Global Hazards - July 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
a satellite image of severe storms affecting China China Hailstorm
Global Hazards and Significant Events
for July 2002
Violent thunderstorms which developed in the Henan province of central China on the 19th produced egg-sized hail in the city of Zhengzhou. The storms killed at least 25 people and injured 200 (CIP report).
While heavy rains affected parts of northeastern India and neighboring Bangladesh, the remainder of the India had notably drier weather during July. The northwest agricultural states of Haryana, Punjab and Rasthan missed the early season rainfall during June and early July and have experienced drought conditions. On the 24th, the Indian Agricultural Minister characterized drought in the country's breadbasket as the worst in a decade (Associated Press). a time series depicting precipitation anomalies across India since 1900
India Precipitation Anomalies
satellite derived wetness anomalies over Australia
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Drought conditions continued across southeast Australia, with around two-thirds of New South Wales experiencing an extended period of dry weather. On July 18th, the Australian government announced a drought aid package for farmers designed to curtail individual agricultural losses (Associated Press).

Rainfall in Sydney was one-half the normal (48.8 mm or 1.92 inches) July amount. Nationally, it was the fifth driest July since 1890 and the driest since the severe drought of 1982, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Numerous wildfires, sparked by lightning and aided by very dry conditions, burned out of control in parts of northern and central Quebec. Nearly 85 fires were reported, with the largest fire charring more than 400 square miles (100,000 hectares) of forest (AP). The smoke plumes created by the fires were transported into the northeastern United States by the 7th-8th, drastically reducing visibility (see image to the right). a satellite image depicting Canadian fires and smoke over the Northeast US
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temperature departures from normal across the US during July 1-14, 2002
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Hot weather covered much of the United States, including the southern Rockies, the Great Lakes and into the Northeast where daily temperatures were 3 to 7°C (5.4-12.6°F) above normal across much of the region during July 1-5. Daily maximum temperatures exceeded 32°C (90°F) in many areas.

During July 6-14, the hottest temperatures were concentrated across the western United States, where numerous all-time high temperature records were broken. On July 13, Death Valley, CA recorded a high temperature of 127°F (52.8°C) with a low of 100°F (37.8°C), or a mean temperature of 113.5°F (45.3°C). This is the second warmest mean temperature at Death Valley since records began at the current station in 1961.

Under conditions of severe drought, intense heat and low humidity, numerous large wildfires continued to burn across parts of the western United States. An increase in the coverage of showers and thunderstorms across the region during the 10th-16th brought temporary relief to firefighting efforts. a depiction of wildfire locations in the southwestern US on July 5, 2002
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satellite derived wetness anomalies across North America
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Drought in the Canadian prairie provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan adversely affected crop production, where canola, wheat and barley production estimates were revised downward (Resource News International).
Unusually hot weather encompassed much of the Middle East northward into central and western Russia, where weekly temperatures (July 23-29) were between 2 and 6 °C (3.6 to 10.8°F) above a 1988-2002 average. High temperatures reached between 46 and 50°C (115 and 122°F) during the last 10 days of July across much of the Middle East, where daily electricity cuts due to increased air conditioning use were common in Syria, Iraq and Egypt (Associated Press). a map of temperatures across the Middle East on July 25, 2002
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Across Europe, a heatwave affected much of the Balkans during the 14-18th, with high temperatures reaching 40°C (104°F) in parts of Romania and Bulgaria. Normal July maximum temperatures in the region range between 30 and 35°C (86 to 95°F).

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Heavy rainfall and flooding
a satellite derived wetness anomaly map of Europe
Heavy rain that fell over the weekend of the 20th-21st in Romania caused widespread flooding across 10 counties of the country, resulting in 5 deaths (Associated Press). Around 1,500 households and 4,600 hectares (11,300 acres) of farmland were flooded and over 1,000 farm animals drowned from river flooding.
Intense rains on the 14th caused flooding and mudslides in Guatemala that killed at least two people and destroyed dozens of homes (Associated Press). The Polochic River flooded numerous homes in Teleman, which is located about 170 miles northeast of Guatemala City. a satellite image of thunderstorms across Central America and Guatemala
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rainfall estimates in Texas during June 30-July 7, 2002 (inches)
Texas Daily Rainfall Estimates
A slow moving storm system brought very heavy rains to parts of central and southern Texas during June 30-July 6, where locally more than 102 cm (40 inches) fell in some parts of the greater San Antonio area. The Texas Division of Emergency Management estimated that heavy rain and flooding affected 29 counties surrounding San Antonio, resulting in at least 9 deaths (AP). Texas Governor Rick Perry estimated that property damage would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars and President Bush declared 24 counties disaster areas (New York Times).

In the interior Xinjiang province of China, 11 people were killed by floods which occurred during the 21st-28th. Flooding rains across southeast China's Guangdong province affected around 31,000 people and were responsible for at least 9 deaths during the week of the 15th-21st. Farther east in the Philippines, flooding during the same period resulted in 65 deaths and the destruction of nearly 2,000 houses (CIP report).

Dongting Lake, one of China's largest freshwater lakes located in the central province of Hunan, threatened the homes of more than 1 million people (AP). Heavy rainfall in June brought the lake level to 32 meters (105 feet) in early July which is considered the warning level for the introduction of flood prevention measures. The lake, which covers 2,700 square kilometers (1,080 square miles), empties into the Yangtze River and flows past some of China's biggest cities and most heavily populated agricultural areas. Floods in June killed 53 people in Hunan province (Xinhua).

Heavy monsoon rains brought flooding to parts of northeast India, where nearly 300 people have died since the rains began in late June. In neighboring Bangladesh, 123 people died and up to 5 million people were affected as nearly 20 percent of country was inundated by flooding during July (Associated Press/OCHA). CAMS precipitation anomalies for July 2002
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Nepal's interior ministry reported the number of fatalities had reached 269, as flooding and mudslides ravaged eastern parts of the country in an unusually strong monsoonal rainfall pattern (Associated Press).

a wetness anomaly map for South America
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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared a state of emergency on the 26th for 5 states affected by flooding. The city of Guasdualito, located about 560 km (375 miles) southwest of Caracas, Venezuala, was hardest hit with about 7,000 residents of the town relocated to emergency shelters (Associated Press).
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Severe Storms

Heavy thunderstorms affected eastern Spain on the 1st, dumping up to 127 mm (5 inches) of rain on Valencia, where the normal monthly July rainfall is just 16mm (0.63 inches).

Thunderstorms along a cold front raced across Germany on the 10th, producing winds gusting to 105 km/hr (56 knots or 65 mph) in Berlin. The storms were responsible for at least 2 deaths (Associated Press). a satellite image depicting severe thunderstorms crossing Germany on July 10, 2002
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Strong thunderstorms affected parts of Turkey on the 23rd with 18 deaths caused by severe weather and 5 of those fatalities attributed to lightning (Associated Press).

In the United States, thunderstorms erupted across Arizona on the afternoon of July 15, affecting the metropolitan Phoenix area during the evening. Damage was reported at the Phoenix airport, when winds up to 80 km/hr (50 mph) damaged parked planes and caused flight delays. Up to 51mm (2 inches) of rain fell in 90 minutes as the storms pushed through the area.

severe storm reports courtesy of the Storm Prediction Center
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A very warm, moist and unstable air mass promoted strong thunderstorms during July 1-4 across the Southeast states. There were numerous reports of hail and wind damage from thunderstorms that erupted during the afternoon and evening hours.
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Tropical Cyclones
Douglas developed off the west coast of Mexico on the 20th and remained offshore during its lifecycle. Maximum sustained wind speeds with the hurricane peaked at 165 km/hr (~90 knots or 105 mph) on the 22nd. a satellite image of Hurricane Douglas
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a satellite image of Hurricane Elida in the open waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean
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Elida developed on the 23rd and rapidly strengthened into a hurricane by the 24th while tracking over open eastern Pacific waters. The storm reached maximum intensity on the 24th when maximum sustained winds were near 250 km/hr (~135 knots or 155 mph).
Arthur developed off the southeast coast of the United States and became the first named tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season on the 15th. The storm moved north and skirted across Newfoundland in eastern Canada along with gusty winds and heavy rain on the 16th. a satellite image of Tropical Storm Arthur
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a satellite image of typhoon Fengshen and tropical storm Fung Wong in the open waters of the western Pacific Ocean
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Fengshen developed on the 14th and rapidly strengthened into a typhoon on the 15th while tracking over open Pacific waters. The storm reached maximum intensity on the 21st at sea when maximum sustained winds were near 270 km/hr (~145 knots or 165 mph). The typhoon weakened into a tropical storm and affected the Japanese islands of Tanegashima and Yaku Jima on the 25th with heavy rain and winds gusting over 90 km/hr (50 knots or 55 mph). Fengshen dissipated as it crossed into northeastern China on the 27th.

Fung-Wong developed on the 21st and remained over open Pacific waters, becoming a minimal typhoon on the 23rd. Fung-Wong weakened below typhoon strength by the 25th, with maximum sustained winds near 90 km/hr (~50 knots or 55 mph). The storm weakened into a depression and dissipated across southern Kyushu in Japan on the 27th. Farther west, tropical depression 13W crossed over the Philippines bringing heavy rainfall during July 18-22.

Halong originated across Micronesia on July 7th, became a typhoon on the 9th and passed just south of Guam on the 10th, producing heavy rains and winds gusting to 70 km/hr (~40 knots or 45 mph) on the island. Halong weakened into a tropical storm before crossing the island of Honshu on Japan on the 16th with maximum sustained winds near 75 km/hr (40 knots or 45 mph). The storm forced hundreds of schools to close in Tokyo, seriously disrupted transportation and caused power outages to over 23,000 households (Associated Press). a satellite image of typhoon Halong passing just south of Guam
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a satellite image of tropical storm Nakri affecting Taiwan
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Tropical Storm Nakri developed in the Formosa Strait between Taiwan and coastal China on the 9th. Nakri tracked slowly across the northern part of Taiwan on the 10th, with torrential rains and winds gusting to 85 km/hr (~45 knots or 50 mph).
Chataan developed in the central Pacific over the eastern Caroline Islands at the end of June 2002. The tropical storm affected Chuuk State of the Federated States of Micronesia during July 1-2, bringing heavy rains and landslides and resulting in at least 47 deaths (OCHA). Chataan attained typhoon status on the 4th and crossed Guam early on July 5th (local time), dumping over 20 cm (8 inches) of rain and producing wind gusts over 165 km/hr (~90 knots or ~100 mph). The typhoon tracked close enough to the Philippines to cause heavy rainfall and flooding, which claimed 30 lives (AFP). Chataan weakened below typhoon strength as it tracked along the east coast of Japan on the 10th-11th, producing heavy rain and gusty winds over 85 km/hr (~45 knots or 50 mph). a radar composite loop of typhoon Chataan approaching Guam
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Radar Imagery courtesy of RAP/UCAR
a satellite image of typhoon Rammasun
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Rammasun developed near the Yap Islands in the western Pacific on June 28 and attained typhoon strength by July 1 as it crossed the Philippine Sea. The typhoon reached peak intensity over the East China Sea during the 3rd-4th with maximum sustained winds near 200 km/hr (~110 knots or 125 mph). The storm lashed coastal China with flooding rains, resulting in at least 6 deaths (AFP). Rammasun weakened into a tropical storm before making landfall in South Korea late on the 5th.
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Extratropical Cyclones
a satellite image depicting snow cover across parts of South Africa and Lesotho on July 22, 2002
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A storm system that affected much of South Africa during July 15-21 brought heavy amounts of rain to the lower elevations with snow across higher elevations of the eastern Cape of Good Hope province and eastern Lesotho. The adverse weather conditions were responsible for 17 deaths (South African Weather Service).
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Severe winter weather
A series of winter storms affected southeast Peru and parts of southwestern Bolivia during July. In Peru, a state of emergency was declared on the 13th, where snow and freezing weather were responsible for the deaths of 59 people and thousands of livestock (OCHA/Associated Press). Across the Bolivian department of Potosi, the cold, snowy weather resulted in 4 deaths with cattle losses as high as 50 percent (OCHA). South American snow cover anomalies map
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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 July 2002, published online August 2002, retrieved on January 18, 2018 from