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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

National Climatic Data Center
Climate-Watch, August 2002

High Resolution Satellite Image of Hurricane Andrew

August 23, 1992 - Hurricane Andrew off the Florida Coast.
(Click on the satellite photo for a larger image)

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Hurricane Andrew --10th Anniversary --

Ten years ago, a small but ferocious - recently upgraded to a category 5 Cape Verde hurricane, named Andrew, slammed into southern Florida and then the Louisiana coast a few days later causing $27 billion dollars worth of destruction and 61 deaths. Over 125,000 homes and businesses were damaged or totally destroyed mainly due to high winds.

The unprecedented economic devastation was along a path through the northwestern Bahamas, the southern Florida peninsula, and south-central Louisiana. Florida, especially hard, with violent winds and storm surges. The hurricane had a central pressure (922 mb) , third lowest this century for a hurricane at landfall in the United States. In Dade County (FL.) alone, the forces of Andrew resulted in 15 deaths and up to one-quarter million people left temporarily homeless. An additional 25 lives were lost in Dade County from the indirect effects of Andrew. The direct loss of life was remarkably low considering the destruction caused by this hurricane.

Andrew was upgraded to a Category 5 hurricane by NOAA's Tropical Prediction Center on August 22, 2002. See the NOAA press release for additional information.

Special Reports and Satellite Images from Andrew

Quick Search of NCDC Historical Satellite Images.- Just enter "Andrew" as keyword- over 17 images available including satellite, radar image and damage map of the event.

National Hurricane Center - Hurricane Andrew Special Report

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Weather Log - August 1-10th, 2002

As the 2002 Atlantic hurricane season nears its peak period, NOAA's hurricane forecasters said they expect seven to ten tropical storms, of which four to six could develop into hurricanes, with one to three classified as major -Category 3 - or higher on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Scale. The total expected activity falls in the normal, to below-normal range, and indicates a low probability of an above-average season.

However, NOAA forecasters also cautioned residents living along the East and Gulf coasts to prepare for possible land-falling storms. We want people to understand that it only takes one hurricane, or tropical storm, to bring death and destruction. See the Complete NOAA press release for more information.

As the traditional tornado season came to an end in July, tornado activity in the United States has remained low , according to National Weather Service. The unofficial count of 451 tornadoes reported by 24 July is half of the 10-year average of 914 tornadoes and the lowest midyear count since 1988. This year, fewer tornadoes have also meant fewer deaths. As of 24 July, 11 people have been killed by tornadoes this year. The 10-year average for deaths by July 24 is 46, said Dan McCarthy, warning coordination meteorologist for NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.

At least 32 people were killed and 50 injured when landslides, triggered by heavy monsoon rains, swept away five villages in the eastern part of the Himalayan kingdom, authorities said on the 8th. More than 300 people have been killed in flash floods and landslides triggered by heavy annual monsoon rains across the mountainous kingdom since July. The rains, which normally begin in June and continue through September, cause flooding and landslides, killing hundreds of people every year.

In contrast, to the south, Indian Farm Minister Ajit Singh said on the 8th, drought had engulfed nearly the entire country and was the worst in more than 15 years. The annual June-September monsoon is crucial for India's agricultural sector, which contributes 25 percent to gross domestic product and employs 70 percent of the country's more than one billion population. "Earlier we said (there was) drought in twelve states. Now drought is everywhere except Assam and some other states. It's worse than the 1987 drought," Singh told a meeting of state cooperative ministers. The monsoon accounts for 80 percent of the country's annual rain. So far during this monsoon, India has received 30 percent less rainfall than normal while in 1987 Singh said rainfall was 24 percent below normal.

Flooding hit parts of Europe and during the first 10 days of the month. Torrential rains in Europe inundated Austrian villages on the 8th, swept away tourists on Russia's Black Sea coast, flooded London's subway system and battered vineyards and olive groves in northern Italy. In northern Italy, hail and heavy rain has battered much of the region, damaging wine grapes, tobacco crops and olive groves. Nearly 3 inches of rain fell earlier in the week in Brescia, near Milan - more than the average monthly rainfall for all of August. Several deaths were reported and aboput two thousand people were evacuated from flooded homes in southern Bohemia in the Czech Republic. In Bulgaria, flooding left dozens of villages without electricityState radio reported two farmers were killed by lightning. In Lower Austria, the river Kamp rose to its highest level since records were first kept in 1896, said Franz Hauer of the province's Hydrographic Service.

Heavy rains with flooding have also hit parts of eastern China, Korea and Vietnam during the first part of the month as well with several dozen deaths reported.

Peruvian authorities have temporarily closed the Inca Trail to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu because of heavy snow and mist along the mountainous hiking route, an official said on the 8th. July and August are peak hiking months because weather in those months is normally clear and sunny in Peru's Andes mountains. An abbreviated two-day hike to Machu Picchu also used by many tourists remains open but heavy snow made parts of the four-day hike too treacherous for tourists, particularly at one 13,500-foot (4,100-meter) mountain pass.


Weather Log - August 11-20, 2002

A vast blanket of pollution stretching across South Asia is damaging agriculture, modifying rainfall patterns including those of the mighty Monsoon and putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk a new study suggests.

The findings, by scientists working with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), indicate that the spectacular economic growth seen in this part of the world in the past decade may soon falter as a result of the "Asian Brown Haze". Vital follow up studies are needed to unravel the precise role this three kilometre-deep pollution blanket may be having on the region's climate and the world's.

Record floods threatened a string of historic towns on the 18th, as central European leaders were due to meet to discuss the huge costs of the path of destruction wrought across the region. Flood waters have ravaged vast areas of central Europe in the past week, claiming at least 91 lives in Germany, Russia, Austria and the Czech Republic. Tens of thousands have been evacuated and many have lost their homes. Some of Europe's great museums, including Dresden's Zwinger Palace art gallery, and the city's Semper opera house have been forced to close and may need extensive repairs. As waters began to ebb in devastated regions of the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Russia and Romania on Tuesday (August 20), relief and recovery crews faced the daunting task of cleaning up a region littered with debris while health officials warned of the potential threat of disease. Towns in northern Germany prepared Tuesday (20th) for the approaching floodwaters of the River Elbe, which has wreaked havoc in regions along its banks since flooding began some two weeks ago. Across the continent, at least 108 people have been killed in what has been termed the "Floods of the Century", officials estimate the damages in Europe could total $20 billion.

A rare heatburst was observed in the San Angelo, Texas area shortly after midnight on the 14th. The heatburst developed when a decaying thunderstorm complex slowly dissipated over the region. Thunderstorms created downdrafts of dry air which warm by compression as the air descends aloft to the surface. The resulting heatburst occurred near the instrument sensors which was able to pick up the event which is usually seen as a rapid temperature rise with strong winds and low humidity, followed by a decrease in temperature as the event moves away.

The temperature observed at 1235 AM on the 14th was 75 degrees. F, with a south wind at 31 mph gusting to 40 with a relative humidity of 62 percent. The observation at 105 AM reported the temperature jumped to 94 degrees F, winds northwest at 15 gusts to 40 with a relative humidity of 19%. The event ended by 130 AM, the temperature fell back to 73 degrees F, winds south at 31 mph, relative humidity at 66 percent.

Annual monsoon flooding wreaked havoc across South Asia, killing more than 900 people in India, Bangladesh and Nepal since June and displacing or trapping about 25 million more. However, much of central and western India are suffering from drought conditions.

Weather Log - August 21-31, 2002

Algerian officials and newspapers reported on the 23rd that torrential rains provoked heavy flooding in eastern Algeria this week, killing at least 10 people, officials and newspapers said Friday. Numerous buildings in the area were also partially submerged. The downpours, which began last Friday (16th) , has also caused substantial damage to roads and crops."

According to media reports, surging floodwaters pushed the giant Yangtze River to dangerous levels, putting a strain on dikes shielding the metropolis of Wuhan as storms dumped more rain on sodden central China on the 26th. On Monday, the lake was 5 feet above safe levels on dikes protecting Yueyang, a city of 600,000 people, said an official of the Hunan Water Resources Bureau. He would give only his surname, Zhou. Hundreds of thousands of people who live around the lake have been evacuated over the past week.

An army of more than 1 million laborers and soldiers raced to reinforce hundreds of miles of dikes that surround it. After days of clear skies, up to 2 inches of rain is forecast by the 27th, for the northern part of Hunan and the western provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan."

According to media reports, on the 29th, Germany's biggest insurance companies said losses associated with the flooding in Germany and central Europe could total about 1 billion euros ($990 million). Allianz, Europe's biggest insurer, said on Thursday its net losses would total 550 million euros ($540.3 million), while the world's biggest reinsurer Munich Re expects losses "not exceeding" 500 million euro. Unseasonal flooding brought chaos to Germany, Austria, Russia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia and claimed the lives of up to 100 people. Historic European cities such as Prague, Hamburg and Dresden are still counting the huge cost. The cleanup and rebuilding operations are expected to cost about 20 billion euros ($20 billion) across Europe. Analysts have estimated the total economic losses, which includes loss of tourism and closure of businesses, could be as much as 15 billion euros,15-20 percent of which could be insured.

Typhoon Rusa hit a chain of small islands in southwestern Japan on Thursday, flattening homes and causing blackouts and evacuations. Rusa packed sustained winds of 78 mph and was located just southeast of Naze Thursday evening (29th) , the Meteorological Agency said. Naze, a city of 46,000 on Oshima Island, is 930 miles southwest of Tokyo. The Meteorological Agency forecast that Rusa - the Malaysian word for deer - would bring up to 20 inches of rain to parts of Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu by Friday morning (30th) . It was expected to cross over to the sea and then move northward to approach Korea.

Drought continues to plague parts of the United States. See the NCDC weekly climate monitoring maps for the latest information.

Note: Hazard event satellite images available courtesy of NOAA OSEI Satellite Images WWW site.

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Top of Page Selected U.S. City and State Extremes

The Selected U.S. City and State Extremes provides a list of new records that were set across the U.S. during August 2002.


Top of Page Additional Resources