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Snowflake Cold

Aerial views of a frozen downtown Chicago under snow during historic cold weather

cold
Aerial views of downtown Chicago under a blanket of snow during an historic cold snap that has had the United States in its grip for several days, thanks to an Arctic blast that is causing temperatures to plummet.


Cloud Precipitation

Woman dies in flash flood on Maui, Hawaii

floods
A swimmer at Waioka Pond, also known as Venus Pool, died after a flash flood swept multiple swimmers out to the ocean today, the Maui Department of Fire and Public Safety announced.

Maui Fire Department personnel responded just before 10 a.m. to the swimmers being swept out to the ocean.

The department confirmed that two swimmers were able to climb to safety before being carried into the ocean. Two other swimmers ended up in the ocean, but one was able to swim back to shore.


Snowflake

World Snow Wrap Feb 19 - Utah had 2 metres in 5 days - Japan's epic season continues

All hands on deck in Snowbird on Feb 16.
© Snowbird resort
All hands on deck in Snowbird on Feb 16.
The past two weeks have seen a bit of everything in the Northern Hemisphere with Japan having a couple of warm spells in between deep powder, Canada has been fine but freezing, it's all sunshine in Europe and there have been some ridiculously deep days in the Northern Rockies.

Japan

It has been a mixed couple of weeks in Japan with heavy snowfalls and good powder days last week followed by warm weather and rain earlier in the week. The rain turned to snow in Hokkaido on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday Lucy Morrell our reporter in Furano wrote that, "the mix of yesterday's warmth and rain plus snow meant this morning we're all barricaded in our houses behind freezing slush." Not to worry, it's been all about powder since.

In Niseko the rain also turned to snow on Tuesday night leaving 46cms of fresh snow and temps at -8 with good powder on offer. There was another 25cms yesterday and the storm should clear today. The forecast is for the chance of rain across Hokkaido tomorrow, but the Grasshopper's calling for a return to snow after dark night and continuing on Sunday.


Snowflake Cold

The extreme weather in the US is so severe even weather satellites are bewildered

satellite weather
© College of DuPage/Insider
Purple (right) showing frigid ground instead of cloud (left).
The severe winter storm raging through the southern US brought such extreme cold that it confused weather satellites monitoring the situation.

On Tuesday, the cold air advancing south from the Arctic chilled the ground so much that one monitoring satellite mistook the ground for tops of clouds, which are usually much colder than surface temperatures. The phenomenon was first pointed out by Washington Post meteorologist Matthew Cappucci.

A similar effect was seen over Canada on February 10, where it was highlighted by the local news channel WROC TV in Rochester, New York.

The satellite in question is called GOES-East. It uses infrared sensors to measure temperatures at the top of clouds to plot them. Typically, the clouds are colder than the ground surface. The satellite's algorithms use this assumption to outline cloud cover from space, even at night.

Capucci tweeted a video illustrating the effect:


Comment: See also: Record cold in eleven U.S. states - coldest February 16 in history of meteorological observations


Attention

Merapi volcano erupts in Indonesia, spews red-hot lava

Lava flows down from the crater of Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
© AGUNG SUPRIYANTO AFP
Lava flows down from the crater of Mount Merapi in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Indonesia's Mount Merapi, one of the world's most active volcanoes, erupted on Friday, belching out fiery red lava.

The volcano, close to Indonesia's cultural capital Yogyakarta on Java island, had already spewed lava almost two dozen times over the two last days and caused hundreds of minor volcanic quakes, according to a report by Indonesia's geological agency.

"This morning, lava avalanches were observed seven times," the agency said, with the lava travelling up to 700 metres to the southwest.


Attention

Guatemala: There's nowhere to hide - hundreds of thousands live in the shadow of 3 erupting volcanoes

Guatemala says that three of its most active volcanoes are erupting at the same time.

Guatemala says that three of its most active volcanoes are erupting at the same time.
Whole communities live in the shadows of these volcanoes - with more than 180,000 people around Volcan de Fuego.

A huge rumble and a belch of steam and rocks erupts from the crater of the volcano that towers above us.

It's truly terrifying feeling such power, so near.

I looked about me, wondering where I would I hide if the volcano's eruptions suddenly intensified. And then I realised - and it's obvious really - there is nowhere to run and hide.

Up here, perched high on the side of Guatemala's Pacaya volcano, at the closest monitoring point to the peak of the volcano, one feels very insignificant.

To my right, away from the belching crater, a vast lava field plummets towards the valley floor and, in the distance, the towns and villages directly in its path.


Arrow Down

Snowmobiler who died in Colorado is the 28th killed in avalanches across the US this season

Body of a snowmobiler missing near Rand, Colorado has been found.

Body of a snowmobiler missing near Rand, Colorado has been found.
The body of a snowmobiler missing near Rand, Colorado has been found, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. The grim discovery marked the 28th avalanche death this season.

According to officials, two snowmobilers were caught by a large avalanche near Ruby Mountain on Tuesday. The accident occurred on a slope at around 11,400 feet and the avalanche was about three quarters of a mile wide and 400 feet high.

One rider was buried under two feet of snow and died while the other person was not injured, according to CAIC.

The riders were with four other snowmobilers at the time, but the man who died was standing on a steep slope away from his snowmobile when the avalanche occurred. He was swept downhill and his body was found Wednesday afternoon, CAIC reported.


Attention

52 short-finned pilot whales die after stranding on beach in Java, Indonesia

dead whales
At least 52 among dozens of short-finned pilot whales stranded on a beach in Indonesia's East Java province died on Friday morning, local media reported.

"We are suspecting that a whale in the school was injured or sick, so the rest were following and guarding it. They ended up stranded until 52 were found dead this morning," Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry spokesperson Wahyu Muryadi was quoted as saying on Friday by the local news portal Tempo.co.


Snowflake Cold

Record cold in eleven U.S. states - coldest February 16 in history of meteorological observations

RECORD
Russian website acknowledges the cold. "Record frosts in 11 US states," reads the title. "Coldest February 16 in the history of meteorological observations."

Yesterday we wrote about abnormal cold in Louisiana and Texas. But that ended up being just the beginning of the intensification of severe cold.

Coldest February 16 in the history of meteorological observations

Earlier this week, record low temperatures were recorded in more than 20 US cities. It was the coldest February 16 in the history of meteorological observations, according to the country's National Meteorological Service.


Arrow Down

Deadly landslides and floods triggered by heavy rainfall in El Oro, Ecuador

mudslide
At least 1 person has died and several were injured after heavy rain triggered landslides and flooding in El Oro Province, southern Ecuador.

The country's National Service for Risk and Emergency Management (SNGRE) reported that heavy rain in Piñas canton in El Oro Province on 16 February triggered flooding and landslides that caused at least 2 houses to collapse. One person was reported killed in the disaster and 3 others were injured. Stretches of road in affected areas were also severely damaged.

A few days earlier a dramatic landslide and mud flow struck in Chunchi Canton, Chimborazo Province on 12 February, leaving 2 people injured and houses destroyed, according to SNGRE. Public buildings and at least 2 bridges were also damaged or destroyed, along with livestock and crops. Chunchi Canton officials declared an emergency. The exact cause of the landslide is uncertain.