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.
A tropical disturbance brought
heavy thunderstorms to Jamaica during the last 10 days of May,
causing serious flooding across the island and resulting in at
least 7 deaths (IFRC). Damage estimates from the flooding are near
$6 million (USD), with around $1 million in damage to the Jamaican
water supply system (Reuters).
|The dry conditions
were conducive to the proliferation of wildfires, with several
large fires affecting the
southwestern United States and
Alberta and Saskatchewan in Canada. Unusually warm weather
across interior Alaska promoted wildfires which charred more than
20,000 hectares (49,600 acres). High temperatures in McGrath
reached 27°C (80°F) or higher on 4 days during the month
|A severe heat wave
affected much of central and southeastern India during May 9-15
resulted in over 1,000 deaths as daily high temperatures reached as
high as 50°C (122°F) (Associated Press). In neighboring
Pakistan, at least 29 deaths were attributed to the high heat in
the central and southern parts of the country (Press Trust of
India). Monthly mean
temperatures across the region were 1-3°C
(1.8-5.4°F) above a 1988-2001 average.
|The UN Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Program (WFP)
reported at least
10 million people are threatened by famine in Malawi, Zimbabwe,
Lesotho and Swaziland. Ongoing drought in the region was
characterized in Zimbabwe as the longest dry spell in the last 20
In the Greater Horn of Africa, unseasonably dry weather, with
rainfall less than 50% of normal, covered southern Ethiopia and
most of Somalia as the rainy season came to an early halt.
Abnormally dry weather prevailed over much of Tanzania, where
monthly rainfall totaled less than 35% of normal.
Fujian province around 318,000 people and 92,000 head of livestock
are suffering from drinking water shortages (CIP report). In the
Taiwanese capital of Taipei, water services to residential areas
were suspended for one out of every five days (The Straits Times).
The Philippine Department of Agriculture reported that
over 18,000 hectares (40,000 acres) of rice were lost due to
Unusually warm and dry weather promoted hundreds of forest fires
that swept over more than 54,000 hectares (133,000 acres) of the
Russian Far East during the first two weeks of May. The fires
threatened the habitats of endangered animals such as the Amur
tiger and Siberian leopard (ENS news).
affected parts of every state during the period March-April
2002, with some of the most severe drought conditions observed
across parts of eastern Queensland. Rainfall in Brisbane during the
last three months was less than 40% of normal.
rain affected Nicaragua during the last week of May. The
government of Nicaragua issued a state of emergency on May 30th, as
flooding washed out roads and bridges and displaced around 3,000
people from their homes (Associated Press). Some of the worst
flooding was around the capital city of Managua, where the airport
was closed on the 28th due to extensive flooding in the city (CIP
|Heavy rains across the
southern peninsula of Haiti during May 24-26
triggered floods which washed away bridges and roads, eroded
hillsides and destroyed livestock (CIP report). The most affected
areas were the departments of Grand’Anse and Sud where at
least 12 people were killed (OCHA).
click for loop (~2
|Since the April
onset of the rainy season in Kenya, at least
72 people have died due to flooding, mainly in the western part
of the country (AFP). Numerous rivers have flooded, displacing many
from their homes. Some of the worst flooding occurred in the city
of Budulangi located in Nyanza province. Mudslides in the vicinity
of Mount Kenya claimed at least 15 lives (BBC).
|Abnormally wet weather
impacted northern Argentina, Uruguay and extreme southern Brazil
2002 and continued in May. Buenos Aires received more than
double the normal March-May rainfall.
Pakistan News Service reported that at least 14 people were
killed and dozens injured when a severe thunderstorm affected the
Punjab province on the night of May 27th. The
storm caused power failures in the city of Multan, and damaged
mango orchards and cotton crop in Lahore. Winds gusted to over 95
km/hr (~60mph) at the Lahore airport on the evening of the 27th as
the storms moved through.
Rain and thunderstorms which affected Tunisia were
blamed for the crash of an Egyptair jetliner on the 7th as
winds gusted to over 100 km/hr (~60 mph) near the Tunis airport.
The crash was responsible for at least 26 fatalities (CIP
|Tropical Cyclone 01A
developed in the Arabian Sea on the 6th and crossed the southern
coast of Oman on the 10th with maximum sustained winds of 83 km/hr
(45 knots or ~50 mph). The storm brought heavy rains and flooding
to Zufar province, and the coastal city of Salalah received 57.9mm
(2.28 inches) on the 10th. In Salalah, the normal rainfall for the
entire month of May is just 17.1 mm (0.67 inches).
landfall along the northern tip of Madagascar on May 9, with
maximum sustained winds near 110 km/hr (60 knots or 68 mph). The
cyclone trekked slowly south into the interior of the Malagasy
Republic before dissipating. Torrential rains ravaged the northern
half of the country for days after the storm moved inland and
over 40 deaths attributed to flooding (AFP). In the port city
the country's second largest city, May rainfall totaled 1,271 mm
(50 inches). The normal monthly amount is 228 mm (9 inches).
|Tropical Cyclone 02B
developed in the Andaman Sea on the 10th and made landfall along
the southern coast of Myanmar near Rangoon on the 11th with maximum
sustained winds near 83 km/hr (45 knots or ~50 mph). Heavy rains
occurred hundreds of miles inland across areas of northern Laos and
Thailand, with flash flooding reported across mountainous areas of
northern Vietnam during the 12th-14th.
|Alma developed in the
open waters of the eastern Pacific on May 24 and became the first
hurricane in the east Pacific basin during the 2002 hurricane
season on the 28th. Although the hurricane did not impact land
areas, it did reach category-2 strength on the
Saffir-Simpson scale on the 30th.
|A storm system at the
beginning of May brought locally heavy rains and gusty winds to
parts of France, Spain and Belgium.
Northern Hemisphere storm tracks
during the last 30 days are available courtesy of the Climate Diagnostics Center.
|An unusually cold
airmass for late spring across much of Canada promoted a
significant amount of late season
snow cover across interior sections that persisted throughout
much of May, as the mean jet stream
position remained farther south across the United States. Heavy
late season snowfall affected areas as far south as Montana in the
United States during the first week of the month.
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,
Citing This Report
NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Global Hazards for May 2002, published online June 2002, retrieved on October 21, 2016 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/hazards/200205.