Extreme Temperatures


South Africa heatwave claims 11 lives, as dam levels plunge 30%

South Africa heatwave
© EPA / Dennis M Sabangan File: South Africans are urged to keep hydrated during the heatwave

South African health officials said 11 people have died of heatstroke after a week-long heatwave across the country.

Provincial spokesman Tebogo Lekgethwane said Sunday, January 10, that eight people died on January 7, as temperatures passed 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the North West province. Three more people died on January 8, and 16 others were hospitalized.

According to the South African Weather Service, the North West province reached record temperatures this week, with the highest at 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit). The weather service warned that high temperatures may give way severe thunderstorms in the coming week.

In neighboring Namibia, the Namibian Press Association reported that severe storms damaged 31 houses, affecting nearly 100 people in recent weeks.

Parts of southern Africa are experiencing a drought due to the El Nino weather phenomenon.


Comment: As the heatwave intensifies, dam levels have plunged by 30%, as the country experiences its most severe drought since 1992.

Ice Cube

Record number of 600 turtles rescued from ocean following cold snap in North Carolina

Cold-stunned turtle
State biologists now say a record number of turtles were rescued earlier this week from our coast.

In all, 600 cold-stunned turtles were caught in frigid waters near the shore, as they were not able to swim.

The North Carolina Aquariums took in nearly 450 turtles, including the one at Pine Knoll Shores. Many of the turtles have made a quick recovery, but others need additional time and care before they can return to the ocean.

State officials say about 200 of the turtles will be transported to South Carolina & Georgia beaches tomorrow where they will be released into warmer waters. The rest will stay here for a couple of weeks for rehabilitation.

Snowflake Cold

Blizzards sweep across Armenia blocking major highways

Armenia - A highway covered with snow
© mtaes.amArmenia - A highway in Syunik province covered with snow, 1Jan 2016.
Unusually strong snowstorms have swept through Armenia in recent days, killing one person, blocking major highways and leaving many cars stranded.

The blizzards aggravated by freezing temperatures began on New Year's Eve and continued in various parts of the country in the following days. The southeastern Syunik province was hit particularly hard by the calamity.

Police found on Tuesday the dead body of a 48-year-old man near Goris, a town in Syunik. The man, who worked as a guard at a local cattle farm, reportedly went missing on Monday after heading home to get some food.

The continuing heavy snowfall in the area blocked on Tuesday morning traffic through a road connecting Goris to another regional town, Sisian. Dozens of vehicles were left stranded there.

Ice Cube

CCTV shows moment huge blocks of snow fall off shop roof onto pedestrians in Turkey

Snow falls on shoppers
© LiveLeak/DHACalm before the storm: Shoppers mill about on the High Street oblivious to the danger
This is the breath-taking moment a group of unwitting shoppers are felled by a MASSIVE snowfall .

The clip shows pedestrians milling about on a busy high street in Turkey.

Out of nowhere, a few flakes of snow begin to fall from the shop roofs above.

Then suddenly several tonnes of the white stuff descends from the heavens.

One man gets hit with such force that he collapses to the ground.

Snowflake Cold

Dozens of villages in Georgia lose power following heavy snowfall

Snowfall in Georgia
Heavy snow continues today in a number of cities and regions in both west and east Georgia (former Soviet Republic).

Snow depth in the western town of Zugdidi, Tsalenjikha, Kobuleti, Batumi reaches 50-70 cm (20-28 inches) in some areas and other nearby cities - 1 meter (39 inches).

The temperature dropped to minus 10.5 degrees, in mountainous areas - to minus 15-20 degrees Celsius. Also in Abkhazia the heavy snow knocked out power to dozens of villages of western Georgia.

Power teams are working almost around the clock to restore power and brigades of workers with heavy machinery are working to clear the highways.


Rare Ivory gull from the Arctic turns up in Duluth, Minnesota

Ivory Gull
© Amar AyyashIvory Gull in Duluth
An Ivory Gull, resident of Arctic ice edges, has been seen for the past several days at Canal Park in Duluth.

This small gull is all white in breeding plumage, with black legs and feet.

The Duluth bird shows the random black marking of a bird in its first winter.

Ivory Gulls have been seen before in Minnesota, but rarely. Perhaps 2016 is opening with the year's highlight bird.


Update: Death toll from Storm Goliath in Texas and New Mexico up to 40,000 head of cattle

1966 South Dakota Blizzard
© NOAAA snow-covered steer in South Dakota after a blizzard in 1966.
While Ireland battles with widespread flooding, snow and wind in the US has caused havoc on dairy farms.

Storm Goliath tore through Clovis, New Mexico, where Glanbia are involved in cheese manufacture, and Lubbock, Texas last weekend. The storm dumped 22 inches of snow driven by wind speeds of 100km/h, causing havoc on dairy farms where it left over 40,000 dairy cattle dead and closed down most dairies.

News of the disaster took some time to come from the region as producers started clearing the snow on feed passages and dealing with power cuts throughout the area.

Texas Association of Dairymen is contacting state and federal leaders seeking assistance. In addition to the 40,000 dairy cattle lost during the storm, beef cattle feedlots are also affected. The huge loss will make any indemnity program trying to make a real impact to the affected farmers hard to achieve as most of the dairy cattle losses in Texas comes from just three counties. One farmer lost 350 cows and there are 30 other farmers in a similar situation.

The Clovis News Journal reported that the Glanbia-run Southwest Cheese of Clovis operated at just 10% of normal delivery on Monday; it had recovered to 90% on Wednesday.

Comment: Earlier report: Snow Blizzard kills more than 30,000 dairy cows in Texas, New Mexico (number could climb higher)


Seven feet of snow closes roads in Naran, Pakistan

Snow on road
Residents of Naran valley on Thursday stuck as all communication lines and roads have been blocked because of heavy snowfall which was more than seven feet.

According to the residents of Naran valley a large number of locals have migrated to other cities of Hazara division while some of the people are still residing in the area despite the hardships of the weather and shortage of firewood.

General Councilor of Naran valley Muhammad Haneef while talking to media alleged that after the heavy snowfall, electricity and PTCL lines have been completely damaged and mobile phone companies have also stopped their operation in the area.


Record snowfall for Sudbury, Ontario

 Sudbury snow
© Jonathan Migneault.The sidewalk leading to the pedestrian tunnel connecting Riverside Drive to Elgin Street and downtown Sudbury, remained uncleared for much of the day Wednesday, after a record 33 centimetres of snow blanketed Greater Sudbury Tuesday.
City to start clearing high-use bus stops Wednesday night

It's expected to take the city two more days to clear all 425 kilometres of sidewalks and walkways in Greater Sudbury, after a record 33-centimetre snowfall Tuesday.

"They're making good progress," said City of Greater Sudbury spokesperson Shannon Dowling.

Tony Cecutti, the city's general manager of infrastructure, said the focus on clearing Greater Sudbury's 3,560-kilometre municipal road network within 24 hours slowed down efforts to clean up sidewalks and walkways.

"Unfortunately, we've filled in some of the sidewalks with our own plows," he said.

The city plowed all streets and roadways by 4 a.m. Wednesday, and proceeded with second passes throughout the rest of the day.


New December snowfall record for Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park has broken its snowfall record for December, with close to 197 inches of snow recorded.

The Mail Tribune reports the previous record of 196 inches was set in December 1948.

The park currently has a snowpack of about 100 inches. The readings are taken in an area near the park's visitor center.

A long-term forecast predicts southwest Oregon will see close to average snowfall and precipitation in January, with a slightly wetter-than-normal period through March.

Source: Associated Press