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Extreme Temperatures

Snowflake Cold

Historic freeze could break Midwest temp records

It has been decades since parts of the Midwest experienced a deep freeze like the one expected to arrive Sunday, with potential record-low temperatures heightening fears of frostbite and hypothermia - even in a region where bundling up is second nature.

This "polar vortex," as one meteorologist calls it, is caused by a counterclockwise-rotating pool of cold, dense air. The frigid air, piled up at the North Pole, will be pushed down to the U.S., funneling it as far south as the Gulf Coast.

Ryan Maue, of Tallahassee, Fla., a meteorologist for Weather Bell, said records will likely be broken during the short yet forceful deep freeze - a perfect combination of the jet stream, cold surface temperatures and the polar vortex - that will begin Sunday and extend into early next week.

"All the ingredients are there for a near-record or historic cold outbreak," he said "If you're under 40 (years old), you've not seen this stuff before."

Before the polar plunge, Saturday marked the day Earth is the closest it gets to the sun each year. The planet orbits the sun in an oval and on average is about 93 million miles away. But every January, Earth is at perihelion, and on Saturday, it was only 91.4 million miles from the sun.

But that proximity doesn't affect the planet's temperatures, and the predictions are startling: 25 below zero in Fargo, N.D., minus 31 in International Falls, Minn., and 15 below in Indianapolis and Chicago. At those temperatures, exposed skin can get frostbitten in minutes and hypothermia can quickly set in as wind chills may reach 50, 60 or even 70 below zero.

Ice Cube

December 31 global sea ice area was the largest ever recorded

Climate experts say that global warming is melting sea ice faster than expected, which is why the poles currently have the most sea ice ever measured for the date.
Global sea ice area
© Unknown

Snow Globe

Antarctic team studying 'global warming' still trapped in ice

Fifty-two scientists and tourists rescued from a trapped vessel in the Antarctic still can't get home.

On Thursday, a helicopter flew the stranded passengers off the icepack in groups of 10 and 12. Their ship had been trapped in the ice for more than 10 days.

Now, they're stuck again, this time because the Chinese icebreaker that sent the helicopter fears it could get stuck as well.

The Australian ship meant to carry the passengers home is hanging around in case it's needed to rescue the Chinese.


Increased sea ice 'due to global warming' seizes another vessel in Antarctica: Now icebreaker Xue Long issues distress call!

Chinese Vessel
© Rob Burch
The Chinese vessel, Xue Long, has expressed fears that it has also become stuck in the ice.
Yet another vessel has been trapped by global warming sea ice! The Xue Long icebreaker has sent out a distress call.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has released another press release:
Aurora Australis on standby as a precautionary measure

Xue Long notified AMSA at 1pm AEDT this afternoon it has concerns about their ability to move through heavy ice in the area. The Aurora Australis has been placed on standby by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre Australia (RCC Australia) to remain in open water in the area as a precautionary measure. The Xue Long has advised RCC Australia that it will attempt to manoeuvre through the ice when tidal conditions are most suitable during the early hours of 4 January 2014.

There is no immediate danger to personnel on board the Xue Long."
Prof Turney tweets he is gutted by the news. I guess he can't believe that climate warming could trap so many ships in sea ice. His communication manager just announced that all the new sea ice is caused by global warming, see my last post.

Ice Cube

Chinese icebreaker that helped rescue global warming researchers now stuck in Antarctic ice


The Chinese vessel, Xue Long, has expressed fears that it has also become stuck in the ice
The sorry saga continues.

3 Jan 2014 - The Chinese icebreaker that helped rescue "climate change" researchers from a Russian ship trapped in Antarctic ice found itself stuck in heavy ice on Friday.

A helicopter from the Chinese Snow Dragon plucked the passengers from the icebound Russian vessel - the Akademik Shokalskiy - to an Australian icebreaker late on Thursday.

But on Friday afternoon, the crew of the Chinese icebreaker said they were worried about their own ship's ability to move through the heavy ice, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.

The Australian icebreaker carrying the rescued passengers, the Aurora Australis, has been instructed to remain on standby in open water in the area "as a precautionary measure", the rescue agency said.

The Chinese icebreaker got within sight of the Akademik Shokalskiy on Saturday, but turned back after failing to break through the ice, more than 3 meters (10 feet) thick in some places.

A French flagged icebreaker also tried to help, but abandoned its efforts because of strong winds and heavy snow.

Snowflake Cold

Toronto 'exploring' call to army for ice storm help, deputy mayor says

A Toronto Hydro worker uses a chainsaw to clear branches from around power lines at Pine and Willow Avenue in Toronto on Dec. 23, 2013.
Toronto's deputy mayor says he is "exploring" whether to call in the army, with the city facing a lengthy and costly cleanup after an ice storm that knocked out power to 300,000 homes and other buildings.

Norm Kelly said extra hands could be needed to get rid of fallen trees, branches and other debris as the scale of the task ahead becomes clear - on Thursday, the city said cleanup will cost $75-million and take up to eight weeks.

The notion of calling in the army was raised among city staff early in the ice storm response, Mr. Kelly said. "And it was met with guffaws because people remember Mel Lastman moving around town in an armoured carrier," he told The Globe and Mail, referring to the former mayor's 1999 decision to call in the army to battle a snowstorm.

But as cleanup cost figures were made public Thursday, Mr. Kelly - who was handed extra powers when council stripped Mayor Rob Ford of some of his roles - asked his staff to explore how they'd make a request for soldiers.

"It's just [a question of] manpower. It's just, if we can get a lot of guys here and we can get into neighbourhoods and just say, 'Hey, can we give you a hand and get that stuff out?' ... I'm not sure technically how the army and its reserves could fit into that, so it's something I'm exploring," he said.

Snowflake Cold

Heavy snowstorm slams northeastern U.S. as arctic cold descends


Officials at Boston's Logan International Airport said that up to a quarter of its scheduled flights had been canceled on Thursday afternoon and evening.
A major snowstorm producing blizzard-like conditions hammered the northeastern United States on Friday, causing 2,000 U.S. flight delays and cancellations, paralyzing road travel, and closing schools and government offices.

The first major winter storm of 2014 brought bone-chilling temperatures and high winds from the lower Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic coast, with nearly 2 feet of snow falling in some areas of Massachusetts.

Much of the U.S. Northeast saw heavy snowfall and plummeting temperatures late on Thursday and early on Friday, said Jared Guyer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The weather service said the mass of Arctic air would drop temperatures to 20 to 30 degrees below normal, with record lows possible on Friday.

It was still snowing in some places, such as Boston, "but we are probably past the peak in terms of intensity at this point," Guyer said, adding that the bitter cold and snow-scattering winds showed no signs of letting up.


Blizzard to reach from NYC to Boston Thursday night

A major snowstorm will reach from across part of the Midwest to the central Appalachians and New England Thursday into Friday. A blizzard will evolve from the storm in parts of the Northeast.

During Thursday and Thursday night, the storm will affect 20 states with more than 120 million people in the Midwest and the Northeast combined and could have a major negative impact on travel for people returning from holiday destinations, heading back to school or resuming business activities.
blizzard storm
It will be far from the worst storm to ever hit the area, but people should be prepared for flight delays and cancellations because of direct and indirect impacts from the far-reaching storm. Some roads may even close for a time.


2013: A year of Alaska weather extremes, from Barrow to Juneau

A River ice strewn about the flood
© Ed Plumb / NWS
A River ice strewn about the flood ravaged community of Galena on the banks of the Yukon River. May 29, 2013.
As a whole, the state of Alaska rode a rollercoaster of wild weather in 2013. Devastating floods, record-breaking heat waves and massive storms were just a few of the extreme weather events to hit the state this year. Here's a look back at how Alaska's weather affected residents, farms, and even migratory birds in 2013.

Forever winter

2013 started off with a bang, with January bringing the coldest weather of the year to the state, the National Weather Service writes. The Interior community of Delta shivered through the lowest official temperature of the year, at 63 below zero on Jan. 28.

Related: Families from Galena still displaced by flooding, but holiday traditions go onWith sewer offline in flood-damaged Kotlik, residents welcome aid in form of honeybuckets

Anchorage saw its longest snow season since 1917, with the first snow recorded Sept. 28, 2012, and the last of the season on May 18, for a total of 232 days with snow in the 2012-2013 winter.

Winter hung on into Mid-May for much of the state, the effects of which reverberated through communities across Alaska.


Winnipeg deep freeze as cold as Mars

Winnipeg Deep Freeze
© CBC News, Canada
Parts of Manitoba hit -53 C, colder than Mars.
In terms of astonishing weather facts, it doesn't get much more impressive than being as cold as a distant planet for a day. The Manitoba Museum is reporting Winnipeg's temperatures on Tuesday were actually as cold as the surface of Mars.

According to the Curiosity Rover, Mars reached a maximum temperature of -29 C on Tuesday, a temperature Winnipeg only reached shortly before 3 p.m. The deep freeze over much of Southern Manitoba prompted extreme wind chill warnings in the area and most of the north.

In Winnipeg, the daytime high temperature for Tuesday was only expected to reach - 31 C, but the windchill made it feel more like - 40 to - 50. That means exposed skin can freeze in less than five minutes.

On Monday, it got as warm as - 28 C.

In the northern half of the province, in places like Thompson, Nelson House, Lynn Lake, Leaf Rapids and Churchill, the wind chills on Tuesday made it feel like - 48 to - 53.

The entire province was under an extreme wind chill warning on Monday, but it was later lifted in the central portion of Manitoba as well as the southwest and southeast corners.