GLOBAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
A heatwave shattered records and exacerbated wildfires across the western United States (1-3). The latest burst of heat brought the hottest conditions ever recorded in downtown San Francisco as the temperature to 106F on the 1st. The previous record of 103F was set on 14 June 2000. Dozens more all-time and daily record highs were set from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon, and Missoula, Montana, over the weekend. The hot, dry conditions fanned the La Tuna Fire north of Los Angeles, which charred over 7,000 acres and burned three homes since Friday, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. The fire is now 80 percent contained, the Los Angeles Times reported. California Gov. Jerry Brown issued a state of emergency declaration for Los Angeles County on Sunday due to the severity of the blaze. The intense heat is over along the California coast, including San Francisco and Los Angeles, with more seasonable air taking control for the remainder of the week. One-hundred-degree Fahrenheit readings will dwindle over California's Central Valley. A state of emergency remains in effect across all counties in Washington due to extensive wildfires and heat. Many of the large blazes burning out West are clustered over Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Unhealthy air quality levels will persist across a large portion of the West as wildfire smoke shrouds the sky.
Snow has fallen in California on what was officially classed as the last day of summer, with the unexpectedly early turn in the weather causing dangerous travel conditions (21). Drivers have been advised to take care in the icy conditions and one man has already been killed due to a car crash on the Interstate 80 motorway. Residents in the Sierra Nevada mountain range were shocked to wake up to heavy snowfall on Thursday morning with one village in Mammoth Lakes reporting 3 inches of snow.
From the Midwest to the northeastern United States, the first week of autumn has not only produced higher temperatures than those seen during astronomical summer, but also some of the latest 90F temperatures on record in many locations (25th). A large, sprawling area of high pressure centered over the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley has been the culprit of the unusual heat and humidity. In many locations, record highs that have stood since the late 1800s and early 1900s have been shattered this past week. Chicago is in the midst of its second latest streak of three or more consecutive 90F days on record. The stretch that spanned 30 September to 2 October 1971 sits at the top spot. Saturday's high of 95F in Chicago also tied with 12 June as the hottest day of 2017 and marks the latest day in recorded history that the mercury reached that number. The previous record for temperatures reaching or exceeding 95 was on 15 September 1939, when the mercury reached 99F. As of today temperatures in Traverse City, Michigan, reached or exceeded 93F for four straight days. Previously, 23 September had been the latest 90F day on record in Traverse City, so that record was broken for two consecutive days.
A powerful storm in western Romania has killed eight people and injured at least 67, officials say 17). Most of the victims were in and around the city of Timisoara, where winds of up to 60 mph brought down trees and tore off roofs. Some water and electricity supplies have been cut.
At least six people have been killed after heavy rainstorms and flooding in the Italian city of Livorno (10). Four members of a family were killed when their basement apartment flooded. Italian newspaper Il Tirreno reports that two parents and their son died. One girl was rescued by her grandfather, but he died when he returned to attempt for his other family members, the newspaper said. Pictures from the city showed large areas underwater and extensive damage. One resident, Piero Caturelli, said he had never seen such bad weather. "It's incredible, incredible. It started around 10pm and continued until this morning. In my living memory, there's never been anything like this," he said. The flooding caused extensive damage to property in Livorno
More than a month's worth of rain fell across parts of Mumbai in just 24 hours from Tuesday into Wednesday (21). Rainfall totaling 303.7 mm was reported in the city from Tuesday to Wednesday morning, the second highest 24-hour September rainfall total on record. The all-time wettest 24-hour period in September was 318.2 mm from 12 September 1981. Mumbai averages 301 mm of rain during the entire month of September. An additional 63 mm followed from midday Wednesday to Thursday morning.
The hottest September day for a Queensland town has been recorded at Birdsville but while locals are sweltering, the national record maximum temperature for spring is set to remain unbroken. (27) The mercury rose to 42.5C on Wednesday afternoon, surpassing the previous state record by 0.1 degC and it's expected to stay there before a cool change brings relief to the area on Wednesday afternoon, a Bureau of Meteorology spokesman said.
Hurricane Irma strengthened to a Category 5 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 185 mph on Tuesday, becoming the strongest storm in the Atlantic Basin since Wilma in 2005. Irma has already proved destructive across the northern Leeward Islands. The eye of Irma passed over the British Virgin Islands on Wednesday afternoon, devastating the islands and parts of Puerto Rico. Widespread power cuts and significant damage to trees and structures are likely in many areas along the track of the system. The storm made a direct hit on Barbuda early Wednesday morning as a Category 5 hurricane before later making a direct hit on the islands of St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Barts and the British Virgin Islands. The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda described Barbuda as "barely habitable" on Wednesday afternoon due to the catastrophic damage left behind by Irma.
Hurricane Irma made landfall on the Camaguey Archipelago of Cuba Friday evening, close to Playa Santa Lucia. This was the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in Cuba since 1924. The center of Irma then continued moving northwest along the northern coast of Cuba through early Saturday afternoon. A wind gust to 159 mph was reported at a weather station in Ciego de Avila, Cuba, early on Sunday. The Turks and Caicos Islands experienced some of the worst conditions from Irma Thursday night into Friday since the eye passed so close to the south. Extreme winds in excess of 150 mph battered the islands. The strong winds also drove a very high and dangerous storm surge into the islands.
In total, 7 million people were urged to evacuate Florida as major Hurricane Irma approached the state. Irma has prompted the largest evacuation in U.S. history. A state of emergency has been declared in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
Irma, currently a Category 2 hurricane, is racing over southern Florida with dangerous wind gusts and storm surge. Hurricane Irma made a second Florida landfall at Marco Island, Florida, on Sunday as a category 3 hurricane. The hurricane tore across the Florida Keys early Sunday morning, making landfall here as a category 4 storm. At least 2 million people were without power across the state on Sunday. Winds with gusts up to 160 mph knocked out power and led to catastrophic damage. This is the first year that two Atlantic Basin hurricanes have made landfall at Category 4 strength in the U.S. in one season since records began in 1851.
Irma has left over 6 million without power in Florida as the storm continues to bring life-threatening storm surge and powerful winds. At least ten people have died in the storm in the United States, including two law enforcement officers involved in a fatal car accident on Sunday. President Donald Trump has approved a major disaster declaration for Florida. Disney World says its suffered limited damage in the wake of Irma. There were downed trees knocked down in the Animal Kingdom and the Polynesian Resort. The storm also caused flooding in Epcot and at the Grand Floridian Resort. 20,000 are still without power in Alabama, according to Alabama Power. By 11:45 p.m. EDT, Irma was continuing to move northwards along the Eastern Seaboard. Trees are reportedly blocking roadways in the Carolinas. Since Sunday, parts of Charleston, South Carolina, have received as much as 8.03 inches of rain. Flood waters are beginning to recede in Jacksonville, Florida, after climbing well above record level. However, many rivers around the city are still in moderate to major flood stage.
The insured damage caused by hurricanes Harvey and Irma is expected to be $50bn to $70bn, according to the boss of a Lloyd's of London insurer. Bronek Masojada, chief executive of Hiscox, said insured losses for Harvey, which resulted in widespread flood damage, were running at $20-$30bn while the cost of Irma was expected to be $30bn-$40bn. Masojada was using estimates from the risk modelling firm AIR Worldwide. A rival risk analysis firm, RMS, estimated insured losses from Harvey could be up to $35bn, which would take the total to $75bn. The insurer said the claims would make 2017 one of the worst years for natural disasters with the hurricane season not yet over.
Ten-of-thousands of people were evacuated from Vietnam's coast as a typhoon expected to the "most powerful storm in a decade" approached the country. Almost 80,000 people left their homes while local authorities tore down trees and cut power in some areas as Typhoon Doksuri made its way towards land. Offshore, wind speeds hit 102 mph, according to the Hong Kong Observatory. The winds had slowed to 80 miles an hour when the storm made landfall, according to the country's meteorological agency, but the storm had blown roofs off at least 206 houses in the city of Hue, according to the state news agency.
A powerful typhoon has ripped through southern Japan giving torrential rain, grounding hundreds of flights and stopping train services. Typhoon Talim hit Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's four main islands with winds of up to 105 mph, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. At least 644 domestic flights were cancelled due to strong winds and regional railway services have been suspended. Earlier, the typhoon battered the southern Okinawan island chain bringing the most rain seen over a 24-hour period in 50 years on the city of Miyako, before it hit Kyushu.
Dominica - the first island hit by the full category-five force of Hurricane Maria - is "in a daze", officials have said, cut off from its Caribbean neighbors in the wake of a storm that destroyed properties, silenced communications and cut power and running water. Seven people have so far been confirmed dead in Dominica but that toll is expected to rise as rescue teams make their way to inaccessible parts of the island. A CNN crew who flew over Dominica on Wednesday reported: "Nearly every tree was touched - thousands snapped and strewn across the landscape - and the island was stripped of vegetation. The rainforests appear to have vanished." The airport and sea ports are closed. The official death toll from Hurricane Maria is 10, with two deaths confirmed on the French island of Guadeloupe, and one so far in Puerto Rico. There has not yet been word of casualties from St Croix, in the US Virgin Islands, which the storm swept past in the early hours of Wednesday, and the number of fatalities could rise in Puerto Rico, which took a direct hit. The capital, San Juan, has suffered catastrophic flash flooding and the entire island has lost electricity. Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rosselló - who called the hurricane 'nothing short of a major disaster' - said one man had been killed when he was struck by a piece of debris in high winds. It was the strongest hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico for almost a century. In 1928, the San Felipe Segundo hurricane killed more than 300 people. Maria dipped to category-two strength as it moved away from Puerto Rico towards the Dominican Republic, but the US National Hurricane Center warned it could yet regain strength. The Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the south-eastern Bahamas remain under hurricane warnings.
Hurricane Maria has added to the extensive damage on the British overseas territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Foreign Office has said, after the region was pummelled by a second major storm in two weeks. The hurricane barreled across the Caribbean over the past few days, claiming the lives of at least 19 people, with many others missing. A British man is among the dead, with his body yet to be recovered, after a boat capsized off Puerto Rico, near Vieques, as Maria unleashed devastation. The US coastguard in Miami said a Royal Navy helicopter hoisted a woman and two children from the overturned vessel on Thursday after a distress call was sent from the boat. Maria battered the Turks and Caicos Islands with winds of up to 125 mph on Friday. The Foreign Office has advised: 'Hurricane Maria has now passed TCI, but it added to the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Irma.' Also hitting Puerto Rico, it was the strongest storm in more than 80 years to sweep across the country - flattening homes and plunging the island into darkness after taking down power lines.
Emergency officials in Puerto Rico evacuated tens of thousands of people on Friday afternoon due to an imminent dam failure in the nearby areas of Isabela and Quebradillas, following Hurricane Maria's devastating blow. The Guajataca Dam is on the verge of collapse under the weight of flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Maria unleashed more than 600 mm of rain on parts of the island, leading to record flooding. Wind gusts in excess of 110 mph also struck Puerto Rico as the storm plowed across the island. The entire island lost power, and it could take months before the power is fully restored.
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