World weather news

World weather news, January 2017

The drought was declared over in northern California this week as storms continued to dump rain and massive amounts of snow across the state. The storms caused flash flooding, power outages, mudslides and a high avalanche risk across the Sierra Nevada. As many as 15 rivers were reported to be above flood stage at one point, while state officials opened the Sacramento Weir for the first time in a decade to lessen the flood risk. A stretch of Interstate 80 along Donner Pass was closed for several days as crews worked to clear the heavy snow from the roads. Blizzard warnings were issued as well.
A long-duration ice storm in the Great Plains and Midwest (USA) claimed the lives of six people, caused treacherous travel conditions, prompted the delay of an NFL football game and left thousands without power. Freezing rain, ice and winter storm warnings were in effect from the Texas panhandle north into Iowa and east through central Indiana. Multiple crashes occurred due to drivers losing control of their vehicles on the ice-covered roadways, including at least four fatalities, according to Missouri and Oklahoma State Highway Patrol. Two fatal accidents also occurred in Kansas on Saturday, the Kansas Highway Patrol reported. Missouri and Oklahoma declared states of emergency. The same storm also produced some severe weather in parts of Oklahoma and Texas on Sunday.
Days of heavy rain have caused flooding and several deaths across the Philippines. At least seven deaths were reported and 6,800 people were displaced from their homes by the flooding. A combination of a frontal boundary and ample tropical moisture have resulted in several days of heavy rainfall across the central an southern Philippines. Rainfall totalled 311 mm in Borongan, Visayas, since Saturday. This is around 50% of the normal rainfall for the entire month of January. Farther southwest, 7.32 inches of rain fell in Dipolog City in only six hours with a total of 8.26 inches falling on Monday. Normal rainfall is close to 5 inches for the entire month of January.
Low elevations of southeastern Spain received a rare coating of snow this week. With cold, dry air in place ahead of a storm, the stage was set for snow to fall outside of the mountains of southeastern Spain at midweek. While only lasting a few hours before changing to a chilly rain, the most snow since 1983 whitened Murcia. The city averages a high of 16.6C and a low of 4.7 in January.
Provisional full-year figures for global average near-surface temperatures confirm that last year, 2016, was one of the warmest two years on record, nominally exceeding the record temperature of 2015. When viewed alongside 2015, the two years are the warmest in an annual series of figures that starts in 1850. Scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre and the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit produce the HadCRUT4 dataset, which is used to estimate global temperature. The global temperature series shows that 2016 was 0.77+/-0.1 degC above the long-term (1961-1990) average, nominally a record since at least 1850. When compared with the 1850 to 1900 baseline - which is indicative of pre-industrial temperatures - the 2016 average global temperature anomaly was around 1.1 degC. For comparison, 2015 was 0.76+/-0.1 degC above the long-term (1961-1990) average.
The number of devastating floods that trigger insurance payouts has more than doubled in Europe since 1980, according to new research by Munich Re, the world's largest reinsurance company. The firm's latest data shows there were 30 flood events requiring insurance payouts in Europe last year - up from just 12 in 1980. Globally, 2016 saw 384 flood disasters, compared with 58 in 1980, although the greater proportional increase probably reflects poorer flood protections and lower building standards in the developing world Ernst Rauch, the head of Munich Re's corporate climate centre, said: "Flood events together with wind storm events are the two perils where we have the biggest increase in frequency worldwide."

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Last updated 19 January 2017.

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