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Snowflake Cold

Update! Now 25% of Slovenia is without power, 40% schools closed as blizzards compound ice storm

Slovenia Ice Storm Road Cleanup
© www.rtvslo.si
Firefighters work through the night to clear fallen tree limbs

Heavy freezing rain in Slovenia has caused widespread power outages and the closing of many roads across the European nation. Approximately 10% of the country was without power due to downed power lines and damaged transformers.

Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek announced that Slovenia had requested aid from the European Union, as well as help from neighboring Italy and Croatia to help repair the country's damaged electrical distribution network. She also stated that it may take up to a week to complete all the repairs, as current icy conditions and fallen trees and branches on roadways are impeding repair crews.

Comment: Update 5 February 2014

Further blizzards have hit Eastern Europe, leaving 25% of Slovenians without power and 40% of schools closed.

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Bizarro Earth

California simultaneous freeze and drought badly damages citrus crops - U.S. food prices to increase

citrus crops freeze
© CBS
Citrus crops frozen during a cold weather snap
Monday citrus growers found out how much of an impact the deep freeze which gripped our area in December had on citrus crops. The freeze ruined millions of dollars' worth of citrus and that is expected to drive up food prices in the coming in the months.

At the peak of citrus season Kings River Packing hires about a thousand people to harvest and sort fruit. But this year the family owned operation may have to scale back on hiring after getting hit by a double whammy. The statewide drought and the deep December citrus freeze have ruined a lot of fruit.

"Industry wise there's a lot of damage. Some people did get hit harder than others. The ultimate effect is going to be the jobs," ColbyCampbell with Kings River Packing said.

Igloo

Southern Austria on highest avalanche alert after heavy snow

Heaviest snow in 15 years - At least two people killed.

Snow in Southern Austria
© Reuters
With more snow in the forecast, more than 1,000 soldiers have been put on standby for helicopter rescue operations.


Igloo

Ice age cometh: 'Natural solar cycles will bring worst cold in 200 years'

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"We are not capable of addressing climate change." Such was the lead sentence of climate-change guest columnist Gregory Willits, in the Dec. 24 edition of the Orlando Sentinel ("Let's accept climate change and deal with it in a big way"). It was an accurate statement to be sure, but for all the wrong reasons.

Willits, an avowed "green" enthusiast, went on to strongly support the building of sea walls to keep out the predicted rising sea levels that the world's greatest climate scaremonger, Al Gore, has said will swamp most of Florida with 21 feet of sea water by the year 2100. Yes, we are not capable of addressing climate change - the truth about climate change, that is.

The truth of what is really happening to the climate versus the United Nations and current U.S. government version is, however, a bit hard to accept after two decades of global-warming propaganda. I know. It was for me in April 2007, after finishing some research into solar activity.

Comment: See also:

Ice Age Cometh: Russian Academy of Sciences experts warn of imminent cold period: "Global warming is a marketing trick"


Snowflake

Same old Groundhog Day; Phil predicts more winter

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Punxsutawney Phil, a famed U.S. groundhog with an even more famous shadow, emerged from his burrow on Sunday and predicted six more weeks of winter, much to the chagrin of those hoping for an early spring.

The rotund rodent exited his subterranean residence at Gobblers Knob in the western Pennsylvania town of Punxsutawney around 7:30 a.m. on Groundhog Day.

The fuzzy forecaster made his appearance to the shouts of "groundhog," as eager spectators waited to see whether the groundhog - as the legend goes - would see his shadow and predict six more weeks of snow and freezing temperatures. If not, North Americans can expect an early spring.

This year, Phil predicted that winter will stretch on.

The annual Groundhog Day event, made more popular by the 1993 film comedy "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray, draws thousands of faithful followers from as far away as Australia and Russia.

Phil's forecast of six more weeks of winter was bittersweet for some in attendance.

"I happen to be a positive person, so I do embrace the here and now and I will enjoy the next six weeks of winter with the best attitude and be happy to be alive and healthy with my good friends," said Lori Weber, 54, a real estate broker from Sewickley, Pennsylvania.

Others came out early, braving drizzle and low-light, just to experience the event.

Carrie Juvan, 37, of Cleveland, Ohio came with her father.

"We are here having a blast because dad put it on his bucket list. I like snow but I am ready for the spring. He asked me about it months ago and I instantly said yes," she said.

Ice Cube

When winter really was winter: the last of the London Frost Fairs

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Cold? Fed up with the weather? It could be worse. Cahal Milmo looks back to the day, exactly 200 years ago, when the river Thames froze solid

"Father Frost and Sister Snow have boneyed my borders, formed an idol of ice upon my bosom, and all the lads of London come to make merry."

"Father Frost and Sister Snow have boneyed my borders, formed an idol of ice upon my bosom, and all the lads of London come to make merry."

Two centuries ago today, this was how one poetic soul announced for the last time an event unlikely to be seen again - the freezing of the Thames.

On 1 February 1814, Londoners awoke to find that after weeks of bitter chill, drifting snow and a fog which resembled "darkness that might be felt", the Thames had ground to an icy halt over a 1,000m stretch between Blackfriars and London Bridge.

The capital's inhabitants responded by settling down to a raucous and bibulous mid-winter party in the shape of a five-day Frost Fair.

In a meteorological event which seems unthinkable from the vantage point of the relentlessly soggy winter of 2014, London and much of England was gripped by temperatures which fell to -13C, bringing chaos as roads became blocked with snow to depths of 6ft. Tales were legion of mail coaches becoming trapped in drifts and the poor, unable to afford coal, freezing in their homes.

But in the midst of wintry misery, a brief respite was afforded as the flow of the Thames in central London slowed, ice floes formed and finally on the morning of 1 February the principal means of transportation for the wealth of the emerging British Empire became a frozen pleasure gardens. Within hours, boatmen deprived of their normal living derived from ferrying passengers across the river had set up signs declaring it was safe to walk across the ice.

Comment: On the contrary, all the real world, empirical evidence points to fact that it's very likely to happen once more.


Snowflake Cold

Serbia declares state of emergency as severe snow storms strike central and eastern Europe

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Swathes of eastern Europe have been hit by high winds and snow. Here, a woman is seen through a frozen window as she walks away from the exit of a subway station in Bucharest, Romania
Serbia declared localised state of emergency zones yesterday as it deployed the army to rescue more than 1,000 people stranded by severe snow storms that have blitzed the centre and east of the continent.

Authorities said a number of roads throughout northern Serbia were blocked by snow drifts, with cars lining up in columns for several miles. Authorities warned motorist not to travel unless strictly necessary.

Over 1,000 people had to be rescued by the army and emergency services after becoming stuck on a road linking Serbia to Hungary for 15 hours.

With wind speeds gusting at over 100 miles an hour, forcing the government to impose truck traffic bans on vehicles travelling from Hungary or Romania.

A military helicopter rescued nearly two dozen people from their cars on a road about 30 miles northeast of the capital Belgrade and up to sixty people were stranded overnight in their vehicles elsewhere.

Binoculars

Rare Arctic bird turns up in Darwin, Australia

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© ABC
Rare Arctic bird, the Grey Phalarope, has been spotted in a Darwin sewerage pond years after it was last sighted in Australia
Bird watchers are furious at being blocked from a Darwin sewerage facility where a lost Arctic bird has been spotted, because a crocodile is lurking in the ponds.

The grey phalarope, with its dirty white feathers, has been floating around the Leanyer sewage facility for the last few days.

Local bird watchers do not know how it got to Darwin, as it usually breeds in the Arctic tundra and there have been no sightings of it in Australia for years.

Experts speculate it broke away from pack of the migrating birds and got lost.

Twitchers from around the country are flying into the Territory today to get a rare glimpse of the bird.

But the owner of the site, Power and Water, has ruffled feathers with news it is barricading the sewerage ponds because of heavy rain and the arrival of a crocodile.

Comment: For the last couple of months, across the northern hemisphere, extremely cold weather conditions have been driving many wintering Arctic and boreal bird species much further south than is usual. These include Snowy Owls recorded in Hawaii and Bermuda!! Additionally, many are turning up in unprecedented numbers. This all points to a probable return of the Ice Age. See also this selection: UK storms bring in rare Arctic gulls to Pembrokeshire

Storm blows Canadian bird 3,000 miles on to Tyrone lough, Northern Ireland

Bird watchers flock to Portland, UK after a rare Arctic Brunnich's Guillemot spotted

Ice Age Cometh: Snowy Owl invasion coming in North America?

Maine experiencing a Canadian owl invasion

Incredible Hawk Owl invasion in Estonia!

Huge Snowy Owl invasion becomes official in Canada and U.S.

Thousands of Hawk Owls descend on Finland as food in northern Russia runs out

Ice Age Cometh: Unprecedented influx of Arctic Ivory Gulls into UK


Binoculars

UK storms bring in rare Arctic gulls to Pembrokeshire

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© Richard Stonier
RARE FIND: A Kumlien’s gull, which comes from Arctic Canada, has been spotted in Pembrokeshire
The storms that have battered Pembrokeshire in recent weeks have brought with them a number of Arctic visitors.

One of the worst affected areas, Newgale, has been the focal point for local and visiting bird watchers.

Rare gulls, such as Glaucous and Iceland gulls, have been spotted on the beach and on the nearby flooded marshes.

Hundreds of Kittiwakes have also been seen. These small gulls normally stay further out to sea and only come inshore when storms hit.

At Newgale they have been feasting on wrecked shellfish.

The rarest visitor found so far is the Kumlien's gull, which comes from Arctic Canada. It can be found close to the Brandy Brook outflow.

To learn more visit www.birdsonline.co.uk

Snowflake Cold

Heavy snowfalls and blizzard hammer southern Romania

romania blizzard
© AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda
People wait in a snowed in bus stop during a blizzard in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. Weather forecasters issued a code red severe weather warning as a second wave of blizzards affects the southeastern regions of Romania disrupting road and rail traffic.
Up to half a meter of snow in 24 hours paralyzes 18 counties in Southern and Southeastern Romania. Tens of villages left without electricity.

Authorities have issued the first ever code red for massive snows and wind.

Around 5,000 troops in Romania are helping to clear snow after up to 50cm (20 inches) fell in some parts of the country in 24 hours.