World weather news
World weather news, December 2005
- Tropical Storm Epsilon veered away from Bermuda toward colder waters in the central Atlantic that were expected to gradually weaken the 26th named storm of a record-breaking hurricane season.
The storm had been pounding Bermuda with heavy surf for a couple of days.
- Two people have died and more than 60,000 people have been forced to evacuate after heavy rains caused massive flooding in three Philippine provinces.
Strong rain since Monday caused a landslide in the town of Pagbilao in Quezon province, about 145km south of Manila, resulting in the two fatalities.
A protective dyke collapsed near the town of Naujan in Oriental Mindoro island province also south of the capital, causing floods that displaced more than 47,000 people.
- northerly winds have brought bitterly cold Arctic air to the Midwest region. In Chicago, temperatures on Monday night dropped to a record low of -16C, beating the previous record of -14C for the day set in 1895.
- Next year's hurricane season is likely to be busier than average but not up to this year's ruinous, record-setting pace.
William Gray of Colorado State University predicted 17 named storms in 2006 (average 9.6), 9 hurricanes (average of 5.9), and 5 major hurricanes with winds exceeding 110 mph (average is 2.3).
- The United States and Caribbean, which are still trying to rebuild from this year's devastating storms, should brace themselves for another busy hurricane season in 2006, London-based forecaster Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) said.
"Despite the forecast for another active hurricane season in 2006, the chance of seeing as many as five intense hurricanes in the Gulf (as happened in 2005) is extremely remote," said Professor Mark Saunders, TSR's lead scientist.
In its long-range forecast for next year TSR predicts an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season with a strong probability that more hurricanes will slam into the United States than usual, based on average figures for the period between 1950 and 2005.
It predicts 5 tropical storms striking the U.S., of which 2 will be hurricanes, while it forecasts 2 tropical storms will hit the Caribbean, of which one will be a hurricane.
- Christmas shoppers in Sydney, Australia has been sweltering because of the heatwave which has come to town.
Temperatures soared to a scorching 40C in Sydney itself, where the average for the time of year is around 25C.
Many people were reported to have suffered from heat-stroke and heat exhaustion across the state of New South Wales, where the roofs of six homes were taken off by strong winds.
The excessive heat is due to air which has been drawn out from the internal desert areas of Australia where temperatures have been well above the seasonal average too.
- Very cold air spread across the Rockies and Midwest USA, closing schools, crippling cars and sending volunteers into the streets looking for homeless people to rescue.
In West Yellowstone, Mont., a hamlet on the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park and a frequent icebox, the mercury plummeted to -45F, shattering the old record for Dec. 7 of -39F below set in 1927.
Elsewhere the weather service said record lows for the date included -28F at Drummond, Mont., -25F at Laramie, Wyo., -17F at Alliance, Neb.; -19F at Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and -3F below at Lincoln, Ill.
- Heavy amounts of rain associated with the northeast monsoon contributed to significant amounts of flooding across the central Philippines during early December. Flooding affected over 190,000 people, and there were at least 4 deaths in Quezon Province due to landslides.
- Freezing rain and ice pellets fell throughout portions of the Southeast U.S. The accumulation of ice caused about 300,000 utilities customers to lose power from northern Georgia northward through the western Carolinas. The power outages were the result of ice accretions of up to one-half inch in thickness. Elsewhere in the United States, snow covered a large area extending from the Rockies eastward through the northern Plains, Great Lakes region and eastward over a large part of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
- After a drought that has dried up farmlands and swallowed water supplies in Syria, a slight drizzle followed a prayer for rain.
Thousands of Syrians broke into a communal prayer on December 16th, announced on television by whirling dervishes, that filled the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus to the brim.
The mass prayer, organised by the ministry of Islamic affairs and followed by mosques across the country, was preceded by three days of fasting.
The prayer follows a similar initiative by Jewish rabbis in drought-affected Israel on Monday. Downpours are expected for the weekend.
- Snowstorms and heavy winds have left two people dead in the Czech Republic.
The strong winds reached 89mph and uprooted trees that fell across roads and cut power lines.
Up to 70cm of snow fell in some places, causing traffic jams and leaving some villages nearly buried. Mountain rescue services warned skiers of avalanches.
Prague was also hit by the storm, which left trees and billboards scattered on the city's streets and forced the presidential palace to close for fears that falling tiles could hurt visitors.
- Rains which began in late November have inundated more than 30,000 hectares of newly-planted rice crops in the central provinces of Binh Dinh, Ninh Thuan and Quang Ngai (Vietnam).
the official death toll from four central provinces had risen to 32 and at least eight people remained missing after being washed away by flash floods.
- Heavy snow killed at least two people in Japan this weekend and forced airlines to cancel flights.
An 89-year-old man in Niigata prefecture in northwestern Japan died after he was buried in about 5 feet of snow near his house.
The Meteorological Agency warned that up to 1m of snow will fall in northwestern Japan through Monday.
The unusually cold weather and heavy snowfall has been the top news story on Japanese broadcasters for nearly a week. Media reports say some regions have already been hit by record levels of snow since the start of December despite early forecasts of a warm winter.
23cm of snow had fallen on Nagoya by Monday; the most snow the central Japanese city has recorded since 1947. It is also the first time since 1945 that so much snow has fallen in the city during the month of December.
The city of Fukui reported that 60cm of snow had covered much of its downtown area. Villages in more mountainous regions were cut off as over 2m of snow fell during the weekend.
- At least 11 people died and eight more suffered fractures and burns when a lightning bolt hit a village church in the mountainous Mzimba district of Malawi.
Some of the survivors arrived unconscious at the district hospital, while others were in a state of shock.
Lightning bolts and thunderstorms are common in Malawi during the rainy season between October and March.
- Heavy snowfall clogged streets, closed airports and halted traffic across Bulgaria.
A state of emergency was declared in the Banite municipality after 24 hours of heavy snowfall left the cover one metre deep on roads. Some 30 tourists were trapped in a cottage in the Haydushki Polyani region.
- A woman has died on Tenerife on the 20th after streams caused by the heavy rains carried her away. Heavy rains have been lashing the Canary Islands for the past two days, causing landslides and road closures on Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro.
- Torrential rains brought parts of Istanbul to a halt with reports of floodwaters in one district reaching two metres deep.
In the Kemerburgaz district in the European part of the city emergency services had to rescue about 10 people trapped in their houses after a river broke its banks.
- Schoolchildren in Yantai (China) were forced to stay home again on Tuesday as another snowstorm covered the city in the eastern province of Shandong.
Almost 6cm of snow fell on the city during the night, adding to the 25cm that was there from previous storms.
In neighbouring Weihei, the snow was 35cm deep.
Meteorologists issued a red warning, the highest code available, and claimed that this is the heaviest snowfall on Yantai since records began in 1961.
- Torrential rain caused havoc across New Zealand's South Island as an intense storm swept through the region during the afternoon. Thunder, lightning, large hail and intense rainfall were reported in many areas across the island.
Described as a 'monsoon like' downpour, the rain lasted just one and a half hours but caused widespread damage and flooding to many homes and businesses. Properties in Invercargill, Wanaka, Arrowtown and Queenstown were worst affected by the flooding.
A rain gauge situated at the Waihopai River dam recorded 21.5mm in just 10 minutes. Invercargill recorded 19.4mm of rainfall in one hour, followed by 8.4mm in an hour in Queenstown.
- In Japan, very heavy snowfall affected parts of the county, and 6 fatalities were blamed on the severe winter weather. Some of the heaviest snowfall on record for the month of December occurred in parts of the country. An express train derailed in northern Japan on the 25th due to the snow, while in the western prefecture of Fukui, more than 200cm of snow had accumulated. In the northern prefecture of Niigata, as many as 650,000 homes and businesses suffered snow-related power outages.
- Severe floods in Malaysia's north have forced thousands more people to flee their homes.
The floods, described as the worst in 30 years in the worst-affected regions, have hit five states - Perlis and Kedah in the north, Kelantan and Terengganu in the northeast and north-central Perak.
- Widespread floods have killed 19 people in southern Thailand in the past week, raising to 35 the death toll in the region's worst floods in nearly 30 years.
About 30,000 people were evacuated in the four states, but many have returned home as floodwaters receded in some areas.
- Yet another tropical storm formed in the Atlantic, one month after the official end of the year's record-smashing hurricane season.
Tropical Storm Zeta developed in the eastern Atlantic, about 1,600km south-southwest of the Azores.
- Europe's second snowstorm this week piled drifts onto railway tracks and roads, slowing buses, trains and trams and stranding motorists. At least two people were killed in mass pileups and a week of icy weather was blamed for dozens of other deaths.
In Poland, police said 23 people had frozen to death in recent days.
Heavy snowfall blocked roads in Poland's Katowice and Bielsko-Biala area in the south, and blanketed the Baltic coastal city of Gdansk, causing traffic jams and blocking city streets.
Swirling snow and thick fog enveloped most of Italy, and Florence recorded nearly 10 inches of snow - the most it has seen in two decades. Temperatures in northern Italy dropped as low as -17C. A 22-year-old homeless man was found dead, apparently of exposure, in Rome's main railway station on Wednesday.
Forty vehicles piled up on icy asphalt on Hungary's busiest motorway, killing an 8-year-old boy and injuring 11 other people - one of several mass crashes involving about 60 cars. Police said the accidents closed the interstate M1 connecting Budapest with Vienna.
Another 40-vehicle accident on a highway in neighboring Slovakia killed one person and left 22 injured.
Blizzards, ice and high winds prompted a nationwide weather warning in the Netherlands, and Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, Europe's fourth-largest, was preparing to shut down some of its runways as thick cloud cover blew in.
Wind-driven snow in Austria piled high drifts onto railway tracks and left motorways treacherous, causing train delays and dozens of traffic accidents.
Utility crews in Austria's eastern Burgenland province reported that electricity had been restored by early Friday after winds toppled snow-laden trees onto power masts. Chain-equipped fire trucks patrolled roads, pulling dozens of vehicles out of ditches.
Two people died in France, apparently of exposure. Authorities in the western city of Le Mans reported the death of a 52-year-old woman on welfare who slept in a garden shed, and a homeless man was reported dead in Lyon.
With snow falling steadily in France, the national weather service issued road and weather warnings for 70 of the country's 80 regions. Some highways were closed and temperatures of -26C were recorded in the eastern town of Mouthe, one of the country's cold spots. The storms left 110,000 homes without power in northern France and forced delays of up to two hours to international destinations after high-speed trains reduced speeds for safety reasons.
To the east, swirling, drifting snow led Czech authorities to contemplate closing several border crossings into Poland. In the eastern parts of the Czech Republic and in Slovakia, some main roads were shut to traffic, and long lines of vehicles formed on others.
In Berlin, most streets were buried in snow leaving residents picking their way though drifts and snow banks. Trains across much of the country were running irregularly, if at all.
In Switzerland, skies were clear. The mercury plummeted to -35.9C overnight in the town of La Brevine in the Jura mountains for the country's coldest temperature this year.
In Britain, the mercury moved upward after days of subfreezing weather, and heavy snow turned to rain.
But temperatures as low as -12 Celsius (10.4 Fahrenheit) earlier in the week caused at least one death - a man in his 40s in the town of West Bromwich. Early on Friday afternoon, police supplied hot drinks to dozens of people trapped by drifts on a highway in East Yorkshire in northern England.
- The 2005 Australian mean temperature of 22.89C makes 2005 Australia's warmest year on record. 2005 has been 1.09C warmer than the standard mean period of 1961-90, making it the warmest year since at least 1910, when high quality Australia-wide temperature measurements first became possible.
The 2005 Australian temperature record eclipses the old record, set in 1998, by a considerable margin - the previous record was +0.84C.
Data also show that more than 95% of the continent experienced a warmer than average year.
World weather news, November 2005
- Flash floods as a result of torrential rains on the Hawaiian island of Oahu have caused minor damage to some homes.
Residents reported their gardens looking like lakes, as well as having to pump water out of the ground floors of their houses.
Around ten inches of rain fell on the island within half a day, leaving the Kahana Valley State park inundated and many roads impassable.
- Heavy snowfall has hit the north-western US and snowsports enthusiasts from around the region are being told they can look forward to an excellent season.
For the first time in over ten years officials are hoping to open the higher ski areas much earlier than planned.
The snow has been welcomed by everyone, involved in the industry as last year saw one of the worst seasons on record.
Whistler Blackcomb, in Canada, is also expected to open three weeks ahead of schedule.
- At least 15 people died in central Vietnam as a typhoon nearing the coast dumped heavy rains and triggered floods in a region where bad weather has killed nearly 30 people in the past two weeks.
29 inches of rain drenched Quang Ngai province, where six people died, even though Typhoon Kai-Tak, named after Hong Kong's old airport, had weakened as it neared the coast.
Heavy rains knocked down hundreds of trees, causing blackouts and blocking roads in Danang, 470 miles south of Hanoi.
High waves sank a ferry on a river near the Quang Nam provincial town of Tam Ky on Wednesday, killing five people.
- Severe thunderstorms produced a deadly tornado near Evansville, Indiana during the early morning hours of November 6. There were 22 fatalities from the F3 tornado, with 18 of the deaths occurring in the Eastbrook Mobile Home Park located just to the southeast of the city. It was Indiana's deadliest tornado since the "Super Outbreak" on April 3, 1974.
- Several stations in the Mount Lofty Ranges (South Australia) recorded their highest daily (24 hourly) rainfall totals for the month of November.
In the 24 hour period ending 9am on the 8 November 2005 some stations in the higher parts of the Mount Lofty Ranges had the following record rainfall amounts.
Bridgewater: 79.2mm : previous highest 74.2mm on 8/11/1934 (130 years of record). Lobethal: 84.4mm : previous highest 80.8mm on 18/11/1964 (122 years of record ). Uraidla: 118.2mm : previous highest 78.5 mm on 27/11/1952 (116 years of record).
In Adelaide the 24 hour rainfall total to 9am on the 8/11/2005 was 44.8mm. This is the highest daily November rainfall since 61mm was reported on 18/11/1964, while the highest daily November rainfall was 75.2mm on 12/11/1960. Rainfall records in Adelaide began in 1839.
A number of towns in New South Wales were affected by flash floods.
- Tropical Storm Tembin developed in the Philippine Sea on the 7th and reached the northern Philippines by the 10th with maximum sustained winds near 45 knots. Temblin's primary impact was torrential rain over Luzon.
- Summer-like heat has bathed the southern US state of Alabama over recent days, helping temperature records to tumble. According to climatologists, the last time the state saw such widespread record high temperatures in autumn was during September 1925.
Daytime maximum temperatures in November are normally around 17-18C. But today 29C was reported, setting a new record for that day. It is possible that Birmingham's all-time temperature record for the entire month of November has been broken. The record of 29C was set in 1961.
- Around 5,000 Scottish homes lost power last night following winds gusting up to 100 miles per hour.
Argyll was worst affected by the power cuts, with around 3,000 homes left in the dark.
The Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland were also badly affected.
- Heavy snowfall has caused chaos on the roads of northern Canada, with almost every major route north of the Trans-Canada Highway affected.
A number of accidents occurred on the roads near Westman, as the heavy, wet snow made roads slippery and tricky to navigate.
Some parts of the region experienced up to 34cm of snow, with visibility expected to be bad on the slippery roads over the next day or so.
Canada and north-western parts of the US have experienced heavy snowfall this season, with many ski resorts, including Whistler Mountain, opening early.
- Prolonged summer weather across Finland has led to the warmest autumn in the country for 45 years.
Anneli Nordlund of the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has said that all seasons are "slipping into the next later than usually".
As a result, some animals, including artctic foxes from Ahtari Zoo, have seen their fur colour change to white despite there being no snow on the ground.
Meanwhile, bears in the zoo began to hibernate but when the weather conditions remained warm they returned to normal life and began eating again, reports the Helsingin Sanomat.
Motorists are urged to keep with the winter speed limits to keep safe and to avoid potential collisions with roaming elks.
- The start to November has seen the warmest average overnight minimum temperatures on record for this time of year, not only for Sydney and Canberra, but numerous other coastal and rural centres in NSW (Australia). The Sydney average minimum temperature for the first 10 days of the month of 19.7C which is more than 4C above the historic average and the warmest over the corresponding time period since records commenced in 1859. Overnight temperatures and humidity have been even higher than those typically experienced in mid summer - the average 6am humidity so far this month is 85%.
Similar conditions have prevailed in Canberra with an average overnight minimum temperature of 13.7C or more than 5C above the historic average and the highest since records commenced in 1939. Combined with average early morning humidity levels of 88%, these conditions are more typically experienced in February and March.
Sydney's average maximum temperatures have also been well above the historic average at 25°C for the first 10 days. Yesterday's temperature reached 33.3C at around 2pm which was nearly 10C above average. However, relief arrived late afternonn with the passage of a cool southwesterly change bringing with it less humid conditions and more normal nighttime temperatures for this time of year.
- Australia has experienced its warmest start to a year on record (since 1950), with the January-to-October temperature averaging 1.03C above the 30-year average (1961-1990). As the year nears an end, a record-breaking year is looking likely.
"Annual mean temperatures have generally increased throughout Australia since 1910, particularly since the 1950s," says Mike Coughlan, head of the National Climate Centre within the Bureau of Meteorology.
Warming is not the only sign of change Australia's climate. Other changes include a marked decline in rainfall in the south-west and parts of south-east Australia, and recent reductions in rainfall through the eastern states. At the same time, rainfall in the arid interior and north-west has increased dramatically, in some places nearly doubling during the past 50 years.
- Heavy rains have caused hydropower water
reservoirs in western Norway to overflow, contributing to flooding by
rivers and triggering landslides in which one person died.
The western counties of Hordaland and Sogn og Fjordane were the most
heavily hit by flooding, which in was the worst in 50 years.
During the first half of November Bergen and Oslo had their highest mean temperatures on record, the mean temperature being 6.1C above average.
- Mudslides killed two fishermen and destroyed seven homes as heavy rains brought by a tropical depression overflowed river banks and made roads impassable in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Torrents of rain also swept away two bridges outside of the Trinidad capital, Port-of-Spain, and flooding has forced 20 schools to close in the country's east.
The poorly organized depression was moving south of the Dominican Republic and was expected to strengthen into Tropical Storm Gamma.
It would be the 24th named storm of an already record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season. The previous record of 21 named storms had stood since 1933.
- A powerful storm sent tornados across the US Midwest with 29 funnel clouds reported to have touched down by dinner time.
The same weather system was producing hail the size of golf balls and snow flurries.
The US weather service issued tornado watches for 10 states.
- Almost a third more children have died so far this year as a result of the drought in Mozambique compared to the same time last year.
In the Mozambican province of Sofala 289 children have died of malnutrition from 1,408 diagnosed cases.
The increase in deaths has been blamed on the worsening malnutrition that has come about as a result of widespread drought in the southern African country.
Currently around 800,000 people in the country are facing food shortages as a result of failed crops and expensive foodstuffs.
Rains in the country have now failed for four successive years, placing an increased strain on resources and the population.
- Five people have been struck by lightning at a rugby match between two local clubs in Malaysia.
One 12-year old boy had his clothes torn and received burn marks on his chest and feet.
A bolt of lightning was followed several minutes later by heavy rain.
- Tropical Storm Gamma killed at least 32 people in Honduras and many more are feared dead in mudslides in two remote villages.
Gamma, the 24th major storm in a record-breaking hurricane season, weakened to a tropical depression on Sunday.
- Thousands of people were left stranded after thick fog brought chaos to Liverpool John Lennon Airport. After 1000GMT all flights were cancelled as the conditions made taking-off and landing almost impossible for aircraft.
Manchester Airport also suffered as a result of fog, with around 130 flights cancelled or diverted.
- Floods triggered by heavy rains in Sri Lanka have killed six people and damaged thousands of homes.
Water levels fell in most of the country after rains eased, but officials were still assessing flood damage. Around 1,200 families were in temporary shelters.
Three of the dead were killed in the capital Colombo, two when a rain-weakened wall collapsed, while most of the other dead appeared to have drowned trying to swim to safety.
- A severe overnight hail and rain storm affected many centres on the central tablelands of New South Wales with large hail stones falling in and around Orange and parts of Mudgee and Lithgow.
Hail the size of large marbles fell for 15 minutes in the region last night blanketing the area before it hit the Mudgee and Lithgow regions.
Water flooded shops in the Orange Metro Plaza and damaged the roofs of several homes. Farmers had parts of their apple and cherry crops destroyed.
- The 25th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season formed on Wednesday and poses a threat only to shipping.
Delta was centered about 1,215 miles southwest of the Azores. It was moving slowly to the south at near 6 mph. The storm was large, with tropical storm-force winds stretching 185 miles from its centre.
- Tens of thousands of Germans are still living without electricity, following a snowstorm that lasted throughout the weekend.
The affected region of North-Rhine Westphalia saw snow, ice and wind hit its power lines over the weekend, leaving 250,000 people disconnected from the main grid.
The cold snap, which affected the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany in particular, has brought pandemonium to the roads, with several people dying in weather-related accidents.
The Netherlands has seen the worst traffic jam in its history, with 500 miles of road gridlocked and thousands of motorists forced to take refuge in their cars, Red Cross shelters, railway stations and theatres.
Moreover, fallen trees and high winds caused considerable delays to bus and rail schedules, while snow in Paris and Dusseldorf forced numerous flights to either be diverted or simply cancelled.
Heavy snowfall also afflicted the most southwesterly parts of the UK, with 500 vehicles stranded by snowstorms on Bodmin Moor's A30.
- A major winter storm affected parts of Nebraska and the Dakotas (USA) during the 27th-28th. Snowfall accumulations of 40-50cm) were observed in parts of eastern South Dakota, while wind gusts exceeding 60 mph also accompanied the snow, creating blizzard conditions. Thousands of power outages were caused by the combination of strong winds and heavy snow. In South Dakota, about 8,000 utility poles and 10,000 miles of transmission line were brought down by the storm.
- Rome's Tiber river threatened to breach its banks following days of unseasonably heavy rains that have caused the river to swell to its highest level in 50 years.
Fire services started evacuating several hundred people from houses close to the Tiber in Rome's suburbs late on Sunday. Police kept the five metro stations closest to the river's highest level open overnight in case more had to flee.
- More than 200,000 people remained without electricity on the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife after Tropical Storm Delta hit the popular winter tourist spot, leaving at least seven dead before heading towards Morocco.
Regional justice minister Jose Miguel Ruano told reporters about 240,000 people had no power, most of them on Tenerife and the remainder on other islands in the chain, adding that it would be Friday before they were likely to be reconnected.
Delta struck the archipelago with winds gusting at more than 90mph, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake Monday night before spinning off towards Morocco.
Seven died with at least six sub-Saharan would-be immigrants having drowned in whipped-up seas some 400km to the south of the islands.
Delta was the 25th storm of the year, which also saw October's Vince being the first tropical storm on record to hit the Spanish coast.
- The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ended today, has gone into the record books for the most storms and the most hurricanes.
It also had the most Category 5 storms - the top rank on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity - including Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and killed more than 1,200 people in Louisiana and Mississippi.
World weather news, October 2005
- Flash floods caused by monsoon rains in northwestern Bangladesh killed at least eight people and forced thousands of people to take refuge in temporary shelters.
Around 30 villages were inundated and hundreds of thatched houses collapsed during incessant monsoon rains.
Meteorological Office data showed that the worst affected part of the northwestern Rajshahi division recorded 452mm of rainfall in the 24 hours to Thursday morning.
- Typhoon Longwang crossed Taiwan, bringing winds of at least 85mph and heavy rain to the island.
Longwang made landfall as a Category 1 storm near the town of Feng-pin, in Taiwan's eastern coastal county of Hualien. Over 200,000 households lost electricity supply as the typhoon crossed the island, giving as much 400mm of rain in places. Another Hualien town was flooded when the sea broke through a protective embankment.
- The Amazon rainforest is drier than ever before, and scientists are blaming the severe hurricane season experienced off the US Gulf coast.
Ricardo Dellarosa, from the Amazon Protection Organisation (Sipam), said that it was due to the large amounts of air rising in the north Altantic, which create the storms, and in turn the air above the Amazon is descending - preventing the formation of clouds.
As a result rainfall levels have been below average, the water levels in the mighty river have dropped and many smaller rivers and lakes have dried up.
- The extremely dry year that Portugal has experienced so far has once again resulted in widespread destruction as eleven wildfires are burning out of control.
Central and northern Portugal has seen around 1,700 firefighters deployed to tackle the blazes, backed up by 450 vehicles and 15 water-dumping aircraft.
Meanwhile, the situation is being compounded by strong winds that are spreading the flames quickly through the tinder-like forests.
The Agriculture Ministry has said that fires this year have caused around £200 million worth of damages across the country, while the Forestry Service has estimated that around 706,700 acres of forest have been burned.
- A thunderstorm hit the Maltese islands early in the day, bringing with it torrential rainfall and severe lightning.
The rains caused flooding on parts of the island, leaving motorists stranded in their vehicles.
- About 155 miles of Interstate 94 west in North Dakota to the Montana border was closed to traffic after a major winter storm brought heavy, wet snow and strong winds that snapped trees and power lines, and cancelled classes.
The National Weather Service said it received a report of 12 inches of snow around Halliday and 10 inches at Fairfield.
The state had 90F temperatures just a few days earlier. Bismarck reported 92F on 1 October.
The heavy snow avoided Bismarck, which had rain throughout Tuesday night and light snow the next morning.
- Eastern regions of Canada have been experiencing above average temperatures for some time now, with some temperatures hitting 12C more than the norm.
The majority of Ontario, Quebec and other Atlantic provinces have been affected by these freak temperatures, which have been ongoing for some time.
This summer has seen Toronto and Ottawa setting new records for the number of days that the daily temperature reached at least 30C.
Meanwhile, this week saw Ontario receiving its 52nd smog warning of 2005, a number which has far surpassed the previous record for the number of smog days, which stood at 28 from 2001.
- Across northern China, heavy rainfall in the Shaanxi province during late September to early October 2005 produced extensive river flooding. The most significant flooding in a decade occurred along sections of the Weihe River and Hanjiang River. At least 16 deaths were reported, with flooding prompting the evacuation of over 350,000 people. Direct economic losses were estimated near $239 million.
- Downpours have battered Central America and southern Mexico since the weekend, causing rivers to overflow and sweeping away homes and people.
The rains were caused by the remnants of tropical storm Stan.
The floods caused huge chunks of land to give way, burying everything in their path.
The storms have killed at least 246 people from Mexico to Costa Rica, most from landslides triggered by heavy rains.
- Tropical Storm Tammy brought heavy rain and gusty winds to southeast Georgia after leaving Florida practically unscathed.
Tammy dropped 5 to 10 inches of rain over parts of southeast Georgia.
Tammy is the 19th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.
The 2005 hurricane season is tied for the second-busiest since record-keeping started in 1851; 19 storms also formed in 1995 and 1887. The record for tropical storms and hurricanes in one year is 21, set in 1933.
- The first massive snowstorm of Colorado's winter season has dumped over 500mm of snow in some areas, causing widespread disruption.
One woman has been reported dead after a tree limb broke and fell on her during the storm, while a second man was found safe in his home after he spent a night lost in the blizzard.
Furthermore, large stretches of road throughout the state have been rendered impassable, leaving around 70 drivers stranded in Red Cross shelters after car parks at service stations overflowed.
Denver International Airport also felt the implications of the storm, with all flights grounded for a short time and hundreds of flights delayed.
- The former Tropical Storm Vince made a rare European landfall early on Tuesday along the southwestern coast of Spain.
Hurricane Vince formed Sunday in the far eastern Atlantic.
The weakening tropical depression with 35-mph winds was the first tropical cyclone on record to make landfall in Spain, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
Vince had been the 11th hurricane of the season, and the 20th named storm.
Vince formed on Sunday between the Azores and the Canary Islands in waters that were up to 3C cooler than the 26C typically needed for a tropical storm.
- In Norway 25.6C at Molde was almost the highest October temperature
on record in the country, after 25.7C on 5 October 1898 in Flekkefjord.
- Over two million people in southern China are suffering from the effects of a prolonged drought, which has gripped the region all year.
Around 1.4 million domestic and farm animals have been left thirsty by the water shortages and over 600,000 hectares of crops are parched.
- As indigenous people of the Amazon basin face the worst drought in 40 years, officials from Brazil have said they will send the Army in with supplies.
It is expected the soldiers will deliver food, drinking water and medicine to the people, many of which have been cut-off from their main access point ? the Amazon river.
The drought has left parts of the river and its tributaries dry and inaccessible, making travel to the regions very difficult.
- Stormy weather over the past few days has caused widespread flooding from North Carolina to Maine, knocking out electricity, weakening dams and forcing hundreds of people from their homes.
In Keene, New Hampshire, some roads were under as much as six feet of water forcing the Governor to declare a state of emergency. It is believed to be the worst flooding in the area for 25 years.
- In the UK, London narrowly missed breaking a night-time temperature record. The minimum temperature recorded at London Weather Centre was 18.2C on Tuesday night, which was just shy of the previous record of 18.3C. This is about three degrees warmer than the average daytime maximum temperature in the capital in October.
- Heavy rain burst a river bank and flooded towns on the border between Scotland and England as well as in Wales, with emergency services called to the worst affected areas.
The equivalent of one month's downpour fell overnight, forcing one of the two main train lines between England and Scotland to shut Wednesday because parts of the track were submerged.
The border areas were worst hit, police said, noting that the Teviot River had burst and was flooding streets in Hawick.
A spokesman for rail operator Virgin Trains said the West Coast Main Line was closed between Carlisle in northwest England and Glasgow and would remain shut until 5:00pm at the earliest.
The normal October monthly rainfall was exceeded in Edinburgh, Aberdeen in northeast Scotland and Milford Haven in south Wales.
Keswick was also severely affected with 82mm of rain falling in 24 hours from Tuesday.
- A second tornado has struck Birmingham, causing minor damage in the area.
The roof of a house in Moseley was ripped off in the evening when the winds struck. Fortunately the owners of the house were not indoors when this happened.
A nearby road also had to be closed as debris from the tornado blocked it.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the Met Office said: "Unfortunately we received no official reports of tornado activity but the weather conditions on Wednesday evening would certainly have supported formation of small tornadoes."
- A total of four people have lost their lives following a weekend of heavy rains in north-eastern Spain.
Three of the victims died after their cars were washed away in flash floods.
The storms also caused extensive damage to dwellings and trees across Catalonia and some roads remain cut off due to flooding and debris.
A number of car parks and underground shops have also been left standing under water.
Meanwhile, the emergency services in the area are still on a high alert for flash floods, as the rains continue across the region.
- Around 2,000 people have been urged to evacuate their homes after torrential rains caused a dam to become unstable. The Whittendon Pond Dam in southern Massachusetts is showing signs that it could buckle under the extra pressure from the rains, threatening around 100 homes and downtown Taunton.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service has said the situation in the area was "life threatening" and "extremely dangerous".
The incident is the latest in a line that have all occurred as a result of the widespread torrential rains the north-eastern US coast experienced in recent weeks.
It is estimated that around $6.5 million (£3.7 million) worth of damage has been caused throughout Massachusetts alone, which would qualify the state for federal aid.
- While most of New Hampshire (USA) continues to enjoy a warm fall, it's like the dead of winter on Mount Washington.
The summit, the higest peak in the Northeast at 6,288 feet, got 34 inches of snow between Saturday and Monday and beat the record for the most snowfall in 24 hours. Between noon Sunday and noon Monday, 25.5 inches of snow piled up.
The met. observer said that it looks like January or February, with 12-foot drifts and tons of ice that has to be chipped off their instruments. That means climbing weather towers and smashing the ice with crowbars and hammers.
The observers at the site are confident they will beat the record for October snowfall. They are only 5 inches short of the record of 39.8 inches set in 1969.
- Flash floods have swept through Indonesia's Aceh province, killing at least five people, injuring dozens and forcing thousands to flee their homes.
The floods occurred after the Simpang river burst its banks late on Tuesday following a week of heavy rain, destroying about 400 homes in two areas of southeastern Aceh.
- Two days of rain broke Las Vegas' (USA) record for the entire month of October, overwhelming flood channels, swamping roadways and knocking out power.
Firefighters rescued several motorists from stalled vehicles Tuesday after they ignored warnings and tried to ford flooded intersections. Police and the Nevada Highway Patrol reported numerous crashes, including a parkway crash that critically injured one person.
The storm dropped 0.94 inches of rain Tuesday at McCarran International Airport, breaking a record of 0.45 inches for the same date set in 1962. The 1.42 inches of rain that fell Monday and Tuesday swamped the previous record of 1.22 inches for the entire month of October, set in 1992. The monthly average is about 0.50 inches of rain.
- The 2005 hurricane season has spawned three of the most intense Atlantic storms on record with Katrina, Rita and now Wilma, fueling the debate over global warming's impact on hurricanes.
Wilma briefly became the most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record in terms of its barometric minimum pressure, that does not mean it is the strongest hurricane ever.
A hurricane hunter plane flying through the Category 5 storm's eye found a minimum central pressure of 882mb.
That is lower than the 888mb recorded in Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. The lowest pressure at landfall on record is 892mb in the 1935 Labor Day hurricane in the Florida Keys.
Wilma dropped from 982mb to 882mb in 24 hours, or a rate of 4.2mb an hour.
Similarly powerful storms could have occurred in the 1940s and 1950s, said Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist for weatherunderground.com and a former Hurricane Hunter flight meteorologist.
"Back then we didn't have satellites and we didn't have aircraft reconnaissance. So it's quite possible that a lot of those hurricanes had an 882mb pressure. We just weren't around there to see," Masters said.
With six weeks of the Atlantic hurricane season still to go, 2005 has already tied the 1933 record for the most tropical storms in one season with 21, and the 1969 record for the most hurricanes with 12.
- Hurricane Wilma reached Cozumel, Mexico on the 21st with maximum sustained winds near 120 knots (category 4), causing widespread destruction. The hurricane crossed the Yucatan Peninsula near Playa del Carmen on the 22nd and forced more than 70,000 people into emergency shelters, rendered 300,000 homeless and caused severe damage to the dwellings of nearly 700,000 people. In Mexico, at least 7 deaths were blamed on the storm. Wilma entered the Gulf of Mexico late on the 22nd, tracking to the northeast. A powerful storm surge breached the storm wall protecting Havana, Cuba, flooding the coastal highway and inundating Havana's western neighborhoods with waist-high water on the 23rd.
Wilma continued to the northeast, reaching the U.S. coastline near Everglades City in Florida on the 24th with maximum sustained winds near 105 knots. The hurricane accelerated across south Florida and the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, exiting the coast later the same day. Wilma raced to the northeast over open waters of the Atlantic Ocean, becoming non-tropical by the 24th. There were 10 fatalities in Florida, and nearly 6 million people lost power, the most widespread power outage in Florida history. Preliminary estimates of insured losses in Florida were near $10 billion.
- Heavy rains and strong winds have caused major disruptions on New Zealand's North Island.
In one of the worst hit areas, Tolaga Bay, families were evacuated from their homes as a precaution should rivers burst their banks.
Meanwhile, in Auckland a mother and daughter had to flee from their damaged home after a bank collapsed on top if it as a result of the rains.
- Tropical Storm Alpha developed on the 22nd southeast of Hispaniola, crossing the coast of the Dominican Republic near Barahona early on the 23rd with maximum sustained winds near 45 knots. Heavy rainfall produced flooding that was blamed for 12 deaths in Haiti. Alpha became the 22nd named storm in the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, breaking the record for the most storms in a single season (21 storms set in 1933). Exhausting the list of names for the 2005 season after 'Wilma', the NOAA/National Hurricane Center began using the Greek alphabet.
- Torrential rains have wreaked havoc across Italy, causing bridges to collapse, trains to derail and making roads impassable.
Around 20 people were injured when a Eurostar train on its way to Milan derailed and crashed.
The heavy rains had washed away the earth beneath the tracks, causing them to collapse as the train passed through Puglia.
Five people died and two others were reported missing as flash floods hit southern Italy.
About 6.3 inches of rain fell over three hours on Saturday night in one small area of Puglia.
- A powerful extratropical storm system trekked up the Eastern Seaboard of the United States on the 25th, producing a variety of weather conditions. Strong winds gusted to 52 mph at Boston's Logan Airport along with heavy rainfall. Rainfall from the storm teamed up with an already wet October to break monthly rainfall records at Providence, Rhode Island and Worcester, Massachusetts. Mount Washington, Vermont, received 672mm of precipitation by the 25th, or the all-time wettest month. Heavy snow fell throughout interior New England southward into the central Appalachians.
Accumulations ranged as high as 25-50 cm in Maine and Vermont, while farther to the south, up to 18 cm fell in parts of the higher elevations of West Virginia.
- Following four years of failed rains, the drought in Mozambique is continuing to worsen, placing a massive strain on resources in the area.
Villagers have to choose where they live based on the location of the latest water-hole that hasn't dried up, but most are surviving on a diet of fruit and berries.
Further worsening the problem, the UN World Food Programme has said it is vastly underfunded and so is unable to help over two-thirds of the people suffering in Mozambique.
- Tropical Storm Beta formed as a depression in the southwestern Caribbean to the southeast of Nicaragua on the 26th, but reached tropical storm status by the next day. By the afternoon of the 27th, Beta was strenghtening and was located about 120 km south-southeast of San Andres Island with maximum sustained winds near 45 knots.
- Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated as heavy rains lashed southern India for the third straight day, triggering floods.
Officials said 56 people have died in the rains in Tamil Nadu, while another 26 have lost their lives in the southwestern state of Karnataka.
Weather officials said the rains had been caused by a low pressure system over the Bay of Bengal which was likely to stay put over the next two days.
Unlike the rest of India which experiences monsoon rains between June to September, southern India gets monsoon rains in November and December.
- Maximum temperatures in the UK included 22.4C at Kinlochewe (unconfirmed) 21.5C at London Met Office and 21.2C at Aultbea. News reports are quoting this latter value as the highest on this date in the UK (previously 20.3C in London in 1888). On 4 November 1946 21.7C was recorded at Prestatyn (Denbigh), while the latest 22C has ever been noted in the UK was on 26 October 1969 when Southsea had 22.8C.
- Hurricane Beta made landfall on Nicaragua's central coast as a Category 2 storm with sustained winds around 105 mph. The thirteenth Atlantic hurricane of the season was also one of the smallest, with its hurricane-force winds extending only 15 miles from its eye at one stage.
The storm brought torrential rains and strong winds to the coast, and over 100 homes were completely destroyed.
Prior to the arrival of hurricane Beta, around 8,000 people were evacuated from their homes and are now living in temporary shelters.
As the storm passed over the country, it lost power and was downgraded to a tropical storm, but many regions have been issued with landslide warnings following the heavy rains.
- It was the wettest October on record in 15 cities throughout northeast USA.
Five of those cities - Allentown, Pa.; Concord, N.H.; Islip, N.Y.; Newark, N.J.; and Providence, R.I. - all recorded the wettest month ever.
"There was a strong blocking mechanism in the North Atlantic that allowed the tropical moisture from the remnants of (tropical) storms to flow northward in the upper atmosphere, where it got caught in a pattern of weak troughs and cold fronts," Ross Dickson of NOAA said. "That was the problem, it just sat there and didn't go anywhere for a while."
The rainiest spot in the Northeast in October was in New York - Central Park, where 16.73 inches fell to eclipse a 102-year record of 13.31 inches. More than half that total - 8.5 inches - fell over a three-day period from 12-14 October. The wettest month on record in Central Park was September 1882 when it was soaked with 16.85 inches of rain.
The last time the Northeast experienced such a widespread soaking was in August 1955 when Hurricane Diane lumbered up the East Coast.
- There has been a regular pattern of wild electrical storms across New South Wales in the past few days.
In one of the most startling events lightning strikes killed 68 dairy cows on a farm about 10 kilometres west of Dorrigo, inland from Coffs Harbour.
The cows were clustered together in a paddock about to be milked when they were struck by lightning during a violent electrical storm on Monday afternoon.
Another 69 cows survived the lightning bolt.
World weather news, September 2005
- Ex-typhoon Talim made landfall in southeast China's Fujian province as a tropical storm. Maximum sustained winds at the time of landfall were near 55 knots. The storm caused significant flooding across the provinces of Fujian, Zhejiang, Anhui, Jiangxi, Henan and Hubei.
- In West Sumatra, Indonesia, heavy rainfall produced landslides near Padang. There were 16 fatalities and over 200 people were evacuated from their homes.
- Scientists from the National Institute of Meteorology in Spain have said that they do not expect sufficient rain over the coming months to re-hydrate drained reservoirs.
In some areas of the country, reservoirs are holding as little as 13 per cent of their full capacity and Angel Rivera, head of forecasting at the institute, said that heavy Atlantic storms would be needed until the end of the year to reverse the damage of the dry summer.
However, the forecast shows that autumnal rains will be average, or even below average.
40 per cent less rain than in average years was received in the year to August 2005, leaving the country parched.
Crops have failed, hydroelectric production has fallen and fires have burned more fiercely than usual in the dry conditions.
Tourist areas have remained largely unaffected, with water restrictions imposed on some and many opening emergency wells to cope with demand.
- Typhoon Nabi reached Kyushu in Japan with maximum sustained winds near 90 knots. The storm weakened below tropical storm strength on the 7th, but very heavy rain fell along its path before dissipation over the Sea of Japan.
- Hurricane Ophelia initially developed as tropical depression near Freeport, Bahamas on the 6th, reaching tropical storm strength by 7th. Ophelia reached category-one hurricane status by the 8th, and skirted the North Carolina coast during 14-15 September, with hurricane-force wind gusts along the coastline from Cape Fear to Cape Lookout. Around 100,000 people lost power, and rainfall amounts of 250-300mm were common along the immediate coastal areas.
- Brazil's soy-bean crop for the 2004-05 season was down 4.7 per cent compared to the previous year due to the worst drought the country has seen in 40 years.
- Almost half a metre of snow fell on south-west Alberta, Canada causing power losses to almost 4,000 homes. The heavy and wet snow broke at least 50 power poles, and it has taken some time to restore electricity supplies to the region.
- Ryanair left a plane full of passengers abandoned at a small French airport, telling them the next flight would be in ten days time, after the plane that was meant to pick them up was diverted during a storm.
The plane, which was due to carry them from Carcassone to Charleroi, Brussels, had been diverted to Perpignan airport, but the carrier said there was insufficient time to transfer the passengers.
The plane then made the return journey empty.
Meanwhile, 51 of the passengers banded together and rented a bus and driver for £2,700 so they could reach their destination.
The disgruntled passengers finally arrived at their destination following a 16-hour journey.
- Typhoon Khanun ploughed into China south of Shanghai, killing at least 14 people on Sunday and Monday and leaving eight missing after forcing the evacuation of more than a million.
Khanun, which spared the island of Taiwan on Saturday, made landfall in the mountainous eastern province of Zhejiang, where storms regularly trigger deadly floods and landslides.
The storm flattened almost 7,500 homes and caused nearly 7 billion yuan in direct losses.
- At least nine were injured and one died after a large mudslide destroyed several residences in Bergen early in the morning. Massive rainfall carried by the remains of tropical storms Maria and Nate also caused chaos in western Norway.
Three people were seriously injured by the Bergen slide and two, a 27-year-old woman and a three-year-old girl, were in critical condition after a 40-metre wide cliff face gave way over a row of homes.
- In Myanmar, heavy monsoon-related rainfall affected the southern coastal areas; flooding and landslides affected the Thanintaryi division, resulting in at least 27 deaths.
- Around 100,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in the west Indian state of Maharashtra. The monsoon has once again brought torrential rains to the region, which has resulted in dams overflowing and general flooding.
- Hurricane Rita developed as a depression just east of the Turks and Caicos islands on the 18th, reaching tropical storm strength later the same day. Hurricane intensity was achieved on the 20th as Rita tracked through the Florida Straits and just south of the Florida Keys. Winds were sustained at tropical storm force at Key West, where peak winds gusted to 66 knots.
Rita emerged into the Gulf of Mexico on the 21st, undergoing a period of rapid intensification. By 0300GMT on the 22nd, the pressure dropped to 897mb, or the third-lowest pressure on record in the Atlantic. The two lowest pressures were recorded in the eye of Hurricane Gilbert in 1988 (888mb) and in the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 (892mb). This marked the first time in the historical record that two hurricanes have reached category-five intensity in the Gulf of Mexico in a single season (Katrina and Rita).
Rita continued to the northwest and weakened, but reached the Texas/Louisiana border area near Sabine Pass early on the 24th as a category-three hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 105 knots. A storm surge of at least 4.5m flooded parts of Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Terrebonne and Vermilion parishes, where sugar cane crop losses were estimated near $300 million. A 2.5m storm surge in New Orleans overtopped the provisionally-repaired levees (from Hurricane Katrina damage) and caused additional flooding. A total of 10 fatalities were reported, and preliminary damage estimates ranged between $4-5 billion. As Rita came ashore, rainfall exceeded 6 inches across a large area of the Texas and Louisiana coast.
- A total of 30 people have been killed in the isolated plains of Mongolia as temperatures plummeted by almost 25C since the start of the month.
Most of the deaths occurred in Ulan Bartor, the capital of the country, where there are many homeless, especially street children.
Temperatures across the city dropped to as low as -6C.
- Following days of heavy rains, several areas of Bucharest are now standing underwater.
Many of the city's main thoroughfares have been completely inundated and many underground walkways have become impassable, despite all night pumping from emergency teams.
The underground station at Izvor has also been closed due to the floods.
On Tineretului, the main road in the Romanian capital, around 500mm of rain were reported.
- Typhoon Damrey developed east of the northern Philippines in the Philippine Sea on the 20th, skirting the northern part of that country on the 21st. Typhoon status was achieved by the 24th as Damrey moved across the South China Sea. The typhoon moved across Hainan island on the 25th, reaching the coast with maximum sustained winds near 85kn. Chinese officials described Damrey as the worst typhoon to strike Hainan in decades. Damrey continued westward, making a second and final landfall as a tropical storm in northern Vietnam on the 27th near Thanh Hoa with maximum sustained winds near 55kn. Flooding was responsible for the majority of the loss of life, with a total of 122 deaths from the storm (36 in Vietnam, 16 in the Philippines, 16 in southern China, 3 in Thailand and 51 in Nepal).
Damrey nearly wiped out the aquaculture industry on Hainan and damaged the power grid and rubber plantations there.
- Hungary's apple crop has dropped by 230,000 tonnes this year, a number which experts have deemed "too high".
The poor crop has been blamed on the cool and rainy weather experienced in the early summer. This "spoiled fruit setting during pollination and resulted in fungus infestations".
- Temperatures of up to 40C have hit the drought-stricken country of Zimbabwe.
However, as the annual rains are not due to start for more than a month, and some areas of Zimbabwe, including the capital Harare, are already experiencing water shortages, the heatwave could not have come at a worse time.
Neighbouring Malawi has been worse hit, with many of its residents suffering from food shortages due to the hot and dry conditions experienced throughout the summer.
World weather news, August 2005
- Torrential rains brought flooding and landslides to north-east Turkey, killing five with a further four reported missing.
Major roads across the region remain closed today as experts blame erosion for the floods that regularly strike the mountainous Black Sea provinces.
- Over 300 passengers and crew onboard an Air France flight from Paris had a lucky escape as their aircraft burst into flames following an unsuccessful landing during a thunderstorm in Toronto.
According to witnesses the Airbus 340 landed on the runway during lightning strikes and heavy rains, it then veered off the landing strip and into a wooded ravine where it broke in two and burst into flames.
- Australia is experiencing a shortage in sheep and cattle, partly as a result of the drought like conditions experienced in the south-east of the country this year.
Now extra animals are being shipped in from the Northern Territory, the west and far north Queensland in a bid to meet Japanese export and domestic demand.
- In Sudan, flooding in early August affected the Darfur and Khartoum states, displacing thousands of people and resulting in at least 8 deaths. Rainfall in Elfashir, North Darfur state on 3 August 2005 totalled 133mm, or a new daily record since 1918.
- One person has been confirmed dead in a flash flood that hit the Dutch-dependent territory of St Maarten earlier this week. A second person has also been reported missing, following the torrential rains of around 558mm that caused the sudden flooding.
- Tropical Storm Harvey gained strength as it moved away from Bermuda after it soaked the mid-Atlantic island but caused little disruption.
Harvey, the eighth tropical storm in a busy hurricane season, posed a threat only to ships as it moved toward the east-northeast over the open Atlantic Ocean.
Never in more than 150 years of record-keeping had the Atlantic hurricane season produced eight storms this early. Half of the June-to-November hurricane seasons since 1851 did not produce eight storms.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week raised its forecast for the year, predicting up to 21 tropical storms, with as many as 11 reaching hurricane strength.
An average hurricane season has 10 tropical storms, with six becoming hurricanes and two strengthening into major hurricanes.
- Typhoon Matsa dumped torrential rains in northern Taiwan as it swirled in seas near the island, shutting down financial markets and grounding several international flights.
About 300 residents were evacuated from the mountain village of Chienshih in northern Hsinchu where more than 48 inches of rain fell in 30 hours.
Rock slides swept away roads and bridges in some mountainous areas, leaving thousands of villagers isolated.
- Four people have died in Bulgaria and thousands have been evacuated from their homes as heavy rains and flooding hit the country for the second time in two months.
Four municipalities southeast of Sofia had already reported severe damage on Friday before they were drenched by further storms overnight, with the rainfall in Sofia measuring 117mm. Flooding also affected sections of neighbouring Romania, Hungary and Macedonia.
- Thirteen people have been killed by Matsa since it hit mainland China as a typhoon.
Beijing's Municipal Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters was preparing to evacuate as many as 40,000 people in the mountains north of Beijing as Matsa approached,
Only four typhoons have swept through Beijing since 1949, killing a total of 86 people.
The storm slammed into the eastern province of Zhejiang on Saturday, with 100mph winds.
At least 811 people have been reported killed by storms since China's summer rainy season began on June 1.
- At least 43 people have drowned and another 15 are missing in flash floods caused by torrential rains in Golestan province in northeastern
Some 350 families have lost their homes as a result of the deluge of heavy rain which began on Tuesday. Scores of livestock have also been killed in the floods and vast areas of farm land devastated.
- A strong cold front has produced widespread snowfalls across Victoria (Australia), with snow reported down to sea level in some coastal areas. The frontal system has brought extremely low temperatures and chilling winds, with maximum temperatures failing to reach 10C across the majority of Southern Victoria. These were the most significant snowfalls across Victoria, in terms of widespread snow down to sea level, since 19-20 July 1951.
Heavy snowfalls were reported at localities above 300m elevation.
Alpine regions recorded significant snowfalls of 20 to 30cm.
Many areas experienced record cold daytime temperatures for August. Mt Hotham recorded a maximum temperature of -6.7C, lower than the previous record of -5.9C. Wonthaggi recorded a maximum temperature of 7.8C, lower than the previous August record of 8.3C set in 1970. Geelong also broke it's August lowest daytime temperature with 7.9C, below 9.1C set in 1995.
- The Mediterranean coast of Spain is being swamped with hoards of jellyfish.
It is thought that the drought-like conditions and prolonged heat have contributed to the rise in numbers, as the creatures look for less salty waters and nutrients in the warmer waters close to the shore.
Almost 11,000 people so far this year being treated by lifeguards for stings on the Catalonian coast.
- Malaysia has declared a state of emergency as air pollution levels escalate across the country.
Citizens of Kuala Lumpur have been advised to stay indoors and to wear masks when outside, schools have shut and rain-seeding is due to begin as emergency workers try to wash away the smoke and dust in the air.
The smog, which has been caused by wind-blown smoke from Indonesian forest fires, has blanketed parts of the country.
Subang Airport, the capital's second airport, has been closed due to low visibility and the country's largest port, Port Klang, also had to temporarily suspend trading but authorities believe it will remain open.
- Floods caused by days of heavy rain have caused the collapse of some 3,000 houses and left up to 20,000 people homeless in the capital of the Central African Republic.
The rainy season begins in mid-July in the country.
- Barges on the famous Mississippi River are being urged to lighten their loads as river levels sink to their lowest for years.
The drought conditions in the US Midwest have finally taken their toll on the river, with reports indicating levels are two feet below average.
And it is feared that if water levels fall by a further six inches, barges will become grounded.
- Severe flooding and landslides caused by torrential rains have killed at least 16 people in northern and central China and left 18 missing. Heavy rainstorms which hit 17 counties on Sunday and Monday destroyed many houses and caused failures in transportation, telecommunications and power supply.
- The death toll from flash floods in northern Thailand has risen to 10, with six people still missing.
Another 85 people have been injured and about 119,270 people suffered property damage or had to be evacuated.
The floods also damaged 87 bridges, 95 roads and 18,061 hectares of farm land.
A government spokesman said that the 200mm of rain that had fallen in Chiang Dao district of Chiang Mai province was the highest in a century.
- At least nine people have been killed in Romania as a result of the storms that also caused widespread flooding.
A further 1,100 have also been forced to evacuate their homes.
In all dozens of people have been killed as a result of the storms that have wreaked havoc in the Balkans this summer.
- Spanish wine growers are looking forward to a good harvest this year, following months of drought that have plagued the country.
Experts have said that the dry weather will make good quality wine, even though the crop is expected to be smaller than usual.
Farmers are expected to begin the harvest earlier than usual this year so that the grapes do not suffer any damage from the high temperatures.
However, other crops across the country are not faring as well. Olive oil prices have rocketed in the wake of the drought and even the sturdy grain has been massively damaged.
- Hurricane Irene weakened to a tropical storm and began accelerating toward its end over the cold waters of the northern Atlantic.
Irene was the ninth named storm of the 2005 season. Normally, only two or three develop by this time in the Atlantic hurricane season.
- In Canada, severe thunderstorms produced at least two tornadoes in an area just outside of Guelph, Ontario. Cars were overturned and trees downed, although no injuries were reported.
- Twelve people have been killed and at least six others injured in flash floods in the Arab state of Yemen.
The flash floods, which occurred across two days, are not an uncommon sight in Yemen, which is particularly susceptible to flooding during the spring and the summer.
- Heavy rainfall affected areas of central and eastern Europe during August, with flooding reported in parts of Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Macedonia. The hardest-hit area of Europe was Romania, where 31 flood-related fatalities were reported. Farther to the west, flooding also affected areas of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. At least one death was reported in Germany, with four in Austria and also in Switzerland. Preliminary damage was estimated at over $1 billion (USD) in both Switzerland and Romania.
- Hurricane Katrina formed in the southeastern Bahamas as a depression on the 23rd, reaching tropical storm status the next day. Katrina became a hurricane just before landfall in south Florida between Hallandale Beach and North Miami Beach on the evening of the 24th. Maximum sustained winds at the time of landfall were near 70 knots. There were 11 fatalities in South Florida, including 4 by falling trees. More than 1.3 million customers lost electrical services, and preliminary insured losses estimates ranged up to $2 billion (USD) in the state of Florida.
Katrina emerged in the Gulf of Mexico during the morning of the 25th and moved west-southwest into open waters of the Gulf while re-strengthening. By the 27th, Katrina reached category-five intensity on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Katrina's minimum central pressure was observed by reconnaissance aircraft on the afternoon of the 29th at 902mb, or the fourth lowest pressure ever recorded from a hurricane in the Atlantic Basin. Katrina made landfall in Plaquemines Parish in southeastern Louisiana early on the 29th with maximum sustained winds near 125 knots, a strong category-four, and the third most-intense landfalling hurricane in U.S. history (according to a minimum landfall pressure of 920mb).
The centre of the hurricane passed just east of New Orleans, where winds gusted over 85 knots. Widespread devastation and unprecedented flooding occurred, submerging at least 80 percent of the city as levees failed. Farther east, powerful winds and a devastating storm surge of 6-10m) raked the Mississippi coastline, including Gulfport and Biloxi, where Gulf of Mexico floodwaters spread several kilometres inland. Rainfall amounts of 10-20cm were common along and to the east of the storm's path. Katrina weakened to a tropical storm as it tracked northward through Mississippi and gradually lost its identity as it moved into the Tennessee Valley on the 30th, dumping heavy rainfall along its course.
In areas of southeastern Louisiana eastward along the Mississippi and Alabama coastlines, thousands of houses and buildings were damaged or destroyed and more than 2.3 million people lost power. Casualty numbers were still incomplete as of September 1, but fatalities will reach into the hundreds or perhaps thousands. Flooding in New Orleans was expected to make the city uninhabitable for months.
- In Peru, heavy rains and strong winds were tentatively blamed on a Peruvian passenger plane crash. There were at least 37 deaths and 40 injuries. Preliminary indications suggested that heavy rains and strong winds prompted an emergency landing near Pucallpa.
- Typhoon Talim developed on the 25th in the western Pacific Ocean, reaching typhoon strength by the 29th. Talim made landfall in Taiwan late on the 31st with maximum sustained winds near 105 knots. The typhoon shut down businesses, schools and financial markets and caused 1.48 million power cuts. There were 2 deaths and 39 injuries in Taiwan
- The minimum temperature at Grove in the 24 hours to 9 am was 16.1C. This is the highest August minimum temperature ever recorded in Tasmania. It is much higher than the previous record of 15.0C at Swansea on 28 August 1994 and Strahan on 26 August 1977. A mild day yesterday followed by a windy night ahead of an approaching cold front ensured the overnight temperarures were kept high.
World weather news, July 2005
- Nine people were injured when lightning struck a crowded beach at Boyd Lake, Colorado (USA).
A total of four people were taken to a hospital following the strike.
When the lightning struck numerous people fell to the ground, while the force also set off car alarms in the adjoining car park.
- Thunderstorms and torrential rain moved from northern France across western Belgium into the west of the Netherlands leading to very high rainfall totals and widespread problems from flooding. In Belgium the worst hit area was West Flanders, especially the area around Roeselare. Many houses and other buildings in Roeselare were flooded including the hospital. Water was up to waist deep in the town centre. The second badly affected area was to the SW around Ieper. Several dozen people had to be evacuated in Vlamertinge near Ieper which was under 1m of water. 24-hour rainfall totals included: Brugge 110.5mm, Hooglede (just NW of Roeselare) 124.6 mm and Lichtervelde 133mm - including 60 mm between 0100h and 0210h local time. In France areas worst affected were around Lille and in French Flanders around Hazebrouck. Parts of Hazebrouck were flooded up to a depth of up to 1.5m - 30 people had to be evacuated. In The Netherlands Streets and houses were flooded in the province of Zeeland in the SW of the
country - Biervliet recorded 80 mm rain.
- China's financial hub Shanghai is on the verge of citywide blackouts with the 10th day of a heat wave sending electricity usage soaring to fresh peak records.
Electricity loads in China's largest port city reached a record 16.4 million kilowatts this week compared with a high of 15 million kilowatts last year.
Temperatures are peaking at around 39C
- Tropical Storm Cindy flooded streets, shut down oil production and knocked out power to thousands in Louisiana and Mississippi.
Cindy came ashore on the central Louisiana coast with winds of 70mph, just short of the 74mph needed to achieve hurricane status.
- Hurricane Dennis swept away a bridge and peeled tin roofs off homes in Haiti, killing at least five people as it strengthened to a Category 4 storm and headed straight for Cuba. This was the first time the Atlantic hurricane season had four named storms this early since record-keeping began in 1851. The season runs from 1 June to 30 November.
- Almost all of Portugal is facing severe or extreme drought, the worst the country has seen in 60 years.
A third of the country is reported to be in severe drought, while 64 per cent has been declared as extremely in drought.
- Hurricane Dennis re-attained category-four strength over the eastern Gulf of Mexico by the 9th, but weakened to category-three intensity at the time of a final landfall near Pensacola, Florida on the 10th. There were 9 hurricane-related fatalities in the U.S. (Florida, Mississippi and Georgia), and preliminary estimates of insured losses ranged from $1 to $1.5 billion. Heavy rainfall affected a wide area from the Gulf Coast, Southeast and Mississippi Valley.
- Bread prices are expected to rise by as much as 40 percent in Bulgaria in the wake of heavy rains and flooding that ruined grain crops.
Grain crops are also threatened by an ever increasing rat population in Bulgaria's wheatbelt around Dobrich.
Wind, hail, and torrential rain turned vast tracts of farmland into swamps and flooded thousands of houses around the country.
Whole towns were cut off with no electricity, communications and running water, as landslides cut through highways, railroads and bridges in Ruse and Silistra to the north, and Gabrovo and Veliko Tarnovo in central Bulgaria.
- Over half of France has been ordered to ration water today as the severe drought, which has affected Spain and Portugal, makes its way north.
The French government has issued bans such as car washing and filling swimming pools in 50 departments.
- In Austria, flooding along the Salzach River prompted the evacuation of a hospital at Mittersill. At least 60 patients and staff were evacuated to Salzburg after heavy rains produced flooding
- At least eight people have been killed and two children were feared drowned yesterday in the floods that continue to plague Romania and neighbouring Bulgaria.
Five people were pronounced dead and a further five were missing in Bucharest.
A landslide caused by the heavy rains resulted in a freight train coming off its tracks, alongside the hundreds of kilometres of railroad and road that have already been damaged.
The whole area surrounding the Siret river has been hit hard by the recent flooding, which has seen over 75 per cent of the Romanian territory affected.
- Hurricane Emily grew even more powerfulafter slamming into Grenada, tearing up crops, flooding streets and striking at homes still under repair from last year's storms. At least one man was killed.
The storm strengthened to a dangerous Category 4 after it cleared the Windward Islands. Venezuelan authorities ordered some oil tankers to stay in port in the key oil refining zone of Puerto la Cruz.
Emily is a very rare Category 4 hurricane in the Caribbean Sea in the month of July.
- Typhoon Haitang swirled toward China's southeast coast after killing up to four people in Taiwan, injuring 29 others and wreaking damage estimated at $14 million.
The once super-strong storm had lost some of its power while churning over the island. China evacuated over 600,000 people from the typhoon's path on Monday after Haitang slammed into Taiwan and forced offices, schools and financial markets to shut across the island.
- Fresh rainstorms overnight in flood-hit Romania have left 260 communities without electricity and cut off several roads in the south and west of the country.
In the southern town of Valcea, strong winds ripped the roofs off apartment buildings, damaging several cars. Fallen trees damaged a gas pipeline that serves large parts of the town of 40,000 people.
In Baia de Cris, in central Romania, a storm blew the roof off a church, causing damage to a monastery and a nearby school.
- Throughout the southwestern United States, a severe heat wave gripped the region during early to mid-July. Maximum temperatures above 40C affected parts of Nevada, California, Arizona and southern Utah. Numerous temperature records were set around the region, and Las Vegas, NV tied their all-time record high temperature of 47.2C on the 19th, equalling the old record set on 24 July 1942. Death Valley had 6 consecutive days (14-19 July) with high temperatures above 51.7C (125F). At least 13 deaths were blamed on the heat wave in Arizona. The heat wave had spread to the East Coast by the 25th.
- Hurricane Emily pounded the US-Mexican border, driving thousands of Mexicans from their homes and knocking out power in south Texas before losing some of its punch.
The eye of the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast about 75 miles south of the US-Mexico border as a Category 3 hurricane.
It was the second time Emily battered Mexico. On Monday, it crashed into the Caribbean coast, sending tens of thousands of tourists and locals to shelters in beach resorts in and around Cancun.
Emily killed five people in Jamaica in its swing through the Caribbean as a Category 4 hurricane, and several people died in Mexico in incidents indirectly caused by the storm.
- The busy Atlantic hurricane season notched its sixth tropical storm on when Franklin formed in the northern Bahamas islands. The National Hurricane Center said the birth of Franklin marked the earliest appearance by the sixth storm of the season in recorded history. The previous earliest date for six storms was 4 August 1933.
- One person has been killed in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon as a result of Tropical Storm Gert hitting the region. Gert made landfall on the 24th in Mexico and dissipated the next day.
- Lightning has killed at least 14 people and injured more than 100 in the United States since early June, according to a statement issued today by NOAA, parent organization of the
National Weather Service.
An average of 67 people are killed by lightning each year in the United States. July is typically the worst month.
- Floods, landslides and building collapses caused by India's heaviest-ever recorded rainfall have killed at least 786 people and brought the financial capital Mumbai to a near-standstill. A total of 944mm fell in 24 hours endinh 0830h on the 28th.
Weather officials predicted more heavy rain for the city of 15 million, where schools, banks and stock markets were closed and public transport barely operating.
- Temperatures dropped to record lows in parts of the Midwest USA following a cold front that brought relief from recent heat. Records dating to 1994 were broken in Iowa and Kansas, while St. Joseph's, Mo., matched a record of 56F degrees set in 1971.
World weather news, June 2005
- Almost 80 people have been killed so far in Bangladesh in a heatwave plaguing South Asia. Some 27 deaths were reported on Friday, following 50 other confirmed deaths caused by the soaring temperatures, which reached a high of 43C on Wednesday.
A third of the deaths - which total 100 when neighbouring countries Nepal and India are included - occurred in northern Bangladesh, where mostly women and children have died from dehydration, heat stroke and diarrhoea.
- Stormy weather has been battering parts of the United States for several days. Severe thunderstorms packed with heavy rain, hail and tornadoes have been sweeping across the northern plains from west to east. Sunday night saw the turn of Michigan, Indiana and Oklahoma to battle through the storms which have already caused havoc in Colorado and Kansas.
Strong winds up to 75mph and heavy rain caused damage to power lines leaving thousands of homes without power. Golf ball sized hail was also reported and was said to have smashed car windscreens and injured five people.
Oklahoma was the worst hit by the storms, at least 90,000 people in the area were left without electricity when two tornadoes ripped through the region. The National Weather Service reported a large multiple-vortex tornado at around 6.15pm (local time). The storm overturned mobile homes, leaving an 25m tall tree on top of one home and tossing another home 30 yards.
More than 200mm of rain has drenched the Southern Palm Beach County on Sunday causing record flooding in the area. The heavy downpours forced major roads and intersections to close, stranding motorists, and damaging homes and businesses.
The torrential thunderstorms began on Saturday evening and continued well into Sunday and many are claiming that the flooding is worse than that caused by last year's hurricanes.
- Flooding has devastated villages and crops in southern China, killing at least 204 people and leaving another 79 missing at the start of the summer flood season. Hunan province was the worst hit, with the death toll rising to 75 people on Sunday.
Three days of torrential rains last week washed away mountain villages in Hunan and damaged tens of thousands of homes, schools and other facilities. Flooded roads and highways hampered rescue and evacuation efforts.
- So much snow fell on parts of Austria that authorities closed roads to cars without tire chains. And temperatures dipped below freezing in corners of Croatia, England and Scotland.
The unseasonably cold June has even caused headaches in Italy, a country that's normally balmy at this time of year. Officials say cooler-than-usual temperatures and hailstorms have caused significant damage to crops.
In agricultural areas near Verona in northeastern Italy - one of the hardest-hit areas - between 30% and 40% of peaches and apples were lost after hail pummeled trees.
Heavy rain and strong winds flooded some of Rome's cobblestone streets overnight, uprooting trees and forcing authorities to close several roads to traffic.
Parts of Austria's Alps were blanketed with nearly 16 inches of fresh snow, and the country's automobile club said numerous tow trucks were called to aid stranded motorists.
Although the snow was limited to higher elevations, temperatures dipped to 7C degrees in Vienna. Austrians call the late spring chill "Schafskaelte" or "sheep's cold," invoking the image of the livestock shivering in the fields after being shorn of their first wool of the season.
In Croatia, a few inches of snow fell overnight on the southern mountain of Biokovo, where temperatures dipped to -3C.
Heavy rain flooded several villages in central Serbia. A deluge fell on the region of Leskovac, and fresh snow blanketed the mountains of southern Serbia.
- A woman has drowned in Bulgaria as heavy rains triggered floods for the second time in less than two weeks.
The woman slipped and fell into the swollen Struma river near the town of Pernik, and the Iskar river near Sofia also overflowed its banks, forcing the evacuation of a psychiatric hospital and homes in several suburbs of the capital.
- Wind drove a wildfire across a large stretch of land in Portugal, as the country sweltered in above average temperatures.
More than 200 firefighters fought the blaze, which started on Monday afternoon for as yet undetermined reasons near the town of Alhada in the central part of the country.
Portugal is currently suffering a major heat wave, along with the worst drought the country has seen for decade.
The national weather office has issued a heat warning for eight of the country's 18 regions as temperatures look set to hover around 40C for the next few days.
- Flooding, the result of torrential rain Western Australia, caused erosion today. The owners of one property near Albany are stranded in their home after receiving 200mm of rain in 14 hours.
- Unusually heavy rains have hurt crops in pockets of the Canadian Prairies, but most of the country's prime crop-growing region has benefited from the moisture.
Low-lying fields in parts of Alberta and Manitoba that have been lashed with rain may see lower yields, and some areas may be drowned out or left unplanted because of the excess moisture.
Normally arid places like Lethbridge, Alberta were deluged with a whopping 175mm of rain over the past seven days.
- The first tropical storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season formed in the Caribbean, bringing heavy rains to Central America, the Cayman Islands and parts of Cuba and expected to track into the Gulf of Mexico.
Tropical Storm Arlene's formation represented a quick start to the season, which began on 1 June and runs through the end of November.
- A torrent of water rushed down a mountain in northeast China and hit a primary school, killing at least 99 people, most of them students.
Ninety-seven of the victims in Shalan, a town in Heilongjiang province, were students, while the other two were villagers.
- The first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season lashed northwest Florida and the Alabama coast with high winds and heavy rain, cutting power to several thousand people.
Soon after Arlene moved ashore, its maximum winds were down to 50 mph from 70 mph earlier in the day as it churned north.
About 4,000 residents of the western Florida Panhandle had lost power, said utility Gulf Power.
- Nearly two dozen homes were damaged and an estimated $3.6 million in damage inflicted when a tornado ripped through a two-mile swath of land near Hammond, Wisconsin.
The tornado wreaked havoc on a town house development, seriously damaging 17 townhouses and condominiums. In all, 22 homes were damaged.
- Five people have been killed in days of torrential rain in Taiwan.
According to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB), many residential areas in the south of Taiwan have been flooded since Saturday, with several towns in Pingtung County registering up to 1000mm of rain over the last four days.
Traffic has faced severe disruption due to the weather conditions, with landslides blocking roads near Alishan.
The CWB has said that the rains are likely to continue and warned those in low-lying areas to be on high alert.
- The Canadian city of Montreal is still under a smog advisory as it continues to swelter in high temperatures.
A smog cloud has been hanging over the St Lawrence River for several days, raising the air-quality readings to twice as high as the acceptable level last Thursday.
Forest fires in northern Quebec are partly responsible for the continued smog problem.
Toronto has also had a large number of smog advisories so far this year, as temperatures continue to top 28C.
- Heavy fog has brought days of travel disruption to Auckland, New Zealand.
Thousands of international and domestic travellers have been affected by delays, cancellations and flight diversions at Auckland Airport over the last three days.
Three inbound flights from San Francisco, Singapore and Auckland were diverted to Wellington and Christchurch yesterday due to the adverse weather conditions.
Fog also caused 11 international flights to be diverted on Friday and the cancellation of dozens of domestic journeys.
- In Georgia, floods hit the northern district of Dusheti on Monday. Forty houses were flooded and one man lost his life. Just two days later, two hours of heavy rain brought further flooding and landslides to Dusheti and surrounding villages, causing another fatality.
- Spain is in the grip of a major drought following the driest winter and spring for more than 60 years.
Water supplies are seriously depleted in some parts of the country, leading to fears of severe crop losses and threats to livestock.
According to information from the environment ministry, Spain's water reserves currently stand at just 58 per cent of capacity, with reservoirs in some inland areas standing at just 20 per cent.
Agricultural losses are so far estimated at some £1 billion in failed crops and animal fodder. The agricultural ministry predicts a 25 per cent decline in grain production this year, with some regions in the south and east seeing shortfalls of up to 50 per cent.
- Heavy thunderstorms led to severe flooding in NE and E Afghanistan. The hardest-hit area was the province of Badakhshan where as many as 36 perished and more than 1,000 residential dwellings were destroyed.
- Rising floodwaters kept hundreds of Alberta (Canada) residents from their homes on Monday, but officials hoped a dam and a helpful log jam would limit the flooding damage to the city of Drumheller.
The province was experiencing its worst flooding season in at least 75 years, with emergencies declared in communities including Edmonton and Calgary - where the some of the 1,500 people evacuated during the weekend were allowed to return home.
- Europe suffered a new heat wave Tuesday, the first day of summer, while farmers warned of a historic drought.
In Paris, the health ministry ordered authorities in three counties to activate their heat wave plans after they were informed that "the current wave could present a health risk for the population as of June 21."
Record temperatures for mid-June have been registered in northern France, with the thermometer registering 97F on the outskirts of Paris.
Also worried were farmers in Portugal, where rising temperatures are likely to worsen an already stinging drought - the worse the country has seen in 60 years.
The aridity has already caused serious damage to the country's agriculture, with an expected 70% drop in cereal production and a 30 to 92% fall in fodder and pasture that has pushed up meat prices.
In neighbouring Spain, since May, temperatures have often surged above 40C, and the national weather institute predicted that "temperatures will be 1 to 2 degrees higher than usual from July to September."
Water is only likely to last until mid-July, farmers in the northern Italian Po Valley warned.
While many Europeans were complaining of the stifling heat, Swedes basked in the first warm rays of sunshine on Tuesday.
- Over the last week several stations in South Australia recorded their highest daily (24 hourly) rainfall totals for the month of June. Among record falls today were 54.6mm at Adelaide (which has a 168-year record of rainfall).
- At least three million people are expected to suffer severe hunger over the next few months in Niger due to lack of rainfall and locust plagues.
According to the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, an early end to the rainy season wreaked havoc on the nation's crops, causing one village of 6,000 people in the centre of the country to lose 80 per cent of its millet and sorghum crop.
A poor harvest last year due to drought caused a countrywide grain shortfall of 223,000 tonnes, the Agriculture Ministry claims - the biggest deficit Niger has faced for more than 20 years.
- A slow-moving thunderstorm dumped up to a foot of hail Tuesday along Colorado Spring's southeastern edge, forcing officials to use snowploughs to clear a route through a major thoroughfare.
The storm also brought about an inch of rain that left up to 4 feet of water in the middle of streets, trapping dozens of motorists, and turned a sleepy creek into a torrent that peeled the pavement off a bridge.
One rescued motorist was treated for hypothermia, but nobody was seriously injured.
- At least 375 people have died from sunstroke and dehydration in a month-long heat wave sweeping India, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as South Asia endures one of its hottest summers on record.
Temperatures hit 50C in some parts of South Asia this week, parching fields, emptying dams and drying river beds ahead of the annual monsoon. Across India, there has only been a sluggish start to the monsoon.
- The US state of Texas is facing the onset of drought conditions as the lack of rain threatens to reach records set in the 1930s.
Just 0.08 inches of rain has fallen at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport so far this month.
The figure is not far below the record low for June of 0.12 inches, set in 1934.
the prolonged dry spell is the result of a broad ridge of high pressure in the upper atmosphere blocking a significant flow from the Gulf.
- At least 97 people were dead and over 60 missing after torrential rains and floods pounded southern China, sending some 1.4 million evacuees fleeing for higher ground.
The heavy downpours have been lashing the region for over a week.
As many as 16.6 million people have been affected by the storms that have caused up to 1.36 billion US dollars in damage.
Mountainous areas of Guangxi region and Guangdong and Fujian provinces were the worst hit, while the neighbouring provinces of Hunan, Jiangxi and Zhejiang were also swept with the worst rains in years.
- Thunderstorms and flash flooding reportedly swept Auckland, New Zealand, over the weekend.
The Fire Service attended more than 100 flood-related incidents in Auckland, as extreme weather conditions swept across the top of the North Island. Fire crews rescued people trapped in cars and cleared fallen trees from roads, following at least three tornadoes in southeastern areas.
The country's MetService estimates that one of the tornadoes was around 500m high and 100m in diameter as it sped towards Ardmore Aerodrome.
- Heavy rains caused flooding and landslides in
El Salvador and Honduras, leaving a total of 39 dead in both countries, including 21 people killed when a bus was carried away by flood waters.
- Four people have been killed and four injured after a residential building in Mumbai (India) collapsed following torrential rain.
Mumbai has been struck by continuous rains since the arrival of the annual monsoons early last week and the weather has uprooted trees, broken street lamps and caused flooding across the city.
- Ice and snow closed several roads in North Island, New Zealand.
The Riumtaka Hill Road - State Highway 2 between the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa - was closed due to the freezing conditions, while the Desert Road between Wiaouru and Turangi was also closed to traffic for most of the day. Cars on State Highway 5 between Taupo and Napier slowed to a crawl as snowfall made driving difficult.
- A heat wave in Italy has put the health of one million people at risk and the government has warned the situation could be even worse than the summer of 2003 when 20,000 people died due to soaring temperatures.
Northern Italy is also facing possible water shortages due to lack of rainfall and evaporation has spiked. Farmers say there is only enough water to guarantee irrigation for two weeks.
A massive use of air conditioning caused electricity consumption to hit near-record levels on Monday.
- Power officials in the Canadian city of Ontario urged residents to cut back on their use of electricity, as the hot, humid weather drove up demand for power.
Cutting back on power use was one way to avoid rolling blackouts, officials said, as home and office air conditioners drained supply to counteract the humid 33C heat.
- Tropical Storm Bret hit the Gulf coast of Mexico about 360 miles south of the Texas border, pelting communities with heavy rain and prompting flood warnings.
The second tropical storm to develop in the Gulf of Mexico this month hit just south of the coastal city of Tuxpan.
Since 1851, there have been only 12 years when two or more tropical storms have formed in June.
- Torrential rain left parts of the main Paris-Brussels motorway underwater overnight, triggering huge traffic jams with motorists stuck for up to nine hours. Flash flooding caused by storms was at its worst on the E19 motorway near Mons in southern Belgium, where a 600-metre stretch of highway was left under up to 1 metre of water.
- Two people were missing and about 3,300 people evacuated from rising floodwaters in eastern Australia after storms lashed areas which had been suffering under the nation's worst drought in a century.
In the New South Wales state farming town of Lismore, about 600km north of Sydney, 3,000 people began leaving their homes before floodwaters in the nearby Wilson River hit an expected peak of more than 10 metres.
Intense rainfall and flash flooding on the Gold Coast (Queensland, Australia) overnight occurred in association with an upper trough system and east coast low. The event resulted in June rainfall totals that were typically two to three times the average, and produced the heaviest June daily rainfalls seen in Queensland since 1967, when Springbrook set a Queensland June record with 621mm.
The highest totals recorded in the 24 hours to 3pm on the 30th included Loder Creek Dam with 587mm and Carrara with 585 mm. In the 24 hours to 9am on the 30th, several long-standing records for June daily rainfall totals were broken. These include Nerang with 346mm (previous highest 317.4mm in 1892, 115 years of record) and Oxenford with 290mm (previous 246.1mm in 1948, 102 years of record).
- Severe flooding caused by torrential rains in the southeastern
Afghanistan province of Khost left five people dead and washed away scores of homes.
- Perth (Australia) received 251.0mm of rainfall over 19 days in June compared with the average of 179mm over 16 days. This was the wettest June since the 260.4mm in 1968. Historically, June rainfall has ranged from 54.9mm in 1877 to 476.1mm in 1945. Total rainfall for January to June this year was 525.2mm compared with the average of 384mm, making it the wettest start to the year since the 526.4mm in 1970.
- For the first time since record-keeping started in 1950 no one was killed by a tornado in April, May or June in the USA. Normally those are the top months for tornadoes with an average of 52 fatalities, sometimes many more.
It was an unusual tornado season, when the storms never really formed over the major cities in the area known as Tornado Alley. Tornado Alley starts in central and northern Texas and stretches north into Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.
World weather news, May 2005
- An early May snowstorm left Amarillo (Texas) with nearly 5 inches of snow, but it's not the latest recorded snowfall in the area.
The latest was May 6 and 7, 1917, when the city got 9.1ins.
The snow kept the city one day shy of setting a record for the longest snow season since such records started in 1948. The city got 8.4ins of snow on Election Day, November 2. Monday's snow came 182 days later, a day away from the 183-day snow season from Sept. 29, 1984, to March 30, 1985.
- In Australia, despite recent heavy rain for some, the drought continues and so far has seen the second driest start to a year since records began in 1910.
Agriculture has so far been the weather's most direct victim (between 60 and 70% of the nations productive farmlands are in drought declared areas), but now the effects are also reaching further a field across the economy.
- Thunderstorms are a regular feature of the weather in Florida. The wettest time of the year is from May to October when afternoon storms bring some torrential downpours.
This month hail as big as golf balls has been reported near Daytona Beach.
At West Palm Beach 43mm of rain was recorded in just six hours. This is over one third of the average rainfall for the whole month.
- The last two nights have seen record-breaking warmth in Tasmania, especially in the southeast of the State. Minimum temperatures have typically been 5-10C above the May normal on both nights, with overnight temperatures in the mid-teens common. Several long-standing records have been broken, including one of 123 years at Hobart. Here, 16.2C on the 5th surpassed the previous warmest night of 16.1C on 2.5.1889.
- Many communities across Maine (USA) recorded double the average rainfall for April, according to the National Weather Service. All of that rain in addition to a deep snowpack has caused standing water and heavy flows on rivers and streams.
"Mosquitoes breed in standing water. Black flies breed in moving water. We've had plenty of both," said Dave Struble, the state entomologist.
Struble said Mainers should take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, which are known carriers of a variety of diseases, most recently the West Nile virus.
- A late-season Nor'easter affected the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. In North Carolina, winds gusted over 60mph and rainfall locally exceeded 150mm.
- For the second time in two weeks Romania was hit by flash flooding on Saturday. One woman died and hundreds of homes were washed away during the torrential downpours.
The flooding mainly affected eastern, central, and southern parts of the country. Bacau reported 61mm of rain falling in just over 24 hours - a normal month's total.
- Across Spain, rainfall has decreased to its lowest levels since 1947 and on average reservoirs throughout the country are only 26 percent full. In Portugal where dams in the south currently hold less than half their water capacity.
- At least 11 people, including a pregnant woman and a 2-year-old girl, were killed early on Saturday when floods triggered by two hours of heavy rains covered their flimsy homes in the Coquillo Nazon district of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
- Strong thunderstorms affected parts of the U.S. Great Plains. In the Hastings, Nebraska area, significant severe weather occurred, including very large hail, damaging winds and widespread flooding. Radar estimated rainfall accumulation locally exceeded 250mm. Hail accumulated to a depth of 10cm and was up to 7.5cm in diameter.
- A foot or more of snow fell in parts of the Dakotas, and authorities advised drivers Thursday to be wary. But at least the snow was wet - a boon for landowners struggling with drought, forecasters said.
In South Dakota, the heavy, wet snow broke tree limbs and caused electrical power cuts around Rapid City.
In Montana, unusually heavy rain and snow flooded roads and closed schools in some areas. The weather service reported more than a foot of snow in eastern Montana.
- Torrential rain in Taiwan has caused mass flooding and landslides that have claimed the lives of four people and left another four missing.
Hundreds of residents were evacuated from Hsinchu county and central Nantou, where at least 500mm of rain had fallen in three days.
Taiwanese authorities also ordered the hundreds of people to be evacuated from mountainous regions where the torrents of water were causing landslides.
- Thousands of homes were without power as heavy rain and damaging winds, in excess of 140km/h, lashed the Western Australian coast.
The Australia Broadcasting Company in Bunbury was been taken off the air after a crane collapsed onto the complex.
Many schools were forced to close along with some of the areas main roads. Perth's main highway fell foul to the weather. Scattered debris and damaged traffic lights closed the highway causing a lot of traffic congestion on the surrounding roads.
Several tornadoes were also reported in the state's capital Perth, where winds gusted to almost 90mph and some parts recorded 80mm of rain in just 24 hours.
- Dozens of people were feared dead in a heat wave in Orissa state, at the start of the harsh summer in which temperatures hit around 50C.
High temperatures are hitting most of India, including the capital, New Delhi, but no deaths have yet been reported except in Orissa.
- Water overflowing the banks of the Yukon River has flooded the only road between the Yup'ik Eskimo village of Emmonak and its airport, crippling the community.
The Yukon Delta community of about 760 people is 10 miles from the Bering Sea, 490 miles from Anchorage. The
National Weather Service River Forecasting Center said the ice breakup in Alaska this year has been severe. Every village from Aniak on down had some degree of flooding due to ice dams and high water in the system.
- In Chile, an unexpected snowstorm in the Los Barros range of the Andes Mountains affected a Chilean army exercise. Authorities described the snowstorm as the area's worst in three decades. A total of 45 Chilean soldiers died due to the exposure to the cold and snow.
- -6.3C at Tulloch Bridge was a UK date record for 18th May, and it was also the lowest May temperature in the UK since 1995.
- The U.S. National Hurricane Center said that Tropical Storm Adrian's centre could strike near the Guatemala-El Salvador border, bringing torrential rains to an area where past flooding has often been devastating. El Salvador's government declared a tropical storm warning and a state of emergency for the entire country. Adrian had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph as of early Thursday. The Hurricane Center said that since 1966, only one tropical depression has ever hit the coasts of Guatemala or El Salvador in May and none have done it so early. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season only began on Sunday. The Hurricane Center said there was some chance the storm could survive a passage across Central America and emerge, weakened, in the Caribbean as a tropical depression.
- Hurricane Adrian fizzled over Honduras Friday after hitting El Salvador's coast and forcing the evacuation of 23,000 people.
The hurricane, first of the eastern Pacific season, caused relatively little damage and no reported deaths. It struck west of El Salvador's capital overnight with maximum sustained winds of almost 75 mph.
By midday, the rapidly moving storm had largely broken up over neighboring Honduras, leaving scattered showers, some flooding, blocked roads and the loss of a few shacks.
- The death toll from a flash flood that hit Dire Dawa in southeastern Ethiopia has climbed to at least 32, after the flood hit overnight after unusual intense rains.
- Hailstorms caused extensive damage to property in some areas of Thailand in the evening.
Lampang and Nan provinces were affected by the storms, which lasted for about two hours, damaging homes, offices, restaurants and power lines.
More than 300 houses, several kilometres of power lines and several roads are estimated to have been affected.
- Floods ahead of main monsoon rains killed 10 people, washed away hundreds of houses and damaged crop in northeastern Bangladesh.
Ten towns and adjoining villages were under knee-deep water after heavy rains in the past four days swelled the three major rivers in the region, affecting nearly one million people.
- Hundreds of people in a small community in the Canadian region of Novia Scotia have been forced to leave their homes as floods threaten to engulf the area.
A state of local emergency has been declared for the entire Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, with intense floods threatening the community as a result of days of torrential rain.
Recent rainfall has reached record levels in Nova Scotia. The town of Bridgewater got 158.4mm of rain during the weekend. The maximum rainfall on record for May stands at 223mm.
This depression causing this rain has brought cool air down to New England. On Tuesday the temperature in Boston reached only 8C compared to the average of 15C. The average for the month is currently running at 11C, only about 1C from being their coldest May on record.
- Specialists from the company responsible for the large-scale power cut experienced in Moscow said that hot weather could have been partly to blame.
About two million people were affected by the rolling power failures in the Russian city, which left thousands of passengers on the extensive Tube network stuck inside trains for varying periods. Temperatures have risen to about 31C in Moscow, within 2C of the all-time record for May.
- The Indian monsoon appears to have set in over the southern Andaman Sea, the first entry point for the subcontinent.
The south-west monsoon usually sets in over the south Andaman Sea on May 15th and hits the southern state of Kerala by June 1st.
Indian meteorologists will officially confirm the arrival of the monsoon following analysis of parameters such as persistent rains, strong westerly winds and air moisture.
- The US National Weather Service issued its first-ever heat advisory for Seattle.
The advisory covering the urban corridor from Tacoma north to Everett was prompted by a second day of record temperatures. Friday's high of 89F at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport broke a 33-year-old record for the date. Thursday's high - also 89F - broke a 58-year-old date record.
Seattle is among the cities added this year to the weather service's excessive heat program. A heat advisory means conditions could lead to heat stress in some people and a warning indicates a higher possibility that people will get sick or die.
- 32C at Berlin equalled the highest May temperature on record there. 30.7C was measured at De Bilt (the highest May temperature since 12 May 1998 when 32.5C was recorded). At Twenthe this was followed by a minimum tempereature of 21.0C on Saturday morning.
- Three people were killed by lightning and a man was missing as storms swept through Bulgaria at the weekend.
The storms caused extensive damage across northern and central Bulgaria, flooding hundreds of acres of farmland and destroying roads and bridges.
Local news agency reports suggest that the future harvest of fruit and crops, such as cherries and grains, could have been ruined.
According to these reports, the storms brought not only torrential rain, thunder, lightning and hailstorms (with hail the size of eggs), but also a tornado. Damage wrought by the storms has been provisionally estimated at 4 million Bulgarian leva (£1.4 million).
- Adelaide has just experienced the driest Autumn in it's 167 years of record. It also recorded it's warmest Autumn since 1923. The autumn rainfall for 2005 was 23.0 mm, 104.5 mm below the normal autumn rainfall of 127.5 mm. The mean temperature for Autumn 2005 was 18.7C, which is 1.2C above the normal.
Adelaide's rainfall for May 2005 was 8.2 mm, recorded on 6 days. This compares with the normal of 62.6 mm, recorded on 13 days. This has been the driest May since 1959 when only 3.8mm was recorded.The total rainfall for the first five months of 2005 was 70.4mm. This has been the driest first 5 months since 68.2mm was recorded in 1991.
- At least 255 people were killed in floods and storms in China during May month, the start of the country's rainy season.
Another 34 people were also missing after "torrential downpours, storms and other climate-related disasters" in May.
World weather news, April 2005
- In the United States, heavy rainfall in the northeast produced flooding in parts of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Severe flooding along the Delaware River forced the evacuation of 6,000 residents in New Jersey and over 5,700 in Pennsylvania during the weekend of the 2nd-3rd. Around 3,200 homes in New Jersey were damaged, while one fatality was reported in New York. In western parts of the area, heavy snow fell. Power lines were snapped under the weight of the snow as around 60cm fell in places. Hundreds of motorists were stranded for hours on Sunday on a busy section of Interstate 90.
- Heavy rain and melting snow caused the Danube River to burst its banks, flooding several Bulgarian towns.
- Some parts of China are experiencing the worst drought in 50 years. Some 9 million people are facing a shortage of drinking water.
On the island of Hainan 11 major reservoirs are at such low levels that water will not flow to surrounding farmland. Drinking water supplies are normally provided from a series of smaller reservoirs. A recent audit showed that close to 1,000 of these are now dry.
- Thunderstorms in the USA produced severe weather including 32 reports of tornadoes, most of which touched down in Mississippi and Louisiana. Between 20 and 25 homes were destroyed and 7 people were injured.
- Winds ripping through central Florida (UDA) and overturned planes and trucks, damaged buildings, snarled traffic and left a trail of downed trees and blackouts.
A tornado turned over planes and tore off hangar doors at Ocala International Airport. A 100-foot section of Pensacola's landmark red clay bluffs was washed away as 7 inches of rain fell over a 24-hour period that ended Thursday morning.
- Long-term drought continued across areas of the Greater Horn of Africa (eastern Kenya, southeastern Ethiopia, northern and central Somalia) and southern Africa. Widespread crop failure over much of Mozambique, southern and eastern Zimbabwe, as well as adjacent parts of Malawi and South Africa was the result of less than half the normal rainfall during the rainy season.
- Drought across Thailand is reportedly the worst in seven years. Two million hectares of farmland have been damaged, while causing $US191 million in economic losses. More than 9 million people in 71 of Thailand's 76 provinces have been affected by water shortages. Government-sponsored cloud seeding operations were employed as an attempt to mitigate the drought conditions.
- An autumn storm in the Cape region of South Africa led to Cape Agulhas being declared a disaster area as the rain flooded rivers, roads and homes. Many daily rainfall records were broken and the region was effectively cut off from the outside world.
- A storm moved east in the USA leaving a trail of destruction from the Plains to the Carolinas. As the cold front swept through the Mississippi River basin it triggered widespread rain and thunderstorms. Heavy downpours then spread over the Florida Panhandle dropping around 100mm of rain. Floodwaters affected the state of Louisiana.
- Paraguay has a severe drought in the eastern part of the country, which has led to some reservoirs drying up. In order to combat this problem and provide drinking water to the people of Ciudad Del Este, the local authorities have signed an agreement with a Brazilian company to deliver 1,200,000 litres per day to the stricken area.
- The was heavy snowfall across southeastern France; in the Isere, Ardeche and Drome regions more than 50,000 homes were left without power. In the worst affected areas, more than 40cm of snow fell. It caused serious traffic disruption, particularly in the Ain region in the Jura mountain range, where a major highway was shut down completely. The TGV high speed rail link between Grenoble and Paris was also cut off by the snow. In Switzerland, train and road traffic were also disrupted by the heavy snowfall, with the worst of the delays affecting train services in the Jura mountain range. At lower levels, the heavy snow turned into torrential rain resulting in rivers bursting their banks. This was particularly bad in south eastern Rhone-Alpes, southern Auvergne and Bourgogne regions, where a total of more than 200 people had to be evacuated from their homes.
- A huge wave damaged a cruise ship returning from the Bahamas over the weekend, smashing windows, flooding more than 60 cabins and injuring four passengers.The Norwegian Dawn was diverted from its route when the ship ran into rough weather on the way back to New York. "The ship was hit by a freak wave that caused two windows to break in two different cabins," Norwegian Cruise Line said in a statement. It said 62 cabins flooded and four passengers had cuts and bruises. The ship's hull was damaged but the vessel was not taking on water.
- A "rogue" storm hit interior Alaska just after many people had started to take off their winter tyres because of warm weather and dry pavement.
At least 18 inches of snow was reported Monday along the Richardson Highway between Donnelly Dome and Summit Lake.
In Fairbanks, forecasters said 3 inches of snow fell with more in some spots. The snow contributed to more than 20 traffic accidents in the region.
Drivers in northern regions of Alaska may use studded tyres or chains until 1 May. The tyres were banned as of 15 April in the southeast.
- A tornado tore apart houses in two towns in eastern China, killing seven people and injuring more than 80 others. The tornado hit two counties on the outskirts of Yancheng, a city in Jiangsu province northwest of Shanghai.
- More than a dozen flights destined for Denver International Airport (USA) were diverted to other cities Wednesday night after a quick-moving thunderstorm pounded the airport with hail.
Windshields were shattered by grapefruit-sized hail in Washington County in the northeast corner of the state, but no injuries were immediately reported. Hail the size of golf balls was reported in parts of Arapahoe and Adams counties.
- Ethiopian authorities warned of new deaths and damage as non-stop rains pounded parts of southeastern Ethiopia where devastating weekend floods have left at least 88 people dead and nearly 60,000 displaced.
"The volume of the river is increasing in some areas and we are afraid that areas such as Mustahin, Kelafo and Ferfier (in Godie) will be submerged by water and this could bring the damage and deaths to people and now."
At least 66 people were killed, 36,000 made homeless and more than 4,000 goats, 2,000 camels and several hundred cattle swept away in 36 villages in the two districts by raging waters from the Wabe Shebell river that burst its banks at the weekend after days of heavy rains, according to official figures.
In the worst reported flood since 1953, Hargeisa, the capital of Somalia's northern enclave of Somaliland, saw a flash flood charge along a dry riverbed ripping through the centre, damaging bridges and knocking out power, water and telephone lines, resulting in one district being left without water.
- Two villages in eastern Serbia which have been flooded by the Tamic River for the past eight days were preparing for the worst as water levels were expected to rise. Emergency services were on alert as more downpours fell upstream in neighbouring Romania.
"The current situation is stable but we fear new floods due to heavy rain in Romania in recent days."
Some 31,000 hectares had been inundated around the villages of Jasa Tomic et Medja, 100km northeast of Belgrade on the Romanian border.
- Cambodia is experiencing drought conditions after the last monsoon season didn't bring enough rain. It is claimed to be the worst drought for 50 years with no rain since October. Some provinces are baking in 40C temperatures evaporating what little water remains. Some farmers have lost their entire harvest.
- Flash floods swept through three villages in the Indonesian province of Aceh, leaving 15 people dead and five missing.
The floods, which destroyed about 490 homes in the village of Lawe Mengkudu in southeastern Aceh, were caused when a river burst its banks after a day of heavy rain.
A three-metre wall of water travelling at high speed was caused by the rain.
- Flash floods in western Romania have damaged thousands of homes and swamped vast stretches of farmland, leading Bucharest to declare a regional state of emergency.
More than 140 towns in the north and west of the country have been hit by several days of flooding, with swollen rivers destroying several bridges.
- An active area of low pressure has brought persistent and heavy rain to central Russia. A state of emergency has been declared in Irkutsk, where the river Zamzorka has broken its banks and an estimated 500 cars have been stranded on the Moscow-Vladivostok highway.
A separate depression has brought flooding to Georgia, the worst flooding for 20 years. The problems are exacerbated by the annual spring ice melt topping up the bulging rivers.
- Preliminary Bureau of Meteorology figures show that April 2005 has been exceptionally warm and dry across Victoria, with the State experiencing its warmest April in at least 50 years. Furthermore, an April as dry as that of 2005 occurs in Victoria only once in every five years.
On a national scale, April 2005 has been the warmest April recorded in Australia also for at least 50 years. The Australian mean temperature was nearly 3 deg C above average. In addition, April 2005 was the sixth driest April on record across the nation.
World weather news, March 2005
- Temperatures plunged to record lows for the time of year in Portugal. Stuttgart airport in Germany recorded its lowest March temperature for 105 years with -18.6C, while heating was installed in the local zoo in Hanover to keep the lions and leopards warm. Dozens of trains were cancelled in Switzerland, and Bern had its coldest March night since records began in 1901, with a temperature of -15.6C. Croatia and France also recorded low overnight temperatures but few could beat the -43.6C recorded in the Berchtesgaden region near Germany's border with Austria.
Heavy snowfall caused problems in Spain, grounding flights in Madrid and Barcelona and disrupting train services. Ferry services from Spain also suffered as strong winds in the Strait of Gibraltar led to the cancellation of ferry services to Morocco.
- Snow and ice caused disruption to transport links and record low temperatures were recorded. In Switzerland, temperatures in a region called the Swiss Siberia close to the borders with France sank to -34.4C, just short of the record for the area. In Austria, electricity consumption hit the highest point since the beginning of the year and oil suppliers said they were running out of stock.
Ice 14 centimetres thick hampered shipping on the canal linking Berlin with the Polish port Szcecin, and snow fell thickly on the German capital. Further north, the arctic easterly flow coupled with clear skies brought a severe frost to Oslo, in Norway. Temperatures fell as low as -21C overnight and then their day time high climbed to a mere -11C. Normally their average for March is 4C.
- At least 14 people were killed and more than 25,000 driven from their homes as torrential rains lashed southwestern Pakistan, still recovering from last month's devastating floods.
More than 25,000 people had to flee their homes in coastal towns.
Heavy downpours damaged some 1,700 houses in the town of Qila Abdullah.
- The mild El Nino conditions that have prevailed in the Pacific in recent months seem to be weakening.
A transition from the weak El Nino to neutral conditions is expected to continue during the next three months, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center said.
Sea surface temperatures decreased in all of the El Nino regions during February 2005, though some areas of warmer than usual readings remain.
Despite the movement toward an end of the current mild El Nino, drier-than-average conditions prevailed over Indonesia and northern Australia during February, while increased rainfall persisted over parts of the central equatorial Pacific.
- The death toll from devastating floods that hit Madagascar last week has risen to 13, as the region struggles to recover from the aftermath of unusually heavy rains.
Five days of unusually heavy rains between March 1 and 6 flooded parts of Madagascar, causing the deaths and injuries while submerging nearly 10 percent of the rice fields around Lake Alaotra, known as the country's rice basket.
Over 32,000 hectares of rice fields were destroyed.
- In Algeria, heavy rainfall led to flooding in the Saharan desert region that caused 2 deaths and 9 injuries.
- Heavy rain caused flooding in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan during the opening days of March. Flooding which began in February in Pakistan continued in early March, affecting the particularly hard-hit Balochistan province. There were 14 fatalities during early March in southwestern Pakistan. In Afghanistan, several deaths were blamed on flooding caused from rainfall and snowmelt.
- A powerful storm system brought a variety of weather impacts to the eastern United States. Strong thunderstorms affected the eastern Carolinas, while strong winds, heavy rain and heavy snow affected areas of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Minimum central pressure with the storm dropped to near 960mb just off the coast of Maine and New Brunswick. Winds gusts over 95 km/hr were reported, along with heavy accumulations of snow in some areas.
A line of strong to severe thunderstorms affected the eastern portions of North and South Carolina (USA), with wind damage and a few tornadoes reported. Winds gusted over 110 km/hr with some of the stronger storms.
- Above average snow cover characterized much of Europe and Asia during the early part of March, as unusually cold and snowy conditions throughout the boreal winter season persisted through to the 9th.
- The strongest storm to hit northeastern Australia in three decades has weakened after reaching land but could intensify later in the day.
Cyclone Ingrid, which earlier had been defined as a maximum category five storm, was downgraded to category one.
The storm, which has not hit densely populated areas, has caused little damage to communities so far but could hit several west coast towns on its way back out to sea.
The storm's activity has created rough seas in neighbouring Papua New Guinea with five people dead after their open boat capsized off the country's south coast on Tuesday.
Tropical Cyclone Ingrid developed in the Coral Sea on the 6th and reached Australia's northern coast of Queensland on the 10th. The storm made landfall near the town of Lockhart River with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph.
- A tornado tore through the town of Greymouth on New Zealand's southern West Coast, demolishing buildings and tossing shipping containers into the air.
The tornado cut a swathe 300 metres wide through the town and "it was just a mass of timber and roofs coming through the sky... the damage is just unbelievable", Grey District mayor Tony Kokshoorn said.
Although no serious injuries were reported, about 100 people had to be evacuated from a retirement village after half of its roof was lifted.
It was the third tornado wreak havoc in the town in the past four years. Repairs are estimated to amount to $NZ10 million.
- Across Angola, above-normal wet season rainfall caused flooding in the northern Kwanza Norte province. The flooding was responsible for leaving at least 10,000 people homeless in the province.
- Tropical cyclone Ingrid continued westward into the open waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria, skirting the northern coast of the Northern Territory during the 11th-13th, with peak sustained winds during this time period near 250km/h. Ingrid passed north of Darwin and lashed relatively isolated areas of the Arnhem Land region. Croker Island, located in the Arafura Sea, sustained damage to trees, powerlines and roofs on buildings, although no injuries were reported. The cyclone entered the Timor Sea before making a third and final landfall in the remote northern tip of Western Australia near Kalumburu on the 15th. Maximum sustained winds near the time of landfall were around 240km/h,
- The shrinking of Himalayan glaciers could fuel an upswing in flooding in China, India and Nepal, before creating water shortages for hundreds of millions of people across the region, a leading environmental group warned Monday.
In a report, the Switzerland-based World Wide Fund for Nature said the rate of retreat of the Asian mountain range's glaciers is accelerating because of global warming, and has now reached 33-49 feet a year.
- At least five people were killed and 13 were missing after a tropical storm (Roke) tore through the central Philippines.
Dozens of inter-island ferries were confined to port across the central islands because of the storm, leaving more than 3,000 passengers stranded.
The Philippines weather bureau said storms in the middle of the Philippine dry season were rare, occurring only about once every three years.
Most of the country's average annual 19 storms and typhoons blow in from the Pacific Ocean in the wet season between June and October.
Typhoon Roke developed across the Caroline Islands on the 13th, reaching typhoon intensity by the 15th as it tracked westward. The typhoon reached the central Philippines by the 16th with maximum sustained winds near 120km/h. Roke weakened below typhoon strength as it tracked over land, re-emerging in the open waters of the South China Sea by the 17th.
- More than 30 serious flood alerts were declared in the Czech Republic as heavy rain continued to swell rivers, the environment ministry said.
Fifty-six less serious flood alerts were also issued and near the entire country was warned to be on standby.
Residents in two regions of south Moravia were evacuated as heavy rain continued.
- A severe thunderstorm brought significant hail and a tornado to northern Bangladesh. The storm destroyed 3,000 houses and killed 47 people in the districts of Gaibandha and Rangpur.
- More than 200 people were missing after days of torrential rain sparked floods that have killed at least 24 people in other parts of Afghanistan. The flooding, which follows one of the harshest winters in years, has destroyed hundreds of houses in central Uruzgan province, leaving many families homeless.
- More than 20 people were killed in flash floods caused by torrential rains in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province.
About 15 people were swept away on Monday and Tuesday in Kohlu distric. The flooding also caused heavy livestock losses and the government had stepped up relief efforts.
- Severe drought conditions affected southern Brazil during March. The southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, which is one of Brazil's most prolific agricultural states, was the worst-affected. With little to no rainfall since December 2004, 440 cities and towns declared a state of emergency due to water shortages, and major economic impacts were reported.
- Showers and thunderstorms affected the Southeast United States with rainfall totals of 50-100mm common in parts of Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi and Alabama. Flooding forced some people from their homes, washing out roads and flooding rivers. Up to 200mm of rain and hail as big as baseballs fell on Sunday in parts of Georgia.
- In northern Idaho (USA) the ski area of Silver Mountain was actually considering reopening after closing for the season after a significant amount of snow fell across the region close to Kellogg. Stevens Pass between Seattle and Spokane was considering the same action with nearly 3 feet of snow since last weekend, and 20 inches of that in just 24 hours. Some resorts in the area had actually been closed since 17 January due to the winter weather of 2004-2005, but ski operators are finally reporting the highest snow depths of the season so far.
World weather news, February 2005
- A storm system dumped as much as 9 inches of rain on parts of Kauai and Oahu (Hawaii). Kauai was hardest hit, as the storm flooded roads and rivers along the island's entire windward coast on Wednesday, contributing to two sewer line breaks that flowed into Kalapaki Bay and landslides that closed roads on the north shore.
The upper Wailua area had more than 9 inches of rain in the 24 hours ending at 5:00 p.m. Wednesday; Hanalei had 7 inches.
On Oahu, a waterspout caused a lot of excitement on Wednesday but no damage.
- Flooding rains that affected Guyana in January persisted into early February. In Georgetown, nearly 110mm of rain fell during the first six days of February, which is close to the normal rainfall for the entire month (120mm).
- Southeast Australia has been suffering from the effect of one of the most intense summertime weather systems on record. A strong cold front brought very cold air up from the deep south that interacted with warm moist air lying over NSW to produce an intense low pressure system. This system deepened and moved south over Victoria and into Bass Strait on Wednesday evening, producing a wide variety of extreme weather. Two people were killed by falling trees.
While Victoria has borne the brunt, New South Wales has also experienced snow, strong winds, severe thunderstorms, dust storms and in some locations record cold temperatures for this time of year.
Severe thunderstorms produced hail up to 6cm in diameter, severe wind gusts and very heavy rain leading to flash flooding.
Wind gusts over 85km/h were recorded at Kurnell, Richmond, Scone, Mount Boyce, Newcastle and Bathurst.
Melbourne received more rain in the 24 hours leading up to Thursday morning than during any day since records began in 1856.
To the north in Queensland, high winds whipped up a massive dust storm that sent a wall of rust-red particles across the large state, cutting visibility to 100m in some areas and forcing the closure of 20 regional airports.
Last night and today snow has been falling on the NSW Alps with 6cm reported at Charlotte Pass to 9:00am. Light snow was still falling at Charlottes Pass at 2:30pm. Perisher Valley had previously recorded five February snow days in 29 years of record and Thredbo Village had recorded three February snow days in 34 years.
Record low daytime maximum temperatures and overnight minimum temperatures were recorded at several stations across New South Wales.
- Venezuela sent helicopters and navy ships to evacuate thousands of people stranded by floodwaters Thursday as torrential rains began to ease. The death toll from three days of floods and landslides rose to 16 with thousands left homeless.
More than 5,000 people were rescued the mountainous coast in Vargas state.
Images from the air showed rivers of water, mud and debris winding through coastal towns. Parts of the coastal highway disappeared under landslides.
- Thousands of Mozambican farmers have lost their crops in flooding from southern Africa's largest river, the Zambezi, whose water levels have been rising since the end of January, the Zambezi Regional Water Board said.
The majority of the 18,825 people affected by the floods are farmers living in the lower Zambezi area in the provinces of Tete and Sofala, in central Mozambique.
- Snowbound villagers fought off starving wolves and the River Danube iced over as a Siberian frost gripped much of the Balkans for the second straight week, killing at least a dozen people.
Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania and Albania all registered record or near-record low temperatures, according to local press reports.
In Karajukica Bunari on the Serbia-Montenegro border the temperature fell to -34C. Meteorologists predicted the January 1954 record of -38.4C would fall in the coming days.
On Wednesday, the central Bulgarian town of Sevlievo had a 50-year record low temperature of -34C, and according to inland shipping reports the River Danube waterway was partially iced up in dozens of places, from Hungary to Romania.
"Huge blocks of thick ice are floating on the river. We expect the lower Danube to be completely iced by tomorrow."
Temperatures hit a 15-year low of -36C in eastern Romania. The Black Sea coast was badly hit by frozen snowdrifts topping 2m and many roads were closed.
In Macedonia, where temperatures dipped below -25C, an army captain was found frozen solid just 300m from his border post in the Sar mountains on the Kosovo border.
Three died of cold in rural Croatia, four hypothermia fatalities were reported in Bosnia and four in Albania.
In Albania and western Kosovo, villagers in remote areas had to drive off wolves and wild boar searching for food.
- The death toll in Pakistan due to the heaviest rains and snowfall in more than a decade rose to as many as 51, and a burst dam in the southwest raised fears that many more people may have died.
At least 20 people were killed when the Shadikor dam burst near the remote coastal town of Pasni in southwestern Baluchistan province. Officials said rescuers were still searching inundated villages and the army had been called in.
Pasni lies about 500 miles south of the provincial capital, Quetta.
At least 31 other people have been killed across Pakistan in the past week.
Most of those who died were killed in avalanches, by flash floods or by collapsing roofs. Scores have been injured.
Remote northern areas, where the Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountain ranges meet, have been cut off, with roads buried under several feet of snow and the Chitral valley particularly badly affected.
- Flooding and mudslides in northeastern Colombia killed at least 86 people and forced more than 30,000 from their homes.
In neighboring Venezuela, officials said on Saturday that the rains had killed more than 40 people in nearly a week.
Venezuelan rescue workers struggled over the weekend to reach remote Andean mountain villages hit hard by the floods while at least 18 people died in and around capital city of Caracas.
Colombian authorities said rivers overran their banks after torrential rains that started Friday evening, washing houses away from towns near Bucaramanga, capital of northeastern Santander province, where most of the deaths occurred.
- Scandinavia had a major snow storm over the weekend which left many homes without power in Sweden. The worst affected region was the eastern Baltic coast, especially around Stockholm.
In Denmark, the main airport at Copenhagen was closed for landings on Saturday night after heavy snow fall. Some 10,000 Danish holiday makers heading for Norway were stranded on one of the busiest school holiday weekends of the year. Sunday saw more travel problems with ferries kept in harbour in the ports of North-Jylland, in the northwest.
Gale force winds and heavy rain in Germany caused flooding on Sunday. The heavy rain brought flooding to two rivers in the eastern city of Chemnitz, several roads had to be closed to traffic. Visitors to the Brocken mountain in Eastern Germany faced rain and strong winds of up to 100mph.
- In Greece one person was killed and four others injured when a violent storm swept across Athens leaving substantial damage in it's wake and causing chaos to the country's transport network. Gusts up to 60mph were recorded in the city, and high waves whipped up by the storm smashed through part of a breakwater at Piraeus.
In the Bulgarian city of Sofia, winds up to 70mph and heavy rain left at least
170 villages around the country without power. And in Bansko, Bulgaria's main ski resort, an avalanche caused a fatality on Tuesday.
- Hurricane Olaf, packing winds of up to 190 mph, passed within 60 miles of the U.S. territory's main island of Tutuila and then blew directly over a nearby group of smaller islands.
Tutuila was not hit as hard as initially expected; the island's emergency operations center received reports of two landslides and a few downed power lines, but no immediate reports of property damage.
The storm generated destructive waves of 30 to 40 feet on the shores of all islands.
- President Bush declared American Samoa a major disaster area following Hurricane Olaf, which wiped out nearly all homes in at least one village in the Manua Islands.
Olaf, a Category 5 hurricane, hit Wednesday with sustained winds of 160 mph and gusts up to 190 mph. Waves up to 40 feet high hit some islands.
There were no reports of deaths on the islands, but two fishermen caught in the storm remained missing Friday. American Samoa's main island of Tutuila suffered minor damage, but the cyclone heavily damaged parts of the Manua Islands, which also are part of the territory.
- Rescuers dug out dozens of bodies buried by avalanches in Indian Kashmir, taking the death toll to 110 after the worst snows in two decades swept the Himalayan region.
Most of the dead were villagers from southern Anantnag district, whose homes were crushed by walls of snow on Sunday.
The state was snowed under for the fourth day, largely cut off from the rest of India with flights cancelled, roads blocked and power and phones disrupted.
- Heavy snow shut down major airports in Europe, including those in Munich, and both of the major airports in Paris.
Air traffic at Orly south of the French capital was "virtually zero," Aeroports de Paris (ADP), which operates the airports, said, after both runways had to be shut down to clear snow.
In southwest Germany, a traffic jam 18 miles long backed up on Tuesday night on the main A8 highway after heavy tractor trailer trucks ran into trouble on slippery roads.
Ruzyne airport in the Czech capital was also shut down early Wednesday, forcing some 30 scheduled flights to cancel takeoff.
The storm dumped nearly 16 inches of powder in some parts of the Czech Republic, and disrupted road traffic across most of the country.
The main D5 highway west of Prague was blocked after several trucks collided on slippery, snow-covered roads near Rokycany, 43 miles from the capital.
In the Balkans, states of emergency were declared in four municipalities in Bosnia and Montenegro as blizzards continued to sweep the region.
Snow and violent winds also battered eastern Austria, disrupting traffic across the region and shutting down a 19-mile length of the A1, the country's main east-west highway, and forcing a ban on heavy trucks along some stretches.
Some 12 inches of snow fell on Vienna, making driving difficult and prompting the city to mobilize some 1,200 workers and 360 snow ploughs and other vehicles to clear out city streets.
Snow fell on places were snow is rare, such as Nice on the French Riveria.
Authorities in Italy said a 44-year-old homeless man apparently froze to death in the northern province of Udine while schools were shut down in the central-eastern Italian region of Molise.
- While skies cleared over Southern California, a six-day drenching left city workers scrambling to keep up with a rush of calls for collapsing homes, roads choked with mud - not to mention house-sized boulders seemingly ready to tumble down hillsides. At least nine people have died in the deluge.
Crews responded to 270 mudslides in Los Angeles, some of which forced evacuations after crashing into homes.
The damage spread south into Orange and San Diego counties - where dozens of homes were slipping or evacuated following landslides - and across the border into Tijuana, Mexico, where the Office of Civil Protection reported at least seven homes had collapsed and more than 150 people were evacuated.
A house-sized boulder teetered above Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, forcing the closure of a two-mile stretch of the well-worn road.
In downtown, rainfall has reached 9.14 inches, bringing the total since July 1 to 34.36 inches - the most in Los Angeles since 1889-90. The record for a single year was set in 1883-84 at 38.18 inches. The yearly average is about 15 inches.
- A winter storm blanketed the Northeast USA, forcing the federal government and schools around the region to close early and triggering a spate of accidents during the afternoon rush hour.
The snow coated an area that included Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and New York, and was expected to move north later in the day. Several cities reported accumulations of about 6 inches, and some were bracing for up to 9 inches.
In New Jersey, trains were unusually crowded and passengers slipped on unshoveled platforms. Planes were reported delayed by up to two hours at Newark airport. Several accidents reduced traffic on New Jersey's clogged roads to a crawl.
The forecast amounts would push 2004-05 snowfall totals past the seasonal average in most places in New Jersey.
- Tropical cyclone Percy caused widespread damage to the New Zealand-administered atolls of Tokelau. One person was seriously injured by flying debris on Fakaofo atoll and two people had to be rescued after being washed out to sea.
- Only two stations in the DWD (German Weather Service) network reported maximum temperatures above 0C on Sunday - Mannheim 0.1C and Kalkar 0.3C. On Sunday night minimum temps in Germany were widely between -10C and -15C and some places south of the Danube recorded minima below -20C. Muhldorf had -22.7C, Munich Airport -23.2C, and Augsburg -23.6C. On the peak of the Zugspitze -29.4C was the minimum - beating the record low for the last 10 days of February of -27.8C set in 1909.
- The Met Office said that Sunday 27th broke the record for the highest daily rainfall in Gibraltar in February since records began in 1947 with 127.8mm. The previous high was recorded on the 19 February 1980 where 119.0mm fell.
Monday 28th February 2005 fell short of the previous record with 113.8mm of rain recorded.
The highest ever, monthly rainfall for February has been 351.4mm and this was recorded in February 1969. The total rainfall recorded over the last 48 hours represents nearly 3 times the monthly average.
- Tropical Cyclone Percy left much of the population of the northern Cook Islands of Pukapuka and Nassau homeless. The storm blew through the South Pacific islands damaging houses and trees, knocking out communications and littering the islands with debris.
World weather news, January 2005
- Icebergs were sighted in New Zealand waters for the first time since 1948.
The icebergs were seen in the Southern Ocean, about 700 kilometres southeast of the South Island.
- Three days of heavy rains have forced nearly 13,000 people from their homes and killed at least one person in Costa Rica and Panama, officials said Tuesday.
Costa Rica's National Emergency Commission said 7,500 people had been evacuated to official sheltersn and the number could rise as rescue teams arrive from isolated communities.
In Panama, helicopters were plucking people from the rooftops of houses surrounded by floodwaters, according to the National Civil Defense System, which said 5,000 had been evacuated so far to schools and other safe structures.
Rains have been pounding the region since Saturday, surpassing the monthly rainfall average for some areas in just three days and creating widespread flooding.
- At least 14 people died, more than 1,000 homes were flooded and many more left without power after violent storms battered northern Europe over the weekend, bringing hurricane force winds and heavy rain.
Denmark, Sweden and the British Isles were worst affected, with 100 people forced to spend the night on a ferry after it ran aground Saturday in southwest Scotland, while the crew of a Dutch freighter had to be rescued after they issued a mayday call off the Danish coast.
In Britain three people were found dead in the flood-ravaged area around the city of Carlisle in northwest England, where one of the worst storms for decades brought flooding and high winds.
At least 11 people were reported dead in Denmark and Sweden after the storms, which left 405,000 households without power, disrupted road and rail traffic and caused heavy damage.
In Carlisle, some people had to be rescued by helicopter from the roof of their houses surrounded by floodwater and cars were seen floating down streets.
- More than 100 people were evacuated from coastal towns in western Estonia as strong storms and heavy rains battered regions on the Baltic Sea causing flooding.
Parnu, a town of 43,000 which lies 130km southwest of the capital Tallinn, is the hardest hit.
The evacuation of residents by boats was also underway in the western resort town of Haapsalu, where dozens of homes were flooded.
The bad weather forced the suspension of ferry traffic to Estonia's islands, though limited traffic continued between Tallinn and the Finnish capital Helsinki.
- Rescuers called off search and recovery efforts on Thursday at the site of a mudslide that killed at least 14 people when it hit a seaside California town and urged residents to leave in case of another collapse.
The huge pile of sodden earth that swallowed 15 houses on Monday in La Conchita, 80 miles north of Los Angeles, began moving again.
The 30-foot-deep mound shifted about six feet on Thursday and would be likely remain unstable.
- Parts of eastern South Korea were battered by strong winds and heavy snowfall. Up to 56 cm of snow fell in the Gangwon and North Gyeongsang provinces by midday on Sunday. At one point Kimhae International Airport, the gateway to South Korea's second largest city of Pusan, was closed to all flights due to the conditions.
In Japan, the regions of Kanto and Tohoku, especially towards the Pacific coast, were particularly badly hit by the snow and strong winds. Around 50 cm of snow fell in places, as a deep area of low pressure tracked across the country towards the Pacific. The worst of the weather here, and in South Korea, occurred on the rear edge of this system as the winds strengthened at swung into a cold northerly direction.
- The UK Met Office mentioned unconfirmed reports of 25cm snowfalls in parts of Cent Scotland, and there were falls of up to 15cm in parts of N Ireland overnight. Gusts to 50kn were increasingly reported from many W and N parts of Britain as the day progressed. The snow caused roads to close in Cent and E Scotland during the day. Dozens of schools closed in Northern Ireland. A number of ScotRail train services were disrupted by the weather, as were several flights to and from Scotland's airports. All schools in the Western Isles were closed.
- Guyana - Thousands of flood-stricken Guyanese are waiting for food aid, as this South American country struggled to recover from flooding caused by the heaviest rains in a century.
More than 40 inches of rain have fallen in the former British colony since December 26, including 25 inches this month alone. Two people have been reported killed.
Thousands of people were forced from their homes in the flooded capital region of Georgetown. Residents braced for more rain this weekend.
Farmers reported losing dozens of head of livestock to the flooding. Some farmers heeded calls from health officials to burn dead animals to prevent the outbreak of disease.
- Heavy rain gave way to balmy record temperatures in western Washington State as flood waters began receding.
The high temperature at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was 62F on Wednesday, breaking the record of 60F for the date set in 1961.
Rain inundated western Washington earlier in the week, causing a handful of rivers to overflow their banks and flood low-lying roads, pastures and parts of some rural communities.
Numerous local roads were closed by high water.
- In Canada, heavy rain produced a mudslide in North Vancouver, British Columbia during the early morning of the 19th. At least one person was killed, and another seriously injured. Vancouver received more than 130mm of rain in the three-day period preceding the landslide.
Dozens of homes were evacuated after the slide.
- A burst of snow that deposited 1-3 inches of accumulation in Piedmont areas of North Carolina and Virginia produced gridlock on area roadways. Traffic jams in the Raleigh-Durham area occurred around rush hour, and stranded more than 3,000 pupils overnight in schools.
- The world's largest iceberg appears to have run aground in Antarctica's McMurdo Sound, posing more problems to scientific bases and penguin colonies, where tens of thousands of chicks face starvation, scientists said Thursday.
Experts had predicted that B15A - a 100-mile long iceberg - would run into a huge glacier near the U.S. McMurdo Research Station in Antarctica some time last weekend.
But the iceberg appeared to have run aground about three miles from the 60-mile long glacier, known as the Drygalski Ice Tongue.
The apparent grounding of the 1,200-square-mile iceberg could present problems to Antarctic scientific bases.
B15A has blocked wind and water currents that break up ice floes in McMurdo Sound during the Antarctic summer, causing a build-up of ice behind it. The U.S. McMurdo Station and New Zealand's Scott Base are located on the sound, and Italy's Terra Nova base is nearby.
The iceberg and the ice buildup are in the path of ships due to arrive in Antarctica soon with fuel and food for the three stations. Officials say the bases are not immediately in danger of running out of supplies, and station managers are looking into solutions, including breaking a path through the ice.
The ice blockage has been threatening penguin breeding colonies since 2001.Tens of thousands of Adele penguin chicks facing starvation as parent birds are forced to trudge up to 110 miles to open sea to gather food.
- Long-term drought continued across areas of the Greater Horn of Africa. Lake Victoria water levels remained near the 10-year low, reducing floods downstream across parts of the upper Nile, and the availability of fish and water lilies. Lighter than normal seasonal rains in central Darfur in Sudan and adjacent parts of Chad reduced water supplies and stressed pastures.
- Tropical Cyclone Ernest developed in the Mozambique Channel between Madagascar and the coast of Mozambique on the 20th. The cyclone reached the coast of southern Madagascar on the 23rd, with maximum sustained winds at the time of landfall near 60 mph. There were at least 17 fatalities, with the southern city of Tulear inundated by severe flooding.
- Large parts of the Northeastern United States lay buried under several feet of snow by a blizzard that severely curbed road and air travel and cut power to thousands of customers.
A powerful "nor'easter" storm that earlier wrought havoc in the U.S. Midwest and mid-Atlantic states battered coastal New England with strong wind gusts.
The storm's impact could be felt across the Atlantic as dozens of flights at London's Heathrow airport were cancelled to and from New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington.
Boston's Logan airport shut down as crews could not keep runways clear amid near-whiteout conditions.
The storm hit Rhode Island particularly hard, with snow falling on that state at a rate of 8 to 10 cm an hour.
A 747 cargo plane skidded off a runway at JFK on Saturday night, but no one was injured.
The "Blizzard of 2005" caused snowfall accumulations exceeding one-foot in much of southern New England, with as much as three-feet in some areas of Massachusetts. Strong winds created blizzard conditions with low visibilities and considerable blowing and drifting of snow. By the 27th, month-to-date snowfall at the Boston Logan International Airport totaled 43.1 inches, making January the snowiest month on record.
- In Saudi Arabia, heavy rains produced some of the worst flooding in 20 years in the city of Medina. The rainfall caused a dam to collapse, isolating many villages and forcing many residents from their homes. Eight people were killed by floodwaters on the 24th.
- In the western Mediterranean, snow fell for the first time in decades, with 8cm of snow at Mahon on Menora.
- The heaviest snow in more than 50 years fell on the Algerian capital.
Several areas in the north, in particular the Mediterranean oil port city of Skikda, were cut off after two days of snow, strong winds and rain. In the last 24 hours 13 people have died and 47 others have been injured, mostly in road accidents. 15cm of snow fell in places.
Authorities warned bad weather would continue for several days. Algiers Meteorological Services said it was the heaviest snowfall since 1950.
In Bouira, some 80 km (50 miles) southeast of Algiers, 1,000 passengers were forced to spend the last two nights in schools.
Public transport in large parts of northern Algeria, where the majority of the 33 million population live, was halted.
Less severe snowfall was reported in neighboring northwest Tunisia.
- In the United States, a significant ice storm struck parts of northern Georgia on the 30th-31st. Ice accretion was as great as 2 inches in Monroe county, located southeast of Atlanta. Power cuts in the area at the height of the storm affected nearly 320,000 homes and businesses.
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Last updated 4 January 2006.