January 2004 Global Weather Highlights
GLOBAL WEATHER HIGHLIGHTS
Heavy snow affected parts of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Denmark
during January 27-29.
A storm system that affected Germany on the 13th-14th brought a variety of
severe weather, Winds gusted as high as 105 mph, with flooding reported in
parts of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg. A tornado late on the 13th ripped
through the northern town of Drochtersen, tearing off roofs of at least seven
Severe to extreme drought was widespread throughout much of the region. The
most concentrated areas of extreme to exceptional drought classification were
across the Northern Rockies and parts of New Mexico. Severely dry conditions
along the immediate West Coast were alleviated by heavy rain and snow during
late December 2003 and into early January 2004.
A parade of strong systems brought strong winds and wintry precipitation to
areas of Washington and Oregon. Snow fell all the way to the Pacific Ocean,
with Seattle and Portland reporting several inches of snow and ice. Snow
accumulations across the higher terrain of the Cascade Mountains were well over
Plains to the East coast
A winter storm spread a blanket of snow and ice across a large area of the U.S.
from the Plains to the Eastern Seaboard during the 24th-27th. At least 56
deaths were blamed on snow, ice and cold from Kansas to the East Coast,
including a severe ice storm in parts of the Carolinas.
A frontal system brought strong winds to the islands on the 14th, knocking out
power to over 12,000 homes and closing at least a dozen public schools. A wind
gust of 85 mph was reported along the west coast of Oahu by the National
Weather Service. Severe thunderstorms affected parts of the islands on the
23rd-25th, with high winds and even a rare tornado reported on Oahu was
A powerful storm system affected the maritime provinces of Canada during
January 15-17. Strong winds, snow and cold temperatures combined to create
blizzard conditions throughout parts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince
Edward Island, closing schools and causing poor driving conditions.
Eastern Canada and Northeast North America
An Arctic air mass encompassed much of eastern Canada and the U.S.Northeast
during mid-month. Record daily low temperatures were set in U.S. cities such as
Boston and Providence on the 14th, as temperatures plunged near or below zero.
Three deaths in the United States were blamed on the cold weather. In
southeastern Canada, temperatures plunged to -47°F at Quebec City, and Saguenay
in central Quebec dipped to -62°F. Power company Hydro-Quebec recorded a new
high for power use on the 15th. Weekly Temperature anomalies during January
11-17 were greater than 9 below normal in the Northeast U.S.
Airborne dust and haze from a major Saharan sandstorm that originated on the
22nd affected much of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Syria and western Iraq with
Heavy rain fell across western Afghanistan on January 17 in the Heart region
produced floods that damaged 500 houses and affected thousands of families.
Flooding along the River Koul affected three villages in the Ghazara and En Gil
A period of cold, snowy weather during the January 9-12 claimed 10 lives. Heavy
snowfall cut off nearly 2,000 villages, while temperatures in Ankara dipped to
9°F on the 9th
Long term drought continued across areas of Africa, including the Greater Horn
and parts of Southern Africa. In South Africa, at least 4 million people were
in need of immediate assistance due to the ongoing drought.
In Brazil, heavy rains swelled two rivers and burst an irrigation dam in the
town of Jaboticabal. At least eight people were killed when their bus was swept
away by floodwaters on January 11. A total of 56 people were killed by flooding
across the country during January 2004, leaving over 6,800 people homeless.
Tropical Cyclone Heta formed in the South Pacific Ocean north of the Samoa
Islands on the 1st and passed just west of Samoa on the 4th. While Heta did not
pass directly over the Samoa Islands, it was the first tropical cyclone to
impact the islands in more than a decade. Most of Samoa was left without power
in the storm's wake, with significant damage reported at the Pago Pago
International Airport. Heta tracked south and crossed the island of Niue on the
6th, injuring several people and causing one fatality.
Cold weather since Christmas 2003 has been blamed for as many as 600 deaths
across South Asia. Low temperatures during late December 2003 into January 2004
ranged from 32 to 41°F across northern India and Bangladesh, which primarily
affected the elderly and children, as well as the homeless population. Hundreds
of homeless in the region die each year because they do not have warm clothes