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Week in Weather: What’s Been Making Headlines this Week

Weeks like these don’t come around too often, but when they do, they make our lives as weather enthusiasts really interesting – because it seems like everything’s happening all at once!
We’ve seen sweltering heatwaves, a huge typhoon, heavy snow, deadly gales, floods, and we’re not even finished the week yet…

Let’s start in the Middle East – where we know it’s usually hot – and a story that captured the world’s attention this week, with temperatures nearing the 70C mark(!!!!)
In Iraq, the searing heat led to an impromptu, mandatory four-day nationwide holiday beginning this past Thursday.
The government urged residents to stay out of the sun and drink plenty of water, but of course for many of the more than 3 million Iraqis displaced by violent conflict, that poses a dilemma.
Neighbouring Iran, meanwhile, recorded a heat index in the 70 degree range, approaching the highest ever recorded heat index, which was 81C (178F) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia on July 8, 2003.
Why is this all happening? Meteorologists are blaming a heat dome – a type of high-pressure ridge that is passing over the region – which exacerbated electricity and water supply issues.

Three-Day Forecast

Staying abroad, and hundreds of people have lost their lives following monsoon rains in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Burma and Vietnam.
In Burma, 46 people have died and more than 200,000 have been affected.
Relentless monsoon rains have triggered flash floods and landslides, destroying thousands of houses, farmland, bridges and roads, with fast-flowing waters hampering relief efforts.

We’ve seen yet another Super Typhoon form this week – the 5th of 2015 – in the western Pacific Ocean, after undergoing a replacement of its eyewall, a process which occurs in all intense tropical cyclones.
A super typhoon is defined by sustained wind speeds of at least 240km/h.
Lanyu, which is located just to the southeast of the main island of Taiwan, has seen tropical-storm force sustained winds to 45 mph and typhoon-force wind gusts to 75 mph (119km/h) as of early Friday morning, local time (Taiwan is 12 hours ahead of U.S. EDT).
Keep up to date with the Typhoon’s movements at – they have the latest from that part of the world, here.

A little closer to home, and Hobart has seen snow fall on its CBD for the first time in a decade – the result of a giant Southern Ocean low developing to our south – and it’s about to be felt on our shores!
The snowfall caused some minor chaos in Tasmania, as two men stranded with their car in deep snow at Mount Field, about 75 kilometres north-west of Hobart, had to be rescued after a chilly day and night in their vehicle.
Search and rescue personnel and a road contractor moved snow and fallen trees off the Lake Dobson Road to make their way to the men.
“The centre of this large area of low pressure is developing between the southern Tasman Sea and Antarctica, pulling air from the ice shelf up to Tasmania and southern Australia, in the form of southerlies, and this pushes the air from Australia over the Tasman Sea to New Zealand in the form of much warmer west to north west winds”.

Back on home soil, we had some heavy rain in parts of the North Island this week – torrential in bursts, along with strong winds – which led to some minor drama in parts of Auckland city.
A house was evacuated in Orakei after a bank collapsed, and trees were felled by strong winds overnight on Wednesday.
Wild weather across the city saw a home on Godden Crescent evacuated at 4.30am, after a bank behind it collapsed amid heavy rainfall.

We get a lot of questions emailed through about different weather systems and patterns Рand this year especially, El Ni̱o has been in the spotlight.
It’s been talked about for almost two years in the global scientific community and now it’s finally showing up on weather stations here in New Zealand – should be we concerned?  
Well, as Philip Duncan mentions in his article, the short answer is yes, somewhat – and the long answer, yes, but let’s not get carried away.

Check out the weekend forecast with our latest weather video, here – and don’t forget to vote in this week’s poll, below!

– Drew Chappell,

– Photo: CNN


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