Arctic Freeze and Heavy Snowfall Creates Havoc for Three Continents in Northern Hemisphere

LONDON, Jan. 4 (UPI) — Extremely cold weather and massive snowfalls blanketed much of the northern hemisphere, bringing death and destruction across three continents, officials said.

The Arctic freeze and the snow Monday hit, among other regions, China, Russia, Western Europe and the plains of the United States, the Times of London reported.

The cold snap killed dozens in India and Poland, threatened the orange crop in Florida, brought Siberia-like weather to Paris, brought day-to-day life to a virtual standstill in Beijing, pounded Italy with huge snowdrifts, and pushed temperatures down to minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit in Poland, the Times and other reports said.

In South Korea, a part of northeastern Asia experiencing the worst winter in six decades, the capital Seoul was hit with about 10 inches of snow, the heaviest since 1937. In far north China, temperatures plunged to nearly minus 26 degrees Fahrenheit.

While the Russian Siberian island of Sakhalin was hit by blizzards and avalanches, more than 60 people in northern and eastern India reportedly died of exposure.

While those in the Northern Hemisphere shivered, those in Equatorial regions and in the Southern Hemisphere struggled to cope with heavy rains and flash flooding. In Kenya, flash flooding was blamed for the deaths of at least 20 people and leaving thousands homeless. In Australia, the flooding Castlereagh River forced about 1,200 people to seek higher ground.

The death toll from flooding and mudslides in Brazil rose to more than 80.

In India, a heavy blanket of fog in New Delhi caused cancellations or delays of several flights.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

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