Entries in Snow (8)


Summer Snow Falls in Canada

Zoonar/O.Kovach/iStock/Thinkstock(ALBERTA, CANADA) -- Mother Nature threw a curveball at residents of southern Alberta, Canada Friday when a mass of cold air turned rain into snow.

Mid-summer snow does occasionally happen in the reigion, but it's a rare phenomenon.
In Calgary, the white stuff melted as soon as it hit the ground, but at higher elevations in the Canadian Rockies, a good half-inch blanketed the ground.

Warmer air is moving in this weekend, and the weather will return to more normal summer temperatures for the week ahead.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Is Disappearing Arctic Sea Ice Causing Harsher Winter Storms?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- New research suggests disappearing sea ice at the top of the planet is playing a “critical” role in driving colder, snowier winters here in the United States.

Retreating Arctic sea ice, according to the researchers, helps alter the atmosphere in two ways.

First, scientists found that less ice is causing a change in atmospheric circulation patterns, weakening the westerly winds that blow across the northern Pacific and Atlantic oceans.  That weakened jet stream, in turn, allows more frequent surges of bitter cold Arctic air not only into the U.S., but also in Europe and east Asia.

“We have more cold air outbreaks,” said Jiping Liu, a senior research scientist in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, and a co-author of the new study released Monday.

The second factor, Liu said, is that more water is evaporating into the air as Arctic ice at the ocean’s surface melts away.

“This greatly enhances the transfer of moisture from the ocean to the atmosphere,” Liu said.  That humidity, he says, essentially acts as fuel to help supercharge “Snowmageddon”-type storms like the ones that paralyzed parts of the northeastern U.S. in 2010.  A more recent, deadly deep freeze in Eastern Europe left 650 people dead.

“The record decline in Arctic sea ice is at least a critical contributor to recent snowy winters in northern continents,” Liu said.

Liu says the new research may also help connect the dots between human-caused global warming, vanishing ice and our changing weather.

Climate researchers believe that the three-decade decline in Arctic sea ice cannot be explained by natural causes alone.  The National Center for Atmospheric Research, for example, recently found that roughly half of Arctic sea ice decline from 1975 to 2005 can be blamed on the increasing amount of climate-changing greenhouse gasses, including carbon dioxide, that humans are releasing into the atmosphere.

“Is Arctic ice in a death spiral?  Maybe not yet, but it’s in big trouble,” Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, recently told ABC News, pointing out that the five lowest amounts of Arctic sea ice on record (since 1979) have all been recorded in the last five years.

If Arctic sea ice continues retreating as expected, the researchers said that “may load the dice” in favor of bigger, more persistent future snowstorms.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


5-Year-Old Avalanche Survivor Released from Hospital

ARMEND NIMANI/AFP/Getty Images(RESTELICA, Kosovo) -- A 5-year-old girl rescued from an avalanche in Restelica, Kosovo, Saturday that killed her parents, her 2-year-old brother, her paternal grandparents, an aunt, and uncle has been released from the hospital.  The girl had been buried under 33 feet of snow for 10 hours.

A member of the search and rescue team said Amsela Reka was found in the arms of her mother in the snow-covered rubble of her home after hearing her voice and the ringing of a cell phone. Amsela’s mother was also holding Amsela's 2-year-old brother, who died with his mother.

The rescuers cheered and threw their arms in the air when Amsela was pulled from the snow dazed but alive and not seriously harmed.

The family was home when a mountain of snow crashed onto its remote village Saturday morning, covering 22 houses. The village had been cut off from much of the outside world after a month of snow. It took rescuers two and a half hours to reach Restelica, and another hour to dig to the part of town hit by the avalanche.     

Villagers had already been frantically digging through the 33 feet of snow, trying to reach any possible survivors.  Among the nine people reported dead were a married couple and their 17-year-old son.

Amsela, the sole survivor, was wrapped in blankets and rushed to a hospital. Doctors told ABC News she had second-degree cold burns on both hands. As Amsela was leaving the hospital Monday, a funeral was under way for her parents, grandparents, aunt and brother in their village of Restelica.

Searchers continued to look for the body of Amsela’s 19-year-old uncle, but more snowfall and the possibility of another avalanche impeded search efforts.  

Hundreds of people have died during Europe’s two-week-long deep freeze. The Balkans have been blanketed in snow, and many roads are impassable, cutting off remote villages from emergency services and supplies.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cold Weather Continues to Plague Europe; Over 260 Dead

Comstock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- While the U.S. basks in relative warm weather this winter, Europe is having one hellacious season.

Reports say a cold snap has left over 260 people dead across the continent, including 122 deaths in Ukraine alone with some temperatures plummeting to below minus 36.5 Fahrenheit. Dozens of people have also died in Poland. The chilling temperatures were also blamed for fatalities in Austria, Bosnia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Slovakia.

Snow, ice and frigid temperatures are wreaking havoc with everyday life in Europe and traveling has turned difficult as airports have shut down and trains are severely delayed.

The unusual cold snap has stretched as far south as Rome, which endured its heaviest snowfall in 27 years over the weekend, grinding traffic in Italy's biggest city to a halt.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Heavy Snowfall in Japan Kills 52, Injures Hundreds

Comstock/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- Heavy snowfall has crippled much of Japan’s western coast, killing more than 50 people and injuring nearly 600.

The worst snowstorm in five years has dumped more than 10 feet of snow in the hardest-hit regions, causing at least one bridge to collapse and forcing school closures across the region.

An avalanche on Wednesday buried three people for more than an hour near a hot springs in Akita Prefecture in northwest Japan.  The women were later found unconscious but survived.

Western Japan has been battered by one snowstorm after another since the beginning of the year, overwhelming cash-strapped cities struggling to keep up with cleanup efforts. In the Niigata Prefecture, officials said nearly half of their 30 cities had run out of funds set aside snow removal. Further north in the Aomori Prefecture, the government had already applied for additional funds from Tokyo, after draining its budget.

video platform video management video solutions video player

Residents, frustrated by the slow response, have taken it upon themselves to clean up the winter mess, resulting in deadly consequences. Nearly all the storm-related deaths have been a direct result of snow removal.

Meanwhile, in Nagano, the weight of all the snow proved to be too much for a 310-foot steel bridge.  It collapsed early this week, although no one was injured.

The Japan Meteorological Agency forecasts more snowfall in the next 24 hours.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bavarian Village Constructs Church with Snow, Ice

ARMIN WEIGEL/AFP/Getty Images(MITTERFIRMIANSREUT, Germany) -- A Church built entirely of snow and ice had its grand opening in the Bavarian village of Mitterfirmiansreut Wednesday night.

Villagers built the church, which is made up of more than 49,000 cubic feet of snow, to commemorate the construction of a similar snow church in the village 100 years ago.

The church at Mitterfirmiansreut, dubbed God’s Igloo by one German newspaper, is more than 65 feet in length and also contains a tower.  It was initially planned to be open before Christmas, according to Spiegel International Online, but the construction was delayed by warm weather and a lack of snow.

Although worship services will be held at the church, the religious radio station, Münchner Kirchenradio, has reported that the Catholic bishop of Passau, Wilhelm Schraml, has ruled out any masses, baptisms or weddings from being held there for theological reasons.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


European Travel Turmoil Easing But Cancellations Persist

Photo Courtesy - Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Europe's Christmas travel chaos is finally starting to ease after freezing temperatures and heavy snow closed airports and stranded thousands, but it's still far from smooth sailing for many weary travelers.

Traveler David Sorrell, at London's Heathrow Airport, described the scene as "atrocious."  He said people were intoxicated, sleeping on the floor, and shouting.

"It's like a refugee camp," Sorrell added.
Both runways are now open at Heathrow, and the airport is slowly chipping away at the large backlog of passengers.  But as airport commercial director John Holland-Kaye said, some problems, such as planes and crews being out of place, persist.

"We've been working hard with the airlines to have a limited schedule," Holland-Kaye said.  "So we have reduced the number of flights at the moment for each airline by a third and that's the first time that's ever been done by any airport in the world."

Conditions similar to those at Heathrow can be found elsewhere in Europe, where things are improving but places like Frankfurt, Germany and Paris, France still anticipate a few flight cancellations.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Snow Leaves Thousands of Travelers Stranded in Europe

Photo Courtesy - Peter Macdiarmid/ Getty Images(LONDON) -- Freezing temperatures and heavy snow across Europe has caused travel turmoil, closing airports and stranding thousands, including Americans, who are worried they won't make it home for Christmas.

All weekend, the weather has virtually shut down the region's busiest airport, Heathrow Airport outside London.  About 650 departures were scheduled to take off at Heathrow, but only 16 made it out.  The British Airports Authority urged travelers not to come to the airport unless they are sure their flight will leave.

At Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, 40 percent of flights were canceled Sunday and at Frankfurt 500 flights were canceled.

Thousands of travelers were left stranded and prompted hundreds to camp out at the airport.  Many people were seen sleeping under aluminum blankets and on carpets.

An estimated 400,000 passengers were expected to pass through Heathrow over the weekend but very few made it to their final destinations.

Airport officials have cleared the runways, but there's still snow and ice around the gates.

More snow and low temperatures are forecast over the next few days.

A million more passengers are scheduled to pass through Heathrow this week.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio