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Fri, 29 Sep 2023
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Extreme Temperatures


Colder weather heads for U.S. as ice set to coat Texas

© Scott Olson/Getty Images
The tugboat Commissioner breaks up ice in Burnham Harbor near the Loop on January 21, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Temperatures in Chicago fell lower than the South Pole this month as freezing weather boosted energy consumption, grounded thousands of flights across the U.S. and disrupted operations at refineries and natural gas production sites.
Parts of southern Texas may get a rare coating of ice as temperatures plunging across the U.S. portend an even sharper cold snap to come.

Temperatures across the eastern U.S. and parts of Ontario and Quebec will be at least 8 degrees below normal through Jan. 27, said Matt Rogers, president of the Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. Next week will be colder, he said.

"The crazy thing is that the current cold snap this week looks to be a bit more modest in the face of next week's outbreak," Rogers said. "The cold coming for the end of January is sufficient to make this the coldest month of the century so far and the coldest the Lower 48 has felt in at least 20 years."

Temperatures in Chicago fell lower than the South Pole this month as freezing weather boosted energy consumption, grounded thousands of flights across the U.S. and disrupted operations at refineries and natural gas production sites.

The natural gas-weight heating degree days value for January is expected to reach 1,062.9, higher than the five-year average of 949.5 and the coldest since 2001, Rogers said.

The value is determined by subtracting the daily average temperature from a base of 65 degrees Fahrenheit, the resulting number is a measure of how cold it is and how much energy is needed to keep homes and warm.

Cold Front

"A wave of low pressure along the cold front currently settling into the southern states is expected to spread a rare coating of ice across southeast Texas and southwestern Louisiana," the National Weather Service said.


Kashmir remains cut off due to heaviest January snowfall in a decade

Kashmir snowfall
© Unknown
Kashmir remained cut-off from the rest of the country for the second day today with road and air links to the Valley snapped due to snowfall, the heaviest in a decade in the month of January.

The Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was closed for traffic, while no flights operated from the airport here following heavy snowfall yesterday. However, there were no reports of fresh snowfall from any part of the Valley during the night.

"The national highway is closed for traffic today. No vehicle will be allowed to ply on the road," a Traffic Department spokesman said here.

He said the 294-km arterial highway - the only road-link between Kashmir Valley and the rest of the country - was being cleared of snow and could be made motorable later in the day.

No flights to and fro Srinagar Airport operated yesterday due to continuous snowfall. However, there are chances of the airport being made operational in the afternoon.


Death toll mounts as unusually long Thai cold spell continues

Cold Spell_1
© The Bangkok Post
The unusually long cold spell across the North, Northeast and Central regions has killed 63 people in the past three months and Bangkok has suffered its coldest night in three decades.

Sophon Mekthon, director general of the Disease Control Department, said on Thursday that the 63 fatalities were reported in 27 provinces between Oct 22, 2013 and Jan 19, 2014.

Most of the fatalities were men. The youngest was a one-month-old baby and the oldest was 81 years old. A Cambodian and a British national were among the victims.

The northern border province of Chiang Rai had the most deaths, with six, followed by Sa Kaeo and Nakhon Ratchasima in the Northeast with five each.

Forty-five provinces have been declared cold-spell disaster zones and more than 25 million people have been affected by the cold weather.

Ice Cube

Fox becomes latest to freeze solid in Scandinavia's lakes, following fish and moose


The fox was found frozen solid in the ice on a lake in southern Sweden
A fox has become the latest victims to the freezing temperatures on Scandinavia's waters as it was found frozen solid in a lake in southern Sweden.

The animal was discovered by a skater on Lake Bunn, near Jönköping, who originally thought it was a piece of foam rubber, but found the poor fox dead in the ice with its head just above the surface.

It follows recent 'animal ice deaths' in Scandinavia, where an entire shoal of fish were photographed off the coast of Norway just days after a moose had suffered the same fate.


While East Coast freezes, West Coast burns: crews battle wildfire in Rural Placer County, California

california fires
California Fire crews are gaining ground on a wildfire burning in rural Placer County.
As of 4L30 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, the fire had burned 120 acres, according to Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant.

The fire is burning in Pleasant Grove, near South Brewer Road and Phillips Road. No structures were threatened.

The lack of rain in California has led to summer-like conditions, causing agencies like Cal Fire to beef up their staff earlier than usual.

Ice Cube

Deep freeze in U.S. Midwest, Northeast to be prolonged

freeze weather
Bitterly cold air is again settling southward from the Arctic into a large part of the Eastern states. Unlike the outbreak from early January, this time the cold will have more staying power.

Into the first part of next week, the polar vortex will hover just north of the United States border causing waves of frigid air to blast into the Midwest and much of the East.

The polar vortex is a commonly used term among the meteorological community to describe an intense storm with frigid air and strong winds that spends much of its time above the Arctic Circle. Occasionally, during the autumn, winter and spring, this storm can dip farther south, approaching the mid-latitudes.


Bastardi: Arctic outbreak with multiple storms to last 10-15 days, has power grid concerns

US winter forecast
© Accuweather

On Sean Hannity's radio show on Tuesday, Weatherbell Analytics meteorologist Joe Bastardi predicted today's severe winter weather is just the beginning of a 10 to 15 day outbreak to hit the Midwest, the Great Lakes region and the Northeast.
"I think this is blizzard conditions on [Long Island] tonight, coastal New Jersey, southeastern New England," Bastardi said. "Severe and extreme cold developing at the tail end of this storm. And this is the beginning of a siege that I'm very concerned is going to have an immense impact on the country economically. I'm very concerned, and I hope I'm wrong, about the power grid. That Arctic outbreak that came for three to four days earlier in the month, led to blackouts. We've got 10 to 15 days of this coming now, where one shot after another comes in and more storms are coming. And you know, this is not trying to be doom and gloom. You don't need to hype the weather. It will hype itself naturally."

Ice Cube

Why did Antarctic expedition ship get stranded in ice?


The Akademik Shokalskiy was trapped in thick ice for 10 days
BBC producer Andrew Luck-Baker was on board a Russian research vessel when it became trapped in pack ice over Christmas. Here, Andrew, who was covering an expedition for the BBC World Service's Discovery programme, examines the events that led up to the ship being stranded.

As the members of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) reach the end of their travels together, investigations will soon begin to establish why their Russian expedition ship, the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, became trapped in thick and extensive pack ice for 10 days.

The ship's entrapment at Christmas time led to an Australian icebreaker being diverted from its own operations hundreds of kilometres along the coast and a Chinese icebreaker also coming to the rescue.

That vessel ended up stuck in the ice itself for many days. A smaller French icebreaker ship was also summoned to the scene. It retreated when it became clear that the ice was much too thick for it to help.

The 52 members of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition were trapped until 2 January when a helicopter team from the Chinese vessel airlifted the scientists, tourists and operational staff to the Aurora Australis.

The expedition leaders could have some tough questions to face about logistical shortcomings that may have put the vessel at increased risk of becoming trapped. These were operational errors and mishaps during a visit by scientists and tourists to a location close to the Antarctic shore on 23 December.

Ship insurance companies along with the Australian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre will be keen to establish what happened and whether human error contributed to the Akademik Shokalskiy becoming encased.

Comment: This silly tourist expedition put many people in danger and disrupted serious scientific research programs:
French Le Monde blasts Chris Turney's Antarctic joy ride for disrupting real Antarctic science!
Rescue efforts for trapped Antarctic voyage disrupt serious science
Ship of fools: Icebound expeditioners apologise for Antarctic rescue mission
'Stuck in our own experiment': Leader of trapped team insists polar ice is melting against evidence of his own experience

Ice Cube

Drastically cold temperatures create greatest ice cover on the Great Lakes in 20 years

© upnorthlive.com photo
West Grand Traverse Bay is freezing over. The last time this much ice has formed on the Great Lakes this early in the season was in 1994.
The prolonged stretch of unseasonable cold has set up the greatest ice cover on the Great Lakes this early in the season since 1994.

A review of data shows that ice formation on the Great Lakes continues and with colder than normal temperatures remaining in the short and longer range forecasts, the ice cover will continue to grow.

At this point, the Great Lakes are currently 48% ice covered.

The lake with the highest concentration of ice is Lake Erie, which is no surprise, as it is by a wide margin the shallowest of the Great Lakes so it freezes up much faster. Interestingly, Lake Erie is also because of how shallow it is, the warmest of the lakes in summer. As of this writing, Lake Erie is 94% ice covered.

Next in line is Lake Huron where all of Georgian Bay, the North Channel and the shoreline areas along Michigan are completely frozen over. There is open water in the center of the lake still, but Lake Huron is 69% frozen over.

Snowflake Cold

Colder weather may threaten 15 percent of U.S. Midwest wheat - forecaster

Frigid temperatures in the U.S. Midwest this week posed a slight risk of freeze damage to about 15 percent of the region's soft red winter wheat crop, primarily in parts of Missouri and Illinois, a forecaster said on Wednesday.

"Northeastern Missouri into southern and central Illinois will be on the edge of this cold air and could get a little bit of winterkill," said Joel Widenor, a meteorologist with the Commodity Weather Group.

"Overall, it's not going to be a serious threat because we have got so much snow cover in place," Widenor said. The snow should protect dormant wheat in the coldest areas, including northern Illinois and Indiana.

Below-normal temperatures are expected in the Midwest for the next 10 days, with temperatures in Chicago seen dropping to minus 7 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 22 Celsius) by Thursday.