Storms and heat in Europe
Europe's strange winter weather continues to generate headlines, as a powerful low pressure system brought hurricane-force wind gusts to England, Germany, the Czech Republic, and many other European countries on Thursday. The powerful extratropical cyclone, now centered over western Russia, has a central pressure of 960 mb--the kind of pressures commonly seen in Category 1 and 2 hurricanes! At least 41 people have been killed in the storm, mostly motorists in England and Germany. The storm shut down the German train system for the first time in history. The last winter storm with comparable winds in Europe occurred in January 1990. The latest computer forecast models point to the first significant snows and cold for Europe next week, when a major low pressure system is expected to finally tap into some cold Artic air and pull it southwards over much of Europe.
Figure 1. Departure of temperature from average (in �C) for the week (Sun-Thu). The western U.S. is suffering the worst winter cold of anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. Europe and northern Asia continue to feel record-breaking warm temperatures. Note that the area of most extreme below-normal temperatures occurred over San Antonio, Texas, where the world's largest meeting of meteorologists was being held!
Extraordinary warmth in Europe
The European storm was a warm and rainy one, and record warmth continues to affect both Europe and most of northern Asia (Figure 1). January 10, with a temperature of 8 �C, was the warmest in the first 10 days of January in Moscow, Russia, according to the hydro-meteorological bureau for Moscow. Record keeping began in 1870. St. Petersburg reported their warmest January day in 125 years of record keeping the same day, with a temperature of 8.6 �C. Nighttime minimum temperatures in London, England, hit 12.6 �C on January 8, which is warmer than the average July minimum temperature, 12� C. So far, January temperatures in London are the warmest since record keeping began in 1659.
Romanian snowboarders blockade weather office
The lack of snow in Romania has driven snow lovers in that country to desperation. A group of Romanian snowboarders blocked traffic in front of the country's weather institute January 16, and would only budge when weather officials would agree that their complaints of a lack of snow "would be passed on to a higher authority", according to Ananova.
Winter hits the U.S., China, and Bengladesh
Winter cold has hit the western U.S. hard this week, with California suffering a devastating freeze to its citrus crop. Heavy snow has affected central China--the Chinese official state media Xinhua said on January 16th that more than 1,000 houses have collapsed and 2,424 damaged in the weather as snow levels reached 300 millimeters in some regions. Earlier this month, Bengladesh saw temperatures that fell from the daily average of 18 �C to between 5 and 8 �C. The government called on affluent people to donate warm clothes and blankets to the poor, as doctors reported that more than 100 people had died from the sudden cold.