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Snowflake Cold

Down to -50C: Russians freeze to death as strongest-in-decades winter hits

Russian winter
© RIA Novosti / Yakov Andreev
Russia is enduring its harshest winter in over 70 years, with temperatures plunging as low as -50 degrees Celsius. Dozens of people have already died, and almost 150 have been hospitalized.

­The country has not witnessed such a long cold spell since 1938, meteorologists said, with temperatures 10 to 15 degrees lower than the seasonal norm all over Russia.

Across the country, 45 people have died due to the cold, and 266 have been taken to hospitals. In total, 542 people were injured due to the freezing temperatures, RIA Novosti reported.

Snowflake Cold

Storm hits Denver, heads east with blizzard potential

A major winter storm moving across the nation Wednesday is threatening to disrupt travel plans for millions of Americans heading home for Christmas. The weather system even has package delivery companies nervously checking out the forecast, with the timely delivery of precious gifts on the line.

"We're closely monitoring the storm," FedEx spokesman Scott Fiedler told NBC News. "We have a team of 15 meteorologists who track the weather around the world every day."

FedEx is seeing only minor delays so far but has contingency plans in place to help mitigate any effects of the weather, Fiedler said.

UPS, which projects that Thursday will be its busiest day of the holiday season, also has its staff meteorologists tracking the storm.

Cloud Precipitation

Heavy snow causes 20-km-long traffic jam in Ukraine

Heavy snow caused a traffic jam that extended to about 20 kilometers on a highway linking the Ukrainian capital and the Hungarian border as of late Sunday, authorities said.

The jam took place after a highway section between Buh and Brody districts was blanketed by snow as deep as three meters, said the Emergencies Ministry.

As of Monday morning, traffic were resumed for small vehicles as emergencies workers were struggling to clear the snow.

A woman stuck in the traffic jam had to give birth to her baby in her car before the emergency crews arrived. The mother and the baby were later sent to a local hospital.

Witnesses told Xinhua that they saw hundreds of cars were trapped, with snow piled up to the car roofs. The trapped were seeking help from nearby village for food and heating.


Snowflake Cold

Ukrainian cold snap leaves 37 dead

Snow in Ukrainian city of Brody
© Marian Striltsiv/Reuters.
A man walks around his home trapped in snow, after blizzards near the western Ukrainian city of Brody.
Cold has killed 37 people in Ukraine so far this month as temperatures reached minus - 23 degrees in parts of the country, the government said.

The health ministry said 190 people had sought medical help and 162 had been hospitalised.

Night temperatures are expected to drop to -28 degrees in northern, central and eastern Ukraine this week, weather forecasters say.

The cold snap followed heavy snowfall which left some areas covered with as much as 53cm of snow.

The emergencies ministry said this week it was setting up hundreds of heated tents across the country where people could get hot drinks and receive first aid.

Last February, as Ukraine went through its coldest winter in six years, more than 130 people died of cold in the country of 45 million.


East and West Coast of U.S. hit by near simultaneous winter storms - Snow storms forecast for parts of New England, Northwest

Up to 12 inches of further snowfall is forecast for parts of northern New England - and a second wintry storm is crossing the U.S. in its wake, according to Weather Channel meteorologist Kevin Roth. The current snowfall in northern New York state and New England will continue through Tuesday night and into Wednesday, with as much as 15 inches possible in some areas. Meanwhile, another cross-country storm - Winter Storm Draco - was expected to bring heavy snow to the Northwest on Monday. The higher elevations of the Cascades will see as much as 2 to 3 feet of snow above 7000 ft, Weather.com reported, with significant accumulations below 3000 ft.
The National Weather Service said the probability of "large amounts of snow remains high across the majority of windward facing slopes of the Pacific Northwest and portions of the Northern Rockies." King5.com reported that the storm is expected to bring high winds to Western Washington and whiteout conditions to the west slopes of the Cascades and passes. The system is expected to move to the Southwest and Rockies Tuesday and Wednesday before bringing snow to the eastern half of the country later Wednesday through Friday. Roth added there would likely be a lake-effect snow threat behind the storm on Thursday and Friday. -NBC


Heavy snow blankets Iranian cities

Snow in Iran
© Press TV, Tehran
A cold snap has finally walloped much of Iran, bringing heavy snow, and leading to the temporary closure of a large section of intercity roads and schools. The cold weather has dropped as much as one meter of snow in the mountains, and sizeable inches in big cities and towns, like Tehran, where the National Weather Service says the temperature is above freezing.

The Ministry of Education says many schools have been closed nationwide and probably will remain so if heavy snow continues to cause limited visibility and freezing temperatures.

There have been no major accidents until now, thanks largely to the early preparation of the transport police, and of course round the clock snow plows to keep roads open. But the police are still urging drivers to check road and vehicle conditions before heading out.


Kyiv has not seen such heavy snowfall for 130 years

During the last two days, wet snow in Kyiv exceeded an index that had been recorded for 130 years of weather observations, the press service of the Kyiv City State Administration with reference to the Hydrometeorological Centre reports.

"During December 11-12, Kyiv had a complex of severe weather phenomena, including snow and wet snow on wires and trees, which had exceeded previously recorded index for the entire period of meteorological observations in the capital since 1881," the press service noted.

According to the forecasters, as of December 12, the snow depth amounted to 45 cm.

For December 11-12, the total precipitations numbered 42 mm, and in general, it has amounted to 103 mm since the beginning of December. Before that, the maximum daily precipitation was recorded in December of 1930 - 41 mm, and monthly - 116 mm in December of 1937.

According to the Hydrometeorological Centre, there will be a drop in temperature in the coming days.


Winter storm Caesar dumps record-breaking snow in Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota

© AP/Andy King
Snow covered trees are seen outside the Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome before an NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Minneapolis.
Minneapolis - The heaviest snowstorm to hit the region in two winters, named Caesar by The Weather Channel, dumped heavy snow across a broad belt of Minnesota including the Twin Cities area Sunday, as well as parts of western Wisconsin.

A snowfall totalling 10.5 inches fell on Minneapolis, setting a daily record that eclipsed the previous mark of 7.4 inches set in 1961. The total was the fourth-highest for December in the history of the Twin Cities. Daily records of 11 inches fell in St. Cloud, MN, and 12.5 in Eau Claire, WI.

"The amazing combination of snow, wind and colder temperatures combined to produce the blizzard conditions over a three-state area," said Tom Niziol, the winter weather expert for The Weather Channel.

"It's interesting because it was a swath of heavier snow that moved across the Dakotas and in through Minnesota during the day and evening hours yesterday. For a major winter storm, a large-scale storm, the heavier snow was in a narrow corridor. We got as much as 17 inches of snow in Sacred Heart (MN), 14 inches in Hendrick (MN), and if we zoom into Minneapolis these are amazing snowfall totals. I believe these are Top 5 for December calendar days that go back all the way to the 1800s."


Second winter storm of the season brings fresh snow to New Mexico

© AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan
Motorists head north on an icy stretch of Interstate 25 near Bernalillo, N.M., after the state was slammed with severe weather Monday, Dec. 5, 2011.
New Mexico is about to get hit by another winter storm.

The National Weather Service says a winter storm system is approaching the state from the west and is expects to dump snow on parts of New Mexico overnight.

Widespread rain and snow showers will develop around the southwest mountains before midnight with significant snow accumulation in the higher terrain expected and precipitation to spread north and east overnight.

The weather service says and strong winds are expected to accompany the storm system.

Much of western and northern New Mexico will remain under winter storm warnings and advisories.


Heavy snow keeps Balkans in deep freeze

Children play in the snow in the Montenegrin
© AP Photo/Risto Bozovic
Children play in the snow in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. Heavy snowfall in blizzards have closed roads, disrupted power supplies and shut down an airport in Montenegro, amid a winter freeze that has killed several people and created travel chaos in the Balkans since last weekend.
Podgorica, Montenegro - Blizzards blocked roads, stranded villages, disrupted power supplies and temporarily shut down an airport in the Balkans on Tuesday, the fourth straight day of tough winter weather in the region of southeastern Europe.

In one of the worst-hit areas, snowdrifts and avalanches blocked roads in hilly northern Montenegro, where about a meter (3 feet) of snow fell overnight, officials said.

Across the border in southwestern Serbia, heavy snowfall blocked roads to more than a dozen villages, with some left without electricity and schools being closed for the rest of the week, officials said.

"We have got heavy machinery out and we are doing all we can," said emergency official Samir Bakic. "The wind is making the effort more difficult."

At least nine deaths across the region have been blamed on the snow and deep freeze, with temperatures as low as minus-15 Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit).