Monster Super Typhoon Meranti on course to smash into China

Super Typhoon Meranti is heading for landfall in eastern China after bringing winds over 100 mph and more than 20 inches of rain to Taiwan.

Tuesday afternoon, Meranti peaked at 190-mph sustained winds. This tied Typhoon Tip as the second-strongest tropical cyclone in the northwest Pacific since 1970, and made it the strongest tropical cyclone anywhere on the globe so far in 2016.

Latest Status on Meranti

As of Wednesday morning (EDT), or Wednesday evening China time, Meranti was centered about 46 miles west-southwest of Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Maximum sustained winds were estimated to be 180 mph, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).

Current Storm Info

Current Storm Info

Wind gusts in southern Taiwan topped 100 mph in several locations as the center of Meranti passed by just to the south. This includes 112 mph at Kaohsiung International Airport and 113 mph in Hengchun.

In Taiwan’s Penghu County, a wind gust to 134 mph has been clocked. This is a group of islands located west of Taiwan’s main island.

In the 48 hours ending Wednesday early evening Taiwan time, rainfall totals in excess of 20 inches have been measured in the mountains. Taiwu Township in Pingtung County has seen nearly 30 inches of rain.

Basco in the Philippines Batanes Islands saw winds sustained winds near 90 mph early Wednesday morning, local time, before the weather station stopped reporting.

Meranti Forecast Impacts in China, Taiwan

The center of Meranti will move on a path that will likely take it inland near Xiamen, China, early Thursday morning, local time. This is Wednesday afternoon U.S. time.

Meranti is expected to be the equivalent of a Category 4 near the time of landfall, according to the JTWC.

Projected Path and Intensity

Projected Path and Intensity

China 

  • Timing: Meranti is forecast to move into southeastern China early Thursday, local time.
  • Possible Impacts: Damaging winds and storm surge flooding will be threats along the coast, especially in and either side of Xiamen, China. Another major concern is heavy rainfall which will likely result in flooding. Some locations will pick up more than a foot of rain.
Rainfall Forecast

Rainfall Forecast

Taiwan

  • Heavy rain and gusty winds will continue in Taiwan through early Thursday, local time. The rain may contribute to flooding and mudslides.

Meranti’s History

The typhoon underwent rapid intensification Sunday into Monday, which means maximum sustained winds increased by at least 30 knots (about 35 mph) in 24 hours or less.

Meranti’s winds increased from 85 mph to 180 mph in the 24 hours ending Monday at 11 a.m. EDT, according to the JTWC. That’s a 95 mph increase in winds during that time, or more than double the rapid intensification criteria.

The Japanese Meteorological Agency estimated Tuesday that Meranti’s pressure was 890 millibars. For perspective, only two Atlantic hurricanes have had lower pressures (Wilma and Gilbert).

Hurricane Earl downgraded to a Tropical storm after making landfall

The US National Hurricane Center has downgraded Earl to a tropical storm.

The storm, which earlier had hurricane-strength wind speeds of up to 130km/h (80mph), made landfall early on Thursday in Belize, in Central America.

Earl weakened as it moved inland with wind speeds dropping to about 105 km/h.

The storm is predicted to move across northern Guatemala and south-eastern Mexico on Thursday, where its rains could still cause flash floods and mudslides.

Earlier, heavy rains fell on Honduras.

Residents of Belize City and other coastal communities had been urged by the authorities to move inland and take advantage of higher ground or a network of storm shelters.

Officials ordered the closure of the city’s international airport while archaeological reserves and national parks were shut.

Palm trees are seen after Hurricane Earl have hit, in Belize City, Belize August 4, 2016.
Belize City was battered by hurricane-strength winds

Weve picked 10 Incredible Weather pictures from around the World!

Like weather? Like pictures? Good, so far so good. Weve scoured 100s of the top images out there to bring you 10 fantastic photos you may just want to check out!

Check them out below and why your at it maybe time for a new wallpaper?

 

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Ormond Shelf by Jason Weingart

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Severe weather pummels two US states

Storms carrying tornadoes, torrential rain and powerful winds damaged homes, deposited a snowplough in a tree, and flooded highways in two US states.

Authorities say a tornado damaged up to 20 homes in Litchfield, north-central Minnesota. Keith Johnson, the mayor of Litchfield, about 112km west of Minneapolis, said there was serious damage, but no one was injured.

“I’ve lived in this town 52 years and I’ve never seen a storm like this in our community,” Johnson said.

Diane Kelbing told KARE-TV that she and her husband raced to their mobile home park shelter when they heard the tornado warning siren.

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“Well, the garage is gone, the shed is gone, the snowmobile trailer is gone. We’ve got a snowplough in the tree,” Kelbing said.

Fifty residents were removed from the Hilltop Health Care Center in nearby Watkins after the home lost part of its roof. The American Red Cross said it is assisting the evacuees.

Law enforcement also reported a tornado touchdown around 6.30pm on Monday in Stearns County, Minnesota, according to the National Weather Service.

The storms also washed out sections of highways in northern Wisconsin and closed other roads.

Wisconsin emergency officials said in a news release 33 people were trapped on Michigan Island in Lake Superior. The release didn’t offer any other details but said as of midmorning 20 people had been rescued and rescue efforts were still under way.

The storms also damaged or destroyed 85 boats at Saxon Harbor in Iron County, state emergency officials said.

The Ashland County Sheriff’s Office urged against travel in the county because many local roads were flooded. Sections of US Highway 2 and state Highway 13 south of Highbridge were closed on Tuesday.

washout

The National Weather Service said more flooding was likely in northern Wisconsin, where rivers and creeks will continue to rise over the next two days. Areas around Danbury to Minong, Hayward, Ashland and Hurley are expected to experience the most significant flooding.

7 States are now recovering from severe drought conditions

California and parts of the Southwestern United States have now endured a fifth consecutive year of drought.

While these areas and the country are far from being drought free, near record-strength El Niño rains over the winter and fall of last year alleviated drought conditions considerably. A few states that were drought-stricken just last year are no longer in drought.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed drought levels estimated as of the week ended July 4 and as of early July last year from the U.S. Drought Monitor. There are currently only three states with widespread severe to exceptional drought conditions. To find the states that recovered most from drought, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed improvements compared with other states engulfed in drought at this time last year.

These are the seven states recovering from drought.

1. Oregon
> Change in severe drought coverage:
 -83.7 percentage points
> Pct. severe drought 2016: 0.0%
> Pct. severe drought 2015: 83.7%

In early July of last year, 83.7% of Oregon land was in a state of severe to extreme drought. By its peak in the late summer months, severe drought covered 100% of state land. Above-average temperatures and record low snowpack exacerbated the drought. Over the last six months, however, the state has made a full recovery. Thanks to heavy precipitation, severe drought conditions are entirely absent from Oregon today. The 83.7 percentage point decrease was the largest such improvement in the country.

Nevertheless, concerns remain over the future of Oregon’s water supply. Water levels at many reservoirs remain below full capacity, and abnormally dry conditions have returned to the state. According to Rippey, the dryness is a warning that drought conditions may return across the Oregon and the Northwest.

2. Nevada
> Change in severe drought coverage:
 -54.4 ppt.
> Pct. severe drought 2016: 21.7%
> Pct. severe drought 2015: 76.1%

Nevada is one of many Western states ravaged by severe drought conditions over the past five years. More than half of the state was in severe drought from the summer of 2012 through the beginning of this year. In early 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared most of Nevada to be a disaster area. However, heavy precipitation brought on by a strong El Niño over the past year has helped alleviate much of the state’s drought. The area of land in severe drought fell by 54.4 percentage points., the second largest improvement in the country. Nevertheless, 22% of Nevada land area remains in severe drought, the third largest such share of any state.

3. Washington
> Change in severe drought coverage:
 -45.8 ppt.
> Pct. severe drought 2016: 0.0%
> Pct. severe drought 2015: 45.8%

Washington has recently come out of one of its worst droughts on record. Like many states, strong storms brought on by El Niño helped alleviate much of the drought in Washington. Unlike many of the Western states stricken with drought, however, agriculture and wildlife suffered most from the drought. Even while nearly 46% of Washington was in severe drought in early July of last year, just 19% of residents lived in these areas. Nevertheless, the consequences for the state’s agricultural industry have been massive, reaching at least $336 million, according to a Washington State Department of Agriculture report.

Despite the strong recovery, drought conditions in Washington may soon resurface, according to Rippey. Currently, 100% of the state is abnormally dry.

 

4. Idaho
> Change in severe drought coverage:
 -44.7 ppt.
> Pct. severe drought 2016: 0.0%
> Pct. severe drought 2015: 44.7%

About one year ago, 44.7% of Idaho land was in severe drought. Over the past year, however, heavy rainfall and snow helped alleviate all severe drought conditions across the state. As a result, after the fourth largest improvement in the country, no areas in the state are today in severe drought. Idaho is one of many states to benefit from strong El Niño storms last winter. According to the National Resources Conservation Service, precipitation in some parts of the state during December of last year was almost twice as heavy as normal.

 

5. California
> Change in severe drought coverage:
 -35.6 ppt.
> Pct. severe drought 2016: 59.0%
> Pct. severe drought 2015: 94.6%

California is in the midst of one of the worst droughts in state history. Almost 60% of California land with nearly 30 million residents is in severe to exceptional drought, the most of any state. It is the only state where exceptional drought still persists. Still, this level of drought is a considerable improvement from July of last year, when 95% of the state was in severe to extreme drought. The 35.6 percentage point change was the fifth largest improvement of any state.

To deal with the drought, now in its fifth year, California imposed a statewide 25% reduction in urban water consumption in April 2015. With the improved conditions, water restrictions have since been scaled back across the state. The drought is far from over, however, and statewide restrictions may be reinstated if rainfall is too low or water use becomes too high. Lower-than-average rainfall is widely expected next year brought on by the weather pattern La Niña.

6. Utah
> Change in severe drought coverage:
 -26.8 ppt.
> Pct. severe drought 2016: 0.0%
> Pct. severe drought 2015: 26.8%

About 27% of Utah was engulfed in severe drought in early July of last year, among the highest levels of drought in the country at that time. As stream flows neared record lows, numerous Utah cities in the state imposed daytime watering restrictions. Thanks to a particularly wet spring, however, today there are no areas of severe drought in the state. Drought conditions in Utah improved over the past four years from a peak drought level that had 72% of Utah in severe to extreme drought conditions. At this level of drought, crop or pasture losses are likely, and water shortages and restrictions are common. About 49% of the state remains in abnormally dry conditions — the lowest level of drought severity — slightly more than the 41% national land in abnormally dry conditions.

7. Arizona
> Change in severe drought coverage:
 -16.6 ppt.
> Pct. severe drought 2016: 8.0%
> Pct. severe drought 2015: 24.6%

Severe drought conditions covered nearly 25% of Arizona’s land mass in early July 2015. The water level at Lake Mead, one of the state’s primary sources of water, hit its lowest point in the reservoir’s history — since the completion of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s. Anticipating that drought conditions would persist, the state planned for water rationing last year. Thanks to heavy precipitation in the winter months, however, Arizona’s drought levels have significantly improved.

Today, 8.0% of Arizona’s land is in severe drought, 16.6 percentage points less than levels during last July and the seventh largest improvement in the country over that time. Further relief may come during monsoon season — a period from mid-June to late September with heavy storms that typically account for close to half of the state’s annual rainfall.

More on states recovering from drought

During periods of severe or — worse — exceptional levels of drought, crop or pasture losses are likely, and water shortages and restrictions are common. During times of exceptional drought, these conditions are intensified and water shortages are considered water emergencies.

 

Even before the current multi-year drought, these and many other states in the region have found ways of coping with regular cycles of wet and dry seasons. Water systems such as reservoirs have been essential for many years. In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Brad Rippey, agricultural meteorologist at the USDA, explained, “Without managed water, we couldn’t support the population or the agriculture that we have in the western United States.” Especially in the far West Coast states, he added, “you have to get through the summer on what falls during the winter.”

Drought conditions peaked in 2012, when close to 50% of the continental United States was engulfed in at least severe drought. As a result of heavy precipitation in the fall, winter and spring, the level of severe drought in late June fell to approximately 4% of the country — the lowest level since October 2010. “For the West as a whole it was certainly the best winter we had seen since the last time we had El Niño in 2009-10 or the following year,” Rippey said.

Compared with other weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes, which are often in the news, drought is a very slow-emerging — and slow-ending — environmental feature. The effects of abnormally dry weather often do not appear until well after drought has become significantly entrenched. Also, year-over-year improvements such as the recent El Niño rains, while considerable windfalls for area residents, are far short of what is needed to return water systems to normal or restore the damaged landscape.

For example, the Washington State Department of Agriculture estimated the industry’s loss due to drought at $336 million. Water storage systems are also still well below historical averages throughout regions covered in drought. The country’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead — now famous for its “bathtub rings” — is at 37% capacity, the lowest level on record. There has also been die-off of trees in the western United States. The U.S. Forest Service estimated that in the southern Sierra Nevada, there are approximately 66 million dead trees. These die-offs, largely caused by drought, dramatically increase the risk of wildfire.

Abnormally dry conditions, which register as the lowest level of drought on the Drought Monitor maps, have reemerged in parts of the Northwest in recent months. Rippey noted that abnormal dryness often serves as a warning that drought may be returning. “We’re headed back toward La Niña – cool water in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific – later this year. La Niña typically leads to drought expansion in the U.S., although not always in the same places.”

To identify the states with improving drought conditions, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the percentage of land area in severe to exceptional drought from the U.S. Drought Monitor as of the weeks ended July 4, 2016 and July 6, 2015. The states are ranked from the smallest to largest percentage point change for the year. To be considered, a state needed to have at least 20% of its land area in severe to exceptional drought conditions at this time last year.

China’s Worst Flooding Since 1998 Kills 173, Takes Economic Toll

Weeks of torrential rain across central and southern China have caused the country’s worst flooding since 1998, killing 173 people, ruining farms and cutting major transportation arteries — and creating potential headwinds to economy growth.

A swollen Yangtze and other rivers spilled over their banks as flood waters moved toward the coast. That was compounded by the arrival of Typhoon Nepartak, which was downgraded to tropical depression as it made landfall on Saturday in Fujian province.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs said flooding and rain associated with the typhoon affected more than 31 million people in 12 provinces, submerged more than 2.7 million hectares (6.7 million acres) of cropland and caused 67.1 billion yuan ($10 billion) in damages.

The death toll is still less than the 4,150 reported in 1998. Flooding both then and now was caused by heavy rain linked to El Nino, which originates from warm waters in the Pacific Ocean near the equator and disrupts global weather patterns.

Road, Rail

While forecasters said the worst weather passed on Monday, analysts said the economic impact from farm damage and transport disruptions would be tallied for months to come.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement Sunday that fruit and vegetable prices had “risen significantly” in some flooded regions. It asked local authorities to “closely monitor prices” and implement price controls if needed.

Flooding will boost consumer prices in July and August by about 0.2 percentage point to levels above 2 percent, Zhou Jingtong, director of macroeconomic research at Bank of China Ltd. in Beijing, wrote in a note. The CPI rose 1.9 percent from a year earlier in June, less than a 2 percent gain in May, the National Bureau of Statistics said Sunday.

Economists said the floods would have both short- and long-term implications for the world’s second-largest economy. Food and product shortages could materialize soon from supply interruptions as transport hubs were paralyzed and factories and offices closed in some of China’s most industrialized provinces.

‘Negative Impact’

“The heavy rainfalls at present pose downside risks,” Raymond Yeung, an economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. in Hong Kong, wrote in a report Friday. “We expect some negative impact on third-quarter gross domestic product growth unless the government launches stimulus measures to offset the impact.”

Longer term rebuilding could prove to be a stimulus, according to Nomura Holdings Inc.

“The situation seems increasingly comparable to events in 1998,” Nomura economists wrote in a report. Repairs and rebuilding may boost growth in the fourth quarter “as post-flood construction may boost aggregate demand. We believe industrial production growth will likely rebound in September after a weak July and August.”