The Heat Is Online

Extreme Weather 2002: Part II (July - December)

As the death toll from a two week flood in Russia reached 109, with 200,000 people displaced, officials voiced concern about an outbreak of anthrax as floodwaters unearthed 12 burial grounds of cattle infected with the disease more. . . By the beginning of July, southern California had received only 30 per cent of its normal precipitation, with lakes drying up, ranchers selling off cattle, and drought-driven Dfires consuming some 75,000 acres more. . . Days after drought-induced water rationing was put in place, areas around San Antonio received as much as 40 inches of rain in a week, closing roads, stranding thousands, killing eight and leaving an estimated one billion dollars in damages.. The governor of Texas declared 29 counties to be disaster areas more. . . As a new storm ripped into the east coast of China, officials said that flooding in that country since may had claimed more than 500 lives and left more that $3 billion in damages more. . . In the eastern state of Assam in India, a series of flash flood drove 250,000 people from their homes in early July more. . . In neighboring Bangladesh, the flooding displaced more than 100,000 people more. . . At the same time, flooding in the Philippines saw water levels rise as much as 45 feet in a district of Manila more. . . On July 7, a day forecast to be clear and sunny in the northeastern U.S. skies were darkened from New Hampshire to North Carolina by the smoke from 85 fires near James Bay in Quebec. By July 10, those fires had consumed more than 250,000 acres more. . . In Kenya, an outbreak of warming-driven highland malaria, following a period of heavy rains, affected thousands of people, killing at least 300 more. . . In northern California, a deadly heatwave created an electricity emergency as temperatures hit a record 109 degrees in Sacramento more. . . In Berlin, a freak July storm, with 90 mile-an-hour winds, killed 7 people and triggered the biggest deployment of emergency personnel in that city in 25 years more. . . In Bangladesh, floods covering about one-third of the country, stranded 1.5 million people and triggered epidemics of waterborne diseases which killed at least 53 more. . .

In mid-July, doctors in Louisiana were alarmed by the discovery of the country's first three cases of West Nile Virus in 2002, fearing the disease could spread more. . . In mid-July, a week of monsoons had left 51 people dead in the Philippines more. . . As a prolonged drought in the southeastern U.S entered its fifth year, officials said it was threatening employment for a million people who work in areas of North Carolina,South Carolina and central Virginia more. . .In Peru, a freak July cold snap, which officials saw as the beginnings of a new El Nino, killed 59 people and affected some 70,000 others more. . .

In mid-July, officials announced that West Nile Virus had already spread to 28 states, including a number in the western U.S.. Last year, the virus had surfaced in only eight states more. . . At the same time, the torrential monsoons in India had killed 199 people and displaced nearly 1 million others more. . . By late July, a mile-long fire had consumed 87,000 acres in Oregon more. . . In July, officials announced that the fifth hottest June on record had left one-third of the U.S. facing severe drought more. . . In central Portugal, hundreds of firefighters battled blazes as temperatures soared to 104 degrees F. more. . .

In China, 15 people were killed by giant hailstones during a storm which uprooted buildings, leveled buildings and smashed car windows more. . . Meanwhile, farmers in Australia watched crops fail and livestock die as a prolonged drought affected two-thirds of New South Wales, an area the size of Greece more. . . Meanwhile in Nepal, more than 60 people were killed by floods and mudslides and torrential rains inundated parts of the country more. . . In Los Angeles, residents complained of an infestation of rats as the drought drove rodents into affluent areas in search of water more. . . North of Los Angeles, an intense wildfire forced 1,000 people to flee from Sequoia National Forest in central California more. . . In Phoenix, a monsoon, with 50 mile-an-hour winds and rain falling at 2 inches an hour, flooded streets and canceled flights more. . . while, in southern Venezuela, intense flooding killed four people and drove about 50,000 others away from their homes more. . . In Turkey, two days of intense rains left 16 people dead, damaged homes and drowned livestock more. . . In China, after two weeks of drought, four days of intense rains killed 10 people, toppled billboards and collapsed at least one building more. . . In India, more than 5 million people were displaced by the worst flooding in memory more. . . In late July, residents of San Diego found hundreds of squid stranded on beaches, apparently driven shoreward by warming surface waters more. . . In Sicily, where rainfall fell to its lowest levels in 70 years, residents bathed in used dishwater and watched wheat and grapes wither under the brutal drought more. . . As two giant wildfires threatened to merge in central Oregon, officials announced that this year more than 4 million acres in the U.S. have been consumed by wildfires by the end of July more. . . By the end of July, flooding in south Asia had displaced 12.5 million people and killed at last 445 people more. . .

At the end of July, the World Health Organization warned that the world might experience a pandemic of dengue fever as severe as the one in 1998, when 1.2 million cases of the sometimes lethal disease were reported more. . . Meanwhile, a spate of wildfires blanketed Moscow in smoke, prompting officials to warn people to stay indoors more. . . With protracted drought drying up hydroelectric supplies, an electricity grid in India collapsed, leaving 235 million people without power, shutting hospitals, stranding trains, closing factories and shutting down water pumping facilities more. . . In the western U.S., drought conditions have triggered the biggest explosion of grasshoppers in 50 years, with some areas counting 1 million of the pests per acre more. . . In Cambodia, the longest drought in more than 20 years has damaged about 10 percent of the country's rice crop more. . . while in northern Italy, the worst hailstorm in memory ruined tens of millions of Euros worth of corn, olive and grape plants more. . . In coastal China a rare, torrential downpour killed 33 people, triggering mudslides and burying homes more. . . while flash flooding killed scores of people in Russia and the Czech Republic more. . . By early August, more than 900 people had been killed by flooding in China, as 70 more were killed by flooding in the south-central part of the country, while a drought triggered wildfires and threatened crops in the north more. . . By mid-August, the worst forest fires in Oregon history had consumed 334,000 acres more . . . -- while ABC News reported that 5 million acres overall had burned in the U.S. In mid-August, scientists said that this summer's weather extremes were exacerbated by a new El Nino the frequency of which is likely intensified by atmospheric warming more. . . As the flooding which had inundated Russia and the Czech Republic spread to Austria and Germany officials called the worst floods in more than a century "catastrophic" more. . . In Bangladesh, where coastal areas absorbed tidal waves three to four times larger than normal, some 50,000 people were driven from their homes more. . . while flooding and mudslides, following weeks of rain in Nepal have claimed more than 400 lives and left more than 170 people missing more. . .

On Aug. 15, CNN announced that the flood damages in Dresden and the Czech Republic totalled about $7 billion, that in South Asia 900 people had died and 25 million displaced by floods and monsoons, that 400,000 acres were still burning in western Oregon and that West Nile Virus had spread to three more states -- Missouri, Maryland and Ohio. The Centers for Disease Control projected up to 1,000 cases of the disease nationwide this year more. . . In a traditionally arid area of China intense flooding left more than $2 billion in damages, prompting Chinese government officials to blame the change on global warming. In all, about five million people in South Asia have been displaced by flooding this year more. . . A five-year drought in North and South Carolina has crimped development, jeopardized aquifers and threatens future economic growth in the area more. . . At the end of August, UN Climate Chief Rajendra Pachauri told delegates to the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa that the recent spate of droughts and floods was a clear indication of global warming more. . .

At the beginning of September, the strongest typhoon to hit Korea in 40 years forced the government to call out the military to maintain order. The storm, which carried winds of 127 mph and dropped about 35 inches of rain in some areas, left more than one million people without power. The storm killed at least 113 people,stranded thousands and caused up to $1 billion in damages more. . . In Mexico, officials reported an outbreak of 24 new cases of dengue fever outside Mexico City. That report brought the number of dengue incidents to more than 3,000 since the beginning of the year more. . . Meanwhile, West Nile Virus spread to 41 U.S. states by early September as researchers traced its erratic spread more. . . In early September, smoke from nearby forest fires blanketed Moscow with smog, as drivers had to keep headlights in during the day and kindergartens sealed their doors more. . . One of the strongest typhoons of the year swept through southeastern China forcing the evacuation of more than 80,000 people more. . . In southwestern France, two days of intense rains triggered floods that washed out villages and killed 16 people more. . . In Saskatchewan, Canadian officials announced that five horses had been infected with West Nile Virus more. . . In Guatemala at least 27 people were killed in mudslides following torrential rains more. . . In late September, about 3 million tons of ice and mud buried villages and killed residents when part of a glacier in the Caucasus Mountains in Russia collapsed more. . . In northern Virginia officials reported the first two cases of malaria seen in the U.S. in more than 20 years more . . . At the end of September, the U.N. announced that more than 8 million people were affected by the long drought in Central America, with malnutrition affecting between 23 and 48 percent of people in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua,and Guatemala more . . .

In Thailand, late summer monsoons killed more than 100 and affected 3 million people more . . . A prolonged drought, coupled with local military conflicts, has aggravated a famine affecting 14 million people in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan, more than 6 million of whom require immediate food assistance more . . . Near the end of October, Mexico was hit by its most powerful hurricane in decades, with winds exceeding 140 miles per hour more . . . As winds approached 100 miles per hour, at least 33 people were killed in northern Europe. Gusts tore the roof of a stadium in Belgium, closed airports in Holland and toppled trees in England more . . . In late October, south Texas received nine inches of rain overnight, flooding streets and homes in the Houston area more . . . While in India, NGOs are blaming the government for ignoring drought-driven malnutrition which are forcing some families to subsist on grass seeds more . . . Further south, Australia experienced the driest seven months since records began to be kept 100 years ago. All but one percent of Australia's most populous state, New South Wales, has been bit by the country's worst drought in a century, with retailers warning that if rain does not fall soon, the country will likely face massive food price hikes more . . . Meanwhile, in the area around San Francisco, three successive downpours flooded roads and homes and left 1.6 million people without power more . . . In the southeastern U.S. a series of 88 tornadoes, spawned by the collision of temperature fronts, killed 36 people, left 150 missing and wiped out whole towns in Alabama and Tennessee more . . . The extraordinarily powerful string of tornadoes was due to the clash of two strong temperature fronts more . . . In southern Austria winds of up to 135 miles-per-hour destroyed homes, knocked out power and uprooted trees more . . .

With rivers dry, dams empty and crops failing, authorities in Australia declared the country's drought the worst in at least 100 years. The drought was expected to cut Australia's agricultural exports by at least 13 percent more . . . In Morocco heavy rains and flooding -- which interrupted a prolonged drought -- killed at least 60 people, destroyed homes and shut down one of the country's main oil refineries more . . . while severe flooding in northern Italy washed away homes, triggered mudslides and left about $100 million in damages more . . . Meanwhile, a freak six-month drought in Scandinavia has cut into hydro-power supplies, triggering soaring electricity prices and triggering fears of blackouts in Finland, Norway and Sweden more . . . In early December, the worst ice storm in the history of North and South Carolina killed 22 people and left several million homes without power more . . . In Brazil, mudslides killed 34 people and left another 1,500 homeless when the region received half its normal monthly rainfall in one day more . . . Meanwhile, a "super-typhoon" withsustained winds of 180 miles per hour battered the island of Guam more . . . In December, officials in the western U.S. sounded warnings about power shortages, as a lack of snow threatened the region's hydro-electric supplies more . . . At the same time, winds approaching 100 miles per hour, along with torrential rains, killed 9 people and left almost two million people in the San Francisco area without power more . . .