Extreme rainfall hits New Zealand and Brazil while California feels early heat

4,000 lightning flashes an hour in Auckland, fatal landslides in Brazil and drought in California

Intense rainfall hit northern parts of New Zealand on 21 March, causing severe flooding. Albany in northern Auckland was hit by 109mm of rain in 10 hours with the March average 85mm to 90mm. About 76.8mm of this fell within just one hour, representing Auckland’s wettest hour on record. The flooding was associated with potent thunderstorms crossing the Auckland region which produced 4,000 lightning flashes in an hour and at its peak, 700 in five minutes.

Parts of Brazil have also experienced extreme rainfall. Petrópolis was again lashed by torrential rain, just weeks after mudslides and flash flooding affected the city. São Sebastião, in the south of Petrópolis, saw 415mm in just 10 hours on 20 March, with 217mm of this falling between 2pm and 6pm. About 100 flooding and landslide incidents were reported. Five deaths were recorded and people remain missing.

California, by contrast, has seen drought and last week, some notable early heat with temperatures in Santa Rosa, north of San Francisco, reaching 32C on 22 March, beating the previous daily record set in 1926. This warmth came after a long period of dry weather. Nearby Sacramento recently suffered a record 66 consecutive days without measurable rainfall until 15 March, while there was only 17mm in San Francisco during the whole of January and February.

Jonathan Harrison for MetDesk

The GuardianTramp

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