APRIL 2013





Emergency services in Poland are trying to clear icy roads and restore power to thousands of homes after heavy snow over Easter. Polish national radio says more than 100,000 homes had no electricity on Monday, after trees collapsed on some power lines. Poland's central and eastern provinces were worst hit. There were hundreds of domestic fires at the weekend, many caused by faulty heaters. Five people died in blazes. Moscow also has unusually heavy snow. Russia's state weather centre says the blanket of snow in Moscow reached 65cm on Monday - that is 9cm more than previous records for 1 April, dating back to 1895 and 1942. About 30cm of snow fell across Poland on Sunday, making many roads impassable and delaying dozens of flights. Residents of Katowice and Bialystok said that they had never witnessed such weather before at Easter.


Strong winds have hit parts of Scotland with reports of flying debris, dust storms and gusts of over 70mph on the 16th. In Moray, gales whipped up what were described as coastal "sandstorms" and trees, branches and an advertising hoarding were brought down in Glasgow. Police Scotland said routes in the Moray and Banffshire area had been affected by sand and fallen trees. Officers said sand was causing "zero visibility" in the Fogwatt area of the A941 Elgin - Rothes road. Sand on road In one part of Moray sand was blowing in "dunes" across the road There have also been warnings of poor visibility on the A96 between Inverness and Nairn. The high winds caused disruption on the ferries, with delays and cancellations on CalMac services. The Tay Road Bridge had been closed to all traffic at one point.


More than 20,000 sheep were lost in the recent snow blizzard, and it may be next month before all the dead animals are found and counted. The news emerged at a meeting of the agriculture committee at Stormont. It is estimated that almost 800 farms were affected by the severe snow storm. With snow still lying in some high parts of Northern Ireland, dead animals are still being recovered, but the committee heard that one sheep was found alive 25 days after the blizzard.



Spain has been struck by unseasonal weather which has seen snow falling across the country. Extreme weather warnings are in place in 18 provinces, with small roads blocked as temperatures continue to hover around freezing. A snow depth of 18 cm was reported at the ski resort of Navacerrada, in the Sistema Central Mountains, northwest of Madrid. The wintry weather in April's last days resulted from the arrival of low pressure from the Mediterranean.




Emergency workers in Argentina continue to try to rescue residents stranded by flooding in Buenos Aires and La Plata on the 3rd. More than 50 people are known to have died after one of the heaviest storms recorded caused flash floods. Thousands were evacuated from their homes and dozens are still stranded on rooftops, treetops and the roofs of city buses. Provincial officials said 40 cm of rain fell on the city of La Plata in the space of two hours late on Tuesday night. Earlier, the storm had dumped 15 cm of rainfall on the capital, Buenos Aires. Local officials said at least 48 people were killed in La Plata, six in Buenos Aires and two in its suburbs. The Red Cross said most of the victims had been elderly people who drowned in their homes. More than 3,000 people had to leave their homes and 80,000 still do not have electricity, with two of La Plata's hospitals also affected by the power cuts.




At least nine people have died in Angola's capital, Luanda, after weekend floods caused by torrential rains on the 8th. Four people are also missing after a storm led to the flooding of hundreds of houses. Landslides forced the closure of some roads, including one near the port, it was reported.




The death toll in a storm that brought snow and rain to a vast swathe of the U.S. has reached three, with several more injured in a possible tornado on the 12th. The deaths were reported in the states of Nebraska, Missouri, and Mississippi. Tornado warnings are in effect in parts of North and South Carolina, and thousands remain without power as the storm drives up the East Coast. Wind speeds peaked at 101mph in Sullivan, Missouri, the National Weather Service said.


On Saturday afternoon (20th), the wet snow piled in the mountains of the Loveland Pass Colorado, gave way, creating a fatal avalanche. Adding to the already 19 deaths by avalanches during the 2012-13 winter season, five people were trapped and killed on Saturday. Colorado Avalanche Information Center executive director Ethan Greene said "We are very much in a winter snowpack right now. The calendar may say it's April, but the snowpack looks more like February..." That is due to the heavy snow that Colorado has seen for the start of spring, making it still feel like winter. The last avalanche to cause this many deaths was back in 1962, when seven people were killed at Twin Lakes in January.


Floodwaters rose to record levels along the Illinois River in central Illinois on the 24th. In Missouri, six small levees north of St. Louis were overtopped by the surging Mississippi River, flooding mainly farmland. The biggest troubles were in Illinois. Officials in Peoria said the Illinois River finally crested Tuesday at 29.35 feet, eclipsing a 70-year record. The river flooded roads and buildings in Peoria Heights, and inundated riverfront structures. Firefighters feared that if fuel from businesses and vehicles starts to leak into the floodwaters, a fire could be sparked in areas accessible only by boat.


A series of April snowstorms has caused many records to fall and extreme temperature swings from Colorado to Minnesota (USA). According to NOAA, 91.9 percent of the Upper Midwest is covered by snow currently, whereas only 0.4 percent of the Upper Midwest was covered by snow on April 23, 2012.

The latest storm in Duluth has allowed April to go down in the record books as the snowiest month ever with a total 51.0 inches. Previously, the snowiest month on record for Duluth was November 1991 when 50.1 inches fell.  A record April snowfall has been recorded at Pierre, S.D., with 20.8 inches so far this month. The old record April snowfall was 17.5 inches set in 1986.  Rapid City, S.D., has received a total of 43.4 inches of snow so far in April. That is more snow than the city typically receives during the entire season, which is 41.4 inches.

Snow and cold made it all the way down into Texas on Tuesday morning. Childress, Texas, had a high of 92F on Monday before temperatures plunged into the 30s overnight with snow arriving.




The earliest satellite maps of Arctic and Antarctic sea-ice have been assembled by scientists. They were made using data from Nasa's Nimbus-1 spacecraft, which was launched in 1964 to test new technologies for imaging weather systems from orbit. The satellite's old pictures have now been re-analyzed to determine the extent of the marine ice at the poles in the September of that year. Regular mapping from space did not begin until 1978. One key finding is that marine floes around the White Continent in the 1960s were probably just as extensive as they are today. The new snapshot, published in The Cryosphere journal, therefore helps put current ice conditions into a longer-term context, say researchers at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC).




At least 13 people have died and four other are missing in flash floods in Saudi Arabia 26th-30th. Deaths were reported in the capital Riyadh, Baha in the south, Hail in the north and in the west of the country The Saudi Civil Defense Authority urged people to avoid valleys and plains that have been flooded by the heavy rainfall that began on Friday. The rain is said to be the heaviest experienced by the desert kingdom in more than 25 years.


Jim G. Munley, jr.

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