Hurricane Alex to Impact the Azores, Severe Weather Affects Northern Portugal
Since forming on January 13, tropical cyclone Alex has rapidly become a hurricane, and is forecast to track over the Azores by Friday morning (local time) (NASA). According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Alex is the “first hurricane to form in the month of January since 1938, and the first hurricane to occur [in the Atlantic Ocean] in this month since 1955” (NHC Discussion #4).
As of January 14 (2100 UTC), Hurricane Alex is located approximately 350 miles south of Faial Island in the central Azores, with maximum sustained winds at 85 miles per hour (NHC Advisory 5). As of the most recent advisory, a hurricane warning is in effect for Faial, Pico, São Jorge, and Terceira. According to the NHC forecast, Alex is expected to bring 3-5 inches of rain (and up to 7 inches in isolated areas), with hurricane conditions expected over the central Azores by early Friday.
Earlier in the week, severe weather also affected parts of northern Portugal. Heavy rainfall, strong winds, high waves, and storm surges led to river overflows and flooding in the towns of Porto, Gaia, Maia, and Amarante (as of January 11) (ECHO). Two train derailments in the Mangualde and Baião municipalities were also attributed to severe weather conditions.
RVA Country Profile: Portugal
This Week in Hazards:
- On January 11, Tropical Cyclone Pali became the “earliest hurricane ever recorded over the Central Pacific Basin” in a calendar year (CPHC Advisory #19, NASA). As of January 14, Pali has weakened to a tropical depression, and is expected to dissipate over the next 24 hours (CPHC Advisory #29).
- Persistent poor rainfall and high temperatures are expected to negatively impact ground conditions for many parts of southern Africa. According to reports, “rainfall has been virtually absent” over parts of Mozambique and Zimbabwe since late December, while widespread seasonal dryness persists in parts of Namibia, Angola, Zambia, and Madagascar (CPC). Reports also indicate that inadequate rainfall has led to reduced water availability, delayed planting, permanently wilted crops, and livestock deaths (CPC).
- Ongoing heavy rainfall and flooding over the past month continue to affect four countries of South America, and has led to the evacuation of more than 150,000 people (ECHO). According to reports, Paraguay has been the most affected, with over 100,000 people requiring evacuation (most from the capital of Asunción). Flooding has affected several towns in Argentina; and more than 160 homes have been partially damaged or destroyed in Brazil. Conditions in Uruguay are improving, with water levels declining in some flood-affected areas, but (as of January 12) an estimated 26,000 people remain evacuated or displaced (ECHO). Heavy rainfall is expected to continue over the next few months due to the combined effect of El Niño conditions and seasonal rains.
Current Hazard Warnings
Tropical Cyclone: Alex (Atlantic)
Flood: Angola, Malawi, Kenya, Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia), England, Indonesia (Sumatra), Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, United States (Texas, Midwest, Southwest), Portugal
Winter Storm: Canada (Nunavut, Eastern, Quebec, Newfoundland, Labrador), United States (Washington, Maine)
Earthquake: Philippines, Japan
Drought: Africa (Southern), Puerto Rico (Eastern), United States (Western), Colombia
Biomedical: West Africa
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