The Heat Is Online

Extreme Weather Profile: Jan. -- June, 2006

The year 2006 began on an ominous weather note.  In northern California, two successive rainstorms left millions of dollars in damages while in the souther part of the state, flooding triggered mudslides and sent rivers overflowing their banks more. . .   Southeast of California, an extended drought triggered runaway wildfires in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, wiping out whole towns, destroying buildings and consuming thousands of acres of grassland more. . .   While in northern Europe, brutally freezing temperatures from Germany to Italy dropped temperatures as low as 40* below F., while heavy snow blocked roads and paralyzed several cities more . . .   At the same time, flash flooding in central Indonesia triggered mudslides, washed away buildings and left at least 200 people dead and more than 5,000 homeless more. . .

In early January, officials, noting the influence of global warming, announced that 2005 was the hottest year on record in Australia more . . .    At the same time, a deep freeze descended over northern Asia, with record snows in Japan leaving 57 people dead and forcing the evacuation of more than 100,000 people in China. As the brutal cold snap persisted, the death toll in Japan rose to 70 and New Delhi experienced its coldest day in 70 years more. . .   Meanwhile, in Boston, in mid-January (when temperatures traditionally average in the low 30* degrees F.), temperatures hovered around 50* F. for a week -- before dropping to 8* F. overnight more. . .   As Arizona entered the 11th year of drought conditions, officials said they feared that the state could be experiencing its driest winter in some 500 years more. . .  In the northeastern U.S., winds approaching hurricane strength flipped a tractor-trailer in New York, stopped air traffic in Boston and left some 200,000 homes without power more . . .  In mid-January, residents of Moscow suffered through their most bitter winter in more than 26 years more . . .  While in the Baltic region, more than 40 people died from exposure to extreme cold more . . .

In late January, a prolonged drought in four western Australian states triggered a wave of brushfires that destroyed a half million acres more . . .    Meanwhile, much of Canada  enjoyed one of its mildest winters in memory, with Winnipeg, traditionally a frigid winter city, experiencing the warmest winter since record keeping began more . . .  While in Bolivia, devastating flooding killed 13 people, displaced 1,000 and prompted the government to declare a state of emergency more . . .    A prolonged drought in Kenya, which has decimated water supplies and parched grazing lands, has triggered bloody fights among tribes competing for scarce water and land more . . .   At the same time, the record drought in Arizona persisted with Phoenix setting a new record of 114 days without rain more. . .

After people in the northeastern US enjoyed the warmest January on record, a thunderous storm tore up the East Coast in mid-February, dumping a record 26.9 inches of snow on New York City more . . .   In Algeria, torrential rains flooded out an area housing 158,000 people -- leaving tens of thousands homeless more. . .  At the same time, a prolonged drought in Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia has left nearly 4 million people with inadequate food supplies more. . .   After two weeks of rain dropped 27 inches on the Philippine island of Leyte, a massive landslide wiped out an entire village leaving more than 1,500 people missing or dead more. . .   In the Midwestern and Northeastern U.S., a long string of 50 degree days ended abruptly when temperatures plunged sharply, dropping below zero from parts of Nebraska to New York State more. . .

In East Africa, residents trek miles for drinking water as the region was seared by one of the most severe droughts in 40 years more . .   By the end of February, the United Kingdom was facing its worst winter drought in a century, as the country received less seasonal rainfall than it had in in 85 years more . . .  In early March, following an unusually warm winter, a massive infestation of bark beetles decimated large areas of forests in British Columbia more . . .  More than 100 tornadoes swept through portions of the Midwest, killing at least 10 people in Missouri, blowing roofs off homes in Illinois and Arkansas, and damaging about 60 percent of the buildings on the University of Kansas campus more. . .   Following an unusually dry month, some of the most ferocious wildfires in the state's history raced across the Texas Panhandle and South Plains in mid March, burning more than a thousand square miles, leaving at least eleven people dead and forcing the evacuation of nearly 2,000 others  more . . .

In late March, northeastern Australia was hit by the strongest hurricane it had suffered in more than 40 years, with winds approaching 180 miles per hour. While the storm, which was as severe as Katrina, left thousands of people homeless, officials attributed the lack of fatalities to thorough preparations for its impact more . . .   In late March, observers in the western US noted that parts of the region were subject to drought-driven wildfires while others were in danger of flooding -- highlighting a season of intense variability more. . . 

Ten days after it was hit by the strongest hurricane in 40 years, northwest Australia was again pummeled by a monster storm packing winds exceeding 145 miles per hour more. . .   In late March, large areas of Oklahoma were covered by an unseasonal snowstorm as temperatures reached near-record lows more . . . In Hawaii, roads were washed away, flash floods erupted and houses were destroyed by 40 consecutive days of rain and thunderstorms more . . .  In early April, a burst of tornadoes and thunderstorms killed at least 19 people in six states in the midwestern U.S. more . . .  In Hungary, officials deployed 6,000 troops to battle floods as water levels in the Danube River reached their highest level on record more . . .  In early April, a series of tornadoes struck Tennessee, ripping off roofs, overturning cars and killing at least 11 people. Days later, another round of tornadoes hit the state brining the death toll to 27  more .  .  Houses were flattened and crops destroyed when an intense storm swept through Bangladesh in mid April more. . .

In Northern California, a downpour of six inches of rain in 24 hours triggered mudslides which killed one man and cut power to residents more. . .  In the Balkans, the Danube River reached record levels, threatening extensive flooding in Romania and Bulgaria and driving at least 7,000 people from their homes more. . .  In eastern Iowa, tornadoes ripped through a university campus, ripping walls off a sorority house, crushing cars and leaving one person dead more. . .   After a long spell of searing drought, a major river in Kenya overflowed its banks leaving more than 10,000 people homeless more . . .  In northwestern Kenya, torrential rains triggered flooding which killed one child and left thousands homeless more . . .  In Myanmar, flash flooding killled at least 18 people and damaged more than 2,500 homes more. . .   In central Florida, unusually dry weather triggered at least 23 wildfires forcing the evacuation of more than 1,000 homes more . . .

In mid-May, the governors of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine declared states of emergency as parts of New England were hit by more than a foot of rain in the heaviest rainstorm to hit the region in at least 70 years more. . .  At the same time, a typhoon with winds of 93 miles per hour slammed into the Philippines leaving more than 30 people dead and driving more than 40,000 others from their homes more. . .  Residents of southern England face wide ranging restrictions of water use as a prolonged drought tightened its hold on the region more . . .  A typhoon, bearing heavy rain and winds of 106 miles per hour, slammed into south China killing 11 and driving more than one million people from their homes more. . .  Heavy rains unleashed flash floods and mudslides in Thailand which killed at least 34 people, left dozens missing and thousands homeless more . . . Two and a half million residents of Havana were paralyzed when torrential rains dropped 8 inches in two hours on the Cuban capitol more . . .  At the same time, a severe and prolonged drought in part of New Mexico dried up a section of the Rio Grande river, leaving thousands of dead fish on the dry riverbed more . . .

In southern China, intense flooding killed 46 people and drove more than 120,000 from their homes more. . .    Shortly after the beginning of the hurricane season, tropical storm Alberto drenched parts of northwestern Florida, cutting power to thousands more. . .   Meanwhile, in south Asia, intense flooding leaving  more than one and a half million people homeless in Bangladesh and India more . . . In the southwestern U.S., Houston was inundated by a downpour of more than 10 inches in several hours more . . .  while, in nearby Arizona, wildfires forced the evacuation of more than 500 homes more. . .

In Romania, in late June, flash floods killed four people and drove hundreds from their homes more. . .  while, at the same time, intense rains and landslides on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi killed 216 people more. . .  Severe flooding in Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia ruined homes, snarled traffic and shut down rail and subway service.  The 1-in-200 year downpour flooded government buildings, shut down the Washington area and resulted in the drowning deaths of two people who were swept from the back of a pickup truck and the disappearance of two teenagers who were feared drowned more . . .  The flooding left an estimated $100 million in damages in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Maryland more. . .  Meanwhile the wildfires which began in Arizona, grew to 32 wildfires in eight western states, with the largest fire covering 50,000 square acres more. . .