Throughout last week, a storm was brewing – Tropical Storm Julia, to be precise. Forming as a tropical depression, Julia spent its days getting stronger as it progressed from the north Atlantic through the Caribbean Sea.
By Saturday evening, the National Hurricane Centre in the US had declared Julia a category 1 hurricane, defined as a cyclone with wind speeds above 74mph (119km/h).
Eight hours later, at 3.15am local time, Julia made landfall in Nicaragua, battering the east coast with sustained wind speeds of 85mph and a strong storm surge.
Crossing the country, Julia returned to its tropical storm status with heavy rain and 70mph winds before entering the Pacific Ocean. Julia travelled north-west along the Pacific coast of El Salvador and Honduras before making landfall and dissipating in Guatemala on Monday.
Rainfall totals widely covered 75mm-100mm, with local areas approaching 150mm. In Julia’s wake, the death toll stands at 25, the majority caused by the heavy rainfall on already saturated soils, which led to floods, mudflows and landslides across Central America. The remnants of Julia have formed Tropical Storm Karl in the Gulf of Mexico, soon to head southwards towards Mexico.
Meanwhile, southern and eastern Australia experienced extremely wet, windy and cold conditions this week as deep area of low pressure off the south coast pushed frigid polar air across the country. The cold front associated with the low pressure system swept eastwards throughout Wednesday, Thursday and Friday bringing intense thunderstorms and heavy rainfall.
Flash flooding affected the states of Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania, with people being evacuated in some areas of each state. Rainfall totals over a 24-hour period reached more than 100mm in several towns across Victoria and New South Wales by Thursday morning.
Great Lake East in Tasmania recorded 319mm in the 36 hours up to 9pm on Thursday. Further high totals were expected to be reported into Friday as the main rain band pushed through. By Friday evening the worst of the rain should have cleared away, but as floodwater drained into rivers and canals the threat of floods continued.