An IPCC report and a celestial event spiced up a week of weather happenings that included a category five tropical cyclone and record temperatures across much of the eastern United States. And there’s been an important change in the forecast for London.
Tropical Cyclone Ita Mashes Queensland’s Banana Crop
Tropical Cyclone Ita battered northeast Australia over the weekend, then skirted the coast and headed southeast.
Ita has finally run out of steam (literally), and has been downgraded to a tropical depression. The storm is transitioning to an extra-tropical cyclone and will bring gusty winds to New Zealand.
At its strongest, Ita was briefly a category five storm. After deluging the Solomon Islands, which just absorbed a one-two punch of tropical cyclone and earthquake, Ita approached the northeast Australia province of Queensland with 160 miles-per-hour winds. Agricultural interests, mainly banana plantations, took a major hit.
Warm Spell Continues In U.K.
The change in weather pattern that was forecast last week for the United Kingdom has now evaporated like a thin fog.
Current forecasts indicate that London may end up experiencing its second month in three in which the temperature averages above normal every single day. Mark your calendars. Since the start of 2014, only January 29, March 25, and March 26 have been below normal.
The current long-range forecast calls for a cold May, but you should take that with a flake of snow.
Drought In The Southwest U.S.
Expect severe drought conditions in much of the southwest through the spring and into summer. The area was in precipitation deficit this winter, and the dry season is upon us. No respite from the hot and dry conditions is in sight for the short term, but forecasts that an El Niño will develop this summer offer hope of some relief, as El Niños are correlated with rainy weather in the U.S. southwest.
Weather Cooperates For Celestial Show
The total lunar eclipse early Tuesday morning wowed watchers in much of the United States. Clear skies in southern Florida and most of the western two-thirds of the country allowed those who rose at three a.m. to see the longest period of totality since 2011, as the moon turned blood-red in total eclipse for an hour and 18 minutes. The next eclipse of that duration visible in the United States will not be until 2022.
As a bonus, skywatchers could see Mars near the moon. The red planet is currently at its closest approach to Earth and at its brightest. All in all, it was quite a night for stargazers, especially those who like to see red.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued its seven-yearly report on the world’s climate, and the conclusion is: What we said last time only moreso. The last report, in 2007, won the panel a Nobel Prize for warning what the future could hold if humanity doesn’t change its collective behavior. The next report is scheduled for release in 2021, at which time, if governments have not taken serious action, the future may be happening.
Aftermath Of Zephyr
Winter Storm Zephyr brought late-season snow to the mountains of Colorado and Wyoming, as well as record cold temperatures to the Great Plains and Upper Midwest, while in the warm sector of the storm, high temperature records fell.
Salina, KS illustrates the extreme temperature difference across Zephyr: Saturday, Salina set a record high for the date at 91 degrees; this morning’s low was 23 degrees.
Alliance, NE reached ten degrees, a new record, early Monday morning, and the reading of 14 degrees at Buffalo, WY broke the old record by five degrees; Riverton, WY obliterated its old record by nine degrees. Additional low temperature records are widespread this morning in the plains.
Dalhart, TX measured an inch of snow yesterday; this was the first time measurable snow had ever fallen on this date. Numerous rainfall records for the date were set in central Texas.
On the other side of the cold front associated with Zephyr, Lewisburg and Bluefield, West Virginia set new record high temperatures for the date. In all, Zephyr set records for warmth, cold, rain, and snow in at least 15 states.
Is THIS The End Of Winter?
The cold will hang around for another few days, then temperatures will moderate to more seasonable and reasonable readings. A kinder, gentler weather pattern should be in place by the time of the next Weather Around The World.