Elsewhere in Weather News: July 14th, 2012

Japan Faced With Severe Flooding

Significant flash flooding struck Japan this week due to severe thunderstorms that remained nearly stationary for several hours over the southern island of Kyushu. The stationary boundary collided with warm, moist air from the Pacific igniting the thunderstorms and continuing for nearly 24 hours now, from Thursday afternoon to Friday night causing tremendous amounts of rain to fall over the same areas.

Surface map of Japan

Surface map of Japan with stationary boundary in red and flash flooding region talked about in green box. Effective 1pm Friday, CDT. (Source: Japan Meteorological Agency)

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, a record of 500+mm (20 inches) fell in Aso and Kumamoto City in less than a 24 hour period overnight Thursday, causing severe mudslides in the area. In all, 15 people have died as a result of the flash floods and mudslides, with 11 still reported missing. Authorities have sent out search teams, where it is safe to do so, to find the missing or buried. As of Friday night, they have found eight survivors buried in the mudslides. The severe mudslides forced people to shovel their way out of houses and to wade through thigh-deep mud to make their way around. Thankfully 68,000 people had been evacuated from the area prior to the storm, avoiding additional casualties. Among the damage, about 22,000 households lost power, train services were shut down, many roads were inaccessible, and rice crops were severely damaged.


First responders searching for survivors where a mudslide destroyed homes. Taken in Minamiaso, Japan. (Source: Reuters)

Kumamoto City

Road covered in mud and cars left over by the flash floods in Kumamoto City. (Source: Jiji Press)

Unfortunately the stationary boundary is not going anywhere any time soon and is forecast to continue to spawn thunderstorms for the next three to five days as the warm, moist air continues to collide with it and the mountains. Another 100+mm is forecast for Saturday in the region once again, with even a slight chance of tornadoes added to the mix. Friday night, heavy rains warnings (including ground-loosening and inundation) and flood warnings were still in effect with an advisory (watch) for severe thunderstorms in the region.

Elsewhere in Weather News: June 23rd, 2012

Typhoons and Hurricanes Spin Up in Northern Hemisphere

Mother Nature has been very busy world-wide, wreaking havoc of all forms this past week. The Deluth floods, tornadoes in South Dakota, and as reported in today’s EIWN post—typhoons and hurricanes have spun up in the North-West Pacific and North Atlantic basins.

This past Sunday, June 17th, typhoon Guchol (known as Butchoy by the Philippines) gave a scare to the Philippine islands’ residents as it scooted a couple hundred kilometers to the east of the islands while racing northwards. Minor storm surge and the outer spiral bands of Guchol brought heavy rains and flash floods to the area. Making matters worse was the fact that the monsoon winds were occurring, feeding warm, moist, air from the equator. The streets in Manila were flooded requiring people to walk through waist-high water to reach their destination. Landslides caused by the heavy rains were also reported in the region. The eye of the typhoon didn’t hit land in Manila however; it kept roaring in a northerly fashion towards Japan where it finally made landfall on Tuesday. Intense winds were recorded above 200km/h near the eye of the storm. Flash-flood conditions existed in areas where the typhoon made landfall and near the core, through the more mountainous regions of Japan. About 80 people had injuries relating to the storm and one person died when his house was torn apart by the vicious winds. Since then, Guchol has been downgraded to an extratropical storm and has weakened significantly as it’s path continues over land and it moves away from the warm sea surface temperatures that gave it it’s energy.

Manila flooding

Streets of Manila completely underwater. (Source: Ted Aljibe/RT)


Image of Guchol racing towards Japan in the North-West Pacific Ocean. (Source: NASA)

Meanwhile, in the North Atlantic, the third-named storm of the year, Hurricane Chris, formed far off to the south-east of Newfoundland, in the middle of the North Atlantic but poses no threat to land. This hurricane is only the second most northerly hurricane in the history of record keeping. It managed to form in the 22°C waters of the North Atlantic Ocean, bringing us to wonder whether it developed due to global warming or is just a glimpse the planet’s extremes?

Later this weekend various models are hinting at a tropical storm forming in the southern half of the Gulf of Mexico. Other than that, models are in disagreement and all over the place regarding which way future “Debby” will be heading.


NAM’s projection of where Debby will be Sunday morning. (Source: TwisterData/AWM Model Viewer)

Chilly Start to the Week

We are about to get our first taste of below-normal weather in quite some time. Temperatures on Monday and Tuesday are expected to be several degrees colder than the seasonal average.

GEM model high temperature forecast for Monday

GEM model temperature prediction for 4pm on Monday

High temperatures on Monday are expected to hover around the zero mark in much of Southern Manitoba. Combined with a brisk north-west wind, conditions on Monday will be rather cool. If you consider the wind chill, it will feel closer to -6 on Monday afternoon (calculated using a temperature of 0C and wind speed of 25km/h). Tuesday won’t be much warmer, with highs only expected to creep up in the low single digits. The wind will be lighter on Tuesday, making it feel significantly warmer than Monday…although it will still be chilly. Both Monday and Tuesday are expected to be mainly cloudy, which will also hold our temperature back. If the sun does come out in some areas on a localized basis it will be slightly warmer. In early April the normal high is about 8 degrees in Southern Manitoba, meaning most areas will be between 4 and 8 degrees colder than normal through the first two days of the week. Models show a gradual improvement in temperatures as we move later into the week. By Wednesday we should get up into the high single digits and by Thursday the double digits will become likely.

In the longer range it appears that next weekend could be a bit unsettled. At this time models show a low pressure system moving up into the Northern Plains, spreading rain across a large area, which may include Southern Manitoba. It is too early to say if this system will affect us at all, but it is something to watch.

Looking even further ahead it appears we are in for a period of more normal weather. Longer range guidance is hinting at normal to slightly above normal weather for the next couple weeks. There is also some indication that our weather may remain somewhat unsettled, which is fairly typical for this time of year. Wouldn’t it be something if the first half of April was cooler than the second half of March!

Elsewhere in Weather News

Intense Low Affects Japan

A very powerful low pressure system made landfall in Japan on Tuesday, April 3rd and brought with it incredibly strong winds and much rain. This storm, believed to be the strongest storm to hit Tokyo since 1959, generated 90km/h sustained winds and 150km/h wind gusts at times (highest gust reported in Niigata prefecture, 156.6km/h), in the western part of Japan. Rain rates of over 60mm/h also fell associated with the squall line as it moved across most of Japan’s main island. This caused more than 20,000 homes to lose power, various buildings to collapse and trees to fall – causing 97 injuries and 4 deaths. Flight cancellations and railway closures also had to be taken into mind when traveling, as more than 600 flights were cancelled departing from Japan. The very strong winds resulted in trucks being flipped over on the highways and bridge closures, bringing the traffic to a crawl. Waves of 10m were experienced off the coast, however it was strongly advised to stay inside.

Image of the powerful low centered over the Sea of Japan (East Sea), as and after the squall line passed it produced very high winds. (Source: The Watchers/Japan Meteorological Agency)

Image of the powerful low centered over the Sea of Japan (East Sea), as and after the squall line passed it produced very high winds. (Source: The Watchers/Japan Meteorological Agency)

A high-pressure has since moved into place giving way to sunnier skies with some stronger winds associated with it.

Texas Tornadoes

This past week brought very active weather not only in Japan, but also the US, where violent tornadoes hit populated areas of Texas and caused significant damage. Two supercells dropped tornadoes simultaneously on the afternoon of April 3rd in the Fort Worth and Lancaster areas, causing the most significant damage. Preliminary estimates rate these tornadoes between EF-2 and EF-3, where winds are measured at 177km/h to 266km/h. Tornado warnings had been posted by the National Weather Service well before the storm hit allowing residents to take the necessary precautions; although significant damage was caused to neighbourhoods and industrial parks it could have been much worse. Ten injuries and no deaths were reported, the Dallas mayor called it “miraculous” to see that the numbers weren’t more significant after a big damage path could be seen from aerial view.

Tractor-trailer picked up by the tornado in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. (Source: Reuters/NBC)

Tractor-trailer picked up by the tornado in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. (Source: Reuters/NBC)

Tornadoes had not been the only culprit to cause significant damage that day, as very large hail was also reported with this storm. Hail damage to 100 airplanes at the Dallas airport was reported, with issues ranging from minor inspection needed, to planes being put out of service indefinitely.

Lancaster (just south of Dallas) tornado information, with RADAR captures. (Source: NWS storm reports)

Lancaster (just south of Dallas) tornado information, with RADAR captures. (Source: NWS storm reports)

This week, more storms are expected in Texas and most of the Plains, as the jet stream remains south of the border and systems push through Tornado Alley.

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