Climate of 2008
Annual Review

Significant U.S. and Global Events

National Climatic Data Center
16 December 2008

2008 Global Significant Weather and Climate Events2008 Global Significant Weather
and Climate Events

NOTE: The information provided in this report was compiled from both NOAA and non-NOAA sources, including U.S. and international news media reports.

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Review of U.S. Events

2008 U.S. Significant Weather and Climate Events2008 U.S. Significant Weather and Climate Events

JAN / FEB / MAR / APR / MAY / JUN / JUL / AUG / SEP / OCT / NOV / DEC

January 2008

Across the United States, moderate to exceptional drought conditions continued in the southeastern region, while much of the central and western U.S. experienced moderate to severe drought. On January 29, 45% of the western U.S., 73% of the Southeast, and 32% of the contiguous U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the Federal U.S. Drought Monitor. For a complete drought analysis across the United States, please see the U.S. drought page.

For more detailed drought information, please see the Climate of 2008 Annual Review of U.S. Drought.

Severe thunderstorms in the central United States on the 7-8th resulted in numerous reports of wind damage and as many as 75 tornadoes in Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin. In Arkansas, the tornado destroyed over 50 homes. One fatality resulted from the extreme winds. According to reports, the wind was strong enough to transport a cow nearly a mile. Wisconsin had its first January tornado since 1967, while Illinois had its first in over 50 years (BBC News).

A series of storms pounded the western United States during the first week of January. The state of California received up to 254 mm (10 inches) of rain and over 800,000 homes were left without power. Meanwhile in neighboring Nevada, nearly 2 meters (6 feet) of snow fell across the state. On January 5, a levee burst near Reno, Nevada flooding about 800 homes. The governors from California, Nevada and Oregon were forced to declare a state of emergency in the affected regions (AFP/BBC News).

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February 2008

Across the United States, moderate to exceptional drought conditions continued in the southeastern region, while much of the central and western U.S. experienced moderate to severe drought. Northern parts of North Dakota and northwestern Nebraska experienced extreme drought. On February 26, 37% of the western U.S., 66% of the Southeast, and 29% of the contiguous U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the Federal U.S. Drought Monitor. For more detailed drought information, please see the Climate of 2008 Annual Review of U.S. Drought.

Intense downpours fell during the first week of February in the Hawaiian islands, causing widespread floods and prompting several areas of the Big Island to be declared as disaster areas. On February 2, Hilo recorded a total of 275 mm (11 inches) in a period of 24 hours, breaking the previous record set in 1969 by 89 mm (3.5 inches) (BBC News).

A major outbreak of severe weather and tornadoes occurred overnight on February 5 (Super Tuesday) across the southeastern U.S. and the Ohio Valley region. There were 131 reported tornadoes on the 5th, along with many reports of hail and wind damage. These storms caused widespread damage across Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Two of the 5 affected states (Arkansas and Tennessee) were participating in the "Super Tuesday" election event, but some locations were forced to close early due to the severe weather . For the second time during the 2007/2008 winter, devastating tornadoes struck the U.S. and caused 57 fatalities. This was one of the 15 worst tornado death tolls since 1950 and the deadliest tornado outbreak since the 31 May 1985 outbreak where 76 people lost their lives across Ohio and Pennsylvania (Associated Press/Reuters). In Alabama, 5 people died and around 500 homes were damaged. Arkansas had at least 13 fatalities with 133 injured people. This was Arkansas's deadliest event since 1 March 1997, when 25 people were killed. Also, Arkansas recorded a tornado that tracked 123 miles, the longest recorded tornado track since 1951. Kentucky reported 7 fatalities and Mississippi had at least 18 reports on injured people. Meanwhile, Tennessee had 32 fatalities and suffered the deadliest tornado outbreak since 1974, when 47 people died (Associated Press/Reuters/AFP). According to reports, Madison County in Tennessee suffered an estimated $47 million in property damages (Reuters).

Across the southern U.S., a second round of severe storms swept through on the 17th, producing 49 reported tornadoes, damaging winds, and hail. In Alabama and in the Florida Panhandle, many homes were completely destroyed with many others severely damaged. Although there were no reported fatalities, there were nearly 50 people injured (Associated Press).

In the United States, Wisconsin's capital set a new record for snowfall, with more than 196.3 cm (77.3 inches) of snow so far this winter. The old record was broken when 46 mm (1.8 inches) of snow fell overnight on February 11. The previous record was set during the winter of 1978/1979, when 194.6 cm (76.6 inches) of snow fell (Associated Press).

In the United States, International Falls in Minnesota experienced a new record low for February 11 when temperatures plummeted to -40°F. The previous record was set in 1967, when temperatures fell to -37°F (Associated Press).

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March 2008

Across the United States, moderate to severe drought conditions continued in the Southeast and in much of the central and western U.S. Parts of western North Dakota, northwestern Nebraska, and southwestern Texas experienced extreme drought. On April 1, 36% of the western U.S., 59% of the Southeast, and 28% of the contiguous U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the Federal U.S. Drought Monitor. For more detailed drought information, please see the Climate of 2008 Annual Review of U.S. Drought.

Drought and strong winds exacerbated wildfire conditions across Texas. Multiple fires across the state in March have threatened homes and forced hundreds of residents to evacuate the area (BBC News). For more information on March's wildfires, please visit the 2008 Wildfire page.

In the United States, heavy rainfall during March 17-19 caused widespread flooding across the central U.S. According to the National Weather Service, the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport recorded a daily maximum rainfall of 60 mm (2.35 inches) of rain on the 18th, surpassing the previous record set in 1984 by 21 mm (0.83 inches). The torrential rain flooded hundreds of homes across Texas and Missouri and cancelled more than half of the 950 scheduled flights at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (Associated Press).

Also, the heavy rainfall that fell during March 17-19 prompted the overflow of rivers across the south-central states, causing historical floods. Arkansas was impacted the greatest with several of its rivers reaching their highest level in nearly 90 years (Associated Press). The floods washed out roads, damaged homes, and were associated with 17 fatalities across the affected states (Associated Press). The governor of Arkansas declared disaster areas in 39 Arkansas counties and President Bush issued a disaster declaration for 35 counties (Associated Press). In March, 15 new all-time record precipitation records were established across several of the affected states.

Severe storms affected parts of the contiguous U.S. during the first week of March, with over 60 reported tornadoes. In Oklahoma, severe storms produced two tornadoes, strong winds, and softball size hail on the 2nd. The storm caused power outages with scattered damages. No fatalities were reported (Associated Press). On March 4, severe weather struck North and South Carolina and Virginia, causing blackouts and wind damage across the states (Associated Press). Another episode of severe storms occurred on March 7, affecting Florida and Georgia. The storms spawned tornadoes that destroyed homes, tore down trees and power lines. According to reports, one person died and sixteen others suffered injuries (Reuters).

An episode of severe storms swept across the southeastern U.S. on the 15th, producing 51 reported tornadoes along with damaging winds and hail. In Atlanta, Georgia, a category EF-2 tornado formed over downtown Atlanta, wreaking havoc across the city. According to reports, the storm damaged a number of buildings, killed two people, injured many others, and left about 30,000 homes without power. The widespread damage caused by the tornado forced Georgia's governor to declare a state of emergency (AFP/BBC News). Damages are estimated to be near $150 million (Reuters).

A winter storm swept through the lower Mississippi Valley to New England on March 7-9, leaving behind a trail of heavy snowfall. In Columbus, Ohio, the storm left over 51 cm (20 inches) of snow, setting a new record of total snowfall by a single storm. The previous record was set in February 1910 when 39 cm (15 inches) of snow fell. The heavy snowfall prompted the closure of highways and stranded many travelers. One fatality was associated with the dangerous conditions (BBC News/Associated Press).

A winter storm dumped from 13-46 cm (5-18 inches) of snow across parts of Wisconsin on March 21. This resulted in a new all-time seasonal snowfall record for Wisconsin's capital, Madison, with a total of 254.2 cm (100.1 inches) of snow as of March 24. The previous record was set during the winter season of 1978-1979 when a total of 193.3 cm (76.1 inches) of snow fell. Also, Milwaukee had its second snowiest winter on record with a total of 246.6 cm (97.1 inches) as of March 24. Milwaukee's snowiest snowfall season occurred during the winter of 1885-1886, which had a total of 278.9 cm (109.8 inches) of snowfall.

A winter storm affected parts of Maine during March 20-21. Snow accumulations of 18-46 cm (7-18 inches) were observed across the state, while wind gusts exceeding 56 km/hr (35 mph) also accompanied the snow, creating blizzard conditions. The snow that fell across Caribou, Maine, brought the seasonal total snowfall, as of the 21st, to 468.6 cm (184.5 inches). This amount surpasses the previous seasonal total snowfall record of 460 cm (181.1 inches), set in 1954-1955, by 8.6 cm (3.4 inches). On March 23, minimum temperatures in Caribou dropped to -21.1°C (-6°F), surpassing the previous daily record of -20.6°C (-5°F) set in 1989. March 24-25 also brought new daily minimum temperature records when temperatures plummeted to -25.6°C (-14°F). The previous records were set on March 24-25, 1939.

In Concord, New Hampshire, snow that fell on the 28th brought the capital's 2007-2008 seasonal total snowfall to 292.6 cm (115.2 inches), the second snowiest season. Concord's all-time record was set during the winter of 1873-1874 when a total of 309.9 cm (122 inches) of snow fell (Associated Press).

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April 2008

Across the United States, rainfall during April led to improving drought conditions in much of the Southeast region, but as of April 29, moderate to extreme drought remained over 43% of the region. Moderate to severe drought conditions persisted in most of the central U.S., while drought conditions in southwestern Texas worsened as a lack of precipitation led to further depletion of moisture. As of April 29, 37% of the western U.S., 30% of the South, 34% of the High Plains, and 27% of the contiguous U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the Federal U.S. Drought Monitor. For more detailed drought information, please see the Climate of 2008 Annual Review of U.S. Drought.

Across the northeastern U.S. and southeastern Canada, rapid snow melt and heavy rain led to the overflows of rivers and consequently forced hundreds of people to evacuate the area. In Maine, the St. John River exceeded its flood stage and flooded the Fort Kent downtown area on April 30 (BBC News). The river rose to 9 meters (30 feet), 1.5 meters (5 feet) above its flood stage. According to reports, it is described as the worst flood since records began 80 years ago (Reuters). The river's previous record crest was 8.3 meters (27.3 feet), 1979. That same day, the town of St-Andre-Avellin in Quebec, Canada was inundated by water from a nearby river. The town was reportedly affected by the highest water level in a century (BBC News).

A strong storm system, which progressed through the eastern U.S., produced severe thunderstorms and tornadoes across portions of the south-central and southeastern states on April 3-4. On the night of the 3rd, a tornado ripped through central Arkansas. The tornado struck a mobile home park and the North Little Rock Airport, destroying a hangar and several small planes. On the 4th, the system affected several southeastern states, resulting in 21 reported tornadoes across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and North and South Carolina. In Mississippi, the tornadoes brought down nearly 400 electric poles, leaving 94,000 homes without power (Associated Press). No fatalities were reported. A second strong storm system affected the central, midwestern, and eastern states on April 9-11, producing damaging winds, heavy rain, hail, and 62 reported tornadoes. The severe weather affected Texas and Oklahoma, causing nearly 180,000 homes and business to be without power in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and more than 11,000 homes in Oklahoma. These dangerous conditions also resulted in two fatalities and numerous damaged homes and buildings (Associated Press). The storm brought heavy rain to Missouri and caused widespread flooding when 76-102 mm (3-4 inches) of rain fell in just a few hours (BBC News). Across Kentucky and Tennessee, 56 homes were damaged by a possible tornado, while in Hoover, Alabama a roof collapsed at an apartment complex prompting the evacuation of nearly 20 units (Associated Press).

During the week of April 20, severe storms affected parts of the U.S., causing widespread damages across parts of the nation. A severe tornadic storm affected the Washington, D.C. area, specifically parts of Prince Georges and Charles counties, on the 20th. The storm spawned two tornadoes, which uprooted trees and damaged roofs. No fatalities were reported. The tornadoes were rated an EF-0 and EF-1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. Severe storms brought heavy rain across Iowa on the 21st, along with hail and lightning. According to reports, parts of Des Moines and Boone saw nickel size hail (Associated Press). On April 23, severe weather lashed northern Texas with 113 km/hr (70 mph or 61 knots) winds, baseball size hail, and possible tornadoes. Power lines and trees were uprooted and several buildings had damage (Associated Press/BBC News). On April 24, severe storms swept through Kansas. The storms spawned a tornado, produced 129 km/hr (80 mph or 70 knots) winds, and 4.5 inch (11 cm) hail. Downed power lines and roof damages were reported with these storms (Associated Press).

Severe storms swept through the midwestern U.S. on April 25, producing tornadoes, golf ball size hail, and winds near 129 km/hr (80 mph or 70 knots) (BBC News). The storms left over 1,000 residents without power (BBC News). On April 28, three tornadoes were spawned from severe storms that affected central and southeastern Virginia. There were 200 injured people, along with more than 3,000 people left without power and multiple damages to houses. No fatalities were reported (Reuters/Associated Press).

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May 2008

Across the United States, rainfall during April led to improving drought conditions in much of the Southeast region, but as of April 29, moderate to extreme drought remained over 43% of the region. Moderate to severe drought conditions persisted in most of the central U.S., while drought conditions in southwestern Texas worsened as a lack of precipitation led to further depletion of moisture. As of April 29, 37% of the western U.S., 30% of the South, 34% of the High Plains, and 27% of the contiguous U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the Federal U.S. Drought Monitor. For more detailed drought information, please see the Climate of 2008 Annual Review of U.S. Drought.

Numerous bouts of severe weather affected the contiguous U.S. since the start of the year, and May was no exception. Severe storms ripped through the central U.S. on May 1-2, spawning over 90 tornadoes, hail, and hurricane-force winds. Arkansas, the worst hit, was affected by eleven tornadoes that caused havoc across the state. The tornadoes damaged or destroyed nearly 400 homes and left about 20 counties with electrical and telephone disruptions. The severe weather caused 7 fatalities (AFP/Associated Press).

Another round of severe storms pounded the central and southeastern U.S. on May 10, producing more than 80 reported tornadoes, strong winds, and hail. The furious winds damaged hundreds of homes and brought down trees and power lines, leaving thousands of residents without electricity. The worst hit states were Missouri, Oklahoma, and Georgia. The storms claimed the lives of 23 people - 14 in Missouri, 7 in Oklahoma, and 2 in Georgia. The event was described by the U.S. President George W. Bush as a sad day and emergency federal aid has been promised to the affected states (AFP).

A storm system lashed the Mid-Atlantic states on May 12, prompting hundreds of evacuations, flooding roads, and leaving tens of thousands of residents without power. According to reports, the hurricane-strength winds contributed to a deadly fire in Newark, NJ on the morning of the 12th, which killed one person, damaged three buildings, and left 35 people homeless (Associated Press).

Strong storms pounded the southern U.S. on May 13-14, resulting in downed trees and power lines, and one fatality. Torrential rain fell in Shreveport, LA, flooding 125 homes and prompting several new all-time rainfall records (Associated Press). According to the Shreveport National Weather Service Record Event Report, 51 mm (2 inches) of rain fell in just 20 minutes on the 13th, surpassing the previous record of 45 mm (1.77 inches) set on 12 April 1991. Meanwhile, 164 mm (6.46 inches) of rain fell in two hours, surpassing the previous record of 132 mm (5.19 inches) of rain set on 23 June 1905. Severe storms swept through the central U.S. during May 22-25, producing destructive tornadoes that damaged buildings and claimed the lives of several people (BBC News). On May 22-23, Kansas was pounded by at least 15 tornadoes. The strongest tornado occurred near Quinter, KS and was classified as an EF-4 tornado, the first EF-4 tornado in the Tri State area since 15 June 1990 (NWS). Two fatalities were reported (Associated Press). On May 25, Iowa was slashed by severe storms and numerous tornadoes including a deadly EF-5 tornado (the highest on the Enhanced Fujita Tornado Scale) in Parkersburg, IA. The twister claimed the lives of seven people (several of those who died were in their basements), damaged over 400 homes and destroyed more than 200 homes and 21 businesses. According to reports, this was the strongest tornado to hit the state since 13 June 1976 (Associated Press). The last EF-5 tornado occurred in Greensburg, KS on 4 May 2007. According to reports, the number of tornado-related fatalities thus far in 2008 has made this year the deadliest January-May since 1998 and the eighth deadliest since records began in 1953. For more information on tornadoes this season, please see the NCDC 2008 Tornado Season page.

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June 2008

In the United States, extreme drought conditions persisted across most of southern Texas and southern New Mexico. Exceptional drought conditions were present across the southern High Plains, and parts of North and South Carolina. Conditions slightly improved in western North Dakota, where drought conditions dropped from extreme to moderate, and in some parts to severe. As of June 24, 36% of the western U.S., 44% of the South, 17% of the High Plains, 61% of the Southeast, and 29% of the contiguous U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. For more detailed drought information, please see the Climate of 2008 Annual Review of U.S. Drought.

In the U.S., heavy rain fell across parts of the Midwest during the first two weeks of June, causing the worst floods in 15 years (Reuters) and numerous new record river crest levels that led to widespread flooding in the area. The worst hit state was Iowa, where 83 of its 99 counties were declared disaster areas (Reuters). According to reports, the heavy rainfall caused nine rivers across Iowa to be at or above the previous record flood levels (Associated Press). The floods affected 36,000 people and submerged millions of acres of land. It has been reported that Iowa's losses are estimated to be in the billions of dollars (Reuters). For more information, please visit June Midwest Flooding page.

January-May 2008 has been very active for tornadoes across the continental U.S., and the month of June was no different. During the first two weeks of June, numerous severe and tornadic storms formed across the central and eastern states of the contiguous U.S. These storms brought widespread floods, strong winds, hail, and more than 300 preliminary reports of tornadoes. The severe weather across the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic caused extensive blackouts, damaged many homes, and was responsible for 10 fatalities. The most deadly incident occurred on June 11 when a tornado struck a Boy Scout camp in western Iowa, killing 4 and injuring nearly 50 (CNN). Deadly twisters also impacted Kansas that day, killing two people and destroying or damaging 60 homes. Damages are estimated to be $20 million (Associated Press). For more information on tornadoes this season, please see the NCDC 2008 Tornado Season page.

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July 2008

Moderate to severe drought conditions persisted across parts of the Hawaiian Islands and the western, central, and southeastern parts of the continental U.S. Drought conditions depleted across western North Dakota, where extreme drought developed. Extreme to exceptional drought continued across parts of southern Texas, the southern High Plains, and the southern Appalachians. As of July 29, 31% of the western U.S., 46% of the South, 23% of the High Plains, 59% of the Southeast, and 28% of the contiguous U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. For more detailed drought information, please see the Climate of 2008 Annual Review of U.S. Drought.

In the U.S., severe storms spawned a deadly tornado on July 24 in central New Hampshire. About 100 homes were damaged with several others completely destroyed. The strong winds brought down trees and power lines, leaving 6,000 homes without power. One fatality was reported (Associated Press/Reuters).

Dolly originated from a tropical wave off the coast of Africa on July 11, 2008. The disturbance strengthened as it moved westward and formed a well-defined circulation on July 20 in the western Caribbean, when it was classified as a tropical storm. The storm made landfall in the Yucatán Peninsula on July 21 with maximum sustained winds near 80 km/hr (49 mph or 43 knots). Dolly moved northwestward, weakened, then reorganized over the Gulf of Mexico on July 21. The storm strengthened into a hurricane on July 22 and reached its peak intensity on July 23 shortly before its eye made landfall on South Padre Island, Texas. After landfall, Dolly steadily weakened and became a tropical depression the next day near the U.S.-Mexico border. Hurricane Dolly's peak intensity was 160 km/hr (86 knots or 100 mph) with a minimum pressure of 964 mb.

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August 2008

Moderate to extreme drought conditions persisted across parts of the Hawaiian Islands and the central and southeastern parts of the continental U.S. during the last week of August. Exceptional drought continued across South Carolina. The southern High Plains saw a slight improvement in drought conditions, dropping from extreme to severe (compared to the 12 August 2008 USDM map). As of August 26, 30% of the western U.S., 22% of the South, 16% of the High Plains, 45% of the Southeast, and 23% of the contiguous U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. For more detailed drought information, please see the Climate of 2008 Annual Review of U.S. Drought.

In the United States, severe storms ripped through parts of Illinois and Indiana from August 4-5, producing 10 preliminary tornado reports, damaging winds, and hail. The storms damaged 25 homes, prompted the cancellation of more than 350 flights at O'Hare International Airport, left nearly 288,000 residents without power, and were blamed for the deaths of two people (Associated Press/Reuters).

Atlantic Tropical Storm Edouard developed in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico on August 3 and made landfall two days later near Port Arthur, Texas as a strong tropical storm. The system weakened into a tropical depression that afternoon and continued to weaken after moving inland. Edouard had maximum sustained winds of 65 km/hr (35 knots or 40 mph) and a minimum pressure of 997 mb.

Tropical Storm Fay began as a westward-moving tropical wave which intensified into a tropical storm on August 15 just east of Hispaniola. Fay first hit Hispaniola and Cuba before moving north to Florida. The storm made landfall in the Florida Keys late on August 18, then hit the Florida peninsula the next morning and slowly tracked north-northeastward into the Atlantic. Tropical Storm Fay made landfall in Florida for the third time near Flagler Beach on the afternoon of August 21. Steered by an upper-level high pressure system, the storm moved west-northwest across Florida, emerging into the northeastern Gulf of Mexico and making its fourth Florida landfall on the morning of August 23 near Carrabelle in the Florida panhandle. Fay was the first storm on record to make four landfalls on the state of Florida (or any state). Parts of Florida received over two feet (610 mm) of rainfall from the slow-moving storm, and Fay produced flood-inducing rains across parts of Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas for several days. Fay had maximum sustained winds of 65 km/hr (35 knots or 40 mph) and a minimum pressure of 986 mb.

Near the end of August, a tropical disturbance west of the Windward Islands strengthened into first a tropical depression, then a tropical storm on August 25. Early on the 26th, this tropical storm intensified into Hurricane Gustav and made landfall near Jacmel, Haiti later the same day. Gustav briefly weakened to a tropical storm after making landfall and slowed considerably. The storm strengthened again to hurricane strength on August 29 and intensified to Category 4 strength later that afternoon. Hurricane Gustav made landfall on Cuba first on Isla de la Juventud and later near Los Palacios and continued moving northwestward toward the Gulf of Mexico. The hurricane continued this path across the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall near Grand Isle, Louisiana on the morning of September 1. Over 100 deaths in the U.S. and the Caribbean, mostly in Haiti, were attributed to Hurricane Gustav. Gustav had maximum sustained winds of 240 km/hr (130 knots or 150 mph) and a minimum pressure of 941 mb.

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September 2008

Moderate to extreme drought conditions continued across parts of the Hawaiian Islands, the western, central, and southeastern parts of the continental U.S. Exceptional drought persisted across western South Carolina. As of September 30, 29% of the western U.S., 17% of the South, 13% of the High Plains, 42% of the Southeast, and 24% of the contiguous U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. For more detailed drought information, please see the Climate of 2008 Annual Review of U.S. Drought.

Hanna was officially the eighth named tropical cyclone of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season on August 28. Influenced by Hurricane Gustav's circulation, Hanna drifted to the south from September 1-September 3. Conditions were favorable enough for the convection around the center to increase and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) upgraded Hanna to a hurricane on the afternoon of September 1, but just two days later the NHC downgraded the storm. After making a counter clockwise loop between the Turks and Caicos Islands, the storm moved from the west-northwest to the north for the next 3 days, and on September 6, Hanna made landfall near the border of the Carolinas as a tropical storm with a pressure of 983 mb and winds 102-111 km/h (55-60 kt or 63-69 mph). After turning northwestward, Hanna moved along the Atlantic Coast states and on September 7, made a 2nd landfall over Long Island. The storm's lowest measured pressure was 978 mb and highest winds were measured at 129 km/h (70 knots or 80 mph). Despite the storm's minimal hurricane status it still caused 536 deaths across Haiti and the U.S. Flooding in northern Haiti was the major cause of deaths and only minor damage was reported in the U.S.

In late August, a well defined tropical disturbance off the coast of Africa slowly tracked westward and eventually became Tropical Storm Ike on September 1. By the afternoon of September 3, Ike had intensified to hurricane status. With the aid of nearly zero vertical wind sheer, a strong low over the northwestern Atlantic and an upper-level trough in control over the eastern Atlantic, Hurricane Ike was able to intensify quickly into a Category 4 storm with a peak intensity of 233 km/h (126 knots or 145 mph) and a pressure of 935 mb. Ike's minimum central pressure of 935 mb, recorded on September 4, is the lowest pressure for the 2008 season. Strong northwesterly sheer on September 5 weakened Ike to a Category 3 storm as it moved westward towards Cuba, but as conditions improved, Ike strengthened back to a Category 4 Hurricane on September 6. Hurricane Ike made landfall in Cuba near Cabo Lucrecia on September 7 with winds estimated at 203-213 km/h (110-115 knots or 127-132 mph). By September 9, Ike emerged into the southern Gulf of Mexico as a Category 1 hurricane. Unlike Ike's history in the Atlantic, the Hurricane was not as quick to re-intensify in the Gulf, however, it was able to grow in diameter encompassing nearly the entire Gulf of Mexico. The unusually large storm produced hurricane force winds as far as 193 km (120 miles) from the center and tropical storm force winds extending 445 km (275 miles). The large wind field caused tides around Galveston Island to rise as much as nine feet 24 hours before the storm made landfall. When Hurricane Ike made landfall at Galveston Island during the early morning hours of September 13, its winds were sustained at 176 km/h (95 knots or 109 mph) and the pressure was at 952 mb, enough to be a strong Category 2 hurricane. At the time of landfall, aircraft dropsondes and land-based Doppler radar measured wind speeds approximately 91 meters (300 feet) above the surface at 209 km/h (115 knots or 130 mph). These strong winds caused major damage to the high rise buildings in the downtown Houston area as well as some of the oil refineries in Texas City. Already suffering from the destruction that Hurricane Gustav created, the Gulf Coast oil companies had nearly 100% of its crude oil production, as well as 98% of all natural gas production disrupted from Ike (Associated Press). Storm surge was the major cause of damage associated with Ike as tidal gauges in the northwestern Gulf registered well above normal during a 3-day period. Some of the hardest hit areas were just north of Galveston on the Bolivar Peninsula where the towns of Crystal Beach, Caplen, and Gilchrist were destroyed. The storm surge in Louisiana was 5-13 feet. Terrebonne Parrish, which was not flooded from a direct hit by Hurricane Gustav, lost approximately 13,000 homes. By the afternoon on September 13, Ike barely maintained tropical storm status as it moved across eastern Texas and north-western Arkansas. After merging with a cold front on the morning of September 14, Ike weakened to a tropical storm, but not before causing major flooding and wind damage to the Ohio Valley region. Record daily rainfall totals were broken as Wichita, KS set a new 24-hour rainfall record of 10.31 inches and Helena, OK set a daily record of 8.74 inches on the 12th. On the 13th, Chicago O'Hare AP set a daily record of 6.64 inches and Laporte, IN set a daily record of 6.73 inches. Preliminary reports indicate that there were 8 deaths in the U.S., but there are about 130 missing persons from the Houston/Galveston area.

October 2008

In the United States, moderate to severe drought were observed across parts of the western and north-central continental U.S. Meanwhile, severe to extreme drought conditions were present in the Hawaiian Islands, southern Texas and the southeastern U.S. Western South Carolina had exceptional drought. As of October 28, 30% of the western U.S., 16% of the South, 8% of the High Plains, 30% of the Southeast, and 22% of the contiguous U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.For more detailed drought information, please see the Climate of 2008 Annual Review of U.S. Drought.

Severe storms associated with a cold front spawned a tornado in Panama City, Florida on October 8, which brought down power lines and blew out windows. According to reports, another tornado was suspected to have damaged a civic center in southeastern Alabama (Associated Press).

On October 13, Tropical Depression Fifteen formed from an area of low pressure in the Caribbean Sea and was guided northwestward by light steering currents. The depression strengthened enough by the next day to be named Tropical Storm Omar. During this time, Omar was moving towards the southeast, but just as quickly it turned to the north-northeast, and intensified into a hurricane. By October 15, Omar had intensified into a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 205 km/h (125 mph) and a pressure of 959 mb. Omar was the fourth major hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season. On the 16th, Omar entered cooler waters and experienced high wind shear, thus weakening it to a tropical storm and on the 18th, Omar had degenerated into a remnant low. Omar's unusual path caused some minor damage to the Leeward Islands as it became the first westward traveling hurricane to strike that area since Hurricane Lenny of 1999.

A significant winter storm brought heavy snowfall to areas of Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho on October 10-12. The snowy conditions brought record snowfall, gusty winds that brought down trees, power lines, and reduced visibility. According to reports, several Wyoming counties reported as much as 83.8 cm (33 inches) of snow. Lander, WY experienced the greatest snow to hit during October when 75 cm (29.7 inches) of snow fell, shattering the previous record set on October 30-November 1 in 1920 when 70.1 cm (27.6 inches) of snow fell. Meanwhile in Montana, the city of Red Lodge recorded its highest snowfall total in a period of 24-hours when 107 cm (42 inches) of snow fell (BBC News). Glasgow, MT set a new record for October 12 when 32.5 cm (12.8 inches) of snow fell, surpassing the previous record of 29.2 cm (11.5 inches) set on 12 October 1924 and becoming the most snow to have fallen in one day in October (Weather Bug). For other snowfall records during October, please visit NCDC's U.S. Records page.

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November 2008

In the United States, moderate to severe drought were observed across parts of the western and north-central continental U.S. Meanwhile, severe to extreme drought conditions were present in the Hawaiian Islands, southern Texas and the southeastern U.S. Western South Carolina, southwestern North Carolina, and northeastern Georgia had exceptional drought. As of November 18, 29% of the western U.S., 16% of the South, 7% of the High Plains, 29% of the Southeast, and 21% of the contiguous U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. For more detailed drought information, please see the Climate of 2008 Annual Review of U.S. Drought. For more detailed drought information, please see the Climate of 2008 Annual Review of U.S. Drought.

In the United States, severe storms affected eastern North and South Carolina on the 15th, resulting in 11 preliminary reports of tornadoes. In North Carolina, two fatalities were blamed on the severe weather as the storms raked through the eastern part of the state. The storms affected six counties, destroying homes and downing tress and power lines (Associated Press). A detailed summary of the damage caused by the tornadoes is available, courtesy of the National Weather Service.

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December 2008

Across the southern contiguous U.S., severe storms produced heavy rain and tornadoes on December 10, damaging two schools and dozens of homes.

A rare snowstorm swept across parts of south Louisiana and Mississippi on December 11, blanketing the area with snow. Nearly 20 cm (8 inches) of snow fell over parts of Louisiana. These conditions caused schools and bridges to close and left thousands of residents without power.

A significant ice storm wreaked havoc across New York and New England on December 12, disrupting electricity and leaving over 1 million homes and businesses without power. New Hampshire alone had as many as 320,000 residents without power, which according to reports it was described as the worst outages in 30 years (Reuters). Four fatalities were reported and parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Maine declared a state of emergency.

On December 17, a winter storm dumped as much as 91.4 mm (3.6 inches) of snow across Las Vegas, Nevada, prompting the closure of schools and highways. This was the largest December snowfall on record and the heaviest snowfall since January 1979 when a total of 190.5 mm (7.5 inches) fell.

A snow and ice storm on December 19 affected parts of the U.S. Midwest. Over 220,000 homes and businesses across Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio were left without electric services. No fatalities were reported.

For more information on Weather and Climate Extremes, refer to ...

The Climate of 2008
Extreme Weather and Climate Events

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Review of Global Events

JAN / FEB / MAR / APR / MAY / JUN / JUL / AUG / SEP / OCT / NOV / DEC

2008 Global Significant Weather and Climate Events2008 Global Significant Weather and Climate Events

January 2008

In Australia, temperatures were above average in January through much of the country. For the nation as a whole, it was the hottest January on record. According to reports, the January 2008 average temperature for the nation rose 1.3°C (2.3°F), while large areas in Western and Central Australia experienced temperatures 3-4°C (5-7°F) above average. The town of Pooncarie recorded its highest temperature of 44.5°C (112°F) (The Sidney Morning Herald).

During the first week of January, unseasonably warm conditions helped set new temperature records across southern Canada. Toronto, which has an average normal maximum temperature near -2°C (28°F) in mid-January, set two new daily maximum temperature records on the 7th and 8th. On January 7-8, temperatures soared to 14°C (57°F) surpassing the previous records set in 1998 and 1965 by 7.5°C (13.5°F) and by 2.3°C (4°F), respectively (BBC News).

Heavy rainfall during January 3-9 caused rivers to overflow and triggered flash floods (the worst in 20 years) across eastern Australia, forcing hundreds of families to evacuate the area (BBC News). According to reports, New South Wales received more than 305 mm (12 inches) overnight on the 4th (Reuters). Torrential rains continued during January 14-29, affecting over 2,500 residents in Queensland. The rains helped ease the ongoing drought in this region (BBC News).

In Bolivia, heavy rainfall, which began in November 2007, continued into January, prompting floods that affected around 25,000 people and caused 30 fatalities. More than 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) of crops were damaged by the floods, causing an estimated $30 million in losses. Mudslides destroyed many homes in the capital city of La Paz (BBC News).

During the week of January 13, unexpected heavy rains triggered floods that affected southern Africa. In Mozambique, there were 16 flood-related deaths and nearly 60,000 people were affected. In neighboring Zimbabwe, torrential rains, described as the worst since colonial era records, caused 27 fatalities while in Malawi only 3 deaths were reported. In Zambia, the president declared a national disaster (Associated Press).

Strong winds affected parts of northern and central Europe on January 27, causing widespread power disruptions and damage to houses. Only one death was reported (Associated Press).

Tropical cyclone Helen developed in the Timor Sea as a depression on the 3rd and intensified into a tropical cyclone on the 4th. Later that day, Helen reached its peak intensity with maximum sustained winds of 83 km/hr (52 mph or 45 knots). The tropical cyclone produced strong winds and heavy rain that caused floods in the city of Darwin. Helen immediately weakened after moving inland (BBC News).

Tropical cyclone Fame developed in the Mozambique Channel on January 25, reaching the western coast of Madagascar on the 27th with maximum sustained winds of 148 km/hr (92 mph or 80 knots). Fame dissipated over Madagascar on the 28th but regenerated into a depression on the 29th once it moved over water again.

Tropical cyclone Gene developed as a depression northeast of Fiji on the 26th. Gene strengthened to tropical cyclone intensity on the 28th just before making landfall on Fiji's north island of Vanua Levu. The tropical cyclone brought strong winds and heavy rain to the island causing houses and power lines to collapse. Gene claimed two victims and left many without power (BBC News). The storm reached peak intensity on the 31st with maximum sustained winds near 185 km/hr (115 mph or 100 knots).

Cold temperatures affected areas of Mexico during the first week of January. Temperatures plummeted to -5 to 0°C (23-32°F) as snow fell in parts of Mexico which normally don't experience this type of winter weather. Four fatalities were associated with the cold temperatures (Associated Press).

Severe winter weather, the worst in 50 years, affected much of China since January 10. Freezing temperatures and heavy snow affected over 78 million people, caused 60 fatalities, including 25 that were killed on a bus crash on an icy road on January 29, and prompted many counties and cities to experience power and water shortages. The adverse winter conditions affected more than 4.2 million hectares (10.4 million acres) of farmland, destroyed about 107,000 homes, and damaged about 400,000 others. Highways, railways, and airports were paralyzed, stranding hundreds of thousands of workers. Many were unable to return home for the Chinese New Year, which for some is their only chance to see family all year (BBC News/Reuters).

Extremely cold temperatures affected much of the Middle East region and the central Asian countries during the first weeks of January. The severe cold conditions brought below freezing temperatures, with Kazakhstan experiencing low temperatures of -25°C (-13°F) and neighboring Uzbekistan, having its lowest temperatures in nearly 4 decades (BBC News). Meanwhile, heavy snow fell in parts of the Middle East. Iran had its heaviest snowfall in more than a decade, prompting numerous avalanches and causing multiple traffic accidents. According to reports, parts of Iran had almost 550 mm (22 inches) of snow from January 4-6. In Baghdad, Iraq, snow fell for the first time in living memory on January 11. About 50 people died and over 15,000 animals perished due to the cold and snow (BBC News/Reuters/Associated Press). Another series of winter storms affected the Middle East on January 30, covering Jerusalem in a blanket of snow. According to reports, Jerusalem had up to 203 mm (8 inches) of snow while the capital city of Jordan, Amman, received up to a foot (305 mm or 12 inches) of snow. The cold weather prompted power disruptions to parts of Lebanon (Associated Press).

In India, cold conditions were experienced during the last week of January. Delhi, India recorded its coldest January 28 in 5 years when temperatures plummeted as low as 2.3°C (36°F). More than 150 fatalities resulted from the cold weather (BBC News).

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February 2008

Central and southern parts of Chile suffered from its worst drought in five decades. According to reports, more than a quarter of Chile's 345 municipalities faced water shortages. The government was forced to declare a state of emergency in 30 municipalities (Associated Press/BBC News).A

Intense downpours fell during the first week of February in the Hawaiian islands, causing widespread floods and prompting several areas of the Big Island to be declared as disaster areas. On February 2, Hilo recorded a total of 275 mm (11 inches) in a period of 24 hours, breaking the previous record set in 1969 by 89 mm (3.5 inches) (BBC News).

Torrential rain fell on February 8 on the Pacific island nation of Tonga. According to reports, the Tonga Meteorological Office recorded a total of 184 mm (7.2 inches) of rain in a six-hour period, almost a typical month's worth of rain. The heavy rain prompted flash floods in many low-lying areas (BBC News).

Heavy rain during February caused widespread floods across Bolivia, Ecuador, and Argentina. Thousands of people were left homeless and nearly 50 people were killed (AFP). In Ecuador, these floods are described as the worst in the country's history (Associated Press). According to reports, Bolivia and Ecuador's government declared a national state of emergency (BBC News/Associated Press).

Flooding and landslides triggered by heavy rain affected the eastern parts of the Philippines during February 14-27. More than 294,000 people were affected and many houses were submerged. There were 45 fatalities with 31 others injured (AFP). According to reports, economic losses for the central and southern Philippines were estimated to be $22 million in infrastructure and agricultural damages (AFP).

Elsewhere, thunderstorms ripped through the eastern parts of New South Wales and Queensland on the 7th. Winds gusting over 90 km/hr (55 mph or 50 knots) brought down trees on houses, power lines and roads. The city of Perth, Western Australia had its wettest February since 1992 when more than 40 mm (1.6 inches) of heavy rain fell and caused a 50 day drought to end (BBC News).

Severe thunderstorms, described as a one in 20 year event, affected parts of New South Wales on the 26th, producing torrential rain, golf ball size hail, and damaging winds. According to reports, flash floods were caused when as much as a month's worth of rain fell in less than an hour (BBC News). Across Sydney, some regions received as much as 17 mm (0.7 inches) of rain in just 15 minutes while other places had as much as 44 mm (1.7) in just 30 minutes (BBC News).

Tropical cyclone Ivan developed as a tropical depression northeast of the island of Madagascar on the 7th. As it moved closer to the island of Madagascar, Ivan attained intense tropical storm strength on the 16th with maximum sustained winds near 213 km/hr (132 mph or 115 knots). Ivan made landfall on Madagascar on the 17th, where it rapidly weakened due to the rugged terrain of the island. There were more than 320,000 people affected and 83 fatalities with 117 others missing (Associated Press). According to reports, Ivan was one of the largest cyclones ever to hit Madagascar (Reuters).

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March 2008

In South Australia, a heat wave during March 1-17 brought scorching temperatures across the state. According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), on March 17 Ceduna and South Australia's capital, Adelaide, suffered their 12th and 15th consecutive days of maximum temperatures above 35°C (95°F), respectively, resulting in the longest running heat wave on record. The previous record in Adelaide was 8 consecutive days, which was first set in 1934 (BBC News) and subsequently tied on numerous occasions, most recently in February 2004. The second longest number of consecutive days for all Australian state capital cities with temperatures greater than 35°C (95°F) was 10 days, set in February 1988 in the city of Perth. The previous record for Ceduna was set during January-February 1975 with 11 consecutive days (BoM). Also, Adelaide set a new high minimum temperature during the night of the 14th when South Australia's capital recorded a temperature of 30.2°C (86.4°F), breaking the previous record of 29.7°C (85.5°F) set in March 1985. Other broken records were set in Mildura, with 14 days over 35°C (95°F), and Kyancutta, with 13 days over 40°C (104°F) (BoM). According to reports, the transport officials ordered the city's trains to slow their speeds due to fear that the extreme heat would buckle the track (BBC News). A complete summary is available courtesy of the Australian BoM.

Heavy rain caused havoc across southern Africa during the first week of March. Floods prompted more than 30,000 residents to evacuate their homes in southern Angola and killed several thousand cattle. The country of Namibia was also affected by the torrential rains, forcing the country to declare a national emergency on the 4th. About 42 people were killed and thousands of people were displaced in Namibia (BBC News).

Strong winds caused damage across Monterrey, Mexico on March 18. According to reports, the wind gusts were near 97 km/hr (60 mph or 52 knots). These powerful winds knocked power lines to the ground, leaving part of the city without power. Two fatalities were reported, due to the winds: one person died when a wall fell on him while the second person died in a traffic accident. A total of six other people were injured when a bus struck a fallen billboard (Associated Press).

Tropical cyclone Jokwe developed as a tropical depression northeast of the island of Madagascar on the 5th. Jokwe attained tropical cyclone strength on the 6th with maximum sustained winds near 139 km/hr (86 mph or 75 knots). As the cyclone crossed the Mozambique Channel, the storm intensified to an intense tropical cyclone (equivalent to a category 3 hurricane) with maximum sustained winds near 194 km/hr (121 mph or 105 knots). The storm destroyed 44 houses as it swept through the northern tip of the island of Madagascar. Jokwe made landfall in Mozambique on the 9th as an intense tropical cyclone. The cyclone displaced more than 40,000 people, destroyed over 8,000 homes, and was responsible for 20 fatalities in Mozambique (IFRC).

A powerful storm system brought strong winds across Europe on the 1st. The storm brought hurricane-strength winds that were over 160 km/hr (100 mph or 86 knots) across Germany, Austria, and Czech Republic. The strong winds left hundreds of residents across Poland without power and were responsible for a total of 10 fatalities across these countries (Associated Press).

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April 2008

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), Perth had the wettest April since records began in 1876. As of April 29, the Western Australia's capital had a total of 152.4 mm (6 inches) of rain, surpassing the previous record set in 1926 by 3.6 mm (0.1 inches). Perth also had the second wettest January-April period on record with a total of 214.2 mm (8.4 inches) of rainfall. Perth's wettest January-April was set in 1955 when a total of 296.9 mm (11.7 inches) of rain fell. A complete summary is available courtesy of the Australian BoM.

In the Dominican Republic, severe storms spawned tornadoes that caused damages to houses and crops such as tobacco, rice, and plantain. About 700 people were forced to seek shelter. One fatality was reported (Associated Press).

Typhoon Neoguri, the season's earliest and perhaps the strongest early season typhoon to strike China since 1949 (AFP/Reuters), developed in the South China Sea on the 15th, rapidly intensifying to typhoon strength by the 16th. The typhoon reached its peak intensity on April 18 with maximum sustained winds near 176 km/hr (109 mph or 95 knots). As Neoguri approached China, more than 120,000 people were evacuated from Hainan (BBC News), while nearly 3,000 people were stranded on the island as the storm forced the cancellations of multiple flights (Associated Press). Hainan saw heavy rains that prompted flash floods across low-lying areas (BBC News). Neoguri weakened to a tropical storm prior to making landfall in the province of Guangdong in southern China. Three fatalities were attributed to the storm. Torrential rains produced by the storm caused a mudslide that killed 2 people and strong winds blew an aluminum sheet that killed another person (AFP). According to reports, 40 fishermen were missing (AFP).

Across southern Canada, a winter storm swept through on April 11, leaving heavy snow accumulations. Calgary, the largest city in the province of Alberta, saw a new daily snowfall record when the storm left more than 23 cm (9 inches) of snow, surpassing the 88-year old previous record of 15 cm (6 inches) (Calgary Herald Newspaper). High winds accompanied the snow, prompting the drifting of snow and poor visibility. This was not the first time Calgary had seen large daily amounts of snow during April. According to the Calgary Herald Newspaper, Calgary received 45.7 cm (18 inches) of snow on 21 April 1932.

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May 2008

Heavy rain fell during May 21-26 across south-central Chile, triggering flash floods and landslides that killed five people, displaced nearly 15,000 people, and forced the closure of the El Teniente copper mine, the world's largest underground copper mine. The heavy rains caused rivers to flow over their banks, flooding homes and agricultural land (BBC News/Reuters).

Across parts of Europe, storms produced torrential rainfall that prompted dangerous flash floods and mudslides on May 29. The worst hit countries were Germany, France, Italy, and Belgium (BBC News). In northern Italy, the heavy rain triggered a mudslide that claimed the lives of three people, while in eastern France and Belgium, the downpours triggered a mudslide that blocked roads and railways (BBC News). According to reports, Italy declared a state of emergency (AFP).

A severe storm affected northern Bangladesh on May 12. A ferry was caught in the storm and sank in the Ghorautra River. According to reports, there were at least 150 people aboard the ferry. More than 60 people were rescued or swam to safety, 44 died, and the remaining were missing (Associated Press).

Tropical cyclone Nargis, the most devastating cyclone to strike Asia since 1991 (Reuters), developed in the Bay of Bengal on April 27. Prior to making landfall in Burma (Myanmar) on May 2, the cyclone intensified to a very severe cyclonic storm (equivalent to a category 4 in the Saffir-Simpson scale) with peak winds near 213 km/hr (132 mph or 115 knots). Nargis, the first tropical cyclone to strike Burma (Myanmar) since Cyclone Mala in 2006 and the first cyclone to develop in the Bay of Bengal since Cyclone Sidr (BBC News), swept through the Irrawaddy delta region and Yangon, the country's largest city. The storm brought heavy rain, strong winds, and a 3.7 meter (12 foot) storm surge, resulting in the worst disaster ever in the country (Associated Press). The cyclone destroyed thousands of homes and left thousands without power (Associated Press). According to early reports, the cyclone left nearly 78,000 people dead and almost 56,000 missing (Reuters), but it has also been reported that the death toll may eventually exceed 100,000 (CNN).

Typhoon Rammasun developed as a depression in the western Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippine Islands, on May 7 and reached tropical storm strength the next day. The storm's outer rain bands caused widespread floods across the Philippine Islands, prompting deadly mudslides. On May 9, Rammasun attained typhoon status and reached its peak intensity on the 10th with maximum sustained winds near 250 km/hr (155 mph or 135 knots). Rammasun never made landfall.

Typhoon Halong developed as a depression on May 15 in the western Pacific Ocean, west of the Philippine Islands. Halong reached typhoon intensity on May 17 with maximum sustained winds near 130 km/hr (81 mph or 70 knots). On May 18, the storm made landfall in the northern Philippines, lashing the islands with strong winds, storm surges, and heavy rain. Halong triggered floods and landslides that affected over one million people. There were 32 fatalities reported (AFP).

Typhoon Nakri developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 27th, reaching typhoon intensity on May 28. The typhoon reached its peak intensity on May 29 with maximum sustained winds near 232 km/hr (144 mph or 125 knots). Nakri was the third typhoon to form in the western North Pacific Ocean during May 2008. This was the first time 3 typhoons formed in May in the western North Pacific Ocean since 1959.

Tropical storm Alma was the first eastern Pacific storm of the 2008 season and the farthest east tropical storm to have formed in the eastern Pacific Ocean since 1970. The storm developed as a tropical depression in the eastern Pacific Ocean, southwest of Central America, on May 29. Alma quickly intensified that same day to a tropical storm. On May 30, the storm made landfall in Nicaragua with maximum sustained winds near 105 km/hr (65 mph or 56 knots). The strong winds brought down trees and power lines, which disrupted of electricity and telephone service to over 150,000 people. Alma also lashed the country with heavy rain, prompting flash floods and mudslides (BBC News). Three fatalities were associated with the severe weather triggered by the tropical storm. Neighboring Costa Rica was also affected by the storm. According to reports, the storm flooded 120 homes and left nearly 42,000 homes in the Nicoya Peninsula without electricity (The Tico Times).

A powerful storm system slammed into Santa Catarina, southern Brazil, on May 4, leaving more than 1,600 people homeless, blocking major roads, and forcing 8 out of the 33 municipalities affected by the cyclone to declare a state of emergency. Neighboring Rio Grande do Sul was also affected by the cyclone, with three fatalities attributed to the cyclone and 25,000 people forced to evacuate the area (Xinhua).

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June 2008

While moderate to severe drought conditions were present across parts of northern China, torrential rains lashed southern China during June 7-18. These rains triggered flash floods and mudslides that killed a total of 57 people and caused $4 billion in economic losses (AFP/Reuters). The Guangdong province, the worst hit, was struck by the heaviest rainstorms in 5 decades, which claimed 20 lives, affected nearly 5.8 million people (Associated Press), and caused widespread floods that damaged hundreds of acres of crops and more than 140,000 houses (Reuters/BBC News/Associated Press). According to reports, 415 mm (16 inches) of rain fell in just 24 hours across parts of Guangdong from June 13-14. The heavy rain prompted the Xijiang and Wujiang rivers to surpass their flood levels by 6.8 meters (22 feet) and 18 meters (59 feet), respectively. The Hong Kong area was also affected by the storms, which unleashed flash floods and caused more than 40 landslides in the area (BBC News/Associated Press). It was reported that on June 7, Hong Kong received as much as 145.5 mm (5.73 inches) of rain in one hour, the highest rainfall ever recorded in an hour in Hong Kong (BBC News).

The heavy rain prompted by the storms and typhoon Fengshen across southern China made June 2008 the wettest month ever on record for Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Macao since records began in 1884. For more information, please visit June's Global Analysis report.

Intense monsoon-related showers and thunderstorms brought widespread floods across parts of India during the first week of June, causing 25 fatalities and displacing 200,000 people in northeastern India (AFP). India's western state of Maharashtra received exceptionally heavy rainfall at the state's capital, Mumbai (Bombay). According to reports, this was the heaviest rainfall in seven years for Mumbai (Bombay) (BBC News).

Heavy rainfall on June 19 prompted severe flooding and mudslides across parts of South Africa. The worst hit area was the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, where four people died. According to reports, Scottburgh, KwaZulu-Natal received a total of 128 mm (5 inches) of rain in just 24-hours, the highest rainfall amount for that day (BBC News).

In China, a severe storm produced a deadly tornado that affected the Anhui province on the 21st. The tornado destroyed 650 houses and damaged nearly 1,000. More than 20,000 people were affected, with 1 fatality and 45 injuries reported. According to reports, the tornado caused $2.7 million in losses (Reuters).

Typhoon Fengshen developed in the western Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippine Islands, on June 18. The storm strengthened to typhoon intensity by the 19th, but reached its peak intensity on the 20th with maximum sustained winds near 148 km/hr (92 mph or 80 knots). That same day, Fengshen made landfall in the eastern Philippine island of Samar (BBC News). The storm brought heavy rain and strong winds, causing widespread floods and landslides that left 224 people dead and 374 others missing (AFP). According to reports, the province of Iloilo received a total of 354 mm (14 inches) of rain in a 24-hour period on June 20 (BBC News). Fengshen slowly moved towards the northwest, lashing Manila on the 22nd. The ferocious storm also capsized a ferry, with 865 passengers and crew on board, near the Sibuyan Island. As of June 25, 48 passengers were found alive and nearly 60 corpses were found. It has been reported that this could be the Philippines' worst maritime disaster since 1987 (Reuters). The storm weakened to a tropical storm on the 23rd and, on June 25, Fengshen made a second landfall on China's southeastern coast. The storm killed nine people, destroyed over 1,200 homes, damaged crops (Associated Press), prompted the closure of schools, disrupted air traffic, and caused several landslides across the region (AFP/BBC News).

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July 2008

Across southwestern China, torrential rain fell during the first week of July. The heavy rain triggered mud and rock slides that affected the Liangshan area in the Sichuan province. Nine people died and six were missing (AFP). Further rain fell across southern China during July 11-13, causing widespread floods that affected more than 360,000 people. The floods destroyed houses, roads, and agricultural land (BBC News).

Heavy monsoon rains affected northern India and Bangladesh during July 5-14. In southeast Bangladesh, the heavy rains triggered deadly landslides and floods, killing 20 people and affecting more than 20,000 (AFP). In northern India, the monsoonal rains prompted flash floods that displaced more than 50,000 people in the State of Assam and inundated nearly 50 villages in the district of Lakimpur (AFP). Fourteen people lost their lives (Associated Press).

In Nepal, heavy monsoon rains during the first half of the month caused flash floods and landslides across the region, killing 11 people. The worst incident occurred when five people were buried by a landslide in the Dhading district (DPA).

Heavy rainfall during July 23-26 in South Korea produced deadly floods and landslides that affected nearly 1,240 people and were responsible for seven fatalities. The heavy downpours damaged about 620 houses and inundated nearly 1,220 hectares (3,015 acres) of farmland (Associated Press/BBC News).

Storms in eastern Europe produced heavy rain that fell across parts of Ukraine and Romania during July 25-29. The copious rainfall caused the Prut and Dniestr rivers to flow over their banks, flooding nearly 50,000 homes, affecting over 20,000 people, and destroying thousands of acres of agricultural land (BBC News). According to reports, 30 fatalities were reported in Ukraine, while Romania reported four fatalities (Reuters).

Hurricane Bertha, the Atlantic's first hurricane for the 2008 season, developed in the Atlantic Ocean on July 3. The storm reached peak intensity on July 7 with maximum sustained winds near 193 km/hr (120 mph or 104 knots), but as it traveled toward Bermuda, Bertha weakened into a tropical storm. Although Bertha did not make landfall, Bermuda was battered by the storm's heavy rain and strong winds, causing roads to be flooded and leaving 7,500 people without electricity (Associated Press). Bertha was the longest-lived July Atlantic tropical storm when it entered its 16th day on July 19. The second longest-lived July tropical storm was Storm Number 2 in 1960, lasting just over 12 days (Associated Press/BBC News).

Typhoon Kalmaegi developed as a depression in the western Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippine Islands, on July 14 and reached tropical storm strength on the 15th. The storm strengthened monsoonal rains in the Philippines, resulting in floods that affected thousands of people (BBC News). Kalmaegi reached typhoon peak intensity on July 17 with maximum sustained winds near 167 km/hr (104 mph or 90 knots). Later that day, the storm made landfall on the island of Taiwan, quickly weakening to a tropical storm. The storm lashed the island with heavy downpours that prompted flash floods and landslides that claimed the lives of 18 people and left seven others missing (Reuters/AFP). According to reports, the city of Taichung received a total of 413 mm (16 inches) of rain on the 17th, while other parts of southern Taiwan received as much as 1,100 mm (43 inches) (BBC News). The damages across Taiwan were estimated to be 16 million U.S. dollars (Reuters/AFP). Kalmaegi made a second landfall on the southeastern coast of China on July 18, affecting 360,000 people in the Fujian province (Reuters).

Hurricane Dolly, the Atlantic's second hurricane for the 2008 season, developed as a tropical storm in the western Caribbean Sea on July 20. The storm made landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula on July 21 with maximum sustained winds near 80 km/hr (49 mph or 43 knots). The tropical storm brought heavy rains to parts of Guatemala where deadly landslides were triggered, killing 21 people (RNW). Dolly moved towards the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico where it strengthened to a category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 160 km/hr (100 mph or 87 knots) on the 23rd. Later that same day, Dolly made a second landfall in the South Padre Island, southern Texas. The storm lashed the U.S.-Mexico border with strong winds that brought down trees and power lines, and brought heavy rain that caused extensive flooding (Associated Press/AFP). One fatality was reported and nearly 250,000 people were left without drinking water in Mexico. Dolly was downgraded to a tropical depression as it moved further inland on July 25. Dolly's remnants caused heavy rainfall that triggered flash floods across parts of New Mexico, killing one person, flooding nearly 60 homes, and destroying 12 bridges (Reuters).

Typhoon Fung-Wong developed as a tropical storm in the northwestern Pacific Ocean on the 25thh. Fung-Wong attained typhoon strength on the 26th, but reached its peak intensity on the 27th with maximum sustained winds near 176 km/hr (109 mph or 95 knots). The storm's outer rain bands intensified seasonal monsoon rains in the northern Philippines, causing widespread floods and landslides that killed four people and left five others missing (Reuters). On July 28 Fung-Wong made its first landfall in Taiwan, the second typhoon to hit in less than two weeks. The typhoon lashed the island with ferocious winds and heavy downpours that triggered floods and landslides. According to reports, the storm dumped more than 838 mm (33 inches) in Hualien, located in Taiwan's east coast. Fung-Wong was responsible for electrical losses for more than 43,000 homes, two fatalities, and an estimated 5.3 million U.S. dollars in agricultural losses (Associated Press). The storm weakened to a tropical storm as it left the island. Over 600,000 people were evacuated in China's southeastern coast as Fung-Wong headed towards the Chinese mainland, where it made its second landfall (AFP).

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August 2008

In China, torrential rain fell across parts of the Anhui and Jiangsu provinces from July 31-August 1, prompting dangerous floods which forced more than 76,000 people to evacuate the area. According to reports, parts of the city of Chuzhou was under half a meter (20 inches) of water. Two fatalities were reported in the Anhui province, and the economic losses were estimated to be 220 million U.S. dollars. The floods also destroyed more than 24,000 houses (AFP).

Intense monsoonal rains pounded southern India from August 7-9. The heavy downpours claimed the lives of 59 people and another 40 were feared dead when the truck they were riding on was swept away by a flooded river (Associated Press). Intense monsoonal downpours pummeled northern India, claiming the lives of 74 people, leaving 50,000 people homeless (Reuters), and triggering the collapse of several buildings. Varanasi, one of the hardest hit cities, received a total of 292.1 mm (11.5 inches) of rain in 24 hours (Associated Press). Meanwhile, in the State of Assam, floodwaters submerged about 100 villages, forcing thousands of residents to evacuate the area. In neighboring Nepal, the heavy rainfall caused the Kosi river to spill over its banks, flooding villages and leaving several people missing (Associated Press).

In Laos, heavy rainfall triggered fatal floods and landslides that claimed the lives of 4 people (Reuters/BBC News). In Vientiane, the copious rains caused the Mekong River to reach 13.68 m (44.88 ft) on August 14, surpassing the previous record high of 12.38 m (40.61 ft) set in 1966 (Reuters). According to reports, this was the worst flooding in living memory (BBC News).

In Scotland, torrential rainfall brought flooding across the city of Dundee on August 21. It was reported that the city was inundated by 1.2 m (4 ft) of water. According to reports, this was the worst flooding the city has experienced (BBC News).

Severe storms in northern France spawned a tornado, which collapsed several homes and uprooted trees. The tornado was blamed for the deaths of three people and for leaving 13 others injured (Associated Press).

Tropical Storm Kammuri developed as a tropical depression in the South China Sea on August 4. Later that same day, the depression strengthened to a tropical storm. The strongest winds Kammuri produced were 93 km/hr (57 mph or 50 knots), prior to making landfall in southern China on the 6th. The storm brought torrential rain to parts of Hong Kong, causing the disruption of air and road traffic and forcing the closure of stock markets (Xinhua). No fatalities were reported. Kammuri began to weaken as it continued its course towards northern Vietnam. The storm's remnants generated heavy downpours that triggered deadly flash floods and landslides in mountainous regions in northern Vietnam on August 9-11. It was reported thatriver water in the Yen Bai province were near the record level set in 1968 (Reuters). Over 300 homes were destroyed, more than 4,200 buildings were flooded, and nearly 8,700 hectares (21,500 acres) of crops were washed out (AFP/Reuters). According to reports, 120 fatalities were reported, with 44 others missing. The worst hit area was the Lao Cai province, where 36 people died and 38 others were missing. It was reported that 3 out of the 11 affected provinces have preliminary estimates of 105 million U.S. dollars in total property losses (Reuters).

Tropical Storm Fay developed over the Dominican Republic on August 15. The storm brought 72 km/hr (45 mph or 39 knots) winds and heavy rains across the island of Hispaniola. In the Dominican Republic, Fay downed trees and power lines, damaged hundreds of homes, and was blamed for killing 5 people who were swept away by flood waters. In Haiti, a bus was swept away by a flooded river, causing the deaths of 7 people and leaving 3 others missing (Associated Press). Fay exited the Island of Hispaniola and tracked toward Cuba, where authorities had already evacuated residents from low-lying areas. However, heavy downpours associated with Tropical Storm Fay caused floods across parts of Jamaica, resulting in two deaths (Reuters). The storm made landfall in western Cuba on August 17, with maximum sustained winds near 80 km/hr (49 mph or 43 knots). No fatalities were reported for Cuba (Associated Press/AFP). In total, Fay was blamed for 23 fatalities across the Caribbean. The storm was expected to become a hurricane after exiting Cuba into open waters; however, it remained a dangerous tropical storm. Fay made its first landfall in Florida, over Key West, on the 18th with maximum sustained winds near 97 km/hr (60 mph or 52 knots) (CNN), and then again south of Naples on the 19th. The storm dumped copious amounts of rain across parts of Florida and spawned several tornadoes. It was reported that Fay downed trees, flooded streets, and left more than 93,000 residents without power (CNN). The storm moved toward the northeast, exiting the Florida panhandle near Melbourne on August 20. Nonetheless, Fay made its third landfall in Florida near Daytona Beach on August 21, tracking westward. The storm made its fourth and final landfall in Florida on the 23rd when it re-entered the state near Panama City, becoming the first storm in recorded history to strike the state (or any state) four concurrent times (Associated Press). As the storm zig-zagged across Florida, Fay hammered parts of the state with heavy rainfall. It was reported that Melbourne received more than 660 mm (26 inches) of rain and damages were estimated to be up to $12 million. The damage left by the storm across the state led President Bush to declare a state of emergency (CNN). Fay weakened into a depression as it drifted across the Gulf Coast states. Nevertheless, remnants of the storm caused heavy rain and widespread flooding across the drought-stricken Southeast. According to reports, Fay was responsible for 13 fatalities in the U.S.

Typhoon Nuri developed as a tropical depression in the northwestern Pacific Ocean on the 18th, reaching typhoon status the same day. The storm reached its peak intensity on August 19 with maximum sustained winds near 176 km/hr (109 mph or 95 knots). On August 20, Nuri made landfall in the northeastern tip of the Cagayan province, located in northern Luzon, in the Philippines Islands. The storm battered the region with maximum sustained winds near 140 km/hr (87 mph or 76 knots) and heavy rain. This triggered deadly landslides and floods that killed 7 people (Associated Press). Nuri tracked towards southeastern China and made landfall in Hong Kong on August 22. According to reports, Nuri was the worst typhoon to hit Hong Kong in 5 years (Reuters). As it moved towards the Guangdong province in southeastern China, the typhoon weakened to a tropical storm. Three fatalities were reported (AFP).

Hurricane Gustav developed as a tropical depression in the Caribbean Sea, south of the island of Hispaniola, on August 25. The following day the storm rapidly intensified into a tropical storm, then a category one hurricane, and made landfall in Haiti later that day, near the city of Jacmel, only a week after Tropical Storm Fay claimed 23 lives across the Caribbean. Gustav lashed Haiti with maximum sustained winds near 148 km/hr (92 mph or 80 knots) and torrential rain, prompting deadly floods and landslides. The storm was responsible for at least 59 fatalities in Haiti and 8 in neighboring Dominican Republic (Reuters) and for damaging nearly 900 homes (CNN). The storm weakened into a tropical storm as it exited Haiti. Gustav unexpectedly tracked south toward Jamaica, lashing the island on August 28 with maximum sustained winds near 112 km/hr (70 mph or 60 knots) and pounding rains (CNN). Gustav prompted flash floods that affected about 1,500 people and claimed the lives of 11 people (AFP). On August 30, Gustav made landfall in western Cuba as a category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 240 km/hr (150 mph or 130 knots). The storm caused major flooding, damaged crops, ripped roofs off houses, uprooted trees, and disrupted power and phone services. However, no fatalities where reported (BBC News). It was reported that Gustav was the worst storm to hit Cuba in 50 years. In the city of Paso Real de San Diego, 341 km/hr (212 mph or 184 knots) wind gusts were registered, the highest in Cuba's history (Miami Herald). By August 31, the storm moved across the Gulf of Mexico towards the U.S. Hurricane Gustav made landfall west of Grand Isle, LA on September 1 as a category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 185 km/hr (115 mph or 100 knots). Nearly two million people fled coastal areas as many feared a repetition of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. According to reports, this was described as the biggest evacuation in U.S. history (AFP). Gustav's ferocious winds brought down trees and power lines, leaving thousands of customers without power in Louisiana (Associated Press). As Gustav moved inland, the storm weakened to a depression. The storm was blamed for 25 fatalities in the U.S.

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September 2008

High temperatures and strong winds were conducive to the development of wildfires across southern Africa during the first week of September. The wildfires affected Mozambique, South Africa, and Swaziland, killing hundreds of livestock, affecting over 3,000 residents, and claiming the lives of 89 people — 49 people in central Mozambique and 40 in South Africa and Swaziland (Associated Press/BBC News).

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne had the driest September since records began in 1855, with a total of 12 mm (0.47 inch) of rain. The previous record was set in 1907 when a total of 13.4 mm (0.53 inch) of rain fell.

In Szeged, Hungary, a new daily maximum temperature record was set on September 7 when temperatures rose to 37.6°C (100°F), surpassing the previous record of 36.7°C (98°F) set in 1946 (BBC News).

Heavy rain fell across southern Chile on August 31 - September 1. The heavy downpours triggered floods and landslides that affected more than 81,700 people, killed four people, and destroyed or damaged nearly 10,900 houses (IFRC). According to reports, the rains were the heaviest in nearly four decades (Associated Press).

Storms brought flooding and mudslides during the 6th-8th to areas of the United Kingdom, where torrential rain caused rivers to overflow their banks and roads to be inundated. It was reported that hundreds of people were forced to evacuate after nearly 1,000 properties were flooded in the town of Morpeth. Six fatalities were reported (Associated Press).

Incessant rains produced by a tropical disturbance affected Puerto Rico on September 20-24. According to a local newspaper, the tropical disturbance dumped as much as 660 mm (26 inches) of rain in a period of 24 hours. This amount of rain surpassed the previous record of 603.2 mm (23.75 inches) set on October 1985 (El Nuevo Día). The southern portion of the island experienced the heaviest rainfall, prompting landslides and many rivers to overflow their banks that flooded hundreds of homes (Reuters). According to the USGS, the Gurabo River's gage height rose 7.62 m (25 feet) in less than 24 hours on September 21, peaking at 9.23 m (30.29 feet). Many homes were damaged or destroyed and four fatalities were attributed to the floods. The heavy rain reportedly caused Puerto Rico's agricultural industry at least $14 million in losses. The hardest hit crops were coffee and bananas (Associated Press). It was reported that president George W. Bush declared eight municipalities disaster zones (El Nuevo Día).

Heavy monsoon-related rainfall drenched parts of India during September, triggering floods and mudslides and causing damage to crops and property. The heavy downpours prompted rivers to breach their banks, producing widespread floods in eastern Orissa that affected nearly 2.4 million people. According to reports, this was the worst monsoon flooding in the state in 26 years (Associated Press). The floods were blamed for the death of 173 people across India (AFP).

Hurricane Hanna developed as a tropical depression in the Atlantic Ocean on August 28, strengthening into a tropical storm later that day. By September 1, Hanna intensified to a hurricane with maximum sustained winds near 130 km/hr (81 mph or 70 knots) as it tracked towards the Bahamas. Although Hanna did not make landfall on the Island of Hispaniola, the storm's outer rain bands brought heavy rain to Haiti's saturated ground. The copious rain caused fatal floods and mudslides, claiming the lives of 529 people (Reuters) and destroying immense areas of crops (BBC News). The worst affected city was Gonaïves, which according to reports was completely devastated (BBC News). The storm tracked towards the Eastern Seaboard, making landfall near the North and South Carolina border on the 6th with maximum sustained winds near 93 km/hr (58 mph or 50 knots). Hanna brought much needed rain to the Carolinas, however severe to exceptional drought persisted according to the 9 September 2008 U.S. Drought Monitor Map. The storm moved towards the Northeast region, dumping heavy rains and lashing the region with strong winds. Hanna was blamed for flooding highways, delaying flights, and leaving thousands of residents without power (Associated Press).

Hurricane Ike developed as a tropical storm, west of the Cape Verde Islands, on September 1. The storm quickly intensified, reaching its peak strength (a dangerous Category 4 hurricane) on the 4th when it had maximum sustained winds near 233 km/hr (145 mph or 126 knots) and a pressure of 935 mb. So far, Ike is the strongest storm in the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. Haiti, already ravaged by three previous tropical storms (Fay, Gustav, and Hanna), was affected by Ike's outer rain bands. Torrential rain fell, producing swollen rivers, mudslides, and floods, which claimed the lives of 74 people (AFP). The storm tracked towards Cuba (also previously affected by Fay, Gustav, and Hanna), which was preparing itself for a fourth time, evacuating nearly a million Cubans across the coastal areas. Prior to making landfall in Cuba, Ike slightly weakened to a Category 3 hurricane. Ike made landfall in eastern Cuba on September 7 with maximum sustained winds near 193 km/hr (120 mph or 104 knots). Ike's ferocious winds tore off roofs, toppled trees and power lines. As the storm roared across the island, Ike weakened, however, it remained a dangerous Category 1 hurricane. The storm crossed over western Cuba, striking the area with additional flooding and storm surge (AFP). Hurricane Ike was responsible for seven fatalities in Cuba, the highest death toll for any storm in years, according to reports. Ike's death toll in Cuba exceeds the death toll from Hurricane Michelle in 2001 when five fatalities were reported (Associated Press). It has been reported that Hurricane Gustav and Ike caused nearly 5 billion U.S. dollars in damages. More than 63,000 homes were destroyed and about 450,000 were damaged (Associated Press). After lashing Cuba, Ike moved into the Gulf's warm waters, tracking towards the U.S.-Mexico coasts. As the storm moved steadily towards the Texas coast, Ike strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane. Ike was a large storm. Long before it made landfall, the Louisiana and Texas coast and the Florida Keys felt Ike's effects. The storm made U.S. landfall at Galveston, Texas on the 13th with maximum sustained winds near 176 km/hr (109 mph or 95 knots). Ike brought widespread floods across the Galveston area. Houston was also pummeled as the storm moved inland, blowing out windows and leaving millions of residents without power (BBC News). As the storm tracked towards the Midwest, it weakened. However, Ike's remnants caused havoc across the Midwest. Torrential rain and strong winds were responsible for inundating homes and causing blackouts to more than a million homes and businesses. The storm dumped 152-203 mm (6-8 inches) of rain across parts of Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. The storm was also responsible for spawning a tornado in Arkansas that damaged several buildings. Ike was blamed for 15 fatalities across the Midwest, which brought the U.S. death toll from Ike to nearly 40 (Associated Press).

Typhoon Sinlaku developed as a tropical depression in the western Pacific Ocean, east of the northern Philippine Islands, on September 8 and became a tropical storm later that same day. Although the storm did not make landfall in the Philippines, Sinlaku's effects were felt across the island of Luzon, Philippines. The storm's rainbands prompted heavy downpours that quickly flooded the streets and homes on the 8th. By the 9th, Sinlaku strengthened to a typhoon but reached its peak intensity on the 10th with maximum sustained winds near 231 km/hr (144 mph or 125 knots). The typhoon moved towards the northeastern coast of Taiwan where it made landfall on the 14th with maximum sustained winds near 148 km/hr (92 mph or 80 knots). Sinlaku lashed the island with strong winds and heavy downpours. The typhoon was blamed for four fatalities and for leaving seven other people missing in central Taiwan. According to reports, Sinlaku dumped more than 1,016 mm (40 inches) of rain in the mountainous regions, causing deadly mudslides and the overflow of rivers that forced hundreds of people to evacuate the affected areas (Associated Press/Reuters). Sinlaku weakened to a tropical storm as it exited Taiwan, tracking towards Japan. The storm briefly intensified to a typhoon but weakened once again before making landfall in southern Kyushu on September 18 with maximum sustained winds near 139 km/hr (86 mph or 75 knots). The storm produced flooding and triggered several mudslides in Kagoshima. However, no fatalities were reported (BBC News).

Typhoon Hagupit developed as a tropical depression in the western Pacific Ocean on the 18th. The storm reached tropical storm strength on the 19th and attained typhoon status on the 21st. The typhoon's outer rainband affected Taiwan and northern Philippine as it moved across the Luzon Strait towards southeastern China. Hagupit was blamed for the deaths of three people and for trapping 13 others in a gold mine in the Philippines (Reuters). On September 23, Hagupit reached its peak intensity with maximum sustained winds near 222 km/hr (138 mph or 120 knots) as it moved across the South China Sea. The typhoon made landfall in the province of Guangdong on the 24th with maximum sustained winds near 195 km/hr (121 mph or 105 knots). The storm brought torrential rain and ferocious winds which killed ten people, destroyed nearly 18,500 houses, flooded more than 800 homes, and destroyed crops. According to reports, economic losses due to the typhoon are estimated to be 923.7 million U.S. dollars (AFP). It was reported that Hagupit was the worst typhoon to hit the Guangdong province in a decade (BBC News). As the typhoon moved further inland, towards Vietnam, it began to weaken. However, Hagupit brought torrential downpours to northern Vietnam, triggering fatal floods and landslides. The storm was responsible for destroying thousands of hectares of crops, inundating several thousand homes, and claiming the lives of 41 people (AFP). In Vietnam, the economic losses were estimated to be at least 65 million U.S. dollars (Associated Press).

Typhoon Jangmi developed in the northwestern Pacific Ocean as a tropical depression on the 23rd. By September 25, Jangmi attained typhoon status, but reached its peak intensity with maximum sustained winds near 250 km/hr (155 mph or 135 knots) on the 27th. Jangmi made landfall in Taiwan on September 28, becoming the most powerful typhoon to hit the island during the 2008 season. It was reported that Jangmi dumped as much as 1,124 mm (44 inches) of rain on some parts of the island (Reuters) and left nearly 86,000 households without power. Two fatalities were reported (Associated Press). The storm weakened as it moved across Taiwan and was downgraded to a tropical storm on the 29th as it exited Taiwan and headed towards Japan. The storm became extratropical on the 30th.

A new national daily record was set for Hungary on September 15 when the city of Sopron recorded its coldest temperature of 8.6°C (47°F). The previous record was set in Zalaegerszeg in 1925 when temperatures only reached 10.5°C (51°F) (BBC News).

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October 2008

Unusually heavy rain fell across Algeria during the first two weeks of October, prompting flash floods that claimed the lives of 65 people (AFP) and destroyed nearly 600 homes in the town of Ghardaia (Associated Press). It was reported by Algeria's Interior Minister that the floods in Algeria were the worst in a century (BBC News/AFP).

Intense rainfall produced by the Atlantic's sixteenth tropical depression resulted in widespread floods and landslides across parts of Central America during the week of October 12. The depression developed from a low pressure system in the Caribbean, east of Costa Rica, and by October 14 it was upgraded to a tropical depression. The depression made landfall on the northern coast of Honduras on the 16th, but quickly dissipated as it moved inland, becoming a slow moving low pressure system. The depression's heavy rain caused dangerous mudslides and rivers to overflow their banks, flooding villages and blocking roads across Central America (AFP). In Honduras, an immense area of crops was destroyed and 62 bridges were demolished, forcing Honduras's president to declare a national state of emergency (BBC News). Meanwhile, Costa Rica's Meteorological Institute reported that the amount of rainfall produced by the depression was equivalent to October's monthly rainfall (BBC News). According to reports, Costa Rica's precipitation levels were as much as 2,100 mm (83 inches) in some areas, the highest in 40 years (OCHA). Storm-related fatalities were reported across Central America ? twenty-nine in Honduras (Associated Press), seven in Costa Rica, four in Nicaragua, four in Guatemala (OCHA), and one in El Salvador (AFP).

Storms in Morocco on the 20th resulted in heavy rains and flash floods that claimed the lives of 11 people. The prolonged downpours triggered flash floods that inundated dozens of homes and destroyed clay houses, leaving many homeless (BBC News).

Heavy rain fell across Yemen on October 24-25, lashing the region with flash floods and mudslides. The heavy downpours and floods affected nearly 7,000 residents, left about 100 dead or missing (Reuters), caused the disruption of water and power distribution (AFP), and destroyed or damaged nearly 1,700 homes across the provinces of Hadramaut and Mahara. According to reports, this was the most serious flooding in decades (Reuters).

During the last week of October, floods triggered by heavy rains affected central and northern Vietnam, killing 54 people, inundating more than 100,000 homes, and destroying over 240,000 hectares (590,000 acres) of crops (Associated Press). It was reported that Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, experienced the heaviest rains since 1984 (BBC News).

On October 7, a frontal system progressed over New Zealand's North Island, producing heavy rains and strong winds that caused havoc across the region. Winds of up to 130 km/hr (80 mph or 70 knots) and 160 km/hr (100 mph or 86 knots) were observed in Wellington and surrounding hills, respectively. The severe weather conditions were responsible for cancelling over 20 flights at the Wellington airport, for littering the streets with downed power lines and tree debris and damaging dozens of homes. No fatalities were reported (BBC News).

Hurricane Norbert, the most powerful hurricane in the 2008 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season, formed in the East North Pacific Ocean, south of Acapulco, Mexico, as a tropical depression on October 3. As the storm moved towards the west-northwest, it moved into an area with warm waters and low vertical shear, allowing it to strengthen. By October 6, Norbert intensified to hurricane strength, but reached its peak intensity, a dangerous Category 4, on the 8th with maximum sustained winds near 217 km/hr (135 mph or 117 knots). The storm weakened to a Category 1 hurricane on October 9, but rapidly intensified to a Category 2 on the 10th as it approached the Baja Peninsula. Hurricane Norbert made landfall in Mexico's southern Baja California on October 11 with maximum sustained winds near 160 km/hr (100 mph or 86 knots). It was reported that Norbert was the first October hurricane to make landfall on the Baja Peninsula since Hurricane Pauline in 1968 (BBC News). Norbert brought heavy rain and strong winds, causing widespread floods, downing palm trees, and tearing off roofs. According to reports, the islands of Santa Margarita and Magdalena had nearly forty percent of homes totally or partially damaged (AFP). The storm tracked across the Gulf of California and made a second landfall on October 12 on the Mexican mainland Sonora coast with maximum sustained winds near 137 km/hr (85 mph or 74 knots) (Associated Press). The storm lost intensity rapidly as it moved inland, weakening to a tropical depression later that day. Three fatalities were reported (Reuters).

Tropical Storm Marco developed as a tropical depression in the Bay of Campeche, the southern part of Gulf of Mexico, on October 6. Later that day, reconnaissance data indicated that the depression had intensified into a tropical storm. Marco was a small system, with tropical storm force winds extending out to 24 km (15 mi) from its center (CNN). The storm tracked west-northwest, making landfall in Veracruz, Mexico on October 7 with estimated maximum sustained winds of 105 km/hr (65 mph or 57 knots). The storm brought heavy rain to parts of Veracruz, flooding coastal areas and forcing evacuations (Associated Press). Tropical Storm Marco quickly dissipated after landfall.

Hurricane Omar, the first hurricane to strike the Leeward Islands from the west since Hurricane Lenny in 1999, developed as a tropical depression in the Caribbean Sea on October 13. As the depression moved towards the northeast it began to intensify, becoming a tropical storm on the 14th. Later that day, Omar rapidly intensified into a hurricane, but reached its peak intensity on the 16th ? a dangerous Category 3 hurricane ? with maximum sustained winds near 185 km/hr (115 mph or 100 knots). As the storm approached Puerto Rico and the Leeward Islands, many people feared the worst. Nevertheless, the storm passed between St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands, sparing the islands from the worst part of the storm. Most of the damages across the Caribbean islands were some flooding, minor mudslides, and downed trees. However, St. Croix reported that the storm caused more than 700,000 U.S. dollars in damages to roads and destroyed over 100 utility poles. The storm was also responsible for sinking more than 40 boats at St. Croix and for damaging crops in St. Croix and Antigua. One fatality was attributed to the storm in Puerto Rico (Associated Press). The storm moved into the Atlantic and dissipated by the 18th.

Tropical Storm 22W formed in the Gulf of Tonkin as a tropical depression on October 14, strengthening into a tropical storm later that same day. The storm affected the South China island province of Hainan and northern Vietnam by drenching the area with heavy downpours. Hainan began receiving torrential rain on October 11 and persisted till the 14th. The rains caused flash floods in low-lying areas and flooded more than 150 villages, forcing thousands to flee the area. Three fatalities were reported (BBC News). Tropical Storm 22W moved towards Vietnam, making landfall on the 15th (BBC News) with maximum sustained winds near 65 km/hr (40 mph or 35 knots). In Vietnam, heavy rain fell on October 15-20, triggering flash floods that damaged over 11,000 hectares of crops and destroyed three schools and several kilometers of roads (DPA). According to reports, the average daily accumulations were between 300-450 mm (12-18 inches) of rain. Eleven fatalities were reported with seven others missing.

Tropical Cyclone Rashmi developed as a tropical depression in the Bay of Bengal on October 26. Rashmi strengthened into a tropical cyclone later that day. The storm made landfall on October 27 in the south-central coast of Bangladesh with maximum sustained winds near 80 km/hr (50 mph or 43 knots). Cyclone Rashmi brought heavy rain and strong winds, damaging thousands of homes and acres of crops, and downing electrical and telephone poles. Fifteen people were killed and 10 fishing boats with 50 people aboard were missing (Reuters). The storm dissipated as it moved inland.

In Tibet, a heavy snowstorm struck the region during the last week of October, blocking roads, triggering avalanches, and causing power outages (BBC News). It was reported that the average snow coverage was 150 cm (59 inches). Nine people were killed in what was described as one of the worst snowstorms in living memory (BBC News).

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November 2008

In northern and central Vietnam, heavy rain which commenced during the last week of October, continued the first week of November. The rains generated devastating floods, claiming over 80 lives, turning streets into rivers, destroying nearly 600,000 acres of rice and crops, and submerging over 100,000 homes with floodwaters. According to reports, these were the worst floods to hit Vietnam in 25 years (BBC News).

In Ethiopia, storms brought heavy rain that caused a river in the country's highlands to overflow. The floods were responsible for killing 11 people and 6,000 livestock, and destroying nearly 2,500 hectares of crops. More than 100 villages were inundated by the floods (Reuters).

Intense rains from November 20-23 affected areas across northern Venezuela. Devastating floods and deadly mudslides, triggered by the rains, claimed nine lives and were responsible for leaving hundreds of people homeless. The heavy rains also prompted several rivers to flow over their banks, which contributed to the severe flooding, turning streets into rivers and causing damages to homes and crops (BBC News).

Heavy rain on November 22-24 in southern parts of Brazil brought flooding and deadly mudslides, which affected 1.5 million people, paralyzed transportation, and resulted in 84 fatalities. It was reported that most of the fatalities were caused by mudslides that swept away homes and business. The heavy rain caused havoc across the region, leaving eight cities isolated due to overflowing rivers, and prompting the rupture of a pipeline that carries natural gas from Bolivia to Brazil, leading to gas shortages. Nearly 160,000 people were left without electricity and fresh water supplies (Associated Press/AFP/Reuters). This event has been described as the region's worst weather tragedy in history (AFP).

In Panama, flooding caused by heavy rain on November 22 claimed eight lives and affected over 14,000 people across the country. It was reported that the floods destroyed millions of dollars worth of crops (AFP).

In Australia, severe storms caused havoc across the eastern coast during November 14-16. The storm's produced hail, strong winds, and heavy rain. The worst hit area was the city of Brisbane, which was lashed with 129 km/hr (80 mph or 70 knots) winds that downed power lines, leaving nearly 230,000 homes without power. It was reported that these storms were the most damaging Queensland has seen in over 25 years (BBC News).

Hurricane Paloma formed in the Caribbean Sea, off the eastern coast of Nicaragua, as a tropical depression on November 5. The storm tracked north as it strengthened from tropical depression to tropical storm and then to a hurricane. As the storm came close to the Cayman Islands, Paloma was a Category 3 hurricane. The storm downed power lines, ripped off roofs, and caused flooding along the eastern and southern coasts of the island (BBC News/Caymanian Compass). The storm tracked to the east and further strengthened, reaching its peak intensity of maximum sustained winds near 222 km/hr (138 mph or 120 knots), a Category 4 hurricane, on November 8. Prior to landfall in Cuba, Paloma weakened to a Category 3 hurricane. On November 8, the storm made landfall in Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba with maximum sustained winds near 193 km/hr (120 mph or 104 knots). Paloma made landfall in Santa Cruz del Sur, a day before celebrating the 76th anniversary of the 1932 November hurricane, which killed 3,000 people (AFP). Paloma lashed the western coast with nearly 10-foot-high waves and strong winds that washed away 50 homes and destroyed 435 homes. Heavy rain produced by the hurricane caused floods that inundated homes and washed out banana crops (Associated Press). However, no fatalities were reported. By November 9, Paloma had weakened into a tropical depression. Hurricane Paloma became the second strongest November hurricane on record, behind Hurricane Lenny in 1999.

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December 2008

Heavy rain caused widespread floods across parts of Italy during December 11-15, claiming the life of four people and causing disruptions. Flash floods inundated streets, homes, and businesses in Rome, forcing the city to declare a state of emergency. According to reports, Rome received more than the average December rainfall when nearly 102 mm (4 inches) of rain fell over areas in Rome in a period of eight hours on the 11th.

In northern Colombia, torrential downpours (which began December 13) left over 50,000 people homeless when the Magdalena River rose above the flood stage, inundating thousands of homes. The City of Plato in Magdalena Province was badly hit when the river flooded homes, roads, and crops and left over 20,000 people homeless.

Heavy rain fell on the island of Mallorca on December 15-16, causing roads to close and forcing 120 people to evacuate their flooded homes. The heavy downpours are suggested to be the cause for the upper floors of a closed hotel to collapse, killing four workers.

Across southern Mozambique, copious rain fell during December 28-31, leading to floods that forced thousands of people to evacuate their homes. According to reports, the worst hit area was the province of Inhambane where more than 500 mm (20 inches) of rain fell, triggering dangerous flash floods that damaged crops and immersed thousands of homes. One fatality was reported.

Heavy rain fell in central and eastern Bolivia, prompting the overflow of rivers. The swollen rivers flooded roads and damaged homes.

Abundant rainfall during November 22 to December 3 in southern parts of Brazil caused rivers to burst their banks and triggered mudslides. Heavy rainfall led to widespread floods that affected nearly 78,700 people as their homes were damaged or destroyed. It was reported that in just three days, over 500 mm (20 inches) of fell. This amount is the average amount for a period of four months. According to reports, 116 people were killed with 31 others missing.

In Australia, severe storms affected parts of New South Wales and Queensland on December 7-8. The storms produced golf ball size hail and serious flooding that caused damage to properties.

A major winter storm affected Japan on December 25, blanketing much of the country with snow. The adverse conditions caused flights to be cancelled, stranding over 6,000 people.

For more information on Weather and Climate Extremes, refer to:

The Climate of 2008
Extreme Weather and Climate Events

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For further information, please contact:

Climate Services and Monitoring Division
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
fax: +1-828-271-4876
phone: +1-828-271-4800
email: ncdc.info@noaa.gov
To request climate data, please email: ncdc.orders@noaa.gov

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