Saturday 30 June 2012

Record temperatures in Kansas; Floods in the UK

Temperatures in Kansas hit 118 F: 32 communities from Colorado to Indiana post highest temperatures ever
That's 47 C!!

29 June, 2012

June 30, 2012 – CLIMATE –  
Norton Dam, Kan., hit 118 F. on Thursday, and 32 communities from Colorado to Indiana just posted their highest temperatures ever. 
Forecasters say back-to-back La NiƱas are partly to blame. 
These records appear to be falling into step with a longer-term trend in which record highs are being set more often than record lows for each decade since the 1970s – a trend many climate researchers have attributed to global warming. 
As June 2012 draws to a close, it feels more like mid-July or August to people in wide swaths of the country. 
Between June 27 and June 28, 32 communities stretching from Colorado to Indiana posted the highest temperatures on record ever for their locations – with a handful tying or topping records set only a few days before, according to data kept by the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Norton Dam, Kan., for instance, recorded an all-time record of 118 degrees F. on Thursday, two degrees above Death Valley’s July average. 
The 118-degree reading shattered Norton Dam’s previous record of 113 degrees F. – set just three days before.
More than 350 sites across a broad swath of the continent’s interior have posted daily record highs since June 27, with heat advisories on Friday covering all or parts of 23 states from Kansas east to the Carolinas and into the Northeast, and from Wisconsin south to Mississippi and Alabama. 
At the same time, other parts of the country are reporting record lows for this time of year. 
Anyone looking for relief might put the Northwest on their itinerary. Over the same two-day period, 57 locations, largely clustered in Washington state and northeastern Oregon, posted at least one daily high temperature that tied or beat the lowest for the date on which it was measured. 
Waterville, Wash., posted the biggest drop among the group – a high of 51 degrees on Wednesday, nine degrees below the previous record-low high of 60 degrees on June 27, 1946. 
And it’s all coming out of a spring that was the warmest on record in the US, bringing a heat wave to the center of the country in March the likes of which the US hasn’t seen since 1910. Indeed, Spring 2012 in the US was 2 degrees warmer than the previous record-holder, the spring of 1910. 
One reason for the seemingly relentless high temperatures is the presence of a broad ridge of high pressure inching its way across the continent, forecasters say. 
With skies generally clear, sunlight has a clear path to travel on its way to baking what in many places is an already parched surface. As of Tuesday, a broad swath of the US was experiencing either severe or extreme drought, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center, based at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. 

UK: Big clean-up begins after storms leave thousands without electricity
Flood alerts remain in force after streets are submerged and 'golf ball' hail stones fall

29 June, 2012

A vast clean-up operation got under way on Friday after heavy rain and storms left thousands of homes without electricity. Many people were evacuated, with severe disruption on the road and rail networks.

Severe summer storms have caused flash floods that saw streets submerged. More than 111,000 lightning strikes were detected across the country, while hail stones "the size of golf balls'' caused damage in Leicestershire.

In Shropshire, a man who died after being caught in heavy flooding was named on Friday. Mike Ellis, a maths teacher, died after being swept away by floodwater in a stream at Bittlerley, near Ludlow. A 90-year-old man was among people rescued from vehicles by fire crews after flash flooding in the Bridgnorth area.Mr Ellis's wife described him as "a gentle caring man" and the "most wonderful husband".

More rain is forecast but not torrential downpours, though there will be heavy showers – some in flood-hit areas including northern England, the Midlands, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Environment Agency has flood alerts in place in 10 areas of the UK including East Anglia, the Midlands, the north-eastand the north-west.

Thousands of homes were left without electricity in the north, with 3,000 customers still without power on Friday yesterday, down from 23,000 on Thursday, according to Northern Powergrid. The worst hit areas include Consett, Whitley Bay, Prudhoe, Shiremoor and Stanhope.

Northern Ireland and the Irish republic were also hit by floods, with a loss of power to more than 10,000 homes in the Cork area and 1,000 in Northern Ireland. Hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged by flooding in the Cork suburb of Douglas, while parts of Belfast and County Antrim were also badly affected.

On Thursday heavy rains caused landslides which forced the cancellation of all East Coast trains between Newcastle and Edinburgh, with limited services resumed by Friday afternoon. Some passengers travelling from London to Glasgow endured journeys of up to 15 hours.

A London to Glasgow Virgin Trains service was stranded between two landslides in the Lake District for more than two hours before being evacuated near Lockerbie after a fire broke out in the front coach of the train. In Newcastle, the city's metro was underwater, submerged cars were left abandoned on flooded streets and care home residents with learning disabilities had to be evacuated.

On Friday one of the main railways between Scotland and England was closed for the second time in 24 hours, with trains unable to run between Glasgow and Carlisle on the West Coast mainline because of a problem with overhead wires. The three-day Godiva Festival in Coventry was cancelled on Friday, with 100,000 revellers told not to turn up at the city's War Memorial Park to see acts such as Echo and The Bunnymen and Cast. A statement on the festival website said: "We're really sorry but finally beaten by devastating weather."

The cancellation comes after the Isle of Wight festival was hit by torrential rain last weekend, which saw the site flooded causing traffic jams around the island.

The Midlands was hit by intense downpours, with some parts receiving 22mm of rain in one hour – a third of the average rainfall for the month. "We are not going to see the type of heavy rainfall we have seen in the last couple of days, but unfortunately the weather continues to look quite unsettled," said Sarah Holland from the Met Office. "It will be mainly dry with some heavy showers, with the south-east getting the best of the weather while the worst will hit parts of Wales, the south-west and Yorkshire."

Sunday is expected to be drier but will remain dull. She added: "As people go back to work on Monday it will remain unsettled with more heavy showers expected in Tuesday." Wales has seen the wettest June since records began, while this is the second wettest June on record in England. "It has been a disappointing month on all fronts – with many areas being exceptionally wet, very dull and cooler than average," said Holland.

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