Global Hazards - October 2004

Global Focus
Satellite image of Typhoon Tokage affecting Japan on October 20, 2004
Typhoon Tokage Over Japan
Global Hazards And Significant Events
October 2004
Typhoon Tokage was the tenth typhoon to strike Japan this year, which is a new record for the number of landfalling typhoons in a single season for the country. Additional information can be found below.

Drought conditions
In the United States, severe to exceptional long-term drought continued throughout much of the Intermountain West, with the worst-affected areas in parts of eastern Idaho, northeastern Wyoming and adjacent areas of Montana. In Nebraska, the Platte River near Columbus was dry at the beginning of the month. Click Here for the Drought Monitor depiction as of October 19, 2004
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For comprehensive drought analysis, please see the current U.S. drought report.

Precipitation anomaly estimates for Africa during October 2004
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Significant rains fell in early October in the Sool Plateau of northern Somalia. However, four years of long-term drought continued to have devastating effects. In southeastern Kenya, two-year rainfall has been near half of normal. For the latest African analysis and forecast, see the Famine Early Warning System Network.
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Heavy rainfall and flooding
In South Asia, heavy rains during October 8-10 brought major flooding to India's northeastern state of Assam, neighboring areas of Bangladesh and Nepal. Flash flooding and mudslides claimed 133 lives in Assam and West Bengal states in India, 39 in Bangladesh and 5 in Nepal (Associated Press). Thousands of livestock were also lost to the flooding. Map of flood-affected areas worldwide by early October from the Dartmouth Flood Observatory
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Heavy precipitation on October 19, 2004 in California
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In the United States, the first significant storm system of the season for California brought heavy snowfall to the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and heavy rainfall and mudslides to much of the state on the 19th. Rainfall amounts in the 25-100 mm (1 to 4 inch) range were common, with some record daily amounts reported.
On Oahu in Hawaii, thunderstorms deposited exceptionally heavy rain on the Manoa Valley near Waikiki on the 30th. Ten inches (254 mm) of rain fell at the Manoa Arboretum in just 12 hours, producing flooding that rushed through the University of Hawaii's main research library. The flooding destroyed irreplaceable documents and books, and forced a few students to break a window to escape. Hawaii governor Linda Lingle declared the Manoa Valley a state disaster area (Associated Press). Flooding temporarily closed the University of Hawaii's Hamilton Library
Hamilton Library On The U.H. Campus

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

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Severe Storms
Severe thunderstorms erupted in the U.S. Tennessee Valley region on the 18th, resulting in 28 reports of tornadoes in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Alabama. There were three fatalities in southeastern Missouri near the town of Cooter, while at least 118 buildings were damaged and 15 people injured in Arkansas from the storms (Associated Press). Severe weather reports in the United States from the Storm Prediction Center on October 18, 2004
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Tropical Cyclones
Radar image of Tropical Storm Matthew near the time of landfall in Lousiana on October 10, 2004
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Tropical Storm Matthew developed in the western Gulf of Mexico on the 8th and crossed the coast near Houma, Louisiana on the 10th with maximum sustained winds near 65 km/hr (35 knots or 40 mph). The primary impact from Matthew was the heavy rainfall that accompanied the storm.
Typhoon Ma-on developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 4th, reaching typhoon intensity by the 6th. Ma-on made landfall along the east coast of Japan on the 9th, with maximum sustained winds near 165 km/hr (90 knots or 105 mph). This was the strongest typhoon to strike this part of Japan and the greater Tokyo area in 10 years, and the ninth typhoon to affect Japan this season. There were six fatalities (Reuters). Satellite image of Typhoon Ma-on
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Satellite image of Typhoon Tokage on October 19, 2004
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Typhoon Tokage developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 12th, passing through the Northern Mariana Islands and reaching typhoon strength by the 13th. Tokage reached Okinawa on the 19th with maximum sustained winds near 150 km/hr (80 knots or 90 mph), and crossed directly over Japan during the 19th-21st. The typhoon's large diameter (over 480 km or 300 miles) brought strong winds and heavy rainfall to nearly all of the Japanese islands, producing significant flooding and wind damage. Tokage also produced a record eight-story high wave (24 meters or 80 feet) off the port of Muroto on the southern island of Shikoku on the 20th. This was the highest wave recorded in the country since the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport started monitoring wave heights in 1970 (AFP). There were 79 fatalities from Tokage, making it the deadliest typhoon for Japan since October 1979 when 115 people were killed or presumed dead (AFP). Tokage is the tenth typhoon this year to hit Japan, which is a new record for the most typhoons in a single season. The old record was 6 set in 1990. Records began in 1951 (Reuters/Associated Press).
Typhoon Nock-ten developed in the western Pacific Ocean on the 16th, reaching typhoon intensity by the 18th. Nock-ten skirted the northeast coast of Taiwan on the 25th with maximum sustained winds near 205 km/hr (110 knots or 125 mph). There were four deaths attributed to flooding, with at least 100 injuries, mostly caused by flying debris (AFP). The typhoon weakened and dissipated as it moved over the East China Sea. Satellite image of Typhoon Nock-ten off the northeast coast of Taiwan on October 25, 2004
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A table containing the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index for global tropical cyclones occurring during the month of October 2004 is available.

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Extratropical Cyclones
Satellite animation of an extratropical cyclone that affected parts of Europe during October 8-9, 2004
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A powerful storm system affected portions of western Europe during October 8-9, 2004. In Portugal, power was disrupted for many residents in central and northern parts of the country as winds gusted over 100 km/hr (60 mph). The winds damaged at least 40 percent of the 300 hectares (740 acres) of greenhouses that exist in central Portugal. There was one reported fatality that was attributed to the strong winds (AFP).
Another strong storm system affected the United Kingdom around October 27 with strong winds and heavy rainfall. Across Ireland, winds gusted over 110 km/hr (70 mph) and heavy rainfall produced flooding. The River Lee reached the highest level since 1962, producing significant flooding in the southwestern city of Cork (Associated Press). Satellite image of a strong storm system that battered western Europe on October 27, 2004
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Severe winter weather
Snow fell across much of the Canadian grain-belt during mid-October, effectively ending the growing season in many parts of the prairie provinces. As much as 18 cm (7 inches) of snow covered fields in northern Alberta, with 15 cm (6 inches) at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan during the 17th-18th (Reuters). Snow cover (depicted in white) across Canada on October 21, 2004
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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 October 2004, published online November 2004, retrieved on September 17, 2019 from