Planetary climate chaos: Strong wind storms wreak havoc across the globe
Super fierce 165 mph winds lash Scotland- people warned to stay indoors - December 9, 2011 – SCOTLAND
- A fierce storm with winds of up to 165 mph has battered northern parts of Britain, with people warned to stay indoors, schools forced to close and flights and rail links cancelled. Localized flooding has also caused major disruptions on roads – and more than 30,000 homes have been left without power. In North Yorkshire, a RAF helicopter plucked a couple to safety after their car was swept away in floodwaters near Aysgarth. They were flown to hospital with suspected hypothermia. A third person was also rescued from his car in a separate incident near the village of Gunnerside. Police have advised against all travel until at least 2am Friday, when winds are expected to ease. The Met Office earlier issued its strongest warning – a red alert – for winds in Scotland and warned parts of England and Wales to “be aware,” as temperatures were expected to drop and snowfall was predicted as far south as Birmingham. It said the Highland observing station at Glen Ogle reported a gust of 104mph at 11am. The Met Office later tweeted that a gust at the Aonach Mor ski area peaked at 137mph. –Sky News
Gale-force wind warning in the Philippines:
Manila, Philippines – Rains loom over most parts of the country due to the diffused tail-end of a cold front prevailing over Southern Luzon, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said yesterday. PAGASA said the weather system will bring mostly cloudy skies with scattered rain showers and thunderstorms in Metro Manila, Southern Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The rest of Luzon will be partly cloudy to cloudy with isolated light rains. PAGASA issued a gale warning due to strong to gale force winds from the surge of the northeasterly surface wind-ﬂow, also called the “hanging amihan” or northeast monsoon. It warned fishing boats and other small sea-craft not to venture out into the sea, particularly the coasts of Luzon, because of rough to very rough seas. –Tempov http://www.tempo.com.ph/2011/rains-caused-by-cold-front/#.Tt16oGD7de4
United Kingdom braces for bout with blizzard windstorm
December 5, 2011 – LONDON –
Heavy rain and gale force winds have already wreaked havoc over Scotland, Northern Ireland, and parts of England but now the December daemon, snow, is here causing more problems. Snow and ice are affecting roads across Northern Ireland, Scotland and parts of Northern England. The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for these areas and police are urging motorists to be aware of the risk of black ice on the roads. In Northern Ireland showers have been most frequent over counties Londonderry, Antrim, Tyrone, Fermanagh as well as in north Down. Meanwhile in Scotland the A9 and the M74 have been badly affected. The whole of the A9 is badly affected by snow and ice, especially at Helmsdale, Dalwhinnie and Badenoch. Motorists on the M74 in South Lanarkshire were stuck for three hours southbound after a lorry jackknifed in the snow. Motorists are being urged to plan their journeys, listen to police advice and be aware of travel updates. -4RFV.uk
Swinton, the UK’s leading high street retailer of home insurance, is warning homeowners across the UK to prepare for gale force winds and heavy rain. Scotland is the first to get hit by the storm and it’s expected to move further south to England. Swinton is encouraging homeowners to be prepared and take necessary action so not to get caught out by the bad weather. Homeowners need to check their buildings insurance policies to ensure they are covered for storm and accidental damage as they could be left with a hefty repair bill. –Market Watch http://www.marketwatch.com/story/hectic-storms-on-the-way-warns-swinton-2011-12-04
November 27, 2011 – STOCKHOLM – A storm ravaging southwestern Sweden has cut off the electricity supply to some 12,000 homes and has disrupted ferry services between Sweden and Germany.
Ferry operator Scandlines said Sunday it has canceled its operations between Swedish town Trelleborg and Sassnitz in Germany due to the storm. Another operator, TT-Line said its ferries from Trelleborg to Rostock and Travemunde were severely delayed. Utilities Vattenfall, Fortum and Eon said the storm has cut off electricity supply to around 12,000 of their clients. The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute has issued a class 3 warning for the storm, its highest level, saying the extreme winds could pose danger to the public and disrupt services. –Las Vegas Sun http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/nov/27/eu-sweden-weather/
Rare system to hit California: TWS’ Southern California Weather Authority has issued a Special Weather Statement for an inside slider storm system that could potentially be interesting for the Southwestern United States on Thursday and Friday
. The SCWXA Special Weather Statement went into effect this morning at 7:45 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. The statement outlines a concern for strong winds and possibly a storm system combined in a rare flow into Southern California. WS Senior Meteorologist Kevin Martin calls the event a once in a decade event and is watching it closely. “The storm system is going to come in from the north, through the interior of the country,” said Martin. “This means that it will generate cold air with it across the Great Basin and shove that southward in the form of Santa Ana Winds. Furthermore, this storm system will bring moisture into it from the Pacific so we are looking at a rare combo of Santa Ana Winds and Thunderstorms across the Southland.”TWS’ Southern California Weather Authority will continue to monitor the latest on this storm system, which has been officially named “Faith” with a category to be determined on the SCWXA scale. –The Weather Space http://www.theweatherspace.com/news/TWS-112711-november-2004-rare-track-southern-california.html
Sri Lanka caught by surprise: State agencies failed to give early warnings of the gale force winds
that caused havoc in the south on Friday, it was revealed yesterday. Gale-force winds in the south left 19 dead and another 35 missing, whilst rising flood waters elsewhere in the country have taken a toll of seven lives, officials said. The worst affected was the coastal areas of Galle and Matara where 17 people were confirmed dead and 35 people, mainly fishermen, missing or feared dead, as a gale-force storm hit the coast without warning early on Friday.The storm, packing winds of up to 70 kilometres an hour hit the southern coast caught thousands of people unawares and trapped scores of fishermen who had gone out to sea. The Disaster Management Centre (DMC)’s Additional Director Pradeep Kodippilli said the disaster in the south had damaged about 1010 houses and affected some 5,505 people. –Sunday Times http://www.sundaytimes.lk/111127/News/nws_05.html
Scotland forecast of gale force winds:
Severe gale force winds are set to batter northern areas of the country. Forecasters say the winds, which are travelling west across the north of Scotland, will be in excess of 80mph, and that 90mph gales are “not out of the question.” The worst hit areas are expected to be in Orkney, Caithness, Sutherland and the Western Isles. Elsewhere, gusts could reach up to 70mph, but will not be as strong in Tayside, the Borders and Lothian regions, where winds are expected to be between 55-60mph. The Met Office has issued amber alerts for the Highlands, Orkney and Shetland and parts of Grampian, where gales could become severe and possibly storm-force. -AFP http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5guNPSkL2B4IMk92qLfjuyShW5PHQ?docId=N00994013 22335281841A
Norway hammered by strong wind:
More than 8000 household were suffering from power outages early Monday, following a storm that swept across the country during the night, felling trees that downed electricity lines. Following Friday’s extreme weather warnings for places such as the coast of Møre og Romsdal up to Sør-Troms, the Meteorological Office now says it expects winds to reach gale force 10 (storm) on the Rogaland coast south of Stad, with strong gale (force 9) in other parts. Weathermen expect it to lessen this evening. Still in Rogaland, police say two men, aged 25 and 27, are missing off the coast of Egersund after being swept out to sea earlier this afternoon. Both were part of a film crew that were filming in Sokndal at the time. Weather conditions in the area made it impossible for divers to go into the water. Strong winds in Stavanger also caused police to close off parts of the city centre in fears the strong winds could cause loose objects to injure people and damage vehicles. –The Foreigner http://www.yle.fi/uutiset/news/2011/11/1000s_of_homes_without_power_3061651.html
Finland hit by howling winds and snow:
A storm that has hit Finland from the west is bringing hazardous road conditions to parts of Central Finland. The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) said on Sunday evening that a belt of snow was extending from the south-west to North Karelia. This area could pick up between 10 and 20 centimetres of snow, while the south coast may receive sleet later. Meanwhile winds were blowing at severe gale force of around 21 metres per second off the south coast, particularly around the Hanko peninsula. Some 13,000 Fortum customers were without power in southern and south-western Finland. Police said roads were very hazardous due to heavy snowfall in North Satakunta, South Ostrobothnia, Pirkanmaa and Central Finland. Driving conditions are expected to become poor to very hazardous throughout central and southern Finland due to snow or sleet. –YLE.fi
U.S. states hammered by strong gusty winds
: There were strong winds most of Saturday in the Omaha area, but the biggest gust came at 1:15 p.m., according to the National Weather Service office in Valley, Neb. A 51 mph gust was recorded at Eppley Airfield, said Van DeWald, a meteorologist with the weather service. For most of the day, northwest winds were clocked blowing between 20 and 30 mph with the occasional stronger gusts. A lighter breeze will continue Sunday with winds between 10 and 20 mph with gusts around 29 mph, according to the weather service. Similar stories of howling winds are being reported in Oklahoma and Texas. –Omaha.com http://www.omaha.com/article/20111127/NEWS01/111129805
Police urge residents in Calgary to stay indoors: High winds are wreaking havoc throughout the city, including broken windows downtown at TD Square and downed power lines in Calgary.
Police are urging residents to stay indoors as flying debris is becoming a hazard on roads and walkways. “We’ve got complaints coming from all over the city,” said duty inspector Keith Cain. “It’s safer just to stay inside.” Destructive winds are felling trees and even ripped off three LRT crossing arms, causing delays. Police have closed to street to pedestrians and traffic along 7th Avenue and 3rd Street SW after reports of multiple broken windows at TD Square.The wind ripped the roof off and smashed windows out of the home in the 100 block of Slopes GV SW. Travel is not advised outside the city and police are advising motorists not to travel south due to extremely high winds. –Edmonton Journal http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/calgary/High+winds+through+Calgary+downing+power+lines+tre es+traffic+lights/5774684/story.html?cid=megadrop_story
New Zealand hit by super winds: Winds in Wellington hit between 120khm and 146khm on November 22nd
. Heavy rains, and strong wind gust reached 137 khm from the the Rimutaka summit through to Castlepoint. Today's fine weather looks like being a brief calm between storms for large parts of the country, with more soaking rain and blasting winds expected tomorrow, following yesterday's torrid conditions. MetService has issued severe weather warnings and watches predicting heavy rain for the South Island West Coast and severe gales from south of Napier to Wellington. MetService spokesman Bob McDavitt said rain was expected to fall on regions that were already saturated and soggy. -Stuff http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6010220/More-wild-weather-on-the-way
STRONG & GUSTY TRADE WINDS THROUGH TONIGHT FOR THE BIG ISLAND AND PARTS OF MAUI COUNTY.
A STRONG HIGH NO. OF THE AREA WILL PRODUCE LOCALLY STRONG TRADE WINDS THROUGH TONIGHT.
LANAI MAKAI-LANAI MAUKA-KAHOOLAWE-MAUI WINDWARD WEST-
MAUI LEEWARD WEST-MAUI CNTL VALLEY-HALEAKALA SUMMIT-
BIG ISLAND NO. & EAST-KOHALA-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF.MANELE.LANAI CITY.WAILUKU.
HALEAKALA NATL PARK ABOVE 6000 FEET.HILO.VOLCANO.
220 PM HST SAT NOV 26 2011
WIND ADVISORY IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM HST SUNDAY.
THE NATL WEATHER SVC IN HONOLULU HAS ISSUED A WINDADVISORY.WHICH IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 6 AM HST SUNDAY.
* WINDS.NORTHEAST 15 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 50 MPH.
* TIMING.CONTINUING THROUGH TONIGHT.
* IMPACTS.THE STRONG WINDS MAY RESULT IN DOWNED TREE LIMBS. ELECTRICAL INTERRUPTIONS ARE POSSIBLE.
A WIND ADVISORY MEANS THAT WINDS OF 30 MPH ARE EXPECTED. WINDS THIS STRONG CAN MAKE DRIVING DIFFICULT. USE EXTRA CAUTION AND
WATCH FOR WIND-BLOWN DEBRIS ON THE ROADS. BE PREPARED FOR POSSIBLE POWER OUTAGES. WEATHER ALERT for HI - Hawaii County
100 mph winds buffet Utah, toppling trucks, trees, power lines
December 1, 2011 – UTAH – Hurricane-force winds, in places topping 100 mph, ripped through Utah Thursday, overturning semi-trailer rigs on Interstate 15, toppling trees and triggering widespread power outages affecting nearly 50,000 homes and businesses. In all, the Utah Department of Transportation reported 11 semis overturned by the wind on the state’s highways Thursday morning. Utah Highway Patrol Corporal Todd Johnson said that between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., at least six semis were blown onto their sides on I-15 in Davis County in the area of the Lund Lane and Parrish Lane exits in Centerville as gusts reportedly up to 92 mph tore through the area. Johnson said none of the drivers suffered more than minor injuries. All traffic through the affected area was diverted for about two hours, Johnson said. By 7:30 a.m., traffic through the area had resumed, but was periodically suspended as new semi-related accidents occurred throughout the morning. Motorists still were advised to avoid the area, if possible. High-profile vehicles were ordered off the gusty stretch of freeway until at least 6 p.m. Thursday. Blowing snow closed down Interstate 80 at Evanston, Wyo., early Thursday, the Utah Department of Transportation reported, and the Utah Transportation Authority reported it had closed down the FrontRunner commuter train route between Layton and Woods Cross due to debris on the tracks and heavy damage to the Farmington station,where 15 light poles were toppled and the platform’s walkway roofing and siding shredded; passengers were transferred to buses to complete their trips. Initially, riders were bused between Layton and Woods Cross, but about 10:30 a.m., power went out at the Woods Cross station necessitating extension of the so-called “bus bridge” for FrontRunner passengers from Layton all the way to Salt Lake City. UTA also advised passengers using its Paratransit service in Weber and Davis to cancel trips Thursday. –Salt Lake Tribune
Gale-force winds create havoc in Scotland, prompting scores of calls to emergency services
December 1, 2011 – IRELAND – Severe gale force winds caused damage and disruption to national and local ferry services and flights today – and destroyed a caravan in the Skerries. Shetland experienced the highest winds in the UK, with 81mph gusts recorded in Foula, 73mph in Lerwick and 69mph in Fair Isle.
NorthLink’s sailings were delayed or cancelled and there were no inter-island ferries on some routes. There were no ferries on Bressay or Bluemull Sounds or to Whalsay in the morning, and the Yell Sound service was down to a single ferry. Normal service resumed on these routes in the afternoon, although the Skerries service was off all day. The reduction followed the strike yesterday when there were no ferries at all. Flights to and from Sumburgh were also disrupted, with the early morning flight from Aberdeen and the 12.15pm departure to the city both cancelled. No activity took place at all at Scatsta airport as the wind speed and sea state were out with operating limits. All 18 daily helicopter flights were cancelled and there were no fixed wing flights either. The wind prompted many calls to the emergency services, with Lerwick police dealing with 52 in 48 hours. They were called to clear debris from near the Queen’s Hotel early this morning, and the fire service was called out twice. They secured unsafe windows and masonry at the former Judane knitwear factory in the town, where firefighters tied a rope round the central pillar of a window and secured it to a pillar inside the building to made the area safe. Earlier they were called to a house in Lerwick’s Arheim where a trampoline was in danger of blowing away. The owners could not hold it down and firefighters dismantled it. Meanwhile, (picture) Christopher Hay’s caravan in Skerries was flattened. He said his brother had gone outside to check on the caravan and it was “completely gone, blown over and absolutely nothing left”. Christopher bought the caravan a few years ago with the intention of doing it up. The gales yesterday morning put a permanent end to that aspiration. –Shetland Times
California: The powerful Santa Ana winds sweeping through Southern California are knocking out power across the region.
Power company officials say 75,000 customers in the Los Angeles area were without power after the winds downed trees and power lines. Department of Water and Power spokeswoman Maychelle Yee tells City News Service that power was out to 50,000 of its customers. Southern California Edison spokeswoman Vanessa Mcgrady says 25,500 customers were also without power. The National Weather Service says the winds have been gusting at 80 mph. Crews were working through the night to restore power. –SF Gate
Strong winds whip through New Mexico leaving power outages
December 2, 2011 – ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Strong winds sweeping across New Mexico have resulted in scattered power outages, difficult driving conditions and roof damage that ended classes early at one Valencia County school.
The National Weather Service says damaging winds were expected to continue into Thursday evening. Forecasts are calling for gusts of 65 to 75 mph along the Central Mountain chain and to the west. Students at Valencia High School were sent home early after winds damaged the school’s roof. By late afternoon, Albuquerque police had reports of power outages and down trees around the city but no injuries. State highway officials say strong winds forced a tractor trailer onto its side in northern New Mexico. The winds are expected to die down Friday, but forecasters say parts of western and central New Mexico could see significant snow overnight. –The Republic
Rare event: The storms, described as a once-in-a-decade event, were the result of a dramatic difference in pressure between a strong, high-pressure system and a cold, low-pressure system, meteorologists said. This funnels strong winds down mountain canyons and slopes. The system brought high wind warnings and advisories for California, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona and New Mexico. The blustery weather is expected to eventually hit Oklahoma, Missouri and Indiana. –SV Herald
December 5, 2011 – KUALA LUMPUR - A freak thunderstorm and strong winds referred to as a “mini-hurricane” by many, tore through the capital and parts of Selangor, wreaking havoc, uprooting trees and damaging properties. The hardest hit areas in the 5pm storm were Kepong, Bandar Menjalara and Hartamas. Road users on the MRR2 highway near Kepong turned to Twitter to report that the rain was so ferocious that many motorists stopped their vehicles by the roadside to wait it out. A spokesman from the Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) said while there was very heavy rain, it was the ferocity of the wind which caused more damage as trees were uprooted, branches snapped, billboards and signboards fell, and roof tiles and tents for functions were blown off. “There were also reports of cars crushed by fallen trees and branches but fortunately, there was no loss of life or injury. We had earlier been warned by the Meteorological Department of the possibility of storms in the Klang Valley and had been prepared for this,” he said. Officials from the FRD and City Hall rushed to clear the debris and remove trees blocking the roads to get the traffic moving. Massive traffic jams up to 9pm were reported all over the capital and highway entry points into the city as motorists were forced to slow down due to fallen trees, debris and minor accidents. It was learnt that vehicles were stuck near KM23.9 of the LDP in Puchong because of flash floods and several motorists had to be rescued by FRD officials. Areas in Kepong, Hartamas and Subang Jaya were also flooded for a while. City Hall officials said they received reports that more than 50 trees fell mainly in Kepong and the city centre. They noted that there were several cases involving buildings with zinc rooftops being blown away. Batu MP Tian Chua said in his Twitter message: “Horrific storm: Batu residents suffer some losses several houses in Kampung Chubadak lost atap; a few fallen trees in Jln Kolam Air.” –The Star
118 mph winds lash Alaska: Anchorage, Alaska
— Strong winds Saturday night and Sunday morning left Alaska’s largest city with scattered power outages. Hardest hit were subdivisions on mountain foothills on Anchorage’s southeast side. The National Weather Service reports gusts exceeded 100 mph, with a peak gust of 118 mph at 5 a.m. at Glen Alps. The Anchorage Daily News reports 25 to 30 outages affecting 500 to 1,000 homes were reported by Chugach Electric Association. The combination of wind, rain and temperatures that reached 50 degrees also made for hazardous driving on some streets. City buses remained idle early Sunday but were expected to begin service in late morning, when winds were predicted to calm. –The Republic
Strong damaging winds rip through East Java, Indonesia- 1 dead
December 5, 2011 – INDONESIA
– One student was killed and 14 were injured when the roof of their school was torn off by strong winds on East Java’s Madura Island, officials said on Sunday. Twenty-one other buildings were damaged on Saturday when the winds tore through Pamekasan district. Adj. Comr. Bambang Soegiharto, the chief of police in Tlanakan sub-district, where the school is located, said the victims were all students at an Islamic school. “There were 15 students injured, and one of them died,” the officer said. Most of the victims suffered from broken bones and were treated at the general hospital in Pamekasan, he said. Strong winds and heavy rains also hit the neighboring sub-districts of Pakong, Kadur and Proppo. The winds damaged 21 other buildings, mostly houses, in Pakong according to the deputy district head in Pamekasan, Kadarisman Sastrodiwiryo. In Kadur and Proppo, toppled trees cut off electricity for several hours and led to the closure of the main road linking Pakong with Pamekasan. “Not even motorcycles could pass through because the road was completely blocked by a tree,” said Achmad Wardi, a resident. Residents said the wind also brought down a motorcycle repair shop in Bandungan. “The garage completely collapsed and its roof was blown away by the wind,” Achmad said. Basri Yulianto, the head of Pamekasan’s disaster mitigation agency, said this was the second time this rainy season that strong winds had caused damage. In October, a windstorm damaged 52 buildings in Palengaan subdistrict, injuring one man. -Jakarta Globe http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/one-killed-as-winds-do-damage-in-east-java/482686#Scene_1
December 6, 2011 – CALIFORNIA – After a chilly start to our day, light winds and clear skies should leave us once again in an “inverted state.” High temperatures up at Lake Tahoe probably are going to be as warm, if not warmer, than what we will get here in the valley. On Monday, a strong easterly flow up in the mountains created a rare “reverse Sierra Wave.” Usually when we talk about the wave, it happens on our side of the mountains when strong west or southwesterly winds create a standing wave. But as the satellite picture below (forwarded by retired meteorologist Doug Armstrong) shows, the exact opposite happened early Monday morning, and the strong east winds created a Sierra Wave on the west side of the crest. A rare sight indeed! -Rgj
December 7, 2011 – CANADA – Monday’s storm in Yukon broke a variety of weather records around the territory. High winds and rain sent temperatures up to 14 degrees in Burwash Landing.
It was the warmest December day ever for the community on the shores of Kluane Lake. The community of Haines Junction got the same temperatures, along with some gale-force winds in excess of 100 kilometers per hour. Haines Junction resident Amy McKinnon says it made a mess of some yards in town. “Yeah, it was really warm. We woke up to quite a windstorm as well, so there were stories about damaged roofs, trampolines that took flight, tents that ended up in the bush, downed trees all over town, power outages and I heard the winds peaked at over 114 kilometers per hour. So a little more excitement than we wanted,” said McKinnon. Then a cold front sent temperatures plummeting and produced record snowfalls in some areas. Temperature records were also set in Whitehorse, with four consecutive days above the December averages. Several regions in Yukon got record-breaking weather Monday, including Haines Junction and Burwash Landing. CBCDoug Lundquist, Environment Canada’s Yukon meteorologist, says warm temperatures combined with open water in the Southern Lakes area was likely responsible for the strong blizzards around Whitehorse. “We hit, for example, 6.9 degrees Celsius, there were record high temperatures for the day, Burwash hit a record with Haines Junction even higher at 14.3 degrees C - not quite enough to break the monthly record but it broke the daily record. It was nuts,” said Lundquist. Forecasters warn another storm could hit this week. –CBC News
December 13, 2011 – NEW ZEALAND – The Hibiscus Coast Highway has looked like a beach track in parts of Orewa as high winds blasted sand dunes, sending clouds of grit to cover homes and gardens up to 200m inland.
Yesterday, along the 3km Orewa Beach, picnic parties huddled behind vehicles to shelter from the sand storm while on the beach, pilots of sand yachts were thrilled at being able to reach speeds of 60 km/h. The lawn at the beach’s playground was also clogged with the sand, which had built up to knee-height on the pathways above the beach. At the town’s BP service station on Sunday, motorists were pelted with grit whipped up from drifts spread over the highway. “It is unbelievable,” said beachfront resident Brett Proctor. “I’ve seen high winds in my five years here, but nothing as … continuous as this.” His garden, six steps up from the beach, had been buried in sand and he was constantly washing a golden crust off his cars. Mr Proctor said the wind-blown sand came from heaps recently dumped at the foot of the esplanade by Auckland Council to replace a wave barrier of boulders. “It seems that sand was put there too early in the summer because the north-easterly winds have not finished yet.” Leanne Smith, of Destination Orewa Beach, said council works crews cleared away deep drifts of sand from clogged drains and covering bollards at the beach reserve and traffic islands. –NZ Herald
December 13, 2011 – AUSTRALIA – Farmers in the New South Wales Riverina have endured drought, as well as plagues of mice and locusts, but this summer will see rice growers ducking for cover. This year’s strong rainfall had finally raised hopes of a more profitable year, but the rainfall also saw a rise in duck numbers.
Rice grower Laurie Arthur, from west of Deniliquin, says he has installed $20,000 worth of flashing lights, along with gas guns, to try and deter the ducks. “This year we’ve got mobs of several thousand. They just sort of come in and land on a bay and just rip out the rice,” he said. “I’ve been growing rice for 30 years and I have never seen such a high concentration of ducks.” Mr. Arthur says the ducks are destroying later stage crops that have rice shoots about 25 centimeters long. “What the ducks do is they land on the bay and they grab hold of the shoot, pull it out and chew the little rice seed off the bottom and in the process of that they’ll sort of denude the whole paddock,” he said. Along with the flashing lights and noises, shooters are also patrolling the crops. “We are sort of patrolling it about 20 hours a day and we are spotlighting the crops at night because they don’t like a spotlight being shot on them and then they fly off then,” he said. “It has been a fairly exhausting fortnight.” Rice Growers Association of Australia president Les Gordon says it is difficult to estimate the magnitude of the damage, but it is definitely significant. “There are certainly anecdotal stories going around of crops and bays being shut off and I know of a number of people who’ve had to do that,” he said. Mr. Gordon says a duck plague can do more damage than locusts or mice. –ABC News
Wind speeds of up to 101mph have been recorded in Shetland, after the Met Office issued a severe wind warning for the far north of Scotland.
Forecasters issued an amber "be prepared" alert for Christmas Day, lasting until the night, for northern Scotland and the Northern Isles. Overall, Christmas Day in the UK has been the third mildest on record. A high of 14.3C (57.7F) was recorded in County Down - the mildest Christmas Day on record for Northern Ireland. The temperature was recorded in Murlough, where the previous record was 13C - most recently recorded in 1988.
Elsewhere, the weather has been mild with quite a lot of cloud, wind, damp and drizzle.
It is a sharp contrast from last year, when much of the country saw snow.
"Southwesterly winds brought unseasonably mild weather to the UK, with Northern Ireland reporting its mildest Christmas on record," said Holly Green, BBC weather forecaster.
"The UK as a whole saw its third mildest on record, only beaten by 1896 and 1920."
In those years, the mercury hit 15.6C (60F).
This year's lowest Christmas Day temperature - 9C (48F) - was recorded in Carterhouse in the Scottish borders. And the highest - 15.1C (59.1F) - was in Dyce in Aberdeen.
The Met Office warned transport and power could be hit in the far north of Scotland, and structural damage was possible.
Gusts of 101mph were recorded at Sella Ness in Shetland - the highest winds at a low-level site, say forecasters - while the Cairngorms also saw winds in excess of 100mph
Police urged drivers in the central Scotland area to take care on the roads, due to high winds.
Scottish Transport Minister Keith Brown said the government's resilience team was monitoring the situation, adding: "Scotland's weather is notoriously unpredictable.
"Our resilience planning this year has been designed to deal with unexpected events - such as today's high winds - as well as those which can be foreseen.