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Old March 6th 08, 11:39 PM posted to sci.geo.meteorology
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Default February 2008 Global Weather Highlights




Tropical cyclone Ivan made landfall in Madagascar on February 17.
According to reports, Ivan was one of the strongest cyclones ever to
Madagascar (Reuters). Additional information #tropical can be found

West, Central 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. Northern parts of North Dakota
and northwestern Nebraska experienced extreme drought. On February 26,
37% of the western U.S., 66% of the Southeast, and 29% of the
contiguous U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to
the Federal U.S. Drought Monitor.

Intense downpours fell during the first week of February in the
Hawaiian islands, causing widespread floods and prompting several
areas of the Big Island to be declared as disaster areas. On February
2, Hilo recorded a total of 275 mm (11 inches) in a period of 24
hours, breaking the previous record set in 1969 by 89 mm (3.5 inches)
(BBC News).


A major outbreak of severe weather and tornadoes occurred overnight on
February 5 (Super Tuesday) across the southeastern U.S. and the Ohio
Valley region. There were 131 reported tornadoes on the 5th, along
with many reports of hail and wind damage. These storms caused
widespread damage across Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, and
Mississippi. Two of the 5 affected states (Arkansas and Tennessee)
were participating in the "Super Tuesday" election event, but some
locations were forced to close early due to the severe weather . For
the second time during the
2007/2008 winter, devastating tornadoes struck the U.S. and caused 57
fatalities. This was one of the 15 worst tornado death tolls since
1950 and the deadliest tornado outbreak since the 31 May 1985 outbreak
76 people lost their lives across Ohio and Pennsylvania (Associated
Press/Reuters). In Alabama, 5 people died and around 500 homes were
damaged. Arkansas had at least 13 fatalities with 133 injured people.
This was Arkansas's deadliest event since 1 March 1997, when 25 people
were killed. Also, Arkansas recorded a tornado that tracked 123 miles,
the longest recorded tornado track since 1951. Kentucky reported 7
fatalities and Mississippi had at least 18 reports on injured people.
Meanwhile, Tennessee had 32 fatalities and suffered the deadliest
tornado outbreak since 1974, when 47 people died (Associated Press/
Reuters/AFP). According to reports, Madison County in Tennessee
suffered an estimated $47 million in property damages (Reuters).

A second round of severe storms swept through on the 17th, producing
49 reported tornadoes, damaging winds, and hail. In Alabama and in the
Florida Panhandle, many homes were completely destroyed with many
others severely damaged. Although there were no reported fatalities,
there were nearly 50 people injured (Associated Press).

Upper Mississippi Valley

Wisconsin's capital set a new record for snowfall, with more than
196.3 cm (77.3 inches) of snow so far this winter. The old record was
broken when 46 mm (1.8 inches) of snow fell overnight on February 11.
The previous record was set during the winter of 1978/1979, when 194.6
cm (76.6 inches) of snow fell (Associated Press). International Falls
in Minnesota experienced a new record low for February 11 when
temperatures plummeted to -40F. The previous record was set in 1967,
when temperatures fell to -37F (Associated Press).


Moderate to severe drought conditions affected the central region of
Tibet. Moderate drought was present across parts of the Sichuan,
Liaoning, Hebei, Beijing, Jilin, and the Inner Mongolia provinces
(Beijing Climate Center. According to reports, across parts of Beijing
and Tianjin received 20-70% less rainfall this year compared to last
year, leaving nearly 2.4 million people facing drinking water
shortages (BBC News).

Flooding and landslides triggered by heavy rain affected the eastern
parts of the Philippines during February 14-27. More than 294,000
people were affected and many houses were submerged. There were 45
fatalities with 31 others injured (AFP). According to reports,
economic losses for the central and southern Philippines were
estimated to be $22 million in infrastructure and agricultural damages

Severe winter weather affected central Afghanistan during the first
week of February. The cold weather caused 37 fatalities, including 20
children (Associated Press).

Heavy snow and cold temperatures affected China's southwestern
of Yunnan for a second time since January 2008. According to reports,
about 180,000 people were affected when snow blocked roads and caused
blackouts (Reuters).


Drought across Spain is reportedly the worst in more than a decade,
while Portugal suffers its worst winter drought since 1917. It is
likely that water restrictions will be implemented this summer (BBC


Thunderstorms ripped through the eastern parts of New South Wales and
Queensland on the 7th. Winds gusting over 90 km/hr (55 mph or 50
knots) brought down trees on houses, power lines and roads. The city
of Perth, Western Australia had its wettest February since 1992 when
more than 40 mm (1.6 inches) of heavy rain fell and caused a 50 day
drought to end (BBC News).

Severe thunderstorms, described as a one in 20 year event, affected
parts of New South Wales on the 26th, producing torrential rain, golf
ball size hail, and damaging winds. According to reports, flash floods
were caused when as much as a months worth of rain fell in less than
an hour (BBC News). Across Sydney, some regions received as much as 17
mm (0.7 inches) of rain in just 15 minutes while other places had as
much as 44 mm (1.7) in just 30 minutes (BBC News).


Central and southern parts of Chile suffered from its worst drought in
five decades. According to reports, more than a quarter of Chile's 345
municipalities faced water shortages. The government was forced to
declare a state of emergency in 30 municipalities (Associated Press/
BBC News).

Heavy rain during February caused widespread floods across Bolivia,
Ecuador, and Argentina. Thousands of people were left homeless and
nearly 50 people were killed (AFP). In Ecuador, these floods are
described as the worst in the country's history (Associated Press).
According to reports, Bolivia and Ecuador's government declared a
national state of emergency (BBC News/Associated Press).

Middle East

A dust storm affected Kuwait on the 19th, significantly reducing
visibility and thus disrupting the local air traffic and forcing the
closure of the Gulf's main ports. Dust storms are quite rare in the
winter, but the lack of rainfall this winter prompted the loose sand
be easily transported by the strong shamal winds.

Across Greece and Turkey, cold weather and heavy snowfall caused
school and transportation disruptions on the 18th. In Turkey, the
severe weather was responsible for hundreds of traffic accidents
across the country and for taking the lives of two people who froze to
death (Reuters).

In Jerusalem, the second major winter storm this winter brought heavy
snowfall on the 18th. The storm lashed the country with heavy snow,
hail, rain, and strong winds. According to reports, 50 mm (2 inches)
of snow lay in parts of the country (BBC News).


Torrential rain fell on February 8 on the Pacific island nation of
Tonga. According to reports, the Tonga Meteorological Office recorded
a total of 184 mm (7.2 inches) of rain in a six-hour period, almost a
typical month's worth of rain. The heavy rain prompted flash floods in
many low-lying areas (BBC News).

In New Zealand, heavy rain triggered flash floods and landslides when
120 mm (5 inches) of rain fell overnight on the 11th. According to
reports, this is the first significant rain event since October 2007
(BBC News).


Heavy rain during the first two weeks of February prompted floods that
affected nearly 100,000 residents and caused 12 fatalities (BBC News/
Associated Press).

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