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*Archive:*Weather around the World 5


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  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    30/03/2004

    By Byron Chalcraft

    Heavy rain affects parts of southern Europe...

    An area of low pressure and some very unsettled weather is still plaguing the Iberian Peninsula. It's not only Spain and Portugal affected by this but also southern France and, to the south, parts of Algeria.

    On Monday the town of Biskra in northern Algeria recorded 56mm (2.25 inches) of rain in just 24 hours. This is nearly three times the average for the entire month of March which stands at just 19mm.

    The Spanish Costas have not escaped either. The Costa del Sol has not been living up to its name, with Malaga seeing 46 mm (nearly two inches) of rain falling in the space of just 12 hours. But this brings the total there since Friday to a whopping 244mm (9.6 inches). Bear in mind the March average in Malaga is a mere 49mm (2 inches).

    Some villages along the Costa del Sol have suffered badly over the past few days. The torrential rains have caused roads to be flooded so deeply that cars were washed away and with much mud and debris left behind. Some campsites have been devastated.

    Other notable places to get a soaking were Palma, Majorca and Barcelona where around 37mm (1.5 inches) was close to a month's worth of rain in less than one day.

    Tuesday morning's satellite picture still shows cloud covering nearly the whole of Spain and Portugal. It also extends across southern France to much of Italy, and across the Adriatic to southern Greece. This is also where the weather system bringing all the rain is heading towards.

    Meanwhile in China it is dry weather giving the problems. One of the worst dust storms for years swept into Beijing on Monday. The choking dust brought the visibility in some areas down to as low as 10 metres (33 feet).

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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    Posted
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    31/03/2004

    By Matt Taylor

    The contrasting face of Spring.

    What a difference a week makes. Last week, temperatures barely struggled to 6 Celsius (42 F) in some parts of the UK, and we and saw flakes of snow in west London. Yesterday, as I sat outside, bathed in sunshine, it felt distinctly Summer-like. With glorious sunshine in many parts of the UK, we saw the temperature soar to 18 Celsius (64F) in Bournemouth (Dorset) and Pembrey Sands (Carmarthenshire).

    The contrasts have been greater (and reversed) over on the other side of the Atlantic in Canada. Yesterday, in Alberta, the city of Calgary saw the mercury rocket to 25.4 C (78F). It was a similar story a little further north-east in Drumhellar East, where the locals baked in a temperature of 28.0 Celsius (82F).

    These figures are even more impressive when you consider the sorts of temperatures you normally get at this time of the year. Calgary usually averages around just 2.5 Celsius (37F), while Drumhellar East has an average March maximum temperature of 2.1 Celsius (36F). Not only does its 28 Celsius dwarf the March average, but it's also higher than the average temperatures you would expect during June, July, and August.

    Today though, it's an entirely different story. Shorts and T-shirts will be replaced by warm jumpers and ski-pants. Snow is forecast and a temperature of just 1 Celsius (34F) is expected. The people of Calgary will definitely notice the difference….and those heading to the area for skiing will no doubt be pleased!

    Staying in North America, the state of Wisconsin has been experiencing wet rather than warm weather recently. Heavy rain over the recent weekend, combined with melting snow has resulted in the some of the state's worst flooding for 40 years. Over 8000 people were affected by swollen rivers, and roads were also washed away both in Wisconsin and nearby North Dakota.

    Heavy rain has also been plaguing other parts of the world. In South Africa, torrential thunderstorms brought 66 mm (2.6 inches) to the mining town of Kimberley in just 24 hours. This is not all that far from their average rainfall for the whole of March, which is 79 mm (3.1 inches).

    It was a similar story closer to home in Spain. Gerona saw 51 mm (2 inches) of rain fall in 24 hours, against a monthly average of 80 mm (3.1 inches), meanwhile the March monthly average of 38 mm (1.5 inches) fell in 24 hours at Palma de Mallorca.

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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    Posted
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    01/04/2004

    By Matt Taylor

    A big weekend of world sport awaits us.

    After the climax of the Six Nations rugby and the Oxbridge Boat Race last weekend, there's more big sporting action to come through the next few days and coming weekend.

    Will the rain be falling faster than the wickets in the West Indies? Are the temperatures going to take a tumble, like some of the jockey's at Aintree? Let's find out.

    CRICKET

    We'll start across the Atlantic in Barbados, where the England cricket team take on the West Indies in the third match of the series. The match begins today and carries on to Monday.

    Normally we would be hoping for some big interruptions to help prevent an embarrassing defeat. However, after two well-earned victories, England only requires a draw to secure their first series win in the West Indies since 1968, and will no doubt be hoping for some fine conditions to see the test out.

    Interruptions to play should be few and far between thankfully. There is a risk of isolated showers through the weekend, but for the most part it should be dry, sunny, and hot as the temperature climbs into the low 30s Celsius.

    MOTORSPORT

    Sunshine will also be in pole position in Bahrain, for the next weekend of Formula 1 racing. Conditions will also be quite hot and sweaty in the pits, as temperatures accelerate into the low 30's.

    GOLF

    The latest stop on the European Golf Tour, is the Algarve Open of Portugal. The tournament begins today and continues through to Sunday. After teeing off to some showery conditions, the weather will improve. Some good sunny spells are forecast and the winds should ease a touch.

    HORSE RACING

    Finally we head back to the UK, where one of the biggest and most talked about horse racing events of the year takes place. It is, of course, Grand National weekend. Races begin today at the Aintree course, near St Helens, with the finale on Saturday afternoon. The annual Weather Centre sweepstake has already begun. The odds of me winning the pot are very slim, but what are the odds of some wet weather during the festival...

    ...much better, it has to be said! After some showers this morning, one or two further heavy downpours are likely this afternoon as well as some brighter spells. The going will soften further overnight as heavy rain tracks its way north-eastwards across the UK. Friday will be predominantly dry, bright and mild, but again there is a risk of a few heavy showers during the afternoon.

    For Saturday and the main race itself, it looks like it will be a day of sunshine and blustery showers, so hold on to your hat, and may your luck be in!

    Related Links :

    BBC Weather - Weather for sports

    BBC Weather Feature - Horse Racing and the Weather

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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    Posted
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    02/04/2004

    By Darren Bett

    Too much rain or not enough

    For the residents of Boston there's been too much rain this week. A deep Spring low has deposited over a months rain in Massachusetts in the past day and a half. The gloom will be lifted as the depression sweeps into the Atlantic but a cold northwest wind will bring a drop in the mercury level this weekend.

    Further south in the United States, it was an unusually cold and windy start for the golfers in Duluth, Georgia. Early starters were complaining of 'freezing temperatures' - I always use that excuse though when I have a bad round. No excuses this weekend though as it should turn warmer in the sunshine and lighter wind.

    Golfers in the Algarve had to contend with blustery showers for the opening round of the Portugese Open. The showers followed another band of rain in what has been a very wet few weeks for the Iberian peninsular. Wettest weather yesterday was in Jerez in Spain with 25mm of rain, not far off the months average. Better news for holidaymakers and golfers alike as the weekend should be dry, warmer and sunnier.

    In Saudi Arabia, rain would be a bit of a novelty at the moment. After a drier than average Winter, many people were out praying for the rain to start. Most of the countrys 19 million people get there water from deep water well and water desalination plants. Showers are expected later this weekend but this unlikely to make a significant difference.

    Showers moving south through the Gulf may make a difference at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday. Gusty winds could be a problem for the organisers, just as well they have sprayed a special glue over the sand around the circuit to prevent it being picked up by the wind.

    Related Links :

    NOAA Drought Information Centre

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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    Posted
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    03/04/2004

    By Byron Chalcraft

    Rainfall roundup and the peak of the tornado season starting...

    The rain in Boston, Massachusetts that my colleague reported in yesterday's weather news continued into Friday morning. By the time the rain finally stopped 152mm (a little over 6 inches) had fallen in less than two days. The average for the entire month there in April is a lot less than that at 92mm (3.6 inches).

    Much further west, in the state of Arizona, the town of Kingman received 12mm (close to half an inch) in 12 hours. Compared with Boston this may not seem much at all but, bear in mind that the monthly average in this region of a much drier western state is only 17mm (0.7 inches).

    Meanwhile the mid-western states that are prone to tornadoes have been preparing for the start of the severe thunderstorm and tornado season. This has included for example the test-sounding of warning sirens in the state of Nebraska. 'Tornado alley', as the region prone to them is called, stretches all the way from Texas and Louisiana in the south northwards across Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska to the Dakotas and east as far as Kentucky and Tennessee.

    The average number of tornadoes to occur in Nebraska each year is 52 but this can vary greatly from one year to the next, as few as 15 for instance in 1983 to 105 in 1999. April and May are normally the peak activity months.

    A long way away from the United States the South Pacific Island of Takaroa has also had a huge amount of rain. 390mm (over 15 inches) has fallen there over the past few days. This is the equivalent of two months worth of average rain for this part of the world. 390mm would be about the same amount as would fall on London in 6 or 7 months!

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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    Posted
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    04/04/2004

    By Byron Chalcraft

    Flooding in Namibia and New Mexico; wildfire in Florida...

    Heavy rain in the catchment area of the mighty Zambezi River is bringing flooding misery to thousands in the north-eastern part of Namibia in southwest Africa. Up to 20,000 people are thought to be affected already but the area is quite remote and an exact assessment of the situation cannot be made until helicopters reach the area. It is already known that 15 schools are flooded. Emergency supplies, including tents and blankets, have been despatched.

    Two air force helicopters from neighbouring Zimbabwe have taken officials over the affected region and it is thought that the floods may well be the worst since 1958. The Zambezi is one of Africa's largest rivers and forms the border between Namibia and Zimbabwe. The river's level reached the seven metre mark on Friday.

    Unusually heavy rain is also the cause of some problems in the state of New Mexico. 48mm, nearly two inches, fell on Albuquerque in just 48 hours. The average for the entire month there is a mere 12mm (half an inch). The streets were awash, with many flooded. About 130 miles to the southeast of Albuquerque is the notorious town of Roswell. This time the only thing falling from the sky was easily identifiable; 2 month's worth of average rainfall in less than a day.

    In Florida the wet season is yet to begin. April is often a very dry and increasingly hot month ahead of the heavy thundery showers that usually become widespread in the second half of May. April is therefore a month when brush fires can be a problem. At the moment there is a large fire burning on the edge of the Everglades, to the west of Miami. It has already singed more than 3,300 acres over the past few days. Gusty winds, up to around 20mph, have helped the fire jump one of Florida's many drainage canals.

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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    Posted
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    05/04/2004

    By Matt Taylor

    April showers in abundance.

    April showers have continued to dominate the weather across the UK as we enter the new week. I suspect this is bad news for those who are starting their Easter holidays this week, but we should at least see some sunshine at times.

    In any case, the conditions will be considerably better than some of the weather we've seen in other parts of the world during the past couple of the days.

    The Spring storms across New Mexico, in the United States of America, featured in yesterday's article, have continued to cause havoc. The thunderstorms, with heavy rain and strong winds have continued to push through New Mexico and south Texas.

    The stormy weather resulted from warm air off the Gulf of Mexico coming into contact with much cooler air, being brought down from the north by an area of low pressure over Arizona. The clash of air masses was the perfect recipe for some explosive development.

    Initially the cooler air meant a rather chilly day on Saturday in the town of Roswell. The daytime temperature only struggled to 13.3 Celsius, a good 11 degrees below their April average. Things got worse for the town as the battle between the warm and cool air really began. In just 24 hours, the town was deluged with 52 mm (just over 2 inches) of rain. This is over four times their average rainfall for the whole of April.

    Staying in New Mexico, the storms also caused a great deal of flooding in the town of Carlsbad. As the Pecos River burst its banks, up to 2 metres (around 7 feet) of water flooded some streets in the town. A swollen river was also responsible for washing away a bridge carrying the Interstate 20, in west Texas.

    Flooding problems have been even worse further a field in Belarus. Several days of rain have seen the Sozh River flood the town of Gomel. Water levels have been reported at 80 cm (around 30 inches) above the town's critical mark, with first floors of several houses under water. The flooding is set to continue for the next few days.

    Information thanks to the BBC Website

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    Posted
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    06/04/2004

    By Matt Taylor

    So what's in a shower?

    Love it or loathe it, the early stages of Spring can provide some dramatic contrasts.

    Take this week as an example. So far, it's been largely a story of sunshine and showers across much of the UK. With cool winds from the north west, and a strengthening sun, it doesn't take much warming of the ground before the cloud bubbles up and the showers begin.

    So you may leave the house on a chilly and sunny morning, but it doesn't take long for the temperature to rise. Then, as you decide it's worth doing without a coat, the skies rapidly darken, there's a clap of thunder and the rain pours down.

    More often than not, just a short while after, the skies clear again and once more you are bathed in glorious sunshine. This is where the job of being a forecaster becomes a very difficult one. It's not as much the forecasting of showers, but trying to explain the whole concept of a shower.

    As public forecasters, we tend to use the term 'showers' to describe short bursts of rain (heavy or light) that generally last less than an hour. On a rainfall radar chart these tend to show up as bright, individual cells of rainfall, but this is where the problem arises.

    We as forecasters often think in a very spatial manner, due to the fact that we are forecasting for a very large area. To an individual though, confined to a small area, the reality of showers can be much different. Whereas one person can be hit by shower after shower, making the day a rather wet one, another person just a few miles away can be bathed in glorious sunshine.

    Showers can therefore impact on people in very different ways. If the showers are particularly heavy and frequent localised flooding, or worse, can occur. This is due to the sheer volume of water that can fall from the sky in such a short space of time.

    So far this week this week, there has been no significant disruption caused by showers in the UK, but showers during the past couple of days in other parts of the world have had more of an impact.

    In New Zealand, cold southerly winds brought shower after shower to Christchurch. 25 mm (1 inch) of rain fell in 24 hours - half their monthly average.

    In the US, heavy thunderstorms in Texas continued, with the town of Brownsville receiving 35 mm (1.4 inches) of rain in just six hours. This is only 8 mm (0.3 inches) short of their monthly average.

    Perhaps more extreme, are the thunderstorms that have been rumbling around in Argentina. In the space of just 24 hours, 110 mm (4.3 inches) fell at San Rafael. More remarkable is the fact that, usually, only 18 mm (0.7 inches) of rain falls in the whole of April. Try telling the locals there that it will only be a passing shower!

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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    Posted
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    07/04/2004

    By Matt Taylor

    World weather blows hot and cold.

    After the warmth of last week, where we reached 20 Celsius (68F) in central London, this week has been decidedly chillier across much of the UK. Admittedly, temperatures have been close to what we would expect at this time of the year, but with a cool and blustery north-westerly wind it has felt much cooler.

    In a vague attempt to warm myself, I thought I'd try and find somewhere else in the world where it's been warmer. My eyes were immediately drawn to the Indian sub-continent, where the summer heat really has started to kick in.

    Conditions here have been extremely sultry. Daytime temperatures in several parts of Rajastan and West Mahya, in the north and west of India have soared above 40 Celsius (104 F). This is more than 5 Celsius above what is normally expected during April.

    Across the border in Pakistan, it has been a similar story. At Nawabshah, situated in the south-western region of Sindh, the temperature on Tuesday rocketed to a scorching 45 Celsius (113 F). This is hotter than their usual average April temperature of 38.8 Celsius (102 F).

    In both areas, it does look like things will cool down a touch over the next few days. An area of low pressure in Bangladesh and eastern India will track a little further west, turning the weather slightly more unsettled for a time.

    In complete contrast to the Asian heat, it's been extremely cold in the southern Ukraine and the Crimea. Temperatures here during the recent weekend plummeted down to -16 Celsius (3 F), killing off much of the regions fruit crops. This has further added to the woes of local farmers. Severe frosts last winter, followed by a summer drought, had already devastated thousand of hectares of Winter and Spring crops.

    The latest cold spell has been due to northerly winds feeding cold air south across the region. This cold air has also filtered further south into eastern Turkey. On Monday, the top temperature in the city of Kars was just 2.2 Celsius (36 F). Further south, in Van, it was even colder at 0.6 Celsius (33 F). Normally at this time of the year, both places should be seeing the mercury hit 10 or 11 Celsius (the low 50's F).

    Maybe I shouldn't really complain about our current chilly conditions. At least with the winds now easing a touch it should feel a little less cold here in the UK as we head towards Easter.

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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    Posted
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    08/04/2004

    By Tori Good

    Devastating Rain

    Looking around the world today, rain features rather heavily with, in some cases, devastating results.

    Firstly, in Piedras Negras, northern Mexico, an area of low pressure has brought heavy downpours for several days. The rain began on Sunday night which caused the Escondidio River to overflow. This in turn triggered flash flooding, killing 33 people and damaging more than 600 homes: 150 of which were completely destroyed. The rain finally cleared on Wednesday, allowing the salvage operation to begin.

    Flooding has also continued in northern Namibia. 20,000 people have been evacuated from Windhoek, as the rain-swollen Zambezi River burst its banks, killing 6 people. The floods are reported to be the worst since 1958, with the water level in the Zambezi rising to nearly 7 metres (22 feet) on Tuesday.

    Much of Namibia is arid or desert, but floods are a frequent problem. Seasonal rains, which fall across Caprivi, Angola and Zambia, pour into the upper reaches of the Zambezi before it threads its way across the continent towards the Indian Ocean.

    The Asian sub-continent has also seen some hefty downpours. Most recently, Gilgit in Pakistan was lashed by heavy rain, but here, one positive effect has been seen. Both Pakistan and northeastern India have been suffering from a heatwave, as the pre-monsoon heat has built up in previous weeks. The rain in Gilgit has had a beneficial effect on the mercury at least, and also potentially on local crops.

    Rain is likely to affect Islamabad in the next 24 hours. Not heavy, but nonetheless there could be enough convection to produce thunderstorms too. But, without significant downpours, the squally winds produced by the storms will more likely lead to dust storms instead. After this weather system moves through, the temperatures here too should subside, breaking the prevailing heatwave conditions.

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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    Posted
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    09/04/2004

    By Tori Good

    Rain, storms and a typhoon to boot

    Rain once again seems to be the weather topic of conversation around the world. Starting off in Australia, a mass of heavy and thundery showers have been sitting over the far west. Cundernin, which lies around 75 miles east of Perth, recorded 18mm of rain in 12 hours, from localised thunderstorms.

    New Zealand, if anything, has had even heavier downpours. Nelson is situated in the far north of South Island, and managed to clock up 73mm of rain in just 12 hours. Given that the average rainfall for the whole of April is 81mm, it won't take much more rain to make it a wet month as well as a very wet day.

    Even in Europe, rain has been an extensive feature in recent days. It may finally have dried up in Iberia, but wet weather has moved its way further east. Warsaw in Poland has now succumbed to the grey skies, and 30mm, just short of the monthly average of 33mm, fell in the city in 30 hours.

    Namibia in southwest Africa is still being plagued by torrential rain and flooding. A further 26mm of rain from thunderstorms fell in Windhoek, which is the capital. The rain isn't expected to cease any time soon, so flooding conditions are going to be further exacerbated.

    But, to top all of this, spare a thought for the people of Yap. Following an earthquake yesterday, which measured 5.2 on the Richter Scale (enough to cause damage to buildings), typhoon 'SUDAL' is heading through Micronesia. It is currently passing by very close to the shoreline of Yap. 'SUDAL' is a category 3 typhoon, with wind speeds currently up to 200km/hour. It is still strengthening, so worse is yet to come. Torrential rain and sea swells will also be accompanying the severely damaging winds.

    All these events make the UK weather rather pale into insignificance by comparison! In fact, the Easter weekend here is looking not too bad at all. It will be rather on the cloudy side for most of us, but we should manage to get a few glimpses of the sun for the southern half of the UK. Also, with the temperatures creeping up a little, if you do get a little sun, it should feel rather pleasant, so whatever you have planned for the coming few days, enjoy it! The weather shouldn't put paid to any well-laid plans…for a change.

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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    Posted
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    10/04/2004

    By Byron Chalcraft

    Rain in Spain and snow in the Rockies...

    Weather conditions are still very unsettled across most of southern Europe. A slow-moving low pressure system and attendant fronts extend from near Gibraltar right across the Mediterranean Sea to Italy and over the Adriatic to northern Greece.

    Almeria is the capital of the Almeria district in the southeast corner of Spain. It is a very sheltered spot, with mountain ranges rising in places to around 10,000 feet not far to the north. This geographical isolation helps to make the city one of the driest places in Europe. The average rainfall here in April is just 27mm (1.1 inches) but very nearly this amount, 26mm, fell in the space of just six hours on Friday morning. It was also very cool for the time of year the temperature at only around 10 Celsius (50F).

    However, to the south on the other, warm side of the weather front it has been unusually warm. Tripoli, the capital of Libya, recorded a temperature on Friday of 36 Celsius (98F). At this time of the year the average maximum there is a more comfortable 28 Celsius (82F).

    In the United States a late snowstorm brought more than a foot of snow to parts of Colorado. A ski resort northwest of Denver had to be closed after several chairlifts were struck by lightning. Montana and Wyoming were also affected by a mixture of rain and snow.

    Meanwhile in the Pacific a super typhoon, named Sudal, is packing sustained winds of 130 knots (148mph) with gusts of a scary 160 knots (182mph). At the moment Sudal is drifting towards the northwest and Taiwan, but it is expected to curve away towards northeast in a day or two's time and is therefore only really a threat to shipping at the present time.

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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    Posted
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    11/04/2004

    By Byron Chalcraft

    Peruvian mudslides and Fijian floods...

    Unusually heavy rains on Friday and Saturday have wreaked havoc near Peru's famous archaeological site at Machu Picchu in the central southern part of the country. An early morning mudslide killed at least six people, with a further five missing, in the nearby town of Aguas Celientes. Seven homes were destroyed by the force of the slide. No doubt the local geography of the surrounding mountains, which rise to over 8,000 feet, would have been a contributing factor.

    In addition, fifteen hundred tourists were stranded because another mudslide had buried and twisted the track of the only rail link from the town to the regional capital Cusco. The president of Peru, Alejandro Toledo, who just happened to be in the area at the time for a television program said he would provide helicopters in order that the tourists could be evacuated. None of the visitors were reported to be injured. The area lies about 300 miles (500km) southeast of the capital, Lima.

    In another weather disaster seven people were killed and nine missing in the Pacific islands of Fiji. A severe storm hit on Thursday with little warning. The heavy rain brought flooding and landslides. In one of the worst incidents a landslide pushed a small bus into a flooded river. In one village 18 houses were swept away. The islands are still in the process of recovering from a tropical cyclone in January 2003. That storm had done a lot of damage to the country's sugar crop which accounts for 40 percent of the economic output. The latest bad weather has again damaged this and some other important food crops.

    Fiji lies pretty near the middle of the Pacific, between New Zealand and Hawaii and is home to around 845,000 people.

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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    Posted
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    12/04/2004

    By Matt Taylor

    Easter Day around the world.

    While many of you lucky souls in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland enjoy a bank holiday day off today, across Scotland it's back to work for the majority.

    So how was your Easter? The weather, it has to be said, was pretty non-descript for the majority, with a good deal of cloud stopping the annual rush to the nation's beaches for a bit of sunbathing.

    Sunbathing was also definitely off the cards in parts of North America. Many in Colorado and New Mexico awoke to a snowy scene on Easter morning. An active area of low pressure in the New Mexico area dumped around 15 cm (6 inches) of snow in some cities. Even more snow fell on the mountains, with around 30 cm (12 inches) reported in places.

    This certainly had an impact on the public Easter services. These usually take place outdoors in such places as local amphitheatres and local football grounds. Many though had to be moved indoors. It was better news for the children. The snow cover made it easier for them to find their Easter eggs during the annual Easter egg hunts.

    Despite the recent snowfall, the drought situation in Colorado is not expected to ease. Lower-than-normal snow amounts so far means that the state is set to head into its fifth year of drought.

    A spell of heavy and persistent rain would probably be more welcome - much as we saw on Easter Day in Texas. The same area of low pressure, that brought snow further west, resulted in some torrential thunderstorms.

    At Houston, 77 mm (3 inches) of rain fell in just 12 hours, accompanied by hail in many parts. This was close to their average for the whole of April, which stands at 90 mm (3.5 inches).

    Closer to home, rain has also continued to be a problem in parts of the Mediterranean. For those who were spending their Easter on the Costa Blanca not only was it wet, but it was also rather chilly. At Alicante, the air temperature stood at only 9.1 Celsius (48 F), at 1200 GMT. This was well below their average daytime maximum for April of 20.9 Celsius (70 F). Meanwhile, at Murcia, 13 mm (0.5 inches) of rain fell in 6 hours, which is half what they would expect for the whole month.

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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    Posted
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    13/04/2004

    By Matt Taylor

    Flooding in Kenya, Bosnia and Fiji.

    In my usual search around the world for weather stories of interest, a common theme kept on appearing this morning. This was the subject of flooding.

    Flooding generally arrives in one of two guises. Where intense rainfall occurs over a short period of time, flash flooding can occur just about anywhere, and also very suddenly. At least it tends to be reasonably localised and short-lived. However, when there is heavy or persistent rain over a longer period, river levels rise steadily and flooding can be more widespread and prolonged.

    At least with the latter, you often have time to prepare yourself for the oncoming flood, but as someone who used to live next to a river, I appreciate just how agonising this time can be.

    Both forms of flooding though can be equally devastating to both life and property.

    The devastating affects of flooding are starting to be felt in Kenya as the country heads into its rainy season. Local forecasters had already fore-warned about the prospect of heavier than usual rainfall during this years rainy season, but after a recent spell of very heavy rain the affects of flooding are already being noticed.

    The worst affected regions have been around the Nyando, Busia, and Tana river districts. So far, it has been reported that six people have been killed by the floods, while two thousand have been rendered homeless. Many more have had to leave their homes for the safety of high ground.

    Hundreds of people have also had to leave their homes in parts of central and north-western Bosnia, as an area of low pressure over Eastern Europe continues to bring some very unsettled conditions. Thunderstorms and heavy rain have resulted in extensive flooding, with communities along the rivers of Vrbas and Lasva, to the northwest of Sarajevo, declared a state of emergency.

    The unsettled conditions in the area are expected to last the next few days before beginning to ease off on Thursday.

    The longer term effects of flooding can be seen across the other side of the world, in Fiji. As reported on these pages earlier in the week, a severe storm hit the island last Thursday. 11 people are still reported missing as a result of flash flooding, and as a nearby area of low pressure deepens during the next few days, strengthening winds, ocean swells, and yet more rain are set to arrive.

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    14/04/2004

    By Matt Taylor

    World Weather News

    I will start off by looking at further flooding problems being faced around the world.

    In and around Kenya it appears that the floods have been more widespread than earlier thought. Continuing torrential rain has seen areas of flooding extend to other countries in East Africa.

    Parts of Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have now all been hit by rising flood waters. At least 20 people have been reported killed as homes became submerged, farmland flooded, infrastructure destroyed, and roads rendered impassable.

    At the coastal town of Pebane, in eastern Mozambique, 58 mm (2.3 inches) of rain fell in just 24 hours yesterday which is almost half their monthly average of 119 mm (4.7 inches).

    Further north, along the east coast of Africa, the story has been a similar one. At Djibouti, to the south of the Red Sea, 30 people drowned in the country's main city, also called Djibouti. Torrential rain saw 107 mm (4.2 inches) fall in only 24 hours. This was a phenomenal amount of rain and is over three times their usual monthly rainfall for April of 34mm (1.3 inches).

    Unsurprisingly, there was also widespread disruption. Many streets in the city were impassable, and the main railway line linking the city to the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, was washed away as the Ambouli River burst its banks.

    Flooding has also continued in eastern areas of Europe. Latest to be affected is northwest Romania. Thousands of hectares of farmland have been destroyed, with landslides and felled bridges hampering travel around six of the nation's counties.

    In total contrast, several parts of the world have been enjoying dry and very warm weather. Perhaps the most notable has been in South Africa.

    Maximum temperatures in many of the provinces have well exceeded the temperatures normally expected at this time of the year. On Tuesday, the temperature in Cape Town hit 31.3 C (88 F) against an average of 22.2 C (72 F), while at Vredendal, in the northwest, the 27.4 C (81F) average was smashed as the mercury hit 39 C (102 F).

    Staying in the southern Hemisphere, Melbourne in south-eastern Australia has just enjoyed its warmest April night for around 20 years. During the night of the 13th, the temperature never dropped below 21.8 C (71 F). It didn't quite beat the previous record though, set in 1966, when the mercury never fell below 23.4 C (74 F).

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    15/04/2004

    By Tori Good

    El Nino forecasting up to two years in advance

    You may be aware of the weather pattern known as El Niño. It is a phenomenon which alters ocean currents with subsequent effects on rainfall and drought patterns. This in turn plays havoc with agriculture and, therefore, local economies.

    For example, the last severe El Niño event occurred between 1997 and 1999, causing massive forest fires in southeast Asia and more than $20 billion of damage worldwide. In 1998, the northern hemisphere had its warmest year since 1950, record high temperatures of 105ºF (41ºC) were seen in Vietnam, and it was the warmest spring on record in Canada.

    Also, the monsoon rains in India had the earliest onset for 97 years. The seasonal rains, which typically begin on June 1st every year, are one of the yearly weather patterns most obviously upset by the events of an El Niño year. The timing of the onset can be delayed or brought on early, and also the amount of rainfall during the monsoon can be greatly affected by the phenomenon.

    Being able to predict an El Niño year can benefit farmers in particular to help prepare for the potentially devastating effects, and steps can be taken to help mitigate the losses.

    Up until now, El Niño events were only able to be forecast approximately 9 months ahead of onset. However, a recent study, published in the journal Nature, has concluded that it can in fact be predicted up to two years away.

    This could dramatically influence agricultural practices, allowing them to make long term plans for a potential change in weather pattern far in advance. Storage of extra crops during good years could also be allowed for, with plenty of notice, to aid distribution during bad years.

    But, even though the ability to forecast El Niño appears to have increased significantly, it may not help smaller economies whose stability depends on a single crop. You cannot stop the event from occurring, or lessen its effects. But, it may help to prepare areas largely affected by the phenomenon by aiding forward planning of farming, and also perhaps water storage to see through times of extended drought.

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    16/04/2004

    By Matt Taylor

    Stormy Weather

    The Pacific islands of Fiji has been taking an unfortunate battering from the weather recently. Last week they were hit by a severe storm that caused millions of pounds of damage to crops and infrastructure. The worst affected area was towards the north of the Viti Levu Island. Here, 9 people were killed and 11 are still missing.

    Even before the islanders have had time to draw breath after that storm, Fiji has been battered yet again by some very stormy conditions. This time it has been the southeast of Viti Levu that has taken the biggest beating. Torrential rain has not only caused further flooding, but the coastal city of Suva has been totally cut off. Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes, and there are fears that the city's airport will be flooded by rising river waters.

    Further northeast, around the coast from Suva, is the town of Nausori. In a little over 60 hours, 284 mm (over 11 inches) of rain fell. This is around two thirds of their usual monthly rainfall total of 401 mm (15.8 inches).

    Storms aren't actually that unusual in Fiji at this time of year. Lying in the Pacific, between New Zealand and Hawaii, the islands actually fall within a tropical cyclone belt. Storms can occur anytime between October and April, but as the past couple of storms have been of rain rather than strong winds they haven't been classed as cyclones.

    Also in the Pacific, but further north, Tropical Cyclone Sudal has been meandering around over the past week. It's currently tracking northeast, thankfully avoiding most populated islands. Yesterday though, it tracked across the volcanic island of Iwojima. Within a matter of hours the air pressure plummeted 30 mb before rising again, and as the wind whipped round from south east to a north westerly direction, the mean speed exceeded 60 mph with gusts far higher.

    However, these wind speeds pale into insignificance when compared to the storms that hit Bangladesh on Wednesday night. A suspected tornado in the districts of Mymensingh and Netrokona resulted in the destruction normally seen by wind speeds of around 150 mph.

    It appears that tens of thousands of people have been made homeless, thousands injured, and at least 50 killed as the storms ripped through numerous towns and villages.

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    17/04/2004

    By Tori Good

    Another good monsoon forecast for 2004

    India's weather office, India Meteorological Department, has forecast a near normal monsoon rain this year, with a four percent probability of deficient rains. This is good news for the Indian economy after a strong 2003.

    A weather office statement said the exact date when the June-September monsoon would hit the coast will be known in the second week of May. The monsoon forecast will be updated at the end of June. Typically, the onset date is taken to be the 1st June each year, but it is subject to seasonal variation.

    "The India Meteorological Department's long range forecast for the 2004 south-west monsoon season is likely to be 100 percent of the long period average with an error of five percent," IMD Director General S.K. Srivastav told a news conference.

    He also said that there was "zero" probability of a drought in parts of the southern states of Karnataka and Kerala, where the rains have not been so good over the past two years.

    "The chances of a drought are minimal," S.K. Subramanian, deputy director general of the IMD, told Reuters.

    A good monsoon year can have hugely beneficial effects on what is the third largest economy within Asia. High yields from crop cultivation do also depend on the timing and distribution of the rainfall, but in general a normal monsoon season will lead to a plentiful harvest.

    In 2002, the monsoon failed to bring in the required rainfall, resulting not only in a severe drought country-wide, but reduced the overall economic growth from 5.6% to just 4%. However, 2003 made up for it, bringing the best rainfall in over a decade, lifting the economy once again to an impressive 8.1%.

    This year, following on from last year's healthy harvest, the grain production is expected to reach over 212 million tonnes, compared to 174 million tonnes in 2003. Oilseed production is also expected to rise by around 40%.

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    18/04/2004

    By Tori Good

    Marathon Weather!

    Today brings us the London Marathon. As luck would have it, the conditions aren't the best, with a rather wet and windy start to the race. Through the morning, the rain will quickly clear, but heavy showers are set to follow hot on the heels of the main rainband, so any dry or bright weather will not be long lived!

    Talking of rain, Perpignon in southern France has had a rather wet day or two. In 24 hours, continuous heavy rain totted up to 129mm in total, which is more than two and a half times the 48mm average for the whole of April!

    Salto, on the border of Argentina and Uraguay, has also had a wet few days. 87mm of rain fell here in 24 hours, which is a significant proportion of the 130mm monthly average.

    There has been, however, a fair amount of pleasant weather around too. Up until yesterday, the southeast of England had been enjoying a warm, sunny few days, as has Stockholm in Sweden. Temperatures yesterday afternoon reached 17.6 Celsius, more than a whopping 10 Celsius above the usual 7.2 Celsius for April. In fact, this more closely resembled an average June temperature, so it was a lovely start to the weekend here.

    Staying on the warm theme, St Louis in Mississippi had a very warm night on Friday night into Saturday morning. The temperatures dropped overnight to a balmy 18.3 Celsius, more than 11 degrees above the norm of just 6.7 Celsius. To put that into context, that is warmer than the top daytime temperature in the UK yesterday!

    Tehran, the capital of Iran, is usually enjoying the first signs of the long hot summer to come at this stage of the year. Maximum temperatures usually reach around 21 or 22 Celsius. However, yesterday, the mercury barely scraped to 7 Celsius, so it was rather chilly by local standards!

    So, back to the UK, with all the wind, rain, and showers around, it was feeling really quite cold outside, with not much improvement likely through the day. But on the plus side, for those brave marathon runners, at least the cool weather is slightly more preferred to the warm sunshine of last year. Good luck everyone!

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    19/04/2004

    By Elizabeth Saary

    World weather news

    Towards the end of last week, parts of the UK were experiencing some very warm weather. It is now a good deal cooler than it was then, but temperatures should begin creeping up again during the week ahead.

    The warmer weather that was with us moved gradually eastwards across Europe to give nearby northwestern areas some above average temperatures. For instance, Trondheim in Norway saw temperatures climb to over 16C on Sunday which is well above the seasonal average of just 7C.

    Gothenburg in Sweden did even better at 19C compared to an average of 8C and Strasbourg in France managed a high of 20C - around 7C above the April average.

    Staying with the warm theme, other parts of the world have been really sizzling. Southerly winds and sunshine sent the mercury in Beijing, China soaring to over 29C which is a good 10C above the seasonal average.

    Anyone who either ran or watched the London Marathon on Sunday will be aware of how wet it was with rain falling on and off for much of the race. This may have made for rather dismal running conditions, but despite not being a runner myself, I am sure the cool and wet weather would be preferable to the sort of conditions expected at the Boston Marathon in the USA, taking place today (Monday).

    The northeast of the USA has been experiencing very warm weather. An area of low pressure is moving towards the area, but just ahead of it the southerly winds are bringing the air all the way from the Gulf of Mexico. The heat wave may well cause problems for the runners in Boston, where they will face temperatures of over 30C and some rather humid conditions too. The average high for Boston in mid April is just 14C. So perhaps all the rain that we had in London wasn't so bad after all!

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    20/04/2004

    By Elizabeth Saary

    Bangladesh suffers again

    Here in the UK, forecaster's eyes are on a rapidly developing low pressure system in the Atlantic. The system is expected to race towards our shores to bring a spell of very wet and windy weather to many places through Tuesday night and into Wednesday.

    Elsewhere in the world, there have also been some severe problems from wind and rain.

    Bangladesh was in the headlines last week after a tornado tore through towns and villages wreaking havoc. It left thousands homeless, many injured and over sixty dead.

    It appears that the worst was not over though for Bangladesh. On Monday night, another spate of storms swept through the country. They brought widespread damage to four districts around the capital Dhaka and further problems to the more northerly Mymensing area which had already suffered badly last week.

    Reports have come in that the latest storms have killed at least fifteen people and injured around 150. Most of the deaths and injuries were caused by collapsing buildings and flying debris as wind speeds reached up to 90 mph (150km/h).

    Not only do the people of Bangladesh have to cope with the loss of their homes, but also their livelihoods as thousands of hectares of rice and other crops have been badly damaged by flash flooding.

    It is not unusual for Bangladesh to experience severe weather. Flooding is a common problem for such a densely-populated country built on the vast floodplains of the largest river delta in the world.

    Meanwhile, Vietnam has also been experiencing flash floods. Nine people have been killed in the mountainous northeastern province of Son La. Over a thousand homes and hundreds of hectares of rice fields have been destroyed.

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    21/04/2004

    By Matt Taylor

    Wild winds.

    As forecast, a vigorous area of low pressure has developed close to the UK bringing rain and some very unsettled conditions to many parts. Tied in with the depression are some very strong winds. At the time of writing this article, the winds across Northern Ireland were already in excess of 60 mph in a few places.

    Winds have been much stronger though, across the Atlantic in parts of North America. Along an active weather front, stretching from the Great Lakes through the Northern Plains, a line of intense thunderstorms developed during Monday. From these sprouted a number of tornadoes, hitting parts of Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. Large hail was reported quite widely in the affected areas, but thankfully there were few reports of any major damage.

    It wasn't to stay that way. By Tuesday, the storms had pushed east into Illinois and Indianapolis. Though the day, as temperatures rose, they gained strength and cut a huge swathe of destruction through theses states.

    Around 15,000 people were left without power, and at least 4 people are believed to have lost their life. The worst affected area appears to be the town of Utica, where numerous buildings were destroyed or damaged.

    There is nothing unusual in seeing tornadoes across North America at this time of year, with the tornado season usually running from March to November. However, this will be of little comfort to those affected by these latest storms.

    Storms have also been a problem in Tajikistan, which lies to the north of Afghanistan. Heavy rain, strong winds, and possible tornadoes have hit virtually all regions of the country. Homes have been destroyed. Further stormy conditions are pounding the area today, and will continue tomorrow before easing towards the weekend.

    Conversely, storms are beginning to brew in the Sea of Japan, off the south-east coast of Russia. Many ships in the area have had to take shelter as waves are forecast to reach 5 metres (16 feet) in height, and winds peak at around 50-60 mph - conditions very similar to those that have seen some ferry services cancelled across the Irish Sea today.

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    22/04/2004

    By Matt Taylor

    Clash of the air masses.

    The tornado season has certainly begun with some vigour in the United States this week. On Tuesday, we saw some energetic storms and tornadoes develop over Illinois and Indianapolis, taking with them both life and property. Four counties were later declared disaster areas.

    As the clear-up began for some during Wednesday, it was the Mid-West that was next to bear the brunt of some particularly vicious Spring storms. All the ingredients were there for some spectacular storm development.

    Across the Great Lakes sat a large area of high pressure, feeding south some cold air from northern Canada. To the south-west, on the Mexico-USA border, was an area of low pressure throwing north some very warm and moist air off the Gulf of Mexico. Where the two contrasting air masses clashed, there was to be some explosive storm development during the latter stages of Wednesday.

    The battle itself took place across parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri. From virtually nothing severe thunderstorms formed. Along with heavy rain, winds exceeded 100 mph in places as over 50 separate tornadoes developed. For some there were also torrential hailstorms. At one point, in Oklahoma City, hail the size of golf balls was reported. Fire-fighters in the northwest of the city also had to shovel almost 20 cm (8 inches) of hail off the city’s roads.

    At the time of writing, tornado warnings were still in force in Oklahoma, with warnings of severe thunderstorms also in place across the Central Plains.

    We’ve also had our fair share of storms across parts of Europe lately. The latest have been through Greece and Turkey, as a deep area of low pressure swings its way east. Heavy showers and thunderstorms resulted in 19 mm (0.8 inches) of rain falling in just six hours at Herakilion, on the north coast of Crete. This is around two thirds of their usual rainfall for the whole of April.

    Worse was to come for the city of Antalya, in southern Turkey. The city was deluged by 186 mm (7.3 inches) of rain in a period of 18 hours to 1200 GMT on Wednesday. This is over three and a half times the average monthly rainfall for April, of 52mm (2 inches).

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset
  • Location: Bournemouth, Dorset

    23/04/2004

    Skiing in Europe and tornado in China

    The ski season across Europe is coming to a close now, but what a season it has been! Several resorts are reporting the best winter in recent memory, with record amounts of snow falling in parts of the Alps and the Pyrenees. Even earlier this week many European resorts were boosted by heavy snowfall, rejuvenating the slopes and bringing some late powder skiing!

    Most of the Austrian resorts are now closed, even though fresh snow has fallen virtually every week throughout the season. Most of the French resorts, though, are open. In Alpe D'Huez half a metre of snow fell on the upper slopes earlier this week. Many resorts in France are closing this weekend but Val d'Isere, Tignes and Chamonix will stay open until May!

    There has been fresh snow in Switzerland recently, too, although there have been reports of high temperatures in the last few days which will be starting to melt that snow.

    No new snow is forecast across the Alps in the next few days, but skiing conditions look great with blue skies. Don't worry about the thermals if you're heading off, though, because it will stay quite warm.

    Meanwhile, a tornado has killed seven people and injured more than 200 in central China. The tornado swept through Hengyang in central Hunan province on Wednesday with huge hailstones reported, destroying homes and crops in its wake. It also caused a blackout in Hengyang province. More severe thunderstorms have also struck Oklahoma in the USA, the third day running with severe weather here.

    Heavy rain in Bangladesh has caused flooding in the northeast, driving 100,000 people from their homes and damaging rice crops.

    Information thanks to the BBC Weather Website

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