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Old October 13th 08, 06:40 PM posted to sci.geo.meteorology
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Default Global Weather Highlights September 2008



Hawaii. West and the Southeast

Moderate to extreme drought conditions continued across parts of the
Hawaiian Islands, the western, central and southeastern parts of the
continental U.S. Exceptional drought persisted across western South
Carolina. As of September 30, 29% of the western U.S., 17% of the
13% of the High Plains, 42% of the Southeast, and 24% of the
U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S.
Drought Monitor.


High temperatures and strong winds were conducive to the development
of wildfires across southern Africa during the first week of
September. The wildfires affected Mozambique, South Africa, and
Swaziland, killing hundreds of livestock, affecting over 3,000 people,
and claiming the lives of 89 people; 49 people in central Mozambique
and 40 in South Africa and Swaziland (Associated Press/BBC News).


According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne had the
driest September since records began in 1855, with a total of 12 mm
(0.47 inches) of rain. The previous record was set in 1907 when a
total of 13.4 mm (0.53 inches) of rain fell.


In Szeged, Hungary, a new daily maximum temperature record was set on
September 7 when temperatures rose to 37.6C (100F), surpassing the
previous record of 36.7C (98F) set in 1946 (BBC News).

Storms brought flooding and mudslides during the 6th -8th to areas of
the United Kingdom, where torrential rain caused rivers to overflow
their banks and roads to be inundated. It was reported that hundreds
of people were forced to evacuate after nearly 1,000 properties were
flooded in the town of Morpeth. Six fatalities were reported
(Associated Press).


Heavy rain fell across southern Chile on August 31 - September 1. The
heavy downpours triggered floods and landslides that affected more
than 81,700 people, killed four people, and destroyed or damaged
nearly 10,900 houses (IFRC). According to reports, the rains were the
heaviest in nearly four decades (Associated Press).


Intense rains on the 7th caused flooding and mudslides in Penang,
Malaysia. More than 10,000 people were forced to evacuate the affected
area. No fatalities were reported (BBC News).


Flash floods caused by heavy rain on September 10-11 killed 16 people
and forced hundreds of people to leave their homes across northern
Iraq and parts of Iran. According to reports, the floods destroyed
several hydroelectric generators in Iran's Choman district (BBC News).


Incessant rains produced by a tropical disturbance affected Puerto
Rico on September 20-24. According to a local newspaper, the tropical
disturbance dumped as much as 660 mm (26 inches) of rain in a period
of 24 hours. This amount of rain surpassed the previous record of
603.2 mm (23.75 inches) set on October 1985 (El Nuevo D*a). The
southern portion of the island experienced the heaviest rainfall,
prompting landslides and many rivers to overflow their banks that
flooded hundreds of homes (Reuters). According to the USGS, the Gurabo
River's gage height rose 7.62 m (25 feet) in less than 24 hours on
September 21, peaking at 9.23 m (30.29 feet). Many homes were damaged
or destroyed and four fatalities were associated to the floods. The
heavy rain reportedly caused Puerto
Rico's agricultural industry at least $14 million in losses. The
hardest hit crops were coffee and bananas (Associated Press). It was
reported that president George W. Bush declared eight municipalities
disaster zones.


In southeastern Mexico, heavy rain caused rivers to be well above
flood stage, flooding thousands of homes and forcing hundreds of
people to evacuate the area. Five fatalities were blamed on the heavy
rain (Associated Press).


Torrential rain affected nearly 700,000 people across parts of
Thailand on September 22-24. The heavy downpours caused severe
flooding, damaging nearly 1,900 houses and tens of thousands of acres
of farmland. It was reported that the floods claimed the lives of 16
people (AFP).

In southwest China, heavy rain triggered flash floods and landslides
in the Sichuan province on September 24, killing 14 people and leaving
40 others missing. According to reports, more than 42,000 houses were
destroyed (Associated Press).


Heavy monsoon-related rainfall drenched parts of India during
September, triggering floods and mudslides and causing damage to crops
and property. The heavy downpours prompted rivers to breach their
banks, producing widespread floods in eastern Orissa that affected
nearly 2.4 million people. According to reports, this was the worst
monsoon flooding in the state in 26 years (Associated Press). The
floods were blamed for the death of 173 people across India (AFP).


Hurricane Gustav, which developed during the last week of August,
pounded several Caribbean nations before making landfall west of Grand
Isle, LA on September 1 as a category 3 hurricane with maximum
sustained winds near 185 km/hr (115 mph or 100 knots). Nearly two
million people fled coastal areas as many feared a repetition of
Hurricane Katrina. According to reports, this was described as the
biggest evacuation in U.S. history (AFP). Gustav's ferocious winds
brought down trees and power lines, leaving thousands of customers
without power in Louisiana (Associated Press). As Gustav moved inland,
the storm weakened to a depression. The storm was blamed for 25
fatalities in the U.S.

Hurricane Hanna developed as a tropical depression in the Atlantic
Ocean on August 28, strengthening into a tropical storm later that
day. By September 1, Hanna intensified to a hurricane with maximum
sustained winds near 130 km/hr (81 mph or 70 knots) as it trailed
towards the Bahamas. Although Hanna did not make landfall on the
Island of Hispaniola, the storm's outer rain bands brought heavy rain
to Haiti's saturated grounds. The copious rain caused fatal floods and
mudslides, claiming the lives of 529 people (Reuters) and destroying
immense areas of crops (BBC News). The worst affected city was
Gonaïves, which according to reports was completely devastated (BBC
News). The storm tracked towards the Eastern Seaboard, making landfall
near the North and South Carolina border on the 6^th with maximum
sustained winds near 93 km/hr (58 mph or 50 knots). Hanna brought much
needed rain to the Carolinas, however severe to exceptional drought
persisted according to 9 September 2008 U.S.

Hurricane Ike developed as a tropical storm, west of the Cape Verde
Islands, on September 1. The storm quickly intensified, reaching its
peak strength (a dangerous Category 4 hurricane on the 4th when it had
maximum sustained winds near 233 km/hr (145 mph or 126 knots) and a
pressure of 935 mb. So far, Ike is the strongest storm in the 2008
Atlantic hurricane season. Haiti, already ravaged by three previous
tropical storms (Fay, Gustav, and Hanna), was affected by Ike's outer
rain bands. Torrential rain fell, producing swollen rivers, mudslides,
and floods, which claimed the lives of 74 people (AFP). The storm
tracked towards Cuba (also previously affected by Fay, Gustav, and
Hanna), which was preparing itself for a fourth time, evacuating
nearly a million Cubans across the coastal areas. Prior to making
landfall in Cuba, Ike slightly weakened to a Category 3 hurricane. Ike
made landfall in eastern Cuba on September 7 with maximum sustained
winds near 193 km/hr (120 mph or 104 knots). Ike's ferocious winds
tore off roofs, toppled trees and power lines. As the storm roared
across the island, Ike weakened; however, remained a dangerous
Category 1 hurricane. The storm crossed over western Cuba, striking
the area with additional flooding and storm surge (AFP). Hurricane Ike
was responsible for seven fatalities in Cuba, the highest death toll
for any storm in years, according to reports. Ike's death toll in Cuba
exceeds the death toll from Hurricane Michelle in 2001 when five
fatalities were reported (Associated Press). It has been reported that
Hurricane Gustav and Ike caused nearly 5 billion U.S. dollars in
damages. More than 63,000 homes were destroyed and about 450,000 were
damaged (Associated Press).

After lashing Cuba, Ike moved into the Gulf's warm waters, tracking
towards the U.S.-Mexico coasts. As the storm moved steadily towards
Texas coast, Ike strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane. Ike was a
large storm. Long before it made landfall, Louisiana and Texas coast
felt Ike's effects. The storm made U.S. landfall at Galveston, Texas
on the 13^th with maximum sustained winds near 176 km/hr (109 mph or
95 knots). Ike brought widespread floods across the Galveston area.
Houston was also pummeled as the storm moved inland, blowing out
windows and leaving millions of residents without power (BBC News). As
the storm tracked towards the Midwest, it weakened. However, Ike's
remnants caused havoc across the Midwest. Torrential rain and strong
winds were responsible for inundating homes and causing blackouts to
more than a million homes and businesses. The storm dumped 152-203 mm
(6-8 inches) of rain across parts of Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri.
The storm was also responsible for spawning a tornado in Arkansas that
caused damage to several buildings. Ike was blamed for 15 fatalities
across the Midwest, which brought the U.S. death toll from Ike to
nearly 40 (Associated Press).

Typhoon Sinlaku developed as a tropical depression in the western
Pacific Ocean, east of the northern Philippine Islands, on September 8
and became a tropical storm later that same day. Although the storm
did not make landfall in the Philippines, Sinlaku's effects were felt
across the island of Luzon, Philippines. The storm's rainbands
prompted heavy downpours that quickly flooded the streets and homes on
the 8th . By the 9th , Sinlaku strengthened to a typhoon but reached
its peak intensity on the 10th with maximum sustained winds near 231
km/hr (144 mph or 125 knots). The typhoon moved towards the
northeastern coast of Taiwan where it made landfall on the 14^th with
maximum sustained winds near 148 km/hr (92 mph or 80 knots). Sinlaku
slashed the island with strong winds and heavy downpours. The typhoon
was blamed for four fatalities and for leaving seven other people
missing in central Taiwan. According to reports, Sinlaku dumped more
than 1,016 mm (40 inches) of rain in the mountainous regions, causing
deadly mudslides and the overflow of rivers that forced hundreds of
people to evacuate the affected areas (Associated Press/Reuters).
Sinlaku weakened to a tropical storm as it exited Taiwan, tracking
towards Japan. The storm briefly intensified to a typhoon but weakened
once again before making landfall in southern Kyushu on September 18
with maximum sustained winds near 139 km/hr (86 mph or 75 knots). The
storm produced flooding and triggered several mudslides in Kagoshima.
However, no fatalities were reported (BBC News).

Typhoon Hagupit developed as a tropical depression in the western
Pacific Ocean on the 18th . The storm reached tropical storm strength
on the 19^th and attained typhoon status on the 21^st . The typhoon's
outer rainband affected Taiwan and northern Philippine as it moved
across the Luzon Strait towards southeastern China. Hagupit was blamed
for the deaths of three people and for trapping 13 others in a gold
mine in the
Philippines (Reuters). On September 23, Hagupit reached its peak
intensity with maximum sustained winds near 222 km/hr (138 mph or 120
knots) as it moved across the South China Sea. The typhoon made
landfall in the province of Guangdong on the 24th with maximum
sustained winds near 195 km/hr (121 mph or 105 knots). The storm
brought torrential rain and ferocious winds which killed ten people,
destroyed nearly 18,500 houses, flooded more than 800 homes, and
destroyed crops. According to reports, economic losses due to the
typhoon are estimated to be 923.7 million U.S. dollars (AFP). It was
reported that Hagupit was the worst typhoon to hit the Guangdong
province in a decade (BBC News). As the typhoon moved further inland,
towards Vietnam, it began to weaken.
However, Hagupit brought torrential downpours to northern Vietnam,
triggering fatal floods and landslides. The storm was responsible for
destroying thousands of hectares of crops, inundating several thousand
homes, and claiming the lives of 41 people (AFP). In Vietnam, the
economic losses were estimated to be at least 65 million U.S. dollars
(Associated Press).

Hurricane Kyle developed as a tropical disturbance that moved over
Puerto Rico, causing widespread floods that claimed the lives of four
people. By the 24th the disturbance exited the Caribbean as it tracked
northward. The disturbance attained tropical storm strength on the
25th and strengthened into a hurricane on September 27. The storm
reached its peak intensity with maximum sustained winds near 120 km/hr
(75 mph or 65 knots) before making landfall in Nova Scotia on the
28^th . According to reports, 12,000 outages were reported along the
south shore (Associated Press). Kyle weakened immediately after

Typhoon Jangmi developed in the northwestern Pacific Ocean as a
tropical depression on the 23rd. By September 25, Jangmi attained
typhoon status, but reached its peak intensity with maximum sustained
winds near 250 km/hr (155 mph or 135 knots) on the 27th . Jangmi made
landfall in Taiwan on September 28, becoming the most powerful typhoon
to hit the island during the 2008 season. It was reported that Jangmi
dumped as much as 1,124 mm (44 inches) of rain on some parts of the
island (Reuters) and left nearly 86,000 households without power. Two
fatalities were reported (Associated Press). The storm weakened as it
moved across Taiwan and was downgraded to a tropical storm on the
29^th as it exited Taiwan and headed towards Japan. The storm became
extratropical on the 30th .

Tropical Storm Mekkhala developed as a tropical depression in the
South China Sea on September 28. The next day the depression
strengthened to a tropical storm and on the 30th made landfall in
central Vietnam. The storm pounded the country with maximum sustained
winds near 88 km/hr (55 mph or 48 knots) and heavy rain (BBC News),
blowing off tin roofs and downing trees and electric poles. According
to reports, eight fatalities were reported with eight others missing
(Associated Press).

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