“Mad Blizzard” Batters Hokkaido, Japan; Record-Setting Snowstorms Leave 1 Million Without Power In U.S.–Gas Prices Rise As Cold Freezes Wells; + UK Set For Blizzard Conditions

“Mad Blizzard” Batters Hokkaido, Japan

Snowstorms are currently battering parts of Japan’s northern prefectures, including Hokkaido. Meteorologists say a powerful winter pattern is bringing more snow to the Sea of Japan coast, following last week’s unprecedented dump.

An additional 20 cm (7.9 inches) of snow settled in Teshio, Hokkaido, during a six hour period on Monday morning. As of 9 AM Monday, more than 80 cm (31.5 inches) had accumulated in Rumoi, also in Hokkaido. While over 60 cm (23.6 inches) was reported in Yonezawa, located in Yamagata Prefecture. Strong winds are also blowing.

As a result, local weather officials are urging people in Hokkaido and Tohoku, in particular, to stay alert for transport disruptions caused by blizzards and snowdrifts — people planning to return home from holiday destinations are advised to check the latest traffic information, reports nhk.or.jp.

Looking ahead, heavy snow is likely to continue along the Sea of Japan coast — by Tuesday morning, a further 50 cm (19.7 inches) is expected in Hokkaido and 40 cm (15.8 inches) in Tohoku region and Niigata Prefecture was expected.

Japan’s latest snows come hot on the heels of the historic accumulations seen in late December:

Record-Setting Snowstorms Leave 1 Million Without Power In U.S.

The first days of 2022 have delivered a GSM whiplash for the Southeast and mid-Atlantic, with 80-degree warmth in some locations replaced with all-out snowstorms — a phenomenon predicted by prolonged bouts of low solar activity.

Monday’s wintry onslaught effectively shut down a host of cities along the East Coast. It also knocked the power out to a million homes, mostly in Virginia, but also in Maryland, North Carolina, and Tennessee (as well as in California and Washington State on the West Coast). And, tragically, resulted in at least 5 fatalities, according to officials, with that number expected to rise.

According to a recent AccuWeather report, snow accumulations climbed to 14.6 inches in Glendie, Virginia, and 11.0 inches in Swiss, North Carolina — both new records for the day; while Huntingtown, Maryland, reported 15.5 inches; and even areas as far south as Alabama were hit, with Moores Mill, Alabama, picking up 7 inches.

Thundersnow has also been reported.

Traffic at a standstill on the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge heading into Virginia from DC, as a winter storm dumped heavy snow across the South and mid-Atlantic on Monday, Jan 3, 2022.

Birmingham, Alabama, suffered a stark climatic flip-flopping on Monday–further evidence of the prevalence of swing between extremes during bouts of low solar output. The city had kicked off New Year’s Day with a high of 80 degrees, but just 24 hours later, a powerful Arctic airmass had swept in, driving temperatures down to 35 degrees, and delivering heavy snow.

The federal government in Washington, DC, was closed on Monday due to record-breaking snow. Likewise, many schools canceled classes after Reagan National Airport –the city’s official measuring site– reported 8.5 inches of global warming goodness on Monday — the airport’s snowiest day since Jan, 2016, and eclipsing the impressive benchmark of 8.3 inches set in Jan, 2019.

A citywide snow emergency declaration was issued for midnight Monday until 7 PM Monday by Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser — the emergency allows snowplows to clear key routes from “curb to curb”, according to Bowser.

In addition, the DC health department canceled all COVID-19 testing for Monday due to the snow, and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority temporarily suspended services due to the weather conditions. The snow also forced the closure of all Smithsonian museums in the D.C. area, including the National Air and Space Museum. 

Bigger falls were of course logged elsewhere — Southern Delaware -for example- received over a foot of snow; while Ellendale, DE recorded totals of 14.5 inches on Monday night, also a new record.

The storm actually intensified as it marched northward, continues the AccuWeather report, with power outages becoming an increasing problem across multiple states. At the height of the storm, going on 1 million customers were without power from Georgia to Tennessee to Maryland, according to data provided by PowerOutage.US.

“This is turning out to be one of the top 5 winter storm[s] in Dominion Energy Virginia history,” tweeted Rayhan Daudani, Dom Energy’s media relations manage. “Going to be a tough restoration with cold temperatures and pockets of severe damage but our crews are working around the clock to restore power as safely and quickly as possible,” he added.

The winter weather had grounded 7,500 flights across the U.S. as of midday Monday, with a further 10,000+ flights delayed. Atlantic City Airport, New Jersey -for example- was forced to close after more than 9.5 inches of snow blanketed its runways:

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy had issued a state of emergency for five southern New Jersey counties on Sunday night: “Residents should stay off the roads, remain vigilant, and follow all safety protocols,” he announced.

And despite Air Force One spewing copious amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, President Joe Biden still found himself battling anomalous lows and heavy snows as he deplaned at Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County, Maryland:

Snowplows were needed to clear the runway in order for the aircraft to land safely. And there were also reports that the presidential motorcade encountered some “difficulty” driving back to the White House amid the record-breaking snowstorm.

And a final word on the snow: Not to be outdone by the winter whiplash suffered up north, Florida went from from 75 degrees Sunday afternoon to snow just 12 hours later.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office tweeted footage of the Sunshine State’s snowfall:

Again, these weather phenomena are in no way the result of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels — they are instead tied to the historically low solar activity we’re receiving, and its impact on the jet streams:

The Central and Eastern U.S. has now joined the West, which has been suffering record snow for the past month+:

Gas Prices Rise As Cold Freezes Wells

Focusing on the temperatures, the mercury plunged into the teens across Virginia overnight Monday–just as the power went out for hundreds of thousands, leaving the majority in the dark, and with no way to heat their homes.

An additional upshot of the extreme cold was gas wells freezing over, particularly in Texas.

As reported by reuters.com, U.S. natural gas prices gained over 2% Monday after cold weather froze some production wells in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado, reminding the market of what can happen when temperatures drop.

Well freeze-offs occur whenever temperatures drop enough to freeze water and other liquids in a well or pipe and halt production.

“Gas prices have been falling recently with the rise in production but gained on Monday as the freeze-offs disconcerted the market,” said John Abeln, senior analyst of natural gas research at data provider Refinitiv.

Thermometers in the West Texas town of Midland plunged to an overnight low of 16F (-9C) on Sunday, leading to recollections of last February’s historic freeze which knocked-out the power to 5 million homes, and killed 702 people.

Since that deadly chill, Texas has approved numerous laws and regulations that state officials say should improve power and gas market reliability, and avoid price spikes and outages like those seen last winter. But I’m not so convinced. While this week’s cold snap has indeed been widespread, and even record-breaking in parts, more of a prolonged freeze is required to test the Texas grid. Saying that though, long-range models are currently hinting that Feb 2022 could indeed deliver a repeat of last year, so those state officials might not have long to see if their new regulations have an impact.

UK Set For Blizzards

Parts of the UK are set to face localized blizzard conditions, winds of up to 80mph and freezing temperatures as the UK Health Security Agency urges people to check in on older neighbors, reports news.sky.com.

A cold weather alert has been put in place for most of northern England and Scotland, with icy conditions and heavy snow possible from midnight Tuesday until midday Thursday.

Tuesday will be “noticeably colder across the whole of the country”, the Met Office said, following an anomalously mild New Year’s, with temperatures struggling to climb to 4C (39F) in the north. And by Wednesday, sub-freezing lows will be felt up and down the British Isles, with spots in the Scottish Highlands perhaps reaching -8C (17.6F), even -10C (14F).

With regards to the snow, accumulations over the Pennines and North York moors could total a few inches. But in Aberdeenshire and northern and eastern Scotland, winds of up to 80 mph combined with heavy flurries will likely create “localized blizzard conditions”, with the Met Office issuing warnings of snow and ice for travelers.

Agostinho Sousa, a consultant in public health medicine at UKHSA, warned that cold weather can have a “serious impact on health, particularly for older people and those with heart and lung problems” as he urged people to check in with neighbors as temperatures plummet: “Remind them to heat their home to at least 18C (64.4F) and to keep up to date with the forecast.”

The call to keep homes heated comes as energy bills continue to rocket — a reality which been described as a “nationwide crisis” leading to the collapse of many a suppliers; however, the key reason for the shortfalls –i.e. the depletion of stocks during last year’s historically cold and long winter– are seldom discussed.

UKHSA said: “If people can’t [afford to] heat all the rooms they use, it’s important to heat the living room during the day and the bedroom just before going to sleep … Wearing a few thin layers is better at trapping heat than wearing one thick layer. Having plenty of hot food and drinks is also effective for keeping warm” — measures I consider ‘putting a bandaid on a broken leg’, with the real issues being a suicidal lack of investment in fossil fuels, coupled with a gullible reliance on failing renewables, driven by ill-informed activists and enforced by weak, placating politicians, just as the next cyclical bout of global cooling dawns.

Elsewhere

Fierce cold is continuing in and around Afghanistan, with heavy snow hitting the capital, Kabul:

The COLD TIMES are returning, the mid-latitudes are REFREEZING in line with historically low solar activitycloud-nucleating Cosmic Rays, and a meridional jet stream flow (among many other forcings, including the impending release of the Beaufort Gyre).

Prepare accordingly — learn the facts, relocate if need be and grow your own.

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The post “Mad Blizzard” Batters Hokkaido, Japan; Record-Setting Snowstorms Leave 1 Million Without Power In U.S.–Gas Prices Rise As Cold Freezes Wells; + UK Set For Blizzard Conditions appeared first on Electroverse.

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