French motorists camp out as snow smothers Paris

Paris snow
© Reuters/Benoit TessierCars drive in a snow-covered street in Paris as winter weather and sub-freezing temperatures continue in northern France.
Several thousand Parisians were forced to spend the night in emergency shelters or their cars, and transport remained chaotic on Thursday, after a blanket of snow fell on the French capital.

City authorities asked residents to avoid using their cars after the heaviest snowfall in nearly a quarter of a century covered city streets with ice and slush, causing traffic jams that prevented commuters getting home on Wednesday night.


US: Monster Storm Could Be Winter's Worst

winter storm map
© AccuWeather.comGet your snow shovels and plows ready.
In areas hit by the monster snowstorm this weekend, these could be the worst conditions of the winter months, factoring in snow and returning wind, cold, and lake effect into next week.

The monster snowstorm slated for this weekend will hit portions of the Midwest, eastern Great Lakes, central Appalachians, Ontario and Quebec hardest.

The heaviest snow is most likely to begin over Iowa and surrounding areas Saturday. The snow will then encompass Michigan, western New York, southern and southwestern Ontario and southwestern and central Quebec for the remainder of the weekend.


Canada: Snowstorm Shuts Down London, Ontario

© Submitted by Terry GreenSnow is seen piled up in front of a house in Lucan, Ont., on Tuesday.
Crashes close westbound Highway 401 for hours

Canadians getting a blast of stormy weather this week can be thankful they're not living in the snowed-under communities of southwestern Ontario, east of Lake Huron.

The London area has received about a metre of snow since the weekend, with five to 10 centimetres in the forecast for Wednesday.

Winter doesn't officially arrive for two weeks, but the city is already digging out from a record-setting snowfall. People have seen double the amount of snow considered normal for the entire month of December.

"Well, it's 100-plus centimetres of snow inside of two days. That's a record in terms of that period of time and probably about half of what we'd get all winter," newly elected London Mayor Joe Fontana said.

As of 6 a.m. ET, Lucan, to the north of London, recorded 153 centimetres of snow for the week. Forecasters said the small community will probably receive up to 10 centimetres more before the day is over.

There will be a break in snowfall on Thursday. However, a fast-moving storm dubbed the Alberta Clipper from the Prairies will sweep through the region on Friday, bringing with it another 10 centimetres of snow.


Frosty, Frozen and Frigid: Cold Snap Grips the U.S.

Cold weather frosting much of the country spared Florida's citrus crop Tuesday, but more near-record lows expected overnight will pose another challenge.

"We came through last night in pretty good shape," said Andrew Meadows, a spokesman for Florida Citrus Mutual. "We had some reports of mid-20s scattered across the citrus belt but it wasn't for any duration."

Fort Lauderdale recorded its lowest temperature on record for December 7, dropping to 40 degrees Tuesday morning. The old record was 42, set in 1841.

The National Weather Service issued hard freeze warnings for Tuesday night into Wednesday morning for much of the Florida panhandle, with freeze warnings and watches extending as far south as Hollywood. Parts of Alabama and Georgia were also under a freeze warning.


The Ice Age Is Here: Thousands of motorists abandon their cars in Scotland as temperatures plunge

© Roddy Scott PhotographyMorning after: Cars abandoned along the A80 near Crowwood, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. Thousands of motorists were stranded in their cars last night after snow and freezing temperatures brought Scotland to a standstill
  • Scotland is in the grip of the 'worst snow and ice conditions since the 1960s'
  • Transport Minister blames weather advice for 'not meeting requirements'
  • Snow forces 100 children to spend the night in their school
  • At least 13 people have now died across Britain in weather-related incidents

Thousands of desperate motorists were left stranded in their cars last night after heavy snow and freezing temperatures brought much of Scotland to a standstill.

Some travellers were stuck in their vehicles for more than 15 hours as Scotland bore the brunt of a fresh wave of ice and snow which left several major routes - including the M8 motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh - impassable.

The AA said yesterday was one of the busiest days in its history with around 24,000 breakdowns attended - up from 10,500 on a normal Monday.

Scotland's Transport Minister today claimed that the weather advice the authorities had been working on yesterday 'did not meet the requirements'.


32cm of snow falls on Edinburgh in one night as Scotland freezes over

© UnknownPeople walk past near Edinburgh Castle, as heavy snow continues to fall on Scotland.
M8 motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh blanketed in snow trapping motorists, while major airports are forced to close

Fresh blizzards closed Scottish airports and disrupted rail travel as the army was called in to help ambulance crews reach patients trapped in remote areas.

Hundreds of drivers were stuck on the main route between Glasgow and Edinburgh as the snowy conditions blanketed the central belt of the country. Others opted to bed down in their offices rather than face the long commute home.

Breakdowns and drifting snow blocked major roads. Lothian and Borders police forces said there had been "numerous" problems that brought traffic to a standstill.

"We are trying to remove vehicles from the road and get people that have been stuck," said a police spokesman. "We are looking to put gritters and snowploughs out to clear the carriageway [on the main road between Edinburgh and Glasgow]."

Bizarro Earth

Australia: Flooding continues in New South Wales as more rain is forecast

Sydney -- More than 4,000 people were isolated by flood waters and as many as 1,800 have been evacuated in the Australian state of New South Wales after a week of heavy rains, the government said Monday.

As a result of this week's rains, the government has so far issued disaster declarations in 17 of the state's rural and suburban districts, predominantly in the south and west. They join 17 other districts declared disaster areas after flooding in October.

The flooding, which is expected to continue as a new storm front is forecast to bring extended heavy rains through Friday, has already destroyed an estimated $500 million in crops in the region, according to a statement issued by New South Wales Emergency Services.


Venezuela moves flood-hit families into resort hotels

People evacuate after the flooding
© Reuters/Carlos Garcia RawlinsPeople evacuate after the flooding of a river in Higuerote, about 100 km (60 miles) east of Caracas December 5, 2010.
Caracas - Venezuelan security forces have started housing families displaced by floods in tourist hotel rooms following an order by President Hugo Chavez to make use of vacant accommodation, local media said on Monday.

Heavy rains have killed at least 32 people and forced more than 100,000 from their homes in recent days. Emergencies have been declared in various states, and the country's Caribbean coast has been particularly hard hit by mudslides.

In a televised broadcast from one flooded area on Sunday, the president told the National Guard to begin moving families into vacant hotel accommodation.

"See how many buildings there are abandoned by tourists, and from today begin to occupy them with families," he said. "You will not pay anything," he told displaced people.

Bizarro Earth

Australia: Wagga Declared a Natural Disaster Zone

Wagga Disaster
© Daily AdvertiserAt first hand: NSW Premier Kristina Keneally visits Wagga yesterday to see for herself the damage being done to Wagga by the rising floodwaters.
Wagga survived its worst flood crisis in 36 years when the Murrumbidgee River peaked at a height of 9.67 metres yesterday evening, but sighs of relief were brief as predictions of heavy rainfall from tomorrow night could mean an even higher river later in the week.

Premier Kristina Keneally inspected the water-besieged city in a State Emergency Service (SES) helicopter yesterday morning before announcing Wagga had been declared a natural disaster area, paving the way for a range of government financial assistance.

"It's quite humbling to see what nature can do to farms, people's properties and people's livelihoods," Ms Keneally said after landing near the SES headquarters on Fernleigh Road.

The river peaked yesterday evening just six millimetres above the 1991 flood level of 9.61 metres and well below the 10.75 metres recorded in 1974.

Emergency Services Minister, Steve Whan, said floodwaters had caused tens of millions of dollars damage around the state and ruined the best harvest in a decade.

"Up to half a billion dollars crop value has been lost," Mr Whan said.


India: Kashmir Valley Freezes, Drass Coldest at (-) 20 C

Srinagar - Severe cold conditions, coupled with power shortage, has affected normal life in the Kashmir valley, where Srinagar recorded coldest night after the minimum temperature dipped to minus 3.4 degree, 2.4 degree below normal.

Drass, the world's second coldest place after Siberia, remained coldest recording minimum temperature at minus 20 degree.

Taps, ponds and small nallahs were frozen this morning as people woke up. Water on roads could be seen frozen, However, it melted as the day progressed.

Because of an open sky during the night in the absence of any Western Disturbances (WD), the minimum temperature goes down, UNI quoted a weather office spokesman as saying.

He said the WD, originating from Arabian sea and entering the Kashmir through Afghanistan and Pakistan, are very weak resulting in dry weather conditions.