|North magnetic pole movement into northern Siberia brings record deep freeze from eastern Europe to Japan. |
<Minus 26.5 degrees: Thousands stranded in Europe by heavy snow Death toll from Eastern Europe's cold spell hits 114
updated 2/2/2012 8:41:19 AM ET 2012-02-02T13:41:19
BELGRADE, Serbia — At least 11,000 villagers have been trapped by heavy snow and blizzards in Serbia's mountains, authorities announced Thursday, as the death toll from Eastern Europe's weeklong deep freeze rose to 114.
Those stranded live in some 6,500 homes in remote areas that cannot be reach due to icy, snow-clogged roads, emergency police official Predrag Maric said. Emergency crews were pressing hard to try to clear the snow and deliver badly needed supplies.
"We are trying everything to unblock the roads, since more snow and blizzards are expected in the coming days," Maric said.
Twenty more deaths from the cold were reported in Ukraine on Thursday, with nine more in Poland and one more each in Serbia and the Czech Republic. Officials said most of victims were homeless.
Parts of Black Sea freeze
Temperatures across the region sank to minus 26.5 F in some areas. Parts of the Black Sea froze near the Romanian coastline and the rare snow fell on Croatian islands in the Adriatic Sea.
In Bulgaria, 16 towns recorded their lowest temperatures since records started 100 years ago.
Polish government spokeswoman Malgorzata Wozniak said her country's victims were mostly homeless people under the influence of alcohol who had sought shelter in unheated buildings. Officials appealed to the public Thursday to quickly help anyone they saw in need.
Video: Eastern Europe caught in severe winter cold snap (on this page)
In Ukraine, 63 people have perished from the cold in the last week. Nearly 950 others were hospitalized with hypothermia and frostbite and over 2,000 heated tents have been set up with hot food for the homeless.
Story: Helicopters used to evacuate, send food in Europe freeze
A source at Russian gas export monopoly, which supplies a quarter of Europe's gas imports, said it was getting more requests from export markets than it could physically accommodate as demand from Russia spikes.
"Despite increasing gas consumption in Russia due to heavy frosts, Gazprom continues implementing its contractual obligations to European clients," it said.
PhotoBlog: Deep Freeze hits Eastern Europe
To the south, helicopters evacuated dozens of people from snow-blocked villages in Serbia and Bosnia this week and airlifted in food and medicine.
In central Serbia, choppers pulled out 12 people, including nine who went to a funeral but then could not get back over icy, snow-choked roads. Two more people froze to death in the snow and two others are missing, bringing that nation's death toll to five.
"The situation is dramatic, the snow is up to five meters (16 1/2 feet) high in some areas, you can only see rooftops," said Dr. Milorad Dramacanin, who participated in the helicopter evacuations.
Two helicopters on Wednesday rescued people and resupplied remote villages in northern Bosnia.
"We are trying to get through to several small villages, with each just a few elderly residents," said Bosnian rescue official Milimir Doder. "All together some 200-300 people are cut off. We are supplying them for the second day with food and medication."
In the small Bosnian hamlet of Han Kran on Mt. Romanija, villagers waited for a helicopter at a flat spot that they had cleared of snow.
"We are barely coping. I live on my own — it is a real struggle," said Radenka Jeftovic, an elderly woman wrapped in woolen scarfs and hugging a food package she received.
Goran Milat, a younger resident, complained that "the minuses are killing us."
"We are thankful for this help," he said. "But the snow did what it did and we are blocked here until spring."
Some Bosnian villages have had no electricity for days and crews were working around-the-clock trying to fix power lines.
Schools, nurseries and colleges across the region shut down, including one school in eastern Hungary that said it could not afford the high heating bills. The airport in Montenegro's capital of Podgorica was shut down for the second day Thursday because of heavy snowfall.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.>
<Dozens killed as icy weather grips Japan
February 02, 2012 2:58PM HEAVY snow that has blanketed northern Japan for weeks, triggering avalanches and affecting transport networks, has left at least 55 people dead.
In one of the country's coldest winters in recent years, the toll includes more than 40 people who died as they removed snow from roofs or roads, seven crushed by snow falling from buildings and four killed in avalanches.
The latest snow slide, at a popular mountain resort known for therapeutic hot-springs, killed three holidaymakers yesterday.
The 40-metre-wide avalanche crushed three tents near a naturally heated rock site in northern Akita prefecture. Police and rescuers continued their search today "to confirm there are no others buried in the snow", a police spokesman said.
The conditions have led to the cancellation of flights and numerous train delays, including parts of the shinkansen bullet train system.
In Aomori prefecture, a heavy snowstorm on Wednesday night stranded more than 100 cars on one road, forcing 250 people to seek shelter for the night in local schools, reports said.>
Meanwhile large areas of North America are having no winter!
Scroll down to 3rd map to see the preponderance of above average temps. This map has been locked in the pink for months! Never seen this happen before.