The Heat Is Online

Extreme Weather Profiles: 1995 - 1999

1995

In the spring of 1995, after five years without its normal killing frost, New Orleans was overrun by termites. more...

That summer, more than 500 people in India died from an unusual heat wave. more...

Halfway around the world, the Midwest experienced its second 100-year flood in three years.

At least 700 people died that summer in Chicago of heat -related effects. more...

That same summer of 1995 in Britain was the hottest since 1659 and the driest since 1721. (In fact, the 24 months from May, 1995, to May, 1997, was the driest two-year period in England since record keeping began.) more...

At the end of 1995, officials had to cancel the World Cup ski tournament in Austria for lack of snow. At the same time, residents of Sapporo, Japan, needed the army to dig them out of record snowfalls. more...

1996

In 1996, while floods plagued the northeastern United States, a prolonged Midwestern drought recreated Dust Bowl conditions and left U.S. grain reserves at their lowest levels in 50 years. more...

That summer, people in the northeast provinces of North Korea were reduced to eating leaves, grass and wild roots following the most extreme floods in memory. more...

At the same time, a succession of uncontrolled fires in Mongolia destroyed more than 700,000 square acres. more...

One element of climate change involves the alteration of precipitation and drought patterns and more intense rain and snowfalls. As the atmosphere warms, it accelerates the evaporation of surface waters. At the same time, the warmer air expands to hold more water. So when the normal atmospheric turbulence comes through, it dumps much more of our rain and snow in severe, intense downpours than it did a few years ago. more...

In July, 1996, Aurora, Ill., received 17 inches of rain in one day. more...

That August, more than 60 people died during a flash flood in the Spanish Pyrenees. more...

In November, the worst floods in more than 50 years paralyzed Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. more...

At the end of the year, Moscow experienced its warmest December in history. more...

1997

In January, we saw a succession of very destructive ice, snow and rainstorms in the Pacific Northwest. more...

The worst rains in 30 years in February destroyed half of Bolivia's crops. more...

In March, we witnessed record flooding along the Ohio River. more...

Portugal experienced its worst winter drought in 150 years which destroyed 70 percent of that country's winter cereal crops.more...

In April, the epic flooding of the Red River devastated residents of North Dakota and Manitoba. more...

In May, a torrential rainfall in Manila left 120,000 people homeless.more...

In July, the worst flooding in a century plagued Poland and the Czech Republic. more...

A November typhoon in Southeast Asia left 2,500 people dead or missing in what Vietnamese officials called the "calamity of the century." more...

That same month, unprecedented flooding left more than 200,000 people homeless in Somalia and Ethiopia. more...

December 1997 was the coldest in Moscow in 115 years (following the previous year's warmest December in history). more...

In Boston, a 60-degree Easter Sunday was followed two days later by a 30-inch snowstorm, the third largest snowfall in Boston's history. more...

1998

In January, 1998, the worst ice storm in Quebec's history halted train, air and phone service and left up to four million people without power -- some for up to a month. more...more...

In April, officials estimated the costs of Indonesia's forest fire damage at over $900 million, excluding costs to the environment. In addition to direct costs, those fires resulted in more than $1.8 billion in tourism, timber and crop losses were recorded by the end of 1997 after fire damaged some 4.2 million acres of forest and land according to estimates. more...

The heaviest rains in 30 years triggered extensive flooding in Iran, cutting rail lines and killing 84 people. The floods damaged many roads, 212,000 acres of farmland, 11,200 homes and killed more than 7,600 cattle. more...

A drier than normal winter and a mild spring left Canada's western prairies and woodlands in tinderbox conditions as forest fires consumed an estimated 360,000 acres of grass and timberland. more...

In May, 1998, as Mexico suffered through its worst drought in 70 years, firefighters fought 300 new fires a day triggered by extreme heat. The smoke from the fires aggravated thick smog in Mexico City and blackened skies in Texas and Oklahoma. more...

A June, 1998, heat wave in India resulted in the deaths of more than 4,000 people. The scorching heat wave began on May 12 and soon gripped almost the whole country, with temperatures in some parts of the north shooting up to nearly 123 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat wave is the worst on record for more than 50 years. more...

The worst outbreak of wildires in that state's history threatened Florida's $6 billion-a-year agriculture industry. An average of 80 new fires each day during early June consumed nearly 190 square miles. In addition to mass relocations, an estimated 90 percent of Florida's corn crop was been lost at a cost of $20 million, as was 95 percent of the hay crop for a $20 million loss and at least a quarter of the peanut crop, a $15 million loss, according to agriculture officials. more...

One of the worst heat waves on record killed several hundred people in Texas as temperatures reached triple digits for 29 consecutive days in July, 1998. more...

The worst flooding in 25 years in early August, 1998, triggered millions of dollars in crop damage in parts of Australia's richest farm land, according to Australian emergency officials. "It is a significant flood in one of Australia's richest rural and farming areas. It is doing millions of dollars worth of damage to crops in the area," State Emergency Service spokesman Rick Stone told Reuters. more...

The worst floods in 100 years cripped Northern New Zealand, triggering mass evacuations, closing roads and setting off mudslides in July, 1998. more...

Cambodia battled with a serious outbreak of dengue fever after an unusually warm winter, with thousands of children falling victim to the mosquito-borne disease. Cambodia suffers an outbreak every two or three years but this year's was more serious than previously because the weather was not cold enough last December to stop the tiger mosquito, which carries the virus, from reproducing.more...

An early August heat wave, the most intense 110 years, claimed the lives of dozens of people in the Middle East. Temperatures in the Jordanian capital of Amman averaged 104 degrees for much of July and August. more... In Bahrain, residents experienced the hottest summer since the beginning of record keeping in 1902.

The worst heat wave in a half-century has swept eastern Europe, causing a reported 20 deaths in Romania and sending people plunging into fountains and standing-room-only pools in search of relief. From Bucharest to Budapest, the region sizzled under record temperatures, hitting close to the 104-degree mark for a third week. more...

The worst flooding in Central China's history in August, 1998, claimed more than 2,000 lives, left 14 million people homeless, and disrupted the lives of more than 240 million people. The flooding, which officials declared worse than those of 1954, forced the evacuation of millions of people and destroyed about one-sixth of China's farmland, an estimated 65 million acres of crops. more...

Raging rivers swamped areas of Northern India, drawing out cobras and vipers that posed another threat in a countryside ravaged by three weeks of flooding. The flood death toll climbed to 1,186. Nearly 10 million people in 23,300 villages in Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, with 150 million people, were driven from their homes, stranded by high waters or lost their livelihoods, officials said. Flooding in the northeastern state of Assam forced more than 3.6 million people to seek shelter in nearly 400 government relief camps. more...

A September, 1998, monsoon which lasted two months longer than any in history, left some 30 million residents of Bangladesh homeless. Bangladeshi officials declared it was the worst flood in that country's history. More than half the capital city of Dhaka, a city of 9 million people, was flooded. more...

Disaster-stricken North Korea was hit by the heavy rains which have caused massive flooding. The isolated communist country -- suffering a critical famine caused partly by severe flooding in recent years -- has recorded heavy rainfall over July and early August, 1998. One northern province, Shinuju, recorded a massive 24 inches of rain between June 22 and June 30, and a further 18.48 inches in July. more...

An extreme heat wave and drought dried up water supplies and devastated rice crops in Vietnam in early August, 1998. Millions of people in six provinces north of the city of Hue were short of drinking water, and officials expressed concern about outbreaks of malaria and dengue fever. Millions of people in six provinces stretching 250 miles north from the central city of Hue were short of water, according to an official from the International Federation of Red Cross. "Really, some parts look like a desert. it is very serious," he said. more...

In November, more than 11,000 residents of Honduras and Nicaragua died as a result of flooding, mudslides, disease and starvation in the wake of Hurricane Mitch. Officials said the hurricane -- which destroyed much of the infrastructure of Honduras, Nicaragua and parts of Guatemala -- undid 20 years of development in those Central American countries.more...

Click for 1999 extreme events