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Day 234: UK and World weather report - hurricane Irene and tropical cyclone harvey

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John Hammond Met Office Forecaster John Hammond Met Office Forecaster | 16:00 UK time, Monday, 22 August 2011

Distance travelled ~ 601'177'600 km

It was another week of mixed weather across the UK and around the world last week.

During Thursday, very heavy rain with thunderstorms moved across parts of southern England. Across many parts of Dorset and Hampshire, rainfall totals were between 25 and 40 mm with flooding across Bournemouth and Poole. 58.4mm of rain fell at Portland on Thursday and under the cloud and persistent rain parts of the south and the Midlands recorded maximum temperatures of between just 12 and 14 Celsius.

This heavy rain was associated with very warm and humid air over the near continent which also triggered violent thunderstorms over the 'Low countries'. One of these storms with high winds and torrential rain hit a music festival in Belgium, killing five people and injuring dozens.

On the other side of the world, the first half of last week saw a cold blast from Antarctic bring snow to many parts of New Zealand for the first time in almost 40 years and Wellington airport was forced to close. Crews and airport staff worked round the clock to keep Christchurch Airport operating, clearing 25mm of new snow from the airport runways and re-opening the terminal.

Further west strong winds and heavy rain affected southwestern parts of Western Australia. The Cape Leeuwin area was hit by the strongest winds, which gusted up over 60 miles per hour. Pemberton recorded 33mm of rain by Tuesday morning, their heaviest rainfall in 6 years for August and Albany recorded a daily total of 37mm. Further inland, Wiluna picked up 17mm and this was their highest for August in 13 years.

Elsewhere around the world last week:

• A flashflood hit a village in Polomolok, South Cotabato in the Philippines left 215 people homeless.

• Pittsgrove Township in Salem County, New Jersey, USA received 11 inches of rain since a rain storm began on Sunday.

• Rainfall records were shattered at John F. Kennedy International Airport, USA which had the wettest day on record with 7.80 inches, smashing the 1984 record of 6.27 inches.

• Several planes received damage in a storm, which included golf ball to baseball sized hail at Eppley Airfield in USA.

The week ahead...

• Back in the UK heavy thundery showers are expected to move across southern England tonight. This should move northeast through Tuesday to affect eastern England and parts of southern Wales. Heavy rain on Monday and Tuesday gives a risk of localised surface flooding.

• Hurricane Irene, currently near the Dominican Republic will move west and then northwest through this week and passing through the Bahamas later this week and close to Florida's east coast during Friday.

• Tropical Storm Harvey will continue moving WNW'wards but stay as a weak system. Heavy rainfall, strong winds and flooding can be expected over parts of Central America as a result.

tropical storms Irene and Harvey

The GOES-13 satellite saw Tropical Storm Irene over Puerto Rico on Sunday, August 21, at 6 p.m. EDT. Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

NASA satellite GOES East 1 km Infrared Hurricane Sector Pictures

• Windy conditions are expected across Alaska and NW Canada. Some warmer than average temperatures may also affect parts of northern Canada for a time. Some heavy rain/strong winds also affecting NE Canada at first.

• A tropical cyclone is currently forming just east of the Philippines. This has the potential to affect southern Japan by the end of the week.

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