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Tue, 23 Jan 2018
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Extreme Temperatures

Snowflake Cold

Intense cold kills 70 people across Uttar Pradesh, India

A woman wraps a child in a shawl while waiting for a train at a railway station on a foggy winter morning on the outskirts of Agartala, yesterday.

A woman wraps a child in a shawl while waiting for a train at a railway station on a foggy winter morning on the outskirts of Agartala, yesterday.
Extreme cold wave conditions prevailed in most parts of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday. Lack of night shelters and amenities have already led to the death of over 70 homeless and poor people.

Phone calls to senior officials, including Director Information Anuj Jha have remained unanswered.

Twenty-two deaths have been reported from Poorvanchal; three each in Brij and Bareilly divisions; 11 in Allahabad division and 28 in Bundelkhand region.

Two persons - Ram Kishore Rawat, 40, and Mahesh, 35, have died in Barabanki district due to the severe cold. One person died in Harchandpur in Faizabad, an infant in Ambedkarnagar, one in Rae Bareli's Makhdoompur and one in Unchahaar.

A government official said that adequate arrangements have been made for bonfires and night shelters, though the ground realities were in stark contrast to these claims.


Boston storm tops blizzard of 1978 for high tide

boston storm
© Nancy Lane
Billy Carey and Justin Plaza, at right, from Boston Fire Rescue swift water team haul their boat after saving a man from his flooded car on Commercial Wharf during the storm on Thursday,January 4, 2018.
Surging floodwaters in Boston that were spurred by yesterday's powerful winter storm can now be associated with a record high tide, according to the National Weather Service.

Boston recorded a high tide of 15.16 feet (4.88 feet above the astronomical tide), breaking the previous record of 15.1 feet that was recorded during the Blizzard of 1978.

Yesterday's high tide was the result of a chance encounter between a low-pressure system and the moon cycle timed just right, said Hayden Frank, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Taunton.

"We had a very high astronomical tide, which was 12.1 feet," Frank said. "That's controlled by the moon cycle. That's something you can calculate years in advance.

Comment: Bostonians are calling for a sea wall to be built at the harbor to protect (incorrectly) against the ravages of global warming:
The city's Climate Ready Boston report raised the possibility of building a sea wall, and City Councilor Lydia Edwards - whose district includes waterfront-heavy Charlestown, East Boston and the North End - said it's not a far-fetched idea.

"Nothing is off the table in terms of what we need to look at," Edwards said, adding that a sea wall would be a "short-term" response compared to long-term efforts to reduce greenhouse gas consumption and slow global warming.

"I don't think we needed this (the storm) to say we need to look at this seriously; this is a continued reminder that we cannot kick the can - this is directly impacting us right now," said Edwards.

She is also supporting more sustainable development on the waterfront.

But constructing a sea wall is a costly and complicated prospect - with one estimate putting the bill at $10 billion.

Such a barrier would run from the tip of Logan International Airport to South Boston. A more ambitious wall being eyed would encompass the Harbor Islands or stretch as far out as the coast of Hull.
This record high tide is being attributed by some to the recent supermoon:
Benjamin Sipprell, a meteorologist in Boston for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, told the Daily Beast that the flooding was a result of the blizzard hitting at high tide, and the high tide being higher than usual due to Wednesday's supermoon.

A supermoon is a full moon that occurs when the moon is closest to Earth in its orbit. This happens about four to six times a year.

The tides are caused by the moon's orbit, and are at their highest during full moons. Supermoons bring them even higher.

'Normal tides in Boston are between 9 and 10 feet,' Sipprell explained. 'When we get tides, we get some that go up to 12 feet or more. We were forecasting 12.1 feet with this one, but with the surge, it got bumped up to 15 feet.

'It's definitely historic.'

Snowflake Cold

Mount Washington, New Hampshire, is currently the second coldest place on Earth (and is even colder than Mars)

Mount Washington

New Hampshire’s Mount Washington
Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire isn't just cold - at minus 36 degrees with a windchill of 94 below, it's tied for the second-coldest place on Earth, according to a tweet from the observatory. In fact, according to the latest data available from the Curiosity rover on Mars, Mount Washington feels colder than the surface of our celestial neighbor, which was measured at minus 78 degrees.

As of Saturday morning, the wind was gusting at more than 100 miles per hour at the summit, which is 6,288 feet above sea level, according to the observatory's website.

Snowflake Cold

A taste of the future: Fruit and vegetable prices surge as blizzards cut off roads, damage crops in China

snow damage
Fruit and vegetable prices in major cities in central and northern China have surged after severe winter weather cut off highways and damaged crops, the government said late on Saturday.

Parts of highways connecting Henan, Shanxi, Shandong, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces were blocked. In northern Shanxi province, greenhouses for vegetables collapsed under the weight of snow, footage on state television showed on Sunday.

"More than 45,000 acres of fruit trees, tea farms as well as greenhouses for vegetable have been damaged by freezing rains and snow," the Ministry of Agriculture said, adding that wheat planting could be delayed due to the cold weather.


Heavy snowfall traps thousands of people in cars overnight in Spain

Cars trapped overnight on Spanish motorway due to snow
Cars trapped overnight on Spanish motorway due to snow
Rescuers working to help those stuck on roads in Castile and León region as drivers complain about lack of information

Spanish police and soldiers were working to rescue thousands of people trapped on roads in the centre of the country after heavy snowfall forced them to spend Saturday night in their cars.

Hundreds of vehicles were caught in the snow on the AP-6 motorway in Castile and León and north-western parts of the Madrid region as people returned from Epiphany celebrations.

More than 150 members of the army's military emergencies unit (UME) were deployed early on Sunday to help Guardia Civil officers reach stranded motorists.

Comment: See also: Heavy snowfall in Alpine regions leaves 30,000 skiers stranded


'Bomb cyclone' leaves frozen wake of destruction and kills 22 in eastern US

people in snow
© Mike Segar
Manhattan, New York January 4, 2018.
The 'bomb cyclone' cold weather system that hit the US east coast this week has moved on, leaving freezing temperatures and more than 20 dead in its wake.

At least 22 people have died as a result of the extreme conditions, CBS News reports. The casualties include a girl who was hit with a pickup truck whilst sledding in Richmond, Virginia, and a man who was killed by a snow plow, also in Virginia.

The National Weather Service said the "arctic airmass [is] to remain entrenched over the eastern US this weekend."

"Bitterly cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills are likely over the eastern third of the country this weekend," it warned.

Comment: Chicago hasn't seen a cold snap this long (12 days) since 1936 and 1895 before that, with areas reaching 21 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. There's a wind chill warning for the rest of the weekend in the northeast, where temps may drop as low as 45 below with the wind chill:
Daily record lows within reach Sunday morning include (record to beat is shown): Boston (2 degrees below zero); Providence (1 degree below zero); New York City (4 degrees); Philadelphia (4 degrees).

If Philadelphia slips below zero on Sunday morning it would be the first subzero low temperature in the city since 1994.

New York City could record just its second subzero low temperature since 1994 on Sunday morning. The last time the Big Apple was below zero was on Valentine's Day in 2016

Some relief from the cold will arrive in the Midwest on Sunday as temperatures rise to near or above average in most locations. This return to near-average temperatures will sweep into the Northeast by early next week.
The past 2 weeks have seen daily record lows in the area.


Melted roads and bushfires strike Australia during catastrophic heatwave

australian fire crews
Emergency services in southeast Australia are warning people to stay indoors as a dangerous heatwave batters the country, with temperatures so high that the asphalt on some roads has been melting.

The "catastrophic" hot weather caused a 10km stretch of the Hume Highway, near the Victoria state capital Melbourne, to become soft and sticky, causing havoc for motorists trying to enter the city.

Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania have now declared a total fire ban after blazes on the outskirts of Melbourne raged out of control, destroying buildings and threatening lives.

It took a team of 300 firefighters, 50 trucks and three helicopters to tackle one fire in Victoria's Carrum Downs on Saturday, which threatened dozens of homes.


Global Weather: Freezing temperatures in China, powerful winds in U.K. and floods in New Zealand mean U.S. is not alone

The road to the Adelboden ski resort in Switzerland, which was swept away by a rain-induced mudslide, on January 5.
© Getty
The road to the Adelboden ski resort in Switzerland, which was swept away by a rain-induced mudslide, on January 5.
The U.S. has been immersed in a "bomb cyclone," the technical meteorological term for the winter storm plaguing the East Coast from Florida to Maine. The weather followed a blustery arctic blast, causing below-freezing temperatures for days and record-breaking lake-effect snow near the Great Lakes.

Extreme weather struck other parts of the world, too. From flooding and snowfall to high wind speeds and waves, here are a few extreme weather conditions happening beyond the I-95 corridor.


Heavy snowfall in Alpine regions leaves 30,000 skiers stranded

The Italian resort of Cervinia had two metres of fresh snow.
© Twitter/Anna G Milan
The Italian resort of Cervinia had two metres of fresh snow.
Winter storms have swept across western Europe, with the blizzard conditions turning chairlifts into swings and leaving thousands of people stranded in ski resorts.

Heavy snowfall saw the avalanche risk raised in Alpine regions across Italy, France and Switzerland, and resulted in the closure of roads and railways leading into popular resorts.

Up to 10,000 tourists were stuck at the Cervinia ski resort in Italy,
local media reported.

At Val Thorens in France, Europe's highest ski resort, local media reported that 20,000 skiers staying in the resort were stuck when the main access road was closed due to avalanche risk.

The Alps stretch for more than 1,000 kilometres across eight Alpine countries, including France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Germany.

Snowflake Cold

Ice-cold iguanas plunge from Florida trees during winter storm cold snap - UPDATE (VIDEO)

© Jorge Silva / Reuters
Frozen iguanas are tumbling off their perches in Miami's suburbs, as South Florida and much of the US Southeast are in the grips of a frigid winter storm, as the freezing weather grows in intensity as it moves up the East Coast.

The iguanas were seen dropping from the trees Thursday because they are cold-blooded creatures, and if the temperature drops below 50 degrees, the reptiles become sluggish. If the temperature drops lower than 50, as it has in some parts of South Florida, the creature becomes completely immobilized, according to the Daily News.

The National Weather Service (NWS) reported Thursday morning that some parts of South Florida experienced temperatures below 40 degrees.