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At year's end: Typhoons, tornadoes and flooding leave mark on 2013

By MICHELLE GROENKE, United Press International   |   Dec. 22, 2013 at 5:30 AM
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Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines in early November, leveling entire communities and creating massive devastation.

The wreckage was unimaginable: More than 6,000 people dead and some some 27,000 injured. Nearly 1,800 remained missing more than a month after the storm.

Haiyan, called Yolanda in the Philippines, affected 3,424,190 families -- 16,076,360 people -- in 12,122 villages in 44 provinces, displacing 3,927,827 people, the Philippine's National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.

More than six weeks after the storm, more than 100,000 people remained in evacuation centers.

Damage is estimated at about $805 million.

The storm also caused serious damage in Vietnam.

Haiyan/Yolanda, hit on Nov. 8, wreaking havoc as it raced across the central Philippines. The country was still reeling from a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit weeks earlier, in mid-October, killing at least 218 people in Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor. Hundreds more were injured.

In Pakistan, more than 350 people were killed in September a 7.7-magnitude earthquake that left thousands homeless and 619 injured in Balochistan province.

At least 186 people were killed and 11,000 were reported injured when a 7-magnitude earthquake hit China's Sichuan province in April.

China's Gansu province was hit with a 6.6-magnitude earthquake in June that left at least 94 people dead.

In the United States, a monster tornado swept through Moore, Okla., near Oklahoma City, May 31, killing at least 51 people and injuring dozens more. The twister was estimated at more than two miles wide and rated as an EF-5 with winds topping 200 mph.

A rare late-season storm system in mid-November spawned tornadoes that left six people dead in Illinois and pummeled the central and southern portions of the state.

The most extensive damage was reported in Washington, Ill., hit by an EF-4 tornado with winds of 170 mph to 190 mph. A 51-year-old man was killed and at least 70 people were treated for injuries at area hospitals.

Eight people died in Colorado in September when heavy rain that fell in mountain areas stripped bare by wildfires triggered mass flooding and landslides. At least 1,500 structures were destroyed and nearly 18,000 damaged.

The Denver Post said the September 2013 floods "are, without a doubt, the worst natural disaster in Colorado so far this century, easily eclipsing the death and destruction of the last several massive wildfires."

The U.N. World Meteorological Organization said heavy rain in Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria and Switzerland in late May and early June caused the most intense and extended flooding in the Danube and Elbe river catchments since at least 1950.

In Southwest Asia, the monsoon season started earlier than usual and brought the worst flooding and devastation in the past half century to regions near the India-Nepal border, the WMO report said.

Heavy flooding was reported from late July to mid-August along the Amur River, along the border between China and Russia.

In October, Typhoon Phailin and flooding in the Indian state of Odisha left 26 people dead.

Nineteen elite Arizona firefighters died in July when they were trapped by the raging Yarnell wildfire, 80 miles northwest of Phoenix.

The Granite Mountain Hotshots were trapped when winds changed and 100-foot flames overcame them as they took refuge in last-resort bag-like aluminum foil, woven silica and fiberglass shelters. At year's end commanders were blamed for making bad decisions.

Wildfires still raged in October along a nearly 1,000-mile line in New South Wales, Australia's most populous state.

In December, a late season wildfire destroyed at least 17 homes in Big Sur, Calif.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said no major hurricanes formed in the Atlantic basin in the 2013 hurricane season, something that hasn't happened since 1994. Thirteen named storms formed in the Atlantic basin this year and while two, Ingrid and Humberto, became hurricanes, forecasters said.

Tropical storm Andrea, the first of the season, was the only named storm to make landfall in the United States this year, bringing tornadoes, heavy rain and minor flooding to portions of Florida, eastern Georgia and eastern South Carolina.

While the United States was largely spared in the 2013 season, Mexico suffered through eight storms, including three from the Atlantic basin and five from the eastern North Pacific, NOAA said. Of these eight systems, five struck as tropical storms and three as hurricanes.

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