September 2011 Global Weather Extremes Summary
September 2011 Global Weather Extremes Summary
September was yet another busy month for global weather extremes. Highlights included the worst flooding in Pennsylvania and upstate New York since 1972 as a result of Tropical Storm Lee, devastating wildfires in Texas and Minnesota, the deadliest typhoon to hit Japan since 2004 (Typhoon Talas), and unusual heat in the United Kingdom and Argentina.
Below are the month’s highlights.
Tropical Storm Lee made landfall in Louisiana on Sept. 4th and brought record-breaking rainfall to portions of Mississippi, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and New York. All-time 24-hour precipitation records were broken at Jackson, Mississippi with 10.68” on Sept. 4-5, Chattanooga, Tennessee with 9.50” on Sept. 5-6, and Binghamton, New York with an amazing 8.70” on Sept. 7-8. The latter almost doubled the city’s previous record 24-hour rainfall of 4.68” set just last year on Sept. 30-Oct. 1. The storm also helped Binghamton set its all-time wettest month on record with a total of 16.58” (old record 11.45” in June 2006). It was also the wettest September on record (since 1895 at least) for the state of Pennsylvania.
The flooding in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey was the most devastating since Tropical Storm Agnes in June 1972.
Storm-total rainfall map of Pennsylvania for Tropical Storm Lee. The map shows how much precipitation was recorded at various COOP sites during the period of Sept. 5-8. The point maximum was 15.20” at Elizabethtown, Lancaster County.
In contrast, the drought in Texas culminated in a series of wild fires in the south central portion of the state near Austin. Four people were killed and some 1,600 homes destroyed. A forest fire in northern Minnesota consumed 93,000 acres in the Pagami Creek area, the largest fire in Minnesota in over 90 years.
This is actually a color photo, not black and white, of ash coated ground and charred trees in Bastrop State Park, Texas following the wild fire event in September. Photo by Pat Sullivan/AP.
The coldest temperature measured in the northern hemisphere this past month was -41.1°F (-40.6°C) at Summit station, Greenland on Sept. 30th.
SOUTH AMERICA and CENTRAL AMERICA
Unusual warmth affected Argentina, southern Brazil, and Bolivia during September. Argentina reported its warmest average maximum temperature (for September) in 50 years. The hottest reading recorded in the southern hemisphere was 110.5°F (43.6°C) at Villamontes, Bolivia. All-time absolute maximum temperature records were recorded in Ver Gleba Celeste, Brazil with 106.2°F (41.2°C) and Floriana City, Brazil 107.6°F (42.0°C). San Jose de Chiquitos, Bolivia tied its all-time heat record with a reading of 105.8°F (41.0°C).
The United Kingdom recorded its 6th warmest September on record and Spain its driest since 1988. In the U.K. an unusual and unprecedented late September heat wave brought record temperatures to much of the country. The highest reading was 84.6°F (29.2°C) at Cambridge and Sutton Bonington (Nottinghamshire) on the 30th. The heat peaked on Oct. 1st (the details of which will be in my October summary). The remnants of Hurricane Katia lashed Scotland on Sept. 12th resulting in several storm-related fatalities and a peak wind gust of 86mph at Glen Ogle. However, it was a storm on the Isle of Wight on Sept 6th that produced the top wind gust for the month of 87mph at Needles Old Battery. The coldest temperature in the U.K. during September was 31.3°F (-0.4°C) at Tyndrum, Stirling on Sept. 15th. The maximum 24-hour rainfall reported in the U.K. was 3.13” (79.4mm) at Capel Curig, Conwy on Sept. 5-6th.
I am unaware of any notable extreme weather events in Africa this past September.
Significant typhoons impacted the Philippines (Typhoon Nesat) and Japan (Typhoons Talas and Roke) during the month. Nesat flooded Manila on Sept. 26-27 and brought wind gusts as high as 106mph. Some 55 people were reported killed as a result of the storm. Typhoon Talas struck Japan on Sept. 2 with fierce winds and flooding rains resulting in the deaths of at least 73. It was the deadliest typhoon to strike the country since 2004. Rainfall rates averaged almost 3”/hr at Yamanakoko, Yamanashi and the storm total of 65.06” (1652.5mm) at Nara was an all-time single-storm total for Japan. It was estimated that even greater amounts of up to 80” (2000mm) fell in mountainous regions of Nara Prefecture. Typhoon (Roke) struck Tokyo on Sept. 21st with winds of up to 130mph. Approximately 13 deaths were reported.
Typhoon Roke at her strongest as a Category 4 strength storm on Sept. 20th as it approached Japan. NASA image.
Heavy monsoon flooding was reported in Cambodia, Thailand, India, Pakistan, and China during the month. In Pakistan some 200,000 were displaced and over 200 killed during floods in the southeastern region of the country during the first week of September. In India, the eastern state of Orissa was swamped by torrential rains that caused flooding resulting in the deaths of at least 32. The flooding in Thailand and Cambodia gradually worsened over the course of the month culminating in catastrophic flooding in October (more on this in my October summary next month). Flooding in the provinces of Sichuan, Henan, and Shaanxi in China during the middle of the month led to scores of deaths. The flooding in Sichuan was reported to be the worst since records began in 1847.
The hottest temperature in the northern hemisphere and the world during September was measured at Abdaly, Kuwait on Sept. 5th with a reading of 118.2°F (47.9°C).
In Australia minimum temperatures averaged the coldest for September since 1985 and in Western Australia since 1978.
Average minimum temperature deciles for September in Australia, the coolest such since 1985. Map courtesy of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
The warmest temperature in the country during the month was 103.5°F (39.7°C) at Bradshaw, Northern Territory on Sept. 30th and the coldest 12.2°F (-11.0°C) at Charlotte Pass, new South Wales on Sept. 22nd. The maximum calendar day precipitation measured was 6.89” (175mm) at Wyong, New South Wales on Sept. 26th.
The coldest temperature in the southern hemisphere and the world during September was -112.4°F (-80.2°C) recorded at Dome Fuji on Sept. 18th. This was also the coldest temperature measured in the world for the year 2011 (since Antarctica is now entering its spring and summer and lower temperatures than this are not expected to occur).
KUDOS Thanks to Maximiliano Herrera for global temperature extremes data and Stephen Burt for the U.K. extremes.