World weather review: March 2018

World weather review: March 2018

Thu, 05/04/2018 - 13:17
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At the start of the month, the Beast from the East continued to cause heavy snowfall in Europe. The blizzard forced the cancellation of all flights at Dublin airport on Thursday and the temporary closure of Geneva airport in Switzerland. Large parts of the Continent continue to shiver in the grip of a Siberian weather system that has brought the coldest temperatures for several years.

Severe storms battered the US eastern seaboard in early March, causing coastal flooding and power outages and bringing travel services to a halt. More than a million residences were without power in the Northeast and Midwest. Heavy rains and damaging winds also led to the cancellation of more than 2,600 US flights. At least six people were killed when strong winds brought branches or entire trees down on streets, cars, and homes. The third nor'easter hit the northeastern United States on the 13th, producing blizzard conditions in New England, dropping more than 2 feet of snow in some areas. Winds gusted past 70 mph. The forth nor'easter of the month occurred on 22nd and impacted Washington, D.C., and New York City, bringing travel to a halt and leading to widespread school cancellations across the region.

Two people died in East Texas after severe storms rampaged the area on the 10th. Strong winds and hail tore through a campground near Jefferson, Texas, about 130 miles east of Dallas

A lightning strike killed at least 16 people and injured dozens more at a Seventh-Day Adventist church in Rwanda on the 10th. Most of the victims died instantly when lightning hit the church in the southern district of Nyaruguru. 140 people were rushed to hospital and health centres.

Cyclone Hola tracked south-eastwards across the South Pacific on the 11th, brushing along the northern-most fringes of New Zealand's North Island. The cyclone, which intensified to category 4, brought with it heavy rain and strong winds in excess of 70 mph to communities along the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne as well as to the country's capital, Auckland. It was the third large storm to strike the country this year.

A damaging tornado hit the vicinity of Caserta in Campania, southern Italy on 12th-13th, causing at least 15 injuries. Affected areas include San Nicola la Strada, Marcianise, Capodrise, Recale, Portico and Macerata. Reported damage includes damaged roofs on buildings, uprooted trees and overturned cars and larger vehicles.

The strongest cyclone to hit Darwin in 30 years caused widespread destruction on 17th-18th. Tropical Cyclone Marcus passed directly through Darwin about midday Saturday as a category two storm, bringing 130 km/h wind gusts and rain, and felling hundreds of large trees and powerlines throughout the city and suburbs. Multiple streets, including the arterial Stuart Highway, were blocked by fallen trees.

Tropical Cyclone Eliakim has battered Madagascar on the 18th, with strong winds and torrential rain. The storm made landfall on the peninsula of Masoala in northeastern Madagascar and tracked southwards along the coast. Strong winds battered the island and torrential rain fell on already-saturated land, triggering landslides and flooding.

One of the largest severe weather outbreaks of the year occurred in Southeastern USA on 19th-20th, as damaging thunderstorms spawned tornadoes, hail the size of tennis balls and damaging winds. There were nine tornado reports, all of them in Alabama.

Dust from a sandstorm in the Sahara desert caused snow in eastern Europe to turn orange at the end of March, transforming mountainous regions of Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria and Romania into Mars-like landscapes.

More than 40 people were rescued from floodwaters at two Cairns caravan parks after deluges from ex-cyclone Nora overwhelmed emergency services on the 26th.