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Extreme Temperatures


2013: A year of Alaska weather extremes, from Barrow to Juneau

A River ice strewn about the flood
© Ed Plumb / NWS
A River ice strewn about the flood ravaged community of Galena on the banks of the Yukon River. May 29, 2013.
As a whole, the state of Alaska rode a rollercoaster of wild weather in 2013. Devastating floods, record-breaking heat waves and massive storms were just a few of the extreme weather events to hit the state this year. Here's a look back at how Alaska's weather affected residents, farms, and even migratory birds in 2013.

Forever winter

2013 started off with a bang, with January bringing the coldest weather of the year to the state, the National Weather Service writes. The Interior community of Delta shivered through the lowest official temperature of the year, at 63 below zero on Jan. 28.

Related: Families from Galena still displaced by flooding, but holiday traditions go onWith sewer offline in flood-damaged Kotlik, residents welcome aid in form of honeybuckets

Anchorage saw its longest snow season since 1917, with the first snow recorded Sept. 28, 2012, and the last of the season on May 18, for a total of 232 days with snow in the 2012-2013 winter.

Winter hung on into Mid-May for much of the state, the effects of which reverberated through communities across Alaska.


Winnipeg deep freeze as cold as Mars

Winnipeg Deep Freeze
© CBC News, Canada
Parts of Manitoba hit -53 C, colder than Mars.
In terms of astonishing weather facts, it doesn't get much more impressive than being as cold as a distant planet for a day. The Manitoba Museum is reporting Winnipeg's temperatures on Tuesday were actually as cold as the surface of Mars.

According to the Curiosity Rover, Mars reached a maximum temperature of -29 C on Tuesday, a temperature Winnipeg only reached shortly before 3 p.m. The deep freeze over much of Southern Manitoba prompted extreme wind chill warnings in the area and most of the north.

In Winnipeg, the daytime high temperature for Tuesday was only expected to reach - 31 C, but the windchill made it feel more like - 40 to - 50. That means exposed skin can freeze in less than five minutes.

On Monday, it got as warm as - 28 C.

In the northern half of the province, in places like Thompson, Nelson House, Lynn Lake, Leaf Rapids and Churchill, the wind chills on Tuesday made it feel like - 48 to - 53.

The entire province was under an extreme wind chill warning on Monday, but it was later lifted in the central portion of Manitoba as well as the southwest and southeast corners.


Global Warming researchers ice-bound; 96 percent of network stories censor why ship is there

© AP
Antarctic ice trapped a ship full of scientists on a climate change expedition. Yet, 96 percent of network news reports about the stranded researchers ignored climate change entirely. The ship has been stuck since Christmas morning.

The broadcast networks mostly ignored the reason the Russian ship, Akademic Shokalskiy, was on its way to Antarctica. Twenty-five out of 26 stories (96 percent) on the network morning and evening news shows since Dec. 25 failed to mention climate change had anything to do with the expedition.

In fact, rather than point out the mission of the scientists to find evidence of climate change, the networks often referred to the stranded people as "passengers," "trackers" and even "tourists," with no mention of climate change or global warming. Chris Turney, the expedition's leader, is a professor of climate change at the University of South Wales. According to Turney's personal website, the purpose of the expedition is to "discover and communicate the environmental changes taking place in the south."

Ice Cube

A dose of COLD reality: The ironic saga of the eco-campaigners trying to highlight global warming and melting ice caps trapped in the freezing Antarctic

  • Australian scientists set out on Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy
  • The £900,000 expedition began full of high hopes early last month
  • But ship was hit on Christmas Eve by a 50-knot blizzard and became trapped in ice

MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped in the ice at sea off Antarctica. A scientific research team who headed south to prove the threat to mankind from global warming by establishing that the region is melting have found themselves trapped on their ship
A team of Australian climate scientists set out on a Russian research ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy on a mission to raise awareness of global warming.

'The research stakes are high,' claimed a sympathetic report on Australia's ABC TV station.

'Antarctica is one of the great engines driving the world's oceans, winds and weather. But there are ominous signs of climate change . . .'

Up until Christmas, all seemed to be going well. Besides the Russian crew and the Australian climate scientists, the ship's 85-strong company included an Australian Green MP, two environment journalists from the Guardian newspaper and a BBC science journalist eager to relay details of the expedition's vital findings which support their gospel of man-made global warming.

Snowflake Cold

Coldest day in Islamabad in 46 years

Heavy snowfall in upper areas of Pakistan

Almost the entire country was in the grip of a cold wave on Monday, with a number of cities and towns struck by temperatures ranging between -17C and -21C. The federal capital went through its most uncomfortable day in 46 years as the mercury plunged to three below Celsius.

And even Karachi, known for its mild winters, was not far behind, recording a minimum temperature of six degrees Celsius. The city is likely to face more cold on Tuesday and Wednesday.

A minimum temperature of -2.8C in Islamabad had been recorded in 1984, but the lowest temperature recorded in the city is -3.9C in 1967.

Officials said that the wave was the fallout of extreme cold weather conditions in Europe as cold winds coming from there dry up after crossing the Central Asian region.

These cold and dry winds are also delaying the winter rains as the strong currents push the warm, moist winds rising from the Arabian Sea.

"These systems coming from the northwest last up to five or six days," Meteorological Department Director Dr Mohammad Hanif said. The Met Office forecast very cold and dry weather for Tuesday in most of the country, with cloudy conditions along with rain and light snowfall over the hills at places across a swathe stretching from Gilgit-Baltistan to Lahore and Sargodha divisions.

"But these are not the regular winter rains. They will only bring light rain because these clouds are part of the westerly wave that has separated from the European system and has reached up to Kashmir," Dr Hanif said.

Ice Cube

Bitterly cold New Year expected in much of Canada

Eastern Prairies remain locked in a deep freeze,' with wind chill warnings, says CBC meteorologist

© Janice Stein/CBC
Yellowknife, above, came close to breaking temperature records Tuesday. Temperatures fell to –43.4 C, around half a degree higher than the record low for Dec. 31, set in 1949.
Canadians awoke to below-freezing temperatures and wind chill warnings in much of the country and can expect a body-numbing last day of 2013, with the wind chill creating extremely cold conditions heading into the New Year.

On Monday, a number of provinces faced below-freezing temperatures, as Manitoba, parts of Saskatchewan, northern Ontario and Quebec were all under extreme wind chill warnings.

In Manitoba, where the wind chill made it feel like - 40 C to - 50 C, the cold weather forced at least one airline to cancel some flights. ExpressJet, a partner of United Airlines, cancelled several flights out of Winnipeg Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Airline representatives said the unique combination of extreme low temperatures and ice crystals exceed safe operating guidelines for their aircraft, which are small commuter planes that carry 35 to 70 passengers.

Passengers were moved onto flights operated by other airlines and rerouted through other cities.


Third icebreaker abandons rescue of climate scientists boat in Antarctica, media fog, obscure, don't say "climate"

LATEST NEWS: Aurora Australis abandons attempt to save Akademik Shokalskiy in Antarctica. The SMH headline could've said "Another icebreaker abandons attempt to save climate scientist's boat in Antarctica."

Russia says 54 of 74 passengers to be helicoptered off if weather permits. (h/ tPeter Miller) The Polar Star icebreaker has left from the US to come help. It will take 8 -9 days to arrive. (Guardian)

Welcome to Media-Sport, where we score points watching a part of the media dance around the hysterical folly of an Antarctic climate science expedition trapped in sea ice for six nights (and counting). The Art of Propaganda is not just in the telling of one-sided lines, but is crafted through parts left unsaid.
Akademik Shokalskiy
© Joannenova.com
More global warming, it is everywhere you look. View from Akademik Shokalskiy.
With three ice-breaker rescue ships trying to reach them, the latest news is that the scientists and media entourage may have to abandon ship and be helicoptered to safety (though right now even that is not possible due to the very rough weather). The ABC news home page at time of posting this has zero references to "Antarctica", but does say there are cracks in ice around a stranded ship.

The decision to abandon the latest attempt was made at 9am Australian EST. The SMH story appeared at 4.40pm, and the ABC reported it on "just in" at 5.40pm. Marvelous how "fast" satellite communications and social media can work. No mention on The Guardian Australia site (despite them having a reporter on the boat). No twitters seen on the @GdnAntarctica, or @guardian, @alokjha (their journalist), @loztopham (their documentary maker), or #spiritofmawson or @ProfChrisTurney. (Perhaps those trapped on the boat don't know?)


All scientists and passengers to be taken off ship stuck in Antarctic Ice

© Andrew Peacock/Australasian Antarctice Expedition/Reuters
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) was advised this morning by the Aurora Australis that the ship will not be able to reach the MV Akademik Shokalskiy.

The Aurora Australis advised RCC Australia it would be at risk of becoming beset by ice itself if it continued to make further rescue attempts.

The Aurora Australis made attempts yesterday to reach the MV Akademik Shokalskiy but was driven back into open waters due to adverse weather conditions such as winds up to 30 knots and snow showers resulting in poor visibility. The ship is currently located about 16 nautical miles east of the Russian vessel.

The helicopter on board the Chinese flagged vessel Xue Long will now be used to rescue the passengers from the MV Akademik Shokalskiy.

This rescue will be a complex operation involving a number of steps and subject to factors such as weather.

The helicopter is unable to fly in the current weather conditions, and will hold off on the rescue until conditions improve. Weather conditions are unlikely to start improving until tomorrow and decisions related to carrying out the rescue may be made at short notice.

Snowflake Cold

Mercury plummets 32 degrees in just hours in Minneapolis MN

© NBC News
Bitterly cold weather lingered in central and eastern parts of the country on Monday, with some regions experiencing wind chills as low as 25 to 35 degrees below zero.

"Very cold wind chills this morning," the National Weather Service said in an advisory for Wisconsin, warning about the possibility of frost bite and hypothermia if precautions weren't taken.

The combination of frigid air and high winds would produce wind chills of up to 35 degrees below zero from the Dakotas into Minnesota and northern Wisconsin, it predicted.

The Weather Channel noted that Minneapolis saw a 32 degree temperature swing on Sunday, "starting the day at 29 degrees, at midnight, temperatures plummeted to 3 below zero by 10 a.m. And factoring in the winds, it felt closer to 20 below."


Stormy weather, heavy snow hit northern Japan

Tokyo - Heavy snow and blizzards hit many parts of the Sea of Japan coast and Hokkaido on Saturday.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said a low pressure system had brought a cold air mass over northern Japan, bringing 22 cms of snow in Yamagata, Niigata, Akita and Toyama prefectures, and up to 50 cms in mountainous regions.

Hokkaido received heavy snowfall and blizzards as well, TBS reported. Shin-Chitose airport in Sapporo reported the cancellation of 23 flights, while JR Hakodate canceled 60 train services between Sapporo and Hakodate.

The meteorological agency forecast the blizzard-like conditions to continue until Monday and cautioned that transportation could be further disrupted.