December 2002 Disasters
Updated February 11, 2017 | Infoplease Staff
- Dec. 4–5, eastern U.S.: A major winter storm swept across the country from Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle all the way to the Carolinas and the northeast coast. Ice and snow downed power lines, delayed travelers, and closed schools in half a dozen states. North Carolina was the hardest hit, with more than one million homes and businesses left without power. At least 29 people nationwide died as a result of the storm.
- Dec. 3–9, Sydney, Australia: Up to 65 wildfires around Sydney have claimed one life, destroyed more than 60 homes, and burned more than 296,000 acres for an estimated $56 million in damages.
- Dec. 6, Jilin province, China: An underground blaze in mine shafts killed 30 coal miners. The Chinese mining industry is one of the most dangerous industries in the world with official figures showing more than 5,000 miners died in accidents last year.
- Dec. 8, Angra Dos Reis, Brazil: Torrential rains (more than 5 inches in 24 hours) caused mudslides that killed at least 39 people in a seaside town near Rio de Janeiro.
- Dec. 23, :Isfahar, Iran: A Ukrainian Airways crashed in a mountainous area of central Iran, killing all 46 people.
- Dec. 29, Southwest Pacific: Cyclone Zoe, a category 5 cyclone, with high winds and massive waves raced across the tiny islands of Tikopia and Anuta in the Solomon Islands chain located about 1900 miles northeast of Australia. Homes and crops were destroyed but the inhabitants survived by fleeing to mountain caves.
See also Recent Volcanic Activity