World weather news
World weather news, January 1999
- Six people were killed when an avalanche
swept down onto a remote village in northeastern Canada during a New
The wall of snow crashed into a gymnasium in the Inuit village of
Kangiqsualujjuaq, at Ungava Bay, Quebec province. Several hundred people
had gathered at the village, about 950 miles north of Montreal
to celebrate the New Year.
- A massive winter storm arcing from Gulf Coast
states to the upper Midwest grounded scores of New Year's flights,
knocked out power to thousands and threatened to dump more than a
foot of snow across the northern half of the region.
About a half-foot of snow covered St. Louis by Friday night, along with
areas of central and southeastern Illinois and central Iowa.
Several inches fell on the Dakotas.
- A violent wind storm, described by
rescue workers as a "mini-tornado," ripped across Tours (France), severely damaging a school and inflicting other
property damage but leaving only three people slightly injured.
The two-minute phenomenon damaged roofs, chimneys and cars and
uprooted trees, the emergency services said, adding they had
received 200 calls for help.
- The blizzard that hit this weekend appears to
have earned a place in the annals of Chicago weather history.
The National Weather Service said at least 17 inches of snow had
fallen as of 5 p.m. at Chicago's Midway Airport, making the snowfall the
third-largest since 1960, behind the two-day blizzards of 1967 and 1979.
The snow was still falling at last measure, so the final tally could be
The worst blizzard on record immobilized Chicago during Jan. 26-27,
1967, when 23 inches of snow fell. The No. 2 storm of Jan. 13-14, 1979,
dumped 18.8 inches on the city.
A huge snowstorm blew across the Midwest on Saturday with
whiteout conditions and drifts up to 8 feet high, cancelling
hundreds of airline flights, forcing motorists off roads and
keeping mail deliverers from their appointed rounds.
- A strong line of thunderstorms, part of
the same winter storm system that howled through the north this weekend,
spawned high winds and tornadoes that damaged homes, trees, and power
lines in Florida.
- While Chicago dug out from nearly 22 inches
of snow, near-blizzard conditions continued in parts of Wisconsin and
The National Weather Service says 21.6 inches of snow fell in Chicago
between Friday and early today, making it the second largest storm in
the city's recorded history.
- Some 39 people died in the weekend
blizzard that ripped through the Midwest and Eastern United States,
CNN reported early Monday.
Most of the storm victims were killed in vehicle accidents,
although some died in house fires, according to news reports.
Several cities tied or approached coldest ever recordings in the aftermath
of this snowstorm. The cooperative observer in Congerville, Illinois recorded a low temperature on the 5th of -36F, the lowest ever recorded in the state of Illinois.
- Weekend storms across Florida have sent
damage estimates (Monday) into the millions of dollars and left at least
seven people injured.
- France basked in spring-like
temperatures that delighted tourists and sidewalk cafe owners but
raised concern among farmers fearing for crops, and left ski resort
owners praying for snow.
The temperature in the capital reached an all-time record of 16C.
In southern France, the temperature climbed to 23C
in some regions.
In the Netherlands, an all-time record of 16.2C
was noted in the south, near
the border with Belgium.
In Berlin, the
mercury climbed to 14C, the highest in 50
- Southern Ontario is still ploughing snow off
city streets, but planes are now taking off more frequently from
Toronto's Pearson International Airport on the third day after the worst
blizzard in three decades.
In a minor mishap in the aftermath of the snowstorm, an American
Airlines plane on a flight from New York slid off a taxi-way into a
snowbank shortly after landing today, but no one was hurt.
Toronto, Canada's largest city, did not have enough snowplows to
clear its streets fast enough to get traffic back to normal and snow
melters have been pressed into service to clear the streets.
- The Swiss Alps basked in summer
heat, recording the highest temperatures since records began 62
At Jungfraujoch, the highest Swiss weather station at 3,580
metres, the temperature hit 3.3C, or 3degC
above the previous record set in January 1982.
- In Freiburg, the
maximum temperature of 18.2C fell just 0.6C short of the
all time January record set in 1991. The warmth also extended right
across to the north-east of Germany where 15.9C was recorded in the Cottbus region
and Berlin's 14.6C was the capital's second highest reading of
- 15.7C at the rooftop site of London Weather Centre was the highest January
reading in London since at least 1841.
- Fresh snow blanketed Chicago (USA) to end the
worst week for Windy City commuters in decades.
Chicago school officials warned parents Friday would be the last day
children would be able to claim excused absences because of the snow,
saying that normalcy needs to return to classes. Absences have been
running at 50 percent since schools opened on Wednesday.
Budget officials estimate it has cost Chicago
$31.5 million so far in this snowy spell for snow removal.
- Heavy snowfalls and icy winds
Monday played havoc with road, rail and air travel in eastern and
southern France and left tens of thousands of homes without
In the Rhone-Alpes region around Lyon, police reported traffic
jams several kilometres long on the A7 motorway south of
Montelimar, while trains between Lyon and Paris were delayed between
one and three hours after snow damaged electric power lines.
- More snow and below-zero temperatures hit
Chicago (USA) as travel returned to near-normal for the first time in more
than a week.
Transit officials said most commuter trains were on time today for
the first time since the New Year's holiday weekend storm that dumped
21.6 inches of snow at O'Hare International Airport, causing lengthy
Another foot of snow accumulated in Buffalo, N.Y., during the
weekend, leaving three feet on the ground since the first of the year.
Lake-effect snow fell at a rate of three inches an hour in some areas
and created whiteout conditions Sunday night.
- Heavy snowfall in northern France
left almost 200 kilometres of traffic jams
around the capital, with many flights cancelled and thousands of
homes plunged into darkness as power failed.
Up to five centimetres (two inches) of snow fell in less than
two hours as offices and shops closed and workers headed home,
causing delays in Paris and its suburbs.
- At least 10 people died as
temperatures in Hong Kong plunged to their lowest level this winter.
Many of the victims were elderly suffering from chronic
illnesses and died as a result of complications caused by the sharp
temperature drop since Monday.
From Monday's 17C, the
temperatures dropped on Tuesday to 12C in urban areas, while in rural areas it registered a low
- Thousands of people left homeless by
devastating floods across China last year now face a battle against
snow and freezing temperatures.
Major snowfalls hit the central province of Hunan on Monday and
Tuesday. The province was one of the worst hit by the floods.
"Thick tents" had been distributed to refugees who
were still in "emergency evacuation centres."
- Nine people were killed and 32 injured in
road accidents after thick fog covered the Cairo (Egypt) area like
Cairo airport was shut down for six hours until the fog
Six incoming planes were re-directed to the airports of Luxor,
Hurghada and Alexandria and to the Cypriot airport of Larnaca.
Eight other aircraft had to wait two to eight hours before
receiving permission to take off from Cairo.
- A storm has erupted among weathermen in
Hungary over the reliability of their forecasts.
The National Meteorological Service (OMSZ) says some radio and
TV stations' weather reports cannot be trusted. "Viewers have
complained that the truth factor of the forecasts is very low," it
said in a statement.
Private broadcasters hit back, saying their forecasts were
better than the OMSZ's. Commercial radio and TV has flourished in
Hungary since the sector was deregulated in the mid-1990.
"Our forecasts come from the Dutch MeteoConsult company, the
most reliable in Europe," said RTL Klub, a leading private TV
channel. "The OMSZ is only 12th," it noted.
The OMSZ responded by publishing a list of radio and television
channels for whose forecasts they take responsibility.
- Detroit (USA) Schools Supt. Eddie Green has closed
all public schools until further notice because mountains of snow clog
city streets and sidewalks, and more snow is on the way.
Green also says today he wants the district's 183,000 students and
their parents to volunteer in a 'massive effort' to dig out areas
around schools. The shovelling is scheduled to start Thursday.
Since Jan. 2, a series of storms have buried Detroit under more than
2 feet of snow. Another 3 inches or more could fall by Thursday night.
The January snow record is 29.6 inches set in 1978.
- Heavy snowfall in southern Ontario (Canada) has
disrupted Toronto's transit system, and the city's mayor says he will
call on the Canadian army to help if there is any more snow over the
next 24 hours.
Southern Ontario received 6 inches (15 cm) of snow overnight in the
third snowstorm in less than two weeks. There was already 8 inches (20
cm) of snow on the ground from a weekend storm.
- The temperature dropped to -55F
in Allagash in northern Maine (USA) during the night, a
record low for the state and possibly New England.
The National Weather Service today described the low temperature as
'incredible' and said it easily broke the previous low of 48 degrees
below, recorded on Jan. 19, 1925, in Van Buren.
- Thermometers have frozen and people
walking outdoors were risking frostbite as deadly temperatures,
colder than even the North Pole, tightened around eastern Canada
Quebec was shaking under temperatures between -30C and -45C, not including the
wind chill factor.
Along the St. Lawrence, thermometers froze when temperatures hit
Temperatures in the North Pole were at a comparatively balmy
After several days of crippling cold, meteorologists were giving
out weather reports with warning labels: anybody going outside, even
briefly, was at risk of frostbite if any part of the body were not
covered and protected.
- A snowstorm dropped up to 18 inches of snow in New England, USA.
Boston's Logan International Airport was forced to close because of
icing conditions. Ice coated the northeastern United
States, due to frozen rain caused by
moisture forced on top of Arctic air.
- Heavy snow and frigid temperatures
continued to grip Eastern and Central Canada Friday, forcing
authorities to close schools and offices and call out the military.
More than 26 cm of snow fell on Toronto since
Tuesday and 111.2 cm fell since the beginning
of the month.
That accumulation beat historic records for the city dating back
- Adventurer Peter Hillary narrowly
escaped death in a snap blizzard, the ice trekkers across Antarctica
said. Australian Eric Philips
described the panic felt by himself and fellow trekker Jon Muir when
Hillary, who had fallen a short distance behind, "just
The trekkers are attempting to retrace the exploits of Robert
Falcon Scott in 1912.
"We were hit by this horrendous ground blizzard," Philips said.
"The wind blew up to about 50 knots, we had less than 10 metres
The extreme conditions faced by the trekkers on the polar
plateau above the Shackleton Glacier included temperatures ranging
down to -50C.
- Heavy fog and black ice are blamed for
dozens of accidents that closed a stretch of Interstate 94 southwest of
Michigan State Police say about 50 cars were involved in the early
morning pile-up near Oakwood Blvd., in the city of Allen Park, Mich.
- At least 11 people were killed and 20 were injured in four road accidents caused by foggy weather in Syria.
- Up to ten tornadoes ripped through
the state of Tennessee Sunday night, killing nine people and
About 30 homes were damaged or destroyed in Henderson County.
- Driven by powerful winds, snow and rain
pounded the Midwest and Northeast (USA) , knocking out power to thousands
of people and causing accidents from Illinois to New England.
U.S. Coast Guard officials were trying to determine if bad
weather played a role in the apparent sinking of a 74-foot fishing
boat off the waters of Barnegat Light, about 35 miles north of
Farther west, blowing snow caused whiteout conditions in
Minnesota and Illinois.
The storms knocked out power to at least 23,500 customers in
Pennsylvania 24,000 in Connecticut and 18,000 in New Jersey.
- The densely populated regions of North America
and Europe could face the threat of increased ultraviolet radiation
if ozone loss over the Arctic, such as occurred in 1996 and 1997,
This threatens to 'allow the penetration of enhanced UV
radiation at northern mid-high latitudes,' warn researchers in the
latest issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research, published by
the American Geophysical Union.
Georg Hansen of the Norwegian Institute for Air Research in
Tromso, Norway, and Martyn P. Chipperfield of Cambridge University
studied the northern ozone layer.
- At least 21 people
were killed and 309 injured in the tornado that ripped through the
rural areas around the small town of Mount Ayliff in South Africa's
Eastern Cape province.
- Rainstorms packing gusts of more than
100 km/h disrupted air traffic
at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv.
The first showers of winter came to Israel only this week in
what is so far the driest winter here in 58 years.
- Severe fog in central Europe has
disrupted air traffic at major airports in Germany, Poland and Italy for
a second day.
The fog, caused by a sharp change in temperature, produced unexpected
problems at Germany's Frankfurt airport Wednesday night, when an Air
India Boeing-747 miscalculated its landing and smashed into runway
Meanwhile, the blanket of fog over Poland closed Warsaw's Okecie
international airport for three days, causing chaos and forcing Delta
Air Lines to divert a New York-Warsaw flight to northern Germany after
an attempt to land in Warsaw was aborted.
- Seven people have been confirmed
killed in a series of tornadoes that raked Arkansas and Tennessee
At least 20 tornadoes were reported in Arkansas.
- The bodies of an Indiana woman and her
child have been found, one day after the woman's car was swept into a
rain-swollen branch of the Whitewater River (USA).
A number of the state's major rivers, including portions of the
White, Wabash, Tippecanoe and Mississinewa, swelled to flood-stage
- One man was drowned and another is missing after rescuing two youngsters from a flood-swollen river as tropical storms sweep the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia. Two tropical storms, Olinda and Pete, have brought heavy rains to the islands, which Sunday remained on cyclone alert.
- Very low temperatures are in the northern part of Europe and Russia. In the north-west of the Russian Federation and in Lapland - Russian Federation: Pecora -49.4C, Chosedachard -48.5C, Kojnas -47.5C, Ust-Cilma -46.9C, Sura -46.7C, Narjan-Mar -45.7C and Ust-Usa -45.4C.
Lapland: Ivalo, Finland -45.5C, Karasjok, Norway -44.2C.
- Ivalo, in northern Finland, they had a reading last night of -48C, about
3degC above the national low record for January.
- Bad weather has caused a second
day of commuter nightmares in Northern and Southern California as heavy
snow and rain continued to affect the state.
The winter storm also brought snowflakes for the first time in nearly
25 years to Bakersfield, which is about 100 miles north of Los Angeles.
- Later in the day a line of heavy (in places thundery) rain crossed the south of England, with reports of ball lightning near Winchester around 1630 GMT and heavy hail in Reading during the passage of an active cold front. Gusts reached 60kn at Shoreham. It is also reported that something 'just like a tornado' removed the roof from a house near Petersfield with trees and power lines being brought down, while sleet fell around Birmingham.
- 0600 GMT SYNOP minimum temperatures showed at least ten stations with
below -40C. In Norway, Kautokeino had
-50.3C and Karasjok -50.0C. In Sweden, Karesuando, a willage
situated on the border with Finland, -49.0C was reported. The official record low for Sweden is -52.6C at Arjeplog in February 1966.
- The lowest lowest temperature of the
century in Finland was registered in a village in northern Finland
called Kittila: -51C.
- There was a new Finnish national low record temperature overnight of -51.5C in Kittila.
- Some of Russia's Arctic regions have been gripped this week by the coldest temperatures this century, the Russian Weather Service said.
The deep chill is also unusually long. 'It's one thing to cope for a day when it's minus 50 outside, but it's a different thing altogether to spend several days in a row like that,' a meteorologist said.
In some parts of the Kola Peninsula near Russia's border with Norway, such as the Khanty-Mansiisk area, the thermometer fell at night to almost -56C in one village this week - the lowest for more than 100 years.
In the Komi region it reached -53C in some places, the lowest since 1936.(28th)
The temperature there was about 23degC below the average for the last 10 days of January.
World weather news, February 1999
- Sicily has had its first snow since 1981 - Palermo had six inches of snow.
Mt Etna looked like a 'wedding cake'. Snow also fell in northern cities on the Algerian coast. In Bizerte snow was heavy at times with visibilities down to 200 m.
Locally temperatures during daylight time didn't exceed 2 or 3C - very low indeed for this area. In Tamanrasset in the south, near the Sahara, temperatures hardly reached 19C.
- Spring will come early this year in Pennsylvania (USA) - or so it is believed, since groundhog Phil from Punxsutawney
failed to see his shadow when he was yanked from his winter slumber. The furry forecaster, whose shadow is believed to herald another six weeks of winter, woke up before 8 this morning for his annual weather prediction.
If the groundhog had seen his shadow, legend has it, winter would last another six weeks. Since he didn't see his shadow, spring will be early this year.
- Wind gusts as powerful as 125 mph howled
through the Colorado foothills, knocking out power, downing trees and
sending debris flying every which way.
Two airplanes parked at the Jefferson County Airport south of Boulder
were overturned and buildings under construction at the facility
suffered some $100,000 in damages. Two schools were closed for the day.
- The New Zealand radiation laboratory informed the country that this
summer has seen the highest ultra violet readings on record.
Index levels have been up to 14 over the whole North Island
while levels of 13 have occurred well down into Southland. 10
is regarded as dangerous.
Levels this year were/are 5% greater than last year.
It is interesting that high
priority has been given in NZ to research on the effects of UV on
grass and clover growth in particular.
In particular wintersweet and magnolias suffered severely from leafburn (following summer pruning)
this year with almost complete defoliation following sudden
- In Moscow, three people
died of hypothermia Wednesday night as temperatures plunged below -28C, bringing the death toll from cold in
the capital to 93 this winter.
The arctic weather has broken century-old records in many northern
Russian towns and forced the evacuation of hundreds of people from one
settlement where heating pipes burst.
- Seven people died in
flooding in Durban, South Africa.
The flooding started Thursday evening when some 200 mm
of rain fell in Durban and surrounding areas in just over three
- Heavy snow triggered traffic accidents and disrupted air and rail travel Wednesday in central and western Japan. At least 106 bullet trains linking Tokyo and western Japan were delayed for up to an hour, holding up 85,000 passengers. In Hiroshima 20 motorists were injured in collisions on icy highways. Sections of eight major highways in central and western Japan were closed because of poor visibility and snowfall.
- Eleven people have died and two others
were missing after flood waters caused by torrential rains swamped
46 towns in the southern Philippines.
Continuing heavy rains since Friday caused a river connecting
the southern provinces of Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur to
overflow, flooding low-lying areas.
- In Europe this year for the first time temperatures over 25C have been reported. In Valencia (Spain) 25.8 was measured under an almost clear and sunny sky.
- Holland is under the spell of snow and snowshowers. In the North and North-East 7 - 10 cm of snow fell during Sunday and Mondaynight. In the central part locally 5 - 7 cm has been reported, 2 - 3 cm in the North-West.
- Rivers rose today in Northern California as the latest in a series of soaking, windy storms pounded the region, and heavy snow piled up on the already buried Sierra Nevada peaks. School were closed because of heavy snow in several southern
Oregon cities. About 8 feet of snow had fallen in parts of the Sierra Nevada since the series of storms began Saturday.
- A cold snap and heavy snowfalls hit Europe
early Tuesday disrupting air, rail and road traffic in Switzerland
and causing one death in Scotland.
Heavy snow in Switzerland almost paralyzed the country's main
airport at Zurich-Kloten, where only four aircraft were able to take
Conditions had stabilized in the Netherlands, where on Monday
snow and ice caused record traffic jams stretching some 975 km.
- The Austrian army launched an airlift
to fly vital supplies to 25,000 tourists trapped in ski
resorts for five days, as heavy snowfalls in Europe continued to
cause widespread disruption.
While the death toll in a French avalanche reached 10, traffic
and other snow-related problems were reported from Spain to the
Netherlands and Switzerland to Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia.
In Austria, many tourists have been trapped since last Friday in
the west of the country, where more than 40 cm
of snow fell in 24 hours, on top of over two metres (over
six feet six inches) recorded in the Arlberg region.
In Zagreb, Croatian officials banned trucks and buses from key
roads near the capital and many roads in the northwest of Croatia
were blocked, while international train services were also
In neighbouring Slovenia, 50 centimetres of snow fell overnight.
In Spain heavy snowfalls disrupted roads in the north of the
country, notably in Cantabria, where five mountain passes were
- Heavy snowfall in
British Columbia (Canada) has caused major delays to people trying to get into
Vancouver, reducing traffic to a crawl on city streets and highways.
Heavy snowfall is unusual in southern British Columbia, which is
known for its mild winters.
- Bitterly cold weather forced organisers of the world biathlon championships in Kontiolahti (finland) to delay the start for the fifth successive day on Wednesday.
The prolonged cold snap in the town 438 km north-east of Helsinki has raised fears that some events may be scrapped.
- A cyclone hit the northeastern Australian tourist resort of Port Douglas late on Thursday night. The eye of Cyclone Rona passed over Port Douglas.
Emergency officials in the area urged people to take shelter and braced for major floods as Rona dumped heavy rain on the area.
Tropical Queensland, which bills itself as Australia's Sunshine State, is just recovering from floods that have claimed five lives near the state's southern coast since Tuesday.
Torrential rains since the weekend in southern Queensland have sent raging waters down creeks and swelled the Mary River to a peak of nearly 22m at the town of Gympie on Wednesday, the highest level in a century.
- Parts of northwestern British Columbia (Canada) have been buried in a
record snowfall and there's more to come.
About 110 cm of snow fell Thursday, edging in on the
Canadian, one-day record of 118 cm, which fell at Lakelse
Lake in the same region in 1974.
The weather office was expecting another 40 cm by Friday
- Heavy snow killed at least one person and
continued to grip several central European countries as the cold
front moved eastwards across the continent on Friday.
Severe disruption was reported in parts of Austria, Hungary,
Slovakia, Bulgaria and Ukraine, at the end of a week which saw
severe white-outs across Europe.
The Hungarian army deployed 300 men to rescue drivers trapped in
vehicles in the northeast of the country, while three pregnant women
were flown by helicopters to hospitals to give birth.
Snowfalls in the Carpathian mountains exceeded the monthly
average in just three days, reaching a depth of three metres.
In eastern Austria a rash of accidents was reported and traffic
was severely disrupted, as the snow which swamped the west of the
country earlier in the week arrived.
Europe's recent snow chaos was most deadly in France, where at
least 11 people died in an avalanche Tuesday.
- Heavy snow overnight blocked roads across
central Europe, disrupting traffic and cutting off towns and
Hungarian police said 18 people had died in the cold
snap sweeping central Europe since Wednesday.
Further south in Bulgaria, the snow also disrupted traffic and
cut electricity to around 166 towns and villages.
- After deaths last week near Chamonix, France, a French alpine police
ban against off-trail skiing and snowboarding was imposed Saturday
across the entire the Haute-Savoie region of the Alps.
- Dry hot weather over South Africa's farmlands could weigh heavily on what has promised to be a record sunflower seed harvest, the National Oil and Protein Seed Producers' Organisation said.
'In South Africa a huge crop was expected, but with the heatwave now nobody knows what to expect. Where everybody thought there would be a surplus, perhaps we will end up with up to 600,000 tonnes,' said the organisation's Nico Vermaak.
- Freezing weather claimed two more lives
in Poland overnight, bringing the death toll to 208 this winter.
Thick snow blanketed Poland amid the harshest winter
in recent memory. Four times as many people have died of the cold
this year as last.
- Hungarian radio says at least 20 people froze to death in Hungary in a record cold snap over the weekend as massive snowdrifts blocked roads throughout central and eastern Europe and trapped people in remote areas. Almost 100 villages in northeastern Hungary remain cut off from the rest of the world after 27 inches of snow fell on Sunday, adding to the
- El Nino
is now being blamed for outbreaks of a deadly horse disease.
English scientists have found evidence tying El Nino to African Horse Sickness in South Africa. The findings were
reported in today's issue of the journal Nature.
After reviewing horse breeding records dating to 1803,
researchers found that 13 of the 14 major outbreaks in South Africa
occurred during the warm-phase El
The 14th outbreak, in 1996, wasn't during an El Nino year but
unfolded during similar weather - a drought followed by heavy
- Two people were missing and
two hurt after a snowslide in France's Jura mountains near
the Swiss border.
Some 30 rescuers using sniffer dogs were on the scene at
Metabief, near Pontarlier, after a sheet of snow some 40 metres
long and 20 metres wide slid down the mountain to the ski
- Springlike weather patterns produced a record 163 tornadoes over the United States in January, the most ever for
the first month of the year. The total is more than three times the previous record for January - 52 - set in 1975. The January tornadoes were caused by an unusual weather pattern for the month, said Harold Brooks, meteorologist with the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma. He said the storms were caused by a southerly flow of wind from the Gulf of Mexico, which brought in moisture at low levels, and then combined with a strong upper air pressure, which causes wind at about 30,000 feet.
A one-day January record of 87 twisters was set Jan. 21, according to the National Weather Service.
- South African maize futures dropped on Friday on expectations of rain over key growing areas and ahead of Monday's first crop estimate, traders said.
Traders said the biggest market mover was a weather bureau forecast of an 80 percent chance of rain over the weekend.
Scattered rains had fallen over the past week, but producers said widespread rains were needed to save a crop that had been hard hit by dry, hot weather over the Free State and North West provinces, where the majority of maize is grown.
- Avalanches closed roads in the French Alps near Grenoble, burying several cars but causing
no serious casualties.
- In Belgium, heavy rain and thawing snow threatened flooding, with the area around Liege in the northeast on flood alert.
- Thousands of holiday-makers were trapped
in ski resorts in Austria, relying on military airlifts of
food, as heavy snow and rain caused disruptions and threatened
flooding across Europe.
Some 13,000 tourists were blocked by the risk of avalanches in
the Paznaun Valley in Austria's Vorarlberg area, with food being
flown in to hotels in military helicopters.
The country's major east-west railway was still closed
amid avalanche warnings.
In Italy, Alpine resorts warned skiers not to venture off-piste
as higher temperatures threatened avalanches.
Melting snow and heavy rain also led to sections of the swollen
Rhine river being closed to shipping in Switzerland and France.
In Sarajevo a nine-year-old girl was left in a coma
after being hit by a block of ice which slid off the roof of her
- Five or six chalets were hit by simultaneous avalanches which
struck the villages of Villa and Le Sage near Sion, southern
Switzerland. Five were missing and one injured as a result.
Security official Charly Wuilloud said that some 50 avalanches
were recorded on Sunday in the canton of Valais. One just missed a
village, stopping five metres from a school.
- Seven people drowned and six others are missing and presumed dead in flooding which hit the southern Philippines town of Kauswagan. Floodwaters swamped five districts, destroyed two bridges and swept away several houses made of light material on Sunday afternoon, the regional disaster council here said.
- Cyclone Frank missed the capital Noumea and was moving south away from New Caledonia which had been braced for a major impact. Much of the territory had been on maximum cyclone alert Saturday as Frank approached, packing winds up to 180 km an hour, but by early Sunday the warning had been lifted across much of the French Pacific territory. Frank hit the extreme north of the territory late Friday night, injuring one person slightly but leaving a trail of damage.
- Floods are reported in the East of France. The river Seine, running through Paris, is rising quickly and is threatening the French capital. In Germany (mainly the southern and central part) flooding is becoming a serious problem.
- Chinese weather official Zou Jingmeng, a former head of the World Meteorological Organisation, has been killed in a robbery.
Zou, who held the minister-level post of director of China's State Meteorological Bureau from 1982-1996, was slain on Monday in Beijing.
Zou, born in 1929, was president of the World Meteorological Organization from 1987 to 1995 and was an alternate member of the Communist Party central committee from 1982 to 1992.
- Omaha (Nebraska) got 5 inches of new
snow as of late Monday night, while 6 inches was reported in Nebraska's
midsection. Up to 8 inches of snow fell in southwestern Iowa, while
northern Missouri received about 2 inches.
Snow emergencies were declared in Omaha and in nearby Council Bluffs,
Iowa, to limit street parking so snow ploughs could get through. Some school
closures were expected.
- One woman was killed and three
people injured in an avalanche in Italy's northwestern Val
Road links were also affected.
- Fifty-five people were buried
when an avalanche ploughed into the centre of a ski resort village
in western Austria, destroying three or four buildings.
The snowslide, described as "massive," came down on the village
of Galtuer, in the Vorarlberg region a few km from
the Swiss border.
A 35-year-old German woman was killed when a snowslide ploughed
into a chalet in Sportgastein near Salzburg, while several people
Maximum avalanche warnings have been issued for the last few
days in the Vorarlberg and Tirol regions, where some 10,000 have
been blocked in ski resorts due to heavy snowfalls.
In neighbouring Switzerland rescuers were still searching
for eight people missing since nine chalets were swept away
by simultaneous avalanches late on Sunday, killing two people.
- The body of an eighth
person killed by avalanches in southern Switzerland was found
today, rescuers said.
The search continued for two others still missing, feared dead.
- Officials at the Nordic skiing world championships at Ramsau (Austria) called off events on Wednesday as the heaviest snowfall in decades caused chaos and devastation in the Alps.
Local avalanche expert Heribert Eisl told the Austrian news agency APA there had been a huge avalanche just above Ramsau on Wednesday morning at 0500 GMT.
- A fresh avalanche thundered into a Swiss spa town (Leukerbad) as officials across the Alps in Austria said 31 bodies had now been found after a series of massive snow slides earlier in the week.
Three French skiers were plucked to safety after being trapped for nine days in a makeshift igloo 3,000 m up in the Alps in the freak weather conditions that have caused more than 50 deaths across Europe this month.
The heaviest snowfall in decades has also stranded an estimated 100,000 people.
In Austria, Tyrol provincial governor Wendelin Weingartner told reporters that 27 bodies had now been recovered in Galtuer.
Some 30 cm of fresh snow blanketed the Berner Oberland, which has several popular skiing areas, overnight. Roads to the resorts of Grindelwald and Adelboden remained closed.
- Rescue teams were on alert for new avalanches in the Carpathian Mountains in Romania and Ukraine, where four people have died in bad weather and floods.
Officials said blizzards had prevented rescuers from recovering the bodies of two Czech tourists swept away by an avalanche in Romania's southern Carpathians last weekend.
Large contingents of Ukrainian Interior Ministry troops remained in action in mountain areas, trying to clear the sole mountain route still blocked after heavy snows. Residents were warned that new avalanches were possible.
- After two massive avalanches rescue helicopters continued to evacuate thousands of shocked tourists from an Austrian valley as the death toll rose to 37, with only one victim still buried. Experts put the avalanche risk at 4 or 5 on a 5-point scale. A category 5 avalanche has a mass of at least 100.000 tons of snow, pushing with a pressure of 1000 kPa.
- Mountains of snow in Switzerland began thawing Friday as some roads and rail lines opened, allowing access
to cut-off villages and hotels, local officials said. The resorts of Davos and Klosters in eastern Switzerland
were reachable by road and rail after being inaccessible for most of the week.
Zermatt in the southern canton of Valais will be open for business-as-usual Saturday when overland routes re-open, but local
authorities stress that all ski lifts are functioning and ski conditions are "excellent."
- A major cooling in the Pacific Ocean, the flip side of last year's El Nino, has caused a shift in the jet stream blamed for everything from bitterly cold weather in Alaska to drought conditions in the U.S. Southwest.
Since Nov. 1 more than 32.8 inches of rain have been measured at SeaTac (Seattle) Airport, making this the rainiest winter since record-keeping began in 1891. Measurable rain has fallen on 89 of the past 119 days, also a record.
British Columbia also has sloshed through an unusually wet winter, especially on Vancouver Island where Port Alberni has received close to 20 inches of precipitation and Tofino nearly 30 inches in February alone - double what the coastal communities normally get in the month.
The Mount Baker ski area touts itself as the nation's snowiest but has been overwhelmed by 68.6 feet of snowfall since the season opened on Nov. 22, including 33 inches in one 24-hour period. Normally the area gets 51 feet in an entire season.
- An avalanche occurred Sunday on a skislope at the small Swiss resort of Ovronnaz in the Valais region, which has suffered a number of snowslides in the past week. One skier was able to dig himself out rapidly from under the snow. He was alone at the time of the snowslide, which crossed a section adjoining one of the three pistes. Nobody had been reported missing.
World weather news, March 1999
- About 1,300 people are
temporarily homeless after flooding struck the southern Philippine
city of Gingoog.
Heavy rain began
falling Monday and by Tuesday morning five city districts and 10
surrounding villages were under water.
The floodwaters destroyed a bridge and damaged several hundred
houses, forcing about 1,300 people to leave their homes.
The southern island of Mindanao has been receiving rainfall
which is way above normal this year. Thirty-nine people were killed
in flooding around the Mindanao cities of Iligan and Butuan last
- Tanzania's cotton production will slump by over 50 percent in the 1998/99 crop year (November/October), commodity analysts said on Wednesday.
Tanzania's cotton production in 1998/99 will reach just 160,000 bales from 300,000 the previous year. The fall was blamed on heavy rains in late 1997 and early 1998 linked to the El Nino weather phenomenon and an attack by pests.
In many growing areas much of the cotton crop, normally planted in November and December, was washed away by the rains. Some was submerged under water and in some areas planting was simply not possible.
- A strong weather system that spawned four tornadoes in Texas and Louisiana uprooted a tree that killed a man in an Alabama mobile home park.
- Severe drought in NZ is now confined to areas in South
Canterbury,North and Central Otago and inland Southland.
The drought is not broken in other eastern areas of the
South Island but a significant rainfall during the last days of
February brought relief. Rainfall of over 100mm in the foothills
replenished river flows to allow irrigation to re-commence and on the
plains 30-50mm allowed autumn sowing of fodder/grass seeds and some
re- growth of grass.
The decaying tropical origin cyclone that gave the rain
relief to Canterbury last weekend brought severe gales to Central
Otago.This caused arching of power cables which started the biggest
grass fires in history.
The area has experienced its hottest Jan/Feb period on
record with maximum temperatures at 37C.
- A fierce snowstorm has blanketed Russia's Pacific coast.
An emergency has been declared in the region as strong winds
buffet buildings and temperatures have dropped to -20C to -50C.
The storm has hit the Kamchatka peninsula especially hard. Snow covered 750 km of roads, paralysing food deliveries. Strong winds in the northeastern Magadan region have disrupted electricity service while water pipes have frozen, leaving 420 people in a small town in the Gorkovo Yagodinskogo region without water.
- Almost 900 people have been evacuated
from their homes due to heavy floods in northern Hungary.
Water from melting snow covered almost 350,000 hectares (875,000
acres) of land, threatening 200 villages with 7,500 homes. So far,
more than 30 homes have collapsed and several roads have been
- South Africa's maize crop remained under pressure as hot and dry conditions persisted across the country with no relief in sight. Traders said the market was waiting expectantly for Wednesday's release of estimates from the United States Department of Agriculture on the size of South Africa's maize crop - estimates made using satellite technology.
- For the second year running, scientists have been flying through
violent winter weather over the North Pacific to improve the accuracy
and timeliness of storm forecasts on the North American mainland.
Now, they are assessing the results from what may become a regular
program to measure storms while they are thousands of miles away at
'From a scientific point of view, we were trying to measure the
butterfly effect,' says Craig Bishop, an assistant professor of
meteorology at Penn State University in College Park.
During the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Winter
Storm Reconnaissance Program, which ran from mid-January to
mid-February, National Weather Service forecasters were asked to
look at their four- to five-day outlooks and identify regions of the
country that concerned them. Then modellers worked back to identify the
Pacific weather system that was most likely to affect these areas.
Air Force Reserve C-130s and NOAA
aircraft then flew to the areas from bases in Hawaii and Alaska,
dropping instrument packages to gather data.
- Floods which forced over 1,000 Hungarians to flee their homes in the last week have begun to recede. Nearly 30,000 homes are still on alert in the northeast of the
country, where water from melting snow has flooded 360,000 ha of land in 300 settlements.
- More than 130 villages in mountainous
southwestern Iran have been cut off by heavy snowfall that was still
affecting the region today.
Roads have been closed in the Bazaft and Kuhrang regions of
Charmahal-Bakhtiari province where some 45 cm
of snow have accumulated.
- About 36,000 people including army
units worked to strengthen dykes in northeastern Hungary on Tuesday
after the swollen Tisza river reached record levels, prompting fears
of new floods.
At the town of Tokaj, about 70 km from the
Ukrainian border, the river crested at 8.92 metres on Monday night,
12 cm higher than its previous record.
About 40 kilometres downstream at Tiszapalkonya, it crested at
7.74 metres, 41 centimetres above its previous record.
Officials said that people had been mobilised to strengthen
dykes and pump out water-logged land along the river, the largest in
Hungary after the Danube.
- A tornado tore through a harbour in
the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, sinking 71 fishing
vessels and damaging 164 others.
Accompanied by torrential rains, the waterspout struck Maoming
city in the early hours.
A few people suffered injuries, but no one was killed, as the
fishermen who work the boats have onshore homes and had received
- Thousands of residents in
Australia's northwest were being evacuated Sunday as a severe
tropical cyclone packing winds up to 290 km/hour
bore down on them.
Early on Sunday, the Bureau of Meteorology upgraded the intensity
of Cyclone Vance to a severe category five, on an intensity scale of
one to five, which is classed as "extremely dangerous with
It is one of the most powerful cyclones to threaten Australia
and stronger than Cyclone Tracy which devastated the northern city
of Darwin on Christmas Day in 1974.
- Two snowmobilers were killed and
three others were injured when an avalanche crashed down an Alaska
mountainside over the weekend.
Two avalanches reportedly occurred 20 minutes apart and extended
about a half-mile across the face of a mountain high in Turnagain Pass,
a popular recreation area in the Chugach National Forest.
Officials had warned snowmobilers and back-country skiers that
avalanche danger was high due to a recent heavy snowfall, but witnesses
said dozens of snowmobilers ignored the warnings.
- For this spring, floods are more likely to occur in Oregon and parts
of Washington state, Montana and North
Dakota (USA). The National Weather Service predicts those areas
have a higher than average potential for flooding, while it forecasts
drier than average conditions in southern California, Arizona, New Mexico,
southern Utah, western Texas and Hawaii that 'may result in water concerns.'
As part of its annual spring flooding outlook issued today, the weather
service predicts typical rainfall for the rest of the nation.
- Sixteen people have died so far this year and four remain missing
as a result of unseasonably heavy rainfall on the Ecuadoran coast.
Rainfall on coastal
cities has been up to 50 percent higher than predicted.
The downpours have caused
rivers to break their banks, flooding and damage to roads just as
repair work was being carried out following damage inflicted by El Nino
- Rains in Ivory Coast cocoa and coffee growing areas in the second ten days of March were slightly below the long-term average but adequate for the time of year, industry sources said.
The national weather service reported that 10 monitored stations received a total of 250.9 mm of rain in the period between March 11 and 20, compared to a long-term average for the period of 310 mm.
Rainfall in the preceding 10 days was 180.6 mm.
- At least 1000 villagers in northeastern Bolivia were made homeless by severe flooding linked to the weather phenomenon known as La Nina, officials said.
Floods submerged houses in five villages along the border with Brazil when the Beni river overflowed late last week.
Heavy rains caused the most severe damage in Rurrenabaque and San Buenaventura, destroying some 120 homes.
- British scientists have found bumps deep under layers of Antarctic ice that will provide new clues about the planet's past climate.
Much like the annual rings of a tree, the Raymond Bumps in the ice crests of Antarctica hold secrets about the age of the ice and the atmospheric and climate conditions that formed it.
'Glaciologists have searched for Raymond Bumps since 1983 when Charlie Raymond theorised that we should find distortions, bumps in the internal layers beneath the crests of some ice caps,' said Dr David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey.
In a report in the science journal Nature on Wednesday, Vaughan described how he and Steve White used ground penetrating radar to end a 16-year search to find the elusive ice bumps.
- A U.S. judge has ruled that weather forecasts are predictions and broadcasters should not be blamed if they are wrong, dismissing a $10 million lawsuit filed by relatives of a Florida fisherman who died in a storm.
The lawsuit said the Weather Channel, an Atlanta-based cable channel, contributed to the death of Charles Cobb, 58, by failing to update a forecast of good weather when it learned a storm front was on the way.
But U.S. District Judge James Paine ruled on March 18 that Cobb's family sought a 'novel and unprecedented expansion of the scope of tort law' and called a weather forecast a 'prediction of indeterminate reliability.'
Cobb watched the Weather Channel and heard a forecast of good weather that morning before setting out.
- Major disasters around the world caused a massive $65.5 billion worth of damage in 1998, up almost 130 percent from 1997, as extreme weather and earthquakes took their toll, a Swiss reinsurance group reported.
Natural catastrophes accounted for nearly all of the overall losses from major disasters in 1998, the review said.
- The Mauritian rupee is under downward pressure as a result of drought and a cyclone in the last month, foreign currency analysts said.
They said the crucial textiles and sugar sectors - two of the four pillars of the economy in the Indian Ocean island - were being battered by cyclone Davina and drought.
- Northern Europe's recent mild but stormy winters may be the result of changes in the surface temperature of the North Atlantic.
Like El Nino, the weather phenomenon that caused havoc around the globe, the less powerful North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), determines Europe's weather.
'The North Atlantic Oscillation has influences over North America, the whole of Europe and even extends into Siberia and the eastern side of the U.S.,' Mark Rodwell, of the UK Meteorological Office, told Reuters.
'In a sense it's like a cousin or brother of El Nino but it's in a different geographical location.'
Writing in the science journal Nature, the meteorologists showed that much of the variation in the NAO - the difference in sea-level pressure between Iceland and the Azores - over the last 50 years can be reconstructed from the records of Atlantic sea-surface temperatures.
- The National Weather Service says last month
was the driest March in southeast Florida in some 20 years.
At Miami International Airport, only 0.25 inches of rain were
recorded during the month, making it the driest March since 1976 when 0.23 inches fell.
Meteorologists say the 0.55 inches of rain at Palm Beach
International Airport made for the driest March since 1977, when 0.53
inches fell during the month.
Also, records indicate last month was Fort Lauderdale's driest March
since 1979, and the driest seen in Miami Beach in 20 years.
World weather news, April 1999
- Search operations have
resumed after an overloaded passenger ferry boat sank late Thursday in a
tropical storm about 70 miles off the coast of Nigeria.
Rescue officials said that five more bodies were recovered today
bringing the total to 20 and 25 survivors were brought to shore in Port
- A tornado struck at about 4 p.m. in a rural residential area just
north of Shreveport in northwestern Lousiana, USA.
Rescue workers were still assessing the injuries of some people
two hours later before sending them to local hospitals, Broome
said. Buses took residents whose homes were destroyed to a shelter
in Bossier City.
A tornado also took off the roof of an apartment building in the
nearby town of Blanchard, possibly injuring some tenants, according
to a report on KSLA-TV.
The television station also reported that a tornado destroyed
the First United Methodist Church in Logansport, a town southwest
of Shreveport near the Texas border. Six people died and 75 were injured.
- An eighth illegal immigrant has been found dead
in the area where a surprise snowstorm stranded dozens who tried to
enter the United States, an official with Mexico's consulate said
Officials from the U.S. Border Control and other agencies
rescued more than 50 immigrants in and around the Cleveland
National Forest, about 40 miles east of San Diego, late Thursday
- Powerful wind gusts reaching 100 miles per
hour are lashing parts of Colorado, USA, flipping over tractor trailer trucks
and forcing the shutdown of highways.
- At least three people were killed,
hundreds of homes reduced to rubble and scores of people injured in the
wake of what's believed to have been one or more pre-dawn tornados that
struck Cincinnati's (USA) northeastern suburbs.
- A total of 26 people have been killed
by flooding and landslides after torrential rains swept through
Torrential rains hitting the north, center and southeast regions
of Colombia in the last two weeks have caused 26 deaths and
thousands of dollars in damage.
Eight of Colombia's 32 departments have been struck by the heavy
rains which have flooded the country's main rivers.
In the village of Inza in the department of Cauca, 14 people
were killed and more than 200 were displaced on Friday when the Oyuco
river flooded surrounding areas.
- State emergency officials say an
apparent tornado touched down today at a shopping center in Conroe in
southeast Texas (USA), damaging three stores.
Another apparent tornado hit in the Midland area Tuesday night,
destroying about 20 homes and damaging 80 more in the Cotton Flat area
southeast of the West Texas city. Four minor injuries were reported.
- Kenya's 1999 tea production will decline by 25-30 percent from 294 million kg last year, undermined by bad weather.
'The weather has not been very good. It was very, very dry in December, January and February. That has drastically affected the tea crop,' Eustace Karanja, managing director of the smallholder Kenya Tea Development Authority (KTDA), told a news conference. 'Yes, overall production could be down 25 to 30 percent.'
- A rapidly developing storm pelted
parts of Sydney (Australia) with hail stones reported as large as rock melons,
causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
Roofs caved in on hundreds of houses and businesses and thousands of
cars were damaged when the freak storm hit about 7:30 p.m. the
city's southern suburbs and slowly moved north. Hail stones reportedly
covered the ground up to 20 inches deep, closing as section of road in
the Royal National Park.
The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that dozens of people have
been treated for cuts from broken windows and skylights. The newspaper
received reports of hail stones as large as 'golf balls, lemons,
cricket balls and rock melons.'
Wednesday's storm is being compared to a 1991 storm that caused about
$300 million in damage.
- After one of the mildest winters in decades,
Colorado (USA) was broadsided by a snowstorm that created blizzard conditions
and subzero wind chill readings.
The spring snowstorm brings much-needed moisture to Colorado. Mild
winter weather left terrain so dry that fire officials began wildfire
precautions several weeks early.
- Several villages in
southeastern Belgium were without electricity or telephone services
after unusually heavy falls of snow, the emergency services
Firemen were working to clear roads which had been blocked by
snow or by falling trees. The region most seriously affected was
between Dinant and Bastogne, near the border with Luxembourg.
- Fourteen people were injured and more
than 130 homes, including 80 used for public housing, were destroyed
when a tornado swept through central Georgia (USA).
- Rescue workers have pulled the
bodies of 30 people from a huge mass of mud that fell from a mountaintop
after heavy rains in Argelia, Colombia.
- Portions of the South and Midwest (USA) are being strangled by a
spotty but tenacious drought that has been gripping parts of the
nation for several months.
In Texas, Gov. George W. Bush has declared a state of emergency
in 170 of the state's 254 counties. His order comes nine months
after a 1998 drought cost his state $10.4 billion in agriculture
In Florida, gusty winds fanned flames across 6,000 acres,
forcing the evacuation of nearly 1,000 residents.
The southern half of the country generally is drier than normal,
especially Arizona and New Mexico - no wildflowers this year. But
to forecasters' consternation, Texas and Florida remain dangerously
dry again despite the switch to La Nina.
Circumstances north of I-80 couldn't be more different.
In Washington, Mount Baker is poised to break the all-time North
American snowfall record of 1,122 inches, or 93.5 feet of
cumulative snow, that fell at Mount Rainier during the winter of
In central Nebraska's sandhills, the second-largest wildfire in
state history consumed 78,000 acres of prairie on March 19-20,
killing one firefighter and hundreds of cattle. The town of
Thedford was evacuated as the fire licked residents' doorsteps.
- Four people were killed overnight when a 'mini-hurricane' tore through Russia's second city and the Saint Petersburg region, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake, rescue services said. The island military base of Kronstadt which faces Saint Petersburg across the Gulf of Finland lost power supplies when a pylon collapsed.
- Raging surf, whipped up unseasonably early by the La Nina weather phenomenon, ripped through Rio de Janeiro's (Brazil) celebrated beaches over the weekend, strewing them with garbage.
Powerful waves crashed across the expanse of sand on Rio's Ipanema beach on Sunday, punching a crater in the boardwalk and tearing down one of the signature lifeguard posts that are favourite landmarks along the popular tourist destination.
- United Airlines today announced that it has cancelled a large portion of flights because of severe springtime weather affecting its operations. United has cancelled 30 percent of all flights at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport through the end of the day. In Denver, where a heavy spring snowstorm is blanketing the airport, United has cancelled nearly 50 percent of all flights.
Chicago and Denver are, respectively, United's largest and second-largest hub airports.
- At least 11 people have died in
a landslide in the Davao region in the southern island of Mindanao (Philippines).
Heavy rains caused the landslide down Diwalwal Mountain, an area
where small-scale and mostly illegal gold mining is rampant. A rush of
mud crashed into huts and houses on the mountainside, burying people in
- At least five people were killed and
dozens injured when a tornado struck Dongting Lake in China's
central province of Hunan.
The tornado caused considerable damage in the area.
- Global warming may melt the ice caps but it will not sink the U.S. insurance industry.
Politicians and other activists have been trying to turn up the heat on insurers, warning that the industry faces devastating losses if it does not take more steps to reduce the global warming threat.
But fears about the threat to the U.S. insurance industry are overblown, according to David Unnewehr, senior research manager for the American Insurance Association, a trade group that represents more than 375 property-casualty insurers.
That is because only about 20 percent of the industry's nearly $300 billion in annual business is affected by weather, Unnewehr said in a report released last week.
For insurers, the biggest weather threat comes from hurricanes, which have the potential to cause tens of billions of dollars in losses.
Meanwhile, global warming could help to lessen the losses from winter storms and freezing, he said.
- A group of wine growers in southwestern France said they planned to sue the national weather service for failing to predict violent hail storms that devastated thousands of hectare of vines.
Had they been properly warned by Meteo France, the growers would have been able to take steps to protect the young vines, said Jean Aymeric, the leader of a regional farmers union, in announcing the lawsuit.
Officials at Meteo France denied the allegations, saying that day's forecasts had rated the risk of storms at a level of 'B' on a scale of A to C.
Growers said the storms had partially or totally devastated 5,000 hectares of vines and 2,000 hectares of fruit trees.
- The La Nina weather phenomenon may bring more big floods to northern China this year.
La Nina was expected to cause up to 29 typhoons this year in the Pacific, with seven or nine landing in China, Xinhua quoted Zhou Wenzhi, vice-minister of water resources, as saying.
Typhoons would swamp China's northern coast instead of the southestern coast where they usually land, Zhou said.
La Nina could also move the rain belt northward this year, causing big floods in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, along the Huai River and the middle and lower reaches of Yellow River in the summer, he said.
- The Sirocco ( a hot wind from Sahara desert) has caused very warm weather in some
places in Greece. In just a few days temperatures rose rapidly above 25
degrees Celsius giving a 'real summer feeling' right in the end of April.
Today the high temperatures came inland even slightly above the 30-mark,
something which is pretty unusual for this time of year.
(including 30.5C at Lamia (Central Creece - Sterea Ellada).
- Five people were killed and 200 were injured in a hail storm and heatwave in drought-hit Bangladesh, reportes said Saturday.
Three people, including an eight-year-old girl, were killed when the storm hit 20 villages in northern Kurigram district.
The storm left 15,000 people homeless.
World weather news, May 1999
- More than 90 people have died as temperatures have soar to nearly 49C while officials in India are having trouble keeping up with the demand for clean water. Hundreds of people others have fallen sick due to the scorching heat that is continuing unabated with several parts of the country facing acute water and electricity shortages.
Officials are considering closing schools in eastern states of Orrisa and Bihar where the temperature reached 48C.
- Heavy rains have triggered flooding in parts of Colorado (USA).
At least three creekside mobile home parks have been evacuated and a Weld County bridge was washed out while numerous other bridges were closed and face collapse. The National Weather Service reported Friday more than 8 inches of rainfall at Colorado Springs since Wednesday night while 10 inches of snow fell in Woodland Park.
- An unusually late snowfall in Moscow and a sharp drop in temperature to around 0C ruined the traditional three-day May Day holiday for millions of Muscovites who had planned to spend the time sunbathing or planting
vegetables in the countryside. The Moscow Weather Center has warned that temperatures would drop below freezing in some areas during the night, killing off the early flowers, after a day of intermittent snow and hail. Arctic conditions have returned to areas north and northeast of Moscow, in the Komi region, with daytime temperatures there reportedly plunging well below freezing. Moscow has known freak snowstorms as late as June.
- Tornadoes tore through Oklahoma and Kansas
on Monday night, wiping out whole neighborhoods, killing at least
45 people and injuring hundreds.
At least 1,000 homes were destroyed in Oklahoma City alone,
Power lines popped, debris flew and sirens blared as the twister
moved from Chickasha to the heavily populated suburbs of Oklahoma
City, 50 miles to the northeast. The tornado was part of a storm
system that moved north into neighboring Kansas.
- Meteorologist Dave Imy of the Storms Predictions Center said today
the storm system produced a total of 76 tornadoes in Texas, Oklahoma,
Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota between about 5 p.m. CDT Monday and 1
Imy said 45 were tracked in Oklahoma, 14 in Kansas, 12 in Nebraska,
two in South Dakota, and three in Texas.
The severe storms expert said the devastating storm that struck the
Oklahoma City area began about 60 miles southwest of the city and
followed a northeasterly path through the city and several suburbs.
There is a 'strong
possibility' that the devastating storm was an F5 tornado, the most
powerful on the Fujita scale, used to measure the power of twisters with
winds of more than 260 mph.
The rampage was the most deadly tornado event in Oklahoma City
history. The previous record was 35 killed and 70 homes damaged June 12,
It ranks as the fifth worst tornado event in the history of Oklahoma
in terms of lives lost. The previous record was 97 killed at Snyder,
Okla., May 10, 1905.
- The death toll in an Indian heatwave rose to 103 as 14 more people were reported dead in blistering weather conditions that paralysed a large swathe of the country.
The mercury soared to 47C in Agra, Banda and Jhansi towns of Uttar Pradesh, while most of the heatwave-hit areas including Delhi saw temperatures ranging between 42 and 44 degrees Celsius.
- At least one man died in the latest
spate of tornadoes in Tennessee, a series of storms that was accompanied by
The National Weather Service says as many as 14 tornadoes were
recorded across the state between 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Wednesday
while more than 4 inches of rain fell at the Memphis airport.
- Morning commuters in Atlanta were pelted (Georgia, USA) with chunks of hail as large as baseballs from a storm that uprooted trees, downed power lines and caused several traffic accidents.
The storm was part of a weather system that killed four people during the night in Tennessee and dozens of people Monday in Oklahoma and Kansas.
No injuries were reported in the Atlanta area, where police reported more than a dozen traffic accidents related to the storm. It also downed power lines to about 13,000 people in Atlanta's Virginia Highlands and Chamblee neighborhoods.
- Drought will impact on winter cereal harvests in the key southern region of Andalusia, but there is still time for spring rains to save crops in the rest of Spain, farmers and grain merchants said.
- Poor weather conditions have hampered attempts to find as many as 300 people missing after a ferry sank in a tropical storm in southern Bangladesh. The ferry, believed to have been carrying about 400 passengers, went down on Saturday 'in a whirlpool' in the Meghna river near Lakhsmipur, 110 miles from Dhaka.
- A tornado that struck a small town east of Havana (Cuba)
here left two people dead and
some 30 people injured.
The tornado - which was accompanied by hail and lightning -
battered the town of Pedroso, in the province of Matanzas, damaging about 100 homes.
- A 700-foot container ship broke free from its
moorings in the Houston Ship Channel (Texas, USA) during thunderstorms that rolled
through the Houston area downing trees and knocking out power to
The severe weather struck during the morning rush hour, knocking out
power to homes, businesses and schools across the city. Tornadoes were
spotted near Livingston and Alvin, but no serious damage was reported.
- Ten people were killed and 10
others were injured in a landslide caused by heavy rains in the southern
Philippine island of Mindanao.
The landslide occurred in Compostela Valley.
Heavy rains also damaged a concrete bridge in the town of Tiboli and
washed out seven houses, injuring 10 people. At least one person was
reported missing in the area.
Several deaths from landslides caused by heavy rains have been
reported in Mindanao in the last two months.
Southern Philippines has been receiving higher than average rainfall
in the past few months.
- The Russian spring sowing campaign is gaining momentum even though unusually cold weather in some regions has damaged plantings.
The area sown to all spring crops so far is 22.1 million ha, up from 16.5 million ha last year.
But low temperatures, reaching 1 to 8 degC below zero, damaged around 400,000 hectares of spring plantings in European Russia.
Such cold weather in May after an early spring had been registered only once this century, in 1918.
- New Zealand's Ministry of Agriculture warned farmers on Monday that they may be in line for a third summer of drought - with associated flow on effects to the national economy.
The ministry released a summary of a climate report that said that global weather patterns that brought drought to parts of the South Island and dry weather to much of the rest of the country appeared likely to continue through winter and spring.
Combined with dry conditions in prime dairy areas the ministry has previously put the cost of of each of the last two dry summers at NZ$500 million in lost production to the farming industry.
- The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) on Friday re-elected its veteran Nigerian secretary-general Godwin Obasi, who has already headed the United Nations weather agency for 16 years.
Obasi, 65, won a fifth four-year term by securing more than the required two-thirds majority in a secret ballot.
Obasi, who was educated at McGill University in Montreal and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has held the post since 1984. His current term expires at the end of this year.
- A tornado ripped through a southern
Chinese village killing 13 people, injuring 51 others and destroying
The twister struck Qinge village in Suixi county, Guangdong
province, on Saturday afternoon, dumping heavy rain for about 15 to
Nine villagers were killed instantly when the houses collapsed,
while another four died in hospital, said the report.
Tornadoes also hit the villages of Wenshan and Benlixu, damaging 161 houses and a lot of crops, but not causing
- Residents along rivers and streams in
Northeast Iowa (USA) are hoping for the best but bracing for the worst.
The National Weather Service estimates between three and eight inches
of rain fell in a 12-county area on Sunday causing flash flooding.
Many of those same areas remained under a flood warning today as
water continued to rise along Beaver Creek and the Cedar, Shell Rock,
Turkey and Wapsipini rivers.
- Wave after wave of strong thunderstorms
crossed Northern Illinois (USA), leaving thousands of ComEd customers without
power for much of the day.
About 27,000 ComEd customers were blacked Monday afternoon out after
another line of heavy thunderstorms pounded the region.
Winds clocked at 50 miles per hour snapped tree limbs causing damage
in Joliet. The worst damage occurred about 1:55 a.m. in the village of
Wauconda, Ill., northwest of Chicago, where 70 mph winds damaged the
Woodland and Harmony Village trailer parks.
- Rain is expected to fall on Southeast Asia even during the June-August dry season thanks to the La Nina weather phenomenon, a Singapore meteorologist said.
La Nina, which has brought much-needed showers to the region since last July, is now forecast to extend its stay to possibly the end of this year, said Wong Teo Suan, deputy director of Singapore's meteorological service.
'It is still strong in the Pacific, there is no sign of it weakening. For us, overall there would be showers even during the period of dry weather from June to August,' he told Reuters.
- Kandla, India's busiest port, remained closed on Thursday due to rough weather caused by a cyclone that brushed the Indian coast before hitting Pakistan, a port official said.
The weather department has forecast heavy rainfall and high speed winds although the cyclone had veered away from India's western state of Gujarat, one official said.
- Repairs of hail damage on the space shuttle Discovery were completed Wednesday and a launch date was set for May 27, NASA said, a day after warning that bad weather could push it back.
The space agency said a long-range forecast calling for stormy weather might still delay the launch. But officials said they were pressing forward with a schedule developed after hail pitted the foam insulation of the shuttle's external fuel tank and forced a postponement of the original May 20 liftoff date.
- A monster cyclone near Mars' north pole is the latest sign of Earth-like weather on the Red Planet, scientists working with the Hubble Space Telescope said.
The orbiting telescope captured images of the huge but fleeting Martian storm on April 27. Another look six hours after the first pictures were taken showed the cyclone dissipating and later snapshots failed to turn it up.
But while it lasted, it put on quite a show. The doughnutut-shaped cyclonic storm showed icy clouds stretching 1,100 miles east to west, and 900 miles north to south, with a central eye nearly 200 miles across.
The fact that it was composed of water ice, rather than the dust that typically makes up storms on Mars, was further evidence of a Martian water supply. Astronomers have long searched for traces of water on Mars, because water in liquid form is seen as a precondition for Earth-type life.
- Tropical cyclone '2A' died down after hitting the coastal areas of Pakistan's southern Sindh province.
'The cyclone died down at 12 noon (0700 GMT) after crossing the Sindh border areas,' said Akhtar Siddiqui, director of the Institute of Meteorology and Geophysics in Karachi.
- Bad weather and a lack of funds will prevent Belarus gathering the 7.3 million tonne grain harvest planned for this year, the agriculture ministry said.
'To our regret, we hope for 6.3 million tonnes of grain, not 7.3 million tonnes as planned at the start of the year,' Agriculture Minister Yuri Moroz told Reuters.
- Nonstop spring rain on Canada's agricultural Prairie provinces has severely slowed seeding in most areas and left farmers praying for the precipitation to stop.
The rains, including a deluge last week that brought four inches of precipitation to some areas, has centered on a vast expanse of land running along the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border - as far east as Lake Manitoba and west to Indian Head.
Figures from April 1 to May 19, showed some areas had precipitation up to 200 percent above normal.
- The duration of unseasonably warm
weather in northern South Australia (SA) and around the SA/Northern Territory border is quite
unusual. For 8 consecutive days now, the maxima in this area have
been 8 to 12C above the May average. Daily maximum temperatures have been as high as 33.5C (at Kulgara on the 18th and 19th, 11degC above average).
- Mexico has declared five northern states disaster areas due to a drought that has wiped out corn and other crops. The states of Coahuila, Chihuahua, Sonora, Durango and Sinaloa will be eligible for federal relief funds under the decree. Reservoirs in northern Mexico are at an average 79% below capacity and the rainfall from January through April was 93% below the average for that period.
- Heavy rain in the Bavarian Alps sent streams over their banks, cutting off villages, roads and electricity to several towns. At least three people died. Bavarian police said the worst flooding was reported around the village of Eschenlohe on the Loisach river, about halfway between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Murnau, where military trucks that had driven in to deliver sand sacks were trapped. Other towns hit by the flooding included Oberstdorf, Immenstadt, Sonthofen and the Walser Valley region, where electricity was shut off after a transformer station was inundated with water.
24hrs-totals of more than 100 mm were reported e.g. Reutte/Austria measured 168 mm.
Zugspitze in southern
Germany recorded 580 cm total snow and 110 cm fresh snow.
- A cold front associated with a
developing Low near Kangaroo Island brought thunderstorms with
heavy downpours to Adelaide and nearby areas this evening. The
Bureau of Meteorology's Regional Forecasting Centre in Kent Town,
Adelaide, recorded the top rainfall of 41mm in the 24 hours to
9am Sunday. This is the highest daily rainfall recorded in May
since the Bureau relocated to this site in 1977.
- A Low, which developed last
Thursday evening in the Coral Sea about 500km NW of New
Caledonia, brought gales to the Tasman Sea, torrential rain on
Lord Howe Island, and heavy seas along the south Queensland and
northern New South Wales coasts today. Heavy rain preceded the Low. Lord
Howe Island Airport recorded 189.6mm in the 24 hours between 8pm
EST yesterday and 8pm today.
- India's weather forecasters Tuesday forecast a eleventh consecutive normal monsoon, raising the prospects of another bumper food crop.
'In 1999, the rainfall over the country as a whole for the entire southwest monsoon season (June-September) is likely to be normal, thus making the year 1999 the eleventh normal monsoon year in succession,' the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a statement.
A normal monsoon is rainfall within plus or minus 10 percent of its long-period average.
For the last 11 years - except 1998, when rainfall was excessive - India has had a normal southwest monsoon season.
- Hurricane forecaster Dr. William Gray of Colorado State
University has predicted 14 tropical storms, 10 hurricanes and four
intense hurrcanes during the season that runs until November 30.
Gray's predictions came after noting the persistence of La Nina as it
swells cold water in the eastern Pacific Ocean, combined with
stratospheric westerly winds.
He also sees warm water temperatures in the North Atlantic Ocean, and
projects barometric pressures in the Caribbean Basin and western
Atlantic will be below average - conditions ripe for the development of
- Forest fires, which have been
erupting in several places across northern Canada over the past four
weeks, continue to threaten isolated communities.
Latest to be threatened are two towns in the Prairies provinces,
including Cross Lake in Manitoba and La Ronge, in Saskatchewan.
- A severe thunderstorm around Antwerp,
accompanied by 'enormous hailstones' brought
traffic to a stop on the ring road. Roads and cellars were flooded in
some suburbs of Antwerp.
There were many calls to police and fire brigade in Leuven near Brussels, and Tienen to
the east, because of flooding.
- A freak hail and rain storm battered the
Paris area, killing a 12-year-old girl and injuring at
least 12 people.
Winds gusting to 70 mph toppled a crane at a
construction site in the northeastern suburb of Aubervilliers,
sending it crashing into a parked car where the girl was
Fire services received emergency calls at the rate of 1,000 per
hour compared to a normal rate of 4,500 a day.
The Alma-Marceau metro station was under 30 centimeters (one
foot) of water, and several road tunnels in the capital were
World weather news, June 1999
- Five people were killed and 11 injured in
severe storms that swept through the two regions east and northeast of
Moscow on Monday night.
Russian television and the Itar-Tass news agency say hurricane-force
winds hit 31 districts, tearing off roofs, uprooting hundreds of trees,
pulling down power lines and even destroying an above-ground gas
pipeline in the Nizhny Novgorod region.
- A truck driver was killed when an
apparent tornado tore through a rest area along Interstate 55 south of
Springfield (Illinois, USA), knocking over several tractor-trailer rigs.
Numerous storm cells passed over Illinois, affecting much of
the state. Wind gusts of up to 60 mph were reported.
The National Weather Service reported tornadoes in Macoupin County,
northeast of St. Louis, and in Fayette County, in south-central
Illinois. The agency said railroad cars were blown off the tracks near
Carlinville, while the Fayette County twister damaged several homes.
Funnel clouds were spotted in Jackson and McDonough counties. In
Chicago, thunderstorms prompted flight delays at O'Hare International
- An American Airlines jet that crash-landed in Arkansas, killing nine people, touched down head on into the most severe class of thunderstorm, federal safety investigators said today.
Amid questions about why the cockpit crew of Flight 1420 decided to land in worsening conditions late Tuesday, investigators said air traffic controllers at Little Rock National Airport provided a steady stream of weather updates.
- Normally balmy Los Angeles is enduring a spell of unusually cool and cloudy weather.
The cloudy weather has been the second or third item on the evening TV news for days and the staple talk of radio talk shows.
Temperatures have averaged 2-5 degC cooler than normal.
Southern Californians are familiar with 'June Gloom' - the low clouds and morning fog that can keep the coast chilly, especially in the morning. The fog usually lifts and weather gets warm by afternoon. And the fog disappears by July.
Dave Danielson, a spokesman for the National Weather Service, said the 'Summer of Gloom' can be blamed on La Nina, which cools the water temperature off California's coast. That, in turn, cools the air temperature over the water, creating an 'inversion layer' beneath the warm air of the upper atmosphere. As a result the clouds and fog on the coast are trapped.
- Typhoon Maggie scraped the
eastern section of the Philippines, killing at least two people and
stranding thousands of ferry passengers.
The typhoon, packing winds of up to 121 mph, triggered
landslides that buried two people and injured two others near the town
of Santo Domingo in the Bicol region, and halted ferry services linking
the main island of Luzon with Samar and Catanduanes.
- Strong winds and rain prompted
businesses and schools to close and caused traffic delays in Hong
Kong Monday as a weakened typhoon Maggie skirted the territory.
- A blast of hot, humid weather from the Midwest to New England (USA) pushed electricity demand to the limit, prompting a scramble for spot power, warnings of shortages, and cuts to some industrial users. The unseasonably hot weather set new highs for June 8th throughout the
Northeast: in Newark, N.J.; Portland, Maine; Boston; and Burlington, Vt.
Temperatures in New York City Monday fell 2 degrees short of matching
the all-time high of 96 degrees set in 1925.
A pollution alert in the Washington area prompted the public transit
system to suspend bus fares on some routes to encourage commuters to
leave their cars in the driveways.
- The first tropical depression of the 1999
hurricane season is meandering over the open Atlantic Ocean southeast of
- Tropical storm Arlene, the first such storm of
the hurricane season, is moving northwest across the Atlantic with winds
of nearly 60 mph. At 11 a.m. EDT, the center of the storm was
about 430 miles east-southeast of Bermuda, near
latitude 29.2 north and longitude 58.4 west.
- Heavy rains this spring have robbed
Iowa (USA) farmers of billions of tons of precious topsoil.
The Des Moines Register today says the worst erosion is in northeast
Iowa, where mid-May showers hit before newly sown corn plants could
emerge and help stabilize the soil.
The ill-timed storms arrived before most soybeans were planted, but
many Iowa bean fields had already been tilled, leaving the soil loose.
Some 10 inches of rain fell May 16, washing soil down to tributaries
that flow into the Mississippi River.
Conservationists say area farmers can expect to safely lose about 5
tons of soil per acre each year, a volume that works out to a layer
roughly the thickness of a dime.
- Heavy rainfall at the onset of this
year's monsoon has killed three people and damaged property across
two days of continuous rain.
- More than 100 southeast Wisconsin (USA)
residents are waiting for some of the worst flooding in years to
dissipate so they can return to their homes.
Emergency services workers ordered about 75 families living near the
Fox River to evacuate their homes on Monday.
Torrential rains dropped as much as 4 inches of water on southeastern
Wisconsin on Sunday, triggering the flooding.
Across the Illinois border, residents of McHenry County, which
received 6 inches of rain, were cleaning up from Sunday's flooding.
- Russia has successfully completed its spring sowing campaign and the agriculture ministry sees no reason to change its crop forecast despite hot weather in some regions.
The unusual heat with daytime temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius was expected to remain for the next few days, while soil moisture in these regions was on the verge of exhaustion.
- Flash floods caused by a severe summer storm trapped scores of people in cars and flooded houses and roads in Cyprus.
Heavy rain and hail, driven by strong winds, lashed the normally sun-drenched Mediterranean island, felling trees and transforming roads into torrents.
The British High Commission was struck by lightning, knocking out computers and telephones for two hours.
Sunburnt tourists in open-topped vehicles fled for cover as the deluge reduced visibility to nil for about half an hour.
'The hail was the size of pebbles'.
Cyprus has been affected by unusual weather for the past five days. On Monday storms and strong winds destroyed fruit crops in the mountainous Troodos region northwest of Nicosia.
- Canada's prized durum crop, the specialty wheat used to make pasta, will be sharply reduced this year by heavy rains which hit key parts of the Prairies, market analysts said.
The eastern end of the province of Saskatchewan, which predominates in Canada's growing of spring and durum wheats, was hard hit by the heavy spring rains that slowed or stopped seeding in many areas this year.
- Spain has recorded its lowest rainfall in 50 years, devastating arable, sugar beet and livestock farming.
A chart by the Spanish Environment Ministry showed that average rainfall in Spain in the period from October 1 1998 to May 31 this year stood at just 370 mm, the lowest level since 1949. The figure a year agao was about 650 mm.
'In most of mainland Spain, the year may be considered dry or very dry, especially the regions of Andalusia (south), Castilla-La Mancha (central-south) and Extremadura (west), where accumulated rainfall is below half of normal levels,'.
- More than 200 people have been
evacuated from their homes and several houses collapsed due to
torrential rains in Hungary.
No injuries were reported, but at least four houses collapsed
and train traffic was disrupted at several locations due to mud
washed on the track over the last two days.
"These storms are much bigger than usual," meteorologist Szilard
Aigner said. "One day's rainfall equalled the usual amount over a
month," he said.
- Packing gusts of up to 116 mph, Hurricane Adrian churned near Mexico's Pacific
coast and prompted officials to declare a state of alert.
The powerful storm's proximity prompted six Mexican states -
Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, Michoacan, Guerrero and Chiapas - to be
- The Lubbock area (Texas, USA) is drying out after
record rains Sunday and Monday.
This year's rain total in Lubbock has already surpassed all the rain
received in 1998.
By late Monday, Lubbock's rain total was 13.13 inches for the year,
compared with 13.06 inches in all of 1998. Only about an inch of rain
had fallen on Lubbock by that time last year.
The NWS says Littlefield received 5.10 inches Monday night, the
heaviest rainfall in the area.
- Early monsoon rains are expected to benefit India's crops, Food Minister Som Pal said on Tuesday.
'The rainfall so far has been more than satisfactory as 28 sub-divisions out of the 35...received normal to excess rainfall up to 21 June,' S.C. Goyal, director of the Indian Meteorological Department, told Reuters.
Only the northern states of Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, and Rajasthan in the west were yet to receive monsoon rains, but showers were expected. 'Maybe June 25 or one or two days later,' he said.
- Nearly 40,000 people in
a city in southeastern Bangladesh were marooned Wednesday after
three days of non-stop rains, residents said.
Officials said port activity in Chittagong city had come to a
total halt and road links between the city and nearby Rangamati hill
district were cut because of heavy rains that submerged part of the
More than 180 mm of rain fell on the city
"One of the rivers in the (southeastern) hill region rose nearly
one-and-half meters overnight and if the rain continues for another
day the situation may get worse," Sharif Rafiqul Islam, head of the
state-run Flood Warning Centre, told AFP.
Meteorologists said the monsoon season had set in earlier than
it did last year when the worst floods to hit Bangladesh in a
century were recorded.
- Roads and railway lines remained
closed in Hungary Wednesday after rainstorms and gales caused heavy
damage throughout the country, emergency services said.
Thousands of people have been evacuated and more than 100 houses
collapsed as electricity services had to be shut down in the
northeast over the last two days.
Some 18,000 ha of arable land are
waterlogged, while 80 mph winds tore out
trees and ripped off boats from their anchors on Lake Balaton in the
In the northern Kemence, some 20 people were evacuated by
helicopters after the village was flooded, while firefighters
evacuated 50 schoolchildren from a summer camp near Doemoes by
- Fifteen people died in rainstorms in
Romania while severe weather also hit neighbouring Hungary and
Seven villagers died overnight in the eastern Romanian province
of Buzau after torrents from surrounding hills flooded their homes,
while many others survived by climbing on to roofs.
In Slovakia meanwhile some 500 people were evacuated from their
homes in the town of of Sahy, near the Hungarian border, after a
dyke broke just over the frontier.
- Lightning struck dead seven more people, mainly farmers working in open fields, in a wave of bad weather in eastern Europe.
The latest incidents, in Romania and the neighboring former Soviet republic of Moldova, brought to at least 25 the number of deaths blamed on several days of rain and floods which followed a long hot spell.
Romania's Conel electricity authority said 84 villages remained cut off from the power grid.
- A summer heatwave which has swept Russia for the second year in a row has caused the food and agriculture ministry to cut its official grain harvest forecast for this year.
The ministry had earlier forecast this year's grain harvest at more than 70 million tonnes, compared with last year's disastrous harvest of 47.8 million tonnes.
Hot, dry weather with temperatures of 26 to 33C has prevailed in European Russia since early June.
Temperatures in the lower Volga region and the North Caucasus have reached as high as 34-37C.
- A large forest fire remains out
of control near Badger, Newfoundland, despite light rain, and the
provincial premier has called in water bombers to help.
Local authorities declared a state of emergency in Badger, some 160
miles northwest of the provincial capital, St. John's, as the fire came
to within 300 yards of the town's outskirts.
The fire erupted after Newfoundland authorities issued warnings for
several days that the brush had been turned to tinder following a dry
Similar conditions prevail in other parts of Atlantic Canada and some
44 forest fires raged out of control in New Brunswick on Monday.
- Thirteen people were killed by
landslides and collapsing houses during heavy rains outside
Kathmandu in the past nine days.
Torrential rainfalls between June 19 and 28 caused floods and
mudslides and proved too great for many mud-walled houses,
Floods also washed away paddy fields and some bridges.
- At least 23 people have died and more
than a dozen others are missing following heavy rains that caused floods
and mudslides across central and western Japan.
Ten bodies were found this morning in Hiroshima Prefecture where
landslides wrecked several buildings. Up to 8 inches of
rain has fallen over the past two days at Toki in the central part of
the country, disrupting train and air travel.
Some 15,000 people were ordered form their homes near the swollen
Shin-Minato River in Hyogo. Across the country about 1,600 buildings are
flooded, and more than 200 landslides had been reported.
- At least two people have been killed
and 100,000 trapped by rising floodwaters after days of heavy rain
in central and southern China.
Flood protection authorities along the Yangtze River were on
full alert as forecasters predicted more rain and rising river
levels and emergency teams repaired damage and rescued those cut off
by the waters.
More than 1,800 buildings collapsed in Xianning city in Hubei
province as floods hit after a week-long deluge, causing losses of
400 million yuan.
Landslides also hit the Xianning stretch of the railway linking
Beijing with the southern city of Guangzhou, with some parts of the
track under one metre (3.3 feet) of debris.
The Yangtze at Wuhan had risen 1.34
metres in two days of heavy rain, and was likely to
hit last year's flood warning level of 25 metres in the next two
In the eastern financial hub of Shanghai, a continuous downpour
since June 7 has brought rainfall to a record high of 61 centimetres.
World weather news, July 1999
- Fires sparked by the longest heatwave in
more than a century have engulfed undeveloped patches surrounding
Moscow, threatening to spread into the city's sprawling suburbs.
The smoke and flames clouding highways on the outskirts of the
city for weeks could move into populated areas should the summer's
unrelenting heat continue, the daily Novye Izvestia reported.
The June record heatwave, with temperatures remaining
consistently above 33C has
contributed to an outbreak of forest fires throughout the country,
including in the Moscow and St. Petersburg regions.
The record temperatures were last equalled in Moscow in 1895.
- Forest fires raged on the outskirts of
Moscow and in several other regions Friday as the death toll from
Russia's biggest heatwave of the century rose to more than 140.
In the Moscow region, some 126 fires engulfed 145 hectares.
Fires were also reported in the Volga region of Nizhny-Novgorod;
in the northern regions of Arkhangelsk and Murmansk; near Kamchatka
and Sakhalin in the Far East; and near Chita and Yakutia in western
Siberia, she said.
- Myanmar's official news agency said on Saturday bad weather caused the crash of a chartered Myanma Airways Fokker in the west of the country.
Aviation industry sources said up to nine people aboard the turboprop were killed in the crash near the town of Sittwe on Friday afternoon. Sittwe is about 560 km (350 miles) northwest of Yangon.
The Myanmar News Agency said the Sittwe control tower lost contact with the plane due to abrupt weather changes.
- Flooding and damage in parts of E. Belgium and S. Netherlands overnight 4th/5th following severe thunderstorms. Worst affected were the Belgian
In Belgium some places thought to have had up to 80 mm of rain. Worst flooding was in
Riemst, between Tongeren and Maastricht - up to 1.5 metres deep at one time.
In Riemst, roads,
garages, cellars and the ground floors of many houses were under water.
Some cars floated away. About 150 houses flooded in the village of
Vlijtingen near Riemst.
Storms also in the Kempen - between Antwerp and the Dutch border -
particularly in Turnhout. Vorselaar, Kasterlee, Willebroek, Malle and Boom
also affected. In the Netherlands
some places had 55-65
mm rain and wind gusts reached 100 km/hr. Here too, many streets and cellars flooded - more than 250 in Venlo and
Storms also affected the province of Drenthe where a farm was struck by
lightning and burnt down.
Total damage is estimated by insurers at 10 to 15 million guilders.
In neighbouring areas of Germany, 4 people hurt by a tree blown down.
Roads and railway tracks blocked by fallen trees. Several houses struck by
lightning and burnt out.
- The oppressive heat that has gripped the East Coast (USA) continues,
setting records, straining utilities and claiming lives.
Records fell Monday as temperatures climbed in Central Park to 101
degrees, smashing the old record set back in 1955.
- Twenty more Muscovites drowned over the
weekend, bringing to 171 the number of people who have died during a
month-long heat wave.
A total of 50 people have died in Moscow over the past week
including two who drowned in their bathtubs.
A record-breaking heatwave has gripped Moscow since early June
with temperatures often rising above 33C.
Cooler temperatures and light rain brought some reprieve from
the heat over the weekend.
- A 9-year-old boy in Quebec (Canada) has been killed
in a thunderstorm in the western part of the province.
The boy died tonight when the thunderstorm uprooted
a tree and one of its branches hit the tent in which he was sleeping
while camping out near Sainte-Agathe.
Some 200,000 homes in the Laurentians, and thousands of others
elsewhere in the province, are without electricity because of damaged
Meanwhile, temperatures soared to 104F in parts of
southern Ontario today on the second day of a severe heat wave.
High humidity made it feel even hotter, in what is being described in
one of the severest heat waves in the province.
In another weather-related development, maritime officials have
reported no iceberg sightings this spring off the Newfoundland coast or
in the Saint Lawrence estuary.
In normal years, at least 500 icebergs are sighted in the region
- Fair weather foiled a trans-Atlantic sailing record bid by three hours on Tuesday.
Franco-Swiss brothers Yvan and Laurent Bourgnon, plus American Cam Lewis, the co-skippers of the 60 foot spidery tri-maran Foncia, and their three crew, sat frustrated on a glassy ocean less than a hundred miles from the finish, and watched the clock tick away.
After racing across most of the Atlantic Ocean at speeds in excess of 20 knots, much faster than was required to break the record, they ran into light winds off southern Ireland on Monday, and saw their chances evaporate as their clothing dried in the sun.
They eventually crossed the finishing line, off the Lizard Point at the entrance to the English Channel, three hours outside the record of 6 days, 13 hours, 3 minutes and 32 seconds, for the 2888 mile journey from New York's Ambrose Light.
- Temperatures climbed to 100 steamy degrees in the East for the
third day in a row Tuesday, triggering blackouts and making for an
unpleasant return to work for people who spent the holiday weekend
in shorts and T-shirts.
At least eight deaths have been blamed on the heat in the
Midwest and East. The heat also stalled commuter trains and subways
in New York and forced summer schools to send children home early.
High temperature records started falling before the sun even
reached its peak, as Atlantic City, N.J., hit 98 before noon, with
humidity of about 40 percent. The mercury hit record highs of 100
at Newark, N.J., and Harrisburg, Pa., and 101 in New York City and
at Washington's Reagan National Airport.
- About 200 people have been
forced out of their homes in Drummondville, Quebec, after a tornado
touched down in the area, ripping up trees and damaging homes.
- Cooler temperatures Wednesday eased a suffocating heat wave in the eastern United States, but not before at least 44 people died from weather- related causes.
- Two people have been killed during a
powerful storm in the Las Vegas Valley that touched off what the
National Weather Service called the worst flooding in Southern Nevada in
Reports said that 4 to 6 inches of rain were
falling per hour; a quarter-inch of rain per hour can
cause flooding in the desert, where the ground doesn't absorb the water
Six to eight feet of water raced through low-lying residential
Pieces of mobile homes could be seen floating down inundated streets,
and a the famed fountain at the entrance to Caesar's Palace was also
under water. People jammed into casinos along the Strip, trying to get
out of the driving storm.
- Storms have left at least two people
dead and two others missing in Serbia and flooded large areas of the
Yugoslav republic, as more than 5,000 homes were evacuated to escape
rising waters, media reports said.
One man was struck by lightning at Ub, 30 km
west of Belgrade.
Three other people were swept away by torrents of water that
rushed through Jagodina, 10 kilometers south of Belgrade on the side
of the Velika Morava river, and Badnjevac near Batocina.
Further south, on the same river, about 20 villages in the
Krusevac region were cut off and some were without electricity. In
Krusevac town itself, a whole street was inundated.
Several bridges over three rivers were destroyed in the Topola
region, 70 kilometers south of Belgrade.
- Heavy rain flooded most streets in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka on Sunday, severely disrupting traffic and shutting down businesses.
Weather officials said 128 mm of rain had fallen since Saturday evening in the heaviest showers since the monsoons started a couple of weeks ago.
- At least 15 people were killed
and around 150 injured when a storm lashed northwest Pakistan.
Winds with speeds of up to 95 miles per hour
hit the region, downing electricity poles and trees and damaging
houses in the provincial capital Peshawar and surrounding areas.
The winds, which caused a power supply breakdown, were followed
The Pakistani capital Islamabad, nearby Rawalpindi and several
other parts of the country also received rains, breaking a hot
The country has been in the grip of a heatwave that has
reportedly claimed dozens of lives in different parts of the country
over several weeks.
- Nine people died and
several were missing Monday in a landslide near a dam in
southwestern Romania, hit by torrential rains since the weekend.
Rescue teams and local officials were searching for survivors
among a group of workers on the dam in the Hunedoara region.
Heavy rains have pounded western Romania since Sunday.
- Troops and villagers battled floods in
Bangladesh after swelling rivers smashed five embankments
and forced thousands to flee for safety, officials said.
Floodwaters have already inundated a tenth of the country,
submerging whole villages and marooning thousands of people after
embankments broke without warning under pressure from the torrent.
- Various regions of the western Canadian province Alberta, including the city of Calgary, were hit with a mix of rain and snow in the morning as temperatures dipped to around 1C, chilling the festivities at the famous Calgary Stampede rodeo and western festival.
The average high temperature in the region that sits in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains for this time of year is 23C.
Last week a snowfall north of scenic Banff National Park forced the closure of the highway to Jasper, another mountain resort to which tourists flock each summer.
'That was only the fourth time it snowed in July, and now it's happened twice this year already. I would think that's unprecedented,'.
Nordegg, Alberta, still had traces of snow on the ground by mid-morning after up to 15 cm fell.
- More than 750 fires raged across large swatches of taiga, mobilising an army of 6,000 firefighters as Russia's worst heatwave this century showed no signs of abating. The unprecedented drought and heat that has blanketed the country since June has sparked some of the worst forest fires in recent history, with 230 new conflagrations detected in the last 24 hours. Temperatures reached 32C yesterday.
- An ice-skating rink in the Bahrain capital has been reduced to a pool of water because of the heat wave gripping the Gulf Arab island state. "The temperature was too high and the compressor broke down," a worker at the Fun Land rink said. Temperatures have hit 54C since Tuesday, while electricity authorities are warning that consumption has soared to almost full capacity and have appealed to
home-owners to cut down.
- A central district of Nigeria's
commercial capital Lagos is under threat of flood from exceptionally
high tides predicted for the next few weeks.
The water is now just three metres from breaching the
sea wall in the Victoria Island district, which is home to dozens of
banks, hotels, restaurants and residential quarters.
- Residents of northeast Iowa (USA) braced
for yet another wave of thunderstorms as flooding worsened along the
Cedar, Shell Rock and other rivers.
More than 2,000 people have been evacuated between Charles City and
Waverly as the Cedar River turned streets into fast-running streams.
- Overnight monsoon rains left several
major avenues in the Philippine capital flooded, prompting
officials to call off elementary and secondary-level classes.
The rains, worsened by a tropical storm in the northern
Philippines, left knee-deep water on several streets in Manila and
its suburbs, rendering them impassable to small vehicles.
- Sanbagging continues in parts of
eastern Iowa (USA) as the region's waterways strain to hold in raging
The worst appeared to have passed today for towns like Cedar Falls,
where the Cedar River crested 8.3 feet over flood stage. An unfinished
dike managed to hold overnight, sparing the downtown area from another 2
feet of water. About 100 residents had been evacuated.
- More than 20 people drowned in central
China when their river fishing boat capsized in three-metre
high waves whipped up by high winds.
All 30 fishermen on board the boat were tossed into the Dongjing
river - a tributary of the Yangtze - as winds of more than 40 miles per hour hit the area around Wuhan city.
The waves also damaged nine other vessels in the area, three of
which sank, the report said. Telephone and power lines along the
dykes around the Yangtze and Dongjing were also all blown down.
- Searing heat gripped Chicago (USA) for a sixth day
as city officials worked to prevent the hot summer weather from killing
hundreds, as happened four years ago.
The hot weather baked a wide area, stretching from Kansas to the
Atlantic Ocean and from Wisconsin south. The temperature reached a
record-tying 99 degrees Sunday in Minneapolis.
The heat also is having an impact on electronic and mechanical
devices as well. In addition to cars overheating, drivers with
electronic toll-paying devices in their cars are reporting battery
- Flood waters crashed through northern
Iran along the Caspian Sea, leaving at least 34 people
dead, more than 200 injured and many others missing.
Entire villages were swept aside and rescue teams were still
searching for those missing late Monday as authorities issued an
urgent appeal for relief supplies.
Cars and livestock had been swept away and those residents who
remained were perched on the roofs of their houses to avoid the
The flood was brought on by what authorities called the heaviest
rains here in 100 years.
The rains, which began late Sunday, came after a crippling
nationwide drought that has ravaged crops and virtually obliterated
the summer harvest.
- Abnormally warm conditions in the
south and cool conditions in the north of Western Australia
this morning produced a reversal of the normal north to south
temperature variation. Broome Airport's minimum of 6.0C was 7.6C
below average, while in the WA wheat belt Paynes Find and Morawa
reported minima around 14C, 8 or 9C above average. In eastern
Victoria, Orbost recorded its coldest temperature in 39
years of record with a reading of -3.2C, breaking the previous
record of -3.1C set on 5 July 1957.
- A heat wave over much of the
USA claimed more lives as forecasters predicted no
Hardest-hit by the sweltering heat are the urban areas of the
Midwest, where there have been 25 fatalities since last week.
Weather officials say high levels of humidity can make 35C
heat feel like 43C.
- 21 people died while canyoning - an adventure sport which involves climbing down gorges and body surfing down mountain rapids and waterfalls without a raft - in the Saxeten Bach Gorge near the resort of Interlaken. The victims were part of a group of 45 tourists and eight guides hit by a sudden flood. A flash flood suddenly occurred, bringing down a hail of rocks from the sides of the creek. The waters rose several metres above their usual level, leaving most of the canyoners with little hope of escaping up the steep sides of the gorge.
- One person died and dozens of houses
were damaged by floods which have hit Romania this week.
Some 50 communities in the northwest of the country are without
power, while nearly 500 hectares of arable land was flooded in
eastern Romania, where several bridges were also damaged.
The latest floods began Monday. At the start of July some 30
people were killed in Romania in severe weather which also caused
- A Serbian government minister blamed NATO's 11-week air bombardment of Yugoslavia for unseasonal spring and summer weather in the Balkan region.
Ecology Minister Branislav Blazic was quoted by Beta news agency as saying an unprecedented amount of rain had fallen in the region, adding that the logical conclusion was that it was the result of NATO 'aggression.' Among data he used to back up his claim, he said the amount of airplane fuel burned by NATO jets had affected the upper atmosphere.
- The worst drought in a decade has seized the Northeast (USA),
withering crops, feeding forest fires and sucking streams and lakes
so dry that Baltimore has only a month's worth of drinking water in
On Thursday, Maryland declared the first drought emergency in
its history, joining Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware and scores of
communities in urging people and businesses to curb water use.
- More than 250 homes were heavily damaged
by floods in a mountainous region of eastern Tajikistan.
Streams swollen from heavy overnight rains Friday also destroyed
three electrical sub-stations and caused damage to routes in the
World weather news, August 1999
- The blistering heat wave that gripped
much of the United States the last two weeks claimed at least 190
Hardest hit were the states of Illinois, with 80 dead since
mid-July, followed by Missouri with 44 and Wisconsin with 13.
- Typhoons, floods and heavy monsoon
rains have battered Asia leaving hundreds dead and tens of thousands
homeless while haze returned to parts of Indonesia, threatening a
repeat of the region's two most serious recent environmental
This year floods and landslides caused by rains have left few
Asian countries unscathed and caused billions of dollars in damage.
Worst hit have been China and India, but Vietnam, Bangladesh and
Nepal have also been badly affected. This week has been the turn of
the Korean peninsula and the Philippines.
On Tuesday, Typhoon Olga slammed into South Korea, bringing
further damage after five days of flooding.
The toll for the dead and missing rose to 52 and officials
forecast this would rise as flash floods hit.
In Thailand six people were killed and three more missing in
flash floods in the southeastern province of Chantaburi. Nearly
90,000 people were said to have been affected.
In Vietnam, the toll for central and southern areas remained at
36 dead and three missing. Around 22,000 people were in "extreme
need" without sufficient food or clean water.
The death toll in India, where floods began late June, remained
at more than 300, including 141 in the eastern state of Bihar.
In Cambodia, torrential rains closed a key highway linking the
capital Phnom Penh with the southern port town of Sihanoukville.
Elsewhere, deaths tolls this year have reached up to 110 in
Nepal, 31 in Bangladesh and two in Japan.
In China, floodwaters on the main Yangtze River were reported to
be receding. But authorities have warned the risk of flooding along
the Yellow River, China's second largest, has greatly increased
after heavy rainfall along its middle reaches.
Meanwhile, in Indonesia smoke from forest and ground fires began
to shroud skies over Sumatra and Borneo, prompting a fear of a
return of the haze that covered the region in 1997.
Satellite images showed 111 hotspots in Sumatra and 80 in
Kalimantan. Visibility was just 500 metres in some
areas. Winds have also spread the smoke to neighbouring Singapore.
- Typhoon Paul continues on track for the Korean peninsula, which was battered
earlier in the week by Typhoon Olga, but the Joint Typhoon Warning
Center at Pearl Harbor said today the storm was losing strength and
would weaken further when it passes over Japan and hits the cold waters
of the Korean Strait.
Olga brought heavy rains and flooding to South Korea and North Korea,
and the Seoul had put
150,000 military troops and emergency workers on alert for Paul's
expected landfall Saturday.
As many as 60 people were killed in the flooding caused
by Olga and 20,000 others were forced from their homes. In North Korea,
the death toll was pegged at 60 with 40,000 homeless.
South Korean military authorities warned residents to beware of
landmines and other munitions washed downstream away by the floods.
- Strong winds on France's
western Mediterranean coast brought down a Ferris wheel at a
fairground, injuring an employee.
The giant wheel crashed down on the pay box, which still
contained the cashier, and destroyed half-a-dozen roundabouts in the
vicinity. The public had just been evacuated and the fairground, at
Palavas-les-Flots, closed because of the storm.
At Grau-du-Roi, further east, a circus tent collapsed, again
only minutes after the public had left, as winds reached more than
86 km/h an hour.
- Three girls aged 12 and 13 were swept away
by flood waters overnight at a scout camp in northern Italy.
Some 30 scouts were resting in tents pitched on platforms near
the Febbraro river when a storm triggered a flood which swept the
three girls' tents away.
In Switzerland, police said one man was killed and another
reported missing after storms hit their boats on the Zurich lake.
- Governor George Pataki Saturday declared
a drought emergency in eight counties of New York State, restricting
water use throughout the affected area.
The New York governor's actions came as much of the the eastern
United States continued Saturday to suffer the driest summer in
- A staggering increase in property
losses in the 1990s might lead observers to think Mother Nature has been
stirring up more storms than ever.
But a University of Illinois researcher says the real reason for the
higher losses is the steady migration of homeowners toward areas of high
storm activity, such as the coasts.
Stanley Changnon, a professor of geography and atmospheric sciences,
showed in a recent paper that the number of thunderstorms, tornadoes and
hurricanes has not increased in recent years. He also cleared global
warming of blame for increased storm damage.
- Record temperatures are burning up the
Gulf emirate of Dubai with an all-time city high of 47.5 C
set this week and expected to be broken in the coming days.
The unprecedented midday shade temperature set on Monday beat
the previous hottest day registered last year of 47.3C and equalled
in June 1978.
The overnight low on Monday was 31.9C.
However the usually high humidity levels, which turn the
northern Gulf coast into an open sauna, are currently low.
Humidity on Monday was around 40 percent, while it often sits
around 90 percent.
The United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a member, has
suffered above normal mean temperatures for the past 15 months.
- All of New Jersey and 34 counties in New
York have been declared agricultural disaster areas as the drought on
the East Coast continues.
- Bears in the New York area searching
for water and food amid the dry, barren land caused by one of the
worst droughts on record are looking to neighboring houses for
"Blackberry bushes have dried up (so) the bears have to look for
another source for food," Bob Ericksen, supervisor for the New
Jersey Division of Fish, Games, and Wildlife, said.
Bears have invaded house backyards to seek leftover barbecue
food or scavenge seed put out for the birds, residents from a town
north of here told the New York Times.
- Two men and a boy were killed and 16
people injured in a series of violent thunderstorms that lashed the
The storm destroyed at least 100 homes.
- A tornado ripped across
downtown Salt Lake City killing at least four people
and causing panic during a major convention.
The tornado struck near a center where a large trade convention
was taking place, and television images from the scene showed severe
damage to buildings in the center of the city, uprooted trees and
downed power lines.
- Rain over Indonesia's Sumatra island Wednesday cleared smog from fires in Riau province, allowing residents to see a clear, blue sky for the first time since last week, government officials said.
'The rain has washed away the smog. The sky is clear today,' said an official at state-run environmental impact assessment agency in the Riau provincial capital of Pekanbaru, about 560 miles northwest of Jakarta.
- Spanish authorities evacuated an old people's home and a campsite as strong winds and hot weather fanned the flames of a forest fire that has already destroyed 300 hectares. Firefighters have been tackling the blaze since late on Saturday when it broke out near the village of Denia, on the fringes of a national park on the coast around 80 km north of Alicante in southeastern Spain.
- Floods in northern Iran left 25 people
dead after heavy rains on Thursday hit the northwestern province of
The raging waters which tore through 17 villages, severely
damaging the infrastructure, left the people in Alamut region
without any electricity or telephone lines.
- Tropical storm Sam left two people dead
and nine injured after sweeping through the northern Philippines
A man drowned in the northern province of La Union while a woman
was swept away by an overflowing river near the northern resort town
of Baguio amid heavy rains brought by the storm on Friday.
Landslides damaged two major roads leading to Baguio and over
4,000 people across the country were temporarily displaced by rising
- Hurricane Bret has been upgraded to a Category
4 storm, with winds maximum sustained winds of 135 mph (215 kph).
At 11 p.m. EDT today, the first hurricane of the 1999 season was
located at latitude 25.2 degrees north, longitude 95.1 west, or about
155 miles (245 km) east-southeast of Brownsville, Texas.
- Environment Canada has issued a warning to residents of the Atlantic Provinces to brace for four or five hurricane-type storms this year, or double the normal number. Martha McCulloch, who heads the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, issued the warning today at the start of the Atlantic hurricane season, which usually starts in mid-August and runs till early November.
- Strong winds and driving rain lashed
Hong Kong, uprooting trees and tearing down neon signs, as
tropical cylcone Sam headed towards the south coast of China
The Hong Kong Observatory raised the tropical cyclone warning
from a number three to a number eight at 12:30 p.m. (0430GMT).
As activities in town come to a halt, surfers took to the
beaches to take advantage of the strong waves despite the
government's warning to stay away from the water.
- Hurricane Bret is pounding the South Texas
coast with gale-force winds and torrential rains as it roars toward
shore between Corpus Christi and Brownsville, with dangerous winds of
- Hurricane Bret took its first victim in
Colombia, where thousands of homes were destroyed and last
one woman died in strong rains and wind created by the hurricane
tail passed through the Caribbean.
The woman was crushed when one wall of her house in the coastal
city of Cartagena caved in.
Heavy rains also have pounded northern Venezuela since Tuesday,
leaving 8,000 people homeless. Most of the damage was caused when
the Aragua and Querecual rivers burst out of their banks in the
northeastern state of Anzoategui.
- Typhoon Sam tore through the Pearl River
Delta in China's southern Guangdong province Monday, killing at
least five people and closing several airports.
The typhoon, which made landfall in coastal areas around the
city of Shenzhen late Sunday afternoon, also forced the closure of
Shenzhen's Huangtian airport for an hour Monday, with 15 flights
- Hurricane Bret has downgraded to a tropical storm as it lost speed early today, dumped heavy rains over southern Texas and northeast Mexico threatening to flood the area. The hurricane, a category four when it smashed into the Texas
coast, lost strength as it moved inland over areas that had been mostly evacuated of residents.
In Corpus Cristi 148 mm fell within 24 hours (22/1200-23/1200 utc). Forecasters also warned of possible tornadoes throughout the area. Some 15,000 people had been evacuated from coastal Texas.
- Cold weather continued to hamper tea growth in Kenya's main growing areas in the week to August 23, leading traders Africa Tea Brokers (ATB) said.
ATB predicted crop levels would remain depressed while the cold weather continued to inhibit growth.
'Night and early morning temperatures remain cold, inhibiting growth, and crop levels are low,' ATB said.
- Heavy rains across northern Italy flooded roads, swelled rivers and forced commuters to wade through knee-high water in the financial capital Milan.
Weather experts said more bad weather could be on the way.
After a night of incessant rainfall, the Seveso River which runs under parts of Milan overflowed through gutters and cut off roads and motorways in the north of the city, leaving cars submerged.
Police said no one had been injured but flooding could cause delays as millions of Italians return to Milan this weekend after the summer holidays.
Forecasters said the wave of bad weather from northern Africa had moved down along the southern coast of Italy and high winds and heavy rains caused disruption to some ports just north of Rome.
- Unusually cold weather in the Russian Arctic is likely to lead to cancellations and disruptions to shipping on the key northern route by the second half of October, a senior shipping official said.
World weather news, September 1999
- A tornado packing winds up to 120 mph
damaged an assisted living center in Hampton, Va, USA, a nursing home and five
apartment complexes, injuring more than a dozen people
and displacing as many as 1,000, authorities said.
NWS forecaster Tim Armstrong said the tornadic winds were
spawned by Tropical Storm Dennis, which had hovered off the North
Carolina coast for a week before blowing shore late Saturday
- A fierce hail storm on Sunday
ravaged some 500 hectares of Saint-Emilion vineyards,
one of the most prestigious of French Bordeaux wines.
"The hailstones, which were as big as quail eggs, ravaged an
area 400 m wide along a 1.5 km
stretch leading to an almost total defoliation and destroying
Among the well-known wineries affected were Angelus,
BeauSejour-Becot, Larmande, Dassault, Canon and Clos-Fourtet.
The storm did not affect the neighboring vineyards of Pomerol
- Twenty-four head of cattle died
in a freak nocturnal thunderstorm when the tree under which they had
taken shelter was hit by lightning at Chappelle-Baton, in the Vienne
department of west-central France.
- A tornado has ripped through Shanghai's (China)
seafront outskirts, destroying 35 houses and injuring a total of 41
Seven people suffered serious injuries in the twister, which
struck during a thunderstorm early in the morning.
- Ten people died and hundreds
more evacuated as Hurricane Greg approached Mexico's western shores
Tuesday, causing heavy rains and flooding.
Six people died as a result of heavy flooding in the southern
state of Morelos, two more in Colima, one in Chiapas, and another in
Most of Baja California was under a hurricane warning.
- Hurricane Floyd tore through the Bahamas, uprooting trees, shearing off roofs and hurling debris into buildings as frightened tourists and residents hunkered down in shelters or barricaded houses to wait out the monstrous storm.
The 600-mile-wide Category 4 storm delivered punishing rains and winds in the central and northwestern parts of the archipelago. Storm surges up to 20 feet above normal tides caused severe flooding.
The sustained winds of the storm had diminished slightly to near 140 mph by 8 p.m. EDT, when the storm's eye was located near the Abaco Islands.
At least five people were injured in storm-related accidents in Nassau and another was hurt by flying debris. Three families were trapped in their homes by fallen trees, and 1,300 residents and tourists were forced into special shelters.
- Hurricane Floyd - which prompted the biggest-ever evacuation in the United States as it blasted in from the Bahamas - lost strength as it finally reached the US East Coast.
More than 2.5 million people were evacuated from their homes from Florida to North Carolina as Floyd approached.
Before making landfall, Floyd had driven frightened residents from the coast and spread torrential rains and howling winds over a huge swathe of the eastern United States.
10 people are reported to have been killed in incidents related to the storm, including one in the Bahamas.
More than 300mm of rain fell in Wilmington overnight.
South Carolina and Virginia also saw heavy rain overnight.
- Typhoon York scored a direct hit on Hong Kong, causing hurricane-strength winds and torrential rain.
Officials say it is the most severe typhoon for 16 years.
Many were hit by flying debris. Wind speeds reached up to 150kmph and torrential rain brought by the typhoon caused flooding throughout the territory.
The number of injured has risen steadily. Many people were hurt by flying debris, including sheets of metal and the branches of trees.
Some skyscrapers in urban areas had their windows blown out, sending shards of glass on to people below.
- Powerful Hurricane Gert was expected to veer northward over the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean, avoiding the U.S. mainland but possibly threatening Bermuda.
Gert is the 1999 hurricane season's fourth Category Four storm. Its maximum sustained winds were holding steady at about 145 mph . According to the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Scale, Category Four storms can rip roofs off small buildings and cause beach erosion and massive flooding.
- Intense rains in northern Costa Rica have killed one man and caused more than 1,200 people to flee their flooded homes.
More than a dozen towns were flooded in the province of Guanacaste, where several small rivers overflowed their banks, the National Commission on Emergencies said.
- Heavy frosts for September were
experienced on the NSW (Australia) Northern Tablelandsthis
morning. Tenterfield recorded an overnight minimum of -6.0C,
10.6C below normal.
- Warm northerlies ahead of an
advancing trough gave Western Australia's central and
southeastern districts an exceptionally warm day for
September. Maximum temperatures were from 8 to 16C above the
September norm, with Eyre
recording a top of 36.4C, 15.9C above average.
- More rain expected tonight could worsen the
North Carolina flooding caused by Hurricane Floyd that already is
blamed for billions in damage.
State officials today said 1,500 people remained stranded by the
high water. Throughout the weekend, 1,000 or more others had been
rescued from rooftops by helicopters and boats.
- Eight people were killed when two
buildings collapsed following heavy rain and flooding in the
northern Nigerian town of Katsina.
Most parts of the town, including Kofar Marusa, Kofar Kaura and
Kofar Durbi, were affected by the flooding.
Local officials blamed the disaster on the lack of good drainage
system in the area.
Incidents of collapsing buildings occur regularly in Nigeria due
to the use of substandard construction materials.
- A series of storms which swept
across Sydney (Australia) this evening produced reports of
large (2.5cm diameter) hail, downed trees and cut power supplies in a band from
around Parramatta to the northern beaches. Radar showed two
significant storm cells develop within an hour of one another in
the area west or south of Parramatta. The heaviest report of rain received was 30.4mm
between 6 and 8pm at the Olympic Stadium AWS at Homebush.
- Maximum temperatures in South Australia today were just two degrees below the
all-time September record temperature for South Australia of
40.5C. Oodnadatta Airport today recorded a top of 38.4C, 12.3C
- Typhoon Bart lashed Japan with driving
rains and winds that shattered glass windows, downed power lines,
knocked over cranes and killed at least 26 people.
Also a tornado unrelated to the typhoon tore through a
city in central Japan, slightly injuring 262 people, mostly
schoolchildren hit by glass from shattered windows. The twister
swept through Toyohashi, 140 miles west of Tokyo, for about 30
minutes Friday morning, destroying three homes and damaging dozens
- State and federal authorities worked
to recapture dozens of caskets disinterred by the floodwaters of
Hurricane Floyd - many of them in the small community of Princeville.
Officials have asked a federal Disaster Mortuary Recovery Team to
help capture and reinter an estimated 100 caskets and vaults freed by
the 20 inches of rain dumped by Hurricane Floyd last week. Many of the
caskets had been torn from the ground in Princeville (North Carolina, USA).
North Carolina's death toll from Floyd rose to 45.
- A blinding dust storm blowing across a
desert stretch of Interstate 84 (Oregon, USA) set off three deadly collisions
between semitrailers and cars that left six dead and
injured at least a dozen more.
Visibility was reduced to near zero.
- Reports of snakebite are on the
rise in eastern North Carolina as the creatures have been forced to seek
higher ground because of flooding from Hurricane Floyd.
There are 34 snake species in eastern North Carolina, including six
poisonous snakes, such as copperheads, cottonmouths, the eastern
diamondback and the rare eastern coral snake.
An estimated 500,000 pigs and 10 million poultry birds died in the
floodwaters left by Hurricane Floyd.
- Maximum temperatures were up to
15C above normal while overnight minima were up to 12C above in
much of South Australia and southeastern Western Australia.
Eucla Airport's maximum of 36.0C was 15.0C above the
station's September average. Meningie
in South Australia's southeast recorded a top of 29.1C, nearly a
degree higher than any September maximum at the station in 27
years of record.
- Rains that have sent rivers
bursting over their banks and forced thousands into shelters poured
onto Central America for a 15th day as the death toll from
flooding rose to 29 in six countries due to the
flooding - nine in Honduras, seven in Guatemala, six in El
Salvador, two in Nicaragua, four in Costa Rica and one in Panama.
- Six inches of rain kicked off new flooding
today in an area already devastated by Hurricane Floyd's
inundation, washing out roads and a spillway. People were urged to
evacuate two residential areas southeast of Goldsboro (North Carolina, USA).
- A heat wave sweeping Lebanon has
ignited fires in various regions across the country, wounding at least
three Civil Defence workers.
As temperatures reached 35C, civil defense
sources said some 20 new fires broke out in the mountains overlooking
Beirut and in southern, northern and eastern Lebanon.
World weather news, October 1999
- In South Australia
a small upper area of cold air moved ENE across the Eyre
Peninsula and into central northern parts during the afternoon
and evening, spawning spectacular thunderstorms. Golfball-sized hail caused extensive damage to
about 25 vineyards in the Clare Valley, north of Adelaide.
- In Austria 20cm of fresh snow fell above 1000m in parts of Vorarlberg and the Tirol.
- Twenty days of torrential rain across
Central America have killed 68, displaced tens of thousands, and
caused millions of dollars in damage, as forecasters predicted sustained rain in areas of the
Huge swaths of corn, beans, rice, peanuts and sorghum crops were
inundated and others have been battered so heavily by rains that the
UN's World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that Central America is
facing a food crisis.
- Hundreds of dead fish are
washing ashore in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida (USA), and health department
officials think red tide could be the cause.
The microscopic algae, which may have been stirred up by Hurricane
Floyd and other weather, emits an irritating toxin that kills fish and
causes respiratory problems in humans.
A health advisory has been in effect for about two weeks from
Jacksonville Beach to just north of Marineland because of the problem.
- A tropical depression stalled off the
east coast of Mexico, drenching the area with up to 15 inches of rain.
At 5 a.m. EDT Tuesday, the center of the tropical depression was
located near latitude 19.0 north, longitude 94.5 west, or about 110
miles east of Veracruz, Mexico. The storm has sustained winds of 35 mph.
- Typhoon Dan lashed the northern
Philippines with hurricane-force winds but there were no
immediate reports of casualties or damage, weathermen and disaster
The typhoon, with maximum winds of 140km/h and gusts of up to 170km/h
eastern coast of Cagayan province Tuesday morning.
- One man was missing and about a million
others were left without electricity after Typhoon Dan
whipped the northern Philippines with hurricane-force winds.
The entire province of Cagayan, home to 947,000 people, was
without power after strong winds toppled power pylons.
- Typhoon Dan has left nine people dead and
displaced nearly 139,000 in the northern Philippines in the past two
days, rescuers said.
- At least 19 people died and another
100,000 have lost their homes as a result of the torrential rains in
Colombia in the past two months, authorities and media said
A river that burst its banks Monday left 15 people dead and
another 39 injured and 2,500 were left homeless.
In the northwest and southwest regions of Colombia at least
another four people have died. On the Caribbean coast, around 43,800
families have lost their homes and crops with the flooding of rivers
such as the Magdelana and Cauca - the country's largest.
- At least 120 people died and thousands
are homeless because of mudslides and floods brought to eastern Mexico
by torrential rains.
Among the victims were some 70 people buried late Wednesday in a
landslide that covered a school in Mixun.
The region has been drenched by rains since last week when a weak
tropical depression formed off Mexico's east coast. Before the
depression dissipated it doused the area with more than two feet of
rain. Six Mexican states have been declared disasters.
- The death toll from this week's devastating floods in Mexico climbed above 400 as rescue workers pressed on with the grim task of digging out people buried when a mudslide engulfed an entire village.
The extent of what President Ernesto Zedillo called the 'tragedy of the decade' was becoming starkly clear as the rains eased and rescue workers were able to reach villages that had been cut off for days.
At least 200,000 people lost their homes to flood waters that swept over nine of Mexico's 31 states. Flash floods turned hillsides into deadly rivers of mud that reached rooftop level and buried alive villagers who took refuge in homes and schools.
- Typhoon Dan left one dead after it
pounded Taiwan's offshore islands.
No casualties were reported in Taiwan but the typhoon brought
downpours in the eastern and southeastern parts of the island as the
typhoon stormed past the Taiwan Strait.
- Typhoon Dan which struck the
southeastern Chinese province of Fujian over the weekend has left a
total of 34 people dead and hundreds injured.
The 14th typhoon to hit the region this year caused the deaths
of 16 people in the city of Quanzhou, 10 in Zhangzhou and eight in
The typhoon was the strongest to hit Xiamen since 1959.
- This summer's drought in the
mid-Atlantic US region may have been bad news for farmers, but it
could be a public relations gift for Chicago's new market-based
trade in weather derivitives.
Business in the first weather derivitives - which impacts
agriculture, power companies and retailers - to be traded on a US
exchange has been modest since it began on September 22 at the
Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
But the heat wave which devastasted crops from West Virginia to
Connectict, coming on top of two unexpectedly warm winters in the
United States over the past two years, could be the impetus needed
to galvanise the market, according to the CME.
The CME weather market deals in futures and options on futures
based on variations in temperature in Chicago, Cincinnati, Atlanta
Contracts for Heating Degree Days (HDD) and Cooling Degree Days
(CDD), much like the interest rate, equities and foreign exchange
markets, protect businesses from decreased demand or increased costs
due to weather.
and New York.
- Tropical storm Irene has formed in the
northwest Caribbean 330 miles (535 km) south-southwest of Havana, Cuba.
- Hurricane Irene, with winds of 75 mph, continued to drift south of Cuba on Thursday posing a threat of
torrential, damaging rains to the island and southwest Florida this
- Around 100,000 people were evacuated
Thursday, as Hurricane Irene battered southern Cuba - then switched
direction to put Cuba's capital city at risk.
The hurricane moved over Cuba near the small town of Batabano in
Havana province, with storm damage prolonged by Irene's
"dangerously" slow progress of around seven km
per hour, according to the Cuban Meteorology Institute.
This is the region's ninth hurricane this season, and number 51
in Cuban history.
Three quarters of the island is under pressure from intense
rains and 15-25 cm of rain has fallen in
Isla de la Juventud municipality, and other major population centres
like Matanzas and Cuba's principle beach resort Varadero.
- Hurricane Irene reformed a storm centre and
was moving north over the lower Florida Keys where one gust of 103 mph
Key West experienced power failures and extensive street flooding,
but there were no reports of significant wind damage or any serious
injuries. A tornado was reported in the middle keys, but there were no
immediate reports of damage or injuries.
Hurricane warnings were discontinued in Cuba, which saw 130,000
evacuated because of heavy rains and storm surge from Hurricane Irene.
Coastal flooding was reported on the island after 10 inches of rain, and
there was a report of one death due to the storm and two people are
reported missing. 4 people died in the Bahamas due to flooding, and 2 died in Cuba.
- Hurricane Irene swept north over the
Everglades with 80 mph winds, drenching the southeast
Florida coast from the keys to Palm Beach with torrents of rain as it
headed north-northeast. 5 died in Florida due to the storm.
As much as eight inches of rain fell on parts of the Miami and Fort
Lauderdale areas, leaving standing water up to three feet deep on many
- Several people have died from the extreme
cold in Moscow during the last few days, when temperatures dropped
suddenly, bringing the season's first snowfall on Monday.
Weather services said the temperature fell below freezing on
Saturday night and could have fallen as low as -8C Sunday night.
- Portsmouth, Virginia, USA: Irene established an alltime daily precipitation record of 7.82ins. Rainfall for the year now totals 72.23ins which is some 32ins above normal.
- Hurricane Irene is speeding out to sea after
dumping almost a foot of rain in coastal regions of North Carolina,
where about 700 people spent the night in shelters because of the new
threat of flooding.
At 11 a.m. EDT Monday, the National Hurricane Center said the center
of Hurricane Irene was near latitude 37.8 north, longitude 69.9 west or
about 240 miles south of Nantucket Island, Mass. The hurricane, which
had winds of 105 mph, was headed to the northeast at 39 mph.
Alligators were becoming a problem in several parts of south Florida.
Trapper Todd Hardwick said: 'As waters recede, we're getting
alligators where they normally wouldn't be found. We're also getting a
flow from west to east and some of the alligators are riding the flow
into urban areas.'
- Governments of several Caribbean islands
posted hurricane warnings ahead of tropical storm Jose, which continued
to strengthen early Tuesday.
At 5 a.m. EDT Tuesday, tropical storm Jose's center was placed near
latitude 13.8 north, longitude 57.5 west, or about 150 miles east-
northeast of Barbados. The storm was moving west-northwest at 13 mph, a
speed and direction predicted to continue through Tuesday.
- A severe cyclone hit coastal areas
in India's eastern state of Orrisa, killing at least 56 people
and injuring several others.
Authorities have evacuated hundreds of thousands of people living in
the coastal areas where 130-mph strong winds left a trail of destruction
in Puri, Ganjam and Khurda districts.
Winds uprooted trees and toppled houses as the cyclone coming from
the Bay of Bengal hit the coastal districts.
The cyclone also brought heavy rain before moving to the northwest.
- Hurricane Jose is battering Antigua with 100
mph winds, torrents of wind-driven rain and high tides Wednesday, as it
roars into the Leeward Islands.
At 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday, the Category 2 hurricane was located at
latitude 17.1 north, longitude 61.5 west, very close to Antigua, and
moving northwest at 12 mph.
A hurricane warning remains in effect for Montserrat, Antigua,
Barbuda, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Eustatius, Saba, Dutch St. Maarten,
Anguilla, British and U.S. Virgin islands, Puerto Rico, French St.
Martin, St. Barthelemy and Desirade.
- Hurricane Jose rolled through the northern
Leeward Islands Wednesday with 100 mph winds and torrential rains, which
could reach up to 10 inches.
- Hurricane Jose
downed power lines, snapped trees and left roads covered with
debris, but caused little other damage Thursday in the Virgin
Jose was downgraded to a tropical storm Thursday morning as it
slowly churned toward Bermuda.
The storm gave the French territory of Guadeloupe a glancing
blow, dumping heavy rain that caused flooding on major roads. Jose
hit Antigua head on late Wednesday, tearing down trees and
flattening utility poles, according to reports.
- Tropical storm Jose stalled 120 miles north of
Puerto Rico with 65 mph winds, continuing to produce showers and
occasional squalls over parts of the northern Leeward Islands and Puerto
- Three people have died of hypothermia in
an early cold snap in Poland, where temperatures have dropped to
- Officials in the northern Italian city of
Genoa called for urgent assistance from neighboring
regions after torrential rains left the Liguria region in a state of
Local officials called for Genoa to be declared a disaster area
after more than 100 mm of rain fell
within 12 hours causing serious flooding in
many places and evacuations of residents.
The Genoa-La Spezia motorway was closed to traffic on Saturday
afternoon due to the rains and poor visibility.
In Venice, the historic centre was flooded for the second day.
- Pibor River province in southeast Sudan faces evacuation after the worst floods for over 30 years caused devastation and brought life to a virtual standstill.
Floods have submerged most of the province, wiping out cattle and wildlife and destroying schools and hospitals after a week of unseasonal heavy rains.
The floods were the worst to hit Pibor River, in Jonglei state in war-torn southern Sudan, since 1964.
Although the rainy season in Sudan usually ends in early October, heavy rains and floods continue to cause havoc in some parts of the country. Reports from Pibor River say the province is almost entirely under water.
- One man was killed and another was missing on Sunday after heavy rains flooded some streets in the Lebanese capital Beirut.
Mohamad Shukr, 21, was electrocuted when he held onto a metal bar to stop himself being swept away by streaming rain waters.
- Flood waters were slowly rising in the Mexican state of Tabasco Sunday after weeks of torrential rain forced officials to open the gates of a dam that was filled to capacity.
The Gulf of Mexico state, streaked with some of the country's most important rivers, has been hard hit by flooding from heavy rains earlier this month that killed some 400 people and drove some 300,000 others from their homes across central and southern Mexico.
- Ghana has appealed for emergency international assistance following a flood disaster that has killed at least 70 people and displaced more than 280,000 in three northern provinces.
Unusually heavy rains in September, described by the Meteorological Service as the worst for 30 years, ravaged vast tracts of farmland in Upper West, Upper East and Northern regions.
Ghana's cocoa producing regions are in the southwest and southeast of the country, well away from the disaster area.
- A freak hail storm hit Kuwait
Wednesday, plunging the emirate into darkness and paralysing
motorway traffic, but causing no apparent structural damage.
Such fierce storms are uncommon in this Gulf Arab state.
The capital has not had sustained rainfall for almost a year,
and the last bad storm occurred almost two years ago, blocking
drains and causing serious structural damage but allowing young
Kuwaitis to ride their jet skis down the motorways.
Annual rainfall varies between 22 and 300 mm a year.
- Fresh floods triggered by heavy rain in the central province of Quang Binh (Vietnam) killed nine people and destroyed thousands of homes.
34,427 houses in Quang Binh have collapsed, while 12,000 acres of vegetable and sugarcane plantations have been damaged in the floods in the past few days.
- Warm weather in S Europe led to temperatures of 37.4 in Palermo (Sicily),
following 38.6C in Catania yesterday.
- The southeast of Mexico is drenched by devastating rains, but the north has not seen a drop in months; temperatures plummet near Mexico City, while the northwest is baking hot.
Freak weather conditions in Mexico are not symptoms of global warming but probably the result of the tail end of La Nina, the periodic cooling of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, according to a meteorologist.
'The La Nina situation that we were in last year and are in again this year probably produces a little more in the way of severe conditions in Mexico,' Mike Palmerino, senior agricultural meteorologist at U.S.-based Weather Services Corp, told Reuters.
- Bangladesh's weather office issued a storm warning on Thursday and Mongla port suspended work from noon (0600 GMT).
Meteorology officials said the hurricane-strength storm was heading towards the coast from the Bay of Bengal and was likely to make a landfall by Friday noon.
- A super-cyclone with winds of 160
mph battered 10 coastal districts in India's eastern states of
Orissa and West Bengal, leaving some 15 million people homeless and
killing an unknown number.
Two people were killed when a wall collapsed in Orissa state. At
least 30 people were injured in neighboring Midnapore district in
West Bengal state when their homes collapsed, Press Trust of India
news agency said.
Many more were feared dead or injured, but little was known
about many areas since most telephone lines were cut.
At least 50,000 people were evacuated from coastal villages.
The cyclone ripped into the port town of Paradwip and later hit
Bhubaneswar, the state capital 55 miles from the coast, hammering
the city with winds of 110 mph.
- The centre of tropical depression Katrina reformed over the Gulf of Honduras after spreading heavy
rain across Nicaragua.
- At least 34 people have died and 79,000 others left homeless by flooding in eastern Ethiopia.
Thousands of acres of crop land have also been destroyed after the Wabe-Shebelle river burst its banks following days of torrential rain.
World weather news, November 1999
- India's cyclone-hit eastern coast
remained cut off from the rest of the country Monday, with relief
material yet to reach millions of affected people.
Officials say rail links to the affected districts have been
restored, and telephone lines are being repaired. A few trains carrying
medical supplies and navy ships loaded with food are heading toward the
Nearly a dozen cyclones hit India each year. The worst killed an
estimated 11,000 people in 1977.
- Flooding on the NSW (Australia) western slopes eased
today, though Graincorp has indicated that many wheat and barley growers in
northern NSW will have to wait a week or so before they can begin to harvest
- Torrential rains flooded the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh and forced thousands of people from their homes on the outskirts of the city but there were no reports of casualties, government officials said.
Schools were closed and deserted city markets were under several feet of water.
City officials said the flooding was severe in the southwestern outskirts where some 10,000 people had been forced from their homes and more than 2,000 hectares of rice fields had been destroyed.
- Panic gripped millions of people hit by the violent cyclone in eastern India on Wednesday as relief teams grappled with flood-marooned villages, dire shortages of food and drinking water and looming epidemics.
Five days after the storm ravaged the coastal state of Orissa, rescue efforts were finally on a 'war footing,' with more than 5,000 army personnel frantically clearing roads and distributing emergency supplies.
There was still no reliable estimate of the number killed by the most devastating cyclone to hit the poverty-stricken state since 1971, but officials said the death toll would run into thousands.
- Vietnamese troops took over rescue operations in flood-battered central coastal areas on Thursday as meteorologists forecast more heavy rains for the devastated region.
The floods across six coastal provinces that stretch for some 500 km have killed at least 126 people.
A weather bulletin read on national radio said the central region's rainfall in the past few days had been the highest ever recorded in Vietnam.
- Qatar's Islamic affairs ministry has urged
the Gulf emirate's citizens to pray next week for rain after a
The prayers, which are due to take place early on Monday, are in
line with the traditions of Islam's prophet, Mohammed, the daily
Qatar sweltered through its hottest summer since records began
this year, with shade temperatures topping 45C at its peak.
- Intense rains plagueing Colombia since
mid-year have caused 89 deaths and resulted in 4,000 people being
"We are experiencing the worst winter conditions in four years,"
explained Luz Polido, director of the the government's contingency
and disaster prevention office.
The most critical situations are in central, north, northeast
and northwestern Colombia, which have a number of deep rivers whose
waters are continuing to rise.
- Floods following unusually heavy rain in the Central Africa Republic have made at least 6,000 homeless, state radio reported on Friday.
Officials said that several rivers, including the Oubangui, had burst their banks and flooded nearby settlements.
- A massive avalanche thundered into a remote Andean village, burying alive at least 40 Peruvians as they scrambled to flee a flood of earth and boulders that obliterated their mud-brick homes.
Apparently triggered by an underground buildup of water and gases, a hillside overlooking Sicsi exploded Sunday, sending a sulfur-smelling smoke cloud high into the air and a mudslide, roaring as it gathered up trees and debris, into the village.
- Emergency supplies trickled through to
central Vietnam Monday where at least 475 people have been killed in
the worst floods in 40 years, as relief workers warned hundreds of
thousands of isolated villagers were threatened by hunger and
- The landmark St Mark's Square and
surrounding streets in Venice were under floodwater on Sunday after
heavy rains caused what the authorities said was the third highest
tide of the year.
Temporary scaffold bridges were put up to help tourists get
around the city after the tide of 116 cm
Severe weather has disrupted transport in northern Italy
throughout the weekend. The Bologna-Milan railway was cut for
several hours because of trees felled by strong winds and flooding.
- Tropical storm Frankie raked across the central
Philippines, killing one person and temporarily
blacking out parts of the island of Leyte.
- Twenty-two people have died in a week in
Moscow from the effects of the start of winter.
Nine people died from hypothermia on Monday when temperatures
fell to -14C.
- China, often ravaged by floods, will increase spending on flood control by 400 million yuan ($48.3 million).
- Heavy downpours of rain in southern Greece have killed two people, flooded hundreds of buildings and caused rivers to overflow.
Dozens of trapped people were rescued by firefighters from their flooded homes, cars or businesses.
Another elderly woman drowned in her home in the same region on Monday after it was engulfed by rain water.
The rains have set off mudslides on main roads, stranding motorists for hours.
Trains were halted as railway tracks were damaged from fallen trees and debris. Farmland was also buried under water and thousands of acres of crops were destroyed.
- World Cup Alpine ski races scheduled for Park City next week may be held elsewhere in North America due to warm temperatures and lack of snow in the Utah resort.
Colorado ski venues were one option but there was not a lot of snow there either and weekend weather forecasts for Denver predicted near summer temperatures.
- State-owned Nigerian Sugar Company lost 6,000 hectares of sugar cane plantation estimated at 25,000 tonnes of sugar to flooding in the country's central region.
The flood disaster in parts of northern and central Nigeria, which followed the heaviest rains in 30 years recorded this year, had deepened the company's problems.
- Almost 3,000 Hondurans have been evacuated and thousands more isolated by flooding as heavy rains continued along the country's Caribbean coast.
The port city of La Ceiba, 185 km north of Tegucigalpa, and dozens of smaller communities, were cut off after bridges were downed by overflowing rivers.
Rains and mudslides that began in mid-September have caused at least 35 deaths, flooded out more than 18,000 people from their homes, and damaged roads, bridges and agricultural land.
- The French government has begun
emergency rescue operations in a large section of southern France in the
wake of heavy rains and floods that have claimed at least 27 lives.
Torrential rain hit the eastern Pyrenees region at about noon Friday
and continued across southern France without letup, causing rivers to
overflow into many towns and villages. Weather forecasts for the region
indicate continued rainfall through early Monday.
French Environment Minister Dominique Voynet told French Radio RTL on
Sunday that while such heavy rainfall and the likelihood of flooding
could have been expected during this period, there should have been
better planning and improved forestry and farming practices.
She said: 'This kind of rain is common during this season, even if
the amount is more than expected... But we should also look at the risk
prevention plans, farming and forestry practices, the way we care for
riverbeds as well as any reasons that can heighten severity of these
- Life is limping back to normalcy
in India's cyclone-ravaged eastern state of Orissa, where the death toll
from the huge storm has crossed the 10,000 mark.
Hundreds of people have suffered burns from industrial chemicals that
spilled into the floodwaters. Doctors are treating patients with boils,
scars and red patches caused by toxic acids.
Electricity and telephone connections have been restored in a
majority of the ten coastal districts that were lashed by the fierce
cyclone on Oct. 29. The devastating storm left more than 15 million
The cyclone is one of the worst in India's modern history. At least
10,000 people died in a 1977 storm and 9,665 were killed in a 1971
- Tropical storm Lenny became Hurricane Lenny
late Sunday, threatening Jamaica with up to 10 inches of rain and
possible flash flooding.
- Hundreds of people were evacuated and a state of emergency declared in tourist areas of New Zealand's South Island on Wednesday after torrential rain caused rivers and lakes in central Otago to flood.
Up to 350 people were ordered out of around 200 low-lying properties along the Clutha River, including the towns of Alexandra and Roxburgh where a state of civil emergency was declared.
Electricity traders reported inflows to the South Island lakes - a major source of New Zealand power - were 338 percent of average for the past week and this had depressed spot prices.
- Hurricane Lenny intensified into a Category 4
hurricane with 135 mph winds Wednesday, hammering Puerto Rico with
torrential rains as it roared toward the Virgin Islands.
At 8 a.m. EST, Lenny was about 115 miles south-southeast of San Juan,
Puerto Rico, centered at latitude 16.9 degrees north, 65.4 degrees west.
The hurricane's winds reached 100 mph Monday morning, dipped to 85
mph late in the day, but strengthened to 135 mph Wednesday morning,
making Lenny a major storm capable of inflicting damage.
- Forty-nine people have died from the cold
since the start of winter in Moscow, the city's ambulance service
reported Wednesday through the Interfax news agency.
Severe cold kills dozens of people in Russia each year. There
were 121 deaths recorded in 1998. Victims are often homeless or
people who lose consciousness after drinking too much alcohol.
- Even though conditions have improved significantly along the East coast
during September, drought conditions still persist over a large part of the
USA. Moisture deficits have worsen in sections of Louisiana and the
half of Texas. Many of these areas received only 20 percent to 60 percent of
normal precipitation from late July through mid-November. Large sections of
Texas and Louisiana are now in a severe drought, as are parts of western
Georgia and northeastern Tennessee. Areas from Georgia northward to the
- Deadly Hurricane Lenny on Friday swept its powerful winds and torrential rains through the fragile Leeward Islands in the northeastern Caribbean.
The unusual west-to-east moving storm left a path of death and destruction in the region, churning up waves that smashed boats, washed away roads, scattered debris, tore at hotels and slid coastal homes into the water. Its winds weakened, while it dumped 10 to 15 inches of rain, triggering flooding and mudslides in mountainous areas.
Lenny weakened on Thursday to a strong Category Two on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, making it a moderate hurricane capable of damaging roofs, mobile homes and trees and flooding coastlines with storm surges up to eight feet.
It had bordered on being a potentially catastrophic Category Five hurricane on Wednesday when it smacked directly into St. Croix, one of three islands that make up the U.S. Virgin Islands. Gov. Charles Turnbull said the other two islands, St. Thomas and St. Johns, were 'in relatively good shape.'
Lenny struck very late in the six-month Atlantic hurricane season, which officially ends on Nov. 30. It is the fifth major hurricane of the season and the eighth hurricane overall.
- A sudden snow storm snarled
traffic on secondary roads across eastern France on the borders with
Germany and Switzerland.
Icy roads and snows caused several accidents overnight Thursday
to Friday and ski resorts in the Vosges mountains announced they
would open to skiers this weekend.
Around 20 cm of snow were reported with
snowfalls continuing, triggering the closure of some high passes.
- Gale-force winds, rainstorms and snow
caused serious problems on roads in north and central Italy,
leaving one person dead and several injured.
In the central regions of Tuscany, Umbria and Marches, rivers
burst their banks forcing a large number of families to flee their
homes. Trees were uprooted and driving was made difficult because of
In Umbria's main city, Perugia, authorities received 200
telephone calls from people seeking aid after trees were felled by
strong winds and houses damaged.
Containers housing survivors of a 1997 killer earthquake were
overturned by a tornado.
In Naples, where several people were injured by flying objects,
ferries to the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida remained at port
because of choppy seas.
- Hurricane Lenny
was downgraded to a tropical storm mid-Friday, but continued to dump
heavy rain on the eastern Caribbean after leaving seven people dead
and hundreds of homes destroyed in its wake.
But floodwaters had already cut off parts of the Franco-Dutch
St. Martin from the rest of the island, local officials said. More
than 45 cm of rain fell on the island in the
past 24 hours, the equivalent of the island's rainfall for six
Lenny formed late in the hurricane season, which ends November
30, in the western Caribbean and has moved eastward. It was the
first major hurricane this century to follow that path, according to
the US National Hurricane Center.
That unusual track has many calling the storm "Lefty Lenny," and
put many harbours and ports that normally are sheltered right in its
- An area of high humidity and broad convergence
that gave the Queensland (Australia) Central Coast thunderstorms last night was
pushed north today by a strengthening ridge up the Queensland coast. Cardwell on
the North Coast recorded 153mm, mostly from rain and showers, between 3am
- Up to 80 centimetres (30 inches) of snow meant that ski slopes
in popular resorts in the eastern Haute-Savoie and Savoie
departments could be opened this weekend.
- An unusually severe early spell of winter weather is affecting southern
Germany. At the weekend, severe frost gripped many areas. The ski-resort
of Oberstdorf reported an overnight minimum of -21.7C. Sunday's daytime
maximum temperature was -4C in Munich, a rare value in November.
Prolonged snowfall on 22nd-23rd, resulting in snow depths of over 25cm
in the Munich area, the heaviest falls for 12 years, has resulted in chaotic
travel conditions. Traffic jams of up to 40km in length have built up on
the Munich-Salzburg motorway after lorries became stuck on steeper sections.
Police reported that parts of the motorway had become iced over and unpassable.
Emergency teams have been mobilised to provide hot drinks and blankets for thousands
of stranded motorists there and elsewhere across upper Bavaria,
where over half a metre of snow has fallen in places.
Dozens of flights have been cancelled and long delays
are reported at Munich airport.
- In Victoria (Australia), heavy rain was produced
by a small low which developed in a trough as it moved through southeastern South Australia
yesterday. Walpeup, just west of Ouyen in the Mallee district, reported 39.6mm, its
highest November daily total in 60 years of record.
Storms and rain areas on the Cape York
Peninsula and the Queensland North Tropical Coast continue to push the areas
rainfall totals well above November averages. Mean rainfall across the Peninsula
for November ranges between 50 and 100mm, grading up to 150mm in the wetter
parts of the North Coast south of Cairns. 24-hour totals included
137mm at Halifax and 124.8 at Ingham, and 146mm
at Daintree Village north of Cairns.
- French road traffic authorities
Tuesday reopened the A7 motorway after a 48-hour closure forced by
The A7, the main highway from the central city of Lyon to the
south of France, was blocked in snowdrifts on Saturday, stranding up to
The lorries were cleared on Monday, driving off in convoys behind a
Meanwhile, several hundred homes remained without electricity in
the Bouches-du-Rhone region around Marseille.
- Ski resorts in the Colorado Rockies have finally
received a pile of new snow, just in time for Thanksgiving.
The snow snarled traffic in many areas and two people were
killed Monday afternoon in a massive pileup on fog-shrouded
Interstate 70 near Genesee, marring what was for many a welcome
More than a foot of snow fell in the foothills and mountains
west of Denver. United Airlines canceled 190 of its 600 flights
from Denver International Airport during the storm and the snow was
Colorado had been basking in record or near-record temperatures
during most of November, an ominous sign for resorts after a poor
season last year. Vail Golf Course even reopened last week.
- Slow-moving thunderstorms and rain areas in
tropical Queensland continued to produce some isolated heavy falls,
even by tropical standards. Steady, heavy overnight rain gave Charters Towers
in northern Queensland 115mm for the 12 hours, for a one-day total 126.8mm, over three times its monthly average. This is the city's
highest November one-day total by far, eclipsing the previous record of 83.8mm
in a record stretching back to 1882.
In the Northern Territory, Borroloola again
received a downpour, with 31.6mm in 10 minutes to 12.17pm and 69mm for the day. The settlement has now received 369mm in four major storms
so far in November - average November rainfall is 43.6mm while
the highest November monthly total in over 90 years of record is 219.2mm.
- Heavy snowfall and a cold snap
throughout much of central and eastern Europe caused traffic chaos and
claimed more lives Wednesday as conditions continued to deteriorate in
In Poland, 37 people died of hypothermia or in weather-related
accidents, as record snowfall closed parts of highways, stranding
thousands of motorists.
Krakow, in southern Poland, saw as much as 30cm of snow
overnight, and some areas of southern Poland reported 60cm in 18 hrs.
Across the border, the Czech Republic was also severely affected by
snow, with roads and border checkpoints closed.
Austria recorded its first avalanche this winter near Salzburg, with
the Austrian Alps receiving heavy snowfall and more snow forecast.
Further east, temperatures plunged in Moscow to -23C on Wednesday night, taking the death toll from hypothermia in the
Russian capital past 60.
In eastern Ukraine, a mixture of wet snow and freezing rain caused
power and telephone lines to go down across large areas.
- The death toll from Hurricane Lenny
rose to 13 after police in St. Kitts called off the
search for a man missing at sea for more than a week.
- An unusual November tornado ripped apart
homes, toppled trees and injured at least 10 people in eastern
The injuries were minor. About 30 people had to be evacuated
because of gas leaks, authorities said.
- the European Space Agency's ERS-2 remote sensing satellite detected abnormally low ozone levels over north western Europe. Above the UK, Belgium, Netherlands and Scandinavia ozone levels were nearly as low as those normally found in the Antarctic. Individual point measurements made from the ground in the Netherlands confirm that local values were almost 2/3 of the normal level at this time of year.
World weather news, December 1999
- Fierce winter storms left at least 17 people dead and scores injured across northern Europe on Saturday, as well as causing millions of dollars of damage and severely disrupting power and transport.
Emergency officials said a series of storms packing gale force winds and heavy rain or snow rolled eastward from Britain on Friday afternoon, causing devastation across Scandinavia, Germany, Poland and the Baltic states overnight.
Denmark appeared hardest hit and officials there said six people were killed and many injured in the country's most powerful storm this century.
Winds which the Danish Meteorological Institute said measured up to 180 km/h, toppled over dozens of lorries, closing highways. Thousands of fallen trees hampered traffic all over the country.
Material damage was estimated at more than one billion crowns ($134.5 million).
In Sweden, three people were killed and more than 125,000 households and businesses were left without power when the storm swept southern and central regions.
In Latvia, officials at the port of Liepaja said they were hopeful that six men trapped under their capsized fishing vessel since before dawn could survive a another night of crashing waves and near freezing water.
Lithuanian media reported a 13-year-old boy had been crushed to death after strong winds toppled the chimney of his house in the western region of Shilute.
Strong winds, which reached up to 110 mph, ripped off roofs, and flooding raised the sea level 19 feet in Hamburg.
- Widespread floodwaters began to recede across central coastal Vietnam on Tuesday but huge numbers of luckless residents face tough times ahead.
The death toll from the latest floods to hit blighted central Vietnam was still at 105, with 22 listed as missing.
State media reported the toll was likely to rise, although relief workers said it would not come close to the nearly 600 people who died in similar floods last month because residents had been more prepared for the current disaster.
- At least 15 people were killed when a landslide triggered by torrential rains thundered down a hillside and into a residential area on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
But the final death toll could be much higher as around 50 more people were believed still trapped in the mud and hopes of finding survivors among them was fading with each passing hour.
Thursday's landslide occurred in a suburb of Padang, one of Sumatra's main cities, some 575 miles northwest of Jakarta. It followed days of torrential rains.
- Cyclone John powered towards Australia's northwest coast on Tuesday, forcing oil fields and iron-ore ports to shut down and the small town of Karratha to brace for destructive winds and flooding.
At 1 p.m. Perth time (0500 GMT) Cyclone John was 245 km north-northeast of Karratha. The bureau rated the storm at the top of its category four cyclone range on Tuesday, which is defined as having wind speeds up to 280 km/h.
- U.S. government scientists on Tuesday released lists of the 15 top world and U.S. weather events in the 20th century.
Dozens of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) contributed to the listing of global and U.S. storms and climate events, which were noted for their atmospheric marvel or impact on human life.
NOAA's top 15 global events, in no particular order:
The 15 top U.S. events, in no particular order:
- Yangtze River flood, China, 1931;
- North Vietnam flood, 1971;
- Great Iran flood, 1954;
- Bangladesh cyclone, 1970;
- Bangladesh cyclone, 1991;
- China typhoons, 1912 and 1922;
- Hurricane Mitch, Honduras and Nicaragua, 1998;
- Typhoon Vera, Japan, 1958;
- Typhoon Thelma, Philippines, 1991;
- Asian droughts, India 1900, 1907, 1965-67; China 1907, 1928-30, 1936, 1941-42; and Soviet Union 1921-22;
- Sahel drought, Africa, 1910-14, 1940-44 and 1970-85;
- Iran blizzard, 1972;
- Europe storm surge, 1953;
- Great Smog of London, 1952;
- El Nino, 1982-83.
- Galveston, Texas hurricane of 1900;
- Dust Bowl, 1930s;
- Super tornado outbreak, 1974;
- Hurricane Camille, 1969;
- The Great Midwest flood, 1993;
- El Nino episodes, 1982-83 and 1997-98;
- Hurricane Andrew, 1992;
- New England hurricane, 1938;
- Superstorm, 1993;
- Tri-state tornado, 1925;
- Oklahoma-Kansas tornado outbreak, 1999;
- The Great Okeechobee hurricane and flood, 1928;
- The Storm of the Century, 1950;
- Florida Keys hurricane, 1935;
- New England Blizzard, 1978.
- Dozens of people were
evacuated from their homes in the former Montenegrin capital Cetinje
as torrential rains caused floods in the lower parts of
There were no reports of victims in the floods, caused by heavy
rains that have poured down on the tiny Yugoslav republic since
The storms and heavy rains have already caused significant
damage, with raging waters flooding basements and ground floors of
buildings in the town center, situated on the slopes of the Lovcen
Floods were reported in the area of the Boka Kotorska bay, on
the Adriatic sea, where the water level on the streets has reached
1 metre and forced local officials to
evacuate some 25 patients from a pensioners' home in the town of
- Heavy snow blocked Bosnia's road and
air traffic on Thursday, while heavy rains in its southern part
threatened to flood Mostar.
The level of the Neretva river in Mostar was rising sharply due
to heavy rain and water flooding in from a storage lake of a nearby
hydro-electric power plant.
Sarajevo and Banja Luka airports were closed due to the heavy
snow, which spared only the south of the country.
- Several rain-swollen rivers broke their banks in Italy, causing mudslides and flooding that killed at least four people.
The worst-hit town was Cervinara in Avellino province east of Naples, where three elderly people died while trying to escape floodwaters near their home.
Flooding was also reported in several towns near Tivoli, east of Rome, where the Aniene River broke its banks.
Fields were flooded in the central Umbria region, where the Nera River broke its banks in some areas.
- Torrential rains and mudslides have killed at least 137 people in Venezuela's capital Caracas and along its scenic Caribbean coastline in the country's worst natural disaster in 50 years.
The downpours created raging rivers that swept through poor districts in the city of six million people, destroying hundreds of ramshackle homes and turning tourist beaches into fields of thick mud strewn with tree trunks and boulders.
'A tragedy of this magnitude has not occurred in Venezuela in 50 years,' President Hugo Chavez said as he toured the disaster area in Vargas, just north of Caracas.
By the 20th the death-toll had risen to 10,000.
- In the ski resort of Crans Montana, a 13-year-old German boy and an 18-year-old Belgian girl were killed when a tree crashed into a cable and sent their ski gondola plunging to the ground.
Swiss media reported at least eight other weather-related deaths, including an elderly man blown to his death south of Zurich while trying to repair his roof.
In the central village of Kandergrund, locals told how freak winds left a trail of destruction, tearing off roofs, wrecking buildings and flattening forests.
In southwestern Germany at least 12 people died, many of them in road accidents caused by fallen trees, including three occupants of a car hit by a tree in a village near Ettlingen.
Some 1.5 million French homes were without electricity, French media reported. Half a dozen people were seriously injured in Paris by falling walls or collapsing roofs.
Three huge cranes were blown over in separate areas of Paris. Nearly all commuter train services to and from the suburbs were shut down, along with seven of the city's 14 Metro lines. Police even barred cars and pedestrians from the Champs Elysees because of flying roof tiles.
Incoming flights to Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports were diverted to Brussels, Lyon and other West European cities. The airports partly reopened in the afternoon as the winds moved eastwards.
- Western Europe struggled to clear roads and railways and repair power lines on Monday after violent storms over the Christmas weekend killed more than 70 people.
Stranded train and plane passengers resumed their journey and clean-up squads removed fallen trees and chimney rubble in northern and eastern France, where at least 33 were reported dead. Nearly a million homes were still without electricity. While the French were still recovering from Sunday's havoc, a fresh storm with gusts of up to 123 mph began tearing through France's southwest late on Monday, killing eight people, emergency workers said.
In northern Spain five people were reported to have died as a result of strong winds.
At the Versailles Chateau, due to reopen on Tuesday, windows were smashed, the roof damaged and up to 10,000 trees uprooted in the gardens and forest. 'It looks as if a dinosaur has trampled over it,' lamented Chief Gardener Joel Cottin.
The Paris mayor's office said 40 percent of the 300,000 trees in the Bois de Boulogne and Vincennes were damaged by the winds. But a giant ferris wheel set up for the Millennium festivities in the Place de la Concorde was unharmed.
- Heavy rain and storms swept northwestern Turkey overnight, destroying some 100 tents housing scores of earthquake survivors.
Electricity was cut off later as a precaution against fires breaking out.
- Temperatures in the United States will finish 1999 as the second-warmest on record since 1900, only topped by last year's all-time high mark, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
NOAA said its projections show Americans will have experienced an average for 1999 of 55.7 degrees Fahrenheit. This follows 1998's record high of 56.4 degrees.
In addition to warmer temperatures, the agency said precipitation ebbed on average, dropping 1.05 inches below normal levels to a projected 30.60 inches despite heavy local rainfall in the Pacific Northwest due to the La Nina pattern.
Record dryness was seen in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley as a result of last summer's drought. The April to July period was the driest or second driest ever in all states from West Virginia to Maine.
- Storms battered France, Spain and Switzerland killing at least 28 people in France and bringing deaths from gales and avalanches in western Europe since Christmas to more than 100.
Geneva's Cointrin airport closed for 90 minutes as winds battered aircraft but there was no serious damage. The Federal Snow and Avalanche Research Institute warned skiers of dangerous conditions and some mountain passes were closed.
In Austria, two skiers were killed and a third seriously injured by an avalanche near the Tyrolean resort of Vent while at least seven German skiers died in another avalanche in the Jam valley leading to Galtuer.
Eight people died when rain, ice and gales hit Britain over the Christmas break, and strong winds and snow drifts prolonged misery in Switzerland where 13 died in Sunday's storms.
High winds and driving rain lashed Italy Tuesday, causing damage to Rome's historic Campidoglio town hall, delaying flights and whipping up seas cutting off islands in the south.
In Spain, six people died Monday in winds that raged up to 105 mph along the north coast.
In France, winds of around 112 mph overturned trucks and sent trees crashing through roofs, forcing thousands of families in Charente-Maritime on the west coast to shelter in public buildings.
Even stronger winds whipped up 24-foot waves off the Atlantic coast and swept ashore more oil from a sunken tanker. Some of the thick black sludge landed on beaches which had only just been cleaned after the first slicks arrived Monday.
- Freak storms and avalanches in Europe have claimed over 100 lives since Christmas as tropical south-east Asia shivered.
In France, the worst storms to hit the region in decades killed at last 68 people and claimed other victims in Spain and Switzerland, while nine German skiers died in an avalanche in Austria that left one survivor, a woman.
France bore the brunt of the storms which tore down pylons and cables and shut down a quarter of the state utility EdF's national power grid. EdF said repair teams from Belgium, Germany, Italy and Spain would come to help fix felled lines. At one stage, 3.4 million French homes were without electricity.
In Austria, the nine skiers were killed in an avalanche near the Tyrolean resort of Galtuer and one badly injured survivor, a woman, was airlifted to hospital from high up on the mountain, eyewitnesses said on Wednesday.
Turkey has been lashed with violent storms and high winds over the last two days, leading to a Russian-flagged tanker ship splitting in two and sinking overnight in the Marmara Sea off the coast of Istanbul.
- France raised the death toll from its worst storms in decades to 83 as insurers feared the cost of repairs could run to billions of francs.
As officials added 13 new deaths to Wednesday's headcount of 70, thousands of families were steeling for a cold, dark millennium night, many unable even to telephone.
State power utility EdF, which has 15,000 staff battling to restore power across France, said 800,000 homes would still be without electricity Thursday evening.
Two out of four nuclear reactors at Blayais in southwest France were still out of action as workers pumped the last dregs of flood water from the site, the Nuclear Safety Authority said.
- An Atlantic cyclone that killed dozens of people and wreaked havoc across western Europe has hit Ukraine, disrupting power supplies and road traffic but causing no deaths.
Wind squalls up to 145 km/h swept the country on Wednesday and early Thursday, followed by snowstorms that covered the capital Kiev with 34 cm of snow and the western Trans-Carpathian region with 50 cm.
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Last updated 28 September 2015.