Historic Snow Hits Istanbul
SE Europe and SW Asia are suffering historic blasts of cold and snow this week. Blizzards hit the Turkish city of Istanbul Thursday into Friday, bringing the major metropolis to a near standstill. The conditions are set to extend through Monday, too, with overnight lows dipping below 0C — an incredibly feat rare for the time of year.
This isn’t Turkey’s first taste of debilitating snow this season. Far from it. It’s been a winter of truly historic proportions, with persistent rounds of heavy snow hitting the nation’s mountains, metropolises, and shores alike — conditions which contributed to the country experiencing its largest power outage ever.
On Thursday, and into the small hours of Friday, blizzards were noted across a host of Turkish districts. Many schools, businesses, and roads have been shut as a result, and public officials have been put on administrative leave to help reduce the traffic.
Below is footage of Istanbul’s famous Galata Tower being blasted by heavy spring snow:
The Istanbul Governorate also announced that all heavy vehicles, such as trucks, were banned from the roads. Motorcycles, gig couriers and e-scooters were also to be barred upon governorate’s orders which commenced 7 PM local time Thursday.
This storm is shaping up to be the worst to his the city in at least 25 years:
Clearing crews are out working 24/7 to try and keep Turkey open, but it’s a never-ending task:
While in the mountains, crews are working to clear drifts approaching 30 foot (9m) in height:
While even at sea level, temperatures are cold enough to see the precipitation fall as snow, in nearby Greece, too:
As touched on above, the majority of Turkey is suffering from this anomalous Arctic front — a total of 38 provinces are currently being impacted. In the far-off district of Arnavutköy, for example, thick snow covering the roads has reportedly thrown the morning commute into chaos. There are reports of passengers abandoning shuttle buses in order to reach their workplaces on foot, while some buses operated by the IBB were trapped on the roads as the drivers could not advance on icy routes.
Flights in and and out of the country have also been hampered. Turkish Airlines, and its budget subsidiary AnadoluJet, announced 200+ canceled flights on Thursday alone, with many more cancelled Friday, particularly from Istanbul Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport.
Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) is urging people to remain indoors as freezing lows and heavy spring snows sweep the country–from the Eastern Mediterranean to the capital Ankara, and from Izmir in the west to the far eastern corners of Anatolia. And hundreds of villages have been cut off from the outside world, particularly those located in eastern and southeastern parts, but that number expected to rise as the system intensifies into the weekend:
-48.5F Logged At Peter Sinks, Utah
Exceptional cold is engulfing the United States, cold more accustomed to the depths of winter than mid-March. Hundreds of low temperature records have already been toppled — below is snapshot of the fallen benchmarks so far (to 08:00 UTC):
But with more anomalous cold is on the way, many more low temperature records will be broken over the coming days:
The coldest low so far goes to Peter Sinks, Utah — no real surprises there; however, the ferocity of the freeze is noteworthy. A reading of -48.5F (-44.7C) was registered at the sinkhole yesterday, according to the Utah Climate Center’s official website. “This is a remarkable value for mid-March,” writes @ThierryGooseBC on Twitter, and one that is only 3.5F off the Lower-48’s all-time coldest March temperature on record (the 52F set at Middle Sink, Utah on March 10, 2002).
And with additional Arctic air on the way, that all-time record could again be threatened Friday and Saturday.
The forecast snow is also worth mentioning…
…with all this fresh powder set to add to the Northern Hemisphere’s already impressive snow season: Total snow mass of the NH, excluding the mountains, is currently sitting at some 300 Gigatons above the 182-2012 average and holding strong:
Halo CME To Strike Earth
A full-halo CME is heading directly for Earth. ETA: Sunday, March 13.
Coronagraphs onboard the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory recorded the storm cloud leaving the sun just hours ago:
This CME is the result of a long duration C2-class solar flare near sunspot AR2962, explains Dr Tony Phillips of spaceweather.com. Normally, C-class flares are not considered to be strong. However, given Earth’s ever waning magnetic field strength, plus the fact that this flaring lasted almost 12 hours, which allowed plenty of energy to be pumped into the CME, it is worth paying attention to.
Moderately-strong G2-class geomagnetic storms are likely when the CME hits.
Hopefully the SpaceX team aren’t launching any Starlink satellites over the weekend:
The COLD TIMES are returning, the mid-latitudes are REFREEZING in line with historically low solar activity, cloud-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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