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Old February 12th 20, 11:32 PM posted to sci.geo.meteorology
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Default January 2020 Global Weather Highlights




At least 21 people have died in flooding in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta (1st), after the city had its most intense rainfall for at least 24 years. The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) measured 377 mm of rainfall in a day at an airport in East Jakarta. That's the most rain in a single day since at least 1996, when records supplied by the agency began. "The rain falling on New Year's Eve... is not ordinary rain," said the agency. The agency said the intensity of the rain was due to several factors, including the monsoon season, as well as a high amount of water vapour in the air. At least 62,000 people have been evacuated out of the city. Some people spent the night on the roofs of their buildings while awaiting rescue. Elsewhere in East Jakarta, 335 mm was recorded, while in Bekasi, further east, 259 mm fell. Rainfall above 150 mm per day is considered extreme by the agency.


Western Norway is experiencing a rare heatwave for early January, at a time when temperatures should normally be below freezing (3nd). The highest temperature of 19C - more than 25C above the monthly average - was measured in the village of Sunndalsora. This makes it Norway's warmest January day since records began.


Skies reddened and darkened in areas of south-eastern Australia as wind gusts exacerbated the fires (4th). Temperatures passed 40C in some areas. In Penrith, west of Sydney, the temperature reached 48.9C.

The Bureau of Meteorology has released its 2019 Annual Climate Statement, showing 2019 was both the warmest and driest year on record for Australia (9th). Australia's average mean temperature in 2019 was 1.52 C above average, making it the warmest on record since consistent national temperature records began in 1910 and surpassing the previous record in 2013 of 1.33 C above average. Meanwhile the national average rainfall total in 2019 was 277 mm, the lowest since consistent national records began in 1900. The previous record low was 314 mm set during the Federation drought in 1902. Bureau of Meteorology head of climate monitoring Dr Karl Braganza said the record warm and dry year was one of the key factors influencing recent and current fire conditions in large parts of the country.

Torrential rains and thunderstorms caused further misery for Australians in states already suffering from devastating bushfires (18th). Several major highways were cut off, while theme parks closed in southeastern Queensland after some of the heaviest rain in months fell in the state. Local media showed video footage of dozens of vehicles being swept away in flash flooding.. Standing water reached 30 cm in some areas and Australia's Bureau of Meteorology tweeted that over 100 mm of rain was expected to fall across the night and early Saturday morning in many other locations. Major highways were cut and residents flooded in as more than 300 mm of torrential rain bucketed down on south-east Queensland overnight. The deluge hit the Gold Coast the hardest with 325 mm of rain falling at Loders Creek and more than 200 mm in the Gold Coast hinterland.

Storms have brought heavy rain to fire-hit regions of eastern Australia - but authorities warn the nation's bushfire crisis is still "far from over" (20th). More than 80 blazes were still burning across New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, despite the downpours. Melbourne and Canberra have been hit by heavy storms, with hail as big as golf balls falling in some areas. Hundreds of emergency calls were made as hail smashed office windows and car windshields in the nation's capital.


At least 11 people have died as a result of severe storms sweeping across parts of the southern US, bringing high winds and heavy rain (10th-12th). Deaths were reported in the states of Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by power cuts as a result of the storms, while homes have been destroyed and roads flooded. Several tornado warnings were in place on Saturday, with Alabama said to be most at risk. The storms have also brought the threat of ice and snow to parts of the Midwest. Hundreds of flights were cancelled on Saturday at Chicago's two main airports. The Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office in Louisiana said an elderly couple died on Friday, when a tornado destroyed their mobile home, carrying it some 200ft (61m) from its foundations. The couple's three dogs remained unaccounted for. The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed that three people were killed in Pickens County, Alabama. Details were not immediately clear, but local media reported that they died as a result of an apparent tornado. Authorities say buildings have been damaged in the extreme weather, while there were widespread reports of trees and power lines being felled. The states of Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas suffered property damage on Friday but reported no injuries.


At least 62 people have been killed and more are missing after avalanches and landslides hit Pakistan-administered Kashmir over the past three days (11th-14th). The region's Neelum Valley was particularly hard hit, with many people left cut off from help. While the area is prone to weather disasters, the current toll is one of the deadliest in recent history. The harsh weather has also killed dozens in other parts of Pakistan, and in India and Afghanistan. In most places the weather improved on Tuesday, but many of the worst affected areas remain cut off.


Cities across southern Europe are experiencing dangerously high levels of smog caused by a prolonged period of dry sunny weather and light winds (16th). Temporary bans on diesel vehicles have been ordered in major Italian cities, including the capital, Rome, in an effort to reduce the pollution. The restrictions, which are set to remain in place over the next three days, are expected to affect about one million vehicles. At least nine of the 13 areas in Rome that monitor particulate matter - a fine dust known as PM10 - have recorded levels this week in excess of the legal limit, Italy's Il Messaggero reported. Further north, where air pollution is typically worse, Milan, Turin and Bologna are among other cities to take similar action after recording a sharp rise in particulate matter. Meanwhile, protests have been taking place in cities and towns across Bosnia-Herzegovina. On Wednesday, hundreds of people wearing respirators and face-masks gathered in the northern city of Tuzla to demand urgent action to improve air quality. In the capital, Sarajevo, government officials have been holding emergency meetings to discuss measures to curb the pollution. Local residents have also been advised to head for the mountains, where the air is cleaner, with cheap tickets made available for cable cars.


Parts of eastern Newfoundland remain under a state of emergency as residents dig out from a storm unlike anything seen in decades or more (1th-18th). Environment Canada says 76 cm of snow was measured at St. John's International Airport on Friday the most for any day since records started being kept in 1942. All flights in and out of St. John's were cancelled, and the airport remains closed until at least Sunday night. Businesses in the capital city, as well as other municipalities in the Northeast Avalon Peninsula, were ordered to stay closed for a second day. Given the high levels of snowfall there are some cases of snow drifts as deep as 5 meters the extent of the damage is not known at this point.


Powerful storm Gloria has battered much of eastern Spain, with officials linking at least four deaths to it (20th-21st). The region around Valencia and the Balearic Islands were the worst-hit on Monday, with heavy flooding and strong winds causing havoc. More than 30 provinces in Spain were put on high alert. The storm later moved into southern France. Social media users in Spain have been publishing footage of flooded streets in Valencia and other cities and towns in Spain. Spanish forecasters on Monday reported winds of up to 115 km/h, and huge waves on the Mediterranean coast. Alicante airport was forced to close, resulting in the cancellations of many flights. Storm Gloria then moved to Pyrenees-Orientales, France's southernmost Mediterranean department, which was placed on high alert. Dozens of extra police and firefighters have been deployed in the region. The A9 motorway on the French side of the border was closed as a precautionary measure. Gloria was the worst storm to have hit the region in the winter period since January 1982, Meteo France forecaster Olivier Proust told Franceinfo.

A storm surge on the east coast of Spain has swept 3 km inland, devastating rice paddies in the Ebro river delta south of Barcelona (22nd). Storm Gloria began wreaking havoc on Monday and five people have died. The storm has wrecked beach facilities, blocked roads and caused power cuts. Seawater has caused major damage to beaches around Barcelona, Valencia and on the Balearic Islands. The mayor of the delta region, Lluis Soler, said "we've never had anything like this before". Seawater has flooded about 30 sq km of rice plants. The Barcelona port authorities say it is too dangerous for boats to venture out to sea.


At least 30 people have died during severe rainstorms in Brazil's Minas Gerais state, the country's emergency services said on the 26th. Many of the victims were buried in landslides or washed away in floods after intense rain on Friday and Saturday. More than 2,500 people were evacuated from their homes, and local TV showed images of ruined houses under red mud. Rescue work continued overnight into Sunday, with 17 people missing. The Brazilian weather service said on Saturday that the state capital of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, had 17 cm of rain in one 24-hour period - the heaviest rainfall since records were first kept there 110 years ago.

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