At least seventeen dead in California mudslides

At least 17 people have died and 163 people injured in deep mudslides in Southern California, which were triggered by heavy rains. A number of people are still unaccounted for.

Mud and boulders the size of small cars shut rolled done hillsides blocking more than 30 miles of main roads in parts of Santa Barbara. In Montecito some homes were knocked off their foundations, with 100 destroyed and 300 damaged, whilst in Burbank mud swept away vehicles.

World Weather review: December 2017

On the 1st December, 121 mm of rainfall in 24 hours lead to flooding in Albania, leaving at least one person dead, homes destroyed and numerous roads blocked.

Heavy snow blanketed northern Europe on the 11th causing many flight cancellations and delays, particularly at Schiphol, Frankfurt and Brussels airports. In Germany, the heavy snow has caused car accidents and transportation problems. In France, 32 regions were put on alert, as snowstorms battered coastal areas and cut power to thousands of homes. Snowstorms also spread southwards into Italy.

Snowfall in the Sahara Desert

More than 40cm (15 inches) of snow has blanketed sand dunes across the small town of Ain Sefra, Algeria which is 1,000 metres above sea level and surrounded by the Atlas Mountains. It is the second time snow has fallen in nearly 40 years, with the last occurring in December 2016.

A spokesman for the Met Office said: "Cold air was pulled down south in to North Africa over the weekend as a result of high pressure over Europe. The high pressure meant the cold weather extended further south than normal."

Hottest day in Sydney since 1939

Temperatures reached 47.3°C in Penrith, Sydney on Sunday 7th January – the hottest temperature in the region in 79 years, when the mercury previously reached 47.8°C.

Severe fire warnings were issued for the greater Sydney area and thousands of properties across New South Wales were left without electricity, partly because of the heat. England's batsmen also struggled on the hottest day on what was also record heat for a Test match in Australia.