Christopher C. Burt is the author of 'Extreme Weather; A Guide and Record Book'. He studied meteorology at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison.
By: Christopher C. Burt , 8:26 PM GMT on February 05, 2014
Wild Winter Weather Around the World
Heavy snow and ice storms have pounded the U.S., southeastern Europe, and Central Asia. Topeka, Kansas measured its 3rd snowiest calendar day on record with 12.9” on February 4th. Amazing ice and snow accumulations have struck Slovenia, Austria, and northern Italy where flooding at low elevations has resulted in deadly flooding.
U.S. winter storm ‘Nika’
The winter storm designated Nika by The Weather Channel has affected over 100 million Americans over a wide swath of the country bringing heavy snow and damaging ice accumulations. The ice has been particularly disruptive for the residents of Pennsylvania where at one point on Wednesday (February 5) over 700,000 people were without power.
Areal coverage of winter storm warnings (purple) and advisories (red) from winter storm Nika February 4-5. Map from The Weather Channel.
Top icing accumulations have been around 0.5” in portions of Arkansas, Kentucky (where .75” accumulated in Marion), W. Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania and snowfall up to 15” in Kansas. Top snowfall reports by state have been:
Kansas 15.5” at Eskridge
New York 15.0” at Waverly and Bainbridge
Pennsylvania 15.0” at Sayre 2.8 WNW
Massachusetts 13.2” at Lunenburg
New Hampshire 12.3" at New Ipswich
Vermont 12.0" at Tunbridge
Connecticut 12.0” in Torrington
Missouri 12.0” at Weston
Indiana 10.1” at Claypool 1.2 E
New Jersey 9.8” at Bethlehem and Montague Townships
Maine 9.6" at Standish 3 E
Illinois 9.0” in Watseka 6.9 WNW
Rhode Island 9.1" at West Gloucester
Ohio 8.7” at Anna 3.1 NNW
Oklahoma 7.0” at Fort Supply 4.2 SE
Nebraska 6.5” at Jewell
Iowa 6.0” in Red Oak and Farmington 3.5 W
Arkansas 6.0” at Bruno 3.1 SSE
Texas 6.0” at Lipscomb
Incredible Ice Storm in Slovenia, Heavy snow in Southern Alps
As bad as the icing has been in portions of the U.S., it pales in comparison to the incredible accumulations that have paralyzed Slovenia in southeastern Europe. Ice accretions up to (and perhaps over) 3” have toppled power lines and left 25% of the countries homes without power. Authorities say 40% of the country’s Alpine forests have been decimated. Southern Austria was also hard hit.
Incredible ice accumulations of up to 3” have encased everything in Postojna, Slovenia the past few days. In the capital city of Ljubljana 33 mm (1.3”) of ice accumulated. Curiously, January was the warmest on record there. Photo from Reuters News Agency.
Video 1. A drive through the ice storm-devastated roads of Slovenia on February 4, 2014. The tree damage is astonishing. Thanks to wunderground member aislinnpaps for posting this.
At higher elevations amazing snowfalls, said to be on the order of a once in 75-100 year event magnitude, have occurred in southern Austria and northern Italy. In Austria Dellach saw 92 cm (36.2”) of snowfall in 24 hours February 1st and 116 cm (45.7”) in 48 hours. Kotschach picked up 102 cm (40.2”) in 24 hours and Lienz saw 71 cm (28.0”) in 24 hours and 96 cm (37.8”) in 48 hours. Lower elevations in Italy have seen flooding rains where Rome picked up 240 mm (9.45”) in the four-day period of January 31-February 3. At least four lives have been lost due to flooding in central Italy so far.
The Arno River in the Italian city of Pisa is threatening to overflow its banks as a result of days of heavy rainfall. Photo from AFP (Agence France Press).
Blizzard conditions have also paralyzed southeastern Romania including Bucharest. Even in normally temperate Azerbaijan up to 1 meter (39”) of snow has fallen at Lankaran on the shores of the Caspian Sea south of Baku.
Record cold and snow in Central Asia
Further to the east a cold wave and snow have enveloped portions of Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. An all-time record low temperature of -21.7°C (-7.1°F) was measured at Termez, Uzbekistan on February 3rd and even Mazar el Sharif in Afghanistan (at a low elevation of just 350 m/1,150’) reached -19.0°C (-2.2°F) with a 23 cm (9”) snow accumulation. Normally mild Kandahar has seen a significant snow accumulation (about 5-10 cm/2-4”), said to be the heaviest in 30 years. In Tajikistan, news reports claim 80 cm (31”) of snow fell at one (unidentified) location in just “a few hours”. The record cold and snows are only notable for the low elevations at which they are occurring since, of course, cold and snow are common in the higher elevations of these nations.
A rare heavy snowfall dropped 5-10 cm (2-4”) of snow on the restive southern Afghan city of Kandahar this past week. Photographer not identified.
KUDOS: Thanks to Michael Theusner for Austrian snow data and Maximiliano Herrera for information on Central Asia.
Christopher C. Burt
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