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Wed, 20 Feb 2019
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Snowflake Cold

Snowstorm batters northern Japan

Heavy snowfall at New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido
© Reuters
Heavy snowfall at New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido
A massive winter storm has pounded Japan's northern island of Hokkaido on Tuesday with authorities warning of high waves, blizzard conditions and traffic disruption.

Hokkaido Railway Company on Tuesday decided to cancel more than 100 train services on the island following the cancellation of 102 a day earlier.

Some traffic accidents took place on Monday as a low pressure system brought heavy snow and blizzard conditions to the island, according to daily newspaper Hokkaido Shimbun.


Sierra blizzard drops so much snow that some ski resorts close - 9 feet at June Mountain, California

Heavy snow at Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort
© Peter Morning / Mammoth Mountain
Heavy snow at Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort on Monday. Several ski resorts closed operations because of blizzard conditions.
Several ski resorts in the Eastern Sierra and Tahoe closed part or all operations Monday because of a blizzard that dropped as much as 9 feet of snow in the biggest storm system so far this season.

Blizzard conditions with winds up to 50 mph are forecast in both areas through Monday, bringing up to 3 more feet of snow Monday evening and into Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.

Ski operations at June Mountain in June Lake closed, as did most runs and the Main Lodge at Mammoth Mountain in Mammoth Lakes. "We had so much snow it takes a while to safely open the mountain," spokesman Tim LeRoy said Monday.

Mammoth received almost 7 feet of snow and was expecting another 2.5 feet by Tuesday night. June Mountain already had received 9 feet of snow from the current storm.

Comment: Meanwhile at lower elevations and along the coastal districts of the same state: Unrelenting rain causes floods, mudslides and evacuations in Southern California.

Snowflake Cold

Chaos in Czech Republic amid heavy snowfall and blackouts

Lots of fresh snow in Mrchojedy, Domažlice, Czech Republic (460 m ASL) on Feb 3rd
© Rudolf Málek
Lots of fresh snow in Mrchojedy, Domažlice, Czech Republic (460 m ASL) on Feb 3rd
Heavy snow has caused major disruption in the Czech Republic, leaving approximately 30,000 homes without power.

Up to 20cm of fresh snow was reported in some locations, forcing highways to close and disrupting flights into and out of Vaclav Havel, Prague's international airport. A number of flights had to be diverted to other airports.

Strong winds accompanied the snow, with a gust of 145 kilometres per hour reported in Pribyslav, about 120km southeast of the capital, Prague.

The storm pulled down numerous trees, which resulted in the closure of roads and train lines.

Cloud Precipitation

Unrelenting rain causes floods, mudslides and evacuations in Southern California

Santa Barbara County firefighters survey the scene of a large eucalyptus tree
© Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire via AP
Santa Barbara County firefighters survey the scene of a large eucalyptus tree that fell into a two-story apartment complex on Bolton Walk in Goleta, Calif.

An atmospheric river over the Pacific is fueling this weekend's rainstorm

The season's strongest storm bombarded Southern California with hours of rainfall, flooding freeways and forcing evacuations in the region's wildfire burn areas.

High rainfall rates could trigger mudslides, debris flows and rock slides, and strong winds will pummel the region. The storm is being fueled by a long band of moisture over the Pacific, acting like a conveyor belt carrying rain to the West Coast.

The result is prolonged periods of rain and downpours that could triggered flash flood warnings, most of which expired Saturday afternoon. A warning remains in effect until about 4 p.m. for Orange County.

Evacuation orders were in effect for parts of Southern California, including burn areas in Ventura, Santa Barbara, Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles counties.

Snowflake Cold

Fierce wind rocks gondolas at ski resort in the French Pyrenees

Fierce Wind Rocks Gondolas
High winds blew snow across the slopes and caused gondolas carrying skiers to sway at the Les Angles ski resort in southern France on Saturday, February 2.

Video taken from a ski lift on the mountain shows a gondola swinging wildly in the wind. A second clip captures the effects of the wind on the slopes themselves, showing snow blowing across the trails.

Fierce wind and snow storms have impacted other ski areas in the Pyrenees, prompting closures, according to weather reports.


Weather service: 'Life threatening situation' at Lake Tahoe - blizzard warning in effect

The view from South Shore on Monday morning.

The view from South Shore on Monday morning.
Snow is stacking up and officials are urging people to remain indoors as a winter storm continues to hammer the Lake Tahoe region.

The National Weather Service in Reno has issued a blizzard warning until 10 p.m. Monday. Winds could be as strong as 50 mph, with gusts over Sierra ridges expected to exceed 100 mph.

Heavy snow is in the forecast through the day into Monday evening.

Officials are urging people to avoid travel and stay inside.

"This is a life threatening situation," the weather service reports. "Do not attempt to travel. Road crews and first responders may not be able to rescue you. Stay indoors until the snow and wind subside. Even a short walk could be deadly if you become disoriented."

Snowflake Cold

Lake Tahoe ski resorts report up to 34 inches of fresh snow - more in the forecast

The view from Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe Sunday morning.

The view from Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe Sunday morning.
The first two days of a winter storm have delivered more than 2 feet of snow to some Lake Tahoe ski resorts, and more is on the way.

Here are some snow totals from ski resorts on Lake Tahoe's South Shore and the Inline Village area as of Sunday morning:

Kirkwood Mountain Resort reports 28 inches in 24 hours and 34 inches in 48 hours.

Sierra-at-Tahoe reports a 24-hour total of 19 inches at its base and 28 inches at its summit, and a storm total of 32 inches at its summit.


Cuba's strongest tornado in nearly 80 years kills at least four (UPDATE)

The tornado struck on Sunday evening devastating homes in Havana
The tornado struck on Sunday evening devastating homes in Havana
A killer tornado has ripped through the heart of Havana devastating homes, crushing cars and cutting off power supplies to thousands of locals.

The Cuban capital - which is a mecca for tourists - was hit late last night with petrified residents saying the monster storm sounded like a "jet engine" taking off.

The horror twister has left at least three people dead and dozens more injured, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez revealed this morning.

"The damage is severe, so far we regret the loss of three human lives and are treating 172 injured," he said on Twitter. The injury figure later hit 174.

The president also posted photos of himself with survivors next to piles of debris and the wreckage of cars.


Update: Reuters on 28th of January reported:
A rare tornado ripped through Havana late on Sunday, leaving at least four dead and nearly two hundred injured as it tore off roofs, flipped vehicles and reduced some of the buildings in its path to rubble.

The twister was the strongest to hit Cuba in nearly 80 years, according to Jose Rubiera, a meteorologist with the Cuban weather service. It pummeled its way 7.15 miles (11.5 km) through Havana over 16 minutes, at times reaching 0.62 miles (1 km) in diameter.

The streets of the worse-hit neighborhoods, mainly in eastern and central Havana, were strewn on Monday with shards of glass and debris as well as downed trees and power lines. Some areas lacked electricity and running water.

The devastation wrought suggested it was an "EF4" tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale, the second most powerful category with winds up to 200 miles per hour (322 km per hour), Rubiera told state-run news agency Prensa Latina.

"When I rushed up to the first floor to look for my mother, I found this disaster - the roof and front wall had gone, and she'd fallen into the street," said Victor Leiva Ramos, 41.

Havana tornado damage
© Reuters
A woman looks out of her house after a tornado ripped through a neighbourhood in Havana.
Leiva Ramos, who was injured while trying to find her in the rubble, including a severed tendon, had his arm bandaged. His 73-year-old mother survived with a few fractures.

Cuba prides itself on suffering relatively few deaths in hurricane season due in part to a rigorous evacuation scheme.

Yet the tornado took Havana by surprise, although state-run media had warned residents that an approaching cold front from the north and winds from the south would create high winds, thunderstorms and heavy rainfall in the area.

Rubiera was later cited as saying that such phenomena were virtually impossible to predict when they affected such concentrated areas.

Diaz-Canel said the council of ministers had held an emergency meeting early on Monday to assess the damage and take the necessary steps to speed up the recovery work.
Meanwhile the huge clean-up effort in Havana continues:

Rare footage of the devastating tornado was shared on Instagram by Cesyl Pérez Valdez:

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills 4 farmworkers in South Africa

© Johannes Plenio
Four seasonal workers died after they were struck by lightning on a farm near Upington on Tuesday.

According to the police, the four were busy harvesting grapes on the farm Sador in Louisvale when they were hit by the lightning. They were declared dead on the scene.

Police spokesperson Colonel Mashay Gamieldien said about five other farmworkers were also transported to a local hospital to be treated for shock.

She added that those who were taken to hospital were not injured.


Russian city of Saratov hit by worst blizzards in 30 years

Saratov blizzard
© Reuters / Artem Korenuk
Recent massive blizzards turned out too much for Saratov where people urge a state of emergency to be introduced as the city remains paralyzed for over a week despite the common knowledge that it snows in Russia.

Since January 20, Saratov on the Volga River has been hit by several heavy blizzards unseen in 30 years, with the authorities saying the fallout exceeded 80 centimeters.

The city of 900,000 was unprepared for so much snow. Many of streets became impassable to see Saratov remaining stuck in a constant traffic jam for days. Only one out of 10 tram routes are currently operational, while bus and trolley circulations between the city's center and the suburbs seized.

The bad weather led to numerous flights being delayed at the Saratov airport. The trains traveling from Siberia to the Russian South got stuck in the snow outside the city on a number of occasions too.