Global Hazards - August 2002


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.


Global Focus
Click Here for a satellite image depicting the swollen Danube River and its tributaries
Flooding in Central Europe
Global Hazards and Significant Events
August 2002

Torrential rains brought severe flooding to central Europe during August 2002, with some of the worst flooding in more than a century observed across parts of Germany, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and Hungary. Additional information on flooding in Europe can be found below.
Drought conditions

Nearly half a million people in central Vietnam suffered from water shortages caused by two consecutive months of dry weather. The recent drought has affected around 84,000 hectares (207,500 acres) of rice fields across the central part of the country.

Click Here for satellite derived wetness anomalies over India
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Monsoon rainfall in India remained light and intermittent during June-August 2002, with heavier rains restricted to the northeast part of the country. In the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, more than 75 percent of the districts were declared drought affected. Drought in India is reportedly the worst since 1987 (World Vision).
Temperatures exceeding 38°C (100°F) during the first week of the month resulted in 9 deaths across southern Egypt. Normal daily maximum temperatures frequently exceed 35°C (95°F) during August in north Africa, although above average temperatures have persisted across the region since July 2002. Click Here for temperatures across north Africa on August 4, 2002
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The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reported that nearly 13 million people in southern Africa were in need of emergency food aid. The southern African nations of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland experienced two consecutive poor cereal harvests, due in part to a prolonged dry spell.

Click Here for satellite derived surface wetness anomalies for August 13-19, 2002
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During August, severe to exceptional drought continued across parts of the western half of the United States as well as the Southeast. However, beneficial rains fell across piedmont and coastal areas of the Carolinas northward into southern New England during the 26-29th. Detailed U.S. drought analysis is available for June-August.
Map of active Wildfires in the western U.S. as of August 15, 2002
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Wildfires continued to burn across parts of the western U.S. The largest wildfire in August was located in southern Oregon. The lightning-induced Biscuit fire, located about 26 miles southwest of Grant's Pass, burned over 500,000 acres (200,000 hectares) and was the largest fire in Oregon history (NIFC). Additional information on wildfires in the U.S. is available from the Wildfire Season Summary
Severe rainfall deficiencies continued during June-August 2002 across parts of Australia, as drought affected much of New South Wales, northern and western Victoria, eastern South Australia and southwestern Western Australia. It was the third driest austral winter (June-August) since 1890 in Western Australia and the fourth driest in New South Wales. Some locations in New South Wales and Western Australia recorded the driest April to August since 1900. Additional information is available from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology's drought statement. Click Here for the surface wetness anomalies across Australia during June-August 2002
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Heavy rainfall and flooding
Click Here for satellite derived surface wetness anomalies for August 13-19, 2002
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A slow moving storm system brought torrential rainfall to parts of Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria and eastward across southern Russia during early August resulting in over 100 deaths and damage estimated to be over $20 billion (USD) (Associated Press). In Austria, flooding occurred across the Upper and Lower provinces during August 5-7. The most severely affected region was the northern Waldviertel area of Lower Austria where the river Kamp reached its highest level since records began in 1896 (Associated Press). Rainfall across the mountainous terrain near the German-Czech border locally exceeded 10 inches during the 11th-13th. In the German town of Zinnwald, rainfall during this 48-hour period was 397 mm (15.63 inches) (Czech Hydrometeorological Institute).
The satellite image to the right is a comparison picture of the Elbe River in Germany before and after the heavy rainfall. Click Here for a satellite image showing the Elbe River a year ago compared to present
European Flooding
Click Here for a satellite image of the storm system that brought excessive rains to central Europe
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Widespread flooding affected hundreds of thousands of people across central Europe, as numerous rivers rose above flood stage. The Vltava River burst its banks on the 13th, with river levels at Prague surpassing the record previously set in 1890. In Germany, the Elbe River brought the worst flooding in nearly 150 years to the city of Dresden (Reuters). Flooding continued along the Elbe River and its tributaries during the week of the 19th.
On August 5th, showers and thunderstorms developed along a frontal zone and affected much of Korea. Up to 400 mm (15.8 inches) of rain fell across central South Korea in less than 24 hours. Over 5,000 houses were flooded leaving over 19,000 people homeless, mostly in the capital city of Seoul (Associated Press/OCHA). Click Here for a satellite image of showers and thunderstorms across Korea
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Thunderstorms brought heavy rain and flash flooding to parts of Golestan, Khorasan and Semnan provinces in northeastern Iran on the 10th. The flooding cut road links between the affected areas, washed away numerous bridges and caused at least 35 deaths (OCHA/CIP report).

In Tajikstan, a dam in the Pamir mountains in the eastern part of the country broke on the 7th, flooding the village of Dasht and killing at least 24 people (Associated Press). The dam collapsed as a result of a mudslide due to recent heavy rainfall.

In Vietnam, heavy rains during the 15th-17th caused flooding across northern areas of the country, killing 26 people (Associated Press). In Hanoi, high water levels along the Hong River inundated more than 15,000 homes.

Click Here for a the satellite derived wetness anomalies across southeast Asia during August 2002
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Flooding along the Mekong River in Cambodia displaced nearly 450,000 people and caused 14 deaths (OCHA). On August 25th, the Cambodian Prime Minister declared a "disaster situation" for the country.
Flooding in the Yangtze valley of China threatened Dongting Lake, located in Hunan province in eastern China. Nearly 900,000 people worked to keep the swollen lake from bursting its banks as floodwaters from the Yangtze River brought the lake to dangerously high levels (Reuters). Click Here for a satellite image of swollen Dongting Lake in China's Hunan province
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In eastern Nepal, heavy monsoon rains swept through a mountainous village causing a landslide that resulted in up to 65 fatalities. Seasonal flooding across South Asia (Nepal, India and Bangladesh) has been responsible for over 1,000 deaths since the rainy season began in June (Associated Press).

In the United States, rain and thunderstorms affected parts of eastern Iowa, southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois during the 21st and 22nd, where locally 127-254 mm (5-10 inches) of rain fell. Flooding was reported across the region, including the Chicago, IL metropolitan area. Click Here for radar estimated precipitation amounts in northern Illinois on August 21-22, 2002
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Severe Storms
Click Here for a radar animation depicting thunderstorms across the Northern Plains on August 11, 2002
Radar Animation
Courtesy of UCAR
Severe thunderstorms erupted across the northern plains during the afternoon of the 11th as a frontal system cut across the Dakotas. There were numerous reports of large hail and damaging winds across the region, and winds gusted to 124km/hr (77 mph or 67 knots) at the Sioux Falls, SD airport as the storms pushed through. A tornado also destroyed farm buildings near Medina, ND. Severe thunderstorms affected this same region on the 16th. Additional information on heavy rain and severe weather events in the U.S. is available from the National Precipitation page.

In Algeria, severe thunderstorms during the 21st-28th were responsible for at least 28 deaths (Associated Press).

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Tropical Cyclones
Click Here satellite image of typhoon Rusa
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Typhoon Rusa developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 22nd and became a typhoon by the 24th. Rusa was located near the Japanese island of Amami O Shima on the 29th with maximum sustained winds near 150 km/hr (~80 knots or 90 mph).
Click Here satellite image of typhoon Rusa
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Rusa then recurved northward across the East China Sea before making landfall along the south coast of South Korea on the 31st with maximum sustained winds of 130 km/hr (70 knots or 80 mph). The typhoon was the worst to strike South Korea since 1959, causing 200 deaths and dumping between 300 and 500 mm (11.8 and 19.7 inches) of rain on parts of the country in less than 12 hours (ENS).
Typhoon Phanfone developed in the open waters of the western Pacific Ocean on the 11th, becoming a typhoon on the 13th. Phanfone passed east of Japan during the 19th-20th, disrupting plane, ferry and train services and dumping heavy rainfall near the coast. Click Here satellite image of typhoon Phanfone in the western Pacific
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Tropical depression 18w brought very heavy rains to the Philippines during August 10-14. Flooding was responsible for 22 deaths and the evacuation of 3,500 people from their homes (CIP report). Click Here for a satellite image of tropical depression 18W affecting the Philippines
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Click Here satellite image of tropical depression 20W in the South China Sea
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Tropical storm Vongfong developed in the South China Sea on the 13th and reached tropical storm intensity on the 18th. The storm made landfall along the southeast China coast on the 19th with maximum sustained winds near 95 km/hr (~50 knots or 55 mph) and heavy rains across the southern Guangdong and Guangxi provinces.
Click Here for a radar image depicting rainfall estimates along the Gulf Coast
Radar Estimated Precipitation
Tropical Storm Bertha developed in the northern Gulf of Mexico on the 4th just off the southeast Louisiana coast. The storm made landfall southeast of New Orleans early on the 5th with maximum sustained winds near 65 km/hr (~35 knots or 40 mph). The storm dumped rainfall amounts of 5-10 inches across coastal areas of Louisiana and Mississippi before weakening. Bertha re-emerged over the Gulf of Mexico on the 7th and was reclassified as a tropical depression. Accompanied by heavy rains, Bertha made a second landfall along the Texas coast early on the 9th about 60 miles south of Corpus Christi.
Tropical Storm Cristobal developed off the southeast coast of the United States on the 5th and reached tropical storm intensity on the 6th. The storm was absorbed by a frontal zone as it passed over open Atlantic waters on the 8th. Click Here for a satellite image of Tropical Storm Cristobal
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Click Here for a satellite image of tropical storm Kammuri making landfall in coastal China
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Tropical Storm Kammuri developed on the 2nd in the South China Sea and attained tropical storm status on the 4th. Kammuri came ashore on the 5th in China's Guangdong province, south of Shantou, with maximum sustained winds near 85 km/hr (~45 knots or 50 mph). Flooding rains destroyed two dams which resulted in 10 deaths in the city of Meizhou (Associated Press).

For the latest official advisories and information on tropical systems in the western Pacific, please refer to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. In the central Pacific, the latest information can be obtained from the Central Pacific Hurricane Forecast Center, while the latest advisories on Atlantic and eastern Pacific systems are available from the National Hurricane Center.

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Extratropical Cyclones
A storm system brought heavy rain to much of South Africa during the 15th-19th, as locations along the south and east coasts of Cape of Good Hope province received amounts in excess of 400 mm (15.75 inches). Port Elizabeth recorded 204 mm (8.03 inches) while the city of East London accumulated 415 mm (16.34 inches) of rainfall. Normal rainfall for the entire month of August in this area is generally between 65 and 80 mm (~2.5-3.2 inches). Click Here for a satellite image of a storm system that brought heavy rains across parts of South Africa
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Severe winter weather
A series of winter storms which affected parts of Argentina, Chile and Peru in July continued in early August, as above average snow cover was noted via satellite across much of the Andes Mountains. Heavy snowfall around the 8th prompted Peruvian officials to temporarily close the Inca Trail to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. Click Here for the South American snow cover anomalies map
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References:

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, 78, 2837-2849.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Hazards for August 2002, published online September 2002, retrieved on September 20, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/hazards/2002/8.