Extreme Temperatures

Snowflake Cold

A pro trucker's guide to navigating the snow

This is how you drive 810,000 miles across 45 states and one Canadian province without ever getting in an accident. Here are his tips. Inertia is everything.

© Getty images

In eight years as a truck driver, Alan Wrobel has driven 810,000 miles (accident-free) in 45 states and Ontario. He now covers Ohio, Michigan, Ontario, and Wisconsin for a beverage distributor. Here's his advice on how to handle yourself when the snow starts falling:

When you face a nasty winter storm, use your best judgment. Don't go out unless you have to, and always make sure you have an emergency kit, warm blankets, and rations in the car.

Now, here are some tips, basic and advanced, to help ensure you won't need to use that emergency kit.

Bizarro Earth

Current spike in atmospheric methane mirrors Ice Age climate change events

Ice cores are essential for climate research, because they represent the only archive which allows direct measurements of atmospheric composition and greenhouse gas concentrations in the past. Using novel isotopic studies, scientists from the European Project for Ice Coring In Antarctica (EPICA) were now able to identify the most important processes responsible for changes in natural methane concentrations over the transition from the last ice age into our warm period.

Ice Cores Study
©Gerald Traufetter
Dr. Hubertus Fischer cutting an ice core at Kohnen Station, Antarctica.

Comment: Update 30/01/2014

With all these 'winter wildfires' breaking out in the US, Norway and Tibet, we wonder if increased methane levels play a role.

More on methane:

Melting permafrost methane emissions: The other threat to climate change

Study says methane a new climate threat

Scientists Find Frozen Methane Gas Deposit

Ice Cube

Ice traps Chicago woman inside house for weeks

frozen chicago
© Scott Olson/Getty ImagesFrozen Chicago
A Chicago woman has been basically trapped inside her home for weeks because her door has been encased in a block of ice.

River Bully told CBS 2′s Ed Curran that a neighbor's leaking pipe is to blame.

Since 1950, Bully has lived in her Fuller Park home. For weeks now, she has been a prisoner, her back door surrounded by ice from a neighbor's leaking pipe.

She called 311, and a worker with the Chicago Water Department responded, but it didn't bring results.

Blue Planet

Doctor walks six miles in snow to perform life-saving brain surgery at Trinity Medical Center

© Joe SongerIn this file photo from 2005, Dr. Zenko Hrynkiw performs back surgery at Baptist Montclair, now Trinity Medical Center.
Dr. Zenko Hrynkiw was at Brookwood Medical Center Tuesday morning when he was needed for emergency brain surgery at Trinity Medical Center.

The problem was the sudden snowstorm had locked down traffic, and the neurosurgeon didn't get farther than a few blocks.

"The cell service was bad so we were fading in and out," said Steve Davis, charge nurse in the neuro intensive care unit at Trinity. "At one point, I heard him say, 'I'm walking.'"

Davis had alerted authorities, and they were looking for him. There were supposed sightings, but no one could find him.

Cell Phone

Calls for help flood social media as freak snowstorm turns Atlanta into 'frozen hellscape'

There was no morning commute Wednesday morning in Atlanta because Tuesday afternoon's commute was still stuck on the highways.

Snowflake Cold

Commuters sleep in grocery stores after abandoning cars on highway

© Big Tigger/https://twitter.com/BigTiggerShow
Students camped out with teachers in school gyms or on buses and commuters abandoned cars along the highway to seek shelter in churches, fire stations - even grocery stores - after a rare snowstorm left thousands of unaccustomed Southerners frozen in their tracks.

Tuesday's storm deposited mere inches of snow, barely enough to qualify as a storm up North. And yet it was more than enough to paralyze Deep South cities such as Atlanta and Birmingham, and strand thousands of workers who tried to rush home early only to never make it home at all.

Snowflake Cold

Deep South, Deep Freeze: Buses sent to pick up stranded motorists in Atlanta, Georgia as 6 Southern States declare state of emergency

A man stands on the frozen roadway as he waits for traffic to clear along Interstate 75 in Macon, Georgia, on Wednesday, January 29. A wave of arctic air that started over the Midwest and Plains spread to the Southeast, bringing snow, freezing ice and sleet to a region not familiar with such weather.
[Breaking news update 2:23 a.m. ET Wednesday]

Officials in Hoover, Alabama, were sending buses early Wednesday morning to pick up stranded motorists.

In the first run, two school buses were sent to transport as many as 100 people to local shelters, said Rusty Lowe of the Hoover fire department.

The buses will make several runs.

Comment: Update: 30/01/2014

13 people have been killed so far as a result of this winter storm, while 6 states have declared a state of emergency.

Ice Cube

Ice storm in U.S. strands thousands of ill-equipped in the South

© Ben Gray/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via Associated PressTraffic inched along the connector of Interstate's 75 and 85 in Atlanta on Tuesday.
Thousands of commuters were trapped in cars overnight on highways in the greater Atlanta area, hundreds of students remained inside dozens of schools Wednesday morning and at least 50 children spent the night on school buses because of an ice storm that is still gripping the deepest parts of the South.

Residents ran out of medicine, a baby was born to a stranded mother and pleas for help flooded Twitter and Facebook as a region that rarely deals with ice and snow came to a screeching halt during a rare meteorological event that was still icing points this morning as far south as Brownsville, Tex.

"This came very suddenly," Craig Witherspoon, superintendent of Birmingham City Schools in Alabama, said Wednesday morning. An estimated 600 students in his district spent the night in schools, tended by about 100 staff members.

"All reports for the Birmingham area were that we'd get a light dusting to the south of where we were," Mr. Witherspoon said. "And the flakes started coming, and then it just poured out."

Ice Cube

Valdez, Alaska, cut off by avalanche, ice dam and "glacier lake"

© ReutersA lake had formed below the avalanche.
Video shows a flyover of Keystone Canyon and the Lowe River, 1/26/2014.

A glacier-sized avalanche has blocked the river. An ice lake has formed, currently at an estimated depth of 60 feet and growing.

The Richardson Highway is flooded and the town of Valdez cut off from road access. There is some concern as to when and how the lake will release and downstream residents are on evacuation alert.

Thanks to Josh Cooley in Valdez for this video
"Incredible to be living here in Valdez during this event," says Josh. "Luckily my pantry is well stocked, and we are having food shipped in by barge."

Snowflake Cold

Extreme chills across central Canada mean hazardous weather for Southeastern U.S.

Canadian cold
© Canadian PressCanadians from Saskatchewan to Quebec are bundling up against the cold this week.
Those of us north of the border in Saskatchewan to Quebec were greeted with bitterly cold weather this morning, but this blast of cold from the polar vortex is bringing a rare winter storm to the US Southeast.

Today is already the third day in a row of bitter cold and biting wind chills for the prairie provinces, as temperatures across Saskatchewan and Manitoba have been hovering around -30°C since Sunday. The light winds blowing through the area have been making it feel more like -40 or even lower. The cold-spot for this morning was in northern Manitoba, but even Winnipeg and Brandon reached -45 wind chills over the past day - cold enough to freeze exposed skin in as little as five minutes!