Greater Manchester Plunged Into Darkness As The Great September Storm Brings Lightning, Thunder, Rain And Chaos

The county was suddenly plunged into darkness around 6pm when dark clouds rolled in and dumped more than 30mm of rainfall in just one hour, about half the average for the whole of September.

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Homes were deluged, shops like the Harvey Nichols department store were closed and the entire Metrolink system came to a shuddering half when lightning knocked out two electricity sub-stations.

Market Street in Manchester city centre was awash.

Manchester City’s Champions League match against Borrusia Monchengladbach had to be called off just before the kick-off as the pitch inside the Etihad stadium was flooded and roads around the ground were treacherous.

Dozens of flights in and out of Manchester Airport were delayed while two in-bound flights had to be diverted to airports in the midlands.

The storm affected part of Stockport worst, with the village of Bramhall being submerged in water.

Firefighters were called to 106 reports of flooding in just 90 minutes at the height of the storm, in many cases working to isolate to the electricity supply to ensure householders’ safety.

The firefighters’ busy evening dealing with weather-related incidents started at 6.24pm when B&Q on Kingsway in Manchester was flooded.

At 6.27pm firefighters were sent to Winchester Drive in Heaton Norris, Stockport, where water affected the electrics.

At the same time another fire engine was scrambled to Crossley Road in Stockport where a woman and a boy were trapped in a car which was stranded in the middle of flood water under a railway bridge.

The mum and child managed to scramble out of the vehicle before they were looked over by paramedics.

At 6.29pm the fire service sent one of its crews to Buckingham Road West in Heaton Morris, Stockport, after flood water gone into a garage.

At the same time another engine was called to Heaton Road in Manchester where the water had forced its way into a property and again affected the power supply.

Firefighters were also scrambled to Queens Road in Cheadle Hulme where flooding had affected a vetinary practice

At 6.30pm a fire engine was sent to Bright Eyes Child Care Nursery on Demesne Road in Manchester where water had affected the electrics.

Firefighters were also scrambled to Queens Road in Cheadle Hulme where flooding had affected a vetinary practice

At 6.30pm a fire engine was sent to Bright Eyes Child Care Nursery on Demesne Road in Manchester where water had affected the electrics.

A few minutes later they went to Broadway in Bramhall, Stockport, where again the water had affected power to the property. Firemen were sent to a report of flooding in Alness Road in Manchester by 7.14pm.

At 7.36pm the fire service sent at crew to The Village Hotel Club and Restaurant on Captain Clarke Road in Hyde.

Scores of tram passengers were left stranded in the city centre after lightening struck three of Metrolink’s sub-stations, resulting in all services being suspended.

The disruption lasted well into the evening with services cancelled on the Bury and Altrincham line plus a reduced service running on the East Didsbury line due to flooding.

Rail networks were also left in disarray with many trains delayed until 10pm due to the weather.

Many commuters complained of being stranded in the city centre for the evening.

Cara Nuttall wrote: “Sooo… Stranded in an insane thunderstorm, soaked with no coat, umbrella or plan.#manchester public transport is in meltdown and no cabs.”

Roads were affected too with many impassable for cars due to flooding.

Several drivers were forced to abandon their vehicles on Salmon Fields in Royton while Bramhall high street was left with floods at least 1ft deep.

Super Typhoon Meranti Rapidly Intensifies; Dangerous Threat to Taiwan, China and Northern Philippines Early This Week

Meranti is now a super typhoon after rapidly intensifying into the equivalent of a strong Category 4 in the western Pacific Ocean.

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Parts of Taiwan, the northern Philippines and southeastern China will see impacts from this dangerous typhoon over the next few days.

Latest Status and Forecast

As of Monday morning (EDT), Meranti was centered more than 600 miles southeast of Taipei, Taiwan.

Meranti is being steered to the west-northwest along the southwest periphery of an upper-level high pressure system that is located to its north.

The typhoon has undergone rapid intensification, which means maximum sustained winds increased by at least 30 knots (about 35 mph) in 24 hours or less. According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), Meranti’s winds had increased from 80 mph to 130 mph in the 18 hours Sunday 5 a.m. EDT – 11 p.m. EDT.

As of Monday morning (EDT), the JTWC said that Meranti had become a super typhoon, which is when maximum sustained winds reach 150 mph or greater.

Factors leading to the rapid strengthening include low wind shear and warm ocean temperatures.

Taiwan, China and Northern Philippines Should Monitor Closely

Although there is uncertainty in the forecast track, all interests in Taiwan, the northern Philippines and southeastern China should monitor Meranti’s progress and take appropriate action if needed.

In some ways, the forecast track for Meranti resembles the one Nepartak took in early July. Nepartak made landfall as a super typhoon (winds 150 mph or greater) near Taitung City in southeastern Taiwan as a Category 4 equivalent. It then moved into southeast China as a tropical storm.

Here’s a general timing of when Meranti’s impacts may arrive and what they may be. Keep in mind, however, that all of this will be highly dependent on the ultimate track that Meranti takes.

Taiwan : Timing: Meranti’s worst potential impacts would be Wednesday, local time (Tuesday night – early Wednesday U.S. time…Taiwan is 12 hours ahead of U.S. EDT).

Possible impacts: Damaging winds, flooding rain, mudslides and storm surge flooding in areas that are prone.
Uncertainty: Meranti’s exact path in relation to Taiwan will dictate the severity of any wind impacts. If Meranti moves along the southern portion of the forecast path, this may keep the strongest winds near the eye just offshore from southern Taiwan, but heavy rain and flooding would still be major concerns. In addition, heavy surf and coastal flooding would be threats.

Northern Philippines :Timing: At the moment, the core of Meranti is forecast to pass north of the northern Philippines Luzon Island on Tuesday, local time. Meranti is known as Ferdie in the Philippines.

Possible Impacts: The Batanes and Babuyan islands are the most likely areas to see damaging winds and heavy rainfall depending on Meranti’s path. Far northern Luzon Island could also be brushed with heavy rain and strong winds, particularly if Meranti takes a more southern path.

China : Timing: Meranti is forecast to move into southeastern China late Wednesday into Thursday, local time. Areas from Hong Kong northward along the coast should monitor the progress of Meranti closely.

Possible Impacts: Potential threats in eastern China will greatly depend on how much the mountainous terrain of Taiwan disrupts the typhoon. At the very least, heavy rainfall can be expected, which may result in flooding. Damaging winds and storm surge flooding will also be potential threats.

Rainfall Forecast

Parts of Taiwan, particularly the southern and eastern sides of the island, could pick up over 12 inches of rain as Meranti passes near or just south of the island. Higher elevation locations will likely see the greatest rain amounts.

The heavy rainfall will then spread northward into southeastern China, with over 5 inches of rain possible along the coast.

Due to these copious amounts of rain, flooding and mudslides are both major concerns in Taiwan and southeastern China.

Another Typhoon After Meranti?

Well to the east of Meranti is another system that is developing in the western Pacific.

It could also threaten parts of east Asia later this week, possibly as a typhoon. The next named storm in the west Pacific would be Rai.

The latest forecast track for this potential typhoon curls it northeast into Japan’s Ryukyu Islands late this week. All interests there, including in Okinawa, should monitor this system closely the next several days.

Eventually this system could impact southern mainland Japan next weekend.

Tropical Storm Orlene Rapidly Strengthening Into Hurricane

Tropical storm Orlene has emerged in the Pacific Ocean hundreds of miles southwest of Mexico and is rapidly strengthening.

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The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Orlene emerged from a tropical depression early Sunday and is centered about 700 miles (1,125 kilometers) southwest of the southern tip of Baja California, Mexico. The storm has top sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph) and is moving toward the northwest at 9 mph (15 kph).

An advisory issued late Sunday says Orlene is rapidly strengthening and is expected to become a hurricane by late Monday. Forecasters say the storm posed no threat to land early Sunday and that no coastal watches or warnings are in effect.

Tropical Storm Newton Makes Second Landfall in Mexico, Threatens U.S. With Rain

Hurricane Newton weakened to a tropical storm as it made its second landfall in Mexico early Wednesday, but forecasters warned it would dump dangerous amounts of rain on the U.S. later in the day.

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The storm faded after unleashing 90-mph winds and heavy rains on the tourist resorts of Los Cabos on Tuesday.

Hurricane Newton weakened to a tropical storm as it made its second landfall in Mexico early Wednesday, but forecasters warned it would dump dangerous amounts of rain on the U.S. later in the day.

The storm faded after unleashing 90-mph winds and heavy rains on the tourist resorts of Los Cabos on Tuesday.

By 8 a.m. ET, Mexico’s government had discontinued all coastal watches and warnings for the storm, which was located about 55 miles northwest of Hermosillo, Mexico, and about 180 miles south-southwest of Tucson, Arizona.

Newton’s maximum sustained winds were 60 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in its 8 a.m. advisory. It was moving north at 18 mph.

On Tuesday, Newton smashed windows, felled trees and sparked widespread power outages. Tourists huddled in hotels and locals sheltered in their homes as the storm churned over the Baja California peninsula.

Two people died and three were missing after their shrimp boat capsized in rough seas generated by the hurricane in Mexico’s Gulf of California, according to The Associated Press.

Although it packed a punch, Newton did not bring the same level of destruction to Los Cabos as Hurricane Odile, which devastated parts of the luxury resort region in Sept. 2014.

After crossing the Gulf, the storm made its second landfall on mainland Mexico at around 3 a.m. local time (6 a.m. ET) while packing winds of 70 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Rainfall of up to 12 inches was expected to spark “life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” especially in coastal areas, according to the Weather Channel.

The storm was set to cross the U.S. border into Arizona around nine hours later.

If Newton keeps its tropical-storm strength all the way to Arizona, it will be only the sixth storm to do so on record, according to Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore.

The National Weather Service has issued flash-flood watches across southern Arizona, New Mexico, and far western Texas. It warned the storm would bring “showers capable of producing heavy rain and in turn causing flash flooding,” with some regions getting as much as five inches during the downpour.

Tropical Storm Mindulle To Threaten Tokyo Early This Week

Tropical season is in full swing in the West Pacific, as evidenced by the three tropical storms currently spinning in the basin.

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“The biggest threat to the Japanese mainland will be the storm farthest away currently, as Tropical Storm Mindulle will approach southeast Honshu early this week,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Eric Leister said.

Mindulle will maintain its strength as a tropical storm as it moves through warm ocean waters and battles upper-level winds.

Eastern Honshu will begin to feel impacts from Mindulle on Monday morning, local time. Conditions will worsen as the storm makes landfall southwest of Tokyo Monday night into Tuesday.

The main threats from Mindulle will be flooding rainfall, with widespread amounts of 100 to 150 mm (3 to 6 inches) expected from Tokyo to Sendai and up to Sapporo. Locally higher amounts are possible from the heavier rain bands.

Residents should be on alert for the potential for mudslides and take precautions when driving in areas that may be flooded.

The strongest wind gusts will be along coastal regions.

There are two other tropical systems in the vicinity of Japan.

Tropical Storm Kompasu will continue on a northward track through Monday.

“Kompasu made landfall Sunday night local time in southern Hokkaido. The storm will bring locally heavy rainfall and gusty winds to northern Honshu and eastern Hokkaido into Monday,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Eric Leister said.

This first round of flooding from Kompasu will set the stage for an enhanced flood risk from Mindulle when it moves through late Monday into Tuesday.

The final storm, Tropical Storm Lionrock, is located several hundred kilometers southwest of Tokyo and is expected to drift slowly to the west-southwest before stalling near the Ryukyu Islands.

Tropical Storm Lionrock could intensify into a typhoon next week and bring flooding rain and damaging winds to the Ryukyu Islands.

JUST IN: Study of Jet Stream and Ocean Currents Main Driver of Extreme Weather

Droughts in California are mainly controlled by wind, not by the amount of evaporated moisture in the air, new research has found. The findings were published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, on June 30th 2016.

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The researchers found that disturbances in atmospheric circulation, the large-scale movement of air, have the most effect on drought because they can affect factors that will cause it to rain more or less. The study co-authors are Qinjian Jin, a postdoctoral researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Zong-Liang Yang, a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences; and Paul Dirmeyer, a professor at George Mason University.

You will notice this new study affirms the 1998 Battros Equation, but not unexpectedly stops short of evaluating the “cause” of the shifting ocean and jet stream currents. I dedicated two chapters in my 2005 book “Solar Rain: The Earth Changes Have Begun”; to this ongoing disconnect which amazingly was induced by the respective agencies (NASA-NOAA) reservedly sharing information. Although it has improved measurably over the last five years, it really did come down to the Left Hand unaware of the Right Hand’s doings.

_1998 Equation

Although a strong El Niño in the winter of 2015 helped diminish the drought in California which had been in a severe drought since 2011. The current drought is caused by a high-pressure system that disturbs the atmospheric circulation. The development of the high-pressure system is related to a sea surface temperature pattern in the Pacific Ocean, according to research cited by the study.

The research increases the understanding of how the water cycle is related to extreme events and could eventually help in predicting droughts and floods, said lead author Jiangfeng Wei, a research scientist at The University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences.

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The researchers analyzed 30-year data sets that recorded precipitation, ocean evaporation, surface wind speed and atmospheric pressure on and near the west coast of the United States. These are all factors that influence the water cycle in California. One of the difficulties of studying the water cycle, Wei said, is that the water sources for precipitation cannot be directly observed, so the team also used a mathematical moisture-tracking method and high-resolution model simulations.

Their analysis showed that although moisture evaporated from the Pacific Ocean is the major source for California precipitation, the amount of water evaporated did not strongly influence precipitation in California, except in the cases of very heavy flooding. That’s because the amount of water evaporated from this ocean region does not change much year by year, researchers found, and did not cause rain to occur more or less often.

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“Ocean evaporation has little direct influence on California precipitation because of its relatively weak variability,” Wei said. Instead, the researchers found that disturbances in atmospheric circulation, the large-scale movement of air, have the most effect on drought because they can affect factors that will cause it to rain more or less.

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“The topic is extremely timely as current and future climate change would mean more changes in extreme events such as droughts and floods,” Yang said. “Understanding this asymmetric contribution of ocean evaporation to drought and flooding in California will ultimately help us make better predictions.”

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Mystery Of Powerful Lightning At Sea Not Solved Completely

The mystery of why most of the most powerful lightning on Earth happens over the oceans isn’t solved, but a few of the usual suspects are no longer in custody.

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It isn’t an instrument error, as some hypothesized. Nor is it the relative rarity of cloud-to-sea lightning allowing charges to build. And when it comes to cloud top heights, size apparently doesn’t matter.

It’s possible the increased presence of salt in the atmosphere plays a role, but if that is the case it probably has an accomplice. The evidence implicates ice crystal size, although air flowing back and forth along the land-sea boundary might also be involved.
“There isn’t one single mechanism that by itself justifies the stronger peak current we see in cloud-to-ground lightning over the oceans,” said Dr. Themis Chronis, a research scientist in the Earth System Science Center at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). “This process isn’t as simple as we previously thought.”

Results of this research at UAH, NASA and the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) were published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

Scientists have known since the early 1990s that the initial return stroke – the flash when a leader or electric channel connects a cloud to the surface – usually has a more powerful current over the oceans than lightning over dry land. While there have been hypotheses about why that should be the case, there was no generally accepted explanation.

Chronis, NASA’s William Koshak and Bill McCaul with the USRA used lightning data from the National Lightning Detection Network to create datasets for four coastal areas: along Lake Michigan, the mid-Atlantic, the Florida peninsula and the upper Gulf Coast. Then they tracked the strength and location of each lightning strike over each of those locations.

They found a type of power curve along each of the oceanic shorelines, with the relative strength of lightning strikes starting to rise just a bit inland and continuing to rise as the strikes move out to sea until the instruments no longer are reliable. The strongest lightning was along the Gulf of Mexico during the wet season.

There was, however, no such differentiation along or over Lake Michigan. Lightning over the fresh water lake was no more powerful than lightning over the surrounding land.

So it must be the increased concentration of salt – an electrical conductor – being transported from the sea into the atmosphere, right?
Well, not entirely.

“Salinity isn’t altogether out of the question. Yet,” said Chronis.

Salt is an especially dicey suspect for causing powerful lightning because atmospheric concentrations of salt rise and fall with the seasons, but not in synch with the seasonal rise and fall of powerful lightning strokes.

It is known that storms over the oceans (and slightly inshore) tend to create larger ice crystals than inland storms. Large ice crystals can hold a more powerful electric charge, but that doesn’t explain why that extra charge isn’t discharged in routine amounts through routine lightning.

And, while the size of ice crystals might vary as much as 10 percent across the land/sea boundary, the differences in the electric discharge in lightning strokes can vary by 25 to 30 percent.

It is puzzling.

For now the cause of powerful oceanic lightning will, apparently, remain a mystery. This latest research might imply increased salinity and large ice crystals in combination with storm physics could be the cause. Any conclusive theory will probably wait for additional research and data provided by new instruments, such as the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM). GLM is scheduled for launch later this year aboard NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite – R Series (GOES-R) weather satellite.