High-impact of weather and climate events in February 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.
Cyclone Percy tore across the Pacific island group of Tokelau with winds of 200 km/h, causing widespread damage and injuring one person. At least five houses were washed away and others damaged. The atoll’s only school was largely destroyed. The storm took down trees and power and telephone lines.
Cold - Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, Great Britain, USA
Afghanistan, India and Pakistan
Freezing temperatures and food shortages brought on by the coldest winter in years killed many people, mostly children.
Police and road safety groups had to issue warnings about road conditions as a belt of snow and sub-zero temperatures settled on northern and eastern parts of England.
Snowstorms, avalanches - India, Pakistan, USA
Avalanches in the Himalayan region killed 110 people after the worst snows in two decades.
A week of torrential rain and heavy snow killed more than 500 people with dozens buried under avalanches. More were killed when a dam burst. Snow and landslides blocked roads to hard-hit areas and hampered relief efforts in Pakistan’s northwest. The storms destroyed 2 400 homes, damaged 3 700 more and killed hundreds of livestock.
A winter storm blanketed the north-east, forcing the federal government and schools to close early and triggering a spate of accidents during the afternoon rush hour. The snow coated an area that included Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and New York. Several cities reported accumulations of about 15 cm, and in some up to 22 cm of ice.
Drought - Singapore
Singapore suffered its worst dry spell in 29 years. Just 140 km north of the Equator, Singapore usually sees relatively dry weather in February as South-East Asia’s north-east monsoon season shifts south. But February 2005 was the driest since 1976.
Storms and floods, landslides, mudslides - Australia, Colombia and Venezuela, Indonesia, USA
Freak summer storms lashed eastern Australia. Melbourne received more rain in 24 hours since records began in 1856, leaving the city’s rivers and waterways swollen to bursting point.
Colombia and Venezuela
Floods and landslides killed at least 86.
At least 40 people were killed and scores were missing under 7 m of rubble and mud after heavy rain in West Java province. Police reported 139 people missing.
Mudslides trapped several people in their homes and forced others to flee as southern California was struck by powerful storms. At least six deaths were recorded in a storm, and a woman was buried by an avalanche. Others were victims of landslides, traffic accidents, falling trees and flooding. The rail service was severely disrupted.
Duststorms - Australia
Western Queensland experienced its worst duststorms in more than a decade, leaving at least two people dead in Brisbane. In Longreach, visibility was as low as 100 m at the airport. There was a widespread area of dust from the border region, into the south-west of the state, and from the Channel Country extending into the north-west.