Cloud Lightning

Thunder Snow in Chicago Blizzard 2011

Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel witnessing epic thunder snow on the streets of Chicago! Amazing!


Australia: Super-cell thunderstorm pounds Victoria

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© ABC: Cam HookFlash flooding surrounds cars at Camberwell Junction
A super-cell thunderstorm has hit Victoria, bringing widespread flash flooding.

About a dozen people have been rescued from floodwaters in Mildura, in Melbourne's south-east near Geelong, and the State Emergency Service (SES) is responding to 1,400 calls for help.

Crews helped a woman and her two young children when their car became trapped in a flash flood at Mildura.

Firefighters have rescued a girl who was clinging to a tree branch after being swept away at Ashwood, in Melbourne's east.

And at Mulgrave, the fire brigade was called to assist a disabled man in a wheelchair who got stuck in water up to his hips.

Comment: This event appears to be closely related to the recent Cyclone Yasi in the northern parts of Queensland. Take a look at the latest satellite imagery to appreciate the size of the storm cell.

For readers outside of Australia - the state of Victoria is located in the South-East corner of the country.

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© The Weather Channel


Extreme Cold Blasts Arizona

Coldest Weather In Years Hits The Valley

Baby it's cold outside! Arizona is being hit with extreme cold and it's only going to get colder.

With a daytime high of just 44 degrees, Phoenix recorded its coldest daytime high in more than 25 years and set a daily and monthly record for a cold high temperature.

A rare hard freeze warning (widespread temperatures below 28 degrees) is in effect for the Valley from late tonight into Thursday morning.

CBS 5 chief meteorologist Chris Dunn says tonight's lows could make it the coldest night in more than 20 years in Phoenix.

"Most areas will likely see overnight lows in the 20s, but Sky Harbor hasn't registered a temperature colder than 29 degrees since December 23, 1990," said Dunn. On that day the mercury dipped to just 26 degrees. Thursday morning's record low is 28 degrees last set in 1922

Expect another chilly day on Thursday with Dunn's forecast high of just 50 degrees. The normal high for early February is 70 degrees. Temperatures will warm into the 60s this weekend.

Arrow Down

Australia: Despair and relief in the wake of Cyclone Yasi

Cyclone Yasi 1
© AFP: Torsten BlackwoodScott Torrens (left) and his children look to where their roof once was in Mourilyan, south of Innisfail
Emergency crews are cutting their way into storm-shattered communities in north Queensland to assess the extent of the damage after category five Cyclone Yasi roared ashore overnight.

The towns of Tully, Mission Beach, Cardwell, Silkwood and Innisfail bore the brunt of the monster storm's 285kph winds but there are no reports of deaths or serious injuries.

Buildings were destroyed, roofs were ripped off houses, and trees were shredded as the monster storm slammed ashore about midnight. More than 180,000 homes remain without power.

The cyclone is continuing to weaken but there is now heavy rain and damaging wind gusts in excess of 90kph, which are expected to extend to the Northern Territory border including Longreach and Mount Isa overnight.

Comment: The cyclone remains active over land and is making its way further into the rural townships of northern Queensland. Have a look at the current satellite image.

Cyclone Yasi 5

Bizarro Earth

Best of the Web: World of two halves! Map shows most of Northern Hemisphere is covered in snow and ice

It looks like a graphic from a Discovery Channel programme about a distant ice age. But this astonishing picture shows the world as it is today - with half the Northern Hemisphere covered with snow and ice.

The image was released by the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Association (NOAA) on the day half of North America suffered in the grip of a severe winter storm.

The map was created using multiple satellites from government agencies and the US Air Force.
© NOAAA new satellite map from the government agency NOAA shows the size of the snow cover on regions going from the West coast of Canada to the East of China.
Stretching from the west coast of Canada to the eastern shores of China, the white stuff has rarely been shown covering this much ground.


Historic Winter Storm Moves Across the U.S.

Ice Storm
© Jesse Allen / GOES Project Science Office
In a winter marked by several crippling storms, the storm of February 1 - 2, 2011, stands out. Heavy snow, ice, freezing rain, and frigid wind battered about two thirds of the United States, making it "a winter storm of historic proportions," said the National Weather Service. This animation - made with images from the NOAA-NASA GOES 13 satellite - shows the giant storm developing and moving across the country between January 31 and February 2.

This image, a still taken from the animation, shows the storm at 4:31 p.m. Eastern Time on February 1. In the image, the storm measures about 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) from west to east. The storm formed when cold Arctic air pushed south from Canada while moist air streamed north from the Gulf of the Mexico. The animation shows clouds building over New Mexico and Texas early in the day. As the system develops and moves northeast, the storm grows and becomes more organized. By the end of February 1, the storm was a sprawling comma that extended from the Midwest to New England.

By 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time on February 2, the National Weather Service reported that 21 states from New Mexico to New Hampshire had received at least 5 inches (13 centimeters) of snow. Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, and Oklahoma declared states of emergency. According to news reports, one in three Americans were affected by the storm.


US: Midwest buckles under major winter storm

Chicago - Residents across the country began digging out of snow and ice Wednesday after a record-setting storm crippled cities and forecasters warned there was more bad weather on the way.

Snow continued to fall in Chicago on Wednesday after the city recorded 20.2 inches making it the third-largest snowfall on record. The area struggled to recover from a crippling blizzard that shut down roads and train service and left hundreds of motorists stranded.

At an early morning briefing, city officials urged residents to stay home as plows try to clear roads of giant drifts from winds that gusted overnight to 70 mph. The city shut down Lake Shore Drive for the first time in years as an untold number of motorists were stranded overnight after multiple car accidents on the iconic roadway.

The National Weather Service said snow will fall before the storm moves away and winds of 20 to 30 mph will continue through much of the day. A storm brewing in the south at the end of the week will move up the East Coast bring rain and snow across the Northeast.

Cloud Lightning

Floods in Brazil Are a Result of Short-Term Planning

© V. Almeida/AFP/Getty ImagesRescue workers searching for victims after heavy rains in January 2011 caused mudslides in Teresópolis, Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil.
Urban planning has never been part of Brazil's political agenda, so when heavy rains come cities are not able to cope

As I write, more than two weeks after the floods began in the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro state, many communities remain isolated due to landslides on the main access roads.

More than 800 people died and thousands of people have been displaced in the state, according to official figures. One of the worst affected towns is Santa Rita. Dozens of families still depend on helicopters to deliver food, water, and emergency healthcare. In the town of Teresópolis, people are starting to clear debris in the streets by hand, with shovels and brushes. And in Nova Friburgo, families watch, and cry, as their homes are demolished.

In the neighbouring state of São Paulo, the richest in the country, 25 people died because of the heavy rains. In Santa Catarina state, in the south, five people lost their lives and 17,000 had to flee their homes.

The January rains in Brazil are becoming more severe and floods are becoming a routine. But while specialists say it's too early to confirm the heavy rains are caused by climate change, the fact is that Brazilian cities have never been ready for them.

Cloud Lightning

No let-up in rains, floods in Caraga

© Unknown
Manila, Philippines - Floods due to non-stop rains still affect parts of the Caraga region in Mindanao, as another low pressure area threatens other areas of Mindanao with flash floods and landslides.

Science and Technology Undersecretary Graciano Yumul, OIC of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), said that rain bands are still affecting parts of northeast Mindanao, Bohol, northern Cebu, and the southern parts of Leyte and Samar.

The rain bands are still expected to bring moderate to heavy rains in the area, with the weather station in Hinatuan, Surigao del Norte, recording more than 180 mm of rain in 24 hours, Yumul said.

Meanwhile, Yumul said the low pressure area east of General Santos City is predicted to proceed to the Palawan area, instead of going towards Southern Luzon or the National Capital Region.

He said numerical models indicated the LPA will be in the northern part of the island by Thursday, and will go out of the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) by Friday.


US cities paralysed by snow and ice

© Weather CentralUS temperatures as of 1:20PM EST.
A massive storm billed as the worst in decades has left vast areas of the United States paralyzed by snow and ice.

Hundreds of motorists were stranded and airports and schools were forced to close.

Chicago received up to 17in of snow, with more still possible, and up to 18in fell on Missouri.

More than a foot dropped on northern Indiana and south-east Kansas, while Oklahoma saw similar snowfall. In the north east, parts of northern New York had a foot of snow, while New York City was covered in ice.

In Chicago, the city shut down Lake Shore Drive for the first time in years, and hundreds of motorists were stranded for 12 hours after multiple car accidents on the road.

Raymond Orozco, chief of staff to Chicago mayor Richard Daley, said efforts to rescue motorists were "severely hampered" by snow drifts, high winds and white-out conditions.