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Igloo

Stormy weather, heavy snow hit northern Japan

Tokyo - Heavy snow and blizzards hit many parts of the Sea of Japan coast and Hokkaido on Saturday.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said a low pressure system had brought a cold air mass over northern Japan, bringing 22 cms of snow in Yamagata, Niigata, Akita and Toyama prefectures, and up to 50 cms in mountainous regions.

Hokkaido received heavy snowfall and blizzards as well, TBS reported. Shin-Chitose airport in Sapporo reported the cancellation of 23 flights, while JR Hakodate canceled 60 train services between Sapporo and Hakodate.

The meteorological agency forecast the blizzard-like conditions to continue until Monday and cautioned that transportation could be further disrupted.

Binoculars

Bird watchers flock to Portland, UK after a rare Arctic Brunnich's Guillemot spotted

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© Debby Saunders
The Brunnich's Guillemot
Bird lovers are flocking to Portland after a rare Arctic visitor was spotted in the harbour.

Hundreds of people from all over the country headed to Portland Marina to get a glimpse of a Brunnich's Guillemot (or Thick-billed Murre ) which is usually found in colder, northern climates including Russia and Norway.

Crowds of enthusiasts are still there today trying to photograph the bird.

Debby Saunders, of Portland, first saw the vagrant, which is believed to have been blown off course in the recent bad weather, on Boxing Day.

She said: "It is really exciting. It is the first time this species has been seen this far south in the UK."

Debby was bird watching with her husband Pete when she saw the Brunnich's in the distance.

Comment: See also: Ice Age Cometh: Snowy Owl invasion coming in North America?

Maine experiencing a Canadian owl invasion

Incredible Hawk Owl invasion in Estonia!

Huge Snowy Owl invasion becomes official in Canada and U.S.

Thousands of Hawk Owls descend on Finland as food in northern Russia runs out

Ice Age Cometh: Unprecedented influx of Arctic Ivory Gulls into UK


Ice Cube

Update! Chinese icebreaker cancels rescue mission to save expedition in Antarctica 'because sea ice is too thick'

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© Laurence Topham for the Guardian
The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long has had to abandon its rescue mission of the Akademik Shokalskiy
The Guardian's man on the icebound vessel reports on the freezing conditions as the expedition waits for assistance

Cape de la Motte, East Antarctica: the Xue Long appeared as a dot on the horizon, against a bright blue sky, to the starboard side of our ice-locked ship just after dinnertime on Friday evening, local time.

After two days of intense blizzards, with biting cold that had forced us to spend all our time below decks, the break in the weather and the approaching rescue had put the crew and passengers of the MV Akademik Shokalskiy in good spirits.

With temperatures at a pleasantly bearable -1C, some of the crew went on to the ice surrounding the ship in all directions and killed time by making igloos. The rest remained on board and watched the Chinese icebreaker through binoculars as it appeared to make steady progress, silently zigzagging through the ice, from the upper deck of the ship.

As we waited, penguins, apparently confused by the sudden appearance of a solid mass caused by the compacting of ice floes around our vessel, wandered past at regular intervals, looking for the shoreline.

Comment: Global warming? Antarctica hit a new all-time coldest temperature record of -135 degrees Fahrenheit TWICE in last three years


Cloud Precipitation

Weather caused late deliveries for Christmas - Senator calls for refunds from shipping companies

Thousands of UPS packages will arrive after Christmas
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© Mark Lennihan/AP
For the Allan family in Clearwater, Fla., Chicago beef is an annual holiday tradition. The family orders Christmas dinner shipped in every year from the famed Portillo's Restaurant.

"It's a big deal," said Jan Allan. "It's something to us that's special for our family. It's not something we can get in Florida."

She was planning a dinner party for 20 friends and family. When the food didn't arrive by early Christmas Eve, she was worried.

"I became concerned and tried to check the tracking number," said Allan.

It turned out the Allans were among thousands of families that didn't get their Christmas package by Christmas.

For the first time this year, UPS took on more overnight packages than it could deliver. The company apologized to customers, blaming bad winter weather in the South and a surge in online shopping.

The apology didn't go far with people on social media, which exploded with complaints about UPS and FedEx from customers furious about empty spots under their trees.

Most complaints were directed at UPS, which issued statements on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day acknowledging that the company was overwhelmed by unexpected volume and some packages were delayed until after the holiday.

Wreath

Alps avalanches leave four people dead after heavy snowfalls

Avalanche in St. Moritz
© Giancarlo Cattaneo/EPA
Experts examine the spot where an avalanche began near St Moritz, Switzerland, killing one person.
A series of avalanches in the Alps on Friday left four people dead, including a young Irishman, and several other skiers seriously injured, according to mountain rescue teams.

Off-piste skiers have been warned there may be further avalanches this weekend.

Seven skiers were swept away when avalanches hit the popular resorts of Val-Thorens, Courchevel, La Clusaz and Serre-Chevalier.

One man, reportedly a French mountain worker, aged 50, died in Courchevel as he tried to reach his chalet refuge with his son, when the pair were "surprised by an avalanche", mountain rescue services said. The son was saved, but his father died. In a separate incident at Serre-Chevalier, a second skier, described as between 15 and 20 years of age, died in hospital after being buried in snow after an avalanche reportedly under the ski lifts.

Comment: It would be normal in reporting such an incident that the avalanches were due to very heavy snowfall in the last few days, with some places receiving up to 1.5 meter of snow (5 feet). It is likely due to the fact that the Guardian has betted so heavily on the AGW horse that all information to the contrary is ignored. Here is the snow map for the last 3 days with numbers in centimeters:
snow map for Switzerland
© WSL-Institut für Schnee- und Lawinenforschung SLF
Fresh snow in the last 3 days. Last updated 27.12.2013, 09:31



Snowflake Cold

"Exceptional" snowfall in Cortina d' Ampezzo, Italy

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"Not only is North America experiencing power outages, so is Cortina d'Ampezzo, famous skiing area in Italy," says reader Mirco Poletto. "Due to snow Cortina has had no electrical power for several hours. Trees are falling and there is avalanche and landslide danger."

Cortina d'Ampezzo (Belluno ) has been without electricity since early morning due to exceptional heavy snowfall that is creating considerable discomfort around the Cadore.

The fresh snow has reached half a meter in height, closing several roads leading to Ampezzo and Cortina, which are currently only accessible from the main road. Mountain passes are closed.

On Falzarego six people were trapped in their cars by the snow and were recovered by rescuers and taken to the shelter Col Gallina.

Even the tourist town of Madesimo (Sondrio ) in high Vallespluga remains isolated from the rest of Lombardy for the entire night because of heavy snowfall .

On the whole alpine it has been snowing copious hours without a break, and is still snowing heavily.

"Exceptional" snowfall in Cortina d' Ampezzo, Italy

Thanks to Dr Mirco Poletto in Italy for this link

Snowflake Cold

'Heavy snowfall may disrupt Sochi Games'

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No shortage of snow has been forecast for the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics, but potential heavy snowfall may cause real problems, a Russian official said.

"There will be enough snow, that issue doesn't disturb us," head of the Russian Weather Service, Rosgidromet, Alexander Frolov told reporters, reports Xinhua.

On the contrary, he said, there are concerns that heavy snowfall could seriously disrupt the competition in Sochi.

He warned that weather in that subtropical zone is very volatile and snowstorms there, once started, might last for two or three consecutive days .

In December, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry has once issued an avalanche warning in Sochi, anticipating blackouts, disruption of communications, housing services and transportation in the mountainous area.

Source: IANS

Ice Cube

China icebreaker close to trapped Antarctic ship frozen in ice that is supposed to be disappearing according to Global Warmists


A scientific mission ship, trapped in dense pack ice off East Antarctica since Christmas Day, is close to being rescued as a Chinese icebreaker nears.

The crew can see the Snow Dragon icebreaker, which will try to cut a path through the ice allowing the research vessel to reach open water.

The Russian Academic Shokalskiy ship has 74 on board and is being used by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition.

They are following the route explorer Douglas Mawson travelled a century ago.

One of the leaders of the expedition, Chris Turney, tweeted an image of the Snow Dragon icebreaker on the horizon as it approached the ship.

Snowflake Cold

Half a million without power this Christmas in U.S. and Canada

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Authorities warn of carbon monoxide poisoning as two die after using gas generator in storm
Repair crews worked around the clock Tuesday to restore power to nearly half a million customers who faced a cold and very dark Christmas Eve in parts of the central and northeastern United States and into eastern Canada after a weekend ice storm. At least 24 deaths have been linked to the storm.

The US National Weather Service said more snow was expected to move into the Northern High Plains and Central Rockies on Tuesday before rolling into the Great Lakes and Midwest by Wednesday morning.

In Canada, five people were reported dead from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning. Police said two people in Ontario died after using a gas generator to heat their blacked-out home northeast of Toronto. Police in Quebec said carbon monoxide poisoning was believed to be the cause of three deaths in a chalet on the province's North Shore. Earlier, five people were killed in eastern Canada in highway crashes blamed on severe weather conditions.

In the US, the nationwide death toll from the storm reached at least 14 on Tuesday, when a 50-year-old man in Knox, Maine, was overcome by carbon monoxide fumes from a generator. It was the second reported death attributed to fumes from a generator during the storm. Police in Michigan also attributed two deaths in a traffic collision that happened Monday to the storm.

As temperatures plunged into the low single digits (below minus 15 Celsius) in Toronto - where some 90,000 customers remained without power Tuesday - authorities reported a dramatic jump in calls for suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, responding to 110 calls in a 24-hour period. Officials said they typically see 20 such calls a day.

Snowflake Cold

Half the U.S. is already covered with snow

Last week, snow covered more than half of the continental United States, the highest this measure has reached by this date in a decade, according to government scientists.

As of Dec. 15, snow covered 53 percent of the Lower 48, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported. That's a significantly higher portion than in recent years. In 2006, for example, snow covered just 12 percent of those states on the same date, according to Climate Central, a climate news Web site.

November and early December have also been quite chilly for much of the country, below the 20th-century average, Climate Central noted. "With the noteworthy exception of Alaska, nearly every state was affected by the unusually cold air at some point during the November-to-December timeframe," Climate Central reported.

What's going on?