Elsewhere in Weather News: July 6th, 2013

Tropical Storm Erick

On Friday a tropical storm – tropical storm Erick, formed off Mexico’s coast, over the Pacific Ocean. Erick has been hugging Mexico’s west but staying over the Pacific. Since it has been staying over warm sea surface temperatures (SST) of about 28-29°C, Erick has had the chance to strengthen and is expected to become a hurricane. It currently has sustained winds around the 80km/h mark. But because of its proximity to land, SSTs gradually decreasing as you head north and a bit shear present, Erick is only expected to intensify into a category one hurricane this weekend. Mexico’s west coast is not in the clear though, cities and resorts such as Manzanillo, Tecomán and Puerto Vallarta are expected to receive heavy, possibly flooding rains from Erick’s outer bands. A hurricane watch has been issued for the region because of Erick.


IR picture of tropical storm Erick on Saturday morning. (Source: CIMSS)

After a few days of being close to the coast Erick is expected to take a left turn into the wide open Pacific Ocean and will succumb to its death as SSTs are much cooler and shear will tear the storm apart.

More Flooding in China

In other weather news, China has yet again faced severe flooding because of torrential rains that inundated eastern China and southwestern China. In the southwest it was not uncommon to see 24 hour rainfall accumulations of 200mm from the monsoonal rains. In the east, Shenyang was the hardest hit city where streets were flooded out and houses inundated. The flooding is blamed for 39 deaths this past week in China.

A few sunny days this weekend should let things dry out before the chance of rain will increase again early next week in Shenyang.

Elsewhere in Weather News: March 23rd, 2013

Damaging Tornadoes Touch Down Across the World

Tornadic activity was experienced across the globe this past week, affecting countries from Bangladesh to Australia and even China.

Australian tornado

Capture of the Doppler Radar velocity at the time of the tornado (area of dark blue vs. red). (Source: BoM/ @vicstormchasers)

In Australia on March 21st , at least two powerful tornadoes touched down on the border of Victoria and New South Wales, ripping through more than a half-dozen towns lying along the Murray River. The strongest twister, with an estimated F2 rating on the Fujita scale, caused major damage to the towns it swept through – tearing roofs off their structures, throwing cars around and snapping power lines. In total, 20 people were injured and two had to be airlifted to hospital. Thankfully no deaths were associated with this tornado outbreak. A deep low pressure system responsible for spawning these tornadoes lay just off Tasmanian coast with a cold front stretching up into Australia.

Video of the Australian tornado dangerously close up. Power flashes and debris can clearly be seen flying through the air. (Source: Daniel Clarke)

The tornado that touched down in Bangladesh on Friday, March 22nd also caused a fair amount of damage to a few rural eastern Bangladesh towns. The twister was on the ground for about 15 minutes but it is not yet known what the strength of the tornado was estimated to be. At least 100 injuries and 20 deaths were reported as a result of this tornado.

The people of Bangladesh are more susceptible to injury and death from tornadoes since finding a safe haven from them is not as easy as heading down to a basement to take cover. Most houses in the area are built out of mud and don’t have a sturdy structure, making it difficult to escape when residents find themselves in the path of a twister. Tornadoes are common in Bangladesh from March to late April before they transition into the monsoon season.

Guangdong, a southern province of China, was also in the crosshairs of severe weather this week. A supercell produced egg size hail accompanied with a tornado that made its way through the city of Dongguan (pop. 400,000). Significant damage occurred – many buildings collapsed and the storm even overturned a ferry offshore. These Chinese storms were the deadliest storms of the week, accounting for 24 deaths and over 200 injuries.

China egg-size hail

Hail the size of eggs covers the ground in Dongguan, China. (Souce: I.B. Times)

Elsewhere in Weather News: August 11th, 2012

Barrage of Typhoons Continue to Impact Asia

Haikui, the third typhoon to hit China this month, made landfall on Wednesday affecting over 100,000 people on China’s east coast. Rain, rain and more rain is what the region has experienced these past few weeks as typhoons Saola, Damray and Vincente (reported in previous EIWN posts) have all made landfall. On top of the severe rains brought on by these recent typhoons, Haikui has dumped an additional 200mm in areas where the grounds were already extremely saturated – inland flooding now adding another element of concern for residents.

Haikui track

Haikui’s track as it made landfall on China’s east coast. Forecasted track was as of Wednesday August 8th. (Source: TSR)

Thanks to China’s meteorological authorities who issued a red code warning (most severe) for the city of Shanghai well ahead of the typhoon hitting, many lives were saved as residents had time to vacate the premises. Authorities helped relocate over a million and a half people, mostly from the Shanghai region, before Haikui made landfall, further lessening the risk of casualties in the areas prone to flooding and landslides. Storm surge was also a concern for townships along China’s east coast.


Satellite picture of Haikui as it made landfall just south of Shanghai. (Source: Earthweek)

In all, about one million acres of cropland and over six million of China’s residents have been impacted by this major typhoon. Flood damage has been extensive, ranging from roads washed out and stranding tourists and local residents, to homes being washed away by the flash floods. Estimated damage costs from this most recent typhoon are pegged at around the 1.5 billion dollars.

Haikui damage

One of many washed out roads caused by flash flooding in the Zhejiang Province. (Source: Global Times)

Six casualties have been associated with typhoon Haiku to date, however the death toll from the barrage of typhoons since the beginning of July, combined with heavy rains affecting the region, has brought the toll to over 100 people.

Elsewhere in Weather News: June 2nd, 2012

Flooding Returns to China

Another round of flooding in China left locals in the province of Guangdong scrambling for higher grounds this past week as floodwaters rose and swept away homes. As opposed to the flooding in north-western China featured in the May 12th post, this flooding took place in the south-east regions about 200km north of Hong Kong and was associated with a low pressure system.


Roads turn into rivers as heavy rains fall in Meizhou, Guangdong. (Source: Euro News)

The large city of Meizhou, Guangdong, was caught in the middle of one the most severe floods this year. Some 210,000 residents living in the city were affected and 25,500 had to be evacuated from terrain that is prone to landslides and flooding, prior to these heavy rainfalls. As torrential rains fell, landslides took out more than 1,000 houses and the extensive rains caused over 4,000 hectares of farmland to be lost. In addition to that, six people lost their lives in the floods. The government has estimated the financial tally to be over 30 million dollars, taking in consideration damaged crops and infrastructure as well as services used to fight against the floods.

This rain is the last thing China needs this year, as widespread flooding has been occurring throughout the country. Areas at risk have included the north-west earlier this May, the south-east this past week and coming week. Also, currently, in the central region of China, crews are already prepping dikes since rivers are expected to overflow their banks in the coming summer months. The latter threat is due to saturated grounds combined with forecast medium-range models suggesting one and a half times average rainfall – China’s Ministry of Water Resources are on high alert.

Forecast rainfall

Map showing more rainfall expected in Meizhou next Tuesday morning. (approximate location of Meizhou with red circle, rain in shades of grey). Rain was not only expected on Tuesday but also Monday and Wednesday. (Source: weather-forecast.com)