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March 2022 Global Weather Highlights

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James Munley

Apr 12, 2022, 7:21:15 PM4/12/22
MARCH 2022


Widespread flooding, described by authorities as unprecedented, continues affecting parts of eastern Australia (3rd). After more than a year's worth of rain fell in just a couple of days, more heavy rain is in the forecast, as well as giant hail and destructive winds. At least 9 people have died in Queensland and another 3 in New South Wales Multiple moderate to major flood warnings are in place for the lower Logan River, Weir, Moonie, Condamine and Balonne rivers, and a Flood Watch has been issued for southeast Queensland for renewed river rises. Observations include giant hail around 5 to 6 cm in size being recorded west of Inglewood at midnight, 2nd/3rd.

Tens of thousands of Sydney residents have been told to evacuate their homes as floods ravage eastern Australia (8th). In the past fortnight, New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland have been affected by heavy downpours that have caused floods and killed 20 people. The threat has now intensified in Sydney, which has been hit by widespread flash-flooding. NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said 40,000 residents in the state had been ordered to evacuate, and another 20,000 people were on standby. He added that a dam in the suburb of Manly had begun to spill, and a flooded river was threatening lives in the city's southwest. There was also a "substantial catastrophe" in the state's north, where more than 800 people had been placed in temporary accommodation.


Four of the seven people killed in devastating storms that tore through central Iowa on Saturday (5th) were members of the same family who sought shelter inside a home that was razed by a powerful tornado, authorities said. The storms damaged or destroyed other homes and downed power lines and trees, causing some power outages. The tornadoes were followed by winter storms that dropped about 5 inches of snow in central Iowa and 6.5 inches in Mount Vernon in eastern Iowa. The storms were the deadliest in Iowa since May 2008, when a tornado destroyed nearly 300 homes and killed nine in the northern city of Parkersburg. Another tornado a month later killed four boys at the Little Sioux Boy Scout ranch in western Iowa.

A large tornado touched down in New Orleans on Tuesday evening, causing damage and destruction to the city's Lower Ninth Ward, before traveling east into the neighboring parish of St Bernard, where officials reported at least one dead and multiple injuries (22nd). The tornado occurred as a major storm system continued to tear through parts of the US south, killing another person in Texas and injuring more than two dozen.

California has seen drought recently and some notable early heat with temperatures in Santa Rosa, north of San Francisco, reaching 32C today, beating the previous daily record set in 1926 (22nd). This warmth came after a long period of dry weather. Nearby Sacramento recently suffered a record 66 consecutive days without measurable rainfall up to 15 March, while there was only 17 mm in San Francisco during the whole of January and February.


After a rare snowstorm hit Istanbul this weekend, more than 400 flights were cancelled (13th-14th). Normally, at this time of year temperatures would normally be abut 8.5C. Meanwhile, parts of Greece and Cyprus were hit by a storm dubbed 'Filippos' which caused temperatures to plummet and brought heavy snowfall in Athens and surrounding areas. In Afidnes, near Athens, where snow was at least half a meter deep, residents were not prepared for such weather.

Spanish skies have been turned orange by Sarahan dust; an area of hot air covered the Mediterranean country this morning as people woke up to an eerie glowing sky (15th). Storm Celia has been responsible for bringing the dust from the desert to southern parts of Spain, with Madrid and Murcia among the places affected. Laboratorio de Climatologia at the University of Alicante has warned people against staying outside for long periods. Spanish officials have issued extremely poor air quality ratings, with locals in some parts told to avoid exercising altogether. The air change has also affected the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.


At least 60 homes were buried by a landslide in La Libertad, a mountainous area of northern Peru around 0830 LT (15th). At least 7 people are missing and there are fears there could be dozens buried under the rubble. The slide took place in the Cinco Esquinas sector, the Retamas district of the province of Pataz, after a period of intense rains.

Heavy rainfall affecting southern Ecuador, particularly the province of Azuay, over these two days caused numerous landslides resulting in casualties and damage (2th-28). The Servicio Nacional de Gestion de Riesgos reported 4 fatalities, 4 injured people, around 15 damaged houses and damaged roads due to a landslide in Cuenca City during the afternoon of the 27th.


Temperatures in Antarctica reached record levels at the weekend, an astonishing 40 degC above normal in places (1th-20th). At the same time, weather stations near the north pole also showed signs of ice melting, with some temperatures 30 degC above normal, hitting levels normally attained far later in the year. At this time of year, the Antarctic should be rapidly cooling after its summer, and the Arctic only slowly emerging from its winter, as days lengthen. For both poles to show such heating at once is unprecedented. The warmest temperature ever recorded in a permanent weather station of the Antarctic Plateau in 66 operational years was reached during an unprecedented heatwave in the Concordia-Dome C research station on the 18th; at Concordia -11.5C was reached at 0427 GMT. A powerful inflow of warm winds from Australia brought temperatures over East Antarctica up to 47 degC above average. The warm air mass has also been making parts of SE Australia feel unseasonably warm. On the 17th the town of Hobart climbed almost 10 degC above average to reach 29.2C, while some places in the area had their warmest March day in several years.


Intense rainfall hit northern parts of New Zealand, causing severe flooding (21st). Albany in northern Auckland was hit by 109 mm of rain in 10 hours with the March average 85-90 mm. About 76.8 mm of this fell within just one hour, representing Auckland's wettest hour on record. The flooding was associated with potent thunderstorms crossing the Auckland region which produced 4,000 lightning flashes in an hour and at its peak, 700 in five minutes.

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