Here is a partial list of extreme weather events from 2006. Check back soon for an updated list. Please email Erik (erik@erikgehring.com) with additions/corrections.

Extreme weather 2005

Extreme weather 2007

Extreme weather 2008

Extreme weather 2009

“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

 

Sunday, 01/01/06

‘Heavy Flooding Hits Northern California’ – New York Times, p. A8

www.nytimes.com

HEALDBURG, Calif., Dec. 31 – A winter rainstorm set off severe flooding across Northern California on Saturday, setting off mudslides, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of people and closing roads and freeways here and in Nevada.

The flooding, the worst in California’s wine country in two decades, turned hundreds of dormant vineyards into small lakes and threatened to inundate tens of thousands of acres of farmland in Sonoma and Napa counties.  Some stranded people had to be evacuated by helicopter.

In Napa, southeast of here, weather forecasters said flooding from the Napa River had reached record stages in St. Helena, where 230 residents in one community were temporarily evacuated to a high school.

Hundreds of others across the two counties were evacuated throughout the day Saturday, through voluntary and mandatory evacuations, as county officials warned that two major waterways, the Napa and the Russian rivers, were cresting to dangerously high levels, well above flood benchmarks.

Since last weekend, Northern California has received an unusually large amount of rain.  The Napa and Russian rivers, weather forecasters said, were already at their highest levels in seven years before the latest storm began on Friday afternoon.

 

Tuesday, 01/03/06

‘Rough weather plagues points west’ – Boston Globe, p. A2

www.boston.com/globe

WASHINGTON – The New Year began with an array of abnormal weather conditions nationwide, as wildfires ravaged homes and farmland in Texas and Oklahoma, downpours saturated California wine country, and rain doused the Rose Bowl Parade yesterday for the first time in more than 50 years.

Alerts on hazardous weather were issued in other regions last night, including tornado warnings outside Atlanta and in parts of Indiana and Kentucky, where temperatures were uncommonly warm.

The wildfires in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico were fueled in part by unseasonably dry weather after months of drought, and by unusually gusty conditions, according to the National Weather Service.

“There’s no significant precipitation in sight, and we cannot and will not let our guard down,” Governor Brad Henry of Oklahoma declared on CNN, calling it a “very challenging day.”  Henry requested Sunday night that President Bush declare a state of emergency.

The fires have consumed 250,000 acres in Oklahoma since November, including 25,000 during the past week.  More than 100 homes went up in flames in the latest fires, according to the state’s Department of Emergency Management.

In neighboring Texas, wildfires in the past week have scorched thousands of acres of parched grassland, including one that burned 90 homes in the north-central town of Cross Plains.

Weather specialists said that 2005, which experienced a record-breaking hurricane season and blistering heat waves, came close to the all-time high in average global temperature.

In the United States, the weather was about one degree higher than the norm between 1895 to 2004, making it one of the 20 warmest years on record.

But in the far west, the threat was from torrential rains.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in seven counties yesterday as state officials estimated the flooding has already caused at least $100 million worth of damage statewide.

Meanwhile, across the state line, rain and melted snow drenched northern Nevada, where Reno suffered the worst flooding since 1997 and mudslides shut down Interstate 80.

Southern California was placed under a flash flood watch when the rain moved southward and doused the annual Rose Bowl Parade for the first time since 1955, parade organizers said.

 

Thursday, 01/05/06

‘Zeta, tropical storm that won’t quit’ – Cape Cod [MA] Times per AP

www.capecodonline.com/cctimes

MIAMI (AP) – Zeta again strengthened into a tropical storm Thursday and could break the record for the storm lasting the longest into January since record keeping began in 1851.

Zeta, the 27th and final named storm in a tumultuous, record-breaking hurricane season that officially ended more than a month ago, had sustained winds near 40 mph at 10 a.m., up from 35 mph earlier in the day, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.  Winds had reached 65 mph Wednesday.

Zeta is only the second Atlantic storm in recorded history to survive into January, joining Hurricane Alice in 1955.

Before Zeta, Hurricane Epsilon became only the fifth hurricane to form in December in 155 years of record keeping.  The 2005 season marked the first time that the Greek alphabet was used to name storms because the list of proper names was exhausted.

 

Monday, 01/09/06

‘Japan’s Hardy Snow Country Now Faces a Test of Time’ – New York Times, p. A3

TSUNAN, Japan, Jan. 7 – After clambering out a second-story window on Saturday, Kimie Kuwahara, 80, stood atop the 10-foot high wall of snow surrounding her house.  She surveyed this region called the snow country – the starkly white mountain range that spread out in the distance behind her, the record snowfall that had blanketed all but the triangle-shaped roofs in her neighborhood.

The snow country, ensconced between the Sea of Japan and the Japanese Alps, is one of the world’s snowiest regions and typically lies under a dozen feet of snow for several months a year.  But the coldest winter in decades has brought record snowfalls to the region in recent weeks.

One of the hardest hit areas, the town of Tsunan here in Niigata Prefecture, lay under nearly 13 feet of snow in recent days.  Old-timers say it is the heaviest snowfall since 1945, a year remembered here as much as for its 23 feet of snow as for the end of World War II.

 

Thursday, 02/02/06

‘This is winter?  Much of nation basked in warm January’ – Boston Globe per AP, p. A3

www.boston.com/news/local/new_hampshire/articles/2006/02/02/this_is_winter_much_of_nation_basked_in_warm_january/

NEW YORK --Let's put it this way: People played golf this winter in Maine. In shorts.

Buttercups have been blooming in Montana. In Ohio, an ice-free Lake Erie allowed an early start to seasonal ferry service. And the sap started running early in Vermont.

While January plunged much of Europe and Russia into the deep freeze, it appeared to be remarkably mild across the United States. Federal scientists haven't calculated yet whether it ranks as the warmest January on record nationwide, but "it's certainly going to be right up there," said Michael Halpert, a meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center.

The balmy weather will soon end for much of the country, he said.

Just how warm was January?

--Warmest on record in Oklahoma, South Dakota, Green Bay, Wis., Kansas City, Mo., Riverton, Wyo., and Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Neb. It barely missed tying the record for Iowa.

--Second-warmest in Maine and in Milwaukee, Wis.

--Third-warmest in Memphis, Tenn., and Detroit.

--Fourth-warmest in New York's Central Park (tied with January 1913), in Greensboro, N.C., and Louisville, Ky.

--Eighth-warmest in Denver, and the warmest since 1986.

--10th warmest in Baltimore.

--Warmest since 1950 in Buffalo, N.Y., and Nashville, Tenn.

--12th-warmest in New Mexico.

Minneapolis and St. Paul had the warmest January in 160 years. Ice sculptures at the St. Paul Winter Carnival melted and broke up nearly as quickly as they were carved, and several big ice-fishing contests in Minnesota were canceled or moved because of thin ice.

Temperatures in Bismarck, N.D., stayed above zero the entire month, a balmy signal not seen since 1875.

 

Friday, 2/10/06

‘Whiter winter?  Slopes thirst for snow’ – Boston Globe, front page

www.boston.com/news/weather/articles/2006/02/10/whither_winter_slopes_thirst_for_snow/

Snowmobilers are stranded on dirt trails in Maine. Ice has yet to become thick enough for fishing on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. Winter carnivals are being canceled like schools during a blizzard -- not that there have been any this year, which is becoming the sorriest excuse for a New England winter in decades.

Consider: Temperatures were so warm Feb. 3 in New Castle, N.H., that the head melted off a 15,000-pound ice sculpture of a horse. Participants in a central Maine snowmobile charity event Feb. 4 were forced to sit on their machines, which were chained on top of flatbed trailers driven along a parade route, because there was no snow.

''It was like one of those bad dreams," said Cindy Campbell, program director of the Bangor-area WQCB country radio station, who ''rode" a snowmobile in the event that her station had sponsored to benefit a camp for disabled children.

''It was nearly 50 degrees, and we were in snowmobile suits, and they made us wear helmets in case we fell off the trucks," Campbell said.

Bethel, in western Maine, received 23 inches of snow in January; the normal January average is 95 inches.

January's weather was wacky because the jet stream stayed north of the region, allowing warm air in, meteorologists say.

The result: The monthly average temperature in Boston was 7.2 degrees above normal. Worcester's temperature was 8.8 degrees above normal.

But it also speaks to a general warming trend in New England in recent years. For example, snowmelt entering Northern New England rivers now arrives one to two weeks earlier than it did around 1970, according to a study by the US Geological Survey. Last year, the agency released a report that found that the total number of days for which substantial ice was present in the region's rivers had decreased by about 20 between 1936 and 2000.

''The average person in New England remembers it being colder with a lot more snow in the 1960s," said Mark Twickler of the University of New Hampshire and the science management director of the National Ice Core Laboratory. ''You don't have to have a degree to realize its getting warmer."

There have been some winters for the record books, including last year, which had a snowfall of 86.6 inches, the fourth snowiest in Boston. But this year seems to be the polar opposite.

 

Monday, 02/13/06

‘Wind and Snow Strike 14 States; Disruption Wide’ – New York Times, front page

www.nytimes.com

The biggest winter storm in New York City history – destined to be lionized as the Blizzard of ’06 – buried the region and much of the Northeast yesterday under blowing, drifting, thigh-high snows that crippled transportation and commerce, knocked out power and disrupted life for millions in 14 states.

The storm – a great crab nebula 1,200 miles long and 500 miles wide on satellite images and a ghostly apparition on the ground – crawled up the Eastern Seaboard overnight with winds that gusted up to 60 miles an hour, and cloaked the cities and countrysides from North Carolina to coastal Maine with 12 to more than 27 inches of snow that broke or challenged records in many locales.

A total of 26.9 inches fell in Central Park, the most since record-keeping began in 1869, the National Weather Service reported.  In what weather experts called a remarkable and relentless fall that began late Saturday and ended late Sunday, it eclipsed the legendary blow of Dec. 26-27, 1947, which dropped 26.4 inches and killed 77 people.

The storm knocked down electrical lines and disrupted power to more than 220,000 homes, most of them in the Washington-Baltimore area.  More than 85,000 customers were reported blacked out in Maryland, and 60,000 more in Virginia.

Announcing itself at dawn, over New York with theatrical claps of thunder and lightning that roused some people from sleep, the storm dropped snow at phenomenal rates of 3 to 5 inches an hour between dawn at 7 a.m. and early afternoon, obliterating the skyline and anything more than a few feet away.  During that time, more than 14 inches fell in Central Park and 16 inches at La Guardia Airport, where the snow topped out at 25.4 inches, another record.

“That’s about as hard as it can snow in New York City, and it’s extremely rare,” said Jeff Warner, a meteorologist with Pennsylvania State University.

Across the region, the 24-hour accumulations were equally awesome: 21.3 inches in Newark, 20 inches in Saddle Brook, N.J., 19.9 inches in Islip, N.Y., 24.2 inches in Danbury, Conn., and 30.2 inches in Fairfield, Conn., the highest in the region.  Elsewhere, accumulations were 19 inches in Robbinsville, N.C.; 12 inches in Leesburg, Va.; 8.8 inches in Washington; 15.5 inches in Hockessin, Del., 22.5 inches in Columbia Hills, Md., and 20 inches in Christiana, Pa.

 

Friday, 02/17/06

‘In Deep Drought, at 104 Degrees, Dozens of Africans Are Dying’ – New York Times, p.A3

www.nytimes.com

 WAJIR, Kenya, Feb. 13 – Halima Muhammad is living through the worst drought to hit eastern Africa in decades.

A sustained period with little or no rain and a lack of government planning for it are widely blamed for this humanitarian crisis, which is affecting a vast swath from Kenya across Ethiopia and Somalia to Djibouti.  Dozens of people have died in the merciless heat since last December, aid workers and hospital officials say, although the full death toll remains unclear.

Already, animals are dying in huge numbers, their rotting carcasses littering the landscape and devastating the local economy.  Aid workers estimate that 70 percent of the 260,000 cows in the Wajir district, near the border with Somalia, have died.  Even camels drop in the sand.

The relatively few wells are nowhere near the tiny patches of vegetation remaining for animals to feed on.  So families are faced with the awful choice of allowing their animals, which are their life savings, to either starve to death or die of thirst.

Across the border in Somalia, the situation is equally dire.  Families there are also surviving on two 20-liter jugs per week, which amounts to about three glasses of water daily per person, for drinking, cooking, and washing.

It is so clearly insufficient, especially given temperatures of up to 104 degrees, that some people have begun drinking their own urine to stay alive, aid workers say.

 

Saturday, 02/18/06

‘Slide Levels Philippine Villages; Toll May Pass 1,500’ – New York Times per AP

www.nytimes.com

MANILA, Feb. 17 (AP) – The farming village of Guinsaugon is gone, swallowed by a wall of mud and boulders that swept down Friday with terrifying speed in the eastern Philippines.  Officials feared the death toll could pass 1,500.

The village, once a community of 2,500 people, now looks like 100 acres of plowed land.  Its 375 homes and the elementary school were buried under mud up to 30 feet deep.  Only a few small piles of debris hint at the devastation.  Only a few small jumbles of corrugated steel sheeting show that Guinsaugon ever existed.

Rescue workers were hampered by the thick, soft mud, which remained unstable, and by flash floods spawned by two weeks of downpours that have dumped 27 inches of rain on the area.

Survivors and others blamed illegal logging for contributing to the disaster; similar landslides in 2004 and 2003 were linked to such logging.

 

Sunday, 02/19/06

‘On Great Lakes, Winter Is Served Straight Up’ – New York Times, p. A14

www.nytimes.com

For the first time that anyone in Put-In-Bay [Ohio] could remember, the Great Lakes were ice-free in the middle of winter.  Even Lake Erie, the shallowest of the five lakes and usually the first to freeze over, was clear.

“There’s essentially no ice at all,” said George Leshkevich, a scientist who has studied Great Lakes ice for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, since 1973.  “I’ve never seen that.”

 

Friday, 03/10/06

‘This winter ranks as 5th warmest on record’ – Boston Globe per AP, p. A3

www.boston.com/globe

Record warmth in January helped boost the winter of 2005-2006 to the fifth warmest on record.

For all the states except Alaska and Hawaii, the average winter temperature was 36.29 degrees Fahrenheit, 1.2 degrees above average.

The warmest winter on record was 1999-2000 at 36.95 degrees,  Others warmer than this year were 1998-1999, 1991-1992, and 1997-1998.

 

Friday, 03/10/06

‘In Phoenix, Even Cactuses Wilt In Clutches of Record Drought’ – New York Times, front page

www.nytimes.com

PHOENIX, March 9 – Thursday began like the 141 days before it, sunny and crisp, dust settling everywhere except on the record – set again – for the number of days without rain.

Until this year, the record for days without recorded rainfall was set in 2000, a measly 101 days.

“People are sort of losing their grip,” said Gary Woodard, who, as associate director of the Arizona Center for Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas, is an expert on the region’s water.  “’Did you hear it’s going to rain tomorrow?’  Well, actually, there’s an 80% chance it’s not going to rain.  People are getting very excited about very slim chances of rain.”

The drought has wreaked havoc on wildlife, which depend on the scant seven inches of rain that Phoenix gets in an average year, most of it in the three or four winter months.

“We have cactus dying from lack of water,” Mr. Woodard said.  “We have well established mesquite trees that are in a lot of trouble.

“None of the animals, none of the birds are having offspring this spring.  No baby quail, no baby bunnies,” Mr. Woodard said.

An alarming result of the drought is the condition of the air.  On Thursday, Arizona’s Department of Environmental Quality posted its 25th pollution advisory of the winter, a remarkable number.  Last winter – the opposite of this one, with abundant rainfall – there were no such days.  There is no rain to knock the dust and particles out of the air and wash them away.

The record number of days in Phoenix with nothing more than trace amounts of rain (defined as less than 1/100th of an inch, but more than a drop on the forehead) is 160.

Whether that record will be broken in 19 days in unclear.

 

Monday, 03/13/06

‘Winds of destruction’ – St. Louis Post-Dispatch

www.stltoday.com

Wild thunderstorms and unseasonably early tornadoes that roared in waves through Missouri and Illinois left a frightening weekend tally: 33 hours of destruction, and nine people killed.

In Missouri, where all nine deaths occurred, Gov. Matt Blunt declared a state of emergency on Monday and authorized the National Guard to assist the areas struck by the storms.  Mark James, state public safety director, said it was good fortune that the “remarkable set of storms” did not strike any of the state’s urban areas.

The severe thunderstorms, some powered by massive thunderheads known as “super-cells,” formed over Kansas and Missouri and headed northeast.  Daytime high temperatures 20 or more degrees above normal and a clash of winds in the upper atmosphere brewed up the storms.

“The unseasonably warm, humid air and the changes in wind direction, all those variables came together at the right time, or wrong time, to produce these super cells,” said Mark Britt, of the National Weather Service office in Weldon Spring.

Britt said such a mixture usually occurs once or twice each year.  Early arrival of the springlike storms is unusual, but not unprecedented.

A March tornado hasn’t killed anyone in Missouri since 1982, according to the National Climactic Data Center.  Until this weekend, the deadliest March tornado on record in Missouri killed two people in southern Texas County in 1954.

Across the Midwest, the weather service received 113 tentative reports of tornadoes in Missouri, Illinois, western Kansas, northeastern Oklahoma, northwestern Arkansas, and southeastern Iowa from Saturday through Monday.

 

Tuesday, 03/14/06

‘Fire deaths in Texas rise to 11’ – Houston Chronicle

www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/3721555.html

Firefighters worked into Monday to contain range fires that whipped across the Texas Panhandle and South Plains, scorching some 691,000 acres, killing at least 11 people and injuring at least nine more.

The Texas Forest Service called it "the single worst day in Texas wildfire history."

About 1,900 people were evacuated from small communities in Carson, Childress, Gray, Hartley, Hutchinson, Moore and Wheeler counties, although many had returned by Monday, said Rachael Novier, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry.

The total acreage of fires easily eclipsed the 455,000 acres that burned over a span of a couple weeks in December and January.

 

In early January, President Bush declared Texas a disaster area for wildfires. The designation, which is in effect through this month, makes affected areas eligible for federal aid.

A set of range fires east of Amarillo burned 651,000 acres and a fire south of Childress in the South Plains burned 40,000, state officials said.

Said Gray County Sheriff Don Copeland: "The county is 900 square miles and three-fourths of it is just burned to a crisp. It's gone." He said numerous cattle and other livestock were killed in the flames but the exact numbers had not been tallied.

 

A combination of low humidity, continuing drought and high winds made for "a perfect storm" in the Panhandle on Sunday, she said.

Those conditions abated Monday and the weather today should lessen the fire danger, officials said.

"A cool front has come through. We won't have the winds ... which should help firefighters," said meteorologist Matthew Kramar with the National Weather Service's Amarillo office.

Still, the area is in a continuing drought and dry grasses provide plentiful fuel, he said.

Texas officials said they have committed 25 aircraft, 47 bulldozer crews and 11 engine crews to fighting the Panhandle fires.

Heavy air tankers, including seven on loan from Oklahoma and Arizona, flew a total of 17 missions and dropped 5,525 gallons of retardant on the fires.

 

Friday, 03/17/06

‘Intense Storms Tied to Rising Ocean Temperatures’ – Wall Street Journal, p. A2

www.wsj.com

A new study published yesterday in the online edition of the journal Science says rising ocean temperatures around the globe are to blame for the surge in intense hurricanes that has slammed the U.S. and other countries in recent years – a finding likely to further roil the debate over whether human activity is triggering more devastating storms.

The study by scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, which analyzed data on all hurricanes recorded from 1970 to 2004 in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, concluded that the sharp increase in the number of very intense hurricanes can’t be attributed to a normal weather cycle or other natural explanations.

That finding partially bolsters the argument of some climatologists and meteorologists that human-induced global warming is causing the oceans to in temperature and to spawn huge hurricanes such as Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast in August 2005.  The study didn’t address whether humans are to blame for the increase in ocean temperatures.

 

Monday, 03/20/06

‘Rain floods parts of O’ahu, cuts power’ – Honolulu Advertiser

http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/

A thunderstorm pounded parts of O’ahu yesterday causing a repeat of flooding on the already-saturated Windward side but also hitting ‘Ewa Beach and the North Shore.

High water yesterday prompted officials to close roads in Sunset Beach and Waikane, while homes along the Windward Coast and in ‘Ewa Beach reported varying degrees of flooding.

Some residents of normally dry ‘Ewa Beach awoke to find their streets and homes flooded.  Water rose as high as 4 feet, inundating cars.

 

Tuesday, 03/21/06

‘Arrival of spring wreaks havoc’ – Boston Globe per AP, p. A6

www.boston.com/globe

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A powerful storm dumped more than a foot of snow in the Plains, closing schools and forcing residents to man shovels during the first day of spring yesterday.

Hundreds of schools were closed in Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, and South Dakota, and at least four deaths were blamed on the storm.  Spring officially began at 1:26 p.m. EST.

The National Weather Service was still compiling snowfall totals yesterday, but South Dakota got up to 18 inches.  Parts of Nebraska had 15 inches, northeast Colorado had at least a foot, and northwest Kansas had up to 10 inches.

“We could be looking at over 20 inches by the time this is done,” said Kyle Carstens, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Rapid City office.

Several stretches of Interstate 80 were closed in Nebraska, the State patrol said.  Parts of Interstate 70 were closed in western Kansas, and in Colorado more than 150 miles of the highway were shut down.

In South Dakota, a stretch of about 200 miles of I-90 was re-opened yesterday.

Farther south, heavy rain during the weekend soaked parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

Up to 8 inches of rain was reported in northern Texas, causing weekend flooding around the Dallas area.  That eased what has been classified as a “severe” drought in the region, but the weather service said the Dallas-Fort Worth area was still 11.5 inches below normal.

 

 

Wednesday, 03/29/06

‘A March drought may yield April fires’ – Boston Globe p. B1

www.boston.com/globe

After a particularly parched March, fire officials fear that April will bring widespread brush fires and wildfires in grassy areas and fields across the state.

With three days left, this month is on track to be the second-driest March on record: Less tha six-tenths of in inch fell in the Boston area, compared with 3.33 inches on average.  Forecasters say the first of April is likely to be equally dry.

 

Saturday, 04/01/06

‘Paradise Drenched: In Hawaii, Rained-In Tourists and Questions Over a Dam Break’ – New York Times, p. A10

www.nytimes.com

Heavy rains and a giant sewage spill near Waikiki Beach left residents here beating back floodwaters on Friday and tourists playing board games and watching movies in their hotels.

Several hundred yards of beaches in Honolulu from Ala Moana Park to the military’s Hal Koa Hotel in Waikiki were closed to swimmers for a second day because of high bacteria levels, and the rain refused to let up.  Five of Oahu’s six public golf courses, the Honolulu Zoo and a popular botanical garden were also closed because of flooding.

It has been more than 50 years since Hawaii has had a drenching like the current one.  Friday was the 41st day of rain in the Hawaiian Islands and ended one of the wettest Marches on record.  The rain began Feb. 19 and has brought with it flash floods, landslides, mudslides, and a dam break on Kauai that killed several people, four of whom are still missing.

“It’s really kind of a once-in-a-lifetime situation,” said Jim Weyman, a meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service office in Honolulu, who attributed the rain to a deep upper-level trough of low pressure just west of the islands.  “It makes the air over the Hawaiian Islands unstable.”

 

Sunday, 04/02/06

‘Record-breaking rainy month in Hawaii ends’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/storms/2006-04-02-rainy-hawaii_x.htm

HONOLULU — Hawaii residents awoke to sun this weekend after more than 40 days of downpours that left a wake of havoc across the islands and broke records for rain at the wettest place on Earth.

Nearly 92 inches — or about 7 1/2 feet — of rain were recorded during March at Mount Waialeale, considered the rainiest spot on the planet. The previous record was about 90 inches in April 1971, according to the National Weather Service.

Even the normally dry Honolulu Airport received more rain in the first three months of 2006 than in all of 2005.

The near biblical downfall left the islands disheveled with debris, flooded homes, and led to a sewage spill in the water off Waikiki.

The largest toll was taken on Kauai, where seven died when a century-old earthen dam strained by the heavy rains burst March 14 sending a wall of water crashing through homes to the sea.

Last week, a sewer line broke when it was overwhelmed by heavy rain and sent some 48 million gallons of raw sewage into the ocean.

 

Sunday, 04/02/06

‘Northern California sees record rain’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2006-04-02-frisco-rains_x.htm

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Forecasters have a message for weather-weary Northern California residents who endured the second-wettest March on record: There's plenty more rain to come.

Meteorologists blame the unusually wet weather on a westerly wind pattern that has blown a series of storms into California in recent weeks and shows no signs of going away for at least more two weeks.

For much of the San Francisco Bay area, last month was the second-wettest March ever recorded. Records date back to 1850.

Rainfall in San Francisco reached 8.74 inches, second only to the 9 inches that fell in March 1983, Bingaman said. The city had rain on 25 days, breaking a previous record from 1904, when it rained on 23 days.

Rainy-day records were also broken in Oakland with 22 days of rain, San Rafael with 24 days and Santa Rose with 25 days. Oakland International Airport had 7.22 inches of rain during the month, breaking the previous mark of 5.69 inches set in 1958, Bingaman said.

The storms soaking the West Coast frequently start off the coast of Japan, where the jet stream moves them north, allowing them to pick up moisture, Bingaman said. They are the same patterns that have dumped rain over Hawaii for the past six weeks.

 

Tuesday, 04/04/06

‘A Barrage of Storms Batters 8 States, Leaving Death and Debris’ – New York Times, p. A14

www.nytimes.com

Thunderstorms that generated tornadoes up to a half-mile wide and hailstones the size of softballs roared across eight states in the Midwest and South on Sun day night, killing at least 27 people, injuring hundreds, destroying thousands of homes and businesses and knocking out power to tens of thousands.

Aerial and ground surveillance yesterday showed that northwest Tennessee was the hardest hit.  Tornadoes that sloshed through five counties there killed 23 people, including an 11-month old boy, his grandparents and a family of four, officials said.  There was no immediate estimate of the losses, but the scale of the damage – spread over parts of Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas and Indiana, as well as Tennessee, Missouri, and Illinois – suggested tens of millions if not hundreds of millions dollars.

The National Weather Service said the wild storms developed on Sunday as a cold front from the west slammed into a mass of warm, h umid air standing over the Midwest.  The service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said it had reports of 63 tornadoes in the eight-state region.

 

Saturday, 04/08/06

’10 More Killed in Tennessee As Tornadoes Strike Again’ – New York Times, p. A11

www.nytimes.com

NASHVILLE, April 7 – At least 10 people were reported killed on Friday as thunderstorms unleashed a wave of tornadoes across Tennessee less than a week after 24 were killed by twisters that raked two of the state’s northwestern counties.

The afternoon storms tore off roofs and toppled trees, tossed vehicles about and hurled large hailstones.  There were reports of funnel clouds in at least a dozen locations, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather system that created the Tennessee tornadoes also brought strong winds and hail to Indiana and Missouri, as well as reports of tornadoes in Alabama and Mississippi, said Mike Girodo, a meteorologist for the weather service.

And Buddy Rogers, a spokesman for the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, said that dozens of homes had been damaged or destroyed in two southern Kentucky counties where tornadoes were spotted, but that no injuries or deaths had been reported.

The severe weather was even more extensive that that, though, and continued into Friday night, when the weather service posted tornado warnings from East Texas to western West Virginia.

 

Wednesday, 04/12/06

‘Man missing as mudslides strike homes in rain-soaked Northern California’ – USAToday per AP

www.usatoday.com

Sacramento (AP) – More heavy rain fell across parts of already soaked Northern California on Wednesday, triggering mudslides that forced some residents to evacuate and may have buried one man in his backyard.

The National Weather Service posted a flood watch for parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.  Less than an inch of rain was likely along parts of the coast, but that would be on top of the up to 6 inches that fell in 24 hours Tuesday in the Santa Cruz mountains south of the Bay Area, meteorologists said.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Monday declared a state of emergency in seven counties as one of the five wettest winters on record ended with record rainfall in March and an unusually wet start to April.

“We’re still looking at a copious amount of rainfall,” said John Juskie, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sacramento.  “This is an evolving situation.”

 

Friday, 04/14/06

‘Floods threaten Eastern Europe as rivers reach record highs’ – Boston Globe per AP

www.boston.com/globe

BELGRADE – The Danube reached record-high levels in Romania, Serbia, and Bulgaria yesterday, flooding fertile farmland as authorities in southeastern Europe considered ordering evacuations.

“We are going through an unprecedented situation,” said Madalin Mihailovici, director of the Agency for Romanian Waters.  “Romania has never had such water levels.”

In Bulgaria, authorities declared a crisis in all 22 communities along the country’s 280-mile stretch of the Danube, which reached a record level of 30.8 feet in the northwestern city of Vidin, prompting authorities to declare a state of emergency and to prepare the city of 50,000 for a possible evacuation.

In the Bulgarian town of Kozludui, the Danube reached 28 feet and submerged the port.

In Serbia, thousands of army troops were dispatched to help reinforce the Danube’s embankments with sandbags.  The river overflowed its banks at several places, flooding parts of the capital, Belgrade, and large areas in the north of the country, where dozens of families had fled.

Heavy rain in Belgrade added several inches of to the river’s water level, which city officials said reached a record high of nearly 26 feet.

 

Sunday, 04/16/06

‘Danube threatens to burst its banks in the Balkans – Reuters

www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L16765599.htm

BELGRADE, April 16 (Reuters) – The Danube threatened to overcome soaked anti-flood defences in Serbia’s capital and wash through towns across southeastern Europe on Sunday after heavy rains helped push it to its highest levels in a century.

The river, fed by rain and melting snow in central Europe, rose to a 111-year record high on Saturday, displacing hundreds of people across the Balkans and putting thousands more at risk.

Much of the Balkans is still reeling from devastating floods last year which drowned scores of people and destroyed houses, farmland and infrastructure worth hundreds of millions of euros.

 

Tuesday, 04/18/06

‘Thousands flee as record-high Danube floods banks’ – Boston Globe per Reuters, p. A9

www.boston.com/globe

BUCHAREST – The Danube River broke through flood defenses in southeastern Europe yesterday, driving thousands of people from their homes along its banks in Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria, officials said.

Swollen by heavy rain and melting snow from central Europe, the river hit is highest level in 111 years over the weekend, swamping ports and thousands of acres of farmland.

About 44,000 acres in southern Romania, a fertile region for wheat and maize farming, are under water and officials said they would submerge another 26,000 acres to protect heavily populated areas.

Much of the region is still reeling from floods last year in which scores of people were drowned and houses, farmland, and infrastructure worth hundreds of millions of euros were destroyed.

The Tisa River also hit a record level, just centimeters below the top of embankments.

 

Thursday, 04/20/06

‘Officials concerned about blizzard’s flood potential – Rapid City [SD] Journal per AP

www.rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2006/04/20/news/top/news01.txt

SPEARFISH - As a spring blizzard that dumped feet of snow on much of the northern Black Hills dissipated Thursday, state officials turned their attention to the possibility of flooding near creeks and low-lying areas.

State officials have asked hydrologists with the U.S. Geological Survey to monitor conditions in the region, and a report was expected Thursday afternoon, said Col. Dan Mosteller, state Highway Patrol superintendent.

Colder overnight temperatures, with lows in the high 20s to low 30s, could help combat the flood potential by slowing the pace of the snow melt, Mosteller said.

"It will give the snow a chance to soak in a little bit rather than running off," he said.

Snowfall totals as of Wednesday night included 59.4 inches in Lead, 20 inches east of Sturgis, 18 inches at Rochford and 12 inches at St. Onge, according to the National Weather Service in Rapid City.

Crews in Lead struggling with the weight and volume of snow also had to find a place to put it after scooping it up, said Pat Milos, Lead's city administrator.

"There's nowhere to put it when there is this much of it," Milos said.

State officials fully reopened Interstate 90 Thursday morning after clearing the remaining westbound stretch from Spearfish to the Wyoming border. All state highways in the area were also reopened Thursday, said Darin Bergquist, operations director for the state Department of Transportation.

 

Monday, 04/24/06

‘Buckets of rain, but enough to end drought?’ – New England Weather (National Weather Service)

http://sneweather.blogspot.com/2006_04_01_sneweather_archive.html

After upwards of 6" of rain fell in some areas of the Northeast yesterday, the area is finally drying out. The highest total in the BOX county warning area was Berlin, Connecticut with 4.59". BDL [Bradley Int. Airport in Hartford, CT] finished with 2.10" of rain, a daily record for April 23rd (only 1.90" fell on the 23rd, breaking the old record of 1.67" set in 2005). PVD [Providence] also recorded record rainfall yesterday, with 1.44" falling.

 

The heaviest rainfall in the region fell from central Long Island to Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bridgeport recorded 5.66" of rain, causing local rivers and strems [sic] to rise rapidly.

 

Monday, 05/01/06

‘2006 tornado season roaring into record book’ – USAToday.com Weather Blog

http://blogs.usatoday.com/weather/2006/05/2006_tornado_se.html

The Weather Channel reports today that several states have already surpassed their annual tornado average -- and it's only May 1. So far this year, Missouri has reported 64 tornadoes; its annual average for the entire year is 31. Sixty twisters have occurred in Illinois, which averages 35 for the year. And in Alabama, 29 tornadoes have been reported, just above the state's usual yearly total of 27.

 

Sunday, 05/14/06

‘The deluge continues for a second day’ – New Hampshire Union Leader

www.unionleader.com/pda-article.aspx?articleId=44ecf941-313a-4574-89f3-56765da9ad73

Gov. John Lynch has declared a state of emergency this afternoon after torrential rainfall throughout most of New Hampshire prompted evacuations and washed out roads.  Flood warnings have been posted.

“It’s a very serious situation,” Lynch said in early afternoon, noting that forecasters were predicting 12 to 15 inches of rain by the end of the storm in parts of southern New Hampshire.

With all but Coos and Cheshire counties receiving up to eight inches of rain in at least some areas, most of New Hampshire is presently experiencing minor to moderate flooding, according to emergency officials.

 

Monday, 05/15/06

‘A deluge of woes for region’ – Boston Globe p.1

www.boston.com/globe

Three New England governors declared states of emergency as torrential rains flooded parts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine yesterday, washing out roads, flooding basements, and forcing emergency evacuations.

With river levels rising throughout the region, and rain expected to continue, emergency management officials predicted more flooding over the next several days, especially in Middlesex and Essex counties [Mass.], the areas already hardest hit.

Governor Mitt Romney, overseeing the response from a bunker in Framingham, declared a state of emergency early in the day, activating the National Guard.  Governor John Lynch declared a state of emergency in New Hampshire, and Governor John Baldacci of Maine issued a similar order for York County, in the state’s southern part.

The National Weather Service reported on its website last night that a record amount of rain fell in Boston both Saturday and Sunday.  On Saturday, 3.84 inches of rain were recorded, besting the old record of 1.56 set on May 13, 2002.  And 3.36 inches had fallen by 9 last night, besting the previous record for May 14 of 1 inch, set in 1882.

 

Tuesday, 05/16/06

‘New England is Deluged by the Worst Flooding in Decades’ – New York Times, p.A16

www.nytimes.com

After days of record rainfall, rivers in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire have spilled over their banks, causing thousands of residents to flee their homes and brace for what would be the region’s worst flooding in 70 years.

Storms have poured more than a foot of rain throughout the region since Friday, with at least another inch expected by Tuesday morning.

On Monday, as the rains continued, residents were evacuated and floated through towns in canoes; cars were submerged up to their roofs; major roadways, including Route 1 in Massachusetts, were closed; sewage systems were failing; and people tried to come to grips with flood damage that, despite four days of rain, took them by surprise.

“I don’t think anybody anywhere expected what hit us,” said Yetta Chin of Kennebunk, Me., whose three-bedroom ranch house was destroyed by the flooding Mousam River on Sunday night.

Ms. Chin, her husband, Stephen, and their three children were ordered to evacuate at 2:30 Sunday morning, when the water in the backyard was chest-high, she said in a phone interview.  The family does not have flood insurance, she said.

“It’s a nightmare,” she said.

 

Thursday, 05/25/06

‘Death Toll Rising’ – Hartford [CT] Courant per AP

www.courant.com

BANGKOK, Thailand – More than 100 people were feared dead Wednesday as searchers recovered corpses from a sea of mud spawned by flash floods in northern Thailand, officials said.

Rescue teams in helicopters or on foot tried to reach thousands of people stranded in their houses, on trains, and in open terrain devastated by floods from days of heavy rain across several northern provinces.

 

Wednesday, 05/31/06

‘2 Studies Link Global Warming to Greater Power of Hurricanes’ – New York Times, p. A14

www.nytimes.com

Climate researchers at Purdue University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology separately reported new evidence yesterday supporting the idea that global warming is causing stronger hurricanes.

 

Thursday, 06/08/06

‘Wet, wary, and weary again’ – Boston Globe, front page

www.boston.com/globe

Drenching storm brings sodden memories of May

Unrelenting rains smothered the Boston area yesterday, prompting another round of flood watches, closing roads on the South Shore, and prolonging a record-setting stretch of soggy weather that is disrupting daily life and dampening spirits.

Forecasters predicted that another coastal storm would bring more rain through early Saturday, though less severe than yesterday.  Early June, they said, is shaping up much like May, when nearly 12.5 inches fell in Boston, making it the second-wettest May since record-keeping began in the late 1800’s.

More than 20 towns reported minor flooding, with 3 to 6 inches of rain in most places.  Strong gusts brought down some trees and power lines.

 

Friday, 06/09/06

‘E. Falmouth gets 6.8 inches as storm floods Cape areas’ – Cape Cod [MA] Times

www.capecodonline.com/cctimes

One pounding deluge dumped a month’s worth of rain on Cape Cod and other parts of Massachusetts Wednesday, pushing water pumps to their limits in the battle to dry out scores of basements.

The National Weather Service in Taunton reported that a whopping 6.8 inches fell in East Falmouth – the highest known rainfall for the day in Barnstable County and the most reported anywhere in New England for this storm.

Records for daily rainfall also were set for Boston, Providence and Worcester yesterday.

Also hit hard were East Sandwich, with 5.79 inches, Orleans, more than 6 inches, Marstons Mills, 5.10 inches, Hyannis, 4.55 inches, Edgartown, 4.16 inches, and Nantucket, 3.15 inches.

That easily blows away the previous record for Hyannis’ daily rainfall, set in 1995, at just .91 inch, according to the National Weather Service.

 

Monday, 06/12/06

‘Gale winds, snow slam into New Zealand – Half of nations’ biggest city loses power in “freak of nature”’ – MSNBC per AP

www.msnbc.msn.com

Gale force winds battering northern New Zealand cut power to the nation’s biggest city on Monday, while heavy snow from a cold snap collapsed roofs and blanketed much of the country’s south.

Weather forecasters warned winds of up to 75 miles per hour could continue to buffet the area overnight.

“This has already been called the ‘big snow’ of 2006 – it’s a real freak of nature,” [Mayor Janie] Annear [of the town of Timaru] said.

 

Tuesday, 06/13/06

Monday’s 105-degree scorcher ties 1981 heat record’ – El Paso Times

www.elpasotimes.com

Monday’s thermometer at the El Paso International Airport soared to 105 degrees Fahrenheit at 3:39 p.m., the hottest day of the season so far, National Weather Service meteorologist Tom Bird said.

“We tied the record in 1981,” Bird said.  “We’re ten degrees above normal.  We’ve had three days before Monday (since May 1) with temperatures of 103 degrees.”

Triple digit heat was forecast to last the rest of the week.

 

Thursday, 06/15/06

‘Triple digit misery felt earlier than usual’ – Denver Post

www.denverpost.com

Thermometers in Denver officially hit triple digits Wednesday, earlier in the year than ever before.

A high of 102 degrees was reported at Denver International Airport.  That’s a high for the date and the earliest that official temperatures hit 100 degrees since records began in 1872, according to the National Weather Service.

The earliest century mark previous to Wednesday was June 23, 1954, when the high was 102 degrees.  Only seven days have ever been recorded in the month of June when temperatures reached 100 degrees.

“We are on track for the warmest June in Denver history,” said Kyle Fredin, a meteorologist at the Denver/Boulder forecast office of the Weather Service.

Wednesday marked the fifth day of record high temperatures in June for Denver, according to the Weather Service.

 

Wednesday, 6/21/06

‘Major fires char land in the West’ – USAToday

www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2006-06-19-arizona-wildfires_x.htm

Stubborn wildfires scorched more forest and brush Wednesday in hot, dry parts of the West. The blazes gave the first day of summer a taste of the severe fire season that wildfire experts have been forecasting for months.

Wildfires are burning in more than 10 states, and a dozen western states have fire conditions rated from very high to extreme. The most urgent focus Wednesday was on fires in three drought-bitten areas …

 

Wednesday, 06/21/06

‘36 killed in Indonesian flooding’ – Excite UK per The Press Association

www.excite.co.uk

At least 36 people, many of then children, have been killed and dozens are missing after flooding and landslides in Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province.

Incessant rains over the past two days inundated rice paddies and damaged hundreds of houses in five provincial districts in the central Indonesian region.

 

Thursday, 06/22/06

‘Streets turned into rivers; tornadoes, hail, torrents of water inundate area’ – Toledo [OH] Blade

www.toledoblade.com

“Tornadoes and funnel clouds, winds in excess of 60 mph, intense lightning, large hail, and torrential rain that flooded many roads pummeled northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan last night – the second severe storm to sweep across the area within a 12-hour period.

Some parts of Toledo got up to 5 inches of rain through 11 p.m. last night, according to Frank Kieltyka, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Cleveland.

 

Thursday, 06/22/06

‘Global Warming Surpassed Natural Cycles in Fueling 2005 Hurricane Season, NCAR Scientists Conclude’ – University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2006/hurricanes.shtml

BOULDER—Global warming accounted for around half of the extra hurricane-fueling warmth in the waters of the tropical North Atlantic in 2005, while natural cycles were only a minor factor, according to a new analysis by Kevin Trenberth and Dennis Shea of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The study will appear in the June 27 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, published by the American Geophysical Union.

"The global warming influence provides a new background level that increases the risk of future enhancements in hurricane activity," Trenberth says. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, NCAR's primary sponsor.

The study contradicts recent claims that natural cycles are responsible for the upturn in Atlantic hurricane activity since 1995. It also adds support to the premise that hurricane seasons will become more active as global temperatures rise. Last year produced a record 28 tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic. Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma all reached Category 5 strength.

 

Friday, 6/23/06

‘Flooded’ – Cleveland Plain Dealer

www.cledveland.com

“Persistent rains battered the region Thursday, causing severe floods, suspected tornadoes, and evacuations and killing a firefighter who tried to save two teens.

Flooding was widespread across Northeast Ohio, blocking roads and damaging homes.  Rescue crews were dispatched to save stranded motorists.

Also Thursday, the city of Norwalk was flooded after the morning’s torrential downpours, forcing hundreds of people from their homes in the city and surrounding Huron County.  Up to 10 inches of rain caused the reservoir in Norwalk to overflow into Norwalk Creek, which runs through much of the city.  Older residents said the flood rivaled the last big one, July 4, 1969.

 

Monday, 06/26/06

‘Record showers bring June glowers’ – Boston Globe, page A1

www.boston.com/globe

If you think that all this rain must have set some sort of record, it has.

As of 8 p.m. yesterday, Boston had seen 22.26 inches of rainfall in May and June, the most in a two-month period since record-keeping started in 1872.

As yesterday’s below-average temperatures and overall sogginess further dampened spirits, the two-month onslaught was taking a more permanent toll on the local economy as flower-growers battle water-borne plant bacteria, farmers struggled with sodden soil, and popular outdoor tourist attractions lost profits.

The previous record for any consecutive, two-month rainfall was set in 1955, when Tropical Storm Dianne dumped nearly half of the 21.37 inches of rain that fell in July and August of that year.  This month is the third wettest June on record, with 9.78 inches of rainfall as of last night, while last month was the second wettest May on record, with 12.48 inches of precipitation.

 

Monday, 06/26/06

‘Rain inundates Shore‘ - Baltimore Sun

www.baltimoresun.com

A torrent of rain drenched portions of the Eastern Shore yesterday morning, ripping out roads, small bridges and railroad beds, and forcing evacuations of dozens of residents in southern Caroline and northern Dorchester counties.

Heavy rains also soaked much of Central Maryland, and resumed with another round of storms last night – closing numerous roads in the Baltimore area, and dropping more than 3 inches of rain at the Inner harbor, the National Weather Service said.

But it was nothing to compare to the middles-Shore counties, where the weather service estimated 9 to 12 inches had fallen.  Heavy rain began there about 2 a.m. and continued as heavily as an inch per hour until late morning – with the most sodden areas seeming to lie in a 30-mile-wide swath up into Delaware.

 

Tuesday, 06/27/06

‘Roads, Rails, Federal Offices Deluged’ – Washington Post, front page

www.washingtonpost.com

A rare tropical deluge that began Sunday and could continue through midweek unleashed floods that swamped homes and highways, closed several federal buildings in Washington and forced some people to swim for their lives.

The storms slammed downtown Washington, flooding critical commuter routes, such as Constitution Avenue and the 12th Street tunnel, and swamping a pair of heavily used Metro stations.  Not even the White House could escape the damage, as a 100-year-old American elm tree fell near the front door.  The House of Representatives canceled votes scheduled for last night because so many members could not fly into Washington.

The stalled commute added hours for drivers and transit riders trying to get to work, a problem that could be repeated today and possibly all week.  Some important roads and rail lines remained underwater yesterday evening, and others are susceptible to more flash flooding.

By midnight last night, a total of 9.94 inches of rain had fallen at Reagan National Airport in the two days since midnight Saturday.  That was believed to be the highest rainfall figure recorded there for any two consecutive calendar days.  The 7.09 inches of rain recorded at the airport in the 24-hour period from 7 a.m. Sunday to 7 a.m. yesterday is second only to the 7.19 inches recorded when remnants of hurricane Agnes passed through the region in June 1972.

 

Tuesday, 06/27/06

‘Rains prompt federal disaster designation’ – Burlington [VT] Free Press

www.burlingtonfreepress.com

The secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Monday that all of Vermont would be designated as a natural disaster area because of the excessive rainfall of the past two months.

Incessant rains have decimated the food crops that livestock farmers like [President of the Vermont Farm Bureau Jackie] Folsom rely on to feed their animals, forcing them to replant muddy corn fields and delay haying.

 

Tuesday, 06/27/06

‘Mother Nature just keeps pouring it on’ – Albany [NY] Times Union

www.timesunion.com

Albany International Airport recorded 1.82 inches of rain by 4:42 p.m., though unofficial reports from throughout the region suggested many places, including Round Lake, received more than 2 inches.

Monday’s previous record of 1.58 inches, set in 1889, was easily beaten.  More than a quarter of the year’s precipitation has come in June alone.

Drop for drop, Albany already has seen nearly 7 inches of rain this month, more than twice the normal amount for June, according to the National Weather Service.

Some parts of the Catskills had received that much in less than two days, with between 6 and 7 inches having fallen there since Sunday afternoon.

 

Thursday, 06/29/06

‘Mid-Atlantic States Reel Under Deluge’ – New York Times, front page

www.nytimes.com

A network of swollen rivers, heavy from days of steady rain, spilled across their banks yesterday, threatening to inundate towns and cities from Virginia to Vermont and causing thousands of evacuations along the banks of the Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Earlier in the week, Washington suffered the worst two days of rain in its history.

A two-punch of saturated earth and rising currents led to at least 10 deaths and reports of two houses, one with a 15-year-old girl trapped inside, set adrift.  The day of devastation led the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to declare emergencies across wide swaths of their states.  The potential for destruction was so widespread that the National Weather Service issued flood warnings for eight states.

“It is a historic event,” said Todd Miner, a meteorologist from Pennsylvania State University.

The storms were fiercest, Mr. Miner said, in a corridor that ran from Virginia through eastern Pennsylvania to central New York, where Binghamton received 4.05 inches of rain on Tuesday – the most in one day in the city’s history.

 

Sunday, 07/02/06

‘It’s official – rainiest June ever’ – Schenectady [NY] Sunday Gazette, page B1

www.dailygazette.com/

It may come as no surprise to those along the Mohawk and Hudson rivers, but June was the rainiest on record, surpassing a mark set more than 100 years ago, weather experts reported.

As of Friday, June saw 8.74 inches of rain at Albany International Airport, said Neil Stuart, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.  The record was helped along by rain storms last week that shut down the [New York] Thruway in the Mohawk Valley, flooded homes and destroyed docks and boats all across the region.

The record of 8.7 inches dates back to 1862 – 144 years ago.  The average amount of rain in June is 3.74 inches, Stuart reported.

But Stuart said that there was no culprit, like global warming, to blame – just plain old bad luck.

“We were just in a wet pattern,” he said.  “That’s just part of nature.”

 

Sunday, 07/02/06

‘Soggy Weather Compounds Misery of Beleaguered Dairy Farmers in Vermont’ – New York Times, p. A10

www.nytimes.com

The sun has not been shining this year.  Not for much of May and June anyway.  And record rainfall, combined with dismally low milk prices and rising fuel prices, has Vermont’s dairy farming industry in a crisis.

Statewide, the situation for dairy farms, which make up 85 percent of Vermont’s agriculture, has gotten so tough that on Monday, the federal Department of Agriculture declared the entire state a disaster zone, making cheap emergency loans available to farmers.

In an interview, the governor [Jim Douglas] said: “A number of farmers have lost over half their crops, and we estimate about $53 or $54 million in reported losses.”

“It’s just been so wet that we couldn’t do anything,” said Henry Magnan, who milks 550 Holsteins with his four sons in Fairfield, where rain has twice flooded his street and made it impassable.

For weeks, the fields have been so wet that the Magnans, members of a dairy cooperative that supplies the milk for Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, could not plant corn to feed their cows.  Some 85 acres of hay they had also counted on became so moldy, rotten-smelling and infiltrated by mushrooms that the Magnans had to chop it up and let it molder on the ground.  Tractors trying to work their land are getting mired in mud.

 

Thursday, 07/06/06

‘Wettest June on record!’ – The Camden [ME] Herald, p. 1

www.camdenherald.com

ROCKPORT – If you had even the slightest suspicion that June was wetter than it should have been, your instinct was correct.  It was the wettest June on record.

And the records keep piling up.  The past 14 months have produced the wettest April, the wettest May, the wettest June, the wettest October, the wettest single month, and the wettest year, since records began in 1913.

Figures released by water supply company Aqua Marine show that 10.05 inches fell at its Mirror Lake measuring station last month, compared to 3.04 inches in June 2005.

The average rainfall in June is 3.45 inches.  The lowest on record was in 1919 at 0.61 inches.

 

Monday, 07/10/06

‘Flash floods strike New Mexico, Colorado’ – Boston Globe per AP, p. A4

www.boston.com/globe

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) – Flash flooding carried a teenager on a 5-mile ride down a drainage channel before he was rescued, as the storms blocked roads, inundated homes, and forced evacuations in parts of the Southwest over the weekend.

New Mexico and Colorado were hard hit by thunderstorms and heavy rain over the weekend, and an emergency order was issued because of flooding in one Colorado county,

Thunderstorms dropped an estimated 3 inches of rain in an hour Saturday over Truth or Consequences, N.M., and the surrounding area, south of Albuquerque, the National Weather Service said.  Flooding washed out roads in Rio Rancho, just north of Albuquerque, and 4 feet of water covered an Interstate 25 exit in Socorro.

Governor Bill Owens declared a disaster emergency order Saturday for Douglas County, southwest of Denver, where rain had washed out roads and flooded homes in areas stripped of vegetation by a 138,000-acre wildfire in 2002.

 

Wednesday, 07/12/06

‘Rainfall record broken’ – Syracuse [NY] Post-Standard news updates

www.syracuse.com/poststandard/

By 10 p.m. tonight, 4.29 inches of rain had been measured at Syracuse’s Hancock Airport, making today the wettest day since record-keeping began at the airport in 1949.

The old record was the 3.9 inches on July 3, 1974.  Wednesday’s total crushed the previous record total for the date: 2.43 inches in 1975.

 

Wednesday, 07/12/06

‘Violent weather rocks eastern N.H., Mass.’ – Boston Globe, p. B1

www.boston.com/globe

A series of fast-moving storms that may have spawned tornadoes and dropped baseball-sized hailstones yesterday left thousands of residents in eastern New Hampshire and Massachusetts without power, flooded houses, sparked fires, toppled trees, and damaged hundreds of cars, authorities said.

Two suspected tornadoes touched down yesterday afternoon in the small town of Wendell in Franklin County [western Mass.], damaging homes and causing power outages there, police said.

In Worcester County, the National Weather Service received reports of penny-size hail in Hardwick and fallen trees in Boylston, Oxford, Grafton, and Westborough.

In Marblehead, meteorologists said, 3-inch hailstones fell, among the largest ever measured in the state.  The biggest hailstones on record were 3.5 inches in diameter and fell during a 1965 storm that hit Ipswich, said William Babcock, a meteorologist with the Nationla Weather Service in Taunton.

Successive waves of hail in Exeter, N.H., pelted car dealerships, damaging more than a hundred cars, people said.  Chunks of ice shattered windows, dented hoods, and filled the seats of cars.

 

Thursday, 07/13/06

‘Flood watch in effect for much of Ohio’ – Columbus [OH] Dispatch

www.columbusdispatch.com

Water, water everywhere.

Three straight days of slow-moving storms have prompted flooding across central Ohio.

More than 4 inches of rain was recorded across parts of Marion and Morrow counties.  Some streets in Kenton, in Hardin County, flooded after 4 inches of rain yesterday evening.

The Mansfield area received about 6 inches of rain yesterday.

Franklin County was relatively dry in comparison.  The guage at Port Columbus has captured 2.15 inches of rain since Tuesday evening.

 

Friday, 07/14/06

‘California officials fear fires could merge’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2006-07-14-calif-fires_x.htm

Firefighters battling a massive wildfire burning on the edge of the San Bernardino National Forest are preparing for the possibility that the blaze could join another wildfire and become even more difficult to control.

Swaths of Southern California forests have been weakened by drought and killed by bark beetles.  For several years, workers have been cutting down dead trees near communities and roads.  Thousands of acres have been cleared but experts say it will take up to 20 years to remove all the deadwood.

 

Sunday, 07/16/06

‘70-year-old records melt in heat’s grip’ – Sioux Falls [SD] Argus Leader

www.argusleader.com

‘Baghdad was cooler than S. Dakota cities’

A South Dakota ranch just missed being the hottest spot on Earth Saturday as state records that stood for 70 years were toppled by triple-digit heat.

A rancher who records temperatures for the National Weather Service reported a high of 120 degrees on a ranch 27 miles northwest of Faith, near the small town of Usta.

If it stands, it will tie the all-time state record of 120 set on July 5, 1936, at Gann Valley.

On Saturday, the unofficial 120-degree high on the Kelly Ranch was just five degrees short of being the hottest spot on Earth, according to Accuweather.  It was 125 degrees in Death Valley, Calif., the hottest reading on the planet.  It was 107 degrees in Baghdad, Iraq.

In South Dakota, highs soared to 117 in Pierre – 10 degrees hotter than the previous record from 1936.

Chamberlain recorded a high of 112, according to the weather service.  It was 111 in Pine Ridge, Winner, and Faith.  Aberdeen and Huron topped out at 109.  The high is Sioux Falls was 99.

 

Sunday, 07/16/06

‘Tropical Storm Bilis Kills 115 in China’ – Chicago Tribune per AP

www.chicagotribune.com

BEIJING – Tropical Storm Bilis killed at least 115 people and injured hundreds as it pounded China’s southeast, toppling houses and forcing the evacuation of a prison and thousands of villages, reports said Sunday.

Thousands were stranded by high water after Bilis slammed into the coast Friday with a drenching rain, flooding farms and damaging roads and railways.  Scores of people were reported missing.

Bilis weakened from a typhoon to a tropical storm early Friday after lashing Taiwan.

China is hit repeatedly by typhoons every summer and suffers hundreds of rain deaths.  The county expects to see more storms than usual this year due to an unusually warm current off its Pacific coast and high temperatures over the Tibetan plateau.

At least 349 people died in China in June due to flooding, landslides and other weather-related disasters, with another 99 people missing, the government says.  Damage was estimated at $2.5 billion.

 

Sunday, 07/16/06

‘Extreme Heat Scorches the Nation’ – ABC News Online

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Weather/story?id=2198014&page=1

Dallas is going into its fifth day in the triple-digit temperatures and the heat wave now stretches across a staggering portion of America's heartland.

Fargo, N.D., is forecast to break 100 degrees today for the first time in 11 years.

Over the next couple of days, the Central Plains and portions of New England will see temperatures that could break 100 degrees in some spots. Goodland, Kan., will reach 105 degrees later today.

On Monday, Philadelphia is expected to reach 100 degrees. And later this week, Boston will reach 93 degrees, which, coupled with the humidity, is dangerously high.

The heat broke records Saturday in places that are more used to setting winter records for cold. International Falls, Minn., hit 94 degrees Saturday, a new high. The state has ordered the National Guard to help fight forest fires, as the temperatures rise and the humidity falls.

Scientists say this heat wave is being caused by an unusual jet stream, which is blocking Canadian air from reaching the United States.

"The impressive thing about the heat," said Bernie Rayno, a meteorologist with AccuWeather, "is not only how hot it's gonna get but how much of the country we're gonna see record heat."

"It's that high pressure system across the plains states that's strengthening, that has forced that jet stream a lot farther north than it usually is this time of year," Reyno added.

More than a dozen cities from Chicago to Oklahoma City have adopted "emergency hot weather plans," which include coating old tar roofs with white plastic to help keep apartments cooler.

 

Monday, 07/17/06

‘Drought Threatens Amazon Basin’ – The Guardian / UK

www.guardian.co.uk/

Last year the worst drought in more than a century hit the Amazon Basin, drying up tributaries more than a mile wide and prompting Brazil to declare a state of emergency across the entire region.

Tens of thousands were cut off as rivers that are the main means of transportation were turned into mudflats and grasslands, leaving boats stranded among millions of rotting fish on the baked mud.

Locals hoped the drought was a once-in-a-generation event, but already there are signs that the extreme conditions of last year are returning.  In the Acre region close to Brazil’s borders with Bolivia and Peru, where last year’s drought began, sandbanks have started appearing in rivers which are normally larger than any of their European counterparts.

Such conditions usually occur only at the end of the dry season three months from now, but this year Acre went without rain for 40 days in June and early July, a circumstance almost unheard of.  The government’s technical foundation in Acre said the vegetation was so dry that there was a serious danger of forest fires.

Brazil’s environment minister, Marina de Silva, said the drought was linked to record sea temperatures in the south-west Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico that had also contributed to last year’s record Atlantic hurricane season.

But the destruction of the rainforest by illegal loggers has also been named as a cause, as rivers become choked with silt swept from the denuded land.

 

Wednesday, 07/19/06

‘Fast and furious storm plows through’ – Manchester [NH] Union Leader

www.unionleader.com/

MONROE [NH] - A brief but violent thunderstorm that brought with it damaging winds and hail barreled through this North Country town yesterday, downing trees and destroying crops with a force longtime residents had never seen.

So unusual were the winds and the speed of the storm that some townspeople wondered if a tornado touched down in parts of the community, located between North Littleton and the Connecticut River.

Route 135 was closed throughout the afternoon and late into the evening as road crews, assisted by chain-saw wielding residents, worked for hours to remove hundreds of trees that fell in the wind, taking with them powerlines that provide service for many houses.

Police Chief Maynard Farr, who had served the town as both police chief and fire chief for more than 30 years until two years ago, said he had never seen a storm like the one that came through town.

 

Wednesday, 07/19/06

‘Europeans struggle to keep cool in heat wave’ – USAToday.com

www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-07-18-europe-heat_x.htm

Britain faced the hottest day ever recorded in July on Wednesday as a heat wave swept much of Europe. Temperatures hit 96.6 degrees south of London — so hot some road surfaces melted.

Two people died in Spain as temperatures climbed above 104 degrees, while officials in France said as many as nine people who died recently were believed to be victims of the heat.

But with its aging buildings and infrequent brushes with sweltering temperatures, Britain was particularly ill-equipped for the heat wave.

London's Underground has no air conditioning and the Evening Standard newspaper measured temperatures in the train system at 117 degrees. Operator Transport for London takes no measurements but did not dispute the figure.

"I don't even want to talk about it," said Jean Thurgood of east London, fanning herself frantically on a stuffy bus. "It feels like the hottest day of the century."

Construction workers in northwest England, meanwhile, dumped crushed rocks on highways because the liquefying pavement was sticking to vehicles, Cumbria's county council said.

Across Europe, health officials warned people to stay out of the sun and to drink plenty of water.

In France, several days of dry heat and high temperatures — which reached 97 degrees in Paris on Wednesday and 102 degrees in Bordeaux a day earlier — recalled a heat wave in 2003, when 15,000 people died from dehydration and heat-related disorders. Many were elderly and were in some cases left alone while families vacationed.

Elsewhere in Europe, temperatures at 4 p.m., when daytime measurements generally peak, registered 95 degrees in Berlin, 93.9 in Brussels, and 95.5 in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

In the Netherlands, the Nijmegen 4-Day March was canceled after two participants died in the heat. Some 300 people taking part in the popular walk became ill Tuesday in temperatures that reached 95 degrees and 30 were hospitalized.

In Britain, many people simply sought shelter indoors as the mercury rose. The temperature at Wisley in Surrey, south of London, peaked at 97.7 Fahrenheit — the hottest temperature ever recorded in Britain in July.

The average temperature in southeastern England in July is 70 degrees — and that figure has been the nighttime temperature the past few days.

Sancha Lancaster, spokeswoman for Britain's primary weather forecaster the Meteorological Office, said as the heat hangs on, temperatures could eclipse the record of 101 degrees in Faversham, Kent, on Aug. 10, 2003.

"There's no air conditioning anywhere, it seems," said 24-year-old Australian Mark Jones, who is living in London this summer. "In Australia, we're used to this, but here, a lot of people don't even have fans."

Andrei Danilov, 32, dutifully cradled mineral water on a London bus.

"It gets worse and worse every year," he said. "I can't stand it."

At the historic Royal Courts of Justice, judges were allowed to remove their traditional wigs for court proceedings. One of Britain's largest trade union federations, the Trades Union Congress, issued a statement urging people to wear shorts to work.

And in a rare move, the two-hour shifts of the royal guards who stand outside Buckingham Palace were reduced to one hour at the beginning of the week in preparation for the heat, said the London headquarters spokesman, Col. David Sievwright.

 

Wednesday, 07/19/06

‘USA in scorcher survival mode’ – USAToday

www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2006-07-17-heat-wave_x.htm

The roasting heat enveloped much of the nation again Tuesday, leaving millions of people searching for ways to escape temperatures that topped 90 degrees from California to Connecticut.

Authorities blamed the heat wave for at least six deaths – one each in Arkansas and Indiana, and two each in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.  It temporarily knocked out power Tuesday morning in part of New York’s LaGuardia International Airport, forcing American and Delta Airlines to cancel some flights.  Another outage stopped a New York subway train; 70 passengers had to be evacuated.

Temperatures reached 90 degrees in at least 44 of the Lower 48 state, said Weather Channel meteorologist Tom Moore.  And as a result, staying cool – or trying to, anyway – became a national experience.

 

Wednesday, 07/19/06

‘2006 sets heat record, more to come’ – Reuters

www.reuters.com

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The first six months of 2006 were the warmest, on average, since the United States started keeping records in 1895, and global warming is a contributing factor, a U.S. climate expert said on Wednesday.

The heat wave gripping much of the National Climactic Data Center.

What is unusual, Lawrimore said, is to have a six-month period as warm as the period from January to June this year.

Global warming is not a definitive cause of this warmth, but is a contributing factor, he said.  So is the drought that has extended to 45 percent of the United States, because extremely dry soil can lead to high air temperatures.

 

Friday, 07/21/06

‘Storm Deprives Many of Power in St. Louis Amid Heat Wave’ – New York Times, p. A12

www.nytimes.com

CHICAGO, July 20 – Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in the greater St. Louis area were without electricity on Thursday in the wake of a powerful thunderstorm that tore through Missouri and Illinois and left residents to cope with ripped roofs, fallen trees and a withering heat wave.

Gov. Matt Blunt of Missouri declared a state of emergency and sent about 300 National Guard troops to help local officials in and around St. Louis deal with the heat and the aftermath of the storm.

As temperatures climbed into the upper 90’s for the sixth straight day, firefighters and volunteers evacuated vulnerable residents from nursing homes and centers for the elderly, and police cars cruised neighborhoods announcing telephone numbers for people to call if they needed help getting to dozens of cooling centers that had been opened.

“We’re so maxed out here,” said Steve Simpson, a spokesman for the St. Louis Fire Department.  “We’re trying to talk to people and tell them if it’s not a true emergency, we just don’t have the resources to come out and transport one individual.

Susan Gallagher, a spokeswoman for Ameren, the big electric and gas utility serving the area, called the damage the worst it had suffered in its 100-year history.  The company called in 1,800 employees and contractors from Missouri, Illinois and several neighboring states to help with repairs.

 

Monday, 07/24/06

‘Weather shatters records all over B.C.’ – Vancouver Sun

www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=2c25ea1e-a674-4ad9-ade6-ee391316f545&p=1

This weekend's heat wave didn't smash the all-time high temperature records it was expected to, but it did a good job of breaking daily temperature records for July 21 and 22.

Sixty-three daily temperature records for Friday and Saturday were broken across the province, from Vancouver Island to Fort St. John.

"We broke a lot of records," said Brian Robilliard, a meteorologist with Environment Canada. "And it's hard to break records at this time of year because it's often warm. It was hot out there."

The hottest spot in B.C. was Lillooet, where thermometers rose to 41 C on Saturday, breaking the previous record of 37.5 set for that day in 1998.

Vancouver airport saw a new temperature record for Friday. The thermometer there reached 37.1, almost three degrees above the old record of 34.3 set in 1978.

Abbotsford broke daily temperature records both Friday and Saturday, as did Kamloops. In Abbotsford, temperatures rose to 37.1 on Friday, beating the 1990 record of 33.4. Saturday's temperature of 34.5 just broke the previous record of 34.3 set in 1978.

In Kamloops on Friday the temperature rose to 39.5, two degrees above the 1978 record of 37.3. On Saturday, temperatures reached 39.6, slightly above the 1959 record of 38.8.

The Gonzales area, which is near the ocean in Victoria, set a new record Friday, reaching 33.7, up from the previous high of 29.4 for that day, set in 1913.

 

Monday, 07/24/06

‘Sands of Southern California beaches turn scorching in triple-digit hot spell’ – USAToday, p.2A

www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20060724/a_heatwave24.art.htm

LOS ANGELES — Southern California's beaches have lost their customary cool to a sweltering heat wave bringing record-breaking triple-digit temperatures and Southern-style humidity to the West Coast.

In San Diego, where cool ocean breezes usually make for comfortable summer weather in the 70s, the temperature hit 114 at the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, says Brad Doyle, a forecaster for the National Weather Service.

Temperatures hit 101 in downtown Los Angeles, breaking a previous record for the day of 96 degrees set in 1960. The thermometer hit a record 119 in Woodland Hills in the city's San Fernando Valley. Burbank saw 112; Long Beach was 101.

The deaths of three people in California were blamed on the heat.

“It will feel very uncomfortable in Southern California,” Doyle says. “It's very unusual for this extended period of time.”

Power outages triggered by residents cranking more cooling out of air conditioners have affected several parts of California.

It was hot even for normally hot desert cities. In Palm Springs, the weather service recorded 121 degrees. A bit of a break was in store: 115 was forecast for today.

Records were set in Northern California, including 115 at Livermore and 102 at San Jose. San Francisco's 87 broke a record for the date of 81 degrees that had stood since 1917. Record temperatures were set or equaled all along the state's Central Valley, including 109 in Sacramento.

Power use also broke records Friday and Saturday. The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state's power grid, issued an emergency notification Saturday urging residents to conserve power through today.

 

Thursday, 07/27/06

‘That Was the Wave That Was’ – San Francisco Chronicle

www.sfgate.com

The Great Heat Wave of 2006 was not just an epic meteorological event – it was an epochal one, unprecedented in the north state’s weather annals, meteorologists agree.

It has been hotter for longer than ever before, and the weather patterns that caused the scorching temperatures were positively freakish.  The region’s last significant hot spell – in 1972 – lasted two days, and never in the past has the Bay Area suffered through as many consecutive days of temperatures above 110.

“We’ve had several one-day wonders over the years,” said consulting meteorologist Mike Pechner in Cordelia, “but nothing of this extent and duration.  It has been truly extraordinary.

Pechner said there was no previous record of Bay Area temps hitting 110 degrees from four consecutive days.

It’s not just the scorching days that made this heat wave remarkable.  It’s also the hot, sticky nights.

The current heat wave broke Sacramento’s record for highest overnight temperature.  The record was 78 degrees and was established in 1909.

“That record was broken on July 22 with 79 degrees, then smashed on July 23 with 84 degrees, and broken again on the 24th with 79 degrees,” [National Weather Service meteorologist Basil Newmerzhycky] said.

 

Friday, 07/28/06

‘Europe swelters as heat wave continues’ – Houston Chronicle per AP

www.chron.com/

How hot is it?  So hot that there was an ice cream shortage in Sweden.  So hot that Polish lawmakers held a special mass to pray for rain.

Europe, from north to south, east to west, has sizzled through July with power outages and scores of deaths.  The heat wave even brought a sinister reminder of the past, with officials in eastern Germany warning that World War II munitions might surface as river levels dropped.

Germany, like Britain, has experienced the hottest July on record.

Throughout July, temperatures cruised in the high 90s to over 100 in Europe – high for a continent where air conditioning is generally the exception.  But as anyone taking public transport knows, it was hotter than that.

In Britain, road surfaces melted, and the Evening Standard newspaper measured temperatures on the Underground at a stifling 117 degrees.

The heat has wreaked havoc with electricity supplies.  More than 1,000 businesses in London’s major shopping district were left without power Thursday, with the electric grid overwhelmed by demand.

A state-owned power operator in the Czech Republic halted energy exports to neighboring countries and forced major industrial consumers to cut electricity use for several hours Tuesday.  And in Germany, some nuclear power stations were hobbled because the river water they use for cooling was too warm.

 

Friday, 07/28/06

‘Heat is Blamed in 22 Deaths in Fresno County’ – Los Angeles Times

www.latimes.com

The unprecedented heat wave gripping Fresno County has exhausted emergency workers, swamped morgues and inundated city services and hospitals beyond capacity.

The death toll kept mounting Thursday, with authorities linking 104 fatalities statewide over the last two weeks to heat, including 22 cases here.  Other hard-hit counties were
Stanislaus, with 16 deaths confirmed or presumed to be heat-related, and Sacramento, with 11 cases.

Strains from the heat wave were evident at University Medical Center in Fresno, the region’s main trauma and burn facility, which over the weekend ran out of gurneys for patients in the emergency room.  Fresno County Coroner Loralee Cervantes has said her department was doubling up bodies on gurneys due to space constraints.

“In the 12 years I’ve been here, I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Gerard Hardner, the center’s emergency services coordinator.  “We’re just inundated.”

The county’s ambulance service responded to a record 673 calls Monday, a good number of them being heat-related.  “I figured we’d just haul everyone into the hospitals on Monday,” said Hal Fielding, field supervisor for American Ambulance.  “That way, there would be nobody left to bring in on Tuesday.”

 

Friday, 07/28/06

‘In California, Heat Is Blamed For 100 Deaths’ – New York Times, front page

www.nytimes.com

FRESNO, Calif. - A searing heat wave nearly two weeks old is responsible for more than 100 deaths across California, the authorities said yesterday.

The toll of such casualties has no recent precedent in California.  According to data provided by the California Department of Health Services, the greatest number of heat-related deaths in the state since 1989 had been 40, in 2000.

The record temperatures have also hit farmers hard, with roughly 16,500 cows, 1 percent of the state’s dairy herd, dying of the heat, according to California Dairies, the state’s largest milk cooperative.

Further, panting, miserable cows, which lack the benefit of sweat glands, have yielded 10 percent to 20 percent less milk than usual, said trade groups and dairy farmers in the region.  California produces more milk than any other state in the country, providing about 12 percent of the American supply.

 

Tuesday, 08/01/06

‘Oklahoma: Two more die of heat, pushing state toll to 13’ – Tulsa [OK] World per AP

www.tulsaworld.com/

The broiling sun claimed two more Oklahomans’ lives over the weekend, pushing the heat stroke death total to 13 since July 13 and the total for the year passed the 2005 mark.

In Oklahoma City, winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour fueled a grass fire that burned more than 100 acres on the city’s northeast side, including sections of the Silverhorn Golf Course.

 

Tuesday, 08/01/06

‘Warnings issued as East Coast residents expect record temps’ – USAToday

www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2006-07-31-east-coast-heat-wave_x.htm

Eastern cities braced Monday for a heat wave that has been sweeping across the nation, bringing some of the hottest weather in years to the upper Midwest.

Among the areas hard-hit in recent days:

  • Bismarck, N.D., reported a high on Sunday of 112 degrees.  The city had temperatures of 100 or higher for eight straight days, making it one of the hottest stretches there in 132 years.
  • Oklahoma City marked its 15th day over 100 degrees in July, compared with just two days all last year and none in 2002 and 2004.
  • The metropolitan Kansas City area recorded its third heat-related death this year.  Temperatures remained in the low 100s Monday.

 

Wednesday, 08/02/06

‘Electricity Use Hits New Highs in Much of U.S.’ – New York Times, front page

www.nytimes.com

A smothering heat wave shattered records for electricity use across a wide swath of the country yesterday, as utilities and government officials called for conservation and braced for even more strain on the power grid today.

Three independent system operators, agencies that manage regional grids for New York, the mid-Atlantic and the Midwest, set record highs for electricity demand yesterday, breaking records set just two weeks ago.  New England was just shy of a record.

 

Wednesday, 08/02/06

‘Heat’s toll mounts as respite arrives’ – The Oklahoman

www.newsok.com/article/2824585

On Wednesday, the total of heat stroke deaths in the state hit 16, two more than for all of 2005.

Fourteen people have died from heat stroke in Oklahoma in the past three weeks.

Hot weather combined with a drought that started in fall 2004 continued to fry crops and rangeland, said Jack Carson, spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.

“It’s a one-two punch of dry and hot,” Carson said.  “The hot, windy weather is just cooking everything.”

Oklahoma’s wheat crop was about half its normal size, Carson said.  Wildfires that struck between November and May destroyed crops and grazing land.  The summer has brought a terrible hay crop, dry farm ponds and ranchers looking to liquidate their herds, he said.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns this week granted a request from Gov. Brad Henry for a disaster designation in all 77 counties.  The disaster declaration makes Oklahoma farmers and producers eligible for low-interest loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Services Agency.

 

Thursday, 08/03/06

‘High heat: The wave of the future?’ – USAToday

www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2006-08-02-warming-summer_x.htm

A preview of the future – much hotter decades on a warming planet – has been delivered today by the continent-spanning heat wave, climate experts say.

“Heat wave projections all agree.  They are going to intensify in length and frequency” in this century, says climate scientist Claudia Tebaldi of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

“We can’t just say global warming caused this heat wave, but we can say that what we are seeing is very consistent with what you would expect to see in a warmer world,” says Heidi Cullen of The Weather Channel.

Cullen and Tebaldi give these examples of current climate effects with global warming’s fingerprints:

  • The heat wave’s continental breadth.  Warnings have been set off from California to Boston.
  • Simultaneous heat waves in Europe.  England suffered its warmest July on record.
  • Heat earlier this year that made the first six months of 2006 the warmest January-to-June stretch since at least 1895.

“Some people suggest a 1-degree increase isn’t such a big deal, but here we can see what sort of heat extremes it can lead to,” Cullen says.  “And it’s devastating.”

 

Thursday, 08/03/06

‘Intense Heat Begets Intense Smog’ – Los Angeles Times

www.latimes.com

July’s scorching heat wave created a ‘blanket of smog’ from California to Maine, with the number of unhealthy days up from last year in 38 states, according to data compiled by a watchdog group.

“California by far has had the worst air quality.  But we are even seeing problems at some unusual places – a lot in Colorado, some in Washington state and Oregon, even Martha’s Vineyard,” said Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, which had volunteers review government data.

Southern California once again had the highest smog levels in the nation.  The worst single day – an average of 142 parts per billion – was July 25 at Crestline in the San Bernardino Mountains.  The worst single hour, at 175 ppb, was on July 22 in Glendora.

The federal government has set safe limits at 85 ppb; California has a tougher standard of 70 ppb.  Above those levels, senior citizens, infants, asthma sufferers and others can experience serious health problems, according to scientific studies.

 

Thursday, 08/03/06

‘Heat wave takes heavy toll on California agriculture’ – San Francisco Chronicle Daily Digest

www.sfgate.com

California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura  said Wednesday that counties are still trying to tally their total losses.  Preliminary losses to the dairy industry alone are pegged at $1 billion.

In addition, Kawamura estimated at least 16,000 livestock animals died during the heat wave, when record-setting temperatures set in across the state for more than one week.  In addition, production from dairy cows was down as much as 25 percent and in some cases has still not returned to normal, Kawamura said.

Along with dairy losses, the state saw about 1 million poultry deaths and is anticipating significant crop loss, he said.  Tomatoes, plums, apples and walnuts are all expected to be damaged by the heat, although in most cases the extent of the loss will not be known until the crops are harvested.

Kawamura is going to Washington this week to request help from the federal government, including the issuance of a federal disaster declaration.

 

Thursday, 08/03/06

‘112 in France Dead from July Heat Wave’ – San Francisco Chronicle per AP

www.sfgate.com

 

Thursday, 08/03/06

‘Sweltering summer nights are a US trend’ – Boston Globe per AP, p. A16

www.boston.com/globe

WASHINGTON – America in recent years has been sweltering through three times more than its normal share of extra-hot summer nights, government weather records indicate.

And some say the trend is a sign of manmade global warming.

From 2001 to 2005, nearly 30 percent of the nation had “much above normal” average summertime minimum temperatures, according to the National Climactic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

In 2002 it was 37 percent.  While the highest-ever figure was in the middle of America’s Dust Bowl in the 1930’s, the rolling five-year average of 2001-2005 is a record, by far.

 

Friday, 08/04/06

‘Thousands evacuated as typhoon strikes southern China’ – Boston Globe per AP, p. A15

www.boston.com/globe

BEIJING - Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated as Typhoon Prapiroon slammed into southern China yesterday, pounding an already battered area with more heavy rains and winds.

The area has been recovering from Typhoon Kaemi, which killed at least 35 people and left dozens missing last week, and Tropical Storm Bilis, which sparked floods and landslides that killed more than 600 people last month.

More than 1,460 people have been killed during this year’s typhoon season.  Chinese officials estimate more than 1 million houses have been damaged and millions of acres of farmland and forests destroyed.

 

Sunday, 08/06/06

‘Rain, worries, and evacuations surge in El Paso’ – Boston Globe per AP

www.boston.com/globe

More rain fell yesterday on the drenched El Paso area, where a week of storms forced hundreds of people from mountainside neighborhoods and caused flash floods and rock slides.

El Paso has recorded more than 8 inches of rain since Monday.  Until the storms began, the city was in the grip of a drought, with only an inch of rain recorded since the start of the year.

Governor Rick Perry and state’s US senators have asked the federal government to declare the region a disaster area.

 

Monday, 08/07/06

‘Flooding subsides after record rain swamps El Paso’ – USAToday per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/stormcenter/2006-08-06-ElPaso-floods_x.htm

With only a slight chance of showers in the forecast, recovery and cleanup efforts were underway Sunday as this normally arid city slowly dried out from more than a week of flooding storms.

More than 15 inches of rain — nearly twice the annual average for the desert city — has fallen in El Paso since July 27, City Manager Joyce Wilson said.

The deluge sent mud and rocks cascading into some parts of the city, destroying as many as 300 homes and causing an estimated $100 million in damage, Wilson said.

Mark Matthys, executive director of the El Paso chapter of the American Red Cross, said his organization was making efforts to get financial aid to residents affected by the damage.

State officials, meanwhile, have asked President Bush to declare El Paso a disaster area, a necessary step for FEMA to begin providing aid. It was unclear when or if a declaration would come.

 

Monday, 08/07/06

‘U.S. Has Its Second-Hottest July on Record; Drought Conditions Persist’ – National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2006/s2677.htm

The continental United States suffered through its second-hottest July on record because of a blistering heat wave from California to Washington, D.C. The heat wave broke more than 2,300 daily temperature records for the month and eclipsed more than 50 records for the highest temperatures in any July, according to the NOAA National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. The hottest July on record occurred in 1936, and the third hottest was 1934.

The agency also reported that the first seven months of 2006 was the warmest January-July of any year the United States since records began in 1895. And, the scorching temperatures, combined with a shortage of rainfall, expanded moderate-to-extreme drought conditions in areas already hard hit.

 

Tuesday, 08/08/06

‘Ethiopians search for survivors of flood’ – Boston Globe per AP

www.boston.com/globe

DIRE DAWA, Ethiopia - Rescuers using earth movers and their bare hands searched for survivors yesterday, a day after flash floods killed at least 200 people, including dozens of children.

Hundreds more were feared missing, and officials said there was little chance of finding more survivors.

Flood water crashed through homes after a river burst its banks early Sunday following heavy rain.  The water flipped cars, swept away houses, and severed power and communications lines.

Torrential rains in April 2005 caused massive flooding in parts of eastern Ethiopia, killing more than 150 people.  Flooding killed 32 people in Dire Dawa in May 2005.

 

Thursday, 08/10/06

‘Typhoon leaves 105 dead, 190 missing in southeastern China’ – USAToday per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/storms/2006-08-10-china-typhoon_x.htm

BEIJING (AP) — The most powerful typhoon to hit China in a half century killed 105 people and left at least 190 missing Friday after it blacked out cities and smashed more than 50,000 houses in the southeast part of the country.

More than 1.6 million people were evacuated from the path of Typhoon Saomai before it struck late Thursday with winds gusting up to 170 mph, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Torrential rains were forecast over the weekend in a swath of China's south stretching from coastal Zhejiang and Fujian inland to the poor rural provinces of Jiangxi and Anhui.

Much of that region was still recovering from Tropical Storm Bilis, which killed more than 600 people last month, many of them in mountain villages and other inland areas.

 

Friday, 08/11/06

‘For Californians, Deadly Heat Cut A Broad Swath’ – New York Times, front page

www.nytimes.com

Roughly 140 Californians met a similar quick and grim fate [to Patricia Miller-Razor who died of heat stroke] in last month’s heat wave, a death toll unlike any the state had seen from high temperatures since 1955, state officials said, before air-conditioning went mainstream.

The extraordinary toll, in a place where most residents are accustomed to summer days in which the mercury hits the triple digits, has shocked an unnerved state and local officials, leading Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to order up a task force of  health and emergency service officials to study how to avoid such deaths.

The length of the heat wave – which dragged on unabated for two weeks – overwhelmed county coroners, some of whom did not have the cots or refrigerators to handle the bodies; strained the state’s power resources; and caused costly damage to crops and livestock, in addition to the human toll.

Summers are to the Central Valley what winters are to northern Maine; people who live here are used to them, prepare for them, and to some extent are not fazed by them.

But for 13 straight days last month, things went differently.  “This heat wave was marked by three things,” said Eric A. Weiss, a professor of emergency medicine at Stanford University Medical Center and an expert on heat-related illness.

“There was the duration, which is always important because of the cumulative effect,” Dr. Weiss went on.  “Two, there were the record temperatures.  And three, it did not cool down at night.”

 

Tuesday, 08/15/06

‘Lake Oahe hits record low’ – Rapid City [SD] Journal per AP

www.rapidcityjournal.com

Drought-drained Lake Oahe has hit an all-time low, about 32 feet below normal, the Army Corps of Engineers says.

The lake level dropped to 1571.96 feet above sea level Monday.  The old mark, set in 2004, was 1572 feet.

The corps has released water from North Dakota’s lake Sakakawea to try to help Oahe, but officials said earlier it did little food.  Lake Sakakawea also is headed for a record low.

 

Saturday, 08/19/06

‘Flooding, slides close highway, rail line in Alaska’ – Anchorage Daily News (per AP)

www.adn.com

WASILLA, Alaska - Flooding and mud slides brought on by heavy rain closed the main highway and rail line Saturday between Anchorage and Fairbanks, the state’s two largest cities.

Highway department officials said they expected the highway to be closed for at least two days.

Traffic between Anchorage and Fairbanks was diverted to the Glenn and Richardson highways, adding about 75 miles to the 362 mile trip between the two cities.

Tom Dang with the national Weather Service in Anchorage said the agency’s Talkeetna station recorded 6.68 inches of rain over the last week, including 3.7 inches Friday.

Gov. Frank Murkowski was briefed on the damage during a Saturday visit to Wasilla, about 40 miles north of Anchorage.  He had earlier issued a state disaster declaration for the area.

 

Sunday, 08/20/06

‘Italian farmers fear pesto penury’ – BBC News Online

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5267796.stm

Farmers in many parts of northern Italy have called for the declaration of a state of natural disaster.

They say a severe drought and devastating storms have destroyed many crops, including basil.

The herb is the key ingredient of one of the country's most famous pasta sauces, pesto alla genovese.

Vicious thunderstorms over the past few days have seen more rain fall across northern Italy in a few hours than had fallen since the start of the year.

The most eye-catching damage came west of the port city of Genoa, where hail stones the size of golf balls caused 4m euros (£2.7m) worth of damage.

They smashed greenhouses used to grow basil, the fragrant, intensely-flavoured herb that is the main ingredient of Genoese pesto.

About 80% of the basil crop was destroyed, leading to fears of a shortage of pesto sauce.

 

Sunday, 08/27/06

‘Wildfires, Though Scattered, Leave a Big Mark’ – New York Times, p. A12

www.nytimes.com

This year has been bad, firefighters and forecasters say, partly for the very lack of [a] center.  The fires of 2006 have been just about everywhere, from the plains of Texas and Nebraska to the high northern Rockies of Montana to the Nevada desert.

The damage has been incremental and dispersed, but cumulatively no less devastating, with at least 7.1 million acres burned by last this week, more than in any comparable period in 10 years, federal figures indicate.

The intense heat waves that have blasted much of the country have played a central role.  A 3,000 acre fire near Valentine, Neb., last month, for instance, broke out when the thermometer hovered at 113 degrees.

The heat in July shattered 2,300 records across the country, according to the National Oceanic [sic] and Atmospheric Administration, from the most-ever days above 90 degrees in Helena, Mont., in July – 23 out of 31 – to the 117-degree record high in Cottonwood, S.D., on July 15.

“The signal is pretty hard to argue with,” said Tom Wordell, a wildland fire analyst at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.  Where there was heat, Mr. Wordell said, the grasses and trees dried up and became fuel.

 

Wednesday, 08/30/06

‘Heavy rains, high winds, tornado pummel region’ – Philadelphia Inquirer

www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/

Heavy rains and high winds battered the region yesterday, damaging homes, flooding streets and partially shutting down Philadelphia International Airport.

At least one tornado was confirmed to have touched down in Salem County, N.J., and funnel clouds were reported elsewhere in South Jersey, Chester County, and Delaware.

Rainfall at a rate of 3 inches an hour flooded roads around Phoenixville, the National Weather Service reported.

The [Wilmington, DE] region was also under flood and flash flood warnings.  In Glassboro [NJ], more than an inch of rain was recorded in 30 minutes, according to the National Weather Service.

The recent downpours have been a stunning turnaround in the region’s hydrological fortunes.  Last week, it appeared that this was going to be one of the driest Augusts in Philadelphia’s history.  Through Friday, the official monthly rain total at Philadelphia International Airport was 0.12 inch.

The weather pattern began to change just before midnight Friday and during the early-morning hours of Saturday, when a violent storm with timpani thunder knocked out power to more than 25,000 homes.

By last night, the official rainfall total for the month had increased 20-fold, to just over 2.5 inches.

 

Saturday, 09/02/06

‘Weakened Ernesto drenches Mid-Atlantic, cuts power, forces evacuations’ - USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/hurricane/2006-09-02-ernesto_x.htm

[Tropical Storm] Ernesto was reduced to an area of rain over western New York state and the lower Great Lakes by Saturday afternoon, after drenching Virginia and North Carolina with up to a foot on its run up the East Coast.

It had caused flooding that forced hundreds of people out of their homes, and more than a half-million homes and businesses still had no electricity Saturday in the mid-Atlantic states.  At least four deaths were blamed on the storm in Virginia, plus one in North Carolina.

 

Tuesday, 09/05/06

‘Hurricane John’s leftovers douse U.S.’ – USAToday per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/hurricane/2006-09-04-john-mexico_x.htm

Flash flooding triggered mudslides that trapped vehicles in Southern California as the fading remnants of Hurricane John doused part of the Southwest.

Hurricane John, which pounded parts of Mexico with up to 20 inches of rain, didn't directly cause the California rain but its remnants helped push tropical moisture into the region, said meteorologist Ted Mackechnie at the National Weather Service.

"It kicked up the moisture and helped (the moisture) spread into our area," Mackechnie said.

Normally dry southern New Mexico got enough rain from the storm system to cause isolated road flooding Monday, and southern Arizona had scattered rain.

 

Tuesday, 09/05/06

‘Floods strain region - Rain closes roadways, threatens home’ – El Paso Times

http://elpasotimes.com/ci_4287270

The El Paso-Juárez area, still reeling from last month's storms, received its fourth consecutive day of flooding rain Monday that closed streets, damaged homes and raised frustrations.

In West El Paso, officials were watching floodwaters near the Asarco plant and the Rio Grande.

Asarco officials released a statement Monday saying that a storm-water collection pond on the smelter's property overflowed.

The system had been working properly, said Lairy Johnson, Asarco's plant and environmental manager.

"However, the storm system was designed for two back-to-back 100-year storms, and the extreme rainfall since July has exceeded the ... capacity of the system."

A meteorologist with the National Weather Service said the recent rain is due to a cold front that stalled in northern Mexico and moisture from the remnants of Hurricane John. El Paso has had more than 15 inches of rain this year, most of it coming since the end of July.

 

Monday, 09/11/06

‘West on track for worst wildfire season in decades’ – USAToday

www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2006-09-10-wildfires-season_x.htm

HELENA, Mont. — There's no sign of a letup to the 2006 wildfire season — almost certain to claim more acres than any season in a half-century — and firefighters are stretched so thin that help has been flown in from New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

Nearly 8.7 million acres already have burned, and an unusual string of late-season major fires still are charring land in Nevada, Idaho, Washington and Montana, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise reports. The center coordinates federal, state and local firefighting efforts.

"We're on track to set a record in terms of the last 30 to 50 years," said Rick Ochoa, the center's fire weather program manager. "Our biggest season was last year (8.7 million acres) and I think we're going to surpass that in the next few days."

Ochoa said so many acres have burned this year because of a fire season that is longer and hotter than normal.

Fires broke out in late December in Oklahoma, and swept Texas in January. Now, when snow should be helping to douse the last flames in the Rockies, hot, dry, windy weather persists, Ochoa said.

Ochoa noted a trend of warmer temperatures over the past several years, with mountain snows melting sooner in the spring and falling later in the fall.

"Those things give you hotter and drier fire seasons," he said, meaning that early and late-season fires, typically smaller, burn big and hot instead.

 

Tuesday, 09/12/06

“Man-made factors fuel hurricanes, study finds’ – Boston Globe, p. A1

www.boston.com/globe

Global warming caused by humans is largely responsible for heating hurricane-forming regions of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, increasing the intensity of the storms, scientists reported yesterday.

The scientists, reporting in the National Academy of Sciences, said there was an 84 percent chance that human-induced climate change was responsible for most of the ocean warming.  Oceans have warmed by about 1 degree in the past century, and natural influences alone could not account for that, they said.

Hurricanes draw their strength from warm seawater, and even small changes in temperature can give a storm much more energy, increasing its fury.

 

Wednesday, 09/13/06

‘This was hottest summer since 1936, report says’ – USAToday

www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/2006-09-13-hottest-summer_x.htm

The USA sweated this year through its hottest summer in 70 years, with temperatures not seen since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, according to a government report.

From June 1 to Aug. 31, as summer is defined by the National Climatic Data Center, the continental USA had an average temperature of 74.5 degrees, based on readings from hundreds of weather stations nationwide. It was the second-hottest summer temperature the government has recorded since it started keeping track in 1895. The only one warmer — by about two-tenths of a degree — was in 1936.

Nevada had its hottest recorded summer, the report said. Nationwide, the first eight months of 2006 were the warmest January-to-August period on record.

That's likely the result of long-term warming trends and unusual weather patterns that trapped hot air over much of the country this summer, said Jay Lawrimore, chief of the data center's Climate Monitoring Branch. "It's not unprecedented, but the trend is definitely toward warmer weather," he said Wednesday.

In July, a widespread heat wave caused more than 200 deaths nationwide, including more than 160 in California. The state is now reviewing those deaths to prevent fatalities in future heat waves, spokeswoman Norma Arceosaid. The hot weather also intensified a drought in many parts of the Plains and drove record electricity usage.

One reason, Lawrimore said, is that temperatures stayed warmer than usual at night in many parts of the country. "It's the 100-degree afternoons that people notice, but more of the country was affected by the high minimum temperatures," he said.

 

Friday, 09/15/06

‘Drought punishes crops in South’ – USAToday

www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-09-14-drought_x.htm

"It is widespread in the Southeast," says Brian Fuchs, a climatologist at the [National Drought Mitigation] center [in Lincoln, Neb.]. "Over the last several weeks, there's been a worsening of drought severity. We're seeing more of the region being classified as drought conditions, and even a few pockets of extreme drought conditions."

Ranchers in parts of western Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming and central and southern Texas also are still experiencing drought conditions, Fuchs says.

It was one of the worst years in decades for wheat farmers in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

In August, corn farmers in Iowa, Nebraska and western Missouri were bedeviled by rain shortages and temperatures topping 100 degrees.

"The corn crop was just burning up," Fuchs says.

Northern Minnesota remains parched despite heavy rain last month elsewhere in the state. Officials declared 36 counties agricultural disaster areas. Forest fire danger is high, and lake and stream levels are the lowest in years.

Soybean farmers in the Southwest, Plains and Midwest have gotten relief with rainfall in the past four to five weeks.

Not so here in Alabama.

The state already has lost 90% of its corn crop and expects to lose about 75% of the cotton crop, says Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks. "We've got to have some help," he says, referring to a $6.5 billion drought disaster assistance bill that Congress is considering for farmers and ranchers.

Agriculture in Alabama is a $5.5 billion industry, accounting for 467,000 jobs, 21% of the state's workforce. "This is serious business for us," Sparks says. "It's our No. 1 industry. It's in all 67 counties, and all 67 counties have been declared disaster areas."

 

Thursday, 09/21/06

’95 Dead as storms lash India, Bangladesh’ – USAToday

www.usatoday.com/news/world/2006-09-21-south-asia-storms_x.htm

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — The death toll in Bangladesh and India rose to at least 95 and nearly 1,000 remained missing Thursday after storms capsized boats, toppled houses and washed away roads, news reports and officials said.

Rescuers recovered 30 more bodies overnight, pushing the death toll in Bangladesh to 49 after sudden storms hit the tropical nation's southern coast.

Nearly 1,000 people, including a naval commander, were missing in both countries, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to media.

In India, the storms that started late Tuesday killed at least 46 people and injured hundreds of others, Indian officials and media reports said.

In the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, torrential rains and floods killed at least 31 people over two days, G.T. Priyadarshini, a relief official, said Wednesday. Most people died when their houses collapsed or when they were swept away by flood waters.

 

Sunday, 09/24/06

‘Midwest, South clean up after big storms’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/stormcenter/2006-09-23-midwest-storms_x.htm

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Debris and damaged items from homes and businesses where hauled curbside Monday as residents in the Midwest and South cleaned up after the weekend's severe thunderstorms that were blamed for 13 deaths.

At least 8 deaths were reported in Kentucky after flooding triggered by 5 to 10 inches of rain in 36 hours sent rivers and creeks over their banks. Eighteen counties and 12 cities declared states of emergency, state officials said.

Every business in the small far western Kentucky city of Fulton was flooded by four feet of water from Harris Fork Creek, authorities said.

High water remained across Kentucky on Monday, and while some flood warnings were still in effect, creeks and rivers had nearly all crested, according to the National Weather Service.

The storms that hit parts of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee on Friday and Saturday stranded people in cars, forced others from their homes and left thousands without power.

"This is a very exceptional event," Bud Schardein, executive director of Louisville's metropolitan sewer district, said of the flooding. "This is not the average storm, it's not even a heavy storm,"

In Illinois, authorities said lightning was the apparent cause of a house fire that killed elderly two women. Three deaths were reported in Arkansas, where six counties declared states of emergency.

In northern Arkansas on Monday, officials found the body of a retired firefighter two days after he was swept away when the Spring River overflowed its banks at a campground in Hardy.

With the floods, campers were stranded at the private campgrounds.

"People were hanging from trees," Hardy Fire Chief Lonnie Phelps said. "The river came up quick."

Arkansas rivers swelled up to 8 feet above flood levels, officials said. Campers at River Bend Park were asked to evacuate.

"I didn't think we were going to make it out of there," said Charles Lenderman, who awoke Saturday morning to find knee-high water in his camper's kitchen. Lenderman and family members — wearing life jackets — swam from the camper to higher ground about 100 yards away.

In central and eastern Missouri, nearly 400 structures were damaged or destroyed and at least 10 people were injured by about 10 tornadoes, officials said.

 

Wednesday, 09/27/06

‘Nature’: Agency blocked hurricane report – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-09-27-hurricane-report_x.htm

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government agency blocked release of a report that suggests global warming is contributing to the frequency and strength of hurricanes, the journal Nature reported Tuesday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration disputed the Nature article, saying there was not a report but a two-page fact sheet about the topic. The information was to be included in a press kit to be distributed in May as the annual hurricane season approached but wasn't ready.

"The document wasn't done in time for the rollout," NOAA spokesman Jordan St. John said in responding to the Nature article. "The White House never saw it, so they didn't block it."

The possibility that warming conditions may cause storms to become stronger has generated debate among climate and weather experts, particularly in the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

In the new case, Nature said weather experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — part of the Commerce Department — in February set up a seven-member panel to prepare a consensus report on the views of agency scientists about global warming and hurricanes.

According to Nature, a draft of the statement said that warming may be having an effect.

In May, when the report was expected to be released, panel chair Ants Leetmaa received an e-mail from a Commerce official saying the report needed to be made less technical and was not to be released, Nature reported.

Leetmaa, head of NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in New Jersey, did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.

NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher is currently out of the country, but Nature quoted him as saying the report was merely an internal document and could not be released because the agency could not take an official position on the issue.

However, the journal said in its online report that the study was merely a discussion of the current state of hurricane science and did not contain any policy or position statements.

A series of studies over the past year or so have shown an increase in the power of hurricanes in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, a strengthening that many storm experts say is tied to rising sea-surface temperatures.

Just two weeks ago, researchers said that most of the increase in ocean temperature that feeds more intense hurricanes is a result of human-induced global warming, a study one researcher said "closes the loop" between climate change and powerful storms like Katrina.

 

Friday, 09/29/06

‘Suspected tornado, severe thunderstorm cause damage in Maryland’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/storms/2006-09-29-maryland-tornado_x.htm

SEVERNA PARK, Md. (AP) — About 9,700 customers remained without power Friday morning after a severe storm swept through Maryland Thursday evening, uprooting trees, damaging homes and spawning at least one suspected tornado.

Most of the customers still without power were in Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties, according to the utility's website.

The suspected tornado also was in Anne Arundel County, near Severna Park, said James Brotherton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va. It touched down about 6:35 p.m.

Pam Jordan, a spokeswoman for the Anne Arundel County Emergency Operations Center, said a tornado touched down on either side in Cattail Creek in Severna Park.

Damage was reported in the lower Magothy Beach area of Severna Park, according to Rhonda Wardlaw, a spokeswoman for Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens. At least five homes were struck by downed trees in that vicinity, police said.

"We have two confirmed touch downs (of tornadoes)," Wardlaw told The (Baltimore) Sun. "We don't know the extent of the damage."

A spotter's equipment recorded a wind gust reaching 66 mph at 6:09 p.m. near U.S. 50 in Bowie, where dime-size hail also was reported, the weather service said.

 

Sunday, 10/08/06

‘Rain contributes to two deaths’ – Richmond (VA) Times Dispatch

www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD/MGArticle/RTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1149191034638

A slow-moving storm drenched Virginia with as much as 10 inches of rain, flooding scores of roads, forcing scattered evacuations and contributing to at least two deaths.

The bodies of two commercial fishermen were recovered yesterday in the Poquoson River after their boat apparently capsized Friday evening in high winds and seas, the Coast Guard said.

The rainstorm forced as many as 100 residents of two North Richmond neighborhoods, Battery Park and Brookfield Gardens, from their homes Friday and yesterday.

Britt Drewes, a city spokeswoman, said some people could return to their homes as early as today.

The weekend flooding was the third time the Battery Park area has flooded since late August.

Heavy rain in Isle of Wight County forced the closure of U.S. 460 for most of the day yesterday, and officials evacuated several dozen residents from flooded, low-lying areas. A Coast Guard helicopter crew lifted one man from a car stranded in floodwaters, said Don Robertson, an Isle of Wight spokesman.

"We have more roads out than we can keep track of," Robertson said yesterday afternoon. "We have some bridges that are out [and] a lot of flash flood conditions."

For much of Friday and yesterday, a slow-moving belt of heavy rain drenched portions of Tidewater and Southside Virginia, with some of the heaviest rain generally following the path of U.S. 460 between Suffolk and Petersburg, said James Foster, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wakefield.

Parts of Sussex, Surry, James City and Prince George counties and the city of Suffolk recorded rainfall of 6 to 10 inches, Foster said.

 

Monday, 10/09/06

‘Emergency declared in flooded northern Greece’ – USAToday.com (per AP)

www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2006-10-09-greece-floods_x.htm

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — The government promised swift compensation and declared a state of emergency in northern Greece Monday, after weekend floods damaged scores of homes, destroyed crops, wrecked roads and caused power outages.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis toured flood-striken regions outside the northern city of Thessaloniki.

"There will be immediate compensation to all households," he said after surveying the damage with the ministers of agriculture, the interior and northern Greece. "All the damaged areas have already been declared in a state of emergency so that victims of the flooding can receive the full support of the law."

Thessaloniki received more rain in a 24-hour period over the weekend than it normally does for the entire month of October, state-run NET television reported.

Officials said the effect of the flooding had not yet been assessed but that the rain storms had caused millions of dollars in damage.

More than 200 homes were flooded in three villages, about 50 miles east of Thessaloniki, and dozens of elderly and at-risk local residents were evacuated Sunday.

Some 230 firefighters, using 70 fire trucks, boats and other rescue vehicles, assisted in the effort and received 145 calls to pump out flooded homes.

A bridge collapsed on a secondary highway between Thessaloniki and the northeastern city of Kavala, while other roads were blocked by mud and loose rock.

Several flood-stricken areas remained without power Monday.

As storms tapered off in the north, the weather service forecast more rainfall for the area, with bad weather expected to spread and persist until Friday.

 

Tuesday, 10/10/06

‘Flooding triggers fuel spill, evacuations in southeast Va.; no injuries reported’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/storms/2006-10-10-virginia-flooding_x.htm

FRANKLIN, Va. (AP) — Swollen by torrential weekend rainfall, the Blackwater River crested Tuesday at nearly a record level, causing flood damage to about 65 businesses and 10 to 15 homes in this southeastern Virginia city.

Downtown Franklin had been closed since Monday because of flooding, and city workers won't be able to get into the area until at least Wednesday morning to assess the damage, said Capt. Tim Dunn of the fire and rescue department. They were hampered by a potentially flammable spill at a local fuel distributor that was caused by the flooding.

The high water also may have caused the derailment early Tuesday of four empty CSX train cars on tracks over the river, Dunn said. No one was injured.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine declared a statewide emergency Monday after as much as 12 inches of rain fell on central and southeastern Virginia during the weekend.

At least 70 people had been evacuated from low-lying areas of Franklin.

The Blackwater River crested at 22.8 feet just north of the city at about 8 a.m Tuesday, said Keith Lynch, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service. That was the highest crest since a reading of 26.4 feet after Hurricane Floyd in September 1999, Lynch said.

The spill at the fuel depot involved at least 11,000 gallons of gasoline and 1,000 gallons of kerosene.

Hazardous materials crews sprayed foam on the gasoline to prevent it from igniting and put out booms to try to contain the spill. Police were stationed around the area to make sure no one came into contact with the gasoline, Dunn said.

In nearby Isle of Wight County, all schools were closed Monday and Tuesday, officials said. Hardy Elementary suffered substantial flood damage and will be closed through Thursday.

 

Wednesday, 10/11/06

‘Storm isolates Valdez; floods cover Cordova’ – Anchorage [AK] Daily News

www.adn.com/news/environment/story/8292427p-8188958c.html

Record rainfall, mudslides and snowmelt are hammering Valdez, where breached levees Tuesday prompted the evacuation of some 200 residents, and others remained stranded after officials closed nearly 70 miles of the Richardson Highway.

 

The wet, windy, unseasonably warm weather has walloped Southcentral communities like Valdez, Seward, and Cordova for days. In the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, officials said while water rose along some troublesome creeks and rivers, no waterway reached flood stage.

The National Weather Service said 6.5 inches of rain fell Sunday and Monday at Valdez -- 4.6 inches Monday alone, breaking the city's 24-hour record. Spots along the closed section of highway -- from 12 miles northwest of Valdez to milepost 79 -- recorded even greater accumulations.

Cordova is similarly drenched. The city recorded 22 inches of rain in two days, and Mayor Tim Joyce declared a local disaster for the second time in two months due to flooding.

"A lot of people were just recovering from the other flood," Joyce said. "It's been kind of a double whammy for some of those folks."

 

 

Saturday, 10/14/06

‘More than 340,000 without power as Buffalo area digs out after snowstorm’ – USAToday.com

www.usatoday.com/weather/stormcenter/2006-10-14-buffalo-snow_x.htm

Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and wire reports

BUFFALO — Residents were digging out and cleaning up Saturday after a record-breaking early snowstorm walloped the Buffalo area, leaving thousands without power and killing three people.

A tricky blend of climatic conditions triggered almost 2 feet of heavy, wet lake effect snow Thursday and Friday, bringing Buffalo and much of western New York to a standstill. The heavy, wet snow snapped tree limbs all over western New York, leaving some 341,000 homes and businesses without power Saturday.

"I've personally never seen anything this bad," said Chuck Tingley, a 60-year-old meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Buffalo.

"I worked here one time when we got 38 inches in one day around Christmas. You expect that sort of thing in December, but this snow was like lead, and all night in my neighborhood, all you heard all night, besides the thunder, which there was a lot of, was the crashing of tree branches coming down," said Tingley, who lives in Tonawanda, Erie County.

National Grid, which reported 237,000 customers without electricity at 6 a.m., worked through the night but many customers were expected to be without power through the weekend and into next week, spokesman Steve Brady said. A major problem was getting crews on the road, he said.

"Our people are getting stuck in the driveway here," Brady said. "Many of the roads are, if not impassable, near impassable."

New York State Electric & Gas reported an additional 104,000 without power in the region as of 6 a.m.

Gov. George Pataki asked President Bush to declare a federal emergency in Erie, Genesee, Niagara and Orleans counties. If the request is granted, the Federal Emergency Management Agency would provide reimbursement to local and state agencies for 75% of the total eligible costs for snow and debris removal.

With today's 40-degree forecast, the National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Niagara, Orleans, Genesee and northern Erie counties because of melting snow.

On Thursday, 8.6 inches of snow fell — the snowiest October day in Buffalo in the weather service's history. The record lasted for all of one day, as a foot of snow fell early Friday.

The previous record for the entire month of October in Buffalo was 6 inches in 1909 and again in 1917. By 8:30 a.m. Friday, 18 to 24 inches of snow had fallen in Buffalo and its northern suburbs.

"In one event, in less than 24 hours, we received more snowfall than has ever been recorded in the entire month of October," Tingley said, referring to records kept since 1870.

The storm inconvenienced huge portions of the population. A 105-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway was closed starting about 6 a.m. Friday between Exit 46 in Henrietta and Exit 59 in Dunkirk, Chautauqua County.

Portions of the Thruway were opened in stages Friday with the entire stretch reopened by 5 p.m.

 

Monday, 10/16/06

‘At least 4 Dead in Texas Flooding’ – WashingtonPost.com per AP

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/16/AR2006101600436.html

HOUSTON -- Heavy thunderstorms brought torrential rains, flooding and tornadoes to Southeast Texas Monday, killing four people, ripping roofs off mobile homes, and trapping rush-hour drivers on flooded, tangled freeways.

A Houston mother and daughter were found dead in a sport utility vehicle in floodwaters at least 8 feet deep in Houston, apparently of drowning, the Harris County Medical Examiners Office said.

 

Houston Police Sgt. P.E. Ogden III said the floodwaters exert such pressure on submerged cars, "Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn't get out."

As much as 10 inches of rain fell in the Houston-Galveston area overnight.

Parts of interstates 10 and 45 were shut down around Houston, and the University of Houston and several other schools were closed. Twenty bayous overflowed their banks, but county officials said no evacuations were ordered. Some delays were reported at both of Houston's major airports.

A tornado struck east of Houston near the Jefferson County town of China, not far from the Louisiana line, said emergency management spokeswoman Darlene Koch. The National Weather Service confirmed the tornado, and Koch said five mobile homes and two houses were destroyed. No injuries were reported.

Another tornado ripped through northern Newton County on the Texas-Louisiana line, toppling trees and power lines, authorities said. There were no reported injuries.

Parts of North and West Texas got as much as 4 inches of rain overnight, prompting flash flood warnings. National Weather Service meteorologist Stacie Hanes said the rain in North Texas was expected to dissipate by evening.

 

Tuessday, 10/17/06

‘Rains lead to flooding in parts of Louisiana’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/stormcenter/2006-10-17-louisiana-flooding_x.htm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Houses and roads flooded in northern Louisiana after the area received the most rain it's gotten in a single storm since Tropical Storm Allison in 1989, authorities said Tuesday.

One of the hardest-hit areas was Grayson, a town in north-central Louisiana's Caldwell Parish, which received 17 inches of rain between Sunday evening and Tuesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

"The rainfall amounts were exceptional," said Nick Fillo, a weather service meteorologist. "Outside of a tropical system, it happens every once in a while."

Rainfall totals ranged widely across the state, from roughly an inch in New Orleans and 5 inches at Alexandria, in central Louisiana, to nearly 11 inches at Toledo Bend dam, at the Texas-Louisiana border, the weather service reported.

The stormy weather — heavy rains and stiff winds — was spawned by a system that was a combination of tropical moisture and a strong atmospheric disturbance, meteorologist Tim Destri said.

A tornado was likely responsible for ripping boats from moorings and flipping trailer houses early Monday at Leeville, in southeast Louisiana, Destri said.

The area had also been dry, and the soil was incapable of handling so much rain at once, Fillo said.

Louisiana has been suffering from abnormally dry weather in recent years — despite last year's hurricanes, Katrina and Rita. The U.S. Drought Monitor, which tracks drought conditions weekly, shows Louisiana nearly evenly divided between moderate drought in the north and abnormally dry conditions in the south.

 

Wednesday, 10/18/06

‘Over 100,000 still powerless in Buffalo five days after record snowfall’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2006-10-18-Buffalo-snow-recovery_x.htm

BUFFALO (AP) — Over 100,000 customers remained without power Wednesday and schools were still closed nearly a week after a record-setting snowstorm, and officials raised the toll of storm-related deaths to 12 people.

The surprise storm dumped up to two feet of heavy snow on Buffalo and surrounding areas last Thursday and Friday.

With round-the-clock cleanup efforts continuing, about 101,500 homes and businesses remained without power Wednesday and schools in Buffalo and surrounding towns said they would be unable to reopen until next week. About 380,000 people originally lost power in the storm.

 

Thursday, 10/19/06

‘Expect a Warmer, Wetter World this Century, Computer Models Agree’ – National Center for Atmospheric Research

www.ucar.edu/news/releases/2006/wetterworld.shtml

BOULDER—Recent episodes of deadly heat in the United States and Europe, long dry spells across the U.S. West, and heavy bursts of rain and snow across much of North America and Eurasia hint at longer-term changes to come, according to a new study based on several of the world's most advanced climate models. Much of the world will face an enhanced risk of heat waves, intense precipitation, and other weather extremes, conclude scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Texas Tech University, and Australia's Bureau of Meteorology Research Centre.

The new study, "Going to the Extremes," will appear in the December issue of the journal Climatic Change.

Many previous studies have looked at how average temperature or rainfall might change in the next century as greenhouse gases increase. However, the new research looks more specifically at how weather extremes could change.

"It's the extremes, not the averages, that cause the most damage to society and to many ecosystems," says NCAR scientist Claudia Tebaldi, lead author for the report. "We now have the first model-based consensus on how the risk of dangerous heat waves, intense rains, and other kinds of extreme weather will change in the next century."

The study is one of the first analyses to draw on extensive and sophisticated computer modeling recently carried out for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC's next assessment report will be released early in 2007.

 

Sunday, 10/22/06

‘Utilites restore power; more wind and rain on the way’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2006-10-22-maine-power_x.htm

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine utility companies worked Sunday to complete power restoration for the last of thousands of customers who lost electricity earlier in the weekend.

The National Weather Service in Gray said a small but intense low-pressure system produced up to 3 inches of rain before moving off to the Maritimes, according to the National Weather Service in Gray.

The weather service said leftover wind gusts exceeding 30 miles per hour were common.

 

Sunday, 10/22/06

‘Australian farmers face ruin as five-year drought worsens’ – The Independent Online [UK]

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/australasia/article1919119.ece

They prayed for rain at two ecumenical church services in Wagga Wagga last week, but the only response was isolated showers.

The people who farm in that region of south-western New South Wales are accustomed to drought. There are good years and bad years that cancel each other out. But the last five years have brought only bad times.

Australia is in the grip of its worst drought for a century. With a long, hot southern hemisphere summer in prospect, the reservoirs are already dry, the river beds are cracked and empty, and farmers are in despair.

"We're in uncharted territory," said Bernard Whyte, a grain and livestock farmer from 35 miles north of Wagga Wagga. "I don't think anybody has a clue what to do." Crops are failing and, with paddocks reduced to dust-bowls, livestock are being sold in record numbers. Areas in southern and south-eastern Australia have been worst hit, with pitifully low rainfall. Now 92 per cent of New South Wales is in drought. The Prime Minister, John Howard, has announced an extra A$350m (£140m) in aid for farmers. A Mental health group, Beyondblue, said a farmer is committing suicide every four days.

 

Wednesday, 10/25/06

‘Storms batter Portugal, killing 1 and causing widespread flooding’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/storms/2006-10-25-portugal-flooding_x.htm

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — A river burst its banks and swept a packed school bus off the road Wednesday after a night of heavy storms that authorities said caused the death of one person.

Three towns in central Portugal were on flood alert as river levels rose and dams approached their limits.

The Civil Protection Service said it responded to 679 incidents of flooding, 335 fallen trees and 19 landslides.

Dozens of roads were reported closed, mostly in central and northern areas.

Trains stopped running on part of the country's main north-south rail line between Lisbon and Porto because of flooding, rail company Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses said. Trains in the southern Algarve region also ground to a halt after a tree fell on a power line and cut the electricity supply.

 

Friday, 10/27/06

‘Blizzard pounds Colorado; roads closed, flights cancelled’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/storms/2006-10-26-colorado-blizzard_x.htm

DENVER (AP) — The biggest October snowstorm to hit Colorado in several years dumped more than 2 feet Thursday, grounding flights, closing highways, knocking out electricity — and jump-starting the ski season.

The storm began late Wednesday and turned highways wet and slushy across the state. At one point, snow was falling at a rate of about 3 inches an hour in Denver. A 125-mile corridor from Colorado Springs to the New Mexico line was under a blizzard warning.

Denver International Airport got 5 inches, and more than 110 flights were canceled. Some suburbs reported up to 10 inches of snow that fell at about 3 inches an hour before the storm moved east onto the Plains, where it caused more trouble.

A 150-mile stretch of Interstate 70 was closed from Denver to Burlington, near the Kansas line, after falling temperatures turned slush to ice.

The storm shut down dozens of schools, courthouses, voting centers and even chased office employees home early from a sheriff's office. Small towns in the mountains and foothills just west of Denver appeared to get the heaviest snowfall, with Evergreen reporting 25 inches and Conifer reporting 22 inches with 4-foot drifts. Two feet fell in Rocky Mountain National Park.

At least one resort, Keystone, announced it would open Nov. 3, a week earlier than planned.

"This storm really put them over the top," said Molly Cuffe, a spokeswoman for the industry group Colorado Ski Country USA.

The storm also was welcome for water utilities and farmers, as the closely watched mountain snowpack — which provides much of the state's water — got an early boost.

"We've probably got a good three-week jump on the season," said Mike Gillespie of the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, which tracks Colorado's mountain snow.

Large October snowstorms are common in Colorado, but this was the strongest in several years, National Weather Service spokesman Carl Burroughs said.

"We haven't had a real good storm like this in a while," he said. "It dumped a lot of snow pretty quick and then moved on."

 

Sunday, 10/29/06

‘Wind storm cuts power to thousands from Maine to Florida’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2006-10-28-wind-storm_x.htm

NEW YORK (AP) — Strong winds and heavy rains toppled trees and brought down power lines from Maine to Maryland on Saturday, sending utility crews scrambling to restore power to thousands.

Wind gusts exceeding 50 mph knocked out power Saturday to nearly a quarter-million people in the New York City area.

The worst problems were on Long Island, where 78,683 customers — about 228,000 people — were without power at noon. Crews restored electricity to many of those, but winds knocked down more wires later in the afternoon.

About 7,500 customers still lacked power on Long Island on Saturday evening.

Gusts up to 70 mph were recorded in Maine, and nearly 48,000 people were without power Saturday evening.

Officials were monitoring small rivers and streams for potential flooding. The Coast Guard put units on alert and issued warnings to mariners.

An estimated 30,000 homes in central and eastern Massachusetts lost power. The National Weather Service said that a flood warning would be in effect across the state Sunday, and that winds could take out more power lines.

In central and northern New Jersey, the winds toppled trees and power lines, cutting power to about 6,000 customers. That number was down to 2,000 by Saturday night.

A wind advisory issued for the entire state was expected to remain in effect through Sunday night, with winds from 20 to 30 mph and gusts reaching 45 mph.

In New Hampshire, a man drowned after his kayak overturned in Jackson and he was swept downstream, officials said. The East Branch River was running fast because of the heavy rains, said Sgt. Jim Juneau of the New Hampshire Fish and Game office.

 

Sunday, 10/29/06

‘Winds leave thousands without power’ – Portland [ME] Press Herald

http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/news/state/061029weather.html

A gusty, soaking change-of-season storm blew through Maine on Saturday, sending leaves and campaign signs skyward while toppling numerous trees and power lines.

Almost 3 inches of rain doused the Portland area in 12 hours, and a southeast wind reached 70 mph in Cape Elizabeth, according to meteorologist Jim Hayes with the National Weather Service in Gray.

The late October gale was especially fierce in the peninsular towns of Lincoln County. Late Friday evening, the county's emergency management director Tim Pellerin said up to 7,000 people were without power, including entire communities such as Bristol and Bremen.

Gov. John Baldacci proclaimed a state of emergency, a move that facilitates a federal waiver allowing electrical workers to stay on the job to restore power and to bring additional crews from Canada.

 

Sunday, 10/29/06

‘Slip-sliding away’ – Providence [RI] Journal

www.projo.com/weather/content/storm29_10-29-06_FD2JP7C.4306388.html

A fast and potent storm that lashed the region yesterday with about 3 inches of rain and wind gusts approaching 60 mph left more than 10,200 customers without power, flooded streets and literally washed the colors of the season down many a drain.

 

Sunday, 10/29/06

‘Strong typhoon rips northern Philippines’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/hurricane/2006-10-29-typhoon-cimaron_x.htm

MANILA — Typhoon Cimaron blasted roofs off homes as it made landfall late Sunday in the northern Philippines, with officials saying it may be one of the most powerful storms to ever hit the country. The president called for prayers, and hospitals and troops prepared for the worst.

With winds gusting up to 143 mph, Cimaron — named after a Philippine wild ox — roared across an impoverished mountainous area home to some 1.7 million people.

"This is probably one of the strongest typhoons ever to hit the country," Health Secretary Francisco Duqueso said at a news conference aired on Manila radio stations. "We need to be very careful and we need to instruct our people to make sure that all necessary precautions are being taken."

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ordered schools and government offices closed in the affected area and suspended bus services in the region.

"Let us pray," she said in a national radio address.

Although the storm did not appear to be drenching the mudslide-prone area as badly as feared, rising rivers made some bridges impassable. Officials said water would be released from two major dams to prevent them from overflowing.

The last time a typhoon this strong struck the Philippines was in December 2004, although in that case, the storm was deflected by a mountain range and casualties were minimal.

Last month, Typhoon Xangsane left 230 people dead and missing as it ripped through Manila and neighboring provinces.

About 20 typhoon and tropical storms lash the country each year.

 

Monday, 10/30/06

‘Mount Washington posts 2nd-deepest October snowfall’ – New Hampshire Union Leader

www.unionleader.com/pda-article.aspx?articleId=21408a53-014a-46ca-bd9d-5adcbb3d91e6

Where this weekend's storm was probably wet in your neck of the woods, on Mount Washington it was white.

The Mount Washington Observatory tabbed the second-snowiest October on record yesterday, with nearly 40 inches of snowfall, including more than 10 over this weekend.

That's compared with the record of 78.9 inches, which was set last year when lower parts of the state were overwhelmed with flooding.

This weekend, temperatures dropped to the lower teens at times and winds peaked at 144 mph.

"It been quite a harrowing tale," said Jim Salge, an observer atop the 6,288-foot mountain. "I've been here four years, and this is among the strongest days we've had."

Visibility over the White Mountains was squelched by fog and snow that swirled with the gusts. Sight distance went from "nothing to just above something," Salge said.

So far, much of New Hampshire has yet to see snow. Up in the North Country, some has fallen, but not at levels that are abnormal, said James Brown, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine.

But lower elevations have seen a lot of precipitation, which translates to the white stuff at higher levels, Brown said.

He noted that parts of Maine to the east of Mount Washington received an unusually high 3 inches of rain this weekend.

"In most places, it's been a wetter October than normal," Brown said. "This was a very wet storm, and it's cold enough on top of the mountain to get snow."

Both observer and meteorologist attributed the weather to freak conditions in the past two years.

The previous snowfall record for October on Mount Washington was set in 1969, with 34.4 inches, Salge said.

"We just happened to get a storm at the right time," Brown said.

 

Monday, 11/06/06

‘Heavy rains flood houses, force evacuations’ – Seattle Times

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/PrintStory.pl?document_id=2003352396&slug=flood06m&date=20061106

As rivers across Western Washington neared or exceeded record flows today, evacuations were ordered in a handful of cities and neighborhoods, and emergency officials braced for what could be the region's most severe flooding in a decade.

 

"They're saying this could be the hundred-year flood," said Pastor Ron Edwards, of Hamilton, as people ran in and out of First Baptist Church, where an emergency shelter was quickly filling up. "This is not a rich town and people don't have a lot of resources. It took some of them a full year to recover from the last flood [in 2003], so they're anxious."

Gov. Christine Gregoire declared a state of emergency for 18 counties, and state transportation officials reported that today's deluge closed sections of nearly 20 Western Washington highways.

By 5 p.m. today, flows on the Snoqualmie's south fork had reached 51,970 cubic feet per second (cfs) — smashing the previous record of 50,000 cfs, set after a December 1996 snowstorm flooded the Snoqualmie Valley, according to Eric Holdeman, director of the King County Office of Emergency Management.

According to National Weather Service forecasts, flows on the Snoqualmie's south fork "could go as high as 69,000 cfs," said Holdeman.

Rivers in at least nine of the region's drainage systems are expected to peak at levels up to 20 percent higher than anything on record, said Johnny Burg, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Seattle. The Snoqualmie, Snohomish, Skagit, Skykomish, Stillaguamish and the south fork of the Nooksack are all expected to reach record peaks, along with the Nisqually, Carbon and Cowlitz rivers farther south, he said.

"They are going to be huge," Burg said. "All I can say is, if this is a record, this will blow anything else in the past away."

As an indicator of just how much rain has fallen, Burg said that during a typical November, an average of 5.9 inches will be recorded at the service's weather station at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Not even a full week into the month, Burg said, weather officials have already recorded 7.38 inches at the airport — including about 3 inches that had fallen between midnight Sunday and 5 p.m. today.

A Pineapple Express — a tropical jet stream from Hawaii that moved across the eastern Pacific, gathering moisture before unloading in the mountainous Northwest — is being blamed for the deluge that is causing flooding much earlier than usual. Typically, January and February are the worst months for flooding.

 

Tuesday, 11/07/06

‘Storm drenches Northwest’ – The Oregonian

www.oregonlive.com/printer/printer.ssf?/base/metro_east_news/1162927507265840.xml?oregonian?en&coll=7

A fire hose of rain aimed directly at the Northwest sent rivers over their banks, homes poised to tumble into the sea and caused the evacuation of dozens of residents from the foothills of the Cascades to the Oregon Coast.

The National Weather Service reported that 13.20 inches of rain fell Monday in a rain gauge at Lee's Camp along the Wilson River in the north Oregon coastal mountains, for a total of 26 inches in five days.

"If this 13-plus inches is verified, it would be the largest one day total of rain ever recorded in Oregon," said state climatologist George Taylor. The single-day record for rainfall in Oregon occurred on Nov. 18-19, 1996, in Port Orford, when 11.65 inches fell.

This week's unrelenting rain caused major flooding on the Wilson River, creating water flows that exceeded the flow during the floods of February 1996. Several other rivers nearby also spilled their banks, as the rain continued to fall this morning. All of Western Oregon and Southwest Washington remained under a flood warning this morning.

An almost perfect storm of rain blasted into the region, trainlike, from Hawaii, bringing tropical moisture and tropical temperatures to much of Western Oregon and Washington. The so-called "Pineapple Express" also caused record high temperatures Monday in Portland, Vancouver, Troutdale, Salem and Eugene.

Daily rainfall records also fell Monday in Astoria, Vancouver, Hillsboro, Portland, Salem and Troutdale.

"This reminds me of the February 1996, only most of the rain is a little further north and we don't have the low-level snowpack that melted and gave us a 100-year flood," Taylor said.

 

Tuesday, 11/07/06

‘A record-breaking deluge’ – Victoria {British Columbia] Times Colonist

www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/story.html?id=d4df8dd9-ad6e-485b-8548-1d72952997d3&k=25067&p=1

Hundreds of homes and businesses were flooded, the main link between Victoria and Sooke was shut down, and the beleagured sewer system was overloaded yesterday as the region was drenched by up to 180 millimetres [7 inches] of rain.

The situation was worst in the southwest part of Vancouver Island, where the Sooke reservoir recorded 181.4 mm [7.1 inches] of precipitation in the 24 hours ending 4 p.m. yesterday.

In the same time, a record 54.0 mm [2.1 inches] of rain fell at Victoria International Airport, obliterating the previous record of 20.1 mm for Nov. 6 set in 1975.

The weather carried with it mixed blessings, since the unseasonably warm air boosted temperatures at the airport to a record-breaking high of 17.1 degrees Celsius.

The previous record was 15 degrees C, set in 1958, while the average high for this time of year is 10.7 degrees C.

Temperature records were also broken in Comox and Port Hardy.

 

Tuesday, 11/07/06

‘Twister kills at least 9 in northern Japan in country’s worst known tornado disaster’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/storms/2006-11-07-japan-tornado_x.htm

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's deadliest tornado on record tore through a remote northern town on Tuesday, killing nine and leaving one woman unconscious, police said. About two dozen people were injured.

The tornado knocked out electricity to hundreds of homes and flipped over cars in the town of Saroma, on the northern island of Hokkaido.

Local television showed a scene of devastation, with a wide swath of collapsed buildings, badly damaged cars and utility poles strewn across streets. Many of the victims were construction workers building a tunnel near the town, officials said.

Tornados are relatively rare in Japan.

According to the Central Meteorological Agency, the worst tornado previously recorded in Japan was just two months ago, when three people were killed on the southern island of Kyushu. The agency only has records of tornado-related deaths going back to 1961.

The agency said it was studying data to determine the strength and cause of the twister. Local television networks estimated that, judging from the damage, it was one of the strongest to hit Japan since World War II, with wind speeds of 156 miles per hour.

 

Wednesday, 11/08/06

‘Australia suffers worst drought in 1,000 years’ – The Guardian [UK]

www.guardian.co.uk/australia/story/0,,1941942,00.html

Australia's blistering summer has only just begun but reservoir levels are dropping fast, crop forecasts have been slashed, and great swaths of the continent are entering what scientists yesterday called a "one in a thousand years drought".

With many regions in their fifth year of drought, the government yesterday called an emergency water summit in Canberra. The meeting between the prime minister, John Howard, and the leaders of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland was told that more than half of Australia's farmland was experiencing drought.

David Dreverman, head of the Murray-Darling river basin commission, said: "This is more typical of a one in a 1,000-year drought, or possibly even drier, than it is of a one in 100-year event." He added that the Murray-Darling river system, which receives 4% of Australia's water, but provides three-quarters of the water consumed nationally, was already 54% below the previous record minimum. Last month it recorded its lowest ever October flows. Inflow this year was just 5% of the average.

The drought is likely to affect drinking water supplies to many areas. Sydney's largest reservoir is now 40% full and many small rural towns in east Australia face shortages within a month.

It is also expected to have a serious impact on crops. Last week, the government forecast its lowest wheat crop for 12 years, a 62% decrease on last year. Yesterday the agriculture minister Peter McGauran announced the allocation of more than A$200m (£80m) to help businesses which service drought-stricken farmers, in addition last month to the A$910m in payments for 72,000 farmers affected by drought.

The drought has set off a fierce political debate in Australia about climate change. The country has maintained, with the US, a sceptical stance on the issue, and Mr Howard has refused to sign Australia up to the Kyoto agreement. However, polls suggest he is increasingly out of step with public and scientific opinion and the drought has forced him to demonstrate concern.

South Australia's premier, Mike Rann, said yesterday: "What we're seeing with this drought is a frightening glimpse of the future with global warming."

But Mr Howard played down the assessment that the drought was the worst in 1,000 years, saying he doubted if anybody really knew.

 

Thursday, 11/09/06

‘SUBMERGED AND STRANDED’ – The New Jersey Star-Ledger

www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-5/116305551217070.xml&coll=1

New Jersey's streets and highways became dangerous pools and streams yesterday as 4 inches of rain fell on parts of the Garden State, making for a dark afternoon of water rescues and a horrific evening rush with traffic on major roadways near standstills.

From Aberdeen to Atlantic City, Princeton to Woodbridge, Newark to Hackensack, roads flooded from runoff or natural waterways, and at least dozens were rescued from their cars.

Essex County saw some of the heaviest rain, with 4 inches falling at Newark Liberty International Airport. Princeton recorded 3.8 inches, Iselin 3.3 and Atlantic City 2.0. The National Weather Service in Mount Holly issued warnings that the Millstone, Ramapo and Rockaway rivers, among others, could flood overnight.

In Newark, 22 people -- including a man in the wheelchair -- were rescued from cars stuck in floodwaters, Fire Department spokesman John Brown said. None was injured, although a few were given blankets to keep warm.

The city suffered some of its worst flooding in industrial areas on Frelinghuysen Avenue and South Street, where the water was about 3 feet deep. Tractor-trailers roaring through intersections created powerful wakes that overwhelmed smaller cars, leaving some of them unable to continue.

 

Thursday, 11/09/06

’80-degree November day gobbles up Denver record’ – The Denver Post

www.denverpost.com/search/ci_4628141

Cities along the Front Range sizzled with record temperatures Wednesday, and Denver's high of 80 degrees set a new all-time record for November.

Denver's old November record of 79 degrees was reached four times over the past 133 years, which is as long as the National Weather Service has archived data. But at 1:23 p.m. Wednesday, the temperature crept up to 80, making weather history.

Pueblo saw temperatures of 85 degrees Wednesday, a record for the date. Colorado Springs also broke a record with a high of 78 degrees.

Byron Louis of the National Weather Service attributes the summery weather to an unusually warm air mass moving over the Front Range and parts of the Midwest. But leave the shorts and sandals in storage, because the heat won't last long.

"We'll start to see temperatures more in line with seasonal norms and then getting cooler," Louis said.

For Denver, this year also is shaping up to be one of the driest in 60 years.

 

Thursday, 11/09/06

‘Rain causes flooding at Glacier National Park’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/storms/2006-11-09-glacier-flooding_x.htm

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK (AP) — Floodwater from rain and melting snow has caused significant damage to Going-to-the-Sun Road and washed onto lower floors of the historic Many Glacier Hotel, the National Park Service said Wednesday.

Up to 9 inches of rain fell on Glacier National Park's northern peaks Monday and Tuesday, causing creeks to overflow, officials said.

Going-to-the-Sun Road, the park's main highway, was washed out in three places below the East Tunnel, Ranger Matt Graves said.

The washouts occurred in an area where construction had been underway to repair water damage from the year before. The worst washout took out both lanes of the road, leaving an 80-foot gap.

Swiftcurrent Creek poured over its banks, causing flooding in the basement of the Many Glacier Hotel.

Rainfall had ceased on Wednesday, and the creek was receding, Graves said.

 

Friday, 11/10/06

‘Deadly Northwest storms wipe out road at Mt. Hood’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/storms/2006-11-08-oregon-storm_x.htm

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Heavy rain and flooding already blamed for three deaths in the Pacific Northwest washed out a major highway near Mount Hood on Thursday and forced authorities to close 59 miles of road in Washington state.

The White River flowed over Oregon 35 on Mount Hood's eastern flank on Monday and Tuesday, cutting 20-foot-deep ruts through the pavement and sending boulders and trees rolling down the mountainside, said Bill Barnhart, an Oregon Department of Transportation manager.

Two creeks also wiped out a section of the same highway to the north, Barnhart said. Reopening the highway near Mount Hood is estimated to take $20 million.

Floodwater from swollen creeks and rivers damaged roads and destroyed campgrounds at Mount Rainier National Park, closing it for the first time since 1980 when Mount St. Helens erupted. Superintendent Dave Uberuaga said it would be at least several weeks before the park reopens to visitors.

Washington authorities decided to shut down a stretch of the North Cascades Highway on Thursday because of concerns about the stability of the ground under the roadbed.

On Mount Hood, as much as a million cubic yards of rock, mud and sand covered a quarter-mile stretch of road, Barnhart said.

"None of us at ODOT or the U.S. Forest Service have ever seen it this bad," Barnhart said. "Our biggest concern right now is the safety of our workers."

 

Friday, 11/10/06

‘Typhoon Chebi slams into northeastern Philippines’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/hurricane/2006-11-10-chebi-philippines_x.htm

MANILA (AP) — Typhoon Chebi intensified Saturday as it slammed the northeastern Philippines with powerful winds, ripping off roofs and cutting power lines.

Authorities urged residents to brace for possible floods and landslides as the second super typhoon in as many weeks roared through rice-growing provinces of northern Luzon island with maximum winds of 195 kilometers (121 miles) and gusts of up to 230 kph (143 mph).

It quickly picked up wind speed overnight from 120 kph (75 mph), the Philippine weather bureau reported.

Chebi made landfall in northeastern Aurora province early Saturday morning and began moving across the provinces of Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and Pangasinan. It was forecast to move out into the South China Sea later Saturday.

Nearly 30 northeastern provinces were placed under a storm alert because of rains, winds and rough sea waters.

Many of the areas had suffered damage last week when Typhoon Cimaron slammed the same region, leaving 15 people dead in flash flood and landslides. It came on the heels of Typhoon Xangsane, which left 230 people dead and missing in and around Manila in late September.

About 20 typhoons and tropical storms lash the country each year. Chebi, which means swallow in Korean, is the 17th this season.

 

Thursday, 11/16/06

‘It’s the wettest November on record – already’ – Seattle Times

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003433002_weather16m.html

You've heard the jokes about Seattle's rain: That everyone here has webbed feet, that daylight-saving time here means an extra hour of rain, that the Pillsbury Doughboy has a better tan than Seattle residents.

Welcome to the wettest November in Seattle-area history.

No joke.

Wednesday's storm pushed the rain total at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport past 11.62 inches for the month to eclipse the record set in November 1998. And we're only halfway through the month.

As of late Wednesday, 0.44 inches of rain had fallen at the National Weather Service recording station at Sea-Tac, raising the monthly total to 11.64 inches of rain.

What's more, forecasters say this could wind up as the wettest month in area history if the rain keeps up.

A storm similar in intensity to Wednesday's is forecast to roll in Sunday, bringing more wind and rain.

The end of November is historically the stormiest time of the year for the Northwest, said University of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass.

"The jet stream is basically moving right over us," he said. "We're right in the storm track."

The wettest month in history here was December 1933, when 15.33 inches fell at the Federal Building in downtown Seattle, before the weather service set up its rain gauges at Sea-Tac. Since Sea-Tac has been the recording station, the wettest month was January 1953, with 12.92 inches.

"It's certainly an oddball year," said Mass. January 2006 already ranks as the area's fifth-wettest month on record with 11.65 inches of precipitation. "It's going to remain stormy for a long period of time."

Computer models for the next century that show the effects of global warming on the Northwest predict more precipitation in November, though Mass said it's too soon to draw any conclusions about this month.

"One month doesn't prove anything, but it's interesting that all the global-warming simulations were predicting more precipitation in November," he said.

 

Friday, 11/17/06

‘After tornado kills at least 8 in N.C., storms move north through mid-Atlantic states’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/stormcenter/2006-11-16-midatlantic-storms_x.htm

RIEGELWOOD, N.C. (AP) — Eight people were killed when [a] tornado ripped through a cluster of mobile homes and an adjacent neighborhood of brick homes Thursday morning. At least 12 people were hospitalized, including four children in critical condition, hospital officials said.

The tornado was part of a devastating line of thunderstorms that swept across the South, raising their two-day death toll to 12. The storms then headed north, causing some flooding and wind damage in the Mid-Atlantic.

In Maryland, emergency crews performed several water rescues as dozens of people were trapped in their vehicles in high or fast-moving water, said Montgomery Fire and Rescue spokesman Pete Piringer.

The storms began Wednesday, unleashing tornadoes and winds that overturned mobile homes and tractor-trailers, uprooted trees and knocked down power lines across the South.

In Louisiana, a man died Wednesday when a tornado struck his home. In South Carolina, a utility worker checking power lines Thursday during the storm was electrocuted. Two people died in car crashes in North Carolina as heavy rain pounded the state.

The storm knocked out power to 45,000 customers in North Carolina, but the electricity was back on in most places by mid-afternoon Thursday.

 

Friday, 11/17/06

‘Downpours flood homes, cut power’ – Richmond [VA] Times-Dispatch

www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD/MGArticle/RTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1149191739575&path=%21news&s=1045855934842

Powerful storms flooded homes, washed over scores of roads, spawned a rash of highway accidents, knocked out power to tens of thousands and interrupted airline service across Virginia yesterday.

"The rain was just going sideways," said Britt Drewes with Richmond's Department of Public Works.

Rising waters from the drenching downpours forced authorities to evacuate some Richmond-area residents from their homes.

More than 170 public roads -- mostly in western Virginia -- were flooded or washed out statewide, VDOT said.

Richmond had received 1.55 inches of rain by 5 p.m. yesterday and tree-downing winds gusted as fast as 43 mph, the National Weather Service said. So far this month, the capital city's rainfall is 4.99 inches, or 3.33 inches above normal.

Fancy Gap in Carroll County received 4.51 inches in 17 hours yesterday, according to the Weather Service, and 2- to 4-inch rainfall totals were common in western Virginia.

An energy-rich cold front pushing through the state caused yesterday's heavy rains and high winds, said meteorologist Bill Sammler with the Wakefield Weather Forecast Office.

"It's not the normal occurrence," he said, "but it's not uncommon to have severe thunderstorm situations in November."

Wakefield's Doppler radar displayed indications of four tornadoes over central and eastern Virginia yesterday, Sammler said, though no strikes were reported.

 

Friday, 11/17/06

‘Afghan floods kill 15, scores missing’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/storms/2006-11-17-afghan-floods_x.htm

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Flash floods in a remote province in northwestern Afghanistan have killed at least 15 people, left scores missing and stranded thousands more, government officials said Friday. NATO forces pledged to send aid.

Heavy rain lashed Badghis province's Balamurghab and Ghormach districts Thursday, inundating many remote villages surrounded by mountains, said provincial government official Mirza Ahmad.

A handful of rescue crews, some riding donkeys, reached the flooded area, where they found the bodies of 10 people in four villages in Balamurghab district, and another five in Ghormach district, Ahmad said. The homes of at least 1,000 people had been damaged.

Provincial Gov. Mohammed Nasim Tukhi said 50,000 people lived in the flooded area and many were feared stranded. Some 60 to 70 people were missing, he added. Five villages were believed to be completely under water in Balamurghab, the worst-affected district.

Villages were inaccessible by road and help could be sent in only by air, donkey or foot. Tukhi said a NATO helicopter would deliver food and medicine and gauge the scale of the damage.

NATO and Afghan officials have been discussing emergency relief, with alliance helicopters preparing to take in blankets, food and other aid to flood-affected areas, Kabul-based NATO spokesman Maj. Luke Knittig said.

 

Wednesday, 11/22/06

‘Refugees flee worst floods in 50 years’ – The Telegraph [UK]

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/11/21/weafrica21.xml

Emergency evacuations of thousands of refugees from potentially the worst floods in half a century began in Kenya yesterday as downpours continued to batter the Horn of Africa.

The United Nations began moving the first of 15,000 Somali refugees from Ifo camp, 290 miles east of Nairobi, to higher ground after most of their makeshift huts were swept away following a month of downpours said to be at least as bad as those during the destructive 1997 weather system El Nino.

In many places, the water is waist-deep. Almost all latrines have flooded, threatening disastrous epidemics of cholera, diarrhoea and dysentery.

"We already have emergencies which we are responding to in the region caused by the drought and by the influx of refugees to Kenya following the fighting in Mogadishu in June," said Stephanie Savariaud, a spokeswoman for WFP.

"Now the floods are compounding an already difficult situation, and the forecasts for the next few weeks are not encouraging."

An estimated 1.8 million people in Somalia and Kenya are in desperate need of food, shelter and life-saving water purification pills as forecasters warned yesterday that the devastating rains could continue into next year.

Villagers in southern Somalia, already under threat of war between Mogadishu's Islamists and government militiamen, are worst hit, with 1.5 million people needing help.

Crocodiles infesting swollen rivers have killed nine Somalis swept away by the rising waters, bringing the death toll from three weeks of flooding to 52. Aid workers have reported families climbing into trees to escape.

Three key seasonal rivers, fed from highlands in Ethiopia and Kenya, have filled to near-record levels. The United Nations warned that floods from the Shabelle and Juba rivers in Somalia look set to be the worst in 50 years and the rains may continue until January.

Just eight months ago, the Horn of Africa was in the grip of a drought which threatened 11 million people with famine. Now the surging floods have destroyed the few crops which had started to grow since the rains began.

 

Wednesday, 11/22/06

‘Like the rain, weather records keep falling and falling’ – Seattle Times

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/PrintStory.pl?document_id=2003442471&slug=rain22m&date=20061122

Rain hasn't poured from the skies like this in more than 50 years.

On Tuesday — a day that saw lightning, thunder, rain and hail — November 2006 became the wettest month at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport since the National Weather Service began measuring Seattle rainfall there in 1945.

And there are still nine days to go before we bid November adieu.

A total of 13.11 inches of rain had fallen as of midnight, beating the old record of 12.92 inches of rain in a single month that was set in January 1953.

In Seattle, rainfall records date back to 1891; rainfall was previously measured at the Federal Building downtown. The all-time record set there — 15.33 inches in December 1933 — will be shattered if a little less than 2.5 inches fall by month's end.

This November, "it's just been one system after another with really no break in between," said Dennis D'Amico, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Seattle.

"I think we're ready for a little breather ourselves," he said of himself and fellow forecasters.

Don't hold your breath: Seattle saw a little bit of everything on Tuesday and should get more of the same today before yet another, stronger storm moves in Thursday.

Gov. Christine Gregoire is also hoping for some relief from the weather. At a news conference on Tuesday in Olympia, Gregoire formally asked President Bush to declare parts of Washington a federal disaster area as a result of widespread flooding earlier this month.

 

Thursday, 11/23/06

‘Wind, rain pummel parts of N.C.’ – Raleigh [NC] News Observer

http://www.newsobserver.com/102/story/513772.html

A slow-moving storm swept the state Wednesday, toppling trees and power lines, swelling rivers and slowing traffic on one of the busiest driving days of the year.

More than 5,000 Triangle homes were still without power late Wednesday afternoon. Progress Energy representatives said that about 20,000 homes lacked power statewide Wednesday morning. The company had hoped to restore power to all Triangle homes by midnight.

The nor'easter dumped up to 5 inches of rain in the Triangle and Down East.

Streets flooded throughout the Triangle. In Durham, several streets had to be closed temporarily. While Crabtree Creek reached flood levels, nearby Crabtree Valley Mall wasn't affected.

The storm hit hardest in coastal counties, where wind-whipped waves pounded beaches, flattened dunes and sent water surging into streets and roads. Ocean overwash shut down N.C. 12 in Dare County, the only highway link between the Outer Banks and the mainland. State and local officials said they hoped to have the road reopened by midday today.

"This is comparable to a hurricane situation," said Allen Burrus, a Dare County commissioner who operates a grocery store at Hatteras on the Outer Banks.

Up to 3 feet of sand and water covered sections of N.C. 12 -- the worst damage the coastal highway has seen since Hurricane Isabel in 2003.

 

Sunday, 11/26/06

‘Australians pray for rain as drought-of-the-century continues’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2006-11-26-australia-drought_x.htm

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — Churchgoers prayed for rain Sunday in the hopes of breaking the worst drought to hit Australian farmers in more than a century.

Already the world's driest inhabited continent, Australia has been ravaged in recent months by the worst drought in recorded memory, which has devastated crops and bankrupted many farmers.

Archbishop Philip Wilson, the president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, called for a national day of prayer Sunday to ask God for more rain.

"We're praying for rain, that God might bless us with rains," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio Sunday.

Worshippers were "also praying in solidarity with the people who ... are suffering in their lives because of the drought," he added.

 

Tuesday, 11/28/06

‘Snowstorm, ice cause problems for Washington state drivers’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/stormcenter/2006-11-27-northwest-snow_x.htm

SEATTLE (AP) — A storm that dumped as much as 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow on some parts of Washington state turned freeways and city streets into icy gridlock and left thousands of people without power.

The snowfall was capping off a month of heavy rain in Seattle — which was edging closer to a wettest-single-month record. As of 10 p.m. Monday, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where official measurements are kept, had received 15.26 inches (38.76 centimeters) of precipitation — just .07 inches (.18 centimeters) short of the 15.33 inches (38.94 centimeters) recorded in downtown Seattle in December 1933.

"It's kind of ironic that after all that rain we could be breaking the record with snow," said National Weather Service meteorologist Danny Mercer in Seattle. "It doesn't happen this way very often."

North of Seattle in Snohomish County, a total of about 40,000 customers were left without power, said Snohomish Public Utility District spokesman Neil Neroutsos.

Rural parts of Skagit County, near the town of Concrete, reported 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow Monday.

 

Thursday, 11/30/06

‘Winter storm dumping snow, freezing rain across Midwest’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/stormcenter/2006-11-30-midwest-storm_x.htm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The winter storm that roared through the Northwest and Rockies — causing traffic nightmares and helping break a Seattle rain record — blew across the southern Plains and Midwest, bringing with it the first significant ice and snow of the season.

The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings from Texas to Illinois through Friday morning. Up to 12 inches of snow was possible in some portions of eastern Kansas, while others could see ice accumulations of more than an inch.

Mike July of the National Weather Service said the severe winter weather is actually two back-to-back storms — an occurrence he has never seen in more than two decades forecasting weather in the Kansas City area.

"We're going to get hit with a double-whammy," he said.

The first storm rolled through Kansas on Wednesday afternoon, on the heels of near-record setting temperatures earlier in the week. It dumped half an inch of ice on tree limbs and power lines in eastern Kansas, contributing to a fatal car accident on the Kansas Turnpike and raising concerns of power outages.

July said the second storm system was to move northeast from Oklahoma on Thursday afternoon, possibly dumping up to 1 1/2 feet of snow along a line stretching from Kansas City to Moberly, Mo.

In Washington state, the November precipitation total at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport stood at 15.45 inches at about 10 p.m. Wednesday, National Weather Service meteorologist Doug McDonnal said. That topped Seattle's monthly record of 15.33 inches set in December 1933.

With warmer temperatures expected to follow the storm as it marches east toward the Midwest, the Weather Service issued a flood watch for the combined effects of rain and melting snow in Whatcom County, just south of the Canadian border.

More snow and icy temperatures descended on Colorado as cold air moved in behind the storm, which dropped up to 2 feet of snow on the mountains. The plummeting mercury made for icy conditions on Colorado highways for the evening commute.

 

Friday, 12/01/06

‘Nearly 200 killed in Philippine typhoon, hundreds more missing’ – USAToday.com per AP

MANILA (AP) — The fourth major typhoon to hit the Philippines in four months killed 198 people and left 260 others missing, officials said Friday.

Typhoon Durian caused flash floods and sent walls of muddy volcanic ash and red-hot boulders crashing down on several villages, the officials said.

The national Office of Civil Defense reported 198 people were killed and 260 were missing. Fernando Gonzalez, governor of worst-hit Albay province, said the figures included 109 people who died in mudslides on the slopes of the Mayon volcano that also injured 130.

"The disaster covered almost every corner of this province — rampaging floods, falling trees, damaged houses," Gonzalez said.

The magnitude of the destruction hampered relief operations.

"Our rescue teams are overstretched rescuing people on rooftops," said Glen Rabonza, head of the national Office of Civil Defense.

Gonzalez said seven or eight villages had been hit by the wet lava flows that rumbled down Mayon's slopes for three hours Thursday.

"It happened very rapidly and many people did not expect this because they haven't experienced mud flows in those areas before," Gonzalez said. "By the time they wanted to move, the rampaging mud flows were upon them."

Undersecretary Dr. Graciano Yumul of the Department of Science and Technology said the storm was particularly damaging because it came ashore Thursday in Catanduanes, an island province with no mountains to break the storm's momentum.

"So it really destroyed the island that it hit," Yumul said. "That is the reason you are seeing the kind of destruction you are seeing right now.

Noel Rosal, mayor of Legazpi city, the capital of Albay province, visited Padang and said three of the five communities comprising the village of 1,400 people had been "wiped out" with only the roofs of several houses jutting out of the debris.

Durian — the fourth "supertyphoon" to hit the Philippines in as many months — was packing sustained winds of 121 mph and gusts of up to 139 mph, the weather bureau said. By Friday, the typhoon weakened as it moved north of Mindoro island south of Manila with sustained winds of 94 mph and gusts of up to 116 mph as it headed toward the South China Sea.

In late September, Typhoon Xangsane left 230 people dead and missing in and around Manila. Typhoon Cimaron killed 19 people and injured 58 others last month, and earlier this month, Chebi sliced through the central Luzon region, killing one.

About 20 typhoons and tropical storms hit the Philippines each year.

 

Friday, 12/01/06

‘It’s beginning to look a lot like summer’ – Boston Globe p. B1

www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2006/12/01/its_beginning_to_look_a_lot_like_summer/

Not long before Boston officials lit the city's Christmas tree in an annual seasonal rite, the area broke a 125-year-old record for the high temperature for the date yesterday when the mercury hit 69 degrees at 1:43 p.m.

To some, the unusually balmy weather was an unexpected delight. To others, it was downright ominous. "I thought to myself, 'It has to be global warming,' " said Mike Carey, 39, who was dripping with sweat after jogging along the Charles River.

Not so, said National Weather Service meteorologist Bill Simpson, who spent much of the day pouring cold water on global warming inquiries. He explained that the cause was a stalled weather system above Alaska that prevented the typical early winter jet stream from pushing cold weather to the Eastern United States. That left a vacuum filled by warm air from the Gulf of Mexico, resulting not only in a record high for Nov. 30, but a November that was one of the five warmest ever recorded, Simpson said. At Revere Beach, crowds more usual for summer lined up at Kelly's Roast Beef, taking their sandwiches and burgers to the beach pavilions for seaside lunches.

 

Friday, 12/01/06

‘Record warmth wilts holiday spirit’ – Burlington [VT] Free Press

www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006612010313

Some of the local holiday spirit went south as warm air moved north Thursday, setting record highs for the date and cementing a tie for the least snowy November on record.

 

Forecasters said the topsy-turvy weather will revert to normal tonight. After a stormy day, temperatures will drop, it'll snow a little, and Vermont faces a week of near and sub-freezing cold, with occasional light bursts of snow. In other words, December.

 

Thursday was a day given over to record highs -- it was 63 degrees in Burlington, compared with 53 degrees in Phoenix, 30 in Dallas, and a 21-degree, raging blizzard in Oklahoma City.

 

At Peter Purinton's pick-your-own Christmas tree farm in Huntington, a few dandelions half-heartedly bloomed in the warm breeze beneath the trees, somewhat killing the Currier and Ives motif that some people prefer.

 

The Christmas tree farm -- and Vermont as a whole -- can't get any more snow-free than it has been. The trace of snow that landed in Burlington during November made the city as snowy as Orlando, Fla., and Charleston, S.C., were during the month. November will likely be the second or third warmest on record.

 

Saturday, 12/02/06

‘A wintry blow to the nation’s midsection’ – Washington Post p. A3

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/01/AR2006120100234.html

CHICAGO. Dec. 1 -- A surprisingly early wintry storm rolled across the central United States, stranding airline passengers, shutting schools and leaving hundreds of thousands of households in darkness because of ice and wet snow.

Authorities in football-loving Oklahoma even postponed the high school playoffs for the first time in 14 years.

Dallas encountered rare sleet. Snowfall in Amarillo, Tex., reached seven inches, topping the totals in downtown Chicago, though the Windy City's northwestern suburbs registered more than a foot of snow.

Traffic was snarled, and public officials urged people to stay off the roads. Flights were canceled by the hundreds in Dallas and Chicago and at countless points in between. A FedEx cargo plane skidded into the mud at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and had to be towed to solid ground.

The freezing tempest, which began late Thursday and brought thunder and high winds, was all the more startling in the upper Midwest because the previous 10 days proved unseasonably warm. Temperatures reached into the 60s on Thanksgiving in many parts of the region.

"It's the shockeroo of being so warm for so long and then getting a cold snap with wintry precipitation," said Victor Murphy, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Fort Worth.

Some of the heaviest snow and gloomiest conditions struck Missouri, where a 50-mile stretch of Interstate 70 was closed to traffic for several hours early Friday. Sedalia, in western Missouri, registered 16 inches of snow before the storm churned away.

In Kansas, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) declared a disaster emergency in 27 counties. In Johnson County, the state's most populous, 400 residents lost power after a snowplow slammed into a power pole.

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt (R) declared a state of emergency, meaning municipalities can request state aid to deal with the storm's aftermath.

Saturday, 12/02/06

‘A November to remember’ – Seattle Times

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003457973_weather02m.html

If you're prone to forgetting your umbrella, Nov. 25 was the day for you.

It was the only day in November that it didn't rain in Seattle.

But, otherwise, rain it did, a record of 15.63 inches at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. That also was more than the record monthly total of 15.33 inches that fell in downtown Seattle in 1933, before the National Weather Service put its official rain gauge at the airport.

Average rainfall for the month is 5.9 inches.

"We had just about everything," said Dennis D'Amico, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "Thunder. High winds, rain, snow, floods. Everything besides an earthquake and a tsunami. We covered all our bases for what could go wrong."

According to the National Weather Service:

• The rainiest day of the month was Nov. 6, when 3.29 inches fell at Sea-Tac.

• The coldest high was 27 degrees on Nov. 28, and the coldest low was 18 degrees on Nov. 28 and 29.

• In all, 41 inches of rain have fallen this year, far exceeding the average annual total of 31 inches.

• The warmest days of the month were Nov. 3 and 6, when temperatures reached 60 degrees.

• The state Department of Transportation's Web site had 14.6 million hits on Nov. 26, shattering the record of 12 million views set in 2004.

The Mount Baker Ski Area set a record for snowfall in one storm. Between Nov. 21 and Nov. 27, 12 feet of snow fell on the mountain, the most in 53 years, said Gwyn Howat, a spokeswoman for the ski area.

So you think it was wet in Seattle? Be glad you don't live in Hoodsport, Mason County. There, weather watchers tallied the monthly rain total at 36.66 inches.

 

Tuesday, 12/05/06

‘Alps experiencing warmest period in 1,300 years, climatologist says’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/2006-12-05-alps-snow_x.htm

VIENNA (AP) — Europe's Alpine region is going through its warmest period in 1,300 years, the head of an extensive climate study said Tuesday.

"We are currently experiencing the warmest period in the Alpine region in 1,300 years," Reinhard Boehm, a climatologist at Austria's Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics said.

Boehm based his comments on the results of a project conducted by a group of European institutes between March 2003 and August 2006. Their aim was to reconstruct the climate in the region encompassing the Rhone Valley in France to the west, Budapest, Hungary to the east, Tuscany, Italy to the south and Nuremberg, Germany to the north over the past 1,000 years.

Boehm said the current warm period in the Alpine region began in the 1980s, noting that a similar warming occurred in the 10th and 12th centuries. However, the temperatures during those phases were "slightly under the temperatures we've experienced over the past 20 years."

Humans first had an impact on the global climate in the 1950s, Boehm said, noting that at first, the release of aerosols into the atmosphere cooled the climate. Since the 1980s, however, greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane have warmed it up, he said.

"It will undoubtedly get warmer in the future," Boehm said.

The unseasonably warm weather this autumn has caused concern in Austria's ski resorts, where slopes are still largely covered in green grass instead of snow. Many have had to postpone the start of their skiing season and some have tried attracting tourists with alternative programs, such as hiking.

Austrian ski resorts usually open at the end of November.

 

Saturday, 12/09/06

‘Smoke blankets Australian state’ -  BBC News Online

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6220154.stm

Large areas of south-eastern Australia are swathed in smoke as some of the worst bush fires for nearly 70 years threaten mountain and country towns.

The fires in the state of Victoria, mostly in eastern alpine areas, have burned at least 180,000 hectares (445,000 acres) of drought-hit land.

There are fears that the blazes could merge into one "super fire".

Bush fires are common in Australia's hot summer months, but this year's are being described as exceptional.

It is feared some of the fires, mostly sparked by lightning strikes, could burn for months.

The state government's environment spokeswoman, Rachaele May, said it was a "significant possibility" that all of the fires would eventually merge into one larger fire.

"It's the worst drought on record for Victoria, which means all the forest and grassland is extremely dry," she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Thick smoke has grounded aircraft used in operations to dump water on the flames, while smoke drifting hundreds of kilometres has blanketed the state capital, Melbourne, cutting visibility and disrupting passenger flights.

Tuesday, 12/12/06

‘Perils of Somali Flood: Hunger and Beasts’ – New York Times, p. A4

www.nytimes.com/2006/12/12/world/africa/12flood.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin

This is a village of growling stomachs and sharp cheekbones.

The people here are surrounded by floodwaters that have drowned their animals, submerged their crops and swept away their homes. They are slowly starving, unable to sustain themselves on unripe fruit and filthy water.

The floods here are yet another installment of a nation in crisis. At a time when Somalia seems inexorably close to an all-out war with Ethiopia, with a destructive potential that could dwarf the countless deaths from the last 15 years of anarchy, a deluge has arrived, plunging Somalia’s breadbasket underwater, creating the conditions for an extended famine and taking the area’s woes to a whole new level.

Experts say this has been the worst flood season in East Africa in 50 years, and hundreds of people have already drowned, starved, succumbed to waterborne diseases like cholera and malaria, or been eaten by crocodiles.

Some people have refused to be rescued, like a group of herders in Ethiopia who were trapped on shrinking pieces of high land. They said they would rather die next to their cattle than live without them. Ethiopia alone has lost approximately 500 people to the rains. Many climatologists blame global warming for the erratic weather, which brought drought last year and left the earth as hard as concrete — and as impervious. When the rains began to lash down, the water just pooled.

In Yagloo, which is about 30 miles north of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, villagers are stranded on a thin spit of mud between the overflowing Shabelle and the lake where their homes used to be.

The water, which is the creamy brown color of tea with milk, is so deep that in some places all you can see are the pointy tops of straw huts sticking out. A few flip-flops and plastic bags float by. When it starts to pour, people duck under plastic tarps, if they have them, or huddle in shivering groups beneath banana trees. Dinner is typically green bananas or boiled mangos. When it comes time to sleep, families curl up together in soggy blankets.

The floods have already pushed people on the wobbly edge of survival past the point of no return. Yagloo’s cornfields, part of Somalia’s crucial Shabelle agricultural belt, are marinating in stinking water, which means no crops to eat, much less to sell, next year. In neighboring villages, it is the same, with piles of melons stacked alongside submerged roads, the fruit cracking open with rot and a crust of fuzzy white mold creeping out.

“No doubt about it,” said Muhammad Fuje, an official with the World Health Organization in Somalia. “Next year, there will be famine.”

 

Saturday, 12/16/06

‘Storm leaves 800,000 customers powerless, causes widespread damage’ – Seattle Times

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003480655_storm16m.html

More than 800,000 homes and businesses remained without power Friday after the worst storm in more than a decade ripped through Western Washington, darkening entire towns, toppling trees into houses and killing at least four people.

Winds gusted to 69 mph about 1 a.m. Friday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, breaking the mark of 65 mph set in 1993.

Gov. Christine Gregoire late Friday afternoon declared a state of emergency in Western Washington.

"This has been one of the nastiest stretches of weather I've experienced, and I go back to the '50s in this state," [state Emergency Management Division spokesman Rob] Harper said. "This won't be forgotten quickly."

In addition to the wind, the massive rainfall flooded streets and overwhelmed sewer systems.

In Seattle, hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage mixed with rainwater was flushed into Puget Sound after part of King County's wastewater system was damaged and overwhelmed by flood runoff.

The latest storm clobbered a region already drenched with record rainfall in November, capped off by a snowstorm.

 

Wednesday, 12/20/06

“In Balmy Europe, Feverish Choruses of 'Let It Snow'” – Washington Post, front page

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/19/AR2006121901681.html

MOSCOW, Dec. 19 -- Scattered flurries teased Moscow on Tuesday afternoon with the promise of a real winter, the birthright of a city whose people take pride in trudging through snow and in ice fishing and cross-country skiing in white countryside beyond the outer beltway.

The winter of 2006 has yet to arrive, however, and Muscovites are deeply discombobulated. "I want snow. I want the New Year's feeling," said Viktoria Makhovskaya, a street vendor who sells gloves and mittens. "This is a disgusting winter. I don't like it at all."

Moscow is not alone in the unexpected warmth -- it stretches across the continent.

Preliminary data from the Met Office, Britain's national weather service, and the University of East Anglia indicate that 2006 has been the warmest year in Britain since record-keeping concerning weather conditions began in central England in 1659.

Trees are sprouting leaves in Switzerland. And low-altitude ski resorts across the Alps look more like springtime meadows.

In Moscow, the streets have been stubbornly dry and gray in recent weeks. Parks, fields and forests are carpeted in alien hues of green and sprouting mushrooms. At the Moscow Zoo, the brown bears are awake and moody. And some birds, according to zoo spokeswoman Elena Mendosa, "are making love in ponds because they apparently believe spring has come."

Meteorologists blame extremely strong and long-lasting cyclones over the Atlantic Ocean, but they also say the clement weather is linked to global warming.

"We have been monitoring weather for 150 years in Moscow, and we haven't seen anything like this," said Dmitry Kiktyov, deputy head of the Hydrometeorological Center of Russia. "I think it's time to change our temperature norms because the climate is changing and the last decade was very warm, much warmer than all previous decades."

Five days with record high temperatures have been posted this month in Moscow, including Friday, when the mercury hit 47.48 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Moscow's weather service.

 

Thursday, 12/21/06

‘Rains cause street flooding in, around, New Orleans’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/storms/2006-12-21-new-orleans-flood_x.htm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Heavy rain swamped New Orleans' streets Thursday, backing up traffic as pumping stations struggled to keep up.

Pumping stations, closely watched since the catastrophic flooding after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, were working, officials said. But the rain lasted so long, they couldn't keep up, said public works director Jose Gonzalez of Jefferson Parish.

The same storm that dumped snow across the West brought about 6.6 inches of rain to the New Orleans area through midday Thursday. The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch until noon Friday for parts of east-central and southeastern Louisiana.

The community of Larose, about 60 miles south of New Orleans, got an estimated 10 to 12 inches of rain, said meteorologist Fred Zeigler said. Parts of southeastern Louisiana, leading up to New Orleans, had 6 to 8 inches, he said.

 

Friday, 12/22/06

‘Thousands Stranded in Denver Airport and Environs After Blizzard’ – New York Times p. A12

www.nytimes.com/2006/12/22/us/22storm.html?_r=1&ref=us&oref=slogin

DENVER, Dec. 21 — Thousands of travelers were stranded at airports and shelters Thursday after a blizzard on Wednesday paralyzed Colorado and parts of other Western states.

“This is one of those storms that you tell your grandkids about,” said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Silver Spring, Md.

Snowfall measured over 50 inches in the Rocky Mountain foothills, and drifts reached more than five feet on airport runways.

Gov. Bill Owens of Colorado declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, calling in National Guard troops to help stranded motorists reach home, a hotel or Red Cross shelters. Denver International Airport, where nearly 5,000 people were stuck overnight on Wednesday, was to remain closed until noon Friday.

Cities along Colorado’s Front Range could not plow roads fast enough as the snow kept falling for over 24 hours, leaving 20 to 30 inches in Denver. Light-rail trains and bus service were canceled here through most of Thursday, and officials said it could be Saturday before side streets in Denver were plowed.

Mail delivery was canceled and most businesses, including malls, were closed during the busiest shopping time of the year. With cars, trucks and buses abandoned on the roads, the cleanup from the storm is expected to take several days.

 

Monday, 12/25/06

‘Indonesia rushes relief to flood-ravaged Sumatra island’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2006-12-25-sumatra-floods_x.htm

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia rushed tents, food and other emergency aid to flood-ravaged parts of Sumatra island on Monday while the United Nations pledged US$2 million for survivors.

It will be distributed by helicopters because the floods — triggered by days of heavy rain — have washed away roads and bridges in the worst hit area of Tamiyang in eastern Aceh province, said Syamsul Maarif, the executive director of the National Coordination Body for Disaster Response.

An aerial view from an aid flight over the region on Sunday showed many houses submerged, while only the roofs of others were visible. Some families were trapped on the roofs of their homes.

The death toll was at least 87, with dozens others reported missing, while some 110,000 people have been forced to flee their homes and are now staying in tents, government buildings or with relatives, said Burhanuddin, an Aceh government spokesman who goes by a single name.

 

Wednesday, 12/27/06

‘Cleanup begins after Florida tornadoes’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/stormcenter/2006-12-25-florida-storms_x.htm

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Four Christmas Day tornadoes damaged hundreds of Florida homes, with one flipping airplanes at a flight school and tearing the roofs off three apartment buildings, officials confirmed Tuesday.

Gov. Jeb Bush late Tuesday declared a state of emergency in Columbia, Pasco, Lake and Volusia counties, which were hardest hit by the storm.

Injuries reported in the storms were relatively minimal, which authorities called remarkable.

"It's near miraculous that no one was killed," said Bart Hagemeyer, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Melbourne.

 

Sunday, 12/31/06

‘Winter storm brings blizzard into Plains’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/news/nation/snowstorms-east.htm

DENVER (AP) — A winter storm stretching nearly from Canada to Mexico rolled out of the Rockies on Saturday, sparing Denver another round of heavy snow but trapping drivers farther east in 10-foot drifts.

"They're telling me it's zero visibility," said Maj. Gen. Mason Whitney, the [Colorado] state adjutant general. "They'll kind of bump into something and it'll turn out to be a car with people in it."

The storm, which hampered air travel through Denver on Thursday and Friday, spread snow from New Mexico to the Dakotas and generated strong thunderstorms in the lower Mississippi Valley.

Conditions were so bad that some snowplows had to stay off the roads.

In Denver, the sun emerged Saturday for the first time in several days, helping street crews clearing snow and ice left from the pre-Christmas blizzard. Major carriers at Denver International Airport resumed flying regular schedules after canceling 20% of flights during the storm.

The weather service reported 30 inches in the foothills west of Denver, with more than 9 inches in the city.

Parts of Interstate 70 from the Rockies to Kansas remained closed Saturday, along with several other major east-west highways. In New Mexico, Interstate 25 from Pueblo to Santa Fe was also closed.

A Kansas Highway Patrol dispatcher said most major roads from Kansas into Colorado would remain closed until Colorado officials reopen their routes.

Ice and strong winds knocked out power to at least 14,000 people in Kansas, where up to 18 inches of snow had fallen by Saturday in some areas. The snow later turned to rain in many areas. Up to a foot fell in southwestern and central Nebraska.

One traffic death was blamed on the storm in Colorado and a tornado killed one person Friday in Texas. The storm also created severe thunderstorms in the South. A possible tornado was reported Saturday in southern Louisiana.

On Friday, tornadoes generated by the storm in Texas destroyed as many as 50 homes and forced President Bush and his wife into an armored vehicle on his Crawford ranch.

More than 15 inches of snow fell at Albuquerque's airport by noon Saturday, setting records.

 

Sunday, 12/31/06

‘Winter Whammy: One-Day Snowfall Most Ever’ – Albuquerque [NM] Journal

www.abqjournal.com/news/state/525263nm12-31-06.htm

    Friday's single-day snow total of 11.3 inches at the Albuquerque International Sunport shattered the previous one-day city record of 10 inches recorded at that site 47 years earlier, according to the National Weather Service.

    The storm also helped make December the second-snowiest month on record in Albuquerque.

    [Governor Bill] Richardson late Saturday afternoon declared a disaster in at least a dozen New Mexico counties, including Bernalillo, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Taos, Union, Colfax, Quay, Mora, Harding, Guadalupe, San Miguel and Torrance.

 

Monday, 01/01/07

‘December singes a record’ – Boston Globe, p. B1

www.boston.com/globe

Last month is likely to go down as the warmest December on record in Boston, according to the National Weather Service in Taunton.  As of midday yesterday, the average temperature for the month was 41.4 degrees, said Alan Dunham of the National Weather Service.  That would top the previous record, 40.7 degrees in 1990.

Less than an inch of snow fell in Boston last month, dramatically short of the 6.7 inches in an average December.

December records were falling across New England.  Providence, where temperatures averaged 40.9 degrees, was poised to break its 1990 record of 39.5 degrees.  Worcester had an average December temperature of 36.7 degrees, 0.1 degrees higher than its 1923 record.  And in Portland, Maine, the average temperature was pushing 34.9 degrees, 0.1 degrees higher than its 2001 record.

 

Tuesday, 01/09/07

‘El Niño gives USA its hottest year in '06’ – USAToday.com

www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/2007-01-09-warmest-year_x.htm

DENVER — Last summer's deadly heat wave and a balmy December helped make 2006 the warmest year ever recorded in the USA, federal climate officials announced Tuesday.

The National Climatic Data Center says factors include the El Niño climate pattern and "the long-term warming trend" of climate change, due in part to greenhouse gases. The center says drought in the Plains and parts of the West also played a role. Wildfire agencies say warmth helped make it the worst wildfire season ever, with 9.8 million acres burned.

"There's no denying that climate change is occurring, and warmer winters and warmer years are more common for that reason," says Jay Lawrimore, monitoring chief for the center, which keeps the nation's weather records. "What we're seeing (in 2006) is just becoming so much more common."

New York City, still without snow this winter, last week broke a 129-year record for latest date for the first snowfall. In the Northeast, ski resorts report little snow and temperatures too warm to make artificial snow.

Temperatures were above normal even in Colorado, where major snowstorms before Christmas and New Year's paralyzed Denver and socked the Great Plains. The city's average reading for December was still 1.4 degrees warmer than usual.

A side benefit: Residential energy demand for heating was 13.5% lower than normal for October through December, the center said.

An average national temperature of 55.01 degrees pushed 2006 past 1998 as the warmest on record. Fifteen of the years since 1981 rank among the 25 warmest since national record-keeping began in 1895.

The climate center says the current El Niño, the periodic warming of Pacific waters, is the biggest factor for 2006, and global warming is "a contributing factor." This is believed to be the first time the annual temperature report mentions climate change as a cause.

It was the warmest year ever in New Jersey, and five states had their warmest December — Connecticut, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont.

During last summer's heat wave, record highs from South Dakota across the Plains taxed water supplies for crops and livestock. Heat was blamed for at least 140 deaths in California.

The year's warmth wasn't just about extreme highs. Lawrimore says more than 40% of the USA had higher-than-average overnight lows last summer, compared with 10% in a typical year. Daily records for the highest overnight low were tied or broken more than 3,000 times last summer in hundreds of cities and towns, especially in the West. About 100 locations recorded their all-time highest lows for any date, from 88 in Cedar Butte, S.D., to 102 in Death Valley, Calif.

 

Tuesday, 01/08/07

‘Bush: Disaster aid for Neb., Colo., Kan.’ – USAToday.com per AP

www.usatoday.com/weather/news/2007-01-08-kansas-disaster_x.htm

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush signed emergency declarations allowing federal aid to help Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas recover from back-to-back blizzards that shut down highways and knocked out power to tens of thousands of homes.

Thirteen Colorado counties — including the cities of Denver, Boulder and Pueblo — were included in the declaration issued Sunday for the Dec. 18-22 blizzard. A second declaration was issued for Otero County in southeastern Colorado for the Dec. 28-31 storm, Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jerry DeFelice said.

The move opens the way for FEMA to reimburse local governments and some civilian agencies for snow removal, police overtime, shelter operations and emergency medical care.

In Nebraska, a declaration issued Sunday will help 57 counties affected by widespread power outages caused by the storms, FEMA said.

Officials estimated thousands of utility customers remained without power Monday — nine days after the worst of the storm. And high winds with gusts up to 60 mph forecast for part of the state Monday could cause new problems for crews restoring power in central and northeastern Nebraska, said Jon Sunneberg, a spokesman for the Nebraska Public Power District.

In Kansas, 44 counties and some non-profit organizations in the western part of the state will receive aid for debris removal and other emergency measures.