Monday, November 18, 2013

The Seas Roaring

Extreme and unusual weather has been popping up a various spots around the globe in the past few days. Typhoon Haiyan struck across the western Pacific hitting the Philippine Islands particularly hard.  It is considered by experts to be one of the most powerful typhoons to strike land of all time. And it may turn out to be the most powerful storm to ever hit land based on the wind speed. It has devastated the Philippines, making communities like Tacloban level with the ground. Thousands of people are dead and missing.  The damage is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Super typhoon Haiyan: One of world’s most powerful storms in history from space

Super typhoon Haiyan, among the strongest storms to form on Earth in modern times, is exiting the Philippines. Reports of damage and fatalities are streaming in, but it is too soon to assess the full scope of the storm’s toll on life and property.

Over the last three days, satellite imagery has provided astonishing views of the storm’s structure. Many meteorologists, myself included, have remarked that they’ve never seen a storm with such an impressive presentation. From its unmistakably clear eye (episodically blurred by small swirls or mesovortices spinning inside it), the towering thunderstorms surrounding it, and its impeccable symmetry – it is a textbook, “perfect” tropical cyclone.

Even after crossing the Philippines and weakening due to land interaction, the storm is the equivalent of a very strong category 4 hurricane (maximum sustained winds down to 155 mph from 195 mph). The series of images below show the storm from its current state back to its appearance from Wednesday, when it first achieved category 5 status.

There was an unusual rainfall in the capital of Saudi Arabia.  On Saturday, Riyadh received 0.79 inches of rain in 12 hours.  This is said by experts to be the worst rainfall in Riyadh in 30 years.

One killed, several missing after rare floods hit Saudi capital

At least one person has died and several others are reportedly missing in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh as a result of severe flooding caused by heavy rainfall. Such floods are extremely rare for the kingdom, which is dominated by desert.

At least four people were reported missing in Riyadh, according to local media. One of them, a 26-year-old Yemeni woman, has been confirmed dead.

The body of the young woman was found in the Wadi Nimar valley, which is surrounded by steep banks and can therefore suddenly fill with water in case of rainfall, Al-Arabiya reported, citing the Saudi Civil Defense authority.

According to Saudi news website Sabq, the woman was washed away while attempting to cross the flooded area. She had been traveling in a car with her father, but they had to stop as it became too dangerous to remain in the vehicle.  

Sunday a series of unusual tornadoes tore through the Great Lakes states.  A total of 81 tornadoes were confirmed. Two of the tornadoes were classified as EF4. Tornadoes are not unknown in the United States in November, but such a great number and tornadoes of such great power are highly unusual this late in the year.

Midwest tornadoes: 'The sky was just rumbling'

Washington, Illinois (CNN) -- Steve Bucher knew something was ominous about the weather.

"The sky was just rumbling for 20 minutes," Bucher said on CNN's "New Day," on Monday, the day after a devastating tornado outbreak destroyed his Washington, Illinois, home and dozens of others in several Midwestern states. "I told my wife I've just never heard anything like this in my life."

Soon, she was begging him to go downstairs into their basement.

"Within 30 seconds, the house was literally vibrating from the direct hit of this funnel cloud," Bucher said. "Next thing we know, things are cracking, and glass breaking and furniture came around the corner, missed us even though it came down the hallway where we were," he said.

"I think my attitude was in the next minute and a half, we're either going to be in heaven, we're going to be in the hospital or we're going to walk out of here. Completely in the Lord's hands which one of those three things was going to happen," he said.