Global Hazards - May 2006


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 Thailand depicting areas affected by flooding in late-May 2006
Flooding In Thailand
Global Hazards And Significant Events
May 2006
Three days of heavy rainfall in Thailand produced deadly flooding in the northern part of the country during late May. 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, significant drought extended from the Desert Southwest eastward through the Southern Plains. Exceptional drought classification persisted across Deep South Texas.
Drought Monitor depiction as of May 30, 2006
U.S. Drought Monitor
For comprehensive drought analysis, see the U.S. drought report.
Rainfall anomalies across Africa during March-May 2006
African Rainfall Anomalies
A severe long-term drought continued throughout central Somalia, southeastern Ethiopia and central Kenya. For the latest African analysis and forecast, see the Famine Early Warning System Network.
In India, a heatwave during early May produced temperatures above 40°C (104°F) and resulted in at least 53 fatalities (AFP). Heatwaves are common in May in South Asia before the traditional onset of the rainy season in late May and early June.
Temperature estimates across India on May 8, 2006 at 1200 UTC
India Heatwave
Drought in China threatened the drinking water for nearly 14 million people in the northern part of the country. About 16.3 million hectares (40 million acres) of agriculture land, or more than 12 percent of the nation's total, was affected by drought according to Zhang Zhitong, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters executive director (Associated Press).
Satellite image depicting a wildire over Florida on May 7, 2006
Florida Wildfires
In the United States, pre-wet season dryness exacerbated wildfires in Florida during the first two weeks of May. Debris from fires forced a temporary closure of Interstate Highway 95 from Port Orange to Edgewater (Associated Press). In Florida, the rainy season usually starts around the beginning of June.
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Heavy rainfall and flooding
In the United States, persistent and heavy rainfall during May 10-15 brought historic flooding to New England, described as the worst in 70 years in some areas.
U.S. Precipitation during May 10-18, 2006
United States Rainfall
Heavy rainfall in the northeast United States during May 10-15, 2006
Rainfall In New England
Rainfall accumulations of 300-430 mm (12 to 17 inches) caused massive river flooding and broke numerous records. Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes, and there was at least one flood-related fatality. Flooded rivers, roads and sewer systems raised concerns over the shellfish industry, as offshore shellfish beds were at risk of being polluted by the runoff from the recent heavy rainfall. Some shellfish beds were temporarily closed as a result. (Reuters/Associated Press).
Torrential rainfall in Suriname during early May produced the worst disaster in recent times for the interior of the country, according to the National Coordination Centre for Disaster Control (NCCR). The flooding affected at least 25,000 people, and around 25,000-30,000 square kilometers (9,600-11,600 square miles) of the interior were submerged by water. (IFRC)
Flooding impacts across Suriname during early May 2006
Suriname Flooding
Thailand rainfall anomalies during May 2006
Flooding In Thailand
Three days of heavy rainfall during the latter part of May brought devastating flooding and mudslides to parts of northern Thailand. More than 100 people may have died in flash floods that began at the start of the country's rainy season, which typically lasts until October. The province of Uttaradit was the worst affected. Rail services to northern Thailand were temporarily suspended (BBC News).
Heavy rainfall that began in late April 2006 continued into early May in Guizhou province of southwestern China. The resultant flooding was blamed for 22 deaths and forced the evacuation of 36,900 residents from their homes (AFP).
In Iran, heavy rainfall that began on the 8th produced significant flooding in the northwestern Ardebil province. There were at least 14 fatalities and 700 homes damaged or destroyed by the floodwaters (AFP).
In Tajikistan, heavy rain caused mudslides that killed at least one person and left 30,000 people without water on the 2nd. The largest mudslide occurred about 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of the capital of Dushanbe (AFP).
Severe flooding, prompted by heavy rains, occurred in northern Tanzania's Moshi district near Mount Kilimanjaro in mid-May. Nearly 1,000 houses were submerged by floodwaters, rendering over 19,000 homeless (AFP).
In Cuba, thunderstorms dumped heavy rainfall in Havana, producing flash flooding that killed three people. Nearly 203 mm (8 inches) of rain fell in just two hours late on the 23rd, crippling traffic and flooding tunnels (Reuters).
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Severe Storms
In the United States, severe thunderstorms produced tornadoes that caused three fatalities in north Texas. The deaths occurred northeast of Dallas in Collin County where 26 homes were severely damaged or destroyed. There were ten injuries from the storms that occurred on the evening of the 9th (Reuters).
Radar animation of tornadic thunderstorms affecting Collin County, Texas on the evening of May 9, 2006
Collin County Radar Animation
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Tropical Cyclones
Satellite image of Typhoon Chanchu over the Philippines on May 12, 2006
Typhoon Chanchu
Typhoon Chanchu developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 8th, reaching typhoon intensity by the 10th. The typhoon crossed the Philippines during the 11th-13th and produced torrential rain, with 41 reported deaths and thousands homeless (AFP/Associated Press).
Chanchu emerged into the South China Sea on the 13th and made landfall between Shantou in Guangdong province and Zhangzhou City in Fujian province on the 17th with maximum sustained winds near 140 km/hr (75 knots or 85 mph). There were 29 deaths reported in China (Xinhua). Meanwhile, at least 150 Vietnamese fisherman who were caught at sea by Chanchu were listed as missing, while another 28 were confirmed dead (Associated Press). Chanchu was the strongest typhoon on record to enter the South China Sea in the month of May, according to the Hong Kong Observatory (AFP).
Satellite image of Typhoon Chanchu approaching the southeast China coast on May 17, 2006
Chanchu Nearing China


For 2006 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 May 2006
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Severe winter weather
Satellite image depicting snow cover in the higher mountains of South Africa on May 22, 2006
South Africa/Lesotho Snow
In South Africa, snow fell in higher elevations of the country, with some mountain passes in the Karoo region closed to traffic. Snow also covered the Maluti mountains in neighboring Lesotho on the 22nd. Unseasonably cold weather was observed throughout the region (BBC News).

Citing This Report

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