12 May, 2015
In 2009, the El Nino brought the worst drought in four decades to India. It razed wheat fields in Australia and damaged crops across Asia. Food prices surged. A closely watched forecast by Japan on Tuesday confirmed its return this year.
A strong El Nino will roil economies that are heavily dependent on agriculture, particularly India which is already reeling from bad weather. It would also unhinge supply chains of commodities such as rice, corn and palm oil. In fact, the heat is already up in some places in the Asia Pacific.
"We've already been hit by a three-month dry spell. We could not plant anything since January. All of us here in Taculen are praying for more rains," said Benny Ramos, a rice farmer in North Cotabato in southern Philippines.
Prayers for rains in Asia, however, may not be answered as weather forecasts show an intensifying El Nino has set in.
The El Nino, or a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, can lead to scorching weather across Asia and east Africa but heavy rains and floods in South America.
This year, the El Nino arrived in spring and is likely to continue into autumn, said the Japan Meteorological Agency, which was the first bureau to project the emergence of an El Nino in 2015.
Forecasts in May tend to be more accurate as weather models become more dependable here onwards, said Paul Deane, senior agricultural economist at ANZ Bank, Melbourne.
"Now we are getting to a point that you start having more confidence in those models," he said.
Grain prices have, however, not yet factored in the threat to supplies from an El Nino, largely because similar calls for bad weather in 2014 did not come to pass. In fact, good crops replenished stocks last year.
In the absence of a weather premium, prices of grains such as wheat and rice remain near multi-month lows. Wheat futures, down a fifth so far this year, are near five-year lows, while Asia rice is at its weakest since June.
The last El Nino led to tens of billions of dollars in economic damages in the Asia Pacific. This year, a strong El Nino could take an even bigger toll in certain countries, analysts said.
For India, it would be a double whammy.
INDIA: AMONG THE WORST HIT
Dozens of farmers have already committed suicide in India after damage from unseasonable rains this year. Now if the summer rains are below normal, rural discontent will deepen.
The monsoons are vital for India as half its croplands lack irrigation while the farm sector accounts for 14 percent of its economy. India's weather bureau has forecast weaker rainfall this year, citing a 70 percent El Nino probability.
"Crops like soybean and cotton are under El Nino watch for being sown mainly in rainfed conditions," said K.K. Singh, the head of agricultural meteorology division of the Indian weather office. "El Nino looms large over soybean areas of the central parts and cotton belts of the western and the northern regions."
Fewer domestic soybeans, which are crushed to produce soyoil, will prompt the world's No.1 edible oil importer to buy more palm oil from top producers Indonesia and Malaysia.
India's rice crop would also be hit.
While the No.2 rice exporter could use its record-high stocks to meet a local shortfall, it would leave less available for sales at a time when demand could rise from countries like the Philippines.
More than half of the provinces in the Philippines, one of the world's top rice importers, are already suffering from dryness which has curbed its rice output.
AUSTRALIA: EARLY SIGNS OF EL NINO
Early signs of El Nino also emerged on Australia's east coast, with a poor end to the wet season in Queensland and a dry autumn in Victoria, said ANZ's Deane.
Australia's high protein wheat output could suffer as an El Nino brings below-average late winter and spring rainfall to the east coast. Spring rains in September are vital for wheat yields in the fourth-biggest exporter of the grain.
Australia's weather bureau, which in April projected at least a 70 percent chance of an El Nino emerging from July, on Tuesday said the weather pattern had already formed and that models indicated a "substantial" event.
The other countries bracing for an El Nino are China, Indonesia and Malaysia.
China typically escapes the fury of El Nino, but it is still on guard for its corn crop, which needs a lot of water, said Ma Wenfeng, analyst at Beijing Orient Agri-business Consultant Co.
For the Southeast Asian countries, concerns are about palm.
Although the impact of a dry spell on oil palm trees will be felt later, rising Indian demand and fears of tight supply should drive up prices of the tropical oil. Palm prices soared 57 percent in 2009, partly due to El Nino.
Palm yields may be hit if it is really dry because that will hurt the fruits, but otherwise if an El Nino emerges in June, the effect will only be seen nine to 12 months later, said Roy Lim, group plantations director at planter Kuala Lumpur Kepong.
24 May, 2015
May 2015 – TEXAS – Officials in parts of Texas are warning that flooding could last for weeks in the wake of unprecedented amounts of May rainfall. Those rainfall totals, which have now topped 20 inches since May 1 in at least two cities, will climb still higher over the Memorial Day weekend as thunderstorms dump even more rainfall on an already water-logged region. The National Weather Service in Corpus Christi, Texas, says flooding is likely to continue for weeks along the Nueces River just west of Corpus Christi. The flooding is affecting a stretch downstream of the Wesley Seale Dam, which impounds Lake Corpus Christi.
That reservoir has reached its full capacity due to widespread heavy rainfall upstream across South Texas this month. In a disaster declaration issued Thursday, Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal said water releases from the dam began this past weekend “in order to prevent damage to [the dam] and to avoid uncontrolled downstream impacts.” About 100 homes have already been cut off by floodwaters, and hundreds of homes are at risk of flooding in the days ahead. The rising Wichita River prompted evacuations of parts of the east side of Wichita Falls, Texas Wednesday night and Thursday morning. The river is forecast to crest on Tuesday about one foot below its record crest from late June 2007
Over 100 locations in the central and southern Plains are currently reporting river flooding, the majority of which are in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri. Many cities have already clinched a top five wettest May in their weather records. At least four locations, including Wichita Falls and Corpus Christi, have now recorded their wettest May on record. You can read more about that below in our rainfall records section. With the weather pattern remaining virtually the same through Memorial Day weekend, additional flash flooding and worsening river flooding is likely to occur. As mentioned already, a persistent weather pattern has been fueling the heavy rain in the Plains.
The Jet Stream is stuck in place over the Southern U.S., has been for weeks – bringing up a record amount of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. This is an unusual weather pattern unlike anything we’ve ever seen before in the annals of meteorology. We’re seeing May rainfall totals across the Southern U.S., for which there is no previous precedent mentioned in recorded history. – TEP
A southward dip in the jet stream has been locked in place over the western states, allowing it to launch disturbances into the Plains. Those disturbances provide the necessary lift in the atmosphere to trigger thunderstorm development as they intercept a warm, moist air mass in place near the surface of the earth. Unfortunately, it appears this weather pattern will stay in place through Memorial Day weekend, triggering additional rounds of rain and thunderstorms. The higher threat for additional heavy rainfall in the most saturated areas of Oklahoma and Texas is through Sunday, when clusters of slow-moving thunderstorms are expected. Right now, our forecast guidance suggests at least some parts of the Lone Star State may still see locally heavy rain again on Monday.
BEIJING — A bus accident in south-central China left eight people dead and more than 40 others wounded Saturday when the driver lost control of the vehicle during the rainfall. State news agency Xinhua cited local authorities in Hunan province as saying the bus overturned at 11.40 a.m. (0440GMT) in Xinning county with 52 passengers — employees at the same workplace in capital Changsha – onboard. Road conditions had been rendered unsafe by the downpour and an initial investigation suggested that when the driver hit the brakes, the vehicle crashed into a guardrail. Among the injured – all of who are in hospital — five were in critical condition.
The driver is under police custody. On Friday, two children were killed and 21 others wounded after a school bus swerved off a road and into a pond during heavy rainfall in neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Of the 21 injured kindergartners rushed to the hospital, three had been in serious condition, but were exhibiting signs of improvement as of early Saturday. Southern parts of China have been experiencing powerful rainstorms since early May. Xinhua reported Saturday that the downpour had broken a 40-year record, with the country’s National Meteorological Center recording average rainfall of 199.9 millimeters — 74 percent above the normal figure. The storms are expected to continue through next week, with Guizhou and areas near the Yangtze River experiencing heavy rainfall from May 26-28.
State of disaster declared in Texas due to severe weather conditions
26 May, 2015
The governor of Texas declared a state of emergency in 2 dozen counties, as more severe weather conditions are in store for the region, where storms have already killed at least 3 people. Across the border in Mexico, 13 people were killed by a tornado.
Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster in 24 counties, citing deadly weather conditions that have been tormenting the state since early May.
The first emergency proclamation, issued on May 11, had to be amended to include more counties.
An unidentified man was found drowned in Texas, while at least two more victims reportedly died in Oklahoma. One woman died after her car hydroplaned and a firefighter was killed when he was swept into a storm drain, CNN reported.
Gut-wrenching story of a young family from the #Wimberley, TX flood on Saturday. Please pray. #txwx pic.twitter.com/EJT5AsDzZ2
— Tornado Trackers (@tornadotrackers) May 25, 2015
Twelve people were reported missing after hundreds of homes were damaged by flash-flooding in Central Texas on Monday, AP reported.
Amy Parrish (2nd L) hugs a woman as she gathers personal items from her home after a tornado swept through the area the previous night in Van, Texas May 11, 2015. (Reuters/Mike Stone)Amy Parrish (2nd L) hugs a woman as she gathers personal items from her home after a tornado swept through the area the previous night in Van, Texas May 11, 2015. (Reuters/Mike Stone)
The region has been badly affected by tornadoes, heavy rains and thunderstorms as of late. People have been evacuated from their homes, sometimes being rescued from their roofs, Reuters reported. Thousands have been left without electricity, and flash flooding has damaged hundreds of houses and washed away bridges.
Water going over the spillway at Lake Texoma for only the 4th time in its history. Photo: Donna Bearden #okwx #txwx pic.twitter.com/85XSf8amdN
— Chris McBee (@RRstormchasers) May 24, 2015
The area has been suffering from record-setting rains since the beginning of May, and has already received six times more rainfall than typical for an entire month, Accuweather said. More severe thunderstorm and flash-flood warnings, as well as tornado watches, were issued by the Weather Service on Monday, with the governor’s office saying the severe weather could continue through the week.
Meanwhile at least 13 people have died as a result of the severe weather conditions in the Mexican city of Ciudad Acuna across the border from Del Rio, Texas, Coahuila state spokeswoman Rosario Cano announced. At least another 230 people were injured in a tornado. Shelters were being set up, after the twister touched down in the region shortly after daybreak on Monday, destroying some 750 homes as well as cars.
It is believed to be the strongest tornado to ravage Mexico in at least 15 years, registering from grade EF2 to EF3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, a spokesman for the National Meteorological Service told Reuters.
Heavy rainfall, floods and tornadoes have devastated southern-central US, killing several people, washing away houses and forcing thousands to flee. Rivers rose so fast that entire communities woke on Sunday surrounded by water.
At least one person was killed in Texas – a man, whose body was recovered from a flooded area along the Blanco River, the authorities said, adding that the river rose 7.9 meters (26ft) in just one hour.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday described the flash flooding that had killed at least three people in his state as "a relentless wall of water that mowed down huge trees like they were grass."
Abbott declared states of disaster in 24 counties and flew over the area south of Austin to assess the damage caused by tornadoes, heavy rainfall, thunderstorms and flooding that forced evacuations and rooftop rescues and left thousands of residents without electrical power.
"This is the biggest flood this area of Texas has ever seen," Abbott said.
No pictures, no video. Nicely tucked away out of sight
Severe flooding cuts off lone road to Alaska's oilfield operations
22 May, 2015
May 22 Alaska's lone road to North Slope oil field operations remains closed for the third time in two months while emergency crews continue to redirect flooding from an adjacent river, state officials said on Friday.
Alaska Governor Bill Walker's office said he would sign a second disaster proclamation while in Deadhorse, the base of operations for several oilfields, after a three-day tour of drill sites that included a fly-over of the flooded area.
Production and pipeline operations have not been affected by the closure, said BP Plc spokeswoman Dawn Patience, operator for the Prudhoe Bay field.
A 10-mile stretch of the Dalton Highway leading into Deadhorse shut down early on Monday morning and state transportation officials had hoped to re-open the roadway on Friday.
The Dalton Highway starts north of Fairbanks near Livengood, and receives heavy commercial truck traffic year round, but also a growing demand from tour companies during the summer.
High waters from the Sagavanirktok River, however, prevailed and delayed the opening into next week, state transportation department spokeswoman Meadow Bailey said.
"Right now we can't make any predictions on re-opening," Bailey said.
Of the 414 miles (666 km), nearly 80 miles now remain closed, she said.
Since Monday's closure, Bailey said water traveled farther north encroaching various camps and the Deadhorse Airport.
There were additional washouts farther south, prompting officials to extend the closure, Bailey said.
The series of shutdowns began March 30 for three days and again April 5 for another 10 days before commercial and private vehicles could use the road.
There are "serious logistical problems facing many businesses and private contractors" in the area, Walker's office said.
Causes for the closures date to last summer's heavy rains that underwent extensive freezing over the winter with sheets of ice trapping water and causing spring floods.
Crews made up of state and contract workers designed a trench system that drained water away from the road and into another waterway.
But the rapid spring thaw driven by unseasonably high temperatures created additional flooding, prompting another closure.
A wildfire raging in northeastern Alberta has shut down around 233,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production at three oil sands projects and is expected to remain out of control for “some while yet,” a provincial government spokesman said on Monday.
George Soros is betting on the Canadian energy sector. Should you too?
Over the weekend, Cenovus Energy Inc and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd evacuated staff and halted output at two sites as a precaution against the rapidly-spreading forest fire.
On Monday, CNRL said it had also cut production at its nearby Kirby South thermal project to 12,000 bpd from around 30,000 bpd.
In total, roughly 9 per cent of Alberta’s crude output is offline as a result of the fire, with no clear indication of when production can resume
The worst torrential rain in China in 40 years has reportedly claimed the lives of at least 35 people; 13 others remain missing.
At least 35 people were killed and 13 more are missing in the worst torrential rain in central and southern China in 40 years; at least six provinces have been hit by the natural disaster, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua.
The worst-hit provinces included Guizhou, Fujian and Jiangxi, where the heavy rain caused mudslides and flooding.
Meanwhile, China's National Meteorological Center has reported
The rainy weather in Taiwan is likely to continue for the rest of the week and into the weekend as a plum rain front lingers, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said Monday.
The bureau issued a warning for torrential rain, saying the accumulated rainfall in Kaohsiung and Pingtung in the south of the country may exceed 200 mm on Monday alone.
Heavy rainfall is also expected Monday in other parts of the country, including the central areas of Taichung, Nantou, and Yunlin, and Chiayi and Tainan in the south, the CWB said.
Watershortage eased across Taiwan due to rain
Unseasonal rains hit parts of Western Australia
Unseasonal rains hit parts of WA thanks to an upper trough feeding from a north west cloud band
Barrow island 31mm
Newman AP 28mm
Port Hedland 14mm
Map one: Current satellite photo showing the infeed from the Indian ocean across Western Australia and pushing into South Australia.
Map two: 24 hrs rainfall map to 9am this morning across Western Australia with large areas in the Pilbara picking up decent rainfall.
Unseasonal rain in Darwin, Australia
THE DRY IN DARWIN MAY COME TO AN END (for a few days) AS RAIN IS PREDICTED THANKS TO A TROPICAL LOW
For our Darwin friends.. The dry season may come to a halt for a few days as rain & possible storms is expected by the end of the week thanks to a developing tropical low near the northern top end coast.
Check out the rainfall that is predicted by one of the models (EC/Euro model) later this week and into the weekend thanks to at tropical low that is expected to move wsw across the northern Top end.
We will continue to monitor this situation as good rain across the Top end and Darwin at the end of May is unusual. .
Heat wave kills more than 700 in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, last few days were worst
In her small home, Nagamma is seated just a few feet away from her husband's dead body. 24 hours ago, he collapsed after the temperature crawled past 47 degrees in Nandigama in the western part of Andhra Pradesh. A family friend says Nagamma's husband was rushed to two hospitals in quick succession. "They administered intravenous fluids but he died in 15 minutes," he said.
The rainy season is now officially over in Brazil. And now drought-stricken Sao Paulo enters the dry season with no certainty depleted reservoirs will not dry up during the May to October dry months.
Bracing for dry season in drought-struck Brazil
The rainy season is now officially over in Brazil. And now drought-stricken Sao Paulo enters the dry season with no certainty depleted reservoirs will not dry up during the May to October dry months.
Terrible Tornado in Cd Acuña, Coah México
CG lightning bolt over Rovantsy village , Volyn , Ukraine this evening. HugePhoto: Іlona Potridenna via http://vk.com/clubmeteo