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Old May 23rd 19, 10:56 PM posted to sci.geo.meteorology
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Default April 2019 Global Weather Highlights

APRIL 2019

A wintry weather event unfolded over a small area of North Carolina and South Carolina, (2nd) making the second day of April feel more like the second day of January. Snow fell along the western edge of a strengthening powerful spring storm that tracked up the East Coast on Tueday into Wednesday. This was not a major snowstorm, but it was very unusual for the region for this time of year, and the storm system that brought the rare snowfall became a bomb cyclone. Charlotte, North Carolina, was one of the bigger cities to see some snow accumulate. Tuesday was only the second time since 1915 that the city saw measurable snowfall during the month of April; the other occurrence took place in 1982.

Powerful storms swept across the southern U.S., after unleashing suspected tornadoes and flooding that killed at least six people, including three children, injured dozens and flattened much of a Texas town (14th). Nearly 90,000 customers were without power in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Georgia as of midday Sunday. Two children were killed on a back road in east Texas when a pine tree fell on to the car in which they were riding in a severe thunderstorm on Saturday near Pollok, about 150 miles south-east of Dallas. At least 25 people were taken to hospitals for treatment after a suspected tornado struck the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site in east Texas during a Native American cultural event in Alto, about 130 miles south-east of Dallas, said police chief Jeremy Jackson. At least eight were critically hurt.

An outbreak of severe weather, including tornadoes, tore across the southern and eastern United States over the weekend (14th-16th), causing at least nine deaths, dozens of injuries and widespread destruction. Tornado and severe thunderstorm watches and warnings were issued from Texas to as far north as Massachusetts from early Saturday into Monday. There have been 42 tornadoes confirmed and surveyed by the National Weather Service, including 3 EF3, 10 EF2, 16 EF1, and 13 EF0 tornadoes in eight states from Texas to Pennsylvania.

In parts of the U.S., winter made an abrupt return bringing significant snowfall to Chicago as well as places in Missouri, Indiana and Michigan (14th).. Chicago's O'Hare Airport reported 5.3 inches of snow on Sunday. That made April 14 one of the top-two snowiest days this late in the season. The snowiest day in the city's history from April 14 to early May is 5.4 inches of snow on April 16, 1961. It was enough to bring Chicago O'Hare and Chicago Midway airports to a ground stop for arriving flights, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). O'Hare cancelled 436 flights on Sunday amid snow and ice, according to Flight Aware.

A state of emergency was declared in Louisiana after a tornado tore through a college town this week during the overnight hours, leaving the area in tatters and at least two people dead (25th). A weather system packing severe storms moved across the southern United States Wednesday night into Thursday, spawning a total of at least eight tornadoes across east Texas and Louisiana, according to a preliminary report by the National Weather Service (NWS). One powerful twister that hit the northern Louisiana town of Ruston is blamed for the deaths of a mother and her teen child.

North-central United States residents witnessed an unusual sight as more than 2 inches of snow fell in Chicago this late in the year for the first time in more than a century (27th). Chicago O'Hare International Airport picked up 2.5 inches of snow on Saturday, which shattered the record for the date of 0.2 of an inch set in 1950. The last time 2 inches of snow fell this late was back in 1910. The latest date on record for any measurable snow is May 11, 1966, but snowflakes have been seen as late as May 22 in 1917. The snow in Chicago led to more than 700 cancelled flights at the city's O'Hare International and Midway International airports on Saturday.


April snow coated roads across Scotland and northern England from Tuesday night into Wednesday, (3rd) causing numerous travel disruptions. Multiple accidents resulted in the closure of the M55 near Blackpool and the A9 near Slochd. A slow morning commute was reported throughout Scotland and northern England, and multiple schools were forced to close in the Highlands. The snow fell as cold air from Iceland descended on the United Kingdom, sending temperatures several degrees below normal. Over 40 cm of snow was reported to have has fallen on the Cairngorms.


Thousands of homes lost power as Storm Hannah swept across the Ireland (27th). As a result of the strong winds, more than 33,000 homes lost power during the height of the storm in Ireland. Rail, ferry and air travelers also faced disruptions.


The death toll from major floods in Iran over the past 15 days has risen to 62, the head of the Iranian Legal Medicine Organization has told local media (4th). The southern province of Fars had been hardest hit with 21 dead. Flood-related deaths have been reported in 11 of Iran's 31 provinces. The semi-official Isna news agency said the current toll was a tally of the victims whose bodies had been transferred to coroners across the country, indicating the count could still rise. Most of the country has been affected by flooding since March. The north-east was swamped on 19 March before the west and south-west of the country were inundated on 25 March, killing 45 people. Flooding in the west and south-west continued on 1 April, when heavy rains returned. "Seventy-eight intercity roads have been blocked, as many as 2,199 rural roads and 84 bridges have been washed away," Behnam Saeedi, a spokesman for the National Disaster Management organization, told state TV. "Across 15 provinces, 141 rivers burst their banks and around 400 landslides were reported."


A state of emergency was declared in Rio de Janeiro after torrential downpours caused flooding and mudslides that killed at least 10 people on Monday and Tuesday(8th-9th). Emergency personnel acted quickly to rescue people trapped in cars and on the streets. Large parts of the city have been inundated, including Copacabana and the neighborhoods of Botafogo and Jardim Botanico. Major roads remain closed and impassable by flooding, fallen trees and broken pavement. More than 380 mm of rain fell in the Copacabana neighbourhood within a 24-hour period causing roadways to turn into raging rivers. "These rains are absolutely abnormal for this time of year; none of us expected so much rain at this time," Mayor Marcelo Crivella told an early morning news conference. Although April is still one of the wetter months in Rio de Janeiro, normal rainfall for the entire month is only around 107 mm.


A third day of severe weather brought further death and destruction to areas from northern India to Afghanistan (17th). The slow-moving storm system, which has triggered damaging thunderstorms, blinding dust storms and flooding downpours, has claimed at least 39 lives in Pakistan, 47 in India and 15 in Afghanistan, according to Anadolu Agency.


The holiday hotspot of Alicante in eastern Spain has experienced some of the heaviest rainfall in its history, leading to the evacuation of more than 300 people during the Easter holidays (21st). In the nearby town of Xabia Sunday's downpour saw 250 mm of rainfall, flooding hundreds of homes and leaving cars floating in the streets.


At least 28 people were killed in a landslide in the southwestern Colombian province of Cauca (21st). Five other people were injured by the mudslide, which also damaged or destroyed several homes in the village. The landslide, which was caused by heavy rain, occurred early Sunday morning in Rosas, a municipality in the Cauca department.


Melbourne residents haven't felt a day this warm this late in the season in 57 years (21st). Saturday's high in Melbourne was 30.2C. This is the fourth time the city temperature has exceeded 30C (9 deg C above the April average) this late in autumn. Meanwhile, residents in Australia's Stirling Ranges woke up to a record snowfall for the first time in 49 years. A frontal system pushed Antarctic air into Western Australia, giving Perth the coldest April day since 1939. According to the Bureau of Meteorology there is only one instance before, in the last 100 years, of snow as early as this on top of the Stirling Ranges.


More than 70 people have been killed in South Africa after torrential rains along the eastern coast, officials said on Thursday, and rescuers were still recovering bodies (23rd). Most of the deaths were reported from KwaZulu-Natal province, after the downpours led to flooding and mudslides. Some of the worst-hit areas were informal settlements in KwaZulu-Natal, where people live in flimsy houses without proper foundations or drainage systems. Residents recounted how floodwaters and mudslides crashed through houses, many with people inside, and destroyed roads and other infrastructure. The rains carved chunks out of hills and roads in the region, with cars, tin roofs and other rubble swept into the deep muddy trenches left behind. Over 100 mm of rain was recorded as falling at numerous stations within the area between Monday morning and Tuesday.


More than 10,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in eastern Canada in recent days as spring floods broke record levels set in 2017, officials said Monday, warning that it could take weeks for the waters to recede (29th). Hardest hit was the town of Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, west of Montreal, where more than 6,000 people were forced to flee rising waters over the weekend after a natural dike was breached. Flooding in the town "is stabilizing," Quebec Public Safety Minister Genevieve Guilbault told a press conference. "Water levels are falling and we hope that we can protect the area," she said, noting that construction of new gravel barriers was underway to keep waters at bay. About 9,000 people have been displaced in Quebec province, or twice the number in 2017, which had seen the region's worst flooding in a half-century.


Five people have died and aid workers have reported scenes of destruction in the wake of Cyclone Kenneth, the second tropical cyclone to lay waste to swathes of Mozambique in five weeks (25th). Rescuers have moved in to help people trapped by rapidly rising flood water in the northern city of Pemba, home to 200,000 people, a United Nations spokesman said, as Kenneth dumped more rain on the region. The storm slammed into the province of Cabo Delgado on Thursday, killing five people, and since then has pounded an area prone to floods and landslides with rain, fueling fears rivers could burst their banks and leave vast areas underwater. Homes were flattened, roofs blown off and palm trees toppled in images posted online by one UN agency. (By Sunday, there was extensive flooding in the provincial capital of Pemba, with water pouring down roads in a number of neighborhoods, and the authorities trying to evacuate at-risk communities with the help of the Red Cross. The death toll had risen to 38 by Monday 29th.)

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