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Climate of 2004
Preliminary Annual Review
Significant U.S. and Global Events
National Climatic Data Center
December 16, 2004
Review of U.S. Events
*Compiled from both NOAA and non-NOAA sources, including U.S. and international news media reports
January / February / March / April / May / June / July / August / September / October / November / December
In Hawaii, a frontal system brought strong winds to the islands on the 14th, knocking out power to over 12,000 homes and closing at least a dozen public schools. A wind gust to 135 km/hr (85 mph) was reported along the west coast of Oahu by the National Weather Service (Associated Press). Severe thunderstorms affected parts of the islands on the 23rd-25th, with high winds and even a rare tornado reported on Oahu (no damage was reported). Hawaii Electric Light Company reported that 33,500 customers lost electricity during this second round of severe weather (westhawaiitoday.com).
An Arctic air mass encompassed much of eastern Canada and the U.S. Northeast during mid-month. Record daily low temperatures were set in U.S. cities such as Boston and Providence on the 14th, as temperatures plunged near or below zero (Fahrenheit). Three deaths in the United States were blamed on the cold weather (Associated Press). Weekly Temperature anomalies during January 11-17 were more than 5°C (9°F) below normal in the Northeast U.S.
A winter storm spread a blanket of snow and ice across a large area of the U.S. from the Plains to the Eastern Seaboard during the 24th-27th. At least 56 deaths were blamed on snow, ice and cold from Kansas to the East Coast, most from a severe ice storm in parts of the Carolinas (CNN).
In the Pacific Northwest of the United States, a parade of strong weather systems brought strong winds and wintry precipitation to areas of Washington and Oregon. Snow fell all the way to the Pacific Ocean, with Seattle and Portland reporting several inches of snow and ice. Snow accumulations across the higher terrain of the Cascade Mountains were well over a foot.
Piedmont areas of the Carolinas received exceptionally heavy snow on February 26. Locally up to 51 cm (20 inches) of snow accumulated in the Charlotte metropolitan area. It was Charlotte's third largest snowstorm on record, with 33.5 cm (13.2 inches) observed at the airport.
Thunderstorms that moved through Maryland caused the capsizing of a water taxi with 25 people aboard in Baltimore's inner harbor near Fort McHenry. Winds gusting to 90 km/hr (50 knots or 55 mph) struck the area as the thunderstorms moved through the region. Five people died as a result of the accident (CBS/Associated Press).
A late-season winter storm affected the northern Mid-Atlantic and into the Northeast United States on the 16th. Snowfall accumulations of 15-25 cm (6-10 inches) were common across areas of Pennsylvania, New York and into southern New England. Boston, MA reported just over 18 cm (7 inches) of snowfall from the storm.
Record heat affected areas of California during April 26-27. Records broken for the month of April included 100°F (37.8°C) at Yorba Linda on the 26th and 27th, 98°F (36.7°C) at Sacramento on the 26th and 99°F (37.2°C) at Paso Robles on the 27th.
Severe thunderstorms spawned 52 tornadoes in the United States on the 20th, with the majority of these occurring in the states of Illinois and Indiana. Eight people were killed in Utica, Illinois as an F-3 tornado affected the downtown area (Reuters/Associated Press).
An unusual late-season snow fell across parts of southern Indiana and the western parts of Kentucky and Tennessee on the 13th. In Jackson, TN, it was the latest measurable snowfall on record. In Kentucky, there were 6 fatalities in traffic accidents caused by slick driving conditions.
The western wildfire season got off to an above average start by early May with fire danger at unprecedented high levels for early spring in parts of California (NIFC). Several large fires affected the southwestern part of the state, where the Eagle and Cerrito fires charred more than 11,500 hectares (28,000 acres) and destroyed more than a dozen houses (NCTimes).
Showers and thunderstorms brought torrential rains and flooding to parts of Texas during May 1-2. Flooding affected northern and coastal sections of the state, resulting in 6 deaths (Associated Press).
Heavy rains caused flooding in Texas and Oklahoma on the 14th. More than 432 mm (17 inches) of rain fell in nine hours placing 644 square km (400 square miles) of Robertson County, TX underwater. At least one person died in an automobile accident due to the heavy rains, and as many as 200 homes were damaged from the rising flood waters (Associated Press).
A significant outbreak of severe weather and tornadoes affected portions of the U.S. Great Plains during May 21-24, 2004. There were 179 reported tornadoes during this period, along with many reports of hail and wind damage. A strong tornado rated F-4 on the Fujita Scale virtually destroyed the town of Hallam, Nebraska on the 22nd, and caused one fatality (Reuters).
Severe thunderstorms affected the Dallas-Fort Worth, TX area on June 1st, 2nd and 7th. Each episode of severe weather was accompanied by damaging winds and flooding. Approximately a half-million customers lost power from storms on the 1st-2nd (Associated Press).
The multi-year drought throughout much of the western U.S. enhanced wildfire potential, with several large fires scattered across the region during July. Numerous large fires also charred parts of Alaska and the Yukon Territory in Canada.
Strong thunderstorms dumped upwards of a foot of rain on parts of north Texas during the 28th-29th. In southern Dallas county, around 200 homes were damaged by high water in the suburb of Lancaster. One fatality was blamed on the flooding (Associated Press).
In the Mid-Atlantic region, strong thunderstorms produced excessive rainfall and severe flooding during the 12th-13th. In central New Jersey, more than 254 mm (10 inches) of rain fell in less than 24 hours.
Hurricane Alex developed off the southeast coast of the United States on July 31, reaching tropical storm strength by the 1st of August. Alex attained hurricane status by the 3rd and lashed the North Carolina Outer Banks as the eye passed just offshore. Winds on Ocracoke Island gusted as high as 193 km/hr (120 mph), causing significant damage but no injuries (Associated Press). The storm continued to strengthen as it tracked away from land areas, and became the strongest recorded Atlantic hurricane at such a high latitude (greater than 38 degrees north), with maximum sustained winds on the 5th of 193 km/hr (105 knots or 120 mph) at 40 degrees north latitude.
Tropical Storm Bonnie developed in the southern Gulf of Mexico on the 9th and came ashore just west of Appalachicola, FL on the 12th. Maximum sustained winds at the time of landfall were near 85 km/hr (45 knots or 50 mph). Heavy rain and localized severe weather (including tornadoes) occurred well inland.
Hurricane Charley developed from a tropical wave that emerged off the African coast early in the month. Charley entered the southeastern Gulf of Mexico on the 13th, passing the Dry Tortugas by mid-morning. The hurricane intensified very rapidly just prior to a Florida landfall as it trekked northeastward into Charlotte Harbor and came ashore near Mangrove Point in the Port Charlotte/Punta Gorda area around 20:30 UTC (4:30PM EDT) at category 4 intensity. At the time of landfall, maximum sustained winds were near 230 km/hr (125 knots or 145 mph), causing massive damage to coastal areas and barrier islands in the path of the storm's eye. Charley continued northeastward as a hurricane, tracking directly over the Orlando and Daytona Beach areas during the evening of the 13th. Winds at the Orlando International Airport gusted to 169 km/hr or 105 mph, a new record wind gust for the city. In Florida, 25 of the state's 67 counties were declared federal disaster areas. Tens of thousands of buildings were damaged, 12,000 destroyed and more than 2 million customers were without electrical services at the conclusion of the storm. The Florida citrus crop sustained severe damage. It was the strongest hurricane to hit Florida's west coast since Donna in September 1960, and it was the strongest hurricane to affect the state of Florida or the United States coastline since Hurricane Andrew in August 1992. Estimated insured losses from Charley were $6.8 billion (USD) (Insurance Information Institute). Charley was blamed for 22 deaths in Florida (AFP, CNN, Reuters). After emerging off the east coast of Florida, Charley continued in a northeasterly direction, reaching the South Carolina coast south of Georgetown near Cape Romain on the morning of the 14th. Maximum sustained winds near the time of this landfall were near 120 km/hr (65 knots or 75 mph). Heavy rainfall and gusty winds spread inland across eastern North Carolina and Virginia. Charley made a fourth and final landfall on Long Island as a tropical storm on the morning of the 15th with maximum sustained winds near 65 km/hr (35 knots or 40 mph).
Hurricane Gaston developed off the southeast coast of the United States on the 27th, making landfall near McClellanville, South Carolina on the 29th just under hurricane strength, with maximum sustained winds near 120 km/hr (65 knots or 75 mph). The storm moved northward, and dumped as much as 330 mm (13 inches) of rainfall on the city of Richmond, Virginia. This quantity of rainfall caused massive flooding in the city, and about 20 blocks of the downtown area were declared uninhabitable on the 31st. There were 7 fatalities in the greater Richmond area, and Virginia governor Mark Warner declared a state of emergency (Associated Press/Washington Times).
In the United States, preliminary numbers indicated a total of 247 tornadoes were reported during September 2004, breaking the record for the month. The old record was 139 tornadoes set in 1967. The unusually high number of tornadoes was blamed on land-falling hurricanes. Hurricane Frances produced 117 tornadoes, topping Hurricane Beulah's 115 tornadoes in September 1967. Hurricane Ivan produced 104 tornadoes, while Jeanne produced 16.
Hurricane Frances developed in the central tropical Atlantic Ocean on August 25, attaining hurricane intensity by the 26th. Frances then crossed onto the Florida peninsula near Sewall's Point early on September 5 with maximum sustained winds near 170 km/hr (90 knots or 105 mph). In Florida, more than 1.8 million customers lost power and more than 90,000 people waited out the storm in over 300 storm shelters. The hurricane brought major flooding and some structural damage, and also dealt another significant blow to the citrus crop which had been devastated by Hurricane Charley in August. Frances re-emerged into the northeast Gulf of Mexico late on the 5th and made a final landfall near St. Marks, Florida as a tropical storm on the 6th. The remnants of the storm then moved northward into the Appalachians, where major flooding resulted from rainfall accumulations of 150-500 mm (~6-20 inches). Click for photos of flooding in the Asheville, NC area. Frances also spawned 117 tornadoes on its track through the southeast U.S., and a total of 23 fatalities were also blamed on the storm. Insured losses from Frances were estimated at $4.4 billion (USD) (Insurance Information Institute).
Hurricane Ivan developed from a tropical wave that emerged off the African coast at the beginning of the month. Ivan made landfall along the Gulf Coast of the United States on the morning of the 16th, reaching the coastline near Gulf Shores, Alabama with maximum sustained winds near 210 km/hr (115 knots or 130 mph). Significant damage from winds and storm surge was reported along the coastline of Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle, as offshore buoys measured wave heights of 15 meters (50 feet). Heavy rainfall and more than 100 tornadoes spread well inland into the interior Southeast, Tennessee Valley and Mid-Atlantic regions. In western North Carolina, around $200 million (USD) in damage was caused in Buncombe County from the combined effects of Frances and Ivan in the span of a two week period (Asheville Citizen-Times). At least 50 deaths in the United States were attributed to Ivan (Associated Press). The remnants of Ivan exited the Delmarva Peninsula and headed south, crossing Florida and re-emerging in the Gulf of Mexico. Ivan was reclassified as a Tropical Storm by the 23rd and made a final landfall just west of Cameron, Louisiana on the evening of the 23rd with maximum sustained winds near 75 km/hr (40 knots or 45 mph). Estimated insured losses from Ivan were $6 billion (USD) (Insurance Information Institute)
Hurricane Jeanne made landfall around midnight on the 26th (local time) near Stuart, Florida with maximum sustained winds near 195 km/hr (105 knots or 120 mph). Strong winds and torrential rains from the hurricane caused severe damage as it tracked across Florida. Jeanne weakened but produced heavy rainfall as it moved across Georgia, the Carolinas and into the Mid-Atlantic states. Combined impacts of flooding and severe weather (tornadoes) resulted in at least 10 fatalities in the United States (Associated Press), with estimated insured lossed totaling $3.2 billion (USD) (Insurance Information Institute). In Florida, more than one out of every five houses received damage this season from the unprecedented impacts of four hurricanes (Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne) (Insurance Information Institute).
In Alaska, snowfall totaled 15.2 cm (6 inches) in Anchorage on September 25, 2004. This was the most snow ever recorded so early in the season and the heaviest snowfall for any single day in the month of September. The 16 cm (6.3 inch) snowfall total for the month also made it the snowiest September on record.
The first significant storm system of the season for California brought heavy snowfall to the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and heavy rainfall and mudslides to much of the state on the 19th. Rainfall amounts in the 25-100 mm (1 to 4 inch) range were common, with some record daily amounts reported.
On Oahu in Hawaii, thunderstorms deposited exceptionally heavy rain on the Manoa Valley near Waikiki on the 30th. Ten inches (254 mm) of rain fell at the Manoa Arboretum in just 12 hours, producing flooding that rushed through the University of Hawaii's main research library. The flooding destroyed irreplaceable documents and books, and forced a few students to break a window to escape. Hawaii governor Linda Lingle declared the Manoa Valley a state disaster area (Associated Press).
Severe thunderstorms erupted in the U.S. Tennessee Valley region on the 18th, resulting in 28 reports of tornadoes in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Alabama. There were three fatalities in southeastern Missouri near the town of Cooter, while at least 118 buildings were damaged and 15 people injured in Arkansas from the storms (Associated Press).
Tropical Storm Matthew developed in the western Gulf of Mexico on the 8th and crossed the coast near Houma, Louisiana on the 10th with maximum sustained winds near 65 km/hr (35 knots or 40 mph). The primary impact from Matthew was the heavy rainfall that accompanied the storm. More information on Matthew and other tropical storms and hurricanes in 2004 can be found on the Atlantic Hurricane Season page.
Heavy rainfall in Texas during November 15-18 was blamed for at least 2 deaths (Associated Press). Areas of the Texas Hill Country received 127 to 254 mm (5 to 10 inches) of rainfall during this period, producing widespread flooding.
An outbreak of severe thunderstorms on the 23rd produced reports of 54 tornadoes across portions of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama. In Texas's Hardin county, one person was killed with three injured when a tornado struck during the afternoon (Associated Press).
A major storm system affected parts of the western United States during December 27-29, bringing a variety of weather conditions to the region. Heavy rainfall broke daily precipitation records at some locations in California, with Los Angeles (downtown) breaking a daily rainfall record for the month of December (141 mm/5.55 inches fell on the 28th). This was the third wettest calendar day in Los Angeles since records began in 1877. Very heavy snow fell across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, with some areas receiving several feet of accumulation. Winds with this weather system gusted over 105 km/hr (65 mph) at some coastal and mountain locations in California.
Snow fell on Christmas Day in Deep South Texas. In Corpus Christi, snow totaled 11.2 cm (4.4 inches), and it was only the second White Christmas ever in Corpus Christi. Farther north in Victoria, 31.8 cm (12.5 inches) of snow fell, making it the first White Christmas on record for Victoria.
In the United States, the first widespread, significant lake-effect snowfall event of the season occurred on December 14. Locally 10-25 cm (4-10 inches) of snow fell downwind of the Great Lakes.
Heavy accumulations of snow and ice blanketed areas of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan on December 22nd and 23rd, breaking daily snowfall records in some locations. Accumulations exceeded 51cm (20 inches) in parts of Kentucky and Indiana.
For more information on Weather and Climate Extremes, refer to ...
The Climate of 2004
Extreme Weather and Climate Events
Review of Global Events
*Compiled from both NOAA and non-NOAA sources, including U.S. and international news media reports
January / February / March / April / May / June / July / August / September / October / November / December
In Brazil, heavy rains swelled two rivers and burst an irrigation dam in the town of Jaboticabal. At least eight people were killed when their bus was swept away by floodwaters on January 11 (Disasterrelief.org). At least 56 people were killed by flooding across the country during January 2004, leaving over 6,800 people homeless (AFP). The worst-affected areas of Brazil included the northeastern states of Pernambuco, Piaui and Bahia by month's end. The northeastern coastal city of Fortaleza reported 254 mm (10 inches) of rain on January 29, the highest daily total there since 1910 (BBC News/NASA).
A storm system that affected Germany on the 13th-14th brought a variety of severe weather. Winds gusted as high as 169 km/hr (105 mph), with flooding reported in parts of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg (AFP). A tornado late on the 13th ripped through the northern town of Drochtersen, tearing off roofs of at least seven houses (AFP).
Tropical Cyclone Heta formed in the South Pacific Ocean north of the Samoa Islands on the 1st and passed just west of Samoa on the 4th. While Heta did not pass directly over the Samoa Islands, it was the first tropical cyclone to impact the islands in more than a decade (AFP). Most of Samoa was left without power in the storm's wake, with significant damage reported at the Pago Pago International Airport. Heta tracked south and crossed the island of Niue on the 6th, injuring several people and causing one fatality (Reuters). Maximum sustained winds were near 240 km/hr (130 knots or 150 mph) as the storm passed through Niue, with significant damage to crops and infrastructure reported (OCHA).
Cold weather since Christmas 2003 was blamed for as many as 600 deaths across South Asia (Reuters). Low temperatures during late December 2003 into January 2004 ranged from 0 to 5°C (32 to 41°F) across northern India and Bangladesh, primarily affecting the elderly and children, as well as the homeless population (AFP). Hundreds of homeless in the region die each year because they do not have warm clothes or blankets (Reuters).
Severe winter weather affected much of western and northern Europe during January 27-29, with heavy accumulations of snow reported in parts of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Denmark. Nearly 300 flights were cancelled from London's Heathrow airport on the 29th (AFP). Heavy snow also affected Belgium and Luxembourg, causing flight cancellations and other travel disruptions. In Romania, at least 7 people died as a result of cold and snowy weather during the last week of January. At least 60 towns and villages in the northeast part of the country lost electrical service, and roads became impassable (AFP).
A severe heat wave affected much of eastern Australia during February 2004, and was classified as one of the most intense and widespread heat waves of the last century (Australian Bureau of Meteorology). Many city and state temperature records were set during the month, as maximum temperatures soared over 45°C (113°F) in many areas. According the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, the spatial and temporal extent of the heatwave was greater than that of any other February heatwave in the Australian meteorological record, and ranked amongst the top five Australian heatwaves in any month, just short of the January 1939 event but comparable with those of January 2001, January 1982, and December 1972/January 1973.
Heavy rains that began in December across areas of Brazil continued through January and into early February. Mudslides and floods left tens of thousands of people homeless and resulted in 161 deaths since heavy rains began in late December 2003 (BBC News/Reuters). The worst-affected areas included the northeastern states of Pernambuco, Bahia and Piaui.
Tropical Cyclone Elita first affected Madagascar in late January as it moved into the northern part of the country on the 28th. Elita moved southwest parallel to the coastline before drifting back out over the Mozambique Channel on February 1. The cyclone re-strengthened and made a second landfall on the 3rd near the town of Morondava. Maximum sustained winds at the time of landfall were near 120 km/hr (65 knots or 75 mph). Elita crossed the island nation and exited along the east coast. At least 29 people were killed and 44,000 left homeless (NASA/TRMM/AFP).
Tropical Cyclone Monty developed in the Indian Ocean on the 27th. The cyclone reached peak intensity over open waters on February 29 about 315 km (195 miles) north-northeast of Learmonth, with maximum sustained winds near 205 km/hr (110 knots or 125 mph). The storm weakened as it made landfall on the first of March near Mardie, Australia producing torrential rainfall and packing maximum sustained winds near 175 km/hr (95 knots or 110 mph).
Tropical Cyclone Ivy developed in the South Pacific Ocean on the 22nd and crossed the island chain of Vanuatu around the 24th with maximum sustained winds near 160 km/hr (85 knots or 100 mph). At least one person was killed from the storm and many homes and crops were damaged (AFP).
A winter storm brought heavy snowfall to much of the eastern Mediterranean region, from Greece eastward into parts of the Middle East. Southern Greece received heavy accumulation of snow which closed many regional airports, including the Athens International Airport on the 13th (AFP). Farther east, strong winds and high seas caused the sinking of two ships off the coast of Turkey. An avalanche was blamed for three deaths in a small village in the southeastern part of the country (AFP). Heavy snow blanketed areas of the Middle East, including parts of Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. Three deaths were blamed on the storm in Lebanon and Jordan, where up to 61cm or 2 feet of snow accumulated (USA Today/AFP).
A dust storm originating from the Sahara Desert affected much of Mali, Mauritania, Algeria, Morocco and Western Sahara during early March. In Mali, air traffic was disrupted during the 4th-5th at the Bamako-Senou international airport. In Bamako, visibilities on March 4 were as low as a few hundred meters (yards) (AFP).
A heatwave in eastern Australia that began in February continued during the first three weeks of March. It was the worst March heatwave on record in eastern Australia and ranked just behind the January 1939 heatwave (Australian Bureau of Meteorology).
Heavy rains in Papua New Guinea produced flooding that swept away bridges, washed away roads and destroyed hundreds of homes during the latter half of March 2004. Flooding earlier in the month prompted the evacuation of more than 10,000 people in the Western Highlands after heavy rain brought the Waghi River above the flood stage (AFP).
In Australia, thunderstorms produced strong winds which gusted up to 130 km/hr (80 mph) across parts of the east coast of Queensland as well as the northern part of New South Wales. More than 70,000 homes were left without power and 3 people were killed by the storms (AFP).
Tropical Cyclone Gafilo developed in the South Indian Ocean on the 2nd and struck northern Madagascar on the 7th. Gafilo came ashore near Antalaha with maximum sustained winds near 260 km/hr (140 knots or 160 mph). In Antalaha, 95 percent of the houses were destroyed. The cyclone moved back over the Mozambique Channel before coming back across the southern part of the island nation on the 10th. In addition to the strong winds, torrential rain fell across much of Madagascar, and there were 300,000 rendered homeless (BBC News/AFP). There were 237 confirmed fatalities on the island, and a Comoran ferry sank with 113 people aboard with only 3 survivors accounted for (AFP/IFRC). Gafilo was the strongest tropical cyclone to hit Madagascar in ten years (IFRC)
The South Atlantic Hurricane developed from an extratropical cyclone that emerged off the coast of Brazil on the 20th. This nearly stationary non-tropical low pressure system acquired tropical characteristics and developed into a hurricane by the 26th. The hurricane made landfall along the southern coast of Brazil in the state of Santa Catarina just south of the resort town of Laguna early on the 28th. Maximum sustained winds were estimated between 120-130 km/hr (65 to 70 knots or 75 to 80 mph) with gusts to 155 km/hr (85 knots or 95 mph). The storm left at least three people dead and injured 38, while more than 2,000 were rendered homeless (Associated Press). This was the first documented hurricane in the South Atlantic Ocean since geostationary satellite records began in 1966.
In South Korea, a heavy snowstorm affected the country during March 4-6 and stranded around 4,000 motorists on highways. The central provinces of North and South Chungcheong received the heaviest single-day snowfall since 1904 when the country began collecting weather data (Reuters). Nearly 60 cm (2 feet of snow) accumulated in some central areas of the country.
In the Coahuila state of northern Mexico, a deadly flash flood occurred along the Escondido River in Piedras Negras where locally 125-180 mm (~5-7 inches) of rain fell late on the 5th and early on the 6th. At least 36 people were killed by the early morning flooding which damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes, prompting a state of emergency declaration by Mexican president Vicente Fox (Reuters/AFP). Coahuila governor Enrique Martinez described the flooding as some of the worst on record for the U.S.-Mexico border region (AFP/Associated Press).
Heavy rains in Angola produced flooding along the river system which flows into neighboring Zambia, Botswana and Namibia. Extensive flooding along the Zambezi River threatened more than 20,000 people in northeastern Namibia, and was characterized by local officials as the worst flooding since 1958 (Reuters).
In the Greater Horn of Africa, at least 50 people drowned as a result of flooding in Djibouti's capital city. Torrential rains during the night of April 12-13 were reportedly the heaviest in 10 years in Djibouti. The heavy rain cut electricity and washed away part of a railway line into neighboring Ethiopia. The majority of the flooding surged along the dry Ambouli riverbed between the cities of Djibouti and Balbala (Reuters/AFP).
In Russia, at least ten people were killed and thousands displaced as flooding affected the Kemerovo region of Siberia on the 17th. More than 20 towns and villages were affected by flooding in the Kemerovo, Altay and Tomsk regions (Associated Press/OCHA).
In Bosnia, heavy rains caused extensive flooding along the country's river system, affecting as many as 300,000 people. More than 120,000 hectares (300,000 acres) of agriculural land was also flooded (OCHA).
Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes hit northern Bangladesh on the 14th, flattening villages, uprooting trees and killing at least 76 people (Reuters/IFRC). The worst-affected areas included Netrokona and Mymensingh. In Netrokona, nearly 3,000 people were injured (Reuters/IFRC). Additional tornadoes affected the capital of Dhaka on the 19th, killing at least 7 people (Disasterrelief.org).
In China, severe thunderstorms produced a tornado and "fist-sized" hail in parts of central China on the 21st. The tornado was responsible for 7 deaths in Hengyang city (Hunan province), destroyed 2,000 homes and 1,100 hectares (2,700 acres) of crops (AFP).
Typhoon Sudal developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 4th as a tropical depression and reached typhoon strength by the 6th. Sudal passed just southeast of Yap Island on the 8th-9th with maximum sustained winds near 205 km/hr (110 knots or 125 mph). The typhoon damaged more than 90 percent of public utilities and property, while also damaging more than 90 percent of lowland and upland crops (OCHA). The last typhoon to affect Yap State was Typhoon Lupit in November 2003.
Tropical Cyclone 22P developed in the South Pacific Ocean on the 7th and moved across Fiji during the 8th, producing very heavy rainfall. Maximum sustained winds were near 65 km/hr (35 knots or 40 mph). There were at least 9 deaths on Viti Levu island attributed to the tropical cyclone (AFP).
In Kenya, several thousand people were displaced by flooding in early May, mostly in the western part of the country. There were 15 fatalities reported due to the flooding (AFP). Kenya's wet season runs from March through May.
A low-pressure system originating from Central America crossed the Caribbean and affected Hispanola during May 18-25, bringing exceptionally heavy showers and thunderstorms to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Rainfall amounts exceeding 500 mm (19.7 inches) were common across the border areas of Haiti and the Dominican Republic during this time period. Flooding was extensive in the town of Jimani in the southwestern Dominican Republic, where 250 mm (10 inches) of rain fell in just 24 hours, causing the Soliel River to overflow its banks. In neighboring Mapou, Haiti, nearly half the homes in the town were destroyed, numbering 1,300. Widespread flooding and mudslides in the two countries were blamed for nearly 2,000 deaths (Reuters/AFP/CNN/Associated Press).
In southern China, a rare tornado struck the town of Qishi in Guangdong province on the 8th. The tornado injured 85 people and killed two. A total of 462 people were made homeless, as more than 200 houses were destroyed (Associated Press).
Tropical Cyclone 01A developed in the Arabian Sea on the 5th and dissipated off the west coast of India by the 10th. Maximum sustained winds at the storm's peak reached 85 km/hr (45 knots or 50 mph). Although the storm never made landfall, there were 23 fishermen from India reported missing off the coast of the southern state of Kerala. Heavy rains pounded coastal areas and badly damaged around 1,500 homes (AFP).
Typhoon Nida developed as a tropical storm in the western Pacific Ocean on the 14th and quickly reached typhoon strength the same day. By the 16th Nida developed into a Super Typhoon. Typhoon Nida made landfall in the Philippines as a category 4 storm on the 18th. Maximum sustained winds were 260 km/hr (140 knots or 161 mph) at the time of landfall, and the typhoon caused between 20-30 deaths. The typhoon forced the evacuation of thousands of people, and caused a ferry to overturn that was carrying 168 passengers off the central Camotes Islands. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared a disaster in eight eastern provinces (Associated Press).
Tropical Cyclone 01B developed in the Bay of Bengal on the 17th and made landfall along the north coast of Burma near the border with Bangladesh on the 19th with maximum sustained winds near 110 km/hr (60 knots or 70 mph). The storm was responsible for at least 220 deaths in Burma, along with the loss of at least 84 fishing vessels or ships (AFP/OCHA).
An unusual late-season snow fell across the Kashmir region along the border of India and Pakistan during early May. Indian defense ministry officials reported that the army was dispatched in an effort to rescue some 20,000 nomads trapped in the Himalayan areas of Kashmir, where heavy snow had effectively cut off the region (AFP).
Maximum temperatures across much of Spain reached or exceeded 40°C (104°F) during the closing days of June, prompting electricity consumption to soar to record levels (38,800 megawatts). On the 29th, Madrid reached a 73-year high temperature of 39°C (104°F), while Cordoba climbed to 42°C (108°F) (AFP/Spain National Institute of Meteorology).
In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, heavy rains during June 4-7 produced flooding along the Pena, Vardar, Anska Reka, Trkajna and Turija Rivers. Flooding affected up to 100,000 people and significantly impacted agricultural interests. Up to 50 percent of the agricultural land in the country was affected by the flooding (OCHA).
In Turkey, a severe thunderstorm on the 19th produced a rare tornado 30 km (20 miles) north of Ankara. The tornado was responsible for 3 deaths and 21 injuries, while damaging 45 buildings (AFP).
Typhoon Chanthu developed on the 9th over the central Philippines. The storm brought heavy rains and localized severe weather to the Philippines, before tracking westward into the South China Sea on the 10th. Chanthu reached typhoon strength by the 12th, tracking into central Vietnam on the 13th with maximum sustained winds near 140 km/hr (75 knots or 85 mph). The typhoon killed at least 12 people in Vietnam, injured 5 and destroyed more than 180 houses (AFP/Associated Press).
Typhoon Dianmu developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 13th and reached typhoon strength by the 14th. Dianmu came ashore at Cape Muroto on Shikoku Island, or about 500 km (310 miles) west of Tokyo, on the 21st. Wind gusts on Shikoku Island were reported as high as 180 km/hr (112 mph) from the Japanese Meteorological Agency. Dianmu weakened as it moved northeastward across western Japan. The typhoon was blamed for five deaths in Japan and adjacent South Korea (Reuters).
Typhoon Mindulle developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 23rd and battered the northern Philippines during June 29-30. The typhoon passed north of the main island of Luzon on the 30th with maximum sustained winds near 165 km/hr (90 knots or 105 mph). Heavy rains produced flooding that claimed 12 lives in the Philippines, while nearly 180,000 people were displaced from their homes. Strong winds toppled trees and cut power to areas of northern Luzon island (AFP).
Typhoon Tingting formed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 25th, passing north of the Northern Mariana Islands on the 28th with maximum sustained winds near 140 km/hr (75 knots or 85 mph). The typhoon passed north of Guam, but brought heavy rainfall (406 mm or 16 inches) and flooding to the island. Rainfall in Guam for June was boosted to 966 mm (38.03 inches) which was the wettest June on record.
A strong storm system affected much of Europe during June 22-23, bringing heavy precipitation to parts of the region. A strong cold front ignited severe thunderstorms which affected parts of Germany on the 23rd. Two people were killed and several injured as wind gusts up to 115 km/hr (65 mph) produced widespread wind damage. A tornado struck the village of Micheln injuring at least 6 people and tearing roofs from homes (AFP).
A heat wave that began in late June 2004 across southern Spain persisted into early July, with maximum temperatures reaching 40°C (104°F) in some locations. Seven fatalities were blamed on the heat from late June to early July (AFP).
Hot, dry weather that affected the Iberian Peninsula in late June and early July contributed to brush fires across Portugal's southern Algarve region. Several stretches of the Algarve motorway were closed and homes evacuated due to 9 wildfires which affected the area during June 30-July 1. Additional fires continued during the latter half of July, with over 1,300 firefighters involved in combating the blazes (AFP).
In Japan, a heat wave during mid to late July culminated by the 20th with temperatures reaching a record 40°C (103°F) in Tokyo's financial district. This was the hottest temperature recorded in the capital since records began in 1923, breaking the previous record of 39°C (102°F) set on August 3, 1994. Oppressively hot weather claimed several lives during July in Japan (AFP/Japan Meteorological Agency).
In northern Japan, torrential rainfall brought flooding to Niigata prefecture during July 13-14, forcing nearly 20,000 residents into evacuation centers. More than 430 mm (17 inches) of rain fell in some parts of the region, and the resulting floods were blamed for 18 deaths (Reuters/IFRC/Associated Press).
In eastern China's Anhui province, severe thunderstorms struck Xiao county on the 7th resulting in three deaths and 143 injuries. The storms produced walnut-sized hailstones and strong winds that damaged or destroyed 18,000 homes. Farther west in Sichuan province, a lightning strike on the 4th killed 7 people while injuring 10 others (AFP).
In Canada, severe thunderstorms brought hail and heavy rainfall to parts of Alberta on the 11th, causing damage to crops and businesses. The world's largest shopping mall in Edmonton (West Edmonton Mall) was temporarily closed on the 12th after sustaining damage from flooding and significant accumulations of marble to baseball-sized hail (Reuters).
Typhoon Mindulle developed in June but affected Taiwan and the southeast China coast with torrential rainfall and strong, gusty winds as it trekked northeastward and weakened during July 1-4. Mindulle was blamed for at least 30 deaths in the Philippines, 26 on Taiwan and 2 in China (Associated Press/AFP/NASA).
A powerful storm system lashed the southern and eastern sections of the United Kingdom on the 7th, bringing strong winds and heavy rains. As many as 106,000 homes were affected by blackouts as strong winds cut electrical service to the area (AFP).
A series of winter storms affected the Patagonia region of Chile and Argentina during late June and into early July 2004. Heavy rains produced mudslides in lower elevations while heavy snow fell across mountainous areas. There were 5 weather-related deaths in Argentina with 4 reported in Chile (AFP).
Across Peru, cold weather and heavy snowfall affected parts of the country during late June through mid-July. The cold was blamed for the deaths of 46 children across the country, with cold weather-related illnesses such as pneumonia the primary cause of death. The cold temperatures killed more than 100,000 farm animals throughout the country and destroyed 300,000 hectares (741,000 acres) of crops. (AFP/OCHA).
In Sri Lanka, more than a half-million families were affected by a severe drought that had damaged crops and left people without drinking water (Deutsche Presse Agentur).
Across South Asia, millions of residents were displaced by flooding in early August, with the Indian states of Assam and Bihar the worst-affected. Throughout India, Nepal and Bangladesh, around 1,800 deaths were blamed on flooding brought about by heavy monsoon rains since the beginning of June 2004 (Associated Press/AFP/Reuters).
In South Africa, heavy rains produced flooding in Cape Town around the 9th. At least 15,000 people were affected by the flooding, with many of those displaced from their homes (DisasterRelief.org).
Heavy rains in the United Kingdom southward into France were responsible for localized flooding during August 16-19. A landslide trapped 57 motorists on a road in Scotland, while flash flooding devastated the tourist village of Boscastle. The rainfall was due in part to the remnants of Tropical Storm Bonnie that had affected the United States a week earlier (Reuters).
Typhoon Rananim developed in the Philippine Sea on the 7th and reached typhoon strength by the 10th. Rananim moved into eastern China's Zhejiang province on the 12th with maximum sustained winds near 165 km/hr (90 knots or 105 mph). This was the strongest typhoon to affect Zhejiang province since 1997, and killed at least 164 people while injuring 1,800. Rananim also caused an estimated $2.2 billion (USD) in economic losses (AFP).
Typhoon Megi developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 14th and tracked through the Korea Strait on the 18th with maximum sustained winds near 120 km/hr (65 knots or 75 mph). Megi was blamed for 9 flooding deaths in Japan (AFP).
Typhoon Aere developed in the eastern Philippine Sea on the 19th, reaching typhoon strength on the 21st. Aere affected the southern islands of Japan on the 23rd, tracked along the north coast of Taiwan during the 24th-25th before making landfall in southeast China's Fujian province on the 25th. Maximum sustained winds at the time of landfall in China were 120 km/hr (65 knots or 75 mph). Flooding and landslides were blamed for more than 40 deaths in Taiwan, the Philippines, Japan and China (AFP).
Typhoon Chaba developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 18th, reaching super-typhoon strength (winds over 240 km/hr or 150 mph) by the 22nd. Chaba struck Japan on the 30th with maximum sustained winds near 120 km/hr (65 knots or 75 mph). The typhoon was responsible for 13 deaths, flooded 13,000 homes and cut off electricity to more than 340,000 households (AFP).
Cold weather in Canada's prairie provinces resulted in widespread frost across parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It was the earliest widespread frost since 1992 and produced damage to crops in parts of the nation's breadbasket (Reuters).
Long-term drought persisted across portions of the Greater Horn of Africa, including sections of Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. Drought also affected parts of Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland, where over 1.8 million people were in need of food-aid due to an extremely poor harvest in 2004 (WFP). Recent rains alleviated short-term drought in northern Somalia and eastern Ethiopia, although much of this region has experienced below average rainfall for the last four years.
Heavy rainfall during September 3-5 in the northeast region of China's Sichuan province produced severe flooding and landslides that affected more than 1.5 million people. Flooding was blamed for 34 deaths and the destruction of 67,000 houses (OHCA). Wet season rainfall (June through September) in China was blamed for 1,029 deaths, nationwide (Reuters/Xinhua).
In Panama, torrential rains that began on the 17th produced flooding and mudslides in the Panama City area. The eastern part of the city was particularly hard-hit, with the Felipillo, Cabra and Chepo rivers rising above flood stage. There were as many as 20 deaths and 281 houses destroyed (IFRC).
Hurricane Jeanne tracked just off the northeastern tip of the Dominican Republic on the 16th, with maximum sustained winds near 120 km/hr (65 knots or 75 mph). Jeanne weakened slightly as it tracked along the northern coast of Haiti, where torrential rainfall produced a flooding disaster that claimed 3,006 lives (Reuters). The severity of the flooding and mudslides in Haiti was exacerbated by the lack of trees, where over 98 percent of the land is deforested (Associated Press). The majority of the fatalities occured in the city of Gonaives. The hurricane moved through the northwestern Bahamas on the 25th, crossing Abaco and Grand Bahama Islands with winds sustained at 185 km/hr (100 knots or 115 mph). The storm tore off roofs and severely damaged hundreds of houses (Associated Press).
Typhoon Meari formed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 20th, reaching typhoon strength on the 22nd. Meari then moved across Japan, reaching the southern island of Kyushu on the 29th with maximum sustained winds near 130 km/hr (70 knots or 80 mph). The typhoon produced flooding and mudslides that claimed at least 15 lives (AFP). It was the eighth typhoon to directly hit Japan this season.
Typhoon Ma-on developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 4th, reaching typhoon intensity by the 6th. Ma-on made landfall along the east coast of Japan on the 9th, with maximum sustained winds near 165 km/hr (90 knots or 105 mph). This was the strongest typhoon to strike this part of Japan and the greater Tokyo area in 10 years, and the ninth typhoon to affect Japan this season. There were six fatalities (Reuters).
Typhoon Tokage developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 12th, passing through the Northern Mariana Islands and reaching typhoon strength by the 13th. Tokage reached Okinawa on the 19th with maximum sustained winds near 150 km/hr (80 knots or 90 mph), and crossed directly over Japan during the 19th-21st. The typhoon's large diameter (over 480 km or 300 miles) brought strong winds and heavy rainfall to nearly all of the Japanese islands, producing significant flooding and wind damage. Tokage also produced a record eight-story (24 meters or 80 feet) high wave off the port of Muroto on the southern island of Shikoku on the 20th. This was the highest wave recorded in the country since the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport started monitoring wave heights in 1970 (AFP). There were 79 fatalities from Tokage, making it the deadliest typhoon for Japan since October 1979 when 115 people were killed or presumed dead (AFP). Tokage is the tenth typhoon this year to hit Japan, which is a new record for the most typhoons in a single season. The old record was 6 set in 1990. Records began in 1951 (Reuters/Associated Press).
Typhoon Nock-ten developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 16th, reaching typhoon intensity by the 18th. Nock-ten skirted the northeast coast of Taiwan on the 25th with maximum sustained winds near 205 km/hr (110 knots or 125 mph). There were four deaths attributed to flooding, with at least 100 injuries, mostly caused by flying debris (AFP). The typhoon weakened and dissipated as it moved over the East China Sea.
A powerful storm system affected portions of western Europe during October 8-9, 2004. In Portugal, power was disrupted for many residents in central and northern parts of the country as winds gusted over 100 km/hr (60 mph). The winds damaged at least 40 percent of the 300 hectares (740 acres) of greenhouses that exist in central Portugal. There was one reported fatality that was attributed to the strong winds (AFP).
Another strong storm system affected the United Kingdom around October 27 with strong winds and heavy rainfall. Across Ireland, winds gusted over 110 km/hr (70 mph) and heavy rainfall produced flooding. The River Lee reached the highest level since 1962, producing significant flooding in the southwestern city of Cork (Associated Press).
Snow fell across much of the Canadian grain-belt during mid-October, effectively ending the growing season in many parts of the prairie provinces. As much as 18 cm (7 inches) of snow covered fields in northern Alberta, with 15 cm (6 inches) at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan during the 17th-18th (Reuters).
In Africa, long term drought continued across southeastern Kenya and adjacent areas of Tanzania. Erratic rainfall in parts of Ethiopia and Eritrea resulted in poor crop conditions. In Southeast Asia, as much as 10 percent of the rice crop in Cambodia was lost since October due to drought. Western Kampong Speu province was the worst affected, losing 90 percent of its crop yield. By mid-November, rainfall provided some relief to the short-term dryness (AFP).
Across a large area of southern and eastern China, drought conditions were characterized as being the worst in more than 50 years (AFP). A prolonged dry spell ravaged parts of Guangdong, Hainan, Jiangxi and Anhui provinces, as well as the Guangxi autonomous region. In Jiangxi province alone, drinking water to 620,000 people and 260,000 livestock was threatened (Xinhua).
In Colombia, heavy rains that began in October 2004 continued into November. Floods and/or landslides occurred in 24 out of 33 departments, where 19 people died and 34 were injured (OCHA). An estimated 240,000 people were affected, with 65,000 of these in the department of Bolivar.
Typhoon Muifa developed in the Philippine Sea on the 4th, attaining typhoon status by the 17th. Muifa crossed the central Philippines during the 18th-20th, with maximum sustained winds near 160 km/hr (85 knots or 100 mph). The typhoon was blamed for at least 61 deaths in the country (AFP).
Torrential rains occurred in central and southern Vietnam as the typhoon passed just to the south and entered the Gulf of Thailand. Flash flooding and landslides were blamed for 48 deaths in five provinces of the country (AFP/IFRC). Muifa dissipated just south of Bangkok, Thailand on the 26th.
Following the passage of Typhoon Muifa, two more tropical depressions affected the Philippines during the 22nd-30th, resulting in over 1,000 deaths from landslides and flooding (Reuters). Of these fatalities, nearly one hundred occurred in the northern Philippine town of General Nakar (Reuters).
An early season blizzard pounded the Canadian Maritimes on the 14th, with 50 cm (20 inches) of snow blanketing much of Nova Scotia. Strong winds combined with the heavy, wet snow to produce more than 100,000 power outages to homes and businesses, and temporarily close the Halifax International Airport (Reuters).
Across Scandinavia on the 18th, an early season winter storm brought locally heavy snow and strong winds to much of the region. Snow accumulations of 20 cm (8 inches) were common throughout much of southern and central Sweden. Strong winds gusting over 100 km/hr (60 mph) combined with snow and rain to produce wind damage in parts of Norway and Denmark (BBC News). Farther south, the same storm system brought strong winds and locally heavy snowfall to parts of Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic. In Croatia, high winds were blamed for one fatality and widespread electricity outages. Heavy accumulations of snow temporarily closed the Czech-German border (AFP).
A severe windstorm affected areas of Poland and Slovakia during the 18th-19th. Winds exceeding 95 km/hr (60 mph) were common across much of Poland, where there were 7 reported wind-related fatalities (Disasterrelief.org). Farther south in Slovakia, wind gusts as high as 170 km/hr (105 mph) were reported. In the High Tatras Mountains, a 60 km long and 10 km wide belt of timber forest was completely destroyed. Widespread power and communication infrastructure damage was also reported (OCHA).
In Malaysia, heavy rainfall over the eastern part of the country caused flooding that forced the evacuation of more than 6,000 people. Floodwaters in the city of Kelantan closed stores and offices on the 12th (Associated Press).
Typhoon Nanmadol developed on November 28 in the western Pacific Ocean and reached typhoon intensity the next day. Nanmadol tracked over Luzon Island in the northern Philippines on December 2 with maximum sustained winds near 220 km/hr (120 knots or 140 mph), causing significant damage. Heavy rains, exacerbated by the cumulative rainfall from three prior tropical cyclones (including Typhoon Muifa), caused extensive flooding. Fatalities from the four tropical systems were blamed for almost 1,800 deaths since November 2004 (AFP/OCHA).
In the United Arab Emirates, the first snowfall in the historical record fell across the al-Jiys mountain range on the 30th. Hundreds of automobile accidents were reported to police as a result of the unprecedented wintry driving conditions (AFP).
A large of area of Siberia experienced much below average temperatures during December. Temperature anomalies during the month ranged from 3-5°C (5.4-9°F) below average.
For more information on Weather and Climate Extremes, refer to ...
The Climate of 2004
Extreme Weather and Climate Events
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