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Parts of Europe, Asia report record cold, snow this winter

Randy Mann

The winter of 2009-’10 in the Inland Northwest has been drastically different from last year’s record snowy year. It’s also much milder when compared to other parts of the U.S. and the rest of the world.

For example, Britain is facing its coldest and snowiest winter in more than a century. The last time it was this frigid was at the end of the last Little Ice Age around 1850. British winters are usually mild with little snowfall. Therefore, most towns are not prepared to deal with extremely heavy snowfalls like the nation has seen since mid-December.

Some of the worst-hit areas received up to 26 inches of snow in a short period of time. Like our winter last year, road crews have found it “nearly impossible” to keep up with the frequent dumps of heavy, wet snow.

Much of England has been so thoroughly overwhelmed by the abnormally cold and snowy weather that the British Coast Guard had to be called in. The Coast Guard had to move into land operations to dig out people snowbound without electricity, food and other essential services.

After the heavy snows, Britain was faced with record low temperatures. One mountain station in the Scottish Highlands dipped to minus 16 degrees Celsius (3 degrees Fahrenheit) on Jan. 2. This month’s Arctic freeze also hit Germany and parts of France, Denmark and Belgium.

A strong storm system over northern Germany earlier this month, which forecasters named “Daisy,” unleashed one of the worst blizzards in decades across the region. Most roads became impassable from several feet of heavy, wet snow. Most businesses and schools were closed. Europe’s third busiest airport at Frankfurt, Germany had 255 flights canceled on Jan. 11. Train service was also stopped. Many villages and towns were completely cut off by the record snows.

Much of Asia has also seen a record cold and snowy winter, especially China and South Korea.

On Jan. 4, Beijing suffered through its heaviest snowstorm since 1951.

More than 30 highways were closed in northern China in early January. A train near the Mongolian border hit a 6-foot snow bank, trapping its 1,400 passengers overnight without heat or food.

Other parts of Asia have been hard-hit by unprecedented winter storms and record low temperatures. Seoul, South Korea, gauged an incredible 11 feet of snow in just 54 hours earlier this month, the most that city has seen since at least 1937.

Next week, I’ll talk about the frigid weather in the United States.

Contact Randy Mann at randy@longrangeweather.com.
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