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Old October 13th 20, 11:36 PM posted to sci.geo.meteorology
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Default September 2020 Global Weather Highlights

GLOBAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS

SEPTEMBER 2020

UNITED STATES

Record-high temperatures are expected across California for the holiday weekend, increasing fire risk and exacerbating poor air quality for residents yearning to go outside because of the pandemic but forced indoors because of smoke from nearby fires (3rd). As fires continue to burn throughout the state, the National Weather Service declared excessive heat watches in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento starting on Saturday and lasting until Monday. In Los Angeles, where temperatures of 100F to 115F were expected away from the beaches, dangerous heat was declared.

An unusual early-September snowstorm dumped snow from Montana to New Mexico, a record early-in-season snow in several locations roughly two weeks before summer officially ended (7th-9th). At least nine locations had their earliest snowfall on record from this system, including Casper, Wyoming (2.3 inches of snow the 7th, 5.2 inches the 8th, leapfrogging by one day their previous record earliest measurable snow from 8 September 1962) and Pueblo, Colorado (which saw its record-earliest snowfall on the morning of the 9th, a record that had stood since 1898). Denver International Airport picked up 1 inch of snowfall from this system. The last time snow fell in Denver in September was on 21 September 1994. The snow in Denver also came just days after the city hit an all-time September record high of 101F on the 5th. In the Black Hills of South Dakota, 10 to 15 inches of snow was reported from this storm. Parts of the high country of southern and central Colorado picked up 12 to 16 inches of snow. The heaviest total from this system was 17 inches just south of Casper, Wyoming. On the 8th Denver tied and Rapid City, South Dakota, broke their record earliest freezes. The September 8 "high" temperature in Grand Island, Nebraska (52F), was the coldest daily high so early in the season, topping a record that had stood since 9 September 1898.

Smoke from the wildfires ravaging much of the US West Coast has spread to the east of the country, casting a haze over New York and Washington DC (16th). The blazes have burned vast areas of land and killed at least 36 people since early August. They have also caused some of the most unhealthy air on the planet in several western states. Scientists said the smoke on the East Coast was so high that it would not impact air quality. Satellite images showed the smoke being carried to the East Coast by the jet stream. The National Weather Service in New York said smoke passing over the state was 25,000 ft high on Tuesday.

AFRICA

Some 190000 people across Chad have been affected by severe flooding triggered by record downpours since early August (5th). According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), nearly 120000 of these victims have been displaced - much of the affected were in the capital city of N'Djamena, where 10 people have died across seven departments due to flash flood-related incidents. Flooding also struck other parts of the country, including the Lac Province. This year, the Lake Region has had its highest rainfall in almost 30 years with 400 mm having fallen so far.

Residents of Narok in Kenya, woke up to a blanket of snow and a trail of destruction today, following a heavy hailstorm that struck the town overnight.. Wide swaths of crops were severely damaged, leaving farmers devastated as they estimate huge losses (7th). The storm, accompanied by low temperatures, began Sunday night, September 6, engulfing streets and roads with ice. According to Narok County Meteorology director Peter Runanu, the hailstones measured around 2 to 5 cm in diameter. "It is true that lower parts of Mau such as Enaibelbel, Olokurto, and Kisiriri as well as the upper Mau of Melili ward witnessed the hailstorms. This happened as the cloud billow that covers sides of Mau all the way to Nyandarua fell causing the storm." Locals, as well as farmers, have started counting losses after the storm left a path of destruction, particularly destroying wheat, potatoes, and maize crops..

Heavy rains triggered flash floods in Algeria's northern provinces, killing at least one person and leaving more than 800 homes inundated (7th-9th). A number of road accidents were also reported, causing major traffic disruption in at least five municipalities. The flooding came as torrential rains hit the north, with Baraki recording 63 mm of rain in a 24-hour period.

About 200,000 people remain homeless as of today, after severe floods struck the Far North Region of Cameroon. (10th). At least five fatalities have been reported, livestock and crops have been affected, and thousands of houses have been damaged or destroyed. Flooding over the past week has swept away livestock and damaged plantations. An embankment along the Logone River has also been washed away. Many bridges have collapsed, isolating some residents.

At least six people lost their lives in deadly flooding after heavy rains fell for six days across Tunisia (5th-11th). Numerous regions in the country were hit by severe weather, from north to the east. Heavy rains began around the 5th, drenching Kairouan with 88.9 mm of rain in 24 hours. According to the civil protection agency, the affected governorates were Monastir, Jendouba, Mahdia, Sidi Bouzid, and Tunis. Sidi Bouzid registered 58 mm, Monastir 47.8 mm and Mahdia 44.4 mm during the same period. In four separate days between September 5 to 11, Mahdia recorded more than 40 mm of rain in 24 hours. Flooding struck several districts of the capital Tunis on September 10. Some areas were submerged in 1 m floods, leaving roads impassable. Floodwaters caused damage to homes, market stalls, and a hospital.

CABO VERDE

Heavy rains triggered flash flooding in Praia, Cabo Verde, resulting in property damage in several districts and one casualty (12th). The city recorded 80 mm of rain in a 24-hour period, which is nearly three times its average rain for the month of September. Flooding hit Praia and other parts of the Santiago Island, blocking major roads. The government reported damage in several districts, including Achada Mato, Fonton, Jamaica, and Sao Paulo, particularly to farmlands, cars, buildings, and bridges.

INDIA

At least 42 people lost their lives in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India, after getting struck by lightning on the 15th). The India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned of further rains in most parts of the country over the next three days. Lightning strikes killed 29 people and injured 11 others in various districts across Bihar, while 13 deaths were reported in Uttar Pradesh, bringing the toll to 42, according to media.

Extremely heavy rainfall hit the city of Rangpur, Bangladesh over the weekend, paralyzing normal life across the city (26th-28th). In just 12 hours to 1000 LT on the 27th, the district of Rangpur was hit by a record 433 mm of rain. According to Rangpur Met Office, this is a record rainfall in the last 60 years. Most of the district was under the water Saturday to Monday, September 28, including croplands, roads, and houses in at least 60 wards, leaving 100,000 people stranded. 500,000 people were under knee to waist-deep water after the district's water drainage system collapsed, with firefighters rescuing them since Sunday morning.

EUROPE

A powerful autumn storm named Aila swept through Finland's central and southwestern regions late Wednesday into Thursday (16th-17th), bringing winds of up to 125 km/h, high waves up to 5.8 m, and heavy rains up to 60 mm, mainly in Kajaani - equivalent to the area's average rain for the whole month. Ferry traffic was disrupted on the northern part of the Baltic Sea, material damage was reported, and more than 90 000 households were left without electricity. The storm began battering Finland's west coast late on Wednesday, toppling down trees and damaging properties. More than 90,000 homes were left without power.

At least two people are missing after torrential rains triggered flash flooding in several departments of southern France (19th). Valleraugue commune in Gard Department recorded up to 468 mm of rain in just a 6-hour period, which is over six times the average rainfall for September of 75 mm - the worst fall since 1900. Meteo France reported violent storms in the foothills of the Cevennes mountains on Saturday, with the worst affected departments Gard, Lozere, and Herault. In a six-hour period, Vigan recorded 196 mm of rain, Saumane 175 mm, and an exceptional 468 mm in Valleraugue, including 361 mm in three hours.

METERAINIAN

Three people have been confirmed dead and two are missing after a hurricane-like storm swept across Greece (18th-20th). Hundreds of people were trapped in flooded buildings as Cyclone Ianos, known as a "medicane" (Mediterranean hurricane), battered areas north of Athens. Train services linking the north and south of the country have been cut. Footage on social media showed huge waves lashing the beaches on the Ionian islands of Kefalonia and Zakynthos on Friday as the storm headed in. Flights and ferry services were cancelled and tourists were advised to stay indoors. As Ianos churned eastwards overnight Friday/Saturday, the city of Karditsa north of Athens was lashed by winds of up to 120 km/h that brought down trees and power lines and triggered landslides. Medicanes - tropical-like cyclones - have only been categorised by meteorologists in the past 40 years, according to Kostas Lagouvardos, an expert at the Athens Observatory. "Mediterranean cyclones or hurricanes have tropical characteristics like those in the Atlantic, but they often have a smaller volume and are less intense," he told AFP news agency.

Severe weather affecting southeastern Europe resulted in a significant drop in temperatures, strong winds, hail and high elevation snow, very heavy rain, floods, landslides, and dozens of waterspouts, of which some turned into damaging tornadoes (24th-26th). In Italy, at least 5 people lost their lives; seven regions were on Orange alert - Lombardy, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Tuscany, Lazio, Campania, Basilicata, and Sardinia. Across the country, at least three landfalling waterspouts were reported on the 26th - in Genoa, Salerno, and Rosignano. In the city of Salerno, south of Napoli, locals recorded a giant waterspout coming ashore, uprooting trees and causing damage to vehicles and buildings. At least 8 people were injured after a tornado hit Rosignano, Toskana. Numerous waterspouts were spotted over the northern Adriatic Sea, from northern Italy to Umag, Pula, and Rijeka, Croatia.

NEW ZEALAND

A rapidly intensifying severe weather system brought thick snow and wind gusts of over 100 km/h to parts of New Zealand, resulting in closed roads and dozens of flight cancelations (27th). Met Service described the storm as "the worst of the season." In Queenstown, most flights in and out were canceled as heavy snow blanketed roads. Flurries also fell at sea level in several areas, such as Wanaka, Te Anau, and Dunedin. Snow also engulfed Oban beach on Stewart Island. Multiple weather warnings and watches were posted for the bottom half of South Island and the capital city of Wellington. Thick snow in Auckland prompted authorities to close several roads, while wind gusts of over 100 km/h were felt both in the North and South Islands. The storm was the result of a low-pressure system moving up New Zealand from Antarctica.

TROPICAL

A peninsula that typically sees one typhoon per year might face three landfalling storms in two weeks (3rd). One week after Typhoon Bavi brought fierce winds and rain to North and South Korea, Typhoon Maysak ploughed into South Korea as a category 2 storm. Shortly before landfall, in the early hours of September 3, the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center reported sustained winds of 170 km/h as the eye of the storm was southwest of Busan, South Korea's second-largest city. It is believed to be just the sixth typhoon of category 2 strength or higher to hit the Korean Peninsula since 1951. Maysak reached typhoon strength on 29 August and intensified to become the strongest typhoon so far in the 2020 Western Pacific season. At peak intensity on September 1, Maysak's winds measured 230 km/h, a category 4 storm. The typhoon battered Okinawa, the Ryukyu Islands, and Jeju Island before moving ashore on the Korean Peninsula. Forecasters called for widespread rainfall of 100 to 200 mm. That rain will fall upon ground that has been soaked by South Korea's second-wettest monsoon season on record and by rains from Typhoon Bavi.

Hurricane Sally has brought "historic and catastrophic flooding" to the southern US after making landfall (16th). The storm's sluggish speed, roughly 5 mph, increases its capacity for destruction, pummelling coastal states with heavy rain. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported flooding from Tallahassee, Florida to Mobile Bay in Alabama. It also warned of a "life-threatening" storm surge and river flooding inland as far as Georgia. Hurricane Sally is one of several storms in the Atlantic Ocean, with officials running out of letters to name the hurricanes as they near the end of their annual alphabetic list. Alabama, Florida and Mississippi have all declared states of emergency. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, whose state is still recovering from Hurricane Laura last month, tweeted on Tuesday that resident should all have a "game plan in place for whatever the rest of hurricane season has in store". The NHC has downgraded the storm from a Category 2 hurricane to a Category 1, but cautioned that the threat from heavy rain and "catastrophic" flooding remained. A hurricane advisory is currently in place from the Alabama and Mississippi border to northwestern Florida. "Sally has a characteristic that isn't often seen, and that's a slow forward speed and that's going to exacerbate the flooding," NHC deputy director Ed Rappaport said. Rain appeared to fall sideways in Alabama, which led to submerged roads as the storm inched ashore. Other areas along the coast were also affected, with beaches and highways swamped in Mississippi and low-lying properties in Louisiana covered by the rising waters. According to the website poweroutage.us, more than 500,000 homes and businesses in Alabama and Florida had reported power cuts by Wednesday morning.
Storm Sally has brought heavy rain and flooding to the Carolinas and Georgia, as it continues its path of destruction north from the US Gulf Coast (18th). Sally has now weakened to a post-tropical cyclone, but meteorologists warn that tornadoes are still possible. Besides the fatality reported in Orange Beach, Alabama, one person is also missing from the small coastal city in south-west Alabama. Pensacola, Florida, 50 km east of Orange Beach, was also badly hit, with a loose barge bringing down part of the city's Bay Bridge. Downtown Pensacola was hit with up to 5ft of flooding and saw the highest storm surge on record. The storm brought "four months of rain in four hours" to the city, Pensacola fire chief Ginny Cranor told CNN. In Gulf Shores, Alabama - near where Sally first made landfall as a hurricane on Wednesday - the storm sheared off the face of a beachside apartment complex. And 80 km north-west in Mobile, Alabama, the large steeple of El-Bethel Primitive Baptist Church toppled after the storm.

The National Hurricane Center have just initiated advisories on Subtropical Storm Alpha, located just off the coast of Portugal (18th). This is only the second time on record that the Greek alphabet has been used, with 2005 the only other year. In 2005, Alpha was named much later on 22 October (although a post-season analysis revealed an earlier storm had been missed, so Alpha in 2005 should have been Beta).



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