The Heat Is Online

Extreme Weather Events: Jan. - June 2000 (Part I)

The year 2000 saw new record for natural disasters, according to Munich Reinsurance, one of the world's largest property insurers more....


Just after it was announced that Boston had set a record for 291 consecutive snowless days by the end of 1999, the temperature in Boston reached 64 on Jan. 3, 2000. Boston finally received measurable snow on Jan. 13, after a record 303 consecutive snowless days. Several days later, the windchill dropped 100 degrees as temperatures dipped below zero. At the beginning of the year, torrential rains in Brazil killed 12 people, left thousands homeless and triggered declarations of emergency in 14 municipalities. more...

As California suffered through a prolonged dry spell more..., officials in France asked the European Union for aid in addressing the more than $10 billion in damages left by December's unprecedented windstorms more.... In Venezuela officials struggled with epidemics of dengue fever and malaria in the wake of December's floods and mudslides more.... Meanwhile, in late-January, the worst ice storm in memory left hundreds of thousands of residents without power in northern Georgia and other parts of the southern U.S. more...

As North Carolina was digging out from a record 20-inch snowfall, surprise snowstorms played havoc in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, snarling traffic and shutting down airports more... Meanwhile, Israel received 15 inches of snow on Jan. 28, the heaviest snowfall in 50 years more... And Atlanta suffered it's second ice-storm in a week, making it difficult for many football fans to get to the super bowl more... In early February, heavy snow followed by abrupt warming in Alaska loosed a series of avalanches that isolated a number of communities and prompted the governor to declare a state of emergency more...

In early February, torrential rains led to flooding in the Philippines which killed at least 11 people and left more than 20,000 homeless more... While five straight days of unseasonal downpours drove more than 100,000 people from their homes in Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa in what officials called the worst flood in at least 50 years. Thousands of people in Mozambique were stranded on treetops for up to a week, while disease outbreaks in the wake of the flooding threatened a major public health crisis more... In mid-February, 22 Georgia residents died in that state's deadliest tornado since 1936 more...

In early March, researchers determined that the winter of 1999-2000 in the United States was the warmest since records began to be kept. It was the third consecutive "warmest winter on record" in the U.S. more... Meanwhile, unusually warm surface waters produced a bizarre "Triple Cyclone" in Australia more... while, at the same time, flooding inundated parts of the Czech Republic more...and crippled areas in northwest Argentina more...

While rainstorms battered Europe, Australia and Argentina, parts of Kenya and Ethiopia were struggling with severe drought and fires. In northern Kenya, 8 monkeys were killed and 10 people injured after a two-hour battle between residents and monkeys over a truck load of fresh drinking water. more.... In Indonesia officials declared a "national disaster" as smoke from massive fires darkened the skies more... And in Jamaica as rain parched crops and drained reservoirs, officials prepared to truck water in to several drought-stricken regions more... And in the U.S. Midwest and South financial analysts and farmers prepared for the first multi-year drought in decades more....

In an extraordinary irony, the day after researchers at the National Oceanographic Data Center reporting that the deep oceans have been heating for 40 years, observers reported a massive iceberg in Antarctica breaking off. The iceberg, reported to be twice the size of Delaware, was said to be of near-record size more....

In late March, two cyclones decimated parts of Madagascar's forests, killing hundreds of species of rare animals more... At the same time, two tornadoes ripped through downtown Fort Worth, overturning cars, shattering windows, covering streets with debris and killing at least four people more... A record six feet of snow buried a town in northern Norway, prompting officials to abandon an entire neighborhood rather than attempt to rebuild more.... In Mongolia, a fall drought, followed by unprecedented winter blizzards, killed nearly two million head of cattle and spawned worries that up to one-fifth of its population could face severe food shortages later in the year more....

In early April, a second massive piece of the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica broke off due to warming ocean waters. Researchers compared the iceberg to the size of Jamaica more... Meanwhile, officials in the Midwest declared that the warm winter and lack of snow had dropped water levels in the Great Lakes to their lowest levels in 35 years more... As early April flooding led to the highest level of alerts in Hungary and Romania, more... at least six children were dying every day in Ethiopia where three years of drought have killed up to 95 percent of livestock and created widespread malnutrition in the southern region of the country more...

In mid-April, wildfires consumed some 14,000 acres in southwestern Florida, causing evacuations and raising concerns about prolonged drought due to the continuing La Nina more... In late-April, officials declared that the first quarter of 2000 was the warmest such three-month period in the United States during the past 106 years of record keeping. "Our climate is warming at a faster rate than ever before recorded," NOAA Administrator D. James Baker said more...The unseasonal weather created fears of a severe drought in the southern tier of the United States more... and an unusually active season of Lyme Disease in New York State more...

Toward the end of April, Shreveport was walloped by several tornadoes more... while 50 million people in northwest India were affected by the worst drought in 100 years more... and a severe, early heat wave in Orissa State more...

In early May, warm, wet weather in parts of Australia saw the emergence of billions of locusts blacken skies and forced farmers to consider not planting this season's crops more... While in Colombia, two years of intense rains destroyed the country's coffee crops and emptied coffee warehouses more... At the same time, officials shut down the nuclear weapons laboratory at Los Alamos as drought-driven fires threatened to burn material at the top-secret facility more...

Toward the end of May, flooding killed hundreds of people in West Timor and left thousands stranded more..., while the Midwestern US was rocked by a series of tornadoes and violent storms more.... At the same time, prolonged drought cut deeply into hydro-electric production in Kenya, triggering extensive outages and a substantial increase in police presence to maintain order more... And in June, several million nomads were threatened by famine as the worst drought in 30 years parched crops and dried up wells in Afghanistan more... In Beijing, officials prepared for water rationing as the most severe drought in 20 years dried up rivers, parched crops and threatened drinking water supplies more...

Following the warmest U.S.winter since records began to be kept more..., summer hit the United States with a vengeance more.... The record-breaking spring heat also brought alerts from NOAA about extreme drought conditions in much of the South and Midwest more.... By June 16, temperatures in the San Francisco Bay Area rose to 109 as emergency rooms filled with cases of heat stroke and dehydration and freeway surfaces buckled from the heat. In Colorado, fires north and southwest of Denver destroyed at least 15,000 acres, as the area experienced its driest spring in 35 years more.... The drought withered crops, triggered fires and opened sinkholes in Florida more...and triggered extreme water rationing in parts of Georgia where less than half the normal spring rain fell, according to the CBS Evening News more....

China felt the full brunt of weather extremes in June. Early in the month, a flash flood killed 34 people in Gansu Province, one of the driest regions in the country more.... Two weeks later, the worst drought in 20 years forced officials in Beijing to impose mandatory water rationing more... Meanwhile, outside Denver, forest fires consumed more than 13,000 acres more..., while four days of fire in Cyprus created one of the worst ecological disasters in memory more... At the same time, severe drought threatened half million people in Mongolia more... while authorities in Peru called out the military to combat an unprecedented locust attack more...

Part II: Extreme Weather Events -- 2000