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Posted at 7:00 PM ET, 01/30/2008

International House of Snowflakes

By Steve Scolnik

Wild Winter Weather Hits China, Israel

Some statistics this morning from site visitor Augusta Jim would indicate that the very long-term snow trend is not negative, but as Matt pointed out, La Niña may be limiting our flaky fortunes through February. If we don't get the snow, who does?

Manufacturing jobs and cash may not be the only things Washington is exporting. China is having its worst winter weather in about 50 years. CNN quoted the Xinhua news agency:

"The heavy snow and sleet has paralyzed transport and coal shipments, and led to travelers cramming railways stations and airports and power supply reductions in almost half of the 31 provinces and regions on the Chinese mainland."

CNBC reported on air this morning that coal exports had been halted and that coal inventories were down to an eight-day supply. And China isn't the only international location making local snow lovers jealous.

israel.013008.small.jpg
Forecast map from Israel Meteorological Service shows snow for Jerusalem and the higher elevations in the north of the country.

The Middle East is also experiencing unusual winter weather. Although Jerusalem has some snow once or twice in a typical winter, a rare eight-inch snowfall was reported today. The Jerusalem Post reported that streets were deserted as schools and most shops were closed. Lebanon, Syria and Jordan were also affected by the storm.

The Israel Meteorological Service (also available in Hebrew) is forecasting moderate to heavy snow for Jerusalem on Thursday, with temperatures from -1°C to +4°C. At around 10 p.m. local time today, the temperature was slightly above freezing, and 0.4 mm of precipitation had fallen in the past hour. As shown on the regional weather map, the cold temperatures were enhanced by northerly flow between a strong high pressure area over Turkey and a deep low over Iraq. Although Jerusalem is relatively close to the mild Mediterranean, the station altitude is 815 meters above sea level, or about 2500 feet. The elevation of the official thermometer at National Airport, in contrast, is 10 feet.

Jerusalem observed a heavy snowfall last winter as well, and dozens were injured in the inclement weather.

By Steve Scolnik  | January 30, 2008; 7:00 PM ET
Categories:  International Weather, Winter Storms  
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