In Arizona, USA, an ongoing heat wave has seen some of the highest temperatures ever recorded. Temperatures in Death Valley reached 54°C and flights to Phoenix were cancelled when airport temperatures reached 48°C. The heat wave has led to wild fires.
High temperatures across southern Europe have also caused problems – Portugal and Spain in particular have been tackling forest fires to which they were vulnerable after a dry winter and spring.
The 2017 tornado season in the USA started early with 570 tornadoes reported by the end of April – almost a hundred more than average, and around 1000 by June. These storms may have been triggered by Pacific storms over on the west coast of the USA. As spring turns to summer, the location of tornadoes tends to move from the Gulf of Mexico to the north and west (‘tornado alley’) and it is not necessarily the case that an active early season will translate into an active summer for tornadoes.
In Bangladesh, June is the month when the monsoon rains arrive. This year, the monsoon arrived in India on 30th May. Tropical cyclones and depressions have brought particularly heavy rainfall in Bangladesh, leading to flash flooding and fatal landslides.
Looking at the El Niño Southern Oscillation, after a very weak La Niña event late last year, the conditions are now ‘ENSO neutral’ and are predicted to remain so throughout 2017 – this means neither an El Niño nor La Niña event is expected. Although sea temperatures in the critical areas are high enough for an El Niño event, the corresponding atmospheric patterns have not developed.