While large parts of the U.S. experienced serene Christmas skies, violent thunderstorms tore through parts of Australia. Meanwhile, temperatures spiked to record levels in Antarctica and near record levels in the United Kingdom.

Australia thunderstorms and tornadoes

A Santa on his sleigh or wicked witch on a broomstick? Some Australians were more likely to see the latter December 25.

Severe thunderstorms produced damaging winds, flooding rain, “cricket-ball” size hail, and tornadoes around Melbourne.

Radar hook echo indicative of tornado-producing thunderstorm west of Melbourne on December 25. (Australia Bureau of Meteorology)

The Sydney Herald reports the Bureau of Meteorology called the event “one of the most widespread severe storms [Melbourne] has seen”

Antarctica (South Pole) record warmth

Meteorologist Paul Douglas at the Minneapolis Star Tribune blog reports that on December 25: “the U.S. South Pole station set a new all-time record for maximum temperature, of -12.3C (9.9 F). The previous record (apart from a nearly identical temperature on 24 December) was -17.2C (1 F) in 1978.” See also CIMSS satellite blog for more.

United Kingdom warmest in 90 years

The United Kingdom recorded its warmest Christmas day temperature in 90 years, rising to 15.1 C (59.2) in Dyce, Scotland. That was just 0.5 degrees shy of the UK’s all-time Christmas day high of 15.6 (60 F). Source: BBC