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Old December 12th 18, 11:55 PM posted to sci.geo.meteorology
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Default November 2018 Global Weather Highlights




Floods in Sicily, Italy, have left at least 12 people dead and 1 missing. Around 30 people have now died in severe weather across the country that began last week. Torrential rain from the 3rd caused major flooding in Sicily. Italy's Civil Protection authorities say that 10 fatalities occurred in Palermo Province and 2 in the Agrigento Province.

More than 1,000 properties were left without power during heavy rain and wind which brought flooding and travel disruption (9th). Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire saw the worst of the weather with some homes in Milford Haven under 3 m of water. Other parts of south and mid Wales were also "at risk" of flooding. Western Power Distribution has restored most of the outages but the rain has been the biggest problem. A number of roads were flooded including parts of the A40, which runs through both counties. It has flooded between Fishguard and Scleddau, and Llanddewi Velfrey and Penblewin. Taxis replaced trains between Haverfordwest and Milford Haven, while Traffic Wales reported people were evacuated from Lower Priory due to most roads being flooded. Network Rail has advised train operators Crosscountry and Great Western Railway the sea wall at Dawlish will not be passable for the rest of the day. as a result train services were not operating between Newton Abbot and Exeter St Davids.


Severe storms tracked across the southeastern United States during Monday afternoon into early Tuesday morning, toppling trees, damaging homes and buildings and leaving at least one person dead (5th-6th). The fatality was reported in Christiana, Tennessee, in Rutherford County, about an hour southeast of Nashville. A female was killed when a home collapsed after a confirmed tornado ripped through the county Monday night. Two others were reportedly injured in another house collapse. The tornado was later rated an EF2. The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center said there were four tornado reports on Monday and nearly 80 reports of wind damage. Multiple tornado touchdowns occurred in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, and substantial damage was reported to one home.

The first major winter-like of the season hit the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Northeast. At the height of the storm, nearly half a million people were without power (15th). Roads were left blanketed by snow, trapping some drivers. In Allentown, Pennsylvania, motorists were stuck for more than 12 hours overnight. Police reported waking up some drivers when traffic began to move. In New York City, Central Park received 6 inches of snow from this event, making it the snowiest November day there in 136 years. The George Washington Bridge was shut on Thursday due to accidents. Thousands of flights were delayed or canceled at Northeast airports. Snow totals hit up to 10 inches in parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The Great Lakes was hit by the first major lake-effect snow event of the season over the weekend. Lake-effect snow engulfed parts of Michigan, northern Ohio and Pennsylvania through Sunday on the heels of a separate storm. Officials were forced to close a stretch of Interstate 90 between Buffalo, New York, and Erie, Pennsylvania, on Saturday morning.

Strong winds on Sunday were expected to hamper progress for crews battling California wildfires which have now claimed at least 79 lives (18th). Gusts of up to 50mph were threatening efforts to control the Camp blaze, which is still only 55% contained 10 days after it brought devastation to northern California. The fire which destroyed nearly 10,000 homes and has spread across 233 sq miles is already the deadliest American wildfire in a century. And there are fears that the eventual death toll will rise much higher, with almost 1,300 people still unaccounted for.

A major storm wreaked havoc on one of the busiest travel days of the year with blizzard conditions stretching from northern Kansas to the Lower Peninsula of Michigan (25th). Temperatures plummeted in a short amount of time, coating the roads with ice as rain changed to snow. The combination of increasing winds, heavy snow and poor visibility triggered many wrecks and collisions. Parts of I-70 in Kansas and I-80 in Nebraska were closed due to whiteout conditions and snowy roads on Sunday morning. Airports were swamped with passengers as delays piled up and the storm raged. More than 1,000 flights were cancelled at Chicago O'Hare International Airport between Sunday and Monday. Hundreds more were canceled at Midway International Airport. Numerous power lines were taken down by the heavy snow resulting in nearly 200,000 outages in Illinois alone. Most of the outages were concentrated around Chicago. Nearly a foot of snow fell in Rockford, Illinois, near the Wisconsin border, according to the National Weather Service. In La Salle County, west of Chicago, snow ploughs were pulled off the road because conditions were too dangerous.


Further heavy rain in parts of the Middle East has caused flash flooding in Kuwait and Jordan, where at least 12 people have lost their lives(11th). Severe weather including record rainfall and flooding has affected parts of the Middle East since late October 2018. In Petra, more than 3,700 tourists were forced to evacuate to higher ground as the floodwaters rushed in.

One of two potent storms descending on the Middle East triggered severe flooding in Kuwait City Wednesday through Thursday. More than 95 mm of rain inundated Kuwait City's International Airport Wednesday into Thursday (14th-15). That is just shy of the 117.8 mm that the airport has averaged annually in recent years, according to the Kuwait Meteorological Department. 18.8 mm is the average fall for November. Runoff from the heavy rain flooded roads and damaged some buildings. Schools and public offices were closed on Wednesday and Thursday. Air traffic was suspended at the international airport..


Days of severe weather, including heavy rain and flash flooding, has left around 3,000 people evacuated in Argentina, most of them from parts of the capital Buenos Aires. The heavy rain began on the 9th. According to WMO figures, Sauce Viejo city in the province of Santa Fe recorded 196 mm of rain in 24 hours to 12 November. Reconquista, also in Santa Fe, recorded 169 mm of rain in 24 hours the following day. Servicio Meteorologico Nacional in Argentina said that this November has already been one of the wettest on record.

Peru's National Emergency Operations Center has reported heavy that rain has caused flooding and landslides in the regions of San Martin, Huanuco and Cusco (16th). Several rivers have broken their banks in San Martin Region and authorities have warned that the Huallaga River is rising and currently at yellow (second) level alert.


A "very dangerous" thunderstorm packing giant hail and destructive winds tore through parts of south-east Queensland on Saturday evening (17th), damaging homes and bringing down trees and powerlines. Areas to the north of Brisbane were the hardest hit, with the worst of the weather reported from rural Kilcoy, the Sunshine Coast hinterland, and areas in and around Gympie. Hail was the size of golf ball in places. Storms also left more than 9,500 properties without power, mostly around Gympie.

A thick line of dust that has smothered much of New South Wales and Sydney has caused air quality to reach a "hazardous" level with another wave of dust set to come, leading to a spike in calls for help from people with breathing difficulties (22nd). Strong winds from a low pressure system have whipped up masses of dirt across the drought-stricken state, which headed towards the coast. The storm stretched more than 500 km from the Victorian border, through Canberra and up towards Queensland. Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Anita Pyne said it was a "huge system." It was not uncommon for inland parts of NSW to experience small-scale dust storms but one this size was "unusual", she said.

A second person has died during the Sydney storms which have lashed the city and surrounding regions on Wednesday, delivering a month's worth of rain in two hours (28th). Meanwhile at least a dozen people have been rescued, a supermarket's walls burst with water and almost 100 flights were cancelled as heavy rain caused flash flooding across Sydney. The city copped more than a month's worth of rain in less than two hours on Wednesday morning as a series of severe thunderstorms hit the coast between Newcastle and Wollongong.

Mandatory evacuations of 8,000 residents of Gracemere in Queensland are under way as a wildfire approached homes in catastrophic fire conditions. Early on Thursday, residents of two more communities - Campwin Beach and Sarina Beach south of Mackay - were woken by police and emergency text messages telling them they were in danger and to move to safety immediately. Further south, a massive bushfire that has destroyed homes and sent 1,500 people fleeing continued to rage in Queensland's Deepwater region, though most people had managed to escape. The entire 10km section of the Capricorn highway between Gracemere and Rockhampton was gridlocked on Wednesday afternoon, locals told Guardian Australia. A group of about 80 elderly residents from a nursing home were being assisted to leave. The conditions were rated as potentially "catastrophic" - a combination of fierce, gusting winds, low humidity and record high temperatures.


Extreme weather conditions in the Canary Islands at the weekend saw people evacuated from their homes in the north of Tenerife, after massive waves damaged the balconies of apartment blocks on the coasts of Garachico and Tacoronte (18th). In Garachico, a total of 39 people were evacuated from their homes due to the size of the waves, which ripped an entire balcony off the building on the third floor. Also in the north of the island, in the area called Mesa del Mar, the waves broke the windows of the first two floors of a building located right on the edge of the sea, forcing evacuations from 10.50pm onward. The waves also caused damage in Adeje, in the south of Tenerife, breaking the windows of a hotel restaurant in La Lava street. The patrons dining in the establishment at the time were evacuated. Meanwhile, in the rest of Spain, a total of 12 provinces were on alert for rainfall and dangerous conditions at sea. The worst of the weather was forecast for Valencia and Alicante, both on red alerts (the maximum on a scale of three), with 180 mm of rain expected in a 12-hour period, according to the AEMET state weather service.

The eastern Pacific hurricane season hasn't been this active since 1992 with Tropical Storm Xavier churning offshore of Mexico (5th). The 22nd named tropical storm of the 2018 eastern Pacific hurricane season formed on Friday night. On average, 15 tropical storms form in the eastern Pacific each year.

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