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SOTT Earth Changes Summary - December 2022: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs

This past month of December, a couple of serious blasts of Arctic air spread across the continental U.S., Canada, and parts of Europe and Asia, shattering records. More than 250 million were affected by the freezing temperatures... and winter had just started.

Forecasters believe that man-made climate change has empowered La Niña, triggering the so-called Greenland Block (A powerful area of high pressure in the Northeast Pacific and lower-than-normal air pressure over the western Pacific). They even propose this is the main factor for the record freezing temperatures in the northern hemisphere this winter. Yet, we know better now: The sun defines climate, and the global cold trend may increase over the coming years.

Warm-mongers also highlighted that sea ice in Antarctica reached its lowest extent on record at the end of December. Yet, in the long-term Antarctic sea ice still shows an increasing trend. In addition, the overall snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere is the second-highest in the past 17 years.

Arctic and antarctic ice and snow increase and decrease in yearly cycles connected to larger cycles of solar activity. As the solar-minimum sets in, we can expect an overall increase in ice and snow cover.

The arctic blasts engulfed the US, coast-to-coast and top-to-bottom. 60% of the US was affected by freezing temperatures, and 2 million were left without power. The pattern flipped to warmer temperatures at the end of the month, just to welcome another forecasted polar vortex in January.

Most of Canada, from British Columbia to Newfoundland, was also hit by extreme cold. Airports canceled thousands of flights, and power outages affected more than 300,000 just in Quebec and Ontario.

The UK was pummeled by the 'snowiest period in 12 years' lasting a month. The government outlined plans to go 'lights out' in January after National Grid warned there could be blackouts due to an expected energy crisis.

It was also a time of extremes in France and parts of Switzerland with significant snow at higher altitudes, and heavy rain lower down. Even if there was a warmer trend in some parts of Europe this month, the forecasts point out to a colder January.

Parts of Moscow were covered by over 12 inches of snow this month, something not usually observed until the end of winter. The last time a similar depth of snow was recorded in Moscow in mid-December was in 1989 and 1993.

And Mexico City also got its third snowfall in 82 years, affecting primarily high-altitude areas.

Floods triggered by sheets of rain continued around the world this month, including:
  • Philippines - Heavy rain caused 51 deads and the displacement of at least 46,000. 17,300 acres of crops were wiped out.
  • Southern Thailand - 21 inches of rain in 24 hours.
  • Northcentral Vietnam - 13 inches of rain in 24 hours.
  • Namibia - 3 months' worth of rain in 24 hours.
  • South Africa - Countrywide floods.
  • Baghdad, Iraq - Non-stop rain for 45 days.
And at least two died and 11 were injured after a strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of northern California. Thousands were left without power. 80 aftershocks have rattled parts of Northern California since the event. The largest aftershock was a 4.6 magnitude quake in Rio Dell, one of the hardest hit areas.


California snowpack is highest in 40 years: Officials

Snowpack levels in California's mountains were at the highest level in 40 years Jan. 3 but time will tell whether the latest storms will help deliver enough water to the state to end a three-year drought streak, state water officials reported.

California's snowpack was measured at 174 percent of the historical average for the year Tuesday, boosted by recent storms that drenched the state during the holidays and brought snow to the mountains.

The state could see even more rain and snow this week and into the weekend, bringing much-needed water supplies.

"While we see a terrific snowpack—and that in and of itself may be an opportunity to breathe a sigh of relief—we are by no means out of the woods when it comes to drought," said Karla Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water Resources.

Comment: A few recent snow reports which illustrate the heavy dumps experienced this winter season in the state thus far:

Cloud Lightning

Sparks fly when truck is struck by lightning in North Carolina, video shows

A truck was hit by lightning Wednesday, causing sparks to fly — and the moment was caught on camera.

A dramatic video captured by JR Motorsports on Jan. 4 shows the moment when the bolt hits the truck in the Mooresville shop's parking lot, causing the vehicle's headlights to turn on.

The American professional stock car racing team shared the video, joking that they were "starting the year off with a bang."

According to JR Motorsports, the lightning struck a truck and then ran along a fence around the building. They said that though the truck had no "visual damage, it will not start!"


Purgatory ski resort in Colorado records 23 inches of snow in 24 hours

Resort officials are ringing in the new year with another deep powder day at Purgatory Resort in Durango, Colo. Monday, Purgatory received 23 inches of snow in 24 hours, bringing storm totals to 53 inches over the past 7 days.

Purgatory's mid-mountain base is now 52 inches with 102 open trails.

Purgatory is the only resort in North America that offers free unlimited skiing and riding to all kids ages 12 and under - no blackout days or purchase required. Guests can stop by the outside ticket window to pick up a free ticket for their little rippers. Please note proof of age is required.


Heavy snow causes travel chaos in Oslo, Norway

Heavy snow has caused travel disruption in Oslo
© Hyunwon Jang
Heavy snow has caused travel disruption in Oslo on Thursday morning. Pictured is snow and a tram in Oslo.
Commuters have been asked to consider working from home as a number of bus services in Oslo were cancelled on Thursday morning due to heavy snow.

Up to 27 bus routes have been cancelled in Oslo on Thursday morning, public broadcaster NRK reports on Thursday.

All the cancelled lines serviced east Oslo and Nittedeal. In addition to the cancelled services, many buses are delayed or have been rerouted.

"There are extremely challenging driving conditions, and it will be a challenging day today," Øystein Dahl Johansen, press officer for Ruter, told NRK.



Avalanche danger closes some Utah ski resorts after massive snowfalls (up to 41 inches)

An Alta Ski Patroller had to dig out their car after the storm
© Alta Ski Area Facebook Page
An Alta Ski Patroller had to dig out their car after the storm
The recent incredible snowfalls surely have had most of us dreaming of powder days, but there can be too much of a good thing: several Utah resorts were unable to open in the last few days.

Sundance Mountain Resort announced on its social media channels that it would not be able open on Monday, January 2, 2023, due to extreme mountain weather conditions. Sundance had received 41 inches (1m) of snow, which unfortunately also contained a lot of moisture due to the low temperatures, making grooming a safe run impossible. Sundance Mountain announced the following for operations this Tuesday, January 3, 2023:

Comment: Also during the same recent time period: Storm wallops Tahoe region with over 4 feet of snow in spots


Snow twisters? Watch video of rare January Illinois tornadoes

It was an unexpectedly stormy day in Illinois today. There were a half dozen reports of tornadoes that touched down in the Land of Lincoln including a couple videos showing the twisters as they were touching down.

My wife (aka the meteorologist/aka "the smart one") directed me to the Illinois Storm Community Facebook page. Grace Edwards shared this video of one of the twisters that was spotted near Maroa, Illinois.


Storm wallops Tahoe region with over 4 feet of snow in spots

The Palisades ski area by

The Palisades ski area by Lake Tahoe in California says it has set a new record for the most snowfall it has received in a 12 hour period, peaking at 7 inches per hour.
The atmospheric river that just slammed the Bay Area and the Lake Tahoe region left some massive snowfall numbers in its wake. And with another major storm on the way, the region could be closing in on last winter's snowfall total by the end of this week.

Tahoe Weather reports that some areas got up to 4 feet of snow in the storm with one resort, Heavenly Valley, getting 53 inches over the New Year's weekend. Kirkwood Meadows was not far behind with 47 inches.

"January is starting out with nearly 50% of the average for the entire monthly already" Tahoe Weather tweeted.

Comment: This latest dump comes just days after another had hit the region, see: Storm brings fresh snow to Mammoth Mountain, California - up to 3 feet deep

Cloud Precipitation

Floods kill 51 in Philippines, 46,000 others forced to flee (UPDATES)

This handout photo taken on Dec. 25, 2022 and received on Dec. 26 from the Philippine Coast Guard shows rescuers evacuating people from a flooded area in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental.
This handout photo taken on Dec. 25, 2022 and received on Dec. 26 from the Philippine Coast Guard shows rescuers evacuating people from a flooded area in Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental.
At least eight people have died, and nearly 46,000 others have fled their homes in the Philippines after the country was hit by heavy flooding on Christmas Day.

Another 19 people are still missing after a week of heavy seasonal rains in the southern and eastern parts of the archipelago, according to its civil defence authorities.

The coastguard rescued more than two dozen families in the towns of Ozamiz and Clarin at the height of the flooding.

At least 150 people died in October after a violent tropical storm caused landslides and flooding across the country.

Comment: Update December 29

AFP reports:
Death toll from Philippine floods, landslides climbs to 39

This handout photo courtesy of Angelica Villarta taken on December 27, 2022 and received on December 28 shows residents surveying damage caused by heavy rain and floods in Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental.

This handout photo courtesy of Angelica Villarta taken on December 27, 2022 and received on December 28 shows residents surveying damage caused by heavy rain and floods in Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental.
Four people died in the southern Philippines after being hit by a landslide, authorities said on Thursday, taking the nationwide death toll from recent rains to at least 39.

Rescuers were still searching for more than two dozen other people missing after heavy downpours over the Christmas weekend caused flooding and landslides across central and southern regions.

The latest deaths happened on Wednesday in Mati City in the province of Davao Oriental on Mindanao island when a landslide buried four people as they fished, the national disaster agency said.

Authorities recovered the bodies of the victims, who include two teenagers.

"There was a heavy downpour in the mountains. They were fishing in a river when the landslide occurred," Mati City police chief Ernesto Gregore told AFP.

The weather turned bad over the weekend as the disaster-prone nation of 110 million people prepared for a long Christmas holiday.

Hundreds of houses have since been destroyed and more than 7,000 hectares (17,300 acres) of crops wiped out by rains that have forced tens of thousands of people into evacuation centres, the national disaster agency said.

Most of the fatalities have been in the province of Misamis Occidental, also on Mindanao, where 16 people died from drowning or rain-induced landslides.
Update January 2, 2023

AP reports:
Death toll climbs to 51 in Philippines flood, more than a dozen still missing

Thousands of people in the Philippines remained in emergency shelters in the wake of devastating Christmas flooding, as the death toll climbed to 51 with 19 missing, authorities said Monday.

Images showed residents in southern Misamis Occidental province sweeping away thick mud from the floors of their homes. In the seaside village of Cabol-anonan, coconut trees were uprooted and huts made of light material were nearly flattened.

The Northern Mindanao region bore the brunt of the disaster, reporting 25 deaths, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Most of the deaths were from drowning and landslides, and among the missing were fishermen whose boats capsized.

Floods have subsided in most parts, but more than 8,600 people were still in shelters.

Over 4,500 houses were damaged by the floods, along with roads and bridges, and some areas still struggle with disrupted power and water supply, the disaster management agency said.

Ivy Amor Amparo, a hospital worker from Ginoog city in Misamis Oriental province, said that the seaside home of her parents and siblings was damaged by big waves and uprooted trees. Rescuers ferried the mother of two and her relatives in a truck to a nearby shelter, where they spent the Christmas weekend.

She said her father bought materials using the 5,000 pesos ($90) cash aid from the local government to build a temporary shelter for the household, whose seven members are now miserably cramped in the small living room of the damaged house.

"Their things are still with the neighbor and some in our house," Amparo told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "When they need to take a bath at the community water pump, they have to get their clothes from the neighbor's house."

Officials said the government sent food and other essentials, deployed heavy equipment for clearing operations, and provided iron sheets and shelter repair kits. Teams from the capital Manila were sent to assist communities with limited clean water in setting up water filtration systems.

At least 22 cities and municipalities have declared a state of calamity. The move will allow the release of emergency funds and hasten rehabilitation efforts.

A shear line — the point where warm and cold air meet — triggered heavy rains in parts of the country last week, causing the floods, the state weather bureau said.

Cloud Lightning

2022: Storms, Sheets of Rain and Tornadoes in the Netherlands

storm corrie scheveningen
© indebuurt
Storm Corrie touches down in Scheveningen, a district of The Hague, Netherlands, on January 31st, 2022.
There was a stormy start to 2022 as at least four storms battered the Netherlands throughout the end of January and February. During the year, the country also saw snowfall, floods, sinkholes, tornadoes and fireballs. Below are some highlights from extreme weather events in the Netherlands in 2022.

Comment: See also: