Extreme Temperatures


Snow Traps Thousands in Bosnian Villages

© The Associated Press/Amel EmricA Bosnian man walks on snow-covered road in the village of Breteljevici, near Kladanj, 100 kilometers north of Sarajevo, Bosnia, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012.
Bosnia used helicopters on Sunday to evacuate the sick and deliver food to thousands of people left stranded by its heaviest snowfall ever, while Pope Benedict XVI donned an overcoat to bless the few pilgrims who braved Rome's unusually cold weather to visit St. Peter's Square.

"The snow is beautiful, but let's hope spring comes soon," the pope told the pilgrims, looking out over remnants of Rome's biggest snowstorm since 1986.

Across Eastern Europe, thousands of people continued to dig out from heavy snow that has fallen during a cold snap that struck more than a week ago and has killed hundreds of people.

In Ukraine, the hardest hit area, temperatures have fallen as low as minus 33 Fahrenheit (minus 36 Celsius). The government said Sunday the country's death toll now stands at 131, including many homeless people. About 2,300 other Ukrainians have sought treatment for frostbite or hypothermia.


Europe's cold snap kills hundreds, affects transport, tourism

© Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty ImagesA photo taken on February 4, 2012 shows an snowman in front of the ancient Colosseum in Rome after a snowfall.
A weeklong cold snap has now claimed more than 220 lives across Europe, with forecasters warning that the big freeze - which has even blanketed Rome in snow - would tighten its grip over the weekend.

A weeklong cold snap has now claimed more than 220 lives across Europe, with forecasters warning that the big freeze - which has even blanketed Rome in snow - would tighten its grip over the weekend.

A total of 223 people have died from the cold weather in the past seven days, according to Agence France-Presse, in what has become the harshest European winter in decades.

Ukraine suffering the highest toll - with 101 deaths recorded since the cold snap began. Temperatures plummeted as low to -16.6 degrees in the capital Kiev. Poland, Bulgaria and Romania also recorded high death tolls.

According to AFP, the dead included hundreds of homeless people who have frozen to death.

The cold has extended as far south as Serbia, where thousands were trapped under heavy snow and blizzards in the country's mountain villages.

In Italy, up to three inches of snow fell in some districts of the Italian capital, and the Colosseum was closed to prevent visitors slipping on ice or damaging the structure.


Rare Photographs of the Black Sea Frozen

© EnglishRussia.comCheck out these rare photographs of the Black Sea being frozen. It does happen sometimes but is still considered a natural phenomenon.
© EnglishRussia.com


Europe tries to shield homeless from deep freeze

© Fr LW Gonzales
Russia and Ukraine took extra precautions on Friday to protect homeless people during a brutal cold snap, ordering new facilities and medical care after scores of people have frozen to death on the streets of Europe.

As the death toll from the past week rose to at least 175 on Friday, Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered the creation of facilities nationwide to feed and provide medical assistance to the homeless.

The week-long freeze - Eastern Europe's worst in decades - is causing power outages, frozen water pipes and widespread closure of schools, nurseries, airports and bus routes.

Other parts of Europe experienced frigid temperatures unseen in years. A roundup:


Italy: Rare Snow Falls In Rome

On Friday, thick snowflakes fell in Rome on Friday, a rare occurrence for a capital usually blessed by a temperate climate, and other parts of the country experienced frigid temperatures unseen in years. The snowfall prompted authorities to stop visitors from entering the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill, the former home of Rome's ancient emperors.
© ReutersAn open top bus travels through a snow storm at the Colosseum, in Rome on Friday.
The director of the Colosseum, Rossella Rea, said the sites were closed out of fears that visitors could slip on ice. The last substantial snowfalls in Rome were in 1985 and 1986, though there have been other cases of lighter snow since then, including in 2010. Snow began falling in the late morning on Friday, leaving a light dusting on trees and cars and forming slush on the roads. It wasn't clear if there would be any significant accumulation on the ground. The north of the country has also been gripped by snow and ice that is disrupting train travel.

Better Earth

Natural tilts in earth's axis cause ice ages - and their cycles could help predict the next one

© UnknownMeltwater from a Norwegian glacier
The idea that slight shifts in Earth's axis might have been enough to trigger the ice ages is a century old.

But a Harvard earth sciences Professor Peter Huybers has finally proved it, using computer models to test competing ideas - and finding that earth's tilting axis is the only one that works.

The finding could have profound implications for our understanding of our planet's climate - and could, its author says, be crucial to 'predicting long-term changes in future climate.'

Two 'cycles' in the way Earth's axis spins have an effect on the cycle - one lasting 10,000 years and one lasting roughly 40,000 years.

When they align correctly, ice melts. At the other extreme, glaciers advance.

Comment: For a clearer picture of these cycles, read Fire and Ice The Day After Tomorrow


Russian Winter Goes Extreme, Claims Lives

Iceage in Siberia
© Pravda
Winter temperatures in Russia have gone extreme. The air in some regions of the republic of Yakutia (Siberia) has cooled down to -50 degrees Centigrade. Anomalous cold of -40 degrees is expected in the Perm region of Russia, Vesti.Ru reports.

In the European part of Russia, the current temperatures are ten degrees below the norm. On Wednesday morning, the temperature in the Moscow region dropped to 26 and even 30 degrees below zero Centigrade.

Cold weather is expected to become even colder this week in Moscow and the region, RIA Novosti reports. Winter cold has already claimed several human lives. One person died of frostbite yesterday in Moscow. Ten others asked for medical help and were hospitalized.

Ukraine suffers from extreme cold as well. According to Ukrainian news agencies, the cold has killed 30 people during the last three days. More than 600 people asked for medical help, 544 of them were hospitalized.

Russia's Chief Sanitary Doctor Gennady Onishchenko believes that there is a positive side to such severe winter cold. Low temperatures prevent the epidemic of flu, the official said.


Europe death toll rises in BIG freeze

In the Ukrainian capital of Kiev temperatures dropped to -20° degrees Celsius.
Sub-zero temperatures continued to keep eastern Europe in their grip Wednesday, leading to the deaths of 31 people in Ukraine so far, emergency officials there said.

For several days, unusually cold weather and snow have slammed Eastern Europe, as well as other parts of Europe and central and western Turkey.

CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said the heart of the cold air was still centered over Eastern Europe Wednesday, including Russia, Romania, Belarus and Poland as well as Ukraine, with temperatures generally a couple of degrees lower Wednesday than the day before.

The Romanian capital, Bucharest, saw a low of -23 degrees Celsius (-9.4 degrees Fahrenheit) early Wednesday, compared with an average low of -4 degrees Celsius (25 degrees Fahrenheit) at this time of year.


Snowed-in Serbia Declares State of Emergency

Days of heavy snow has made travel difficult on a number of main roads in Serbia, while a state of emergency has been declared in several areas.

The western town of Prijepolje declared a state of emergency this week, while nearby Nova Varos has been in a state of emergency since January 11. More than 60,000 citizens from Loznica, Ljubovija and Valjevo were without electricity on Thursday.

The Serbia power company EPS said power outages have been periodically occuring in the area around Kraljevo and Nis.

The south of the country has been hit hardest by the severe winter weather.


160 die as Eastern Europe sinks further into deep freeze

A cold snap kept Europe in its icy grip on Thursday, pushing the death toll to 160 as countries from Italy to Ukraine struggled to cope with temperatures that plunged to record lows in some places.

Nine more people died in Poland overnight as temperatures hit minus 32 Celsius (minus 25.6 Fahrenheit) in the southwest, bringing the overall toll to 29 since the deep freeze began last week, national police said.
© AFP, Sasa DjordjevicA man walks along a snow covered street in the southeastern Serbian town of Medvedja
In Ukraine, tens of thousands of people have headed to shelters trying to escape the freeze that the emergencies ministry said has now killed 63 people.

Most of them literally froze to death on the street, with only a handful making it to hospital before succumbing to hypothermia, the ministry said.

Shivering and hungry, tens of thousands of Ukrainians have sought help in the more than 2,000 temporary shelters set up by the authorities to help the poor survive the fearsome spell of cold weather.

The shelters offer warmth and hot food in a country where temperatures fell to minus 33 degrees Celsius in the Carpathians in the west of the country and minus 27 in the capital Kiev.