World weatherwatch: Super Typhoon Yutu brings 180mph winds

Yutu hit Northern Mariana Islands and Philippines, while Venice suffered severe flooding and US endured 24 tornadoes

Super Typhoon Yutu barrelled across the Northern Mariana Islands last week with sustained winds of 180mph (290km/h), the same as a category 5-strength hurricane. Yutu rapidly intensified from a category 1 to a super typhoon in just 24 hours, making it the strongest tropical cyclone on record in places. Yutu then slammed into the northern Philippines, triggering landslides. Several people are still missing.

The Basilica of San Marco flooded during high water in Venice at the beginning of November
The Basilica of San Marco flooded during high water in Venice at the beginning of November. Photograph: Andrea Merola/EPA

Italy has also been battered by strong winds and a deluge of torrential rain, following multiple low-pressure systems spiralling in from the west along a strong jet stream. This created a sharp temperature gradient between cold air in the west and warmer air in the east, which fuelled the instability favourable for producing intense storms. Winds of up to 110mph drove high tides into the Venetian lagoon, inundating Venice with its worst flooding in a decade.

The powerful jet stream also surged across the US, carrying upper-level troughs and fronts, which collided with the warm, unstable Gulf Coast air; the perfect recipe for thunderstorm development across the Gulf Coast states. In autumn, this volatile weather pattern is common, with autumn often labelled the second tornado season. Last week, 24 tornadoes were confirmed across five states within two days.

Tamsin Green (MetDesk)

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