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Old February 5th 08, 11:14 PM posted to sci.geo.meteorology
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Default Global Weather Highlights January 2008



West and Southeast

Moderate to exceptional drought conditions continued in the
southeastern region, while much of the central and western U.S.
experienced moderate to severe drought. On January 29, 45% of the
western U.S., 73% of the Southeast, and 32% of the contiguous U.S.
were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the Federal U.S.
Drought Monitor.

Southern Plains and Upper Mississippi Valley

Severe thunderstorms in the central United States on the 7-8th
resulted in numerous reports of wind damage and as many as 75
tornadoes in Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin. In Arkansas,
the tornado destroyed over 50 homes. One fatality was associated with
the winds, which were, according to reports, strong enough to
transport a cow nearly a mile. Wisconsin had its first January tornado
since 1967, while Illinois had its first in over 50 years (BBC News).


A series of storms pounded the western United States during the first
week of January. The state of California received up to 254 mm (10
inches) of rain and over 800,000 homes were left without power.
Meanwhile in neighboring Nevada, nearly 2 meters (6 feet) of snow fell
across the state. On January 5, a levee burst near Reno, Nevada
flooding about 800 homes. The governors from California, Nevada and
Oregon were forced to declare the affected regions states of emergency
(AFP/BBC News).


Temperatures were above average in January through much of the
country. For the nation as a whole, it was the hottest January on
record. According to reports, the January 2007 average temperature
across the country rose 1.3°C (2.3°F), while in large areas in
Western and Central Australia experienced temperatures 3-4C (5-7F)
above average. The town of Pooncarie recorded its highest temperature
of 44.5C (112F) (The Sidney Morning Herald).

Heavy rainfall during January 3-9 caused rivers to overflow and
triggered flash floods across eastern Australia forcing hundreds of
families to evacuate the area and prompting these conditions to be
characterized as the worst in 20 years (BBC News). According to
reports, New South Wales received more than 305 mm (12 inches)
overnight on the 4th (Reuters). Torrential rains continued during
January 14-29, affecting over 2,500 residents in Queensland. The rains
helped ease the ongoing drought in this region (BBC News).


During the first week of January, unseasonably warm conditions helped
set new temperature records across southern Canada. Toronto, which has
an average maximum temperature near -2C (28F) in mid-January, set
two new records on the 7th and 8th. On January 7-8, temperatures
soared to 14C (57F) surpassing the previous records set in 1998 and
1965 by 7.5C (13.5F) and by 2.3C (4F), respectively (BBC News).


Heavy rainfall, which began in November 2007, continued into January
prompting floods that affected around 25,000 people and caused 30
fatalities. More than 10,000 hectares (24,710 acres) of crops were
damaged by the floods, causing an estimated $30 million in losses.
Mudslides destroyed many homes in the city of La Paz (BBC News).


During the week of January 13, unexpected heavy rains triggered floods
that affected southern Africa. In Mozambique, there were 16 flood-
related deaths and nearly 60,000 affected people. In neighboring
Zimbabwe, torrential rains, described as the worst since colonial era
records, caused 27 fatalities while in Malawi only 3 deaths were
reported. In Zambia, the president declared a national disaster
(Associated Press).


Persistent heavy rain fell across parts of England on January 21,
causing widespread floods. In the county of Yorkshire, nearly 60 homes
were flooded (BBC News).

Strong winds affected parts of northern and central Europe on January
27, causing widespread damages to houses and power disruptions. One
death was reported (Associated Press).

On January 3, an intense winter storm swept across Europe, leaving the
southeastern countries under a blanket of snow. The heavy snowfall
prompted authorities in northeastern Bulgaria to declare a state of
emergency, while in Romania, thousands of people were stranded when
the capital's two main airports were closed (BBC News).


Heavy rains on January 30-31 caused floods and landslides across
Indonesia. There were at least 12 reported fatalities, over 10,000
flooded houses, and more than 40 flights delayed (Reuters).


Tropical cyclone Helen developed in the Timor Sea as a depression on
the 3rd and intensified into a tropical cyclone on the 4th. Later that
day, Helen reached its peak intensity with maximum sustained winds of
83 km/hr (52 mph or 45 knots). The tropical cyclone produced strong
winds and heavy rain that caused floods in the city of Darwin. The
tropical cyclone immediately weakened after moving inland (BBC News).

Tropical cyclone Fame developed in the Mozambique Channel on January
25, reaching the western coast of Madagascar on the 27th with maximum
sustained winds of 148 km/hr (92 mph or 80 knots). Fame dissipated
over Madagascar on the 28th but regenerated to a depression on the
29th once it was over water.

Tropical cyclone Gene developed as a depression northeast of Fiji on
the 26th. Gene strengthened to tropical cyclone intensity on the 28th
just before making landfall on Fiji's north island of Vanua Levu. The
cyclone brought strong winds and heavy rain to the island causing
and power lines to collapse. Gene claimed two victims and left many
without power (BBC News). Gene reached peak intensity on the 31st with
maximum sustained winds near 185 km/hr (115 mph or 100 knots).


Cold temperatures affected areas of Mexico during the first week of
January. Temperatures dropped to -5 to 0°C (23-32°F) and snow fell
in parts of Mexico that normally don't experience such weather. Four
fatalities were associated to the cold temperatures (Associated


Severe winter weather, the worst in 50 years, affected much of China
since January 10. The freezing temperatures and heavy snow affected
over 78 million people, caused 60 fatalities, including 25 that were
killed on a bus crash on an icy road on January 29, and prompted many
counties and cities to experience power and water shortages. The
adverse winter conditions affected more than 4.2 million hectares of
farmland, destroyed about 107,000 homes, and damaged about 400,000
others. Highways, railways, and airports were paralyzed, causing
hundreds of thousands of workers stranded, unable to return home for
the Chinese New Year, which for some is their only chance to see
family all year (BBC News/Reuters).

Middle East

Extremely cold temperatures affected much of the Middle East region
and the central Asian countries during the first weeks of January. The
severe cold conditions brought below freezing temperatures, with
Kazakhstan experiencing low temperatures of -25C (-13F) and
neighboring Uzbekistan, having its lowest temperatures in nearly 4
decades (BBC News). Meanwhile heavy snow fell in parts of the Middle
East. Iran had its heaviest snowfall in more than a decade prompting
numerous avalanches and causing multiple traffic accidents. According
to reports, parts of Iran had almost 550 mm (22 inches) of snow from
January 4-6. As for Baghdad, Iraq, snow fell for the first time in
living memory on January 11. About 50 fatalities and over 15,000
perished animals were blamed by the cold and snow (BBC News/Reuters/
Associated Press). Another series of winter storms affected the Middle
East on January 30, covering Jerusalem in a blanket of snow.
According to reports, Jerusalem had up to 203 mm (8 inches) of snow
while in the capital city of Jordan, Amman, received up to a foot of
snow. The cold weather prompted power disruptions to parts of Lebanon
(Associated Press).


In India, cold conditions were experienced during the last week of
January. Delhi, India's capital, recorded its coldest January 28 in 5
years when temperatures plummeted as low as 2.3C (36F). More than
150 fatalities resulted from the cold weather (BBC News).

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