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Dry start to winter for the whole country
| It's rare to see almost the entire nation showing less than 20% normal rainfall for the first half of June. BoM
It's been an extraordinarily dry start to winter, with most of the country receiving little or no rain over the first half of June. While that's business as usual in northern Australia where the dry season is in full swing, it's far from normal in the south where fronts sweeping up from the Southern Ocean are usually bringing reliable, regular periods of showers, rain or snow.
But those fronts have mostly stayed well away, deflected south of the country by a string of high pressure systems and ridges. The only area to receive significant rain has been the east coast from south of Sydney to around Brisbane, where easterlies brought heavy rain and showers early this week and last weekend.
In an average June, most of the settled areas receive at least 25 to 50mm inland grading to 50 to over 100mm around the coast, but this June has produced less than 20% of that so far. Much of SA has had less than 10%. Adelaide was sitting on 0.4mm to 09.00 today compared to a June average of 79mm, their driest start to the season in 60 years. The stable weather under the long run of highs is giving warm days and chilly nights which are enjoyable for fine weather lovers, but exasperating for farmers expecting rain for winter crops or skiers looking for natural snow on the Alps. In TAS, both Hobart and Launceston have had average maxima so far in June of 14.7° compared to their normals of 12.0 and 13.1.
Unfortunately, there is little in the medium term forecast models to suggest relief. A front next week is likely to bring some light showers to the southwest, southern coast and SE Australia, but otherwise the outlook is more of the same.
A stormy start to summer in Europe
Europe has had a late spring and early summer of dramatic storms, hail, downpours and several tornadoes.
The European Severe Weather Database recorded 448 reports of large hail last month while there were countless reports of colossal falls of smaller hail, such as this one, last Thursday 15 June, at Soria in northern Spain [Severe Weather Europe].
On 13-14 June, thunderstorms dropped torrential rain and hail the size of hens eggs in the Haute-Loire department of central southern France, killing one person and causing 160 evacuations. Landos-Charbon, south of Le Puy, recorded 123mm in one hour late evening, twice as much as would be expected in a 1 in 100-year event. 226mm fell over the full duration of the storm, or nearly three months' average rain for the town. Downstream near Le Puy, the Loire rose from 64cm to 6.10m in two hours in response. [Météo France, Floodlist]
Do you know your lightning?
Speaking of storms in Europe, here are some recent images and videos from Severe Weather Europe to test your lightning knowledge.
First, here's a stock, standard CG (cloud to ground) lightning bolt, only rather closer than you'd like to be. The bush being vaporised was in Les Estables, Auvergne, France
But lightning doesn't have to originate in the cloud - it can be GC, or upward, lightning as well, originating from some object on the ground. In this case extraordinary things can happen. Here's a still of beautiful upward lightning branching over Trabzon, Turkey last Saturday.
Then there's crawler lightning which, as you guessed, splits into many branches and crawls around the sky like the ones in these slightly out-of-focus videos; the first taken the day before over Trabzon and the second which went absolutely berserk over Valence, SE France last Tuesday.
Finally, there are the really elusive beasts: the
sprites, blue jets, gigantic jets and elves. Severe Weather Europe has just put this brief guide to these, along with photos, videos and a guide to photographing them (much patience required!) on its website.
There are many other types as well, including the very rare ball lightning which may or may not exist and for which there is neither credible photographic evidence nor plausible scientific explanation. This list of Lightning Types and Classifications from Dan Robinson is a good introduction to the enormous variety of lightning.