The reports here summarise weather events and climate news, including a round-up of their media coverage. They are archived in the relevant day's Daily Weather Summary to help make it a complete record of the day's events. Reports are often written some time after the event to allow reliable and detailed information to become available - good sources of real time news are here.
Wed 15 Aug 2018 WA: Cold nights in the north. Cool, dry air moving north from southern WA has produced some exceptionally cold dry-season nights in the Kimberley. On Wed 15th, Kununurra reported a low of 6.1°, its lowest temperature in a 32-year history. New August records were set at Kalumburu (6.8) and Fitzroy Crossing (4.5), while Marble Bar equalled its August record for the second time this month with a reading of 5.9.
Thu 16 Aug 2018 2018 NSW, VIC: Bushfires an omen of worst fire season in a decade. Bushfires flared in coastal NSW and eastern VIC on Wed 15th in a foretaste of the menacing conditions in store for drought-stricken eastern Australia. In NSW, total fire bans were declared in Sydney, the Hunter and Illawarra as 830 firefighters fought over 70 grass and bushfires from Casino to the VIC border.
Properties were lost in the three largest and most serious ones which peaked during the afternoon. Near Bemboka in the Bega Valley, two houses and two outbuildings were destroyed while fires near Ulladulla and Nowra damaged one house and destroyed 12 outbuildings. The fires received global coverage through Reuters, which quoted NSW Rural Fire Service Inspector Ben Shepherd as saying the size and number of fires in Australia [at present] were typical of late summer. “We’re seeing fires on the far south coast (of New South Wales) that we wouldn't typically see until sometimes as late as January or February, so what we’re seeing is very unusual,” he said.
In VIC, about 140 firefighters battled a blaze at Cape Conran, SE of Orbost. Country Fire Authority chief officer Steve Warrington told ABC News that "For the first time ever we'll introduce restrictions in Gippsland as early as September." He warned that "Our primary concern is Gippsland, the north-eastern parts of Victoria as well, the Otways and certainly along the Murray" in a season that was shaping up to be the worst in a decade.
Thu 16 Aug 2018 BoM Seasonal Forecast is for worsening drought. The BoM's mid-month Climate Outlook update offers little cheer for an end to the drought affecting much of eastern Australia and parts of the west. It forecasts that SW WA, SE Australia, and parts of central QLD will have a drier than average spring when averaged over the whole season, while temperatures will be above normal. A brief video from the BoM is here, while the full Outlook is here* and an archive of it is here.
Thu 16 Aug 2018 2018 NSW: Emus come to town. Wildlife is doing it tough in the drought, too, and ABC News reports some mobs in western NSW have moved in to Broken Hill to take advantage of the cushy lifestyle of its 17,800 human inhabitants. They've been reported doing laps of the main street, enjoying (eating) the gardens and participating in football matches. One local told the reporter "I'd rather put up with kangaroos and emus than magpies, we're just lucky emus don't swoop!"
Wed 15 Aug 2018 TAS: Wild winds bring sleepless night. Updated second paragraph Thu 16 Aug 2018 Some of the strongest wind gusts in years battered all areas of Tasmania overnight as an active cold front crossed the island. Even at normally serene inland locations, wind gusted into the 80s and 90s, such as Sheffield 93, Cressy 98, Launceston Airport 89, Hobart 93, Tunnack 98 and Grove 96km/h. Coastal towns saw stronger wind, like Wynyard's 108 and Strahan's 113km/h while the normally breezy locations would have lost the dog off the chain - Maatsuyker Island recorded a peak gust of 163km/h during one 10-minute period when the wind averaged 146km/h.
August wind gust records were set around the state. Strahan's 113km/h on the West Coast, Fingal's 89km/h on the East Coast and Cressy's 98 in the north were all well above their previous records set in the windy month of August 2009. Low Head, where the Tamar Estuary enters Bass Strait north of Launceston, set a new all-month records with a top gust of 120km/h.
ABC News reported that Ben Lomond Ski Resort in the island's northeast had to be evacuated when part of its roof was lost. Felicity Foot at Ben Lomond ski lodge reported succinctly on social media that "The building has had the crap blown out of it!" Across the state 2,500 properties lost power, mostly due to trees that fell across powerlines.
Wed 01 Aug 2018 The BoM has changed the model on which its seasonal outlooks are based. From the August to October Outlook, the three-month outlooks and their related maps, model summaries, and Sea Surface Temperature Outlooks will be based on the Bureau's new ACCESS-S model. One of the greatest enhancements of ACCESS-S, which is developed in close collaboration with the United Kingdom Met Office (UKMO), is its higher resolution and therefore greater regional detail. Full details of the improvements over the POAMA-2 model the BoM has used for the past 10 years, are detailed here.
Australian weather Sun 22 Jul 2018
TAS: Getting away from it all - on Maatsuyker Island. How do you pack for six months living on one of Australia's remotest and most inhospitable islands. ABC Radio Hobart interviewed two people currently working out how much toilet paper, toothpaste and chocolate to take.
QLD: Big bananas, big prawns - now Australia has the Big Thermometer. It seems nothing puts a place on the map more than a "Big Thing". Stanthorpe QLD has just staked its claim to being the coldest place in the state with the Big Thermometer. The coldest temperature measured there by the BoM was -10.6 back in June 1961.
International weather Sun 22 Jul 2018
Sweden, Finland: Forest fires continue. The number of ongoing fires in Sweden has increased from 45 on Friday to 70 on Saturday, with an estimated 300sq km currently aflame. Light, widespread rain last night has been a little help, but the forecast is for heat and drought to continue in the coming weeks. A multinational force from Italy, France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Denmark are assisting in fighting the fires, with Austria, Portugal and Germany ready to help. This Al Jazeera video report shows the fires, the result of the worst drought in 74 years.
Over the border, Finland has had similar hot, dry weather with 2,400 fires breaking out since the beginning of May. Among the worst have been in Lapland, the country's largest and northernmost region. The largest fire came over the border from Russia on Friday, however news today indicates good rains are helping to control the fires.
Europe, Asia: Heat brings drought, death and violent storms. Bob Henson looks at the causes of the highly abnormal heatwave [ignore initial error message] in Lapland and across Scandinavia in general, as well as casting an eye east to East Asia. Japan has reported temperatures close to and above 40C resulting in at least 30 deaths and over 10,000 hospitalisations and counting. The Guardian also gives details and examines the causes of the big heatwave, extending from Algeria to the Arctic. The economic affects of the drought in northern and central Europe are becoming disastrous, especially for grain growers report The Guardian and Reuters.
The heat is bringing contrasts around the continent, from water levels so low in the Rhine and Danube that full loads cannot be carried, to heavy rain and raging floods in Slovakia. Severe thunderstorms have been reported, such as this one in the French Jura with hail 20cm deep that required snow ploughs to move, and this intense thunderstorm downburst in NW Italy.
Australian weather Sat 21 Jul 2018
WA: Fronts bring heavy rain to the South West. A procession of fronts crossing WA has brought heavy rain and caused isolated minor flooding. Several records were set in the 24 hours to 9am with Windy Harbour's 61.4mm its highest one-day July total in 30 years. A few locations scored over 50mm, including Cape Leeuwin and Jarrahwood, with minor flooding reported in the Thomson River. Rain eased after 9am, but further fronts are lining up to the SW, as the charts show.
Australian weather Fri 20 Jul 2018
SE Australia: Cold airmass moves in. Light snow fell briefly across southern parts of the Central Tablelands during the day in the wake of a cold front with the temperature at, for example, Orange hovering between 1 and 3° all day. The front, and cold air behind it, brought good rain to SA and VIC with thunderstorms and hail in parts of VIC last night. A Tigerair flight from Melbourne to Adelaide had to turn back after being struck by lightning in one storm.
NSW: Good Alpine snowfalls. 32mm of melted snow fell at Perisher Valley in the 24 hours to 2300 Friday evening, the equivalent of over 30cm of fresh snow. The nearby Snowy Hydro snow depth measurement at Spencers Creek came in at 99.8cm on Thursday, 12cm ahead of the same time last year though still below the long-term average. This substantial top-up will be welcome after four weeks of only light snowfalls.
International weather Fri 20 Jul 2018
Vietnam, Philippines: Tropical Cyclones Son-Tinh brings flooding. Tropical Cyclone Son-Tinh made landfall near Dien Thai city, Vietnam, 250km S of Hanoi on Wednesday 18 July. It had been downgraded to Tropical Storm status, but still brought 350mm to some coastal parts of the country, along with one death, flooding and the threat of landslides. It will weaken as it moves NW further into Vietnam and neighbouring parts of Laos, Thailand and China.
A few days earlier, nearly eight thousand people were evacuated in the Philippines as the cyclone passed, with rainfall as heavy as 165mm per hour reported by satellite in the Phillipine Sea.
Scandinavia: "Historic" forest fires, record heat. High temperatures and dry weather have caused forest fires to flare since June following Norway's hottest May since records began in 1900. As of Thursday 19 July, 44 fires were burning across Sweden with the largest in the central regions of Jämtland, Gävleborg and Dalarna. International firefighting help has been called in from Italy and France. It is being referred to as a "historic wildfire outbreak" in Sweden.
Figures supplied by the Washington Post show that temperatures more than 10° above the usual comfortable early 20s have been recorded in Scandinavia, with Trondheim Airport, Norway, hitting 32.4° last Monday, an all-time record.
The heat extends across the water to Finland, where Turku recorded 33.3 on Tuesday, its highest since 1914, and Helsinki reported one of its hottest two-day periods on record last Sunday and Monday.
Europe, UK: Fires threats elsewhere. Following last summer's widespread and major fires around Europe, this dry late summer period is not looking good. As of Thursday 19 July, the European Forest Fire Information System reported extreme fire danger in parts of Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Italy and Turkey as well as on Sicily and Cyprus.
Some good news, though, is that a fire burning in peat and brush on Saddleworth Moor, 20km ENE of Manchester, has been extinguished by rain after over three weeks of effort by firefighters from seven counties and the army. The longest heatwave in at least five years has raised threats seldom bargained for in Britain - extensive wildfires on home soil, as well as water shortages.
For information on annotations (*, †, etc), attributions, and translation using your browser, go here