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Old June 8th 20, 04:17 PM posted to sci.geo.meteorology
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Default Global Weather Highlights May 2020

MAY 2020


Intense rains accompanied by powerful winds and sandstorms wreaked havoc in Qatar over the past few days (1st). On 1 May, severe storms destroyed a field hospital at the Umm Salal area, north of Doha. It was constructed just two weeks ago, specifically for accommodating patients with coronavirus. A video posted by Arab News showed violent winds ripping through the establishment. The aftermath was captured in another video, showing the hospital shredded in crumbles, with a few people captured running away from the area. In a separate incident, two expansion tents at Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital collapsed after winds of 45 mph hit the area, according to the Ministry of Public Health.


A cold front originating from Antarctica is sweeping across Australia, with states in the southeast set to see their coldest start to May (1st). The wintry conditions came after the country recorded its fifth warmest April on record, according to the BOM's monthly review. New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, ACT, South Australia, and Queensland already experienced cool temperatures on Friday morning. In Victoria, residents woke up to the coldest start to May ever recorded, with -4C in some areas. Mount Hotham experienced blizzards amid the coldest temperature at -4C.

Australia's western coast is being battered by a huge storm, with strong winds buffeting the main city of Perth (24th). Torrential rains and waves of up to eight meters are forecast in some areas. The severe weather is the result of the remnants of tropical cyclone Mangga interacting with a cold front, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. A senior official in the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) said it would be a "once-in-a-decade" storm. "Normally our storms come from the south-west and this will come from the north-west," DFES acting assistant commissioner Jon Broomhall told journalists. A severe weather warning is in place for much of Western Australia. More than 60,000 homes and businesses are without power across the state, ABC News reports. Wind gusts of 117 km/h have been recorded in Perth, the Bureau of Meteorology said. Some areas could see up to 100 mm of rain.


Dangerous thunderstorms developed across portions of western France and northern Spain on Monday afternoon into Monday night (4th). Thunderstorms first developed on Monday afternoon across northern Spain. As storms strengthened and tracked to the northeast, they raced across western France Monday evening and Monday night. The strongest storms brought frequent lightning strikes and strong wind gusts to the region. The strongest wind gusts led to damage in parts of northwestern Spain. A wind gust of 130 km/h was reported as the Port Estaca de Bares along the northern coast of Spain.


Heavy rains battering much of Rwanda since 1 May triggered severe flooding and landslides, resulting in eight fatalities and hundreds of damaged homes and roads, the Ministry of Emergency Situations reported on May 4. The affected areas are mostly the mountainous and hilly areas in the country's northern and western, particularly the low-lying and plain areas in those regions. As of today there eight fatalities from floods and landslides, five others injured, more than 100 damaged houses and several roads closed across the country. In the Rutsiro District in the Western Province, the Mushubati weather station recorded 81 mm of rain on 2 May.

Flooding as a result of recent heavy rains has killed more than 260 people across East Africa (9th). Kenya has been the hardest hit with the government recording 194 deaths. In Rwanda, 55 people have died and floods have killed 16 in Somalia. In Uganda high water levels have trapped an estimated 200 patients inside a hospital. East African countries have also been hit by a locust invasion and Covid-19. The water has also washed away 8,000 acres of crops and some vital infrastructure, the government has said.


Mother's Day weekend got off to an unseasonably snowy start in the Northeast thanks to the polar vortex (9th). Some higher elevation areas in northern New York and New England reported snowfall accumulations of up to 9 inches, while areas as far south as New York City reported a dusting. The spring snow and accompanying low temperatures came courtesy of the polar vortex, a batch of cold air being pulled down from the north. Massachusetts hadn't seen measurable snow in May since 2002, while in Manhattan's Central Park, the flakes tied a record set in 1977 for latest snow. Nine inches of snow were reported near Maine's Sugarloaf Mountain, while rural regions near the New York-Vermont border reported similar accumulations. Weather service observers reported 8 inches in northern New York's Washington County and 9 inches in Shaftsbury, Vermont.

About 10,000 residents have been evacuated in Michigan after two dams collapsed following days of heavy rain, officials say (20th). The National Weather Service issued a flash flood emergency for areas near the Tittabawassee River after the Edenville and Sanford dams burst. Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Midland County in mid-Michigan after the dams collapsed on Tuesday, and said the city of Midland - of population of more than 40,000 - could see a "historic high water level".

The eastern Indian city of Kolkata has been devastated by a powerful cyclone which has killed at least 22 people across India and Bangladesh (20th). Storm Amphan struck land on Wednesday, lashing coastal areas with ferocious wind and rain. It is now weakening as it moves north into Bhutan. Thousands of trees were uprooted in the gales, electricity and telephone lines brought down and houses flattened. Many of Kolkata's roads are flooded and its 14 million people without power. The storm is the first super cyclone to form in the Bay of Bengal since 1999. Though its winds had weakened by the time it struck, it was still classified as a very severe cyclone.


Lockdown restrictions in the Philippines are impeding efforts to help victims of Typhoon Vongfong, which struck the east of the country on Thursday (14th). Relief workers are trying to move hundreds of thousands of people into evacuation centres, but social distancing rules have thrown up complications. Some 200,000 people need to be rescued from their homes amid fears of flooding or landslides. Typhoon Vongfong is the first to hit the country this year.

The Indian capital, Delhi, saw temperatures rise to 47.6C today, as most of north India faced severe heatwave conditions (26th). The heatwave, which officials say is likely to last until the weekend, comes even as the region struggles with rising Covid-19 infections and swarms of locusts that are ravaging crops. Churu in Rajasthan state recorded a temperature of 50C - India's highest. Officials have warned people to stay indoors as far as possible. The temperatures are the highest that the country has seen in decades for this time of the year.


Tropical Storm Arthur become the first named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season on Saturday (16th) evening over the warm waters offshore of Florida. Tropical Storm Arthur is currently producing sustained winds of 40 mph. Although the official start of hurricane season is June 1, there has been a preseason tropical system for most of the last 10 years, so it is not uncommon to have tropical activity this early. Residents in South Florida saw impacts from Tropical Storm Arthur before it fully developed. A number of flash flood warnings were triggered along the southeastern coast of Florida as heavy downpours and thunderstorms continued on Friday night. Street flooding was reported across the Miami metro area. Thursday was the second wettest May day on record for the city of Marathon in the Florida Keys. Heavy rain totaled 5.76 inches, stopping short of the city's rainiest May day record of 6.60 inches set on the 27th in 1959. Marathon picked up a total of 6.45 inches during 14-15 May, when the normal precipitation for all of May is 3.35 inches.

Tropical Depression Ambo, also known as Vongfong, gave parts of the northern Philippines torrential rain and high winds late last week and into the weekend as it made landfall across several areas in the region (16th). The risk for flash flooding will continue for some as the storm begins to move away. Ambo strengthened throughout the week as it tracked over the warm waters of the Philippine Sea and became the first-named tropical system in the Northern Pacific Ocean of 2020. On Thursday afternoon, the former typhoon had wind speeds around 155 km/h. As of Friday afternoon, 13,000 have been forced to leave their homes, according to the Philippine News Agency. A total of 48 towns also suffered power cuts across Samar and Biliran. The PAGASA issued heavy rainfall warnings and flooding advisories issued across regions of Luzon, including a red warning in Metro Manila on Friday evening. A total of 93 mm of rain fell in parts of the city on Friday.

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