Extreme Temperatures

Snowflake Cold

Coldest end to April in more than 30 years for the UK

Snow in April
© Press Association
April is no stranger to snow. It falls most years in Scotland and northern hills of England and Wales - more so at the start of the month. Winter road gritting services continue until May.

On Tuesday we saw sleet, snow - as well as hail and graupel (soft hail) in many locations across the country.

On Wednesday night the temperature dipped to -8C in Cairngorm, Scotland - not out of the ordinary this time of year up there - but the air across the whole of Britain and Northern Ireland was also below freezing by the early hours. The ground/grass temperatures fell to -9C, even in southern counties. Dead plants anyone?

Wintry sleet, hail and snow this widespread, at this stage in April was last reported in 1989 and 1997. It last snowed in London in late April in 1985.

Snowflake Cold

Deep freeze: Cold causing havoc for winegrowers in Switzerland

Farmers in Grisons, Switzerland protecting their vineyards from frost on April 27 with thousands of fire lights.
© Meteo EuropeFarmers in Grisons, Switzerland protecting their vineyards from frost on April 27 with thousands of fire lights.
Temperatures dipped below freezing in many parts of Switzerland on Wednesday night, with the intense cold causing havoc for winegrowers.

April weather is notoriously fickle in Switzerland but Wednesday night was one out of the box.

With temperatures ranging from - 3C to 0C in many parts of the country, winegrowers resorted to desperate measures to save their crops.

In eastern Switzerland's Bündner Herrschaft wine region where clear skies meant frosty conditions, vintners and volunteers braved the cold to lay out so-called frost candles.


Arctic narwhal strands on Belgium shore for the first time ever

For the first time in recorded history, the
© Koninklijk Belgisch Instituut voor NatuurwetenschappenFor the first time in recorded history, the "unicorn of the sea" has washed up dead in Belgium.
The last time one of these near-mythical beasts was spotted in western Europe was in 1949 (the same year the Polaroid camera first came to market). The animal's skeleton will be moved to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, where it will join the collections as an important natural history specimen.

"This sighting is particularly significant as in the past 14 months we've had other Arctic cetaceans visit our waters," explains Dr Peter Evans, founder of the Sea Watch Foundation, an organisation that works to monitor whales, dolphins and porpoises in the area. "Sea temperatures were unusually low last spring, and [there's] a possibility that the fragmentation of floating ice may have resulted in whales typically associated with pack ice straying much further south." One such animal was a beluga whale, the only other species in the family Monodontidae, to which narwhals also belong.

Narwhals (Monodon monoceros) are known to travel in groups of 15 to 20 individuals, so there is some concern among scientists that this carcass won't be the only one to surface. However, the topology of the North Sea has been known to function as a "whale trap" under certain conditions, and it's entirely possible that this animal was separated from its pod.


Extreme heat wave kills 300 across South Asia, hottest month still ahead

India heatwave
© Adnan Abidi / ReutersA boy cools himself off as he sits under a fountain on a hot summer day in New Delhi.
South Asia has been setting temperature records: A roasting heat wave has been ripping through much of the region since early April. Hundreds of people suffered severe heat strokes in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam, while the death toll in India exceeded 300.

Scorching temperatures have allowed at least three countries to set new all-time national heat records with Thailand, which has kept records since 1950, leading the way.

After Sukhothai, Thailand set the first record of 111.7 degrees Fahrenheit (44.3 degrees Celsius), on April 12, on Friday a remote, mountainous province in northern Thailand, Mae Hong Son banked in a record in with 112.3 degrees Fahrenheit (44.6 degrees Celcius), according to Christopher Burt, a weather historian with wunderground.com. He added that since April 19, more than 50 urban areas have recorded heat records.

"As of now we can say we've broken the record for the highest temperatures over the longest duration in 65 years - and the season isn't over yet," said Surapong Sarapa, head of the Thai Meteorological Department's weather forecast division.

Starting from March, the extreme heat has claimed the lives of as many as 21 people, Thai Department of Communicable Disease Control said Thursday. Thirteen of the victims succumbed to heat outside their homes, two in vehicles, one in a temple, and five in houses. Authorities called for the population to stay indoors and drink lots of water to avoid heatstroke.


Cold Spring weather cancels official opening of snowed on Snowdon mountain in Wales

© Hefin OwenSnowdon
The railway track is covered in snow and sections of paths are very slippery

Tourists and locals who had been waiting for the opening of Snowdon's summit this weekend will have to wait another week due to more heavy snow.

Despite workers' efforts to clear the railway track in time for the opening, the amount of snow which has fallen over the past days means the track, which goes from Llanberis to the summit, is covered in snow.

No facilities will open this weekend and they are hoping people will be able to access the peak of Snowdon from next Friday, May 6.

A spokesperson said on the Facebook group: "Due to the snow on the mountain, we have reluctantly had to cancel opening this weekend.

The Snowdon railway can't open because of snow
© Hefin OwenThe Snowdon railway can't open because of snow
"The railway have been working tirelessly to keep the track clear.


Snowfall causes May Day misery for UK travellers; 6 inches of snow falls at Leeds Bradford Airport

Sheep shelter against a dry stone wall in the Yorkshire Dales
Sheep shelter against a dry stone wall in the Yorkshire Dales
An unseasonal mix of snowfall and sleet has caused disruption to those making an early start to the May Day bank holiday weekend.

Flights were cancelled and delayed for passengers after six inches (15cm) of snow fell at Leeds Bradford Airport overnight, forcing the runway to close for part of Friday.

Motorists looking to take advantage of the three-day weekend have been advised by police to take extra caution following a spike of weather-related collisions in the north of England on Friday morning.

Forecasters have predicted further snow, sleet and hail as May approaches.

Commuters in northern England and southern Scotland awoke on Friday to yellow warnings of snow, while showers of rain and sleet are expected to hit lower levels.

Throughout the day the band of wintry weather carrying thundery downpours is due to move towards the south and east, with occasional sunny spells accompanied by a stiff breeze.

 Two men push a car up a hill in Great Horton, Bradford, following heavy snow falls this morning.
© Guzelian Two men push a car up a hill in Great Horton, Bradford, following heavy snow falls this morning.

Snowflake Cold

Weather chaos as Austria is hit by unseasonal heavy snowfall

Ischgl, Austria
Ischgl, Austria
Tens of thousands of homes in Austria were left without electricity and some residents had to be evacuated after areas of the country were hit by unseasonal heavy snowfall.

On Wednesday 15,000 homes in Carinthia and 6,500 in Styria lost electricity due to the weather and the whole of the country was affected by road blocks.

There are also concerns among the agricultural businesses that fruit and vegetable crops could be lost in the millions due to frost.

Experts warn the coldest day is yet to come, however, with temperatures expected to be as low as -10 degrees in some areas on Thursday - just days before the outdoor swimming pools are due to open for the summer season.

Snowflake Cold

Winter weather returns to Iceland with a vengeance

Snow in Iceland
© Rax / Ragn­ar Ax­els­son
Winter struck Iceland again with a vengeance last night, as heavy snow hit parts of the north-east.

Police and rescue services were called out several times during the night to assist with vehicles mired in snow on impassable roads. The national ring road was closed near Mývatn.

Temperatures dropped well below freezing in the northern town of Akureyri and conditions this morning there are described as wintry.

You can check out the status of road conditions in real time on the website of the Icelandic Road and Coastal Administration here. Iceland Monitor also has a weather forecast section available for readers here.

Snowflake Cold

Thousands without electricity as April snowfall strikes Slovenia

Ljubljana on Thursday
© TanjugLjubljana on Thursday
Heavy snowfall has left about 10,000 households in the area of Slovenia's towns of Ljubljana, Dravograd, and Maribor without electricity.

The snow is also causing more traffic accidents, and has brought with it the threat of avalanches in some areas.

Snow continued to fall on Thursday in some parts of the country, while forecasters said that while precipitation would stop, low temperatures would persist for some time.

Most of Slovenia is currently under 25 centimeters of snow - 40 in mountain areas. Croatian news agency Hina said the snow broke branches on trees overnight, causing further trouble for drivers in some areas.

While authorities are warning against traveling to the mountains out of fear of avalanches, several ski resort said they expect an influx of guests over the coming weekend.

Source: Tanjug


Late April snowstorm hits Bosnia

snow in Spring
A late April snowstorm took Bosnia by surprise on Monday, especially as it followed a week of beautiful, balmy weather. (April 25)