While Yuletide is known for its cold and snow in the world's northern reaches, it often comes with heat "down under." Witness this week's fiery heat in western Australia and the near south of South America. In both areas, record highs were set.
The northern half of Argentina was at the heart of blistering heat on Wednesday, Dec. 21. The hot spot was apparently La Rioja, which registered 46.0 C (that's 115 F). Also in the like-named province, Chamical hit 44.6 C. Argentina's SMN website shows that these fell a bit short of the respective all-time summer highs.
Meanwhile, in the province of Cordoba, the namesake city reached 42.4 C, or 108 F, which was possibly an all-time high. Marcos Juarez, which top out at 42.0 C Wednesday, apparently tied the highest historical reading.
Thursday, a cold front has shoved the cover of the heat northward leaving much of northern Argentina and Paraguay "on the fire."
The Australian BoM said that Roebourne, Western Australia, reached 49.4 degrees C (121 F) Wednesday. This was the state's hottest December day on record (was 48.8 at Mardie in 1986). It was also 0.1 degree C shy of Australia's hottest December day on record (that was 49.5 C at Birdsville, Queensland, on Christmas Eve 1972.)
The problem at Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, was rain -- way too much of it. Within about 60 hours, rainfall was 26.7 cm (10.5 inches), more than the normal winter (December-February) rainfall.
Snow has been thumping down along the Alps, which is surely helping to break an early-season snow drought. At this writing, snow depth atop Germany's Zugspitze has risen by about 95 cm (37 inches) within four days. Actual snowfall should have been a good deal more than this.
The plum rains are known as "meiyu" in China, the "baiyu" or "tsuyu" in Japan, and the "jangma" in the Koreas. The heart of the plum rain season stretches from early June to mid-July, with a tendency to shift south to north across the affected area.
In the wake of the mid-June cloudbursts, most of Pakistan to northwestern India last week saw a return to dry, hot weather typical of the weeks leading up to the Monsoon onset. It was as if the Monsoon withdrew to its "normal" position for the latter half of June.
The 38.5 degree C (101 degrees F) reading Tuesday in Ajaccio, Corsica, may have been tops in Europe.
Monsoon Onset was June 13th, 2013, in Delhi, almost two weeks earlier than average. The June 15th onset at Karachi and Islamabad was more like three week ahead of schedule.
In Pakistan, hit-or-miss downpours missed the Sindh capital, Karachi. One did hit Pad Idan, where it left 60 mm of rain Wednesday. This was more than 20 times greater than the normal June rainfall.
It is still possible that this scenario is over wrought as to the intensity and spread of rain in Pakistan and northwestern India. However, it is the hunch of the present forecaster that some very unusual weather is going to unfold in the Subcontinent during the next week!