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Record number of dangerous natural phenomena hits Russia in 2006

Earth News: Weather Observations for 2006
December 28, 2006
This year Russia has registered the HIGHEST NUMBER OF UNFAVORABLE AND DANGEROUS NATURAL PHENOMENA IN THE HISTORY OF METEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATION, a director of Russia's Hydrometeorology Center said Thursday. Between January and November, 371 dangerous natural phenomena - including extreme cold, heat waves, strong winds and driving rains - were registered throughout Russia. "The year also ends unusually with the abnormally warm weather in late November and early December, when plants even began to bloom in some areas." Extreme deviations in weather patterns were observed before, but over the past decade they have become more and more frequent. Following near-record low temperatures during last winter's cold spell, which saw the mercury plummet to -31°C (-23.8°F) January 19 - one degree above the all-time low for Moscow - European Russia experienced RECORD WARM temperatures this month. But they said this year's unusually warm start of winter in Russia should not be associated with global warming. Rather, the reason for this year's UNUSUAL weather was a strong anticyclone over Greenland, which 'orchestrated' the weather over European Russia.

CHINA - Typhoons, floods and droughts have claimed 2,704 lives and inflicted economic losses of 212 billion yuan this year. "The losses China suffered this year were second only to those inflicted in 1998 when an extremely severe flood ravaged the country." This year, seven typhoons and seven strong tropical storms have hit the Chinese mainland, including Typhoon Saomai, the strongest typhoon to hit China since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, that claimed at least 460 lives. Both the intensity of the disaster weather and the damages caused were "RARE" in the country's history. This spring saw 18 sandstorms in northern China, a RECORD high since 2000 while in summer, the worst drought in a century ravaged Chongqing Municipality of northwestern China, leaving more than 17 million people with drinking water shortages. Sichuan Province was also stricken by its most severe drought since 1951. Northern China experienced its worst acid rain in 14 years this summer. In August, 80 percent of the rainy days in Beijing were "acid rain days". Since December, most parts of central and eastern China have been cloaked in thick fog which has triggered frequent road accidents and postponed flights.

CANADA - British Columbia suffered — and suffered and suffered — from the weather in 2006. "It was almost as if Nature had this area in its crosshairs." B.C. was very wet, excessively dry, battered by storms, snowed on and frozen, and in Vancouver, approached a record for the most consecutive rainy days. The consequences were dire, from a widespread and lengthy boil-water alert, to hundreds of thousands left without power, damage to hundreds of homes, trees down in Vancouver's Stanley Park, extensive wildfires and the depression that comes from 27 wet days in a row. In parts of the Prairies, hail events set a record, with 221 in total, compared to the 179 record set last year. Early November storms in B.C. brought so much rain, "every river in the Lower Mainland, the South Coast and the southern half of Vancouver Island rose close to or above flood stage." Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland residents suffered three storms in five days in mid-December, with violent winds leaving a record 250,000 without power. Photo Above: The Vancouver water supply was compromised by the extreme weather. (CBC)

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