While ours is abnormally warm for this time of year, the western US is groaning under a cold snap and masses of snow. As a result, some regions are cut off from the outside world.
Thousands of people were without power in the western United States last weekend due to the heavy snow showers. In some places in northern California, up to 76 centimetres of snow fell in 24 hours, making many roads inaccessible. And it is also freezing in western Canada.
Avalanche warnings have been in effect in Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Colorado and California since Sunday. The heavy snow showers have left large regions with unstable snow, the BBC’s public broadcaster reported Monday.
For example, in Washington and Oregon, there were power outages due to the bad weather. Northern California was the hardest hit: the Power Outage US website, which reports power outages, reported 28,000 outages early Monday morning, local time.
In Nevada, north of California, authorities warned of wind chill temperatures as low as -48 degrees Celsius. Dangerously cold winds can cause frostbite on the skin after just five minutes.
In Texas, in the south of the US, it is extremely warm for this time of year: a record temperature of 32 degrees Celsius was measured in Wichita Falls, on the border with Oklahoma. In Houston, the mercury climbed to 27 degrees.
It is also extremely cold in western Canada. Authorities have issued warnings of extremely cold weather throughout the province of Alberta and parts of British Colombia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, CTV News reports. In Alberta, temperatures as low as -55 degrees Celsius were expected, as low as -40 degrees Celsius in Saskatchewan.
The Weather Network reported Sunday that temperatures in Canada dropped to -51 degrees Celsius for the first time in eight years, at Rabbit Kettle in Northwest Tettitories. It had been since February 2013 that temperatures dropped this low. The temperature in other weather stations in the province also dropped to -47 degrees Celsius, while the temperature in the last week of December normally “only” drops to -10 to -30 degrees Celsius.