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An April 29 photo of the earth provided by NASA.
25 May 2022

Snow, hail, high heat and unusual tornadoes - extreme weather patterns plagued the world in May

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Deadly heat, unusual cold spells and tornadoes - the weather in May have brought chaos to several areas around the world, and many of these events are described by meteorologists as extreme weather. 

India and Pakistan is plagued by record high heat, and temperatures in some areas have been life threatening to vulnerable populations.

 In southern Brazil, several cold records have been broken during the week. The area around the capital Brasilia broke records with the coldest temperature ever measured in history.  Brasilia had 1.4 degrees Celsius and further south in Santa Catarina the temperature was minus 2 degrees Celsius along with snowfall. Snow during May in that region has not happened in 15 years.

 

Tornadoes, flooding, hail storms and heat waves in Europe

Strong storms have swept through Germany and heat records have been broken in both Spain and France. On the east coast of the United States, authorities have warned of dangerously high temperatures.

German police say 43 people were injured in the town of Paderborn, where a tornado struck. At least one person has died and one woman is being treated for life-threatening injuries.

On May 4th, the Spanish region of Valencia was struck by 260 mm of rain in 24 hours, and extensive flooding occurred in the capital city. Hail storms created damage in Bullas, Mula and Yecla. 

According to the Spanish weather authority AEMET, the average temperature in Madrid has been 16 degrees warmer than usual during the month of May.

 

From unusual cold to high heat and tornadoes normally only seen in the Fall

The west coast of North America has experienced unusually low temperatures. These cold and wet weather patterns in May reaching from California all the way up to Canada have been attributed to the predominance of La Niña, a pressure zone in the Caribbean, known to create wet and cool trade winds on the Pacific Ocean. 

On the east coast of the United States, people have been flocking to the beaches in May weather, and the National Weather Service said on Friday that the temperature is approaching a record for the month of May and about 25 million Americans live in areas where warnings were issued sometime last week. 

Last week, both western Germany and the state of Michigan in the United States were hit by tornadoes. Those kind of storms are very unusual in those areas at this time of year. 

Natalie Mahowald, a climate researcher at Cornell University, told the Associated Press to view these extreme weather events of what to expect in coming years as climate change progresses.  

 

Photo Credit: (Above)  NASA Earth Observatory

The hottest March on record was followed by more waves of oppressive heat in April, leaving more than a billion people sweltering and the monsoon season still weeks away, according to an article by NASA's Earth Observatory: 

An intense heat wave in mid- and late April 2022 brought temperatures 4.5 to 8.5°C (8 to 15°F) above normal in east, central, and northwest India—just weeks after the country recorded its hottest March since the country’ meteorological department began keeping records more than 120 years ago.

On April 27, 2022, the highest temperature in the country, 45.9°C (114.6°F), was recorded in Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh. The day before, a high of 45.1°C (113.2°F) was reported at Barmer in West Rajasthan in the northwest, according to the India Meteorological Department. Many other localities recorded temperatures of 42-44°C (108-111°F).

The map above shows modeled air temperatures on April 27, 2022. It was derived from the Goddard Earth Observing System (GEOS) model, and represents air temperatures at 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) above the ground.

The effects of the heat wave include heat-related illnesses, poor air quality, little rainfall, and reduced crop yields. Additionally, power demand has spiked and coal inventories have dropped, leaving the country with its worst electricity shortage in more than six years. In the northern regions of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, mountain snow has been rapidly melting. Additionally, more than 300 large wildfires were burning around the country on April 27, according to the Forest Survey of India. Nearly a third of those were in Uttarakhand.