A rare winter storm paralyzed large sections of the southeastern United States yesterday. Serious impacts from snow, sleet, and freezing rain were felt from the Gulf Coast to Virginia.
According to the NWS, 2.6 inches of snow fell in Atlanta, GA – a new daily record for the region’s largest city. As a whole, the Deep South is not accustomed to wintry precipitation and most cities and towns are not equipped to deal it. Salt spreaders and snowplows are in short supply across the region. As a result, major roads turned into sheets of ice creating very hazardous travel conditions.
The timing of the storm made the situation even worse. Arriving in the afternoon, many people were caught on the roads trying to make their way home. Officials have reported hundreds of traffic accidents and stranded vehicles. Many people were even forced to shelter in place overnight in cars, schools, and stores.
Snow and ice bring travel to a stand still near Atlanta, GA. Image Credit: GuardianLV.com
A major winter storm dumped heavy snow from the Mid-Atlantic states to New England yesterday. With some areas getting more than a foot of accumulation, records fell across the region.
Here in New York City, we received 11 inches of powdery snow in Central Park. That is a new snowfall record for the date, according to the NWS. The previous record of 6 inches was set in 2001. The city’s snow total for the month is now 17.4 inches. On average, we normally get 7 inches for the entire month of January.
Moving in from the mid-west, this storm started out as an Alberta Clipper. This type of system does not typically produce much snow, as it originates over land. This one, however, intensified when it reached the eastern seaboard and morphed into a nor’easter with heavy precipitation.
NYC taxi making its way through heavy snowfall. Image Credit: The Weather Gamut.
Super Typhoon Haiyan hammered the central Philippines late last week. Locally known as Yolanda, it was the strongest tropical cyclone to ever make landfall.
According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Haiyan came ashore with sustained winds of 195-mph, the equivalent of a category-5 hurricane in the U.S. Destructive on their own, these powerful winds also helped produce a devastating 20-foot storm surge that washed out numerous coastal towns and villages. Local officials say the storm impacted approximately ten million people across forty-one provinces, with Tacloban City being the hardest hit area. While the full extent of this natural disaster is still unknown, the Philippine Military reports that 942 people are confirmed dead – primarily from drowning and collapsed buildings. Sadly, government officials expect this number to increase as more areas become accessible and communications are restored. Some fear the death toll could climb as high as 10,000.
The Philippines, a nation of nearly seven thousand islands, is no stranger to serious storms. Situated in the warm waters of the tropical western Pacific, they are often hit by typhoons, including four this year alone. None, however, have been as powerful as this recent event. If the government’s staggering death toll projections are realized, Haiyan will become the Philippines’ deadliest storm on record.