GLOBAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
Three people have been found dead and a woman is missing after torrential rain caused flash flooding in Greece on the 7th. The worst casualties were in and around the south-western city of Kalamata, where a disabled woman aged 63 and a man of 80 died in their basement homes. A 90-year-old was also found dead. Another woman was missing after abandoning her car in floods in northern Greece. The floods destroyed homes and businesses and swept cars out to sea. Cars were washed out to sea in Thessaloniki, the second-largest city in Greece The flooding hit towns and cities from Thessaloniki in the north-east to Sparta in the south. Kalamata Mayor Panagiotis Nikas told Reuters news agency that he had "never seen anything like it". "About 140 mm of rain fell in an hour this morning. Can you imagine that?" he said.
A landslide resulting from torrential rain has caused a train to derail near Watford injuring two people, after half a month's rain fell in a few hours and caused travel chaos across the UK (16th). The heatwave that the UK had experienced for much of the week ended spectacularly on Friday morning, with the east, south, and southeast of England worst affected. They all had amber weather warnings in place, the second-highest alert level, according to the Met Office. Thousands of homes were left without electricity, while train services were delayed, motorways closed and buildings flooded. Lines in and out of Euston station were briefly closed, causing delays as trains were canceled and rerouted. Holidaymakers missed flights as rail services to Stansted airport were disrupted by branches coming into contact with overhead line equipment. Virgin Trains said replacement bus services had been organized at Milton Keynes Central and Hemel Hempstead stations. About 1,200 homes across Basingstoke, Newbury, Reading and Bournemouth were left without power as a result of lightning, though the 'vast majority' were expected to be connected again by Friday night, the energy provider SSE said. Lightning also struck a row of six garages in Knaphill at about 9.30am, starting a fire, Surrey fire and rescue service said. There were also delays of almost three hours on the M4 and M40 due to flooding, according to Highways England. Pictures on social media showed severely waterlogged rail stations in Oxfordshire and Berkshire, including Didcot Parkway and Newbury. Water could be seen rising up stairwells and partially submerging ticket barriers at Didcot Parkway. In Maidenhead, some 73 mm of rain fell in 24 hours, mostly during early morning storms - the largest daily total locally since 1969.
Samoa has been hit by a hail storm so rare that it was believed to be a hoax by many of the island's inhabitants (16th). The tropical nation of Samoa lies in the Pacific Ocean, where the average temperature at this time of year is 29C. But on Friday evening an unexpected hail storm struck the eastern side of the island of Savai'i, accompanied by heavy rain and strong wind gusts. It was only the second time since records began that hail has fallen on Samoa, the first was in 2011. The storm lasted 10 to 15 minutes and produced hail stones roughly 2cm wide. 'Because it was so unexpected a lot of people thought it had been invented. We had to release satellite images of the conditions that led to the hail for people to believe it was real.'
The strongest typhoon to hit China this year has left 28 people dead and 15 others missing in the east of the country (15-19). Typhoon Meranti made landfall early Thursday in Fujian province after winds and rains associated with it pounded Taiwan, leaving one person dead and more than 50 injured. Authorities in Fujian said Saturday that the typhoon had left 18 people dead and 11 missing, damaged more than 18,300 houses and caused direct economic losses of more than 16.9 billion yuan ($2.5bn). Authorities in neighboring Zhejiang province say that 10 people died and four remained unaccounted for following landslides and flash floods in rural areas. Taiwan saw wind and rain from a second typhoon, Malakas, that caused no apparent deaths. The super typhoon, with gusts of up to 227km/h (141 mph), killed one person and left half a million homes without power in Taiwan. Dozens of flights and train services in southern China were canceled and tens of thousands of people evacuated.
Torrential rain dumped over the Norfolk, Virginia area Tuesday into Wednesday morning and left streets looking like rivers (20th-21). Over 13.5 inches of rain fell in Kempsville, Virginia, just south of Norfolk in 72 hours, according to CoCoRAHs. Steady rain fell over southern Virginia as lingering impacts from tropical storm Julia brought moist, tropical air into the area. Several roads were closed in the area and some schools were canceled due to the intense flooding. The extensive flooding also prompted some schools across the region to be either delayed or closed.
South Australia was weathering a statewide blackout on Wednesday night after one of the most extreme weather systems in decades cut power to the entire state (28th). Power went out across the state at about 3.45pm on Wednesday afternoon in the midst of drenching rains, lightning and thunder. By late on Wednesday, power had been restored to much of the Adelaide metropolitan area and only the northern parts of the state and the Eyre Peninsula were expected to be without services into Thursday. An incident involving infrastructure near Port Augusta at 3.48pm on Wednesday prompted the failure of the entire SA network, the South Australian premier, Jay Weatherill, said. The blackout came as strong winds and heavy rain lashed parts of SA with the Bureau of Meteorology warning super cell thunderstorms were possible across the central and mid-north districts. The bureau issued a severe thunderstorm warning for an area stretching from the Riverland to Marree. It said super cells within those storms could produce wind gusts up to 140 km/h along with heavy rain that could cause flash flooding. By late afternoon the State Emergency Service had responded to more than 330 calls for help, most because of fallen trees or rising water.
South Australia has copped another belting with a destructive storm lashing the state just 24 hours after super cell thunderstorms knocked out the state's entire power network. The intense low-pressure system raged across Adelaide and parts of South Australia late on Thursday. The storm packed winds of up to 140 km/h, among the strongest the city has experienced, prompting an unprecedented warning from police for workers to head home early and stay home amid concerns emergency services might not be able to cope. The winds brought down trees across a wide area, causing major damage, and ripped some mid-north buildings apart. Heavy rain caused widespread flooding, from the Patawalonga River in Adelaide, through to the Barossa and Clare valleys, which copped 54mm of rain. In Clare, a caravan park was under threat and in the Barossa, a dam burst, prompting an emergency flood warning for the town of Greenock. Storm surges and huge waves also inundated some communities along the Spencer and St Vincent gulf coasts with the worst centers affected including Port Pirie, Port Broughton and Moonta.
Hermine became the first hurricane to make landfall in Florida in 11 years - since Wilma on 24 October 2005; it made landfall around 1:30 a.m. EDT east of St. Marks, Florida, as a Category 1 hurricane. Ahead of the hurricane's landfall, a station south of Apalachicola reported wind gusts of 79 mph at an elevation of 35 m.
More than 600 people were injured and five were killed after once-Typhoon Megi roared across Taiwan and eastern China (28th). Megi made landfall in central Fujian, near the city of Putian, early Wednesday morning local time. The system has since weakened to a tropical rainstorm. Despite weakening, Megi will continue to pose risks to residents in eastern China by unleashing flooding downpours through late week. While the risk of damaging winds has diminished, flooding rain will remain a concern. Mudslides can be triggered in the higher terrain.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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