World weather news

World weather news, April 2017

A 'once in 500-year' flood is swallowing up large parts of the east coast of New Zealand, as the tail-end of ex-cyclone Debbie sweeps east after devastating large parts of Australia. States of emergency have been declared in numerous regions in the North Island, after rivers burst their banks following two days of heavy rain and gale-force winds. Thousands of people have been evacuated in the Bay of Plenty, on the east coast of the North Island, and welfare centres established to feed and house those whose homes are now under water. The town of Edgecumbe appears to be the worst affected, with brown water up to two metres high engulfing the town, after the Rangitaiki river burst its banks on Thursday morning. The New Zealand Defence Force and Red Cross has arrived to provide relief and assistance to local authorities, who have been working non-stop for days, sandbagging properties and key infrastructure, and clearing debris from roads to make way for emergency vehicles. Power outages, major landslides and roads are closed right across the North Island, including in Auckland, which received a month's worth of rain in 24 hours, and where many roads remain closed due to surface flooding. Numerous flights out of Wellington, Auckland and regional North Island centres have also been delayed or diverted due to the conditions, with passengers bunking down in the airport after being unable to find accommodation in the city.
Cyclone Cook formed in the south-western Pacific Ocean on the 8th, close to the island of Vanuatu. In a favourable environment of warm sea surface temperatures and low environmental wind shear, the cyclone intensified into a Category 3 storm as it made landfall in New Caledonia on the 10th. Both islands were severely impacted by the storm, which brought strong winds of up to 180 km/h and flooding rains of up to 400 mm to parts of New Caledonia. The heavy rains increased the risk of landslides in the island's mountainous interior. New Caledonia had not experienced a direct hit from a tropical cyclone since Cyclone Erica in 2003.
Cyclone Cook has struck New Zealand with power cuts, fallen trees and landslides reported around much of the central and eastern North Island, which bore the brunt of the storm. Cook, which forecasters feared could be the worst storm to strike New Zealand in decades, made landfall just after 6pm local time but by then many coastal villages were abandoned as five-metre swells combined with high tide and smashed against the deserted shoreline. Schools and offices closed in Auckland at about lunchtime as civil defence staff urged residents to leave the city immediately and remain at home. Extra public transport was laid on for the thousands of people escaping the city. By late afternoon, however, the MetService said Cook had just bypassed New Zealand's largest and most populated city, and the weather warning was dropped. Further south in the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty regions, power remains out in tens of thousands of homes, and gale-force winds have been reported. Although flooding on Thursday was less severe than anticipated, hundreds of trees have fallen, and police said many roads had been closed in the North Island. Many rural communities on the east coast have prepared to be cut off for up to three days, and have laid in supplies of emergency food and survival gear to wait out the cyclone. Helicopters and emergency teams would set out at first light to check on isolated farms and communities, civil defence said.
A cold spell sweeping across central Europe has brought snow back to some countries including Germany, Poland and Slovakia. Most of Romania is shivering under sub-zero temperatures and winds exceeding 70 km/h, and the mountainous regions have been blanketed in snow. In eastern Ukraine, a white coat, 30 cm thick in some areas, has covered the early spring blossoms. In Kharkiv, the country's second-largest city, the weight of the snow pulled down trees and electric supply lines, leaving over a thousand homes without any power. In Switzerland too, more than 20 cm of snow has fallen in two days, and the freezing temperatures are starting to worry farmers and winegrowers alike.
The first subtropical depression of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season formed on Wednesday and became fully tropical Thursday. The system is running out of time to become Tropical Storm Arlene. A depression has a cyclonic circular motion with surface winds under 39 mph. A subtropical depression or storm has both tropical and non-tropical characteristics. Tropical storm formation over the Atlantic basin is very rare during the months of January, February, March and April. There has been only one tropical storm on record during April from 1851 to 2016, according to the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.
Today marked the hottest April day for New Delhi since 2010. Temperatures soared to 43.2C at Safdarjung Airport and 44.9C at the Indira Gandhi International Airport. Safdarjung, which is located closer to downtown New Delhi, has not recorded a temperature that high since the middle of April 2010.

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Last updated 20 April 2017.

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