The Heat Is Online

Part II: Extreme Weather -- July-December 2000

In early July, the hottest temperatures in more than half a century melted roads in Turkey, triggered fires in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece and left at least 25 people dead in southern Europe. more...

Meanwhile, researchers noted that West Nile Virus, which had killed seven residents of New York in the summer of 1999, has now been detected at a number of sites in the Western Hemisphere. Projecting the U.S. Gulf Coast as the most likely site of the next outbreak, scientists said they feared that the virus has penetrated most of North America and portions of South America as well more...

In late July in New York City officials closed Central Park and canceled a concert by the New York Philharmonic after the discovery of a number of mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus more...Halfway around the world, crops in Cambodia were ravaged by the worst flooding in 40 years more...

Days after Central Park was closed because of WNV-infected mosquitoes, two dead crows, found to be carrying the virus, were discovered in Boston and a nearby suburb, triggering insecticide spraying and widespread public concern more...

By early August, more than 64,000 wildfires in 12 states in the Western US had consumed four million acres, prompting officials to declare the summer of 2000 the worst fire season in at least 70 years more... At the same time, the New York Times reported that three years of extreme drought in eastern China had turned previously rich agricultural land into a new desert, covering nearly 1,000 square miles a year with sand more...

In northeast Brazil, at least 47 people died in mudslides from the region's worst flooding in 25 years more... At the same time, intense flooding in northern washed away more than 1,000 homes and killed more than 100 people more... In Iran the worst drought in more than 30 years threatened to displace millions of people more... While, in California, a gruelling heat wave threatened residents with "rolling blackouts" from overtaxed electricity utilities more...

Meanwhile, in northern India, intense monsoons left more that 4.5 million people homeless, killing hundreds of people and thousands of cattle more... In mid-August, officials announced that extreme weather had caused the cancellations or delays of nearly 34,000 U.S. flights in July alone more... In mid-August, a flash flood dropped a foot of rain on parts of New Jersey, flooding streets, collapsing two bridges and bringing out the national guard more...

With drought in the Southeast, heat waves in the Midwest, wildfires in the West and cold, wet weather in the Northeast, the summer of 2000 brings a slew of extremes to the United States more... In mid-August, after severe flooding had affected more than 4 million people in northern India, South India was hit with more than nine inches of rain in one day, killing 120 people more... Meanwhile, record drought in North Texas, the worst in at least 64 years, parched crops in Texas and Louisiana and dried up wetlands in Alabama more... By the end of August, the wildfires in the western United States had claimed 6 million acres and cost the state of Montana alone an estimated $1 billion more... By Sept. 1, the fires had consumed 10,000 square miles, according to CNN, an area larger than the state of Maryland

After 42 days of triple-digit temperatures and 66 days without rain, wildfires erupted in north Texas in early September more... While the worst rains in a century displaced 45,000 people in Japan more... In late September, severe flooding stranded 15 million people in India, left hundreds of thousands homeless and at least 900 dead in India and Bangladesh and killed several hundred people in Cambodia more... At the same time, several hundredths of an inch of rain broke an 84-day drought in north Texas which had left nearly $600 million in agricultural losses more... And more than 300 people died in the worst flooding in decades in Vietnam more... In October, officials, citing severe agricultural failures and growing malnutrition, reported that the worst drought in 50 years threatened the six million residents of Tajikstan with extreme famine more... In mid-October, floods and mudslides and destroyed homes and villages in the Swiss Alps when 24 inches of rain fell in two days more...

At the end of October, the worst wind and rainstorms in more than a decade paralyzed France and Britain, closing airports, stopping train traffic and felling thousands of trees. In the British city of York, water levels reached their highest since 1625. As floods paralyzed parts of the U.K., Prime Minister Tony Blair declared it is time for the world to deal with climate change. more... In early November, Hawaii received two feet of rain in 24 hours, while rivers in central Texas swelled to flood stage from intense downpours more...

In mid-November, NOAA announced that the average temperature of 58.1* F from January to October was the warmest such period in United States' history since such records began to be kept 106 years ago more... In Sweden, intense flooding following weeks of heavy rain, prompted that country's environment minister to ask whether the country can "meet the strains of climate change" more... In late November, hundreds of people were evacuated, towns were isolated and farmers feared crop losses of more than $500 million as floods spread across one-fifth of New South Wales more... Two days later, Buffalo, N.Y. was buried by 25 inches of snow in 24 hours -- the third heaviest snowfall in the city's history more... After four days of late November torrential rains, at least 119 people were killed and 75,000 made homeless on the Indonesian island of Sumatra more...

In early December, officials began planning to evacuate the first of some 40,000 residents from the Duke of York Islands off Papua New Guinea as rising sea levels continue to encroach on their land more...

In mid-December, winter storms plunged temperatures to -47 F. in Minnesota and the Dakotas, while record warmth, coupled with winds as high as 78 miles-an-hour and freak thunderstorms battered the Northeastern U.S. and two deadly tornadoes killed at least 12 people in Alabama more... The year ended with two unprecedented ice storms which paralyzed swathes of Arkansas and Oklahoma, leaving thousands of people without power for as much as a month more... At the end of the year, the FAA announced that flight delays in the U.S. due to extreme weather had increased by 20 percent over the previous year more...