29 jan, 2013 – Areas of Sydney flooded by heaviest rainfall in a decade

Sydney is experiencing its heaviest rainfall in a decade as wild weather from ex-cyclone Oswald passes through the region.

Parts of Sydney have been drenched in their heaviest daily rainfall totals in more than a decade as a wild storm system washed over the city on Monday night after causing havoc in the north of the state and in Queensland.

The surf is going to be dangerous for a fair while after this rain clears, probably until the end of the week. The sea is going to be pretty mucky as well.

About 1500 residents downstream of Grafton spent the night in emergency accommodation after being evacuated due to the storm, which has claimed four lives in Queensland, including that of a three-year-old boy who was hit by a falling tree in Brisbane’s north.

Severe weather warning issued after Sydney temperature hits record high of 45.8 degrees

A severe weather warning has been issued for Sydney, just hours after the city registered its hottest day on record.

The warning for heavy rain and damaging winds was also issued for the NSW Central Tablelands and parts of the Hunter, Illawarra and Central West Slopes and Plains Forecast Districts.

Earlier, the mercury hit 45.8 degrees in the city at 2.55pm. The previous high of 45.3 degrees was recorded in January 1939 at Observatory Hill.

Many parts of NSW had hovered around 45 degrees at lunchtime on Friday as a fiery air mass from inland Australia moved over the state, pushing the mercury well above the forecast maximum.

In Sydney, the original forecast was that the temperature would reach a maximum of 39 degrees in the city. But by 12.30pm the mercury had already hit a stifling 43.3 degrees at Observatory Hill, climbing to 45 degrees at 1.43pm, 45.2 degrees at 1.58pm, 45.3 degrees at 2.27pm and 45.7 degrees at 2.54pm. The city’s temperature dropped to 33.9 degrees at 5.04pm.

Jan 27, 2013 – Sydney braces for wild weather as cyclone system moves south

THE heavy rainfall following cyclone Oswald which has caused widespread flooding in Queensland is forecast to hit Sydney on Monday as long-weekend holidaymakers return to the city.

Experts describe the flooding and tornadoes battering the east coast as the worst they have seen in 30 years.

The weather bureau issued a severe weather warning for parts of the state with heavy rainfall and winds of up to 140 km/h expected. Up to 300 millimetres of rain could fall in areas of Sydney over 24 hours from Monday morning.

The Queensland Premier, Campbell Newman, said central Brisbane was expected to flood on Tuesday and Wednesday but the levels will not be as devastating as they were in 2011.


If current projections play out, 3600 residential properties will be affected in Brisbane and of those, 2100 are unit dwellings where only ground floor flooding is expected. About 1250 businesses are also expected to be affected while about 50 homes are projected to be inundated in the Ipswich suburb of Goodna.

Mr Newman called in the army to help with the crisis, as Bundaberg prepared for the worst flooding in more than a century.

Jan 27, 2013 – Sixth tornado hits southeast Queensland

A sixth tornado has hit Queensland’s Bundaberg region and forecasters say more could develop, including over Brisbane, as the day wears on.

There were unconfirmed reports this morning of a tornado on the weather radar at Bribie Island.

Four people were injured when a sixth tornado hit the Bundaberg region early on Sunday, tearing roofs from some properties at Burrum Heads.


Those injured include a man who had a tree fall on him at a local caravan park, the ABC reports.

The Department of Community Safety said none of the four people were believed to have serious injuries.

Five other twisters hit the Bundaberg region on Saturday.

There were also reports of tornado activity early on Sunday at Bribie Island north of Brisbane.

It’s unclear if that has caused any damage.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned communities including Brisbane and the Sunshine and Gold coasts could be hit by tornado activity on Sunday as the low pressure system spawned by ex-cyclone Oswald moves towards NSW.

The Bundaberg Regional Council is expecting 200 homes and 100 businesses to flood on Sunday if levels in the Burnett River continue to rise, as expected.

About a dozen homes and businesses have already flooded in the city’s north.

At Gladstone, north of Bundaberg, 400 properties have been evacuated near the Boyne River.Gladstone mayor Gail Sellers says the Awoonga Dam is well beyond capacity and more than eight metres of water is spilling over the dam wall – something never seen before.

‘‘And we’ve still got more to come,’’ she told the ABC.

Meanwhile, to the north of Brisbane, the Moreton Bay Regional Council has concerns for 4000 low-lying properties that could be at risk from a storm surge on Sunday.

Mayor Allan Sutherland says three evacuation centres have been opened on Bribie Island and at Caboolture to aid residents who might have to leave their properties.

The State Emergency Service received more than 800 requests for assistance in the 24 hours to 5am (AEST) on Sunday, most from Bundaberg south to the Sunshine Coast.

There have been several swift water rescues, with crews still working to save two people from the flooded Widgee Creek near Gympie.

Four homes have also gone under water at Woolooga, west of Gympie, the ABC reports.

In the town of Biloela, inland from Gladstone, more than 40 people were evacuated as water levels there rose.

The chaotic weather has been spawned by a low pressure system that was ex-tropical cyclone Oswald.

It’s currently moving towards the Sunshine Coast, after hovering over Gladstone over the past two days.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued severe weather warnings for communities from central Queensland down to the NSW border.

Forecaster Amber Young said there was a good chance of ongoing tornado activity, including on the Sunshine Coast, in Brisbane, and on the Gold Coast on Sunday.Strong low-level winds were feeding into the low pressure system to create conditions that spawned tornadoes.

‘‘Considering those conditions are not only going to maintain, but possibly worsen as well, there’s a realistic possibility of further tornado activity,’’ Ms Young said.

Massive melting of Andes glaciers

Glaciers in the tropical Andes have shrunk by 30-50% since the 1970s, according to a study.

The glaciers, which provide fresh water for tens of millions in South America, are retreating at their fastest rate in the past 300 years.

The study included data on about half of all Andean glaciers and blamed the melting on an average temperature rise of 0.7C from 1950-1994.

Details appear in the academic journal The Cryosphere.

The authors report that glaciers are retreating everywhere in the tropical Andes, but the melting is more pronounced for small glaciers at low altitudes.


The Extreme Weather Threat That’s All Around Us

This is not a good time to be a climate change denier. After a record-breaking year of dangerous weather in 2012—following a destructive year in 2011—scientific reports are rolling out this month showing extreme weather in the U.S. is on the rise, threatening Americans today with bone-bleaching drought, fueling more devastating floods and violent storms, and posing threats of even greater weather disasters in the future. Climate change is suddenly all around us.

Last week the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration released a report ranking 2012 as the hottest year ever recorded in the lower 48 states—and one of the most volatile in terms of extreme weather events. Then this week came the draft of the National Climate Assessment, a four-year comprehensive study involving hundreds of scientists and experts, that listed a myriad of menacing climate threats Americans are facing now and in the near future. The draft report unequivocally blamed human activities—mainly the burning of fossil fuels—for driving climate change’s rising environmental, health and economic toll in the U.S.

On top of all these reports, a newly-released interactive NRDC map shows that 2012 extreme weather events broke 3,527 monthly records for heat, rain and snow across the U.S. in one of the costliest natural disaster years ever recorded. Insurance giant MunichRe estimates that an astounding 90 percent of the world’s insured losses occurred in the U.S. last year, much of it due to the devastating drought across much of the country’s midsection and to Superstorm Sandy, the epic northeastern hurricane that struck in November.

more here….

New Report: Global Warming Undeniable, Extreme Weather Getting Worse

This post was coauthored by SACE Policy & Communications Director, Jennifer Rennicks.

The draft of the newest National Climate Assessment (NCA) report was officially made available today, and the findings for this third climate assessment aren’t comforting:

Climate change is already affecting the American people. Certain types of weather events have become more frequent and/or intense, including heat waves, heavy downpours, and, in some regions, floods and droughts. Sea level is rising, oceans are becoming more acidic, and glaciers and arctic sea ice are melting. These changes are part of the pattern of global climate change, which is primarily driven by human activity.

From the report’s Executive Summary

From the report’s first sentence, the findings are made very clear: Climate change is happening now and it is hurting people.  This is a warning that the scientists and climate action advocates, like SACE, have cautioned about for some time.  In fact, we have an extensive blog archive about the effects that global warming-fueled extreme weather is having on our communities in the Southeast.

Even though we have known about these impacts for some time, this version of the NCA report is particularly significant for a couple reasons:

1) Scientists are more confidently linking the extreme weather we’ve seen in our daily lives to climate change.  Linking specific weather events to climate change has always been approached with caution, but because of the frequency and the trend of weather events we’ve seen in recent years, the link is becoming more and more clearly significant.

2) The report is one more piece of evidence blowing the climate denial argument and culture out of the water.  This report was a joint collaboration of hundreds of industry leaders, scientific institutions, and government agencies.  Even two of environmentalists’ most-disliked corporations fed into the process: Monsanto and Chevron.  If even these titans of industry are helping the nation prepare for climate change, it must be conceded that global warming is in fact of concern to conservatives and liberals, big businesses and eco-types alike.

more here…

11 Jan, 2013 – Extreme weather strikes worldwide, bringing floods, fire and ice

Extreme weather strikes worldwide, bringing floods, fire and ice

Last year was the hottest on record in the United States, and 2013 has already shown itself to be another year of extreme weather worldwide.

Just in the past ten days, Australia has seen record temperatures sparking wildfires (that can be seen from space), Turkey has been blanketed in snow, and Israel and the Palestinian territories have waded through major flooding.

Extremely cold weather has also struck South Asia, prompting people to put coats on goats and huddle around fires.

Looks like climate change is planning to settle in for a long stay.


11 Jan, 2013 – Incredible wall of sand whipped up by cyclone hits Western Australia

An enormous wall of dust has hit part of Australia as residents brace themselves for a tropical cyclone.

The stunning images of the wild dust storm were captured by tugboat works and aeroplane passengers near the town of Onslow in north-western Australia.

Local reports say the huge swathes of red sand and dust had been picked up by strong winds in the Indian Ocean before being dropped near the town.

The tsunami-like wave of sand could be seen travelling for miles and dwarfed ships out at sea.

Tugboat worker Brett Martin, who shot some of the pictures, said before the storm hit conditions were calm and glassy.

But when the dust arrived visibility was reduced to just 100 metres and the swell rose to two metres.

It is the latest incident in weeks of dramatic weather in the country that has been besieged by terrible bush fires after unprecedented high temperatures and strong winds ravaged much of the south east.

Extreme weather, including Hurricane Isaac, Superstorm Sandy, dominated 2012 in U.S., NOAA says

Extreme weather, including drought, wildfires, hurricanes and storms, dominated the nation’s climate in 2012, according to a statistical summary released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Louisiana’s unusual weather features were included in the report, including Hurricane Isaac and its unexpectedly large storm surge, as well as the state’s flirtation with record heat.

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