China’s weather tracker records extreme differences in temperature, with both cold and heat breaking records.

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On February 18th, the Xinjiang region in China’s far west experienced extremely low temperatures of -52.3C, breaking a 64-year-old record for the area. This temperature was just slightly higher than the national record of -53C, which was set in Heilongjiang province in January of last year.

Severe weather conditions have led to significant disruptions following the lunar new year festivities. Heavy snowfall and icy conditions have left many individuals stranded on roads and train systems. On the same day, Badu, located in southern China, experienced a high temperature of 38C. This resulted in a massive temperature difference of 90.3C across the country, setting a record for the largest temperature contrast within a single nation. This surpasses the previous record set by the US in January 1954, which was a difference of one degree Celsius.

During the same week, a weather system near the southeastern coast of Brazil had intensified and became Tropical Storm Akará. On February 18th, the Brazilian Navy Hydrographic Center announced that Storm Akará had formed during the night with winds of 40mph and a pressure of 1,000 millibars.

In contrast to the north Atlantic, it is uncommon for tropical cyclones to arise in the southern hemisphere due to intense wind shear and a scarcity of conducive weather conditions for growth. Akará is the initial named tropical storm to emerge in the south Atlantic Ocean since Tropical Storm Iba in 2019, and only the third since Anita in 2010. Additionally, Hurricane Catarina in 2004 remains the only documented hurricane in the history of the south Atlantic.

Akará formed as a result of a cold front that had previously caused heavy rainfall in parts of South America before moving away. As it moved over warmer waters, the low-pressure system strengthened into a tropical storm and was also fueled by a surge of tropical moisture from the Brazilian coast. Despite its path over the Atlantic Ocean, the storm posed no threat to the mainland. However, the Brazilian National Institute of Meteorology predicted marine impacts with high waves reaching 4.9 metres (16ft) and winds of up to 50mph. By Tuesday, the Brazilian navy reported that the storm had weakened to a tropical depression as it moved further away from mainland Brazil. On Wednesday, the system continued to lose strength as it moved over colder waters far from the mainland.


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