“Late on Sunday night, a tropical cyclone formed off the north Queensland coast.
“The storm has begun a track towards the coast, where more than 100 bushfires are still burning after week-long heatwaves and “unprecedented” conditions. Tropical cyclone Owen will bring some relief from the stinking heat; lower temperatures and rainfall that should help firefighters control the most threatening fires by midweek.
“Queensland’s exhausted emergency services will not welcome Owen’s track towards the shore with any sense of respite; to them the blended ends of disaster seasons represent a horror scenario, but one many have seen coming.
“Paul Gray, a representative of the Queensland Firefighters’ Union, says the nature of bushfires has noticeably changed in recent years. The fires, he says, have become more intense and longer-lasting. Last week conditions in parts of Queensland were classified “catastrophic” for the first time. The rating has only existed since 2009, but no bushfire in the state since 1966, when warnings were first introduced, would have been considered so dangerous…
“Australia’s devastating bushfires typically occur far to the south of the tropical Queensland rainforest.
“But Gray says the fire season in the north now lasts longer. That means a diminishing timeframe to allow emergency services to change tack from firefighting to battling cyclones and floodwaters, which historically have caused many more deaths and wider destruction in Queensland.
““I think that what we’re seeing in Queensland is tragic for those who are there. For the rest of the country, who are coming into the beginning of summer, this is a real wake-up call saying, ‘Now is the time to prepare’.”
“The heatwave that has been gripping the state for the last several days smashed monthly records, with one city — Cairns — sweating through its hottest-ever November day, twice.
“The mercury hit a scorching 42 degrees Celsius in Cairns two days in a row. Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) climatologist Tamika Tihema said it was “significant” to see the record broken in such a way.”
“Beyond the current heatwave, the overall warming trend has disrupted snakes’ breeding cycles, meaning there could potentially be more snakes, acting more aggressively, because they were charged up by the heat.
“University of Queensland snake expert Professor Bryan Fry agrees, saying snakes are the “scaly canaries in the coal mine” warning of deeper problems in the ecosystem. “Snake encounters will go up with this extreme weather as snakes are trying to escape the heat,” Professor Fry said.”
“Australia has lowered its wheat production forecast by 11 per cent to the smallest in a decade amid a crippling drought across the country’s east coast that may cut exports from the world’s fourth biggest supplier.
“Wheat production during the 2018-19 season will total 16.95 million tonnes, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences.”
“A short but brutal storm has delivered two hours of thunder, lightning and heavy downpours to Auckland [New Zealand]….
“The storm had seen the wettest hour in December in Auckland on record, NIWA said, adding it was also the wettest summer hour since 1975.”
“Temperatures on Jeju Island soared to 22.9 degrees Celsius on Monday, warmer than the average June temperature and the highest for December on the resort island in 82 years.
“At this time of year, temperatures usually average 13 to 15 degrees. The Korea Meteorological Administration said the heat wave was due to unusually warm southwesterly winds.”
“The National Weather Service says at least 23 tornadoes touched down Saturday in Illinois, making the outbreak the state’s largest on record for December. Meteorologist Dan Smith with the weather service’s Lincoln, Illinois, office says crews had confirmed 23 tornado touchdowns across central Illinois by Monday afternoon.
“But Smith says that number may grow…”
“Before afternoon even hit, record heat had rolled into Brevard County [Florida] Monday, with temperatures hitting 85 degrees, a watermark set on this day in 1983. It would be less than an hour before the record was shattered, and by 4 p.m., temperatures in Melbourne had reached 90 degrees… Fall has been especially warm this year, with temperatures running about 6 to 10 degrees above average… Melbourne had a month of broken heat records in November as temperatures leapfrogged records set as far back as 1938…”
“Temperatures were substantially below normal [for Washington DC in November] and rain seemed to fall incessantly.”
“Britain’s largest ice rink has started to melt after the UK enjoyed some of its warmest ever December weather.
“Temperatures reached 61F (16C) in London yesterday as the surface of the main rink at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park turned to water – with a smaller rink’s inch-deep puddles soaking customers and workers clearing it.”
“2018 may end up being Hungary’s hottest year ever, the national meteorological office said, noting the country had witnessed its second hottest autumn since 1901.
“Median autumn daytime temperatures averaged 12.3 C., 2 degrees higher than during autumns between 1981 and 2010, the analysis said.”
“It is often said that climate change will hurt the world’s poorest people first. Nowhere is that potentially truer than in Somaliland, an unrecognized state in the Horn of Africa sandwiched between an expanding desert and the Red Sea. A prolonged drought has killed 70 percent of the area’s livestock in the past three years, devastating the region’s pastoral economy and forcing tens of thousands of families to flee their grazing land for urban camps.”
“Gauteng residents must brace for yet another heatwave as temperatures in the province will reach a scorching 37 degrees Celcius (°C) on Tuesday, the South African Weather Service said. Temperatures are expected to reach 35°C in Johannesburg on Tuesday afternoon, 36°C in Vereeniging, and 37°C in Pretoria. This is after the heatwave intensified on Monday afternoon, with temperatures averaging 35°C while Pretoria reached a maximum of 36°C.
“This is the third heatwave of the Spring/Summer season in South Africa.”