snow 2012

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Europe News

More deaths in European cold spell; snow wreaks havoc in south

Feb 4, 2012, 14:57 GMT

The centre of Amsterdam is covered with snow, The Netherlands on Friday 3 February 2012. The whole country is covered in snow after the first snowfall of this year.  EPA/EVERT ELZINGAThe centre of Amsterdam is covered with snow, The Netherlands on Friday 3 February 2012. The whole country is covered in snow after the first snowfall of this year. EPA/EVERT ELZINGA

Kiev – A spell of freezing weather in Europe has caused more than 220 deaths, mostly in the east and particularly in Ukraine, where the authorities reported 21 more fatalities on Saturday.

Ukraine’s large population of homeless – estimated to number at least 100,000 people – were the most vulnerable to the frost, with temperatures regularly reaching -30 degrees Celsius. The consumption of alcohol is often an additional deadly factor in the freezing cold.

Eight new deaths were registered in Poland and four more in Romania. A homeless man froze to death in Prague, becoming the fourth victim of the cold spell in the Czech capital.

Berlin had its coldest night of the winter, at -19 degrees. Winter fun turned deadly in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia where a Dutch national fell through the ice while skating on a lake Friday.

France’s second victim of the cold had Alzheimer’s, as did the first. The elderly woman had wandered off from a nursing home in Toulouse.

In Switzerland, temperatures as low as -34 caused some of the country’s usually punctual trains to run late. It remained far warmer, however, than the record -41.8 degrees recorded in the 1980s.

To the south, the deep-freeze of previous days eased, but was replaced by massive snowstorms.

Montenegro reported its first victim of freezing, as road services struggled with avalanches tumbling onto roads which often lead through ravines in the mountainous country. The authorities advised people against driving until conditions improved.

Rescuers were still trying to reach some 60 people trapped when an avalanche sealed both ends of a tunnel on a main road. According to mobile phone communications with people inside, nobody was injured.

A snowstorm brought Serbia to a virtual standstill, fueling criticism of the authorities’ apparently inadequate reaction to the snowstorm.

Traffic was crawling at best across Serbia and the authorities ordered that all schools remain shut next week to reduce traffic jams and energy consumption.

A statement on Friday by Infrastructure Minister Milutin Mrkonjic, that the snow ‘has fallen at a bad moment,’ caused an avalanche of outrage and ridicule in reactions on news forums.

It also snowed heavily in Bosnia where, as daily Dnevni Avaz reported, Sarajevo airport was closed and Serbian President Boris Tadic was stuck after a regional conference on Friday.

Rare snow, combined with a powerful gale from the sea, also hit the Croatian coast and islands.

Across the Adriatic to the west, Italian authorities were also being blasted by the public after Rome was paralyzed by 10 centimetres of snow – the most that has fallen on the Italian capital since 1985.

The snowstorm reached as far south as Algiers, on the northern shores of Africa, where children danced at the sight of snowflakes they had never seen before.

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Minus 26.5 degrees: Thousands stranded in Europe by heavy snow

Death toll from Eastern Europe’s cold spell hits 114

Below:

Image: Wooden figurines transformed into sculptures of ice in Seegraeben, Switzerland

Steffen Schmidt  /  EPA

Wooden figurines transformed into sculptures of ice in Seegraeben, Switzerland, Thursday as arctic temperatures hit much of Central and Eastern Europe.
msnbc.com news services
updated 2/2/2012 8:41:19 AM ET

BELGRADE, Serbia — At least 11,000 villagers have been trapped by heavy snow and blizzards in Serbia’s mountains, authorities announced Thursday, as the death toll from Eastern Europe’s weeklong deep freeze rose to 114.

Those stranded live in some 6,500 homes in remote areas that cannot be reached due to icy, snow-clogged roads, emergency police official Predrag Maric said. Emergency crews were pressing hard to try to clear the snow and deliver badly needed supplies.

“We are trying everything to unblock the roads, since more snow and blizzards are expected in the coming days,” Maric said.

Twenty more deaths from the cold were reported in Ukraine on Thursday, with nine more in Poland and one more each in Serbia and the Czech Republic. Officials said most of the victims were homeless.

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“They say the whole February will be cold, and the first half of March, so we have to get ready for this somehow,” said Viktor, who is living on the streets of Kiev, Ukraine.

Parts of Black Sea freeze
Temperatures across the region sank to minus 26.5 F in some areas. Parts of the Black Sea froze near the Romanian coastline, and rare snow fell on Croatian islands in the Adriatic Sea.

In Bulgaria, 16 towns recorded their lowest temperatures since records started 100 years ago.

Polish government spokeswoman Malgorzata Wozniak said her country’s victims were mostly homeless people under the influence of alcohol who had sought shelter in unheated buildings. Officials appealed to the public Thursday to quickly help anyone they saw in need.

Video: Eastern Europe caught in severe winter cold snap (on this page)In Ukraine, 63 people have perished from the cold in the past week. Nearly 950 others were hospitalized with hypothermia and frostbite, and more than 2,000 heated tents have been set up with hot food for the homeless.

Story: Helicopters used to evacuate, send food in Europe freeze A source at the Russian gas export monopoly, Gazprom, which supplies a quarter of Europe’s gas imports, said it was getting more requests from export markets than it could physically accommodate as demand from Russia spiked.

“Despite increasing gas consumption in Russia due to heavy frosts, Gazprom continues implementing its contractual obligations to European clients,” it said.

PhotoBlog: Deep freeze hits Eastern EuropeTo the south, helicopters evacuated dozens of people from snow-blocked villages in Serbia and Bosnia this week and airlifted in food and medicine.

In central Serbia, choppers pulled out 12 people, including nine who went to a funeral but then could not get back over icy, snow-choked roads. Two more people froze to death in the snow, and two others are missing, bringing that nation’s death toll to five.

“The situation is dramatic. The snow is up to five meters (16 1/2 feet) high in some areas — you can only see rooftops,” said Dr. Milorad Dramacanin, who participated in the helicopter evacuations.

Two helicopters on Wednesday rescued people and resupplied remote villages in northern Bosnia.

“We are trying to get through to several small villages, with each just a few elderly residents,” said Bosnian rescue official Milimir Doder. “Altogether some 200-300 people are cut off. We are supplying them for the second day with food and medication.”

‘Barely coping’
In the small Bosnian hamlet of Han Kran on Mount Romanija, villagers waited for a helicopter at a flat spot that they had cleared of snow.

“We are barely coping. I live on my own — it is a real struggle,” said Radenka Jeftovic, an elderly woman wrapped in woolen scarves and hugging a food package she received.

Goran Milat, a younger resident, complained that “the minuses are killing us.”

“We are thankful for this help,” he said. “But the snow did what it did, and we are blocked here until spring.”

Some Bosnian villages have had no electricity for days, and crews were working round-the-clock trying to fix power lines.

Schools, nurseries and colleges across the region shut down, including one school in eastern Hungary that said it could not afford the high heating bills. The airport in Montenegro’s capital of Podgorica was shut down for a second day Thursday because of heavy snowfall.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

Video: Eastern Europe caught in severe winter cold snap

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Snow cover

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Open Climate4you homepage

Recent northern hemisphere snow cover 

2011                                                                                                      2012

Northern hemisphere snow cover (white) and sea ice (yellow) 4 February 2011 (left) and 2012 (right). Map source: National Ice Center (NIC). Please use this link if you want to see the original figures or want to check for more recent updates than shown above.

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Recent Europe-Asia snow cover  

2011                                                                                                       2012

Europe-Asia snow cover (white) and sea ice (yellow) 4 February 2011 (left) and 2012 (right). Map source: National Ice Center (NIC). Please use this link if you want to see the original figures or want to check for more recent updates than shown above.

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Recent Alaska-Canada snow cover  

2011                                                                                                     2012

Alaska-Canada snow cover (white) and sea ice (yellow) 4 February 2011 (left) and 2012 (right). Map source: National Ice Center (NIC). Please use this link if you want to see the original figures or want to check for more recent updates than shown above.

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Recent USA-Canada snow cover  

2011                                                                                                        2012

USA-Canada snow cover (white) and sea ice (yellow) 4 February 2011 (left) and 2012 (right). Map source: National Ice Center (NIC). Please use this link if you want to see the original figures or want to check for more recent updates than shown above.

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Recent snow water equivalent

Recent seasonal snow water equivalent (cm) 3 February 2012 (NOAA 18). Only the terrestrial seasonal snow cover is considered in this analysis, not snow on sea ice or on the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctic. The values indicate how much water (cm) would be produced by melting all snow present at a certain site. Map source: NOOA. Please use this link if you want to see the original diagram or want to check for a more recent update than shown above.

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Northern hemisphere weekly snow cover since 1966

Northern hemisphere weekly snow cover since October 1966 according to Rutgers University Global Snow Laboratory. The thin line is the weekly data, and the thick line is the running 53 week average (approximately 1 year). The running average is not calculated before 1971 because of some data irregularities in this early period. Last week shown: week 52 in 2011. Last figure update 7 January 2012.

  • Please use this link to download the original data.

Northern hemisphere weekly snow cover since January 2000 according to Rutgers University Global Snow Laboratory. The thin line is the weekly data, and the thick line is the running 53 week average (approximately 1 year). Last week shown: week 52 in 2011. Last figure update 7 January 2012.

  • Please use this link to download the original data.

Eurasia weekly snow cover since October 1966 according to Rutgers University Global Snow Laboratory. The thin line is the weekly data, and the thick line is the running 53 week average (approximately 1 year). The running average is not calculated before 1971 because of some data irregularities in this early period. Last week shown: week 52 in 2011. Last figure update 7 January 2012.

  • Please use this link to download the original data.

Eurasia weekly snow cover since January 2000 according to Rutgers University Global Snow Laboratory. The thin line is the weekly data, and the thick line is the running 53 week average (approximately 1 year). Last week shown: week 52 in 2011. Last figure update 7 January 2012.

Please use this link to download the original data.

North America (Greenland excluded) weekly snow cover since October 1966 according to Rutgers University Global Snow Laboratory. The thin line is the weekly data, and the thick line is the running 53 week average (approximately 1 year). The running average is not calculated before 1971 because of some data irregularities in this early period. Last week shown: week 52 in 2011. Last figure update 7 January 2012.

  • Please use this link to download the original data.

North America (Greenland excluded) weekly snow cover since January 2000 according to Rutgers University Global Snow Laboratory. The thin line is the weekly data, and the thick line is the running 53 week average (approximately 1 year). Last week shown: week 52 in 2011. Last figure update 7 January 2012.

  • Please use this link to download the original data.

Greenland weekly snow cover since October 1966 according to Rutgers University Global Snow Laboratory. The thin line is the weekly data, and the thick line is the running 53 week average (approximately 1 year). The running average is not calculated before 1971 because of some data irregularities in this early period. As the whole of Greenland usually becomes snow covered during winter, the graph hits a ceiling during this period. Last week shown: week 52 in 2011. Last figure update 7 January 2012.

  • Please use this link to download the original data.

Greenland weekly snow cover since January 2000 according to Rutgers University Global Snow Laboratory. The thin line is the weekly data, and the thick line is the running 53 week average (approximately 1 year). As the whole of Greenland usually becomes snow covered during winter, the graph hits a ceiling during this period. Therefore, what is of main interest is the development of the summer minimum snow cover. Last week shown: week 52 in 2011. Last figure update 7 January 2012.

  • Please use this link to download the original data.

During the satellite-era of snow cover observations (from October 1966) the winter season snow cover in the northern hemisphere have been somewhat variable, but without a clear trend for any of the regions considered. For most regions there has been a relatively small decrease in the average area snow covered annually. However, based on the above observations, it would be difficult to characterize the overall reduction as very pronounced. 

For Greenland the maximum extension of the snow cover happens when the island is totally snow covered, wherefore the Greenland graph becomes stable each winter on a value corresponding to the total land area. Of greater interest for Greenland then becomes the minimum snow covered area reached each summer. This minimum value display variations throughout the observational period since 1966, but the overall trend appears to be that of an increasing trend in the size of the area covered by snow at the end of the summer in Greenland.

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Snow cover variations in southern Norway since 1896

Daily snow cover thickness and -duration since 1896 at Bjørnholt (60.05N, 10.69E, 360 m asl.) near Oslo, southern Norway. There are no data between July 1937 and August 1954. Click here to download the original data (you have to register, but the service is free). Last day shown: 31 January 2012. Last diagram update: 2 February 2012.

The above data are interesting, as they illustrate snow cover conditions in southern Norway during the last period of the so-called Little Ice Age, which in Norway and adjoining regions ended early in the 20th century. Data are lacking 1937-1954, but between 1954 and 1965, the average winter snow cover thickness was relatively small, when compared to early part of the record. A somewhat thicker snow cover is characterising the period 1966-1988, more or less contemporaneous with a period characterised by relatively low winter temperatures. Since 1989, the average winter snow cover thickness at Bjørnholt has again been lower than previously, but comparable to the average thickness recorded for the years leading up to 1965.

Daily snow cover thickness and -duration (blue) since 1954 at Bjørnholt (60.05oN, 10.69oE, 360 m asl.) near Oslo, southern Norway. In the upper part of the diagram the daily average air temperature (green) at Blindern (Oslo) is shown. Click here to download the original snow and temperature data (you have to register, but the service is free). Last day shown: 31 January 2012. Last diagram update: 2 February 2012.

  

Daily snow cover thickness and -duration (blue) since 1979 at Bjørnholt (60.05oN, 10.69oE, 360 m asl.) near Oslo, southern Norway. In the upper part of the diagram the daily average air temperature (green) at Blindern (Oslo) is shown. Click here to download the original snow and temperature data (you have to register, but the service is free). Last day shown: 31 January 2012. Last diagram update: 2 February 2012.

The above diagram covers the time period since 1979 adopted for several global temperature graphs used on this webpage. The change from a relatively thick snow cover at Bjørnholt before 1989 is seen to be step-like, and not the result of a gradual development over time. Accordingly, great care should be exercised when attempting to illustrate the snow cover development by statistical methods. A simple approach using linear trends across such a step-like change may well be both meaningless and misleading. The years 1989-1993 following the 1988 record high snow cover thickness at Bjørnholt are characterised by a much shallower winter snow cover. The air temperature graph shows that these winters were relatively warm. From 1994, a somewhat thicker snow cover again becomes normal, but with significant inter-annual variations. It is difficult to see any clear trend as to snow cover thickness at Bjørnholt since 1989, provided one ignores the period 1989-1993 where the average snow cover thickness was very low, with the exception of the winter 1990-91.

Daily snow cover thickness and -duration (blue) since 2000 at Bjørnholt (60.05oN, 10.69oE, 360 m asl.) near Oslo, southern Norway. In the upper part of the diagram the daily average air temperature (green) at Blindern (Oslo) is shown. Click here to download the original snow and temperature data (you have to register, but the service is free). Last day shown: 31 January 2012. Last diagram update: 2 February 2012.

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Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog

Europe cold wave deaths hit 200; low-snow winter for the U.S.
Posted by: JeffMasters, 4:06 PM GMT on February 03, 2012 +23
Brutal winter cold continues over most of Europe, where at least 200 people have died in a cold wave that began January 26. Hardest hit has been Ukraine, where the temperature bottomed out at -17°F (-27°C) at the capital of Kyiv this morning. It was the second coldest day of the cold wave, behind the -28°C reading of February 2. These temperatures are the coldest winter weather in six yearsin Ukraine, and at least 101 deaths are being blamed on the cold there. Also hard-hit has been Poland, where 37 people, most of them homeless, have died from the cold. Rome, Italy experienced a rare snowfall today, only its second day with snow during the past fifteen years. Very cold temperatures 10 – 20°C below average will continue for another seven days in Europe before gradually moderating late next week.
Figure 1.Departure of temperature from average as analyzed by the GFS model, for February 2, 2012. Remarkably cold air was present over Europe and western Alaska, while very warm air was over central North America and Siberia. This image is being generated experimentally by wunderground, and will be regularly available on our web site in the future.Meanwhile, a snow drought for the U.S.
In the U.S., it’s been the opposite story, with temperatures 10 – 15°F above average continuing this week over much of the nation. January 2012 is in the weather record books as the 3rd least-snowy January for the contiguous U.S. since snow records began in 1966, and December 2011 ranked as the 11th least snowy December on record. With no major snow storms in the offing over at least the next ten days, it’s looking probable that the non-winter of 2011 – 2012 will set numerous record-low seasonal snowfall totals. The National Weather Service sends out a daily “Weather and Almanac” product for several hundred major U.S. cities that we make available on wunderground. I went through yesterday’s statistics for those cities that reported measurable snow this winter. Only nine cities out of 166 major U.S. cities in the lower 48 states reported above-average snowfall as of February 1; 157 cities received below-average snowfall. The big winner in the snow sweepstakes has been Alaska, which is boasting 8 of the top 10 locations for heaviest snowfall this winter. While the 27.75 feet of snow that has fallen on Valdez has gotten a lot of attention, more remarkable is the 18.8 feet of snow Yakutat has received. That’s more than 12.5 feet above what they usually have by this time of year.

The big losers in the snow stats for this winter are the cities along the lake effect snow belts on the Great Lakes. Most notably, Syracuse, New York is nearly four feet of snow below average for this time of year. Perhaps more exceptional is Williston, North Dakota, which has received just 1.8″ of snow this winter–more than two feet below their average for February 1.

Have a super weekend, everyone, and I’ll be back Monday with a new post.

Jeff Masters

Freezed Guy (cathykiro)
Freezed Guy

Windows in the winter (cetus)
Snowy Golosiiv wood…
Windows in the winter

The snow and sun (Cirrostratuss)
Maximum temperature today -21c in the afternoon.
The snow and sun

Bulbs – Northern IL Jan. 31, 2012 (juslivn)
Noooo Babies! Hide, hide! It’s a trick! It’s too early.
Bulbs - Northern IL Jan. 31, 2012

Winter (roslany)
Winter

Frozen River (tomekandjola)
Frozen River
Categories: Winter Weather
Snow Falls On Rome For First Time In 26 Years, 260 Die of Cold In Europe
[ Updated 05 Feb 2012, 11:35:51 ]

watch video

Rome, Feb 5 : The historical Colosseum was closed in Rome and drivers abandoned cars as snow fell on Rome for the first time in 26 years on Saturday.

The death toll from the vicious cold snap across Europe has risen to more than 260, with hundreds having to be rescued after a ferry caught in a snowstorm hit a breakwater off Italy.

1

Ukraine has suffered the heaviest toll with 122 deaths, including many who froze to death in the streets as temperatures plunged to as low as minus 38.1 degrees Celsius.

2

Airports were shut, flights and trains delayed, and highways gridlocked as emergency services raced to clear falling snow.

In Italy, the ferry Sharden hit a breakwater shortly after setting off from the port of Civitavecchia near Rome.

3

It caused panic among the 262 passengers who feared a repeat of a cruise ship tragedy in the area last month that is thought to have killed 32 people.

Coastguard spokesman Carnine Albano said the accident, which tore a 25-metre hole in the ship’s side above the waterline, happened after the vessel was buffeted by a violent snow storm from the northeast.

4

All passengers were evacuated and no injuries reported.

Parts of the Venice lagoon also froze over.

5

Among the cold-weather deaths in Italy was 46-year-old woman who died in Avellino, near Naples in southern Italy, after a greenhouse roof laden with snow collapsed on her.

21

A homeless man in his sixties of German origin was found dead, apparently of cold, in the central town of Castiglione del Lago. These latest deaths brought the total in Italy to seven.

6

In Poland, the death toll rose to 45 as temperatures plunged to minus 27C in the northeast. In Romania, four more victims were found, bringing the number of fatalities in the country to 28.

The cold snap has also killed people in Bosnia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Slovakia, France, Austria and Greece.

7

Snow fell in Bosnia for the second straight day, paralysing traffic, with one patient dying as an ambulance was unable to reach his village in the south of the country.

Two people were found dead in Croatia on Saturday, in the southern region near the Adriatic coast and the main port Split where the snow has surprised inhabitants, Hina news agency reported.

8

In Serbia, a man was found dead in the southern town of Lebane as the authorities in 28 municipalities, mostly in remote mountainous regions in the south and southwest, declared a state of emergency.

Maric said some “60,000 people … or 25,000 households, have been cut off by snow” with emergency services engaged in clearing off the areas and bringing the necessities to the population.

9

In tiny Montenegro, where one person was found frozen to death in a village, many hamlets in the mountainous north were cut off. Rescuers managed to evacuate 120 people, among them 31 school children from neighbouring Albania on a field trip, Interior Minister Ivan Brajovic said.

But as Europe huddled indoors for warmth, Russian gas giant Gazprom said it could not satisfy western Europe’s demand for more energy.

11

“Gazprom at the moment cannot satisfy the additional volumes that our Western European partners are requesting,” the company’s deputy chairman Alexander Kruglov said at a meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, according to Russian news agencies.

12

The freeze shut several airports in eastern and central Europe.

Further west, London Heathrow, the world’s busiest in terms of international passenger traffic, cancelled 30 per cent of Sunday’s flights as it braced for heavy snow and freezing fog.

13

In the Netherlands, Amsterdam-Schiphol airport reported dozens of delays and cancellations.

In France, snow fell from Lille in the north to Marseille in the south, though the west of the country and the capital Paris were spared.

Airport bosses came under fire last night after cancelling a third of today’s flights at Heathrow because of severe weather – nine hours before a flake of snow had even fallen.

15

Amid forecasts of six inches of snow and possible freezing fog,  Spanish-owned operator BAA announced yesterday morning that 30 per cent of today’s flights from the world’s busiest airport – about 200 – would not take off to ‘minimise disruption to passengers’.

16

It means that the flights of up to 18,000 travellers could be cancelled or rescheduled as airlines scramble to adjust their flight plans. The decision was in stark contrast to airports across most of Europe where, despite arctic conditions, flights were due to take off as normal.

17

Munich saw temperatures plunge to minus 27C on Friday night but the airport expected no disruptions today.

18

Traffic in the Italian capital ground to a halt as buses struggled to climb icy hills and authorities accustomed to a warm climate fought to cope.

19

Visitors were stopped from entering the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, the former home of Rome’s ancient emperors, over fears they could slip on ice.

20

The last substantial snowfalls in Rome were in 1985 and 1986, though there have been other cases of lighter snow since then, including in 2010.

k

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