JULY 2013




The Bangkok Times reported that a Bangladeshi cargo ship has capsized in the Andaman Sea on the 4th.  The Thai Navy reports that rescue missions are in progress to find 10 missing crew members after 18 were rescued. The missing was reportedly in a lifeboat that has drifted out to sea. The waves in the Andaman Sea were 16 feet high at the time.


After days of excessive rainfall, a landslide in western China claimed the lives of at least 31 people, while more remain missing on the 12th.  The number of those missing has climbed above 150 - attributed to the flooding and landslides. The landslide in Dujiangyan, in the foothills of the Himalayas, was likely brought on by the excessive rain in this region of China in the past few days. Torrential downpours led to flooding in many areas across the city. In nearby Wenjiang, over 300 mm of rain has fallen since Monday.


China's army has been deployed to deliver emergency supplies after strong winds and heavy rains battered the country on the 13th. Some 300,000 people in eastern China were evacuated before Typhoon Soulik moved in on Saturday. It has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. In Sichuan Province, rainstorms caused widespread flooding, killing 86 people. In the coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang, flights and train services were cancelled and fishing boats called back to shore. Waves as high as 10 meters hit Yuhuan County in Zhejiang Province and authorities have warned residents to stay away from the dangerous coastline.


The combination of a slow-moving frontal boundary and tropical moisture has led to rainfall nearly every day of July across much of the Korean Peninsula. Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, has reported rainfall on all but three days of the month. Rainfall has totaled 18.83 inches so far this month, more than 200 percent of normal. More than 20 inches of rain has been reported in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, also more than double the monthly average. This extended period of rain has led to flooding and mudslides that have claimed the lives of several people in South Korea.


An unusually warm July in Beijing saw temperatures reach 37-38C today (24th).




About 50,000 people are still without power a day after a heavy rainstorm in Toronto flooded parts of Canada's largest city July 8th-9th. More than 90 mm of water - over a month's average – was dumped on the city late on Monday. The rain flooded some major roads and subway stations, causing traffic chaos. Hundreds of passengers were stranded for several hours on a flooded commuter train and had to be evacuated on police boats. Water levels on the rush-hour Richmond Hill train rose so high that passengers fled to the upper decks of the coaches. Average rainfall for the entire month of July in the area is 71 mm.




One person has been killed in the Dominican Republic, as Tropical Storm Chantal skirted the southern coast of the island of Hispaniola on the 10th. The US National Hurricane Centre said Chantal had "degenerated into a tropical wave" by 2100 GMT, but was producing heavy rain and gusty winds.




More than 5,700 people missing since floods devastated northern India last month are presumed dead, officials have said, as rescuers struggled to bring aid to affected villages. Vijay Bahuguna, chief minister of the state of Uttarakhand, said the government would give 500,000 rupees (£6,000) to the families of each victim who may have perished in the floods and landslides that hit the Himalayan region in June. The state declared those missing for the past month presumed dead so it could compensate their families, but Bahuguna said there was hope that some could still be found alive. "The search for the missing persons will continue even after they are presumed dead," he said.




The number of people suffering sunstroke, sunburn and heatwave-related injuries in the UK is stretching hospital emergency departments, doctors say on the 17th. Others injuries include toes amputated due to gardening accidents and people hurt in falls as more go out and about.


Violent hailstorms have lacerated vineyards in a prestigious part of the Burgundy wine region, causing what local winemakers have described as "catastrophic" damage to this year's crop. A strip of vineyards in the Beaune region were lashed by strong hailstorms and winds in a violent downpour on Tuesday afternoon, causing major damage in an area that covers four or five key wine-growing villages including Pommard and Volnay, prized for well-known and expensive crus. The worst-hit risk losing 90% of their crops. The local trade body, the Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne, said all the Côte de Beaune appellation area, which stretches over around 20km, was affected. Burgundy, alongside Bordeaux, is one of France's two classic, best-known wine-producing regions. It is a big export area, currently prized by the Asian market, and produces some of the more expensive wines in France. The same area had already been hit by hail last year, causing high losses. This spring had also seen poor weather for local wine-growers, including flooding.




A heat wave gripped the US, temperatures soared. Accompanying the intense heat is an impending danger, as 20 children have died of heat stroke from being left in cars so far this year in the United States. Last year 33 children died, according to Jan Null of San Francisco University.


While the heat wave and virtual sauna over the Northeast and Midwest has broken few records, multiple days and nights of high humidity and light winds with the event are leaving an impression. For many locations, Thursday was day five of the heat wave, which began last weekend. And in some areas there are a couple more days of sweltering to go. "The duration of the heat index being 97F to over 100F has diminished the population's ability to respond to the heat," Dr. Kevin Baumlin, associate professor and vice chair for Clinical, Operations, Quality and Finance in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Ichan School of Medicine, said. The heat wave is hit around what is typically the hottest part of the summer, when the days are long, the sun is intense and the nights are short. (On Thursday, Alaska was the only state that did not reach 90 degrees). During the overnight hours Thursday, temperatures did not drop below 80F in New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and in Milwaukee and Madison, Wis. In Traverse City, Mich., the overnight low Thursday was 82F. For Washington, D.C., temperatures have failed to drop below 80F for four nights in a row.


Jim G. Munley, jr.

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