Earth ChangesS


Flashback Record snowfall in Kotzebue, Alaska

There was three times the average snowfall in Kotzebue this winter...and soon it will melt.

An Alaska state panel is considering a disaster declaration by the Northwest Arctic Borough in response to record snowfall in Kotzebue this winter, reports the Anchorage Daily News.

The Palin administration's Disaster Policy met this week to discuss the borough's request for state assistance for Kotzebue.

Kotzebue officials told the state that an unusually high snowfall depleted the city's snow removal budget.

The National Weather Service in Kotzebue says the average yearly snowfall for Kotzebue is about 40 inches (101 centimetres). This winter the area received almost 102 inches of snow (259 cm) -- a record, according to the Kotzebue office.

State officials say the city and borough also are worried about potential flooding from the excessive snow.


"México is a Gigantic Refrigerator"

Child discovers snow in Mexico!
¿cuál es papá?!
Email from a reader in Mexico:
Hi Robert!

Minus 7 degrees Celsius was our low in Saltillo yesterday and in addition to a frozen water pipe in our house, today there are no less than 13 headlines in various sections of our local paper relating to the current cold wave and all its local implications.

Two jumped out at me. 'Es Mexico Una Hielera Gigantesca' ("México is a Gigantic Refrigerator")... I never dreamed I would ever see such a headline here!

The other (finally) is the first one I have seen throwing doubt on global warming '¿Dónde quedó el calentamiento?' ("Where is the Warming?")

One of the accompanying photos in the articles shows the exquisite pleasure of a young child experiencing snow in Mexico. The other shows the stark reality of an ice bound boat, the MV Arkona, in a canal in Holland.

Come on Mr. Gore. Bring us some "global warming."

Best regards,

Alan Stover


In Florida, no reprieve from Arctic blast as state records coldest day in 82 years

© AFPHelena Anderson (L) and her mother Daniela Birska wear jackets as they walk on the beach on January 11, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. The National Weather Service said it recorded 36 degrees in Miami Monday morning, which beat the 82-year-old record of 37 degrees.
Florida woke Monday to another day of bone-chilling temperatures after days of Arctic air that have kept the southern United States -- including the usually balmy Sunshine State -- in a deep freeze.

Florida's usually mild and sunny winter weather has given way to record low temperatures during the historic cold snap.

In Miami, the thermometer dropped over the weekend to 35 degrees Fahrenheit (1.6 Celsius), the coldest since 1970.


North China braces for more icy weather

© AFPA group of seals try to break free after they were frozen stuck in a pool at a nature reserve in Yantai, in northeast China's Shandong province, on January 11, 2010.
Northern China braced for another blast of frigid air Monday, as coal shortages neared "alarming" levels due to surging power use amid a prolonged cold snap, the government and state media reported.

The new cold front is expected to send temperatures plummeting -- to as low as minus 35 degrees Celsius (-31 degrees Fahrenheit) in northern Heilongjiang province -- for much of the week, the central weather bureau said.

Icy weather has gripped northern China since the start of the year, with heavy snows snarling air, road and rail traffic last week, and the diving mercury causing a spike in power use.

The situation has crimped power supplies as weather-related transport bottlenecks have disrupted coal shipments to power stations.

The National Power Dispatch and Communication Centre said that as of Sunday coal reserves at 205 power plants had dwindled to the "alarming" seven-day supply level, Xinhua news agency reported.

It said another 598 major power plants had seen reserves fall to nine-day supplies.


Snow hits southern Spain as big freeze sweeps Europe

© AFPTrees are covered with snow after a heavy snowfall in Aranjuez, near Madrid on January 11, 2010. Europeans struggled to get to work on Monday after a weekend of treacherous winter weather left thousands of homes without power and caused mayhem on roads, railways and at airports.
Snow fell in parts of Spain for the first time in half a century Monday as a wave of Arctic cold that has killed scores of people and caused billions of euros in damage to Europe's economy swept southwards.

As villages in parts of north-east Germany remained cut off from the outside world by giant snowdrifts, authorities sounded the alert in 18 regions across central and northern Spain in anticipation of further snow and icy temperatures.

More than 270 flights were cancelled at Madrid-Barajas airport, while neighbouring Portugal also struggled to cope with snowfall which caused the closure of around 50 main roads. Scores spent the night stuck in their vehicles.

Cloud Lightning

France braces for ice storm amid severe travel warnings

© AFPA man uses a snowplow to clean a street in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris under the snow, on January 13, 2010. A snow and sleet storm forced French authorities to ban travel of lorries in the Paris region and threatened to cause massive flight cancellations, adding to travel misery across northern Europe.
The French capital braced for a snow and sleet storm Wednesday, banning lorries from motorways and warning of massive flight cancellations as icy conditions made for treacherous travel around northern Europe.

French road authorities issued a ban against heavy commercial road traffic starting at midnight until noon on Wednesday on motorways in eight departments around Paris due to a new winter storm brewing.

Conditions were expected to be especially hazardous because of icy sleet. Some 58 departments in northern and central France have been placed under an orange alert by Meteo France.

Arrow Up

High Surf Hits California, Hawaii Shores


Los Angeles - Forecasters say hazardous surf will roll ashore along parts of the California coast and Hawaii's north and west shores.

The National Weather Service says big surf will be produced on west-facing California beaches with a dramatic rise late Tuesday and that some beaches on the central coast could see sets up to 25 feet.

Cloud Lightning

More snow brings more chaos to UK

© Darren Staples/Reuters
Commuters were delayed, schools closed and flights suspended again today as the cold snap's possibly final flurry of snow swept across parts of the UK.

The government told local authorities to cut back further on the use of salt to conserve stocks, while business leaders called for urgent talks between local authorities, transport and salt mining companies, schools and businesses, to improve emergency responses.

The Federation of Small Businesses said the bad weather had brought the economy "to a standstill", with estimates that the chaos of the last few weeks had cost at least £600m a day.

"We need to be better prepared with more salt stocks for roads and better guidance for headteachers on when to close schools, to prevent staff from missing days of work and bringing the country, and the economy, to a standstill," the federation's chairman, John Wright, said.


High winds brings power cuts to thousands in Ireland

High winds have heaped further misery on householders struggling to cope with the big freeze as power was cut off in several counties.

Thousands of homes in north Wicklow, Carlow and Cork were left without electricity on Tuesday night as falling timber struck overhead cables.

Teams of Electricity Supply Board (ESB) engineers worked in bad weather conditions to restore supplies to around 1,500 homes which remained without power.

About 1,000 homes in north Wicklow, including in Avoca and Rathnew, which have already been hard-hit by the snow and ice, were reconnected to the national grid on Wednesday morning.

An ESB spokeswoman said crews were continuing to work to restore electricity to other affected areas.


Flashback Cold streak sets new record

© unknown
How's this for cold comfort? Saskatoon's deep freeze is likely the longest streak of low temperatures below -25 C that has numbed this city since record-keeping began in 1892.

The 24-day streak started cruelly Dec. 13 after relatively mild temperatures and continued at least through Monday, said David Phillips, Environment Canada's senior climatologist.

"That's the thing that's brutal," Phillips said from Toronto, where he was enjoying a temperature of -4. "We can all handle a few (cold) days. It's the long haul that wears you down.

"It's really a shocker, the duration of the cold."

Phillips said he couldn't find a longer cold snap in Saskatoon's recorded weather history during a look through the records Monday. Even during the infamous January of 1950, when temperatures hit -46 and -45 (not counting any wind chill), the cold streak of -25 or lower lasted "only" 21 days.