Chronography of Selected weather / climate events

Page last modified 24 October 2023


Home Page


See also Environment


Colour key:



Heat and drought


Thunderstorms and Hailstones

Dust storms


Climate trends,

Climate change tracke,

US heatwave vulnerability and prevalence,


Real-time global lightning map, also

Real time global wind map,

UK rainfall radar map,


Click Here for image of global heatwave 2018 and heat / humidity tolerability chart


Record hottest days observed




Value C

2022, July 19



2022, July 18



2020, Aug 7



2020, July 31



2019, July 25



2015, July 1



2016, July 19



2003, Aug 10



2003, Aug 6



1990, Aug 3



1911, Aug 9



1990, Aug 2




10 September 2023, Heavy rains in Libya caused two dams to burst and the coastal town of Derna was badly damaged.

3 August 2023, Paraguay saw a new record winter temperature of 39.7 C at Vallemi Airport.

1 August 2023, Chile saw a new record winter temperature of 38.7 C at Vicuna.

July 2023, Japan experienced its hottest July on record, with temperatires reaching 38 C

24 July 2023, Severe heatwave in southern Europe. Sardinia saw a new temperature record of 46.2 C. Palermo, Sicily, exceeded 47 C, beating the previous record from 1999 by over 2 C. Death Valley USA reached 53.3 C. Wildfires affected many areas.

23 July 2023, Tunis reached a record 49 C.

17 July 2023, Death Valley, USA, recorded its hottest midnight temperature ever, at 48.9 C.

16 July 2023, China recorded its hottest ever temperatire, reaching 52.2C in Sanbao, Xinjiang.

30 June 2023, The UK experienced its warmest ever June average temperature. 15.8 C. However the country escaped the severe July heatwave in southern Europe, with a rainy wet July.

30 August2022, Pakistan had seen, over the previous two months, the heaviest rainfall on record and now 72 of its 2160 districts were flood disaster zones.

19 July 2022, Southern and western Europe experienced a severe heatwave lasting several days with record temperatures seen in Greece, Spain, France and the UK. The UK saw a new record temperature of 40.3 C at Coningsby, Lincolnshire, and saw a record minimum overnight high temperatoire of 25.9 C at Elmley Moor, Yorkshire. There were severe wildfires in SW France, Spain, the UK and other countries.

January 2022, Paraguay set a new national record for heat of 45.6 C (114 F).

14 August2021, Southern Europe experienced a record heatwave, with temperatirers across Italy and Spain reaching records above 48 C.

15 July 2021, Severe flooding hit Germany and Belgium after very heavy rainfall; at least 160 were killed, with hundreds more missing.

30 June 2021, A heatwave hit the NW USA and Canada, with Portland Oregon reaching 46.1 C and Lytton, British Columbia hitting 49.6 C. 130 people were reported to have died form the heat around Vancouver.

19 February 2021, Texas was in the 5th day ofa very cold snap that had killed at least 57 people. Water pipes and wind turbines froze solid, causing power cuts.

16 August2020, A temperature of 54.4.C was recorded at Furnace Creek, Death Valley, USA.

June 2020, A record high temperature of 38 C was recorded in the Arctic.

February 2020, The UK was hit by a series of storms, causing severe flooding in many areas including south Wales, Yorkshire and Shropshire.

2 January 2020, In Australia, ongoing catastrophic fires have burned over 40,000 square kilometres, destroyed 1,500 homes and killed at least 17 people, in a drought and temperatures reaching high into the 40s C.

19 December 2019, Australia was enduring a extreme heatwave and drought, There were numerous severe forest fires. Average temperatures in Australia soared to a record 41.9C, peak temperatures reaching 47.7 C. Temperatures at Nullarbor weather station later attained 49.9 C.

15 November 2019, Very hot dry and windy weather in Australia exacerbated bush fires that, to date, have killed 3 people, injured 100, and destroyed 150 homes. Australia was experiencing its hottest summer on record, after an abnormally hot and dry winter.

(2) The north and Midlands of England experienced severe flooding, with areas around Doncaster and the Severn Valley hard hit.

September 2019, Hurricane Dorian became one of the most powerful ever recorded. It hit the Bahamas with sustained winds of 300 kph (185 mph); it was unusually slow-moving meaning areas suffered the winds for longer. It killed over 20 people and caused sea surges of eight metres above normal.

26 July 2019, The Swedish village of Markusvinsa recorded a temperature of 34.8 C, the highest ever recorded north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden.

25 July 2019, The temperature at Paris-Montsouris station surpassed the previous high of 40.4C, set in July 1947, soon after 1pm and continued to climb, reaching 42.6C soon after 4pm. Bordeaux set a new record of 42.1 C. In Britain the highest recorded temperature ever was set at 38.7 C in Cambridge, exceeding the previous record of 38.5 C set at Faversham, Kent in 2003. However 38.1 C was a record for the UK for July, the previous record being 36.7 at Heathrow in July 2015. The Netherlands set a new all-time temperature record of 39.4 at Gilzen-Rije airbase. Belgium set a new national record of 40.6 C, the highest since records began in 1833. Germany set a new record of 41.5 C at Lingen, the day after a record temperature of 40.5 C in Geilenkirchen. Portugal and Greece saw major forest fores, and nuclear plants in France had to be shut down because the rivers were too warm for the emissions of cooling water.

28 June 2019, Europe was hit by a severe heatwave. In France, a record temperature of 45.9 C was recorded at Gallargues de Montueux, near Montpellier, breaking the previous record of 44.1 C set in 2003. Countires from Italy to Poland were affected, with major forest forest fires in Spain.

15 March 2019, Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique, Malawi and eastern Zimbabwe, killing at least 705 people, with hundreds more missing.

24 January 2019, During a record-breaking heatwave and drought in Australia, the temperature in Adelaide hit 46.6 C, the highest since records began 80 years ago. The mean temperature for the whole of January in Australia exceeded 30 C, the highest since records began.

2018, Three years of drought were now causing severe water shortages in Cape Town, South Africa.

4 August2018, Excess UK deaths from the heatwave between 25 June 2018 and 9 July 2018 were reported tpo be 663. In Spain two heat-related deaths were reported as temperatures there reached 45 C.

1 August2018, Arctic summer ice coverage dropped to a low of 4.6 million square kilometres, against a summer minimum of 7.9 million square kilometres in 1980.

27 July 2018, A heatwave in Japan saw temperatures rise to over 40 C, with 65 deaths, and 22,600 hospitalised. Meanwhile in Greece 81 died in the worst wildfires in Europe since World War Two. Latvia, Norway, Sweden and the UK also suffered heatwaves and drought. Severe wildfires also affected many States across the USA.

5 July 2018, A record high temperature of 51.3 C was recorded in the Sahara Desert, Algeria.

26 August2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, dumping 50 inches of rainfall in the Houston area and causing major flooding.

5 August2017, The �Lucifer� heatwave hit Europe, with temperatures having reached over 42C in Spain, and predicted to attain 46 C across Italy, the Balkans and Poland, as the jet stream brought very warm air northwards.

28 May 2017, A temperature of 54 C was recorded at Turbat, Pakistan.

1/2017, Sydney, Australia, briefly exceeded 47 C.

21 June 2016, A temperature of 53.9 C was recorded at Mitribah, Kuwait.

3 June 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 December 2015, York was hit by flooding, the worst since 1982. By 29 December 2015 some 6,700 properties across northern England had been hit by floods.

26 December 2015, Heavy rainfall began, lasting for three days, in Missouri, Mississippi and Illinois, causing severe flooding.

25 December 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 May 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 April 2014, The railway line at Dawlish re-opened after storm damage was repaired, see 4 February 2014.

10 February 2014, Severe flooding was now affecting large areas of Surrey and Berkshire west of London, including Staines, Datchet and Windsor.

8 February 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 February 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 April 2014.

23 December 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 December 2013, Severe storms battered the UK, and a storm surge caused the worst flooding since 1953.

8 November 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.

30 June 2013, A temperature of 54 C was recorded at Death Valley, USA.

29 October 2012, Hurricane Sandy, a Category 3 storm, hit the east coast of the USA after devastating thye Caribbean. Overall it killed 133 people.

28 April 2011, Heavy storms across the US killed over 300 people.

2010, Average global wind speeds began to increase again after a period of 30 years during which they declined by 2.35 per decade; known as �global terrestrial stilling�. There had been concern that greater roughness of the Earth�s surface, as cities grew and had taller buildings, was causing this decrease. However between 2010 and 2020 average global windpseeds rose by 7%.

7 February 2009, Severe bush fires hit Australia, killing 173, injuring 500, rendering 7,500 homeless. Temperatures had reached a record 46.4 C.

5 September 2008, For the first time in recorded history, both the North West Passage and the North East Passage were clear of Arctic sea ice.

8/2008, Heavy rain caused flooding across northern England and the Midlands, including Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.

2 May 2008, Hurricane Nargis hit southern Burma, killing over 84,000 people, and leaving 56,000 missing.

5 February 2008, Tornadoes killed 57 people in the southern USA.

3 August2007, Heavy rain in the India region caused flooding that displaced 20 million people.

24 July 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.

20 July 2007, Heavy rain in the UK caused floods in the Midlands and southwest.

8 February 2007, England was covered by the heaviest snowfall for 11 years.

28 June 2007, Greece had its worst heatwave for more than a century, 11 people died of heatstroke.

28 November 2005, The United Nations Climate Change Conference opened in Montreal, Canada.

24 September 2005, Hurricane Rita hit the US Gulf coast.The western section of New Orleans was flooded again.

1 September 2005, World oil prices rose sharply following damage to US oil refining capacity following Hurricane Katrina.

29 August2005, 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.

23 September 2004, Over 3,000 Haitians died when Hurricane Jeanne struck, and 300,000 were left homeless.

16 August2004, 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.

7/2004, Floods made 30 million Bangladeshis homeless.

25 September 2003, France reported that 14,800 people died in the recent heatwave which was temperatures reaching over 104 F (40 C).

10 August2003, Europe experienced its hottest summer to date with temperatures at Heathrow reaching 101 F, 38 C, and Pope John Paul II called on his flock to pray for rain.

2 July 2003, The World Meteorological Organisation warned that global warming would cause an increase in extreme weather events. In June 2003 the south of France saw record temperatures of 40 C and in India the per-Monsoon heatwave hit 45-49 C. The heatwave across Europe caused 30,000 premature deaths.

2002, Flooding across Europe direct costs amounted to 16 billion euros.

31 January 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.

15 December 1999, Two weeks of heavy rain in Venezuela led to catastrophic floods and mudslides, killing 30,000 and leaving 100,000 homeless.

29 October 1999, A cyclone hot Orissa, NE India, killing over 9,600 people and making thousands more homeless.

3 May 1999. A tornado in Oklahoma City registered the fastest winds so far recorded on Earth, at 318 mph.

24 February 1999, 38 died when two avalanches hit the Alpine town of Galtuer in western Austria.

7 August1998. The Yangtse River in China flooded, killing 12,000 people. 240,000 square kilometres iof farmland was inundated.

11 April 1998, The worst floods for 50 years hit central and southern England, killing 5 people and causing �500 million damage.

24 December 1997, A violent storm began in Britain, with 80 mph winds in southern England, killing 13 people. The storm ended on 26 December 1997, but another storm on 3-4 January 1998 hit the UK, with winds up to 100 mph, killing 2 people.

9 October 1997. Hurricane Pauline hit Acapulco, Mexico, killing 250 people.

3 January 1997. The death toll in Europe�s big freeze hit 220 as temperatures plunged to �10 C from Britain to central Russia.

6 November 1996, A cyclone hit Andhra Pradesh, India, killing 2,000.

31 August1995, The London Meteorological Office announced that August 1995 had been the hottest month since 1659.

1 February 1995. Major floods hit northern Europe during January and February. The Netherlands and Germany were worst hit.

30 January 1995, Severe flooding hit NW Europe, as the Rhine reached a level not seen since the 18th century. Torrential rain and melting Alpine glaciers caused major floods in Belgium, France, Germany and The Netherlands.

1 August1993. Major flooding hit the Midwest Mississippi area of the USA

16 July 1993. St Louis, Missouri, flooded as the Mississippi broke its banks.

14 March 1993, Severe storms along the east coast of the USA killed 66 people.

11 September 1992, Hurricane Iniki devastated Hawaii, with winds up to 145 mph (235 kph). It killed 6 people and caused US$ 2 billion damage.

14 December 1991, The industry lobby in Europe blocked a carbon dioxide tax.

21 September 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 May 1991, 250,000 people died in a cyclone which hit Bangladesh.

29 April 1991. A 145mph cyclone devastated the port of Chittagong in Bangladesh, killing 138,000 people and making millions homeless.

6 February 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 December 1990, A cyclone hit Queensland, Australia, withwind speeds up to 150 mph.

3/ August1990. 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 April 1990. International conference on Global Warming.

25 January 1990, A storm with winds up to 110 mph hit southern England and Wales, killing 46 people.

21 September 1989, Hurricane Hugo with 140 mph winds battered South Carolina and Georgia. The Caribbean was also badly affected.

17 September 1989, The north�east Caribbean was hit by Hurricane Hugo.

26 April 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 February 1989, Violent storms and updraughts caused a rain of sardines over the town of Ipswich, Australia.

2 December 1988, A 110 mph cyclone in Bangladesh left thousands dead and 5 million homeless.

20 September 1988. 20 million were made homeless in floods in Bangladesh.

16 September 1988, 1,330 were reported to have died in floods in Bangladesh.

31 August1988. Widespread flooding in Bangladesh left 25 million homeless.

11 August1988. 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 May 1988, Snow fell in the Syrian Desert and Damascus had ten hours of snowfall for the first time in 50 years.

25 November 1987, The Category 5 typhoon, Nina, hit the Philippines, with 165 mph winds and a major storm surge, killing 1,036 people.

16 October 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 July 1987. A heatwave in Greece killed over 1,000 people.

6 August1986 A storm dumped a record 328 mm or rain in one day on Sydney, Australia.

14 April 1986, 2.2 lb (1 kg) hailstones fell in Golalganj district, Bangladesh, killing 92 people.

25 May 1985. A cyclone and tidal wave killed over 20,000 people in Bangladesh.

1 March 1985. The Pentagon officially accepted the theory that nuclear war would lead to a prolonged �nuclear winter�.

5 March 1984. Scientists warned of a �Greenhouse Effect� amid growing concern that carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels was damaging the environment.

18 August1983, Hurricane Alicia hit the Texas coast, killing 22 and causing over US$ 3.8 billion (in 2005 terms) damage.

21 July 1983, The world's lowest temperature was recorded at Vostok Station, Antarctica at -89.2 C (-128.6 F).

6 April 1982, A blizzard dumped 1-2 feet of snow in the northeastern US, unprecedented for April.

10 January 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 July 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 June 1980, A heatwave in the UK began; it lasted until 6 September 1980.

18 February 1979, The Sahara had a 30-minute snowfall.

12 May 1978, The US Commerce Department announced that hurricanes would no longer be named only after women.

30 January 1978, Blizzards in the US killed 30 people.

7/1977, A temperature record for Europe of 48 C was set in Athens.

19 January 1977, Snow fell for the first recorded time in Florida.

1 September 1976, The worsening drought meant 750,000 homes in Yorkshire went on standpipes.

22 August1976, Britain was suffering the worst drought for 500 years, and it was also the hottest summer since at least 1727, with temperatures reaching around 36 C in Somerset.

14 July 1976. Parliament passed the �Drought Bill� as Britain faced its worst drought in 250 years.

26 June 1976. London recorded a record high temperature of 35 degrees C, or 95 F.

7 July 1975, Jacob Aall Bonnevie Bjerknes, Norwegian-US meteorologist, died in Los Angeles, California.

1 June 1975, Snow fell on London in June, for the first time since records began.

25 December 1974, Darwin, capital of Australia�s Northern Territory, was devastated by Cyclone Tracy.

19 September 1974, Hurricane Fifi killed 8,000 in Honduras.

18 August1974, Severe flooding devastated central Luzon, Philippines.

6/1974, Bangladesh devastated by the worst floods for 20 years. 1,300 people were drowned and 27 million driven from their homes. 0.9 million tonnes of rice was destroyed, also much jute, a major export earner, was lost.

4 April 1974, The USA and Canada suffered their worst tornadoes since 1925, killing over 300 people.

1973, The Sahel region of Africa was in the 5th year of a severe drought.

19 October 1973, Severe floods in Spain killed 500.

1972, India�s monsoon failed, leading to food and water shortages.

1972, Water inflow into Lake Chad was down by two thirds, giving Nigeroa a land border with Chad for the first time in its history.

23 June 1972, In the USA, hurricane Agnes killed a34 and caused US$ 1.5 billion.

9 June 1972, After heavy rain in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA, river flooding killed at least 226 people.

29 October 1971, A cyclone hit the east coast of India, killing at least 10,000 people.

13 November 1970. In Bangladesh (East Pakistan) a cyclone and tidal waves killed over 500,000 people.

30 October 1970, Heavy monsoon flooding hit Vietnam., killing 293 and leaving 200,000 homeless.

13 May 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 September 1969, Heavy rains began in Tunisia. Flooding killed 700 and left 200,000 homleless.

18 August1969, Hurricane Camille hit areas of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, with 190 mph winds. 200 were killed, and a further 74 in Virginia died through flooding.

3 November 1968. Severe storms and floods in northern Italy killed over 100 people.

15 September 1968, Severe flooding in south east England, the worst since 1953.

14 August1968, Heavy rain in India caused severe flooding, killing over 1,000.

25 November 1967, Heavy rain in Lisbon, Portugal flooded 350 square miles and killed 475.

9 November 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.

1965, New York State was now in its 5th year of below-average rainfall.

7/1965, The monsoon rains failed in India. Rainfall was around 35% below normal.

2 June 1965, The second of two cyclones (first one on 11 May 1965) hit eastern Pakistan, killing 45,000 people.

23 June 1964, The first snowfall in Johannesburg, South Africa, since records began.

7 October 1963, Hurricane Flora killed 7,190 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

5-6 March 1963, Britain had its first frost-free night since December, after a very cold winter.

19 January 1963 Snow and ice meant only 9 out of 63 League Cup Football matches were played, and two of those were abandoned.

26 December 1962. The worst winter in Britain since 1740 began with a �big freeze� that lasted well into January 1963.

15 January 1962, British weather reports started using Centigrade as well as Fahrenheit.

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.

31 October 1960, The second of two cyclones (first one on 10 October 1960) hit eastern Pakistan, killing 10,000.

9 October 1960. The worst storms since 1953 caused severe flooding in southern England.

24 August1960, Vostok, Antarctica, saw a new world record low temperature of -127�F (-88�C).

1 April 1960. The US launched the world�s first meteorological satellite, Tiros I. Launched from Cape Canaveral, it only orbited earth for 78 days, but proved that satellites could be useful for surveying global weather conditions. The satellite was 42 inches in diameter, 19 inches high, weighed 270 pounds, and had 9,200 solar cells to power it. It had two television cameras and could store pictures taken whilst out of range of the ground radar station. In total, Tiros I took 22,500 pictures of weather conditions.

26 September 1959, Typhoon Vera hot Japan, killing 4,464 on Honshu.

5 July 1959, In the UK, temp[eratures reached 34 C (94 F), then considered exceptionally hot.

14 February 1959, The US Weather Bureau released a report that concluded "that the world is in the midst of a long-term warming trend", based on data gathered in Antarctica. Dr. H.E. Landsberg, director of the bureau's office of climatology, said that the cause of the global warming was unknown, but added "One theory is that the change is man-made, that a blanket of carbon dioxide given off by the burning of coal and oil retards the radiation of heat by the earth.".

26 September 1958, The worst typhoon for 24 years hit Japan. 680 were left dead and 500 injured, with a further 500 reported missing, in the Tokyo area.

21 January 1958, Driffield experienced the lowest temperature ever recorded in Yorkshire, -18.9 C.

22 July1958, The Yellow River, China, burst its banks, causing the worst flooding for a decade.

20 July 1958, 26 cm of rain fell in Delhi in 24 hours, the heaviest rainfall recorded to date.

5 March 1956, The telephone weather forecast service began in the UK.

19 August1955, Hurricane Audrey hit Texas and Louisiana, killing 535.

31 January 1953. More than 300 people died as severe flooding hit Kent, Essex, and East Anglia. 1,783 people died in floods in The Netherlands, and Zeeland was very hard hit. 59 died on Canvey Island.

1952, Severe drought in Australia.

16 August1952. Severe thunderstorms in Somerset and north Devon caused rivers to flood and devastated the towns of Lynmouth and Lynton. 36 died.

3/1952, Temperatures in Moscow fell to -28C, the coldest there for a century.

3 February 1952, In England, 283 people died 8in gale force winds and high tides causing major floods in the east coast. Thousands were made homeless.

2 July 1951, Severe floods in Kansas and Missouri killed 41 and left 200,000 homeless.

17 December 1947. A blizzard dumped 27 inches of snow on New York.

15 March 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 March 1947, Deep snow cut off 13 towns in Britain.

26 February 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 February 1947, In Britain, very cold weather along with fuel shortages threatened to damage the economy.

29 January 1947, In the UK, record low temperatures caused power cuts.

23 January 1947, Snow began falling in south east England. It was the start of a protracted period of extremely cold weather.

27 April 1944, Michael Fish, meteorologist, was born.

September 1942, The German meteorologist Findeisen successfully �seeded� a cloud for the first time over Prague, using siliceous dust to make it snow.

31 January 1940, Britian suffered a very cold winter with -35 F (-37 C) recorded at Edgbaston, Birmingham. The Thames froze for 13 km between Teddington and Sunbury, and the sea froze along the shoreline at Bognor Regis. Kent saw snowdrifts 3,5 metres deep and there was skiing on the South Downs.

17 January 1940. The River Thames froze over for the first time since 1880 as bitterly cold weather engulfed Europe.

1940s, Britain began to experience a run of colder winters, but warm summers.

21 September 1938, A hurricane hit New England, killing 682 and injuring over 1,500.

2 September 1935, A small but intense storm hit the Florida Keys, killing 408 out of 760 people living there.

11 April 1935. Severe dust storms hit Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, and New Mexico, destroying crops and making many homeless. Dust storms covering up to five states at a time developed because US farmers had ploughed up areas unsuitable for this. A run of wet summers had made large areas of prairie seem suitable for the plough, but when normal drier conditions returned, the ploughing had broken up the roots of the prairie grasses that held the soil in place. Topsoil blew away, farmers were ruined, and diseases such as dust-pneumonia struck many, especially children and livestock.

21 September 1934, The most powerful storm for 40 years hit Japan. 3,066 people were killed, and 45,600 houses destroyed.

9 February 1933, Record low temperatures were set in the states of Montana (-66 �F at Yellowstone National Park's Riverside Ranger Station), Oregon (-54 �F at Ukiah) and Wyoming (-63 �F at Moran).

9 November 1932, At Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba, 2,500 out of a population of 4,000 were drowned by a storm surge.

1931, Floods on the Yangtse River, China, was flooded from Shanghai to Hankow. 200,000 were killed, a further 250,000 left homeless and US$ 500 million damage done.

23 December 1931, Wilson Bentley, US meteorologist, died of pneumonia caught in a blizzard. Known as �Snowflake Bentley�, he micro-photographed over 5,000 snowflakes, proving that each one was unique.

7 July 1931, A temperature of 55 C was recorded at Kebili, Tunisia. However the veracity of this figure has been doubted.

3 September 1930, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was destroyed by a hurricane. 8,000 died, 12,000 were injured, and US$20,000,000 damage.

9 August1930, A temperature of 113�F (45�C) was recorded at Perryville, Tennessee, a state record.

5 December 1929, 94 mph winds swept across Britain, killing 26 people.

1 December 1929. Major Thames floods.

17 September 1928, A hurricane hit Lake Okeechobee, Florida, USA drowning some 2,000 people.

7 January 1928. Fourteen people drowned when the River Thames flooded parts of London, including the Palace of Westminster. A sudden thaw swelled the river as high tides and strong winds also drove up water levels.

4 January 1928, Severe flooding hit large areas of England.

25 December 1927, A White Christmas in London.

22 April 1927, Start of the Great Mississippi Flood, until 5 May 1927. 246 people were killed.

28 February 1927, In Britain severe gales with wind speeds up to 160 kph / 102 mph.

18 March 1925, A series of tornadoes killed 792 and injured 13,000 in the US Midwest.

31 October 1923, A severe heatwave began at Marble Bar, Western Australia. It lasted for 160 days, with temperatures rising to 37.8 C (100F).

26 March 1923. Regular daily weather forecasts began to be broadcast on BBC radio.

13 September 1922, A record temperature of 58 C, or 136.4 F, was recorded at El Azizia, Libya. However the veracity of this figure has been doubted.

8 March 1922, 100 mph winds battered England�s south coast.

4 June 1921, In the US, floods killed 500 in eastern Colorado.

29 May 1920. Lincolnshire hit by major flooding.

28 July 1918, End of the drought in New South Wales. 2,000,000 sheep and lambs had been lost to the drought.

12 January 1918, Chicago isolated by a severe blizzard.

7 January 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.

7 September 1914, James Alfred van Allen was born in Mount Pleasant, Indiana. In 1952 he developed the idea of a balloon launched from a rocket, to study the Earth�s upper atmosphere.

14 June 1914, Severe thunderstorms in London brought ten cm of rain in three hours.

10 July 1913,A record high temperature of 56.7 C was recorded at Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California. However the veracity of this figure has been doubted.

25 March 1913, Flooding on the Miami River in Ohio killed 730 and caused US$ 181 million damage.

26 August1912. Britain�s heaviest August rainfall on record occurred at Norwich, where six inches fell in twelve

hours. Floods in East Anglia made 10,000 homeless.

4 September 1911. Flooding along China�s Yangtze River killed 100,000 people.

28 August1911, A heatwave sent the mortality rate in London soaring to 19 per 1,000.

26 August1911, A heatwave killed 2,500 children in London.

16 June 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 June 1910, Torrential rains caused floods throughout central Europe. The Ahr River overflowed in Germany, killing 200 people around Oberammergau.

26 January 1910. Thousands fled their homes in Paris as the Seine flooded. The river rose 8 metres above normal, causing 400 million Francs damage (over Euro 1 billion in 2015 prices).

30 August1909, Floods in Mexico killed 1,400.

13 April 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 March 1905, Fierce storms in Cornwall killed 23 as winds reached 100 mph.

28 December 1904, The first weather reports by wireless telegraphy were published in London.

21 November 1904, A typhoon off Mindanao, The Philippines, rendered 30,000 people homeless.

4 August1904. The first Atlantic weather forecast was received by radio telegraph.

22 March 1903, Niagara Falls dried up due to a drought.

February 1903, Hurricane Ulysses, named after the description of this storm in James Joyce�s novel, hit Ireland and western Scotland. Winds of over 100 mph destroyed piers and blew trains off tracks.

21 February 1903, Red rain fell in southern England, coloured by dust from the Sahara.

7 February 1903, James Glaisher, English meteorologist, died (born 7 April 1809).

13 January 1903, The Society Islands in the Pacific were hit by a hurricane; 5,000 were killed.

7 September 1902, The whole of Australia was asked to pray for rain after seven years of drought. Rain did fall 3 days later.

1 May 1902, A tornado killed 416 in Dacca, India.

12 November 1901. More than 200 died as gales swept Britain.

2 July 1901. 400 died in New York heatwave.

8 May 1901, A severe drought in India had caused widespread famine, and British-appointed High Commission stated that some 1,250,000 had died; the Commission blamed rising population for placing excessive demands on the food supply.

30 December 1900, 50 died as gales swept Britain.

8/1898, Very hot weather in SE England.

4 December 1896. Heavy gales destroyed the chain pier at Brighton.

6 August1895, Francis W Reichelderfer, US meteorologist, was born.

1893, An exceptionally dry Spring in SE England, with no rainfall at all here for 60 days mid-March to mid-May. Mile End, east London, experie nced no rain for a record 73 days.

9 March 1891, A very heavy blizzard hit the West Country, England, It lasted for four days, and roofs collapsed under the weight of snow, which entirely filled a 90 metre deep valley on Dartmoor. 200 people and huge numbers of livestock froze to death. At sea gales caused the loss of 65 ships and some 220 people drowned. An express train left London at 3pm for Plymouth but hit the snow near Dartmoor and was stuck for days. A farmer noticed the steam engine funnel poking out of the snow and dug through to rescue the passengers who had been without food, water of heat. The train was dug out and eventually reached Plymouth 8 days later. Cold continued, with snow into May, along with frosts , heavy rain and hail. There was a flu epidemic, and snow persisted in Dartmoor even into June.

1890, Icelandic glaciers reached their maximum extent, overrunning farmland.

11 March 1888, The Great White Hurricane hit the northern USA. Blizzards lasted until 14 March 1888. Wind speeds reached 100 kph and snowdrifts reached 6 metres deep. Across the US, 400 people froze to death.

1887, Major flooding on the Yangtse River, China, killed 7 million and made a further 2 million homelessas an area of 50,000 square milesd was flooded.

1886-7, Severe drought on the Great Plains, USA, causing thousands of cattle farmers to go bankrupt.

25 September 1885. The earliest recorded winter snowfall occurred in London.

12 February 1878. The first weekly weather report was published by the Met Office.

1/1877, Severe winter in the northern Great Plains region of the USA, with a blizzard lasting 72 hours,killing millions of cattle. Entire families froze to death in their cabins.

1872-80, In Britain, a run of wet weather, with 1879 prticularly wet.

1 April 1875, The Times became the first newspaper to publish a daily weather chart.

15 January 1867, 40 people died when ice gave way in a lake in Regents Park, London.

30 April 1865, Meteorologist Robert Fitzroy died in London.

1 October 1864, A cyclone destroyed most of Calcutta, killing 70,000.

1863, Francis Galton coined the term anticyclone, and initiated the modern method of mapping the weather.

4 September 1860. The first weather forecast appeared in The Times. Vice Admiral Robert Fitzroy, after witnessing the shipwreck in a storm of the Royal Charter in a storm off the Anglesey coast in 1859, believed that if storm warnings had been in place the ship coupld have been saved. He persuaded the British government to fund a network of weather stations across the UK, from which dtat was telegraphed to The Times. However his forecasts were rarther inaccurate and Fitzroy was subject to much public ridicule. On 28 April 1865 he committed suicide. However his weather records for the early 1860s have proved invaluable for climate historians.

1854, The Meteorological Office, UK,was founded as a branch of the Board of Trade. Its fub ction wad to provide weather forecasts for shipping.

30 March 1848, Niagara Falls ceased to flow for 30 hours, as an ice dam built up in lake Erie.

6 August 1838, George James Symons, meteorologist, was born in Pimlico, London (died 10 March 1900 in London)

1836-45, Britain experienced a run of cool wet summers, with poor harvests.

11 April 1829, Alexander Buchan, Scottish meteorologist, was born.

1816, A very cold summer in the USA followed the eruption of Tambora in 1815. June and July saw widespread frosts and snow, killing crops.

14 January 1814, The last frost fair was held on the Thames at London.

9 November 1812. One of the worst winters on record in northern Europe began, severely affecting Napoleon�s troops as they retreated from Moscow

7 April 1809, James Glaisher, English meteorologist, was born (died 7 February 1903).

1805, Sir Francis Beaufort devised the wind strength classification system now named after him.

1803, English meteorologist Luke Howard gave names to the various cloud types (cirrus, cumulus, stratus, nimbus), and recognised that their shapesreflected the causes of these clouds.

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. Ice floes were seen on the Mississippi, and Japan suffered a bad famine. In France 5% of the population died, adding to the unrest trhat led to the 1789 Revolution.

1755, Very cold winters in Europe. The Golden Horn, Istanbul, froze over.

17 February 1740, Birth of meteorologist Horace Benedict de Saussure, inventor of the cyanometer, a device for measuring the blueness of the sky.

8 February 1740. The great frost of London ended. It had begun on 24 December 1739. In Wales the great frostbegan on 23 December 1739, and lasted until 10 February 1740; nights throughout April 1740 were still below freezing and there was snow on the Welsh mountains until May.

17 October 1737, A cyclone caused a 12-metre tidal surge at Kolkata, killing 300,000.

January 1710, France experienced a very cold winter, with food shortages as severe cold killed crops, trees and livestock. Rivers froze so that laden carts could be driven on them.

January 1709, Severe cold across Europe. The Little Ice Age (lasting until the mid-1800s). The Baltic Sea froze, with people reportedly walking across it.

26 November 1703. The first Eddystone Lighthouse was swept away in the Great Storm, which killed over 8,000 across Britain.

4 February 1684, The River Thames suddenly thawed, drowning many of the people shopping at the Frost Fair set up on the river.

9 January 1684. During a deep freeze, the River Thames at London froze over and puppet shows and shopping stalls were set up on the ice. Even the sea froze for a distance of up to two miles offshore.

15 December 1654. A meteorological office in Tuscany began daily temperature readings.

1648, Air pressure was shown to decrease as altitude increases.

25 October 1647, Evangelista Torricelli, Italian mathematician and scientist who devised the barometer or �Torricellian Tube�, died in Florence.

1646, Floods in The Netherlands killed 110,000.

1645-1715, A period of exceptional cold across Eurasia, even by the standards of the Little ice Age.

15 October 1608, Evangelista Torricelli, Italian mathematician and scientist who invented the barometer in 1643, was born in Faenza.

February 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.

20 January 1564, Very cold weather in Scotland, with many thousand dying ogf hunger and cold in the Highlands. Sheep, cattle and fowl were also dying, ensuring the famine that began after a series of poor hatrvests and high food prices would continue.

1550, King Edward VI of England banned food exports, due to a series of poor harvests.


1500 -1525, Some amelioration of the cool period in Britain.


Across Europe and Asia, very cold weather during the 1300s

1377, Floods devastated much agricultural land along the River thames in the London area.

13 April 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.

1350, The Little Ice Age was underway, ending the Mediaeval Warm Period. The Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland regularly froze, allowing polar bears to roam Iceland, The Norse settlements in Greenland were abandoned. The Baltic froze in 1303 and again in 1306/7, also the Thames froze.

In Britain, all seasons became cooler and wetter. Winters were severe, and summers cool and wet, with poor harvests.

1346, An extremely wet summer in England. Rainfall fell almost without let-up from midsummer to Christmas, causing widespread flooding along the River Trent.

1337, William Merlee of Oxford attempted the first scientifically-based weather foreasts.

1332, China experienced very heavy rains and severe flooding. Up to seven million may have died. There wasd also a run of 35 consecutive severe winters at this time.

1315-1318, Heavy and persistent rainfall in England caused harvest failures and animal diseases, causing food shortages. Crops rotted in the ground before they could be harvested. In August 1316, when King Edward II of England arrived inh St Albans, he could not buy food there because there was none available.

5 May 1110, Monks at Peterborough saw a full moon that gradually grew dimmer until it vanished.It was a lunar eclipse but without the red light that normally illuminated the Moon from the Earth during an eclipse. Large volcanic eruptions had thrown dust into the atmosphere, darkening it so even the red light did not shine through. That year there was a very cold summer and widespread crop failure. This was the time when the Mediaeval Warm Period was shifting into the Little Ice Age.


23 October 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.

900 � 1200, The Medieval Warm Period. Typically, high pressure over Eurasia weakened the westerly winds from the Atlantic, causing a warmer drier climate. The monsoons blowing off the Indian Ocean into southern Asia also weakened. Europe experienced population growth, but in the already-dry Islamic lands, population fell.


11 November 892. Unusually severe windstorms in Ireland did much damage to houses, churches and forests.

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.

17 March 803, A severe storm in County Clare, Ireland, killed over 1,000 people.

763/4, Britain suffered an exceptionally harsh winter.

800 BCE, The climate over Eurasia became windier.For the Mediterraneanthis meant higher rainfall from the atlantic Westerlies, increasing crop yields. However north of the Alps the growing season shortened and respiratory diseases increased due to the cold and damp. In China the winds blew off the Siberian Plateau; drier weather meant fewer Yellow River floods but the arid country to the north of the Yellow River grew even drier.

2200 BCE, Egypt was becoming drier, with the peak hieghts of the annual Nile floods falling. In ca. 2000 BCE the population of northern China began falling, with some cities abandoned; however climate records for China at this time are scant.

3500 BCE, Lake Chad began to dry out; the Sahara became a desert.

3800 BCE, Global climate began cooling. Rainfall decreased, and Mesopotamia became drier, as did northern Africa.


Little Ice Age,


Back to top