12 Severe Weather Events of 2012

  • Snow and cold temperatures affected much of Europe in February. Image: Gareth Fuller/PA Archive

    Storm surge from Hurricane Sandy in October. Image: Andrea Levine/PA Wire

    Flooding in Nottinghamshire, UK in December. Image: Neil Squires/PA Wire

  • 12 Severe Weather Events of 2012
    05.01.2013 15:01


    As today marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas and the decorations in the MeteoGroup office have come down, I thought it would be apt to look back at 2012 and identify 12 severe weather events around the world. 

    January – Torrential rain fell across the Philippines on January 5th. The rain led to severe mudslides which reached 300m in length and 60m in width. Due to the rainfall and mudslides 30 people were killed and 44 were left missing on the island of Mindanao.

    February – Temperatures plummeted in Eastern Europe with the worst cold snap for 26 years. Temperatures dropped as low as -40C during the month and 650 people died due to the frigid conditions. Temperatures were also below average in Western Europe with snow falling in Rome for the first time in 15 years. 

    March – Above average seasonal temperatures affected the USA throughout March. A high pressure system stalled over eastern parts of the USA bringing summer-like temperatures to the region. Temperatures widely reached 21C and in selected areas 27C, resulting in 8,000 daily records for high temperatures at different locations. 

    April – Heavy rain fell in Haiti and the Dominican Republic on April 23rd. The heavy rain caused severe flooding and mudslides affecting over 20,000 people. 16 lives were claimed by the rain in Haiti and another two killed by landslides.

    May – Storms brought heavy rain and hail to north-western China on May 10th. Homes collapsed under the strength of the hail, roads were blocked and power supplies were disrupted. In total 40 people were killed and another 87 were injured.

    June – It was unseasonably cold across the globe in June. On June 3rd the maximum temperature in Stockholm, Sweden only reached 6C, breaking an 84 year old record. In Quarau, Brazil a maximum temperature of only 2.2C was recorded. Temperatures dropped to -1C in South Africa on the 11th June and in New Zealand the daily maximum temperature at Christchurch only reached 0.4C breaking a 130 year record. 

    July – Heavy rain fell across the UK due the Jet Stream being positioned further south than usual for the time of year. During a six hour period on July 6th 35mm fell across parts of Devon and 36mm fell across Lincolnshire. In 24 hours parts of Devon received 56.6mm of rainfall, only just below the average rainfall for the whole of the UK in July. 

    August – Localised flooding occurred in east and central Africa causing the displacement of over 15,000 people throughout the Sudan. The above average rainfall led to at least 32 deaths in the Sudan. Nigeria was affected throughout the month with a number of fatalities and injuries due to flooding. 

    September – Australia saw below average rainfall in September leading to drought in many areas. In Alice Springs, 3mm of rainfall on September 29th marked the first rainfall in 157 days. The drought and high temperatures lead to a number of forest fires as well as a fire vortex on September 11th.  The conditions were cited as the worst in nearly 40 years.

    October – Hurricane Sandy struck Jamaica, Cuba and the north-east coast of the USA between the 22nd and 30th October. The storm led to large scale flooding and wind damage across all areas as well as blizzards across the Appalachian Mountains. 170  people were killed by the storm and millions were left without electricity or homeless.

    November – It was unseasonably warm in Bulgaria in November with records being broken multiple times. The daily maximum temperature reached an unseasonable 11.3C at Botev Peak and 18.3C at Rozhen. In total 15 high temperature records were broken by the end of the month. 

    December – Flooding affected the UK again in December with an average of 168mm falling across England and Wales during the month. It was the wettest December since 1978 with 173% of the average rainfall expected. In Scotland 140mm fell, which is 45% above average. The wettest site was Capel Curig which recorded a total of 444mm.

    By: Sally Webb