Here is a partial list of extreme weather events from 2005. Check back soon for an updated list. Please email Erik (erik@erikgehring.com) with additions/corrections.

“The model scenarios used in the National Assessment project that the continuing growth in greenhouse gas emissions is likely to lead to annual average warming over the United States as much as several degrees Celsius (roughly 3-9 degrees F) during the 21st century.  In addition, both precipitation and evaporation are projected to increase, and occurrences of unusual warmth and extreme wet and dry conditions are expected to become more frequent.”

U.S. Climate Action Report 2002

 

“Intensity of rainfall events increases.  There is a general drying of the mid-continental areas during summer.  There are more frequent extreme high maximum temperatures and less frequent low minimum temperatures.”

Climate Change 2001 – The Scientific Basis from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

 

01/06/05

‘Another Wet Weekend Is In Store for Southland’ – Los Angeles Times p. B1

Subtitle ‘Up to 20 inches of rain is expected in some areas, raising concerns over mudslides and floods.’

 

01/09/05

‘Deadly Snowstorms in West Close Roads and Strand Motorists’ – New York Times p. A14

“Another series of storms struck California on Saturday, leaving five people dead, stranding as many as 200 vehicles in deep snow in the San Bernardino Mountains and closing major highways over the Sierra Nevada.  … Up to four feet of snow fell overnight around Lake Tahoe.”

 

01/10/05

‘Storms Take a Heavy Toll Across the Nation’ - New York Times p. A11

Sidebar ‘Overflowing rivers in the East, mudslides in the West’

“Wicked weather across the United States was blamed for several deaths over the weekend from Southern California to Pennsylvania. …  In parts of western and northern Ohio, about 66,000 people remained without electricity on Sunday.  In Pennsylvania, the number was about 37,000.  …  In Nevada, officials in Reno, which was lashed by a severe storm on Dec. 30, closed the airport for a second time in two weeks and only the third time in 40 years.”

 

01/12/05

‘Rescue Crews Hunt For Evidence of Life Beneath a Mudslide’ – New York Times front page

“The collapse of the hillside [in La Conchita, CA] was a deadly coda to five days of merciless rains across Southern California that have left 20 dead and driven thousands from their homes under threat of floods and mudslides.”

 

01/12/05

‘Wake the Bears and Hit the Pool; It’s Springtime in Europe’ – New York Times (per AP) p. A3

“Some brown bears in parts of the Czech Republic and Slovakia awoke from hibernation, and one species of bird that usually does not start singing until late February was already heard in the eastern Beskydy Mountains.  Flamingos at a zoo in Jihlava, 75 miles southeast of Prague, were building nests, something they do not do until April.”

 

01/15/05

‘Flooded Midwest Braces for More Storms’ – New York Times

“Five Mid-western states where flooding has killed 11 people and forced thousands from their homes were bracing for worse this weekend, as the storm that caused mudslides in California continued its march east on Friday.”

 

01/24/05

‘Winter Whopper Buries Region’ – Boston Globe, front page

“The Blizzard of 2005 delivered a staggering blow to much of Eastern Massachusetts yesterday, dropping more than 3 feet of snow in some places and whipping it into towering drifts with howling gusts that topped 80 miles per hour along the coast.”

 

01/25/05

‘A Staggering Blow’ – Cape Cod Times

“The Blizzard of 2005 overwhelmed local emergency response workers and snowplow drivers with hurricane-force winds and whiteout conditions that easily eclipsed the infamous storm of 1978.”

 

01/27/05

‘1-Month Snowfall a 113-Year High’ – Boston Globe, p. A1

 

02/22/05

‘In California, a Season of Mud, and Death, Continues’ – New York Times p. A10

“The almost relentless rain [over the long weekend], something of a regular feature this year in a region famous for its balmy climate, eroded hillsides already sodden from weeks of precipitation and forced residents to flee homes with shifting foundations.”

 

02/26/05

‘Latest Storm Whacks Cape – and Its Budgets’ – Boston Globe p. B4, February 26

 

03/25/05

‘Cold Comfort: Record Snow’ – Cape Cod Times

Subtitle: “Winter of 2004-05 is Cape’s snowiest ever.  No one is cheering.”

 

04/04/05

‘Hundreds Evacuated From Homes as Rivers Overflow in New Jersey and New York’ – New York Times, p. A23

“Flooding in northern New Jersey forced hundreds of residents to evacuate their homes yesterday as the latest spring rainstorm drenched the region over the weekend, closing roads and prompting Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey to declare a state of emergency.”

“As much as three inches of rain soaked North Jersey over the weekend, and more rain was expected before tomorrow.”

 

04/25/05

‘Snowstorm Blankets Midwest, Appalachians’ – Cape Cod Times (per AP)

“An unusual spring storm dumped nearly 2 feet of wet snow on parts of the Midwest and Appalachians, covering newly sprouting plants, snapping power lines and taking a bite out of baseball.”

 

04/25/05

‘Let It Snow … Won’t It go, Won’t It Go’ – Cleveland Plain Dealer

“The thick, wet snowfall came more than a month after the start of spring … strengthening the year’s claim as the snowiest winter on record … 112.2 inches.”

 

05/27/05

‘Cleanup Begins After Storm Damage, Outages’ – Boston Globe p. B3

“The worst late-May northeaster in close to 40 years, which had battered the area with two nights of high winds and heavy rains, was expected to peter out by this afternoon.”

 

07/07/05

‘Downpours Deliver Havoc to Area’ – Boston Globe p. B1

“Flooded basements.  Overflowing rivers.  Roadways and subway tunnels under water.  Across the city yesterday, traffic ground to a halt and everything from T trains to jetliners was swamped in watery messes, as up to 3 inches rained down on the Boston area in a matter of hours.”

 

07/19/05

‘Scorching Heat Around Europe Causes Deaths And Droughts’ – New York Times p. A5

“All through a hot summer, the temperatures in Europe have soared to unusual levels.”

“The furnace-like weather has caused the worst droughts in several countries since the early postwar years, when records were first kept.  Tinder-dry conditions now stretch from North Africa to the north of France, causing billions of euros’ worth of damage.”

“The drought has crippled crops across southern Europe, but most severely in France, Spain and Portugal, prompting farmers to call for emergency help and governments to prepare to import grain for food processing and livestock feeding.”

 

07/20/05

‘As Region Swelters, City Tells Residents It’s Time To Chill’ – Boston Globe p. A1

“By yesterday afternoon, the region had chalked up record-breaking electricity use, local emergency rooms fielded more heat-related complaints, and senior centers statewide reported a significant increase in elderly visitors trying to escape the heat.”

 

07/20/05

‘Record Heat Is Blamed for 11 Deaths in Phoenix’ – New York Times (per AP) p. A12

“The high temperature in the city has been at least 110 degrees for nine days in a row.  On Sunday, Phoenix set a record of 116 degrees. …. The city may get a slight break on Wednesday.  The National Weather Service forecast is for high temperatures of 103 to 108 degrees.”

 

07/23/05

‘Ferocious Heat Maintains Grip Across the West’ – New York Times front page

“A relentless and lethal blanket of heat has settled on much of the western United States, forcing the cancellation of dozens of airline flights, threatening the loss of electrical power, stoking wildfires and leaving 20 people dead in Phoenix alone in just the past week. … Officials of the National Weather Service estimate that more than 200 heat records have been broken in the West during the last two weeks.”

 

07/27/05

‘Record Heat Strains Power Grid But Could Be Windfall for Utilities’ – Wall Street Journal front page

“Little more than a month into summer, new benchmarks for daily electricity use already have been set in Atlanta, Cincinnati, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, among other cities.  New York set a new record yesterday of 32,075 megawatts, breaking the previous high set just last week. … The U.S. as a whole likely set a new record weekly electricity use last week, topping by as much as 4% the previous record demand of 90,640 gigawatt hours, set Aug. 3, 2002, according to the Edison Electric Institute, a trade association representing major utilities.”

 

07/28/05

‘Record-Breaking Rains Hit India, Killing 200 in Mumbai’ – Boston Globe (per AP) p. A20

“India’s financial capital was paralyzed by the strongest rains ever recorded in Indian history, with torrential downpours – 37 inches in one day – marooning drivers, forcing students to sleep at school, and snapping communication lines.”

 

08/01/05

‘Hurricanes More Powerful, Study Says’ – Boston Globe p. A2

“The destructive power of hurricanes in the North Atlantic and North Pacific has nearly doubled over the past 20 years, at least partly because of human-induced global warming, according to a controversial new study by a prominent climate researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”

 

08/08/05

‘Spain Withers Under Heat Wave and Drought’ – Los Angeles Times p. A3

“Spain is suffering its worst drought in more than half a century.  Rivers are withering, vital crops have been scorched to death, and drinking water is being rationed just as the country hits its peak tourist season.”

 

08/09/05

‘Drought, Heat Sap Power in Europe’ – Wall Street Journal (per Dow Jones Newswires) p. A2

“A drought that has struck parts of Europe this summer, combined with a string of heat waves reminiscent of 2003, is creating a risk of power outages across the continent.  Fueled in part by the increased availability of cheap air conditioning, electricity consumption across Europe has been soaring this summer.  Scarce rainfall has compounded the problem by squelching production of hydroelectricity and jeopardizing the output of nuclear-power plants.  In Spain – where forest fires are being blamed for at least 12 deaths – arid summer weather has followed an exceptionally dry November-to-March period.  Meanwhile, power demands set records throughout June and July.”

 

08/15/05

“Midwest Drought Threatens Crops And Shuts River’ – New York Times front page

Sidebar “Low river levels immobilize thousands of tons of cargo”

“’The drought, which has mostly affected parts of Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin, has also dried up wells, caused insect infestations and wreaked havoc on corn and soybean fields.  … The Coast Guard restricted barge traffic through one seven-mile stretch of the Ohio River where it meets the Mississippi on Aug. 7 after the water level dropped to nine feet.  A day later, the water dropped another foot and a half.”

 

08/15/05

“Severe Storms Cause Flooding, Fires, Outages’ – Boston Globe p. B2

“Sheets of rain – more than 5 inches in about three hours – fell on much of the area yesterday as streets turned to rivers and parking lots became lakes, floating cars and filling basements.”

 

08/25/05

‘Katrina Hits Florida: 3 Dead; 1 Million in Dark’ – CNN.com

“The long-term forecast track from the hurricane center showed Katrina weakening and crossing the Florida peninsula Friday, then moving out over the Gulf of Mexico and sweeping north toward the hurricane-weary northern Gulf Coast.  …  The stretch of Gulf Coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle already has been hit with three tropical systems this year – Hurricane Dennis and tropical storms Arlene and Cindy.”

 

08/30/05

 ‘Hurricane Slams Into Gulf Coast; Dozens Are Dead’ – New York Times, front page

“Packing 145-mile-an-hour winds as it made landfall, the storm left more than a million people in three states without power and submerged highways even hundreds of miles from its center. … Hurricane Katrina was downgraded from Category 5 – the worst possible storm – to Category 4 as it hit land in eastern Louisiana just after 6 am.”

 

08/31/05
’New Orleans is Inundated as 2 Levees Fail; Much of Gulf Coast Is Crippled; Toll Rises’ – New York Times front page

“’It looks like Hiroshima is what it looks like,’ Gov. Haley Barbour said, describing portions of Mississippi’s Harrison County.  Across the region rescue workers were not even trying to gather up and count the dead, officials said, but pushed them aside for the time being as they struggled to find the living.  …  As the scope of the damage to oil and gas facilities became more apparent, energy prices rocketed to new highs.  Experts predicted that further increases were likely.”

 

‘Bush Sees Long Recovery for New Orleans; 30,000 Troops in Largest U.S. Relief Effort – New York times front page, September 1

SubStory ‘Gas Prices Surge as Supply Drops’

“For the first time since the 1970’s gasoline lines reappeared yesterday in some corners of the country.  Three days after Hurricane Katrina dealt a devastating blow to the nation’s largest energy hub, the worst-case possibility was quickly becoming a reality: gasoline prices surging above $3 a gallon, with some consumers complaining of price gouging; service stations in a handful of locations running out of gas; drivers rushing to fill their tanks, only to find themselves waiting in line with others.”

 

09/24/05

‘Rita Pummels Coast, But Houston Misses Punch’ – Houston Chronicle.com

“The monstrous storm that sent more than 2.5 million Texans scurrying to safety in the largest evacuation in state history lost some muscle late Friday, but pummeled the coast miles from its previously forecast path.  …  For millions of residents of the Texas coast – those who fled north or west on gridlocked highways after mandatory or voluntary evacuations – Hurricane Rita will be remembered as a royal pain in the Gulf.”

 

09/26/05

‘Rita Leaves a $6 Billion Mess’ – Boston Globe p. A1

“Scenes of ruin were visible from a US Coast Guard helicopter along 130 miles of coastline in Texas and Louisiana.  Flood waters between 2 and 12 feet deep intruded up to 30 miles from the shore.  Livestock was marooned on islands of muck.  The cars of evacuees trying to return home stacked up on roads rendered impassable by fallen trees, silt, and other debris.”

 

10/10/05

‘Severe Flooding Hits N.H.’ – Boston Globe, front page

“Rain-swollen rivers and streams disgorged floodwater yesterday into dozens of New England cities and towns, causing widespread damage and displacement in New Hampshire, where National Guard troops kept order and evacuees fled to shelters.  Southwestern New Hampshire took the brunt of the flooding.  In Keene, 4 to 6 feet of water submerged a third of the city, forcing nearly 1,000 people to evacuate their homes.  In Alstead, floodwaters flowed over a dam early in the day in a nearly 5-foot-high torrent that damaged more than a dozen bridges spanning Route 123, isolating the town, authorities said. … New Hampshire Governor John Lynch declared a state of emergency …”

 

10/16/05

‘Sun Sheds Light on Damage of Deluge’ – Los Angeles Times p. A31

“The stubborn storm system that arrived October 7 hung over the entire Northeast for more than a week, causing record rainfall and extensive flooding in several states. …  Severe flooding in northern and coastal New Jersey prompted Acting Governor Richard J. Codey to declare a state of emergency Friday …”

 

10/16/05

‘1,000 Flee N.E. Floodwaters’ – Boston Globe front page

“Forcibly and sometimes voluntarily, residents in low-lying areas fled their homes in rubber boats, wooden dinghies, and on foot, escaping roads that had turned into lagoons and living rooms that like bathtubs.  Officials warned that the storm, which has dumped a foot of rain on the Boston area since Oct. 8, could cause widespread power outages today.  …  Governor Mitt Romney, who toured flooded streets in Worcester yesterday, declared a state of emergency …”

 

10/18/05

‘Storm Could Turn Into Hurricane’ – Boston Globe (per AP) p. A4

“Wilma, the record-tying 21st tropical storm of the season, formed in the Caribbean yesterday and forecasters warned it could become a powerful hurricane and hit somewhere along the Gulf Coast as early as the weekend.”

 

10/19/05

‘Two Snow Records Set on Mount Washington’ – Cape Cod Times

“A weekend snowstorm on the highest peak in the Northeast set two records for October.  The 6,288 foot summit got 34 inches of snow between Saturday and Monday, beating the record for the most snowfall from a single storm in October.  It also beat the record for the most snow in 24 hours in October, with 25.5 inches falling between noon Sunday and noon Monday.”

 

10/19/05

‘Hurricane Wilma “Strongest Ever”’ – BBC News Online

“Hurricane Wilma, which has swelled into a dangerous Category Five storm, is the strongest hurricane ever recorded, the US National Hurricane Center says.  It says the storm’s barometric pressure – a measure of its strength – was the lowest on record in the Atlantic basin.  Its winds of near 165 mph and heavy rains are threatening Cuba, Mexico, and the Cayman Islands.”

 

10/24/05

‘Wilma Delivers Blow to Florida’ – CNN online

Subtitle ‘Hurricane kills six, leaves 3.2 million without power.’

“The storm made landfall as a powerful Category 3 hurricane with top winds of 125 mph …  ‘What we’re dealing with is hurricane fatigue,’ said West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel …”

 

10/26/05

‘Millions Are Still Without Power and in Need of Basic Supplies’ – New York Times p. A23

“South Florida was a coast-to-coast mess on Tuesday as millions remained without power, huge lines formed for basic supplies and drivers wove through packed, debris-strewn streets with no traffic signals. … Especially frustrating for many people were the waits for ice and water at distribution points that opened hours later than promised, if at all.  Mike DeLorenzo, chief of Florida’s Emergency Response Team, said that traffic and debris prevented trucks from arriving on time.”

 

10/26/05

‘Northeaster Leaves 70,000 Without Power’ – Boston Globe p. B1

“Though the northeaster fed on energy from Wilma, it failed to merge with the hurricane, decreasing its wallop, meteorologists said.”