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Old April 8th 04, 02:33 PM posted to
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Default March 2004 Global Weather Highlights


MARCH 2004


Significant precipitation during the winter season alleviated drought
conditions along the immediate West Coast, although severe to extreme drought
continued in March throughout the Intermountain West, the Northern Rockies, and
southward into New Mexico.

In the upper Midwest of the United States, heavy rain produced flooding in
areas of northeastern North Dakota, as well as in parts of Wisconsin. North
Dakota governor John Hoeven declared a flood emergency for northeastern parts
of the state, where Pembina and Walsh counties were the hardest hit. In
Wisconsin, flooding in the town of Antigo was described as the worst in 40
years. Rainfall amounts of up to 4 inches, combined with snowmelt and icejams
on rivers and streams, exacerbated the flooding problems.


Thunderstorms that moved through Maryland caused the capsizing of a water taxi
with 25 people aboard in Baltimore's inner harbor near Fort McHenry. Winds
gusting to 55 mph struck the area as thunderstorms moved through the region.
One person was killed and three more were missing and feared dead.

A late-season winter storm affected the northern Mid-Atlantic and into the
Northeast United States on the 16th. Snowfall accumulations of 6-10 inches were
common across areas of Pennsylvania, New York and into southern New England.
Boston, MA reported just over 7 inches of snowfall from the storm.


A dust storm originating from the Sahara Desert affected much of Mali,
Mauritania, Algeria, Morocco and Western Sahara during early March. In Mali,
air traffic was disrupted during the 4th-5th at the Bamako-Senou international
airport. In Bamako, visibilities on March 4 were as low as a few hundred

Long term drought continued across areas of Africa, including the Greater Horn
and parts of Southern Africa. In Eritrea, it was estimated than more than half
of the population would require food aid during 2004.

Heavy rains in Papua New Guinea produced flooding that swept away ridges,
washed away roads and destroyed hundreds of homes during the latter half or
March 2004. Flooding earlier in the month prompted the evacuation of more than
10,000 people in the Western Highlands after heavy rain brought the Waghi River
above the flood stage.

Tropical Cyclone Gafilo developed in the South Indian Ocean on the 2nd and
struck northern Madagascar on the 7th. Gafilo came ashore near Antalaha with
maximum sustained winds near 260 km/hr (140 knots or 160 mph). In Antahala, 95
percent of the houses were destroyed. The cyclone moved back over the
Mozambique Channel before coming back across the southern part of the island
nation on the 10th. In addition to the strong winds, torrential rain fell
across much of
Madagascar, and there were 300,000 rendered homeless.


Drought affected areas of Vietnam during March 2004. In the northern Son La
province some 1,000 families were without clean water for daily use. In the
central highlands province of Gia Lai, 4,000 acres of rice and maize were


In South Korea, a heavy snowstorm affected the country during March 4-6 and
stranded around 4,000 motorists on highways. The central provinces of North and
South Chungcheong received the heaviest single-day snowfall since 1904 when the
country began collecting weather data.


In northwestern Iran, at least one person was killed as flash floods triggered
by torrential rains swept parts of the West Azerbaijan province late on the
7th. The rains produced flooding along the Simineh River.

Severe winter weather was blamed for 11 deaths during March 6-7 in
Turkey. Avalanches and landslides were blamed for 8 deaths, while
another 3 individuals were killed when an ice floe in floodwaters
destroyed a bridge.


Tropical Cyclone Evan formed in Australia's Gulf of Carpentaria on February 29
and moved across the island of Groote Eylandt on the 1st and then ashore along
the east coast of the Northern Territory on the 2nd. Maximum sustained winds
were near 45 mph as the cyclone came inland, along with heavy rains.


developed from an extratropical cyclone that emerged off the coast of Brazil on
the 20th. This nearly stationary non-tropical low pressure system aquired
tropical characteristics and developed into a hurricane by the 26th. The
hurricane made landfall along the southern coast of Brazil in the state of
Santa Catarina just south of the resort town of Laguna early on the 28th.
Maximum sustained winds were estimated between 75 to 80 mph with gusts to 95
mph. The storm left at least three people dead and injured 38, while more than
2,000 were rendered homeless. This was the first documented hurricane in the
South Atlantic
Ocean since satellite records began in 1966.


Charles M. Kozierok )
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