World weather news

World weather news, January 2016

A town on West Australia's Pilbara coast has been spared the worst of Cyclone Stan as it failed to reach the predicted category three strength overnight. The cyclone crossed at the Pardoo roadhouse, east Pilbara coast at 2am and was on Sunday morning moving inland in a south-easterly direction. It was still classified as a category two cyclone and was moving about 18km/h. Stan is the first cyclone of the Australian season, which begins officially on 1 November each year.
A man has been killed and many rescued after severe storms dumped heavy rain on parts of Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. More than 125mm of rain was recorded in some areas between the Sunshine Coast and Gladstone. More than 1000 calls for help were received by the SES after Saturday's storms in Sydney, which hit large parts of the state with winds of more than 100km/h that brought down trees and powerlines. Penrith, Mount Druitt and surrounds were the worst hit parts of Sydney while at Forbes Creek, east of Canberra, seven of the 12 homes in the village were severely damaged by fallen trees and strong winds. At Strathfield 36mm of rain fell in just 15 minutes and 42mm was dumped at Goulburn during Saturday's storms. Power was cut to more than 50,000 homes and businesses across Sydney, with the Sutherland area the hardest hit.

World weather news, February 2016

Heavy snow has disrupted public transport in southern China, stranding tens of thousands of people outside a rail station, police say. The crowd outside Guangzhou station swelled to nearly 100,000 at its peak on Monday night, police said. Central China has experienced some of its coldest weather in years. The rare snow has coincided with the run-up to Chinese New Year - where hundreds of millions of Chinese travel home to see their families. Many trains from north and central China were delayed by the snow - leaving passengers in the south stranded with no transport. Officials estimate nearly three billion trips will take place over the holiday season, in what is considered the world's biggest annual human migration.
Storm Henry has lashed Scotland with winds of over 100 mph, forcing the closure of roads, rail services and leaving 2,000 homes without power. Scottish and Southern Energy said it had restored power to 9,000 homes, but 2,000 remained cut off after gale force winds brought down and damaged power lines. Gusts reached 148mph on the summit of Cairngorm and a speed of 100mph was recorded at the Tay Road bridge, Dundee. Winds of 90mph were recorded in South Uist on Monday night, with gusts of 60mph in Glasgow and 63mph in Loftus, North Yorkshire. The Tay Road bridge was briefly closed overnight and, together with the Forth bridge, remains closed to high-sided vehicles. Police and Traffic Scotland urged drivers to take care as scores of minor roads were blocked by fallen trees and structural damage to bridges. Duke's Pass in the Trossachs remained blocked by snow. Most of the main roads remained open but travel on the A82 between Glencoe and Rannoch Moor was restricted after a van and a lorry were blown off the road. In England, the Humber Bridge near Hull was also closed to high-sided vehicles and caravans and a speed limit was imposed after a lorry blew over in 49mph winds.
Several tornadoes ripped across parts of eastern Mississippi and western Alabama on the 2nd, while a brutal winter storm paralyzed parts of the Midwest with more than a foot of snow. The southern tornadoes left behind devastation but no deaths. The storms took down trees and power poles and damaged structures, the Weather Channel reported. More than 14,000 Alabama Power customers were without power, mostly in Birmingham, the utility reported. In Alabama, the National Weather Service in Birmingham reported a "confirmed large and destructive tornado" on the ground near the city of Aliceville, about 45 miles west of Tuscaloosa. In Mississippi, a tornado damaged homes and at least one church, and strong winds damaged student housing at a community college in eastern Mississippi. Overall, there were nine reports of tornadoes in the two states, according to the Storm Prediction Center. The Midwest was struggling with a snowstorm that left a swath of Interstate 80 shut down in Nebraska on Wednesday morning. Parts of the state were hit with more than 15 inches of snow, the National Weather Service reported. Much of Colorado was blasted with more than a foot of snow, 41 inches in Coal Bank Pass.
A crowd gathered at Gobbler's Knob early this morning, awaiting the emergence of the groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil. After a tap of a cane on Phil's tree-trunk cage, his door was opened, and the animal emerged. He was held aloft to cheers and applause. Phil did not respond, other than to blink. Placed on top of the trunk, he attempted to flee before his actions were closely analyzed. Interpreting Phil's behavior, the Groundhog Club master of ceremonies proclaimed, "There is no shadow to be cast! An early spring is my forecast!" He added, "Take your jackets off, you're not going to need them!" Few in the crowd followed that advice; the temperature this morning in Punxsutawney, Pa., was reported at 22F.
The El Niņo-influenced weather pattern over the past several months has brought above-normal temperatures in the Midwest and Northeast (USA), causing the ice coverage on the Great Lakes to be significantly lower than it has been over the past two winters. As of today, the total ice coverage on the Great Lakes was less than 6 percent, just a fraction of what it was at the start of February in 2014 and 2015, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL). During the past two winters, early intrusions of arctic air paired with the persistence of below-normal temperatures caused ice to develop and to expand across large areas of the lakes by the middle of the winter. However, the weather pattern during the first half of this winter has been significantly different, favoring temperatures near to above normal across the region. As a result, only a small amount of ice has been able to form on the Great Lakes.

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Last updated 5 February 2016.

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