While Florida is known as the Sunshine State, it is actually the most thunderstorm-prone part of the United States. Despite this, severe thunderstorms with large hail are very rare. Last week, the National Weather Service issued only the second warning for large hail in the state since 2002. Golf ball to tennis ball-sized hail was reported in a number of locations around the densely populated Orlando metro area.
A particularly deep low pressure area centred across Morocco brought very heavy rain to eastern Spain through most of last week. This provided much-needed drought relief to large parts of the country, which experienced its driest January in 20 years. This low was also responsible for blowing vast quantities of dust from the Saharan Desert in Algeria into western Europe – Spanish skies turned an apocalyptic blood-orange colour on Tuesday, with significant deposits of dust falling from the skies in the UK.
Meanwhile, south-east Europe remains in the grip of a late winter cold spell, which will continue through this week as well. Heavy snowfalls recently reported in Istanbul on the Black Sea coast have resulted in school closures. The cold wave in Turkey is the most severe in at least the last 35 years, according to the State Meteorological Service.