UPDATE MAY 21: Extreme Heat, Floods Strike Eastern Europe
As Jeff Masters posted in a blog Monday
the worst flooding in a century has occurred in Bosnia and Serbia this past week. At the same time, a record May heat wave has affected Estonia, Finland, Belarus, and northwestern Russia. Here are some details.Balkan Floods
Heavy rainfall began falling in the Balkans on May 14th and continued through the 17th. Some local precipitation reports for this period included 245 mm (9.65”) at Tuzla in Bosnia, 219 mm (8.62”) at Loznica, Serbia and 190 mm (7.48”) in Belgrade, Serbia. Belgrade also experienced a 151 mm (5.94”) fall during a thunderstorm on May 4th, so their May monthly precipitation has already exceeded 370 mm (14.57”). For perspective, Belgrade’s normal May rainfall total is 74 mm (2.91”). The ensuing floods have now destroyed an astonishing 100,000 homes and businesses as well as at least 230 schools and hospitals according to latest press reports. Given the extent of the floods it is fortunate that only 43 flood-related fatalities have been reported so far. Some 2,000 landslides have also occurred in the region.Croatia as well has been affected by wide-scale flooding as this aerial photo of a church in Gunja, eastern Croatia illustrates.
Photo by Davor Javorovic/AP.Heat in Estonia, Russia, Finland
The same high-amplitude jet stream pattern that caused the low-pressure system bringing all the rainfall to the Balkans has also been responsible for one of the most remarkable early season heat waves on record in portions of Russia, Finland, Estonia, Belarus, and Latvia. 500 mb height anomaly for May 15-17 that illustrates the low over the Balkans responsible for the flooding and the ridge that developed overrunning the top of the low and bringing record early season heat to northern Europe.
Map from NOAA/ESRL.
An all-time national monthly heat record was set in Estonia
on Monday, May 19th when the temperature peaked at 33.1°C (91.6°F) at Kunda. This figure obliterated the previous highest observed May temperature in the country of 31.2°C (88.2°F) set at Pjanryi in May 2007. The capital city of Estonia, Tallinn, broke its May monthly heat record as well with 31.4°C (88.5°F) reading (previous record was 29.7°C/85.5°F on May 26, 1958).A map of maximum temperatures across northern Europe on Monday, May 19th. It would appear that the point maximum was a 34.1°C (93.4°F) at the town of Holm in far western Russia and this would be an all-time heat record for the site beating out their previous record (for any month) of 33.9°C, although the POR for this site is not clear . Sorry, if this map is difficult to read!
Map provided by Michael Theusner of Klimahaus, Germany.Finland
came close to breaking its May national heat record with a 30.8°C (87.4°F) reading at Heinola on Monday. The old record of 31.0°C (87.8°F), set at Lapinjarvi on May 30 and 31, 1995 and also at Toukkokku, still stands. Helsinki Airport broke its monthly May heat record with 29.0°C/84.2°F (previous record 28.8°C/83.8°F) although the downtown Kaisoniemi Observatory site fell short of their May record with a 29.6°C (85.3°F) reading. St. Petersburg, Russia
(POR since 1881) smashed its all-time May heat record with an amazing 33.0°C (91.4°F) also on Monday (previous May monthly record was 30.9°C/87.6°F). There was a good chance that this figure would have been surpassed today (May 20th) since the noon observation was already standing at 32.0°C (89.6°F) however clouds moved in during the early afternoon and the high temperature for May 20th peaked at 32.5°C (90.5°F).
The top temperature figures for Latvia
stood at 31.5°C (88.7°F) at Vitebsk in Belarus and 30.0°C (86.0°F) in Latvia respectively. Neither were national records. The normal daily maximum temperatures for this time of year in the entire region affected by the heat wave should range between 15°-20°C (59°-68°F).UPDATE MAY 21
Over 500 monthly heat records were set in Russia on May 20th. Some of the more significant include the following:Petrokrepost:
33.1°C (91.6°F) This site is located at 62° 55’ N latitude and the temperature was the 2nd hottest ever measured (since POR began in 1949) for any month and just 0.4°C (0.7°F) from the all-time record hottest ever recorded (for any month).Arkhangelsk:
31.7°C (89.1°F) This site has a POR back to 1881 and is located close to the Arctic Circle at 64° 34’ N latitude.KUDOS:
Thanks to Maximiliano Herrera and Michael Theusner for European heat record data and Stu Ostro at TWC for mb heights map.
Christopher C. Burt