Dartmouth Flood Observatory 
Department of Geography, Dartmouth College Hanover, NH 03755

On the Internet at:
Authors: G. R. Brakenridge, A. Wong, S. Jack


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 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 

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 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 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 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 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:  
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 

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 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 shows a 
strong and very large anomaly covering much of southwestern South 
America (mainly extreme southern Brazil, Uruguay, and eastern 

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 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 

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 

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 

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 

The DMSP SSM/I anomaly map for this month (see 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 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 
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 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 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

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

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 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 shows a 
large positive anomaly along this stretch of the South American 
coastline and extending west and northwestward nearly to the