Please note: Material provided in this report is chosen subjectively and included at the discretion of the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). The ability to report on a given event is limited by the amount of information available to NCDC at the time of publication. Inclusion of a particular event does not constitute a greater importance in comparison with an event that has not been incorporated into the discussion. Data included in this report are preliminary unless otherwise stated. Links to supporting information are valid at the time of publication, but they are not maintained or changed after publication.
On February 19, strong thunderstorms brought torrential rains
and hail to the Bolivian capital of La Paz. At least 63 people were
killed and 100 injured as flash floods destroyed 50 homes and left
more than 500 homeless. According to the Bolivian National
Meteorological Service, the city has never received such heavy
rainfall in the 50 years records have been kept. The mayor of La
Paz estimated damages to the city of nearly $100 million
Asia (Click for map)
Winter temperatures (December-February) were also 2-4°C
(3.6-7.2°F) warmer than the 1968-1996 average across a large
expanse of central Asia, with colder than average temperatures
limited to parts of northern Siberia and the Magadan region of the
Russian Far East. Unusually heavy snowfall during the winter season
has threatened as many as 100,000
endangered leopards and Siberian tigers with starvation, as the
harsh winter conditions resulted in a dwindling food supply (BBC
Farther south, drought
has affected the island nation of Sri Lanka as several months
of dry weather prompted the implementation of mandatory water
conservation measures. The government of Sri Lanka imposed a
one-year ban on the use of light for advertising in shops,
nightclubs and hotels because of a power crisis, as 71 percent of
the electric power in the country originates from hydroelectric
plants (Associated Press). Across Malaysia, dry conditions
aggravated forest and peat fires as more than 15,000 hectares
(37,000 acres) of land were scorched during February 2002. The
prolonged water shortage has threatened the country’s palm
oil industry (Reuters).
A significant winter storm affected the Hindu Kush mountains of
northern Afghanistan during the first week of February. Heavy snows
and a resulting avalanche caused 5 deaths north of Kabul and
trapped around 400 people in the Salang area for more than 30 hours
(COMTEX). Significant snow accumulations across the higher terrain
cut off thousands of people from emergency food supplies.
Persistent snow cover across the northern part of Afghanistan
during February is depicted by the Asia snow cover
Stormy conditions that began
in January continued in February across the British Isles, as
storm systems accompanied by heavy rains and strong wind affected
the United Kingdom and caused flooding along the Ouse and Severn
rivers (CNN). The UK Met
Office reported that England and Wales experienced the wettest
February since 1990, and many areas in Scotland received two to
three times the normal February precipitation amount. Dry weather
was conducive to wildfires
across the Pyrenees mountains in southern France, charring more
than 8,100 hectares (20,000 acres) in early February.
||Despite a much milder
than average February
with below average snow cover,
temperatures averaged over the winter season were only near to or
slightly above the 1992-2002 mean across much of Europe.
||A trough of low
pressure aloft (depicted
by negative 500 millibar height anomalies) was largely
responsible for cooler than average weather across much of central
and southern Australia in February, where temperatures were
1-4°C (1.8-7.2°F) below the long-term mean. Warmer
temperatures relative to average were restricted to much of
Queensland and New South Wales. A similar temperature distribution
is evident in the austral summer (December-February)
mean, as South Australia had the coolest summer season since at
Cyclone Chris developed in the Indian Ocean on the 3rd and made
landfall in the Northern Territory on the 6th about 100 km (62
miles) east of Port Hedland with maximum sustained winds near 65
m/s (~125 knots or 145 mph). The cyclone brought heavy rains to
much of northern and central portions of Western Australia and
February precipitation surpluses exceeded 150 mm (5.91 inches)
locally. February rainfall records were broken across parts of
central Western Australia as Chris dissipated over the
Heavy monsoon rains that brought serious
flooding to parts of Java and the greater Jakarta area during
the month of January continued in February. Damage to agriculture
and infrastructure is estimated at $200 million (USD) across
Indonesia, where at least 150 people lost their lives in the Java
and Jakarta provinces (CIP report).
||A lack of rainfall
exacerbated dry conditions across much of Queensland and New
South Wales, where seasonal precipitation deficiencies ranged from
50 to 200 mm (1.97-7.87 inches) above a 1979-1995
After a week of heavy rains at the beginning of February,
flooding along the Dzongwe River forced thousands of people in
northern and central Malawi to leave their homes and worsened
food shortages in that country. More than 1,500 homes were
destroyed in the town of Salima, with bridges and railways also
damaged (AP, BBC). Farther north across the Democratic Republic of
the Congo (DRC), flooding
in the town of Uvira was responsible for 25 deaths (IRIN).
Relatively dry weather continued across most of southern Africa
during the December
2001-February 2002 period, with damage to crops reported across
much of Zimbabwe. Wetter conditions extended from Angola through
the DRC, where seasonal precipitation surpluses exceeding 100 mm
(3.94 inches) were common.
Guillaume developed off the northeast coast of Madagascar on the
15th and brought significant rainfall to northern portions of the
island during its developmental stages. The city of Toamasina along
the northeast coast of the Malagasy Republic received over 800 mm
(31.5 inches) of rain during the 1st-16th. Guillaume moved
southeast and strengthened, passing east of the Mascarene Islands
on the 19th.
February temperatures were 1-2°C (1.8-3.6°F) cooler than
the 1992-2002 average across South Africa and parts of Botswana,
with warm anomalies of 1-2°C (1.8-3.6°F) acrosss Zimbabwe
as well as Morocco, Western Sahara and northeastern Sudan.
intensified along the eastern
seaboard of the United States during February, where winter
precipitation deficits exceeding 100 mm (3.94 inches) were observed
over most areas from the Gulf Coast into the Northeast. In Canada,
dry weather also prevailed across most of Alberta and Saskatchewan
precipitation was less than 60 percent of average across many
February were 2-4°C (3.6-7.2°F) above average from the U.S.
Northern Plains eastward into the Northeast where snow cover was
notably absent. A series of strong Canadian high
pressure systems which moved into the Intermountain West and
southern High Plains brought temperatures that were 2-4°C
(3.6-7.2°F) colder than usual. Across Mexico, abnormally cold
weather which penetrated deep into central sections of the country
caused around 250 million overwintering
Monarch butterflies to freeze
to death during late January (BBC).
torrential rains affected much of central and southern Peru during
the first two weeks of February. Flooding and mudslides were
responsible for 8 deaths and left around 8,300 people homeless
(COMTEX). Monthly precipitation was 50-100 mm (1.97 to 3.94 inches)
above average across southern Brazil, much of Bolivia and southern
Peru, and into the western Amazon basin.
December-February were 1-2°C (1.8-3.6°F) warmer than
average across much of southern Argentina, where prominent upper
level high pressure ridging (depicted
by positive 500 millibar height anomalies) was present.
Elsewhere, seasonal temperatures across South America were
generally within 1°C (1.8°F) of the 1992-2002 mean.
Basist, A., N.C. Grody, T.C. Peterson and C.N. Williams, 1998:
Using the Special Sensor Microwave/Imager to Monitor Land Surface
Temperatures, Wetness, and Snow Cover. Journal of Applied
Meteorology, 37, 888-911.
Peterson, Thomas C. and Russell S. Vose, 1997: An overview of
the Global Historical Climatology Network temperature data base.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society,