Europe in Rare Cold Snap and Snowfall; Airports, Roads, and Power Supplies Affected

by time news

The winter has gotten off to a dramatic and snow-filled start across large portions of Europe. After an abnormally warm and snowless winter last year, much of Europe is now blanketed in snow.

In Munich, Germany, a recent storm dropped nearly 18 inches of snow, setting a December record. This was the largest snowstorm since 2006 and among the biggest on record for the city. Munich is not the only European city enduring a wintry onset, with much of Germany and the rest of Europe also covered in snow.

More snow is forecast to fall, especially from the Alps northward through Germany and into parts of Eastern Europe. The heavy snowfall has already caused airport delays and cancellations, with Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Geneva among the airports affected.

The snow has also affected roads and utilities, with Cumbria, in northwestern England, receiving up to a foot of snow. The satellite imagery and ground observations have revealed remarkable snowfall extent over the continent, with Europe experiencing its snowiest start to a meteorological winter since 2010.

The extent of snowfall over the Northern Hemisphere has also run near to above average for the last eight weeks.

The severe winter weather is due to the negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation (AO), allowing frigid air from the North Pole to dive southward. The forecast suggests that the negative AO is relaxing and is expected to trend toward its neutral phase, which could lead to a gradual thaw in Western Europe and less extreme cold in Eastern Europe and Russia by next week.

Despite the severe winter weather in Europe, the rest of the planet continues to experience warmer-than-normal conditions, with last month being Earth’s warmest November on record.

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