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Tropical Storm Vance threatens Mexico's Pacific coast, could strengthen to hurricane by Sunday

tropical storm vance
Tropical Storm Vance continues to churn over the waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean after developing on Thursday afternoon.

The Hurricane Center is keeping a close eye on the system, located several hundred miles south-southeast of Acapulco.

Further strengthening will occur through this weekend as the tropical cyclone remains over the warm waters of the eastern Pacific and in an environment that lacks disruptive wind shear, which can shred apart tropical systems as evident with Tropical Cyclone Nilofar.

The system is likely to strengthen into a hurricane by Sunday.
Cloud Precipitation

2 years on: Hurricane Sandy inspires storm of climate research

Hurricane Sandy
Northeast's epic storm, Hurricane Sandy
The two years that have passed since Hurricane Sandy crashed into the New Jersey shoreline have not been enough time for scientists and researchers to make much headway on the hows and whys of the Northeast's epic storm. But that's not because they aren't trying.

In fact, Sandy has spurred an unprecedented amount of research, attempting to tackle the questions about what role climate change might have played in producing or worsening the storm, how global warming might influence similar storms in the future, and why the storm caused so much damage - $19 billion in the New York City area alone. "It'll be one of the most studied storms," said Gary Lackmann, an atmospheric scientist at North Carolina State University who has looked into the role warming might have played in guiding Sandy's track and intensity.

Here, Climate Central takes a look at some of those research avenues exploring the role climate change played in Sandy and how the so-called superstorm impacted our evaluation of current and future coastal risks.

Atlantic City during temporary sea rise.
Of Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge

The clearest connection between climate change and Sandy's impacts is sea level rise. Warming oceans and melting land ice have contributed in large part to the nearly 12 inches of sea level rise in the New York area over the past 100 years, a rate faster than the global average of about 8 inches.

Sea level rise is contributing to coastal erosion in some places such as the Jersey Shore, but Philip Orton, an oceanographer at the Stevens Institute for Technology in Hoboken, N.J., said that how it interacted with storm surge - the wall of water that hurricanes and other storms push ashore - is what helped drive much of Sandy's damage. And the future 1-2 punch of storm surge and sea level rise could further reshape the physical and social landscape around New York and New Jersey. "Sea level rise is very uncertain so that's part of the problem for long-term planning," Orton said.

Comment: Due to a negative phase, in the constantly changing pressure gradient of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), a high pressure ridge over Greenland blocked Sandy's NE trajectory. Plus, a dip in the jet stream and a surface cold front turned Sandy westward into the U.S. East Coast. How does that work?

A high pressure over Greenland creates a counterbalanced low pressure zone to the south and causes colder weather patterns in lower latitudes. Global ocean oscillations, contributing their cyclic and alternating patterns of "highs" and "lows, influence east-west wind troughs and cause or contribute to continental droughts, floods, extreme temperature fluctuations and migrations of wildlife habitats. The extreme swings of the NAO are part of the complex atmospheric/ocean dynamics of the North Atlantic, which include sea-surface temperature anomalies, the strength of the Gulf Stream, atmospheric wave structure and the distribution of sea ice and icebergs. A statistical relation between Arctic Sea ice loss and occurrences of the negative (blocked) NAO phase has been observed in recent decades. A northern high pressure zone increases temperatures causing ice melt. These interactions are poorly understood in reference to their magnitude of effect over contributing systems, vast distances and time.

Add in the following: Ocean warming due to plate tectonics, increasing methane release, a slowing earth rotation creating friction between the mantle and the crust uping earthquakes and volcanic activity, a rise in electrical phenomenon and interaction in the solar system, tropical climate zones measurably moving towards the poles* pushing more warm moisture into higher atmospheres of frigid temperatures resulting in massive winter storms...a recipe for the rapid onset of vast amounts of ice and snow. (Every drop of water creates 10 times its volume upon freezing.)

*According to NOAA, a poleward shift of mid-latitude storms (as in Sandy) is occurring. Are we on track for the next ice age? Is it only a matter of time and confluence?

Cloud Precipitation

Cyclone Nilofar targeting India's Gujarat State, Southern Pakistan

After becoming impressively strong on Tuesday, Cyclone Nilofar has begun to weaken. Nilofar is expected to head towards southeastern Pakistan and northwestern India, with landfall likely on Saturday.

On Tuesday afternoon, Nilofar intensified to the equivalent of a hurricane with estimated wind speeds of 130 mph, according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center, about 650 miles south-southwest of Karachi, Pakistan. Nilofar underwent rapid intensification, and became the third strongest tropical cyclone of record in the Arabian Sea.

Only Gonu in 2007 (Cat. 5; 165 mph winds) and Phet in 2010 (Cat. 4; 145 mph winds) were stronger Arabian Sea tropical cyclones in the historical record, according to Masters.
Arrow Down

More than 100 believed dead in Sri Lanka landslide after heavy monsoon rain

© REUTERS/Stringer
Rescue teams from the Sri Lankan military engage in rescue operation work at the site of a landslide at the Koslanda tea plantation in Badulla October 29, 2014.
A landslide in hilly south-central Sri Lanka is believed to have killed more than 100 people on Wednesday as it buried scores of houses, a government minister said, and the toll is likely to rise.

The landslide hit a village in the tea-growing area of Sri Lanka after days of heavy monsoon rain, with more than 300 people listed as missing.

"More than 100 people are believed to have died," Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told Reuters from the disaster site in the village of Haldummulla, 190 km (120 miles) inland from the capital, Colombo.

"We have suspended the rescue operations because of darkness and inclement weather. There is also a threat of further landslides."

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Nicaragua, Honduras under threat of flooding, mudslides from Tropical Storm Hanna

tropical storm hanna
Tropical Storm Hanna, the eighth named storm of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, formed quickly Monday morning and has now moved inland after making landfall along the Caribbean coast near the Nicaragua - Honduras border.

A tropical storm warning was issued by the governments of Nicaragua and Honduras for a small part of each country's Caribbean coast.
Cloud Precipitation

Severe hailstorm causes havoc in Australian wine country - up to 30% vineyard losses

Vineyards in the south of Western Australia could see yield losses of up to 30 per cent after they were hit by damaging hail storms this week.

Severe thunderstorms struck the South West and Great Southern regions on Wednesday evening.

Wineries in Frankland and Pemberton were hardest hit, with reports of hail completely stripping vines of new season growth.

Ferngrove Wine Group was one of the wineries that fell victim to the hail. Ferngrove senior winemaker Kim Horton said that the storm completely damaged some vines, but some were left unscathed.
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Siege of Pacific storms will continue to drench and blast the coastal U.S. Northwest

A siege of Pacific storms will continue to drench and blast the coastal Northwest into next week and will be joined by Ana.
The rounds of heavy rain will be enough to cause incidents of flash flooding, mudslides and travel delays from northern California to western Oregon, western Washington and southwestern British Columbia.

From this week through the middle of next week, a general 6 to 12 inches (150 to 300 millimeters) of rain can fall along the immediate coast, but locally higher amounts are possible in the eastern slopes of the coastal ranges, including the Olympic Mountains in northwestern Washington state.
Cloud Precipitation

Nor'easter batters U.S. Northeast, Canada with wind speeds found in Category 1 hurricane

© David Filipov
Surf reaches Plymouth Long Beach seawall at high tide.
Conditions will improve across the Northeast on Friday as this week's nor'easter shifts away from the region. While some rain and wind is still expected over northern New England and Nova Scotia on Friday, the worst of the storm has passed after flooding rain and howling winds impacted the region from Tuesday night through Thursday.

The storm has left behind a mess for cleanup crews with thousands of people still without power and a plethora of trees felled across the region. Boston was one of the larger cities that was hit by the powerful storm, receiving over 3 inches of rain and being lashed by winds that gusted as high as 54 mph.

The observatory sitting on top of Mount Washington, New Hampshire, recorded a peak wind gust of 84 mph Wednesday evening, wind speeds that can be found in a Category 1 hurricane.

Additional images
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'Rare' tornado hits Washington city of Longview

© AP Photo/The Daily News, John Markon

Workers bring roofing material to start temporary repairs on the roof of the Carl's Towing building, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 in Longview, Wash.
The southwest Washington city of Longview tallied the damage Friday from a rare tornado that tore off roofs, broke windows and uprooted trees, leaving residents and officials in disbelief. No one was injured in the Thursday afternoon wind blast, which covered 1.3 miles and unleashed winds as high as 110 mph, the National Weather Service said.

Police and fire crews responded quickly to the hardest-hit area, but Longview Fire Chief Phil Jurmu admitted his first reaction was puzzlement. "I kind of furrowed my brow, probably, and said, 'What?'" he told KATU-TV of Portland.

Tornadoes are rare in Washington state and the Pacific Northwest, where the nearby Pacific Ocean generally prevents severe temperature changes. But another one hit southwest Washington in 1972 and caused damage in Vancouver, Washington, just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon.
Cloud Precipitation

UK and Germany experience storm surge flooding after Hurricane Gonzalo

Hurricane Gonzalo, or at least what is left of it, has caused storm surges and coastal flooding in parts of northern Europe over the last few days.

Gonzalo has left a trail of destruction behind from Bermuda to Canada and on to UK and other parts of northern Europe, including Ireland, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.

On Monday 20 October, Gonzalo hit Ireland and the United Kingdom with winds of 159 kph (99 mph) was reported on the Isle of Wight, according to the BBC. Around 600,000 homes were left without power at one point. Three people have been killed in the storm (1 in UK and 2 in France), and several others left injured.