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Old March 15th 18, 07:22 PM posted to sci.geo.meteorology
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Default February 2018 Global Weather Highlights




Moscow has seen its heaviest snowfall in a day since records began, with more than 2,000 trees brought down and air travel disrupted, officials say (3rd). More than half the monthly average snow - 38 cm - fell on Saturday, beating the previous record from 1957. A falling tree and collapsing power line killed one person and five others were injured. Dozens of flights have been delayed at the Russian capital's airports.


The heaviest snowfall since December 2010 caused travel chaos across northern France, including Paris, into Wednesday (6th-7th). As of 6 a.m. Wednesday local time, 12-15 cm of snow had fallen in Paris and caused significant travel disruptions. Snowfall of this magnitude occurs in Paris every 10 to 20 years according to Meteo France. The snowfall forced restrictions on vehicles over 7.5 tons and caused travel traffic jams totaling more than 700 km across the city and surrounding areas Tuesday evening, according to France 24. The snow forced the closure of the Eiffel Tower from Tuesday into Wednesday; however, the snowy scene caused travelers and locals to flock to the iconic structure for a snow-covered picture.


A winter storm is leading to widespread disruptions across the northeastern United States (7th). The heaviest snow fell along a zone stretching from central Ohio to the coast of Maine with many locations across interior New England measuring over 6 inches of accumulation. These storm stretches about 2,000 miles from the storms in the South to the snow impacted New England. Some airlines began cancelling flights scheduled for Wednesday on Tuesday afternoon in anticipation for the inclement weather.

A winter storm moved across the eastern United States on Wednesday (8th), unleashing rain across the southeastern U.S. while snow and ice fell from the lower Midwest to the shores of New England. More than 200 flights were cancelled at Newark Liberty International Airport, where the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was also reporting delays up to 1 hour and 40 minutes on arriving flights. In total, over 1,000 flights were cancelled across the northeastern on Wednesday. Major travel disruptions unfolded as the storm delivered heavy snow and a slippery, icy mix in the Northeast. A Southwest Airlines plane skidded sideways off a runway at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport while preparing for takeoff, according to the FAA. There were no injuries reported among the 149 passengers onboard Flight 906, which was due to depart for Montego Bay, Jamaica. Erie, Pennsylvania, received enough snow to take this season's total to 152.1 inches, making it the snowiest winter in the city's history. The previous record was 149.1 inches, set in the 2000-2001 season.

At least five people have been killed as a strong storm system caused flooding, hail and high winds in central and southern US states over the weekend (24-25th). Three people died in Kentucky as tornadoes ripped through the state. Emergencies were declared in several states as heavy rainfall continued to cause widespread flooding on Sunday. The governor of Indiana issued disaster declarations for 11 counties due to flooding. Tornadoes were also recorded in Tennessee, with sustained winds recorded of up to 125mph (200km/h). No deaths were reported there, but a teenage girl was injured by falling debris at a basketball game on Saturday night after a reported lightning strike. The Ohio River was measured at 18 m deep - its highest level for 21 years.


South-east Queenslanders experienced severe storms in the evening, which dumped huge hail and wreaked havoc on the power network (11th). By Monday morning repair crews were scrambling to restore power to about 57,000 properties that remained without power after destructive winds, gusting beyond 100 km/h in some places, downed hundreds of power lines across the region. The severe weather also caused delays to train services on the Gold Coast and Beenleigh lines. The wild weather, after a day of baking heat across much of Queensland, generated more than 265,000 lightning strikes.

An Australian town has been hit by a dust storm that covered the outback community in orange dust. The storm swept through Charleville in south-west Queensland on Tuesday, knocking down trees and causing minor damage. Authorities said recent weather conditions had allowed strong winds to pick and spread dirt from the region. "We do see a fair few dust events through the western parts of Queensland because it is such a dry and hot place, but it's definitely one of the more impressive events of the last few years," said Harry Clark, from Australia's Bureau of Meteorology. He estimated the dust storm was about 200 km wide. It gave winds of up to 60 mph, while visibility at the local airport was reduced to about 200 m.


At least 17 people were killed after being buried by debris when heavy rain caused a large mound of garbage to collapse in Mozambique's capital (19th).. The disaster took place at the Hulene garbage dump, the largest such facility in Mozambique's capital of Maputo. The garbage dump rose up to the height of a three-story building and collapsed onto homes as heavy rain poured down, the AP reported. A weather station in Maputo recorded nearly 90 mm of rain in 24 hours, ending on Monday morning, local time.


Cyclone Fehi sparked evacuations and a state of emergency along New Zealand's west coast as the storm affected the North Island on route to the nation's South Island (1st). A state of emergency was declared for South Island's cities Dunedin and Buller. Cyclone Fehi was downgraded to a severe storm as it moved past New Caledonia, according to the Fiji Meteorological Service.. Earlier New Zealand's Civil Defense announced the Nelson Tasman Group Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been activated, with a number of evacuations throughout the region in coastal areas. The majority of flights in and out of Wellington on the North Island were delayed, diverted or cancelled. The nation's Civil Defense was urging people who reside on the Otago Peninsula and West Harbor to go home early for safety reasons as a king tide is due at around 5pm local time (0400 GMT). A king tide comes just after a new or full moon, when there is the greatest difference between high and low water.

Powerful Cyclone Gita caused widespread damage to parts of Samoa and American Samoa last week before targeting Tonga Monday night into Tuesday (9-13th). An emergency declaration was made by the governor of American Samoa which was approved by President Donald Trump allowing aid to be distributed to the island territory. Flooding and power cuts were widespread across Tutuila, including the capital of Pago Pago where rainfall in excess of 150 mm was reported. In Samoa, there were no immediate reports of injury or death from the cyclone, according to Radio New Zealand. More than 350 mm of rain fell in the capital city of Apia from Friday into Saturday. Widespread flooding was reported along with damage to buildings from strong winds. Niue was next in the path of Gita; however, the island was largely spared as Gita passed east and south of the island nation Sunday into Monday. Gita continued to strengthen as it turned westward and approached Tonga Monday night into Tuesday. The centre of the storm passed just south of Tonga unleashing damaging winds, flooding rain and inundating storm surge on Tongatapu and Eua. At its closest approach to Tonga, Gita was equal to a Category 4 hurricane in the Atlantic and east Pacific oceans with sustained winds of 232 km/h. Tonga's Parliament House was completely destroyed in the storm's fury, according to the Associated Press. The Tonga Met office was also damaged, forcing forecasters to take shelter and shift warning responsibilities to the Fiji Met Service.

Tropical Cyclone Kelvin crossed the Western Australian coast on Sunday morning near Anna Plains station, about 250km south of Broome, as a category 2 storm (18th). Cattle producer David Stoate said the property, which includes 20,000 cattle, copped a "belting" with roaring wind, roofs knocked off, windows smashed and trees uprooted. He estimated the damage to be about $150,000. Elsewhere in the region, lives and homes remained in danger on Sunday afternoon, with a red alert in place for people between the Bidyadanga Aboriginal community and Sandfire in the Kimberley region. People were warned to remain inside and shelter in the strongest part of their homes or at the evacuation center, away from doors and windows, and to keep emergency kits with them.

After leaving destruction from Samoa to Tonga, Cyclone Gita brought more damage as it hit New Zealand, unleashing powerful winds and heavy rainfall (20th). Despite losing its tropical characteristics, the powerful storm still caused travel disruptions, power outages and significant flooding. A state of emergency has been declared in Taranaki, Selywn, Buller, Grey, Westland, Nelson/Tasman and Christchurch regions, according to the New Zealand MetService. A peak wind gust of 130 km/h was reported in Hawera. Up to 14,000 homes were left without power during the peak of the storm in Taranaki region as a result of the high winds. The heaviest rain has fallen over northern South Island and southern North Island where 25-75 mm has been common. The February rainfall in Wellington has surpassed 75 mm as of Tuesday night. Normal rainfall for the entire month of February is around 89 mm. Similarly, rainfall has surpassed 50 mm in Christchurch which averages only 45 mm for the entire month. The storm has also disrupted travel with numerous road closures and cancelled flights.

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