Global Hazards - November 2003


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
Map of flood-affected areas of the Dominican Rebublic by late November Flooding In The Dominican Rebublic (pdf)
Global Hazards and Significant Events
November 2003
Extensive flooding affected areas of the Dominican Rebublic during mid to late November, resulting in fatalities and agricultural losses. Additional information can be found below.

Drought conditions
Severe to extreme drought was widespread throughout much of the western United States. The most concentrated areas of extreme to exceptional drought classification were across the Northern Rockies and parts of New Mexico.  depiction as of November 18, 2003
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Active wildfires on November 6, 2003
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Very dry conditions along with Santa Ana winds created a deadly wildfire emergency across southern California by late October. By early November, more favorable weather conditions allowed firefighters to contain the four major fires that had been burning out of control in late October.
Long term drought continued across areas of Africa, including the Greater Horn and parts of the Southern Africa. Food shortages, caused by a number of factors including drought, affected Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Malawi, Zambia and Lesotho (WFP). In Somalia, drought conditions in the Sool Plateau and Gebi Valley is reportedly the worst in living memory. Cumulative livestock losses have decimated herds, with pack camel mortality rates over 80 percent. Drought has particularly affected Somalia's nomadic inhabitants (OHCA). CAMS Precipitation estimates across Africa during September-November 2003
CAMS Rainfall Estimates
CAMS Precipitation estimates for November 2003 in Australia
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In Australia, rainfall during November was much below average across the eastern half of Queensland and over all of Tasmania. The statewide mean rainfall for November in Tasmania was the lowest on record since 1890 (Australian Bureau of Meteorology). More information can be found in the Bureau's November drought statement.
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Heavy rainfall and flooding
NASA TRMM satellite rainfall estimates from October 31-November 6, 2003
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In Indonesia, torrential rains caused flooding in a resort area near the capital of North Sumatra region, Medan. The flooding caused a large landslide, which affected the town of Bahorok on the 2nd. At least 151 people were killed, and the landslide was blamed partly on illegal logging in the area and the subsequent deforestation (AFP, Associated Press, BBC, OCHA). The flood destroyed dozens of guesthouses, restaurants and homes along the banks of the Bahorok River.

Heavy rains struck the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on the 10th. Flooding was widespread in the city, with water levels reportedly reaching as high as 6 meters (20 feet) in some areas. The flooding claimed 12 lives and injured 50 people (AFP).

Thunderstorms developed in southern California on the afternoon/evening of the 12th and produced torrential downpours across parts of the Los Angeles area. More than 125 mm (5 inches) of rain fell in just 2 hours in southern Los Angeles, producing severe urban flooding. Small hail also accompanied the storms, accumulating several inches deep in some areas of the city. Nearly 115,000 electrical customers lost power as the storms affected the area (Associated Press). California thunderstorms on October 12, 2003
Click for Animation (Courtesy UCAR)

Flooding affected the central Appalachians and Eastern Seaboard on the 19th, with some isolated 8-inch (200mm) rainfall totals across mountainous areas. There were 11 deaths caused by flooding in the region (Associated Press).

NASA TRMM satellite rainfall estimates from November 14-20, 2003
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Heavy rains accentuated by the nearby passage of Typhoon Nepartak in the Gulf of Tonkin produced flooding throughout the central provinces of Vietnam during mid-November. Flooding and landslides claimed 61 lives in Vietnam and inundated over 32,000 houses (OCHA). Significant flooding was also observed in parts of the country last month.
Heavy rains in the Dominican Rebublic which began in mid-November produced significant flooding across northeastern and northwestern areas of the country. Flooding along the rivers Yaque del Nore and Yuna produced flooding that damaged homes, crops, and inundated more than 200,000 hectares (500,000 acres) of farmland. The floods displaced around 12,000 people and resulted in 9 deaths (IFRC). Map of flood-affected areas of the Dominican Rebublic by late November
PDF document

For an archive of flood events worldwide, see the Dartmouth Flood Observatory.

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Severe Storms
In the United States, severe thunderstorms produced a tornado near Darnestown, Maryland in Montgomery county. Wind damage was also reported in parts of northern Virginia and Maryland. November 5, 2003
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Severe thunderstorms and several tornadoes accompanied a strong cold front through the southeastern United States during November 18-19.

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Tropical Cyclones
Visible satellite image of Tropical Storm Melor just east of Taiwan on November 2, 2003
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Typhoon Melor developed in the western Pacific Ocean on October 30th as a tropical depression, reaching typhoon strength the next day. Melor struck the northern Philippines on the 1st, passing over the northern province of Isabela with maximum sustained winds near 140 km/hr (75 knots or 85 mph). The typhoon weakened to tropical storm strength as it passed just east of Taiwan on November 2-3, bringing locally heavy rains and gusty winds to the island.
Typhoon Nepartak developed on the 12th in the Philippine Sea, and tracked through the Gulf of Tonkin during the 17th-18th. Infrared satellite image of Tropical Storm Nepartak on October 13, 2003
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Visible satellite depiction Typhoon Nepartak aggravating flooding conditions in central Vietnam on November 28, 2003
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Nepartak reached maximum sustained winds of 140 km/hr (75 knots or 85 mph) as it skirted the west coast of Hainan on the 18th. Torrential rains produced flooding, especially through adjacent areas of Vietnam. In the Philippines, Nepartak was responsible for 4 deaths and loss of electricity to millions of people DisasterRelief.org
Typhoon Lupit developed on the 19th in the western Pacific Ocean and passed through the Chuuk and Yap islands (Federated States of Micronesia) on the 23rd with maximum sustained winds near 175 km/hr (95 knots or 110 mph). The typhoon damaged or destroyed 200 homes and also damaged crops in northeastern and southern outlying islands (OCHA). Lupit increased in strength as it moved farther away over open ocean waters, finally weakening as it recurved well east of Japan. Satellite image of Typhoon Lupit on November 27, 2003
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Extratropical Cyclones
Visible satellite depiction of a storm system that affected the Northeast United States on November 13, 2003
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A strong storm system that moved across the U.S. Great Lakes and into Quebec during the 12th-13th produced a variety of weather impacts, including
severe thunderstorms
, strong winds and heavy snowfall. Winds gusting to 80-95 km/hr (50-60 mph) across the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic knocked out power to over 200,000 customers in the region (Associated Press). Heavy snows affected areas of southeastern Canada, including Quebec, while snow also fell downwind of the Great Lakes.
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Severe winter weather
While the eastern two-thirds of the United States was experiencing record-breaking warmth during early November, cold temperatures enveloped much of the northern Great Plains and Northern Rockies. Daily temperatures were more than 10°C (18°F) below normal across much of Montana and Wyoming. Temperature departures from normal on November 4, 2003
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Map of 7-day snowfall for the United States during October 30-November 5, 2003
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The first significant snowfall of the 2003-2004 winter season arrived early in November across parts of Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas.

In the U.S. Pacific Northwest, strong winds on the 19th cut electricity service to around 67,000 homes and businesses in Washington and Oregon. The storm brought a rare November snowfall to the Seattle area, after 50mm (2 inches) of rain fell on the 18th (Reuters).

Snow cover increased significantly across areas of Russia/Siberia during October-November, encouraged by below average temperatures across most of central Russia, Mongolia and and Kazakhstan during November 2003. Snow cover animation across Europe and Asia during October-November 2003
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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 November 2003, published online December 2003, retrieved on July 23, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/hazards/2003/nov.