World weatherwatch: flash flooding in Afghanistan, as Europe warms up | Afghanistan

Multiple days of heavy rain and thunderstorms caused widespread flash flooding across several provinces of Afghanistan last week, with as much as 75mm of rain falling in places.

While this may not sound significant, the monthly average rainfall for May in Herat province, one of those badly affected, is only about 10mm. The floods resulted in at least 78 deaths with hundreds of homes and properties being either badly damaged or destroyed.

It hasn’t just been a cold April for the UK; many countries across Europe have also experienced one of the coldest Aprils in several decades. Germany had its coldest April for more than 40 years, and France’s mean minimum temperature plunged to 2.6C (36.7F) at the start of May, a low only reached once before in the last 40 years. However, last weekend a short but intense spell of warm weather caused temperatures to widely lift into the high 20s or low 30s celsius across west-central Europe.

On 2 May, a severe thunderstorm claimed the lives of at least 11 people in China. The storm brought marble-sized hailstones and severe gales to the coastal city of Nantong. Peak gusts of 94mph were recorded, strong enough to spin a passenger plane at the city airport.

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