The Heat Is Online

Extreme Weather Profile: Jan. -- June 2008

On New Year's day, an intense snowstorm dropped up to 16 inches in the midwestern US, at times dropping as much as four inches per hour more . . .  A  monster storm battered southern California dropping thick snow, grounding flights, generating wind gusts up to 80 miles per hour and leaving 400,000 homes without power more. . . Unseasonally early rains led to more than 400 cases of dengue fever in Cambodia, the highest number in a decade more. . .  In January, unusually heavy snows in Romania and Bulgaria canceled flights, isolated villages and closed sea ports more. . .  In Iran a rare snowstorm, the first in 20 years for many cities, closed schools, snarled traffic and shut down airports. At least 28 people died in the storm more. . .  In eastern Australia, amidst the area's longest drought on record, intense downpours triggered floods which stranded thousands of people more. . .  In mid-January, a bizarre cluster of winter tornadoes erupted in the midwestern US, killing three people, leveling houses and knocking a locomotive off its tracks more. . .

In mid-January, residents of Baghdad awoke to the first snowstorm in memory to fall in Iraq more. . .   At the same time, nature rampaged across the US, spawning a tornado in Vancouver, downpours in the Midwest, and severe wind and rainstorms in the South more . . .   While in Zimbabwe, prolonged rains and intense flooding triggered apocalyptic fears among anxious victims more. . .   Heavy snows and a severe cold snap killed 100 people in Afghanistan and left more than 35,000 head of cattle dead more . . .    A prolonged drought, China's worst in a decade, dropped water levels in the Yangtze, the country's longest river, to their lowest level in 142 years more. . .   In Atlanta, a bitter cold snap accompanied by a heavy sleet storm forced the cancellation of close to 1,000 flights more . . .    In central and eastern China, a severe cold snap, accompanied by heavy snow, killed scores of residents more. . .   Five days of intense rains dropped up to eight inches in the Los Angeles area and triggered avalanches that killed at least two people more. . .  Strong winds swept across parts of northern and central Europe, toppling trees, downing power lines and causing road and railway disruptions more. . .   In southern China, a new round of snow and ice storms stranded 500,000 people, bringing the total of people affected by severe weather in China this year to 67 million more . .   

At the end of January, global climate changed surfaced as a global growth industry when thunderstorms, tornadoes and fierce winds sliced through the US Midwest and sent temperatures in some areas plummeting by 50 degrees in a few hours more . . . At the same time in Texas rampaging wildfires spread through more than half the state's counties, forcing a declaration of disaster by the governor more. . . The same day, the worst winter weather in 100 years forced China to deploy 500,000 troops more . . . while in the Middle East a rare blizzard blanketed parts of Jordan and the Holy Land more. . . 

At the beginning of February, yet another megastorm swept through the Midwestern US, dropping heavy snow and cancelling hundreds of flights more. . .  Hawaii was put under a "high alert status" when the island was by 11 inches of rain in one day more. . .    In one of the most violent outbreaks in memory, a series of devastating tornadoes killed at least 55 people and left a trail of destruction in five states in the southern US more. . .   At the same time, two days of rain, coupled with melting snow, triggered evacuations in Indiana and Ohio  more. . . 

In mid-February, a bitter cold snap left more than 750 dead in Afghanistan more . . .  while in Britain  people sunbathed and enjoyed barbecues as London experienced its warmest February 9 in more than a century more. . .   At the same time, a rare outbreak of winter wildfires tore through parts of Virgina and North Carolina, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of homes more. . .  Officials in Bolivia blamed climate change for intense flooding which left 51 people dead and more than 40,000 other homeless more. . .   In Greece, a rare snowstorm cut rail service, snarled roads and closed airports more. . .   In the Philippines, intense flooding killed 10 people and drove about 140,000 others from their homes more. . .   Severe storms cut power to thousands in the southeastern US and set new monthly snow records in Vermont more. . .    In late February, a Chinese official told the Financial Times the diversion of water to Beijing for the coming olympics will threaten the lives of millions of drought-stricken Chinese more. . .  

At the beginning of March, an intense windstorm swept through Czechoslovakia and Germany, killing eight people and cutting power to about one million others more. . .    In northern Europe, icebreakers sat idle in ports, insects crawled out of forest hideouts and daffodils sprouted as Scandinavia experienced the warmest winter on record more. . .    At the same time, a severe storm inundated the eastern US after it dumped 20 inches of snow on Ohio and parts of the midwestern US more. . .   

In mid-March, windows were broken, furniture was blown onto streets and billboards collapsed when downtown Atlanta was shattered by what many people called the first tornado in the city's history more . . .  In the midwestern US, massive flooding from intense rains, melting snow and swollen rivers forced cancellation of hundreds of flights, destroyed homes and left at least 19 people dead and four others missing. Arkansas was especially hard hit, with half the state declared a disaster area a week after the storms hit and officials predicting water levels would continue to rise by one foot per day long after the rain had stopped more. . .  

Spain's worst drought in 40 years triggered intense conflicts between between farmers, developers and officials of several regions of the country more. . .  At the same time, intense flooding in Brazil, followed by devastating mudslides, drove more than 80,000 people from their homes, killed 21 others and left about $350 million in damages more. . .    In mid-April, A band of hail, heavy rain and twisters pounded Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma, damaging hundreds of homes, flooding roads and leaving thousands without power more. . .    At the same time, Spokane struggled through it second snowiest winter on record, getting hit with nearly 89.5 inches more. . .  while parts of Minnesota were inundated with a foot of snow which left thousands of people without power more. . . 

In Cyprus, the worst drought in more than a decade forced officials to begin importing drinking water from Greece more. . .   while in the midwestern US, more than 800,000 acres of farmland were inundated by overflows from the Mississippi River which experienced its most severe flooding in 25 years more . . .   In California, intense wildfires force more than 1,000 people from their homes more. . . while in eastern Virgina, three rare tornadoes struck several towns, destroying about 145 homes and injuring more than 200 people more. . .  

In early May, as many as 25 tornadoes tore through Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas  destroying hundreds of homes and leaving at least seven people dead more. . .    In one of the worst disasters in decades, a devastating cyclone in Myanmar destroyed thousands of homes and left more than 22,000 people dead and more than 40,000 people missing more. . . The cyclone, named Nargis, shared many of the same destructive dynamics as Hurricane Katrina more. . . 

Thousands of people in Georgia, Oklahoma and Missouri were left without power and at least 20 people were killed when a second round of violent tornadoes swept through the area in mid May more. . .  (Editor's note: While scientists have been wary of attributing tornadoes to atmospheric warming, two recent studies, one by NASA and one published by the National Academy of Sciences, suggest a strong connection.)

At the same time, the tragedy in Myanmar was compounded by the sinking of a boat filled with medicine and other supplies even as officials announced that the death toll from the cyclone had risen to  more than 28,000 people more. . .  The southeastern US received some four inches of rain in twelve hours, leaving tens of thousands of people without power in Delaware and Maryland more. . . Meanwhile, Barcelona is buying six shiploads of drinking water per month as it struggles through its worst drought in 60 years more . . .   In mid-May, the Red Cross estimated the death toll in Myanmar from Hurricane Nargis would exceed 128,000 people more. . .   Meanwhile, in drought-stricken Everglades National Park, wildfires consumed more than 40,000 acres more. . .   On Memorial Day, a string of tornadoes and severe storms killed at least eight people in Iowa and Minnesota more . . .  

In early June, after two years of low rainfall and three of the driest months in the state's history, the governor of California declared a statewide drought  more. . .   In Central America, back-to-back tropical storms triggered flash flooding which left nine people dead in Mexico, Honduras, Belize and Nicaragua more . . .   A series of violent windstorms, torrential rains and tornadoes swept across the midwestern US leaving at least eight people dead more. . .   At the same time, a brutal early June heat wave sent temperatures into triple digits from Ohio to the Carolinas to New York more. . .  

In mid-June, extreme weather continued to plague the midwestern US as a massive tornado swept through Kansas and Iowa, killing at least four people and injuring at least another 48 more . . .   while in the eastern US, a blistering heat wave  from the Carolinas to Massachusetts left at least 17 people dead more. . .   At the same time, intense rains in the midwest caused at least 9 major rivers in Iowa to overflow, while a levee break forced the evacuation of more than 10,000 residents in Cedar Rapids more. . .    In California, Gov. Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency as wildfires consumed more than 6,400 acres and threatened more than 250 buildings more. . .   

Ten days of rain in south China left at least 55 people dead and forced the relocation of more than 1 million other residents more. . .  Officials said the record setting floods in Iowa, which inundated Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Iowa City, left more than a billion dollars in damages more. . .  The floods also threated the livelihoods of farmers, devastating the region's corn and soy crops more. . .   In northeast India, powerful monsoons triggered intense flooding which drove hundreds of thousands of people from their homes more. . .  

By mid-June, the epic flooding in southern China had killed more than 170 people, left more than 50 missing and inundated 9,000 square miles more. . .   At the same time, a blistering heat wave set new records for June in southern California more. . .  The same heat wave triggered 1,400 wildfires in northern California more. . .   In Omaha, a storm packing winds of up to 100 miles per hour, killed two people, flipped cars and left thousands without power more. . .    In late July, a tornado accompanied by a powerful storm tore through New Hampshire leaving thousands of people without power more . . .