Canada: Record Cold Plunges British Columbia Into Deep Freeze

© CBCSnow caused traffic chaos and institutional closures in Victoria Monday
Weather system brings snow, power outages and unseasonably chilly temperatures

A blast of Arctic air is barrelling down on the West Coast of B.C., threatening to break low temperature records that have stood for 25 years. The low is expected to dip to -10 C in the Vancouver area and -4 C in Victoria - the "warm" spot for the province. The overnight low in the far northeast at Fort St. John is forecast at -30 C and in Prince George, in the central Interior, -26 C.

The lowest recorded temperature in Vancouver for this date is -12.9 C, set in 1985. Tuesday's forecast high of -6 C should smash the record for the coldest daytime high for Nov. 23 of -1 C, also set in 1985. The weather system brought more strong winds Monday night, knocking out power to more than 20,000 homes in the Fraser Valley. The outages were located mostly in Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Langley. Hydro crews were expected to have the power back on sometime overnight.

The freezing weather system also dumped snow on the streets of Victoria and shut down some ferry routes between the islands. Police in Victoria asked people to keep their vehicles off the street after a dump of snow made some routes impassable and led to a rash of traffic accidents. Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for southern Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast as road conditions are expected to worsen. That prompted many businesses like Gateway Property Management to close for the day so their staff could avoid the afternoon rush hour, according to manager Nathan Enns.

"If the snow stops in the next hour then ... it's sort of a non-issue. But if it keeps going, it's going to be a messy, convoluted rush hour going home this afternoon," said Enns. In Victoria, the city urged drivers to stay out of their vehicles in order to give public works crews time to clear major arteries. A dozen smaller streets in the city are closed, in order to clear motor vehicle accidents, police said.


US: Northwest Freezes as Rare Blizzard Roars Through

© AP Photo/Elaine ThompsonU.S. Army Spc. Ron Washington checks his watch as he stands on the Alaskan Way Viaduct after walking from his Humvee to check on the gridlock on the highway Monday, Nov. 22, 2010, in Seattle. Drivers were stuck for hours throughout the Puget Sound region, as Washington state was hit by its first significant snowfall of the season, with several inches on the ground in Spokane and just enough snow in the Puget Sound area to make traffic a mess. More snow was forecast along with extreme cold in parts of Eastern Washington down to 19 below zero overnight in some spots near Spokane, with winds of up to 25 mph driving the wind chill even lower.
Seattle, Washington - A vicious storm struck the Pacific Northwest and other western states at the start of the holiday travel season, dumping heavy snow on roads, knocking out power to tens of thousands of people and causing a cargo plane to overshoot its runway in Seattle.

At least three deaths in Washington state have been blamed on the storm, including a man struck and killed outside his car Monday night on snowy Interstate 5 in Tacoma. Washington State Patrol Trooper Brandy Kessler said it wasn't clear whether the man was chaining up his car or pushing it when he was hit.

A man's body was found along the Willamette River waterfront in Portland, Ore., on Tuesday. Police were trying to determine whether the death was weather related.

Blowing snow, slick roads and temperatures in the mid-20s turned the Monday evening commute in the Puget Sound region into an hours-long crawl - for those who made it home. Some commuters gave up after being stuck for five hours or more and returned to their offices, or just left their cars at the side of the road.


Daytime Cigar Shaped UFO Torreorgaz, Spain 9-16-2010

Online Translation: September 16, 2010, recording Torreorgaz lightning, with the Casio EX-FH20 camera in movie 30 / 210 fps / sec pass an object, which at first sight not seen by very quickly.

Cloud Lightning

Colombia Declares State of Emergency Due to Flood

© AP/Getty ImagesA girl crosses a flooded street in Bogota on Thursday during flooding that has affected 1.2 million people in Colombia.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has declared a state of emergency in 28 of the nation's 32 departments because of heavy rains and flooding that have affected some 1.2 million people.

He called on the international community to help and said the capacity of the Colombian government is overwhelmed.

Flooding and mudslides have killed at least 136 people, injured 205 and left 20 missing, the nation's Interior and Justice Ministry reported.

Emergency officials say the heavy rain has led to problems in 561 municipalities in the South American nation.

"Many have lost everything they had and the capacity of the government [to help them] has been overwhelmed. We're trying to find ways to get more resources and that's why we're calling on the business sector, the public in general, and the international community to help us because, unfortunately, the situation is getting worse," said Santos.

He declared the state of emergency after meeting Thursday with ministry officials. Santos made the announcement on national television, saying the declaration would help get aid to those who need it.

Bizarro Earth

NASA satellite captures huge Alaska winter dust storm

Glacial dust travels far and wide. This satellite image from NASA shows one result of the glacial forces at work in Alaska, a dust storm blowing out into the Gulf of Alaska Wednesday from the Malaspina Glacier. The satellite, which has equipment that "sees" every point on the world every one-to-two days, is about 438 miles above the Earth. The receiving station for images from the MODIS equipment is on the roof of the International Arctic Research Center at UAF.

The satellite data continues to collect and has been archived since 2002 for the Terra satellite and since 2003 for a similar satellite, known as Aqua. The Fairbanks station picks up information from the these satellites about 15 times a day. The machines circle the earth from pole to pole every 108 minutes.

Here is what NASA says about the image:
Dust storms generally call to mind places like the Sahara Desert or the Arabian Peninsula, but dust storms occur at high latitudes as well. One such storm left streamers of dust over the Gulf of Alaska in mid-November 2010. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra satellite captured this natural-color image on November 17, 2010. Thin plumes of beige dust blow off the Alaskan coast toward the south-southwest. Roughly mimicking the shape and direction of the dust plumes, parallel lines of clouds occur farther south over the ocean.


Bad weather strands thousands near Everest

© Narendra Shrestha / EPA file The autumn season, from September to November, is popular among Western trekkers in Nepal. Thousands of climbers visit the Solukhumbu region, home to Mount Everest, above, every year.
Helicopter rides back from Mount Everest after a week on the slopes of the world's tallest mountain might sound like a trekker's delight, but for the tourists trapped in the remote region of Nepal, the extended stay was not on the itinerary.

Around 2,000 foreign tourists and their porters have spent the past five days stuck in a tiny village 9,186 feet up the slopes of a hill near Everest due to bad weather, with Nepali army helicopters set to begin flying the stranded sightseers to safety on Friday.

They have been trapped in Lukla, the gateway to Mount Everest in east Nepal, after thick cloud and blustering winds forced airlines to cancel their flights to and from the remote region, officials said on Friday.

Tens of thousands of trekkers and climbers visit the Solukhumbu region in east Nepal, home to Mount Everest, every year.

Many start their trek from windswept Lukla village where a small airstrip is carved into the rugged mountainside.

Cloud Lightning

Landslide Cuts Off Cornwall as Storms Hit Southwest

© Suzanne Chapman/ApexFlooding on Station Road in St Blazey, Cornwall
The main train line into Cornwall has been blocked by a landslide, cutting off the county from the rest of Britain, as storms bring flooding and disruption to large parts of the south west.

Drivers were washed into Portloe harbour near Truro while still in their cars and three feet of standing water trapped hundreds of people in their homes in many places.

Traffic on the main routes through mid-Cornwall backed up for several miles, causing long delays to commuters.

The landslip took place at around 6.30am at Lostwithiel and there are currently no trains in or out of the county.

No deaths or serious injuries were reported this morning despite the severity of the weather.

Gales have contributed to the problems as trees have been brought down and blocked roads including the A390 at Gunnislake.

Many schools have been closed.

Lostwithiel, Bodmin, St Austell, Par, Luxulyan and St Blazey have been flooded.

Cloud Lightning

Thai Flood Death Toll Climbs to 227

© PressTVA flooded house affected in the recent Thai floods
Thailand's flood death toll has risen to 227 with the government helping flood victims obtain compensation in the affected provinces.

Wiboon Sanguanpong, the director-general of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, confirmed on Tuesday that 227 people were killed in the recent flooding, reported China's Xinhua news agency. Heavy floods, caused by a combination of heavy rainfall and water released from overloaded reservoirs, have hit Thailand since October 10, especially in the country's northeast and the south.

The families of the flood victims will receive additional financial aid under state regulations, a government official said.

Overall, 51 provinces have been impacted by the flooding, affecting more than 8.6 million people. The floods in 35 provinces have eased and restoration work has begun, while floodwaters remain in 16 provinces with 1.4 million people being affected.

Cloud Lightning

Trees Crash Down, Cut Power In Windstorm

© KiroTV.comShipping containers at the Port of Tacoma
Power crews worked to restore service after 150,000 customers were without power after a windstorm hit Western Washington hard.

Puget Sound Energy started out with about 90,000 outages across all of the counties it services for except Kittitas County. Olympia was hit especially hard. By noon, 76,000 were still without power. The utility said some in Thurston County may not have service restored until Thursday.

Chris Gleason with Tacoma Power said they started out with 54,000 outages but are down to 6,000 customers without power as crews work to restore service.

Jonathan White said 5,600 customers of Peninsula Light Company in Gig Harbor and the Key Peninsula were in darkness, but by noon they were down to 3,700. White said trees were the main culprit for the outages.

Bizarro Earth

Widespread flooding hits much of rural Italy

Heavy rains are continuing to fall across Italy causing some of the worst flooding in decades.

Hardest hit yesterday was the southern province of Salerno where hundreds had to be evacuated from their homes after several rivers burst their banks.

Half a million people are reported to be without drinking water.

Since Monday numerous regions have been struggling to cope as businesses suffer, transport links are disrupted and schools are closed.

Much of the country's farms are suffering, with crops and livestock lost.