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Wed, 20 Feb 2019
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Extreme Temperatures

Igloo

Nearly 200 killed in cold snap across Russia, eastern Europe

Cold Snap
© Agence France-Presse
49 deaths in Poland from cold in December.
A vicious cold snap across Russia and eastern Europe has claimed nearly 200 lives, officials figures showed Friday, as forecasters warned it would last until Christmas Eve.

In Russia, the cold has killed two people in the past 24 hours, the Ria-Novosti agency reported, citing medical sources, bringing the total number of deaths over the past week to 56.

The freeze had also left 371 people in hospital.

Thermometers have been stuck below minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit) in Moscow -- and below minus 50 degrees (minus 58 F) in some parts of Siberia -- for a week.

Russian weather forecasters said temperature in the Khabarovsk region in eastern Russia had dropped to minus 43 Celsius, while Krasnoyarsk in Siberia reported minus 47.

This "abnormal" frost would last till Monday because of a persistent anticyclone, they added.

In Russia's European region, meanwhile, the mercury is expected to fall to minus 31 degrees Celsius on Christmas Eve before rising rapidly afterwards.

Other European countries hit hard by the extreme temperatures were counting the toll as temperatures gradually started to return to normal.

Snowflake

Massive snowstorm in Midwest kills at least seven

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The scene of a deadly 25-vehicle pileup on Dec. 20 north of Des Moines. Authorities said drivers were blinded by snow and didn't see vehicles that had slowed or stopped on Interstate 80. / Iowa State Patrol
A major snowstorm that was sweeping across the Midwest and beyond on Thursday left at least seven people dead, clogged highways and forced hundreds of flight delays and cancellations at airports already bracing for the holiday rush.

The deaths included a woman in Utah who died trying to walk for help after her car became stuck in the blizzard. Storm-related traffic deaths also were reported in Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin and Nebraska.

Blizzard warnings were in effect in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, according to the National Weather Service. The Weather Channel reported that parts of 17 states are under winter weather advisories -- as far west as Washington state and as far east as Maine.

The southern edge of the storm system brought winds and damaged homes in Arkansas, the National Weather Service said. Alabama has confirmed that a tornado hit Mobile on Thursday morning, but the tornado's length and intensity were still being assessed. Tornado watches remained in place in Georgia and Florida.

The storm brought much-needed precipitation for drought-plagued regions but was bad news for holiday travelers. Most of the nation's big airlines responded to the storm's threat by enacting flexible rebooking policies for passengers scheduled to fly into the storm's path.

As of 5 p.m. ET Thursday, more than 1,000 flights had been canceled at airports across the Midwest, according to flight-tracking service FlightStats.com.

More than 600 flights were canceled at Chicago's two airports, O'Hare and Midway. Other flights at O'Hare were delayed between 30 and 90 minutes, the city's Department of Aviation reported at 3:30 p.m. CT. FlightAware reported inbound delays averaging 2½ hours because of high winds.

American Airlines announced that it was canceling flights scheduled to depart after 8 p.m. CT and that flights delayed earlier might leave after 8 p.m.

O'Hare is a major hub for both United and American, meaning the disruption could ripple out and affect fliers at other airports.

Igloo

Extreme cold prompts state of emergency in Altai, Russia

Cold Weather
© RIA Novosti
Temperatures of up to minus 45 degrees Celsius in the Altai region in southeast Siberia have prompted the authorities to declare a regionwide state of emergency.

This is Altai's coldest December on record. It was minus 36 degrees in the region's administrative center Gorno-Altaisk on Wednesday night.

Ice Cube

Boiling water freezes instantly in Siberia

Amateur video shows boiling water freezes instantaneously in Siberia as temperatures dip below minus 40 degrees Celsius.


Igloo

Why Russia's cold snap is so deadly

Russia Cold
© Kotenko Oleksandr/Shutterstock
An unusual early-winter cold snap has Russians freezing in sub-zero weather.
If any nation on Earth is accustomed to dealing with a harsh winter, it would be Russia. But from the farthest reaches of Siberia to downtown Moscow, the Russian people are being pummeled by a winter so brutal it's shattering cold-weather records across the continent - and it's only December.

As temperatures plunge as low as - minus 58 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 50 degrees Celsius) in some areas, the Pravda news site reports that 45 people have died of causes related to the subfreezing weather; 21 people froze to death in just one day. Hundreds more have been hospitalized with frostbite and other conditions.

Subfreezing weather combined with heavy snowfall in some regions have crippled the nation's infrastructure, closing roads, scrambling airline flights and bursting pipes that carry water and heat into homes, schools and businesses, according to RT.com.

Ice Cube

Super-freezing weather results in 'falling ice bombs' in Vancouver, British Columbia forces bridge closure


Like ice bombs falling from the sky.

That's how motorists described their nightmare on the Port Mann Bridge early Wednesday afternoon when giant icicles began to drop from the overhead cables and damage cars.

RCMP closed the new toll bridge in both directions for several hours until about 6 p.m. after many vehicles were hit by the falling ice and two occupants were injured, sending one to hospital.

Several large clumps of ice crashed through car windshields and ICBC has received 107 vehicle damage claims as of Thursday morning.

"There was no way to get around it, there was no way to move - it looked like a meteor shower of snow," said Jared Angell of Abbotsford.

His work truck sports a spider web of cracks in the front windshield and multiple dents to the roof.

"I probably got hit at least 10 times," Angell said. "I wasn't nervous until the windshield shattered, then I started to get nervous. You're hoping another one doesn't hit the same spot."

He was one of at least four drivers with Port Mann ice damage who ended up in the same autobody shop in Abbotsford.

Karl Nylund said he was "freaked out" when ice punched right through the back window of his Subaru as he was inching across the bridge in very slow traffic.

Snowflake Cold

Chunks of ice and snow fall off new Vancouver bridge's support cables, injuring two people and damaging several vehicles


Image
© twitter/Johnny Materi
pic of shattered window from Port Mann Bridge
Canada, British Columbia - The head of the Crown corporation that built the Port Mann Bridge says the company is reviewing yesterday's closure of the multi-billion-dollar span after snow and ice fell from the bridge's support cables, injuring two people and damaging several vehicles.

Mike Proudfoot, the CEO of the Transportation Investment Corporation, admits the coating on the cables that was supposed to push snow away from the deck didn't work.

But, he says, Wednesday was an unusual day.

"This is an extreme weather situation," he said.

"It is very rare, especially in the Lower Mainland, but it does occur and it has had similar effects on other cable stay bridges in other jurisdictions ... Snow can accumulate on any structure over roadways and no bridge is immune to it but what we saw was a very unusual combination of winter conditions."

Proudfoot says engineers were sent to the bridge and the contractor has been asked to come up with plans to avoid such problems in the future.

The corporation says it will forgive the toll and pick up the insurance deductible for vehicles damaged on the bridge.

Snowflake Cold

Blizzard conditions for much of the U.S. - Heavy snow, strong winds and significant travel disruptions

Winter Storm Draco will continue to dump heavy snow and bring strong winds to the Upper Midwest through Thursday night. Blizzard warnings and winter storm warnings remain in effect for several states in the region. Significant travel disruption is likely. Draco initially brought heavy snow and wind to the West earlier this week before spreading across the Plains and Upper Midwest Wednesday into Thursday. As we close out the week, Draco will sweep through the East Coast with rain and wind while turning on the lake-effect snow machine in the Great Lakes. The warm side of Draco has resulted in severe thunderstorms and tornado reports in the South.
Image
As Draco's low intensifies and swings northeastward across the Great Lakes through Thursday night, moderate to locally heavy snow or rain changing to snow is expected in parts of the upper-Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes, targeting Iowa, Wisconsin, northern Illinois, northern Missouri and northern Michigan.

Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour are likely at times in the heaviest snow bands and you may hear some rumbles of thunder during the snowstorm as well. Storm total snowfall amounts of 6 to 12 inches (locally more than a foot) are expected in the heaviest snow swath from parts of Iowa to Wisconsin and northern Michigan.

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.