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Cloud Lightning

Rare thundersnow in Dallas, Texas: 'How is this possible?'

Dallas thundersnow map
© KOCO.com
You have seen snow, and you have seen a thunderstorm, but have you seen them at the same time? If you were in south Dallas this Tuesday morning you would have.

Thundersnow is rare. Most thunderstorms form when warm air at the surface rises, cools and then condenses. Condensation continues and forms storm clouds aloft.

When the air is cold at the surface something else has to force that air to rise. This Tuesday morning, the thundersnow in north Texas was caused by a short wave trough moving through the region.

This trough created upper-level diverging air which in turn creates converging air at the surface forcing air to rise. The snow and sleet created quite a headache for the morning commute. It also canceled many flights out of DFW.

Snowflake

Heaviest snow in 7 years strikes Tokyo

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© Photo credit: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images
A pedestrian looks at the falling snow while crossing the road in the Ginza shopping district in Tokyo on January 14, 2013.
The heaviest snowstorm in seven years struck Tokyo Monday, causing thousands of car accidents and disrupting train travel just as the nation celebrated a unique national holiday.

Coming of Age Day, held the second Monday of every January, celebrates those who have turned or are about to turn 20 years old. Ceremonies and parties are held in communities across Japan, and the newly-minted adults often wear traditional kimono for the occasion.

But with wind-driven snow flying in the Japanese capital Monday, getting around proved difficult. Roads were clogged with slush, and the country's extensive rail network experienced delays. The snow was the first of this winter for Tokyo.

Snowflake Cold

NASA: We may be on the verge of a "Mini-Maunder" event

earth
© NASA
Is a Planetary Cooling Spell Straight Ahead?

All climate scientists agree that the sun affects Earth's climate to some extent. They only disagree about whether or not the effect form the sun is minor compared to man-made causes.

Snowflake Cold

Obama's current science advisor warned in the 1970′s of a new ice age ... and is open to shooting soot into the upper atmosphere

Preface: My entire purpose for writing this essay is to urge that decision-makers do what is best for our planet and not do something which will cause more harm than good. Environmentalists should check my background below before dismissing this out of hand.

When I pointed out a couple of days ago that a group of scientists and much of the popular press warned in the 1970s of an imminent ice age, I didn't realize they had such a prominent member.

Specifically, as New York Times science columnist John Tierney noted in September:
In 1971, long before Dr. Holdren came President Obama's science adviser, in an essay [titled] "Overpopulation and the Potential for Ecocide," Dr. Holdren and his co-author, the ecologist Paul Ehrlich, warned of a coming ice age.

They certainly weren't the only scientists in the 1970s to warn of a coming ice age, but I can't think of any others who were so creative in their catastrophizing. Although they noted that the greenhouse effect from rising emissions of carbon dioxide emissions could cause future warming of the planet, they concluded from the mid-century cooling trend that the consequences of human activities (like industrial soot, dust from farms, jet exhaust, urbanization and deforestation) were more likely to first cause an ice age. Dr. Holdren and Dr. Ehrlich wrote:
The effects of a new ice age on agriculture and the supportability of large human populations scarcely need elaboration here. Even more dramatic results are possible, however; for instance, a sudden outward slumping in the Antarctic ice cap, induced by added weight, could generate a tidal wave of proportions unprecedented in recorded history.

Snowflake

11 dead as Mideast battered by hail, snow, rain

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© Image Credit: REUTERS
A car drives through the snow in Aley area, eastern Lebanon January 9, 2013. At least 17 people have also died due to the storm in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Bad weather has brought misery to Syrian refugees living in Lebanon and Syria.

Abnormal storms which for four days have blasted the Middle East with rain, snow and hail have left at least 11 people dead and brought misery to Syrian refugees huddled in camps.

Officials reported that two women were found dead in the West Bank on Wednesday after their car was swept away in floods, while a 30-year-old man froze to death in Taalabaya, in Lebanon's Bekaa province, after he fell asleep drunk in his car.

Snow carpeted Syria's war-torn cities but sparked no let-up in the fighting, instead heaping fresh misery on a civilian population already enduring a chronic shortage of heating fuel and daily power cuts.

In Occupuied Jerusalem, schools closed at midday and driving wind, hail and rain battered the city as temperatures hovered just above freezing and the polar air mass moving down from Russia sent temperatures plummeting as far south as Cairo.

Raging winds and flash floods caused widespread damage to infrastructure across the Palestinian territories.

"The Palestinian infrastructure is deeply flawed and unable to handle weather like this," said Ghassan Hamdan, head of medical relief in the northern city of Nablus.

Bad Guys

DEA agents arranged prostitute for Secret Service agent

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© Manuel Pedraza / AFP - Getty Images file
View of the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena, Colombia, where a prostitution scandal involving U.S. Secret Service agents erupted in April 2012.
Two U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents "facilitated a sexual encounter" between a prostitute and a U.S. Secret Service agent days before President Barack Obama visited Colombia for a summit meeting in April 2012, according to a Justice Department investigation obtained exclusively by NBC News.

A summary of the findings of the investigation, included in a Dec. 20 letter from the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General to Sens. Joseph Lieberman and Susan Collins, indicated that a third DEA agent present on the night of the incident was not involved in procuring the prostitute for the Secret Service agent.

"While DEA agent #3 was present for a dinner that took place earlier that evening with the USSS agent and the other two DEA agents, he was not present in the residence when the sexual encounter took place and played no role in facilitating it," the summary said.

All three DEA special agents admitted that they had paid for sexual services of a prostitute, the investigation also found, and "used their DEA Blackberry devices to arrange such activities." In addition, the report says the agents tried to destroy incriminating information or initially lied to investigators about the incidents. All three agents have high-security clearances.

Snowflake Cold

January could get progressively colder for most of U.S.

Snow
© Unknown
Meteorologists predict that the second half of January will bring significantly colder patterns.
AccuWeather reports that beginning near or just past the middle of the month, signs are pointing toward waves of frigid air moving southward across North America from the North Pole.

Much of the nation has been experiencing higher-than-average temperatures and lower heating bills so far during the cold weather season, with the exception of some bouts the past couple of weeks.

However, there are signs of a potential change on the way beginning during the second half of January.

A phenomenon known as sudden stratospheric warming has occurred in the arctic region during the past few days. The stratosphere is located between 6 miles and 30 miles above the ground.

Meteorologists predict that the second half of January will bring significantly colder patterns. Often when this occurs, it forces cold air to build in the lowest layer of the atmosphere then to drive southward.

SSC map
© AccuWeather

Snowflake

Snow blankets parts of Middle East, Jerusalem

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© ALAA BADARNEH - EPA
A general view of the snow covered West Bank city of Nablus, taken from a hillside overlooking the city during snowy weather, on 10 January 2013.
Four to six inches of snow fell in Jerusalem Wednesday night into Thursday morning, snarling traffic and closing schools and government offices. The snow in Jerusalem resulted from a large storm system that produced days of inclement weather in the Middle East. Initially, the storm brought mainly wind and heavy rains that caused flooding and damage in some areas.

But as cold air wrapped into low pressure tracking through the region, temperatures plummeted and snow reports spiked. Up to three feet of snow fell on Mount Hermon in northern Israel the Inquisitr reported. Snow was also observed in areas of the West Bank, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt.

The cold, stormy weather in Syria brought further suffering in war-ravaged cities and for refugees. "The United Nations says millions of people inside Syria and 600,000 refugees outside the country need assistance, including food, blankets and warm clothes," Voice of America wrote.

Ice Cube

'Lowest temperaure in Bangladesh's history' brings at least 80 deaths

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A cold snap which saw temperatures drop to 40-year lows in Bangladesh has killed around 80 people, officials said.

According to AFP, Shah Alam, the deputy head of the weather office, said the lowest temperature was recorded at 3 degrees Celsius in the northern town of Syedpur.

He said the last time the temperature dropped below that level was in February 1968 when Bangladesh was still part of Pakistan.

"The temperature is the lowest in Bangladesh's history," he said.

The Red Crescent said hospitals were packed with patients suffering respiratory illness.

The society's general-secretary Abu Bakar said impoverished rural areas had been worst hit as many people could not afford warm clothing or heating.

Snowflake Cold

Unprecedented cold spell breaks 50-year records in Pakistan

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© thenewstribe.com
The winter, normally a season of feast and joy in the region, otherwise known for its enervating summers, has brought with it a strange phenomenon in recent weeks. Record chill has sent people scampering to keep themselves warm, and made commuting a dicey task, especially at night.

The strange thing about this phenomenon this season has been that it gripped the Pothohar region and the plains of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well, contrary to the trend of the past few decades when nearly blinding fog mostly affected the plain areas of the Punjab.

This time around, the 50-year cold records in the Punjab plains were broken, while also plunging the wide swathes of Pothohar and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in an unprecedented cold spell, which spread over a fortnight or even three weeks, with weather pundits saying that maximum temperatures fell by as much as 10 degree Celsius.

After shivering even in the daytime during the two days in the 'aftermath' of fog-induced cold, Tuesday night brought with it some cheers for the winter-weary people, as a cloudy sky prevented fog to accumulate, also bringing visibility level back to normal for the traffic and keeping the temperatures from dipping to sub-zero level, as was seen in the previous two weeks.