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Sat, 10 Dec 2016
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Freezing temperatures, snow, icy rain to hit more than 200 million in the U.S.

© Jim Young/Reuters
Chicago, Illinois skyline framed by icicles.
Ready, steady, bundle up! Jack Frost is about to dance across the Northeast with a freezing polar vortex making a dramatic return to the US. Chills, snow and rain are expected to make a landfall over the weekend, likely bringing old classics like slippery roads and flight delays.

Meteorologists predict that the freezing blast will cover midwestern and northeastern states for at least five to seven days. So, getting out extra scarves and gloves might be a good idea.

This year's polar vortex, or a shift in a stratospheric weather system, is already been predicted to be just as bad as the one that developed in January 2014, when record freezing temperatures gripped the US.

"Upper-level atmosphere configuration very similar in scale & magnitude as infamous Jan 2014 #PolarVortex popularized by me and @afreedma,"meteorologist Ryan Maue said on Twitter on Tuesday alongside maps comparing the two weather systems.

More than 200 million Americans are expected to be affected by freezing temperatures, snow and rain, or a mix of both.

Comment: See also: Bitterly cold air to come in waves across US into next week

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills five cattle in Zimbabwe

Five cattle were killed by lightning at Forester farm in Mvurwi Mashonaland Central province on Monday.

It is alleged 5 beasts belonging to a farmer identified as Brooker who is one of the managers were stuck to death by lightning.

Eye witnesses said the beasts were skinned but how the meat was consumed no one knows. Efforts to contact Brooker were fruitless up to the time of this print.

Violent weather is causing serious damages around Zimbabwe in this 2016 - 2017 rain season.


Blizzard blasts North Dakota with up to 19 inches of snow closing down most roads

© Kim Fundingsland/MDN
An exhausted man takes a break from the task of attempting to shovel his vehicle out of deep snow at a northwest Minot intersection Tuesday morning
Eastern North Dakota's first snowstorm of the season dumped more than a foot of snow on Monday night and Tuesday in many areas, but it was the howling winds up to 30 mph to 50 mph that caused blizzard conditions across the region.

© Lauren Ashley Otradovec, Glenburn, ND
Lauren Ashley Otradovec who lives in Glenburn, ND, found this massive pile of wind driven snow when she opened her door. There is about a foot of snow on the ground after a new storm dumped a few inches but the big issue is the wind.
The highest snowfall was thought to be in Kensel where 19 inches fell through Tuesday night. The small town is about 30 miles north of Jamestown.

Grand Forks was also close to having the biggest snowfall at 13 inches by 6 p.m., said National Weather Service meteorologist Amanda Lee.

She said another inch or two could fall late Tuesday into early Wednesday.

Other high snowfall total were 12.5 inches in Hatton about 40 miles southeast of Grand Forks and 14 inches in Harvey and McHenry south and west of Devils Lake.

Cloud Precipitation

Severe flooding due to heavy rainfall kills 14 people in Thailand

Much of the municipal area of Nakhon Si Thammarat was flooded on Tuesday
Severe flooding due to heavy rain in southern Thailand has killed 14 people, including five students, the Interior Ministry said.

Six days of floods have affected 582,345 people in 11 of Thailand's 76 provinces, the ministry said in a statement — one person is reportedly missing, while three others have suffered injuries.

Trains have also been halted in one province off the Gulf of Thailand as the rails there were submerged under rising floodwaters.

Southern Thailand is a popular destination for visitors due to its scenic islands and beaches, and the floods are expected to put a dent in the area's tourist industry, with the high season running from November to February.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning kills 1,735 people in 5 years across the state of Odisha, India

Lightning has killed as many as 1,735 persons across Odisha during the last five years from 2011-12 to 2015-16, informed Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Bijayshree Routray in the State Assembly on Monday.

In reply to a question of BJD MLA Priyadarshi Mihsra, Routray said steps are being taken to create awareness to protect people and animals from the lightning attack.

The Minister too stated that the State Government has decided to instal 122 Alert Siron Towers in coastal parts of the State in order to provide advance information regarding natural calamities like cyclone and tsunami. All these towers would be installed by May 12, 2017, the Minister said.

Cloud Lightning

Man killed by lightning strike in New South Wales, Australia

The body of a foreign tourist killed by a lightning strike has been recovered by emergency services from the top of a mountain in northern NSW.

Emergency services were called to the summit of the mountain, near Murwillumbah, just before 5am on Tuesday.

The man, aged in his 20s, was camping with a friend on Mt Warning when lightning struck a tree near their tent in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Qld police have said a nearby tree was struck by lightning and then struck the man's feet, killing him instantly.

The woman in her 20s, also an overseas tourist, has been treated for neck and head injuries at Murwillumbah hospital.


First-of-season snowfall record smashed in Chicago

On Sunday, the first snowfall of the season blanketed Chicago, with it receiving at least six inches of snow in some areas.
As of 6 p.m. Sunday, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport had recorded 6.1 inches of snow. That was the greatest first-of-the-season daily snowfall on record dating back to 1884 — the old record of 4.8 inches was set back on Nov. 15, 1940.

The snowstorm began midmorning and ended from the west during the evening. The Chicago area was almost perfectly positioned to receive the greatest snowfall with this low pressure system as it moved through the Midwest — falling almost uniformly with most totals in the 5- to 8-inch range. The greatest snowfall of 9 inches was measured in far western Amboy in Lee County.

A rain/snow mix is possible Tuesday, as a cold front moves through from the west. Readings will bottom out Thursday and Friday with daytime highs in the 20s.


Huge storm batters Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi (VIDEOS)

© MVPanma / YouTube
A massive storm has descended on the Russian resort city of Sochi on the Black Sea coast, bringing with it waves so high they've turned Sochi's Olympic village into a huge swimming pool.

Videos posted online showed the waves coming over the barriers on the embankment in Sochi's Olympic village on Saturday. The complex was built for the Winter Olympics, which the city hosted in 2014.

According to news reports, in some areas waves reached the height of up to 5 meters.

Concrete guardrails were reportedly partly broken.


Over 2 feet of snow forecast for high ground in Hawaii

Snow at the Mauna Kea summit Friday afternoon
The summits of Hawaii's Big Island could get more than two feet of snow, with a winter storm warning in effect through Saturday.

A Winter Storm Warning is in effect through Saturday evening for elevations above 11,000 feet. The summits could get 20 to 30 inches of snow through Saturday, CBS affiliate KGMB.

An upper level low pressure area has brought the sub-freezing temperatures and unstable conditions. The low will combine with moisture surging in from the southeast, which could result in bursts of heavy snow, especially above 12,000 feet.

Conditions on the summits are dangerous. Besides being cold, east to southeast winds of 10 to 20 miles per hour are expected with higher gusts. The strong winds also will cause drifting snow, and freezing fog will reduce visibility to as low as a quarter of a mile.

It may be a while before you can see the white stuff up close. The road to the summit of Mauna Kea is closed at the Visitor Information Station at the 9,200-foot level due to freezing fog, heavy snow and icy roadways. The summit of Mauna Loa is also closed due to high winds and heavy snow. This means hiking and overnight camping is prohibited. The National Park Service said a thick blanket of snow was visible as low as 10,000 feet.


Rare November tornadoes strike Nebraska

© YouTube/Breaking News (screen capture)
Three tornadoes touched down in south-central Nebraska Sunday afternoon but each spent mere minutes on the ground and caused minor damage, officials from the National Weather Service in Hastings reported Monday.

The twisters marked the first confirmed tornadoes after Thanksgiving in Nebraska since 1975.

No injuries were reported in any of the tornadoes.

The first spawned southwest of Upland in Franklin County just after 4 p.m., spent one minute on the ground and traveled just over a quarter mile with wind speeds reaching 70 mph, the Weather Service said in a report Monday.

Around 4:30 p.m., a tornado ripped through a row of pine trees near a home 5 miles northeast of Red Cloud, the National Weather Service in Hastings said.

The home did not sustain structural damage, but outbuildings were overturned. The tornado overturned two center-pivot irrigation systems on its route.

Comment: Study: Tornado outbreaks are increasing - but scientists don't understand why