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Old December 16th 16, 12:07 AM posted to sci.geo.meteorology
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Default Global Weather Highlights November 2016

GLOBAL WEATHER

NOVEMBER 2016

ASIA

New Delhi is among the communities throughout northern India and into Pakistan being shrouded by smog, resulting in extremely hazardous air quality and poor visibility for travellers (2nd). According to the Centre for Science and Environment and the India Meteorological Department, smog hit the worst level in 17 years on November 2. Officials were forced close more than 5,000 schools across the city early this week, and construction and demolition work was banned for the week. Vehicle usage restrictions may be imposed if conditions do not improve. Residents are also facing shortages of face masks.

Snow fell in Tokyo and other parts of eastern Japan on Thursday (24th), with the capital recording its first November snowfall since 1875 when the government started collecting records. The snowfall, while only listed in Tokyo as a 'small accumulation' disrupted traffic and spiked electricity demand.. Injuries were also reported in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures, including people who slipped on snowy roads and suffered fractured bones, according to firefighters and other authorities. East Japan Railway Co. said services on parts of the Ome and Chuo lines were suspended as snow-laden tree branches sagged over the tracks. Trains on other lines, such as Seibu and Keio, as well as subway systems in Tokyo also experienced delays, operators said. On Thursday morning, electricity consumption spiked to 95 percent of capacity due to rising demand for heating, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. Temperatures in the capital and neighboring areas fell to near zero Thursday morning, a level rarely seen in late November. Snowfall began at 6.15 a.m. in central Tokyo, 40 days earlier than average. Other cities such as Yokohama and Utsunomiya also saw the season's first snowfall around 20 to 40 days earlier than average. Temperatures dropped to a record low in many locations. In the town of Nakashibetsu, Hokkaido, the mercury hit -17.4 degrees Celsius while Tokyo's Edogawa Ward recorded 0.8 C.

UNITED STATES

Fargo, North Dakota, broke a 129-year-old daily temperature record on the 6th. The city reached 73F, breaking the record of 70F set in 1887^th-8th). In Michigan, the city of Sault Ste Marie also broke a record high from the 1800s. A high of 65F surpassed the previous record of 62F from 1893 on Monday. Seattle set record highs on Monday and Tuesday. With a high of 70F on Tuesday, it was the latest season high of 70F in Seattle since Nov. 4 in 1949 and 1980.

Astronomical portions of snow were delivered to parts of New York State this weekend as bands of snow setup from the lakes and snaked across the mountains and valleys. At least four stations got over three feet and the top report was 54.5 inches! Here are the top amounts: Redfield, NY: 54.5 inches - 4.5 feet; Lacuna, NY: 40 inches; Lorraine, NY: 37 inches; Cazenovia, NY: 36.4 inches, and Orwell, NY: 34 inches.

EUROPE

Heavy rain led to flooding that killed at least three people in Albania, Reuters reported (8th). Bridges were destroyed in the country's mountainous northern region, while low-lying agricultural areas were flooded out.

More than 1,000 residents in Ipswich were without power after a huge storm hit south-east Queensland on Tuesday afternoon. Large hailstones were reported in Anstead, Mogill and other suburbs in western Brisbane. Residents in the Brisbane, Ipswich, Somerset and Scenic Rim regions were warned to prepare for damaging winds as lightning and heavy rain threatened the CBD.

Snowfall totalled more than 20 cm in parts of Ukraine and Romania as of Sunday evening (13th). The heavy, wet snow led to some power outages while also causing travel chaos throughout Ukraine.

In Europe, the Alps have benefited from an excellent start to the ski season with impressive amounts of snowfall (16th). Some areas have had up to 75 cm of snow, in stark contrast to recent seasons, which had early snow droughts. Some resorts such as Alpe d'Huez have opened several weeks ahead of schedule, bringing hopes of a bumper ski season. However, the mainland US has been experiencing an unprecedented dearth of snow for mid-November. At this time of year, we can expect about 13% of the country to have snow cover. At the moment it is less than 1%, with snow confined to the highest peaks. This beats the previous record of about 2.5%. The near-absence of snow coincides with record warmth seen across the US and Canada in recent weeks. International Falls, on the US-Canada border, has seen maximum temperatures consistently around the mid-teens Celsius, while the November average is close to freezing.

AFRICA

Strong thunderstorms created chaos in the Johannesburg, South Africa region late this week (9th-11th). The Gauteng Provincial Government confirmed the death of at least six people in the resulting flooding. As of Friday evening local time, several people are still reported missing. Gauteng Premier David Makhura will declare a disaster for the area so they are able to receive more resources. Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni experienced the worst of the flash floods on Wednesday, causing extensive damage to homes and motor vehicles and killing at least six people. Wednesday's rainfall was so extreme it was likely to be a once-in-a hundred-year occurrence, the South African National Roads Agency said.

AUSTRAILIA

Sudden and severe thunderstorms swept across Adelaide on Friday afternoon (11th), with huge hailstones hitting streets across the city center. The system swept south-east on a day when there was only a 40% chance of rain predicted. Adelaide experienced 31C heat before the storm broke, bringing wind gusts of more than 90km/h. Localised flash flooding was reported as some areas received up to 10 mm of rain in as many minutes. The bureau said areas that may be particularly affected include Adelaide, Whyalla, Renmark, Mount Gambier, Leigh Creek and Moomba. Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Mark Anolak told the ABC: "Larger hail [golf ball-sized] has fallen, particularly through the north-eastern areas of the Adelaide metropolitan area." "I don't now how often we see hailstones this big in Adelaide," he said.

Violent thunderstorms with hail and hurricane-force winds swept through Brisbane, Australia, on Saturday. A string of violent weather blasted the area after a front ushered in strong storms to the area. Brisbane Airport recorded a wind gust of 157 km/h, the strongest wind speed recorded at the hub in about 30 years. The airport was forced to close for a brief period of time on Saturday, as reported by Australia's ABC News. Runway lights were knocked out by the storm, forcing some flights to be diverted to other airports during the closure. Some of the planes at the Brisbane airport sustained damage. Some of the hardest-hit areas were in Bundaberg, Maryborough and Caloundra. The line of storms also generated more than 70,000 lightning strikes and brought hail to many communities in the area.

2016 will very likely be the hottest year on record and a new high for the third year in a row, according to the WMO. It means 16 of the 17 hottest years on record will have been this century. The scorching temperatures around the world, and the extreme weather they drive, mean the impacts of climate change on people are coming sooner and with more ferocity than expected, according to scientists. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report found the global temperature in 2016 is running 1.2C above pre- industrial levels. This is perilously close to the 1.5C target included as an aim of the Paris climate agreement last December. The El NiƱo weather phenomenon helped push temperatures even higher in early 2016 but the global warming caused by the greenhouse gas emissions from human activities remains the strongest factor.

TROPICAL

A tropical storm in the Caribbean has been upgraded to a hurricane and is threatening Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua, forecasters say (22nd). They warned that Hurricane Otto may have winds of 145 km/h when it makes landfall early on Thursday. At least four people have already died in Panama in severe weather caused by the approach of the storm. According to NOAA's best track database, only 18 storms of at least tropical storm strength had formed on or after November 21 dating to 1950. Tuesday, Otto became the latest hurricane formation on record in the Caribbean Sea, surpassing Hurricane Martha in 1969, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Only nine tropical cyclones became hurricanes anywhere in the Atlantic Basin after November 21 from 1950 through 2015. The last to do so was Epsilon in December 2005. Only one of those nine hurricanes occurred in the southwest Caribbean Sea, Hurricane Martha in 1969. Furthermore, in NOAA's entire best track database dating to 1842, there have been only three November or later Nicaragua hurricane landfalls, none of which were anywhere near as late as Otto. In addition, NOAA has only a record of one tropical storm landfall in Costa Rica, in any month, either from the eastern Pacific or Caribbean Sea side in their 174-year database - a December 1887 tropical storm. There is no record of a landfalling hurricane in Costa Rica, according to the NOAA best tracks database. Otto could be a historical first, there.

Hurricane Otto weakened to a tropical storm early on Friday (25th) after making landfall as the southernmost hurricane on record to hit Central America. It headed toward the Pacific ocean early on Friday after dumping rain on Costa Rica and Nicaragua and sparking emergency measures across a region that was also hit by a 7-magnitude earthquake. Attention is now turning towards the risk of landslides and flooding, with Nicaragua continuing to evacuate people near the storm's path. Otto reached Nicaragua's Caribbean coast on Thursday as a category two storm but immediately began fading as it crossed land, becoming a tropical storm by nightfall. It was expected to emerge over the eastern Pacific early on Friday. Authorities in Nicaragua said the hurricane had damaged houses, but so far there were no reports of casualties. Earlier, heavy rains from the storm were blamed for three deaths in Panama. The US National Hurricane Center said the unusually strong late-season hurricane hit land in Nicaragua just north of the Costa Rican border.


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