The Heat Is Online

Extreme Weather Profile: July -- December, 2005

In India, torrential rains left 25,000 people homeless and killed a number of residents  more . . .  In mid-July, hot, dry weather sparked a series of wildfireso n the Alaskan coast that consumed one million acres more . . .   In France, officials extended water rationing measures to more than half the country as an extended drought, intensified by a summer heat wave, dried up water supplies more . . . In Romania, thousands of familes were driven from their homes by extensive flooding more . . .  In southern Europe, a prolongued drought triggered wildfires in Spain, shriveled crops in Portugal and France and dried up rivers more . . .   In one of the earliest hurricane seasons in memory, Hurricane Emily, which reached category 5 status, tore into the Yucatan peninsula after flooding Jamaica and taking aim at the Mexican coastline. It was the third major hurricane since late June more . . .    In China, a fierce typhoon, intensified by warming surface waters, forced the evacuation of more than a half million residents more. . .  In Phoenix, where temperatures topped 111 degrees in mid-July, at least twelve people died from heat stress more . . .   In Bangladesh, intense monsoons swept away railroad tracks, bridges and roads and stranded a million residents more . . .   In late July, officials announced that the four named hurricanes that swept through the Gulf of Mexico in July set a record for named storms so early in the season more . . .   Throughout the western U.S. a ferocious heat wave in mid-July broke more than 200 records, as temperatures hovered around 110 degrees in Phoenix for more than a week, resulting in more than 20 deaths   more . . .     Across the world, in the suburb of Mumbai, the heaviest rainfall in India's recorded history dropped more than 37 inches in one day more. . .  The mega-rain left nearby Bombay under water, leaving more than 140 people dead and stranded tens of thousands of others  more . . .  Meanwhile, the worst drought in 20 years has decimated corn crops in Illinois more  . . .  At the same time, tornadoes swept through Britain, France and Germany, uprooting trees, overturning trailers and blocking train lines more . . .

In early August, officials said a succession of summer floods had devastated areas of the Balkans, leaving 17 people dead and almost $300 million in damages in Bulgaria alone more. . . Officials prepared to evacuate tens of thousands from Beijing as a violent rain and wind storm raked China more . . .   In mid August, a freak snowstorm covered beaches and mountains in southeastern Australia, closing roads and schools more. . .    In Malaysia, the government declared a state of emergency as thick smoke from Indonesian forest fires snarled traffic, closed schools and sent thousands to hospitals to seek relief from respiratory illnesses more . . .  Intense rains washed away cars, refrigerators and tractors, killing 27 people in northeastern Iran more. . .

The month of July, 2005, was the second hottest July on record worldwide, spawning a record five named tropical storms, according to the National Climatic Data Center more . . .  As Portugal suffered through the worst drought in its history, four European countries sent personnel and equipment to help fight the country's 35 wildfires more . . .   Meanwhile, flash floods in Yemen killed at least 12 people more . . .  While in Romania, devastating rains destroyed bridges, washed out homes and left at least 18 deaths more . . .   In China, intense flooding and mudslides buried houses, overflowed reservoirs and left 47 people dead more. . .  While in Switzerland, a relentless three-day rain storm isolated whole villages and left two fire-fighters dead more. . .   In Bulgaria, Romania, Austria and other central European countries, the heaviest rains in 50 years have devastated crops, washed away villages and triggered military deployments to help residents of inundated areas more . . .   By late August, the death toll from flooding in Europe had reached 42 more . . .  At the same time, a torrential downpour which dropped four inches of rain in one day played havoc in southern  Arizona   more . . .

In late August, Hurricane Katrina gathered strength as she made landfall in South Florida, leaving a million people without power before heading up the Gulf of Mexico more . . .   More than 290 people have been killed by monsoons in India in August. The storms indundated more than 300 villages, destroyed hundreds of homes and triggered outbreaks of encephalitis more . . .   On Aug. 30, Katrina had turned into a megastorm, with winds exceeding 160 miles an hour. The hurricane barreled into the southeastern U.S. leaving more than a million without power, killing hundreds of people and threatening to emerge as the costliest hurricane in U.S. history more. . . 

(See package of  coverage about Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, including observations by govenment officials, scientists, insurers and an op-ed article by the author).  

As the damages from Katrina became horrifyingly apparent, officials noted that, thousands of miles to the northwest, hot, dry weather had triggered wildfires that consumed 4 million acres of Alaskan forests more . . .  At the same time, relentless rains stranded tens of thousands of people in Sierra Leone more . . .   In August, Australian officials reported that Sydney experienced the highest daytime winter temperatures on record more. . .   As the death toll from Hurricane Katrina rose and the damages mounted, halfway around the world an intense typhoon dropped 40 inches of rain on southern Japan, killing nine people more. . .   In mid-September, a typhoon slammed into eastern China, forcing the evacuation of one million people more . . .  A week later, a severe storm ripped through southern India, killing at least 50 and leaving more than 140,000 people homeless more . . At the same time, dozens of people died in Mongolia when an abrupt cold snap sent temperatures plummeting from the mid-70s F. to below zero more. . .

Three weeks after Katrina made landfall, another hurricane, Rita, moved into the Gulf where heated surface waters pumped it into a category 5 hurricane which seemed headed toward the Texas coast more. . .   In late September, the most powerful typhoon in several decades slammed into southern China, leaving more than 170,000 people homeless more. . .  One foot of rain fell on northwest Kansas in early October swamping homes and motorists more. . .  In El Salvador, torrential rains triggered mudslides that killed 23 people more . . .   Two days later, Hurricane Stan slammed into Mexico and Central America, triggering mudslides and killing more than 500 people more . . .  

In early October, as temperatures in eastern Canada remained about  10 degress above normal, experts cited the onset of global warming more . . .  In mid-October, intense rains triggered flooding which drove nearly 300,000 people from their homes in northwest China more . . .  At the same time, steady rains left parts of Keene, N.H. under six feet of water, as flooding inundated parts of western Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire leaving up to 10 people dead. Eight days of left the area  waterlogged more . . .  As  flooding plagued the U.S. Northeast, Central America and China, the worst drought in 40 years threatened ecosystems in the Amazon Rainforest, drying up rivers, killing fish, poisoning drinking water and triggering wildfires more . . . At the same time, a freak blizzard dropped 20 inches of snow in Colorado, closing schools, snapping trees and halting air travel more. . .   In mid-October, intense flooding killed 20 people, killed crops and destroyed the homes of more than 100,000 people in Bangladesh more. . . Around the same time, intense thunderstorms rolled through southern California, causing 72 accidents on one highway in four hours more. . .

In late October, as hurricane Wilma moved through the Caribbean officials reported that the category 5 megastorm was the most powerful hurricane recorded since 1851, when record-keeping began more. . .  In southern Italy, torrential rains demolished a bridge, swept away cars, derailed a train and killed six people more . . .  In eastern India, more than one million people were stranded by intense flooding after five days or torrential rain more. . .  When Wilma tore across South Florida, the hurricane left 6 million people without power and created an estimated $2 billion in damages more . . .  In late October, Tropical Storm Beta became the season's 23rd named tropical storm in the U.S., further eclipsing a record for storm frequency in one season more. . .   In Somalia, a severe drought killed livestock, withered crops and left one million people at risk of dehydration and starvation more . . .

At the beginning of November, officials announced that the  Eastern U.S. suffered through the rainiest October on record with parts of New York City receiving more than 16 inches more . . .  At the same time, a typhoon, which dumped more than 29 inches of rain in Vietnam in one day, left 30 people dead more . . .  In early December, hurricane Epsilon formed in the Atlantic, marking the 14th hurricane of the year in one of the busiest hurricane seasons on record more . . .  A wild northeaster slammed into the Boston area with near-blizzard conditions and a bizarre thunderstorm, closing airports, gridlocking commuters, and dumping more than a foot of snow in some communities more . . .  In the southern U.S.  an ice storm coated trees, snarled roads and left some 300,000 people without power more. . .   In late December, an unusually heavy snow storm in Korea and Japan cause havoc and left at least 650,000 homes without power more . . .   At the end of the year, the worst drought in 50 years triggered wildfires in Texas and Oklahoma which destroyed 100 buildings, left four dead and consumed more than nearly 38,000 acres more . . .

At the end of the year, officials announced that more than a million people in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia were facing extreme food shortages in the wake of a prolonged drought more. . .   At the same time, officials in the U.S. announced that, even excluding the fall's four major hurricanes, the country had suffered a record year of weather extremes, with some 214 local weather records broken or tied in 2005 more . . .  As 2005 came to a close, much of Europe was plunged into a deep-freeze, with heavy snows, snarled traffic and temperatures nearing -40* F. in some areas more. . .