Authorities and the public in several countries are struggling to cope with the cold weather.
Europe, North America and Asia are experiencing the coldest weather in decades. On the East Coast of America, a storm dubbed “Snowzilla” broke a slew of long-standing records freezing Washington and New York and affecting more than 85 million people.
Though it was the first snow storm this winter, its depth was unusual. After two days of snow fall, many places on the East coast had 1 meter of snow. Washington officials asked people to stay off the roads to allow snow removal.
In New York, a number of roads, tunnels and bridges were closed. It’s estimated that more than 8,000 flights were canceled after a snow storm blanketed airports in New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and Baltimore. More than 200,000 people have lost power.
At least 25 people in North Carolina, Maryland, Kentucky and Virginia have died in the snow storms. According to Bloomberg, the US has lost 1.2 billion USD a day because of the storms.
In Asia, China was hard hit by its most extreme cold in decades. Record low temperatures were reported throughout 90% of China’s territory. In Beijing, the temperature plunged to minus 17 DC, the lowest temperature in 30 years. The temperature in Genhe City, in China's Inner Mongolia
Autonomous Region, fell to minus 47.8 degrees Celsius on Thursday, nearing the historical record low of minus 49.6 degrees. Genhe has been called the coldest place in China. In other parts of Inner Mongolia, the average temperature now is minus 40DC. Hong Kong (China) recorded its lowest temperature in 60 years. China’s National Meteorological Center (NMC) raised its weather warning level from yellow to orange as the country braced for more cold weather.
In the Republic of Korea, for the first time in five years, the Korean Meteorology Agency issued an alert for unusually cold weather. Tourist places on Jeju island received 11 cm of snow and mountain areas received 1 meter of snow. This is the heaviest snow fall in 3 decades. Due to the unusual cold spell, hundreds of flights to and from the island have been canceled. Some 6,000 tourists are stranded on the island.
In Europe, Germany is also experiencing chilly weather. Many flights have been delayed or canceled. Postal and transport companies have suspended their operations for a few days due to icy roads.
The widespread unusual cold weather is more evidence of the global climate change which inspired international commitments at the recent 21st UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris.