The Heat Is Online

Extreme Weather Profile: July-December, 2004

In early July, a severe heat wave swept Japan, with temperatures topping 95 degrees F. The heat killed 7 people and hospitalized another 12 more . . .  In Bangladesh, a month of heavy rains created hundreds of islands in delta regions, marooning more than two million people more . . .  In northeast India, incessant rains cut off the entire northeast section of the country, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless more . . .  In early July, Europe was plagued by a bizarre combination of extreme heat and unseasonal snowstorms. While 22 people died from extreme heat in Romania, parts of Germany received more than six feet of snow, while floods snarled traffic in parts of Britain more . . .  By mid-July, the relentless rains in India and Bangladesh had displaced some 10 million people leaving more than 360 dead more . . .   A downpour, which meteorologists called a "1,000-year storm", deluged parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland, bursting dams, snarling traffic and delaying scores of trains more . . . 

In the western U.S., infestations of beetles were devastating drought-parched pine forests from Alaska to Arizona to South Dakota, in an outbreak that experts called "unprecedented" more . . .  By late July, much of northern Europe, which had sweltered in the brutally hot summer of 2003, was plagued by near-winter-like temperatures and even periodic snowfalls more . . .  In northern Japan, intense rains, which dropped more than 17 inches in some areas, stranded thousands of people and forced the evacuation of thousands of others more . . . While in China, weeks of rain killed at least 296 people and affected more than 2.6 million others more . . .  By late July, the casualty toll from the intense flooding in India and Bangladesh had reached more than 500 more. . .  As Australia's prolonged drought continues, normally shy kangaroos are invading the city of Canberra in search of water, with environmentalists protesting government plans to kill off some of the animals more . . . By late July, wildfires were spreading through the western U.S. at a record pace, with conflagrations from Alaska to southern California spreading at double the average rate of the previous decade more . . .  In July, NOAA announced that the U.S. experienced especially extreme weather in June, marked by a series of intense storms and rainfalls. That month was the wettest on record for Texas, the driest June for parts of southern California and western Arizona, and the warmest June on record for Alaska more . . .  In late July, Edmonton, Canada, was hit with what observers said was the biggest rainstorm in the city's history, leaving more than $100 million in damages more. . . 

By late July the toll from the massive flooding in Bangladesh and India had risent to 925, with some 42 million people driven from their homes more. . .  At the same time, wildfires raged through southern France and Portugal where nearly 10,000 fires have broken out this summer more. . .  At the end of July, a foot of rain deluged the Dallas area, swamping several hundred homes and forcing the evacuation of hundreds more . . .  At the same time, the worst flood in decades in China left more than $2.5 billion in damages and killed 439 people more . . .  In Bangladesh, the aftermath of July's record-setting monsoons turned the city into what officials called an "open sewer" as disease and devastation overtook the country more . . .  In the Andalusian region of Spain, firefighters battled wildfires that consumed more than 66,000 acres and drove at least 1,000 families from their homes more . . .  After seeing crops destroyed by floods and drought earlier in the year, residents of Peru near the Bolivian border needed airlifts of food after the worst frost and snowstorms in 30 years devastated food supplies more . . .

By early August, the country of Gambia was bracing for a massive locust infestation following a spring season of unusually heavy rains. Officials declared a state of emergency in anticipation of widespread crop destruction more . . .  Intense rains and flooding in North Korea devastated that country's crops, with officials estimating that up to 30 percent of this year's harvests were destroyed more . . .  Following a bitter winter, extreme heat and torrential downpours destroyed four prominent rock formations in the Dolomite Mountains in Italy more . . .  In India and Bangladesh, the death toll from the record setting monsoon floods topped 1,900 with severe food shortages affecting more than 20 million people more . . .  In early August, the president of Kenya declared a national food disaster as erratic rain patterns have devastated crops and left two million people facing possible starvation more . . . At the same time, in eastern Cuba the worst drought in 40 years  has drained reservoirs, parched crops and left people scrambling for household water more . . .

In mid-August, the region's strongest hurricane in 12 years ripped through central Florida, confounding forecasters by gathering strength and changing course as its winds reached 145 miles per hour. The storm killed at least 13 people, left hundreds of thousands without homes, knocked out power to 1.5 million people and left damages initially estimated at $11 billion more . . .  At the same time, halfway around the world, the most powerful typhoon to hit China in at least seven years killed 115 people and injured another 1,800 as it destroyed towns, farms and ports more . . .  At the same time, an  unprecedented flash flood inundated Cornwall, England, dropping two inches of rain in two hours and washing cars and buildings into the sea more . . .  One day later, a flash flood in Death Valley National Park in southern California closed roads, knocked out power, severed sewer lines and killed two people more . . .  With Lake Mead at its lowest level in 39 years and officials trucking in water from as far away as Canada, Nevada's governor urged authorities to declare the drought-stricken state as a disaster area more. . .

In Alaska, unusually hot weather coupled with a lack of rain triggered forest fires which consumed a record 5 million acres by mid August more . . .  A powerful typhoon displaced more than 3,000 people and left 12 dead in Japan and Korea, ripping up railroad tracks and washing away homes more . . . while in New Zealand, a storm, described as the most severe in 40 years, ripped off roofs, downed power lines and brought transportation to a stand-still more . . .  Eight days after it roared across central Florida, Hurricane Charley had claimed its 25th fatality even as a quarter of a million people remained without power more . . .  After triggering mudslides and flash floods in Taiwan, Typhoon Aere turned toward China, forcing the evacuation of 500,000 people more . . . In Iowa, violent winds, rain and hail destroyed crops and downed trees and power lines, forcing the governor to declare a state of disaster in three counties more . . .  At the end of August, the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines in three years killed 17 people and drove thousands of others from their homes more. . .  At the same time, a powerful storm which dropped 10 inches of rain near Charleston, South Carolina, downed power lines, flooded roads and left more than 125,000 people without power more . . .  While in Romania, intense downpours killed five people and left hundreds homeless more. . .  Torrential rains dumped 11 inches in 10 hours on Richmond, prompting the governor of Virginia to declare a state of emergency and forcing authorities to condemn a 20-block area in Richmond more . . .

Three weeks after Hurricane Charley killed 27 people and left billions in damagages in central Florida, Hurricane Frances, a monster storm covering an area the size of Texas, forced the evacuation of some two and a half million people in south Florida more . . . By the time Frances moved across Florida, it had left some 6 million people without power more . . . At the same time, an intense rain in southwestern China triggered flash floods which killed 19 people more . . .

As Hurricane Ivan moved into the Gulf of Mexico, with winds up to 150 miles per hour, the worst flooding in memory engulfed Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, submerging virtually all the streets in the city, closing businesses and markets and leaving some $7 billion in damages more . . . At the same time, Japan was undergoing the worst typhoon season on record, with seven severe storms killing 45 people and leaving millions in damages more . . .  In mid-September, Hurricane Ivan slammed into the Gulf coast, inundating Mobile, Alabama, and spreading torrential rains and 130-mile-per-hour winds along the entire coast. It was the third major hurricane to hit Florida and the southeastern U.S. in three weeks more . . .  Following on the heels of Hurricane Ivan, tropical storm Jeanne inundated Haiti, killing more than 1,500 people and leaving another 300,000 people homeless more. . .

After two years of drought, the agricultural belt in southern Australia is bracing for a dry period that could last 50 years, according to scientists. Already the drought has left New South Wales with its worst water crisis in 60 years more . . .  In Louisiana, two days of heavy rains closed roads, burst water mains and left more than 30,000 residents without drinking water supplies more . . .  In the Assam state of India, flash flooding killed 88 people and left another 100,000 people homeless more. . .  In late October, Japan was battered by a record-setting 10th typhoon of the year, which snarled travel, triggered mudslides, drove thousands of people from their homes and left 62 people dead more . . .

By late October, the UN warned that as many as four million people were at risk of serious illness and death from the consequences of a long drought in southern Ethopia. Offcials cited several deaths from water shortages and the beginnings of mass panic among people in the region because of a drought which has lasted four years more . . .  In early November, as Rome sweltered through record heat, intense rains submerged up to 80 percent of the northern Italian city of Venice more . . .  In mid-November, five days of intense rain flooded central Texas, dumping up to 11 inches near San Antonio and leaving at least two people dead more . . .  Much of Austria was paralyzed by an intense storm with winds up to 60 miles per hour and storms that dumped up to a foot of snow in some areas more . . .  In Southeast Texas, intense rains dumped 15 inches in late November, flooding buildings, closing roads and driving more than 250 families from their homes more . . .  In the Philippines, giant waves and intense rains killed at least 65 people in late November more. . .

In Cambodia, a protracted drought, which has parched 20 percent of the country's agricultural land, prompted officials to appeal to the World Food Programme to supplement the drop in rice yields more . . . In Nevada, an 18-inch snowstorm stranded thousands of travelers in the Reno airport and thousands of other drivers during the long Thanksgiving weekend more . . .  Flash flooding in central Vietnam submerged more than 10,000 houses and left at least 33 people dead more . . .  By the end of November, the toll from landslides and flash floods in the Philippines left at least 1,300 people dead or missing  more . . .  In Tokyo, winds topping 90 miles per hour halted trains, beached a tanker,  toppled trees and grounded airplanes. The winds were the strongest since records began to be kept in 1964 more . . .  In Afghanistan, a seven-year drought, the worst in memory, has pushed 40 percent of the country's population below subsistence levels of food more . . .  In northern Malaysia, the heaviest monsoon in years snarled railroad traffic, killed five and left thousands of people homeless more . . .  While in Sri Lanka, heavy flooding drove more than 100,000 people from their homes more. . .

In mid-December, a freak hurricane tore through Paris, leaving tens of thousands of people without power, closing the Eiffel Tower and killing at least six people more . . .  Just before Christmas, much of the U.S. was paralyzed by record snows across the country's mid-section more . . .  The day after Christmas, severe storms walloped both the East and West coasts of the United States, with 14 inches of snow falling on Virginia and a foot of rain drenching the mountains near Los Angeles more . . .  The year ended on a particularly cruel note as Sri Lanka, paralyzed by the most powerful tsunami in half a century, was hit with flash flooding which disrupted the flow of aid to more than a million people more . . .