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Old November 5th 08, 10:37 PM posted to sci.geo.meteorology
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Default October 2008 Global Weather Highlights




Moderate to severe drought were observed across parts of the western
and north-central continental U.S. Meanwhile, severe to extreme
drought conditions were present in the Hawaiian Islands, southern
Texas and the southeastern U.S. Western South Carolina had exceptional
drought. As of October 28, 30% of the western U.S., 16% of the South,
8% of the High Plains, 30% of the Southeast, and 22% of the contiguous
U.S. were in moderate to exceptional drought, according to the U.S.
Drought Monitor.


A significant winter storm brought heavy snowfall to areas of Montana,
Wyoming, and Idaho on October 10-12. The snowy conditions brought
record snowfall, gusty winds that brought down trees, power lines, and
reduced visibility. According to reports, several Wyoming counties
reported as much as 83.8 cm (33 inches) of snow. Lander, WY
experienced the greatest snow to hit during October when 75 cm (29.7
inches) of snow fell, shattering the previous record set on October 30-
November 1 in 1920 when
70.1 cm (27.6 inches) of snow fell. Meanwhile in Montana, the city of
Red Lodge recorded its highest snowfall total in a period of 24-hours
when 107 cm (42 inches) of snow fell (BBC News). Glasgow, MT set a new
record for October 12 when 32.5 cm (12.8 inches) of snow fell,
surpassing the previous record of 29.2 cm (11.5 inches) set on 12
October 1924 and becoming the most snow to have fallen in one day in


In the town of Taboshar, Tajikistan, drought conditions caused an
acute shortage of drinking water, forcing people to leave the town.
According to reports, the town's water agency could not meet 15-20
percent of the population's need (IRIN).

During the last week of October, floods triggered by heavy rains
affected central and northern Vietnam, killing 54 people, inundating
more than 100,000 homes, and destroying over 240,000 hectares (590,000
acres) of crops (Associated Press). It was reported that Hanoi,
Vietnam's capital, experienced the heaviest rains since 1984 (BBC

In Tibet, a heavy snowstorm struck the region during the last week of
October, blocking roads, triggering avalanches, and causing power
outages (BBC News). It was reported that the average snow coverage was
150 cm (59 inches). Nine people were killed in what is described as
one of the worst snowstorms in living memory (BBC News).


Unusual heavy rain fell across Algeria during the first two weeks of
October, prompting flash floods that claimed the lives of 65 people
(AFP) and destroyed nearly 600 homes in the town of Ghardaia
(Associated Press). It was reported by Algeria's Interior Minister
that the floods in Algeria were the worst in a century (BBC News/AFP).

Storms in Morocco on the 20th resulted in heavy rains and flash floods
that claimed the lives of 11 people. The prolonged downpours triggered
flash floods that inundated dozens of homes and destroyed clay homes,
leaving many homeless (BBC News).


Intense rainfall produced by the Atlantic's sixteenth tropical
depression resulted in widespread floods and landslides across parts
of Central America during the week of October 12. The depression
developed from a low pressure system in the Caribbean, east of Costa
Rica, and by October 14 it was upgraded to a tropical depression. The
depression made landfall in the northern coast of Honduras on the
16th, but quickly dissipated as it moved inland, becoming a slow
moving low pressure system. The depression's heavy rain caused
dangerous mudslides and rivers to overflow their banks, flooding
villages and blocking roads across Central America (AFP). In Honduras,
an immense area of crops was destroyed and 62 bridges were demolished,
forcing Honduras's president to declare a national state of emergency
(BBC News). Meanwhile, Costa Rica's Meteorological Institute reported
that the amount of rainfall produced by the depression was equivalent
to October's monthly rainfall (BBC News). According to reports, Costa
Rica's precipitation levels were as much as 2,100 mm (83 inches) in
some areas, the highest in 40 years (OCHA). Storm-related fatalities
were reported across Central America twenty-nine in Honduras
(Associated Press), seven in Costa Rica, four in Nicaragua, four in
Guatemala (OCHA), and one in El Salvador (AFP).

Severe storms associated with a cold front spawned a tornado in Panama
City, Florida on October 8, which brought down power lines and blew
out windows. According to reports, another tornado was suspected to
have damaged a civic center in southeastern Alabama (Associated


Heavy rain fell across Yemen on October 24-25, lashing the region with
flash floods and mudslides. The heavy downpours and floods affected
nearly 7,000 residents, left about 100 dead or missing (Reuters),
caused the disruption of water and power distribution (AFP), and
destroyed or damaged nearly 1,700 homes across the provinces of
Hadramaut and Mahara. According to reports, this was the most serious
flooding in decades (Reuters).

Southwest Pacific

On October 7, a frontal system progressed over New Zealand's North
Island, producing heavy rains and strong winds that caused havoc
across the region. Winds of up to 130 km/hr (80 mph or 70 knots) and
160 km/hr
(100 mph or 86 knots) were observed in Wellington and surrounding
hills, respectively. The severe weather conditions were responsible
for cancelling over 20 flights at the Wellington airport, for
littering the streets with downed power lines and tree debris and
damaging dozens of homes. No fatalities were reported (BBC News).


Hurricane Norbert, the most powerful hurricane in 2008 Eastern Pacific
Hurricane Season, formed in the East North Pacific Ocean, south of
Acapulco, Mexico, as a tropical depression on October 3. As the storm
moved towards the west-northwest, it moved into an area with warm
waters and low vertical shear, allowing it to strengthen. By October
6, Norbert intensified to hurricane strength, but reached its peak
intensity, a dangerous Category 4, on the 8th with maximum sustained
winds near 217 km/hr (135 mph or 117 knots). The storm weakened to a
Category 1 hurricane on October 9, but rapidly intensified to a
Category 2 on the 10th as it approached the Baja Peninsula. Hurricane
Norbert made landfall in Mexico's southern Baja California on October
11 with maximum sustained winds near 160 km/hr (100 mph or 86 knots).
It was reported that Norbert was the first October hurricane to make
landfall on the Baja Peninsula since Hurricane Pauline in 1968 (BBC
News). Norbert brought heavy rain and strong winds, causing widespread
floods, downing palm trees, and tearing off roofs. According to
reports, the islands of Santa Margarita and Magdalena had nearly forty
percent of homes totally or partially damaged (AFP). The storm tracked
across the Gulf of California and made a second landfall on October 12
on the Mexican mainland Sonora coast with maximum sustained winds near
137 km/hr (85 mph or 74 knots) (Associated Press). The storm lost
intensity rapidly as it moved inland, weakening to a tropical
depression later that day. Three fatalities were reported

Tropical Storm Marco developed as a tropical depression in the Bay of
Campeche, the southern tip of Gulf of Mexico, on October 6. Later that
day, reconnaissance data indicated that the depression had intensified
into a tropical storm. Marco was a small tropical storm, with tropical
storm force winds extending up to 24 km (15 mi) from its center (CNN).
The storm tracked west-northwest, making landfall in Veracruz, Mexico
on October 7 with estimated maximum sustained winds of 105 km/hr (65
mph or 57 knots). The storm brought heavy rain to parts of Veracruz,
flooding coastal areas and thus forcing people to evacuate the
affected areas (Associated Press). Tropical Storm Marco quickly
dissipated after landfall.

Hurricane Omar, the first hurricane to strike the Leeward Islands from
the west since Hurricane Lenny in 1999, developed as a tropical
depression in the Caribbean Sea on October 13. As the depression moved
towards the northeast it began to intensify, becoming a tropical storm
on the 14th. Later that day, Omar rapidly intensified into a
hurricane, but reached its peak intensity on the 16th, a dangerous
Category 3 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds near 185 km/hr (115
mph or 100 knots). As the storm approached Puerto Rico and the Leeward
Islands, many people feared the worst. Nevertheless, the storm passed
between St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands, sparing the islands
from the worst part of the storm. Most of the damages across the
Caribbean islands were some flooding, minor mudslides, and downed
trees. However, St. Croix reported that the storm caused more than
700,000 U.S. dollars in damages to roads and destroyed over 100
utility poles. The storm was also responsible for sinking more than 40
boats at St. Croix and for damaging crops in St. Croix and Antigua.
One fatality was attributed to the storm in Puerto Rico (Associated
Press). The storm moved into the Atlantic and dissipated by the 18th.

Tropical Storm 22W formed in the Gulf on Tonkin as a tropical
depression on October 14, strengthening into a tropical storm later
that same day. The storm affected the South China island province of
Hainan and northern Vietnam by drenching the area with heavy
downpours. Hainan began receiving torrential rain on October 11 and
persisted till the 14th. The rains caused flash floods in low-lying
areas and flooded more than 150 villages, forcing thousands to flee
the area. Three fatalities were reported (BBC News). Tropical Storm
22W moved towards Vietnam, making landfall on the 15th (BBC News) with
maximum sustained winds near 65 km/hr (40 mph or 35 knots). In
Vietnam, heavy rain fell on October 15-20, triggering flash floods
that damaged over 11,000 hectares of crops and destroyed three schools
and several kilometers of roads (DPA). According to reports, the
average daily accumulations were between 300-450 mm (12-18 inches) of
rain. Eleven fatalities were reported with seven others missing.

Tropical Cyclone Rashmi, developed as a tropical depression in the Bay
of Bengal on October 26. Rashmi strengthened into a tropical cyclone
later that day. The storm made landfall on October 27 in the south-
central coast of Bangladesh with maximum sustained winds near 80 km/hr
(50 mph or 43 knots). Cyclone Rashmi brought heavy rain and strong
winds, damaging thousands of homes and acres of crops, and downing
electrical and telephone poles. Fifteen people were killed and 10
fishing boats with 50 people aboard were missing (Reuters). The storm
dissipated as it moved inland.

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