Indicators point to
increasingly severe and costly disasters ahead, in part the result of
man-made changes in climate. Deaths
from natural disasters rose from 1,000 to 13,000 in 1997.
El Nino was blamed for forest fires in
Indonesia and Australia, floods in Somalia
and South America, and a number of hurricanes along the Pacific coast of
Mexico. Best News,
The vast pool of warm
pacific water called El Nino lifted the earth’s average surface
temperature in 1997 to the highest levels ever recorded.
Even if El Nino had not been a factor, the 1997 readings would have
extended a broad, general trend that has made the 1990’s
the world’s warmest decade since people began measuring temperatures with
thermometers in the mid-19th century.
announced today that it would support an Environmental Protection Agency
mandate to dramatically improve gasoline quality to reduce air pollution
throughout the United States. PR Newswire,
With emissions standards much on the auto industry’s mind,
the nation’s two largest automakers are intensifying their race to create
more environmentally friendly vehicles. AP,
As the economy grows,
pressure on the earth’s natural systems and resources intensify.
Forests are shrinking, water tables are falling, soils are eroding,
wetland are disappearing, fisheries are collapsing, rangelands are
deteriorating, rivers are running dry, temperatures are rising and coral
reefs are dying. AP
Use of ethanol instead of conventional gasoline sharply
reduces both greenhouse gas emissions and fossil energy use, a new study by
the Argonne National Laboratory says. PR Newswire, 1/24/98.
Clinton seeks $6.3
billion to fight global warming with tax breaks for energy-efficient
cars and buildings and more spending on research to further reduce
heat-trapping industrial emissions. Reuters,
Fierce winds and
drenching rains hit northern
California causing mudslides and closing roads. Swollen rivers overran
their banks, emergency crews struggled to shore up collapsing hillsides and
hundreds were evacuated due to the storm.
About 22,000 people
were without power after torrential rains, howling winds and tornadoes
ripped through Southern Florida in
the worst storm to hit the area in 5
years. Reuters, 2/6/98.
The Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry
has succeeded in developing technology cutting in half the time required to
recharge lead batteries for electric cars.
California will suffer
an estimated $1 billion in El Nino spawned earthslide damages this year,
every penny of it uninsured,
Wind-driven rain pelted already soggy California renewing the threat of landslides along the
northern coast and swelling rivers already flowing at the warning stage.
Ten people have died and preliminary damage
is estimated at $300 million from the series of storms in the last month.
At least 5 people died and another was missing in
southern Alabama, where the governor has declared a state of emergency
due to the flooding. Six feet of
water has filled the streets of downtown Elba, causing about 2,000 people to
be evacuated. Reuters, 3/9/98.
tropical north has been hit by the worst flooding in seven years with water
covering an area of almost half the size of Britain, leaving some towns
isolated for the next two months. Reuters,
Two weeks of power blackouts in Auckland have made elevators risky, spoiled food and frustrated
residents. A hot, humid simmer is blamed for the failure of four underground
power cables supplying electricity from a hydroelectric plant.
This power crisis could put 2,000 of the area’s 8,000 companies out
of business. AP,
Wide areas of the
United States began counting the cost of three days of floods, blizzards and
tornadoes that have been blamed for 11 deaths.
The death toll in southern States stood at 7 after thunderstorms
turned streets from Louisiana to Georgia into rivers.
In the Midwest, a cold front dumped snow and froze road surfaces
causing 4 car accident deaths. Reuters, 3/9/98.
In Central Florida,
tornadoes killed 42 people as
storms continue to damage mobile homes and roofs of buildings.
White House economist Janet Yellen stood by her finding that
the administration’s plan to fight global warming would have little effect
on the economy. Reuters, 3/9/98.
The message that hydrogen is a commercial-ready solution for
many of the world’s energy needs is facing a more receptive audience in
the U.S. Congress as is faces issues of global warming and dependence on
fossil fuels. PR
The first 2 months of
1998 were the warmest and wettest on record for the lower 48 states, based
on 104 years of weather data. Reuters,
A creek swollen by four
days of rain burst through a levee, flooding a southeast Alabama town and forced 2,000 people out of their homes.
Five deaths were blamed on the weather,
A late-winter blast of
arctic air settled across the Southeast, killing crops of peaches and strawberries in South Carolina. AP
The Flint River, swollen by El Nino-fueled storms, has driven
thousands from their homes in a
chilling echo of the state’s worst natural disaster just 4 years ago. At
least 15 people have died in the Midwest due to the storms.
A blinding snowstorm in
New Hampshire led to a 40-vehicle pile-up that injured at least 24 people.
temperatures could bring more than floods and severe weather, they may allow
for the wider spread of tropical illnesses like dengue fever.
Brazil’s rainforest are the worst in recent memory and have been
fueled by the long drought attributed to El Nino.
Heavy rains and mudslides damage 7 homes and 5 condominium
units in Laguna Niguel, California. LATimes,
A crumbling hillside finally gave way sending two luxury homes
down the slope and leaving others in danger.
Heavy rains and mudslides caused the homes to slide in Laguna Niguel.
About 70 people were killed and hundreds were injured when tornadoes
swept through parts of eastern India.
A tornado tore through
a rural area of Georgia, ripping apart homes and damaging farm
buildings, and at least 11 people were killed and about 80 injured. AP,
Stormy winds hit Japan
leaving the ground and air traffic in disarray.
Winds blasted at 25 mph and caused the airport to shut down.
that global warming may actually speed up hurricanes, MSNBC,
Diarrhea and water-born disease have broken out among flooded
villages in Indonesia’s West Java
province. Reuters, 3/30/98.
Almost a quarter of Athens 5 million people remained without electricity while crews
struggled to clear fallen trees and fight back flood waters in the wake of a
violent storm that battered Greece. AP,
Unusually warm weather
caused a rapid melt of last weeks heavy snowfall, and the flooding would
worsen if the bad weather continues. The
flooding forces evacuations in southern Quebec and at least one man drowns.
Residents shoveled broken glass and hacked through fallen
trees following rare March tornadoes
that destroyed or severely damaged an estimated 819 homes in southern
Minnesota. AP, 4/1/98.
All 60 residents of a remote Iranian village were feared dead after torrential rain set off a landslide that swept over the town. AP,
Nearly 1,000 houses in five villages in
Jakarta were inundated with meter-high
floodwater following torrential rains. AP, 4/7/98.
A fading El Nino warm-weather phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean
will lead to a more active
hurricane season than normal. Over
10 tropical storms are expected to form in the Atlantic Ocean between June
and November 6 would become hurricanes, with winds exceeding 75mph –
through the southeastern United States, killing at least 37 people in
Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi and striking some areas with the force of a
bomb blast. Reuters,
Water faucets have run dry in the homes of more than a half-million
people in Malaysia as water authorities blame Mother Nature for the
most severe shortage in decades.
continue to rip through the southern states, killing 44 people and
destroying 2,000 homes in Alabama.
At least 100 miners are feared to have drowned when heavy
rains flooded their shafts in northern Tanzania.
today in central and eastern England, where a massive clean up was under way
after the worst flooding in more than a century.
Four people died from drowning. AP
A strong band of storms
moved across southern Illinois
sparking tornadoes that damaged homes and businesses in three counties.
Minor injuries were reported. More tornadoes killed 4 in Tennessee
and injured 19. AP,
A tornado struck
Nashville, punching out office windows, damaging buildings and injuring
at least 75 people in another outbreak of violent weather. Reuters, 4/20/98.
At least 12 people were reported missing after a dust storm
with gale force winds lashed China’s
northwestern region. Reuters,
A cyclone hit parts of
Bangladesh for the second day, killing nine people and injuring more
than 1,500. AP, 4/24/98.
Fist-sized hailstones have killed nine people in the central
Chinese city of Changde; just one day after vicious hail killed 12
people on the east coast. Reuters,
A windstorm that hit a northwest region of China has killed 6 people, injured 265 and left
44 missing. Xinhua, 4/27/98.
At least 8 people died and 11 injured as heavy
rains from a tropical depression triggered landslides in French
A severe drought in
Brazil could threaten more than 9 million people with famine. This is
the worst drought in Brazil in 15 years.
A major food-producing area in southwest China is suffering crop losses from a severe drought that has
lasted since last summer. AP,
weeks of heavy rain have sent brown flooding waters into fields and
homes in river towns up and down Argentina’s
northeast delta. AP,
Flooding may have left about 30,000 people homeless in a
remote area of Papua New Guinea following heavy
At least 10 people were killed when heavy
rains caused an avalanche of mud and rock to bury a coastal shantytown in
Ecuador. AP, 5/4/98.
A powerful windstorm
killed 12 fishermen and left others missing in central
Vietnam. Twenty fishing
boats were destroyed or sunk and 18 others are still missing. AP,
As the death toll from mudslides caused by torrential
rains in southern Italy rose to 135, officials prepared for more rain.
Torrential rains in
East Africa have supported a large outbreak of Rift Valley fever in
Kenya. CDC, 5/12/98.
Heavy rains have
inundated farmlands, caused landslides and swept away bridge in flooding
that has killed 11 people in southeast
China. AP, 5/18/98.
rumbled over the Midwest,
bringing tornadoes, heavy rain and hail. One person was killed and 67 others were injured.
Mexico is suffering its
worst drought in 70 years due to El Nino, and a deadly series of forest
fires threaten to turn the southern part of the country into an
environmental catastrophe. Reuters,
Floods caused by torrential
rains have killed 27 people in
A cyclone with winds up
to 165 kph hit the Bangladesh coast killing 14 people, destroying
thousands of homes and cutting off communication. AP, 5/21/98.
A weekend of violent
weather killed 16 people from the upper Midwest to New England, while a
small South Dakota town wiped off the map by a tornado pondered its future.
Six people were killed in that town, and most buildings were destroyed
completely. Reuters, 6/3/98.
14 tornadoes devastate
southwestern Pennsylvania, two elderly people killed,15 injured, more
than 100 homes damaged, state of emergency declared in 4 counties
kills three people and damages dozens of homes in
Mississippi. AP, 6/8/98.
crops, home gardens and pastures in Texas. Presswire, 6/8/98.
Malaysia's water supply. AP,
Government rescue workers lit funeral pyres for the 655
victims of a cyclone that hit India's
western coast. AP, 6/12/98.
Rescue workers found 97 corpses on an island off western India, raising the death toll to 931.
down from Michigan to Kansas to New
England, killing one person, injuring others, uprooting trees and
damaging homes. Reuters, 6/17/98.
Over 50,000 people have been made homeless and 15 people have
died in floods which are sweeping
through Russia’s Siberian republic
of Yakutia. InterPress,
landslides have killed 46 people in southern
China, brining the nationwide death toll from the annual flood season to
around 350. Reuters, 6/17/98.
Health workers tried to prevent cholera and malaria from
spreading among survivors of the
cyclone ravaged area of western
India, where the death toll reached 1,000.
More than 5 million people in a central China province are bracing for more flooding after heavy rains devastated the region.
The death toll in a week of storms and flooding
in Romania rose to 16, with more rain and hail expected.
have engulfed houses, livestock and cultivated lands in central China, killing 63 people and leaving millions of people
trapped in flooded areas. Xinhua.
China copes with floods:
Flooding kills 212 people and causes millions in economic losses as crops
are destroyed. Reuters, 6/26/98.
More than 100 hospitalized as heat wave sweeps through Athens. AP, 6/26/98.
The first hurricane of
the 1998 season churns hundreds of miles off Mexico's pacific coast,
with winds of 115 mph and gusts over 132mph. AP, 6/26/98.
Flash floods and landslides triggered by heavy
rains kill 23 in Nepal. Reuters,
flooded parts of seven states, requiring helicopter rescues.
The extreme weather caused a train to derail, killing 5 people. AP, 6/29/98.
Rescue crews in boats went door to door taking people to dry
ground, after thousands in West
Virginia were cut off by flooding.
At least 20 people were dead or missing after a weekend of storms.
Landslides and Hailstorms
kill 22 people in Eastern and
Central China. AP, 6/30/98.
Floods in Romania
kill 31 and damage to crops, homes and roads is estimated at $150 million. Reuters,
Thunderstorms and tornadoes swept through the Midwest from Nebraska to Indiana after three days of blazing
heat and storms killed at least 20 people. Reuters 7/2/98
Hundreds of homes near the Kennedy Space Center were evacuated
as firefighters battled new blazes in Florida's month-long fight against drought-induced brush fires. Reuters 7/2/98.
Rain and hail storms
and drought could cause the former Soviet republic to lose up to 2.5 million tonnes from this year's
planned 35 million tonne harvest. Reuters,
A La Nina weather pattern, the counterpart to the devastating
El Nino of last year, might be forming in the Pacific.
Drought ruins 20% of
crops in central Russia. AP,
White House declares
disaster in Maine and New Hampshire after severe thunderstorms and
flooding. State and local
recovery efforts ordered. U.S. Newswire,
Five days of heavy rain
and flooding in Bangladesh kills 24 people, and leaves 400,00 people
homeless. Reuters, 7/9/98.
La Nina has appeared sooner than expected and looks sets to
further disrupt global climate
patterns. La Nina is
characterized by abnormally cold ocean conditions in the eastern pacific.
Torrential rain and
flooding since late June has killed 170 people in Southwest China. Property
losses were estimated at 2.5 billion yuan.
Xianhua News, 7/10/98.
Due to effects of El Nino, a food shortage threatens 38 countries. Xinhua News,
Record heat wave in
Texas is killing people and the state's crops. 21 people have died heat-related deaths.
Temperatures hover near 112. Losses
of cotton crops could exceed $500 million.
Flood kills 234 people
in two Chinese provinces. The
death toll in this year's deadly annual flood season may exceed 650.
A severe drought has
forced Cuba to adopt emergency measures in eastern communities, where
crops have suffered serious damage. AP,
The heat wave in Texas
is now being blamed for 50 deaths and for ruining crops across thousands of
acres. Forecasters say no relief is in sight. MSNBC, 7/15/98.
Drought conditions in
Georgia have left all but 4 counties as disaster areas.
Damage is estimated at $400 million.
This is the driest April-June
period for Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas since record
keeping began more than 100 years ago.
Scientist stated that
the first 7 months of 1998 are the hottest ever recorded worldwide, dating
back 120 years. MSNBC,
A tidal wave has
killed at least 70 people after it hit a village on New Guinea’s coast in Jakarta. Kyodo
floods in 10 years kill 111 people. Reuters, 7/28/98.
Flashfloods caused by persistent monsoon rains have killed at least 18 people in Nepal,
officials expect that the situation could get worse. Reuters,
Central Vietnam is
suffering from a sever drought. Nearly
55,000 hectares of rice will be damaged by the drought if no rain comes in
the next 10 days. Also, 1.1
million local inhabitants are suffering from serious water shortages.
Heavy rains along the
Yangtze lakes in China have risen to the highest levels in four decades,
killing thousands and causing at least $4.8 billion in damage.
At least 43 people died and 52 were missing as a result of floods
and landslides in one of the worst natural disasters to hit South Korea.
Floods in eastern
Russia leave 6,000 homeless. AP,
Flooding causes evacuations in Indiana when the Mississippi
River spilled over a levee and created the worst flooding to hit Marion in decades. AP, 8/8/98.
Fourteen people dies and 4,000 families were left homeless
after floods from heavy rain swept
through villages in western Sudan.
A mountain of mud
buried a village in northern India, trapping at least 178 villagers who
are feared dead. AAP 8/20/98
Researchers estimate that this year’s drought
in Texas will cost the state $2.1 billion in agricultural losses. Cotton
and corn crops are devastated after
29 days straight of 100-plus temperatures. AP,
At least 16 dead in
Texas flooding. Officials say
heavy rains from a tropical storm have turned rivers into raging torrents
that killed 16 people and forced thousands from their homes.
Most of Del Rio was
under water today as a tropical storm pounded the city, killing
16 people and leaving 20 or more missing. Reuters, 8/25/98.
The Indian army was called in to help relief efforts for up to
200,00 people marooned by floodwaters
in northern India. Reuters,
Half a million people
were ordered to evacuate the Carolina coast as Hurricane Bonnie roared
toward the U.S. eastern seaboard with winds up to 100mph.
In the northern
Himalayas, boulders and sludge buried the remains of a remote village
where 202 people were already feared dead from an earlier landslide.
Typhoon brings heavy
rain to central Japan with winds up to 126 kilometers per hour. Nikkei
BP and Statoil, the
largest integrated oil companies in Britain and Norway, are going to combine
their technical resources to deal with the challenges of climate change.
Their goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent.
M2 Presswire, 8/29/98.
Scientists believe the
earth’s climate is changing because of the amount of “greenhouse”
gases pouring into the atmosphere.
They think these gases are causing unnatural climatic warming that
could have unimaginable effects on life.
Hurricane Bonnie claims
total $375 million in property damages in North Carolina and Virginia. Best
Villagers in northern
India left homeless by a flood pushed each other in struggle over
donated food as the death toll in the
worst flood in decades rose to nearly 1,350 people. AP, 9/3/98.
Hurricane Isis slammed
into the Mexico mainland, breaking windows, knocking out electricity and
littered the streets with downed posts and tree limbs. Winds reached 75mph,
but rapidly dissipated into a rainstorm.
Flood disasters in
Mexico kill 25 after six days of continuous rain swollen rivers washed
away bridges, cut off towns and swept away houses. Many more people are
feared missing. Reuters, 9/9/98.
Floods in northern
India kill 162 animals, including 17 endangered Rhinos.
Schools and businesses closed as torrential rains from
Tropical storm Frances flooded freeways and pushed bayous out of their banks
and into neighborhoods. Southeast
Texas received up to a foot of rain with winds up to 65 mph. MSNBC, 9/11/98.
Floods and heavy rains have destroyed 119 thousand homes and
left more than 200.000 people homeless in nine Sudanese states. This
is the worst flooding along the Nile River in half a century.
Tropical Storm Frances
continues to sweep cross Texas, creating a virtual moat around Houston,
cutting off freeways. AP,
At least 100 dead in
Southern Mexico after flash floods and mudslides.
Four killed and 25 injured as another typhoon sweeps through Japan with winds up to 90mph.
Death toll from Mexico
floods rises above 400 and 849 people are still missing, possibly buried
under tons of mud. Reuters,
One of the strongest
hurricanes in recent history bore down on the Caribbean’s eastern islands,
with howling winds and high seas. Reuters,
destroyed a portion of a dike protecting residents from mudflows from Mount
Pinatubo in the Philippines,
endangering more than 100.000 people. AP,
9 people died and 2 people are missing after Typhoon
number 7 swept across central
Japan, leaving a trail of damage and triggering a power outage that left
1.25 million homes without electricity.
destroys Hispaniola after
ravaging Puerto Rico and leaving
three people dead. It also
uprooted trees and forced tourists to flee to shelters in the Dominican
A 75-square-mile piece
of Antarctica’s ice shelf recently broke off; adding to researcher’s
fears that global warming will eventually melt most of the ice shelf’s
58,000 square miles. MSNBC,
Diarrhea and other water-borne diseases have killed at least
580 people in Bangladesh, raising
the death toll from recent floods
to more than 1,500. Reuters,
weakened after howling with winds up to 174mph and as much as 20 inches of
rain. Thousands of people fled
to shelters from Louisiana to Florida.
triggered flooding in northwestern
Liberia, forcing more than 5,000 people to leave their homes to escape
rising waters. AP, 10/2/98.
Heavy rains sent a
5-foot wall of water down an irrigation canal in the hills of central
Mexico, killing 12 people when it washed away homes.
Mexico’s capital is
on red alert following deaths, floods, traffic accidents and widespread
damage to infrastructure caused by the heaviest prolonged rainfall since
Floods in the Kansas
City area killed at least nine people as a violent storm dropped heavy
rain and snow across the United States.
The death toll rises in Haitian town washed away by Hurricane
Georges. Searchers found
more bodies from tons of gravel deposited by the storm, pushing the death
toll to over 150. AP, 10/6/98.
August 1998 was the
hottest month on record and the eighth month in a row to set a new average
high temperature worldwide. MSNBC,
Storms in the Kansas
City area swept away cars, collapsed a bridge and left seven people dead
and two missing while tornadoes in
Oklahoma injured at least 13 people. AP, 10/7/98.
that the Antarctic glacier could melt, causing global sea levels to rise up
to 20 feet. MSNBC, 10/7/98.
Three consecutive days
of rain are causing problems for the southern cities of Italy. In
Bari,Salerno and Palermo, rivers overflowed their banks and floods washed
away roads and other facilities. NewsEdge,
The Dominican Republic
government reports more than 1,000 people died as a result of Hurricane
At least 5,000 people fled their homes when heavy rains caused
flash floods near a southern
Philippine city. Officials
report at least 900 homes near the river were swept away.
Floods also destroyed $395 thousand worth of rice.
· Statistics for damage caused by severe floods in Bangladesh: Xinhua, 10/8/98.
A landslide hit a remote part of New Guinea, killing 32 people and reportedly burying a church
reports put the death toll as high as 140.
Heavy rains caused
widespread damage due to flooding and a tornado killed a man near
Houston as the death toll from a weekend of severe weather rises to 10.
At least 15 people were feared dead when a
glacier slid down a mountainside in the Himalayan
region of India. Reuters,
Nearly 200 fishermen were missing after cyclonic winds lashed
coastal areas of India’s western
states. Reuters, 10/19/98.
Nearly a month after Hurricane Georges struck Haiti;
the Caribbean nation’s death toll has risen to 213 and is likely to exceed
240. AP, 10/21/98.
heavy rain has made 20,000 people
homeless in central Africa.·
A typhoon sweeps
across the Philippines toward Manila,
triggering landslides and forcing thousands of people from their homes. AP,