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Fri, 02 Dec 2022
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Heavy snowfall reaches the roofs of houses in city of Caviahue, Argentina on July 7

Impressive snowfall in Caviahue, Neuquén.

Impressive snowfall in Caviahue, Neuquén.
Heavy snowfall reached the roofs of houses in the city of Caviahue, in Copahue province of Argentina.


Sun

Huge crop losses expected as Italy endures prolonged heatwave

dried
© PIERO CRUCIATTI
Italy is experiencing an unusual and prolonged heat wave and little rain this summer. Experts say it's the worst drought in 70 years in the country and the government has been forced to declare a state of emergency in five northern regions until the end of this year to deal with the situation.

Emergency funds amounting to €37 million were also announced along with special powers for regional authorities to help guarantee public safety and to offer compensation for agricultural losses.

The heat and lack of rain being experienced, particularly in the Po Valley, are not only drying up the rivers but causing significant concern to the agriculture sector in what is normally one of the country's breadbaskets.

"It's the perfect storm, less than 70 percent of snow in the winter, four months of lack of rain, temperatures three or four degrees higher than the seasonal average," said Meuccio Berselli, secretary general for the district authority of the Po Valley.


Snowflake

Heavy snow blankets areas of South Island, New Zealand

Snow in Mt Cook village early on Friday.
© SHARLENE MCKINLAY PHOTOGRAPHY
Snow in Mt Cook village early on Friday.
Heavy snow blanketed parts of the South Island early Friday, while heavy rain was expected to continue in some central parts of the North Island and on the West Coast from Friday afternoon.

Snow in the Mackenzie Basin and Central Otago on Friday morning closed schools and state highways, and halted a bus service.

Aoraki/Mt Cook Village resident Sharlene McKinlay said it had been snowing all night in the area and there was moderate and continuous snow falling at 6.30am Friday.

McKinlay said there was also at least 30cm of snow on SH80 and snow ploughing was being done within the village only.


Fire

Heat, drought and wildfires: Torrid spell torments Portugal

Lisbon protestor
© AP Photo/Armando Franca
A protestor shades herself from the sun behind her poster in hot weather during a demonstration by workers' unions outside the parliament in Lisbon, Thursday, July 7, 2022.
Portugal is bracing for a heat wave, with temperatures in some areas forecast to climb as high as 43 C (109 F) this weekend just as a severe drought grips the country.

The Civil Protection Agency, a Portuguese government body that coordinates official responses to emergencies, said Thursday it is placing crews on high alert because of the risk of wildfires. About a third of the country faces an extreme risk of forest fires, authorities say.

The high temperatures are forecast to last at least a week. The national weather service IPMA says what it calls "tropical nights," when temperatures stay above 20 C (68 F) after sunset, are likely.

The government said it will place the country on a formal state of alert against wildfires from Friday. That step grants authorities special powers, such as outlawing stubble burning and fireworks at summer festivals, and allows it to requisition equipment such as bulldozers for clearing fire breaks.

Fire

Lightning storms spark dozens of wildfires in Yukon, Canada - proportion of fires caused by strikes "stupendously high"

On Monday alone, there were more than 3,000 lightning strikes in Yukon

On Monday alone, there were more than 3,000 lightning strikes in Yukon
Wildfires are breaking out across Yukon as lightning pummels the territory and a heat wave wears on, a fire information officer says.

Mike Fancie of Yukon Wildland Fire Management says about 20 fires a day have been sparked beginning on the long weekend, bringing the total this year to 155 wildfires that have burned 45,000 hectares.

Fancie described the proportion of fires caused by lightning as "stupendously high" at 97 per cent, compared with about 70 per cent in a typical year with the remainder being caused by humans.


On Monday alone, there were more than 3,000 lightning strikes, 484 of which were positive strikes that carry with them increased fire danger, he said.


Snowflake

Got snow? Summertime in the Kootenays, British Columbia sure does

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Brenda Haley and her adventurous friends decided to take a hike up Kokanee Glacier Park on Saturday, July 2.

Her observation of the wonderscape is, "Still tons of snow!"

Located north of Nelson, Kokanee Glacier Park sits mostly above 1,800 metres in elevation, the park has two glaciers - Kokanee and Woodbury - which feed over 30 lakes and are the headwaters of many creeks.

Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park, set aside in 1922, is one of the oldest major parks in the provincial system. It has a long history of well established recreational use and is perhaps the best known alpine park in the Kootenays. Its boundaries encompass 32,035 hectares of some of the most scenic mountain country found in the Selkirk Mountains of southern British Columbia, comprising a picturesque mosaic of high peaks, snowfields, cirques and colourful lake basins.
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Comment: See also: Five Kananaskis backcountry campgrounds closed due to lingering snow in Alberta


Snowflake

Summer snow falls in Azerbaijan's Shahdag

snow
Currently, the average temperature in the capital is lower than the climatic norm, head of the National Hydrometeorological Service Umayra Tagiyeva said.

In Shahdag, the air temperature was recorded at 0 degrees, as a result, the precipitation turned to snow, and even a 1 cm snow cover was formed, she said.


Snowflake

Five Kananaskis backcountry campgrounds closed due to lingering snow in Alberta

The Highwood Pass on June 12, 2022.
© GREG COLGAN RMO
The Highwood Pass on June 12, 2022.
Several trails and backcountry campgrounds in Kananaskis Country are closed due to lingering snow conditions at higher elevations into the summer.

Five backcountry campgrounds in Peter Lougheed and Spray Lakes provincial parks, including Lillian Lake, Ribbon Lake, Aster Lake, Three Isle Lake and Turbine remain closed until at least July 6.

An avalanche hazard warning is also in place until further notice.

Officials say the snowpack melt in Kananaskis is approximately four weeks behind typical melt this year, and although it may be summer, snowy trail conditions persist and avalanches continue to be possible.

"In the past, we have delayed the opening of select sub-alpine backcountry campgrounds; however, we cannot recall a season quite like this one," said John Muir, director of communications for Alberta Environment and Parks in an email.

Comment: Also pertinent: The snow goes on as Alberta skiing resort reopens in the middle of summer


Snowflake

The snow goes on as Alberta skiing resort reopens in the middle of summer

Sunshine Village offering summer skiing for first time since 1991

Sunshine Village offering summer skiing for first time since 1991
Most Canadians have broken out the flip-flops by now, but skiers can still wear their ski boots at Banff Sunshine Village.

The resort has reopened for some summertime skiing because it still has plenty of snow.

It's the first time in more than 30 years that it has opened this late in the ski season, and only the second time in the resort's nearly 100 years of operation, with the hope to keep it operating through the Canada Day weekend.

Heather Yourex-West has more.


Sun

Surprise solar storm with 'disruptive potential' slams into Earth

Experts were initially unsure what caused the freak geomagnetic event.

Solar Storm
© Shutterstock
Some satellites are dropping over two kilometres per year, and smaller crafts are at a greater risk
Scientists were recently left scratching their heads after a "potentially disruptive" solar storm smashed into Earth without warning.

The surprise solar storm hit Earth just before midnight UTC June 25 and continued throughout most of June 26, according to Spaceweather.com. Scientists classified it as a G1-class storm, which means it was strong enough to create weak power grid fluctuations, cause minor impacts to satellite operation, disrupt the navigational abilities of some migrating animals, and cause unusually strong auroras.

The unexpected solar storm coincided with the peak of an extremely rare five-planet alignment, where Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn lined up in the sky in order of their proximity to the sun (which hasn't happened since 1864). Amateur astronomers in the northern hemisphere were able to capture images of the surprise auroras as they photobombed the neatly aligned planets.

Photographer Harlan Thomas captured an image of bright auroras in Calgary, Canada, which flashed across the dawn sky in front of the planetary alignment on June 26.

"Wow, talk about surprises," Thomas told Spaceweather.com. "The aurora became [visible to the] naked eye with beautiful pillars," and lasted for around 5 minutes, Thomas said.