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Old February 11th 05, 12:08 AM posted to sci.geo.meteorology
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Default January 2005 Global Weather Highlights




Wet weather in areas of the western United States which began during
November continued in December. This parade of Pacific storm systems
ameliorated drought conditions in parts of the region, with areas of
the Southwest and California, receiving some of the most beneficial but
in some cases, excessive precipitation. Extreme to exceptional drought
persisted farther north throughout portions of the northern and central

An onslaught of Pacific storm systems affected the West Coast, bringing
exceptionally heavy rainfall to coastal and lower elevations locations,
while several feet of snow accumulated in portions of the Cascades and
Sierra Nevada mountain ranges.

A deadly mudslide near La Conchita, California on January 10 claimed 10
lives. For complete details on the impacts of heavy precipitation
throughout the western U.S


A line of severe thunderstorms preceding a strong cold front brought
wind damage and a few tornadoes to parts of the Deep South and
Southeast on the 13th. A tornado in Laurens, South Carolina produced
damage to frame structures, and was responsible for igniting a large
industrial fire. The tornado was rated as F2 intensity on the Fujita
Tornado Scale.


A significant winter storm which brought heavy snowfall to areas of the
Intermountain West produced more wintry weather as it moved into the
U.S. Great Plains and eventually into the Northeast by the 6th. While a
significant ice storm affected areas of Kansas and Missouri, heavy snow
fell in areas of Nebraska, Iowa and into northern Illinois. Local
snowfall accumulations exceeded 15 cm (6 inches).


A burst of snow that deposited 2.5-7.6 cm (1-3 inches) of accumulation
in Piedmont areas of North Carolina and Virginia on the 19th produced
gridlock on area roadways. Traffic jams in the Raleigh-Durham area
occurred around rush hour, and stranded more than 3,000 pupils
overnight at area schools.


A major winter snowstorm, referred to as the "Blizzard of 2005"
affected the metropolitan areas of the Northeastern United States
during January 22-23. Snowfall accumulations exceeding one-foot covered
much of southern New England in the storm's aftermath, with as much as
3 feet in some areas of Massachusetts. Strong winds created blizzard
conditions with low visibilities and considerable blowing and drifting
of snow. The same storm system deposited heavy accumulations of snow on
Halifax, Nova Scotia and much of Atlantic Canada, canceling most
flights at the airport on the 23rd.


Long-term drought continued across areas of the Greater Horn of Africa.
Lake Victoria water levels remained near the 10-year low, reducing
floods downstream across parts of the upper Nile, and the availability
of fish and water lilies. Lighter than normal seasonal rains in central
Darfur in Sudan and adjacent parts of Chad reduced water supplies and
stressed pastures.

In Algeria, a winter storm deposited the heaviest snowfall since 1950
on the 27th. The snowstorm paralyzed the capital city of Algiers and
more than a third of the country. More than 100 roads were closed, and
the severe winter weather was blamed on 13 deaths. Northward across the
Balearic Islands in the western Mediterranean, snow fell for the first
time in decades, with 8 cm (3 inches) of snow at Mahon on Menora on the


In tsunami-ravaged areas of Sri Lanka and Indonesia, heavy rains during
early January hampered rescue and relief efforts. Locally, rainfall on
the order of 300 mm (12 inches) produced flooding in parts of Sumatra
and southeastern sections of Sri Lanka during December 28-January 5.

Additional rains caused flooding en route to the tsunami-ravaged
Indonesian city of Banda Aceh on the 19th. Flooded roadways delayed
relief convoys from delivering needed food and medical supplies to the


Three days of heavy rains in Costa Rica caused flooding that was
responsible for 7 deaths by the 11th. Significant rainfall in the Limon
province caused several rivers to overflow, displacing more than 35,000
people. In neighboring Panama, civil defense workers had evacuated
5,000 people, with several helicopter rescues from rooftops.


Heavy rain produced a mudslide in North Vancouver, British Columbia
during the early morning of the 19th. At least one person was killed,
and another seriously injured. Vancouver received more than 130 mm (5.2
inches) of rain in the three-day period preceding the landslide.


In Guyana, heavy rainfall throughout much of January produced flooding
that displaced thousands of people. In the capital city of Georgetown,
it was estimated that two-thirds of the city had been flooded,
affecting 120,000 people.


Heavy rains produced some of the worst flooding in 20 years in the city
of Medina. The rainfall caused a dam to collapse, isolating many
villages and forcing many residents from their homes. Eight people were
killed by floodwaters on the 24th.


Tropical Cyclone Kerry developed in the South Pacific Ocean on the
January 5. The storm crossed over the northern islands of Vanuatu on
the 7th with maximum sustained winds near 65 km/hr (40 mph). Kerry
strengthened once south of Vanuatu, before finally dissipating over
open South Pacific waters on the 12th.


Tropical Cyclone Ernest developed in the Mozambique Channel between
Madagascar and the coast of Mozambique on the 20th. The cyclone reached
the coast of southern Madagascar on the 23rd, with maximum sustained
winds at the time of landfall near 100 km/hr (60 mph). There were at
least 17 fatalities, with the southern city of Tulear inundated by
severe flooding.


A powerful storm system brought strong winds to the United Kingdom on
the 12th. Across Northern Ireland and Scotland, winds gusted as high as
200 km/hr (125 mph), producing 60,000 power outages and responsible.
Three fatalities were blamed on the storm system.

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