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.
|Throughout much of the
western United States, severe to extreme drought was widespread.
The most concentrated areas of extreme to exceptional drought
classification were across the Northern Rockies.
Additional information regarding drought conditions across the
United States can be found in the October drought
||Very dry conditions
along with Santa Ana
winds created a deadly wildfire emergency across southern
California by late in the month. More than 13,000 firefighters
fought blazes across San Diego, Los Angeles, San Bernadino and
Ventura counties (CNN).
|As of October 30, the
fires had destroyed at least 2,400 homes, charred more than 475,000
acres (190,000 hectares) and killed 20 people (CNN). The California
governor's office estimated that fire damage was approaching $2
billion (USD). The Cedar Fire, located in San Diego county, grew to
a size of 250,000 acres (101,000 hectares) by the 29th, making it
the largest brush fire in the state since 1932 (California Dept of
continued across much of the Greater Horn of Africa in October,
where September 2003 precipitation was around half of normal across
parts of Ethiopia.
Across Tanzania, drought caused livestock prices to tumble while
maize prices rose steadily since August 2003. Food shortages have
been caused by below normal rainfall during the 2002/2003
agricultural season (WFP).
For the latest weekly weather impacts summary and forecast, see
Weather Hazards Assessment from the Climate Prediction Center.
|A storm system aided
by a powerful Pacific
jet stream brought heavy rains and flooding to areas of
Washington and British Columbia during mid October. Numerous daily rainfall
records were broken across western Washington on October 20-21.
The 21st was the wettest day in Seattle weather history (since
1891), with 128 mm / 5.02 inches. Washington governor Gary Locke
declared a state of emergency for 7 counties as 10 rivers in the
state went above the flood stage. In British Columbia, rainfall was
described as the heaviest in 100 years, with around 500 mm (16
inches) of rain in the Pemberton and Squamish region. Flooding
displaced hundreds of people and resulted in 2 deaths in British
thunderstorms brought flooding to Algiers, the capital of Algeria
during the 14-17th. At least thirteen people were swept away and
killed by flood waters, with most of the fatalities occurring in
the cities of Saida and Assa (AFP/Reuters).
In Haiti, heavy rains during the 5th-6th in the capital city of
Port-au-Prince triggered landslides that collapsed homes in four
neighborhoods. The flooding was responsible for at least 13 deaths
In northern China, flooding along the Yellow and Wei Rivers
forced the evacuation of 238,000 people in the northern province of
Shaanxi. In east China's Shandong province, dike breaks along the
Yellow River forced 11,000 people to be relocated (AFP). Flooding
was also observed in Henan province, with a combined death toll of
36 people in Henan and Shaanxi provinces by mid-month (AFP).
in Malaysia's northern states on the 6th displaced 25,000
people from their homes and resulted in 2 deaths. In Sumatra,
Indonesia, a landslide following heavy rain killed 5 people on the
In Vietnam, flooding
and landslides in the central part of the country claimed 44
lives (AFP). Tens of thousands of homes were submerged and
thousands of hectares of crops washed away from flooding that
affected Binh Dinh and Quang Nam provinces during October
For an archive of flood events worldwide, see the Dartmouth
accompanying a strong cold front produced scattered wind damage in
areas of the U.S. Mid-Atlantic region on the 14th.
developed in the southern Gulf of Mexico on the 1st and trekked
slowly southward into the Bay of Campeche, making landfall just
east of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico on the 5th with maximum sustained
winds near 85 km/hr (45 knots or 50 mph). Larry brought heavy rain
to areas of Tabasco and Veracruz states, and prompted the temporary
closure of two oil export ports of Dos Bocas and Pajaritos
||Hurricane Olaf formed as a
tropical depression on the 3rd in the eastern Pacific Ocean south
of Acapulco, Mexico. Olaf peaked with maximum sustained winds near
120 km/hr (65 knots or 75 mph) before weakening prior to landfall.
Olaf crossed into Mexico near Manzanillo as a 95 km/hr (50 knots or
60 mph) tropical storm on the 7th.
|Hurricane Nora developed as a
tropical depression in the eastern Pacific Ocean on the 1st. Nora
reached maximum intensity over open waters on the 4th with maximum
sustained winds near 165 km/hr (90 knots or 100 mph). Nora weakened
to a depression before moving inland early on the 9th near
in the Gulf of Thailand on the 23rd and crossed the Malay Peninsula
on the 24th as a tropical depression. The cyclone brought train
traffic and other transportation to a halt and forced the
evacuation of more than 700 people across southern Thailand.
Thousands of people were affected by torrential rains, and two
fishing vessels were capsized in the Gulf of Thailand on the 22nd
as the storm was in its developmental stages. The cyclone moved
westward and crossed the Bay of Bengal, making landfall in eastern
India on the 28th.
||A strong low pressure
system brought showers, thunderstorms and strong winds to much of
the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region of the United States on
October 15. In Maine, gusty winds knocked down trees and power
lines which left about 110,000 homes and businesses without power.
Farther south, thousands of residents in Massachusetts, New Jersey
and Pennsylvania also lost electricity. Wind gusts of 80-115 km/hr
(50-70 mph) were reported in parts of the area. (Associated
affected the west coast of Finland during October 19-20. Across the
southern and western parts of the country, temperatures fell to
-9°C (16°F). According to statistics from the Finnish
Meterological Institute, October temperatures fall this low only 5
times every 100 years (Helsingin Sanomat).
||A cold outbreak across
parts of Europe brought record cold temperatures to parts of
southern Germany on the 25th. Temperatures in the Bavarian town of
Oberstdorf fell to -12°C (10°F), or the coldest October
temperature since 1936. Snowfall in parts of the Bavarian region
accumulated to 20 cm (8 inches) (AFP).
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,
Citing This Report
NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Global Hazards for October 2003, published online November 2003, retrieved on October 17, 2017 from https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/hazards/200310.