World weather news
World weather news, January 1998
- A truckdriver died when a
tree uprooted by powerful winds smashed his vehicle, as storms
pounded the western French seaboard, leaving 500,000 people without
Winds gusting to 150 kilometers an hour uprooted trees
and sent rooftops, chimneys and belltowers flying in areas across
western Brittany, where emergency services reported power cuts,
traffic chaos and delays in rail services.
- At least eight people were
killed after being buried by snow in three separate avalanches
Friday and Saturday in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia
in western Canada, Canadian Mounties said.
- Rescue efforts continued
Sunday to reach 10 fishermen aboard a Spanish trawler stranded by
fierce storms in the Atlantic off southern Britain, British
A French container ship, the Fort Desaix, was at the scene but
winds gusting at force 11 and lashing seas with waves up to 15
metres (49 feet) high made the rescue attempt difficult.
- Fierce storms, with hail and winds blowing
off roof tops at over 110 mph
killed at least two people in western Europe as 10 fishermen were
rescued after spending hours aboard a stranded trawler in the
In Germany, fierce winds killed a 16-year-old boy when a tree
fell on his motorcycle in the southwestern town of Alfdorf,
authorities said Sunday, and a gust of wind killed a man in Belgium
as his car was thrown onto a pole in Izegem.
Tens of thousands were left without electricity in southern
England, in Wales and in the western France, where several regions
on the Atlantic coast were in state of alert as more bad
weather was announced.
British authorities warned the population of the coastal regions
to use extreme caution, after winds reaching peaks of 160 kph (100
mph) uprooted trees and severely damaged roads.
In Portugal, a rescue operation was launched to find the crew of
a French sailboat, the Carcajou, found severely damaged on a beach
west of Lisbon.
At Mumbles in south Wales, the local coastguard recorded a
wind gust of 115 miles per hour.
- The Pacific islands of Wallis and Futuna
were placed on alert Monday as Cyclone Ron approached packing winds
of 75-80 miles an hour, officials said.
- Thick fog at Linate airport near
Milan forced aviation authorities to cancel 15 flights to the north
Italian city and to divert 37 others early Monday, airport officials
- Massive storms which claimed two lives as
they swept England and Wales over the weekend were expected to cost
insurance companies up to 500 million pounds.
- An overnight ice storm in Southern Ontario
has been blamed for dozens of vehicles spinning out of control,
including an Air Canada regional jet at Toronto's Pearson International
- Emergency officials were declaring a
rural town in the state of New South Wales a natural disaster area
in the aftermath of a savage storm which left more than 50
Authorities said three houses were completely destroyed, 18
unroofed and another 22 partly unroofed as Nyngan was hit by gale
force winds, heavy rain, and hail as big as golf balls Monday
- An Iranian Airlines plane carrying 106
passengers has made an emergency landing in a field near Isfahan.
News agency Itar-Tass says today the plane was traveling from the
town of Umria to Tehran when it ran into heavy rain.
Air traffic controllers at Tehran Airport diverted the flight to
Isfahan, 88 miles south of the capital. The flight was cleared
to land at Isfahan Airport, but for unknown reasons, the pilot landed
the plane in a field.
- More than a quarter of Papua New Guinea's
population is now facing starvation because of the country's drought
and the worst is yet to come, according to new Australian research.
- Changing wind patterns
over the Atlantic forced US adventurers Dick Rutan and David Melton
on Tuesday to postpone a bid to circle the globe non-stop in a
The team was planning to ride the jet stream at an altitude of
between 10,000 and 12,000 m and at
close to 250 mph across the Atlantic to
- Bangladesh's worst cold snap in years has
left at least 85 people dead and brought havoc with thousands
stranded at ferry, bus and airport terminals.
- A severe winter storm in eastern Ontario and
parts of Quebec (Canada) has left thousands of residents without electricity and
many roads out of service.
Hydro Quebec officials say almost 400,000 homes in Montreal are
without power today after heavy accumulations of ice caused by freezing
rain has sent hydro poles toppling over. About 250,000 others in Ottawa
and western Quebec have also been affected.
- The water content of California's Sierra
Nevada snowpack is below normal for this time of the year - despite the
presence of the El Nino weather pattern off the coast.
- Six people died in the
rain-swollen rivers of the Buenos Aires Province (Argentina), firefighters
- Western and southern parts of Fiji were
placed on alert as tropical cyclone Susan, whipping up
hurricane force winds of more than 125 mph, moved closer to the island group.
- Cyclone Susan moved away from Vanuatu
after leaving one dead, but the islands were bracing for
another storm due in several days.
In Vanuatu's northern islands, there were reports of only minor
damage to crops and makeshift houses, after a 29-year-old mother was
killed Tuesday on Ambrym island by an uprooted coconut tree.
- Cold weather sweeping
Bangladesh has killed at least 121 people in two weeks, mostly
in northern districts, local officials said.
- Freezing rain has created severe power
outages in eastern Ontario and most of southern Quebec, leaving more
than half a million people without electricity for the second day.
Authorities estimate that about 500,000 Quebecers are still without
power today, while in Ontario more than 30,000 remain blacked out.
- Several dozen homes in northeast Houston (USA) have
been flooded as the San Jacinto River rises out of its banks following
days of steady rainfall and the release of water from Lake Conroe.
- Louisiana began mopping up
Wednesday after days of heavy rains left much of the state soggy
and some homes flooded and roads closed.
More than 11 inches of rain fell on parts of Louisiana in
just the previous 48 hours.
- Tornadoes wreaked havoc
overnight on the south coast of England and northern France, tearing
roofs off houses, toppling chimneys and knocking down walls.
Firemen said early Thursday that around 1,000 homes in the
coastal town of Selsey, between Brighton and Portsmouth, had been
damaged in the violent winds which gusted up to 100mph.
Across the Channel in the French port of Calais and the
surrounding area, around 220 houses were damaged by a tornado.
- Tokyo had its first major snowfall in over
two years on Thursday, creating a media panic and minor
inconveniences for evening commuters in the capital.
Between 4 to 8 inches of snow were forecast for Tokyo with
heavier falls hitting outlying areas, the Meteorological Agency
- A crippling ice storm, already
blamed for one of the biggest blackouts in Quebec's history,
crept across the U.S.-Canadian border Thursday into Vermont.
Trees glazed with heavy ice brought down power lines to
about 20,000 customers throughout Vermont.
- Four people are confirmed dead in
Carter County, Tenn., and eight others are missing after a night and
morning of flash flooding.
Flash flooding kills more people in Tennessee each year than any
other natural disaster.
- In 1997 the average Australian
temperature for 1997 was 22.0C, 0.19C above the 1961 to 1990 average.
1997 was only Australia's 15th warmest year in the high-quality record
from 1910 and well below the record of 0.69C above normal set in 1988.
- Tokyo (Japan) and surrounding flatlands proved
ill-prepared for snow as one died and more than 500 others
were reported injured overnight on slippery roads in the heaviest
snowfall here for two years.
- A second cyclone in three days has
struck Vanuatu and one man was killed when he was washed away
by rough seas battering the southwestern Pacific island state.
- 'It's a hell of a mess right now.'
That's how Maine Gov. Angus King described the situation in his
state in the wake of a devestating ice storm.
And more ice is predicted.
The storm knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people across
northern New England and northern New York when the cold froze water
from a rainstorm, snapping power lines and tree limbs.
- Two people died and some 200 homes
were damaged by heavy rains in Rio de Janeiro as a state of "maximum alert" was
maintained for potential mudslides.
The rains, which began late Wednesday and continued Thursday,
have caused power cuts and pushed public transportation to the verge
- Thousands of people in Quebec and eastern
Ontario are without heating for the fourth straight day, as freezing
rain and high winds continue.
Ice-laden tree limbs crashing down on power lines have left an
estimated 2.5 million people in the area without power.
At least six people without power have died in Quebec and eastern
Ontario since the crisis began.
- Along with 1949, 1989 and 1990, last year
was one of the four hottest in France in the last 50 yeas.
1997 saw an average maximum temperature of 17.3C.
The warmest weather last year was south of a line running
roughly from La Rochelle on the western seaboard to Besancon in the
east. Temperatures there were the hottest on average since 1949,
another bumper year.
- Flooding continued along the north Queensland coast (Australia) following a weekend of heavy rains. Heavy rain hampered relief work in Townsville today with
a damage bill in excess of $40m expected, of which about $20m will go to
repairing public utilities such as roads, beachfront walls and power supplies.
Up to 20 people were
reported missing and hundreds of homes flooded after
torrential rain devastated a city in Australia's Queensland state,
prompting the government to declare a state of emergency.
24-hour rainfall totals included 239.4mm on the 11th at Townsville (Rangeview Ranch), 92mm at Townsville Airport on the 11th, 549mm at Townsville Airport on the 10th (annual mean here is 1108.5mm, previous 24-hr record was 366.5mm) with 437mm falling in 9 hours. The rain was a result of a nearby tropical low (formerly tropical cyclone Sid).
- Thousands of people in eastern Canada
and the northeastern states of America huddled in emergency shelters
early Sunday as they prepared to face another day of a deadly winter
storm that has resulted in widespread power outages.
The storm has ravaged the region since Monday, toppling trees
and power plylons. Eleven deaths are blamed on the storm in Canada,
and at least four in the United States.
Some 1.2 million homes in Quebec - 40 percent of the province's
population - were without electricity and for the most part heat
- A thick layer of snow brought
Jerusalem (Israel) to a virtual standstill, with bus services
cancelled and schools closed.
The motorway from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv was also closed and most
other roads in the West Bank and the north of the country, notably
on the Golan heights, were blocked.
- Heavy snow falls have paralysed activity
in Amman (Jordan) and blocked all roads to the capital.
Both of Amman's airports were closed at 9 a.m. (0700 GMT) and
police have urged people not to leave their homes.
Weather stations said high regions of this largely desert
country are covered by more than half a metre (1.5 feet) of snow.
- Iranian rescue workers were battling to free around 150 people whose cars became bogged down in
snow after a blizzard swept across western Iran.
Rescuers have so far managed to save around 150 people stranded
since Sunday evening in snow on the road to Marivan, a mountainous
area near the Iraqi border.
- Hong Kong has just endured the wettest
year on record, with the shortest duration of bright sunshine since
records began in 1884.
Rainfall recorded by the Hong kong Observatory last year amounted to
3,343.0 millimetres, 51 per cent above normal and
exceeding the previous record set in 1982.
Over 70 percent of the rain fell between June and August.
The year's total duration of bright sunshine was 1,558.2 hours,
the shortest recorded.
The annual mean temperature was 23.4C making 1997 the fourth warmest year on record.
- Heavy snow fell on the Iranian capital
early as a blizzard swept across western part of the
The authorities ordered most elementary and junior high schools
closed in the northern section of Tehran in the foothills of Alborz
mountain range, where some 30 centimeters (12 inches) of snow
covered the ground.
- The ice storm that shattered the
Northeast USA is expected to cost insurance companies $50 million to
$100 million, an industry group said.
- A huge oil platform broke its
moorings Tuesday in bad weather and rammed into a bridge in El Ferrol, damaging the span but causing no injuries, authorities
They said winds of more than 110 kilometers (70 miles) an hour
caused the 254-metre long Discoverer Enterprise platform,
one of the largest in the world, to break its moorings in the port,
drift and hit the As Pias bridge.
- Unseasonal torrential rains which
started pounding east Africa three months ago have intensified in
Kenya, wreaking havoc on roads, destroying crops and livestock and
accelerating the spread of killer diseases.
January is normally a dry month in east Africa, but the heavy
rains, which started in October, have continued unabated and crops,
which were ready for harvest, especially in the western districts,
are starting to rot in the fields.
- Afghanistan's harsh winter weather is
believed be behind the crash of a Afghan airforce
plane with up to 80 people on board.
With much of the country gripped by driving winter snows,
the aging Soviet-made Antonov 32 transport
plane crashed after a 1,000 km journey searching
for a clear airstrip.
- Twenty-two people were killed and 40
others injured in an avalanche on a road east of the Iranian capital
on Tuesday night.
The accident occured on Haraz, a narrow and windy road which
links the capital to the Caspian Sea in northern Iran.
The vehicles were inside a tunnel when the roof collapsed under
a mass of snow.
- The death toll in flooding in Somalia
hit 1,980 on as cholera and other diseases continue to
sweep through east Africa.
- The Canadian government says the final cost
of last week's ice storm could be as high as Cdn$1 billion, when all the bills for relief and damage are finally in.
- Heavy snow blanketed Tokyo and surrounding
flatlands for the second time in seven days, snarling road,
rail and air traffic and disturbing travel plans of merrymakers on a
public holiday. 9cm of snow fell in Tokyo. One person died and 370 were
injured in the Tokyo area.
- Eight people were missing feared dead in
avalanches when one metre of snow fell on South Korea's northeast
mountains at the Mount Sorak resort.
- Businesses in downtown Montreal (Canada) have been
allowed to reopen for a few hours, as the city returns slowly to normal
after a 10-day disruption caused by last week's ice storm in Quebec and
- The second heavy snowfall for the season
left 3 dead and over 400 injured in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures
as people and vehicles slipped on a blanket of snow. 16cm of snow fell in Tokyo.
- Torrential rain flooded the Kenyan
capital Nairobi this week, drowning five people, washing through pit
latrines and into slum dwellings, gouging huge craters out of roads
and snarling traffic.
Some 194 mm of rain drenched the city from
Wednesday to Friday morning.
- Water levels in lakes and rivers in
eastern China's Zhejiang province are at danger levels, threatening
to flood the area following unusually heavy rainfall.
Rainfall in western and northern parts of the province since
November has been three or four times above normal rates.
- Another two people have been found dead in
Canada's big freeze following last week's ice storm, raising the toll of
storm-related deaths to 20.
Power has been restored to most areas hit by the storm in Quebec and
eastern Ontario, but rural areas are still in crisis, and farmers are
killing off animals rather than allow them to freeze to death.
- At least 15 seamen have died
and four rescued after they were forced to abandon ship in bad weather
off the coast of Newfoundland.
The Canadian rescue coordination center in Halifax, Nova Scotia, says
six crew members are still missing, and the Cypriot-registered 'Flare'
has broken in two in the storm.
- More than 250,000 people in the ice-bound
northeastern USA began a second week without
electricity but weather forecasts offered hope for a
respite from winter storms.
- Some 217 families of ethnic-Tibetan
herdsmen have been reported missing amid heavy snowstorms in a
mountainous area of western China's Qinghai province.
Heavy snows, accompanied by temperatures as low as -40C
have crushed Yushu and
Guoluo prefectures for months on end, bringing heavy losses of
Around 117,200 animals have been killed.
- Tens of thousands of Russians were left
shivering in the cold on after breakdowns interrupted
supplies of heat and hot water in several cities.
A fire at a water heating station in the Siberian town of Urga,
where temperatures have plunged to minus -25.3C, cut heat to nearly all of the town's buildings
including hospitals, and schools.
- The key Nairobi-Mombasa highway (Kenya) has been
ordered closed indefinitely after a 30 km stretch
was cut off due to raging floods.
- The death toll from a massive ice storm
in eastern Canada has risen to 24 while some 660,000 people are
still without power.
- The water level of the Danube River has
receded by 20 percent in the past 15 years, Stefan Modev, deputy
head of the Bulgarian committee in the UN water program, said.
Causes, he said, included higher water consumption, increased
evaporation from reservoirs and an increased draining of the Danube
on its final stretch before emptying into the Black Sea.
The Danube is also widening, by 10-12 metres a year in
spots, due to erosion of its banks.
- A least 13 people have been killed by a
landslide in the central Mozambican province of Zambezia.
The landslide followed a violent storm which also destroyed
houses and crops in Zambezia, in the neighbouring province of Sofala
and in the northern provinces of Nampula and Cabo Delgado.
- Insomniac bears are roaming mountains in
eastern Poland because it's not cold enough for them to sleep.
The unseasonally warm temperatures and lack of snow are keeping
bears in the Bieszczady mountains awake, so instead of hibernating
they are wandering around.
- French meteorologists warned of a high risk of avalanches in the northern French Alps
following two days of heavy snow.
The weather bureau placed snow resorts on maximum alert - at
five on a five-point scale - and several resorts closed off slopes
likely to be at risk.
- Extremely warm waters in the Pacific
Ocean caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon are bleaching
coral reefs in the Galapagos Islands, NOAA said.
The agency said it
had used satellite data to identify Galapagos 'hot spots':
places where water temperatures were 3 to 5F
higher than the maximum temperatures normally expected.
Corals at the Galapagos thrive as long as temperatures
remain at or below 81F - the normal maximum sea surface
temperature there - but a small increase in water temperatures
can be deadly to these animals.
- A new cold spell accompanied by drizzle
gripped several areas of Bangladesh where an earlier cold
wave left up to 167 people dead.
The cold spell hit western and northern districts and the lowest
temperature of 6.3C was recorded at
northwestern Dinajpur district with temperature expected to go lower
over the next three or four days.
- A snow storm has been lashing
Atlantic Canada, causing traffic problems in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and
prompting authorities to close schools.
- Space-based measurements of the temperature of the Earth's lower
stratosphere - a layer of the atmosphere from about 17 km to 22 km
- indicate that December 1997 was the coldest
month on record since measurements of this type were begun in 1979.
- Violent snow storms, striking after an
unusually warm winter, have caused chaos in Croatia leaving tens of
thousands without electricity and traffic badly disrupted.
- El Nino-spawned storms are
washing gold nuggets from their centuries-old resting places and
into the hands of gold panners in northern California rivers - just
in time for the 150th anniversary of the Gold Rush.
- Environment Canada says 1997 was the ninth
warmest year for the country as a whole in the last 50 years, with
temperatures 0.7C above normal.
- Heavy snowfall brought flight
cancellations at airports along the Sea of Japan, causing
delays in bullet train services and disrupting traffic on
A total of 79 domestic flights were called off, with several
more cancellations expected.
The meteorological agency issued a warning against heavy
snowfall for regions along the Sea of Japan coast and mountainous
areas, estimating snowfall of up to 80 cm by
- Maine (USA) was hammered by the second major ice storm this month, cutting
electricity to thousands including some who had only just got
power back in their homes.
Central Maine Power said 75,000 households - about 172,000
people - were without power because of the storm.
- The roof of Zellers department store in
north Montreal (Canada) collapsed early today under the weight of another
30 cm of snow which fell overnight.
- Hundreds of families and 40
hospital patients fled to higher ground to escape floods
after the Australian Outback town of Katherine was lashed by rain
from a tropical cyclone.
About 250 mm of rain was dumped on the
Northern Territory town south of Darwin overnight
by Cyclone Les, swelling the
Katherine River, flooding low-lying areas and cutting a major
highway to Darwin.
- Residents of Truro, Nova Scotia, (Canada)
are cleaning up after heavy rains and melting snow caused flooding
throughout the city.
The rain has stopped but the floodwaters, as high as 1 metr in
some areas, began turning into ice today as temperatures dropped
dramatically below the freezing mark. 80mm of rain fell earlier.
- Five people were reported missing after
snowstorms swept through mountain ranges across Spain.
Two young men went missing while skiing in the mountains north
of Madrid, while two others disappeared on a climbing
expedition in the Pyrenees. A fifth person was missing since Monday
while skiing in the Pyrenees.
- A state of emergency was
declared in Katherine (Australia) after a total 435 mm of rain fell from Cyclone Les.
- Three people drowned over the
weekend at Hombolo in the central central Tanzanian district of
Dodoma as torrential rain continued to pound the area, state-owned
radio Tanzania reported today.
- Virginia Gov. James Gilmore
declared a state of emergency after a severe winter
storm dumped up to two feet of snow in the southwest Virginia
mountains and left tens of thousands of people without power.
The storm swept across the Appalachian Mountains over the
past two days, stranding more than 400 motorists Tuesday along
Interstate 40 outside Asheville, N.C..
- A giant Antarctic ice sheet more than 160km across is breaking up because of a rapid rise
in climate temperature, British scientists warned.
The sheet is so large it could disrupt the Gulf Stream, the warm
current of water which flows north from the mid-Atlantic to the west
British coast and warms the country far beyond the norm for its
closeness to the North Pole, experts including the British Antarctic
They added that the Larsen B ice shelf on the eastern side of
the frozen continent will eventually disintegrate.
At the moment it is described as "critically unstable," and
unless the retreat of the ice halts, is expected to collapse over
the next two years.
A total of 13,000 sq km of
ice in the region has so far disappeared due to atmospheric warming,
but the Larsen is the biggest so far, the report noted.
World weather news, February 1998
- A wave of cold weather in Europe has
killed 13 people in five days in Poland, as
temperatures plunged to minus -30C.
- Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his hole to see his shadow and, according
to true believers, that means six more weeks of winter.
Phil said 'el nino approaches our western shore and changes the
weather.' Then, getting to the announcement all awaited, Punxsutawney
Phil pronounced his prognostication: 'I see my shadow beside me right
here. When my shadow does appear there will be six more weeks of winter
in our hemisphere.' The famous groundhog has predicted
correctly 59 percent of the time.
Groundhog Day has been an annual event for 112 years in
Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, a small town 97 miles north of
- Hundreds of thousands of people were left
without power, trees were uprooted and buildings damaged as a
powerful thunderstorm system tore through southern Florida on
The National Weather Service confirmed that four tornadoes
had touched down in the Miami area. 2 people died.
Florida Power & Light
said more than 300,000 people were left without power throughout
The high winds also forced Miami International Airport to
shut down for about an hour, and as much as seven inches of rain
- Six people died of cold in Poland on
Monday and Tuesday, bringing to 54 the number of people who have
succumbed to sub-zero temperatures since the start of winter.
Most of the dead were men aged between 20 and 50 who died of
hypothermia after getting drunk.
- Tens of thousands of California residents were without power Tuesday after raging storms
battered both the Pacific Coast and the southeastern United States.
Severe rainstorms hit the California coast from San Diego to San
Francisco, giving up to 200mm of rain.
The California storms forced the evacuation of 600 people and
mudslides wiped out three homes in north of San Francisco.
- Greece's government has declared a
state of emergency for the northeast island of Lesvos after torrential
rainfall and cataclysmic floods swamped hundreds of homes and buildings,
claiming the lives of three people and scores of cattle.
Monday's unprecedented deluge left the island without electricity for
- January has become the hottest month in
recorded history of southern Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh City was the hottest location with the temperature
climbing to a record high of 37.4 degrees Celsius on the first day
of the Lunar New Year on January 28, the Saigon Times reported.
The average temperature of southern Vietnam provinces last month
was between 26 and 28C, around two degrees Celsius
higher than usual, it said quoting the Southern Hydrometeorological
- Swollen rivers overran their
banks, emergency crews struggled to shore up collapsing
hillsides, and hundreds of people were evacuated as a winter
storm fueled by El Nino hit California.
One man near Palo Alto, south of San Francisco, was killed
by a falling tree, and hundreds of others were evacuated as the
storm dumped up to 5 inches of rain across parts of northern
- Floodwaters in Somalia are generally
receding and many displaced families have been able to return home,
but disease remains a "grave concern", aid agencies reported
Torrential rains and floods which continued from mid-October to
late January killed 2,195 people, an inter-agency committee said in
a weekly report.
- An intense, slow-moving storm system has begun swatting the New
Jersey coast, leaving behind motorists stranded in a Tennessee
snowstorm, and trashed power lines and eroded beaches in Georgia and
Earlier today, water began rising along the shores of Connecticut,
Long Island, New Jersey and Delaware, and officials warn the approaching
storm could bring more coastal flooding.
- More than six million Thais, mainly in
the country's northeastern provinces, are suffering drought
conditions as a result of this year's longer dry season.
of Thailand's 76 provinces are suffering severe water shortages as a
result of this year's dry season coming early.
Chanasak said the drought was expected to last until May. The
dry season in Thailand came a month early this year, starting in
late January instead of March.
- Two people died and another is missing
following a storm that hit Brazil's southeast coast.
The storm pummeled the area late Thursday and early Friday.
January was the hottest in the area for
the past 42 years.
- Heavy rainfall continued to drench northern
Greece, as gushing floodwaters destroyed two of the country's biggest
dams and swamped hundreds of houses and fields.
- Torrential rains turned downtown
Buenos Aires into a lake and were blamed for the death of
Officials said a record 72 mm of
rain fell in just one hour.
- A record-breaking winter storm
piled more snow on the Appalachian Mountains (USA).
Nine people died in Kentucky during the three-day storm that
dumped a record 21 inches of heavy, wet snow on the state's
largest city, Louisville.
Six people were killed in motor vehicle accidents in
Kentucky, two died from apparent heart attacks shoveling snow
and another person was found dead in a house where the heat was
knocked out by a power cut.
- Thousands of people were forced to
evacuate their homes and major roadways were shut by flooding
as northern California reeled from the second major El
Nino storm in less than a week.
In southern California, 30 miles of beaches remained closed
after an estimated 16 million gallons of raw sewage spewed into
the Pacific from a sewer ruptured during last Tuesday's big
- Heavy rains lashed the
Mediterranean city of Alexandria causing a derelict
building to collapse and killing three Egyptian women.
Fifty residents were rescued from the building in the Attarin
working-class neighborhood of Alexandria, police said.
- Anchorage, the biggest city in Alaska, has enjoyed daily highs in the 30s for the past
three weeks, well above normal. And, as predicted, El Nino has
also brought extra snow.
At Thompson Pass near Valdez - a world-famous site for
cross-country and helicopter-assisted skiing - a record 28 feet
of snow fell in December. That was on top of 42 feet
accumulated over the early
winter, and far exceeded the previous December record of 17
- The third storm in less than a
week hit northern California with high winds and torrential
rains Saturday triggering flash floods, snarling traffic and
causing widespread power cuts.
Authorities said this week's powerful weather had left at
least four people dead.
- About 40 families in central Georgia (USA) have been left homeless by floods caused by rivers swollen by a week of heavy
The worst flooding in more than 60 years sent water
'all the way up to the ceilings' of some homes.
- Heavy snow which has disrupted the
Nagano Winter Olympics is expected to end by Wednesday, the
Japan Meteorological Agency said.
- Rains blowing in from the Atlantic
are bringing a shower of optimistic forecasts for the Moroccan
economy this year after a dismal showing in 1997 when it shrank
by 2.2 percent.
The North African country and its 28 million people,
buffeted by cyclical drought, are hoping for something reaching
the 11.7 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 1996
with its record 10 million tonne cereal harvest.
- The storm that brought widespread
flooding to San Diego (California, USA) on Sunday proved deadly in Baja California.
Mexican authorities report at least 13 people have been killed in
rain-related accidents and fear the death toll may rise.
The Mexican army is searching mud and standing water for more
- A warming in water temperatures
as a result of the El Nino effect is suspected as a possible
cause of rare whale beachings in southern China.
Fishermen found nine small whales that had run aground on a
beach in the South China Sea island province of Hainan last
week, said an official of the Hainan Aquatic Products Bureau.
'Whales are very seldom found along the beach in that
area,' the official said.
- South Africa has earmarked 250 million
rand (50 million dollars) to cope with the potential after-affects
of drought brought on by the El Nino phenomenon, Water Affairs
Minister Kader Asmal said.
- Torrential rains and hurricane-force winds
brought by El Nino have killed 119 people since October in Ecuador and caused
outbreaks of killer diseases.
- Renewed snowfalls and fog continued to
disrupt the Olympic alpine skiing events Tuesday when the women's
super-G had to be cancelled.
It was the third day running that weather had forced one of the
Olympic Alpine events to be postponed.
- A powerful storm packing high winds and
hail has battered parts of South Texas (USA), downing street lights and power
lines and pounding roofs in the small town of Devine southwest of San
Officials say more than 1,000 homes and businesses were damaged by
Numerous homes and businesses sustained
roof damage from the hail, which piled a foot high in 15 minutes.
- A drought that has devastated Papua
New Guinea and may have caused more than 500 deaths, has peaked
after five months. The first rain in eight months has begun falling in some
provinces but the situation was still extreme.
The drought is one of the most prolonged and severe in Papua New
- At least 68 people lost their lives in Bolivia in tragedies blamed on the wrath of the El Nino
Many people were dead and scores were missing after
mudslides swept over a mining town north of Bolivia's capital, authorities said.
A rush of earth and boulders pummelled Mocotoro, some 200 km
north of La Paz.
- Malaysia's water supply is expected
to dwindle in the next few months following the prolonged dry spell
due to the El-Nino weather effect, a minister was reported as saying.
"We expect the dry period to last until May or June and rainfall
is expected to be reduced by 20 to 50 percent," he said.
- A multiple pile-up on a fog-bound
motorway in northern Italy left four people dead and 60 injured
Some 250 vehicles shunted into another on the Padua-Bologna
motorway where fog reduced visibility to 60 metres.
Several vehicles caught fire.
- Spaniards were sun-bathing in Galicia in temperatures reaching
up to 20C, while cherry
trees and daffodils blossomed in Britain and hedgehogs prematurely
ended their hibernation.
Londoners enjoyed the sub-tropical as the temperature reached 19C.
But as Paris enjoyed its warmest February temperature since 1873, a cloud of nitrogen-dioxide hung over the French capital
causing a pollution alert by midday Friday.
In the neighbouring Netherlands, a yearly race on the iced-over
canals linking 11 towns of the northern Friesland regions had to be
- Malaysia urged Indonesia
to take immediate steps to douse a new wave of fires raging through
its East Kalimantan province on Borneo island.
- The unusually heavy rainstorms
caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon continued to pummel
California, with emergency authorities bracing for ever worst
Ten people have died across the state in storm-related accidents
Some 760 people are estimated to be currently displaced and
living in shelters.
- More than 500 passengers, including two
soccer teams, have been stranded on Madeira because of three days of
fog and rain on the Portuguese island.
- Pollution levels in the French capital
thinned out despite the continuing warm and sunny weather
that led to two days of pollution alert.
By midday, the level of nitrogen dioxide was back to
level one on a three-point scale.
- Nine people died of the cold as
temperatures fell below -20C in Moscow last week.
Seven people died of hypothermia and two of frostbite.
A total of 210 people were hospitalized for hypothermia or
- Australia's highest temperature
for almost 20 years has been recorded at an isolated sheep station
in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
The temperature soared to 49.4C at Nyang Station, 1,290 km
north of Perth.
It was the hottest day ever recorded in Australia in February.
- People across Florida are mopping up after as many as seven tornadoes and several other severe storms
racked the state during the past two days.
- Rainfall in storm-soaked
California is already nearing the total amount for 1983.
San Francisco has received a total of 34.88 ins of rain since July
That compares with total of 38.17 inches for the entire
- A near-record number of countries face food
supply emergencies this year, mainly because of the effects of
the El Nino weather phenomenon, the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture
- Iranian farm exports are set to record a
sharp fall over the twelve months to March because of drought and
Agricultural exports for the Iranian year ending March 20 are
set to total between 700 and 750 millions dollars compared with a
normal yearly figure of one billion dollars.
- A lack of snow is causing trouble
for an international cross country ski race that annually draws
thousands of world-class competitors to northern Wisconsin.
For the first time in its 26-year history, the American
Birkebeiner has been forced to cut the course for the
52 km race by more than half.
- Central America is sweltering in the
worst heat wave in a decade, with the mercury expected to continue
to rise through mid-April.
Northern Nicaragua is registering temperatures a full 13C
above normal. Costa Rica hit 38.4C, 5C
above the average high for this time of year.
In Honduras, hit with the region's highest temperatures,
hundreds of chickens died when temperatures in the south soared to
- Northern California got walloped
again with high winds and drenching rain as yet another
El Nino-driven storm pounded in from the Pacific.
Thursday's storm dumped about 1.3 inches of rain on San
Francisco, pushing the city's total rainfall for the month to
12.57 ins and breaking the last record of 12.52 ins set in
- The maximum temperature at Mardie, on the north-west coast of
Western Australia, has been confirmed as
This is the second-highest temperature recorded under standard
conditions in Australia (behind 50.7C at Oodnadatta in 1960) and
is a state record for Western Australia.
- More than half of Peru has been declared a
state of emergency because of ravaging weather related to El Nino,
the government announced.
The state of emergency will last 120 days, during which the new
commission will be able to implement an aid program outside normal
- Natural Resources officials in
Manitoba say the potential for spring flooding in the Red River valley
(Canada) is very low, because of benign weather resulting from the El Nino
Last year melting snow in the spring brought the 'Flood of the
Century' to Manitoba, with heavy property damage, particularly to
farming communities in the Red River valley.
- The Marshall Islands is hoping to get US
government aid to relieve a major shortage of fresh water brought on
by a deepening drought caused by the El Nino climate phenomenon.
- Rain, a rare event in Cairo, has disrupted
the metro system's first line, which moves more than 1.5 million
people a day.
Electrical cable breakdowns occurred at both ends of the
42 km line linking the north and south of
- The Federated States of Micronesia
declared a state of emergency Monday, due to a severe drought caused
by the El Nino weather phenomenon.
Health officials warned as water shortages increase, there was
an increasingly possibility of a hepatitis A epidemic in the capital
island of Pohnpei and dehydration and gastro-intestinal problems in
the rest of FSM.
Pohnpei is usually one of the wettest places in the world.
- There were 40 deaths from a series of powerful tornadoes
that ripped through Florida, USA, overnight.
Federal and state officials are
planning a mop-up after the deadliest tornadoes in the state's history.
At least 12 twisters packing wind gusts of up to 400 km/h
an hour downed electrical wires and overturned vehicles
while accompanying rains caused flooding in several counties.
- The El Nino weather pattern that has coddled the Chicago area with mild temperatures all winter long has also been
nurturing members of the insect world.
Entomologists say mosquito eggs should begin hatching any day now,
nearly a month earlier than normal.
- Most of populated New Zealand has been having the most protracted spell of
hot summer weather on record. Records have been tumbling
everywhere from the far north to the south with record numbers of
days exceeding 30C level. As yet extreme record highs have not fallen
but maxima of between 36-37 C have been experienced over wide areas
east of the main ranges and sunburn on apples is going to be a big
problem for the pipfruit industry this year.
Drought is catostrophic in the Marlborough region of the north
South Island with no rain of consequence since May 1997.
The NZ Army has
been called in to tanker water to increasing numbers of stock as
water sources dry up and it looks as if the whole area will have to
be evacuated by livestock if no rain relief occurs before winter.
In contrast, the West Coast of the
South Island is in full flood mode. At Franz Joseph Glacier close to
700 mm rain has fallen in the last few weeks and concern is being
expressed for some accommodation areas that lie below the erratic and
fast growing glacier terminus.
- The most powerful El Nino-related storm of the year has triggered
flooding, mudslides and new evacuations in Southern California.
At least four people have been killed by the most recent storm.
- Heavy rains triggered the collapse of
several houses, killing at least eleven people in India's Himalayan
region of Kashmir
- Indonesia plans to start
cloud-seeding on Thursday to try to contain forest fires said to be
raging out of control in eastern Borneo, Environment Minister
Sarwono Kusumaatmadja said.
"As of tomorrow, we will be employing weather modification
methods," he said after meeting ASEAN environment ministers to
discuss joint measures against fires which engulfed much of the
region in a thick haze last year.
- 20 people have died and thousands of people made
homeless and a massive agricultural area badly hit by heavy flooding
in southern Afghanistan.
Over a week of heavy rains have washed out fields and orchards;
aid workers say relief workers are now in the area but added fears
remain of long term food and sanitation problems.
- At least five people were killed in a
hailstorm in the eastern Indian state of Bihar.
The news agency said the storm, with wind speeds of about 110 km/h, affected two districts.
- El Nino came to Salt Lake
City, dumping up to 26 inches of snow on the
foothills, closing schools, tying up highways and shutting down
Salt Lake City International Airport was closed for more
than six hours, its longest stretch in 28 years. The airport
received 19 inches of snow by Wednesday afternoon, a record
total for a 24-hour period.
- A landslide in the village of Leushen (Moldova)
near the Romanian border on destroyed 160 homes and left
around 400 people homeless.
- Severe winter weather has
returned to Canada's prairie provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba,
with snowfall in Winnipeg recorded at about 24 inches over
the past two days.
- Britain has had its warmest February of
the century, with an average temperature of 7.3C, the Meteorological
The south of the country in particular benefited from the warm
weather, marked also by a lack of rain, in the warmest February
The month was the driest February for five years, despite almost
constant rainfall over the Scottish Highlands.
- A dozen people died in heavy snowfall
this week in Afghanistan's eastern province of Kunar bordering
Some areas received six feet of snow on a single
day, the heaviest in the province in 40 years.
World weather news, March 1998
- Snow blanketed Tokyo and surrounding
flatlands, injuring nearly 50 people and grounding more than
300 domestic airline flights.
A total of 316 domestic flights using Tokyo's Haneda airport
- A massive mudslide near the Peruvian Inca ruins of
Macchu Picchu swept away homes and knocked out an important regional
Early reports indicating that some 50 workers had vanished in
the cascading mud have not been confirmed.
- At least five people drowned in
flooding in South Africa's Eastern Cape province after torrential
rains at the weekend.
Emergency services and police were on standby and warned shack
dwellers near rivers in the province that more flooding could
Roads were extensively damaged and mud houses in rural areas
collapsed as water levels at some dams rose by 40 percent.
- Heavy flooding in southern Afghanistan
has badly hit areas used for growing opium poppy, threatening this
year's lucrative harvest.
Relief teams assessing damage from severe flooding in areas
around the Islamic Taliban militia stronghold of
Kandahar have reported widespread agricultural damage.
- Torrential flooding in southern Somalia
has almost wiped out major crops, the UN World Food Programme said
on Tuesday, when it also announced a partial response to a major
emergency appeal made last month.
Heavy rains hit large areas of Somalia's Juba and Shabelle River
Valleys from mid-October to January, killing more than 2,000 people
and inundating 60,000 hectares of farmland.
- Floods caused by torrential rain killed
four people and injured five others in southeastern Iran and caused
extensive material damage.
Heavy rain have poured on Sistan-Baluchestan province in the
past 48 hours, closing many roads linking villages to cities.
The four were killed in the town of Iran-Shahr.
The damage in the area has been estimated at around two million
- Michigan (USA) fruit growers are nervously
watching thermometers and hoping the unusual winter weather spares their
Above-normal temperatures in February brought some of the state's
peach, apple and cherry trees out of dormancy several weeks earlier than
Agricultural experts say if the temperatures dip into the mid-20s
again, the emerging fruit blossoms will die and this year's crop will be
destroyed. Michigan's tree-fruit crop is worth about $150 million a
The National Weaather Service says last month was the second-warmest
February on record in Michigan. It was so warm that some parts of the
state reported no measurable snow.
- Strong winds and lashing rain wrought
havoc across the Netherlands, causing two deaths in
road accidents in the south and seriously disrupting some inter-city
The weather, which is unseasonally warm with temperatures of
between 10 and 16C,
deterred people from venturing out to vote in Wednesday's local
A turnout of barely 50 percent was registered, the lowest ever recorded
in the country.
- Authorities say Los Angeles (USA) was hit with record levels of rain last month during a series of powerful El Nino-related storms.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power says 15.18 inches of
rain fell in Los Angeles in February. That's just short of the average
of 15.58 inches for an entire year.
The DWP says the rainfall level in February has exceeded 10 inches
only seven times since 1878.
- Three people died and 17 were missing after a mudslide buried several homes on Ecuador's central
Earlier reports had put the death toll at 13.
- At least 16 people have been killed in three landslides in India's northern hilly state of Himachal Pradesh.
At least four other people were killed in two landslides which
followed torrential rains in the region.
Scores of people have been left homeless and traffic has been
- More than 2,000 people living on
Ailinglaplap atoll may have to be evacuated in the wake of a
devastating typhoon and a severe El Nino drought, a report to US
government disaster officials said.
The report prepared for the US embassy here said the atoll is
facing an 80 percent drop in agricultural output, that could lead to
malnutrition and starvation.
Ailinglaplap is among several islands in the Pacific Marshalls group.
- Chunks of hail more than a 6 ins in diameter smashed
windows and dented cars in central Louisiana as thunderstorms
produced nearly constant lightning. One irregular hail stone that measured 7 inches across.'It wasn't round. It was jagged with sharp points, like a huge chunk of ice
that had been exploded,'
- Blizzards brought much of
northern Scotland to a virtual standstill, cutting roads
and power supplies.
More than 19,000 homes were left without electricity as
overnight snow and frost brought down major supply lines.
All train services north and west of the town of Inverness,
north-eastern Scotland, were suspended and many roads were
- Heavy fog threw Hong Kong air traffic
into chaos, with tens of thousands of passengers hit by weekend
delays and cancellations.
The authorities had cancelled 38 flights, delayed 145 and
diverted 22 because of a second day of thick fog.
- A late winter storm dumped at least
a foot of snow on the Great Plains (USA), with high winds creating
blizzard conditions and forcing some clean-up crews off the
Several highways were shut down in parts of Nebraska,
Kansas, Iowa and Wisconsin as even emergency vehicles were
forced to wait out the white-out conditions.
- At least 5 people were killed
as heavy rains hit Alabama, sending six feet of water
through downtown Elba after a levee failed in two places.
About 2,000 people were evacuated from Elba, in southern
Alabama, where the Pea River was expected to crest 13 feet above
- Rain has fallen over smoke-covered
Borneo island after a prolonged draught but eluded most spots where
forest and ground fires were raging, officials said.
"What is needed now is rain over the hotspots in East
Kalimantan," said Bayu Sukarno of the meteorology office in
Muarateweh in the Central Kalimantan district of North Barito.
- The first two months of 1998 were the
warmest and wettest on record for the lower 48 U.S. states,
based on 104 years of weather data.
The national average temperature during the January-February
period was 37.5F, compared with a normal 32.1F. The previous record was 37.0F in
Precipitation in the continental U.S. averaged 6.01 ins
during the period, almost two inches above normal, breaking the
old record of 5.7 ins set in 1979.
- Wide swathes of the United States began
counting the cost of three days of floods, blizzards and
tornadoes that have been blamed for 11 deaths.
The death toll in southern states stood at seven after
thunderstorms turned the streets of towns from Louisiana to
Georgia into rivers.
In the Midwest, where a cold front dumped heavy snow and
froze road surfaces, four people died in weather-related traffic
Tornadoes ripped through central Florida, but no deaths were
- China's southern Hunan province could
be facing the worst flooding in at least five years with water
levels in two key tributaries to the Yangtze river rising well above
Waters in the Xiangjiang and Zijiang tributaries passed danger
levels by 2.2 to 5.9 metres at check points. Such
strong floods only happen every five to 10 years.
- A violent northerly wind severely
disrupted air traffic into Rome and forced authorities to close one
of the runways, a spokesman for the Rome airport said.
Scores of flights were delayed for an average of half an hour as
planes were moved on to two other runways.
- Torrential rains swept away
81 houses in the Yemeni province of Hudeida, 270 km
west of Sanaa.
Several areas, especially al Zohra and al-Lohaya, were
completely isolated by flooding at nightfall.
- Tens of thousands of people remained
without power in two Midwestern (USA) states and isolated
snow flurries snarled highway traffic, while bone-chilling cold
invaded the northern plains.
About 70,000 customers were still without power in
northern Illinois and Indiana two days after a late winter
snowstorm blasted the region with wind-driven ice and snow.
- A mild winter has left
structures along the southern shore of Lake Michigan vulnerable to gale
force winds and waves, according to the U.S. Coastguard.
Coast Guard officials in Michigan City, Ind., blame warmer
temperatures for the problem. An ice barrier normally forms and acts as
a buffer between the shoreline and rough waves.
- Troops have been called
out to assist civilians in southern New Brunswick (Canada) after flash floods
swept across the area.
The troops are helping homeowners in the Wellsford area left stranded
by Tuesday's floods.
A flood washed away an historic bridge, and emergency officials are
keeping watch on the level of the Saint John River, despite a
significant drop in the water level today.
- Haze has returned to Malaysia's
eastern state of Sabah on Borneo island due to a spate of local
fires and worsened by a prolonged drought.
The worst fires were now in Sipitang, affecting some
2,000 hectares of forest and plantations.
- Officials in Michigan and
Indiana are assessing millions of dollars worth of damage caused by wind
and high waves along Lake Michigan's southern shore.
This week's storm and 20-foot waves smashed waterfront homes, a water
pumping station and at least two tugboats on the lake between Portage,
Ind., and Bridgman, Mich.
- Blinding snow squalls have sent
dozens of cars and trucks piling into each other along interstate
highways in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Two people are reported dead.
- Authorities have recovered of 20 bodies from the Kalpetua River near Satkhira in southwest Bangladesh,
where two overloaded ferries capsized in a violent storm.
60 people are missing and feared dead after a storm packing winds
of 75 mph swept across the Kalpetua River.
- Floodwaters that left 11,000 people
homeless in Georgia began to recede as some of the
victims prepared to return to their homes to see what, if
anything, was salvageable.
A crusted layer of brown silt covered nearly everything the
raging waters of the Flint River had touched before it crested
at 37 feet Saturday morning, 17 feet above flood stage, in
Albany, Georgia, about 250 miles south of Atlanta.
- A thick sandstorm blanketed Egypt
for a second day, bringing shipping movements between
Port Said and the Suez canal to a halt and diverting flights
from Cairo airport.
Officials in Port Said said transit between Port Said and
the Suez canal was halted from 1500 GMT on Sunday.
Two cargo ships carrying cement and molasses collided
earlier in Timsah lake that forms part of the waterway, but were
not seriously damaged.
Most flights into Cairo on Monday morning were diverted to
Luxor, Aswan or airports on the Red Sea.
Five people were killed and more than 30
injured in road accidents in Egypt caused by the sandstorm.
- Fires have ravaged grasslands
and forests in Brazil's northern state of Roraima - charring a vast
territory the size of Belgium.
The fires, estimated at about 20 percent more extensive than
average, also are threatening native Yanomami reservations.
Having triggered a prolonged drought, "the El Nino weather
phenomenon has maximized the effect of the blazes," said Reinaldo
Barbosa, an expert at the National Institute of Amazon Research in
Boa Vista, Roraima's capital.
It has not rained in the area since December.
- More than 20 people were swept away
by the Piura River after the bridge they were crossing collapsed.
Nine others died when the storm-battered Bolognesi
bridge broke apart and three public transport vehicles were pulled
under by the river's high waves in the
town of Piura in northern Peru.
- A sandstorm packing winds of up to 70 km/hr
disrupted air traffic at
Cairo airport for a third successive day.
- Alberta residents are digging out
after the heaviest snowfall since records were first kept about 130 years ago.
Some areas in the province have received up to 60 cm of
snow in the latest storm.
The snow brought public transport to a virtual standstill in Calgary.
Calgary set a 113 year snowfall record for a 24 hour snowfall in March. There was 39cm at the airport with up to 60cm in the higher parts of the city.
Until the snowstorm, it had been generally a mild and relatively snowless winter.
- Snow in Jordan closed roads, schools, as well as government and private
institutions in Amman.
The Civil Defense Department said this is the first time in almost 50
years it has snowed heavily at this time of year. Nearly 25cm of snow fell in Amman.
- Snow blanketed Jerusalem early today, blocking roads into the city and paralysing public
The motorway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv was cut as were all
roads between Jerusalem and the West bank.
Israel Railways added special
trains to take children to see snow in Jerusalem, and residents of a
village in northern Israel experienced a mini-tornado.
Meteorologists said the area has not experienced such cold weather in
more than 40 years. Jerusalem had received 12 inches of snow in January.
- A late winter storm has buried much of
Colorado, Wyoming and northern New Mexico (USA) with heavy, wet, snow, leaving
thousands of motorists stuck.
Many roads are closed today and those that aren't are treacherous
after as much as 16 to 24 inches of snow accumulated in some areas.
- Israel will move its clocks forward
an hour overnight Thursday to mark the start of summer daylight
savings, a day after a snowstorm which Jewish leaders took as a sign
that God is not ready for winter to end.
'God will send us the height of winter, cold, rain, hail and
snow, so that we might know that only God can change time. No one
else," said Israel's chief Sephardi rabbi, Eliahu Bakchi.
Jewish religious leaders are opposed to daylight savings time,
saying it lengthens daylight fasts and forces the religious to rise
earlier for dawn prayers.
- Snow storms in China's northwest
Xinjiang province have killed 20,000 head of cattle, and authorities
shipping in emergency fodder to save herds, Ming Pao Daily News
A cold front from Siberia has dropped temperatures to -30 C.
- Fierce winds swept across Japan, forcing
scores of local flights to be cancelled and blowing smouldering
embers on to an elderly man who was burned to death.
- A tornado in northeast Georgia (USA) has killed 12 people and caused extensive damage to about 60 homes and two
- Two people were killed and 14
injured as a tornado ripped through Stoneville, North Carolina,
near the North Carolina-Virginia border.
- Hundreds of passengers are stranded at
Toronto's Pearson International Airport (Canada) as a heavy snowstorm has put
flights on hold for several hours.
More than 30 cm of snow has hit southwest and central
Ontario in the past 24 hours causing havoc for both highway and air
- Port Vila and Vanuatu's central
islands went on maximum alert after tropical cyclone Yali
suddenly changed direction overnight and headed for the capital.
Yali, with winds of up to 75 knots,
changed from a southerly to a more easterly direction, posing a
direct threat to the capital.
The cyclone later changed course again from its southeast direction to
a more definite southern one, avoiding Vanuatu's capital island of
- A surprise snowstorm dumped up to a foot
of snow in the New England (USA) mountains and delayed hundreds of
flights at airports across the Northeast.
- Tropical cyclone Yali caused severe
damage when it battered some of Vanuatu's southern islands but no
one has been reported killed or injured.
There were reports of heavy crop damage and an
unspecified number of houses blown down in the western part of Tanna
island 200 km south of Port Vila.
- A grocer from northern Maine is
resting quietly on the steps of the store he used to run, and
the neighbors are up in arms about it. That is because Frederick
McClure has been dead for two weeks.
McClure was supposed to be buried March 9 beside his wife of
53 years. But a thunderstorm filled his grave site with water
and then his wife's vault slid into the place where he was
supposed to spend eternity.
So until the ground dries and new graves can be dug, the
84-year-old McClure lies in a wooden coffin resting inside a
metal vault outside the general store he loved and operated.
- At least 21 people were killed and more
than 100 injured in a storm that lashed large areas of Bangladesh.
Lightning, collapsed houses and capsized boats claimed most of
the victims the storm.
- China is expecting heavy flooding this
spring and summer after record winter rainfall caused by the weather
phenomena El Nino.
In some areas of southeast Jiangxi province, spring flooding came early, with the Ganjiang
river jumping its banks and inundating 50,000 acres of land.
- Poorly equipped and exhausted
firefighters have admitted they are unable to control fires sweeping
through two pristine wilderness areas in central and western
Over 9000 hectares of world-heritage listed
forests had been destroyed by hundreds of fires raging in rugged
terrain, some of which had been burning since December.
The worst fires are in the Huay Kha Kaeng and Khao Yai national
parks in drought-hit central and western provinces.
- Severe winter weather gripped much of
Snowfalls, torrential rains, strong winds and heavy seas caused
havoc in widespread areas.
Fruit growers in the Piedmont feared frost would damage their
crops, while in central Italy on the Adriatic coast, gusty winds
kept fishermen in port. Road traffic was disrupted, and schools were
closed in several villages.
Snow up to 25 cm deep blanketed parts of
- A tornado killed at least 114 people
and injured several hundred others after it struck the east
The police said the toll was likely to rise in the tornado-hit
district of Midnapore, some 150 km west of
- Snowstorms and strong winds paralysed
ports and disrupted road traffic in southern Italy for the second
Only one ferry boat was able to leave Naples for Capri, and
services to other islands were halted because of force-6 winds.
Traffic was disrupted on the highway between Naples and Salerno
after several articulated trucks overturned.
- Drought-stricken Vietnam could face an
acute power shortage by mid-May, the head of the Vietnam Electricity
Corp. (EVN) was quoted as saying.
EVN vice general director Bui Thuc Kiet said that water levels
in reservoirs at hydro-electric power plants had dropped to
dangerously low levels due to unseasonally low rainfalls caused by
the El Nino climatic phenomenon.
- A violent storm swept through Greece
leaving one person dead and paralysing Athens with power
High-tension cables carrying electricity to the Athens region,
home to four out of 10 Greeks, were damaged by the strong winds
leaving the capital without power.
- Southern Somalia must brace for new
flooding brought by rains expected over the next two months,
a UNICEF statement said.
Heavy rains have already affected many roads, swelling rivers,
with weather forecasters warning that new rainfall could devastate
areas already affected by recent flooding, the statement said.
- Four persons were killed and 31 injured
in road accidents in Egypt caused by a sandstorm.
Three of those killed died on roads linking the city of Suez to
Cairo and to the Sinai.
- Heavy rains swelled the rivers in
eastern Turkey, sweeping away two bridges and cutting off
roads to the town of Bingol.
Roads were washed away throughout the region.
- One-third of Peru's coffee crop is in
danger due to the destruction of highways caused by flooding and
heavy rain resulting from the El Nino weather phenomenon, the head
of the national coffee chamber reported.
- National Guard troops are
patrolling three Minnesota (USA) towns raked by tornadoes that left one dead.
The tornadoes first struck about 3 p.m. Sunday in St. Peter, Le
Center and Comfrey, destroying buildings and sending debris as far as 55
- About 100 people have been evacuated
from their homes in southern Quebec after several rivers swelled
following unseasonably warm temperatures.
The Chateauguay River in the Monteregie region rose some 3m,
leading authorities to close several back roads
and to evacuate homes in the area.
- Parts of Sri Lanka are experiencing
unusually high temperatures worsened by the lack of wind and rain
and officials Monday blamed the El Nino effect.
Director of the meteorology department A. W. Mohottala said the
weather phenomenon had drastically reduced rainfall in the capital
Colombo this year and added to the unbearable heat.
"Colombo should have got about 250 millimetres of rain so far
this year but we have had only 80 millimetres".
World weather news, April 1998
- Tropical Cyclone Zuman hit
Vanuatu's biggest island, Espiritu Santo, threatening "significant
damage" with a maximum red alert issued in the north of the
Meteorogolical office director Henry Taiki said Zuman had
destructive winds of up to 85 knots and
brought a high risk of flooding in low-lying coastal and river areas
due to expected very high tides.
- Record high temperatures in southern
Vietnam over the past several days have severely damaged crops.
The temperature in the southern province of Binh Phuoc on Sunday
was 40.6C, the highest in the past
80 years, the Lao Dong newspaper said, citing a report by the
Southern Meteorological Station.
The heat also triggered many forest fires in southern Vietnam
where nearly 8,000 hectares of forests had already
been destroyed since the beginning of the dry season.
- Heavy rainfall is worsening floods in
Southern Quebec for the third day since swollen rivers began ravaging
the area along the U.S. border.
Also on alert for heavy rain and flooding are areas in southern
Ontario, which lies in the path of a storm blowing in today from the US Midwest.
- The wet El Nino weather pattern is
grounding the bees needed to pollinate California nut and fruit trees
that account for $3.5 billion in annual crop sales.
Entomologist Eric Mussen of the University of California, Davis, said
that heavy winter and spring rains have kept bees in their boxes
and hampered keepers struggling to move them into water-logged almond,
plum, prune and cherry orchards.
Mussen says almond growers are the hardest hit since their trees
blossom from mid-February to mid-March.
- A record-breaking spring heat wave has
brought the East Coast (of USA) an early appearance of summer storms.
Thunderstorms have rumbled through from southern New England to
Washington, and residents from New Jersey to the nation's capital were
advised of a tornado watch until midnight.
Temperatures reached 32C as far north as Massachusetts.
- Rivers swollen by rain and snowmelt are
causing flooding problems in New England.
Some evacuations have been reported along the Aroostook River at Fort
Fairfield in northern Maine.
Forecasters have issued flood warnings for along the Connecticut
River that flows between Vermont and New Hampshire and through
Massachusetts and Connecticut.
- More than 2,200 people remain homeless in
Quebec and Ontario (Canada), as floods fed by steady rain continue to menace
communities in both provinces.
Streets in the Montreal suburb of Laval are flooded, and other areas
on the outskirts of the city are threatened as the level of the St.
Lawrence River continues to rise.
- The Philippines is the latest Asian
nation to report hunger-related deaths from the El Nino weather
phenomenon blighting parts of the region and other areas of the
world, with 26 people reported to have died in the southern island
- A snowstorm stranded several dozen
vehicles on a mountainous road northeast of the Tehran (Iran).
The heavy snow, and accompanying avalanches and rockslides,
caused cars and trucks to take refuge in tunnels along the main road
through the mountainous Ab-Ali region, 30 km
- The much-discussed El Nino will fade in 1998,
and that will help lead to an increase in hurricane activity this year
compared with last year, Colorado State University hurricane forecaster
William Gray said.
In this second forecast for the upcoming hurricane season, Gray and
his colleagues are increasing their forecast totals from nine to ten
tropical storms that will form in the Atlantic Basin between June 1 and
Nov. 30. From those storms, the team now predicts six hurricanes will
evolve and two will go on to become intense or major hurricanes with
sustained winds of 111 mph or greater. That's a slight increase from the
initial forecast, when Gray and his team predicated a season with nine
tropical storms, five hurricanes and two intense hurricanes, or Andrew-
sized storms. On average, 9.3 tropical storms, 5.8 hurricanes and 2.3
intense hurricanes form annually.
- At least 44 people have died in
southern US states from devastating tornados that sliced a wide
swath of destruction through Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi.
The worst hit state was Alabama, where at least 26 people were
killed by powerful storms in the northern part of the state.
The Alabama tornado, spawned by a 'supercell' thunderstorm that
swept into west-central Alabama late Wednesday, was ranked an
F-5, the top of the Fujita scale.
- 1998 has
become the deadliest U.S. tornado season in 14 years. 95 have died in the USA in 1998 so far, while 122 died in 1984.
- A total of 84 people have died in
massive floods which hit different parts of Iran last week,
including the entire population of a village which disappeared in a
landslide, newspapers reported on Thursday.
Around 7,600 heads of livestock also perished as floods caused
by torrential rains and melting snow swamped villages and towns in
- Four people were killed and 20 injured
by "egg-sized hailstones" when a violent storm lashed southern
Guangdong province last week, the China Daily reported today.
The hailstones "bombarded" six towns in Tongliang county,
causing serious damage to 40 percent of the houses and more than
4,000 hectares of crops.
- A preliminary study has shown that
levels of potentially harmful substances in rainwater rose when smog
from forest fires hit Southeast Asia last year.
Samples collected at the National University of Singapore (NUS)
last September and October showed higher levels of substances which
could raise acid levels in rainwater, the newspaper said.
They include oxides of nitrogen, hydrocarbons, sulphur dioxide
and formaldehyde, whose levels rose up to 50 percent compared to
normal periods before the haze problem, began.
- Bad weather in Spain forced religious
authorities to cancel several processions commemorating
Jesus' stations of the cross.
Local clergymen cancelled the ceremony in several cities fearing
that the rain would damage the wooden statues of the Virgin Mary and
Jesus, often several centuries old.
- Two people died, two people were
missing and hundreds of others were evacuated from their homes on
Friday as torrential rain and major flooding wreaked havoc in
- Police divers found the body of a teenage
boy after Britain's worst floods in half a century
turned the Easter weekend into a washout.
Hundreds of homes were evacuated and millions of pounds worth of
damage reported as rivers swelled and whole towns were cut off.
While the worst was believed to be over Saturday, flood
alerts remained in force for parts of the Midlands.
In Leamington Spa, cinema staff watched in disbelief as
water lapped over the front row of seats following a holiday
showing of the hit movie 'Titanic.'
- A tornado in south China's Hunan
province killed 17 people and injured more than 50.
More than 7,500 village homes were destroyed in the twister, which caused significant damage in 10 towns and overturned
28 boats in the Shuifu reservoir, the report said.
- An unexpected two-day blizzard has dumped at least 12 inches of snow on Moscow, bringing the city to a standstill and
howls of rage from the mayor's office.
The blizzard, which shows no signs of abating, has closed roads and
Moscow's Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, clearly in a
rage after the national weather center predicted Moscow should expect
warm weather and sunshine, says the city will set up its own weather
The mayor's office, in a terse statement, says the national
meteorologists had completely failed to predict the freak snowstorm and
were no longer reliable.
- Hail, snow and storms swept across
France during Easter weekend, causing seven deaths on the roads and
threatening more chaos as holidaymakers made their way home on
In the southwest region of Landes, three French people and one
Spaniard were killed in a car crash during a fierce hailstorm on
Sunday. The previous day a Portugese and a French person died on the
roads in the same area.
- Several people have been forced to leave their homes east of Windsor, Ontario, after water from Lake Erie
eroded a dike and flooded the area.
The water level in the lake is some 30 inches higher than
- Four people have been killed and
another 15 injured in road accidents during torrential rain in
southern Egypt that also disrupted air and rail traffic.
Two people were killed and five injured Sunday when a van and a
tourist bus collided during the downpour near the city of Esna, 760
km south of Cairo.
- Britain braced itself for continued
extreme weather conditions Tuesday night, as weather experts warned
of unseasonal snowfalls, sub-zero temperatures and severe flooding.
A blanket of snow was predicted for most of Britain, with
northern England and Wales the hardest hit.
Tuesday's warning comes after central England experienced the
worst flooding in Britain for 150 years over the Easter weekend,
with five people dying in floods.
- This week's unseasonal snowfall in
Moscow has cost the city an estimated 20 million dollars in damage.
Late Monday, more than 30 cm of snow covered
Moscow. April snowfalls are rare in the Russian capital.
Total snowfall in Moscow this year totalled 2m, the most in 20 years, according to city officials.
- Joe Oubre was flying kites with his grandchildren on his farm in
South Carolina when he found a cancelled cheque for 17.67 dollars on
He did not think twice about it until he noticed the check had
come from Michael and Laurel Sybilrud, whose house in an Atlanta
suburb was destroyed by a tornado last week.
The check had been carried 211 km by the
Sam McCown, a researcher for the National Climatic Data Center, said the check's flight appears to set a record
for distance traveled by debris from tornadoes.
- A tornado struck the heart of
Nashville (USA), blowing out windows, ripping away chunks of
buildings and injuring scores of people in the latest outbreak
of violent weather to hit the South.
An estimated 300 buildings in Nashville have been significantly
damaged and an estimated 100 people were injured, mostly from flying
Earlier, tornadoes raked the Arkansas-Tennessee border and
killed four people, including a Tennessee couple who were sucked
out of their mobile home and tossed into a field.
- Water rationing in Malaysia's
most industrialised Selangor state has been extended for two more
weeks and has been widened across a larger area.
More than 1.8 million people living in 652 areas in the state
would face water rationing.
- A prolonged drought in central and south
Vietnam is threatening coffee and rice crops, two of Vietnam's chief
agricultural exports, metreological and agricultural officials said.
- Eleven people remain missing after the
worst sandstorm this year swept through China's western Xinjiang
province, leaving a trail of destruction.
Strong winds descending from Siberia caused the sandstorm
to rip through the barren Zhongbu region in the center of Xinjiang.
The storm devastated 10 cities and rural districts, and sparked
a fire in a nearby forest.
- At least three people were killed
in a freak storm in Russia's Far East which also caused
Two people died and several were injured when a crane toppled in
the town of Arseniev, as the storm roared through, ripping off
70 percent of the roofs in just five minutes.
Another person died in the Birobijan region, where a
high-voltage power line was brought down, bringing rail traffic to a
TASS said that shortly before the storm struck Arseniev the
temperature shot up to the unusual level of 30C
and a black cloud blanketed the town.
Several tornados were also seen.
- Eleven people have died and some
55,000 others have been evacuated after five days of steady rain
around Buenos Aires.
A break in the incessant downpour gave authorities a
chance to get aid to thousands of residents stranded by some of the
worst flooding in Argentine history.
- A violent storm which hit southwestern
Iran in the evening killed nine nomads.
At least 1,000 head of cattle were also killed in the storm in
the Izeh district of eastern Khuzestan.
- More than 70,000 hectares were submerged due to flooding in southeast Poland
that forced the evacuation of 200 farms.
In the town of Szczucin, at least 1,500 farms were damaged
by the floodwaters.
The level of the San and Wislok rivers meanwhile continued to
rise along with the country's main river, the Vistula, where the
waters were one metre above the alert level.
- Violent hailstorms in China have
killed 24 people and left millions of dollars worth of damage.
In southwestern Sichuan province three people were killed and 45
injured as hailstones of up to 18 cm diameter hammered
31 counties, demolishing homes, destroying crops, and pulling down
- Authorities in Warsaw, Poland, advised
people living between the Vistula river and protective dykes to
evacuate the area immediately as the river threatened to burst its
Outside Warsaw, the river is reined in by dykes but the banks
are only lightly populated. Flooding after heavy rains in southern
Poland was feared near the Polish capital by Sunday.
- Hailstones the size of golf balls fell
in the northeastern province of Khorasan as a cold front
blanketed the whole of northern Iran.
The hailstones which fell in the district of
Torbat-e-Heydariyeh, 200 km from the Afghan
border, weighed as much as 100 g.
Temperatures throughout northern Iran dropped by as much as 15C
between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
- A tornado packing wins approaching 200 km/h
smashed through homes on the
French Polynesian island of Huahin.
The "particularly active and violent" tornado occurred
amid a string of thunderstorms, said Meteo France.
Preliminary estimates say between 60 percent and 80 percent of
houses on the French territory had lost roofs or were totally
destroyed and affected families were put up in halls, community
centres and schools.
- A prolonged dry spell in Malaysia is
having an unexpectedly beneficial effect on birds, which are mating more
often than usual and laying more eggs.
The managing director of the Penang Bird Park said one female pheasant had laid 40 eggs in the past two months
compared with the usual 12 eggs per season.
- The death toll from a tropical storm
which battered French Polynesia's Leeward islands has risen to eight
with the discovery of three more bodies on Tahaa island.
Tropical storm Alan also left one person missing and 20 injured.
On Raiatea, a mudslide destroyed about 20 houses in two social
housing estates killing three people who were found in a collapsed
house down a ravine.
In the Leeward islands, all residents of houses built near
slopes have been warned to take special precautions and those in
high risk zones were told to leave their homes for several days.
- Twelve people were killed when
pounding rain triggered a landslide in the Garm region of
Tajikistan, some 200 km east of Dushanbe.
Two villages were hit by the accident, which left 15 people
Other landslides in the region in recent days killed three
people and caused heavy damage. Heavy rains in the past week have
also caused widespread flooding.
- A snowmobiler was killed
in an avalanche he triggered by roaring up a
mountainside in Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve.
The snowpack in the area's mountains is unstable because of
the spring warmth, with its extended hours of sunlight, and an
unusually heavy snowfall earlier this month.
- The death toll from two weeks of
flooding in northeastern Argentina has risen to 18 while some
100,000 people have been forced to evacuate the area.
More than four million hectares were under water from the
flooding linked to the El Nino, which has also
affected areas of Paraguay and Brazil.
Damage is estimated at more than 1.5 billion dollars, mostly due
to loss of crops and livestock.
- Heavy flooding in eastern Afghanistan
has killed 35 people with the west and centre of the
country also badly hit by heavy spring rains.
of farming land have also been "washed away."
300 houses had been
destroyed by floods in Qarshi district of the western Herat
province, and 30 percent of crops had been destroyed and 1,000
- The European solar exploration satellite
SOHO has discovered powerful tornadoes on the surface of the sun.
Around one dozen of these tornadoes have been detected, chiefly at
the poles, where winds blowing constantly at 54,000 km/h,
as well as eddies of nearly 500,000 km/h, have been measured.
The discovery is only the latest by SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric
Observatory) which was launched in December, 1995, and placed in
orbit some 1.5 million kilometers (930,000 miles) from the Earth.
A joint project of the European Space Agency (ESA), which
conceived of and built the satellite, and NASA, which launched it
and receives its signals, the mission is expected to last until
- A French plane carrying 32 passengers
was hit by lightning and forced to make an emergency landing just
after take-off from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.
The plane, which was en route to the central French town of
Limoges, landed safely at Orly airport, south of the capital,
shortly after leaving Charles de Gaulle, to the north of Paris.
There were no injuries.
- Floods sweeping through parts of
Dar es Salaam following torrential rains have killed five people
over the past three days.
The rains and
flooding had left at least 100 people homeless, and a railway
bridge was swept away.
- Water content in California's
snowpack averages 183 percent of normal along the Sierra Nevada,
promising strong river runoff into the summer.
Only five years have been wetter in the northern Sierra than
the one that began last Oct. 1.
Since then, overall precipitation has been 160 percent of average
to date compared with 200 percent in 1983, the last big El Nino year.
State figures show that 1983 also had the highest snowpack
reading as of April 30, of 225 percent of average.
World weather news, May 1998
- Nationwide water usage restrictions came
into force this weekend as Fiji grappled with its worst drought in
The drought hit the country hard when rains
associated with the wet season of October to April failed to
In March, Nadi in the dry western part of the country received
28 percent of normal rains and Suva, in the wet southeast part, 39
- Lightning struck Fort Dix army
base in southern New Jersey during an early morning thunderstorm
Sunday, killing one soldier and injuring five.
- Drought-stricken Vietnam will be hit by an
acute power shortage in the next few weeks as water levels in
hydro-power dams plunge.
Electricity of Vietnam said water in reservoirs at hydro-electric power plants had
dropped to dangerously low levels due to lack of enough rain.
- Several forest fires are blazing out of control in Alberta, northern Ontario and parts of British Columbia,
where early spring has created dry weather conditions.
A big blaze on the shores of Slave Lake, about 140 miles (225 km)
northweat of Edmonton, Alberta, has destroyed about 6,000 hectares of
- Seven people have drowned and seven
others are missing, feared dead, following a weekend of torrential
rains in the Tanzanian capital Dar es Salaam.
- At least eleven people were washed away
by floods triggered by torrential rain that lashed two villages in
Pyuthan district, to the far west of Nepal.
"Incessant rains for three hours at Pyuthan district, 355
kilometres (220 miles) far west of here on Tuesday afternoon,
caused the Jhimruk stream to overflow its banks triggering floods
and landslides which swept away eleven people,".
- At least 54 people have been killed and 100
reported missing in the mudslides caused by torrential rains over
2 days in
southern mountain villages in Italy.
Sixty of the missing people come from the village of Sarno.
Sarno was among four villages submerged in up
to 2 m of mud.
The hardest hit places were Sarno, Quindici and Siano, all
south of Naples in the Salerno and Avellino provinces.
The southern region of Campania is prone to landslide disasters,
which have killed 372 people over the past 50 years.
- Lightening struck a village in eastern
Afghanistan, killing 12 residents.
The village of Behar in Nangarhar province was hit by lightening
late Thursday amid a heavy rain storm.
- Twenty-three people were killed in the
northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh following heavy rains and
- Tornadoes and thunderstorms swept
through the SE USA overnight, flipping mobile homes, downing trees,
snapping power lines, and causing at least two deaths.
Baseball-sized hail fell at several locations in the Carolinas.
A violent hailstorm pelted an AirTran DC-9 minutes after it
took off from Atlanta, knocking off the nose cone housing the
plane's radar and shattering a cockpit window, the pilot said
after safely landing the plane in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
- Up to 80,000 people are facing starvation
in the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan even though heavy rains have started to
put out fires which have ravaged forests and farmland.
- A heatwave in Germany with 33C reported from Kalkar
(near the Dutch border). 30C exceeded in Antwerp, Amsterdam and Brussels.
- Hong Kong experienced its warmest
April since records began in 1884.
Temperatures for April were high
due to the absence of significant late-season
cold surges and with more southerly winds, it said.
Both the mean temperature of 24.8C and the mean minimum
temperature of 22.9C were the highest on record for the
month, breaking the previous records of 24.7C and 22.8C set in
- At least 10 people were killed and 25
were injured in flooding in northwestern Iran.
The floods caused by torrential rain and swollen rivers,
affected two villages in Shabestar region of eastern Azerbaijan
The floods come after more than four years of drought in the
- Malaysia's central Selangor state
has begun pumping underground water to industrial areas to ease an
- China is bracing for a catastrophic
summer flood season as torrential rains begin pounding the southern
province of Hunan.
Rains since the start of the month have caused "heavy damage"
and inundated large areas of farmland in the area around Huaihua,
Zhangjiajie, Loudi, Yiyang and Changde cities as well as Xiangxi
Since the start of winter the southern provinces of Jiangxi,
Hunan, Fujian and Zhejiang have received four times the normal
seasonal amount of rain.
- One man was killed and more than 65
people were injured when tornadoes, high winds and thunderstorms
whipped through the Midwest USA.
- Flooding from three days of rainstorms
has left 11 people dead and 700 cut off in the southeastern Chinese
province of Fujian.
The serious flooding, which started Tuesday in the city of
Nanping, has caused the Minjiang river to swell significantly and
precipitated 15 landslides, with 20 bridges and 863 water control
- Bangladesh is facing the hottest May in
more than two-decades with the temperature reaching 39.5C.
'The highest temperatures of 39.5C were recorded
in (northwestern) Rajshahi district on Friday and the maximum at the
same time in 1972 was recorded at 45.1C," Shah Alam,
a meteorologist in the government-run Meteorological department, said.
- Five people have been killed in violent
storms in northern Vietnam.
Three people were killed and 28 injured when a tornado collapsed
houses and severely damaged hundreds hectares of paddy fields in
Lap Thach district, Vinh Phuc province.
Two people were killed and seven injured on Saturday when a
tornado and accompanying hailstorm swept through Tu Liem district of
- The capital of Tajikistan was under a
blanket of mud Monday, with power and telephone lines out in much of
the city following heavy downpours over the weekend.
Flights at Dushanbe airport were delayed, and traffic in the
city was virtually at a standstill in many areas.
- The El Nino is now being blamed for Himalayan
avalanches that swept six climbers to their deaths.
Nepal's mountains are traditionally packed in spring as
mountaineers try to conquer some of the world's most fearsome
But this year, pre-monsoon rains have
brought unseasonally low temperatures, high winds, deadly blizzards,
poor visibility and sudden avalanches.
- Eleven people have died and one person
was reported missing after floods struck Yili Prefecture in China's
western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The flooding, triggered by torrential rain since May 16, said to
be the heaviest ever in the region, swept away 127 farmhouses, two
bridges and destroyed 1,440 hectares of crops.
- A cyclone with winds of up to 100 mph
hit the low-lying Bangladesh coast, killing at least 14
people and destroying thousands of homes.
Another 100 people were injured by the storm that hit land early
casualties were feared on remote islands where communications had
- China has resorted to a three-year
programme of cloud seeding to induce rain on the upper reaches of
the Yellow River.
Northwestern Qinghai province has already started to use planes,
rockets and cannons to create artificial rain to fill the parched
river course with an estimated 600 million cubic metres
The three-year programme is expected to run to
1.1 million dollars and has been prompted by severe water
shortages in the river from April through to September.
- When rare rains fell in Burkina Faso
this week, Moroccan cloud-seeding experts took the credit while the
west African state's fetish priests, the traditional providers of
precipitation, took umbrage.
The "machines" were three Moroccon military aircraft which
located, seeded and bombarded clouds in Burkina's airspace. Despite
the immediacy of the ensuing rains, the technical explanations have
been met with skepticism by the population at large.
In Koudougou, 100 km east of the capital, a
group of fetish priests, whose rainmaking methods include the more
intelligible sacrifice of animals, and whose success brings
influence and fame, sent off a furious letter to the government.
'We do not understand why machines were brought to take away the
work of the fetish priests, to denigrate them, to profane their
culture and patrimony," they wrote in essence.
- At least 11 people were drowned in heavy
floods that hit northern and southern Turkey after days of
Two children were killed on the Black Sea coast, where rising
rivers submerged hundreds of dwellings and cut off dozens of
villages in the provinces of Bartin, Zonguldak and Karabuk.
Five other people were killed in the town of Devrek near
- Houses and offices along the 'Bar beach,"
Lagos's most popular stretch of coastline, were flooded
by massive waves from the Atlantic Ocean.
The waves flooded the headquarters of national television and
the country's oceanography institute, swept away tents and wooden
huts built on the beach and cut off a main street through Victoria
Island, a wealthy district of Lagos.
- Torrential rains in northwest China have
left eight people missing after floods washed away 680 buildings and
broke through dykes and reservoirs.
According to local meteorologists, rainfall totals up to 74 mm
were recorded on Wednesday in Gansu province.
- At least seven people have died of
heat-stroke in Bangladesh where a continuing record hot spell has
left hundreds sick and disrupted normal life.
The highest temperatures in 26 years were recorded on Thursday in
the northwest at nearly 42C and 77
The city of Rajshahi Thursday
experienced 41.8C, the hottest day in May since 1972
when it recorded 45.1C. Normally temperatures in May do not
- The death toll from heavy flooding in
northern and southern Turkey this week rose to at least 13.
Floods triggered by torrential rains hit Turkey's northeastern
Black Sea coast on Wednesday, with the provinces of Bartin,
Zonguldak and Karabuk especially badly hit.
- Hong Kong voters braved torrential
rain, flooding waist-deep in some areas for the first elections under
Seven polling stations were closed temporarily and helicopters
and dinghies were called in to rescue some people from their
There was more than 300 mm of rain in parts
of the New Territories.
- A heat-wave smothering parts of India
has claimed at least 23 more lives, with the district of Gonda recording
highest temperature on Sunday of 49C.
The heatwave, which has forced thousands to remain indoors, has
also killed animals in Delhi's main zoo and disrupted passenger
train services and domestic flights. The death toll now stands at 134.
- Summer flooding in southern China has
left at least 39 people dead, bringing the death toll reported
nationwide to almost 90 this month.
Thirty died and "an unknown number of others were missing" after
torrential rains lashed 11 cities and counties in southern China's
Hunan province between Thursday and Saturday.
- Floods caused by melting snow in eastern
Russia have claimed 14 lives and made 36,000 people homeless.
The major Siberian river, the Lena, and the Aldan have both
flooded over their banks in recent weeks as a result of the
springtime snow melt.
- After more than two weeks of
languishing under a pall of thick gray smog, Mexican authorities are
hoping a hurricane will ease the oppressive air pollution.
The smog covering the country's midsection is the result of thousands
of fires, dust and a static weather system.
In the central region known as the "Bajio", or Lowlands,
predictions that the curtain of dust and smoke would blow open last week
Monday was the 15th day in a row of atmospheric
conditions that block the sun's rays and convert its image to that of a
glowing red ball in the afternoons.
- The days have been getting longer, and it isn't
just a seasonal thing.
An extra one-tenth of a millisecond in your day is one of the
few good things to come from El Nino.
David Salstein, a scientist with Cambridge-based Atmospheric and
Environmental Research Inc., said El Nino stirred up westerly winds
so much that the Earth had to slow its rotation in order to
maintain stability with its surrounding atmosphere.
The longest day resulting from this year's El Nino was Feb. 5,
which was eight-tenths of a millisecond longer than normal.
- The southern Indian city of Hyderabad has
recorded its hottest day since 1935, as the
two-week heat wave claimed at least 21 more lives in India pushing
the toll past 180.
Temperatures in Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh state,
shot up to 44.4C
- The severe drought along the east side of New Zealand appears to
have broken in many areas with widespread rains of between 40-70mm,
25th-27th May. With snow down onto the ski fields in many areas and
frosts across the plains this is not of great value for immediate
growth but will help to restore soil moisture levels for an eventual
Wellington had some intense record breaking rains leading
to surface flooding.
- More than 200 people have died in
disastrous flooding across China, the Civil Affairs Ministry said.
It said the worst-hit areas were in central Hubei and Hunan
Officials in Hunan said they were preparing for floods more
serious than the 1954 disaster on the Yangtze river.
- Dozens of forest fires are
continuing to scorch several areas of northern Alberta and Ontario
A renewed dry spell in parts of Canada saw fires erupting near the
towns of La Loche and Ile-a-la-Crosse in Saskatchewan.
The fires in Alberta began nearly four weeks ago, and fire crews have
been battling them almost non-stop since they started.
- Lightning strikes over land nine times out of
10, according to new data.
Even though land makes up less than 30 percent of the Earth's
surface, data from NASA's new satellite-mounted Lightning Imaging
Sensor shows 85 percent to 90 percent of lightning strokes occurred
Researchers had known that lightning was more common
over land, but the three months of data collected this year support
that knowledge with unprecedented detail, according to
Richard Orville at Texas A&M University.
- A month's worth of rain from one storm
sent a creek surging over a dam and out of its banks, forcing
hundreds of people to flee their homes in Prineville, Oregon, USA.
The regional normally gets only 9 to 12 inches of rain a year,
but more than an inch fell on Friday, filling a reservoir upstream.
Water spilled over the Ochoco Dam, turning Ochoco Creek into a
fast-moving river during the night.
- A heatwave sweeping India killed
around 180 more people today, taking the national toll to 715
so far this month.
Orissa's Rourkela city was the hottest place in India today with the
mercury touching 48C.
- Six people are dead and hundreds are
homeless after a tornado swept through Spencer, South Dakota, USA, virtually
destroying the small farming town.
About half of Spencer's 300 residents were injured when a tornado,
estimated to be about a quarter-mile wide, blasted through the southeast
South Dakota town Saturday night, flattening most of the town's public
buildings, businesses and homes.
Only about two dozen homes remain standing.
- A weekend of hot weather turned vicious as powerful storms and
tornadoes in the northern Plains, upper Midwest and the Northeast USA
killed at least 17 people, destroyed homes and businesses and shut
down power for more than 1.3 million people.
Sunday night's storms tore from Pennsylvania through New
England. A falling tree killed two men in a car in Massachusetts,
one died in New York and two people were killed in Pennsylvania.
Tornadoes also struck in Vermont.
More than 900,000 homes and businesses lost power in Minnesota,
Wisconsin and Michigan, with 330,000 in Pennsylvania and thousands
more blacked out in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and
World weather news, June 1998
- The death toll from a heatwave sweeping
Bangladesh has risen to 21, with 11 new
fatalities across the country.
- The death toll from a blistering heat
wave sweeping India for more than two weeks has shot up to 1,359.
The worst-hit area is the eastern Indian state of Orissa, where
at least 649 people have died.
The scorching heat wave began on May 12 and soon gripped almost
the whole country, with temperatures in some parts of the north
shooting up to nearly 51C.
The heat wave has broken records standing for more than 50
Monsoon rains, however, started in India's southern tip on
Monday and are expected to hit New Delhi by the end of this month.
- Drier-than-normal conditions are
expected in Indonesia, Micronesia and northern South America in the
next few months, as experts forecast a weakening of the El Nino
phenomenon, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.
The forecast was based on statistical models of sea-surface
temperature from the US-based National Center for Environmental
Prediction (NCEP), and historical studies on the effects of El Nino,
now in its "dying stages,".
- A rare June snowstorm blanketed the northern Plains (USA) with up to
Snow fell from Wyoming to western South Dakota. Rapid City,
S.D., reported 3 inches of snow overnight, one of the latest
snowfalls ever recorded. The last time the city received snow in
June was in 1969. This is only the third time since records began
in 1888 that snow has fallen there in June.
- A state of emergency
has been declared in American Samoa where a continuing El Nino
driven drought has forced water rationing.
An executive order signed by Governor Tauese Sunia said the
economic well being, public health and safety of residents was
threatened by the drought.
- Asia is finally rid of the El Nino
phenomenon and normal weather patterns will resume within the next
three months, Australian meteorologists..
"It has declined to a point that we're prepared to say that it's
over," said the National Climate Centre's Robert Fawcett.
The climate centre rated this El Nino as the second strongest
since 1950, following on from the 1982-83 event which was also
blamed for a variety of planetary climate changes.
- More than 80,000 people in drought stricken
areas of Fiji's western districts are in desperate need of
government assistance in the form of food, water and cash, surveys
Most of those affected are cane farming families who have lost
their entire seasonal crop through a prolonged drought attributed to
the El Nino weather phenomenon.
- Four Russian fighter-bombers have bombed
sheets of ice jamming the Pechora River in northern Russia in a final
and, ultimately, futile attempt to clear the ice floes and save a town
However, the bombing did not help, and the
river burst its banks, flooding parts of Naryan-Mar, a city of 35,000.
The ice had accumulated 30 km downstream from
Naryan-Mar, the capital of the Nenets autonomous region, 24 hours after
demolition crews blasted a similar ice blockade with dynamite almost 60 km
up the river.
Today's bombing raid is the first reported case of the Russian air
force being used to help clear ice plugs.
- A short but exceptionally intense heatwave brought
sweltering conditions to Germany and neighbouring areas over
A sub-tropical airmass arrived in the south on 5th (33C in places
along the upper Rhein and the Danube valley) and spread quickly
northwards. On the 6th many places in the south and east had date record
highs. The hottest conditions were reported from parts of Saxony and
Brandenburg, where Cottbus reached 37.2C.
Severe thunderstorms broke out in the north during Saturday night.
In Bremerhaven winds gusted up to 124 km/h.
A cold front pushing from the west on Sunday confined the region of
great heat to the east (34.4C in Preschen) and sparked off a fresh wave of
The airmass responsible was one of the warmest ever recorded so early
in the summer.
- Violent winds and rains, following a
cyclone in the Arabian Sea, have killed 15 people in the southern
Pakistani port city of Karachi.
- Hanoi (Vietnam) traffic ground to a standstill
due to major flooding in many parts of the city following
an overnight deluge that left many commuters and students stranded.
A thunderstorm dumped 231 mm of rain on
the capital late Tuesday and early Wednesday.
- Rescue workers battling to reach parts
of western India devastated by a cyclone confirmed 550 dead.
Officials in the western coastal state of Gujarat, which took
the full brunt of Tuesday's storm, warned that many isolated rural
areas reamined cut off as relief operations were stepped up.
- The death toll from the worst heat
wave in half a century sweeping across India neared 3,000.
The highest temperature recorded this summer was 51C. The Indian capital New Delhi was
one of the worst-hit cities but intermittent light rain since
Wednesday has brought temperatures down.
Regular monsoon rain reached India's southern tip at the start
of June and is expected to hit New Delhi by the end of the month.
- Mass cremations of decomposing bodies
began in western India on Thursday following a devastating cyclone,
as the death toll soared to nearly 660, officials and witnesses
Meanwhile officials in the western coastal state of Gujarat,
which bore the brunt of Tuesday's storm, warned the number of
victims would continue to rise as relief workers reached previously
- The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan was
cut off following heavy rains and landslides which have
killed 50 people in the neighbouring Indian state of Assam.
The only road linking Bhutan, a tiny landlocked state with some
two million people, and India was submerged by water flowing down
- Up to 15 people were feared killed and
seven others went missing Friday when downpours flooded areas of
Turkey's southeastern Sanliurfa province.
- Winds reaching 100 mph whipped
through southern Michigan (USA), killing at least one person and knocking
out power to thousands of customers.
Some 22,000 customers in three counties were without power.
Jim Zoss, emergency services director in Battle Creek, said the
areas were probably hit not by tornadoes but by microbursts -
downdraft winds formed during the mature stage of a thunderstorm
which can reach speeds of 150 mph.
- The death toll from India's worst
heatwave in half a century reached 3,028 after 58 more
Nearly 950 deaths have occurred in the southern state of Andhra
- District of Columbia (USA) police say at least
five people were injured after lightning struck at the largest
rock-n- roll benefit concert since Live Aid in 1985.
Police say one person is in critical condition after
the Tibetan Freedom Concert.
- 5.6 inches of rain fell in Boston, Mass., USA, said National
Weather Service meteorologist Lee Czepyha. That set a one-day
record for the month of June; the previous record was 4.36 inches
of rain on June 10, 1881.
- Malaysia's worst drought in 15
years brought on by the El Nino weather pattern, remains entrenched
with more than two million people under water rationing since
- Sixty people have drowned in Moscow
rivers and lakes in the past week as temperatures in the Russian
capital soared to 34.7C.
A spokesman for Russia's meteorological service, Anatoly
Yakovlev, said Moscow had notched up record temperatures on several
consecutive days since the start of June.
The hot weather also hit central Russia, with 40C
in the Volga region, and temperatures
above 30C beyond the Polar (sic) circle.
- Iowa (USA) Gov. Terry Branstad has declared Cass County a disaster area after more than 13 inches of rain fell over
a 24-hour period, sending the Nishnabotna River over its banks.
Local radio station KJAN measured 13.18 inches of rain Sunday, a 24-
hour rainfall record for the state of Iowa.
- At least 70 people were killed
and some four million left homeless in floods in two far-eastern
An official communique here said at least 50 people had died in
the oil- and tea-rich state of Assam as incessant monsoon rains
caused the mighty Brahmaputra river to indundate around 1,000
It said just under four million people were homeless and living
in makeshift refugee camps.
- At least 55 people have been killed in
torrential rain sweeping across southern China, bringing the death
toll from floods this year to 324.
Heavy rains, which started Friday led to the torrential flooding
in Hunan province, and caused at least 40 deaths there.
- A record-breaking heat wave in central Russia has caused the deaths of more than 100 people, started huge fires and is
now threatening crops.
Farmers in central Russia and along the banks of the Volga
say the harvest could be threatened by a combination of heat and
Russian television says a third of the wheat and barley crop in
Voronezh region has already been destroyed by a two-week drought combined with record temperatures hovering near 40C.
The potato crop has also been severely affected by the extreme
weather conditions in Voronezh, which is a temperate climate area.
Some areas have reportedly not seen rain in almost two months.
- The Indian capital, which experienced
one of its hottest summers this century, has been cooled by monsoon
rains arriving early for the first time in nearly 100 years,
newspapers reported Wednesday.
"This is a record," S.R. Kalsi of the Indian Meteorological
Department told the Times of India. "Tuesday's arrival of the
monsoon over Delhi is the earliest on record since 1901."
The monsoon, which hit the southern tip of India on June 1,
takes a winding route north, usually arriving in New Delhi around
June 29. The monsoon lasts until mid-September.
Heavy showers began in the capital Tuesday and continued
throughout the night, bringing the temperature down from around 39C
to a maximum of 27C.
- The first of India's monsoon rains
knocked out most of the police's emergency telephone lines in the
New Delhi after water seeped into underground cables.
Of 50 lines used to answer emergencies at the police
headquarters, 40 went out of action.
- While much of Mexico struggles
with drought, heavy rain has forced hundreds of people to flee
their homes in central and southern states.
Flooding in Atotonilco, 60 km north of Mexico City,
has forced the evacuation of about 200 people.
Floodwaters were three feet deep in Atotonilco.
- Firefighters say more rain is
needed to help fight the brush fires that have roared over nearly 60,000
acres of Florida (USA) since Memorial Day.
Thunderstorms have helped douse many of the fires already, but they
also produced lightning that started scores of others.
Fire damage from the 11,000 acres that burned in Jacksonville is
estimated at $4.8 million.
- Four children and an adult have
drowned in central Romania, bringing the death toll in the last
week's flooding to a total of 20.
In all, 22 out of 40 regions have been affected by the overflow
of major rivers in central and eastern parts of the country.
In addition, some 500 kilometres of roads, 200
bridges and several kilometres of railways have been damaged.
- A whirlwind and violent rain storm
struck central Moscow around midnight on Saturday leaving at least
10 people injured and a trail of damage to property.
The whirlwind, reinforced by rain and dust, roared through the
city for about 20 minutes ripping off lengths of gutter, sheets of
roofing and bringing down several trees.
Trams and trolleybuses were brought to a standstill after their
electrical cables were cut.
- A fresh landslide caused by torrential
rains in southeastern China has killed two persons, bringing the
total killed in flooding this year to 340.
The landslide in Nanping city, Fujian province, came
after 70 cm of rain pounded the region over a
seven-day period, officials in Nanping said.
- Wind swirling in from Hurricane Blas has
forced the closure of the popular Mexican ports of Acapulco and
Zihuatanejo even though the season's first Pacific hurricane
remained well off shore.
Blas grew Tuesday from a tropical storm to a hurricane with
sustained winds of more than 100 mph and gusts of up to 125 mph,
according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.
- The melting of a deep Sierra Nevada (USA)
snowpack is turning recreational rivers into rampaging torrents
that have killed 11 rafters in three weeks.
Most of the deaths involved people rafting without professional
guides. Two involved commercial rafters. The toll also included two
boys who used air mattresses.
- At least seven people have been swept
away by floods and dozens of others rendered homeless by heavy rains
pounding the Somali capital since early on Wednesday.
Those killed in south Mogadishu were Rahanwein clan refugees
living in makeshift dwellings at a camp housing people displaced by
ongoing fighting around Baidoa.
The city's residents described the heavy rain, which was still
pouring on Wednesday afternoon, as the heaviest since the civil war
started in Somalia in 1991.
- At least 83 people were reported dead
or missing in southeastern China on Wednesday, as the devastating
toll from China's summer flood rains climbed to 530.
In Fujian province the
capital city of Fuzhou was experiencing the worst flooding in a
century, with 61,300 residents isolated by rising waters.
Nearby Minqing county is especially hard-hit, with water levels
hitting six metres and submerging some two-storey
- A violent 'super cell' storm
producing at least two tornadoes and high winds closed the Davis-Besse
Nuclear Power Plant, Ohio, USA, drastically reducing the amount of power available
across Ohio as heat-humidity indices soared well above the 100-degree
The Wednesday evening storms also prompted a state of emergency in
north-central Ohio, where tornadoes and high winds downed numerous
trees, power lines, utility poles and electric transmission towers,
closing dozens of rural roadways near the Lake Erie shoreline.
Approximately 30 people were injured as a result of the storms.
- Repair crews are restoring power to hundreds
of homes in southern Ontario (Canada), and people in the area are cleaning up
after a severe storm hit the region, killing two people.
Funnel clouds were reported in several communities, including Oshawa
and Welland, and one man said he found himself airborne in his pickup
truck when a funnel cloud touched down in the Cobourg area.
Reports in the Trenton area say more than 3,000 lightning strikes
were recorded during the overnight storm.
- Researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena say the
most recent satellite data shows the sea surface has fallen by
seven inches, which indicates colder waters normally associated with the
La Nina weather pattern are moving into the Pacific.
Researchers say La Nina is expected to bring drier conditions along
the coasts of North and South America that may not be felt until August
- In Florida (USA), 66 out of 67 counties have been affected by forest fires,
which have ravaged more than 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres),
destroyed or damaged a hundred homes and forced the evacuation of
hundreds in the worst fire-related disaster since 1932.
In Texas 60,000 hectares (150,000 acres), mostly farms and
orchards, have been charred by the flames.
The costs of the drought and fires could reach two billion
dollars in Texas and more than 20 million in Florida.
- Heavy summer downpours brought flooding to upstate New York,
Vermont, Ohio and Wisconsin today, causing a train derailment and
diesel fuel spill along with at least four storm related deaths.
Helicopters were used to rescue people stranded on the roofs of
their homes in New York and Vermont. Others climbed trees and spent
the night clinging to branches to escape rising waters.
Severe thunderstorms Friday morning dumped nearly 4 inches of
rain that weakened the ground around a rail trestle near Port Kent
in northern New York, causing a freight train to derail and sixteen
cars to spill their cargo.
- At least five people in Chicago (USA) died this
weekend of heat-related causes.
The National Weather Service lifted a heat warning this afternoon
that has plagued the area all week, and predicted a cold front will
bring cool breezes and relief by Monday.
- Heavy overnight rains added to the muck and misery today in
parts of the Midwest and East (USA) already hammered by weekend storms.
At least 19 people were dead or missing from Minnesota to New
As the latest round of heavy storms moved through overnight and
this morning, central Ohio got as much as 9 inches of rain, while
in central Indiana, the slow-moving storm dumped up to 12 inches,
destroying at least two homes and washing out bridges in Owen
- Hundreds of thousands of people in
central China's Hunan province have been stranded by the worst
floods around the provincial capital in several decades.
Parts of the capital Changsha and rural areas including 275
villages have been hit by the floods, which have left 200,000 people
stranded and caused damage estimated at four billion yuan.
World weather news, July 1998
- After a heavy shower in Munich (Germany) the temperature dropped
to just 8.0C at 11 am local time - lowest reading day or night
in July here for over 12 years at least.
- An abrupt rise in subsurface ocean
temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific may be why El Nino events
have been more frequent and severe since 1976.
Harvard University scientists attribute the warming to a shift in the
vertical thermal structure of the eastern tropical Pacific over the past
They report their findings in the July 10 issue of Science.
'This paper is the first subsurface information we have to
corroborate that there are gradual changes in the amplitude of El Ninos,' said George Philander.
Previous studies measured the sea-surface temperature of winds.
The Harvard scientists found the water warming phenomenon by
measuring temperature and radiocarbon (carbon-14) in submerged coral
reefs near the Galapagos Islands.
- Typhoon Nichole battered southern Taiwan
early today with torrential rains that damaged crops worth 2.35 million US dollars. No casualties were reported.
- Some 234 people have died in two
provinces alone in serious flooding which has afflicted many parts
of China over the past month.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs, said the deaths occurred in the eastern province of
Zhejiang and the southwestern province of Sichuan.
- Floods triggered by a week of monsoon
rains have left 400,000 people homeless and 12 dead throughout
The floods, concentrated in the southeastern resort district of
Cox's Bazar and the port city of Chittagong, were caused by late
monsoon rains which started in recent days after weeks of high
- Floods in Kyrgyzstan and an Uzbek
enclave, caused when a dam on the Shakhimardan River burst, claimed
at least 82 lives. Up to 600 people are missing.
The Soviet-era dam burst after heavy rains early on Wednesday
caused water levels downriver to rise by three to four metres
destroying more than 100 homes.
- Canadian military transport planes
are airlifting residents in northwestern Ontario from the path of an
advancing forest fire.
Residents of Kasabonica, a town about 400 km north of
Toronto, are abandoning their homes, with the fire raging about half a
- Shipping traffic has been suspended
along China's longest river the Yangtze, near the Three Gorges dam,
because of surging flood waters.
River traffic was banned late Saturday along a water diversion
canal, one of two navigation channels built after the river was
blocked in November for the construction of the massive dam.
- There have been several unusual conditions in northern Scandinavia
during the last few days. In Norway, these include: a minimum temperature at Bardufoss (69N) above 20C; several locations, including coastal ones which some years never see 20C, well north of the arctic circle reaching the upper twenties with 29C at Tennvoll ( 69N) -- typical average for July in these
places is 12C.
- The intense summer heat has claimed an eighth
victim in Dallas County, Texas, USA.
The temperature climbed to 110F in Dallas on Sunday, the third
highest reading on record. The highest ever recorded in Dallas was 113F
on June 26-27 during the 1980 heat wave.
Dallas has recorded 20 days this summer of 100 degrees or higher.
- The onset of the rainy season in Ghana
has failed to significantly raise the water level behind the
Akossombo dam, which normally generates most of the west African
The water level currently stands at 237.35 feet, more than 10
feet below the minimum level required to drive the plant's six
turbines, only two of which are now operational.
For months, Ghanaians across the country have put up with
regular electricity rationing because of Akossombo's problems.
- Dallas (Texas) hit 100F Tuesday afternoon - 10F less than
Sunday's high. Fort Worth reached 112F on Sunday.
Tuesday was the 9th straight day that north Texas temperatures
climbed to 100 degrees or higher.
July's average daily max. temperature at Dallas-Fort Worth
International Airport is 96.5F; this summer, however, the daily max. readings in July
have averaged 101.7F.
And not only is Texas hot, it's dry. Economists at the Texas
Agricultural Extension Service estimated the current
drought will cause $1.5 billion in losses for farmers and ranchers,
and drain $4.6 billion from the Texas economy over the next 18
Elsewhere in the region, Oklahoma has had six heat-related
deaths since June 21. Several Oklahoma communities have imposed water
rationing because of the continuing dry weather.
Louisiana has had at least 20 heat-related deaths since mid-May,
almost all in the northwestern corner of the state.
In Georgia, farmers in 155 of the state's 159 counties will be
eligible for low-interest loans now that the federal government has
declared them disaster areas because of severe weather.
The hottest place in continental USA was Blythe,
Calif., with a high reading of 115F.
- Shanghai has suffered its worst heat
wave in 54 years, with temperature rising to 38.6C,
The heat wave hit Shanghai June 30, with max. temperatures
staying above 34C.
Xinhua news agency reported separately that Wuhan in central
Hubei province has also experienced a heat wave since July 12 with
39C recorded there.
hospitals reported that the number of people treated for heatstroke
in the last three days equalled the total for the previous two
- Heavy rain over the North Island of New Zealand has led to
flooding along the Waikato River.
Rising flood waters had closed State Highway 1
which links Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington.
Lake Taupo, which feeds the river, is already over full and the
six hydro-dams along its length are having to release water,
worsening the situation down river.
- The death toll from the week-long monsoon
floods in Bangladesh has climbed to 27 and tens of thousands of
people have been left homeless. At least 100 people have died and
more than 1.7 million affected by floods in parts of India.
- Environmental officials are promising no
relief for people in southern Ontario, who have suffered through a third
day of thick smog.
The blanket of smog stretches from Windsor in the southwest to Sault
Ste. Marie and Ottawa in the north, with temperatures rising to 35C
in some places.
Officials say much of the smog has drifted into Canada from
industrial plants in neighboring areas in the United States, but car
emissions in the province are also blamed.
Officials say high concentrations of ground-level ozone in 23 cities
in Ontario have caused respiratory difficulties, and people with asthma
or heart problems have been flocking to hospitals and clinics.
- Floods which have hit mountainous
northern regions of Vietnam over the past three weeks have claimed
Rains fell two weeks earlier than normal following a prolonged
- Fourteen thousand train passengers
stranded by floods were evacuated from 13 trains in
Severe flooding from mountain torrents destroyed a 42 km
section of track between the northwestern province of
Gansu and the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
- La Nina is being blamed for freak weather in Australia.
The weather is bringing snow to areas of the south east which rarely see it. In Victoria, the worst drought in living memory suddenly turned to floods.
- Record triple-digit temperatures across the South and West (USA) set
off a stampede to stores for air conditioners and fans, which
people then cranked up, creating unprecedented demands for
For a 12th straight day, temperatures climbed over 100 in
central Texas. The heat wave has claimed at least 32 lives
across the state and caused $1.5 billion in crop damage.
- Upwards of 6000 people
have died after a massive tidal
wave, caused by a nearby earthquake, struck the northwest coast of Papua
Aid workers and disaster officials said today that the death toll
will rise significantly and said up to 1,000 children and adults may
have been killed.
The 22 foot high tsunami struck a 5 mile stretch of coast near the
town of Aitape in the western Sepik province. It hit about 30 minutes
after the area was rocked by an earthquake measuring seven on the
measured 7.0 on the Richter scale. Some bodies were carried over 200km by the wave.
- More hot weather was forecast today for much of the USA,
from the Northeast through the South, the Plains, the Southwest and
parts of the West Coast.
Texas and much of the southern Plains was expected to break 100
again - for the 15th day of consecutive triple-digit temperatures.
The heat wave is the worst Texas has seen since 1980.
The searing heat has also contributed to at least 79 deaths in
Texas, 22 in Louisiana, six in Oklahoma and one each in California,
Arizona and Missouri.
- Munich, Germany, is sweltering in a short but
intense heatwave. Maximum in the city today was 33.6C, highest for 3 years,
with 34.4 C at another local station. Freiburg had 37.5C too!
- The water level on China's Yangtze
River in the central Chinese city of Wuhan continued to rise
sparking fears of further flooding.
Shipping on a stretch of the Yangtze near the Three Gorges dam
has been suspended, and 132,000 ship and train passengers left
stranded by the floods have been evacuated in recent days.
Wuhan is one of dozens of Chinese cities along the river where
heavy defences are being mounted against flooding, which has so far
killed at least 1,000 people.
- Dozens of people have been hospitalised
with heatstroke as temperatures in Abu Dhabi soared to 47C.
Similar temperatures, together with 100 percent humidity, were
recorded throughout the six other emirates that make up the United
Most of those hospitalised were workers on construction sites.
The meteorological office said the heatwave was not exceptional.
The heatwave is caused by "low pressure coming in from the
Indian sub-continent, which is the epicentre of this heat," the
- Fourteen people were killed and 42
injured by lightning strikes during severe storms in the southern
Chinese province of Guizhou.
About 60 people had taken refuge from the storm in a newly-built
brick building when it was hit by lightning and collapsed, the
- Violent thunderstorms damaged homes and businesses in the Ohio
Valley (USA) during the night, flooding roads with more than 6 inches of
rain and blacking out thousands of customers early today around
The storms knocked out electrical service early today to an
estimated 100,000 customers in the Cincinnati area.
An estimated 6 to 10 inches of rain fell early today at
Columbus, Ind., about 40 miles south of Indianapolis, and flash
flooding blocked several roads.
- An expert at the Texas Agricultural Extension Service says the state
is facing a major water crisis because of the drought.
Dr. Bruce Lesikar, an extension engineer, says the lack of major
rainfall is forcing people to use more water than they normally do for
their landscape and other housing needs. This is forcing water
restrictions across the state.
In the Rio Grande Valley, the Falcon and Amistad Reservoirs are at 22
percent of their capacity, their lowest level since the 1950s.
- More sandstorms were expected to hit the
United Arab Emirates today following a day of violent
Thunderstorms and temperatures up to 45C were also expected in a second day of freak
weather caused by India's extended summer monsoon.
The unusual weather is being provoked by rain sweeping in from
India, via Pakistan and southern Iran.
As rain falls over the UAE's eastern mountains, cold air
descends onto the desert mixing with hot air, causing winds and
sandstorms, weather forecasters explained.
- Flooding has engulfed new areas in north
and central Bangladesh claiming 12 more lives overnight and pushing
the toll to 94.
The flood situation worsened mainly because of the rise of water
levels in major rivers caused by run-off water from hills in
Northern Mymensingh and Tangail, northwestern Bogra and Chapai
Nawabganj, and central Munshiganj and Faridpur were among the worst
- At least 32 people died and
dozens were missing after flash floods and mudslides in eastern
Some 30 children were among those missing after being caught
sleeping when the floods hit late Monday.
In all 13 villages were badly damaged, while two others were
left totally isolated by the floods. Some 3,500 people were
evacuated from a number of villages, and 30 people were taken to
hospital, a ministry spokesman said.
The worst damage was concentrated on the districts of Sabinov
and Presov, north of Slovakia's second city, Kosice, in the east of
the mountainous ex-communist country.
- President Jiang Zemin issued a clarion
call to cities along the Yangtze River to brace for worse
flooding as water began breaching dykes in central China, official
"Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, especially needs to get
ready because it has been hit by torrential rains over the past few
days and the river's second flood peak is expected to hit the city
on July 23," Jiang said.
- Meteorologists say Central and Eastern Europe has been hit by a
record heat wave, and the storm was caused by a clash of cool air from
the Tatra Mountains and hot air in lower-lying areas.
In southern Poland, which borders the Tatras, truck drivers have been
banned from the roads during the day as heat reaching 100F has
melted tar surfaces.
Meanwhile, heavy rainfall northeast of Slovakia, in Belarus, has
seriously damaged crops.
- The death toll mounted in floods in at
least three countries in central Europe Thursday, with more than 100
feared dead in one deluged area of Slovakia alone.
Four people were confirmed dead in southern Poland, while two
people were killed in the Czech Republic, authorities confirmed.
In Poland nearly 200 homes were flooded and two
villages were cut off after a three-metre (10 foot) wave broke the
banks of the Bystrzyca Dusznicka river in the south of the country.
- Torrential rain caused damage to
homes and bridges in parts of Austria overnight.
Eight homes were cut off in the southern province of Styria
where six bridges were damaged, while houses were also flooded out
in several villages in the Salzburg region further north.
- A break in a 36-inch water main is
forcing water rationing in Fort Worth as Texans continue to battle 100
degree-plus temperatures and drought conditions.
The National Weather Service today posted a heat advisory through
Saturday for parts of North Texas where the temperature is headed for
100 degrees for the 19th day in a row.
- Doctors appealed for medical
supplies to check disease spreading in eastern Slovakia, as funerals
were held for the victims of flash floods which could have claimed
over 100 lives.
- China's State Flood Control Headquarters has
delivered its first shipment of emergency relief materials to millions
of residents of Hunan threatened by flooding along the nation's longest river.
The relief came just days before a third flood peak is expected to
hit the already-bloated Yangtze River.
Two earlier flood peaks, fueled by torrential summer rains, have
tested the resolve of millions of residents living along the Yangtze's
3,780 mile length.
Although dikes near major ports held, central government officials
are worried the third flood peak will be more difficult to contain.
- Kuwait's scorching summer may be
bad news for the people of this oil-rich emirate but it is good news
for garages, which say they can barely keep up with the demand for
The asphalt roads melt tyres.
On Kuwait's highways it is not unusual to see cars veering
across to the hard shoulder with a blowout during the 15-minute trip
from the quiet surburbs to the bustle of the city centre.
According to the Meterological Centre at Kuwait International
Airport, the average maximum temperature for June was 4degC
higher than usual, unprecedented in Kuwaiti weather records.
'In June we recorded 50C once, and 49C for five
days. The average daily maximum temperature was 46C, well
above the average over the last 40 years of 42C'.
- Hundreds of cattle and sheep in northern
Niger have died over the last few weeks for want of pasture.
Earlier this month, an EU-financed development programme
expressed concern over dwindling pastureland and the risks to
Livestock farmers have been forced to sell animals at drastic
prices, sometimes for less than a third of their usual market
- In yet another statistical measure of the ferocity of this
summer's heat wave, Dallas (USA) today had a low temperature of 83. It's
the 25th day in a row - a record - that the low was more than 80.
The heat wave has killed at least 94 people in Texas since June
1, part of a nationwide total of 143, and caused $1.5 billion in
agricultural damage and more than 6,765 wildfires.
- China's eastern Jiangxi
province has declared a state of emergency after a dyke along the
Yangtze river breached for the first time in more than four decades.
Authorities here declared the emergency late Sunday enabling
them to requisition all materials and able-bodied men to strengthen
defences against flood waters which have risen to historic levels.
- Floods in Bangladesh which have killed
163 people and brought suffering to millions have now shut one of
the country's major roads.
The busy highway linking the capital Dhaka with the southeastern
port city of Chittagong was flooded at several points late Sunday
and traffic was halted.
Tens of thousands of people have been marooned, made homeless or
are otherwise in severe distress after floods hit more than half the
country over the past three weeks.
The country's three major river basins - those of the
Brahmaputra, Ganges and Meghna - have been inundated.
- The National Hurricane Center says the first
tropical depression of the 1998 Atlantic-Caribbean hurricane season has
formed about 300 miles (480 km) south-southwest of the Cape Verde
At 11 a.m. EDT, the center of the depression was located at latitude
11.5 north and longitude 27.0 west.
- Heavy rainfall in County Durham, UK. At Ferryhill
the station was under several feet of water. Over 60mm of rain
fell in two hours.
- First tropical storm Alex has formed. Alex is now 1000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and is moving westerly with 10 knots. Sustained winds were 35 knots with gusts upto 45 knots.
World weather news, August 1998
- In Athens on the maximum temperature was 39.6C, helping to encourage forest fires which were burning nearby.
- A northerly to northwesterly wind cooled off the extreme northern part of Spain. In Valladolid the temperature fell to 4.4C. Showers, some of them heavy and with thunder teased the tourists along the coast near Costa Brava and Costa Dorada. Up to 50mm fell in the showers.
In the higher regions of the Pyrenees 25 cm of snow fell which is a record for this month.
- Some relief in Texas as light rains took the steam - at least temporarily - out of a relentless heat wave.
Weather experts credited a summer cool front with the change and said it would lower temperatures for the next couple of days.
But they warned that it was too early to say that the heat wave that has killed at least 115 people had come to an end.
- Most of the fires, 25 km north of Athens (Greece) have been extinguished. The fires were stimulated by the strong northerly wind. The wind has decreased now a little bit so fires can be controlled more easily. In the last few days 4000 ha of forest were destroyed including 20 houses.
- In Turkey about 80 people have been stung by scorpions. Because of the heat in this country, some people sleep on the roof of their houses. At night when temperatures are much lower, scorpions usually start to hunt.
- Around Athens (Greece) new fires are burning. The northerly wind, the so-called meltemi has increased again, fanning the flames.
- Since june 2000 people have died due to the severe floodings in China, especially in the hard-hit province Hubei. About 5 million houses have collapsed.
- 100 people died in the last days after flooding in North-Korea. Locally 610 mm of rain fell within 24 hours. 2700 people are homeless.
Some of the worst rains and floods on record in South Korea this week killed at least 196 people and left 91 missing and feared dead.
officials said on Friday.
Record rainfalls in Seoul and northern areas of South Korea on Wed. and Thurs. killed 130 people and left 62 missing.
Weather bureau officials blamed the unseasonal heavy rain - it should now be the peak of Korea's hot and dry season - on 'La Nina'.
- The worst heat wave in half a century has swept eastern Europe, causing a reported 20 deaths in Romania and sending people plunging into fountains and standing-room-only pools in search of relief. From Bucharest to Budapest, the region was sizzling again Tuesday under record- or near-record temperatures, hitting close to the 104-degree mark for a third week. And in Yugoslavia's troubled Kosovo province, Serb forces heated their baked beans by setting the cans on the fiery surface of armored personnel carriers.
- Tropical storm Frank brought 75-150 mm of rain and caused mudslides in the northwestern parts of Mexico. Winds gusted up to 110 kmh.
- In Cuba the planting of sugar-cane threathen to be delayed by the continuous drought. This could give serious consequences to the harvest of sugar in the year 2000. This problem is present in most parts of the island. Also food and drinking water supplies are in danger of shortages.
- Bizerte (Tunesia) received 81 mm of rain last week (August normal is 7 mm). In Hardnap-dam (South-Africa) in the last 24 hours the amount of precipitation was 13 mm - the normal for august is just 1mm.
- Very hot weather in France. High temperatures spread inland today: Bordeaux got 38.8C, Auxerre 38.1C, St. Dizier 36.9C and Paris-Orly 35.8C.
- In the Netherlands temperatures reached 35.0C in Oost-Maarland (just south of Maastricht) and along the Dutch beaches it locally turned out warmer than for example the Costa Brava. Hoek van Holland, west of Rotterdam measured 32.1C against a 31.8C in Barcelona yesterday.
In France temperatures climbed to 38.6C in Auxerre and Bergerac yesterday, and 39.8C at Mendig today. On top of the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain, the temperature was 15.3.
- All time August records were broken widely in Southern Germany
today and yesterday. The hot spell ended with severe storms in places
and with flash flooding reported from Nuernberg.
- The heatwave on the island of Cyprus has ended. Temperatures of 47C were measured on the interior. In combination with a high humidity the heatindex was extremely high.
- Tropical Storm Bonnie is bringing squally
weather to Puerto Rico and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands
as its 50 mph (85 kph) winds pass mostly to the north of the region.
- Tropical depression Charley made landfall 125-150 mm of rain fell in the southern part of Texas.
In San Antonio 67 mm fell within 12 hours. Flash flooding was reported.
- Weeks of heavy rain has led to widespread flooding in Korea that has killed over 300 people.
- Heavy rain returned to Bangladesh, complicating relief efforts after nearly a month of flooding that has inundated more than half of the country.
- Hurricane Bonnie is strengthening as it nears
the Bahamas with 85 mph winds, and forecasters flagged it as a
'potentially dangerous hurricane.'
Meanwhile, in Texas, tropical storm Charley rolled over the coast
this morning with 60 mph winds and began to weaken almost
- Forest fires are burning along the southern coast of France. Near Toulon and in the northern part of Corsica 1200 hectares have been burned down.
- Hurricane Bonnie has become a major hurricane,
with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, but the storm remains
stalled east of the Bahamas.
- Heavy rains in South Korea have been blamed for the deaths of three
U.S. servicemen and have caused more than $250 million in damage.
A total of about 230 people have been reported killed or missing
after sudden downpours swept the nation's northern region. The
torrential rains forced about 120,000 people to seek shelter in nearby
schools and churches after their homes were flooded.
- Hurricane Bonnie
drifted slowly northeastward along coastal North Carolina (USA)
knocking out power to 166,000 people, tearing the roof off
a hospital and drenching the area in torrential rains.
The storm lashed the region with sustained winds of 105 mph
while the downpour raised "a big
concern" about potential flooding, the National Weather Service
Bonnie made landfall at Cape Fear at 3 p.m. (1900 GMT)
and was downgraded to a tropical
storm later in the day, after pouring up to 10 inches of rain on parts of the coastal
- At least 53 people have been killed in
heavy floods and mudslides in Tibet since mid-June.
In the last two months, the floods have pushed water levels of
the Yarlung Zangbo (Brahmaputra) and Lhasa rivers to record levels,
Xinhua said in a report from Lhasa. Of more than 70 counties in
Tibet, 40 have been affected.
death toll from landslides and flooding triggered by torrential rains
that are lashing Japan has risen to 13 people.
Four other people are missing today after flooding triggered by
torrential rains preceding Typhoon Rex, which is swirling closer to
Japan's main island of Honshu.
- Federal emergency officials
began assessing flood damage in Del Rio (Texas).
As of Friday evening, authorities were trying to determine the
whereabouts of about 80 people unaccounted for since storms this
week spawned by Tropical Storm Charley sent floodwaters roaring
through the town.
- Japan's meteorological agency warned of
more heavy rain as storm clouds whipped up by an approaching
typhoon Rex covered the east of the country.
The agency said storms had dumped a record 120 cm
of rain on Nasu in the eastern prefecture of Tochigi over
the past five days - nearly eight months' worth of average rainfall
for the region.
Heavy rain spread to the western part of Tokyo early on Sunday,
dumping 18 cm in Shizuoka prefecture.
- Ten more people drowned in
rain-swollen rivers in the eastern Indian state of Bihar,
taking the national toll from floods since June to 1,235.
Rain-swollen rivers in Bihar showed no signs of receding,
prompting the army to speed up ongoing relief and rescue missions in
the impoverished state.
- Several communities in Southern
California saw temperatures soar past records high levels this weekend.
The Weather Bureau in San Diego issued heat advisories for the inland
valleys and deserts, where temperatures are expected to reach as high as
112F before a brief cooling trend sets in.
Temperatures reached 101F in downtown Los Angeles, edging past
the previous all-time high of 100F in 1967, and unhealthful smog levels
were reported throughout the city.
Meteorologist blamed that heat on a high-pressure system parked above
Arizona that is forcing hot desert air into California.
- Two young girls have drowned in
torrential rains in Saudi Arabia and a third person was killed by
The two girls, both under six years old, were drowned in a flash
flood in a wadi (valley) near the western city of Medina. Saudi
Arabia's wadis are usually dry at this time of year.
- A rogue weather balloon from Canada drifted into Russian air space but was losing height and may have crashed in the Arctic Barents Sea after Canadian fighter aircraft punctured it, Norwegian officials said.
The balloon, as tall as a 25-story building and regarded as a hazard to air traffic, entered Russian air space about 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) over the Barents Sea just north of the Arctic island of Spitzbergen.
The unmanned, 300-foot (100-meter) high balloon has travelled across the North Atlantic over Iceland and Norway. It went out of control after being launched on August 24 in the western Canadian province of Saskatchewan to measure ozone levels.
- The flooding of the River Nile in Sudan has
reached a 'dangerous level,'.
The main river had risen higher than its level of
1988, the year Sudan saw the most disastrous flooding in 50 years,
and was increasing by five centimeters (two inches) each day.
Artouli island, some 300 km north of
Khartoum, has been submerged but no casualties were reported as all
inhabitants have been evacuated.
- India's southwest monsoon has passed its lean phase and has progressed steadily, dispelling fears of a sharp drop in crop output, weather and agricultural experts said.
'The monsoon is 100 percent, in fact some areas in eastern and northeastern India are having excess rains,' S.R. Kalsi, deputy director general of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), said.
World weather news, September 1998
- Due to severe floods, about two-thirds of Bangladesh has been submerged, wiping out rice paddies. Officials say 30 million of the nation's 120 million people have been affected by the floods - most of Bangladesh's population lives outside flood-prone areas. Torrential rain in the Himalayas since July has caused rivers to swell and burst their embankments, resulting
in the longest-lasting floods in memory.
- Scorching heat has caused severe water shortages in the western Saudi Arabian cities of Jiddah and Mecca, where water service has been limited to two hours a day. With several of the country's desalination plants increasing output, the shortages are expected to ease soon. Problems began
about a month ago, when the demand for water rose with the temperatures, which have been hovering at about 40C with humidity at 75 percent. The price of drinking water had risen from 25 cents a ton to $160 a ton.
- More than 96.000 people became homeless in Hubei Province after three dykes were blown up, releasing the
raging Yangtze River into the Jianli County. It is a striking example of a measure the government has take repeatedly in China's worst flood in 44 years.
- Tropical Storm Isis weakened as it moved north through Mexico but was still forcing hundreds to evacuate their homes as heavy rains turned roads into rivers and mountain slopes into mudbaths.
- Suddenly and without warning, 7 metre high waves hit the Portuguese coast today. (There are reports of
waves reaching 10 to 12 m ... not officially confirmed). Streets in coastal resorts were flooded, although nobody was killed.
In Cornwall (SW UK) it was reported that
someone was swept out to sea off a promenade by 20ft
seas. A lifeboat went out to rescue the person
and itself was capsized by the waves. All people were swept into the shore and
ended up in a cave. The large waves indeed were likely to have been caused by the low pressure
(remnants of Dannielle) system out in the Atlantic.
- A tornado hit a village on the
Indonesian island of Sumatra, leaving two people dead and three
others seriously injured.
The tornado hit Talangkibul village in the southern Sumatra
district of Lahat in the dead of Sunday night, wrecking five
- Weather forecasters in Bangladesh saw little hope of respite from floods that have swamped 70 percent of the country.
The floods, the longest in the country's history, have so far claimed at least 730 lives and affected about 25 million people.
- Severe thunderstorms and a tornado knocked down power lines and trees in the Northeastern U.S., disrupting the 'Labor Day' holiday with several upstate New York counties under a state of emergency.
Two people were reported killed at the New York State Fair in Syracuse when a storm sent a tree toppling into a tent on the fairgrounds.
Thunderstorms battered Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Southern New England with winds of up to 75 miles per hour and a tornado struck Plainfield, N.J.
- Floods and heavy rains have destroyed
119,000 houses and left more than 200,000 people homeless in nine
The government has mobilized troops to fight the worst flooding
along the Nile River in a half century and is considering
evacuating thousands of people in districts near Khartoum.
The worst hit regions in Sudan, Africa's largest country, are
the Shamalia and el-Nil states north of Khartoum.
- The Bangladeshi capital Dhaka was placed on full alert as massive flood waters threatened to break through a vital embankment protecting over one million of the city's residents.
- Weak August rainfall could hit Ivory Coast's 1998/99 cocoa crop prospects in some areas but a forecast 1.14 million tonnes crop remained possible, local pod counters said.
'It was a bit too dry. The larger pods will mature without any problems but some small pods (cherelles) could suffer'.
- US Gulf Coast residents in Texas, soaked by
up 10 inches of rain, grappled with flooded roads and tropical
storm-force wind today as Tropical Storm Frances churned slowly
Port Mansfield, on the northern edge of the Lower Rio Grande
Valley, had 10 inches of rain between
Monday and this morning, although most places had seen 4 to 6
inches in that time period.
Tides that surged six feet above normal.
- Mexican troops, doctors and rescue workers struggled to reach scores of southern towns swamped by floods, and heavy rains pelted some areas for the seventh straight day. At least 32 people have been reported killed and dozens more were missing in flooding across the country. In the last three days, as much as 450 mm of rain has fallen.
- Outbreaks of snail fever and other diseases have been reported in the vast flood zone along the Yangtze River basin.
More than 9,000 medical teams are dispensing water purification tablets and treatment for people who have had contact with polluted flood water.
- Excessive rainfall was reported in the southeastern part of Texas and in the south of Louisiana, caused by tropical storm Frances. In Houston 141 mm fell in 24 hours.
- Much cooler weather caused early snowfall in the Alps. In higher parts of Austria a snowcover of 20 cm was measured, in Switzerland 50 cm. The snowline came down to 1500 m.
- In the south and southwestern part of the Netherlands excessive amounts of precipitation caused widespread floods on islands of Zuid-Holland and Zeeland. In the south of Limburg small rivers burst out of their banks and flooded villages.
In the Westland, Holland's greatest horticulture-area, tens of greenhouses were flooded.
Within 24 hours (Sunday 08.00- Monday 08.00 CEST) in Rockanje 140 mm of rain fell.
- Rains edged into Ivory Coast cocoa zones at the weekend, raising hopes for 1998/99 (Oct-Sept) crop growth, but remained below average for the time of year, local crop and weather analysts said.
More rain was needed to ensure a good harvest at the back end of the main crop (Oct-April).
'The rains seem to be arriving but we are still below average for September. They are a bit late'.
- The use of weather derivatives is hotting up in the United States.
Weather-hedging products recently emerged on the U.S. electricity market's scene as a form of protection for power companies, which have sales or supply costs highly correlated to fluctuations in temperatures.
A utility company, for example, could use a simple weather swap to hedge against poor electricity sales during a cool summer, when air conditioning demand drops below anticipated levels.
The issuer of the swap pays the utility for each day temperatures break out of an agreed-upon range, while the seller profits if normal temperatures prevail.
- El Nino, the weather pattern blamed for drought, storms and floods worldwide this year, also helped trigger key historical events including the French Revolution, according to a book published today.
The Guinness Book of Amazing Nature chronicles events in history which have been caused by El Nino, which reverses the normal east to west trade winds in the Pacific.
The book said that while the phenomenon occurs up to 30 times a century, only occasionally is it on a scale to cause the serious damage that was seen this year.
- After a summer of seemingly uninterrupted rain, Finnish farmers have enjoyed a week of dry weather to survey the extent of damage to their crops.
Farming has never been easy in Finland, a third of which lies above the Arctic Circle. 'Crop failures are inevitable every now and then, but the weather has come at a particularly bad time this year,' said Esa Harmala, chairman of the farmers' union MTK.
- Tropical storm Todd veered westward toward China after leaving at least six people injured and smashing windows and blowing away roof tiles in southern Japan.
- Hundreds of people were evacuted from several villages near Manila and a nearby province today after those areas were swamped by driving rain and floods.
The flooding was caused by several days of monsoon rains worsened by a tropical storm north of the Philippines.
- Typhoon Vicki cut across Japan's main
island of Honshu, leaving at least 10 people dead and
more than a hundred others injured.
Packing winds of 130 mph, the typhoon
made landfall on a peninsula south of Osaka from the Pacific and
moved off into the Sea of Japan, causing floods and power blackouts
and disrupting air traffic.
- Hurricane Georges smashed across the Florida Keys as a category 2 hurricane today with its fierce 105 mph winds and torrents of rain sent waves surging onto streets, blew down trees and knocked out power to thousands.
- Caribbean damage reports of Georges include:
- DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: At least 125 people dead, hundreds missing,
100,000 homeless. Seventy percent of bridges damaged, 90 percent of banana
and other plantations destroyed. Damage to power grid tops $111 million. Heavy
flooding in Santo Domingo and elsewhere.
- HAITI: Forty-two deaths reported. Flooding in Port-au-Prince, north coast
around Cap-Haitien and other areas, dozens of homes destroyed.
- CUBA: Two deaths, according to Mexican news agency Notimex, nearly
20,000 homes flooded in Holguin province, damage to coffee, cacao and banana
crops, electricity knocked out in some areas, 200,000 people evacuated from
- PUERTO RICO: At least three killed directly by the storm, eight others by
heart attacks and other health complications, 28,000 people in shelters. Hundreds
of homes lost, near-total blackout, most water service lost. Damages estimated
at $2 billion.
- ANTIGUA: Two dead, power out throughout island, roofs ripped off
hundreds of homes and businesses, main marinas damaged. Flooding along south
- ST. KITTS AND NEVIS: Three dead, two missing, 85 percent of homes
damaged, 3,000 homeless. Damage estimated at $445 million. Hospitals, police
stations, schools damaged. Severe damage to airport terminal, control tower.
Both islands without electricity.
- Floods hit two villages in Indonesia's
East Java province, killing one person and leaving hundreds of homes
and hundreds of hectares of crops damaged,
Swollen by four consecutive days of heavy rains, the Mujur river
broke its banks and inundated two villages around the town of
- More than 100 National Guard troops
with heavy equipment are joining a massive cleanup in the resort town of
Gaylord, Michigan, where a weekend windstorm caused more than $1 million in
Ten people were injured in Saturday's storm.
Officials say at least 30 homes were destroyed by straight-line winds
topping 80 miles an hour.
- Critics are wondering
why radio stations played music and TV ran soap operas while
Hurricane Georges pounded the Dominican Republic last week with deadly 110
Dominican officials are being blamed for discounting clear
information from the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, and for
opening shelters only after the storm arrived.
- Around 07.00 am CST this morning, hurricane Georges made landfall just in between the cities of Gulfport and Biloxi. At Keesler airport (Biloxi) around 0900GMT the windspeed was measured at 65 knots with one gust up to 149 knots.
12 inches of rain fell at Pensacola in the Florida
- Heavy rains triggered landslides that killed six people and injured at least four others along Ajusco mountain south of Mexico City. Heavy rains also caused rivers to overflow in the southern state of Chiapas, leaving one person dead.
- Typhoon Yanni lashed Taiwan
unleashing torrential rains that caused walls of mud to engulf more
than 20 homes but there were no casualties..
In the northeastern county of Ilan, an 80 tonnes fishing boat
anchoring outside Wushih harbor was snapped in two by huge waves,
whipped up by the winds but no one was injured.
- The deathtoll attributed to hurricane Georges approached 400 today with
the discovery of more victims in haiti.
- Georges is no longer a hurricane, though it is still drenching the southern states Mississippi and Louisiana as a tropical depression and sending rivers over their banks.
World weather news, October 1998
- Tropical storm Yanni moved out of
South Korea, leaving at least 27 people dead and 28 others
The storm washed away rail lines and highways and flooded vast
residential areas as well as 622,000 acres of rice paddies - a
quarter of South Korea's total crop land.
- Torrential rains in Taiwan have killed four people and left some 40 tourists stranded just as the island geared up for Chinese Moon Festival celebrations.
Police said two men drowned after being washed away by surging waves in the northeastern county of Ilan.
- Extreme and sudden cold spread out last week in Northern and Eastern Europe. Locally the temperature were already down to -10C in Sweden and Finland. In Moscow 3 people were frozen to death. In Brandenburg, around the German city of Berlin, the first snow was observed last weekend which broke the record of early snowfall of 9 october 1991. Also in Holland temperatures were low during the daytime. In De Bilt the temperature reached only 6.1C on the 3rd. It has never been so cold this time of year. The previous lowest max. temperature during the first 10 days of october was 7.8C (10 october 1939).
- Residents of Kansas City (USA) braced for
more rain and possible flash flooding in the wake of torrential storms
that caused flooding and shut down part of Interstate 35.
The downpours began on Sunday.
The storms stretched from Texas to Wisconsin, dumping as much as 6
inches in some areas.
In south Kansas City, at least one car reportedly was swept away at
the eastern end of Brush Creek when flood waters went 4 feet over the
creek's bank. At least 6 people died.
- The National Weather Service has
confirmed that a tornado touched down Tuesday on the campus of Ferris
State University, injuring seven students and causing an estimated $2
million in damage.
The weather service, after a day of examining its data from the
storm, says today the twister was 'weak' but cut a path 50 yards wide
and 1 mile long.
- Heavy rainshowers flooded parts of western and northeastern Italy over the last few days. In Rome 50 mm fell within 12 hours today. At the main airport of Italy's capital flights were delayed for at least 40 minutes. In Koetschach (Austria) 57 mm fell between 0600 and 1800 GMT.
- Hurricane Georges caused at least $2.5 billion
in insured damage to homes, businesses and other property in the
United States and its island territories - making it the
third-costliest on record.
Georges is third-costliest hurricane behind Hugo in 1989 and
1992's No. 1 Hurricane Andrew, which caused $17.7 billion of losses
at today's prices.
Puerto Rico took the biggest hit from Georges.
- Preliminary data show that this year's ozone depletion over Antartica is set a new record,
reaching a record size of 27.3 million square kilometers on September 19th.
The previous record of 26.0 million square kilometers was set on Sept. 7th, 1996. The ozone level fell to 90 Dobson units on September 30, 1998. This nearly equals the lowest value ever recorded of 88 Dobson Units seen on Sept. 28, 1994, over Antarctica.
- The average surface temperature of the
Earth in the 20th century is warmer than it has been in the past five
centuries, a US government-funded study says.
The first globally-focused study of its kind compiled measurements
from 358 boreholes in North America, Europe, Africa and Australia to
find the average surface temperature increased about 0.5degC during this century, and about 1degC over the past five centuries. 'This data should lay to rest the debate over whether the Earth is
warming,' said Henry Pollack, professor of geophysics at the University
of Michigan in Ann Arbor and co-author of the study, which appears in
- Five people have been killed and another
five injured in lightning strikes across southwest Saudi Arabia.
The casualties were residents of Jizan province, which
was also whipped by heavy rains on Friday and Saturday. The storms
destroyed several farms and hundreds of cattle drowned.
- Heavy rains and floods have forced at
least 100,000 people to leave their homes in villages in Nigeria's
western Kwara State.
Almost 70 villages in the Patigi local government area have been
flooded out, with residents forced to leave and property worth
around 10 million dollars damaged.
Heavy rains had swept away a dam at Kaniji-Jebba, provoking the
Heavy rains in Lagos at the weekend also caused some flooding
but not on the scale seen in Kwara State.
- Residents of Saskatchewan are
recovering from an early snowstorm, which dumped 20 inches (50 cm) of
snow on the province and cut power to thousands of homes.
The snowstorm, just three weeks into the fall, came as the Prairie
province was hit by below-freezing temperatures, and caused officals to
ground all flights from Regina's John Diefenbaker Airport.
- More than 60 people were drowned
in torrential rains and floods in North Kordofan state in
flooded the region of Wadi Suleiman in North Kordofan on the night
of Monday to Tuesday, killing 63 members of the nomadic Ridaiqat
tribe, including women and children.
- A heat wave has sparked more than
150 fires across Lebanon, damaging hundreds of acres of pine and citrus
- Typhoon Zeb, the strongest
typhoon to hit the Philippines in seven years, pounded northern parts of
the country with hurricane force winds that destroyed bridges and
brought down communication lines, officials said.
A spokeswoman for the government's civil defense office said it was
too early to assess the damage caused by Zeb, which is packing center
winds of 149 mph (240 kph), with gusts of 177 mph (295 kph).
- IBM has been selected by the National Weather Service to provide a supercomputer that will significantly improve the agency's national weather and climate forecasting capabilities.
The supercomputer - an IBM RS/6000 SP - is more than ten times more powerful than the system made famous during Deep Blue's historic 1997 victory over chess grand master Garry Kasparov.
The RS/6000 SP will allow the National Weather Service's National Centers for Environmental Prediction in Camp Springs, Md., to operate more sophisticated models of the atmosphere and oceans to improve national weather, flood and climate forecasting.
- The government declared a state
of calamity in wide areas of northern Philippines devasted by
Typhoon Zeb which left at least 20 people dead and eight missing, as
a new storm threatened the country.
In the Philippines, initial damage to crops and infrastructure
totalled 11.8 million US dollars).
- British Antarctic Survey has received a satellite image showing an iceberg, approximately 150 km x 35 km, that has broken off Ronne Ice Shelf, in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica (approx. 77 S 50 W). In this region the front of the ice has now retreated to its 1947 position. The Ronne iceberg is four times the size of the last large iceberg to calve in the region which came from Larsen Ice Shelf.
Dr. Doake said "Regular calving of large ice bergs is a natural part of the life-cycle of an ice shelf.
We have been expecting this event for some time.... Although ice shelves are retreating on the
Antarctic Peninsula as a result of regional warming, we do not believe that this event is associated
with climate change."
- Typhoon Zeb headed for the islands of southern
Japan on Friday, weaker for having unleashed its fury on the
Philippines and Taiwan. At least 100 people were killed and tens of
thousands forced to flee their homes.
- Authorities in San Antonio (Texas, USA) say four
people are confirmed dead in heavy flooding.
Dozens of people had to be plucked from stranded cars and out of
trees today after more than 15 inches of rain fell in some places
by early afternoon.
- A fast-running river in the southwestern
Nigerian state of Ekiti at the weekend submerged at least 200 houses, making hundreds of people homeless.
The Osun River broke its banks after blockage by refuse.
Heavy rains in Lagos on Sunday also caused minor flooding.
- At least 250 fishermen are reported
missing after their boats capsized off the Bombay harbour when a severe
cyclone hit India's western coastal areas.
Forecasters had warned fishermen
not to venture out in the choppy seas and several port cities have been
alerted and seaside areas are being evacuated.
- At least 12 people were killed, two were
missing and another 48 were injured after Typhoon Zeb swept through
southern Japan and moved northward.
The 10th typhoon of the season grounded more than 200 domestic
flights and disrupted railway services throughout Sunday morning.
Downpours of 400 mm had been recorded in
some parts of Shikoku since Thursday.
- At least 20,000 people were shifted
to higher ground in the Indian capital New Delhi where a major river
was flowing above its danger level.
New Delhi's flood control room said the Yamuna river was flowing
a metre above its danger level. Nearly 20,000 people had been moved
from low-lying shantytowns.
- Thousands of people were evacuated from
their homes as Typhoon Babs whipped the eastern Philippines, causing power cuts in eastern provinces.
Typhoon Babs, was packing maximum sustained winds of 195 km/hr
with gusts of 235 km/hr.
- Typhoon Babs battered the population
heartland of the Philippines, killing seven people and
displacing at least 200,000.
- The death toll from the Texas floods rose to 26 today.
- Floods triggered by heavy rains have killed 14 people in central Vietnam this week and disrupted road, rail and air links.
The situation was improving in the provinces of Khanh Hoa and Binh Dinh, which have been lashed by heavy rains since Sunday.
- Winds with windforce severe gale to violent storm battered Wales, Cornwall (England) and Northern Ireland on Saturday night and early Sunday morning. At least 1 person died after he drowned in a river. Another person is still missing. Hundreds of hectares of land have been flooded by excessive rainfall.
- In the northern half of Sweden and Finland snowdepths vary between 5 and 30 cm. Very locally the snow exceeds the 10 cm Norway. Temperatures sometimes drop below -15C (Nikkaluokta down to -22.2C on the 22th). In the Alps snow is present in general above 2200 m.
- Hurricane Mitch lashed
Jamaica with heavy rain and flooded parts of the Cayman Islands
with huge sea swells as it slowly moved through the western
The full force of Mitch's 155-mph winds did not strike Jamaica
and the Caymans, but rain squalls from the huge storm flooded
streets in the Jamaican capital of Kingston.
- Hurricane Mitch tied with Hurricane Camille as the
fourth-strongest hurricane on record in the Atlantic, according to
the National Hurricane Center.
Mitch had wind blowing at a sustained 180 mph early Tuesday and
gusts reaching even higher, plus a central air pressure - the
second key measurement - of only 917 millibars.
That intense low pressure tied it with Camille, which killed 256
people after slamming ashore on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1969.
- Many places in the Netherlands have this year the wettest October of the century. In Westerbork (Drenthe) the rainfall this month is already 286 mm.
During the night and early morning of Tuesday many places in the north of the country were struck by excessive rainfall caused by a stationary cold front. Some thunderstorms, severe gusts of wind and hail were reported. Some reports: Albergen(Twenthe) 101 mm, Meppel 97mm. while many places in the northwest and north of the country reported 50 - 60 mm in only 12 hours.
- The recovery of more bodies in the
Philippines raised the death toll from tropical storm Babs to 192.
Babs was a typhoon when it struck the Philippines,
packing winds up to 87 mph.
- Torrential rains the past several days in
the Central African Republic capital Bangui have left at least 5,000
Nearly 1,000 homes were destroyed in six of the city's eight
The rains are continuing with no end in sight and a heavier toll
- Packing gusts of up to 180 mph, Hurricane Mitch continued moving
away from Honduras, leaving severe floods in its wake as it churned
towards Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
- Gales and torrential rain have caused widespread havoc in many parts
of Germany. Prolonged downpours and localised
cloudbursts have led to severe flash floods. The whole of the inner city
of Baden-Baden was flooded.
The storms were accompanied by exceptionally high temperatures in the south.
In the Munich area, 18C was reported at midnight.
- At least eight are dead, 20 are
missing and 50,000 are homeless in Nicaragua due to the torrential rains
from Hurricane Mitch that have drenched the country in the last few
Mitch continues to soak much of Central America today even as it
weakens while stalled in its nearly stationary position near Limon,
- 46.1 mm fell in Munich (Germany), the wettest October day for at least 50 years.
- Floodwaters unleashed by Tropical
Storm Mitch rose quickly across Honduras and Nicaragua,
trapping tens of thousands of people with little food or water and
raising the number of confirmed dead to 88.
- The waterlevel is decreasing in the northeastern part of the Netherlands. In this part 300- 500 mm fell in the last 30 days of October (normally around 70 mm). Some places like Meppel, Ommen en Hardenberg were partially flooded due to the extreme rainfall of this month. The next problem however is the risen waterlevel in some great European rivers like the Rhine, Maas, Waal and IJssel.
- All of Honduras and half of
Nicaragua were put under a state of emergency, while El Salvador
braced for widespread flooding caused by Tropical Storm Mitch's
swing through Central America.
Mudslides buried several communities
near Nicaragua's northwestern border with Honduras, killing at
least 58 people, and pushing up the
death toll Saturday from one of the strongest Caribbean hurricanes
to at least 450.
Only 57 of the 2,500 people living in 10 communities at the foot
of Caistas Volcano had been accounted for by Saturday evening.
World weather news, November 1998
- The death toll from floods which ravaged
central Vietnam last month has reached 56, officials said.
Floods hit the provinces of Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Khanh Hoa,
Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan and Phu Yen due to torrential rainfall
between October 18 and 23.
- Residents of south-central Kansas and
northern Oklahoma (USA) cleaned up after heavy rains sent streams and rivers
over their banks forcing hundreds to evacuate.
Waters began receding Monday after more than eight inches of rain fell during the weekend.
- US multinationals Dole and Chiquita
said most of their Honduran banana plantations were devastated by
last week's deadly floods and would each post fourth-quarter
write-offs of at least 50 million dollars.
- As flood waters receded and
communications improved today, the 'panorama of death' left by
Hurricane Mitch swelled to biblical proportions: An estimated 7,000
dead in Central America, with whole villages wiped off the map and
hundreds of decomposing bodies reeking in slowly hardening rivers
- Reports of damage caused by Hurricane Mitch:
- HONDURAS: Officials report an estimated 7,000 dead, 1 million
driven from their homes, most highways and bridges damaged, 70
percent of crops destroyed.
- NICARAGUA: Varying official reports of 1,800 to 2,400 killed,
most at the Casitas volcano. Damage to 500,000 homes. Many cities
cut off. Widespread crop damage.
- EL SALVADOR: Massive flooding. Officials say at least 239 dead,
135 missing, 50,000 forced from their homes. About 60 percent of
roads in need of repair. Widespread crop damage.
- GUATEMALA: Flooding and mudslides. President Alvaro Arzu says
194 dead, including 11 Americans in plane crash on Sunday. At least
77,900 people evacuated, 28 bridges destroyed, 31 highways blocked.
- MEXICO: At least six dead, including one American in a boating
accident near Cancun on Oct. 26 and five people near Tapachula,
near the Guatemalan border on Monday. Several thousand evacuated.
- COSTA RICA: Seven dead, four missing in floods. About 2,000 cut
off by destroyed roads. Widespread crop damage.
- BELIZE: Tens of thousands fled homes early last week, but the
hurricane veered away and there were no reports of deaths.
- CARIBBEAN: Schooner Fantome with 31 crew aboard missing.
Searchers report finding debris from the vessel.
- 1100 mm of rain has fallen in De Bilt (Holland) this year up to today - the record for a calendar year is 1152mm.
- Record low flooding in Vietnam's fertile southern Mekong Delta may harm the nation's rice crop next year, officials said.
This year's flooding peaked in the Mekong Delta rice bowl at only 2.81 m above normal water levels at Tan Chau district - 3.14 m in 1988 was the previous lowest value on record.
- Tropical Storm Mitch lashed south Florida with
tornadoes, gusty winds and torrential rains overnight and moved quickly
out into the open Atlantic with 60 mph winds.
The National Hurricane Center says it will no longer issue any
advisories on Mitch because it has lost its tropical characteristics and
is now a winter-type storm.
- Ukrainian authorities began the
evacuation of 8,000 people in the Carpathian region after heavy rainfall
in western Ukraine and eastern Europe flooded vast areas of land.
Ukrainian rescue teams say two people have already drowned and 300
were injured by the floods and landslides, which are rapidly turning the
area into a disaster zone.
In Slovenia, which has been battling the floods for several days,
officials said two people had drowned and millions of dollars in damage
had been caused to private property.
The floods were also affecting parts of Romania, especially near the
border areas with Hungary, where at least one person has already died.
- Severe frost in parts of northern Scandinavia, with -28C in Esrange (Sweden).
- Death-toll from hurricane Mitch now stands at 11,500 with 14,000 bodies still
- One of the most powerful storm systems in 25
years roared across the Northern Plains and into the upper Midwest,
packing blowing snow and high winds that caused blizzard conditions in
the Dakotas, Wyoming, Nebraska and northern Minnesota.
Hundreds of vehicles were stranded by the first major snowstorm of
the season as gale-force winds battered Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin and
Kentucky. Downpours drenched Illinois and Indiana, where wind gusts
topped 60 mph.
At least two deaths in South Dakota and Minnesota are blamed on the
- At least 11 people were killed and 25,000
evacuated from their homes as Ukraine's worst floods in 50 years
swept the west of the republic, with further heavy rains forecast
imminently, emergency services said.
- Kuwait's religious affairs ministry
has called for special "rain prayers" in mosques in an attempt to
break the drought which this oil-rich emirate has been suffering.
Kuwait, which has a desert climate, was gripped by scorching
weather this summer that saw temperatures beat previous records and
The capital has not had sustained rainfall for almost a year.
- The storm over the USA Northern Plains is now dying down. At its peak, the storm, blamed for eight deaths, was shaped like
a huge comma. A mass of snow over the Dakotas and Minnesota and a
line of thunderstorms curved from the Great Lakes across the Ohio
and Mississippi valleys all the way to Texas.
It dumped almost a foot of snow in parts of Minnesota and closed
more than 600 miles of highway across the Plains. Hundreds of
accidents were reported and flights across the region were delayed
- The call from Kuwait's religious
affairs ministry for special "rain prayers" in mosques today was
preempted by the first sustained rainfall in exactly a year in this
Kuwait suffered three hours of squall-like showers on Wednesday
evening, a year to the day since the last sustained rainfall, which
resulted in severe flooding and several drownings.
Special prayers, however, went ahead regardless in 18 mosques
across Kuwait on Thursday morning.
- The La Nina weather phenomenon threatens to damage Indonesia's already depleted rice output, an Agriculture Ministry official was quoted as saying.
The Jakarta Post quoted Chairil Anwar Rasahan, director general of food crops and horticulture, as saying La Nina - which brings higher than average rainfall - could hit the rice harvest in 10 of Indonesia's 27 provinces.
Indonesia's rice output was severely hit last year by prolonged droughts caused by El Nino.
- Flights at Moscow's major international
airport, Sheremetevo-2, were paralyzed by record bad weather Friday.
The week's temperatures have dropped as low as -20C in Moscow.
- Still more lives were claimed on Sunday as
the death count rose to 12 in the worst floods Ukraine has seen in
half a century.
Heavy rains hit the country's western Transcarpathia region
almost two weeks ago, wiping out whole villages, leaving thousands
homeless and necessitating wide-scale evacuations.
Reports said some 30 villages and an estimated 1,630
houses had been destroyed in the flooding, with several communities
left with no electricity.
The week's deluges were not limited to Ukraine alone, with
disastrous flooding hitting much of neighboring Romania, Slovenia
- Six people have died after a tropical
storm ravaged southern and central Vietnam.
Five people drowned in the provinces of Binh Thuan and Ninh
Thuan while one man in Baria-Vungtau drowned when his boat sunk
offshore near Con Dao islands, they said.
The storm also caused the collapse of houses, damaged roads and
swamped hundreds of hectares of rice fields.
- La Nina will peak from December to February, World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) climate scientists told a news conference.
William Kininmonth, a WMO scientist, said La Nina was now moving into the southern hemisphere, where it could give rise to intense tropical cyclones in northeast Australia, Mauritius, some of the southwest Pacific Islands, and possibly New Zealand.
Kininmonth said tropical cyclones in the region could start 'any day soon' and last until April.
He said their intensity could come close to Hurricane Mitch, the deadliest Atlantic storm in two centuries, which killed 11,000 people in Central America last month, left millions homeless and caused billions of dollars in damage.
Already this year, La Nina has been blamed for heavy rains and flooding in Indonesia, China, Bangladesh, North and South Korea, Laos, Mongolia and elsewhere, and drier-than-normal weather in central East Africa, North America and the southwestern United States.
- Some 130 localities in the Kharkov region
of western Ukraine were deprived of electricity when accumulated ice
and snow brought down power lines.
It said that repairs due to be completed late Wednesday could be
hampered by a new spell of bad weather.
- Bitter cold and storms have killed at
least 20 people in Russia, 10 in Poland and Romania, and created chaos on
Four died recently from cold in various parts of Poland, and six were found in Iasi, northern Romania
over the past few days.
In Germany, an early snow storm Wednesday tied up thousands of
vehicles including gritting machines in a 40 km
traffic jam between Hannover and Dortmund.
In the eastern region of Mecklenburg-Pomerania, some 60 traffic
accidents were recorded in the space of a few hours.
Russian meteorologists expect this winter to be the coldest in
The month of November has been the coldest in western Russia
since weather services began keeping records.
- Bitterly cold here all week on the Baltic coast of Germany, with northerly winds, maxima around
0C to +1C, minima around -1C (thanks to the sea of course).
Oberstdorf in the German Alps recorded -21 C on Thursday morning,
apparently a new record for November there since at least 1936.
- Fifteen people have died in a cold snap
accompanied by heavy snowfall, which has gripped Poland for the past
five days, with temperatures dipping to -15C.
- Unusually heavy snow fell in Beijing (China) for
the first time this winter, caused its international airport to
close for several hours, diverting 56 flights.
All expressways linking Beijing with other cities were also
covered a large area in northern China and measured 11 millimetres
(0.44 inch) in the capital's northern Huairou county by 2:00 p.m..
Each snowfall in Beijing usually amounts two to three millimetres
(0.08 to 0.12 inch) and today's heavy snow is very rare.
- Cold weather caused havoc in parts of
Europe, claiming lives in Italy, Poland and Romania.
Three people died in freezing temperatures in Italy while two
others living in a Rome apartment died of gas leaking from their
Up to 40 cm of snow fell in Italy's central
region of Umbria where many live in prefabricated homes following
last year's earthquake that destroyed many houses in the region.
In Romania, road and rail traffic was paralysed in the south and
east of the country after non-stop snowfall for the last 24 hours.
The Romanian army sent out tanks to rescue 300
vehicles trapped on a road between the eastern towns of Buzau and
Braila since late Friday.
Salzburg (Austria) noted overnight temperatures on Saturday of -18.4C, its coldest on record for
- Severe winter weather in Romania has
left 17 dead and at least 49 injured, many from frostbite, as snow
continued to fall today blocking hundreds in their cars.
- Eastern Europe bore the brunt of a cold
snap across the continent over the weekend, with scores dying from
the cold as temperatures plunged in places to -26C.
In France, four street-sleepers have succumbed to the
The Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported that thick
ice had again foiled attempts by a nuclear-powered ice-breaker to
force a passage through to the isolated Chukotka peninsula so an oil
tanker can ferry in urgently-needed fuel supplies.
The vessels are stranded some 80 miles from the Pevek and Mys
Shmidta villages, where residents are without fuel.
Temperatures in the region currently vary between -20C and
- A severe storm coming from the Bay or Bengal made landfall on Bangladesh's south coast near Mongla port at 1315 p.m.
Bangladesh had evacuated more than 30,000 people as weather forecasters said the storm packing winds of up to 140 kph approached through the Bay of Bengal toward its southern coast.
- At least 100 people are missing and
an unknown number are dead in Colombia after a mudslide swept an emerald
mining village following heavy rains.
50 homes in La Catorece village (near the northern town of Quipama)
However, many people already left the village fearing landslides
after more than 24 hours of steady rain.
Colombia produces close to 60 percent of the total volume of emeralds
in the world.
- An Arctic cold wave and accompanying
blizzards have killed at least 100 people throughout Europe, police
and media reported today.
Fountains in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris were completely
frozen, and in Mouthe, in eastern France, temperatures fell to
-6F this morning.
In Italy, there were reports of snow on the island of Capri and on
Mount Vesuvius in Naples.
In Moscow, medical authorities say 11 people died of hypothermia as
temperatures plunged below -25C, and 266 suffered from frostbite.
Russian meteorologists blame an Arctic weather front, which has
broken 30-year temperature records in northern Russia.
In parts of Germany, 20 centimeters (eight inches) of snow have
fallen in a week.
- Weekend rains wreaked havoc in Greece, and high winds on
Monday caused a small cargo ship to capsize off the northern port of
Salonica. Four sailors from the ship are missing.
- At least 102 people died, 14 were injured
and an unspecified number were missing after Typhoon Dawn hit
According to the Vietnam News daily, the toll could rise to
several hundred dead and more than a thousand injured as hundreds of
fishing boats were reported missing.
Typhoon Dawn was the worst storm to hit central Vietnam in three
decades, the daily said.
Many of the missing were fishermen caught offshore when the
typhoon struck on Friday.
- The number of people killed by
freezing weather in eastern Europe over the week rose above 130
Authorities in Paris ordered an underground railway station to
stay open through the night to give shelter to the homeless.
In eastern France, five ice-breaking ships were used on Tuesday
to free boats stuck in thick ice on canals in the Lorraine region.
In Germany, snow and ice caused around 100 road accidents
overnight, injuring five people.
In Italy, where seven people have died in recent days.
- British Columbia is
bracing for a second storm less than 24 hours after earlier high winds
left thousands of people without power.
The storm was considered one of the worst to hit the province in a
decade, with winds gusting up to 62 mph.
- Australian cane harvesters are racing time and weather to salvage as much sugarcane as possible from bogged fields after months of freakish rainfall in north Queensland.
The longest period Tully district (Queensland) has had without rain this year is eight days, the second-longest was six days.
Weather bureau records show that the biggest 1998 deluge occurred in September, when 610 mm of rain fell at the Tully sugar mill station, compared with the 74-year average for the month of 121 mm. In August 159 mm fell (average 132 mm), while in October 208 mm fell (102 average).
- Powerful winds and heavy rains triggered
mudslides and prompted renewed concerns about flooding as the
second storm in three days pummeled the Northwest USA.
Gusts of about 100 mph toppled a mobile home and a truck in
Officials had issued flood watches for several creeks and
rivers, and landslide advisories were in effect for steep slopes in
counties along the Oregon coast.
- A Russian meteorological ship has been
trapped in ice in a port on the Kara Sea in the Arctic, even though
national weather services had predicted that the sea would freeze
because of an early onset of winter.
The Mikhail Somov is responsible each year for supplying Arctic
weather stations with fuel and food.
November 1998 has been the coldest ever recorded by Russian
weather specialists since their service was founded 120 years ago.
- The only forecaster who dares to
predict hurricanes decades in advance says this year's deadly hurricane
season probably foreshadows what's to come.
There were 14 tropical storms this year and nine of them turned
into hurricanes. The average is nine and six.
Dr. William Gray says he and his team believe it is a reflection of
the new hurricane era we entered in 1995. He says they expect the trend
to continue for the next few decades.
- Storms, floods, droughts and fires have caused
a record $89 billion in economic losses this year worldwide, more
than was lost from weather-related disasters in all of the 1980s,
according to a private study.
Preliminary estimates by the Worldwatch Institute and Munich Re
of Frankfurt, Germany, the world's largest reinsurance firm, put
total losses from weather-related disasters for the first 11 months
of the year 48 percent higher than the previous one-year record of
more than $60 billion in 1996.
This year's damage also was far ahead of the $55 billion in
losses for the entire decade of the 1980s.
A combination of deforestation and climate change caused this
year's most severe disasters, among them Hurricane Mitch, the
flooding of China's Yangtze River and Bangladesh's most extensive
flood of the century, according to the report .
The costliest disaster of 1998, according to the report, was the
flooding of the Yangtze River in the summer. It killed more than
3,000 people, dislocated about 230 million people and caused $30
billion in losses.
- The 55,000 inhabitants of the town of
Alapayevsk in the Urals, 200 km north of
Yekaterinburg, are without heating in glacial temperatures of -40C.
Cash-strapped local authorities have been unable to afford to
get in the usual supplies of gas and heating oil.
- The death toll from Typhoon Dawn which
slammed into central Vietnam late last week, had risen to at least
- The warm weather that prevailed across
Illinois during the weekend set several records.
The National Weather Service says 68F in
Chicago, breaking the old record high of 66F for this date set in 1933. The normal high
temperature for late November is 41F.
Sunday was the fourth straight day the Windy City had a temperature
of 60 degrees or higher. Such a four-day warm streak has only happened
on two other occasions this late in the year, in 1927 and 1962.
- Hurricane Nicole is spinning in the mid-
Atlantic Ocean, and its tropical storm-force winds could threaten the
Azores by Tuesday.
- About 64 people, many of them homeless street dwellers, have died in Poland in the past two weeks as a result of the bitter cold weather which has hit central and eastern Europe earlier than usual. At least half of the 55 deaths so far recorded were of heavy consumers of alcohol, usually men over 50 living in rural areas.
World weather news, December 1998
- One person died in Moscow and 37 others
were treated for hypothermia or frostbite as temperatures fell on
Monday night to -23C.
The latest death brings to 46 the number of people who have died
since October as a result of cold weather in Moscow.
Extreme cold has hit central and eastern Europe earlier than
usual this year.
- A record high for the date of 66F was set in Minneapolis at the
Twin Cities International Airport, breaking the 1962 record of 62.
Grand Island, Neb., saw a high of 66F, beating the 64-degree record
set in 1964.
- Three international film makers were plucked to safety from an Arctic wilderness island Tuesday after surviving six weeks of blizzards while fast running out of food.
Ovsyannikov, Australian cameraman Rory McGuinness and Japanese producer Tatsuhiko Kobayashi were rescued by helicopter from remote Wrangel Island, where they had been trapped since mid-October, waiting for a break in the weather.
- Norway is currently experiencing unusually warm weather. Today +18.3C
was recorded in Sunndalsora ( 63N). Such a high temperature has
never before been measured in Norway in December.
- A major weather event in North North Island with widespread rainfalls of 140mm in
12hrs, producing many flooding and landslides.
One good feature was that it gave good rains to seriously drought
affected areas in Gisborne /Hawkes Bay, 70mm+ in many areas.
- Belgian farmers can expect their incomes to drop by as much as a third as crops rot in the ground following recent extreme weather conditions, the country's biggest agricultural union said.
Belgium has suffered abnormal weather in recent months, with heavy rain causing widespread flooding in September and unusually harsh frosts in November making soils unworkable.
The autumn has been the wettest since 1984, with minimum temperatures at values normally recorded just once each 30 years.
- Most of the United States, especially
the Atlantic coast, has been enjoying unusually mild weather for the
past few days, with temperatures much higher than seasonal averages.
In New York, temperatures hit 18C (5C is the normal for this time of year).
- Garland (Texas, USA) fire and rescue crews are
looking for the driver of a car that was caught in a flash flood
overnight in heavy rains that hit the area.
- The Colorado State University
forecast team led by Profesor William Gray is predicting a 1999 season
as active as the deadly season that just ended.
Gray and his colleagues are predicting 14 storms, nine hurricanes and
four major hurricanes in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.
There were 14 tropical storms, 10 hurricanes and three major
hurricanes this year. The average is 9.3, 5.8 and 2.2.
- Heavy snowfalls crippled traffic on
Belgian roads and motorways with fresh snow and freezing
Traffic moved in a single lane on national highways, but many
secondary roads were completely closed.
Temperatures were below freezing throughout the country, except
for the coast.
- A cold front sweeping through Northern California brought heavy rains, hail and even a tornado that caused damage near San Francisco. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
A record daily low temperature was set Saturday morning at Moffett Field, about 40 miles south of San Francisco. The mercury dipped to 31F.
- Dutch national broadcast TV-station NOS have decided to stop working with the KNMI, the Dutch meteorological institute.
After 64 years this cooperation has come to an end. The daily weather forecasts will use meteorological data which will come from Meteo Consult, which is bought at the KNMI.
- The death toll from a recent cold snap
hitting central and eastern Europe rose to some 180 Monday, with
Romania and Poland the worst affected countries.
Romanian authorities reported 12 new deaths overnight bringing
the number killed in the country to 77.
- The Australian Bureau of Meteorology are issuing warnings
for severe tropical cyclone Thelma (a category 5 storm)
between Cape Don and Mitchell Plateau in Western Australia, including
Very destructive winds with gusts to 200 kilometres per hour are
being experienced over the western Tiwi Islands.
- The beginning of winter has been the
driest in Israel for 58 years with only between 10 and 30
millimetres of rain since April.
The Sea of Galilee, the country's main reservoir, is falling
dangerously low and only has two month's supply left. Water is not
yet rationed, but the ministry of agriculture is making plans to
cope with the shortage.
Temperatures are also higher than the seasonal average, with 28C
in Tel Aviv on the 7th.
The drought has hit agriculture, and flowers, fruit and
vegetables have been affected by the heat.
- A northerly spell starting around 4th December brought heavy snowfalls to much
of Germany. By the 9th, most of the country had a snow cover. The greatest falls
were recorded in the south and east. Ulm reported a depth of 30 cm, while up to
a metre of snow has fallen in the hills of eastern Bavaria.
The snowfalls were followed by severe frosts with minima below -15 C in several
places, the lowest being -22.9 C at Oberstdorf in the Allgaeuer Alps.
- Heavy snowfalls associated with a very sharp temperature
gradient across Germany have lead to appalling conditions,
especially in the south. Numerous road accidents and long delays
were reported. Around 200 flights were cancelled or suffered
long delays as severe disruptions were caused at Frankfurt,
Stuttgart and Munich airports due to the atrocious weather conditions.
- Thousands of Russians in the
Pacific port city of Vladivostok tried to keep
warm in freezing apartments after a power plant shutdown cut heating to
large parts of the city of 650,000.
A drastic shortage of funds has prevented the city authorities from
replenishing the supply of fuel for the city's power plants, and
officials say similar fuel shortages are affecting widespread areas of
the Russian Far East.
The situation in Vladivostok has been complicated by a blizzard,
which has created snowdrifts in some areas.
- The Colorado State Patrol (USA) says icy
pavement and thick fog played a role in a multi-vehicle crash that
killed at least two people on Interstate 25 about 30 miles north of
The crash occurred less than 24 hours after a 30-plus vehicle
collision 40 miles to the south on Interstate 25 - also weather-related
- left a half-dozen people injured.
- The three-week cold snap across Poland
has claimed 100 lives so far.
The 100th victim was a 68 year-old man who collapsed and froze
to death after walking home from a bar.
Rail and road traffic was seriously affected in several
- Poland, which has suffered a fierce cold
spell the past month leaving 142 people dead according to the latest
toll, is now threatened by floods as temperatures have risen
Temperatures in southwest Poland soared by 30 degC in several
hours. In Jelenia Gora, the temperature rose from -22C
on Saturday to 7C
on Sunday. In Warsaw, the temperature rose -15C tp 5C.
Melting snow has caused rivers to swell,
and authorities in Wroclaw in the southwest have issued a
regional flood warning.
- South African President Nelson Mandela narrowly
escaped injury today from a tornado that killed 18 people elsewhere
in Umtata, a town near the southeastern coast.
He was in a pharmacy, the doors and windows of which were shattered by the
force of the storm, and part of the roof caved in, but the
president suffered no injuries.
About 14 people are believed to have drowned in a flash flood in
the eastern Mpumulanga province at the weekend and 500 people have
been evacuated from parts of the Western Cape, where torrential rain
has caused extensive flooding.
- At least 21 people were killed as Typhoon
Faith ravaged central Vietnam.
The deaths occurred in the coastal provinces of Khanh Hoa and
Material damage has been estimated at 20 million dollars.
Typhoon Faith, which left 29 dead in the Philippines last
weekend, weakened into a tropical depression Tuesday as it reached
high ground in Vietnam.
- Torrential rains and gale-force
winds whipped across Argentina, leaving seven dead and destroying
Thousands of people were left without electricity, especially in
the northern areas of the country.
- This year was the hottest on record,
causing a series of natural disasters around the globe, the World
Meteorological Organization (WMO) said..
Record high temperatures were recorded for each of the ten
months to October, the WMO said, adding 1998 was the 20th
consecutive year that temperatures were above normal.
The average global temperature was 0.7C higher at the end of the 20th century than it was
100 years ago.
- An arctic cold snap gripping the Rocky
Mountain West area (USA) with subzero (degF) temperatures and wind chills of
Meteorologists say an arctic air mass settled in over Colorado held
temperatures to single digits along the populous Front Range and eastern
plain and forced the mercury into the single digits overnight.
- Two Polish army helicopters were to
resume bombing the frozen Vistula river on Tuesday after failing
with one tonne of explosives to make more than a small breach in
thick ice threatening Europe's longest wooden bridge.
Ice caused from several weeks of extreme cold threatens the
1,200 metre long wooden bridge situated about 60
kilometers west of Warsaw and another still under
- At least two people have been killed
in 24- and 35-car pileups on icy Interstate 35 at Austin as freezing
rain creates hazardous driving over a large section of Texas.
In Dallas-Fort Worth, hundreds of accidents were reported on icy
roads and many businesses closed or delayed opening due to the hazardous
- Eleven people have died in the
frigid cold wave that has struck Guatemala.
this Central American nation,
The 11 were all homeless people who lived in the capital, where temperatures have reached -3C.
- Ice storms that crippled electrical service throughout the South (USA)
left thousands shivering through Christmas, and utility crews raced
to rewire their customers today.
While more freezing rain was not in the forecast, the South -
and most of the nation - was expected to continue under a cold snap
already blamed for at least 30 deaths.
The worst outages struck Virginia, where 1,100 crewmen worked
Christmas Day to restore power.
- Two men were feared dead and over 80,000
people were left without power on Saturday as violent winds ripped
across Ireland and Britain.
The Meteorological Office warned that winds could reach
Ferries and flights have been have been cancelled, and telephone
and electricity lines were reported to be down in counties Donegal,
Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Cavan, Monaghan and Longford.
In the south west of Britain, the Environment Agency issued 50
- Four people were killed, one is missing,
and some 200,000 homes were without electricity Sunday after
hurricane-force winds and rain lashed Britain and Ireland.
A 23-year-old man died when a tree fell on his car in the
Connemara region of western Ireland, where winds hit 106 mph.
In northern Wales, another car accident caused by fallen trees
killed a five-year-old boy and seriously injured his mother, who was
Rescue workers in Devon, western England, pulled the body of a
44-year-old man from a swollen river after he fell in and drowned.
The electric company Scottish Power said it was "using
helicopters to get engineers out to the affected areas becasue
access is a problem with so many roads blocked by fallen trees."
- Driving rain and melted snow have
triggered floods and mudslides throughout western Oregon (USA), blocking
roads and stranding residents. More rain was in the forecast today.
Following 4 inches of rain over two days, a landslide buried U.S. Highway 101 while the Wilson River swamped the
highway under 9 feet of water.
- Six sailors are confirmed dead after a freak
storm decimated most of the fleet in the annual Sydney-to-Hobart yacht
A total of 115 yachts left Sydney on Saturday for the 630-nautical-
mile journey south to Hobart, capital of the island state of Tasmania,
but by Sunday afternoon the bulk of the fleet, nearing the half-way
mark, was hit by gale-force winds of up to 70 knots and 60 to 80 feet
swells about 40 nautical miles off Australia's southeast coast.
Weather forecasters had predicted strong winds, but nothing like the
extreme low-pressure formation which had earlier dumped snow on the
nation's ski fields - in the middle of summer.
- Schools have been closed for three days
in Macedonia because of unusually severe cold weather.
Temperatures dipped to -20C overnight, the lowest in Macedonia since 1988.
Authorities called on the population to save electricity.
Consumption has doubled in recent days, causing prolonged cuts.
- A fresh storm caused further havoc in
Ireland's south, as repairs and mopping up continued after
recent hurricane force winds in the north-west of the country.
Around 15,000 homes in the west and north-west are still without
power after the 26 December storm - the worst since Hurricane
Debbie struck the country in 1961.
The latest storm, which brought heavy rain and winds gusting to
85 mph (138 kmph), struck the south and south-east of the country
and left a further 3,000 houses without electricity.
- Thousands of people remained in the dark
nearly a week after an ice storm struck the South (USA), and Virginia
Power officials said damage will cost the utility at least $13
million - as much as Hurricane Fran did two years ago.
- At last three people have been killed in
Ontario when temperatures plummeted after a day of rain, turning puddles
on highways into black ice, and making driving difficult.
Temperatures were at 3C on
Tuesday when a steady downpour drenched the province, but plummeted
within hours to -12C during
Police say pools of water and slush on the road turned to ice, and
numerous accidents were reported across the province, including the two
- The mercury has plummeted
in southern British Columbia (Canada) for the second time in as many weeks, with
snow blanketing several areas where it seldom falls.
Temperatures in Victoria fell today to -20C, and officials are urging New Year's Eve revelers to
bundle up and avoid staying out late at night.
If you have a snippet of weather news that you feel merits inclusion, then please feel free to email it to me.
Last updated 28 September 2015.