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  • The Observatory contributing to WMO’s assessment on the deadliest extreme weather events

  • Tuesday, 27th June 2017

In May 2017, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced the “world records” for the highest reported death tolls from historical tropical cyclones, tornadoes, lightning and hailstorms events since 1873. It marked the beginning of an attempt by the official WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes to broaden its scope of coverage from temperature and weather records to include the impacts of specific weather events.

The findings are based on an in-depth study undertaken by a WMO committee of experts, comprising 19 members of climatologists, meteorologists, a weather historian as well as a physician and including Dr Lee Tsz-cheung, Senior Scientific Officer of the Observatory. The study was completed over a period of about two years after an extensive review of documentation from various historical weather catastrophes around the world where significant death tolls had been reported.

A summary of the findings from the study can be found in the link below:
https://wmo.asu.edu/mortality_records

Satellite image of the tropical cyclone that caused 300,000 deaths in Bangladesh (East Pakistan at the time) on 12 November 1970 (image source: US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

Satellite image of the tropical cyclone that caused 300,000 deaths in Bangladesh
(East Pakistan at the time) on 12 November 1970
(image source: US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).