Les anglonautes

About Us | Search | Grammaire | Vocapedia | Learning | Docs | Stats | News - History | Breaking News | Podcasts - Videos | Images | Arts | Travel | Translate

 Previous Home Up Next


Vocabulary > Earth > Weather > Storms




A supercell thunderstorm

rolls across the Montana prairie at sunset.


Photo and caption by Sean Heavey

Boston Globe > Big Picture >  National Geographic's Photography Contest 2010 > November 19, 2010


















A breaking wave engulfs the lighthouse at Seaford in East Sussex

as storms lashed the south coast



Beware the tides of March

as violent storms lead to ninety flood warnings

By Terri Judd        The Independent

Tuesday, 11 March 2008















freaky weather






Boston Globe > Big Picture > Stormy skies        USA        July 23, 2010






storm warning        UK






storm        UK















Storm wreaks deadly havoc         26 January 1990

High winds kill 56.

Damage estimated at £750m.

Travellers stranded as BR closes.

Cabinet holds crisis meeting.






cause havoc        USA






storm chasing / hunter






'supercell' storm        USA







strong storm        USA






fierce storm






fierce / violent storm        USA









powerful storm        USA








severe storm        USA        April 2011

the deadliest U.S. storm since February 2008,
when 57 people died in two days from tornadoes in the South and Ohio Valley







severe storm        UK        March 2008
















severe storm        UK        January 2007






severe storm        USA






violent storm        USA







'unbelievable' storms






Great storm of 1987        UK                10 October 2007

The Great Storm on the night of October 15-16 1987
left a trail of destruction across the south-east and east of England.

Some 360,000 trees were lost on National Trust land alone.






killer storm of 1968        western Scotland

Twenty-one people died that night,
most of them between 3am and 5am,
and three of them aboard a dredger that capsized off Greenock.

At least another 100 were seriously injured and 1,800 made homeless.

The wind tore down shipyard cranes and electricity pylons,
church spires and school roofs,
and ripped the glass from the big greenhouses of the upper Clyde valley,
which then supplied Scotland with all of its tomatoes.

Four per cent of Scotland's commercial forests,
equivalent to 18 months' timber production, got flattened.

A quarter of a million houses were damaged,
more than 1,300 beyond repair.

The death and destruction came too late to be recorded in Monday's papers,
but Tuesday's Scottish Daily Express published pages and pages,
including a memorable picture that looked down
through the gaping floors of a Glasgow tenement,
holed from top to bottom by a plunging chimney head.






Christmas storm        USA






blanket        USA






winter storm        USA







gigantic midwinter storm        USA






storm system        USA







deadly storm system






ferocious storm system        USA






enormous storm system        USA






powerful storm system        USA






major storm        USA






deadly storm        USA







bad storm        USA






force ten storm        UK






snow storm        USA








ice storm        USA







tropical storm        USA        2008-2010







Phoenix dust storm        USA        2011







vicious storm        UK













severe gale






gales of up to 80mph






crash into + N






bring down cables
















churn        USA






pummel        USA






slam        USA







crush        USA






plow through + N        USA






tear through + N        USA

















batter by waves






batter        USA













pound        USA












roar across...        USA






bury        USA






roar into + N





destruction        USA






topple trees






ruin        USA

















sweep across + N







sweep through + N        USA






stalk        USA
















weaken        USA
















cut power to...












without power



























easterly wind





bitter wind





strong winds







in strong winds





fierce winds





high winds






storm winds



















gale-force winds







hurricane-force winds






gusting wind






150mph winds





winds of 165 m.p.





winds of up to 165mph


















smash into + N















summer squall





reach hurricane force










thunderstorm        USA






a line of thunderstorms        USA






summer storm





winter storm






stormy day





stormy weather

































flood warning






severe flood warning






be lashed by giant waves






massive / huge waves







20.4-metre wave






rough waves



















Tentacles of lightning cover the sky

over Voyle's Field early Thursday morning,

June 18, 2009,

in Galesburg, Illinois.

Strong storms blew through western and central Illinois,

breaking tree limbs and knocking out power for thousands of residents.


AP Photo/The Register-Mail, Bill Gaither

Boston Globe > Big Picture > Lightning        2009












































Damaged homes near the corner of South Water and Birch Streets in Harrisburg, IL,

after a severe storm hit Feb. 29, 2012.


Steve Jahnke/The Southern/Associated Press

Boston Globe > Big Picture > Tornadoes Rip Through the Midwest and South        March 1, 2012

















Residents survey the damage after a severe storm hit

in the early morning hours on Feb. 29, 2012, in Harrisburg.

A severe pre-dawn storm pounded portions of southern Illinois.

Several deaths were reported in Harrisburg

and left the city's medical center scrambling to treat an influx of injured.


Paul Newton/The Southern Illinoisan/Associated Press

Boston Globe > Big Picture > Tornadoes Rip Through the Midwest and South        March 1, 2012















trail of destruction






flatten buildings        USA






debris        USA

























damage        USA








widespread damage        USA






wreak havoc on + N / wreak havoc







create havoc for + N        USA













power outage






be left without power






survivor        USA






death        USA






transport disruption



















This photo provided by Harry Gillway, the Kimball County Sheriff,

shows hail damage to the rear window of a car

in Kimball, Nebraska

on Monday, May 24, 2010.

Storms dumped heavy rain and hail

on Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.


AP Photo/Kimball County Sheriff, Harry Gillway

Boston Globe > Big Picture > Stormy skies















When Each Bad Storm

Means More Dark Days


November 1, 2011
The New York Times


First came the heavy snow in February that crushed the hangar and destroyed the vintage Piper J-5A airplane he housed in Dutchess County, N.Y. Then came the tornado in June that ripped out an ancient oak tree in his backyard in Roxbury, Conn. When Tropical Storm Irene blew through in August, another huge oak fell — this time on his house, blasting a hole through a back bedroom. In each case, electricity was lost.

So for Michael Frohne, a home improvement contractor and musician, his sinking sense of familiarity was understandable when the October northeaster, which he calls the Halloween hell storm, hit.

Once again, Mr. Frohne, who divides his time between homes in Roxbury and Redding, Conn., was left with enormous tree damage and without power — at either home.

“I don’t want to do this anymore,” Mr. Frohne, 63, said. “I’m going to Costa Rica in January, and I don’t know if I’m ever coming back.”

Along with the now-familiar candles, downed trees across the driveway and the thawing hamburger meat taken from the freezer and tossed in the trash, the region’s latest freak storm, which left three million people without electricity, has left something else in its wake: increasing unease about just what is going on and what it means for the vast majority outside the relative stability of an underground urban power grid.

No one can know for sure if this is just the eternally unpredictable chaos of weather on earth or it is something more ominous; call it the new abnormal. But in recent years, suburban and rural residents have found themselves facing multiple disruptions like Mr. Frohne’s. Experts say the violent weather of the past few years in the Northeast is stressing the 20th century above-ground utility grid as never before, along with the people who depend on it.

Few solutions are in sight. A report by the Edison Electric Institute updated at the end of 2010 said that over the past 10 years, at least 11 states studied putting utility lines underground — usually after devastating storms — only to find it too expensive. “To date, no state utility commission has recommended wholesale undergrounding of the utility infrastructure,” it concluded.

By Tuesday afternoon, 1.7 million customers in the Northeast remained without service, according to The Associated Press, many of them repeat victims of power failures that have left residents increasingly jittery with each new storm.

Sue Gress of New Canaan, Conn., said she tolerated the week spent without electricity to pump her well or run her refrigerator after Tropical Storm Irene, even though she had to lug a bucket of water from her swimming pool to flush her toilet, live mostly on peanut butter crackers and swim instead of showering.

But the warm weather two months ago seems a far cry from the snowstorm that drove her shivering from her home last weekend. And at 79 and living alone, Ms. Gress finds a stray crisis tolerable but definitely not a steady diet of them.

She worries that meteorological excess is becoming the rule.

“It’s global warming,” she said. “No one wants to believe it, but things are changing. There’s much more violent weather, and we’re not prepared to deal with it.”

At least this disruption did not go on as long. She got her lights back on Tuesday after three days.

After her own troubles this weekend, Susan Callahan of Summit, N.J., is for the first time wondering about her comfortable suburban life.

On Saturday night, a branch from one of the old trees that surround the house she has lived in for 30 years crashed down and ripped off part of her gutter and badly damaged the roof of her porch. Then on Sunday, her husband, John Callahan, trying to clean up the property, slipped on an icy stone and hit his head, and Mrs. Callahan had to brave debris-strewn roads to get him to a hospital emergency room, where he got six stitches.

On Monday, Mrs. Callahan drove to a State Farm insurance office in New Providence to file a claim, but the office was without power and closed. She left a note under the office’s locked door. It read, “Help.”

Having also lost electricity during the tropical storm, she admits to being a bit rattled.

“I called my friend who lives in New York City today and said, ‘When can we come move there?’ ” Mrs. Callahan said.

She was not really ready to move but said that for the first time she was thinking about whether it made sense to live in an environment less at the mercy of the weather.

“I don’t know what’s going on, with tsunamis and volcanoes erupting and earthquakes all over the world,” Mrs. Callahan said. “But things sure are weird.”

Others see more human failures than cosmic ones.

The utility Consolidated Edison “has gotten so unbelievably bad,” said David Kirschstein, an 83-year-old retired patent lawyer, who has been living in the same house in Chappaqua, N.Y., for 44 years.

“The winters used to be much worse, but even with the big snows, we had nothing like the outages over the past four or five years,” he continued. “I’m just sick of it.”

A year ago, Mr. Kirschstein bought his first generator, which came in handy when his power went out this weekend. “It seemed worth the money to get the generator because Con Ed is terrible,” he said.

In fact, for increasing numbers of people, a generator is seen as a necessity, if an expensive and imperfect one.

Eric Nowlin, vice president for customer service for Grainger, an industrial supply company, said his generator sales around Tropical Storm Irene were tenfold what is normal for that time of year, with people shopping at his stores when mass-market retailers like Lowe’s are sold out. He said during and after the tropical storm, Grainger sold “thousands and thousands” of generators.

“This kind of weather is becoming a fact of life,” he said. “People are saying, ‘I want to get a generator for the next time this happens.’ ”

The issues also go beyond electricity.

Martha Frankel, a writer who lives in West Shokan in the Catskills, said she and her husband lost a private bridge connecting their property to the main road after Tropical Storm Irene, which left them in the dark for 16 days. Then, a month later, heavy rains washed away the temporary replacement bridge.

“I think in the last year, we’ve had Irene, which could be the 500-year storm, plus three 10-year storms, a 50-year storm and a 100-year storm,” Ms. Frankel said. “When it rains, nobody sleeps on my road. The stream starts roaring, and there are thousands of trees in it. I’m not feeling particularly safe and comforted.

“We love this town, and we love our house and community. We always said we would die here. And now, I think, I don’t know.”


Elizabeth Maker contributed reporting from Connecticut,

Nate Schweber from New Jersey

and Sari Botton from the Catskills.

    When Each Bad Storm Means More Dark Days, NYT, 1.11.2011,






After Storms,

a Widespread Path of Death and Damage


April 17, 2011
The New York Times


The terrified look in one of her employee’s eyes was the first clue Terri Rodriguez had that something was terribly wrong Saturday afternoon.

The worker had been washing kitchen equipment behind Golden Corral, a popular restaurant in Sanford, N.C., when he spotted a giant black funnel cloud bearing down. It was one of more than 90 tornadoes — what one meteorologist described as a “family” of them — that hit the state on Saturday.

He ran to Ms. Rodriguez, who walked out the back door. She dodged a piece of flying wood, and then she saw it: a dark funnel cloud thick with wood and metal only a couple of blocks away.

About 140 people were eating in her restaurant, many of them in front of the thick plate-glass windows that run the length of the place.

“All I could think is that I have to get them away from the glass because I knew it would just cut them in half,” she said in an interview on Sunday. “I thought, where can I put them? Then I yelled: ‘Tornado! Everyone to my kitchen!’ ”

People packed into the meat cooler and behind the stoves. Others jammed into the restrooms. Then they waited. After five minutes, Ms. Rodriguez said, the darkness lifted and she peeked out the back door.

The tornado, she said, had bounced up, skipped the Golden Corral and made a sharp turn, setting down on top of a Lowe’s Home Improvement Center a few hundred feet away.

“I could see the roof was just gone and all of the Lowe’s stuff flying up in the air,” Ms. Rodriguez said.

The Lowe’s store in Sanford, a town of about 29,000 in the center of the state, was essentially demolished. But an estimated 70 customers were saved when another fast-thinking manager herded customers and his staff into a windowless storeroom.

The storm killed at least two people in the Sanford area and injured several more, according to Sheriff Tracy Carter of Lee County.

A string of tornadoes that began Thursday night in Oklahoma left of a trail of death and millions of dollars in damage from the middle of America to the Eastern Seaboard. But they reached their zenith on Saturday night in North Carolina.

Officials said the storms killed at least 43 people and injured hundreds more. No damage estimates were immediately available, but they will most certainly run into the tens of millions of dollars.

Although April and May are the worst time for tornadoes in the South, this storm system, which had its roots in the Pacific Ocean, was unusual for its size and duration, officials said. The storm would calm itself a bit at night and then gain renewed strength with the day’s heat, said Greg Carbin, warning coordination meteorologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It brought flash floods, tornadoes and thunderstorms laced with giant balls of hail to Oklahoma on Thursday, killing two elderly sisters, before moving east through Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Virginia.

The effects from the storms could be felt as far as Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the New York City area on Saturday night, when furious wind-driven rains covered roadways and produced isolated flooding.

When the system hit North Carolina on Saturday night, it spawned a record 92 tornadoes in the state, killing at least 22 people and injuring more than 80 others. At least 14 deaths were in Bertie and Hertford Counties, in a rural northeast corner of the state where cotton, tobacco, peanuts, corn and soybeans anchor the economy.

“Normally the storms that hit here are pretty severe but smaller in size,” said Cal Bryant, the editor of The Roanoke-Chowan News Herald, which serves a part of North Carolina that was most severely hit. “Now they are thinking it may have been one big tornado. They’re trying to find where it stopped, and they haven’t got there yet.”

Mr. Bryant, who spent Sunday with survivors in Bertie County, said rescue crews were going house to house looking for dead or injured residents and assessing damage. At least 60 houses, some of them mobile homes, were destroyed, and he expected the count to go higher.

Scott Sharp, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service office in Raleigh, said the devastation was due to “a family of tornadoes” that were part of the same thunderstorm system, with one rotating updraft cropping up after another had dissipated.

Still, the storm was not as bad as something meteorologists call “Super Tuesday,” when a string of tornadoes in February 2008 claimed 56 lives, said Mr. Carbin of NOAA. But it was unusual in that all of the weather stemmed from one huge storm.

But for many of the states that lay in the path of this system, including North Carolina, which had not seen such severe weather since the early 1990s, it was a storm that will most likely takes months to recover from.

Gov. Bev Perdue of North Carolina, like governors in three other Southern states, declared a state of emergency on Sunday. Twelve teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency were expected to arrive in North Carolina by Monday. The agency is also sending teams to Mississippi and Alabama, said Rachel Racusen, a FEMA spokeswoman.

In Raleigh, a city of 400,000, major avenues downtown were blocked by fallen trees. Buildings were flattened in at least eight areas of Wake County, said Sarah Williamson-Baker, a spokeswoman for the county.

Three siblings, who ranged in age from 2 to 5, were killed in a mobile home park in Raleigh when a tree fell on their home. The three were in a bathtub, according to a local news report.

The tornado seemed to make a direct cut through the area, Ms. Williamson-Baker said.

“There’s many places where there’s little left of buildings, and then in other places nearby, there’s almost no damage,” she said.

Elizabeth Strauch, 41, lives in the Cranberry Ridge subdivision in Wilson, N.C. Her house was destroyed. When she heard the tornado, she ran to a closet with her cat and some personal belongings.

“What I thought was a tree falling down on the house was my roof falling down and the attic falling through,” she said. She opened the door of her closet, pushed back the debris and ran to her neighbors. The whole thing lasted about three minutes.

“I thought I was going to die,” Ms. Strauch said. “I was hysterical.”

Near Raleigh, dormitories and classrooms at Shaw University, the oldest historically black university in the South, were so damaged that classes were canceled for the rest of the semester.

“After an assessment by experts, I will determine if summer school can be held on campus or will be available only online,” the university president, Irma McClaurin, said in a statement. “I think we are blessed that despite tremendous structural damages to dormitories and the Willie Gary Student Union that not one single person (student, faculty, staff or community members) was injured. We can all give thanks for that.”

In Sanford, many were grateful, too. John Douglas, 42, a contractor, was inside a tractor supply store when the tornado ripped the roof from the building.

He and a friend jumped on top of his daughter Abby, 9, as part of the ceiling fell on top of them. He suffered a few minor scrapes and bruises, but they all walked away otherwise unhurt.

“Everything was flying around inside the store. You could see the sky through the roof,” Mr. Douglas said. “We just prayed to the Lord to help us through this.”

Around the parts of the Southern states that were hardest hit, volunteers began organizing food drives and fund-raisers. Many people were connecting through Facebook and Twitter, and others were simply showing up to see how they might help.

In Sanford, the Salvation Army thrift store opened its doors at 3 p.m. and two hours later had already accepted about 400 bags of clothes and household goods, said Derek Oley, 29, the manager. They will start supplying food to people Monday.

“This community is just so awesome right now,” Mr. Oley said. “People are just coming out from everywhere to help out.”

Kim Severson reported from Atlanta.

Robbie Brown contributed reporting from Atlanta,

Tarini Parti from Raleigh, N.C.,

and Joseph Berger from New York.

    After Storms, a Widespread Path of Death and Damage, R, 17.4.2011,






Yet Another Storm Buries the Northeast


January 27, 2011
The New York Times


A two-stage winter storm struck, paused, gathered its breath and delivered a crippling blow to the Northeast early Thursday, dumping more than a foot of snow, closing airports and schools, stranding commuters and shattering January records.

The storm, appearing as a giant white smudge over the Northeast on radar maps, seemed to land hardest in New York City and the surrounding area. Nineteen inches of heavy, wet snow fell on Central Park, tied for the highest total in the region and only an inch less than the 20 inches that paralyzed the city a month ago, according to the National Weather Service. But parts of Connecticut and New Jersey received nearly as much, and snowfalls totaled at least a foot from Boston to Philadelphia.

New York City schools and offices were closed, as were Newark, Teterboro and John F. Kennedy airports. Commuter bus service was suspended throughout New Jersey, Long Island and most of New York City, as hobbled train systems struggled to absorb the overload. The storm created a fresh sense of snow fatigue in a region that has been unusually battered.

Yet in New York City, where the slow municipal response to the Dec. 26 blizzard became a black eye for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and transit officials, things were not as dire as they could have been. Mr. Bloomberg said on the radio Thursday morning that all primary roads had been plowed and some secondary streets were beginning to be cleared.

By suspending bus service in the city, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority avoided a rerun of the December storm, when hundreds of buses got stuck in the snow, blocking plows and other traffic. And unlike a month ago, there did not immediately appear to be any riders stuck overnight on disabled subway trains.

At a 10 a.m. news briefing, Mr. Bloomberg said that while a few ambulances got stuck in the snow, relief ambulances arrived quickly to ferry the ailing to hospitals. And while the 911 system was flooded with calls and dispatches were slowed, “no calls ever remained in a queue,” the mayor said.

This is a dramatically different situation from the December blizzard, when ambulance delays were linked to deaths, hundreds of ambulances got stuck in the snow and 911 calls were not answered for hours. The debacle led the city to adopt a 15-point snow emergency management plan. Mr. Bloomberg said he expected every street in the city to have been plowed by Friday morning and urged drivers to stay off the roads, lest they be towed by the city at their owners’ expense if they get stuck.

The cancellation of school meant that thousands of city high school students scheduled to take the state Regents exam could not do so, but the mayor said: “That’s a problem for the state. We’ll get to it later.”

Even before the storm started walloping the region overnight, the National Weather Service had estimated that more than 37 inches of snow — almost double the winter average — had fallen in Central Park this winter. The overnight storms broke January snowfall records for Central Park, Newark, LaGuardia Airport, Bridgeport and Islip, the Weather Service said Thursday morning.

In addition to the 19 inches in Central Park, the heaviest totals included 19 inches in Clifton, N.J.; 18.5 inches in North Haven, Conn.; 18.9 at Newark airport; and 16.5 inches in Northport, N.Y., on Long Island, the Weather Service said.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Bloomberg declared a weather emergency. The weather declaration wasn’t the only one that warned of another midwinter mess. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning through 6 a.m. Thursday for the city, Long Island and parts of northeastern New Jersey. The Weather Service also issued a coastal flood advisory through 5 a.m., warning residents along the coasts in parts of Connecticut, New Jersey and Long Island that streets and roadways could experience minor flooding.

The snow hit some regions harder than others. In Washington, D.C., downed power lines left hundreds of thousands of customers without power on Wednesday, and officials were warning residents to keep their cars off the snow-slicked roads. The weather even played havoc with President Obama’s schedule: After returning to Washington from a quick trip to Wisconsin on Wednesday, Mr. Obama’s motorcade spent an hour in rush hour traffic. He was supposed to return to the White House by helicopter, the Associated Press reported, but Marine One was grounded because of the weather.

In Massachusetts, hundreds of schools were closed and yet another commute was snarled by snow. According to the National Weather Service nearly 10 inches of snow fell at Logan Airport as of 7 a.m. Areas south and west of Boston saw the most accumulation, with Milford, Mass., getting 16 inches and North Attleboro, Mass., 13.

Two men had to be rescued from a car inside the parking garage of a Lynn, Mass., commercial building after its roof collapsed early Thursday morning. Both men were taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with minor injuries, said Peter Judge, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority was experiencing heavy delays on its train, subway and bus lines, and one branch of the trolley/subway line was shut down because of a switch problem. Logan Airport remained open.

Mr. Judge said about 5,700 people lost power last night, mostly in Southeastern Massachusetts. Power is restored to all but 1,000 people, Mr. Judge said.

The storm rolled in overnight, fortuitous timing for plow operators who could barely keep up with snow that fell at a rate of up to two inches an hour, Mr. Judge said. Having no one on the road and residents who mostly delayed their start times at work made it much easier for crews to clear roadways, though things were plenty sloppy early Thursday morning.

“Those crews were out there dealing with the snow when there weren’t as many people on the road,” Mr. Judge said. “The reason it probably wasn’t in as good of shape this morning is when it’s coming down an inch an hour the crews can stay on top of it, and many times it was coming down two inches an hour. They do a sweep, come back and they’re butting their heads against the wall.”

Snowfall — and snow budgets — are far above the average for this time of year, but there is still plenty of winter left.

“I guess the average for the year for the Greater Boston area is around 40 inches, and now we’re at about 60,” Mr. Judge said. “We’re about halfway there to get to the record, which is really scary when you think about it.”

Back in New York, Mr. Bloomberg’s weather-emergency declaration — which is not the same as a snow emergency — meant that alternate-side parking and parking-meter payments were being suspended immediately. So were garbage pickups, at least “until further notice,” according to the declaration.



This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: January 27, 2011

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated

that the Port Authority had closed

La Guardia airport early on Thursday morning.

It was Teterboro Airport that was closed, not La Guardia.

    Yet Another Storm Buries the Northeast, NYT, 27.1.2011,






Storm Upon Storm for South Dakota


November 20, 2010
The New York Times


VIVIAN, S.D. — The storm slammed into this dusty prairie town with the clatter of falling bricks. Hail shattered windows, punched holes in roofs and mangled cars. The clumps of ice were left to melt, but one, an unusual spiked orb the size of a cantaloupe, was preserved in the freezer of an old ranch hand.

Locals later claimed that it was not even the largest hailstone to fall that day, and added that it had shrunk a bit while in the freezer before electricity was restored. But when the official measurements were made — a record-setting 1.93 pounds and 8 inches in diameter — the results confirmed what the still-visible trail of damage had already made painfully apparent: that was some storm.

“This record,” said Leslie G. Scott, the ranch hand, “I think I’m going to hold for a while.”

Even in an agricultural state that has always prided itself on stoically accepting the offerings of unpredictable skies here at the heart of the continent, South Dakota is nearing the end of an unusually punishing year of weather.

The year began as residents were still digging out of a record-setting statewide dump of 15.4 inches of snow, and the ensuing months have delivered a parade of ice storms, tornadoes, floods and, with a climactic thud, the nation’s largest hailstone.

The seven presidential disaster declarations issued here — part of a record 78 nationwide so far this year — more than doubled the number in any previous year, naming all but 10 of the 66 counties as a disaster area; some many times over. And after losing roads and power lines, watching homeowners displaced and crops drowned, the residents now speak with an exhausted fatalism, though rarely with complaint.

Gov. Michael Rounds, with typical understatement, said, “We just happened to have a run of bad weather.”

The financial impact of the bad weather is difficult to calculate, but the state has estimated at least $112 million in damage to public infrastructure, the loss of more than 6 percent of the year’s harvest of corn, soybeans and other crops, and the untold costs of the disrupted lives of the state’s 812,000 residents. The disaster declarations allow the state and local governments to recoup up to 75 percent of the costs for uninsured losses from the federal government. Federal crop insurance has also offset much of the loss on farms.

Nevertheless, the state secretary of agriculture called it “one of the most devastating years in memory.”

Greg Vavra, mayor of Wessington Springs and the highway superintendent for the surrounding county, which was hit by an ice storm and several rounds of flooding, said, “It’s by far the worst I’ve seen here.”

For a 10-day period all but three of Jerauld County’s 18 roads were impassable; some were destroyed.

“I remember years of bad winters,” Mr. Vavra said. “Usually it was here, then it was gone. This year it never stopped.”

Kristi Turman, the state emergency management director, has overseen the recovery efforts. “People are used to extreme weather here,” she said. “When winter comes, we know we’re going to have blizzards, we know there are going to be days when we can’t travel or see out our windows, we know the temperature will drop to 20 below. And when spring comes, we know it’s going to flood.

“But this year it’s been storm after storm after storm after storm,” she continued. “It just hasn’t let up, and it’s wearing on people.”

These have not been the charismatic disasters that wreak havoc in a single, Hollywood-style demonstration of natural might. There has been no trembling earth, rampaging waves or swirling hurricane clouds. There has been no induction to local legend akin to the 67 twisters that rampaged across South Dakota on a single summer day seven years ago known as “Tornado Tuesday.” Indeed, not a single death has been directly attributed to the disasters.

Instead these comparably modest weather events have combined forces to inflict damage like a plague of grasshoppers: bit by bit. (And yes, the state had that too.) This was particularly true of the flooding, which stretched out over spring, summer and into fall, and which, taken together, makes for the wettest period in at least a century, said Dennis Todey, the state climatologist.

Some farmers said their fields were swamped as many as six times in as many months, with earthen barriers being washed out and rebuilt only to be washed out again and again.

“We just had a lot of extreme weather that maybe didn’t make the national news but caused serious disruptions,” said W. Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has established a near-permanent presence in the state this year. “For whatever reason, the weather keeps hitting them.”

In the town of Davis, sandbags remain piled in front of some houses and the water-logged fields still hold shallow pools of water and several unapproachable islands of unharvested corn where the ground is too wet to allow access. Several farmers here said that the area had been getting wetter for decades but that this year was the worst they had seen. Land that was once too dry for corn is now getting too wet.

“This was the first year since 1954 that this farm hasn’t been irrigated,” said LaRohn Hagena, 58, who lost a good portion of his crops to repeat flooding. “And I’ve always said if I don’t have to irrigate here, it’s going to be damn wet.”

Down the road, Gary Knock, 60, works the same section of land that once belonged to his great-grandfather. He said that he does not believe in global warming but that there is no missing the changes that have occurred here. He blames natural weather cycles for the milder winters, cooler summers and all the water.

“The flooding is increasingly getting worse,” said Mr. Knock, who lost 160 acres of corn to the river that parallels his property. “People are getting disgusted with it. Because it’s not just some years and it’s not just once a year. It’s three times or four times a year. Extreme is normal — that sounds crazy, but that is how it is.”

With the rivers well above normal level and the ground nearly saturated, the state is bracing for another difficult year next year.

    Storm Upon Storm for South Dakota, NYT, 20.11.2010,






8.30am GMT

A history of great British storms


Monday March 10 2008
Press Association
This article was first published on guardian.co.uk
on Monday March 10 2008.
It was last updated at 09:32 on March 10 2008.


The storm battering the coast of Britain may be causing panic and threatening disruption, but it looks unlikely to be as bad as previous gales to have struck the country.

The worst storm ever recorded in the UK struck in the 18th century, damaging property, felling trees and killing thousands.

The "Great Storm" hit southern Britain on the night of November 26 1703. By the next morning, between 8,000 and 15,000 people were dead, many of them on ships sunk at sea. Church spires were destroyed, tiles and chimney stacks covered the streets, and more than 400 windmills were broken.

One ship, belonging to Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, was blown across the North Sea to Sweden.

On October 14 1881, a storm struck Berwickshire, south-east Scotland. Nearly 200 fishermen, mostly from the village of Eyemouth, died in what residents still call Black Friday.
In 1953 hurricane-force winds led to a disastrous storm surge in which 300 people drowned.

On January 31 and February 1 that year, the surge engulfed the east coast from the Wash down to Essex, reaching 2.74 metres at Southend, Essex, and 2.97 metres at King's Lynn, Norfolk. From Yorkshire to the Thames Estuary, coastal defences were pounded by the sea until they gave way.

Nearly 24,000 houses were damaged and 72,845 hectares (180,000 acres) flooded, while thousands of trees were blown down in Scotland. A car ferry, the Princess Victoria, on passage from Stranraer, Scotland, to Larne, Northern Ireland, sank with the loss of 133 lives - only 41 of the passengers and crew survived.

The worst storm since 1703 occurred in October 1987, making landfall in Cornwall before travelling north-east towards Devon and over the Midlands.

Gusts of wind reaching about 100mph were recorded at the south-east of the storm, mainly affecting Essex and Kent.
The storm caused £1.5bn worth of damage, uprooted 15 million trees and killed 18 people. Cars were destroyed, roofs torn off buildings, and a pier on the Isle of Wight ripped to pieces.

In October 2000, during the UK's wettest autumn for 200 years, a storm caused five major rivers to reach record flood levels, causing an estimated £1bn worth of damage. Gusts of 93mph left about 60,000 houses in the East Midlands without power.

    A history of great British storms, G, 10.3.2008,






Atlantic Tropical Storms Have Doubled


July 29, 2007
Filed at 7:05 p.m. ET
The New York Times


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of tropical storms developing annually in the Atlantic Ocean more than doubled over the past century, with the increase taking place in two jumps, researchers say.

The increases coincided with rising sea surface temperature, largely the byproduct of human-induced climate warming, researchers Greg J. Holland and Peter J. Webster concluded. Their findings were being published online Sunday by Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London.

An official at the National Hurricane Center called the research ''sloppy science'' and said technological improvements in observing storms accounted for the increase.

From 1905 to 1930, the Atlantic-Gulf Coast area averaged six tropical cyclones per year, with four of those storms growing into become hurricanes.

The annual average jumped to 10 tropical storms and five hurricanes from 1931 to 1994. From 1995 to 2005, the average was 15 tropical storms and eight hurricanes annually.

Even in 2006, widely reported as a mild year, there were 10 tropical storms.

''We are currently in an upward swing in frequency of named storms and hurricanes that has not stabilized,'' said Holland, director of mesoscale and microscale meteorology at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

''I really do not know how much further, if any, that it will go, but my sense is that we shall see a stabilization in frequencies for a while, followed by potentially another upward swing if global warming continues unabated,'' Holland said.

It is normal for chaotic systems such as weather and climate to move in sharp steps rather than gradual trends, he said.

''What did surprise me when we first found it in 2005 was that the increases had developed for so long without us noticing it,'' he said in an interview via e-mail.

Holland said about half the U.S. population and ''a large slice'' of business are ''directly vulnerable'' to hurricanes.

''Our urban and industrial planning and building codes are based on past history,'' he said. If the future is different, ''then we run the very real risk of these being found inadequate, as was so graphically displayed by (Hurricane) Katrina in New Orleans.''

Hurricanes derive their energy from warm ocean water. North Atlantic surface temperature increased about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit during the 100-year period studied. Other researchers have calculated that at least two-thirds of that warming can be attributed to human and industrial activities.

Some experts have sought to blame changes in the sun. But a recent study by British and Swiss experts concluded that ''over the past 20 years, all the trends in the sun that could have had an influence on the Earth's climate have been in the opposite direction to that required to explain the observed rise in global mean temperatures.''

As the sea surface temperatures warm, they cause changes in atmospheric wind fields and circulations, and these changes are responsible for the changes in storm frequency, Holland said.

Chris Landsea, science and operations officer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Hurricane Center, said the study is inconsistent in its use of data.

The work, he said, is ''sloppy science that neglects the fact that better monitoring by satellites allows us to observe storms and hurricanes that were simply missed earlier. The doubling in the number of storms and hurricanes in 100 years that they found in their paper is just an artifact of technology, not climate change.''

But Kerry Emanuel, a hurricane expert at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the study was significant. ''It refutes recent suggestions that the upward trend in Atlantic hurricane activity is an artifact of changing measurement systems,'' said Emanuel, who was not part of the research team.

Improvements in observation began with aircraft flights into storms in 1944 and satellite observations in 1970. The transitions in hurricane activity that were noted in the paper occurred around 1930 and 1995.

''We are of the strong and considered opinion that data errors alone cannot explain the sharp, high-amplitude transitions between the climatic regimes, each with an increase of around 50 percent in cyclone and hurricane numbers,'' wrote Webster, of Georgia Institute of Technology, and Holland.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.


On the Net:

Royal Society Publishing: http://www.pubs.royalsoc.ac.uk/

National Center for Atmospheric Research: http://www.ncar.ucar.edu/

Georgia Institute of Technology: http://www.gatech.edu

    Atlantic Tropical Storms Have Doubled, NYT, 29.7.2007,










Related > Anglonautes > Vocapedia



rain, flooding

twister, tornado







climate change > greenhouse effect / gases

climate change, global warming

climate change > polar regions

climate change > rising sea levels > disappearing lands

climate change > scepticism





History > 2005 > USA > Natural disasters > Katrina



Le site "Les anglonautes"  forme une base de données protégée par le Code de la propriété intellectuelle (art. L.112-3) - Anglonautes © ®