World weather news
World weather news, December 2004
- Torrential rain in Indonesia's East Java province caused widespread flooding and killed at least nine people.
Hundreds of homes were damaged during heavy rains that began on Wednesday in heavily populated East Java. The floods reached up to chest level.
- Typhoon Nanmadol hit the Philippines with winds estimated at 150 mph as the nation struggled to rescue survivors of earlier storms that caused major floods and mudslides.
Mudslides and flash floods have turned entire provinces facing the Pacific Ocean into a sea of chocolate-brown mud littered with bodies, uprooted trees, collapsed homes and bridges.
At least 422 people were killed and 177 were missing from the earlier storms.
Before the typhoon hit, survivors of the earlier storm sifted through piles of mud, which in some towns was ankle deep, for clothes and belongings. Soldiers, police and medical workers trekked with relief supplies across flood-ravaged roads and bare mountains to reach towns cut off by landslides.
Schools and offices were closed in Manila and in a large part of the main northern island, Luzon. The coast guard prevented ferries, small boats and fishermen from leaving ports, and the air force said the bad weather had basically grounded its rescue fleet.
- Beijingers have been warned to stay indoors as thick smog blankets the city for a third day, with hospitals reporting increasing numbers of people seeking treatment for respiratory problems.
The grim weather was also causing transport chaos with flights delayed and accidents reported on the roads.
Officials urged people not to drive to avoid worsening the pollution.
Caused by humid and warm air currents blown down from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the mass of smog was hanging over much of north, northeast and southern and southwestern parts of China.
In the Chinese capital, visibility was down to less than 100 metres with some areas reporting just 10 metres.
- Violent winds wreaked havoc in Japan, stranding tankers and uprooting trees while bringing record-breaking gales and December temperatures in Tokyo.
A depression brought warm southern winds, causing the temperature to climb to 24.8C in central Tokyo at 11.29am, a December record for the area since records began in 1923.
Areas surrounding the capital enjoyed summer conditions with temperatures rising past 25 degrees. People were walking in T-shirts while typhoon-strength winds left trees fallen, traffic signals broken and windows smashed.
Earlier Sunday, on gales of 90mph were measured also in central Tokyo - the strongest reading since the Meteorological Agency started compiling similar data in 1964.
At least 21 people were injured due to strong winds, according to Jiji Press news agency.
- Southern Croatia has had some it its heaviest rain for half a century.
In the southern coastal city of Marina the city centre was inundated with about 1.5m of water. Residential areas were only accessible by boat and there was at least one casualty.
Sibenik, an historic coastal city, was also hit hard by the flood waters.
A spokesman for the city said that rain of such intensity hadn't been seen since 1949.
The city of Split collected 142mm of rain in the 18 hours up to midday yesterday - about 30mm more than the December average total.
- The town of Turaif (Saudi Arabia) had a months worth of rain falling in just 6 hours. The 16 mm received was higher than the 12 mm that usually falls throughout the whole of December.
- Storms dumped more than 2 inches of rain on parts of north Alabama (USA), worsening flooding problems in a region where lowlands and some rural areas already were inundated with water.
The National Weather Service said Huntsville received 2.43 inches of rain from midnight to lunchtime.
The water set creeks and streams higher throughout the Tennessee Valley region, where some areas had more than 7 inches of rain on Monday and Tuesday.
Floods caused by monsoon rains forced the evacuation of thousands in eastern Malaysia.
At least three Malaysians have drowned in the worst floods to hit the eastern states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang in recent years.
More than 6,000 people were evacuated as floodwaters surged following several days of steady rain.
In Kelantan, waters rose more than six feet in the state capital.
- More heavy rain lashed northern and eastern Sri Lanka after two days of floods that killed six people and made 750,000 homeless.
Irrigation authorities have opened sluice gates at several reservoirs amid fears that excessive water levels could lead to the breaching of embankments.
Floodwater surged over the northern districts of Jaffna, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu where an estimated 12,500 families were moved to schools and temples on higher ground.
- France and Germany were swept by their worst winter storm in five years. 100mph winds swept across northwest France in the evening tearing off roofs and leaving over 400,000 homes without power. Six people were reported killed. As the low pressure area responsible then pulled away southeastwards across Germany the winds continued their trail of destruction, only to then be accompanied by additional treachery from snow and ice.
In France tens of thousands of homes were left without electricity. Hurricane force winds hit Paris without warning and lasted only a few minutes, but caused havoc. The storm caused delays at airports in Paris and brought some train services to a halt. The Eiffel Tower, parks and other outdoor facilities were closed.
The gusts of up to 80mph prompted Meteo France, to issue its second-highest alert and warning against people using their cars.
At the Chateau de Versailles outside the capital, tourists were evacuated when trees began to be uprooted.
- Heavy rains caused flash floods that killed at least 34 people and injured 43 others in southern Iran.
The flooding hit southern Bushehr province, wrecking more than 380 homes and leaving 4,000 people without shelter.
- In the USA cold arctic weather was blamed for six deaths. In Warwick, R.I., an American Airlines flight skidded off an icy runway connector as it prepared for takeoff.
Severe wind in Colorado forced skiers off the slopes in Breckenridge, closed highways and peeled the roof off a high school gym while a basketball team practiced. No serious injuries were reported.
North Carolina's Outer Banks got a rare dusting of snow.
Blizzard-like conditions were reported for much of Michigan.
- A major winter storm blanketed Ontario (Canada), snarling traffic and grounding dozens of flights on one of the busiest travel days of the year.
The storm started on Wednesday afternoon and picked up overnight, hitting some areas with as much as 8 inches of snow. By Thursday morning, the snow had turned into freezing rain in Southern Ontario, causing a flurry of rush-hour traffic accidents in the Toronto area and forcing the province's police to close several ramps to major highways.
By mid morning about 200 international and domestic flights were cancelled or consolidated at Canada's busiest airport, Toronto's Pearson International, which had been expected to handle more than 80,000 passengers on Thursday in the Christmas holiday rush.
- Snow fell on Christmas Day in Deep South Texas. In Corpus Christi, snow totaled 11.2cm, and it was only the second White Christmas ever in Corpus Christi. Farther north in Victoria, 31.8cm of snow fell, making it the first White Christmas on record for Victoria.
- A major storm system affected parts of the western United States, bringing a variety of weather conditions to the region. Heavy rainfall broke daily precipitation records at some locations in California, with Los Angeles (downtown) breaking a daily rainfall record for the month of December (141 mm fell on the 28th). This was the third wettest calendar day in Los Angeles since records began in 1877. Very heavy snow fell across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, with some areas receiving several feet of accumulation. Winds with this weather system gusted over 65mph at some coastal and mountain locations in California.
- The first recorded snowfall on record fell across the al-Jiys mountain range of the United Arab Emirates. Hundreds of automobile accidents were reported to police as a result of the unprecedented wintry driving conditions.
- More tornadoes were reported in Kansas and the USA last year than at any time since records have been kept, although the national death toll was far below the annual average. Kansas recorded 124 tornadoes in 2004, breaking the mark of 116 set in 1991. The state also set a record for most tornadoes in a single month: 66 in May. There were 1,555 tornadoes recorded in the country through to the end of September, according to statistics compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK. Even without figures for the final three months, that breaks the record set in 1998 by more than 130.
World weather news, November 2004
- According to scientists from the Institute of Earth Sciences at the University of Iceland and the Icelandic Meteorological Office, an eruption began at the subglacial Grimsvotn volcano around 2100GMT on the 1st. The eruption was preceded by both long-term and short-term precursors, and was triggered by the release of overburden pressure associated with a glacial outburst flood, originating from the Grimsvotn subglacial caldera lake. Ash is reported to have been lifted to at least 40,000 feet, and was seen over parts of Scandinavia on following days. The eruption ceased around 1800GMT on the 4th.
- Rome saw the hottest start to November since records began, with the temperature rising to 27.1C, against a previous high of 24.6C in the first week of November 1926.
Likewise in the north eastern Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region, temperatures came in some 10 centigrade above average, with Udine seeing a top of 26C - again the highest since records began almost 150 years ago.
Venice spent a seventh day struggling against high waters on Tuesday, but officials said the floods, which had covered 80 percent of the lagoon-city at the weekend, were receding.
- Most of the thousands of South Plains (USA) residents who were without power early Wednesday had it restored by the end of the day. Power cuts plagued more than 12,000 customers in the Panhandle and South Plains from Tuesday's snow storm. The heaviest accumulation on Tuesday was more than a foot in the Lubbock area, where the storm closed at least four roads and left 10,000 to 15,000 homes without electricity. The 8.4 inches that fell in Amarillo was a daily record and was the first measurable snowfall ever recorded on the date in the city.
- During the past couple of days though, some parts of Siberia have seen an early snowfall. At Chara, around 300 miles northwest of Lake Baikai, an active cold front brought a covering of snow during Tuesday and Wednesday. By 1200GMT on Wednesday, several centimetres of snow were lying, and in the previous twelve hours the rainfall equivalent of 8mm had fallen. Their average rainfall equivalent for the whole of November only stands at 7mm.
- The long dry period in South East Queensland was broken in spectacular fashion by heavy rainfall over the weekend. During the 48 hours to 9am Monday 8th November, rainfall totals of up to 365 mm were recorded in South East Queensland. Highest totals tended to be between Brisbane and Coolangatta and were limited to a strip about 20 to 30km from the coast. Some of the highest rainfall totals in the 48 hour period included Jacob's Well 365mm, Steiglitz Wharf 341mm, Southport 298mm and Mt Tamborine 276mm. For some stations including Mt Tamborine, these amounts were more than twice their November average. On Saturday night and Sunday morning, there were several periods of an hour when over 60mm of rain was recorded. The highest hourly rainfall recorded during the 2 days was at Jacob's Well where 85mm of rain fell between 9.30 and 10.30 on Sunday morning.
- Large swathes of southern and eastern China are in the grip of their worst drought in more than 50 years, prompting calls from the countries top leaders for better management of water conservation.
A prolonged dry spell has ravaged southern and eastern provinces, including Guangdong, Hainan, Jiangxi and Anhui provinces and Guangxi autonomous region.
In Jiangxi alone, drinking water to 620,000 people and 260,000 livestock is threatened.
To make matters worse, China's meteorological department is predicting a warm winter, which could worsen the drought, increase the risk of forest and grassland fires and trigger the spread of animal diseases.
- Tens of thousands of people in Eastern Canada could be without electricity until the end of the week, after an early winter blizzard downed power lines and crumpled transmission towers.
Up to 50 cm of heavy, wet snow blanketed Nova Scotia over the weekend, leaving more than 100,000 homes and businesses without power and temporarily shutting down Halifax International Airport.
Nova Scotia Premier John Hamm said the government may launch an investigation into the state of the province's infrastructure as a result of the power grid's collapse.
- Algerian rescue services were searching on Sunday for about 20 sailors missing after severe storms sank one ship and drove two aground near Algiers port, killing three seamen, on Saturday.
"The situation yesterday was impossible with 100 km an hour winds making it very difficult for our helicopters to rescue anyone."
At its height the storm whipped up eight-meter high waves, but conditions improved on Sunday, making the search easier.
- Gale-force winds paralysed air, road and sea traffic along Croatia's Adriatic coast, causing delays, cancellations and power failures, while dozens of people were injured and three were reported missing in the sea, media reports said.
Two Austrians, a man and a woman, fell into the sea early on Sunday from a yacht some 30 nautic miles southwest of the northern Adriatic town of Pula.
Due to strong Bora winds rescuers on the Italian and Croatian side were not immediately able to search for them.
In the northern Adriatic town of Rijeka winds, gusting up to 125mph, toppled trees and ripped off roof-tiles.
- Several days of heavy rains that drenched soggy Central Texas (USA) left parts of the region flooded and contributed to the deaths of at least two people.
Several tornados were also reported in the region, including in Austin, San Antonio and Gillespie County. No injuries were immediately reported.
Many areas around central Texas and the Texas Hill Country received 5 to 8 inches of rain from Sunday through Wednesday morning.
About 11 inches had been measured northwest of San Antonio, near Boerne.
- Nearly 40 roads and highways were closed and towns isolated on Monday after storms set off a series of rock- and mudslides in the mountainous country of western Norway. Floods also wreaked havoc, and a motorist was missing after a mountainside gave way in the area where he was driving.
Several small towns were cut off by the slides, while dozens of motorists were trapped between slides on desolate roads along western fjords. In the county of Sogn og Fjordane, around 60 people faced spending the night in their cars after being caught between slides on Highway 5 bewtween Skei and Lunde in Jolster. All were later rescued late on Sunday evening.
As of Monday morning, 14 roads remained closed in the area. Slides or fear of slides also closed roads in Hordaland, including the E-16 highway that runs through Voss near the popular Fleischer Hotel.
- Severe thunderstorms are continuing across the central areas of the Mediterranean. Heavy rain, thunderstorms and strong winds have led to mudslides and the closure of some roads and airports. Pescara in Italy had 101mm of rain in 24 hours. The monthly average fall is 60mm. At the same time, Sofia in Bulgaria had 55mm of rain compared to an average of 50mm.
- Up to 10 percent of impoverished Cambodia's rice crop has been lost since last month to drought, but rains that started overnight could bring relief.
A lack of rain since mid-October jeopardised one of two annual rice harvests in Cambodia, where about 85 percent of the 13 million people depend on growing rice to survive.
- Perth (Australia) experienced a minimum temperature of 5.0C at 5.33 am, the lowest minimum temperature for November on record at the official Perth observation site. The previous record for November of 5.6C was recorded on 1 November 1904. The average minimum temperature for November is 14.2C.
Other November records around the metropolitan area this morning included Pearce 2.8C (47 years) and Perth Airport 3.2C (60 years).
The lowest minimum temperature for the state today was -1.1C at Wandering. This is the latest date on which a sub-zero temperature has been recorded in Western Australia. The previous record was at Salmon Gums Research Station with -1.1C on 13 November 1958.
- Three people have been killed and 1,000 others displaced as Typhoon Muifa struck the eastern Philippines.
- Across Scandinavia on the 18th, an early season winter storm brought locally heavy snow and strong winds to much of the region. Snow accumulations of 20 cm were common throughout much of southern and central Sweden. Strong winds gusting over 60 mph combined with snow and rain to produce wind damage in parts of Norway and Denmark.
- Hundreds of people spent the night as evacuees in central and southeastern Texas because of flooding caused by days of torrential rain that was blamed for one death.
Rain continued falling in some areas on Tuesday and the National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for a 17-county region.
In Southern California, meanwhile, campers stranded by nearly 2 feet of snow on a mountain near Palm Springs were rescued early Tuesday.
Rain began falling on southeastern Texas on Saturday, and on Sunday up to 15 inches of rain fell across parts of Wharton and Jackson counties. Fifty to 100 homes and some businesses were flooded in El Campo.
On Monday, the Guadalupe River rose to more than 11 feet above flood stage in Sequin, east of San Antonio, flooding three subdivisions.
A separate storm that arrived in Southern California during the weekend dumped up to 3 feet of snow in the mountains east of Los Angeles and piled flakes even on some desert areas.
About 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles, nearly 2 feet of snow stranded 10 campers on a a peak in the San Jacinto Mountains west of Palm Springs.
- Relentless gale-force winds are making life miserable for Austrians and Slovaks.
The blustery weather is no laughing matter in Austria, where it's been blamed for road fatalities, or in neighboring Slovakia, where record-high winds devastated huge swaths of forest over the weekend. There were widespread blackouts in Silesia and 9 fatalities in Poland.
Boats plying the Danube have had to deal with stomach-churning whitecaps and swells, and a federation representing Austria's trucking industry said Monday the recent closures of key highways for several hours at a time has cost shippers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In Slovakia, gusts clocked at 108 mph - the strongest since records began being kept in 1936 - wiped out an estimated half of all the timber in the country's High Tatras mountains. Officials put the loss at tens of millions of dollars.
"It is unbelievable that we will not see woods we used to see in the Tatras for the next 70 to 80 years," Slovakia's environment minister, Laszlo Miklos, told the Czech news agency CTK.
Hibernating bears "will be shocked in the spring when they wake up" and see the damage, said Tomas Vancura, who oversees the Tatras national park system.
- Unusually cold in Iceland this week; on the 21st the temperature
went down to -30C at Myvatn in the north, at the same time the temperature
was +1C in Reykjavik. Never before has such a low temperature been recorded in November. On the night before the temperature went down to -16C in Reykjavik, the lowest November temperature there since 1893.
- Heavy floods have subsided in parts of Luzon island (Philippines), which bore the brunt of tropical depression Merbok, dumping heavy rains and causing landslides.
Relief operations were continuing the northern provinces of Aurora and Nueva Ecija, where 26 people were swept away by raging floodwaters.
Search operations for 80 fishermen whose boats either sunk or capsized off the island of Mindoro and elsewhere were continuing.
- Tornadoes moved across the southern USA from Texas to Alabama, killing four people, wrecking homes and businesses in rural areas and the New Orleans suburbs, and turning trees to kindling.
The violent weather was part of a system that had drenched Texas for four days, pushing rivers over of their banks and forcing people out of their homes.
- At least 13 people were killed, roads were blocked and hundreds of villages were isolated as heavy snowstorms hit Turkey for the second time this week.
A 60-year-old man in the central province of Konya and another person in Palu, eastern Turkey, froze to death.
A six-year-old boy in central Aksaray province was crushed to death when the roof of his home collapsed under the weight of the snow.
More than 900 villages in central and eastern Anatolia were suffering power cuts and telephone lines were also down in many areas because of heavy snowfall.
More than 1,500 villages are isolated because of snowstorms in the hardest hit central and eastern regions of the country.
Schools were closed down for two days in Yozgat, just 150 kilometers (95 miles) east of the capital, Ankara, where the snowfall that began Wednesday evening continued Thursday, although with no major effects on traffic.
Winter came late but with a vengeance, descending suddenly on the country last weekend, just days after people were dining al fresco in Istanbul and Ankara and swimming and sunbathing on the western and southern coasts.
- The deadly 2004 Atlantic hurricane season, one of the most devastating on record, officially ended leaving thousands of dead and billions of dollars in damages in its wake. The hurricane season, which began June 1, killed more than 2,000 people in the Caribbean, 150 in the United States, and caused 42 billion dollars in damage in Florida alone, which was hit by four hurricanes in six weeks.
In all, 15 tropical storms were powerful enough to be named during the season. Nine of them reached hurricane strength.
During six weeks between September and October four hurricanes -- Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne -- ripped through the Caribbean and Florida.
The effects of Jeanne caused at least 2,000 deaths in Haiti and 27 in neighboring Dominican Republic.
Hurricane Ivan ripped through Granada, killing 29 and razing much of the small island.
Hurricanes also caused deaths in Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Cuba and Venezuela.
Tropical strom Otto formed on the final day of the season.
- Temperatures early plunged to the 30s (degF) across much of California and to near-zero in some areas, damaging some strawberry crops and forcing citrus and avocado growers to closely monitor crops.
Social workers, meanwhile, scrambled to find shelter for the homeless. One man was found dead outdoors on the Monterey Bay coast.
A cold, dry air mass combined with clear skies and little wind sent night and early morning temperatures tumbling, triggering widespread freeze and frost warnings from the National Weather Service for a second night.
Los Angeles shivered at 39F but it was colder elsewhere, including Los Angeles County's high desert city of Lancaster, which froze at 15F. At high elevations, it was 2F at Alturas in the northeast corner of the state and 3F at South Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada.
World weather news, October 2004
- In Hyderabad (Pakistan) the average October rainfall is just 1mm. However, today 38mm of rain fell in just 12 hours.
- Socorro (New Mexico) residents scrambled for cover when one of the most damaging hailstorms the county has ever seen cut a swath through the city.
The storm blew in around 2 p.m. and deposit hail nearly as large as baseballs, causing widespread damage already being estimated in the millions of dollars throughout the city. At least two people were reported felled by the hail, one of them reportedly knocked unconscious.
2004 saw 2,208 lives claimed during the three month wet season over India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.
The monsoon rains in South Asia officially run from June through September, but some parts of India did not receive their first rains until July this year and for many this deficit was never recovered.
Despite widespread floods in many parts of eastern and northeastern India, which resulted in the deaths of 1,307 people, the country's monsoon rains overall were 13 percent below normal.
'The country has received about 715mm of rainfall against the normal 818mm', Indian Meteorological Department Director S.C. Bhan told Press Trust of India news agency. The capital, New Delhi, received only 376mm.
The decline in rainfall is expected to particulary hurt agriculture. Many farmers, dependent on rain for crop cultivation, are fearing water shortages in the months to come.
- The U.S. National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center said that 173 tornadoes were reported in August and 247 in September. The national average for September is 47. Based on tornado records going back to 1950, this significantly tops the previous September record of 139 tornadoes set in 1967. Other high numbers for September include 104 in 1998, 101 in 1996, and 84 in 2001.
"The extremely active tropical storm season can be partially blamed for the high number of tornado reports," said Dan McCarthy of the Center. Hurricanes Frances, Ivan and Jeanne hit the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern states during September.
Tornadoes frequently occur in the northeast quadrant of northward advancing tropical systems or their remnants. "This is the sector where wind shear has its greatest affects on storms in the rain band," McCarthy said.
With 117 reports, Hurricane Frances produced the most tornadoes ever, topping Hurricane Beulah's 115 tornadoes in September 1967.
Hurricane Ivan was close with 104 tornado reports.
The total number of tornadoes reported in 2004 so far is 1,516 which already surpasses 1998's record total of 1,424 tornadoes for the year.
- A powerful storm system affected portions of western Europe. In Portugal, power was disrupted for many residents in central and northern parts of the country as winds gusted over 60mph. The winds damaged at least 40 percent of the 300 hectares of greenhouses that exist in central Portugal. There was one reported fatality that was attributed to the strong winds.
- Service was restored on Monday for residents LaPlace, Louisiana, where Tropical Storm Matthew broke a water main, but residents of some coastal areas were still waiting for a wind shift to push high water back out to sea. The weakening remnants of the 13th named storm of the season, downgraded from a tropical storm on Sunday, moved north out of Louisiana on Monday. The storm dropped up to 12 inches of rain in SE Louisiana during the weekend.
- The most powerful typhoon to hit eastern Japan in a decade fizzled out after causing a trail of destruction which left six people dead and three others missing. Typhoon Ma-on slammed into the Tokyo metropolitan area on Saturday, causing floods and mudslides while paralyzing transport systems in the Japanese capital and surrounding areas. Tokyo saw 256mm of rain fall in just 24 hours. The October average is 194mm. Ma-on, a Cantonese word meaning horse saddle, was the strongest storm to hit the eastern Japan region centering on Tokyo in 10 years. The season's 22nd typhoon in the Pacific region was a record ninth to score a direct hit on Japan (records began in 1951) - in an average year two to three typhoons make landfall here.
- Rescuers in India's flood-ravaged northeast recovered another five bodies, taking the death toll in flash floods and landslides in the region to 162 in the past six days. The deluge, the worst in a decade to soak the region outside of a monsoon period, was caused by a depression in the Bay of Bengal. Assam accounted for 155 of the 162 deaths reported from the state while neighbouring Meghalaya accounted for the others.
- The death toll from flooding in southern Vietnam's Mekong Delta has claimed 27 lives since the start of the month, while another nine people were killed after heavy storms lashed the region. The Mekong Delta, which is Vietnam's largest rice-growing region and home to more than 12 million people, is prone to seasonal flooding that often causes widespread devastation and loss of human life.
- The Victoria (Australia) high temperature record for October was broken by Mildura and Walpeup with 40.2C. The previous record of 40.0C was set at Mildura on 30.10.1965. Records have been taken in Mildura since 1889 at the Post Office and now at the Airport, and from Walpeup since 1939. Other notable maximum temperatures on the 12th include Ouyen 40.1C and Hopetoun 39.8C. Adelaide's maximum temperature today peaked at 37.4C. 17 years ago the temperature reached 39.0C, the highest October maximum on record. The hot weather was experienced across South Australia, with many centres breaking long standing temperature records for October. The highest temperature recorded in South Australia today was 43C at Port Augusta.
- Sydney's maximum temperature today of 38.2C, recorded at 1.37pm, was the hottest October day in the city since records began back in 1858. The previous October record temperature for Observatory Hill was 37.4C on the 4.10.1942. In more recent years, extreme October heat occurred in western Sydney suburbs in 1988 when Richmond recorded 40.4C. Today's record maximum in Sydney followed a minimum temperature of 22.9C at Observatory Hill, its fifth highest overnight temperature for October.
- Snow fell across much of the Canadian grain-belt during mid-October, ending the growing season in many parts of the prairie provinces. As much as 18cm of snow covered fields in northern Alberta, with 15cm as Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
- Heavy rains and high winds caused extensive damage and injured at least 10 people in a section of Saline County. Arkansas, where a storm line moving through the state left thousands without electricity.
Two people were critically injured, authorities said, and 7,500 were without power. The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings but had not confirmed that tornadoes caused the damage.
- Heavy rain hit New South Wales (Australia), many places experiencing more than a month's rain in a day. Murwillumbah received 167mm of rain in 30 hours, the average for October here is just 85mm.
- Six people were hurt when Japan's Okinawan island chain was lashed by strong winds and heavy rain from Typhoon Tokage.
Tokage, on course to become a record 10th typhoon to land on the main Japanese islands this year, was expected to make landfall late Wednesday on Japan's Pacific side.
Packing wind speeds of 90mph, it would be the biggest typhoon to land in Japan since 1991, when the agency began classifying typhoons by the size of their strong-wind zones; the radius of Tokage's strong-wind zone - the area in which the average wind speed is in excess of 54km/h - measured some 800km.
- Japan's deadliest typhoon in more than a decade killed at least 83 people, in floods and landslides.
Many people died in landslides set off by the heavy rains from Typhoon Tokage that pounded much of Japan on Wednesday. Others died in flooding or were swept away by massive waves as Tokage, which means lizard in Japanese, roared northeast. The death toll was the highest since the 62 people killed or still unaccounted for after a typhoon in 1982.
Large rainfall amounts were widespread: Owase 17.8ins, Oita (Kyushu) 15.8ins, Maizuru 11.5ins.
An interesting sideline to Tokage was its contribution (6.6ins) to monthly rainfall at Tokyo. October's typhoon-bolstered rainfall rose to more than 26.4 inches in the light of Tokage. Mean monthly rainfall is 8.2 inches.
- Typhoon Nock-ten lashed northern Taiwan with powerful winds and driving rain, disrupting international flights and closing financial markets, schools and government offices. Flash floods killed three people, including a TV cameraman and a firefighter. The typhoon's eye passed just north of the capital, Taipei.
- A strong storm system affected the United Kingdom with strong winds and heavy rainfall. Across Ireland, winds gusted over 110 km/hr (70 mph) and heavy rainfall produced flooding. The River Lee reached the highest level since 1962, producing significant flooding in the southwestern city of Cork.
- Heavy rain sent water as much as 8 feet deep rushing through the University of Hawaii's main research library, destroying irreplaceable documents and books, toppling doors and walls and forcing a few students to break a window to escape.
Ten inches of rain fell in 24 hours starting Saturday morning in the Manoa Valley near Waikiki. Several cars were carried downstream when Manoa Stream overflowed its banks, and a school and church that were supposed to serve as polling places for Tuesday's election also were damaged.
World weather news, September 2004
- Welcome rains on the first day of spring brought a brief sigh of relief to parts of Queensland (Australia), after one of the state's most extensive winter dry spells on record. Large areas of central and eastern Queensland have experienced less than 20% of their average winter rainfall, with many stations recording their driest winter in over a century.
Several long-standing winter rainfall records have been shattered, including Gladstone with just 3mm (average 100mm, previous record 4mm in 1982), Maryborough with 18mm (average 151mm, previous record 23mm in 1946), and Emerald, which reported no winter rain at all - a record only once equalled in 1902.
- Hurricane Frances moved into the southeastern Bahamas by 1st September where two fatalities occurred. Frances then crossed onto the Florida peninsula near Sewall's Point early on the 5th with maximum sustained winds near 90kn. In Florida, more than 1.8 million customers lost power and more than 90,000 people waited out the storm in over 300 storm shelters. The hurricane brought major flooding and some structural damage, and also dealt another significant blow to the citrus crop which had been devastated by Hurricane Charley in August.
Frances re-emerged into the northeast Gulf of Mexico late on the 5th and made a final landfall near St. Marks, Florida as a tropical storm on the 6th. The remnants of the storm then moved northward into the Appalachians, where major flooding resulted from rainfall accumulations of 150-500mm.
- Typhoon Songda developed in the western Pacific Ocean on 27 August, and made landfall in southern Japan by 7 September with maximum sustained winds near 90kn. Heavy rains and flooding accompanied the typhoon as it weakened over the Sea of Japan by the 8th. In its wake, it left widespread damage and disruption. Over 300mm of rain fell in parts of west and southwest Japan, and it is reported to have killed 24 people as it swept across Japan.
- Heavy rainfall in during September 3-5 in the northeast region of China's Sichuan province produced severe flooding and landslides that affected more than 1.5 million people. Flooding was blamed for 34 deaths and the destruction of 67,000 houses. In the city of Dazhou around 360mm of rain fell between Thursday and Monday, while 128mm of rain fell during Monday alone on Huili (also in Sichaun).
- Hail hammered parts of New South Wales today, breaking windows and roof tiles, causing a spate of minor car crashes and leaving roads covered in ice, and even snow, in some areas.
The Bureau of Meteorology said both storms had dissipated but had brought extensive hail, ranging in size from 1cm to 4cm in diameter. To the south of Sydney, some snow falls were reported.
- Hurricane Ivan reached hurricane intensity by the 5th and proceeded westward into the Lesser Antilles and the Windward Islands by the 7th as it reached category-three intensity. Ivan continued westward, crossing just south of the island of Jamaica by the 10th-11th, then just south of Grand Cayman Island on the 12th, and then brushing the western tip of Cuba on the 13th. On its trek through the Caribbean, Ivan reached category-five intensity during three separate periods in its life cycle. Considerable destruction was reported throughout the affected region, with 46 fatalities across the Caribbean. On Grenada, 90 percent of the houses were damaged, while on Grand Cayman, nearly every building had sustained some degree of roof damage.
Ivan made a final landfall along the Gulf Coast of the United States on the morning of the 16th, reaching the coastline near Gulf Shores, Alabama with maximum sustained winds near 115kn. Significant damage from winds and storm surge was reported along the coastline of Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle, as offshore buoys measured wave heights of 15m. Heavy rainfall and several tornadoes spread well inland into the interior Southeast and Tennessee Valley region. At least 50 deaths in the United States were attributed to Ivan.
The storm is one of the deadliest in US history and the worst since Hurricane Floyd killed 56 in 1999. The last time Florida was hit by three hurricanes in a single season was in 1964.
- In eastern Bangladesh, nearly a half a million people were stranded by floodwaters after an earthen embankment along the swollen Gomoti Riber gave way, sending flood waters surging into 360 nearby villages. The bursting of the embankment was blamed on recent heavy rainfall that has been blamed for 19 deaths. The capital, Dhaka was flooded on Tuesday, with water up to 1 metre deep. Nearly 350mm of rain was reported in just 3 days.
- So far this year, the area known as the Northwest Pacific basin, which stretches from the dateline to the Asian continent and includes the South China Sea, has been hit by 19 typhoons. The record is 24, set in 1971.
Of the 19, seven -about twice the average, and a record high - have struck Japan, killing at least 45 people.
- Hurricane Jeanne developed on the 13th, passing over Puerto Rico on the 15th as a tropical storm. Winds as high as 60kn produced power cuts for most of the island's 4 million residents, left 600,000 people without running water, and were responsible for 2 deaths. Jeanne reached hurricane strength by the 16th just off the northeastern tip of the Dominican Republic, and then tracked along the northern coast of Haiti, where torrential rainfall produced a flooding disaster that claimed more than 1,500 lives. The severity of the flooding and mudslides in Haiti was exacerbated by the lack of trees, where over 98 percent of the land is deforested. The hurricane moved through the northwestern Bahamas on the 25th, crossing Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands with winds sustained at 100kn. The storm tore off roofs and severely damaged hundreds of houses. Jeanne proceeded westward, making landfall around midnight on the 26th near Stuart, Florida with maximum sustained winds near 105kn. Strong winds and torrential rains from the hurricane caused severe damage as it tracked across Florida. Jeanne weakened but produced heavy rainfall as it moved across Georgia, the Carolinas and into the Mid-Atlantic states. Combined impacts of flooding and severe weather (including tornadoes) resulted in at least 10 deaths.
- Bangladeshi authorities have closed all government offices in the capital, Dhaka, as the worst flooding in decades hit the city. Nearly all main roads in the city are under water. Officials say such severe flooding is "unprecedented".
Meteorological officials believe recent rainfall is the worst for many years, overshadowing July's floods in which most of Dhaka's roads were knee deep in water. 341mm of rain fell in Dhaka on Monday, the highest recorded level in 50 years.
- Floods and mudslides left thousands of Panama City residents homeless. 20 people were killed and 281 houses destroyed.
- A severe storm system caused bizarre weather along New South Wales' east and central coasts, the Southern Highlands and Blue Mountains yesterday, spawning hailstorms, a waterspout, high winds and heavy rain.
Hailstones about the size of a 10c coin fell in southwestern Sydney - at Razorback, between Camden and Picton - at 3.30pm as wild weather hit for the second time in two weeks.
- A brief but intense thunderstorm pounded Sacramento, USA, flooding the basement of the legislative chamber and collapsing the roof of an Italian market.
A 40-foot by 60-foot section of roof on the Corti Brothers market collapsed, sending thousands of gallons of water into the Italian specialty market.
The thunderstorm moved over the city about 1.50 pm., dropping 1.9 inches of rain and hail in about 30 minutes.
- Incessant rains caused flash floods that knocked down houses and killed at least 33 people in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
The worst hit town was Leharpur, 80 miles north of Lucknow, where 15 people died. There had been heavy downpours in Leharpur for more than 24 hours.
- A cold front brought in some early snow storms to Denver, Colorado, which dumped nearly 17 inches of snow on higher ground.
The National Weather Service reported 42 cm of snow falling northeast of Steamboat Springs, while nearby Rabbit Ears Pass received 30 cm. Early September snowfall in the state is unusual but not unheard of, said the weather service.
In Denver, temperatures plummeted from 28C on Monday to just 6C on Tuesday.
- When the remnants of Hurricane Ivan swung back over the Gulf of Mexico and returned to life as Tropical Depression Ivan it was a meteorological first, as far as anyone knows.
After making landfall in the USA, the storm's remnants travelled to the mid-Atlantic Coast, causing flooding rain from the Gulf of Mexico to Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Instead of dying, part of Ivan's upper-atmosphere swirl of air, travelled from over Virgina, out over the Atlantic Ocean and then south off Florida's Coast. This swirl then crossed Florida, with heavy rain on Tuesday, to regenerate Ivan as a tropical depression on Wednesday afternoon.
Before weather satellites were first launched in the 1960s, meteorologists would not have had any way of knowing that a storm's remnants had done this. Wednesday's reformation of Ivan would have been seen as a new storm.
- Salalah in the south of Oman is usually very dry at this time of year with just 4mm of rain expected in a normal September. Today, slow moving thunderstorms deluged the residents with a staggering 104mm in just 6 hours between 1800GMT and midnight.
- The death toll from tropical storm Meari rose to 19 after searchers found more victims, including two men buried inside their homes beneath mud and debris that swept down a Japanese mountainside.
Meari has cut a wide swath through Japan since Sunday, causing floods and deadly landslides and forcing about 10,000 people to flee their homes for shelters. The storm disrupted flights as well as train and ferry services, leaving thousands of travellers stranded. Landslides and winds damaged or destroyed dozens of homes, and more than 600mm of rain in some areas caused rivers to swell and pour into streets. Owase, Honshu received 280mm in 12 hours as the centre of Meari moved through. Seven typhoons have hit Japan this year, exceeding the past record of six in 1990.
World weather news, August 2004
- Only 10.8mm of rain was recorded at Canberra airport (Australia) in July, well below the average of 41.4mm, continuing the significant dry spell since January this year. Rain was recorded on 13 days, more than the average of 10, but on many occasions it was minimal rainfall. The January-to-July rainfall total this year is the second lowest on record.
- The March-May rainy season was shorter and drier than normal across parts of the Greater Horn of Africa, resulting in a continuation of multi-season drought in this region.
- In Hungary, flooding at the beginning of August collapsed houses and forced dozens of people to leave their homes in the eastern part of the country.
- Hurricane Alex developed off the southeast coast of the United States on July 31, reaching tropical storm strength by the 1st. Alex attained hurricane status by the 3rd and lashed the North Carolina Outer Banks as the eye passed just offshore. Winds on Ocracoke Island gusted as high as 120mph), causing significant damage but no injuries. The storm continued to strengthen as it tracked away from land areas, and became the strongest recorded Atlantic hurricane at such a high latitude (greater than 38 degrees north), with maximum sustained winds on the 5th of 120mph at 40 degrees north latitude.
- San Sebastian in Spain had 63mm of rain in 24 hours compared with an average monthly rainfall of 42mm. Orleans, to the southwest of Paris, had 63mm of rain in 18 hours, 30mm of it falling in just 6 hours. Turin in northern Italy had 41mm of rain in 24 hours which is around two thirds of the monthly average of 60mm. Parts of Scandinavia are experiencing a heatwave; Turku in Finland had 28.4C on Thursday.
- Typhoon Rananim developed in the Philippine Sea on the 7th and reached typhoon strength by the 10th. Rananim moved into eastern China's Zhejiang province on the 12th with maximum sustained winds near 90kn. This was the strongest typhoon to affect Zhejiang province since 1997, and killed at least 164 people while injuring 1,800. Rananim also caused an estimated $US2.2 billion in economic losses.
- Ex-hurricane Alex has wrecked the dreams of four Britons attempting to set a new Atlantic world rowing record. 39 days after the Pink Lady and her crew left Canada - fierce storms split the boat in two, with only 300 miles from the finish. Skipper Mark Stubbs, Peter Bray, Jonathan Gornall and John Wills had decided to rest in their cabins overnight with the boat on sea anchor, as it was impossible to row in the stormy conditions of 60-foot waves and gale-force winds. It is thought a series of rogue waves caused the catastrophic damage to the vessel.
- The death toll from this season's monsoon rains across South Asia passed 2,000, as authorities in India reported Monday that 39 bodies were found floating in receding flood waters and four children were killed when a house collapsed. The toll already is well above last year, when 1,500 people were killed during a monsoon that extended to mid-October. The monsoon usually runs from June through September.
- In South Africa, heavy rains produced flooding in Cape Town around the 9th. At least 15,000 people were affected by the flooding, with many of those displaced from their homes.
- Hurricane Charley developed from a tropical wave that emerged off the African coast early in the month. Charley attained tropical storm status on the 10th as it passed south of the island of Hispaņola. Charley reached hurricane strength on the 11th, passing south of the island of Jamaica. The hurricane then tracked across the western tip of Cuba. Significant property damage exceeding $US 1 billion was reported in western Cuba, with 8,300 houses completely destroyed, and three fatalities in Havana. It was the worst hurricane in Cuba since Michelle in 2001. Charley entered the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on the 13th; it intensified very rapidly just prior to landfall as it trekked northeastward into Charlotte Harbor and came ashore in the USA near Mangrove Point. At the time of landfall, maximum sustained winds were near 125kn, causing massive damage to coastal areas and barrier islands in the path of the storm's eye. Charley continued northeastward as a hurricane, tracking directly over the Orlando and Daytona Beach areas during the evening of the 13th. Winds at the Orlando International Airport gusted to 105mph, a new record wind gust for the city. In Florida, tens of thousands of buildings were damaged, 12,000 destroyed and more than 2 million customers were without electrical services at the conclusion of the storm. The Florida citrus crop sustained severe damage. It was the strongest hurricane to hit Florida's west coast since Donna in September 1960, and it was the strongest hurricane to affect the state of Florida or the United States coastline since Hurricane Andrew in August 1992. Estimated insured losses from Charley were $7 billion, while total economic loss was estimated at nearly $15 billion. Charley was blamed for 22 deaths.
- The temperature in Reykjavik rose to 24.8C, the highest ever recorded there. The previous high for Reykjavik was 24.3C, recorded on 9 July 1976. The average daily high for the capital in August is 13C. The highest temperature ever recorded in Iceland, was 29.2C, recorded in Kirkjubaerklaustur in eastern Iceland on 2 July 1991. Today 29.1C was recorded at Skaftafell in east Iceland.
- The death toll from Typhoon Rananim rose to 63 with more than 1,800 injured, after the strongest storm of the season slammed into China's southeastern coast. Power in the major city of Taizhou was knocked out and millions of people lost water and phone service. The storm hit the coastal city of Wenling at 8 p.m. Rananim was travelling northeast from Taiwan, with mean winds of 85mph and gusts to 110mph.
- Typhoon Megi developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 14th and tracked through the Korea Strait on the 18th with maximum sustained winds near 65kn. Megi was blamed for 9 flooding deaths in Japan
- Heavy rains in the United Kingdom southward into France was responsible for localized flooding. A landslide trapped 57 motorists on a road in Scotland, while flash flooding devastated the tourist village of Boscastle. The rainfall was due in part to the remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie that had affected the United States a week earlier.
- Typhoon Chaba developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 18th, reaching super-typhoon strength (winds over 150 mph) by the 22nd. Chaba struck Japan on the 30th and was responsible for 13 deaths, flooding 13,000 homes.
- New Zealand is recovering from one of the most powerful storms in decades. Homes were damaged, transport and power links cut and at least one person was killed during the storms.
The southern end of the North Island was hammered by winds of up to 112mph and lashed by rain and snow. Waves up to 14 metres battered the coast, forcing ferry services to be cancelled. High winds also closed Wellington airport. Flooding has hit some low-lying areas in the region and meteorologists have forecast more rain and snow to come.
- A band of wild summer weather settled over Manitoba (Canada), handing the province severe thunderstorms, snow pellets and frost. People living in southern Manitoba woke up to frost. In Winnipeg the temperature fell to 0C at
3 a.m., breaking a record set in 1895. On the 18th, snow pellets fell on parts of downtown Winnipeg. Environment Canada says the office has
no previous evidence of snow falling in August.
- Typhoon Aere developed in the eastern Philippine Sea on the 19th, reaching typhoon strength on the 21st. Aere affected the southern islands of Japan on the 23rd, tracked along the north coast of Taiwan during the 24th-25th before making landfall in southeast China's Fujian province on the 25th. Flooding and landslides were blamed for more than 40 deaths in Taiwan, the Philippines, Japan and China. In Taiwan up to 1.5 metres of rain fell from the typhooon in the mountains.
- Thousands of farmers in north-east England are being forced to stand by and watch crops being ruined in the waterlogged ground, according to the NFU. The north of England has been hardest hit, says Lord Haskins, the government's chief rural adviser, although farmers across Britain are suffering.
In Scotland, farmers have suffered the worst harvest in almost 20 years after torrential rain ruined some fields. Much of the oil seed crop has already failed, although farmers are hoping to save their wheat and barley. But the National Farmers Union of Scotland has warned that time is running out to save the rest.
- Tropical Storm Gaston developed off the southeast coast of the United States on the 27th, making landfall in South Carolina on the 29th at just under hurricane strength. The storm moved northward, and gave as much as 330mm of rainfall on the city of Richmond, Virginia. This quantity of rainfall caused massive flooding in the city, and about 20 blocks of the downtown area was declared uninhabitable on the 31st. There were five fatalities in the greater Richmond area.
World weather news
World weather news, July 2004
- Hot, dry weather that affected the Iberian Peninsula in late June and early July contributed to brush fires across Portugal's southern Algarve region. Several stretches of the Algarve motorway were closed and homes evacuated due to 9 wildfires which affected the area.
- Typhoon Mindulle developed in June but affected Taiwan and the southeast China coast with torrential rainfall and strong, gusty winds as it trekked northeastward and weakened during 1-4 July. Mindulle was blamed for at least 30 deaths in the Philippines, 26 on Taiwan and 2 in China.
- A series of winter storms affected the Patagonia region of Chile and Argentina during late June and into early July 2004. Heavy rains produced mudslides in lower elevations while heavy snow fell across mountainous areas. There were 5 weather-related deaths in Argentina with 4 reported in Chile.
- In India, June flooding associated with the onset of
the monsoon season continued during July 2003 in
northeastern parts of the country. Border areas of
Assam and Arunachal states were struck by
flooding, submerging dozens of villages
and rendering 35,000 homeless. Much of the river
flooding originated from upstream in Tibet.
- In eastern China's Anhui province, severe thunderstorms on the 7th struck Xiao county resulting in three deaths and 143 injuries. The storms produced walnut-sized hailstones and strong winds that damaged or destroyed 18,000 homes. Farther west in Sichuan province, a lightning strike on the 4th killed 7 people while injuring 10 others
- A storm brought down trees and damaged more than 80 structures across Poland on Friday. In addition very heavy thunderstorms moved across central and eastern Europe. In Locarno, Switzerland 109mm fell in 12 hours (the average for the entire month is 175mm).
- Tierra del Fuego sits at the far south of Argentina. The "land of fire" has been anything but, with temperatures of -11 Celsius resulting in several deaths. For southern Peru, heavy snowfall and rain left tens of people homeless and many thousands of homes damaged. Also many livestock have died due to the bad weather including cows and llamas. Helicopters have been dropping food and clothing to isolated villages at high altitudes.
- In Canada, severe thunderstorms brought hail and heavy rainfall to parts of Alberta, causing damage to crops and businesses. The world's largest shopping mall in Edmonton (West Edmonton Mall) was temporarily closed on the 12th after sustaining damage from flooding and significant accumulations of marble to baseball-sized hail.
- Across South Asia, millions of residents were displaced by mid-month, with the Indian states of Assam and Bihar the worst-affected. Throughout India, Nepal and Bangladesh, at least 374 deaths were blamed on flooding brought about by heavy monsoon rains.
- In the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region, strong thunderstorms produced excessive rainfall and severe flooding. In central New Jersey, more than 254mm of rain fell in less than 24 hours.
- In the United States, a fast-moving cluster of severe thunderstorms affected parts of the Ohio and Tennessee Valley regions. This derecho brought widespread wind damage to portions of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee.
- In northern Japan, torrential rainfall brought flooding to Niigata prefecture, forcing nearly 20,000 residents into evacuation centers. More than 430mm of rain fell in some parts of the region, and the resulting floods were blamed for 11 deaths.
- In Germany there were heavy rainstorms and high winds over the weekend. The result of this unusual but not unheard of weather was the uprooting of trees, the cutting of power lines, and tornadoes which hurled cars through streets and ripped tiles off house roofs. The storms which began late on Saturday halted rail services between the cities of Dortmund and Essen and caused widespread damage as far as the border of the Netherlands.
- A heavy rain and hailstorm storm in the eastern part of the Czech Republic is reported to have flooded 25 homes in the town of Karlovice. Emergency crews and firemen are now pumping water from cellars. There are two uprooted trees and some minor damage caused by the shower of hailstones which are reported to have been the size of beans.
- Tokyo recorded 39.5C, the highest recorded since 1923 when the records began. The previous record was 39.1C, set on 3 August 1994. Ushiku, northeast of Tokyo got up to 40.2C, short of the known Japanese record of 40.8C. Oppressively hot weather has claimed several lives during June in Japan
- Two New Mexico (USA) state police officers were recovering after being injured by a lightning strike while helping motorists on a road flooded by a thunderstorm.
- A cloudburst near Eindhoven (Holland) gave 60mm of rain in Volkel with 58mm between 1620h and 1735h.
- On the 24th the temperature in Agadir (Morocco) reached 47.5C - more than 20 degrees above the mean maximum temperature for July of 25C. It was nearly as hot on Sunday with temperatures up to 46.4C.
In the nearby Canary Islands it was also extremely hot. Lanzarote recorded 43C on Sunday, 16C above the July mean maximum of 27C (81 F). And in Portugal Faro recorded 44C on Sunday, also 16C above average.
The heat wave in Portugal has resulted in the spread of forest fires, which have destroyed 27,000 hectares of woodlands and led to the evacuation of residents in some regions. The Portuguese national health department has warned that the scorching weather will continue for a few days.
- Deaths from monsoon rains across South Asia hit 1,300, with Bangladesh's government reporting more than 450 people killed since June. Millions of others are homeless. Floodwaters and other related problems have claimed the lives of nearly 770 people in India, more than 100 people in Nepal and five others in Pakistan. Victims often drown or are killed by landslides, collapsing houses, lightning and bites from poisonous snakes flushed out by the water. This year's flooding in Bangladesh has been the worst in six years, with experts blaming unusually heavy monsoon rains and rivers full of silt for the deluge that has covered two-thirds of the country. With nearly 40% of Dhaka, a city of 10 million, now flooded, many residents have been forced to move in with relatives in drier areas, take refuge in shelters at multistoried buildings, or simply camp out on raised pavements along major roads.
- At least two people died as thunderstorms gave more than a foot of rain in parts of North Texas, flooding homes in Lancaster, washing out a bridge in Ellis County and temporarily knocking out power to thousands. Three middle spans of a five-span bridge were knocked down in the flooding. The peculiarly rainy summer in North Texas is due in part to atmospheric conditions that have blocked a high pressure ridge of air from forming. The ridge serves as a lid on the atmosphere that usually deflects upper level storms during the summer and keeps the region hot and dry.
World weather news, June 2004
- Australia has been blighted by a persistent drought in recent years.
Although there has been relief in most parts, others are still suffering -
namely Victoria and New South Wales. The ongoing drought has just produced
the longest autumn dry spell in Sydney since records began in 1859.
During the 55 day period from 7th April to 31st May 2004, a total of less
than 10mm of rain has fallen in the city. The last time such a small amount
of rain was recorded was fifty years ago during a dry spell of 48 days in
The total rainfall in the past three months in total adds up to just 142mm,
giving Sydney its driest autumn since 1965 when only 136mm was recorded.
- In the United States, severe thunderstorms affected
the Dallas-Fort Worth, TX area on June 1st, 2nd and
7th. Each episode of severe weather was
accompanied by damaging winds and flooding.
Approximately a half-million customers lost power
from storms on the 1st-2nd.
In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
heavy rains produced flooding along
the Pena, Vardar, Anska Reka, Trkajna and Turija
Rivers. Flooding impacted up to 100,000 people and
significantly impacted agricultural interests. Up to 50
percent of the agricultural land in the country was
affected by the flooding
Typhoon Conson developed in the South China Sea
on the 4th as a depression, reaching typhoon status
by the 7th. Conson tracked between Taiwan and the
Philippines, attaining maximum sustained wind
speeds of 95 knots and
disrupting air traffic to Taiwan. Conson was located
about 460 km south of Sasebo, Japan on
- A tornado hit the Moravian district of Olomouc in the afternoon, killing one man and causing damage worth tens of millions of crowns. The man was killed when a tree fell on his car. The tornado (an F3 one) tore away roofs and knocked down dozens of trees. Also many houses were flooded after intensive rain in the region. Several tornadoes occur every year in the Czech Republic.
- Nearly 9 inches of rain fell in nine hours in the southern Wisconsin town of Randolph, flooding 75 to 100 homes, mostly basements.
In Minnesota, a storm system dumped up to 9 inches of rain in the southern part of the state, leaving residents to struggle with mudslides, flooded highways and soaked basements. A mudslide closed a highway in the south-central part of the state.
In central Oklahoma, small, short-lived tornadoes spun up unexpectedly Wednesday, damaging buildings, toppling trees and knocking down power lines. There were no reports of injuries.
Southern Michigan was hit by brief but intense thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon. Some 83,000 homes and businesses lost power.
- Thunderstorms produced flooding in northern Romania, claiming the life of a child in the town of Doljesti.
- Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh, and neighbouring Teknaf coastlines, were hit by a storm over the weekend. Spawned by a monsoon depression in the Bay of Bengal, waves up to 12 metre high and wind gusts up to 50km/h per hour were reported to have affected the area.
- A two-hour storm dumped nearly 8 inches of rain on southwest Sioux Falls (South Dakota), flooding streets and basements and spilling the Big Sioux River into parks and bike trails.
While the southwest part of the city got 7.79 inches, the Sioux Falls Regional Airport on the city's north side measured 3.57 inches.
The downpour also helped smash a nearly 100-year-old record. A total of 12.74 inches of rain has fallen at the airport between May 17 and Wednesday, topping the record for rainfall during a 31-day period set in 1909, when 12.23 inches fell.
- Super typhoon Dianmu is in the western Pacific, south of Okinawa. Dianmu is a village in China and also means 'Mother of Lightning'. Its path is northwards, passing close to the ocean island chain of the Ryuku Islands up to Kyushu by Monday 21st June. The storm is beginning to weaken, it currently has sustained winds of 155 knots, with gusts of 190 knots.
- Flooding produced from heavy thunderstorm rains affected Lagos, Nigeria late on the 16th and early
on the 17th. Thousands of commuters were stranded at bus stops as public transportation was halted.
Hundreds of buildings and properties were also submerged.
- In Turkey, a severe thunderstorm produced a rare tornado 30km north of
Ankara. The tornado was responsible for 3 deaths and 21 injuries, while damaging 45 buildings.
- Powerful typhoon Dianmu has hit land in western Japan, lashing a wide area with strong winds and heavy rains.
Dianmu, which means 'Mother of Lightening ' in Mandarin Chinese, hit land at Cape Muroto on the southern island of Shikoku at around 0400GMT - where gusts of wind reaching over 110mph were recorded.
Over 130 flights were grounded in southern and central Japan. Train and ferry services across a broad swathe of western Japan were cancelled, including som Shinkansen 'bullet train' services.
At one stage over 25,000 households were without electricity. A number of homes were evacuated for safety reasons and dozens of schools were closed.
- In Amarillo, Texas (USA), wind gusting to 70mph and hail the size of baseballs were reported, causing injury to people and damage to buildings and vehicles with flying glass. One home owner was reported as saying 'Glass flew everywhere. It looked like Coke bottles shooting through our skylights'. Heavy rain flooded some underpasses and rural roads, with water up to four feet deep in some areas. Storm spotters reported several twisters in the Amarillo area.
- A strong storm system affected much of northern Europe, bringing heavy precipitation to
parts of the region. A strong cold front ignited
severe thunderstorms which affected parts of
Germany on the 23rd. Two people were killed and
several injured as wind gusts up to 60kn produced widespread wind damage. A
tornado struck the village of Micheln injuring at
least 6 people and tearing roofs from homes.
The minimum pressure in Dun Laoghaire (Dublin) of 985.7mb was the lowest in June since the low of 983mb of 20 June 1997.
- Severe storms spawning apparent tornadoes left trails of downed trees, power lines and damaged homes after blasting their way through Wisconsin, USA. A man was killed and more than a dozen people injured.
- Alaska's capital city set a record with its sixth straight day over 80F, and the warm spell was expected to continue Thursday.
According to the National Weather Service, the mercury reached 85F on Wednesday. The city had recorded three previous spells of four straight 80F days. Those were in 1951, 1972 and 1990, and all of those streaks were recorded in July.
The National Weather Service has said the high temperatures are being created by a high-pressure system over Southeast Alaska, which is keeping clouds out as warm air pours in from Canada.
Juneau has never recorded a month with more than seven 80F days.
- Typhoon Tingting formed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 25th, passing north of the Northern
Mariana Islands on the 28th with maximum sustained winds near 75kn. The
typhoon passed north of Guam, but brought heavy rainfall (406mm) and flooding to the
island. Rainfall in Guam for June was boosted to 965mm which was the wettest June on
- Maximum temperatures across much of Spain
reached or exceeded 40C during the
closing days of June, prompting electricity
consumption to soar to record levels (38,800
megawatts). On the 29th, Madrid reached 39.3°C, while Cordoba
climbed to 42.3C.
World weather news, May 2004
- Showers and thunderstorms brought torrential rains
and flooding to parts of Texas.
Flooding affected northern and coastal sections of
the state, resulting in 6 deaths.
- At the American South Pole research station temperatures fell to an impressive -71.2C. Sunday's temperature was within a degree of the all-time low for May, records at the Pole going back to 1957.
- Flash floods were responsible for 8 deaths in western Iran. Heavy rainfall along the
Deleshir River in the Kermanshah province caused the river to quick rise above the flood stage,
resulting in the fatalities.
- Rainfall in the Australian Capital Territory in the March-April period this year has been the lowest on record, while April
had its third lowest total on record. A total of only 2.4 millimetres of rain was recorded over two days at Canberra Airport in
April. This was significantly below the average of 48.5 mm over seven days. The March-April period has been the
driest on record with only 6.8 mm of rain recorded at the airport.
- MSL pressure fell to 977.5mb at Wokingham and 977.0mb at Bracknell, the lowest in the area in May since at least 1946.
- Tropical Cyclone 01A developed in the Arabian Sea
on the 5th and was located over open ocean waters
about 800km south of Bombay, India on
the 6th. Maximum sustained winds were near 40 knots.
- An unusual late-season snow fell across the
Kashmir region along the border of India and
Pakistan during early May. Indian defense ministry
officials reported that that the army was dispatched
in an effort to rescue some 20,000 nomads trapped
in the Himalayan areas of Kashmir, where heavy
snow had effectively cut off the region.
- The western wildfire season got off to an above
average start by early May with fire danger at
unprecedented high levels in parts of California. Several large fires affected the
southwestern part of the state, where the Eagle and
Cerrito fires charred more than 11,500 hectares
and destroyed more than a dozen
- In Kenya, several thousand people were displaced
by flooding in early May, mostly in the western
part of the country. There were 15 fatalities
reported due to the flooding. Kenya's spring
wet season runs from March through May.
- Long term drought continued across areas of Africa,
including the Greater Horn and parts of southern
Africa. Seasonal rains brought relief to some
areas during late April and into early May.
- In China a rare tornado carved a swathe of destruction through Guangdong province around noon (local time). Worst hit was Qishi township where 52 people were injured and over 450 left homeless. The strength of the winds were such that they even managed to lift a car and carry it 50 metres before landing in a rice field!
- The early hours of Saturday saw Hong Kong pounded by torrential thunderstorms - forcing many schools and businesses to close. In some spots around 170mm of rain was reported less than 48 hours.
- The city of Multan (Pakistan) was lashed with winds carrying dust and sand at 65km/h. Further such storms are expected here during the next couple of days, and more generally across Sindh province, as the winds remain brisk in association with the effects of cyclone '01A' in the Arabian Sea.
- In the Uk, despite NW'ly winds there, the warmest places was Shetland, with Baltasound (with 19C) getting to within 2C of its all-time highest May temperature.
- Strong thunderstorms produced damaging winds, hail and a few tornadoes through parts of Minnesota. More than 22,000 customers lost electricity in
the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
- In France, unseasonably heavy snow fell in the northeast areas of the country. Heavy snow accumulation on the order of 30cm was observed at
elevations above 900m. The snow caused road closures and power cuts, with some 5,000 households losing electricity.
In Scotland, one man died after being struck by lightning on Ben Oss (1029m), near Tyndrum at about 1800GMT. A tornado was sighted at Brecon.
- A tornado was sighted over Dartmoor (UK).
- Tornadoes swirled across portions of the Texas Panhandle and Southeast Texas on Tuesday, derailing more than a dozen cars of a freight train and tearing parts of roofs from some homes and a church in Conroe. Near the Panhandle town of Hartley, a tornado derailed a Burlington Northern Santa Fe train, sending 15 empty coal cars and two locomotives off the tracks.
- Rain and late season snow blanketed areas of Canada's main grain-growing region, including areas of Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan. The
storm dumped the equivalent of 10-40 mm of water on some parts of the prairie provinces, where prolonged drought plagued the region.
- Unnamed tropical storm 02B came ashore along the northwest coast of Burma (Myanmar) on the 19th bringing with it strong winds and heavy rains. The system formed in the northern Bay of Bengal on the 17th and moved east as a strong tropical storm with maximum sustained winds estimated at 60 knots by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center as it crossed the coast of Burma. The system came ashore near the port city of Sittwe not far from the border with Bangladesh.
Up to 20 inches of rain fell over the foothills and
southern slopes of the Himalayan Mountains over northeastern Indian and Bhutan and along the north east coastline
of the Bay of Bengal over far western Burma and southern Bangladesh. The heavy rain over western Burma and
southern Bangladesh was a direct result of tropical storm 02B, while most of the heavy rain farther north along the
slopes of the Himalayas was a result of low pressure centered over northern India and Nepal drawing moisture up
from the Bay of Bengal earlier in the period.
- Heavy rains caused flooding in Texas and Oklahoma on the 14th. More than 432mm of rain fell in nine hours placing 644 square km of Robertson County, TX underwater. At least one person died in an automobile accident due to the heavy rains, and as many as 200 homes were damaged from the rising flood waters.
- Near record to record rainfall totals in the Jiangxi Province of eastern China during caused flooding and landslides killing seven people.
- A cyclone hit into Bangladesh's southeast coast, swamping low-lying areas and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee. Five fishermen were missing.
High winds and heavy rains forced up to 50,000 people to evacuate low-lying homes and seek shelter in multistory buildings.
The cyclone followed a heat wave that saw temperatures soar to 105F and left at least 21 people dead this month across Bangladesh.
- Typhoon Nida developed as a tropical storm in the
western Pacific Ocean on the 14th and quickly
reached typhoon strength the same day. By the 16th
Nida developed into a Super Typhoon. Typhoon
Nida made landfall in the Phillipines as a category 4
storm on the 18th. Maximum sustained winds were
140 knots causing between
20-30 deaths. The typhoon also caused thousands
of people to evacuate the islands and a ferry off of
the central Camotes islands to overturn, it was
carrying 168 passengers. President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo declared a disaster in eight
Flooding has resulted from some exceptional amounts of rainfall. In Catarman and Virac 232mm and 224 mm of rain, respectively, fell in just 24 hours. This is well above their respective average rainfall totals of 176mm and 170mm for May.
- Areas about the north and east coasts of the Northern Territory (Australia) received some big rainfall totals yesterday and overnight.
Gove Airport received 196mm in the 24 hours till 9 am today, its record highest May daily rainfall total and the third highest daily total for any month. Its previous May daily record was 91.4mm, set on 5 May 1990. The record high monthly May total of 241.8 mm was also set in 1990, but up to 9am today Gove Airport had already received 379.4 mm this month.
The high rainfall totals are the result of a trough in the easterly flow, enhanced by an upper atmospheric trough in the vicinity. There is not a low-pressure system in the vicinity, nor is it anticipated that one will form. It is not unusual for the north-east coast to receive reasonable rainfall in May and June, but the totals received in this event are extraordinary.
- A low-pressure system originating from Central
America crossed the Caribbean and affected
Hispanola, bringing exceptionally
heavy showers and thunderstorms to Haiti and the
Dominican Republic. Rainfall amounts exceeding 500mm were common across the border
areas of Haiti and the Dominican Republic during
this time period. Flooding was extensive in the
town of Jimani in the southwestern Dominican
Republic, where 250mm of rain fell in
just 24 hours, causing the Soliel River to overflow
its banks. Widespread flooding and mudslides in the
two countries were blamed for more than 900
World weather news, April 2004
A strong storm system in the upper levels of the
atmosphere brought showers and thunderstorms to
areas of the southwestern U.S. and adjacent areas of
northern Mexico. In the Coahuila
state of northern Mexico, a flash flood
occurred along the Escondido River in Piedras
Negras where locally 125-180mm of
rain fell late on the 5th and early on the 6th. At
least 36 people were killed by the early morning
flooding which damaged or destroyed hundreds of
homes, prompting a state of emergency declaration
by Mexican president Vicente Fox.
Coahuila governor Enrique Martinez described the
flooding as some of the worst in the history of the
U.S.-Mexico border region.
Heavy rain and flooding also affected areas of New
Mexico and Texas.
- Heavy rain in the catchment area of the Zambezi River is bringing flooding misery to thousands in the north-eastern part of Namibia in southwest Africa. Up to 20,000 people are thought to be affected already but the area is quite remote and an exact assessment of the situation cannot be made until helicopters reach the area.
- Typhoon Sudal developed in the western Pacific
Ocean on the 4th as a tropical depression and
reached typhoon strength by the 6th. Sudal passed
just southeast of Yap Island on the 8th-9th with
maximum sustained winds near 110kn. The typhoon damaged more
than 90 percent of public utilities and property,
while also damaging more than 90 percent of
lowland and upland crops.
- Tropical Cyclone 22P developed in the South Pacific
Ocean on the 7th and moved across Fiji during the
8th, producing very heavy rainfall. Maximum
sustained winds were near 35kn. There were at least 9 deaths on Viti Levu
island attributed to the tropical cyclone.
- Heavy rains caused flooding and landslides in the
Peruvian city of Aguas Calientes.
Hundreds of tourists were stranded visiting the
Incan ruins of Machu Picchu as flooding destroyed
15 homes and blocked transportation routes.
- In the Greater Horn of Africa, at least 50 people drowned as a result of flooding in Djibouti's capital
city. Torrential rains during the night of April 12-13 were reportedly the heaviest in 10 years in
Djibouti. The heavy rain cut electricity and washed away part of a railway line into neighboring
Ethiopia. The majority of the flooding surged along the dry Ambouli riverbed between the cities of
Djibouti and Balbala.
- An unusual late-season snow fell across parts of
southern Indiana and the western parts of Kentucky
and Tennessee. In Jackson, TN, it was
the latest measurable snowfall on record. In
Kentucky, there were 6 fatalities in traffic accidents
caused by slick driving conditions.
- Melbourne in south-eastern Australia has just enjoyed its warmest April night for around 20 years. During the night the temperature never dropped below 21.8C. It didn't quite beat the previous record though, set in 1966, when the mercury never fell below 23.4C.
- Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes hit northern
Bangladesh, flattening villages,
uprooting trees and killing at least 76 people. The worst-affected areas included
Netrokona and Mymensingh. In Netrokona, nearly
3,000 people were injured.
Additional tornadoes affected the capital of Dhaka
on the 19th, killing at least 7 people.
- In Russia, at least ten people were killed and thousands displaced as flooding affected the Kemerovo
region of Siberia. More than 20 towns and villages were affected by flooding in the
Kemerovo, Altay and Tomsk regions
- Severe thunderstorms spawned 52 tornadoes in the
United States, with the majority of
these occurring in the states of Illinois and Indiana.
Eight people were killed in Utica, Illinois as an F-3
tornado affected the downtown area.
- A tornado killed seven people and injured
more than 200 in central China. The tornado swept
through Hengyang in central Hunan province with huge hailstones reported, destroying
homes and crops in its wake. It also caused a blackout in
- In Antalya, in southern Turkey 186mm of rain in a period of 18 hours to 1200GMT. This is over three and a half times the average monthly rainfall for April, of 52mm.
- Several resorts are
reporting the best ski season in parts of Cent Europe in recent memory, with record
amounts of snow falling in parts of the Alps and the
Most of the Austrian resorts are now closed, even though
fresh snow has fallen virtually every week throughout
the season. Most of the French resorts, though, are open.
In Alpe D'Huez half a metre of snow fell on the upper
slopes earlier this week. Val d'Isere, Tignes and
Chamonix will stay open until May!
- Heavy rain on Sumatra
triggered a landslide which smashed into
a bus killing at least 38 passengers. The bus was travelling
from Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province
during a heavy rain storm.
- In China, a significant dust storm affected
northwest China's Ningxia Hui and Inner Mongolia
Autonomous regions on the 25th. Visibilities were
severely reduced in the city of Shizuishan, keeping
many local residents in their homes. Another dust
storm was detected via satellite across the
Taklimakan Desert on the 28th.
- Kangnung, in South Korea, usually gets around 75mm in
April. A slow moving depression has so far dropped a
massive 151mm of rain here in 36 hours.
- In the United States, record heat affected areas of
California during April 26-27. Records broken for
the month of April included 100F (37.8C) at Yorba
Linda on the 26th and 27th, 98F (36.7C) at
Sacramento on the 26th and 99F (37.2C) at Paso
Robles on the 27th.
World weather news, March 2004
- Air traffic in and out of Bamako, capital of Mali, was disrupted for a second day running as a huge dust cloud hung over the city.
At least three flights were rerouted to Niamey in Niger, he said.
The dust cloud also caused problems for road traffic in Bamako, where visibility on Thursday was only a few dozen metres.
Many cars had their headlights on in the middle of the day, the correspondent said.
A heavy snowstorm affected South Korea
and stranded around
4,000 motorists on highways. The central provinces
of North and South Chungcheong received the
heaviest single-day snowfall since 1904 when the
country began collecting weather data.
Nearly 60 cm accumulated in some
central areas of the country.
An incredible but short lived heatwave over the weekend in Turkmenistan,
Ashgabat hit 36C, some 26C above the early March average and smashing the record for March of 33C.
- A cyclone that smashed into the northern part of Madagascar over the weekend reportedly killed seven people and left about 100,000 homeless.
Cyclone Gafilo struck near Antalaha early on Sunday andthere were reports of many ships being wrecked by what could end up being one of the worst cyclones to hit the island. The central pressure was estimated at 895 mb shortly before landfall. There were 39 confirmed fatalities, and a Comoran
ferry sank with 113 people aboard with only 2
survivors accounted for. The cyclone moved
back over the Mozambique Channel before coming
back across the southern part of the island nation
on the 10th.
- Seven members of the same family, several of them children, were killed and four others injured early on Saturday when an avalanche crashed down on their house in eastern Turkey.
The accident happened in the small village of Somkaya in Agri province, which has a reputation for hard winters.
Eastern Turkey is currently in the grips of a cold snap and current weather conditions are ideal for avalanche occurrences.
In northwestern Iran, at least one person was killed
as flash floods triggered by torrential rains swept
parts of the West Azerbaijan province. The rains produced flooding along the Simineh
- China is to build the
world's highest weather
station at an altitude of
on Mount Everest, state
The unmanned station will
be completed within a year and will
humidity, air pressure, rainfall
and wind speed, said Wang
Jianshe, from the Tibet Weather
Bureau in Lhasa.
was part of a drive to build an
network with 41 stations across
- Heavy snow
caused the cancellation of the fourth stage of the Paris -
Nice cycling race. Initially, organisers considered
amending the route of the 184 kilometre stage from
Roanne to Puy-en-Velay because of the extreme weather.
Yet with temperatures of -4C and continued heavy
snowfall the race was eventually called off.
- In Armenia the winter's lying
snow is now starting to melt. Hundreds of homes across
the Caucasus nation have been flooded and the country was also battered by strong
winds. The storm blew roofs off houses
and downed power lines igniting forest fires.
- Severe sandstorms blew across northern China and the Korean peninsula, spreading thick yellow dust, cutting visibility and disrupting transportation.
Pedestrians and bicyclists in Beijing struggled against the
wind and dust, speed limits were reduced on highways and travellers
were warned of possible flight delays at the airport. Visibility was
limited to 500m in some places.
Strong winds from Siberia were blamed for stirring up dust
and sand in China's northwestern region where decades of
tree-cutting and overgrazing have led to desertification.
Winds and yellow rain also lashed South Korea on Wednesday
and were expected to continue for another day.
- More than 10000 people were evacuated as floods destroyed their homes and food gardens along the banks of the Waghi river in Papua New Guinea's western highlands over the past few days.
Emergency supplies, including thousands of litres of diesel, were stranded in Kundiawa Chimbu province after rising floodwaters badly damaged a bridge near Kudjip, washing away parts of the Highlands Highway.
Precious livestock has also perished in swollen rivers as torrential rain pounded the region for the past two weeks, turning into a flood last Friday.
The rains will affect major coffee and tea growers entering a new season in Anglimp, Aviamp and Kudjip.
- Significant precipitation during the winter season
alleviated drought conditions along the immediate
West Coast of the USA, although severe to extreme drought
classification continued in March throughout the
Intermountain West, the Northern Rockies, and
southward into New Mexico.
- In Kazakhstan, a landslide occurred,
destroying buildings and also 24 people went missing.
The mudslide occurred about 20 kilometres east of the
commercial capital Almaty, and although 4 people have
been recovered others are still feared buried. Heavy
showers fell in Zharkent just a little further east of the
landslide area, which received 12mm of rain from heavy
showers at the beginning of the weekend (equivalent to the monthly average).
- The Indian sub-continent does
usually heat up rapidly at this time year, but some
extreme temperatures have been recorded in northern
India and Pakistan. At Rohri, in Pakistan, temperatures of
45C were recorded, which is 10C
above average. At Barmer in northern India, the
temperature reached 34C, which may well be the
highest ever recorded March temperature in this city.
- Residents of the Northeast USA swept up after a snowstorm that swept out of the Midwest and dumped more than a foot of snow in some spots three days before the start of spring. At least 11 traffic deaths were blamed on slippery roads.
Snow accumulations of up to 15 inches were reported in parts
of southern and western New York.
Many New Hampshire schools closed or delayed classes on
Wednesday and some Connecticut schools also delayed their openings.
Hundreds of Ohio schools cancelled classes on Tuesday, and several
districts closed early Tuesday in New Jersey, New York and
Connecticut as roads became wet and slippery.
- With bright skies, and mild winds from
the south-west, temperatures soared into the mid-teens
for many in the UK. Several places reached 18C,
including Cleethorpes, Jersey, Hereford, and Harwarden.
The wind direction was also favourable for high
temperatures to be reached around the Moray Firth area
of Scotland. Here, Kinloss peaked at 18C, almost 10
C above their usual March mean maximum temperature.
- Maximum temperatures of 19.7C at Basel, Switzerland (average 11C), 20.8C at
Karlsruhe, Germany (average 11C), and 24C at Cazaux, France and Bilbao in
Spain (against averages of 15 and 14C respectively).
- Despite the fact that it is the monsoon season, which runs
from December through to the end of March, the rain this
month in Singapore has been particularly heavy.
So far this month, over 550mm of rain
has fallen, beating the March monthly record set in 1913.
The heavy rain is largely down to a feed of very moist
north-easterly winds off the South China Sea.
This January was also Singapore's wettest
January in 30 years.
Tropical Cyclone Fay developed in the Arafura Sea
on the 16th and drifted westward. The cyclone was
located off the north coast of Western Australia in
the Timor Sea on the 18th with maximum sustained
winds near 100kn.
- Heavy rains in Papua New Guinea produced flooding that swept away bridges, washed away roads
and destroyed hundreds of homes during the latter half of March. Flooding earlier in the month
prompted the evacuation of more than 10,000 people in the Western Highlands after heavy rain
brought the Waghi River above the flood stage.
- A South Atlantic Hurricane developed from an
extratropical cyclone that emerged off the coast of
Brazil on the 20th. This nearly stationary
non-tropical low pressure system aquired tropical
characteristics and developed into a hurricane by
the 26th. The hurricane made landfall along the
southern coast of Brazil in the state of Santa
Catarina just south of the resort town of Laguna
early on the 28th. Maximum sustained winds were
estimated between 65 to 70 knots
with gusts to 85 knots. The storm left at least three people
dead and injured 38, while more than 2,000 were
rendered homeless. This was the
first documented hurricane in the South Atlantic
Ocean since satellite records began in 1966.
- Biskra in northern Algeria recorded 56mm of rain in just 24 hours. This is nearly three times the average for the entire month of March which stands at just 19mm. Malaga had 46 mm of rain falling in the space of just 12 hours; this brings the total there since Friday to 244mm compared to the 49mm average for March. The torrential rains have caused roads to be flooded so deeply that cars were washed away and with much mud and debris left behind. Some campsites have been devastated.
World weather news, February 2004
- Cyclone Elita,
returning to Madagascar for the second time in a week, claimed four
lives and left 13,000 homeless.
The cyclone, in its first strike on the Indian Ocean island on
28 January killed two people and left 5,000 homeless.
- The Australian Bureau of Meteorology announced today that heavy rain during January removed, or significantly eased, long-term (nineteen-month) rainfall deficiencies over inland Queensland and parts of northern New south Wales. There was also some easing of the situation in western WA, but deficits remain along the central and northern Queensland coasts and in the southeast of the mainland. Rainfall totals of 100 to 300mm (150% to over 400% of average) fell over the most rainfall deficient areas of northern and inland Queensland during January.
- The temperature at Eindhoven in the Netherlands reached 18C which is well above the seasonal average of about 5C. Elsewhere, Vienna reached 17C which is a massive 14C above the February average for the Austrian capital.
Biarritz and Bilbao soared to around 13C above the seasonal average at 23C and 25C respectively. The range of temperatures recorded were more akin to those experienced in May or June.
- The maximum temperature in Glasgow, Montana was just -23C. This was far below even the average overnight temperature for February of -13C. By day, the temperatures are usually somewhere around the -3C mark. Things were no better in Williston, North Dakota where the top temperature on Wednesday was -22C, which is 19C below the average.
- The Climate Prediction Center forecasts below-normal temperatures virtually coast-to-coast in the USA from Tuesday through February 18.
Forecasters blame the "Arctic Express," a steady stream of cold air from Canada, and eastbound fronts full of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. The "lake effect" from shots of cold over Lake Ontario smothered parts of Upstate New York last week in up to 7 feet of snow.
- New York City had its second-coldest January in 70 years, with temperatures below normal every day from Jan. 6 to 31. Snowfall in December and January totalled 37.1 inches, more than three times average.
- Omaha had three times as much January snow as normal. Just five days into February, snowfall for the month already is triple the normal amount. Minneapolis also has passed its average for February.
- Syracuse's 132.7 inches of snow this season is more than twice the normal amount.
- Boston dropped below zero (degF) four times last month, the coldest in nearly 25 years. December snowfall was three times normal.
- Grand Forks, N.D., recorded its lowest temperature ever on Jan. 30 of -43F. The 23.7 inches of snow in January was twice the month's average.
- Ice grounded dozens of flights in the East and put tens of
thousands of people in the dark in West Virginia.
Hundreds of schools closed across the storm-battered states.
More than 53,000 customers in West Virginia woke up without
power after heavy ice caused trees to fall across utility lines.
Snowshoe Mountain, West Virginia's largest ski resort,
suspended skiing for hours Friday so crews could remove tree limbs
and check ski lifts after it got 65mm of rain and 12cm
of ice overnight. The Kansas City area had 8 inches of snow, its heaviest one-day snowfall since 10 inches fell in February 1993.
- Very windy weather swept across the Czech Republic. In the northwest portion of the country gusts of 89mph were recorded. The only serious consequence appears to be that a number of trees were brought down. Prague's firemen were called out 35 times to deal with the wind-related events.
- A dust storm originating from the Sahara Desert
affected much of Chad and Niger
with severely reduced visibilities.
- In the United States, strong winds, heavy snow and
cold temperatures combined to produce blizzard
conditions through areas of the Dakotas and
western Minnesota. Winds gusting
over 70 mph along with heavy snow
produced low visibilities and drifts up to 20 feet in
northwestern North Dakota. North Dakota
governor John Hoeven declared a snow emergency,
and Amtrak train service was interrupted in the
- Heavy rains that began in January across areas of
Brazil continued into early February. Mudslides and
floods left tens of thousands of people homeless and
resulted in 91 deaths since heavy rains began in late
December 2003. The
worst-affected areas include the northeastern states
of Pernambuco, Bahia and Piaui.
- Very heavy snowfall in Athens (Greece). Numerous problems
around the capital, as temperatures have dropped considerably (-3.3C
in the southeast, down to -7C in the northernmost suburbs) and the
roads are white. Accumulations around the city
between 10 cm and 70 cm.
- Snow blanketed much of Jordan, Israel, and parts of the Lebanon. 2-3 cm of snow lay across Jerusalem, while the overnight temperature in the Jordanian capital fell below freezing. The average February minimum here is 4C.
Although these sorts of conditions are not unheard of in these parts, the snow still brought with it the usual disruption. Power lines collapsed in the Lebanon, motorists using the mountainous highway from Beirut to the Syrian capital, Damascus, were urged to use snow chains, and an usual piece of advice emanated from the Israeli Health Ministry; with temperatures below freezing in much of the country, the public were advised to use the toilet before leaving home!
- At least five people died on icy roads in an
unusual winter storm that also caused power cuts and flight
cancellations in West Texas,
where officials were forced to close several icy and slush-covered
highways. Shelters were set up at churches and civic centers during
part of Friday to accommodate stranded travelers.
Wet snow that fell across North Texas over the weekend
forced about 70 flight cancellations at Dallas-Fort Worth
International Airport and put several thousand area residents in the
- A severe storm affected much of central New Zealand as high winds and heavy seas damaged roads and buildings in Auckland and Wellington. Ferry traffic between the North and South islands was also suspended.
At Palmerston North, a town near the southern tip of North Island 100mm of rain in the last 3 days. This is well above the average for the entire month of February of 76mm. Gusts of up to 100mph brought hundreds of trees down, contributing to the electricity being cut off to thousands of homes in New Zealand's two largest cities, Auckland and further south in the capital, Wellington.
The storm was most unseasonable and proved to be difficult. During Sunday night a burst of cold air
from the Antarctic ice shelf came north while moist air from a weak tropical low came south. These
two ingredients were able to mix together over the North Island and bring wind and rain on a scale that
is only seen about once every ten years.
Storm force winds lasted for 29 hours in Cook Strait, and a peak gust of 167 km/hr was measured.
During Sunday and up until noon
on Monday the Orongoronga, Tararua and Rimutuka ranges received over 200mm of rain, and the
MetService rain gauge at Waiouru measured 148mm.
- This week was probably the hottest
week ever in February in the inland parts of SE Australia. Lack of
significant moisture and cloud over the southern half of the continent
and the absence of any significant Southern Ocean cool changes
resulted in a build up of hot air. All time record temperatures have occurred in NSW, Victoria and
South Australia with temperatures reaching 46-47C in many
centres. The top temperature in NSW was 48.5C at Ivanhoe on Sunday - an
all time February record for NSW and the highest temperature recorded in
any month in NSW for 31 years. On Saturday, Pooncarie in the lower
Darling area reached 47.6C - an all time February record that stood for
just 1 day while Ouyen in western Victorias reached 46.8C - the highest
February temperature ever in that state. The capitals of South Australia
reached 44.3C on Saturday (14th) - their hottest ever February day and
highest in any month since 1939.
Other centres in NSW to reach February temperatures over the weekend
they had never or rarely experienced included 47C at Wilcannia, White
Cliffs and Lake Cargelligo, and 46C at Cobar, Menindee, Nyngan, Trangie and
- Taipei was shrouded in dust
after the first Chinese sandstorm of the year crossed the
strait blowing fine gritty powder.
Taiwan's Environmental Protection Administration said
Sunday's first wave had abated, but yet another wave was expected to
blow in on Tuesday.
The air in Pali measured 158 micrograms per cubic metre,
whereas Yangmingshan and Tamshui measured 110 and 119 micrograms
The normal particle volume in Taiwan is between 50 and 60
micrograms per cubic metre, according to the EPA.
- In New Zealand, Picton, situated on the northern tip of South Island, a state of emergency was declared after a spell of torrential rain. In a period of just 40 minutes, 41mm of rain fell; the monthly average rainfall for the area is 81mm. Such was the downpour, that around a 1000 people were evacuated from their homes due to fears that the two dams above the town were on the verge of collapse. At one point, water was seen lapping the tops of the dams, bringing the fear that the 100,000 cubic metres of water they contained would soon swamp the town.
- An intense low-pressure system brought blizzard
conditions to the maritime provinces of
southeastern Canada. Across
Nova Scotia, more than 50 cm of snow
accumulated through parts of the province. There were
severely reduced visibilities and wind
gusts over 50 mph around Halifax.
- Adelaide has just endured its 17th consecutive day with a maximum temperature at or above 30C.
This is the longest spell of temperatures above this mark ever recorded in Adelaide, the previous
record being 14 days in 1956 and 1930.
The hot spell also included an official heatwave (5 consecutive days or more at or above 35C) of 8
days, from 13 February to 20 February. During this heatwave the maximum temperature peaked at
44.3C on 14 February, the hottest ever February day in Adelaide and the third hottest day ever
experienced in Adelaide. The hottest day in Adelaide was 12 January 1939, when temperature
- In Nova Scotia where the snowfalls have jammed roads and runways with an estimated 90cm in some areas. Halifax exceeded its previous one-day record total of snowfall which stood at 51cm in 1944.
60mph winds pushing the snow into huge drifts, forcing power lines to crash down and in some areas the combination of the high tides and a storm surge caused minor flooding.
- Heatwave conditions during February have broken a significant number of long-standing temperature records across southern Queensland. The spell of sustained high temperature and humidity commenced on 10th February, and continued almost unabated for two weeks, reaching a climax over the populated southeast corner during the weekend.
The weekend's stifling heat has been described in the media as the most significant medical emergency in the southeast corner on record.
41.7C at the Brisbane City site was a new record high for February (previously 40.5C in 1925) while the minimum temperature in the morning of 27.9C was also a new high for the month (previously 26.0C in 1982).
- Over 200mm of rain fell on the Australian Gold Coast in just 24 hours. This is near enough the amount of rain you would expect here in the whole month. Flash flooding occurred in Brisbane itself, and there is more rain expected over the next few days.
- Northern California was braced for more rain and high winds after a powerful winter storm caused flooding and killed power throughout the region. Several feet of snow piled up in the Sierra and Southern California's burn areas braced for mudslides following 2-6 inches of rain.
- A winter storm blanketed parts of the
Carolinas (USA) with record amounts of snow, making travelilng hazardous,
stranding motorists and closing schools.
Four traffic deaths were attributed to the storm in South
The snow, falling at the rate of 2 inches an hour at times
in York County, S.C., piled into drifts up to 3 feet high.
- Tropical Cyclone Monty developed in the Indian
Ocean on the 27th. The cyclone reached peak
intensity over open waters on February 29 about
315km north-northeast of Learmonth,
with maximum sustained winds near
110 knots. The storm weakened as it
made landfall near Mardie, Australia producing
torrential rainfall and packing maximum sustained
winds near 95 knots.
- On Hawaii unusually heavy rains caused flash floods and mudslides. Several people were injured by being struck by lightning. Some flights to and between the islands were diverted or suffered severe delays as the rains brought very poor visibility. The amounts of rain recorded were extreme indeed. The rainfall totals ranged from 17 to 24cm.
- Snow caused transport problems in southern Europe. Snow even fell in the French Riviera. The Mediterranean resorts of Nice and Antibes turned white, including on the beaches. Around 1,500 lorries were stranded near the Franco-Spanish border because the road into Spain from the town of Biriatou was closed due to heavy snowfall.
In Spain itself, the snow had closed nearly 30 mountain passes and even blocked a couple of motorways. There were between 2,000 and 3,000 stranded motorists here.
Many northern and central parts of Italy also experienced heavy snow and strong winds. The Italian cities of Genoa, Bologna and Florence were shrouded in snow. The strong winds also affected ferry crossings to the island of Sardinia.
The same weather system that brought the snow to Italy gave heavy rain in neighbouring Albania. Widespread flooding blocked roads and cut off villages. Hundreds of people were evacuated from the worst-hit areas.
- A snowstorm left Utah with the highest snowpack since 1998 and some optimism over the lingering drought.
The storm dropped 2 to 4 feet of snow in the higher elevations, bringing statewide snowpack to 107% of normal at the end of February. The Wasatch, Uinta, Oquirrh, LaSal, Henry and Pine Valley ranges haven't seen that kind of precipitation since March 1998, when the statewide snowpack averaged 112% of normal.
Eleven of the state's 13 major watersheds are showing snow accumulations above normal. Before the storm, only seven were above normal.
But weather officials are not yet declaring victory in the war on the five-year drought.
World weather news, January 2004
- Canterbury New Zealand has just experienced its driest December on
record - most places had anything from zero to just a few millimetres.
Now the first 4 days of January 2004 have brought a run of temperatures
in excess of 30C and generally in the mid to high 30's away from a sea
Of particular note was the January 1st official maximum in Darfield 38km
west of Christchurch of 38.4C - a national record for January.
- Tropical Cyclone Heta formed in the South Pacific
Ocean north of the Samoa Islands on the 1st and
passed just west of Samoa on the 4th. While Heta
did not pass directly over the Samoa Islands, it was
the first tropical cyclone to impact the islands in
more than a decade. Most of Samoa was left
without power in the storm's wake, with significant
damage reported at the Pago Pago International
Airport. Heta tracked south and crossed the island
of Niue on the 6th, injuring several people and
causing one fatality. Maximum sustained
winds were near 130 knots
as the storm passed through Niue, with significant
damage to crops and infrastructure reported
- A deep area of low pressure was being refered to by some as the worst storm west of the Cascade mountains (USA) in a decade. For Seattle, Washington, the arrival of the low saw the worst snowstorm in seven years. As the snow spread across the state, schools were closed as driving conditions rapidly deteriorated. The snow later began to turn to rain which brought its own set of problems as it froze on impact with surfaces. Hundred's of thousands of homes were left without power as lines crashed down under the weight of the ice. (This is only the tenth time Seattle has had freezing rain since its records began.)
- Cold weather since Christmas 2003 has been blamed for as many as 600 deaths across South Asia. Low temperatures during late December 2003 into January 2004 ranged from 0 to 5C across northern India and Bangladesh, which primarily affected the elderly and children, as well
as the homeless population. Hundreds of homeless in the region die each year because they do
not have warm clothes or blankets.
- In Turkey, a period of cold, snowy weather
claimed 10 lives. Heavy
snowfall cut off nearly 2,000 villages, while
temperatures in Ankara dipped to -13C
on the 9th. Normal minimum temperatures in
Ankara during the month of January are -3.3C.
- In Brazil, heavy rains swelled two rivers and burst an irrigation dam in the town of Jaboticabal. At
least eight people were killed when their bus was swept away by floodwaters.
- Central Europe has also been unsettled so far this year. This has resulted in some heavy snow across the Alps. For example, the village of Santis on the northern side of the Swiss Alps now has nearly 3 metres of snow cover. Conditions are said to be extremely dangerous in several areas. Three snowboarders were killed and one injured over the weekend in two separate avalanches. The resort of Val d'Isere has been shut down because of the avalanche risk, which is at category five, the highest.
- A storm system that affected Germany brought a variety of severe weather, Winds
gusted as high as 169km/h, with flooding reported in parts of Bavaria and
Baden-Wuerttemberg. A tornado late on the 13th ripped through the northern town of
Drochtersen, tearing off roofs of at least seven houses.
- An Arctic air mass encompassed much of eastern
Canada and the U.S. Northeast during mid-month.
Record daily low temperatures were set in U.S.
cities such as Boston and Providence, as
temperatures plunged near or below zero
(Fahrenheit). In southeastern Canada, temperatures
plunged to -44C at Quebec City, and
Saguenay in central Quebec dipped to -52C. Power company Hydro-Quebec recorded a
new high for power use on the 14th - 35,137
megawatts. The weather trapped New York-bound ferries in the ice, grounded hundreds of flights and prompted warnings to bundle up from Maine to Pennsylvania. The cold conditions have been blamed on a strong jet stream.
- In Hawaii, a frontal system brought strong winds to the islands, knocking out power to
over 12,000 homes and closing at least a dozen public schools. A wind gust to 135km/h was
reported along the west coast of Oahu by the National Weather Service.
- A mid-month cold snap brought very cold Arctic air into areas of eastern Canada and into the Northeast United States, with temperature anomalies during greater than 5C below normal.
- A powerful storm system affected the maritime provinces of Canada. Strong winds, snow and cold temperatures combined to create blizzard conditions throughout parts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, closing schools and causing poor driving conditions.
- The eastern states of New South Wales and Queensland have had several days of torrential rain. Falls have been so great as to cause some rivers to burst their banks. The town of Tamworth and two other nearby districts in Queensland have been declared disaster zones. Four hundred people had to be evacuated from their homes. Three thousand campers at a music festival also had to be moved when the nearby Peel River burst its banks. Samuel Hill, east of Tamworth, reported 131mm of rain in 12 hours.
- Across western Afghanistan, heavy rainfall in the Herat region produced floods that damaged 500 houses and affected thousands of families. Flooding along the River Koul affected three villages in the Ghazara and En Gil districts.
- Just a few weeks into Peru's rainy season, which runs until late March, over 60% of the country has been affected by flooding. The SE regions of Puno, Cusco, and Madre have seen the worst of the conditions, with a number of fatalities reported and over 2000 people homeless. Hundreds of tourists returning from the ancient Inca site of Machu Picchu were stranded on as a rain-induced avalanche caused two sections of rail track to the area to collapse.
- For the last few years winters have been so warm in Alaska that some sled dog races were cancelled or had their routes changed. This year mushers are learning a thing or two about a real Alaska winter. Those competing in the Klondike 300 Sled Dog Race over theweekend that when it's -45F, lighters won't work, straw won't burn unless soaked in fuel, and eyelashes freeze together.
On Tuesday temperatures began returning to average levels for this time of the year, but over the weekend and on Monday, some places saw lows that were 20F below average. In McGrath, where the average low for the date is 2F, it cooled to -34F. A -54F reading on both Sunday and Monday made Farewell, Alaska, the coldest place in the USA with an official temperature measurement.
- Intensely heavy rain has continued to deluge much of Brazil, in particular the NE. This has lead to massive flooding, destroying not only crops but also people's homes. A state of emergency has been declared in Aracaju after hundreds of homes were washed away. In Alagoas, the river overflowed and burst its banks, flooding further homes, destroying bridges and causing parts of the highway to collapse. According to past records, it has already rained more this month so far than at any time in the last 39 years.
- Today marked the 252nd consecutive day without a tornado touching down somewhere in the state of Oklahoma, known for its frequent and violent twisters. The last Oklahoma twister was on 16 May 2003.
It is the longest period without a tornado in Oklahoma since detailed records began in 1950, according to the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman.
Spokeswoman Keli Tarp also said a record was established nationally on 16 January for the fourth longest run of days in the USA without a tornado. That record, 50 days, started on 27 November and ended when a twister was recorded near Abilene, Texas.
- Airborne dust and haze from a major Saharan
sandstorm that originated on the 22nd affected
much of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Syria and western
Iraq with reduced visibilities.
- A massive storm lashed some regions around the Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean, with parts of southeastern Europe blanketed by the biggest snow fall in two decades.
As the storm swept east, it drove cargo ships onto rocky shorelines, stranded motorists and downed power lines. At least 10 people died in weather-related incidents.
Blizzard-like conditions in the past three days stretched from the eastern Ukraine and into the Bosporus in Turkey. Further south, it touched off dust storms in northern Africa, affecting residents from Libya through Egypt and into the southern Middle East.
In the Czech Republic, temperatures dropped to -26F early on Saturday; three people died in weather related incidents.
Meanwhile, the snow kept falling in Romania, where blizzards blocked at least 50 roads and leaving tens of thousands of homes without electricity in what authorities said was the worst snowfall in 20 years.
Three Black Sea ports in Romania remained closed for the third consecutive day, because of winds gusting up to 75 mph. Navigation on parts of the Danube was stopped.
In the Middle East, high winds and waves drove two cargo ships into rocky shores in northern Syria, causing extensive damage to the vessels but no injuries among crew members who were safely evacuated. Winds reached 62 miles an hour, whipping up 15-foot waves. The storm caused heavy rainfall and dumped snow in parts of neighbouring Lebanon. Fierce gales and freezing temperatures continued to hit parts of northern Greece and the Ionian Sea on Saturday, as crews started to restore the electricity supply to several Aegean islands that suffered damage the day before.
- Tropical Cyclone Elita formed on the 26th in the
Mozambique Channel and moved into Madagascar
on the 28th. Maximum sustained winds were near
60kn as the cyclone came
ashore, along with torrential rains.
Severe winter weather affected much of western
and northern Europe, with
heavy accumulations of snow reported in parts of
the United Kingdom, France, Germany and
Denmark. Nearly 300 flights had been cancelled
from London's Heathrow airport on the 29th. Heavy snow also affected Belgium and
Luxembourg, causing flight cancellations and travel
- Snow and freezing rain smothered
the U.S. Midwest and East Coast, causing power failures,
transportation delays and leaving at least 50 dead.
About 300 flights were cancelled at O'Hare International
Airport and travellers faced two-hour delays for departures, the New
York Times reported.
Besides the estimated 50 dead, most from traffic accidents,
icy roads closed numerous schools in the northern Plain states,
Midwest and Northeast.
Nearly 250,000 residents of South Carolina, where freezing
rain left a coat of ice up to an inch thick, lost electricity. Power
was out for an additional 45,000 in North Carolina and Georgia.
Meanwhile, more than 27 inches of snow fell in Duluth,
Minn., in the last two days, the third-largest snowfall since 1870,
the National Weather Service said.
If you have a snippet of weather news that you feel merits inclusion, then please feel free to email it to me.
Last updated 10 December 2004.