The Heat Is Online

Extreme Weather Profile: July -- December 2011

At the beginning of July, a massive wildffire swept through parts of New Mexico, threatening Los Alamos National Lab.  One geologist in the state said the recent wildfires in the Southwestern US may be more severe than any seen since the last Ice Age more. . .       Scorching temperatures across much of the U.S., from San Francisco to Wisconsin, triggered intense winds, new wildfires and thunderstorms, as temperatures reached 120* in Death Valley, California, and reached a record 118* in Phoenix  more . . .        In Texas, tinder-dry conditions caused cancellation of July 4th fireworks displays, as more than 90 percent of the state suffered "exceptional" drought conditions, with wildfires consuming more land than the state of Connecticut and the state experiencing one of its worst dry periods since 1895 more. . .   In early July, a massive dust storm -- a mile high and 100 miles wide -- struck Phoenix, crippling traffic, closing airports and causing thousands of power outages  more . . .     In early July, temperatures in Texas and Oklahoma topped 100 degrees for 10 consecutive days as a powerful heat wave gripped the midsection of the US  more . . .         In East Africa, millions of people are threatened with starvation and malnutrition after last winter's rains failed and this spring's rains turned out to be spotty and inadequate more . . .         

In mid-July, intense thunderstorms, coupled with 75-mile-per-hour winds cut power to more than 800,000 people in the Chicago area, snarling traffic and closing airports more. . .  Meanwhile, the prolonged drought in the central US, which showed no signs of weakening, evoked memories of the dustbowl in the 1930s more . . .       In Somalia, the country's worst drought in 60 years -- coupled with increasing violence by Islamist militants -- have spurred the migration of hundreds of thousands of people into neighboring Kenya more. . .       In late July, incessant rains triggered mudslides and floods which displaced more than 200,000 people in Nepal and northern India more. . .   

While much of the US was sweltering under record breaking heat and prolonged drought, parts of southern Chile were buried under nine feet of snow -- about four months worth for the region more . . .   In South Korea, a massive mudslide buried students while flash floods submerged subway stations in Seoul as violent weather left 32 people dead more . . .    In South Africa, a rare storm dumped two feet of snow, stranding motorists, closing airports and shutting the main road between Johannesburg and Durban more . . .        In Dubuque, Iowa, the mayor declared the city

 

a disaster after it was swamped by more than 14 inches of rain in 12 hours more. . .       

At the beginning of August,  the world's driest desert in northern Chile received four years worth of rain in one day -- while nearby mountains, which never see winter precipitation, were covered in three feet of snow more. . .        In Somalia  a prolongued drought -- the country's worst in 60 years -- complicated by armed conflicts, has led to the deaths of 29,000 people and put half the country's population at risk of severe malnutrition or starvation more . . .   As the drought in the midwestern US continued, nearly three-fourths of the state of Texas suffered from the most extreme category of drought -- its worst drought in more than a century -- while more than a third of the midwestern US was declared "abnormally dry" more . . .    In mid-August, Cleveland, Philadelphia and New York were swamped by downpours which left record rainfalls for one day more . . . 

In mid-August, with 90 percent of Texas staggering under either "extreme" or "exceptional" drought conditions (the two harshest categories) officials estimated that the state's farmers had already lost a record $5.2 billion more . . .         In late August. in one of the worst heat waves in memory, asphalt melted. wildfires erupted and people fainted in the streets as temperatures in the Balkan countries of Serbia, Montenegro,  Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia, Albania and Hungary staggered under temperatures that in some places soared above 110* F.  more . . .          

Near the end of August, Hurricane Irene made landfall in North Carolina and moved northward to Boston and beyond, killing at least 41 people, affecting some 65 million residents leaving at least four million without power.  It was one of the biggest hurricanes ever to hit the US -- and the first to strike the East Coast in more than 50 years more . . .       But while Irene withheld her wrath from the biggest cities in her path, the hurricane dumped catastrophic amounts of water on parts of New York, New Jersey and Vermont, which saw its worst flooding since 1927 more . . .

At the beginning of September, officials announced there was no end in sight for the pervasive drought that had parched much of the southern US, leaving 95 percent of Texas in "extreme" or "extraordinary" drought conditions with 80 days this year surpassing 100* F. more . . .      In northern India, intense monsoons left millions of people homeless and some 158 people dead more . . .             

In early September, Tropical Storm Lee dumped a foot of rain on New Orleans, spawning an outbreak of tornadoes in neighboring states  more . . .    As the tropical storm inundated southern Louisiana, its wins fanned "catastrophic" wildfires in Texas which consumed some 3 million acres and 1,000 homes more . . .        In central Japan, thousands of people were stranded and whole neighborhoods were inundated by that country's worst typhoon in seven years more . . .       In Somalia,   the region's worst drought in decades has left tens of thousands of people -- about half of them children -- dead from malnutrition or starvation more . . .         

In September, officials announced that the three-month summer in Texas was hottest of any state in US history more . . . At the same time, intense flooding led to the evacation of more than 100,000 people in Pennsylvania, New York state and Maryland  more   In Pakistan, severe flooding left more than 1.3 million homes damaged or destroyed, leaving 300,000 people homeless more . . .    In mid-September, the Texas cities of Dallas and Wichita Falls  set a record of 100 days with temperatures over 100*  more . . .      At the same time, the town of International Falls, Minnesota set a record for the earliest cold snap in its recorded history, with temperatures plunging to 19* F more. . .   In Japan, an intense typhoon triggered the evacuation of 1.3 million people and forced the cancellation of some 274 flights more . . .     In northern and eastern India, monsoon rains destroyed huts, flooded roads and stranded hundreds of thousands of residents more . . .   In the Philippines, the worst typhoon in decades cut power to Manila, churned 12-foot waves, slammed billboards into buses, triggered the evacuation of more than 100,000 people and left at least 20 people dead more . . .           

The worst flooding in the Mekong River in 11 years has left at least 150 people dead in Cambodia and Vietnam  more . .    In Thailand, intense flooding forced the release of 1,700 prisoners and prompted the government to declare a decrease of nearly 25 percent in the country's GDP more. . .     Two tiny island nations in the Pacific, Tokelau and Tuvalu, ran out of drinking water when a severe drought -- coupled with contamination of water sources from rising sea levels -- left residents with none to drink more . . .       At least 31 people were killed in Mexico and Guatemala as the region was hit by a double whammy: a hurricane and a low pressure front bringing intense rains and flash floods more . . .        By mid October, the worst flooding in a century had left nearly 300 people dead in Thailand, leaving a third of the country under water and inundating large industrial parks that propelled the country's economy.  The flooding sent masses of polluted black water through the streets of Bangkok   more . . .       The death toll from flooding in Central America rose to 105 as landslides, floods and bridge collapses affected about 250,000 people in El Salvador and Nicaragua more . . . 

In mid-October, Lubbock, Texas was enveloped by an 8,000-foot high dust storm, fueled by the state's severe and persistent drought more . . .   In the northeastern US, a freak October snowstorm dropped up to two feet of snow in some areas and left 2.7 million people without power more. . .     In Colombia, torrential rains endangered coffee crops and triggered mudslides which left at least 37 people dead more . . .      In mid-November, a massive storm battered the Pacific Coast of Alaska, ripping off roofs, flooding roads and threating to destroy 18 villages more . . .    In mid-November,Fairbanks, Alaska recorded the coldest November day in its history, with temperatures falling to 36* F below more . . . 

With Swedish snow resorts closed, ski races canceled and flowers blooming at the end of November, this winter is on track to become one of the warmest in the country's history more. . .    At the same time, officials in Mexico reported their country is suffering its worst drought in 70 years which has claimed hundreds of thousands of acres and nearly a half million head of cattle more . . .      

In early December,  a ferocious windstorm, with gusts up to 97 miles per hour, ripped through southern California, uprooting trees, ripping roofs off buildings and leaving 300,000 residents without power more . . .   Cargo ships are stranded in the Danube riverbed, Bosnia is short of drinking water and crop production is plummeting in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary as a record drought persists across the Balkans more . . .    In early December, ferocious winds -- gusting at over 150 miles an hour -- ripped through Scotland, toppling trees, ripping off roofs and closing all the country's major bridges more. . .      A horrible tragedy struck the southern Philippines, an area unaccustomed to severe storms, when flash flooding left at least 1,000  people dead. The storm dropped six months worth of rain in 12 hours.  more. . . 

A ferocious snowstorm -- accompanied by near-total whiteouts -- that dropped more than 10 inches on parts of Kansas, shut down holiday travel in the midwestern US just days before the Christmas weekend more . . .