about 5.6 degF above normal for the month. Dozens of locations, including Boston, Hartford (Connecticut) and Burlington (Vermont) will have their warmest September on record this month. Many of these records date back to the early 1900s and a few go back to the late 1800s.
A severe thunderstorm hit Brisbane, Australia. It had moved towards the coast bringing with it 10,000 lightning strikes that hit the city in less than two hours. The storm moved across the city in the afternoon producing dark skies, hammering hail, torrential rain and gusty winds, and cutting the power to more than 4,500 properties, as well as causing flight delays and road accidents.
Tropical cyclone activity across the north Pacific has been extremely high this year with numerous intense typhoons in the west Pacific and hurricanes in the east Pacific. According to the Met Office, there have been 15 tropical cyclones in the northern hemisphere reaching category 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale - 6 more than the previous record. Tropical cyclone activity across the northern hemisphere as measured by Accumulated Cyclone Energy (a combined measure of intensity and longevity) is 200% of normal and over 20% above any other year. Six hurricanes have crossed the central Pacific region - more than any other year. Three north Pacific hurricanes have crossed the International Dateline - more than any other year. Hurricanes Kilo, Ignacio and Jimena were all at category 4 simultaneously in the Pacific east of the International Dateline - the first time three major hurricanes have been recorded at the same time in this region.
Lightning strikes associated with the Indian monsoon rains killed more than 30 people in the south-east of India during the evening of the 6th. Those killed were said mainly to have been farm laborers working in the fields. Although an event of this severity is rare, lightning strikes are common in the Indian monsoon, from June to September, as a reversal of the prevailing winds brings onshore winds and rising air over the continent, causing torrential downpours.
Hurricane Joaquin grew into a category-three storm late in the day as it approached the central islands of the Bahamas on a projected track that would take it near the US east coast by the weekend. Maximum sustained winds reached 185 km/h and the hurricane-strength winds extended 55 km from the center of the storm over the Atlantic ocean, said the US National Hurricane Center in Miami, which predicted Joaquin would develop into a major hurricane in the coming days.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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