precipitation during the winter season alleviated drought
conditions along the immediate West Coast, although severe to
extreme drought classification continued in March throughout the
Intermountain West, the Northern Rockies, and southward into New
For complete drought analysis throughout the United States,
please see the U.S.
regional drought pages.
|A dust storm
originating from the Sahara Desert affected much of Mali,
Mauritania, Algeria, Morocco and Western Sahara during early March.
In Mali, air traffic was disrupted during the 4th-5th at the
Bamako-Senou international airport. In Bamako, visibilities on
March 4 were as low as a few hundred meters (yards) (AFP).
|Long term drought
continued across areas of Africa, including the Greater Horn and
parts of southern Africa (WFP). In Eritrea, it was estimated than
more than half of the population (1.9 million) would require food
aid during 2004 (USAID FEWS).
Drought affected areas of Vietnam during March 2004. In the
northern Son La province some 1,000 families were without clean
water for daily use. In the central highlands province of Gia Lai,
1,600 hectares (4,000 acres) of rice and maize were endangered
|In northwestern Iran,
at least one person was killed as flash floods triggered by
torrential rains swept across parts of the West Azerbaijan province
late on the 7th. The rains produced flooding along the Simineh
Heavy rains in Papua New Guinea produced flooding that swept
away bridges, washed away roads and destroyed hundreds of homes
during the latter half of March 2004. Flooding earlier in the month
prompted the evacuation of more than 10,000 people in the Western
Highlands after heavy rain brought the Waghi River above the flood
In the upper Midwest of the United States, heavy rain produced
flooding in areas of northeastern North Dakota, as well as in parts
of Wisconsin. North Dakota governor John Hoeven declared a flood
emergency for northeastern parts of the state, where Pembina and
Walsh counties were the hardest hit. In Wisconsin, flooding in the
town of Antigo was described as the worst in 40 years. Rainfall
amounts of up to 100 mm (4 inches), combined with snowmelt and
icejams on rivers and streams, exacerbated the flooding problems
For an archive of flood events worldwide, see the
Dartmouth Flood Observatory.
|In the United States,
thunderstorms that moved through Maryland caused the capsizing of a
water taxi with 25 people aboard in Baltimore's inner harbor near
Fort McHenry. Winds gusting to 90 km/hr (50 knots or 55 mph) struck
the area as the thunderstorms moved through the region. Five people
died as a result of the accident (CBS/Associated Press).
In Australia, thunderstorms produced strong winds which gusted
up to 130 km/hr (80 mph) across parts of the east coast of
Queensland as well as the northern part of New South Wales. More
than 70,000 homes were left without power and 3 people were killed
by the storms (AFP).
||Tropical Cyclone Evan
formed in Australia's Gulf of Carpentaria on February 29 and moved
across the island of Groote Eylandt on the 1st and then ashore
along the east coast of the Northern Territory on the 2nd. Maximum
sustained winds were near 75 km/hr (40 knots or 45 mph) as the
cyclone came inland, accompanied by heavy rains.
developed in the South Indian Ocean on the 2nd and struck northern
Madagascar on the 7th. Gafilo came ashore near Antalaha with
maximum sustained winds near 260 km/hr (140 knots or 160 mph). In
Antalaha, 95 percent of the houses were destroyed. The cyclone
moved back over the Mozambique Channel before coming back across
the southern part of the island nation on the 10th. In addition to
the strong winds, torrential rain fell across much of Madagascar,
and there were 300,000 rendered homeless (BBC News/AFP). There were
237 confirmed fatalities on the island, and a Comoran ferry sank
with 113 people aboard with only 3 survivors accounted for
(AFP/IFRC). Gafilo was the strongest tropical cyclone to hit
Madagascar in ten years (IFRC).
in the Timor Sea west of Bathurst Island on the 16th and drifted
westward. The cyclone made
landfall just east of Pardoo in Western Australia on the 27th
with maximum sustained winds near 175 km/hr (95 knots or 110 mph).
Heavy rain accompanied the cyclone well inland as it dissipated
over the interior.
Atlantic Hurricane developed from an extratropical cyclone that
emerged off the coast of Brazil on the 20th. This nearly stationary
non-tropical low pressure system acquired tropical characteristics
into a hurricane by the 26th. The hurricane made landfall along
the southern coast of Brazil in the state of Santa Catarina just
south of the resort town of Laguna early on the 28th. Maximum
sustained winds were estimated between 120-130 km/hr (65 to 70
knots or 75 to 80 mph) with gusts to 155 km/hr (85 knots or 95
mph). The storm left at least three people dead and injured 38,
while more than 2,000 were rendered homeless (Associated Press).
This was the first documented hurricane in the South Atlantic Ocean
since geostationary satellite records began in 1966.
Click For Animation (large loop)
A table containing the
Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index for global tropical
cyclones occurring during the month of March 2004 is available.
No reports of significant extratropical cyclones were received
during March 2004
||In South Korea, a
heavy snowstorm affected the country during March 4-6 and stranded
around 4,000 motorists on highways. The central provinces of North
and South Chungcheong received the heaviest single-day snowfall
since 1904 when the country began collecting weather data
(Reuters). Nearly 60 cm (2 feet of snow) accumulated in some
central areas of the country.
Severe winter weather was blamed for 11 deaths during March 6-7
in Turkey. Avalanches and landslides were blamed for 8 deaths,
while another 3 individuals were killed when an ice floe in
floodwaters destroyed a bridge
|A late-season winter
storm affected the
northern Mid-Atlantic and into the Northeast United States on
the 16th. Snowfall accumulations of 15-25 cm (6-10 inches) were
common across areas of Pennsylvania, New York and into southern New
England. Boston, MA reported just over 18 cm (7 inches) of snowfall
from the storm.
Boston Snowfall On March 16,
For detailed information on snowfall in the United States, see
the U.S. Snow
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,