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Sat, 14 Dec 2019
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Cloud Precipitation

Flooding prompts State of Emergency in Canterbury Region, New Zealand

Rangitata River in flood
© Peter Carrell
Rangitata River in flood
A local state of emergency has been declared in the Timaru District in Canterbury Region, New Zealand, due to the flooding in the Rangitata area. Timaru Distrct Council warned that the Rangitata River could its highest levels in 20 years.

Around 300mm of rain fell in the upper catchment of the Rangitata River from 05 to early 06 December. As of the afternoon of 07 December, the Rangitata River was flowing at around 2265 cubic metres a second (cumecs) and was rising rapidly. Timaru Distrct Council said that extreme flows of 3000 cumecs or more are anticipated on 07 December, the highest in 20 years. This extended period of very high flows increases significantly the risk of further bank erosion and breakout flows.

Campers along the river have been told to evacuate and authorities warned people in Rangitata Township to be ready to evacuate at short notice. At least 7 roads in the area have been closed in affected areas.


Snowflake

Trekkers suffering hypothermia due to metre of snow, freezing temperatures in summer in Tasmania, Australia

Kitchen Hut at Cradle Mountain
© Mountain Huts Preservation Society Tasmania
Kitchen Hut at Cradle Mountain has proved a sanctuary for three walkers.
Rescue efforts to extract three injured hikers from the Tasmanian wilderness will continue on Sunday morning after severe weather hampered the operation on Saturday.

The trio remains in the Kitchen Hut on the Cradle Mountain National Park, where they sought refuge after they began to suffer from hypothermia on Friday afternoon.

Strong winds, thick snow and freezing temperatures have halted the efforts of the police, paramedics and SES to rescue the group, believed to be from India.

It follows a failed attempt to rescue them on Friday night when winds of 100 kilometres per hour forced a police helicopter to return to Hobart.

Comment: Related: Heavy snowfall in the Victoria Alps, Australia on second day of SUMMER - up to a FOOT of snow overnight


Seismograph

M3.2 earthquake rattles homes in Somerset, England

somerset quake
An earthquake has struck in the west of England, causing homes to shake in several villages, the British Geological Survey has said.

The 3.2 magnitude quake's epicentre was recorded near the town of Bridgwater in Somerset, the BGS confirmed.

Residents reported the "whole house rattled", with another another saying there was a "big rumble and [the] house [was] given a definite shove".

The quake hit at 22:49 GMT at a depth of three miles (5km), the BGS said.

'Bed shake'

Comment: Bridgwater is 121 miles (2 hours by car) from the Surrey fracking operation, and even further away from the one in Blackpool, where unusual but likely fracking-related quakes have been occurring with a worrying regularity. It's worth noting that also recently there was an unusually strong earthquake in France that caused a crack in the Earth's crust, leaving scientists puzzled.
See also: And for more, check out SOTT radio's:


Tornado1

Three tropical cyclones lurk near Africa and one has set a new rapid intensification record

Current Tropical Systems in the Indian Ocean
© The Weather Channel
Current Tropical Systems in the Indian Ocean
The tropics are getting crowded once again during this record season in the Indian Ocean as a phenomenon similar to a strong El Niño keeps waters warm near Africa.

Three hurricanes - or tropical cyclones, as they are called in that part of the world - continue to spin in the western Indian Ocean as of late Thursday.
  • Tropical Cyclone Pawan (locally, Cyclonic Storm Pawan) is a weak system that will bring increased moisture and may bring heavy rain and flooding to Somalia and other parts of eastern Africa into this weekend.
  • Tropical Cyclone Belna is intensifying well off the northern coast of Madagascar, and could become a heavy rain and wind threat to the Comoros and Madagascar early next week.
  • Tropical Cyclone Ambali is also spinning well to the northeast of Madagascar as the equivalent of a Category 2 hurricane, but is not expected to threaten land before dissipating. Ambali rapidly intensifying by 115 mph in 24 hours, making it the most rapid intensification in a 24-hour period in the Southern Hemisphere by a name storm on record and the second most rapid intensification globally. It also reach the equivalent of a strong Category 4 hurricane.

Windsock

Thanksgiving 'bomb cyclone' set record for biggest wave (75 feet) and lowest pressure in California

A satellite image shows the storm off the Oregon coast on Nov. 26.
© National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
A satellite image shows the storm off the Oregon coast on Nov. 26.
The Thanksgiving-week "bomb cyclone" storm that drenched California not only set a record for the lowest pressure recorded in the state, but also generated a 75-foot wave off Cape Mendocino.

At 7:33 p.m. on Nov. 26, the No. 94 Cape Mendocino buoy operated by Scripps Institution of Oceanography Coastal Data Information Program recorded a maximum significant wave height of 43.1 feet, and that night also measured a wave of 75 feet. These waves were in water 1,132 feet deep and were at 13.3-second intervals.

Also at 7:33 p.m., the program's No. 168 Humboldt Bay North Spit buoy recorded significant wave heights of 37.6 feet, but in shallower water.

Significant wave height is the average of the biggest one-third of waves over a 30-minute period, according to James Behrens, a program manager at the Coastal Data Information Program. Typically, some waves at a given station are expected to be about twice as large as that average, hence the 75-footer.

The only significant wave height that the program has measured — higher than the one recorded at Cape Mendocino — was on a buoy at Ocean Station Papa, far out in the North Pacific, in December 2012. That was 49.8 feet.

Snowflake

Early winter storm pummels Northeast

midwest snowstorm
© Rick Friedman for The New York Times
The bad weather that swept across the Midwest during the holiday weekend is now pelting the Northeast with rain and snow.
Parts of New England are in for more heavy snow on Tuesday.

The winter storm that blanketed much of the Northeast with snow on Monday, disrupting travel and closing schools, is expected to keep hammering parts of New England on Tuesday.

As the storm system moves slowly northeastward, some areas could get an additional foot of snow overnight and into the morning, forecasters said. Winter storm warnings and advisories were posted for most of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.

"It's going to get cranking tonight and tomorrow morning," said Frank Nocera, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norton, Mass. Metropolitan Boston, which already had four to eight inches of snow in some suburbs, could see those amounts double by Tuesday, he said, and further school closings and commuting problems were possible.

The storm delivered the first major snowfall of the season in the Northeast, but other than coming at a relatively early date, it did not pack many surprises for weather experts.

Cloud Precipitation

Michigan just had the wettest water year in 119 years of records

Water year (Nov.1-Oct. 31) statewide precipitation total for Michigan
© NOAA
Water year (Nov.1-Oct. 31) statewide precipitation total for Michigan
It should be no surprise that Michigan has had abundant precipitation over the past year. The Great Lakes water levels are a good sign of the above-average precipitation. Now NOAA has given us the numbers on just how much precipitation has fallen across Michigan.

First, there are two different calendars to track precipitation amounts. A common timeframe used for water from precipitation is called a "water year," which runs from Nov. 1 of one year to Oct. 31 of the next year. A water year is often used because some of the snow that falls in November and December isn't melted and released into the soil until the next spring. The other calendar for precipitation is simply a Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 timeframe.

The water year from Nov.1, 2018 to Oct. 31, 2019 has been declared the wettest water year on record across Michigan. Records date back to 1901 for this type of data. The whole state of Michigan average 39.85″ of precipitation in the water year.

Fire

Australia bushfires merge to form 'mega fire' north of Sydney

australia wild fires 2019
© Reuters
The blaze was burning across 300,000 hectares within an hour's drive of Australia's largest city
Several Australian bushfires have combined to form a "mega fire" that is burning out of control across a swath of land north of Sydney, authorities said, warning they cannot contain the blaze.

New South Wales Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers on Friday said "there are probably more than eight fires in all" that have merged to form what has been dubbed a "mega fire" in an area of the national park forest.

The blaze was burning across 300,000 hectares (740,000 acres) - with a front roughly 60km (37 miles) wide - within an hour's drive of Australia's largest city, which was again subsumed in a soup of toxic smoke.

"There is just fire that whole way," said Rogers, who added that firefighters could do little more than get any residents out, protect property and hope for an end to fire-friendly dry and windy conditions.

Snowflake

That was the snowiest November Calgary has seen in over 50 years

Snowy Calgary
© jackiekalch/Instagram
Snowy Calgary
Calgary just broke a weather record dating back more than half a century.

This past month marked the fifth snowiest November that YYC had seen since the record began, and the snowiest November that the city had experienced since 1966!

According to YYC Weather Records, the Twitter account keeping track of these sorts of things, Calgary saw a grand total of 47.4 cm of snowfall between November 1 and November 30, 2019.

Cloud Precipitation

280 killed, 2.8 million affected by East Africa floods, UN says

Displaced families flee to higher ground in K'akola village in Nyando sub-county in Kisumu, Kenya, after their houses were flooded on December 3, 2019
© AFP
Displaced families flee to higher ground in K'akola village in Nyando sub-county in Kisumu, Kenya, after their houses were flooded on December 3, 2019
At least 280 people have been killed and more than 2.8 million others affected by unusually heavy rainfall and flooding in eastern Africa, the UN humanitarian agency said on Thursday.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said homes, infrastructure and livelihoods have been destroyed and damaged in the hardest-hit areas, and the risk of communicable diseases including cholera is rising.

"Primarily driven by the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), the heavy rains are likely to persist into December and to intensify in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda," OCHA said in its latest regional Flash Floods Update. The UN agency said the annual short rains which ordinarily last from October to December have been exceptionally heavy in Kenya and affected more than 160 000 people in 31 of the country's 47 counties.

"At least 132 people have reportedly died, including 72 who were killed by a landslide which buried their homes in West Pokot County," said OCHA. The storms have caused destruction and damage of key infrastructure in Kenya, including houses, health facilities and schools, displacing an unconfirmed number of people and disrupting basic services.