The current weather system, Tropical Cyclone Kirrily, is causing strong winds of 170km/h in the state of Queensland.

The current weather system, Tropical Cyclone Kirrily, is causing strong winds of 170km/h in the state of Queensland.

Tropical Cyclone Kirrily made landfall on the coast of Queensland on Thursday night (local time). Kirrily originated as a tropical low over the Coral Sea, and gradually intensified over several days. The tropical cyclone then quickly intensified on Thursday, reaching a category 2 system by 10am AEST, and category 3 by 3pm, producing gusts of 170 km/h (105mph). As Kirrily moved inland five hours later, it left more than 34,000 homes and business without power in Townsville. However, the cyclone was quickly downgraded back to a category 1 by midnight.

At the beginning of the week, a thick layer of fog formed from Montana down to the Gulf of Mexico, causing visibility to drop to less than a quarter mile on Tuesday. This was due to the mix of cold air from last week’s arctic blast and warmer air from the south this week, causing water vapor to gather closer to the ground, creating what is known as advection fog. On Thursday morning, dense fog returned, impacting nearly 99 million individuals from North Dakota to central Pennsylvania and as far south as New Orleans.

In recent days, Northern India has been facing heavy fog, causing visibility to drop to zero in numerous locations on Wednesday. This led the Indian Meteorological Department to release a red fog warning on Wednesday morning for Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Harana, Chandigarh, and Delhi, which will remain in effect until January 28. Unlike the United States, where cold weather leads to fog formation, in India, it is the warm, sunny days followed by cooler nights that create conditions for radiation fog to occur.

In the Philippines, PAGASA (The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration) has announced a drought in eight provinces on Luzon Island. Other provinces, including Metro Manila where the capital city is located, have also been facing extended periods of dry weather. A drought is defined as five consecutive months with below average rainfall, while a dry spell occurs after only three months. The decrease in rainfall has been attributed to El Niño and is expected to persist until the end of spring.

In recent months, other parts of the world have also been facing periods of drought caused by El Niño. The World Food Programme predicts that by the end of January, several countries in southern Africa – such as Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and southern Madagascar – will have seen lower-than-average levels of rainfall, based on both current data and future predictions. As a result, the Meteorological Services Department of Zimbabwe has recommended that farmers take measures to collect and store water whenever possible.