World Weather Review: July 2017

World Weather Review: July 2017

Sat, 05/08/2017 - 14:18
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Extreme heat continued to dominate the news, along with wildfires and flooding.

The prolonged heatwave across southern Europe hit Rome hard in July. More than a million residents faced rationing for 8 hours a day and 60% farmland were under threat. Wildfires blazed across southern Italy, including on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, as temperatures soared above 40°C in arid regions. Wildfires also ravaged Mediterranean coast and forests in France (where 12,000 people were evacuated), Corsica, Portugal an Albania. Elsewhere, a two-hour storm unleashed 54 mm of rain on 9th July in Paris, the equivalent of 27 days of rainfall. Flooding closed 20 metro stations. Parts of Switzerland was also hit by violent winds and hail storms that also caused flooding. Turkey was also inundated with heavy rainfall. Istanbul suffered flooding of roads and its metro network on the 18th. Later in the month, Istanbul received golf-ball sized hail and strong winds which knocked down trees, a crane and even a stone wall, and left 3 people injured.

Torrential rainfall in China triggering a building to collapse in south-west China’s Tibet region in early July. Prolonged rainfall in southern China since June has already destroyed 24 bridges, damaged roads and highways and a number of people are missing or feared dead.

Taiwan has also suffered flooding, power outages and strong winds as it was battered by its first typhoon of the year on 29th July. Typhoon Nesat made landfall in the eastern Yilan county, whipping up waves over 15 m high and deposited over 900mm of rainfall. Nesat also affected the Philippines, leaving 16 dead and waist-deep flooding and storm surges in Manila.

Across India torrential rainfall has lashed western parts and the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat, killing at least 90 people (82 in Gujarat alone) since the start of the monsoon season. Tens of thousands of people have also been displaced as multiple buildings collapsed beneath the sheer weight of water.

Meanwhile, North Korea faces severe food shortages after being hit by its worst drought since 2001 which is hampering crop production. 

After wet winter weather across New Zealand, the South Island suffered from a deluge of flooding in July. Severe storms caused widespread flash flooding and landslides, which led to a state of emergency being declared across the affected areas, including Canterbury and Christchurch. During one storm, the city of Dunedin was accessible only by air after major landslips blocked access.  Some parts received more than 200mm of rainfall in 24 hours.

The US experienced severe storms, flooding and wildfires in July.  Washington DC experienced an unusual night-time tornado - the EF-2 tornado caused extensive damage in Stevensville but no lives were lost. The states of Arizona, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey and Wisconsin suffered flash flooding at times during July, with 9 people losing their lives in Arizona as a wall of water swept through a swimming hole in Tonto National Forest.  Two major wildfires in California forced 8,000 people from their homes in the foothills in the Sierra Nevada. The area burning was south-east of Oroville, where the nation’s tallest dam began crumbling from heavy rains during winter, leading evacuation orders for 200,000 residents downstream. Fires also blazed in Santa Barbara, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon and Nevada.

In Canada, fire fighters also had to contend with more than 200 wildfires burning in British Columbia which destroyed dozens of buildings, several homes and two airport hangars and forced thousands of people to flee. Also in July, a lightning strike hit father-of-the bride during a wedding speech in New Brunswick

The Chilean capital of Santiago had an unexpected covering of snow – at 2 inches, it was the heaviest snowfall since 2007 in a city where snow rarely falls.

ENSO neutral conditions continue to prevail in the tropical Pacific despite sea surface temperatures being near the El Nino threshold, and are predicted to remain so through to September 2017, with a chance of it continuing beyond this – this means neither an El Niño nor La Niña event is expected.