Global Hazards - February 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
Map of Avalanche-affected area of India
India Avalanches
Global Hazards and Significant Events
February 2005
Heavy snow through the Kashmir region along the India/Pakistan border was responsible for numerous deadly avalanches during February. 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
Wet weather in areas of the western United States which began during November continued through the winter season. This parade of Pacific storm systems ameliorated drought conditions in parts of the region, with areas of the Southwest (including California) receiving some of the most beneficial (but in some cases, excessive) precipitation. Extreme to exceptional drought persisted farther north throughout portions of the northern and central Rockies.
Drought Monitor depiction as of February 22, 2005
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For comprehensive drought analysis, please see the current U.S. drought report.
CAMS precipitation anomaly estimates for December 2004 through February 2005
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Long-term drought continued across areas of the Greater Horn of Africa and southern Africa. Despite recent rains, long-term drought continues in portions of southern Mozambique and adjacent parts of Zimbabwe and South Africa. For the latest African analysis and forecast, see the Famine Early Warning System Network.
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Heavy rainfall and flooding
Flooding rains that affected Guyana in January persisted into early February. In Georgetown, nearly 110 mm (4.3 inches) of rain fell during the first six days of February, which is close to the normal rainfall for the entire month (120 mm or 4.7 inches) (OCHA).
Flood map from the Dartmouth Flood Observatory
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CAMS precipitation anomaly estimates for February 2005 across Australia
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Across Australia, Victoria recorded its highest statewide February rainfall since 1973. Many stations within the state received record 24-rainfall totals on the 2nd-3rd, including 120 mm (4.72 inches) at Melbourne (Australian BOM).
Across Venezuela and Colombia, flooding rains on the 9th struck the mountainous central coast, triggering landslides, destroying homes and washing out roads. There were at least 86 deaths attributed to flooding and landslides, with tens of thousands displaced from their homes (Associated Press).

In Pakistan, heavy rains in the south and snow in the north, triggered flooding and avalanches, killing at least 486 people during the second week of the month. Several dams throughout the country collapsed washing away homes, livestock, and entire villages, leaving thousands homeless. The air force, navy and army rescued hundreds of survivors and provided drinking water and food to many of the devastated villagers (OCHA/Associated Press).

A storm system impacted parts of Arizona on February 12th, causing portions of four highways near the city of Globe, AZ to be closed due to rock slides and flooding. The heavy rain and snowmelt also forced several residents to evacuate their homes as a result of the flooding. No injuries or fatalities were reported.

For an archive of flood events worldwide, see the Dartmouth Flood Observatory.
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Severe Storms
No reports of significant severe weather were received during February 2005.
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Tropical Cyclones
Satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Harvey in Australia's Gulf of Carpentaria February 7, 2005
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Tropical Cyclone Harvey developed in the Gulf of Carpentaria on the 6th, attaining tropical storm strength before moving inland near the Sir Edward Pellew Island Group in Australia's Northern Territory on the 7th. Maximum sustained winds at the time of landfall were near 95 km/hr (50 knots or 60 mph). Heavy rainfall accompanied the cyclone as it weakened quickly on its trek inland.
In the South Pacific, Tropical Cyclone Olaf passed within 97 km (60 miles) of coastal areas of Samoa, American Samoa and the Cook and Manua Islands on February 15-16. Sustained wind speeds of 258 km/hr (140 knots or 160 mph) were reported, with gusts up to 306 km/hr (165 knots or 190 mph), downing power lines, trees and ripping roofs from houses. Heavy rains and high storm surge also impacted the islands, causing coastal flooding and displacing thousands of people. No injuries or fatalities were reported, although American Samoa was declared a disaster area. On the island of Ta'u, nearly every house in the village of Fitiuata was destroyed (Associated Press/Reuters).
Tropical Cyclone Olaf impacting South Pacific Islands
Hurricane Olaf
Satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Percy on March 2, 2005
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Tropical Cyclone Percy developed on the 25th in the South Pacific Ocean, and affected Tokelau on the 26th with maximum sustained winds near 175 km/hr (95 knots or 110 mph). Percy produced widespread damage to the three atolls of Atafu, Nukunonu and Fakaofo. Percy passed through American Samoa and the northern Cook Islands on the 28th, causing widespread damage to Pukapuka on the 28th as maximum sustained winds were near 240 km/hr (130 knots or 150 mph). On Pukapuka (population 600), only 10 houses weathered the cyclone intact, with the remaining structures severely damaged or destroyed (OCHA).
For 2005 basin tropical cyclone statistics, please refer to the following:
Australian Basin
North Indian Ocean Basin
Northwest Pacific Basin
South Pacific Basin
South Indian Ocean Basin
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Extratropical Cyclones
No reports of significant extratropical cyclones were received during February 2005.
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Severe winter weather
Map of heavy snow-affected areas of Tajikstan during early February 2005
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Heavy snow that began January in Tajikstan continued in early February. Significant snowfall accumulations caused roofs to collapse on hospitals, schools and private homes. In mountainous areas of the country, key populated valleys were completely cut off from the rest of the country. In Tavildara, as much as two meters of snow (6.6 feet) had accumulated by February 10. In the Rasht Valley, over a hundred major avalanches affected populated areas, trapping hundreds of vehicles, and killing 9 people (OCHA).
Heavy snow fell in parts of Europe during the first few days of the month, including portions of Austria, Germany, Albania, Bulgaria and Greece. In Bulgaria, authorities declared a state of emergency for eastern regions of the country, as heavy snowfall closed airports and produced 1-meter (~6-feet) drifts that trapped around 100 vehicles near the city of Varna. There were 4 deaths in Bulgaria blamed by the cold and snow (Associated Press).
NCEP Reanalysis temperature anomalies for February 2005 across Europe
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Daily snow cover animation for Asia/Europe for February 2005
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Extremely cold temperatures affected much of the Balkan region for the first half of the month. In Sevlievo, Bulgaria, a 50-year temperature record was broken when temperatures reached as low as -34°C (-29°F). At least 12 fatalities occurred in the region. Hospitals in central Bosnia were closed when heating systems malfunctioned due to -29°C (-20°F) temperatures. The surviving snowbound villagers had to fight off hungry wolves and wild boar searching for food (Reuters).
In the Kashmir region along the India/Pakistan border, snowfall described as the worst in two decades affected parts of the Himalayan region during February 16-20. In India, at least 230 people were killed due to the extreme winter weather (OCHA/Reuters). Snowfall accumulations reached 2 meters (6.6 feet) in some parts of Jammu and Kashmir states in India.
Snow cover across South Asia on February 24, 2005
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In Iran, nearly a week of snowfall occurring during the first half of February brought accumulations of up to 50 cm (20 inches) in the northern parts of the city of Tehran. This was most snow accumulation in the city since 1964.
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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 February 2005, published online March 2005, retrieved on October 23, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/hazards/2005/feb.