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US: Major Winter Storm Barrels Up East Coast

© Margaret Hester/The Asheville Citizen-Times
An overturned SUV lies in a snowy ditch along I-40 East in North Carolina at mile marker 48 on Saturday, Dec. 25, 2010. Much of North Carolina was under a winter storm warning.
A winter storm that brought a rare white Christmas to parts of the South was barreling up the East Coast early Sunday, with forecasters predicting 6 to 10 inches of snow for Washington and blizzard conditions for New York City and New England.

Airlines canceled hundreds of Sunday flights in the Northeast corridor, with more likely to come as the storm intensifies.

Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina declared states of emergency early Sunday or Saturday night. As North Carolina road crews tried to clear snowy and icy highways, Mid-Atlantic officials spent Christmas Day preparing for up to a foot of snow, plunging temperatures and high winds.

"Our concern is tomorrow it's going to get significantly colder," Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell told The Weather Channel on Saturday evening. "Winds with gusts up to 45 miles per hour will cause blowing snow and that's going to cause the worst of it ... and we're urging extreme caution in travel. Try to get home early and if you don't have to travel don't go."

Continental Airlines canceled 250 Sunday departures from Newark Liberty International Airport outside New York City. United Airlines announced late Saturday that it had canceled dozens of Sunday departures from Newark, Philadelphia, New York's LaGuardia and JFK, Boston and other airports. AirTran also canceled flights, as did Southwest Airlines, mostly in or out of Washington Dulles, Baltimore and Newark.

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Russia: Over 6,000 Travelers Stranded at Moscow Airport as Power Cut Delays Flights

More than 6,000 passengers were left stranded at Moscow's Domodedovo airport on Sunday after a heavy overnight snowfall caused cancellations, Russia's Aviation Committee (Rosaviatsia) said.

Some 70 flights were cancelled at Domodedovo airport, Russia's busiest, after two electricity substations were knocked out.

The power cut affected about 100,000 people in the region, the Moscow United Electric Grid Company said.

A spokesman for Rosaviatsia said power has not been fully restored yet but that the airport is "partially operational."

There is no rail service between central Moscow and the airport.


Northeast Blizzard to Create Travel Nightmares


The snowstorm headed to the Northeast created this wintry scene in northeastern Missouri. Photo submitted by AccuWeather.com Facebook fan Lewistown StormWatcher on Dec. 25, 2010.
The storm bringing a rare White Christmas to the South will turn into a monster snowstorm, complete with blizzard conditions, across the mid-Atlantic and New England on Sunday into Monday. A nightmare awaits holiday travelers.

The corridor from Salisbury, Md., to New York City to Boston to Portland will be faced with roughly 18 hours of heavy, wind-whipped snow.

Total snow accumulations within this zone will exceed a half of a foot. Strong winds will significantly blow and drift the snow around.

As the storm reaches its peak intensity, an all-out blizzard should unfold over New England.

Disruptive snow will even expand westward to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Albany.


December snowfall is a record for Minneapolis-Saint Paul, US

© Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune
The on-again, off-again flirting with a December snowfall record in the Twin Cities is back on:

It's definitely a record, according to the National Weather Service. Up to 6 inches of snow fell overnight and pushed the monthly total to 33.4 inches at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The previous December record was 33.2 inches, set in 1969. The record was briefly in doubt because of a small data error at the weather service, which maintains records at the airport as well as its Chanhassen office.

Totals from the latest snowfall ranged from 3 to 6 inches in the metro area, according to the Weather Service, with 3 inches in Burnsville, 4 in Edina, 5 in St. Paul and 6 in Inver Grove Heights.

The snow made roads slick. Even with traffic lighter because of the holiday, the Minnesota State Patrol reported 82 crashes in the metro area, 9 of them with injuries, between midnight and 10 a.m. Friday.

Cloud Lightning

US: Damage from Southern California rains could top $60 million

© Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times
Damage from the storms that battered Southern California is expected to top $60 million.

Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado declared a state of emergency Thursday for Los Angeles, Kings and Santa Barbara counties in response to the destructive rain, which caused some severe mudslides and flooding. States of emergency had already been declared in Kern, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo and Tulare counties.

One of the hardest-hit areas was the foothill community of Highland in San Bernardino County. There, evacuations remained in place for 140 homes below an unstable 100-foot bluff. City officials said damage there was approaching $17 million alone.

At least 26 homes, most of them in another Highland neighborhood where a creek overflowed, sustained extensive damage. Floodwaters left behind 4 feet of mud and half-buried cars tipped up at odd angles. Dozens of homes and businesses were also damaged in Laguna Beach. Silverado Canyon and the surrounding area in Orange County were also hard hit.

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France: Paris Evacuates Charles de Gaulle Airport Due to Snow on the Roof

© Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Air France planes are parked on the tarmac at Charles de Gaulle-Roissy airport, outside Paris, where flights were cancelled due to the heavy snowfall.
Around 2,000 people were evacuated from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport because of snow on the roof of a terminal.

People remained calm during the evacuation of the terminal - described as a precautionary measure taken because of around two feet of accumulated snow on the roof.

Emergency workers were deployed to clear the roof, a task expected to last until around 14.00 GMT, the source said.

A few weeks after the terminal was opened in 2004, a section of the roof of the architecturally-ambitious building designed by Frenchman Paul Andreu collapsed, killing four foreign travellers and injuring six others.

French aviation authorities had announced earlier on Friday morning the cancellation of half of all flights into and out of Charles-de-Gaulle airport until 1:00 pm (midday UK) because of freezing winter conditions.

The flight cancellation meant that some 2,000 passengers were forced to stay overnight at the airport on Thursday, Transport Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said.


Atlanta first snowy Christmas Day since 1882?

© photoblog.msnbc.msn.com
A strong storm system churning its way through the desert Southwest early Thursday will bring metro Atlanta a good chance for a white Christmas, with accumulating snow possible as far south as the Columbus and Macon areas, forecasters said.

While the ground probably won't be white when you wake up on Christmas, a rain-snow mix expected to begin during the morning will likely change over to all snow later in the day, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brad Nitz said.

Nitz said he expects the rain-snow mix to continue through early afternoon, then change to all snow by Saturday evening.

The snow will likely continue across metro Atlanta through Saturday night before ending Sunday morning.


Snowstorm Threat Shifts South, Hold Everything!

Hold everything! The latest indications are the cross-country storm will shift farther south, raising concerns for substantial snow in places that rarely get it.

© Accuweather.com
Based on the behavior of the storm Tuesday and Wednesday around California, AccuWeather.com meteorologists now believe the cross-country storm will track farther south into the eastern third of the nation, and do so at a slower pace.

Interestingly, a more southern track and push of cold air raises the "possibility" of some snow for Southern cities such as Birmingham, Atlanta and Charlotte.


Biblical Flooding, Tornadoes and 13 Feet of Snow as Mammoth Storm Batters California

© Mammoth Times/Wendilyn Grasseschi
Extreme conditions: A powerful storm has pelted California with heavy rain and snow - an incredible 13ft of snow has accumulated at Mammoth Mountain ski resort
California residents should brace themselves for the most severe of an ongoing series of storms to hit the state, forecasters have warned.

More than 12 inches of rain have fallen in parts of the Santa Monica Mountains in the south and up to 15.5ft of snow has accumulated at Mammoth Mountain ski resort over the last four days.

And the conditions are expected to worsen in the next few days, the National Weather Service has warned, with the possibility of thunderstorms, hail and even tornadoes and flash floods.

'The ground will be permeated with a lot of rain, and it was a very, slow consistent rain for the past five days,' said Stuart Seto, a specialist for the weather service in upstate Oxnard. 'This is going to be more of a thunderstorm-type rain. This thunderstorm activity is very dynamic and intense.'

Researchers have coined the ongoing influx of tropical moisture into the state as an 'atmospheric river'.

'The atmospheric river brings in the moisture,' said Lucy Jones of the U-S Geological Survey office in Pasadena. 'How much rain gets dropped out of it has a distribution, just like earthquakes.'


Rare deep freeze prompts chaos across southern China


Some highways in southern China have been completely shut down
A cold weather snap has brought ice, snow and chaos to much of eastern and southern China, paralyzing highways, cutting power and damaging crops across an area not used to sub-zero temperatures, state media reported on Friday (December 17).

Thick ice caused a ten kilometer pile-up on a major stretch of highway in south-eastern Guangdong (pron: gwang-dong) province on Thursday (December 16), forcing authorities to deploy excavators to clear the roads, China's state television CCTV reported.

CCTV has forecast that temperatures would creep back up again in some areas on Friday (December 16) but said the cold snap in subtropical Guangdong may continue until Sunday (December 19).

The cold weather, which started on December 11, has led to extreme weather warnings in 11 provinces across the south and east, CCTV said.

Snow and ice has damaged electricity supplies, cutting almost 500 lines in eastern Zhejiang (pron: jer-jeeang) province alone, CCTV said.

Farmers in Xiaoshan (pron: seeaow-shan) in Zhejiang rushed to collect crops before they were ruined by the heavy snow.