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Wed, 30 Nov 2022
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Extreme Temperatures

Snowflake Cold

U.S. Cities set all-time record lows as Siberian Express freezes Midwest, Northeast and South

Hundreds of daily record lows and at least three all-time record lows have been set as a frigid air mass with a connection to Siberia grips the central and eastern United States with dangerously cold conditions. Friday morning brought the most widespread and intense cold of the winter to many areas, sending temperatures into the 30s below zero as far south as Kentucky.

The cities plotted on this map have recently recorded their lowest temperatures for any date in at least 10 years.
The cities plotted on this map have recently recorded their lowest temperatures for any date in at least 10 years.

Lynchburg, Virginia, plummeted to 11 below zero Friday morning, setting a new all-time record low for any day of the year. The previous record was 10 below zero on Jan. 21, 1985, and Feb. 5, 1996. Impressively, Lynchburg's temperature records go all the way back to 1893.

Flint, Michigan, tied its all-time record low of 25 below zero, originally set Jan. 18, 1976. Weather records in Flint began in 1921.

Earlier this week Erie, Pennsylvania, had tied its all-time record low when it reached 18 below zero Monday. That tied the record set Jan. 19, 1994. Not far away, Jamestown, New York, set an all-time record low of 31 below zero Tuesday, though its records only go back to 1960.

At least 72 daily record lows were set Friday morning from Connecticut to Florida to as far west as Indiana, including major cities such as New York, Baltimore, Washington, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Detroit and Cincinnati.

According to NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, 647 record lows were tied or broken Sunday through Thursday. This figure includes not only major airport reporting stations, but also smaller cooperative observation sites in rural areas.

More Friday Morning Records

All-time February record lows: Cleveland has broken its all-time record low for the month of February, reaching 17 below zero. The previous February record was minus 16 on Feb. 10, 1899, in the nation's worst arctic outbreak in modern memory. It is also Cleveland's coldest day since Jan. 19, 1994, when the city set its all-time record of 20 below zero.

Comment: America struck by 'Siberian Express' high-pressure system

Ice Cube

Grebes struggle as Great Lakes freeze over

© Lynn Chamberlain
A stranded grebe
Animal rescue workers in southern Ontario are struggling to keep up with an influx of injured grebes, a species of waterbird that's fast running out of splashdown spots as the Great Lakes freeze over.

Grebes are smaller cousins to the loon, and spend their entire lives in the air or on the water. But with more than 80 per cent of the Great Lakes covered in ice, grebes are having a tough time finding open water to land in during Ontario's deep freeze. That's forced some grebes to touch down on solid ground, where they lack the ability to walk or take flight again.

"If the grebes land on land, they're dead," said Gail Lenters, who operates the Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge, located north of Toronto, near Lake Simcoe.

Comment: It appears to shaping up to be a re-run of last years' mass avian die-off (due to the extreme cold and extensive ice cover), see these March, 2014 reports:

Hundreds of ducks found dead around Great Lakes due to ice cover

10 Fold increase in the number of dying water birds rescued in Toronto due to extreme cold

Death toll of waterbirds on frozen Lake Erie likely to number tens of thousands

Ice Cube

Frozen sand towers filmed in St Joseph, Michigan


Windswept sand formations at Silver Beach County Park
A pair of Michigan photographers captured photos and video of intricate sand structures created by the wind eroding frozen sand at a beach.

Joshua Nowicki, 35, said he spotted the 12-inch-tall structures on Silver Beach in St. Joseph on Valentine's Day and decided to photograph the "sand towers" to make up for missing an opportunity to capture images of similar structures he discovered on a beach about three years ago.

Nowicki captured several images and a short video showing off the structures.


Snow covers the Middle East


Palestinian children play in the snow in the village of Tuqu' near the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Friday.
A rare cold front swept through the middle east on Thursday and Friday, blanketing parts of Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon with snow.

Roads in and out of Jerusalem were closed and streets deserted in the Jordanian capital of Amman.

The snow covered large swathes of desert, and Jerusalem's famous western wall and Bethlehem's nativity church were sprinkled with white.

The Syrian capital Damascus and surrounding mountains also got snow, while a snowstorm in neighbouring Lebanon closed most mountain roads, isolating villages.


A Syrian refugee child clears snow in Istanbul, Turkey.


Niagara Falls is now a frozen icescape

climber niagara falls
© Daily News
Will Gadd ice climbs the first ascent of Niagara Falls earlier this week.
It may have felt too cold on Friday in much of the East to even think of walking outside. But since drones don't feel cold, why not fly one over a mostly frozen Niagara Falls? That's exactly what Canadian videographer Brent Foster did on Friday.

The results were spectacular. Raise your cup of hot chocolate (or iced tea, if you're out West) to Foster, who told Slate's Eric Holthaus about stepping into the frozen icescape to guide his drone and film the video.

Arrow Up

Great Lakes ice up four times as much since 1995

There is four times as much ice on the Great Lakes as there was 20 years ago. Experts say that global warming is to blame.

The EPA wants to ban fossil fuels, because they are making lake ice disappear in the US

Comment: Forget About Global Warming: We're One Step From Extinction!


Snowy Owl seen in Hungary for the first time since 1891

© Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society/József Mészáros and Dénes Laczik
Snowy owl
A snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) has been photographed in Hungary's southern Baranya county for the second time since records began, the Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society has said. The only previous occasion the cold-loving animal has been spotted in Hungary was in 1891.

The owl was photographed at the settlement of Bóly in Baranya county, after which bird-watchers from the ornithological society travelled to the scene to verify the sighting. Subsequently, several observers arrived to the area and a large number of good-quality photographs were taken.

Snowflake Cold

America struck by 'Siberian Express' high-pressure system

© Kiichiro Sato/AP

Ice and snow lead to record freeze in the USA
Temperatures plummet up to 40 degrees below their normal February levels across much of eastern America

A bitterly cold chill known as the "Siberian Express" has enveloped much of eastern America, sending temperatures plummeting up to 40 degrees below their normal February levels to record lows in at least 100 places.

Southern states such as Tennessee and Kentucky suffered some of the most extreme drops on the thermometer as bone-chilling air from Siberia settled on the region after snowstorms passed through.

The relentless cold has blanketed the country's north-east for weeks, alternating heavy snowfall with spells of clear but gnawingly chilly skies.

In New York's Central Park, temperatures were expected to fall to -17C, but that was before a windchill factor with gusts that made it feel another 10 degrees colder. The city is on course for its coldest February in history.


Record snowfall traps İstanbul with more flights and ferries cancelled


Turkish Airlines cancelled all domestic flights in and out of Istanbul Atatürk International Airport on Thursday morning, due to heavy snowfall.
The heavy snowfall began on Tuesday, continued into Wednesday and caught over 14 million Istanbulites off guard.

Turkey's largest city İstanbul was hit by a storm that has dumped up enormous amounts of snow in some areas, wreaking havoc on roads. The depth of the snow reached its deepest on İstanbul's European side neighborhood of Çatalca at 70 centimeters.

Turkey's national carrier, the Turkish Airlines (THY), canceled its some flights on Thursday, both domestic and international, due to the two-day snowstorm. A list of canceled flights is available on the THY website. İstanbul authorities also closed some ferry lines on Thursday.


Monster snowfall completely buries cars and streets on Prince Edward Island, Canada

© Kathryn Reed-Garrett
Summerside PEI
OMGosh!!!! - this is Summerside PEI this morning!! photo from CBC New Brunswick pic.twitter.com/MwpUuy2h57
Snow always makes driving more difficult, but in Prince Edward Island, so much of it has fallen many people can't even find their cars.

A winter storm has dropped almost a metre of snow in the past few days, and it's often hard to see where the road ends and the ditch begins. On some rural roads, snowbanks are piled three times higher than the people standing next to them.

The Journal Pioneer reported that some residents dug an eight-metre-long tunnel to try to find their car under white stuff piled two storeys high. The island itself is nearly invisible when viewed from space, as satellite images show.