Flooding Continues, Winter Intensifies
Northern Hemisphere in the grip of winter
It is winter in the Northern Hemisphere, but flooding continues in areas where the temperature are too warm to freeze precipitation and rivers (Scottish EPA, UK EA). Meantime, flooding, which we have been looking at for several weeks, continues in sub-equatorial Africa and South America (ReliefWeb).
This week, we’ll look a little more closely at the flooding in Africa and winter weather in both Central Asia and North America.
Continued Flooding in Africa
The NOAA Climate Prediction Center (NOAA CPC) Africa Hazards Outlook for February 20 through 26 says that “heavy downpours during the past observation period have caused flooding of many local areas of Southern Africa.” The continuing effects foreseen by NOAA scientists are: Mozambique rivers expected to remain near or above alert level during the next week; in Zimbabwe, where the Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam area is already in a state of “disaster declaration,” the risk for localized flooding is elevated for the next week; in the North West province of South Africa, floods have caused multiple fatalities, and any additional rainfall (which is likely) during the next week could cause more flooding. The same report says that the heavy downpours predicted for areas of Zambia could make “ground conditions” there worse.
Extreme cold and winter storms
Winter in parts of Central Asia can be harsh, but in the area of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan, according to the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (NOAA CPC) Central Asia Hazards Outlook, normal temperatures at this time of year are in the range of 6 to 14 C (48 to 57 F). However, this week, minimum temperatures of -29 to -25 degrees C [-20.3 to -13 F] were observed across most of Kazakhstan, and freezing temperatures affected the lowlands of southern Afghanistan. “During the next week, below-normal temperatures are expected to persist.” At the same time unusually severe winter weather has been observed in North America for some weeks. For the coming week, Government of Canada’s Public Weather Alerts (GC) show widespread warning-level forecasts referring to high winds, winter storms, blowing snow, new snowfall, rainfall, and freezing rain. In the U.S., the National Weather Service (NWS), as of today (20 February), was mapping winter weather threats for more than half of the country, and a more general “hazardous weather outlook” for several additional areas. The NWS statement includes, “a threat of severe weather from the Ohio Valley to the Gulf of Mexico, with the greatest risk from northern Mississippi across western parts of Tennessee and Kentucky. The northern part of the system will bring a threat of freezing rain from the Great Lakes to New England and heavy snow across the Upper Midwest, with blizzard conditions in Minnesota and Iowa.”
Current Hazard Warnings
Drought: United States
Earthquakes: Barbados, Greece, Greenland, New Zealand, Peru, and Venezuela
Flood: Argentina, Australia (Queensland, Western Aus.) Bolivia, England, Mozambique, Peru, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
Severe Weather: Canada, Central Asia, and United States
Tropical Storm: Indian Ocean
Volcanoes: The Andaman Islands, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Japan, Nicaragua, Peru, and U.S. (Alaska)
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