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 24, 2014
Heaviest Snow in 50 Years along Caspian Shore of Iran
This is an old story that was just brought to my attention by one of my blog readers, but on February 4-7 earlier this month a snowstorm buried the city of Rasht under 60 cm (23.6”) of snow. Heavy snow is not uncommon for most of mountainous Iran but Rasht lies at 7 meters (23 feet) below sea level on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea.
Up to two meters (79”) of snow apparently fell in some localities near the Caspian Sea on February 3-7 in Mazadaran and Gilan Provinces and media reports claimed that this was the heaviest snowfall for this region in 50 years. Photo from Tehran Times.
A relief map of Iran. Note Rasht’s location below sea level on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea.
The storm also brought an official 7 cm (2.8”) of snow to Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport (city official weather site). Much heavier amounts fell on the hills in the northern portion of the city. These amounts are not particularly uncommon for Tehran.
A photo of Tehran under a blanket of snow on February 3rd taken from Tochai Mountain. Officially the city received 7 cm (2.8”) of snowfall but this photo obviously shows a considerably greater quantity must have fallen in the elevated portions of the city. Photo Getty Images, photographer not identified.
The snowstorm left about 500,000 people without power at one point during the event. The snow was accompanied and followed by below normal temperatures with -6.7°C (19.9•F) in Tehran on February 4th (normal low for the date is 1.2°C/34.2°F) and as low as -23.8°C (-10.8°F) at Ghuchan (elevation 1286 m/4219) near Mashad in northeastern Iran and -23.2°C (-9.8°F) at Saghez (elev. 1493 m/4898’) in Kordestan Province in northwestern Iran. Although chilly, these temperatures are far from Iran’s record coldest temperature of -36.4°C (-33.5°F) set at Kheyrabad, Zanjan Province on January 29, 1997.
It was 42 years ago this same week (February 3-11) in 1972 that the deadliest blizzard known in modern world history struck the lower Caucasus and Iran. Some 4,000 people perished in northwestern, central, and southern Iran where entire villages were wiped out. Reports of snowdrifts over 7.9 meters (26 feet) and level accumulations of 3 meters (10 feet) were reported by the press. The city of Ardakan (near Esfahan) was hardest hit and there were no survivors in the nearby villages of Kakkan and Kumar.
KUDOS: Blog reader BaltimoreBrian for bringing this to my attention.
Christopher C. Burt
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