Earth ChangesS

Bizarro Earth

Bulgarian cold snap's toll climbs to nine

Heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures that hit Bulgaria this week claimed a ninth victim Sunday, Info radio reported as the country struggled to get back to normal.

A severely frostbitten man found near the northeastern town of Kavarna died in hospital, the station reported.

The body of another victim of the cold, a 64-year-old gardener, was found Saturday in the southern region of Pazardzhik, Trud daily newspaper reported.

Bizarro Earth

World to cool slightly in 2008: British experts

World temperatures will cool slightly in 2008, but it will remain among the top 10 hottest years on record, British weather experts predicted Thursday.

The impact of a strong La Nina climate pattern over the Pacific will help keep temperatures down, according to the annual forecast by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia.

Overall the global temperature is expected to be 0.37 degree Celsius above the long-term average of 14.0 degree, making it the coolest year since 2000 when the value was 0.24 degree C above the average.

Cloud Lightning

Two dead as western US lashed by snow, rain

Heavy snow and rain pounded the western United States for a third day Sunday as state officials confirmed two fatalities from the storms that have pummeled the region.

California was drenched with up to 10 inches (25 cm) of rainfall in some regions as mountain communities in the east of state and neighboring Nevada were blanketed by nearly six feet (two meters) of snow in places, National Weather Service figures showed.

Around 110,000 homes and businesses remained affected by power outages across California, down from more than 800,000 on Friday when the worst of a series of storms slammed into San Francisco and its surrounding areas.


It's raining iguanas after Florida cold snap

An unexpected cold snap this week sent thermometers plummeting in Florida and heat-hungry iguanas dropping from tree branches like autumn leaves, scientists and witnesses said.

Passersby in Bill Baggs and Crandon parks in Key Biscayne, south of Miami, were seen picking up the seemingly lifeless lizards from the ground beneath trees and setting them in the sun, where after a brief warm-up, most revived and scampered off into the bushes.

The cold-blooded lizard-with-a-mohawk's comfort level begins at 23 degrees Celsius (73 Fahrenheit) and it positively thrives at 35 C (95 F). But on Wednesday and Thursday, the mercury in south Florida dropped to 4-5 C (39-41 F).

Bizarro Earth

Australian climate changing, experts say

Australia experienced one of its hottest years on record in 2007, and climate experts have warned that the higher temperatures are likely a taste of things to come as weather patterns change.

The country has already kicked off 2008 with a spate of extreme weather -- several cities, including Perth and Melbourne, have suffered summer heatwaves, while bushfires have raged on the east and west coasts.

Meanwhile, heavy rain has caused flooding along the east coast, huge waves have forced the closure of Sydney beaches and Cyclone Helen has brought winds of up to 130 kilometres (80 miles) an hour to the northern city of Darwin.


Russia struggles to stay warm in deepening winter freeze

Russian emergency services struggled to maintain the country's often creaky heating infrastructure on Saturday as temperatures in some of the coldest regions on Earth plunged to bone-chilling levels, officials said.

The Emergency Situations Ministry said in a statement it was providing emergency help in a village in the Siberian province of Yakutia where a fault in a main heating pipeline had left 11 apartment buildings, home to 175 people, without heat.

Outdoor temperatures in the village of Artyk had plunged to minus 54 degrees Celsius (minus 65 Fahrenheit) in recent days, according to the provincial newspaper Yasia.


Br-r-r! Where did global warming go?

THE STARK headline appeared just over a year ago. "2007 to be 'warmest on record,' " BBC News reported on Jan. 4, 2007. Citing experts in the British government's Meteorological Office, the story announced that "the world is likely to experience the warmest year on record in 2007," surpassing the all-time high reached in 1998.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the planetary hot flash: Much of the planet grew bitterly cold.

Cloud Lightning

Ice slows cleanup in flooded Nev. town

FERNLEY, Nev. - Hundreds of homes sat in as much as 8 feet of water Sunday following a canal rupture as freezing temperatures hindered efforts to get the water to drain away.

As many as 400 homes were damaged when the canal's bank gave way following heavy rainfall produced by the West Coast storm system that had piled snow at least 5 feet deep in the Sierra Nevada and blacked out thousands of customers in three states. At least three deaths were blamed on the storm.

"In 10 minutes the entire back yard was completely flooded. It was just nothing but water," said Kristin Watson, whose home backs up to part of the canal. "We just sort of panicked because we knew we had to get out of there real quick."


Heavy snow blankets Iran, blocks major roads

Heavy overnight snowfalls covered most parts of Iran on Sunday, leading to closure of schools and major roads and cancelled domestic flights.

Most of the Iranian cities, particularly those located in the northern parts of the country, were blanketed by non-stop snowfall which still continues.

Primary and secondary schools were closed in Tehran and most cities including in Qazvin where university classes were also cancelled due to heavy snow.


Better Earth

Earthquake jolts Greece

Athens, Greece -- A powerful earthquake measured at magnitude 6.1 and centered about 75 miles southwest of Athens startled residents of southern Greece Sunday morning, but there were no immediate reports of damage.