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Weekly wrap-up: Rain, wind force postponements of Olympic events in Rio; Rare landspout tornado touches down in Chicago

The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro got underway Friday, Aug. 5, the first time the games have ever taken place in South America.

While the weather has cooperated for most of the competitions, rainy and windy weather led to several postponements this week.

Rowing and tennis were the sports impacted the most by delays and postponements. Officials had to move Sunday's rowing events to Monday due to poor conditions. Then on Wednesday, an entire day of competition had to be rescheduled due to adverse weather conditions.

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Tennis play was delayed on Sunday due to wind and additional delays occurred on Tuesday thanks to rain. All tennis matches were cancelled on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, a rare landspout tornado was photographed on the southwest side of Chicago on Tuesday, Aug. 9. The tornado was the first to occur inside Chicago's city limits since Sept. 22, 2006, according to the National Weather Service in Chicago.

The National Severe Storms Laboratory defines landspouts as "narrow, rope-like condensation funnels that form while the thunderstorm cloud is still growing and there is no rotating updraft."

The NWS said there was no rain shower or thunderstorm, just cumulous clouds along the lake breeze. Landspouts are typically observed under cumulonimbus clouds or towering cumulous clouds and are the land-based equivalent of waterspouts.

Slow-moving storms dumped flooding rain across portions of the Gulf Coast, Midwest and Northeast.

Lightning strikes killed three people in the U.S. this week, brining the total for 2016 up to 25 fatalities, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Lightning Safety Specialist John Jensenius. A man and woman were struck and killed in a cemetery in Batavia, New York, on Wednesday. One the same day, a 9-year-old boy was killed in Coshocton, Ohio, while bringing in horses.

A dust storm enveloped Phoenix on Tuesday, greatly reducing visibility and causing a nearly 20-degree drop in temperature.

The thunderstorm responsible for the haboob also caused flash flooding around the region. The Arizona Department of Public Safety urged motorists to monitor traffic advisories and be alert from dangerous driving conditions.

Moisture from once-Tropical Storm Javier fueled flash flooding problems elsewhere across the Southwest this week.

Severe flooding in Utah forced the closure of all roads leading in and through Zion National Park.

The storms caused a house-sized boulder to topple onto Zion-Mount Carmel Highway, causing damage to the road and closing it in both directions.

"The park will be working with a hazard geologist from the Utah Geological Survey to remove the rock and assess the road," said park spokeswoman Aly Baltrus.

The death toll from what was once-Hurricane Earl continued to rise this week. The tropical system had weakened after making landfall in Mexico last week, but heavy rains triggered mudslides that killed at least 48 people in the Veracruz and Puebla states, the Associated Press reported.

Heavy thunderstorms rolled through Skopje, Macedonia, and surrounding areas on Saturday night, causing the deaths of more than 20 people.

Some of the victims drowned in their cars as water piled up quickly due to the intensity of the rainfall, according to BBC News. Other villages in the northeastern part of Macedonia were cut off from travel due to landslides caused by the heavy rain.

Wildfires scorched parts of Europe this week, killing at least four people and damaging communities in Portugal and France.

Over 1,000 were evacuated on the Portuguese island of Madeira, while about 40 homes and a five-star hotel were destroyed near the capital city of Funchal, Reuters reported.

Several AccuWeather meteorologists and staff writers contributed content to this article.


Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Kevin Byrne at Kevin.Byrne@accuweather.com, follow him on Twitter at @Accu_Kevin. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook