The Coldest Places On Earth

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

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The coldest places on Earth

Temperatures around the world vary from location to location, from high elevations to sea level and below, and it’s easy to forget that the weather in your neighborhood can be drastically different than temperatures and climates half a world away. Extreme temperatures are par for the course when it comes to life on Earth.

That said, you probably wouldn’t want to stay long in some of the coldest places on the planet. Still, some villages, towns, and cities persist despite frigid temperatures. Here are some of the coldest places on the planet, both inhabited and uninhabited.

Antarctica

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On a high ridge within hollows on the East Antarctic Plateau in Antarctica, temperatures have reached a bone-chilling -133.6 degrees Fahrenheit (-92 degrees Celsius). At least that was the case in 2013 according to NASA.

“Scientists made the discovery while analyzing the most detailed global surface temperature maps to date,” the 2013 article says. “Researchers analyzed 32 years’ worth of data from several satellite instruments [and] found temperatures plummeted to record lows dozens of times in clusters of pockets near a high ridge…on the ice sheet known as the East Antarctic Plateau.”

Russia

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Russia has long been notorious for its cold weather and below-freezing temperatures. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that two of the coldest permanently-inhabited places on the planet are located in Russia.

Oymyakon

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A 2010 census reported that approximately 460 people live in the rural locality of Oymyakon, Russia, one of the coldest-yet-still-inhabited villages on Earth. That’s right, people live in Oymyakon. Schools will even stay open unless temperatures dip below a teeth-rattling -52 degrees Fahrenheit (-46.6 degrees Celsius).

In December 2016, Oymyakon’s weather station recorded temperatures of -96 degrees Fahrenheit (-71.1 degrees Celsius).

Verkhoyansk

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The more than 1,000 people living in the remote region of Verkhoyansk, Russia, may call it home, but they always seem to be in contention with Oymyakon for being the most miserable place in the world. That’s almost certainly due to the unbelievably cold temperatures year-round.

It’s been a while since the lowest temperature in Verkhoyansk was recorded (-93.6 degrees Fahrenheit/-69.8 degrees Celsius) in 1892. But it can be hot one day and cold the next, as the saying goes. The town of Verkhoyansk holds the Guinness world record for the greatest temperature range on Earth, with temperatures known to range from -90 degrees to 98 degrees Fahrenheit (-67.7 degrees to 72.2 degrees Celsius).

Canada

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Canada is known for its vast expanses and consistently cold weather, so it’s natural that a tiny village in the Yukon territory makes the list of coldest places on Earth. Snag, Yukon, Canada reached a record-setting low temperature of -81 degrees Fahrenheit (-63 degrees Celsius) in the winter of 1947.

United States

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Not all of the coldest places on the planet are in remote winter wonderlands. Here are a handful of the coldest places you’ll find in the U.S.

Prospect Creek, Alaska

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Average low temperatures dip below minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit (-51 degrees Celsius) in Prospect Creek, Alaska, but the coldest place in the United States has gotten colder in the past. The tiny outpost in Alaska began as a hub for mining expeditions and evolved into a camp for construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. The region is currently uninhabited other than the occasional attendant manning a pump station in the area, and that’s probably a good thing. Lowest recorded temperatures in Prospect Creek, Alaska reached -78.8 degrees Fahrenheit (-61.5 degrees Celsius) in January 1971.

Rogers Pass, Montana

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Rogers Pass, Montana, holds the record for coldest recorded temperature in the United States outside of Alaska. The pass is only around 5,500 feet above sea level, but on January 20, 1954, temperatures dipped to an icy -69.7 degrees Fahrenheit (-56.5 Celsius).

International Falls, Minnesota & Fraser, Colorado

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Both International Falls, Minnesota, and Fraser, Colorado earned their spot on this list even if they aren’t technically the coldest places in the United States year-round (or even consistently). The reason they’re here is that they’re cold enough for long enough. Both towns have claimed—and even trademarked at one point—the term “Icebox of the Nation.” They came to an agreement in favor or International Falls in 1986, then International Falls let the trademark lapse, and a dispute followed.

Internationals Falls currently has a trademark claim for the “Icebox of the Nation”title, but both towns have an average year-round temperature that borders on freezing.

Cold May Get Colder as Time Passes

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Temperatures will continue to fluctuate towards extremes, both hot and cold, if climate change science is any indication. That means the coldest places on Earth are going to get colder, and cold areas of the globe may get a little more frigid during the winter months. Some of your favorite cold weather winter spots may make the list next year or the year after!

 

India staring at longest heatwave in 3 decades (48c or 118.4f)

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

India staring at longest heatwave in 3 decades, monsoon relief unlikely soon

The Capital, which sweltered on its hottest June day in history on Monday (48 degrees Celsius) recorded as maximum temperature of 45.4 degrees Celsius at Palam in spite of a spell of light rain in the morning.

INDIA Updated: Jun 12, 2019 11:10 IST

Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
heatwave,heatwave conditions,longest heatwave
Noida, India – June 10, 2019: Boys on a two-wheeler cover themselves with a cloth to beat the heat on a summer day, in Noida, India, on Monday, June 10, 2019. (Photo by / Hindustan Times)(Sunil Ghosh /HT Photo/Representative Image )

Nearly two-thirds of India sizzled on Tuesday under a spell of a heatwave that is on course to becoming the longest ever as scalding temperatures killed four train passengers, drained water supplies, and drove thousands of tourists to hill stations already bursting at the seams.

Across large swathes of northern, central and peninsular India, the mercury breached the 45 degree mark, including in Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, Churu and Bikaner in Rajasthan, Hisar and Bhiwani in Haryana, Patiala in Punjab, and Gwalior and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.

The Capital, which sweltered on its hottest June day in history on Monday (48 degrees Celsius) recorded as maximum temperature of 45.4 degrees Celsius at Palam in spite of a spell of light rain in the morning.

Experts warned that monsoon relief was still some time away with the severe cyclonic storm, Vayu, barrelling towards the Gujarat coast and drawing rain clouds from over the sea.

With a heatwave spell stretching 32 days, 2019 has already seen the second-longest spell of scorching temperature ever recorded. If the mercury doesn’t dramatically drop in the next two days, 2019 will become the year with the longest heatwave spell in recorded history — with three weeks to go in June.

In 1988, there were 33 such days, and in 2016, there were 32 such days. A heatwave is defined as when the maximum temperature is at least 40 degree C (plains) and 30 degree C (hills), according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Also Read | In scorching sun, UP villages without a drop to drink

The searing heat is already leaving people withered. Four elderly passengers on board the Kerala Express died apparently of suffocation and heat at Jhansi, where the mercury has hovered around the 45 degree mark since the beginning of the month. The four people, three of whom died on Monday evening, were part of a 67-member group returning to Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu after visiting Agra and were travelling in non-AC sleeper coaches.

“A team of doctors examined them on board the train at Jhansi; three of them had passed away by then and one passenger was rushed to hospital [who died on Tuesday],” said railway spokesperson Manoj Kumar Singh. He said the cause of death appeared to be heat but the exact cause would be known after a post-mortem examination.

The blazing heatwave is in line with predictions made by a number of scientific studies based on IMD data that show that the intensity of heatwaves is rising. DS Pai, a scientist at IMD, Pune, said their study of long-term heatwave data of 35 meteorological subdivisions showed a threefold increase in heatwaves every year since 1991. “Our observation indicates that the increase was steeper in the last two decades,” he said.

An Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune study added that another impact of long spells of heat was an increase in the number of hot days and nights. An analysis of daily maximum and minimum temperatures of 121 IMD stations distributed across India between 1970 and 2015 showed the frequency of hot days and nights showed a big jump whereas that of cold days and nights dropped sharply. “With climate change, the frequency and intensity of heat waves in India will increase,” S Krishnan, a senior scientist at IITM, said.

In its heatwave bulletins, IMD has pointed out that this year’s hot spell has been amplified by the absence of pre-monsoon showers, the presence of hot and dry winds from western dry zones. However, the heatwave spell is likely to cool down this weekend, the IMD heat forecast on Tuesday said.

In major cities across northern India, the demand for power and water surged even as many sources of water – such as rivers and reservoirs – ran dry. The peak power demand in Delhi broke all records of this season on Monday and touched a high of 6,686 MW, reported the discoms. In the hinterlands, where there are often no secondary sources of water such as tanks and pipes, the situation is worse.

In Sonbhadra district on the eastern tip of Uttar Pradesh, for example, the scorching sun has forced many villagers to dig pits in the riverbed and wait for groundwater to ooze out. As the temperatures rise, the pits will go dry and villagers will have to trek kilometres for a pot of water. Hand pumps often don’t work in these regions because in many pockets, the water level has dipped below 300 feet.

The sweltering heat has driven tens of thousands of people into hill stations that are ill-equipped to handle a rush of such magnitude. Uttarakhand’s Nainital has seen an average of 15,000 to 20,000 tourists arrive daily in a city with a capacity of just 8,000 rooms. Mussoorie, which has 2,000 rooms, has seen 190,030 tourists flood the town since May.

As many as 15,000 vehicles have entered Manali and Shimla on weekends this month, translating to roughly 60,000 people — about a third of the population of these towns. The tourist influx is repeatedly choking all approach roads to the small Himalayan hill stations and causing massive traffic snarls in the mountains. Moreover, the hills have received no respite from the blistering sun — Monday’s maximum temperature for Mussoorie was six degrees above normal at 30.5 degrees Celsius while Dharamsala recording a maximum of 33.8 degrees Celsius.

First Published: Jun 12, 2019 07:16 IST

Strange weather events you (may have) never heard of

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

Strange weather events you’ve never heard of

We all know about hurricanes, tornadoes, and blizzards. They’re some of the most common weather events you can experience in the United States and beyond. But up until a few winters ago, you might not have known what a bomb cyclone was. You weren’t alone if you thought it was a new slang to explain a very cool event. Get ready to be surprised by a few other obscure weather terms.

Thundersnow

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Don’t laugh. This is a real thing. You might be asking yourself, “How can it possibly thunder during a snowstorm?” But it does happen. Often. Officially, thundersnow can go by other names like winter thunderstorm or thundersnowstorm (all one word on purpose). So what is it? Just like a regular rainstorm, there’s thunder and lightning except the precipitation is snow instead of rain. The mechanics are the same as in a “traditional” storm. The cooler air in the environment interacts with the warmer air within the clouds to create a charge. Severe thundersnow events can be accompanied by hail.

Sea smoke

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This sounds pretty dreamy. Sea smoke is essentially just fog in a smoky form that only occurs over bodies of water. Cool air passes over warm water to create condensation in the form of fog. So, what makes this version different from the traditional fog? It might seem like we’re splitting hairs, but sea smoke tends not to last as long as traditional fog and usually occurs only in bitter-cold weather.

Gustnado

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How could a tornado possibly have so many categories? This and the next unique weather phenomenon are a bit of a misnomer. While they share half of their name with tornadoes, the mechanics behind them are different. A tornado appears when there’s a perfect, ahem, storm of warm and cold air that meet abruptly. A gustnado is when ground-based air begins to move in a vortex motion. Usually, these occur at the edges of a storm front. Although not required, a gustnado can also create cloud-like condensation and is often seen through the amount of debris they move. Gustnadoes typically aren’t as dangerous as their stronger tornado cousin, but on rare occasions, they have caused damage like at the Indiana State Fair stage collapse that killed five people and injured dozens in 2011.

Firenado

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And then we shift to the firenado. Once again, a firenado is in no way related to tornadoes when we focus solely on their cause and formation. Much like a gustnado, a firenado appears when surface air begins to move in a vortex formation. Except for this time, that movement takes place in a fire event or around ash, creating the visual effect of a “fire tornado” or a fire whirl. A firenado is usually seen during major fire events like wildfires and volcanic eruptions where independent wind currents can occur and spread the fire farther than the original burn zone. Because of this, this unique weather event is considered far more dangerous than a gustnado.

Swullocking

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Don’t giggle. This is a real thing. Anyone with curly or frizz-prone hair will appreciate that there’s finally a one-word term that explains what happens when the humidity makes your hair swell up to something three times the size of your head. Swullocking is an old-timey word that basically means it’s humid out, you’re going to have a bad hair day, and you’re going to be gross, hot and sticky. So this summer, just say, “I tried, but it’s swullocking today, and I chose to wear my hair in a bun.”

Derecho

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“Derecho” isn’t just how you say “right” or “straight” (when giving directions) in Spanish, depending on the context of your sentence. In the weather world, “derecho” also refers to a massive wind storm. But like the Spanish word, it refers to a straight-line wind storm that usually precedes a severe thunderstorm. And we’re not kidding when we say wind storm. Derechos can produce hurricane-force winds, heavy rains, flash floods, and tornadoes. Part of why this weather event is so damaging is that there’s usually no warning before it occurs. In fact, they’re the warning sign of an impending severe thunderstorm.

Blenky

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Yet another awkward word makes the list. A blenky refers to very light snow. If it sounds foreign, that’s because many of us call it “snow showers” or “a dusting of snow.” “Blenky” can trace its origins to an 18th-century word that meant ash or cinders.

Haboob

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Haboob is the final word on our list, and it refers to a sudden sandstorm that occurs in very specific locations. In particular, haboobs can take place only in dusty parts of the world that are also extremely hot and dry. The name is derived from Arabic and was often used to describe sudden sandstorms in the Middle East and North Africa.

Curious about more obscure weather terms? Check out this list of 32 lesser-known words to describe weather events.

What Are The 6 Hottest Cities In The U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

With temperatures rising across North America, the U.S. seems to be getting hotter by the minute. But which U.S. cities have really caused residents to shed layers? Using long-term temperature averages and based on the number of days over 99 degrees Fahrenheit in a year, the NOAA National Climatic Data Center revealed which cities are the most sweltering. Read on to learn about the six hottest cities in the U.S.

Sacramento, California, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (Tie)

Sacramento, California, and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (Tie)

Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Days over 99 °F: 11

Sacramento and Oklahoma City are tied for sixth place, each averaging 11 days above 99 degrees a year. But if you don’t mind the scorching hot temperatures, one of these cities might be for you. Sacramento was listed as #14 in the Best Places to Live 2019 by U.S. News and World Report, boasting 265 days of sun annually. And Oklahoma City doesn’t seem too shabby, either. The city’s low housing prices and good economy are making it more desirable to young professionals, earning it the #68 spot in the U.S. News ranking.

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas

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Days over 99 °F: 16

Although Austin’s temperatures are blazing hot in the summer, the locals take the heat in stride. When the city becomes too hot to handle, it’s a good time to float on any of the nearby rivers, from the spring-fed San Marcos to the party float on the Guadalupe. Plus, the warm evening temps are ideal for enjoying outdoor concerts, like Unplugged at the Grove and the symphony’s Free Concert in the Park. However, it can be too hot to exercise outside during the heat of midday, so make sure to hit up Austin’s many trails at dawn or dusk.

Dallas, Texas

Dallas, Texas

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Days over 99 °F: 17

Nearly 200 miles north of Austin, the city of Dallas is just a little bit hotter than its southern neighbor. With an average of 17 days over 99 degrees, the people of Dallas know how to survive the oppressive heat of summer — bar-backed pools. If sitting poolside, sipping on frozen drinks sounds like your ideal summer day, Dallas may be the city for you. Once considered a luxury for hotel guests, more hotels and private pools are opening to city residents in need of a cold drink and a cool dip. Popular pools to visit include SISU, The Belmont and FOE.

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Riverside, California

Riverside, California

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Days over 99 °F: 24

Sixty miles east of L.A., Riverside, California, has a hot, dry climate that lends itself to growing citrus. In fact, Riverside was where the California citrus industry was born, with Eliza Tibbets planting two navel orange trees outside her home in 1873. These small plants eventually led to a citrus industry boom and a mere 20 years later, Riverside became one of the richest towns in the U.S. Today, Riverside is a bedroom community whose biggest claim to fame is the Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, a national historic landmark that has been around since 1876.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, Nevada

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Days over 99 °F: 70

Sin City also happens to be sinfully hot, with 70 days creeping into three-digit temperatures. Thank goodness much of the city, with its casinos, museums and theaters, is protected by the cool blast of A/C. Being in the desert, Las Vegas is home to a dry heat, which makes it a bit easier to sit poolside or go exploring in the nearby mountains. If you really need to cool down, you can try the Arctic Ice Room at the Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars Palace. The spa experience allows visitors to relax in a cool 55-degree room, complete with fake falling snow, before immersing themselves in warm soaking pools.

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Credit: Davel5957/iStock

Days over 99 °F: 107

Boasting 107 days over 99 degrees, Phoenix, Arizona, is the hottest city in the U.S. In fact, a 2017 heat wave resulted in the grounding of all planes at the Phoenix airport. With temps soaring up to 119 degrees, the planes were simply unable to operate. The sweltering heat of summer aside, spending time in Phoenix can be very pleasant in other seasons. With an average high of 72 degrees in February, it’s a popular city for retirees. With the complete lack of snow and 299 days of sun, Phoenix is ideal for anyone who wants to skip winter altogether.

Kansas towns pick up after a twister hits

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Kansas towns pick up after a twister hits, and millions of people could see severe weather this afternoon

(CNN)Parts of Kansas and Pennsylvania are recovering from another terrifying evening of tornadoes — the 13th consecutive day that twisters have struck the US — and millions of people still are at risk of more severe weather on Wednesday.

A massive, rain-wrapped tornado ripped by Linwood, Kansas, outside Kansas City on Tuesday evening, and dozens of homes on Linwood’s outskirts are “all gone,” Mayor Brian Christenson told CNN.
At least one tornado and severe storms ravaged areas there and in nearby Douglas County, Kansas, destroying stretches of homes and businesses.
Thirteen people were treated for injuries at LMH Health hospital in Lawrence, 11 of whom have been released after treatment, the hospital said.
The tornado near Linwood leveled Brian Hahn’s homewhile he and his family were huddled in the basement under a mattress.
“I could hear it was over us and I saw my bedroom just leave,” he told CNN affiliate KMBC. “It was gone.”
“I feel lucky I’m alive.”
The tornado near Linwood wrecked homes and trees, and flipped this RV.

To the northeast, another tornado was confirmed by the National Weather Service in Berks County, Pennsylvania, “based on video received showing a tornado on the ground.” It moved through the area Tuesday evening.
Morgantown was one of the hardest-hit areas in the county, but no one was injured there, Caernarvon Township Police Chief John Scalia told CNN affiliate KYW.
Houses near Morgantown suffered heavy damage Tuesday evening.

“When you drive around, see the destruction, you realize how lucky we are nobody was hurt,” Scalia said.
More than 37 million people are under an enhanced risk of severe weather Wednesday in two areas, according to the weather service’s Storm Prediction Center. One ranges from Texas into Illinois, and includes the cities of Dallas and St. Louis.
The other stretches from the eastern Ohio River Valley into Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic coast, and includes the cities of Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington.

Arkansas braces for record river levels

Rains this week are exacerbating flooding that has troubled parts of the central US for weeks.
Tornadoes threaten the Plains for the 13th straight day

Tornadoes threaten the Plains for the 13th straight day 01:21
While flooding has occurred for days along the Arkansas River in Oklahoma, the river is now approaching record levels to the east, in Arkansas itself.
In western Arkansas near the communities of Van Buren and Fort Smith, the Arkansas River is expected to crest Wednesday afternoon at around 41 feet — roughly 3 feet above the record there.
“This is looking to be record-breaking all along the Arkansas River, and this is something we have never seen before,” Arkansas emergency management spokeswoman Melody Daniel said.
Levees along the river in Arkansas have worked so far — water has overtopped two of them, but they have not failed, Daniel said.
Daniel said more than a dozen Arkansas counties are expected to see historic flooding: Sebastian, Crawford, Logan, Johnson, Yell, Pope, Perry, Conway, Faulkner, Pulaski, Jefferson, Lincoln and Desha County.
Officials in the central Arkansas city of North Little Rock, across the river from the state capital, believe 50 homes could soon be impacted by flooding, the city said in a Facebook post Tuesday.
“Respect all barricades and road and trail closures,” the city posted. “They are there for your protection. Do not put our emergency responders in a position that would be dangerous to you and them.”
One person was killed in Arkansas Tuesday evening after drowning in flood waters, police told CNN.
The victim, a 64-year-old man, had been driving a small Suzuki SUV, Barling police officer James Breeden said.
Authorities said the vehicle appeared to have driven into a flooded roadway that had been barricaded. A deputy sheriff saw a body floating in the water and attempted a rescue, Breeden said. The man’s body was located near Fort Chafee.
Further north, officials are warning of fast rises on the lower Des Moines River in Iowa and on the Fox River in northeastern Missouri. Both are expected to reach major flood stage — which could lead to flooding — by Wednesday.

Intentional water release has been flooding homes outside Tulsa

In western Oklahoma, the swollen Arkansas River has posed a threat to Tulsa’s levees — so the Army Corps of Engineers has intentionally been releasing water from a dam to the west in hopes that the levees aren’t overwhelmed.
Although that spilled water won’t threaten Tulsa, it is contributing to the flooding of dozens of homes in a less populated area, just outside the city of Sand Springs.
This aerial image from Tuesday shows flooding near Sand Springs, Oklahoma.

Some homes had 2 to 6 feet of water in them, residents told a CNN crew there.
Rick Sawn’s Sand Springs-area home still was dry on Wednesday morning, but water has been creeping toward it.
“I think it’s a 500-year flood and so far our dam and levees are doing what they were designed to do,” Sawn, 68, said. “There is flooding and some loss of property, and long-term recovery head of us, but without the dam system, it would have been far, far worse.”
The Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing about 275,000 cubic feet of water per second from the Keystone Dam, about 20 miles west of Tulsa — which is the equivalent of three Olympic-sized pools. Doing so will increase the strain on some of Tulsa’s levees, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said.
The Keystone reservoir has started dropping, and that could allow the Army Corps of Engineers to slow the rate of the water release by Friday, corps hydrologist David Williams said Wednesday.
Bynum has been asking Tulsa residents who live near the levees to relocate temporarily, just in case the levees don’t hold.
“There is absolutely no need to wait until the last minute when an evacuation might be necessary,” he said at a news conference Wednesday.

More than 500 tornado reports in 30 days

So far this year, there have been at least 960 tornado reports, compared to the average year total of 750.
The National Weather Service has received more than 500 tornado reports across the country in the last 30 days — an unusually high amount.
There are only four other recorded instances when more than 500 US tornadoes were observed in a 30-day period: in 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2011, according to Patrick Marsh, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Storm Prediction Center.
Tuesday was the 13th straight day of tornadoes in the US, and the 12th consecutive day with at least eight or more tornado reports, CNN’s weather team said. The month of May has brought more than 460 reports of tornadoes in 22 states across the country, with Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas making up 50% of the reports.
The jet stream played a part in the activity of the last two weeks, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers said.
“It is a stuck jet stream,” with areas of low pressure riding along it, Myers said.
The jet stream will finally shift by Thursday, and the risk for severe weather in the US will greatly diminish for at least the next week, Myers said.

Record-breaking May rains

Tuesday’s rain broke records in Kansas City, the National Weather Service said.
The city received 1.56 inches of rain, boosting the monthly total to 12.81 inches. The city’s previous record for May was set in 1995 at 12.75 inches.
“This also makes this May the 3rd wettest month for ANY month in (Kansas City’s) 131-year period of record,” the weather service tweeted.

India in for drier, hotter summer

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

India in for drier, hotter summer

According to figures released by the Central Water Commission on Friday, 91 of the major reservoirs across the country are holding an average of 25% of their capacity.

INDIA Updated: May 11, 2019 07:36 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
summer,summers in India,Pre-monsoon rainfall
Many parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are facing a drought-like situation despite the 2018 south-west monsoon bringing ample rainfall, experts said. (Diwakar Prasad/ HT Photo)

Pre-monsoon rainfall has been 21% below the long-period average (LPA) of 82.5mm between March 1 and May 8, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). North-west India, with a rain deficit of 37%, and peninsular India, with a shortfall of 39%, bore the brunt.

Rainfall triggered by cyclone Fani earlier this month managed to bridge the deficit in central, east and north-east India, which have now recorded normal pre-monsoon rains, according to data put out by IMD in its weather status report released on Friday. Central India has experienced 15% surplus rain over the LPA, mainly due to showers in the past one week.

Even so, extreme heat waves in most parts of India would mean large swathes of the country will remain dry before sowing begins in June for the Kharif crop with the onset of the south-west monsoon, which is critical in India, where nearly half the population is dependent on farming and 60% of the net-sown area does not have any form of irrigation.

Millions of farmers wait for the rains to begin summer sowing of major crops, such as rice, sugar, cotton, coarse cereals and oilseeds. Half of India’s farm output comes from summer crops dependent on these rains.

Many parts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are facing a drought-like situation despite the 2018 south-west monsoon bringing ample rainfall, experts said.

Also read: Dust storm, light rain may lower temperature over the weekend

“The water level in big dams this year is 10-15% less than previous years despite many of the regions receiving good rainfall last year,” said Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People.

According to figures released by the Central Water Commission on Friday, 91 of the major reservoirs across the country are holding an average of 25% of their capacity.

Concerns of a weak monsoon this year have been fanned by a lingering El Niño, a weather phenomenon characterised by warm ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that is associated with poor rainfall and more episodes of heat waves in the subcontinent.

An update by private weather forecaster Skymet Weather said on Thursday that after tapering down slightly during April, El Niño indices have risen again in the last two weeks although the increase has been marginal.

“During the beginning of monsoon, there is a 60% chance of El Niño conditions remaining steady. This is why we are expecting monsoon rain to be below normal in June and then gradually becoming normal in the latter part of July and August,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice president (meteorology and climate change), Skymet Weather. Deficient pre-monsoon rains and a weak beginning to the monsoon could have an impact on summer crop sowing, which may be compounded by deficient rainfall.

For a bountiful crop, the rains also need to be evenly distributed across regions. Robust summer rains, which account for 70% of India’s total annual rainfall, spur rural spending on most items and increases demand in other sectors of the economy. Rural sales, for instance, account for about 48% of all motorcycles and 44% of television sets sold annually if the monsoon is normal.

Also read: Heat wave conditions prevail in North India

Officials at IMD, however, said concerns about El Niño are premature. “El Niño conditions have definitely not gone up. June onwards, it will move towards neutral El Niño conditions. We don’t expect El Niño to amplify. At the most, there will be a sluggish start to the monsoon but it will not be detrimental in any way,” said KG Ramesh, IMD’s director general.

Last month was marked by heat waves in many parts of the country, including eastern Uttar Pradesh, western Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Vidarbha, and Telangana. Some northern parts of the country also recorded extremely high temperatures.

For example, Una in Himachal Pradesh recorded 41.7 degrees C on Friday; Sundernagar, also in Himachal Pradesh recorded 37.6 degrees C, Dehradun in Uttarakhand was at 38.7 degree C. The highest maximum temperature this summer recorded till now has been at Brahmagiri in Vidarbha on May 2 at 46.4 degrees C.

“Heat wave in central India, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh is expected in May which is the peak summer season… We have noticed that the temperature in the foothills of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are also 3 to 4 degrees above normal. Temperatures also increase before a western disturbance approaches,” said Charan Singh, senior scientist at IMD. Due to an approaching western disturbance (WD) and moisture incursion from Arabian Sea, scattered rainfall and thunderstorms are expected in north-west India and north India, including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, on Sunday.

“The heat wave will abate. There will be scattered rainfall in northwest India till May 17. But it is unlikely to compensate for the deficient pre-monsoon showers over the country,” added Palawat.

First Published: May 11, 2019 07:32 IST

Mozambique: Cyclone Kenneth: Entire villages wiped out, says UN

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Cyclone Kenneth: Entire villages wiped out, says UN

Media caption Eye witness captures moment Kenneth hits northern Mozambique

A powerful cyclone has “entirely wiped out” villages in Mozambique, according to a UN official.

Gemma Connell, the head of the regional Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said it looked from the air like areas had been “run over by a bulldozer”.

Cyclone Kenneth struck on Thursday with winds of 220km/h (140mph).

It came barely a month after Cyclone Idai killed more than 900 people across three countries.

In a video posted on Twitter after flying over the affected area, Ms Connell pledged to work with local authorities “to get people the supplies they need”.

“The weather is still bad, it is still raining,” she said. “But thankfully the winds have died down.”

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The BBC’s Pumza Fihlani reports that damage to power lines in parts of northern Mozambique is making communication difficult.

Almost 20,000 people have taken shelter in makeshift displacement centres, including schools and churches, our correspondent adds.

A UN spokesman said a total of five people have now died, quoting Mozambique’s government, according to reports.

One person was earlier reported to have been killed when Cyclone Kenneth struck after being crushed by a falling tree. The storm also killed three people on the island nation of Comoros.

Is this unusual for the region?

UN weather experts say it is unprecedented for two cyclones of such intensity to hit Mozambique in the same season.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) also said that no previous records show a cyclone striking the region as far north as Kenneth.

It said a fact-finding mission would examine the “impact of climate change and sea-level rise on Mozambique’s resilience” to extreme weather.

Family displaced by Cyclones Idai and KennethImage copyrightAFP
Image captionFamilies have been left displaced by the cyclones

Amnesty International’s secretary general Kumi Naidoo said the two storms were “exactly what climate scientists warned would happen if we continue to warm our planet beyond its limits”.

“There is one inescapable and burning injustice we cannot stress enough,” he said, adding: “The people of Mozambique are paying the price for dangerous climate change when they have done next to nothing to cause this crisis.”

What was Kenneth’s impact?

Kenneth made landfall on the northern province of Cabo Delgado on Thursday evening, with wind speeds equivalent to a category four hurricane.

Winds eased on Friday, but France’s meteorological agency said up to 800mm of rain was expected to land on Mozambique over the coming days – nearly double the 10-day accumulated rainfall that flooded the port city of Beira during Cyclone Idai.

The UN’s World Food Programme said it was working on an “emergency preparedness plan” with the Mozambican government and other humanitarian groups.

“The most difficult thing is transportation – we don’t have helicopters yet,” Capt Kleber Castro from a Brazilian rescue team said. “We need a lot of support.”

Mozambique’s National Institute of Disaster Management (INGC) said 30,000 people had been evacuated from affected areas.

What is the affected area like?

Cabo Delgado province is not as densely populated as the area hit by Cyclone Idai, and there is apparently more high ground there.

But reports said many thousands of homes had been flattened by the winds, and the area has been hit by militant Islamist violence in recent months, which could complicate humanitarian operations.

Thousands of people had already fled their homes to seek shelter from violence in camps for displaced people.

What about other countries in the region?

Comoros is still reeling from damage caused by the cyclone, and in some southern areas of neighbouring Tanzania, authorities have ordered schools and businesses to close.

People stand by damaged houses and fallen trees in ComorosImage copyright GETTY IMAGES
Image caption Cyclone Kenneth has already devastated areas of the island nation of Comoros

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies shared images of the damage on social media. In a tweet, the group confirmed it had volunteers on the ground assisting communities.

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Despite Zimbabwe being further inland, officials there said they were also putting their disaster management agencies on alert.

“Drawing lessons from Cyclone Idai we cannot take chances any more,” said Department of Civil Protection director Nathan Nkomo.


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Mozambique’s president says cyclone death toll may be 1,000

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JOURNAL TIMES)

 

Mozambique’s president says cyclone death toll may be 1,000

  • Updated 
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Mozambique Cyclone
This image made available by International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on Monday March 18, 2019, shows an aerial view from a helicopter of flooding in Beira, Mozambique. The Red Cross says that as much as 90 percent of Mozambique’s central port city of Beira has been damaged or destroyed by tropical Cyclone Idai. (Caroline Haga/International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) via AP)

JOHANNESBURG — Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi says that more than 1,000 may have by killed by Cyclone Idai, which many say is the worst in more than 20 years.

Speaking to state Radio Mozambique, Nyusi said Monday that although the official death count is currently 84, he believes the toll will be more than 1,000.

“It appears that we can register more than 1000 deaths,” said the PR, adding that more than 100,000 people are at risk of life.

“The waters of the Pungue and Buzi rivers overflowed, making whole villages disappear and isolating communities, and bodies are floating,” said Nyusi. “It is a real disaster of great proportions.”

Nyusi spoke after flying by helicopter over the central port city of Beira and the rural Manica and Sofala provinces in which he saw widespread flooding and devastation.

Other officials in emergency services cautioned that while they expect the death toll to rise significantly, they have no way of knowing if it will reach the president’s estimate of 1,000.

The Red Cross said that 90 percent of Beira, a city of 500,000, had been damaged or destroyed.

Beira has been severely battered by the cyclone which cut off electricity, forced the airport to shut down and cut off road access to the rest of the country. Cyclone Idai first hit Beira last week and then moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Beira has been severely battered by the cyclone which cut off electricity, forced the airport to shut down and closed road access to the city, said the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on Monday.

Cyclone Idai first hit Beira last week and then moved inland spreading heavy winds and rainfall to Zimbabwe and Malawi. More than 215 people have been killed by the storm according to official figures in the three countries, hundreds more are missing and more than 1.5 million people have been affected, according to the Red Cross and government officials.

The scale of the damage to Beira is “massive and horrifying,” said Jamie LeSueur, who led a Red Cross aerial assessment of the city. The team had to view the city by helicopter because roads were flooded, he said.

“The situation is terrible. The scale of devastation is enormous. It seems that 90 percent of the area is completely destroyed,” said LeSueur.

With Beira’s airport closed, the team drove from Mozambique’s capital Maputo before taking a helicopter for the last part of the journey because roads into Beira have been flooded.

While the physical impact of Idai is beginning to emerge, the human impact is unclear.

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“Almost everything is destroyed. Communication lines have been completely cut and roads have been destroyed. Some affected communities are not accessible,” said LeSueur.

“Beira has been severely battered. But we are also hearing that the situation outside the city could be even worse. Yesterday (Sunday), a large dam burst and cut off the last road to the city.”

The storm hit Beira late Thursday and moved westward into Zimbabwe and Malawi, affecting thousands more, particularly in areas bordering Mozambique.

At least 126 people had died in Mozambique and Malawi, according to the Red Cross. In Zimbabwe, 89 people have died from the floods, the country’s information ministry said Monday.

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa both returned from foreign trips to attend to the emergencies caused by the storm.

Zimbabwe’s president returned home from the United Arab Emirates “to make sure he is involved directly with the national response by way of relief to victims of Cyclone Idai,” the information ministry said. The Zimbabwean government declared a state of national disaster.

U.N. agencies and the Red Cross are helping with rescue efforts that include delivering food supplies and medicines by helicopter in the impoverished countries.

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Strong chance of a new El Niño forming by early 2019

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Strong chance of a new El Niño forming by early 2019

El NiñoImage copyright NOAA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Image caption An image showing the 2015 El Niño with rising temperatures in the Pacific

The World Meteorological Organization says there’s a 75-80% chance of a weak El Niño forming within three months.

The naturally occurring event causes changes in the temperature of the Pacific Ocean and has a major influence on weather patterns around the world.

It is linked to floods in South America and droughts in Africa and Asia.

El Niño events often lead to record temperatures as heat rises from the Pacific.

According to the WMO update, sea surface temperatures in the east-central tropical Pacific have been at weak El Niño levels since October. However the atmosphere has not yet responded to the extra warmth that’s produced by the upwelling seas.

Scientists have been predicting the likelihood of a new event since May this year, with confidence increasing.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology are now estimating that an El Niño event will start in December. US forecasters are saying there’s a 90% chance of the event starting in January.

El NiñoImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionDroughts in some places and floods in many others are linked to El Niño

The WMO models are say that a fully fledged El Niño is estimated to be 75-80% likely between December and February 2019.

At this point, the WMO says its predictions for the event range from just a warm-neutral condition through to a moderate strength event with sea surface temperatures peaking between 0.8C to 1.2C above average.

The chance of a strong event are currently low.

“The forecast El Niño is not expected to be as powerful as the event in 2015-2016, which was linked with droughts, flooding and coral bleaching in different parts of the world,” said Maxx Dilley, director of WMO’s Climate Prediction and Adaptation branch.

“Even so, it can still significantly affect rainfall and temperature patterns in many regions, with important consequences to agricultural and food security sectors, and for management of water resources and public health, and it may combine with long-term climate change to boost 2019 global temperatures,” he said.

In terms of food security, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have issued a report detailing the countries that could suffer food shortages as a result of the event.

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Winter storm to strike Kansas early Sunday

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE EMPORIA KANSAS GAZETTE)

 

Winter storm to strike Kansas early Sunday

Cold

Thermometer showing winter cold

The weather has been mild for the past few days, but this weekend it stands a chance to take a turn for the wild and snowy.

Specifically, there may be a blizzard headed this way Sunday as a winter storm rolls over the state and rain turns to snow.

According to a situation report released by the office of Lyon County Emergency Management Director Jarrod Fell, a winter storm it set to move across the state Sunday bringing with it wind gusts of 30 to 50 mph along with the snow.

This blizzard will cause problems for people traveling even in areas where snow accumulation is minor, according to the report.

The storm will likely begin after midnight Sunday morning, the report said, and looks to be at its worst through the day Sunday. The storm should have moved on by Sunday evening, but while it’s here it could be accompanied by blowing and drifting snow, as well as blizzard-like conditions to north, north central, and eastern Kansas.

The wind chill could hit the single digits by Sunday night, the report read.

Meteorologist Matt Miller of KSNT said the biggest impact of the storm won’t be in Emporia, but on people traveling through the areas where the winter storm hits hardest.

“The biggest concern is gonna be when it comes through, we could get really low visibility because of the snow and wind combined together,” he said. “It’s not that we’re gonna get a lot of snow out of it.”

Most of the snow accumulation will likely be in far northern Kansas, according to Miller, near the Nebraska border.

“Emporia may not take the brunt of this particular storm,” Miller said.

However, that doesn’t mean locals shouldn’t be concerned.

“Because it’s on a big travel day and if it’s coming down heavily with 35-40 mile an hour winds, it doesn’t take much to create a white out,” Miller said.

He advises people to just rearrange the time they’re going to be on the road, if at all possible, so they’re not traveling at the height of the storm. The snow likely won’t be very deep, he said, and so if people just leave before the storm begins, they can avoid the problem. To do this, travelers would have to leave for their destination Saturday evening instead of Sunday.

The roads could also become icy with this impending winter storm, though Miller said he didn’t believe there would be an ice storm.

He doesn’t believe icy roads will be a big issue in Emporia.

“It might be a little bit more of a concern if people are headed north of I-70 where we get more of that freezing on the road,” Miller said.

People who do plan to be driving more than a few miles this weekend — or in cold weather in general — should have certain supplies with them, he said. Miller advised people to keep a small shovel with them.

“You can dig yourself out of a lot of bad situations with a little hand shovel,” he said.

This winter storm could indicate a snow-filled winter to come, if things continue as they have so far.

He said this will be the fourth snow this year for many parts of Kansas, which he called “a pretty impressive start” to winter.

“It’s been a while since we had a real snowy winter and if — and it’s a big if — this trend continues this is the kind of pattern we look for to give us snowy winters,” Miller said. “If the pattern doesn’t seriously change we’ll probably end up with a snowier winter than we’ve had in the last few years.”

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