High-impact of weather and climate events in August 2005
The information summarized has been culled from international press reports and is indicative only. For official information, including final statistics, readers are advised to contact the National Meteorological Service of the country in question.
Thunderstorm, lightning, heavy rain, floods, landslides - Austria, Bulgaria, China, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Mexico, Republic of Korea, Romania, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, Thailand, Yemen
Four people died and the main rail link over the Arlberg pass between the western Austrian provinces of Vorarlberg and Tyrol was blocked after torrential rain.
More than one-quarter of Bulgaria’s 7.4 million people were touched by flooding which killed 20 and caused some US$ 633 million in damage in the wake of heavy rainfall. Thousands were forced to flee their homes, roads were destroyed and villages cut off.
Heavy rain and landslides killed at least 47 people across China. The central province of Hubei was hardest hit. More than 2.3 million were affected by the flooding, which caused more than 30 thousand houses to collapse and resulted in direct economic damage of US$ 285 million. More than 1 200 tourists were trapped in a scenic spot in the south-west of the country. A tropical storm killed two people in the south.
A 28-year-old man drowned in wake of flooding triggered by torrential rains in the Alps.
Heavy monsoon rain in and around Mumbai (Bombay), is estimated to have killed more than 1 000 people and caused damage amounting to US$ 690 million. The cost to agriculture and industry is likely to be much higher. Flash floods from heavy rainfall caused the death of 24 people when hundreds of villages around a commercial town in northern Uttar Pradesh state were inundated. As many as 750 villages were submerged and 50 villages cut off, affecting nearly 800 000 people.
Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Flash floods took the lives of at least 32 in the north-east. Rivers burst their banks, cut off major roads and encircled towns and villages after heavy rain.
Some 30 people died after heavy rains and flooding from a series of storms in coastal areas, including Tropical Storm José, drenched the Gulf coast, forcing some 25 000 people from their homes.
Torrential rain promising a better harvest slowed aid deliveries to many of the millions of hungry people. One of Niger’s worst droughts in living memory destroyed much of the October 2004 crop, leaving an estimated 3.6 million short of food.
Republic of Korea
At least 11 people lost their lives following heavy rains and flooding across the south-western provinces of north and south Cholla. Hundreds of homes were damaged.
Thirty-one people were killed in floods across the country. More than 1 100 people were forced to abandon their homes.
Torrential rains and flooding killed at least 20 people and destroyed homes in southern regions.
Torrential rain lashed central Switzerland non-stop for nearly three days, unleashing landslides and floods which led to the deaths of six people. Several villages were cut off. Flooding stretched from the Bernese Alps to the city of St Gallen as rivers burst their banks and lakes overflowed.
Flash floods killed three people in northern Thailand.
Flash floods killed a dozen people and injured at least six others.
Tropical cyclones - Brazil, USA
At least three people died and eight were injured in the southern state of Santa Catarina after a cyclone caused the collapse of a three-story building.
The death toll has still to be established, but over 1 000 people are thought to have been killed after Hurricane Katrina lashed the US Gulf coast with violent winds and rain. Much of New Orleans was completely swamped after levees, protecting the city from the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, gave way. Some estimates have put the damage at US$ 200 billion.
The storm was one of the strongest ever to have hit the USA.
Heatwave, drought, forest fires - Indonesia, Portugal, Spain
Malaysia had its worst pollution crisis in eight years as forest fires from neighbouring Indonesia smothered the capital in thick smoke, forcing schools, an airport and a port operator to shut down. Asthma attacks soared and visibility in Kuala Lumpur was reduced to less than one kilometer.
At least 14 people died during forest fires, including 10 firefighters. The forest service estimated that about 134,500 ha burned, well above the annual average since 1980.
Spain suffered one of its worst droughts in 60 years, affecting maize, wheat and barley harvests. Reservoirs across the country were at critically low levels. Fires destroyed thousands of hectares of parched forest and killed 11 firefighters.