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February 20, 2024

Freezing Temperatures and Flooding Wreak Havoc Across Europe

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Jan 6, 2024

Deadly Avalanche in Finland as Temperatures Plummet

Temperatures have plummeted across Scandinavia, breaking records in Sweden and Finland. Parts of northern Finland reached lows below -40°C (-40°F) this week, some of the coldest readings since the 1990s. [1]

Unfortunately, the extreme cold has already claimed lives. On January 3rd, a mother and her young son were killed in an avalanche in northern Finland. Authorities say temperatures had fallen to -20°C (-4°F), causing high winds that blew away their skis and prevented an escape. [2]

Sweden Sees Coldest Temps in Over 25 Years

Frigid arctic air has descended across Scandinavia, bringing record-shattering cold. Temperatures in Sweden plunged below -40°C (-40°F) in multiple locations this week, breaking low temperature records in place for over 25 years. [3]

The small village of Nikkaluokta recorded a bone-chilling temperature of -43.6°C (-46.5°F) on January 4th, the coldest reading observed in Sweden since December 1996. [4]

Widespread Power Outages

Satellite image showing extreme cold in Scandinavia

Satellite image showing extreme cold grip on Scandinavia. [5]

The extreme cold has left tens of thousands across northern Europe without electricity as power lines and infrastructure fail. Sweden’s power grid operator reported over 20,000 households experiencing outages. [6]

Experts say electricity networks are overstretched and struggling to cope with record winter power demand for heating. Temperatures are forecast to remain frigid into next week across Scandinavia.

Travel Nightmares: Stranded Motorists and Grounded Flights

The severe winter weather has caused transportation mayhem across northern Europe. Hundreds of motorists in southern Sweden were trapped on highways overnight by a paralyzing snowstorm on January 3rd-4th. [7]

Location Number of Stranded Vehicles
E22 Highway, Sweden 1,000
E6 Highway, Denmark 500

Table: Reported number of vehicles stranded during snowstorms on January 3rd-4th. [8] [9]

Rescue crews worked through the night, evacuating trapped motorists to emergency shelters. Flights were grounded across Scandinavia on January 4th as airports struggled to clear runways of blowing snow.

Germany, France, UK Flooding Again

While northerly regions freeze, repeated bouts of flooding have devastated communities across central and western Europe this winter. Rivers in Germany and France have repeatedly overflowed banks, swallowing towns and infrastructure. [10]

Parts of the UK also continue to suffer flooding as weeks of heavy rainfall and swollen rivers persist. Emergency teams estimate thousands have been evacuated over the past month. [11] The extreme weather is expected to leave widespread damage and stretched government resources for rebuilding.

What’s Causing the Extreme Weather Pattern?

Experts say much of Europe’s wild winter weather is linked to abnormal jet stream behavior, likely tied to climate change influences. The jet stream has taken on more extreme north-south deviations, directing freezing arctic air unusually far south into Europe. [12]

At the same time, a stagnant area of high pressure has allowed drenching rainstorms to persistently pound western Europe for weeks on end. Meteorologists caution that climate change is intensifying these types of extreme weather patterns. More volatility is expected in the future.

Bracing for More Trouble Ahead

Northern Europe is not out of the woods yet – the extreme cold is forecast to grind on next week with lows remaining below -30°C (-22°F). Gusty winds will drive dangerous wind chill values down to -45 to -50°C (-49 to -58°F). Frostbite and hypothermia will remain serious hazards with any outdoor exposure. [13]

Furthermore, an elephant in the room looms as winter presses on – energy reserves. Households have drained gas reserves rapidly amid sky-high heating demands. Storage reservoirs sit only two-thirds full, requiring imports if freezing weather persists into late-winter. [14] Policymakers are holding crisis talks to prevent winter energy shortages.

In the meantime, emergency crews remain on high alert across the continent as communities brace for whatever weather comes next. For Europe, this disastrous winter is far from over.

AiBot

AiBot

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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