Saturday, January 30, 2016

Warm Winter, But Still Couple Of Nasty Cold Spells In The World, Right Hong Kong And Saudi Arabia?

 A snow-covered camel in Saudi Arabia
this past week as a rare winter cold wave
hit parts of the Middle East. 
It's been a warm winter across much of the Globe, thanks to climate change and El Nino.

Here's one small example: I noticed quite a few record highs being recorded in the southern and central Plains in the United States on Friday.

The bigger example was the record

But there are a couple of huge exceptions to the warmth.

There was some remarkably wintry weather invading places you don't think of as the Great White North. Like Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia.

Hong Kong last week had its coldest temperature in 59 years.  The temperature actually got below freezing in some of the high elevations around Hong Kong, which is normally a pretty tropical place.

In America, we have storm chasers that every once in awhile get in trouble when they're too close to tornadoes.

Hong Kong apparently has "frost chasers," who climb Hong Kong's highest peak, which on rare occasions, like the past week, can get a little frost or snow. Valley locations in Hong Kong virtually never get a frost, so ice is a treat for these "ice chasers."

However, at least 129 people had to be rescued when they got stuck on the mountain during their frost chases, says the South China Morning Post.

Many people did not dress warmly enough for the cold. Hiking trails and the road up to the summit froze, and people got stuck because they couldn't walk along steep, icy slopes or cars got stuck.

Schools were cancelled for the day in Hong Kong last Monday. Most buildings there don't have heat, because who need it because it's always so warm? Except early last week, when temperatures hovered near the freezing mark.

It has since warmed up somewhat in Hong Kong, but it's still pretty chilly by their standards.

Forecasts for the region call for highs in the upper 50s to low 60s over the next few days.

Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, there was a rare snowfall in recent days.
People struggle through icy slopes last week
in the high elevations around Hong Kong.
Photo by Felix Wong. 

Many observers said Kuwait experienced its first snowfall in the country's history, though frost occasionally hits there during the winter.

The snow in Kuwait didn't amount to much, but it was still quite something, since nobody living there had seen such a thing before.

Temperatures there this time of year in the desert country are often around 70 degrees, and soar well into the 100s in the summer.

A rare snowfall also affected parts of northern Saudi Arabia, accumulating to a couple of inches in spots.

This is a bit of an oversimplification, but generally speaking,  cold snaps in Hong Kong and the Middle East were caused by dips in the jet stream that extended much further south than usual.

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