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Severe winter weather continues to pound the U.S. and the Middle East, of all places. The Weather Channel reports that one of the worst winter storm in more than a decade hit Lebanon leaving hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees living in tents with little in the way of heat. At least two Syrian refugees dies from exposure. Snow blanketed much of Israel, Lebanon and Turkey.
Britain experienced its coldest night of the year on the 18th as temperatures in the Scottish highlands dropped to -11C as icy conditions resulted in a commuter jet carrying 47 passengers sliding off the tarmac and into the grass in Inverness.
In New Jersey, on Sunday the 18, what had been expected to be a fairly routine rain storm turned into dangerous ice storm as lower than expected temperatures, resulted in as much as a quarter of an inch of freezing rain falling in parts of New York and New Jersey resulting on some road and bridge closures and restrictions. The New Jersey State Police reported 428 accidents and 186 calls for aid through Sunday afternoon. Despite more than enough work in New Jersey, some northern New Jersey ambulance companies were sent units to New York City to deal with a glut of emergency calls due to ice.
Cold air from Canada delivered frigid conditions to much of the U.S. with cold in North Carolina resulting in delayed school openings, and school closings in Minnesota, New England and throughout the Mid-West.
In Chicago, where wind chills were -21 degrees on January 8, firefighters battled blazes while icicles formed on their uniforms.
With wind chill readings between 25 and 45 degrees below zero, and white out’s some areas, conditions on many of the nation’s highways were deadly, for instance, an 18 vehicle pileup in Western Pennsylvania resulted in three deaths.
Looking ahead, the Weather Channel projects that much of the Eastern, Mid-West and Southern U.S. should brace for colder than average temperatures from February through April, while the Western U.S. might experience warmer than average temperatures due to a temporary high temperature ridge over the West Coast.
While climate pontificators blather on about whether 2014 was the warmest year on record, outside of the Ivory Tower, people around the world are shivering in the dark as winter continues its deadly, icy grip.