GLOBAL FLOOD REPORTS, 1996 Dartmouth Flood Observatory Department of Geography, Dartmouth College Hanover, NH 03755 On the Internet at: http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/ Authors: G. R. Brakenridge, A. Wong, S. Jack EXPLANATION OF THE FLOOD REPORTS: The reports are compiled from a variety of news wire services, from governmental sources, and from related meterological data. They are presented here to facilitate research into the occurrence and causes of extreme flood events by the geographically-dispersed staff of the Dartmouth Flood Observatory. The primary sources are here cited as per standard rules employed in the scientific literature. The electronic version of this document is in DRAFT form; it strives to be comprehensive and global in scope. However, many areas of the world are under-represented due to either low population density or low intensity of coverage by the news media. New floods listed at top; Dartmouth catalog numbers correspond to approximate chronological sequence. DFO 1996 24 Mideast 3/22/96 3/29/96 Associated Press wire service reports dated March 28 describe severe flooding during the past several days throughout Iran and the Arabian Peninsula, including Kuwait. At least 14 people have been killed in Iran: 13 people in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, and one person in Saveh in central Iran. In Khuzestan, 34 villages were flooded when the Jarahi, Karkhe and Karoun rivers burst their banks. The Iranian News Agency reported that the Khuzestan floods damaged 59,300 acres of farmland and killed 1,840 farm animals. Many houses along the Khorramabad River were washed away. Heavy snow has occurred in the mountains. A March 24 Associated Press report similarly indicates flooding in Saudia Arabia, including Riyadh, and abundant runoff from desert hillslopes. The rains in the United Arab Emirates are described as the heaviest in 30 years, and Dubai received 13. 8 inches of rain from October to April, whereas the average total is only 3.4 inches. More than 1/2 inches of rain fell in one half hour Friday March 22 in Kuwait, and this is 10% of its normal annual rainfall. DFO96-23 Zhejiang Province, 24 March - 24 March There have been scattered reports of severe flooding due to early onset of monsoon-style rains in Zhejiang Province. A March 25 Reuters report from Beijing indicates that the province is bracing for "what could be the biggest floods since 1949". Several thousand hectares of farmloand have already been inundated. Heavy rainfall forced the Fuchunjiang reservoir in the north of the province to begin discharging water. The Reuters news service was unable, however, to corroborate this information. "When contacted by Reuters, officials at Zhejiang's Water Conservancy Department played down the fears of catastrophic flooding in the province this year. ``Rainfall in the middle of March was above average and some places in Zhejiang province were affected but we have this kind of problem every year,'' department official Lou Kouyuan said." The Dartmouth Flood Observatory will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available. DFO96-22 S. Malawi, 22 March - 25 March A March 25 Reuters report from Blantyre indicates that 4400 people were displaced by flooding over the weekend. No fatalities were reported. The displaced left the Dinde marshes in Nsanje District near the Mozambique border. A Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner blamed deforestation for increasing runoff in the area. Heavy summer rains in Malawi earlier caused several fatalities and displaced "more than 15,000". See also DF096-12. DFO96-21 Ecuador, 5 March - 6 March According to a March 6 Reuters news report from Quito, heavy rains swept through western and central Ecuador and caused flooding that killed five people and left two missing. Hardest hit was Azuay Province, where some towns were knee-deep in water. "Ecuador's largest city and economic centre, Guayaquil, has also been hit by floods that damaged residential areas." The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for February (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Feb.GIF) shows a very strong anomaly centered 800 km NW from Quito and extending thence eastward across Columbia and nothern Brazil. As of this writing (April 2) the March DMSP precipitation product was not yet available. DFO96-20 N. Australia, 5 March - 7 March According to a March 7 Reuters news report from Syney, monsoonal rains were isolated some areas and damaging sugar cane corps in far north Queensland. Roads were closed north of the Daintree River and in the Tully region. The news report indicates that more than 30 inches of rain fell since 5 March: "the rains are incredible. No-one has ever seen it like this". Up to 20 people were evacuated from their homes due to flooding. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for February (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Feb.GIF) shows a very large area of higher-than-normal precipitation extending from the eastern Phillipines south over Papua New Guinea and onto the Australian Cape York Peninsula. However, as of this writing (April 2) the March DMSP precipitation product was not yet available. DFO96-19 Phillipines, 14 February - 20 February According to a February 20 Reuters news report from Manila, at least 19,500 people left their homes in the southern Phillipines due to flooding from heavy rains beginning February 14. "The Department of Social Welfare and Development said continuous rains flooded three municipalities in Agusan del Norte, 760 kilometres (472 miles) south of Manila, and a nearby city in Misamis Oriental province." The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Feb.GIF) shows a large, thousands of km-wide area of higher-than-normal precipitation covering much of the Phillipines Sea and extending inland over the eastern half of Mindanao. DFO96-18, Mozambique, 15 February- 22 February According to a February 16 Reuters news report from Maputo, "thousands of hectares of farmland and scores of peasant huts in Mozambique were under water on Friday as major rivers burst their banks after a week of torrential summer rains. Most serious was the valley of the (middle and lower) Limpopo, swollen by water pouring in from South Africa and Zimbabwe. This area contains much of the country's farmland and the largest irrigation scheme centered on the town of Chokwe." The National Water Board indicated that, if the rains stopped on the 16th, "flooding of the Limpopo and its main tributary, the Elephants River, is expected to last for seven days. But if it continued to rain in the Limpopo Basin in South Africa, the whole of the lower Limpopo Valley could become an enormous lake, rivaling floods in 1977 when thousands of people had to be evacuated. The Incomati River further south was also swollen..." According to the same news report: "In central Mozambique, floodgates were opened at the Cahora Bassa Dam on the Zambezi and farmers were told that crops on the south bank of the river were threatened. At least 13,000 people left their homes during the week to seek safety on the Beira-Zimbabwe road and railways. Local authorities have begun evacuating them to a temporary accommodation center." The Climate Prediction Center noted that much of the heavy rain fell as Tropical Cyclone Doloresse travelled southeastward through the Mozambique Channel and into west-central Madagascar. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Feb.GIF) shows no anomaly at this location. DFO96-17, Costa Rica, 11 February - 16 February According to a February 13 Reuters news report from San Jose, Costa Rica, "Severe flooding has killed five people and forced 1,500 to flee their homes on Costa Rica's Caribbean Coast...winds have reached 50 mph (80 kph) and heavy rains have intermittently closed the highway between San Jose and Limon, Costa Rica's largest port". A subsequent report on February 16 (PR Newswire, Washington) noted that "unusually heavy rains this week inundated banana growing areas in Central America, particularly those in Costa Rica. The rains led to severe flooding conditions, making it impossible, for workers to cultivate and select bananas in the fields....The unusual rains have created an inability to work the fields and provide transportation and will also create a severe, shortage of bananas for the entire industry during the next several weeks with probably six to nine months continuing effects on productivity." On average, Costa Rica accounts for about 35 percent of the banana imports into the eastern coast of North America and more than 20 percent of the imports into Western Europe. The UN-DHA reported on 16 February that the heavy rains flooded the provinces of Limon, Cartago, and Heredia. This affected 20,000 people and impaired the network of Costa Rica's roads and bridges. A DHA disaster situation report dated 13 March gives a dollar damage estimate of $10,000,000. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Feb.GIF) shows no anomaly at this location. DFO96-16, S. Africa, 11 February-18 February Northern South Africa has experienced repeated flooding in the past two months as a result of heavy rains (100 to 230 mm). According to a U. N. Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) disaster situation report, at least 8 people were killed and thousands stranded in Mpumalanga and Northern provinces, with 19 people reported missing. Many dams overflowed and roads were closed. In Norther Province, 13 deaths were reported and "residents living near Mokolo Dam and Vaalwater areas near Ellisras were warned to evacuate their properties". The DHA report further notes that:" The Mogolo River has burst its banks up to 2 km wide on 13 February, swamping parts of Ellisras and stranding about 2,000 peopple at Groenfontein on Nylstroom Road. 5000 people at the nearby Lesedin squatter camp were also affected, more than 600,000 were without drinking water in Nkomazi and Kizikazi near Nelsrpuit, and most rivers in the Vaal Catchment flooded. According to a February 16 Reuters report from Cape Town, "Central and eastern parts of South Africa have been hit by torrential rain in recent days. At least 50 people have been killed in flooding while several others were missing." An Associated Press report from Johannesburg on the same date indicates that prolonged seasonal rains have killed at least 18 people and that another 43 are missing, including "17 passengers on a bus that plunged down a cliff into a flooded river near Nelspruit, about 250 miles east of Johannesburg, on Monday (the 12th)". That report also notes that "in the far north, several main roads were closed as the Olifants River rose to its highest level in 38 years. At least one bridge was submerged." A February 15 Reuters report from Johannesburg indicates that: "The number of people believed to have died in a week of floods rose to 42, but weather forecasters said the worst of the downpours should have passed by late in the day (on the 15th)." "Air force helicopters lifted stranded people to safety and rescuers set up tent cities for those whose homes had been washed away in the northeastern province of Mpumalanga, where a boy was reported drowned. Tourism at the Kruger National Park wildlife reserve was washed out. KwaZulu-Natal province took the worst battering on February 14, while downpours further north eased off. Three young children, a woman and a policeman were swept to their deaths by swollen rivers in different areas of the province and rescue helicopters plucked two women to safety. A boy was also reported to have been drowned in the Northern Province, which before the floods had been suffering from severe drought. A pre-dawn cloudburst flooded hundreds of homes in Alexandra black township north of Johannesburg, sweeping some shacks away. According to the same report, "steady rains since December have broken the drought that had gripped much of the country and water restrictions have been lifted in Gauteng province which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria. Major roads have been washed away this week in the downpours and the South African Agricultural Union said farmers had suffered unprecedented damage. On 16 February, the UN-DHA reported that thousands were stranded in Mpumalanga and Northern Province as "rivers burst their banks and dams overflowed." "Most rivers of the Vaal catchment area were flooding, and the Vaal Dam is filling at a rate of more than 2000 cubic meters a secong, holding 160 percent of its capacity to prevent further flooding downstream," noted the DHA. The floods swept away bridges and closed roads, which isolated entire towns and villages. The heavy rains constitute the third wave of flooding to hit the region since late December. Over 150 people died on Christmas Day when "up to 28 feet of water smashed through black townships near Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal". Then January included intermittent heavy rains and flooding in KwaZulu-Natal (DFO96-07, 13-14 January). However, Namibia still remains drought-stricken as of this writing (February 16). The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Feb.GIF) shows an elongated, NNE-trending belt of higher precipitation extending from the Indian ocean inland approximately 500 km through Pietermaritzburg and toward Pretoria. DFO96-15, S. Brazil, 13 February-15 February Urban flooding in Rio de Janeiro was widely publicized in mid- February. According to a February 15 Reuters report by Caroline Bulloch (from Rio de Janeiro): "At least 58 people have died in three days of rains that lashed Rio de Janeiro state this week...a further 30 are still missing and thousands are homeless after mudslides and floods destroyed houses and brought chaos to the city and its surrounding areas. By the 17th, however, the city was experiencing sunshine. The rains were described as the worst in 30 years in the city. "In one shanty- town, more than a dozen people (were) confirmed dead and up to six more (were) still missing when 250 tons of mud and stone thundered down on 16 makeshift shacks. In a February 15 AP report from Rio de Janeiro, the death toll was put as at least 71, with most due to mudflows in the shantytowns. "The sun came out Thursday (the 15th) after the heaviest rains in a quarter-century buffeted Brazil's southeastern coast for two days and caused the Rio Granderiver to overflow. Cidade de Deus residents blamed Rio mayor Cesar Maia, saying flooding could have been avoided if the city had dredged the river. Heavy summer rains caused 100 deaths in similar tragedies in 1966, 1967 and 1988." The rainfall in the hardest-hit areas of Rio was a record 124 mm (12 inches) Tuesday and Wednesday. The normal average rainfall in Rio for the entire month of February is 160 mm (6.4 inches). The UN-DHA issued the first report on Feb 20 which confirmed that 30 people were missing and 4000 needed shelter in the regions of Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Feb.GIF) shows a strong and very large anomaly covering much of southwestern South America (mainly extreme southern Brazil, Uruguay, and eastern Argentina. DFO96-14, NW USA, 7 February-12 February On February 12, severe flooding was underway over large portions of the extreme northwestern U.S. but many rivers were receding after reaching peak stages several days before. The flooding began when severe subtropical storms followed an extended cold spell, and poured rain up to thirty inches in the region. A heavy snowpack melted in the Cascades, causing rivers to rise rapidly and triggering massive landslides, according to Reuters News. In a February 6 Reuters report by Pete Springer, flooding caused by melting snow and heavy rain had forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes in Oregon and that rivers continued to rise. In Portland, Mayor Vera Katz declared an emergency as the Willamette River approached flood stage. Sandbags were being distributed throughout the city for residents whose homes were threatened by rising water. Dozens of roads were closed by mudslides and high water, including Interstate 5, the state's major north-south artery. Three days later, Gov. John Kitzhaber declared a state of emergency in seventeen Oregon counties. A February 7 Reuters news reported that the Washington State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated in response to flood watches and warnings on a number of rivers around the state. Local states of emergency were declared by Klickitat, Walla Walla, Whitman and Yakima counties, the city of Pullman, and the Yakima Indian Nation. On February 9, thirteen Washington counties declared local states of emergency due to floods. According to an AP report, emergency shelters housed nearly two thousand people throughout Oregon on February 9. Thousands were evacuated in south Portland, western Oregon and the Salem area. Several hundred National Guard troops were called to assist with rescues in Oregon and Washington. The Willamette River crested just inches below the thirty-foot seawall which protected downtown Portland. The Willamette was expected to remain above flood stage until February 14. The nearby towns of Oregon City, Tualatin, and Lake Oswego remained inundated for several days. Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber asked President Clinton to declare a major disaster in his state. Residents of the region underwent water shortages after cities were forced to shut down main reservoirs due to muddy conditions. Failed sewage systems caused raw sewage to empty directly into the Willamette River, so that more than 20,000 residents were ordered to boil drinking water, according to Reuters. In the Reuters report on February 13, Jim Erickson of Washington emergency management, gave a preliminary estimate of 1000 homes destroyed or suffered major damage. Officials in Oregon and Washington assessed that losses to homes, businesses, roads, and power companies would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. President Clinton, who declared federal disaster areas in northern Oregon, southern Washington, and northern Idaho, toured the flooded areas in Oregon on February 14. The death toll climbed to eight for the Pacific Northwest's worst flooding in thirty years. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Feb.GIF) shows no anomaly at this location. See NOAA CAC description of climatic context of these floods DFO96-13, Jakarta, 11 February A February 11 Reuters dispatch from Jakarta noted that (as paraphrased from that dispatch): widespread floods in Jakarta killed at least four people, forced hundreds to flee their homes and caused a weekend of road chaos. Monsoon rains deluged the sprawling city of more than 10 million people from late on the 9th to the 11th, submerging some areas in up to two meters (6.56 feet) of swirling, muddy water. The Jakarta Post daily said some weekend flights from Jakarta's Sukarno-Hatta international airport were delayed as passengers and crew arrived late because of the flooding. Antara said all four people killed lived in West Jakarta, hardest hit by some of the worst floods in 20 years that uprooted trees and halted traffic in parts of the city center. Moh Nur, a flood control official, told the agency that two of the dead were dragged away by strong currents in the swollen Banjir Kanal river. There were no details of the two other deaths but Antara said hundreds of people had fled their homes in the capital where some people still live in ramshackle houses. A meteorology agency official said central Jakarta, built mostly on what was once low-lying swampland, had recorded 216.2 mm (8.6 inches) of rain in the 24 hours to 7 a.m. on Saturday (the 10th). He said the highest recorded rainfall for central Jakarta in a 24 hour period was 286 mm in 1892. On Saturday, half of Jakarta's 10-lane main thoroughfare, Jalan Thamrin, was cut off by flooding. Some buses and cars were abandoned on water- clogged roads. Up to 10 people were reported killed early in January when flooding in Jakarta caused damage worth nearly $18.5 million (this is catalog DFO96- 2). The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Feb.GIF) shows no anomaly at this location. DFO96-12, Malawi, 4-6 February A February 6 Reuters report from Malawi indicates that more than 800 people were left homeless when floods hit nine small villages outside the southern Malawian town of Mangochi. Government officials said maize crops and tarred roads were washed away by torrential rains. More information is needed about this flood event. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Feb.GIF) shows a NNW-trending series of anomalies extending from the western Indian Ocean north of Madagascar into Zaire, but the areas of observed higher rainfall do not appear to fall directly over Malawi. DFO96-11, W. Turkey, 5 February ? A February 6 Reuters report from Ankara indicates that five people, including a child, died in the western town of Izmir in floods that swept the Turkish coast. "Five people died when their car fell into a large hole caused by roadworks and filled with the water of last night's heavy rain,'' a policeman in Izmir told Reuters by telephone. The semi-official Anatolian news agency said about 1,000 houses had been damaged in the western province of Canakkale and the Mediterranean tourist resort of Antalya in southern Turkey. More than 60 people died last November after the heaviest rain in the last 50 years swept a shanty district of Izmir. More information is needed about the latest flood event. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Feb.GIF) shows no anomaly at this location. DFO96-10, W. and C. Morocco, 21-25 January. As was the case earlier this year in Spain and Portugal, unusually heavy rains caused river flooding in Morocco but also broke a severe drought. According to corespondent Kate Dourian writing in a January 24 Reuters dispatch, at least five people died and hundreds were evacuated from flooded homes as relentless rain and thunderstorms battered the nation and submerged large areas, including along the coast. Torrential rains since the 21rst have wreaked havoc with public services. A train was derailed as tracks were buried beneath water and another caught fire on Monday after a short circuit. The downpour damaged some agriculture, but also restored badly needed soil moisture. Meteorologists said the area from Casablanca to Kenitra near Rabat had so far received 1.3 times the annual average rainfall. The interior ministry gave the latest information about damage caused by the floods but provided little information about rural areas. It said 1,000 hectares (2,400 acres) of land was flooded in the Kenitra region, 30 kms (19 miles) north of Rabat. Casablanca, the financial center on the Atlantic coast, was among the worst hit areas, after the coastal areas stretching from Tangier in the north to Safi in the south received record rainfall in recent days. Several homes in the teeming shantytowns in Casablanca collapsed after the rains caused walls to crack. Hundreds of people were evacuated as the water rose to as high as 2 meters (6.5 feet) in some parts of Casablanca, a sprawling city of four million people. Elsewhere, schools, hospitals and shops were damaged by flooding while in the southern port of Essaouira, prisoners were transferred from an inundated prison. Emergency services were mobilized to rescue hundreds of people stranded by the floods as roads and highways were closed to traffic and train services suspended. A subsequent Reuters news report noted that death toll as a result of the widespread flooding in large parts of Morocco had risen to 25 by January 25. A ministry statement reported four more fatalities, including two by drowning, and said more than 50 homes were destroyed during heavy rain in the last 48 hours. Press reports also said that several villages in northern Morocco were isolated by floods. The French Embassy in Rabat said that France was sending 40 tons of emergency food aid and relief to flood victims. Floods killed nearly 200 people in northern and southern Morocco in August and September last year. Although the severe flooding hurt some wheat and other agricultural crops, diplomats and analysts said the damage was not extensive and that the country could still expect a good harvest this year. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Jan.GIF) shows a strong positive anomaly over Portugal and Morocco and extending over a thousand km to the west over the eastern North Atlantic. DFO96-09, Eastern U.S., 19 January-21 January Major winter snowstorms and severe cold followed one week later by warmer conditions and heavy rains caused unprecedented flooding and damage in many areas of the eastern U.S. and portions of southern Canada. President Clinton declared Pennsylvania a disaster area Sunday January 21; Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, and Ohio were also declared disaster areas a few days later. The flooding was felt over an exceptionally large area and was locally very severe, but most river reaches in the region experienced only moderately rare peak discharges. However, because of high population densities, the hilly and mountainous nature of much of the terrain, the season, and the degree of urbanization, damage was locally very severe. Much of the following is gathered from many new service clippings dated January 20-25, and especially those from Reuters and AP. Flooding along the Potomac nearly closed National Airport in Washington, D.C. , and flooded areas of Georgetown in the capitol on January 20-21. Home and business owners in historic Old Town Alexandria sandbagged properties in a bid to hold back the flooding Potomac. There were reports of flooded basements as the river, engorged with recent record snow falls, rose up to eight feet beyond normal flood levels. USGS scientists said that the Potomac River crested at a flow of 312,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) at Point of Rocks, Md., on Jan. 21, near but not exceeding the level of 347,000 cfs reached in June of 1972 after rains from Hurricane Agnes. Downstream at Washington, D.C., the Potomac also crested the same day at 347,000 cfs. As many as 8,000 people were forced to leave their homes in Pennsylvania before the Susquehanna and other flooded rivers crested. In Pennsylvania the Susquehanna River swamped the state capital of Harrisburg, knocking out a bridge and swamping the governor's mansion. The Susquehanna River at Harrisburg, Pa., crested on the 20th at 570,000 cfs, well below the flow of 1 million cfs that was reached in June 1972 from Hurricane Agnes. Further upstream at the city of Wilkes-Barre, thousands of residents returned home after the worst flood danger passed, but in Harrisburg 1,000 were evacuated from their homes. The city was closed to non-residents, and rail services were blocked. Bus services were diverted. Notable in the many individual events was the large scale urban evacuation undertaken at Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania. A January 20 Reuters report from Wilkes-Barre notes that a sophisticated system of dikes held back the rising waters of the Susquehanna River in northeast Pennsylvania on that date after 100,000 residents of that city were told to evacuate. Many people left for higher ground after a county-wide order was issued shortly after dawn. Officials said the levee system would hold water up to a level of about 39 feet (11 meters). By mid-afternoon county emergency officials said the water reached 35.38 feet (10.7 meters) and was rising. Twelve evacuation centers were set up on high ground near Wilkes-Barre and two filled to capacity immediately, CNN said. Two hospitals and seven nursing homes were evacuated. Kelly Freed, a spokeswoman in Wyoming County to the north, said the National Guard had been called in to assist with rescue operations, using helicopters and heavy equipment to rescue people from roofs or trapped in cars in the water. According to a Reuters report, the dikes protecting Wilkes- Barre had collapsed during a flood in 1972, killing 24 people in the town and 100 people across the area. That flood crested at 40.9 feet (12.47 meters) and wiped out nearly all the waterfront buildings. The dikes protecting Wilkes-Barre were built higher and reinforced with metal following the 1972 flood caused by Hurricane Agnes, a $3 billion storm that at the time was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. The river crested by 4:30 p.m. EST (21:30 GMT) at 34.4 feet (10 meters), below the river's levee of 39 feet (12 meters), according to an official at the Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency. Within a half an hour officials lifted a regional evacuation order affecting 100,000 people. "Pennsylvania has learned from its tragic past," said John Comey, spokesman for Pennsylvania Emergency Management. "We now have one of the most sophisticated flood detection and reaction systems in the country." Across the state, in Pittsburgh, an emergency order was issued after flooding swept parts of the city, washing out businesses, putting streets underwater and forcing residents in some parts of the city to flee. In Pittsburgh, where the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers join to form the Ohio, police rescued people by boat from a housing complex where water was three feet (1 meter) deep. The Ohio crested on the 20th and began to recede. One person died in Bedford County, in south central Pennsylvania, when the truck she was driving was swept away. The flood also sparked an explosion at an evacuated copper-producing plant in Leetsdale, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, on the 20th. Reports said water that came into the plant struck a furnace filled with molten copper. Hundreds of people were also evacuated in Binghamton, New York, where the Susquehanna flooded streets near downtown. Flooding was also reported in downtown Philadelphia. In Virginia, the James River was expected to crest near flood level at Richmond on the 21rst. Bath County, Virginia, received 5 inches (13 cm) of rain on the 19th. The Delaware Basin was also strongly affected. Flooding began on Friday the 19th and extended into in the weekend with flows on the Delaware River the highest since the record flood of 1955. The river crested at Trenton, N.J. at 22.20 feet; during the 1955 flood the river rose to 28.60 feet. The second highest flow at Trenton since 1955 was 20.64 feet on May 30, 1984. As the flood waters surged downstream, an ice jam in the Delaware near the Delaware Water Gap broke up, causing rapid rises in water levels downstream of Stroudsburg, Pa. On some reaches of the river the water rose more than a foot an hour. Water levels exceeded flood stage by nearly seven feet at Riegelsville, N.J., and over five feet at Yardley, Pa. Evacuations and road closings occurred along the Delaware and many of its tributaries. When the record flood struck in 1955 many of the basin's reservoirs had not been built. The new impoundments played a major role in capturing runoff from Friday's heavy rains and melting snowpacks, limiting the extent of flooding. Thus, three major New York City water supply reservoirs located in New York State's Catskill Mountains (Pepacton, Neversink and Cannonsville) stored 45 billion gallons of runoff from the weekend storm. In addition, the F.E. Walter and the Beltzville reservoirs located near the headwaters of the Lehigh River captured 17 billion gallons, reducing flood peaks at Lehighton, Walnutport and Bethlehem. And Blue Marsh Reservoir in the Schuylkill Basin received some five billion gallons of runoff, reducing downstream flows at Reading, Pottstown and Philadelphia, where the Schuylkill empties into the Delaware. All but the Pepacton and Neversink impoundments were built after the 1955 flood. The Red Cross said it had opened 80 shelters for people forced out of their homes in Pennsylvania. Another 30 shelters were open in West Virginia, 29 in New York and 11 in Virginia because of the flooding. According to news report coverage: "What's been hurting the East has been the exceptionally mild air in front of the cold front," said Ken Reeves, senior meteorologist at Accuweather in State College, Pennsylvania. "The rain on top of about a foot of snow melting produced a tremendous amount of water." However, sharply colder weather in the East by the 20th helped prevent further snow melting that would have worsened the flooding. A post-flood news report from Reuters (Washington) noted that the floods "swamped wide areas of the eastern United States, killing at least 32 people, destroying homes and businesses and unleashing political bickering over who will pay for the clean-up bill"..."Thousands of residents in eight states returned to submerged basements and swamped streets after some of the worst flooding on record in some areas. Television footage showed an entire house in Wheeling, West Virginia, being swept down the swollen Ohio River. In New York, a family of five died Sunday when a roadway collapsed and four cars plunged into a reservoir, and the New York Times reported that at least 10 people had died in flood-related accidents in New York state, and five were missing. At least 16 people died because of the floods in Pennsylvania, and 30 or more are missing, according to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. Transportation Secretary Federico Pena released $5 million in emergency relief for federal highway repair in Pennsylvania in addition to a $1 million grant on Sunday. A 30- member FEMA team will set up an office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to process claims. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Jan.GIF) shows no anomaly at this location. DFO96-08, Panama, 1 January-16 January In a Reuters news dispatch dated January 15 from Panama City, it was reported that four people were killed in a road accident and 52 people were missing as a result of unseasonably heavy rains on January 13-14. At least 52 were reported missing from a western suburb of Panama City, said Roberto Velazquez, director of the National Civil Protection System. Rains were so heavy in the area that many families were waiting on rooftops to be rescued, he said. Panamanian weather officials blamed the unusual conditions on a cold front that drifted down from the United States mixed with a tropical front from South America. A later dispatch (Panama City, January 16) notes that "Sixteen days of heavy rain in Panama have killed at least five people, caused millions of dollars in damage and left more than 1,000 without homes, the National Civil Protection System (SNPC) said". Some $6 million in damages were registered and the death toll hit five on the 16th when civil protection officials recovered the body of 19-year- old Jaime Bedoya, who had been missing since Sunday. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Jan.GIF) shows a positive anomaly along southern Central America and extending into NW Columbia. DFO96-07, South Africa, 13-14 January According to a Reuters dispatch from Durban on January 15, police said that at least seven people were killed and over 500 left homeless over the weekend (January 13-14) in the second wave of floods in three weeks in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal province. Police spokesman Inspector Vish Naidoo told Reuters heavy rains on Friday night had washed a taxi carrying eight people into a river near Ladysmith in the north of the province. ``The vehicle was washed into a river and the driver and one passenger managed to escape. The rest of the occupants drowned,'' Naidoo said. A man was also killed when a shack collapsed on him in heavy rain in a Umlazi township outside the Indian Ocean port city of Durban on Saturday morning. Up to 300 shacks had either been washed away or badly damaged in Umlazi, KwaMashu north of Durban and Greenwood Park suburb near the city, leaving over 500 people homeless in those areas. The flooding follows flash floods in townships around the KwaZulu-Natal city of Pietermaritzburg on Christmas Day in which over 160 people were killed. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Jan.GIF) shows a large positive anomaly along eastern South Africa. DFO96-06, Bonita, Madagascar, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, 15 January- 22 January Reuters Emergency Weather Conditions postings dated January 16 noted that heavy rains from the remnants of tropical cyclone Bonita were to ease in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Flooding was occurring in some areas, with mudslides in hilly terrain. The storm moved southwestward into central Mozambique. Top winds were near 50 mph Landfall on Mozambique and, subsequently, Zimbabwe of Tropical Cyclone Bonita caused extensive but little-reported flooding, mudslides, and human suffering. Reports of damage here received were at first confined to Mozambique. In a Reuters dispatch from Maputo on January 23, it was reported that, after years of crop losses caused by poor rainfall, scores of Mozambicans lost their homes to floods in the wake of Bonita. The Buzi river in central Mozambique burst its banks, inundating crops and destroying homes. In Buzi town, floodwaters washed away houses and further west, near Estaquinha, about 150 hectares of crops were under water. Buzi district administrator Filipe Paunde said he feared the situation could be much worse than reported, as impassable roads left officials unable to reach many areas in the region. The nearby Pungwe river was also in flood and water levels were rising in two of its tributaries, the Muda and Metuchira, the newspaper said, adding that bridges spanning the two rivers were submerged. At least seven people were killed in flooding in the area January 21-22. International news coverage of damage to Madagascar was light. However, a UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) disaster situation report indicates that: "Cyclone Bonita caused significant damage along the country's northeastern coast, especially in Fenerive, Foulpointe, and Mahambo areas. 100,000-150,000 people were affected and 9 were killed, but it is not clear if flooding was the cause. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Jan.GIF) shows a positive anomaly along the east coast of Madagascar and extending ~1500 km to the southeast. DFO96-05, S. Spain and Portugal, Late December-24 January Unusually heavy winter rains in December and January broke a severe 5 year drought in southern Spain and Portugal. They also caused locally damaging flooding in January. A January 8 Reuters dispatch from Lisbon reported that torrential rain "lashed the Portuguese capital on Monday, cutting off power in the city center and flooding suburbs". Several roads into Lisbon were blocked and one railway line was submerged. A man died when a wall collapsed on his car. Another person was killed by a land slip prompted by the heavy rain. The power cut halted foreign exchange dealing and paralyzed much of the capital's commerce. A January 11 Reuters report from Lisbon noted that floods in central and northern Portugal during the past week had killed 10 people and made 1,050 homeless. Interior Minister Alberto Costa told parliament he estimated the total cost of damage to be around two billion escudos ($13 million), and said the government would allocate one billion escudos ($6.5 million) to cover disaster relief. Also, on January 11 a Madrid Reuters dispatch from Tracey Ober reported that record breaking heavy rains deluged Spain in December and have continued into this month, giving farmers cautious hope that a devastating five-year drought has finally ended, farm groups and government officials say. Manuel Bautista, director of the National Institute of Meteorology, said the drought ended with the month of December, which was exceptionally wet. ``We don't know if it will lead to another period of drought,'' he said. ``But this month of December has been the maximum that we have had in our recorded history of rainfall.'' A Reuters dispatch from Tracey Ober in Madrid dated January 17 describes the record-breaking heavy rains. "People are pretty happy about the rain. The farmers are eager to get out and get their fields planted, but we need the traditional April and May rains to ensure good production," a spokesman for the Confederation of Farm Cooperatives said. Reservoirs in the southern half of the country have started filling up and are at nearly 30 percent capacity. Water restrictions on domestic use were lifted in all drought-stricken cities. The rains caused severe flooding in some parts of the country but only lightly touched Valencia and have not reached the southeastern region of Murcia, where the almond and fruit crop situation is "pretty catastrophic," according to farmers. Manuel Bautista, director of the National Institute of Meteorology, said the drought ended with the month of December, which had been exceptionally wet. "We don't know if it will lead to another period of drought," he said. "But this month of December has been the maximum that we have had in our recorded history of rainfall." As was the case with in Morroco (DFO96-10), the benefits of heavy rains and in Portugal and Spain appear to have counterbalanced concerns about damage due to overflowing rivers. According to Ober, "Spaniards in the southern and central regions spent the last five years looking longingly at the sky and praying for rain. A devastating drought drained reservoirs, dried up fields and brought the south two months away from complete collapse of its drinking water supply" Then, in early December, the heavens opened, pouring water down across the country and turning barrenlands into rich, fertile fields again. ``This is better than winning the lottery, because everyone benefits,'' said a long-time olive farmer from the impoverished region of Extremadura, grinning through tears. ``I really thought we would lose the trees this time.'' The Public Works ministry certified the drought's end in most of the affected areas in mid- January and said the ``spectacular'' recovery of reservoirs and underground aquifers had guaranteed a two to three-year supply of water. But the reservoirs then filled to overflowing and, on January 17, the Spanish rains were beginning to wear out their welcome. According to the same January 17 Reuters dispatch, more than 10 people died from flood-related accidents in Andalusia: water turned streets into canals in some southern cities, hundreds of people fled inundated homes and fruit crops rotted as farmers sit helplessly by. ``This is madness, we wanted rain, but not all at once,'' said a strawberry grower in the southern province of Huelva. The weird weather brought floods to the south, crippling snowfall to the north and nothing but frustration to the Mediterranean coast where rainfall is still pitiful. For the people of Andalusia, irregular weather patterns are the norm: ``When there are years of drought, it's normal that incredible rains come,'' said Alberto Ruiz de la Remende, director of Donana National Park. ``In the north it's pretty uniform, but in Andalusia the rainfall chart looks like a mountain range.'' The park, one of Europe's largest nature reserves, was awash with water pouring over three feet high limestone walls and flooding all but the highest dunes. In just three hours during the week of January 8-14, the park had 8.9 gallons of rain per 10.76 square feet dumped on it, more than half of the normal rainfall for the entire month. But the presence of water, even in excess, has attracted 60,000 geese and put an emerald effervescence on the marshlands, which were gray and devoid of birdlife in the drought years. The drought had been "the worst this century". The Spanish government's National Hydrologic Plan to shift water from the wet regions to the dry ones meanwhile languished in parliament for two years, victim to bitter squabbling between the haves and the have- nots. Emergency transfers of water from Castilla-La Mancha to rain- starved fruit growing areas of Murcia set off huge rows between the regional heads and the central government. The plan is also a thorn in the otherwise rosy relations with Portugal, where several of Spain's major rivers meet the sea. On January 24, Reuters reported that rains would "continue in Morocco, Portugal and Spain for the next two to three days, but will probably not be as heavy as in recent days" and that "recent heavy rain has led to flooding of some key rivers, especially in southern Spain. Rainfall during the past five to six days there has averaged 2.50-6.00 inches, with some locally heavier. Rainfall for the month to date averages 3.00-10.00 inches. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Jan.GIF) shows a strong positive anomaly over Portugal and Morocco and extending over a thousand km to the west over the eastern North Atlantic. DFO96-04, Romania, 26 December-9 January. A January 9 Reuters report from Bucharaest noted that Romania plans to cut spending on agriculture, transport and the environment in 1996 to release emergency funds for Romanians affected by recent flash floods ``To that effect, the agriculture, transport and environment ministries will cut protocol expenses by up to 20 percent from the 1996 budget bill,'' spokesman Mihai Rosca said without detailing how much will be spent on flood relief. More information is needed about this flood event. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Jan.GIF) shows no anomaly at this location. DFO96-03, Barry-Queensland, 5 January-25 January Tropical Cyclone Barry made landfall over the southwest Cape York Peninsula of Australia on January 5 according to the Weather Services Corp. Widespread flooding then occurred in NW Australia in response to landfall and slow passage of the storm. The floods caused moderate damage, mainly to agriculture and associated infrastructure, flooded many roads, and was (mainly) welcomed due to the antecedent drought. According to a January 6 Reuters news report, the storm gradually dissipated as it moves slowly inland across northern Australia January 6. Australia's Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre downgraded the storm to a Category Two on a scale of one to five, with five being the most extreme. The cyclone, with winds gusting up to 130 km/hour at its center, tracked about 90 kilometers north-east of the township of Normanton, in a sparsely-populated area near the south-east corner of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Normanton experienced heavy rains, but no damage was reported. On January 6, flood warnings remained in force for the area. On January 17, Reuters reported that heavy rain across the state of Queensland interrupted five years of drought but that severe flooding left a trail of destruction. Total rainfall of up to 250 mm (10 inches) in some areas caused rivers to burst their banks, flooded cotton and sorghum fields, closed roads, left remote farm houses isolated and forced residents of some country towns to evacuate their homes. Forecasters at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology expected floodwaters to swamp thousands of hectares in central and southern Queensland, threatening livestock. The heavy rain came as tropical Cyclone Barry from the Gulf of Carpentaria downgraded to a rain depression, bringing torrential rains and storms that cut a swath down the country parallel to the coast but about 200 km (132 miles) inland. Mining in Queensland had also been affected by the floods. MIM Holdings Ltd <MIM.AX> said that output from its Oaky Creek underground coal mine was stopped last Friday after surface water began to seep into the longwall mining area. Longwall production could be affected for several months although open cut production and underground development would continue unhindered. The Royal Automobile Club of Australia said floodwaters were starting to subside after several dry days but were revealing extensive damage to roads and houses in badly flooded areas. "There is hundreds of roads cut and badly damaged and traffic held up everywhere," a spokesperson Nicol told Reuters. "At Childers in the state's south theflooding was so bad that traffic was held up for three days and the line stretched about 20 km (13 miles). In a January 25 Sydney Reuters report, it was noted that flooding around the border of New South Wales and Queensland had destroyed some crops and isolated some properties but overall the heavy rains of the past few days were had been good for agriculture. New South Wales Farmers Association spokesman Glenn Dalton said flooding from heavy rains had caused the Barwon River to overflow in several places, cutting the road to Goondiwindi for a few days and affecting some sorghum crops. Some properties have recorded 200 mm of rain in the past week with most farms in the area concentrated on cotton, cattle, sorghum and other grains. "But really it is a temporary interruption for a long term benefit," Dalton told Reuters. He said the water was boosting the soil moisture profile well in time for the April to June plantings of winter grain crops. "The heavy rains are building up farms' soil moisture profiles, filling dams and water storages and running off into rivers and creeks," Dalton said. "It has not only assured a good cotton crop for the next two years but will be a boost to the next winter crop." Dams in the area have started to fill after up to five years of drought, with some still only 24 percent full but other up to 80 percent. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Jan.GIF) shows a large positive anomaly along this stretch of the NE Australia coastline and extending several thousand km northeastward. DFO96-02, Sumatra, Late December-11 January According to a January 4 Reuters report from Jakarta, widespread flooding in Indonesia killed at least 18 people and also hampered searches for victims of a powerful New Year's day earthquake in remote areas of Sulawesi. Officials in Banda Aceh, in northern Sumatra 1,400 km (875 miles) northwest of Jakarta, said nearly15,000 families had fled their homes since late December because ofthe worst floods in 50 years caused by torrential rain. "Eighteen people have been killed by floods. The water has subsided to two meters (6.5 ft) from four meters (13 ft). It may be at least one week before people can return to their homes," one official said. Losses, including to livestock, in Aceh Province were put at the equivalent of $87 million. Heavy rain also caused flooding in Jakarta on the main island of Java. About 60 percent of Indonesia's nearly 200 million people live on Java. Two U.N. DHA disaster situation reports were issued, one on January 5 and another on January 12. The first describes the flooding as due to heavy rainfalls in the first days of January in Aceh Province. The National Disaster Relief Authority (the Bakornas PB) reported 15 people killed, 4 missing, 14,600 households evacuated, 7 health centers, 9 bridges, 61 schools and 44 mosques damaged. 80 houses were destroyed and approximately 8000 damaged. The second report revised the rainfall period to the interval 28 December-2 January, and noted that this caused the worst floods since 1926 in east Aceh and since 1933 in north Aceh, Sumatra. The total dead was revised upward to 18, 5766 houses damaged, and 24,675 persons evacuated. The total dollar loss was estimated at USD 50 million. Other Reuters news service clippings provide some additional data. The state-owned oil company (Pertamina) closed one oil filed, producing about 500 barrels per day, because of flooding. Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, was also hit by heavy rains, bringing discomfort and traffic jams to a city with more than 10 million inhabitants. The Jakarta Post daily reported on January 5 that hundreds of houses in northern Jakarta, near the sea, had been flooded. But there were no reports of casualties. One clipping notes that the worst flooding was in the Mulyasari village, and forced 8,840 people to move to safer areas", and that several rivers in west Java had also burst their banks. Intermittent flooding continued later in January. In an January 10 Reuters report from Jakarta, it is noted that Jakarta residents, whose homes were flooded in the Indonesian capital's worst deluge for 20 years, complained on that the government had failed to respond quickly to the crisis. The Jakarta Post newspaper reported on January 10 that more than 60 people from eastern Jakarta, the worst hit area, staged a protest at the environment ministry. They accused the government of doing nothing apart from inspecting the affected areas. Residents living on the banks of the Ciliwung river, whose houses were submerged when the river flooded, earlier told Reuters they had not received any donations from the government. Water started to subside on January 9 and residents were cleaning their houses caked in thick mud and reeking of garbage. Media reports said at least six people were killed, 11 others were missing and 50,000 people were evacuated after four rivers flooded on the night of the 7th due to incessant rains. Waters reached rooftops in eastern Jakarta. The Suara Pembaruan evening daily reported January 9 that about 751 flood victims suffered from coughs, flu and skin irritation after the flood. A number of residents in Kampung Melayu told Reuters children -- many of whom had frolicked in the waters -- started to get flu and some adults got fever. The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Jan.GIF) shows no precipitation anomaly at this location. DFO96-01, S. Brazil, 3 January - 8 January According to the Knight-Ridder Financial News, Sao Paulo, January 5, the fatality count in Sao Paulo "doubled from 7 to 14 as emergency workers and firemen cleared away collapsed houses after Sao Paulo received 52 mm of rain between 1600 and 1800 Wednesday (January 3 ). The torrential downpour caused deadly mudslides and the flooding of the Tiete, Sao Paulo's main river. Flood waters brought some major streets and highways to a halt. On January 8, Reuters (Rio De Janeiro) reported that two people were electrocuted in Rio when a power cable fell into flood waters during heavy rain, raising the death toll from bad weather in southeastern Brazil to at least 22, officials said on Monday. In addition to the two, 19 people were killed in Sao Paulo and a woman in Rio de Janeiro state was killed by lightning since heavy rains began lashing southeastern Brazil last Wednesday (January 3). The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see http://www.dartmouth.edu/artsci/geog/floods/Jan.GIF) shows a large positive anomaly along this stretch of the South American coastline and extending west and northwestward nearly to the Andes.