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Sun, 17 Jan 2021
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Snowflake Cold

Cars stranded, trains affected by continued heavy snowfall across Japan - up to a meter of new snow in 24 hours

cars in snow
Vehicles were stranded and train services affected Saturday as heavy snow continued over parts of Japan, with the weather agency warning of further traffic disruption from slippery roads due to more snowfall through the weekend.

In central Japan, many cars were stuck. Around 120 vehicles were stranded on the Hokuriku Expressway in Fukui Prefecture due to an accident. About 80 cars could not move on the Noetsu Expressway in Toyama Prefecture, with a section temporarily closed, transport authorities said.

Separately, about 80 vehicles were stuck temporarily on part of the Hokuriku Expressway in Niigata Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo.

Cloud Precipitation

Motorists stuck as floods, rains lash Montego Bay, Jamaica

Several motorists have been trapped on the Long Hill main road near King Gate in Montego Bay, St James amid flood rain.

Several inches of rushing water and debris have covered the roadway which leads to Anchovy, Lethe, Wiltshire and other communities in upper St James.

Residents witnessing the frightening situation said drains which have not been cleaned for months have contributed to the problem.


Record snowfall covers Japan

Record Snowfall
© Kiyoshi Kimura
Streetcars stop their operation due to heavy snowfall in Toyama on Jan. 8.
A record amount of snowfall blanketed central Japan's Hokuriku region by the morning of Jan. 8, forcing residents to cope with slippery and treacherous snow-packed roads and sidewalks.

In Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, the snow accumulation during the 12-hour period through the early morning totalled 59 centimeters, a record high.

In Toyama, it reached 48 cm, the highest ever for the capital of the prefecture.

As of 9 a.m., the snow cover in Himi was six times more than usual. In the town of Asahi, it was 5.5 times more than in an average year.

A cyclone in the making passed through northern Japan, causing a winter pressure pattern around the country. A cold air mass, apparently the severest of the season, has made inroads into Japan.

Because of that, areas on the Sea of Japan side from Hokkaido to Kyushu, including flatlands, are expected to experience heavy snowfall until around Jan. 10.


Madrid's heaviest snowfall in 50 years, red warnings also issued for Italy & Croatia as even more snow is forecast

The capital Madrid has seen the heaviest snowfall in decades
The capital Madrid has seen the heaviest snowfall in decades
Four people died in Spain as Storm Filomena caused travel chaos across the country, blanketing Madrid in the heaviest snowfall in decades and forcing authorities to mobilise troops to rescue trapped motorists.

Rescue services reached 1,500 people trapped in cars, while skiers glided down Gran Via, normally one of the busiest streets in the capital. Other Madrid residents used the freak blizzard to snowboard down the road or pelt each other with snowballs.

A man and woman who were traveling in a car drowned after a river burst its banks near Malaga, southern Spain, and two homeless people froze to death, one in Madrid and the other in the eastern city of Calatayud, authorities said.

Responding to the events, King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia tweeted: "The royal family would like to express their sorrow for victims of the storm ... and ask for extreme caution against the risks of accumulation of ice and snow."

Interior minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska urged Spaniards to avoid all but essential travel. "We are facing the most intense storm in the last 50 years," he said.

Comment: Express reports:
There will be an 80 percent chance of snow across most non-coastal locations.
Storm Filomena: Red warnings, which mean extreme risk, are in place across Aragon, Castilla-La Mancha, Cataluna, Commundidad de Madrid and Communitat Valencia
Red warnings, which mean extreme risk, are in place across Aragon, Castilla-La Mancha, Cataluna, Comunidad de Madrid and Communitat Valencia today.

The warnings caution there is a 40 to 70 percent chance of snowstorms up to 20cm (7.8 inches).

Orange warnings for snow are in place across Cantabria, Castilla y Leon, Extremadura, Cimmunidad Foral de Navarra, Pais Vasco and La Rioja.

These warnings are classed as 'important risk' and caution up to 30 centimetres of snow could fall in 24 hours.

Madrid Mayor José Luis Martínez Almeida said the city is prepared for the 20 centimeters of snow which have been forecast, but admitted it will create "great difficulties."

Municipal workers have spread more than 350,000 kilograms of salt and 75,000 litres of salt brine on roads to prevent them from icing over.

Pictures show snow-laden roads blocked with cars and some residents even resorted to travelling using skis.

Firefighters helped to free those trapped in cars on Friday as temperatures plummeted to -12C.

Storm Filomena: Another 20 to 30cm of snow is forecast to fall today
Snow has already blanketed parts of northern Italy this week, but yet more could be on the way from Storm Filomena.

Ms Willets said: "It is going to spread to Italy and Balkans, with very significant snow to come for the Balkans.

"Madrid will face 20cm of more snow today. It is almost unheard of weather."

Troops from the Unit for Military Emergencies have helped to clear roads and infrastructure across the country, the defence ministry said.

Castilla-La Mancha, one of the three regions put on high alert along with Madrid and eastern Valencia, closed schools.

Storm Filomena was named by Spanish Weather Service, AEMet and is made up of two areas of low pressure which are following each other across southwestern Europe.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tyler Roys explained this storm is so unusual as it is a combination of different weather features not seen since Storm Emma and the Beast from the East in 2018.

Mr Roys said: "A southerly storm track due to high pressure in the east-central Atlantic, the stalled [storm system] over central Europe and cold air that has funnelled in from Scandinavia and northern Russia are the features creating this uncommon setup."

"With little to no break in precipitation, the second area of low pressure will rush over the Iberian Peninsula from Friday through Saturday night, causing precipitation to continue across southern and central areas, as well as expand into the Ebro River Valley and finally into the Northern Meseta by Friday night."
The ice age cometh? A few days ago Spain recorded its lowest temperature ever at -34C.


Heavy rainfall brings flooding to Casablanca, Morocco

© Ham/Twitter
The start of 2021 was marked by heavy rainfall across Morocco, Casablanca was one of the worst affected regions, with floods causing significant infrastructural damage to the city.

Heavy rains started pounding the area at the beginning of the week. By Tuesday night it culminated in what could only be described as nightmarish floods in Casablanca. Public transport shut down and entire neighborhoods were flooded. A quick-witted Twitter user commented that the city is "slowly marking its transition to becoming the new Venice."

Casablanca, a home to over 3 million people has been ravaged by floods for over three days now, yet there are still no concrete reports on the scope of infrastructural damage to the city.

The people of Casablanca are in shock, sharing pictures of the apocalyptical weather and floods on social media. Horror stories of destroyed infrastructure, monstrous traffic, and closed schools and businesses are flooding Twitter and other social media.


Six dead, nearly 50,000 evacuated in Malaysia floods - described as worst in half a century

Authorities have stepped up rescue operations after locals complained they had to fend for themselves earlier this week.

Authorities have stepped up rescue operations after locals complained they had to fend for themselves earlier this week.
At least six people have died and nearly 50,000 evacuated in Malaysia after monsoon rains pounded the country's east coast, authorities said, causing what residents described as the worst flooding in half a century.

Authorities have stepped up rescue operations after locals complained they had to fend for themselves earlier this week.

Heavy rains continued to batter the region on Friday, swelling the number of people abandoning their homes to more than 47,000, officials said.

"I have lost everything. The water has covered my roof," 59-year-old factory worker Tan Kong Leng told AFP news agency, tears filling his eyes.

Arrow Down

Three killed after avalanche strikes ski resort in Arctic city of Norilsk, Russia

Three people were killed after an avalanche hit a ski resort in the Arctic city of Norilsk, Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) reported on Saturday.

The footage from Friday and Saturday shows rescue operations at Gora Otdelnaya ski resort whereby a 14-year-old boy was found alive and transported to a hospital.

According to the Russian Investigative Committee, the bodies of a 38-year-old woman, her 45-year-old husband and their one and half-year-old child were recovered.

The institution opened a criminal case in accordance with article 238 of the Criminal Code of Russia.

All rescue operations were completed on Saturday morning.


Woman killed and 'partially eaten' by pack of dogs while jogging in Buenos Aires, Argentina

dog attack
A woman has died after she was attacked and reportedly partially eaten by a pack of dogs while she was running.

The body of the victim, identified as Sara Noemi Gaspani, 58, was found being mauled by the pack of dogs in Buenos Aires in Argentina on Boxing Day.

The woman worked as a local teacher and had been jogging in a suburban area of the city where three dogs were found eating part of her body.

An autopsy indicated, however, that around six dogs had taken part in the initial attack.

It also confirmed the suspicion that the dogs had not simply found the corpse and started eating it, but in fact, had attacked her causing a "fast and traumatic" death from multiple bite wounds.


Fierce cyclone in North Pacific marks end of year of record weather events

Satellite image showing a storm over the Bering Sea moving towards Alaska
© Nasa/AFP/Getty Images
Satellite image showing a storm over the Bering Sea moving towards Alaska.
Last year was a year of record-breaking weather events, ending with a bang of explosive cyclogenesis in the North Pacific on New Year's Eve.

The extratropical storm saw its central pressure fall to a record 921 millibars from 972 millibars in 24 hours, making it the strongest storm in that basin in at least 60 years, and also setting records for Alaska and the Bering Sea in its path onwards.

Meanwhile, a global record for the highest mean sea-level pressure was broken in Mongolia, central Asia, barely days before. A recording of 1094.3 millibars came hand-in-hand with bitingly low temperatures of -45.5C (-50F) in Tsetsen-Uul in the western Zavkha province.

This year, on the other hand, opened with a disruptive ice storm across the midwest and Great Lakes of the US. Ice storms, or freezing rain, occur as raindrops falling vertically through the atmosphere move into a thin layer of sub-freezing air near the earth's surface. This allows the droplets to become supercooled and freeze upon contact with any objects, creating extremely hazardous conditions such as ice coats the ground. In the southern hemisphere, the first storm of the season was birthed. Tropical Cyclone Imogen made landfall in the Shire of Carpentaria in Queensland, Australia, on Monday, with reports of over 260mm of rain falling in Karumba.

Comment: For more information on extreme weather events, check out SOTT's monthly documentary SOTT Earth Changes Summary - December 2020: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

Snowflake Cold

Intense cold wave hits Taiwan, rare snow in mountains that haven't seen any in years

Snow falls on 6 mountains in Taiwan

Snow falls on 6 mountains in Taiwan
An intense cold wave has hit Taiwan, bringing snow to high mountains, including some that haven't seen snowfall in years.

The cold weather has also brought thousands of motorists up into the mountains in search of rare wintry scenes.

They haven't been disappointed, but authorities are urging caution: people here are unused to driving in snow.