Global Hazards - December 2005


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

Precipitation anomaly estimates in Southeast Asia in December 2005
Thailand/Malaysia Flooding
Global Hazards And Significant Events
December 2005
Torrential rainfall in parts of the Malay Peninsula produced flooding in Thailand and Malaysia during mid-December. Additional information can be found below.
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Drought & Heat | Flooding | Storms | Tropical Cyclones | Extratropical Cyclones | Severe Winter Weather
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Drought conditions
Across the United States, lingering areas of moderate to severe drought persisted over parts of the Rockies. More significant drought plagued northern Illinois while exceptional drought classification was noted over parts of the Arklatex region. Grassfires affected areas of Texas and Oklahoma due to the tinder-dry conditions.
Drought Monitor depiction as of December 27, 2005
U.S. Drought Monitor
For comprehensive drought analysis, see the U.S. drought report. For information on wildfires in the U.S. Southern Plains during December, see the Decmber 2005 wildfire season summary page.
Precipitation anomaly estimates across Africa during December 2005
African Rainfall Anomalies
The lack of any significant rainfall across the eastern half of Kenya and southern Somalia has left the region in both a hydrological and an agricultural drought. In eastern Kenya, an estimated 2.5 million people were in need of emergency food and other aid, while in the affected districts, 30 percent of the livestock had died (IFRC). For the latest African analysis and forecast, see the Famine Early Warning System Network.
A heat wave affected eastern Australia during the last 10 days of December, extending to the major coastal cities by the 31st. Melbourne reached 42.9°C (109°F) on December 31, the highest December temperature in the city since 1898. Records for Melbourne begin in 1855. Averaged across Australia, it was the 7th warmest December on record. Additional information is available from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
Temperature anomalies across Australia during December 2005
Australia Temperature Anomalies
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Heavy rainfall and flooding
Heavy amounts of rain associated with the northeast monsoon contributed to significant amounts of flooding across the central Philippines during early December. Flooding affected over 190,000 people, and there were at least 4 deaths in Quezon Province due to landslides (OCHA).
Map of flood-affected areas of the Philippines during early December 2005
Philippines Flooding
Rainfall estimates over Thailand/Malaysia during December 12-19, 2005 from NASA's TRMM satellite
Thailand/Malaysia Flooding
The northeast monsoon also produced extremely heavy rainfall in parts of the Malay Peninsula during mid-December. In Thailand, 52 deaths were attributed to flooding in what was described as the region's worst flooding in nearly 30 years, according to Thailand's Interior Ministry (Associated Press/Reuters). The floods (associated with the heavy seasonal tropical rains) damaged 14 bridges, cut 463 roads and inundated 15,000 hectares (37,000 acres) of agricultural land, including many rubber plantations. In Vietnam, flooding claimed at least 69 lives (Associated Press). Farther south in Malaysia, at least nine people were killed by flooding, and over 17,000 people were driven into relief shelters. (Associated Press/AFP).
In Western Sahara, significant rainfall during late December produced flooding that cut off the main town of Laayoune. Water up to one meter (3.3 feet) deep inundated houses and cut roads in and around the city after several days of heavy rainfall (AFP).
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Severe Storms
An outbreak of severe thunderstorms across portions of the southeast United States on the 28th produced hail, high winds and a few tornadoes. The states of Georgia and Tennessee were the most affected.
Map of severe weather reports in the U.S. on December 28, 2005
U.S. Severe Weather
In northern Mozambique, violent thunderstorms during the last week of December produced strong winds and heavy rainfall. There were two people killed in the town of Nampula, with 12 others hospitalized (AFP).
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Tropical Cyclones
Satellite image Tropical Cyclone Fanoos on December 9, 2005
Cyclone Fanoos
Tropical Cyclone Fanoos developed in the Bay of Bengal on the 6th and moved ashore in southern India in flood-ravaged Tamil Nadu state on 10th. The cyclone peaked with maximum sustained winds near 120 km/hr (65 knots or 75 mph) on the 9th, but weakened prior to landfall. The primary effect from Fanoos was heavy rainfall in southern India, where flooding in October and November had caused considerable socio-economic impact.
While Hurricane Epsilon did not affect land areas, it became the 26th named storm and the unprecedented 14th hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic season. Epsilon was also only the 6th hurricane to ever form in the month of December in the Atlantic Basin.
Satellite image of Hurricane Epsilon on December 4, 2005
Hurricane Epsilon
Satellite image Tropical Storm Zeta on December 30, 2005
Tropical Storm Zeta
Like Epsilon, Tropical Storm Zeta formed in open Atlantic Ocean waters and did not affect land areas. It was the unprecedented 27th named storm of the record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season.


For 2005 basin tropical cyclone statistics, please refer to the following:
Australian Basin
North Indian Ocean Basin
Western North Pacific Basin
South Pacific Basin
South Indian Ocean Basin
Northeast Pacific Ocean Basin
Atlantic Basin
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Extratropical Cyclones
No reports of significant extratropical cyclones were received during December 2005
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Severe winter weather
Asia/Europe snow cover during December 2005
Asia/Europe Snow Cover
The seasonal expansion of Northern Hemisphere snow cover continued in December. By late-month, snow covered much of central and eastern Europe eastward throughout nearly all of Russia, parts of Mongolia and northern China.
Freezing rain and ice pellets fell throughout portions of the southeast U.S. on the 15th. The accumulation of ice caused about 683,000 utilities customers to lose power from northern Georgia northward through the western Carolinas. The power outages were the result of ice accretions of up to 1.9 cm (three-quarter inch) in thickness. The ice storm was blamed for at least 4 deaths (Associated Press). Elsewhere in the United States, snow covered a large area extending from the Rockies eastward through the northern Plains, Great Lakes region and eastward over a large part of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
Accretion of freezing rain in the western Carolinas/northeast Georgia on December 15, 2005
Carolinas Ice Storm
Asia temperature anomalies during December 2005
Asia Temperature Anomalies
In Japan, very heavy snowfall affected parts of the country during December 20-31, where 6 fatalities were blamed on the severe winter weather, with additional fatalities occurring after the end of the month (Reuters). Some of the heaviest snowfall on record for the month of December occurred in parts of the country. An express train derailed in northern Japan on the 25th due to the snow, while in the western prefecture of Fukui, more than 200 cm (78 inches) of snow had accumulated. In the northern prefecture of Niigata, as many as 650,000 homes and businesses suffered snow-related power outages. During December, much of Japan, Korea, China, Mongolia and parts of eastern Russia experienced significantly colder than average temperatures.

Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Hazards for December 2005, published online January 2006, retrieved on August 29, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/hazards/2005/12.