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Arctic Circle location hits record high May temperature: Aon

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The highest May temperature ever recorded (31.9 degrees Celsius) was clocked last month in Naryan-Mar, Russia, which is located in the Arctic Circle, as a number of climate records were broken, Aon’s latest Global Catastrophe Recap says.

The report says 87.6 % of the western US endured drought conditions during the week of May 18, the highest percentage this century.

In Brazil, historic levels were exceeded along the Negro River at Manaus, reaching 29.97 metres for the first time since records began in 1902.

India experienced the strongest cyclone on record to hit the state of Gujarat, with wind speeds of 205 kilometres an hour. Tauktae made landfall on May 17, killing 198 and resulting in estimated economic cost of $US1.5 billion ($1.99 billion).

Also in India, Category 1 equivalent Cyclone Yaas made landfall on May 26, killing 19 and damaging or destroying more than 325,000 homes.

Aon senior analyst Michal Lörinc says while most focus is on the Atlantic Ocean’s hurricane season each May, the most activity last month was found in the North Indian Ocean as the two cyclones struck the east and west coasts of India in a matter of days.

“Proper planning and evacuations helped minimise the level of casualties, which once again highlights the importance of early warning systems,” Mr Lörinc said.

In New Zealand, incessant rain from May 29 to June 1 triggered ‘one-in-100-year’ floods in the Canterbury region and affected the west coast, Auckland and Otago. Extensive farmland was left inundated and thousands of homes, roads and bridges either damaged or destroyed, with economic losses likely to reach tens of millions of dollars.

In the US, insurers face a multi-billion-dollar payout as convective storms resulted in extensive hail, tornado, wind and flood damage across a series of separate events during May.

Elsewhere, a volcanic eruption on Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on May 22 prompted thousands to evacuate, killing 32 and destroying hundreds of homes in the lava flow.