Global Hazards - January 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
Photograph of heavy snowfalling near Taunton, MA on January 23, 2005
Heavy Snow In Taunton, MA On January 23
Global Hazards and Significant Events
January 2005
A major winter storm brought crippling accumulations of snow to parts of the northeastern United States during January 22-23. 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 into January. 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. Click Here for the Drought Monitor depiction as of February 1, 2005
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For comprehensive drought analysis, please see the current U.S. drought report.

CAMS precipitation anomaly estimates across Africa during January 2005
CAMS Precipitation Anomalies
Long-term drought continued across areas of the Greater Horn of Africa. Lake Victoria water levels remained near the 10-year low, reducing floods downstream across parts of the upper Nile, as well as the availability of fish and water lilies. Lighter than normal seasonal rains in central Darfur in Sudan and adjacent parts of Chad reduced water supplies and stressed pastures (FEWS). Farther to the south through portions of Tanzania, Mozambique, southern Kenya and adjacent areas of northern Madagascar, monthly precipitation was 50-100 mm (1.96-3.94 inches) below average during January.
In Australia, rainfall was much below average in January through much of the country, particularly in the west. For the nation as a whole, it was the driest January since 1994 (Australian Bureau of Meteorology). Click Here for the CAMS precipitation anomaly estimates across Australia for January 2005
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Heavy rainfall and flooding
Flood map from the Dartmouth Flood Observatory
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In areas of Sri Lanka and Indonesia that were devastated by the December 26th tsunami, heavy rains during early January hampered rescue and relief efforts. Locally, rainfall on the order of 300 mm (12 inches) produced flooding in parts of Sumatra and southeastern sections of Sri Lanka during December 28-January 5.
Additional rains caused flooding en route to the tsunami-ravaged Indonesian city of Banda Aceh on the 19th. Flooded roadways delayed relief convoys from delivering needed food and medical supplies to the city (AFP). Before and after satellite imagery of the coastline of western Sumatra
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Flood map from the Dartmouth Flood Observatory
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Across Central America, three days of heavy rains in Costa Rica caused flooding that was responsible for 7 deaths by the 11th (IFRC). Significant rainfall in the Limon province caused several rivers to overflow, displacing more than 35,000 people. In neighboring Panama, civil defense workers had evacuated 5,000 people, with several helicopter rescues from rooftops (Associated Press).
In the United States, an onslaught of Pacific storm systems affected the southern West Coast. These brought exceptionally heavy rainfall to coastal and lower elevation locations, while several feet of snow accumulated in the California Cascades and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges. Landslide near La Conchita, California on January 10, 2005
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Severe weather reports on January 13, 2004
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Resulting from the rainfall associated with these Pacific storms, a deadly mudslide near La Conchita, California on January 10 claimed 10 lives. For complete details on the impacts of heavy precipitation throughout the western U.S., see the special storm summary page.

In Canada, heavy rain produced a mudslide in North Vancouver, British Columbia during the early morning of the 19th. At least one person was killed, and another seriously injured (Reuters). Vancouver received more than 130 mm (5.2 inches) of rain in the three-day period preceding the landslide.

TRMM precipitation estimates during December 24, 2004-January 20 2005
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In Guyana, heavy rainfall throughout much of January produced flooding that displaced thousands of people. In the capital city of Georgetown, it was estimated that two-thirds of the city had been flooded, affecting 120,000 people (OCHA).

In Saudi Arabia, heavy rains produced some of the worst flooding in 20 years in the city of Medina. The rainfall caused a dam to collapse, isolating many villages and forcing many residents from their homes. Eight people were killed by floodwaters on the 24th (BBC News).

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

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Severe Storms
Severe weather reports on January 13, 2004
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In the United States, a line of severe thunderstorms preceding a strong cold front brought wind damage and a few tornadoes to parts of the Deep South and Southeast on the 13th. A tornado in Laurens, South Carolina produced damage to frame structures, and was responsible for igniting a large industrial fire (NOAA/NWS). The tornado was rated as F2 intensity on the Fujita Tornado Scale.
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Tropical Cyclones
Tropical Cyclone Kerry developed in the South Pacific Ocean on January 5. The storm crossed over the northern islands of Vanuatu on the 7th with maximum sustained winds near 65 km/hr (40 mph). Kerry strengthened south of Vanuatu, before finally dissipating over open South Pacific waters on the 12th. Satellite image of Tropical Storm Kerry east of Vanuatu on January 6, 2005
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Satellite image of Tropical Storm Ernest in the Mozambique Channel on January 20, 2005
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Tropical Cyclone Ernest developed in the Mozambique Channel between Madagascar and the coast of Mozambique on the 20th. The cyclone reached the coast of southern Madagascar on the 23rd, with maximum sustained winds at the time of landfall near 100 km/hr (60 mph). There were at least 17 fatalities, with the southern city of Tulear inundated by severe flooding (Reuters/AFP).

Tropical Cyclone Raymond developed on January 1 in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Western Australia. Raymond tracked inland over extreme northern Western Australia near Kuri Bay with maximum sustained winds near 85 km/hr (50 mph). Locally heavy rain accompanied the cyclone as it weakened quickly upon landfall on the 3rd.

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Extratropical Cyclones
A powerful storm system brought strong winds to the United Kingdom on the 12th. Across Northern Ireland and Scotland, winds gusted as high as 200 km/hr (125 mph), producing 60,000 power outages. Three fatalities were blamed on the storm system (Reuters). Satellite image of a storm system affecting the United Kingdom on January 12, 2005
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Severe winter weather
Photograph of an ice storm in Wichita, KS on January 5, 2005
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A significant winter storm which brought heavy snowfall to areas of the Intermountain West produced more wintry weather as it moved into the U.S. Great Plains and eventually into the Northeast by the 6th. While a significant ice storm affected areas of Kansas and Missouri, heavy snow fell in areas of Nebraska, Iowa and into northern Illinois. Local snowfall accumulations exceeded 15 cm (6 inches). The snow and ice spread into the Northeast corridor of the United States by the 6th.
A burst of snow that deposited 2.5-7.6 cm (1-3 inches) of accumulation in the Piedmont of North Carolina and Virginia on the 19th produced gridlock on area roadways. Traffic jams in the Raleigh-Durham area occurred around rush hour, and stranded more than 3,000 pupils overnight at area schools (Associated Press). Map of snowfall accumulations in North Carolina on January 19, 2005
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Snow accumulations in southern New England from The Blizzard of 2005
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A major winter snowstorm, referred to as the "Blizzard of 2005", affected the metropolitan areas of the Northeastern United States during January 22-23. Snowfall accumulations exceeding one foot covered much of southern New England in the storm's aftermath, with well over two feet in some areas of Massachusetts. Strong winds created blizzard conditions with low visibilities and considerable blowing and drifting of snow. By the 27th, month-to-date snowfall at the Boston Logan International Airport totaled 43.1 inches, making January the snowiest month on record. The same storm system deposited heavy accumulations of snow on Halifax, Nova Scotia and much of Atlantic Canada, canceling most flights on the 23rd (Reuters). Additional information on this event may be found on the Northern Hemisphere Snow and Ice page.

In the United States, a significant ice storm struck parts of northern Georgia on the 30th-31st. Ice accretion was as great as 2 inches in Monroe county, located southeast of Atlanta. Power outages in the area at the height of the storm affected nearly 320,000 homes and businesses (Associated Press).

In Algeria, a winter storm deposited the heaviest snowfall since 1950 on the 27th (Algiers Meteorological Services). The snowstorm paralyzed the capital city of Algiers and more than a third of the country. More than 100 roads were closed, and the severe winter weather was blamed on 13 deaths (Reuters/BBC News). Northward across the Balearic Islands in the western Mediterranean, snow fell for the first time in decades, with 8 cm (3 inches) of snow at Mahon on Menora on the 26th (BBC News).

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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 January 2005, published online February 2005, retrieved on August 2, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/hazards/2005/jan.