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Deadly forest fires in Portugal

Sixty-two people have died and more than 54 injured in one of Portugal’s deadliest forest fires. Many of those who lost their life were trapped in cars as they tried to flee the central forested region of Pedrógão Grande, and it is feared the death toll may rise further.

It is thought that the blaze, which is raging in several parts of a mountainous area 200km northeast of Lisbon, may have been sparked by a lightning strike hitting a tree during a rainless thunderstorm on the night of 17th-18th June 2017, following an intense heatwave which saw temperatures exceeding 40degC.

International Cloud Atlas & new cloud classifications

On World Meteorological Day (23rd March 2017), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released its new, online, digitised International Cloud Atlas, which is the global reference for observing and identifying clouds. It contains a number of new cloud classifications, including the eagerly-awaited asperitas, a dramatic undulated cloud which has captured media interest and public imagination.  The RMetS originally reviewed examples of asperitas  provided by Gavin Pretor-Pinney of the Cloud Appreciation Society. 

Briefing: the Southern US drought: Analysing the 2011 drought in 13 southern US states

In April 2011 the governor of Texas and presidential hopeful Rick Perry asked that his fellow Texans begin praying for ""the healing of our land"" and an end to the drought. Unfortunately divine intervention was not forthcoming and the drought continued to worsen""ó¢by late June nearly three quarters of the state was experiencing exceptional drought conditions that persisted until the end of the summer. Texas experienced its driest 12 month period on record (August 2010 to July 2011), with crop and livestock losses estimated at $5.2 billion. It was not only Texas that was affected.

2010: The year of extremes: Extreme weather events from across the globe in 2010

Record highs and drought

Although the 2009/2010 European winter saw some exceptionally cold and snowy periods, the Arctic polar regions and Canada experienced unusually mild winter conditions. Northern Europe experienced its coldest winter for nearly 30 years, while temperatures in some places in the Arctic and Canada reached +6°C above the long-term average and Canada experienced its mildest winter on record.