Three die in Spain’s Storm Gloria

MADRID (Reuters) – Three people have died in strong winds, heavy snowfall and low temperatures from Storm Gloria’s sweep across Spain on Sunday and Monday, officials said.

With more than 30 provinces on bad weather alert, Valencia on the Mediterranean coast and the Balearic Islands were bearing the brunt of the storm on Monday.

In the central province of Avila, a 63-year-old man died at home after being hit by roof tiles lifted by a gust of wind, said David Segovia, mayor of the town of Pedro Bernardo.

Unusually cold weather was blamed for the death of a 54-year-old homeless woman in Gandia, near Valencia, a municipal official told Reuters.

And one man in northwest Asturias region was killed by a vehicle on a snowbound road, reportedly struck while fitting chains to his car, an emergency services spokesman said.

The storm also forced the closure of Alicante airport, leading to the cancellation of nearly 200 flights.

National weather agency Aemet reported winds of up to 115 km per hour (71 mph) and eight-meter (26-feet) high waves in the province of Valencia. At least 120 councils there decided to suspend school and hundreds of kilometers of roads were cut off.

(Reporting by Elena Rodriguez, Editing by Andrei Khalip and Andrew Cawthorne)

World Temperature Record Set

NASA scientists report that a new world’s record for lowest recorded temperature has been set in Antarctica.

Analysis of NASA satellite data shows an area of the icy continent at -135.8 degrees Fahrenheit. The new mark shatters the old record of -128.6 degrees.  While the record was set in 2010, NASA released the data today in a press release.

Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center said those conditions could easily be deadly to humans.

“I am told that every breath is painful and you have to be extremely careful not to freeze part of your throat or lungs when inhaling,” Scambos said in a statement.

Scambos said the temperature record was only an accidental discovery. His team has been studying unusual cracks on the surface of eastern Antarctica and believed the cracks are “thermal cracks”. Thermal cracks happen when the temperature is so low that snow shrinks to the point the surface cracks.

“The record-breaking conditions seem to happen when a wind pattern or an atmospheric pressure gradient tries to move the air back uphill, pushing against the air that was sliding down,” Scambos said. “This allows the air in the low hollows to remain there longer and cool even further under the clear, extremely dry sky conditions. When the cold air lingers in these pockets it reaches ultra-low temperatures.”

Arctic Blast Brings Dangerous Cold To Upper Midwest

The arctic blast that is bringing ice to parts of the lower Midwest and rust belt is bringing dangerously cold temperatures to the upper Midwest.

Oil workers in North Dakota reported temperatures in the single digits as they worked Wednesday with forecasts for Thursday and Friday showing highs from -6 to -10. Overnight lows reaching -25 are also predicted.

The cold is so severe that the Red Cross is telling residents of areas impacted by the cold to stay inside or to layer up should they be forced to leave the house. A Red Cross spokesman also asked for neighbors to watch out for elderly residents in their communities and those who might need special assistance, especially if they live alone.

The weather across Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota dumped up to three feet of snow in some locations and contributed to at least 11 deaths.

Ice Storm Targets Texas; Mid-South

Officials from Texas to Ohio are telling residents to prepare for the possibility of days without power and impassable roads as a major ice storm moves into their region.

The storm that dumped several feet of snow on the Rocky Mountains moved south thanks to the jet stream moving significantly further south than normal. The storm stretches from south of Dallas, Texas to north and east of St. Louis, Missouri. The storm is expected to bring anything from sleet to inches of ice.

Arkansas is believed to be receiving the brunt of the storm with parts of the northeastern part of the state forecasted to receive up to 2 inches of ice through Friday. Ice storm warnings were issued for parts of Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Officials said that major power outages are likely in areas forecasted for higher amounts of ice. They encouraged residents to prepare by stockpiling food and making arrangements to be ready to be without power for days.

Transportation experts said residents should also be ready to shelter in place as the ice could make roads impassable for at least a day.