Global Hazards - June 2002

Please note: Material provided in this report is chosen subjectively and included at the discretion of the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The ability to report on a given event is limited by the amount of information available to NCEI 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
Satellite image depiciting the Rodeo/Chediski fire in eastern New Mexico
Southwest U.S. Wildfires
Global Hazards and Significant Events for June 2002

Large wildfires spread rapidly across parts of the southwestern United States under conditions of severe drought, low humidity, high winds and hot temperatures. The Rodeo/Chediski wildfire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history, burned over 468,000 acres (189,000 hectares) and destroyed 467 homes and businesses (MSNBC). Other large wildfires burned across parts of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and California.

Drought conditions
A heat wave that began in May 2002 across parts of southwest Asia continued in June, with more than 20 deaths reported in Pakistan during the first 3 weeks of the month (CIP report). Daily temperatures exceeded 47°C (117°F) across much of central Pakistan on the 9th. Normal daily maximum temperatures in Pakistan during June generally range between 36 and 43°C (97 and 109°F). Temperatures across Pakistan on June 9, 2002
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Monthly temperatures during June 2002 were 1-3°C (1.8-5.4°F) above a 1988-2002 average across Afghanistan and Pakistan, a region that has experienced drought for the last 4 years. Temperatures across southeast Asia during June 2002
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Nigeria on June 4, 2002
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Across northeastern Nigeria, high heat with daily maximum temperatures over 40°C (104°F) resulted in at least 60 deaths in the city of Maiduguri (UN IRIN) during the first week of June.

The government of Zambia declared the country’s food shortage a natural disaster in early June, as nearly 4 million people face starvation (BBC news). Drought has affected much of southern Africa, including Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Swaziland.

In the United States, drought intensified across parts of the Southeast and West, while beneficial rains eased drought conditions across the Northeast. U.S. Drought Monitor map
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North American wetness map for June 2002
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Locally heavy rainfall brought limited relief to drought-stricken areas of Montana and adjacent areas of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The North American wetness map (as shown in the figure to the left) depicts surface liquid water anomalies as derived from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSMI) aboard NOAA's polar orbiting satellites.
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Heavy rainfall and flooding
Herean infrared satellite image of rain and thunderstorms affecting central india on the 23rd
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The onset of the Indian monsoon season was enhanced by the westward movement of a low pressure system across central and western parts of the country during the 22nd-26th. In the Gujarat region along the west coast of India, rainfall during the 25th-26th totaled 250 mm (9.8 inches) at Ahwa.

Early monsoon rains brought flooding to northeastern areas of India, affecting 30,000 people and flooding the Brahmaputra River (AP). Endangered wildlife such as wild elephants and rhinoceroses were forced out of wildlife preserves making them vulnerable to poaching.

Farther to the east, heavy rains brought flooding to parts of Bangladesh, with thunderstorms affecting the area between the 16th-18th.

Heavy rains along a frontal system brought extensive flooding to parts of southern Russia between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea during the 17th-18th. At least 102 people were killed, with more than 40,000 houses flooded (AP/OCHA). In addition, over 200 bridges and more than 1,500 km (900 miles) of road were damaged in one of the worst natural disasters in the region since the 1930s (BBC News). The worst affected areas include Stavropol, Krasnodar and Chechnya where Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of 12,000 military personnel to deal with the effects of the flooding (ENS). Satellite imagery of a frontal system across southern Russia bringing heavy rain
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Satellite image depicting showers and thunderstorms across interior China
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Flooding that has been characterized as some of the worst in a century affected large portions of central and northern China, including the provinces of Shaanxi, Fujin, Sichuan and Guizhou (ENS). At least 500 people have died in floods, which began in early June in areas around the Yangtze River (AFP). In the worst affected province of Shaanxi, torrential rains from the 8th-10th produced devastating floods which killed 152 people (AFP).
More than 500 mm (20 inches) of rain fell in Fujian province near three tributaries of the Minjiang River, the rivers Jinxi, Shaxi and Futunxi, with the Jinxi surging to its highest level in 200 years (Xinhua). An estimated 36 million people have been affected by the recent flooding in China (ENS). CAMS southeast Asia precipitation estimates
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Flooding that began in May 2002 in Chile continued into early June, with some of the heaviest rains in nearly 80 years affecting central Chile (OCHA). The city of Concepción received 70.6 mm (2.78 inches) of rain during the first 7 days of June.

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Severe Storms

Strong thunderstorms affected a large area of northern Pakistan late on the 23rd, causing structural damage to many houses and resulting in 5 deaths and more than 50 injuries (AP). The deaths occurred in villages near the northwestern city of Peshawar, where many brick and mud houses could not withstand the force of the wind and heavy rain.

Radar composite loop of thunderstorms across the Southern U.S. Plains
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Radar Imagery courtesy of RAP/UCAR
In the United States, a cluster of severe thunderstorms affected the Plains from Kansas southward through parts of Texas on the evening of the 15th. Numerous reports of hail and wind damage were received across the region.
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Tropical Cyclones
Noguri developed in the South China Sea on the 6th and became a typhoon as it moved well east of Taiwan on the 9th. Maximum sustained winds reached 155 km/hr (~85 knots) over open waters before the typhoon weakened as it approached the coast of Japan. Locally heavy rains and gusty winds affected the southeastern coastal areas of Honshu during the 11th-12th as Noguri’s weakened remnants accelerated to the northeast. Satellite image of typhoon Noguri
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Extratropical Cyclones
Satellite image of a storm system bringing locally heavy rains to Yugoslavia
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A slow moving storm system which tracked across western and central Europe during June 5-10 brought locally heavy rains to much of the region. Rain and mudslides affected parts of eastern France and southern Germany during the 6th-7th, flooding houses and roads (AP, CIP report). Farther to the east, rain and thunderstorms affected the Pozarevac region of Yugoslavia which resulted in river flooding that displaced nearly 800 families from their homes (OCHA).

Northern Hemisphere storm tracks during the last 30 days are available courtesy of the Climate Diagnostics Center.

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Severe winter weather
Rain and high elevation snow which affected much of South Africa around June 1st occurred again across northern parts of the country on the 13th-14th as up to 15 cm (6 inches) of snow fell across higher elevations. Moderate to heavy rains were observed across the lower elevations along with much cooler than average temperatures. An upper level trough of low pressure (as depicted by negative 500 millibar height anomalies in the image to the right) was responsible for the cooler, unsettled conditions. 500 millibar heights and anomalies for June 13, 2002 across South Africa
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Unseasonably cool and wet weather characterized conditions across South Africa during the month of June.

South American snow cover anomaly map for June 2002
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Unusually cold temperatures during June promoted above average snow cover across much of southern Argentina and Chile. A storm system which brought heavy rains to lower elevations of central Chile early in the month dumped heavy snow across the Andes Mountains. Significant snow accumulations blocked the main road link between Chile and Argentina on the 3rd (Reuters).
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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 Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Global Hazards for June 2002, published online July 2002, retrieved on January 20, 2018 from