Extreme Temperature Diary- Thursday February 16th, 2023/Main Topic: Unusual and Alarming Tropical Cyclones to Start Out 2023

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: Unusual and Alarming Tropical Cyclones to Start Out 2023

Dear Diary. Several days ago, I along with many other meteorologists alerted New Zealand and the world that an unusually strong and catastrophic cyclone would affect the northern part of that country:

Extreme Temperature Diary- Friday February 10th, 2023/Main Topic: Focus on Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle and a Very Wet New Zealand – Guy On Climate

Now it’s time to report on the aftermath of Gabrielle. That system isn’t the only usually strong cyclone that is behaving oddly affecting the Southern Hemisphere during their summer. My friends, Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson writing on Yale Climate Communications have written a report on Freddy, the first category 5 system for 2023. You can read about that here:

It’s highly likely that both Gabrielle and Freddy gave been affected by climate change due to warmer than average seas and typical jet stream anomalies.

For today’s main topic, let’s concentrate on the aftermath of Gabrielle:

‘This Is Climate Change’: New Zealand Devastated by 100-Year Cyclone (commondreams.org)

An aerial photo taken on February 14, 2023 shows the Waiohiki bridge and surrounds inundated by the Tutaekuri River after Cyclone Gabrielle made landfall near the city of Napier. New Zealand declared a national state of emergency on February 14 as Cyclone Gabrielle swept away roads, inundated homes, and left more than 225,000 people without power.

(Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

‘This Is Climate Change’: New Zealand Devastated by 100-Year Cyclone

“We need to stop making excuses for inaction,” said the nation’s climate minister in a fiery speech. “We cannot put our heads in the sand when the beach is flooding. We must act now.”


Feb 14, 2023

New Zealand is under a declared national emergency Tuesday as flood waters and heavy winds from Cyclone Gabrielle battered the island with all the hallmarks of a storm made more intense by the climate crisis by causing severe flooding, mudslides, and cut off power for at least a quarter of a million people.

The North Island took the brunt of the storm, with massive flooding in Hawke’s Bay on the east coast and areas north-west of Auckland reporting major power outages and residents scrambling to escape with their lives.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said the cyclone was “the most significant weather event New Zealand has seen in this century,” as he explained the need for the emergency declaration, only the third time in the nation’s history one has been issued.

“The severity and the damage that we are seeing has not been experienced in a generation,” Hipkins said. “We are still building a picture of the effects of the cyclone as it continues to unfold. But what we do know is the impact is significant and it is widespread.”

According to the BBC:

About a third of the country’s population of five million people live in affected areas.

Many people are displaced and some were forced to swim from their homes to safety after rivers burst their banks.

Others have been rescued from rooftops.

About a quarter of a million people are without power. Falling trees have smashed houses, and landslides have carried others away and blocked roads.

Hawke’s Bay, including the city of Napier, was hit especially hard with reports of people trapped on rooftops, surrounded by raging water, for hours while they awaited rescue.

Adrianne Mason, of Esk Valley, told The Guardian that her 22-year-old daughter had to climb out of her bedroom window in the middle of the night and swim to safety as flood waters rose. Mason described other neighbors in the area trapped on their roofs amid flooding she described as “catastrophic.”

Footage on social media showed swollen rivers overwhelmed bridges:

On the floor of New Zealand’s parliament, climate minister James Shaw, leader of the nation’s Green Party, unleashed a fiery oratory against the decades lost in the fight to curb emissions and curb the onset of global warming.

He said it was not “too soon” to make it clear that the devastation being witnessed was directly related to soaring global temperatures. “This is climate change,” he declared.

“As I stand here today, I struggle to find words to express what I am thinking and feeling about this particular crisis,” Shaw said.

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt as sad or as angry about the lost decades that we spent bickering and arguing about whether climate change was real or not, whether it was caused by humans or not, whether it was bad or not, whether we should do something about it or not,” he continued, “because it is clearly here now, and if we do not act, it will get worse.”

We need to stop making excuses for inaction,” Shaw added. “We cannot put our heads in the sand when the beach is flooding. We must act now.”

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.


Jon Queally is managing editor of Common Dreams.

Full Bio >

Much More:

Here are some “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:

Here is some more new January 2023 climatology:

Here is more climate and weather news from Thursday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

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Guy Walton… “The Climate Guy”

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