World weather news, January 2015
- Despite above-normal temperatures to start the winter, concerns are rising about the natural gas supply in the United Kingdom. Natural gas in storage in the U.K. is at its lowest level since 2011, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE). The gas inventory was at 3.34 billion cubic metres today. Some fear a repeat of the winter of 2012-13 when frigid air and the subsequent higher demand for heating nearly drained the entire storage reserve. The combination of events helped to drive up natural gas prices in the U.K., according to Bloomberg. Analyst Rebecca Hermolle of Inenco Group Ltd., told Bloomberg that below-normal temperatures in the first quarter of 2015 may lead to the supply being depleted by April.
- Heavy winds and driving snow buffet northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Saturday evening, stranding motorists on open roads around the capital Urumqi. The gale-force winds reduced visibility to within 50 metres on some roads. More than 100 emergency services personnel were called in to help motorists trapped in their cars.
- Typhoon Mekkhala made landfall in northern Samar Island on Saturday night (local time). As of Sunday night, local time, nearly 300 mm of rain had fallen in Catarman in northern Sumar. In southeastern Luzon 259 mm fell in Legaspi. Samar is one of the areas hardest hit by former Super Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda. Pope Francis was visiting eastern Visayas to interact with people who were severely impacted by this tragedy only a little more than a year ago. Pope Francis's visit to Tacloban City on Leyte Island was cut short by 4 hours due to the approaching storm.
- Both NASA and NOAA reported that 2014 was the warmest year since global temperatures were first recorded in 1880. This year was also the 38th consecutive year that global temperatures were above average. Greenhouse gas trends are responsible for a majority of the trends that we are seeing, said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Temperatures are 0.9 degC above pre-industrial temperature averages.
- A deep trough of low pressure pulled moisture northward from the Arabian Sea into the Persian Gulf leading to flooding across parts of United Arab Emirates, Oman and southern Iran. The week began with rain from the United Arab Emirates into southern Iran and northern Oman. Thunderstorms produced heavy rain totaling 12-25 mm with localized amounts in excess of 50 mm. This amount of rainfall occurring in a short time period caused flooding problems as entire roadways became submerged.
- Sweltering heat has dominated a large portion of Brazil in January, including Sao Paulo and Rio de Janerio where temperatures have resulted in blackouts over the past week. Temperatures this month have averaged 4.4 degC above normal in Rio de Janerio and 5.7 degC aboce normal in Sao Paulo. Making matters worse is an ongoing drought that dates back at least three years. This drought has put a stress on water supplies across the region. Since Brazil relies heavily on hydroelectric power, the water shortage has now begun to impact power supply as well.
- The Bureau of Meteorology (Australia) is forecasting extreme heatwave conditions to continue for large parts of Western Australia, with severe heatwave conditions extending into the Northern Territory. A very large, slow moving hot air mass currently situated over inland Western Australia is causing a build up of heat, which has already seen widespread temperatures in the mid-to-high 40s for the Pilbara, Gascoyne and Interior regions this week. Severe heatwave conditions are forecast to spread to the east, with the Northern Territory seeing temperatures well above average over the weekend. On 21 January the town of Carnarvon on Western Australia's northwest coast recorded its equal hottest day, and hottest January day, with a maximum temperature of 47.8C. The hottest temperature on record in Western Australia is 50.5C at Mardie (19 February 1998). The hottest temperature recorded in Australia is 50.7C at Oodnadatta in the far north of South Australia (2 January 1960).
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Last updated 23 January 2015.