Cold Arctic air has reached and settled over the central Mediterranean, now causing bitterly cold temperatures across much of Europe. Hurricane-force winds are affecting the Adriatic coast for the second day in a row and producing intense sea-effect snowfall over the south-central Italy. As of late January 7, at least 23 people have lost their lives and the death toll is expected to rise.
On Thursday, January 5, a storm surge has caused the worst flooding on Germany's north-east coast since 2006, leaving streets and cars submerged and causing major damage. Towns and cities along the Baltic coast were flooded, from Kiel in the far north to the resort island of Usedom near the Polish border, the BBC reported.
Sea levels were recorded in the port of Wismar at 1.83 m (6 feet) above normal overnight. Severe winter conditions were also present in Sweden and Finland. The overnight temperature fell to -41.7 °C (-43 °F) at Muonio in Finnish Lapland, near the north-western border with Sweden. It was the coldest night of the winter so far.
Further west in northern Sweden, temperatures fell as low as -41.3 °C (-42.3° F) and road conditions were treacherous in much of the country.
By Friday, January 6, the cold arctic airmass has spread further south across central Europe and was already far south over the Balkan peninsula and even southern France.
Severe Bura winds wreaked havoc across the entire Adriatic coast. Near-hurricane and hurricane-force winds ripped out trees and caused widespread traffic chaos and localized power blackouts in Croatia.
The strongest winds measured yesterday along the Adriatic coast were 218 km/h (135 mph) at Most Pag and 196 km/h (122 mph) at Jasenice. Zavižan registered 148 km/h (92 mph), Dubrovnik 143 km/h (89 mph) and Split 130 km/h (81 mph).
The waves of arctic air coming in this week will be painful for those who have to spend time outdoors, unless properly dressed. In addition to the below-average temperatures forecast, AccuWeather.com RealFeel® Temperatures will be 15-30 degrees lower than the actual temperature at times.
RealFeel Temperatures will plunge well below zero at times in the Midwest and Northeast. The cold will spend multiple hours at dangerously low and life-threatening levels. The pattern will raise the risk of frostbite and hypothermia. Don't forget to bring any outside pets indoors to protect them from the bitter cold.
People in the South will want to make preparations to prevent pipes from freezing. Either insulate exposed pipes or shut off water and drain these vulnerable areas to avoid costly damage.
According to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "Since temperatures dropped below freezing in New York City Monday evening, they may not get back above freezing until this weekend."
"In Chicago, it may not be until late next week before temperatures climb back above freezing."
The first blast of air sent temperatures below zero over the northern Plains and the Upper Midwest to start the week and caused temperatures to fall during the middle of the day in the coastal Northeast.
A second, stronger blast of arctic air rolled into the Midwest on Tuesday following a storm, known as an Alberta Clipper. The storm spread a swath of light to moderate snow from the northern Plains to the mid-Atlantic coast.
In many cases, air following the Alberta Clipper will bring the lowest temperatures since last winter spanning Wednesday and Thursday.
RealFeel Temperatures Tuesday night ranged in the minus 30s to minus 40s across the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Iowa.
The Big Wobble: Deadly cold leave more than 20 dead as Icy temperatures hit Europe
Icy temperatures across Europe have left more than 20 people dead and blanketed even the Greek islands and southern Italy in snow.
Italy saw ferries and flights cancelled and schools in the south are expected to close on Monday. Turkey has also been badly affected. The Bosphorus was closed to shipping as a heavy snowstorm hit Istanbul.
At least 10 people died of cold in Poland.
Night temperatures in Russia plunged to minus 30C. Normally milder Greece has witnessed temperatures of minus 15C in the north where an Afghan migrant died of cold last week and roads were closed.
In Athens, the temperature failed to rise above 0C and several of the islands were covered in snow. Some of the Greek islands are home to thousands of migrants and many are being moved to temporary housing and heated tents.
A snowstorm forced the closure of Turkey's key shipping straits and sweeping flight cancellations on Saturday, while hazardous roads left many drivers stranded overnight in Istanbul, a city of 15 million people. Turkish Airlines canceled hundreds of flights in and out of the city's main Ataturk airport and state-run Anadolu news agency said dozens of planes were diverted to other airports because of the heavy snowfall, which began on Friday evening. About 6,000 of its passengers were transferred to hotels on Friday evening due to the cancellations and 20,000 meals were distributed to those stranded at the airport, Anadolu said. Pegasus Airlines canceled some 200 flights in and out of Sabiha Gokcen airport, on the Asian side of the city. The Bosphorus strait, which runs through Istanbul, and the Dardanelles strait further south were closed to transit shipping due to poor visibility on Saturday morning, Turkey's coastguard authority said.
The snow reached a depth of as much as 40 cm (16 inches) in some outlying areas of Istanbul.
Many drivers abandoned their vehicles and set off on foot, while some stayed in their vehicles for more than 10 hours overnight as they waited for road conditions to improve, the Dogan news agency said. Istanbul's underground train system operated through the night for passengers unable to get home on the city's roads, which were disrupted by dozens of accidents by vehicles sliding on the icy surfaces, the municipality said in a statement.
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