Selected weather / climate events
Heat and drought
Thunderstorms and Hailstones
2018, Three years of drought were now causing severe water shortages in Cape Town, South Africa.
26/8/2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, dumping 50 inches of rainfall in the Houston area and causing major flooding.
5/82017, The ‘Lucifer’ heatwave hit Europe, with temperatures having reached over 42C in Spain, and predicted to attain 46 across Italy, the Balkans and Poland, as the jet stream brought very warm air northwards.
3/6/2016, Severe floods hit Paris and northern France. The River Seine reached over 6 metres above normal level. It was the worst flooding in the region since 1910.
27/12/2015, York was hit by flooding, the worst since 1982. By 29/12/2015 some 6,700 properties across northern England had been hit by floods.
26/12/2015, Heavy rainfall began, lasting for three days, in Missouri, Mississippi and Illinois, causing severe flooding.
25/12/2015, Troops were out in Cumbria erecting flood barriers as the area was flooded by heavy rains for the third time in a month.
29/5/2015, In India, over 2,000 had died because of heatwave, with temperatures reaching 50 C. This exceeded the previous toll of 1,677 in a heatwave in 1995.
4/4/2014, The railway line at Dawlish re-opened after storm damage was repaired, see 4/2/2014.
10/2/2014, Severe flooding was now affecting large areas of Surrey and Berkshire west of London, including Staines, Datchet and Windsor.
8/2/2014, As severe storms continued to batter the coast of south and west England, with widespread persistent flooding, a landslip closed the railway at Crewkerne, Somerset. All of Devon and Cornwall were now without rail services.
4/2/2014, A section of the main-line railway between Exeter and Plymouth was washed away by heavy seas at Dawlish, as severe storms and heavy rain continued to batter Britain. The line re-opened on 4/4/2014.
23/12/2013, A succession of intense storms hit the UK, with heavy rainfall and high winds. There was serious flooding, especially in the Surrey area. The heavy rainfall continued into January 2014, with flooding in the Somerset Levels.
5/12/2013, Severe storms battered the UK, and a storm surge caused the worst flooding since 1953.
8/11/2013, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. With winds of 160 mph, at least 2,300 were killed, 600,000 made homeless, and US$ 15 billion damage done.
28/4/2011, Heavy storms across the US killed over 300 people.
7/2/2009, Severe bush fires hit Australia, killing 173, injuring 500, rendering 7,500 homeless. Temperatures had reached a record 46.4 C.
5/9/2008, For the first time in recorded history, both the North West Passage and the North East Passage were clear of Arctic sea ice.
2/5/2008, Hurricane Nargis hit southern Burma, killing over 84,000 people, and leaving 56,000 missing.
5/2/2008, Tornadoes killed 57 people in the southern USA.
24/7/2007, In the Balkans, temperatures reached 43 C in Serbia, 44 C in Bulgaria and 45 C in Bosnia and Macedonia, the hottest for 120 years; 500 heat-related deaths were reported in Hungary.
28/6/2007, Greece had its worst heatwave for more than a century, 11 people died of heatstroke.
28/11/2005, The United Nations Climate Change Conference opened in Montreal, Canada.
24/9/2005, Hurricane Rita hit the US Gulf coast. The western section of New Orleans was flooded again.
1/9/2005, World oil prices rose sharply following damage to US oil refining capacity following Hurricane Katrina.
29/8/2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the southern and south –east states of the USA, with winds of up to 175 mph, severely damaging an area as big as Great Britain. New Orleans was particularly badly hit. The city of 500,000 people sits around 1 metre below sea level, due to subsidence associated with the growth of the Mississippi delta, and was flooded, in some areas several metres deep, when the levees protecting the city from Lake Pontchartrain to the north gave way. Several thousand people died. There were allegations that the maintenance of the levees had been cut back to help fund the fighting in Iraq, and that National Guardsmen who could have helped evacuate the victims and restore law and order were away in Iraq. A week after the floods, there was almost no food or potable water, and disease and looting, along with rapes and murder, were rampant. People likened the situation to a Third World disaster, right in America itself.
16/8/2004, 8 inches of rain, four times the monthly average, fell on Boscastle in north Devon, causing the worst floods in the area for 50 years. 60 cars were washed into the sea and 200 people had to be airlifted to safety, but remarkably no-one was killed or seriously injured.
31/1/2002, A large section of the Larsen ice shelf in Antarctica began disintegrating. Eventually some 3,250 sq km (1,254 sq miles) was lost.
3/5/1999. A tornado in Oklahoma City registered the fastest winds so far recorded on Earth, at 318 mph.
24/2/1999, 38 died when two avalanches hit the Alpine town of Galtuer in western Austria.
7/8/1998. The Yangtse River in China flooded, killing 12,000 people.
9/10/1997. Hurricane Pauline hit Acapulco, Mexico, killing 250 people.
3/1/1997. The death toll in Europe’s big freeze hit 220 as temperatures plunged to –10 C from Britain to central Russia.
6/11/1996, A cyclone hit Andhra Pradesh, India, killing 2,000.
31/8/1995, The London Meteorological Office announced that August 1995 had been the hottest month since 1659.
1/2/1995. Major floods hit northern Europe during January and February. The Netherlands and Germany were worst hit.
1/8/1993. Major flooding hit the Midwest Mississippi area of the USA
16/7/1993. St Louis, Missouri, flooded as the Mississippi broke its banks.
14/3/1993, Severe storms along the east coast of the USA killed 66 people.
14/12/1991, The industry lobby in Europe blocked a carbon dioxide tax.
21/9/1991, International climate change conference in Nairobi; the US resisted cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, Japan remained uncommitted, but Europe wanted agreement on reductions.
11/5/1991, 250,000 people died in a cyclone which hit Bangladesh.
29/4/1991. A 145mph cyclone devastated the port of Chittagong in Bangladesh, killing 138,000 people and making millions homeless.
6/2/1991. The UK suffered a severe cold snap as temperatures fall to –10 C (14 F), the coldest for four years. Greece declared a state of emergency because of the worst winter weather for ten years.
24/12/1990, A cyclone hit Queensland, Australia, with wind speeds up to 150 mph.
3//8/1990. Britain experienced its hottest day since records began. Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, recorded 37.1 C (98.8 F); London hit 35 C. Ozone levels soared and as a runway melted at Heathrow and rails buckled, high speed trains were limited to 80mph.
17/4/1990. International conference on Global Warming.
25/1/1990, A storm with winds up to 110 mph hit southern England and Wales, killing 46 people.
21/9/1989, Hurricane Hugo with 140 mph winds battered South Carolina and Georgia. The Caribbean was also badly affected.
17/9/1989, The north—east Caribbean was hit by Hurricane Hugo.
26/4/1989, Bangladesh was hit by a huge tornado, 1.6km wide. All houses in an area of 6 square kilometres were obliterated. 1,300 died, 12,000 were injured and over 80,000 left homeless.
7/2/1989, Violent storms and updraughts caused a rain of sardines over the town of Ipswich, Australia.
2/12/1988, A 110 mph cyclone in Bangladesh left thousands dead and 5 million homeless.
20/9/1988. 20 million were made homeless in floods in Bangladesh.
16/9/1988, 1,330 were reported to have died in floods in Bangladesh.
31/8/1988. Widespread flooding in Bangladesh left 25 million homeless.
11/8/1988. Devastating floods brought chaos to Sudan. After 13 hours of rain, 1.5 million people had been made homeless and an unknown number drowned.
24/5/1988, Snow fell in the Syrian Desert and Damascus had ten hours of snowfall for the first time in 50 years.
25/11/1987, The Category 5 typhoon, Nina, hit the Philippines, with 165 mph winds and a major storm surge, killing 1,036 people.
16/10/1987. A severe hurricane hit Britain. 19 people died when storms battered the south of England, as winds of up to 100 mph tore up trees by the roots. Kew Garden recorded a gust of 94 mph and lost trees overnight that had taken 200 years to grow. Property damage was between £100 and £600 million. This was stated to be the worst storm in Britain since 1707.
26/7/1987. A heatwave in Greece killed over 1,000 people.
6/8/1986 A storm dumped a record 328 mm or rain in one day on Sydney, Australia.
14/4/1986, 2.2 lb (1 kg) hailstones fell in Golalganj district, Bangladesh, killing 92 people.
25/5/1985. A cyclone and tidal wave killed over 20,000 people in Bangladesh.
1/3/1985. The Pentagon officially accepted the theory that nuclear war would lead to a prolonged ‘nuclear winter’.
5/3/1984. Scientists warned of a ‘Greenhouse Effect’ amid growing concern that carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels was damaging the environment.
18/8/1983, Hurricane Alicia hit the Texas coast, killing 22 and causing over US$ 3.8 billion (in 2005 terms) damage.
6/4/1982, A blizzard dumped 1-2 feet of snow in the northeastern US, unprecedented for April.
10/1/1982. Shawbury, Shropshire experienced the lowest temperature ever recorded in England, -26 C. The lowest ever temperature recorded in the UK was this day, -27.2 C, at Braemar, Aberdeenshire. This equalled the record set in 1895, and was equalled again in 1995.
15/7/1980, An unusually severe thunderstorm hit 4 counties in the US in western Wisconsin, around the city of Eau Claire, killing one person and causing US$ 250 million in damages.
23/6/1980, A heatwave in the UK began; it lasted until 6/9/1980.
18/2/1979, The Sahara had a 30-minute snowfall.
30/1/1978, Blizzards in the
19/1/1977, Snow fell for the first recorded time in Florida.
1/9/1976, The worsening drought meant 750,000 homes in Yorkshire went on standpipes.
22/8/1976, Britain was suffering the worst drought for 500 years, and it was also the hottest summer since at least 1727.
14/7/1976. Parliament passed the ‘Drought
26/6/1976. London recorded a record high temperature of 35 degrees C, or 95 F.
1/6/1975, Snow fell on London in June, for the first time since records began.
19/9/1974, Hurricane Fifi killed 8,000 in Honduras.
13/5/1970, Northern Romania received a third of its average annual rainfall in just two days (13/14th May) destroying 11,000 houses and damaging another 72,000. These floods were worse than those of 1840 in the same area.
25/9/1969, Heavy rains began in Tunisia. Flooding killed 700 and left 200,000 homleless.
3/11/1968. Severe storms and floods in northern Italy killed over 100 people.
15/9/1968, Severe flooding in south east England, the worst since 1953.
9/11/1966. Severe flooding hit Florence, ruining many art treasures. The River Arno burst its banks after heavy rain upstream from the city which was situated in a narrow valley, and 100 people died.
5-6/3/1963, Britain had its first frost-free night since December, after a very cold winter.
19/1/1963 Snow and ice meant only 9 out of 63 League Cup Football matches were played, and two of those were abandoned.
26/12/1962. The worst winter in
1960, Lake Chad had recovered from the drought and shrinkage it was undergoing in 1914. It had been rising since 1953 and now stood at its highest level of the 20th century.
worst storms since 1953 caused severe flooding in southern
experienced the lowest temperature ever recorded in
5/3/1956, The telephone weather forecast service began in
than 300 people died as severe flooding hit
16/8/1952. Severe thunderstorms in
1952, Severe drought in Australia.
2/7/1951, Severe floods in Kansas and Missouri killed 41 and left 200,000 homeless.
17/12/1947. A blizzard dumped 27 inches of snow on
15/3/1947 Almost 600,000 acres of farmland were flooded in The Fens as the River Ouse overflowed, following a thaw of deep snow, drowning 2 million sheep.
6/3/1947, Deep snow cut off
13 towns in
26/2/1947, The UK Government considered rationing coal as a cold snap entered its fifth week. The winter was the coldest since 1880/81. Coal was piling up at the pit heads, unable to move as railways were blocked by snow. Buxton and Bridlington were cut off by snowdrifts as high as 20 feet. Blizzards at sea kept fishing fleets in port, worsening food shortages.
20/2/1947, In Britain, very cold weather along with fuel shortages threatened to damage the economy.
29/1/1947, In the UK, record low temperatures caused power cuts.
23/1/1947, Snow began falling in south east England. It was the start of a protracted period of extremely cold weather.
9/1942, The German meteorologist Findeisen successfully ‘seeded’ a cloud for the first time over Prague, using siliceous dust to make it snow.
17/1/1940. The River Thames
froze over for the first time since 1880 as bitterly cold weather engulfed
21/9/1938, A hurricane hit New England, killing 682 and injuring over 1,500.
2/9/1935, A small but intense storm hit the Florida Keys, killing 408 out of 760 people living there.
11/4/1935. Severe dust storms hit
21/9/1934, The most powerful storm for 40 years hit Japan. 3,066 people were killed, and 45,600 houses destroyed.
9/11/1932, At Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba, 2,500 out of a population of 4,000 were drowned by a storm surge.
3/9/1930, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was destroyed by a hurricane. 8,000 died, 12,000 were injured, and US$20,000,000 damage.
5/12/1929, 94 mph winds swept
1/12/1929. Major Thames floods.
7/1/1928. Fourteen people drowned when the River Thames flooded
4/1/1928, Severe flooding hit large areas of England.
25/12/1927, A White Christmas in
22/4/1927, Start of the Great Mississippi Flood, until 5/5/1927. 246 people were killed.
28/2/1927, In Britain severe gales with wind speeds up to 160 kph / 102 mph.
26/3/1923. Regular daily weather forecasts began to be broadcast on BBC radio.
13/9/1922, A record temperature of 58 C, or 136.4 F, was recorded at
8/3/1922, 100 mph winds battered England’s south coast.
the US, floods killed 500 in eastern
29/5/1920. Lincolnshire hit by major flooding.
7/1/1915, Heavy rain caused floods in the Thames Valley, turning Windsor Castle into an island.
1914, Sudan was suffering a major drought, with the flow of the Nile at its lowest since 1733.
heaviest August rainfall on record occurred at
28/8/1911, A heatwave sent
the mortality rate in
26/8/1911, A heatwave killed 2,500 children in London.
16/6/1910, A cloudburst in Hungary added to existing flood waters, killing 800 people in villages in the Kronstadt district, another 180 in Temesvar and 100 in Moldava.
12/6/1910, Torrential rains caused floods throughout central Europe. The Ahr River overflowed in Germany, killing 200 people around Oberammergau.
fled their homes in Paris as the
30/8/1909, Floods in Mexico killed 1,400.
13/4/1908, Floods in China killed 2,000.
1905, Lake Chad, having maintained its level throughout the 1800s, was now shrinking rapidly, with a new ridge of dry land emerging eastwards into the Lake, and the northern portion drying out.
15/3/1905, Fierce storms in Cornwall killed 23 as winds reached 100 mph.
28/12/1904, The first weather reports by wireless telegraphy were published in London.
21/11/1904, A typhoon off Mindanao, The Philippines, rendered 30,000 people homeless.
22/3/1903, Niagara Falls dried up due to a drought.
21/2/1903, Red rain fell in southern
13/1/1903, The Society Islands in the Pacific were hit by a hurricane; 1,000 were killed.
7/9/1902, The whole of Australia was asked to pray for rain after seven years of drought. Rain did fall 3 days later.
1/5/1902, A tornado killed
12/11/1901. More than 200
died as gales swept
2/7/1901. 400 died in New York heatwave.
30/12/1900, 50 died as gales swept
4/12/1896. Heavy gales destroyed the chain pier at Brighton.
9/3/1891, An express train became trapped by heavy snow on Dartmoor, England, The passengers could not be rescued for four days, and the train eventually arrived in Plymouth eight days late.
11/3/1888, A great blizzard began in the USA.
25/9/1885. The earliest recorded winter snowfall occurred in London.
12/2/1878. The first weekly weather report was published by the Met Office.
1/4/1875, The Times became the first newspaper to publish a daily weather chart.
15/1/1867, 40 people died when ice gave way in a lake in Regents Park, London.
4/9/1860. The first weather forecast appeared in The Times.
30/3/1848, Niagara Falls ceased to flow for 30 hours, as an ice dam built up in lake Erie.
3/12/1838, Cleveland Abbe, US meteorologist, was born in New York City (died 1916).
14/1/1814, The last frost fair was held on the Thames at London.
9/11/1812. One of the worst winters on record in northern Europe began, severely affecting Napoleon’s troops as they retreated from Moscow
1794/5, A very cold winter in NW Europe; the Thames and Severn rivers froze, as did the Zuyder Zee. This led to the only recorded battle between a navy and cavalry, as French horsemen rode across the sea ice to capture a Dutch fleet.
1783, Extremely cold weather persisted across England from June to September. In December snow was so heavy it felled trees, and thousands froze to death. The cause was smoke and sulphur haze from the Laki volcano, Iceland.
8/2/1740. The great frost of London ended. It had begun on 24/12/1739.
17/10/1737, A cyclone caused a 12-metre tidal surge at Kolkata, killing 300,000.
26/11/1703. The first Eddystone Lighthouse was swept away in the Great Storm, which killed over 8,000 across Britain.
4/2/1684, The River Thames suddenly thawed, drowning many of the people shopping at the Frost Fair set up on the river.
9/1/1684. During a deep freeze, the River Thames at London froze over and puppet shows and shopping stalls were set up on the ice.
2/1608, A very cold winter in Britain. The Thames froze in London and a frost fair was held. The North Sea froze out for several miles so that people could walk out to trapped ships. Sheep and cattle died, causing mass starvation; rivers froze so that mills stopped working and bread became scarce. Frost even split trees open.
15/12/1654. A meteorological office in Tuscany began daily temperature readings.
13/4/1360, An exceptionally cold day in Britain, recorded as ‘Black Monday’. Dark mist, hail, and cold so bitter that people died of cold whilst riding their horses.
1346, An extremely wet summer in England. Rainfall fell almost without let-up frpom midsummer to Christmas, causing widespread flooding along the River Trent.
23/10.1091, A severe storm in London destroyed London Bridge along with St Mary le Bow church. 600 houses were damaged, also the Tower of London.
821, In Europe, a cold summer was followed by a very bitter winter. The Danube, Seine and Rhine, rivers that normally never froze, had ice so thick a horse and cart could cross on it. The cold spell lingered for several years, bringing plague and famine, The cause was probably a huge eruption of the Katla volcano in Iceland.
3,500 BCE, Lake Chad began to dry out; the Sahara became a desert.
Little Ice Age, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age