CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

GLOBAL WARMING: Result of Extreme Weather, arctic blast continues to sweep across the US...(UPDATE)

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Is global warming causing COLDER winters? Melting ice is destabilising the polar vortex, study claims

  • Polar vortex was responsible for freezing temperatures in the US this winter
  • It is a large pocket of very cold air that sits over the polar region
  • Study claim the recent vortex may have been caused by melting polar ice
  • Warm water melts the ice, and this causes warm air to be released
  • Warm air destabilises polar air, sending cold blasts into the atmosphere
  • As global warming continues to heats oceans, freezing winters will increase

Global warming could be triggering increasingly cold winters in some parts of the world, scientists have claimed.

Researchers have discovered a link between rising ocean temperatures, and a large pocket of cold air known as the polar vortex.

They discovered that as oceans heat up and melt the Arctic ice, warm air is released that destabilises polar air and sends cold blasts into the atmosphere.

Researchers claim the most recent polar vortex (illustrated) was caused by melting polar ice, which was melted by warmer ocean temperatures. This caused warm air to destabilise the polar air and send cold air into the atmosphere. And as global warming continues to heats oceans, freezing winters could increase

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Researchers claim the most recent polar vortex (illustrated) was caused by melting polar ice, which was melted by warmer ocean temperatures. This caused warm air to destabilise the polar air and send cold air into the atmosphere. And as global warming continues to heats oceans, freezing winters could increase

The polar vortex was responsible for the extreme and freezing temperatures experienced in the US last winter.

A polar vortex is a large pocket of very cold air that sits above the polar region during the winter months.

During winter this air chills and contrasts with the warmer temperatures further away from the pole.

WHAT IS A POLAR VORTEX?

A polar vortex is a large pocket of very cold air that sits above the polar region during the winter season.

During winter, this air gets cold, and contrasts with the temperatures further away from the pole.

Pressure contrasts between these temperatures create fast winds that swirl around the pocket of cold air.

The polar vortex is weakest during summer, because there is less of a contrast between temperatures.

Pressure contrasts between these temperatures create fast winds that swirl around the pocket of cold air.

Researchers, led by Baek-Min Kim from Korea Polar Research Institute, compared recent weather trends and reports, with computer models.

The modelling was designed to reveal what Earth would look like if it hadn’t experienced any Arctic ice loss.

They discovered that the polar ice is melting because warmer water is travelling up the Gulf Stream from tropical regions of the Atlantic Ocean towards Scandinavia and other areas of Europe.

In particular, the water is causing ‘exceptional sea ice melt' in the Barents-Kara seas.

This melting leads to areas of open water, which release heat into the atmosphere during winter months.

In turn they found this causes the northern jet stream to weaken and move further south, taking cold, polar air with it.

The warmer temperatures cause the colder, polar temperatures to destabilise and emit cold blasts into the atmosphere.

Due to its location, Canada and the US in particular, faced the brunt of this cold air in more recent winters.

But Eurasia is likely to also see the cooling effect impacting on winters.

The polar vortex (illustrated) was blamed for the temperatures experienced in the US this winter. It is a large pocket of very cold air that sits above the polar region during the winter season. During winter, this air gets cold, and contrasts with temperatures further away.Pressure contrasts between these temperatures create fast winds that swirl around the pocket of cold air.

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The polar vortex (illustrated) was blamed for extreme and freezing temperatures in the US this winter. It is a large pocket of cold air that sits above the polar region. During winter, this air gets cold, and contrasts with temperatures further away. Pressure contrasts between these temperatures to create fast winds

Researchers, led by Baek-Min Kim from Korea Polar Research Institute, compared statistical analysis of recent weather trends, including freezing temperatures in the midwest of the US (pictured), with computer modelling. The modelling was designed to see what Earth would look like if it hadn’t experienced Arctic ice loss

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Researchers, led by Baek-Min Kim from Korea Polar Research Institute, compared statistical analysis of recent weather trends, including freezing temperatures in the midwest of the US (pictured), with computer modelling. The modelling was designed to see what Earth would look like if it hadn’t experienced Arctic ice loss

And, if global warming continues to raise ocean temperatures, the chances of more extreme winter weather will increase, claim the researchers.

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Earlier this year global warming was blamed for the ‘irreversible retreat’ of west Antarctic glaciers.

But scientists recently claimed that warming of the planet is in fact behind a paradoxical growth in South Pole sea ice.

They believe the shift is caused by water melting from beneath the Antarctic ice shelves and re-freezing back on the surface.

Earlier this week, reports even claimed sea ice cover in the Antarctic is now at its highest level since records began.

This graphic shows trends in sea ice duration between 1979 and 2010. It shows large regional variations. Rather than disproving global warming, some scientists claim that a recent growth in sea ice may in fact be caused by westerly winds, created by an increase in greenhouse gases

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This graphic shows trends in sea ice duration between 1979 and 2010. It shows large regional variations. Rather than disproving global warming, some scientists claim that a recent growth in sea ice may in fact be caused by westerly winds, created by an increase in greenhouse gases

Satellite images revealed 7.7 million square miles (20 million sq km) of ice surrounding the continent.

But rather than disproving global warming, scientists claim that this growth may in fact be caused by it.

The first theory is that westerly winds, which flow around Antarctica, are speeding up and moving south.

This is thought to be linked to an increase in greenhouse gases and an increase in sea ice.

The second theory is that sea ice forms easier due to the colder and fresher melt water from Antarctica's melting glaciers and ice sheets.

 

   

It was an arctic blast that put Chicagoans in a pretty bad mood - a 37-hour marathon of temperatures well-below zero.

But what came after was a shivering city blanketed in white, and a photographer managed to capture a unique look at the landmarks Chicago is known for following the storm.

Colin Hinkle of Soaring Badger Productions used a GoPro camera strapped to a to a DJI Phantom 2 drone that he launched in different parts of 'Chiberia', as it is often called.

'Enjoy the beauty of a frigid Chicago from your warmth of your living room,' Hinkle posted underneath the footage he posted on YouTube.

Scroll down for video

Calm after the storm: Chicago photographer Colin Hinkle spent two weeks over January capturing footage of the city using a drone

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Calm after the storm: Chicago photographer Colin Hinkle spent two weeks over January capturing footage of the city using a drone

Freezing: The city had just emerged from a 37-hour marathon of temperatures well-below zero

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Freezing: The city had just emerged from a 37-hour marathon of temperatures well-below zero

Breathtaking: The video takes a look at the all the landmarks Chicago is known for and some new ones

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Breathtaking: The video takes a look at the all the landmarks Chicago is known for and some new ones

Spot the difference: The footage shows Chicago at a time when it was almost completely covered in snow

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Spot the difference: The footage shows Chicago at a time when it was almost completely covered in snow

Colin Hinkle used a GoPro camera strapped to a to a DJI Phantom 2 drone that he launched in different parts of the city

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Colin Hinkle used a GoPro camera strapped to a to a DJI Phantom 2 drone that he launched in different parts of the city

Drone captures stunning footage of frozen Chicago

Hinkle shot the video over the course of two weeks in January, according to News Mic, which described the result as 'hauntingly beautiful'.

The footage shows glimpses of the downtown skyline, CTA trains, Lake Michigan, Adler Planetarium, Northerly Island and the Chicago River.

It also features the Maggie Daley Park skating ribbon, which was only recently constructed.

Many of the comments on the video point out that reiterates how, to the people that live in Chicago, there is no better place.

Expert view: Because the Go Pro was shooting in high definition, the battery had to be changed every 10 minutes

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Expert view: Because the Go Pro was shooting in high definition, the battery had to be changed every 10 minutes

Beuatiful: Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States, after New York City and Los Angeles

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Beuatiful: Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States, after New York City and Los Angeles

In a Vimeo video uploaded at the weekend, a drone captured a bird’s-eye view of Chicago during the bitter cold, showing what the arctic freeze looks like from above

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In a Vimeo video uploaded at the weekend, a drone captured a bird’s-eye view of Chicago during the bitter cold, showing what the arctic freeze looks like from above

 

 

 

Arctic blast continues to sweep across the US...

  • Optical phenomenon was seen above the town of Red River prompting Joshua Thomas to take a photo
  • Rings and arcs in the sky are formed by light interacting with ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere
  • It comes as weather forecasters predict the cold snap will continue into next week and could reach southern Texas
  • Photographer Joshua Nowicki trekked along the icy shore of Lake Michigan on Thursday armed with a camera
  • He captured stunning array of photos of St Joseph Lighthouse and pier, both of which were completely frozen
  • Record-breaking cold has already killed at least 22 people, with major pile-ups in Michigan and Pennsylvania
  • Severe wind gusts of up to 40mph could make temperatures across New York state feel as low as minus 30F

A rare 'ice halo' was seen above New Mexico has as the arctic blast continued to make its way across the country, causing temperatures to plummet below freezing in dozens of cities.

The optical phenomenon was captured by Texan photographer Joshua Thomas above the town of Red River - which has experienced sub-zero temperatures throughout the last few days.

The variety of rings and arcs in the sky are formed by light interacting with ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere during the cold weather.

It comes as weather forecasters predict the cold snap will continue into next week and could even reach parts of southern Texas. 

Scroll down for video

Stunning: This ice halo was captured above Red River in New Mexico has temperatures plummeted across the country 

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Stunning: This ice halo was captured above Red River in New Mexico has temperatures plummeted across the country

Appearance: It is an extremely rare optical phenomenon produced by light interacting with ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere, resulting in a wide variety of colored or white rings, arcs and spots in the sky

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Appearance: It is an extremely rare optical phenomenon produced by light interacting with ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere, resulting in a wide variety of colored or white rings, arcs and spots in the sky

According to the Weather Channel, cities from New England to the Ohio Valley are being warned to brace for snow and sleet as the mercury continues to drop.

The wintry conditions will continue for the rest of the weekend and could last until Thursday, according to experts. 

With sub-zero temperatures, severe wind chills and snowfall, millions across the eastern US have been desperately trying to stay warm this week.

On Saturday one photographer chose to brave the frigid weather for hours on end - to capture these stunning photos of St Joseph Lighthouse in Michigan.

Donning sturdy boots and warm clothing, Joshua Nowicki trekked along the icy shore of Lake Michigan on Thursday morning, armed with a camera.

He then captured a breathtaking array of photos of the frozen 30ft lighthouse and its pier, both of which were completely blanketed in white icicles.

He later uploaded the images to his Facebook page, alongside pictures of circular formations of ice  - what he dubbed 'ice pancakes' - on the shore.

'Ice-covered lighthouse and 'ice pancakes' in St Joseph, Michigan,' wrote Mr Nowicki of his photographs, which were taken during a blizzard.

Stunning: This photo, captured by Joshua Nowicki, shows St Joseph Lighthouse and its pier, in Michigan, both of which are completely blanketed in white icicles. It also features a number of circular formations of ice - which Mr Nowicki dubs 'ice pancakes' - on the shore

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Stunning: This photo, captured by Joshua Nowicki, shows St Joseph Lighthouse and its pier, in Michigan, both of which are completely blanketed in white icicles. It also features a number of circular formations of ice - which Mr Nowicki dubs 'ice pancakes' - on the shore

Frozen over: Donning sturdy boots and warm clothing, Mr Nowicki trekked along the icy shore of Lake Michigan on Thursday morning to take the beautiful photos. Above, a close-up shot of the historic St Joseph Lighthouse, which is surrounded by mist and covered in ice

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Frozen over: Donning sturdy boots and warm clothing, Mr Nowicki trekked along the icy shore of Lake Michigan on Thursday morning to take the beautiful photos. Above, a close-up shot of the historic St Joseph Lighthouse, which is surrounded by mist and covered in ice

Icy: He later uploaded the images to his Facebook page, where they were deemed 'stunning' by users. Above, ice detail on the south pier

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Icy: He later uploaded the images to his Facebook page, where they were deemed 'stunning' by users. Above, ice detail on the south pier

Frigid conditions: Mr Nowicki wrote: 'It is amazing how much the lake has started to freeze up in just a few days', Above, ice on the shore

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Frigid conditions: Mr Nowicki wrote: 'It is amazing how much the lake has started to freeze up in just a few days', Above, ice on the shore

Two days earlier: This photo shows St Joseph Lighthouse on Tuesday - as the extreme conditions started to take hold and freeze the pier

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Two days earlier: This photo shows St Joseph Lighthouse on Tuesday - as the extreme conditions started to take hold and freeze the pier

Brave: Mr Nowicki, who called the circular pieces of ice on the shore 'ice pancakes', is seen at Lake Michigan during Thursday's blizzard

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Brave: Mr Nowicki, who called the circular pieces of ice on the shore 'ice pancakes', is seen at Lake Michigan during Thursday's blizzard

It is believed the disc-shaped pieces of ice may have been created by stormy waves tumbling and pummeling ice crystals into 'pancake' formations.

Mr Nowicki's images - some taken two days earlier - were met with a positive response from Facebook users, with many deeming them 'stunning'.

Marge Hess Yetzke wrote: 'That is so unique. It looks like a frozen outer space scene', while Kathy Searles said: 'The wonder of nature is amazing!'

And David Howton joked: 'Wow, almost too cold to be out taking photographs I bet!'

It comes as a deadly arctic blast is continuing to wreak havoc across the US, with lake-effect snow expected to dump up to five feet of snow on parts of New York state this weekend. Meanwhile, below-freezing temperatures and wind chills are set to continue to affect a large stretch of the country.

This morning, residents from Northeastern Montana to Northwestern New York were given a windchill advisory by the National Weather Service.

In such frigid conditions, frostbite could set in with just 15 minutes' exposure to the air, the Weather Service said, advising people to keep pets indoors.

And over the next 48 hours, temperatures could fall 15 to 25 degrees below average in states surrounding the Great Lakes, NBC reported.

At around 7am today, a low of minus 23 degrees was recorded in Manitowish, Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, in Northeast New York, residents are preparing to deal with between one to five feet of snow. 'Heavy lake-effect snow will shift back to the north into the Buffalo South Towns and perhaps into the city for a time Saturday night,' said AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams.

Extreme conditions: This image, also taken by Mr Nowicki, shows an Amtrak train arriving in St Joseph on Thursday amid snow and wind

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Misty: In addition to his captivating lighthouse pictures, the photographer also captured several images of downtown St Joseph (above)

Extreme conditions: This image, also taken by Mr Nowicki, shows an Amtrak train arriving in St Joseph on Thursday amid snow and wind

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Extreme conditions: This image, also taken by Mr Nowicki, shows an Amtrak train arriving in St Joseph on Thursday amid snow and wind

Snowfall: It comes as a deadly arctic blast is continuing to wreak havoc across the US, with lake-effect snow expected to dump up to five feet of snow on parts of New York state this weekend. Above, this graphic shows the areas where lake-effect snow is set to strike today

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Snowfall: It comes as a deadly arctic blast is continuing to wreak havoc across the US, with lake-effect snow expected to dump up to five feet of snow on parts of New York state this weekend. Above, this graphic shows the areas where lake-effect snow is set to strike today

Forecast: Today, New York residents can expect to see highs of only 22 degrees, while those in Boston will see highs of 23 degrees

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Forecast: Today, New York residents can expect to see highs of only 22 degrees, while those in Boston will see highs of 23 degrees

Warmer; Tomorrow, the temperature is predicted to rise a little across the country - although there will still be strong winds in many areas

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Warmer; Tomorrow, the temperature is predicted to rise a little across the country - although there will still be strong winds in many areas

Last night, residents from Northeastern Montana to Northwestern New York were given a windchill advisory. Above, Monday's forecast

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Last night, residents from Northeastern Montana to Northwestern New York were given a windchill advisory. Above, Monday's forecast

Wind gusts of up to 40mph could make temperatures feel as low as minus 30F.

And in Texas, locals are bracing for severely icy roads that could lead to fatal traffic accidents, according to Weather.com.

By Monday, the wintry weather could be even more widespread - with freezing rain and sleet expected to affect commuters from Louisville to Boston.

It comes just a day after the weather forced schools across the US to close, filled up homeless shelters and even caused penguins to be taken inside.

The record-breaking cold, which has already claimed the lives of at least 21 people, led officials to shut down a 132-mile stretch of the Thruway in western New York on Friday - for the second time since the epic November snowstorms - amid concerns over the safety of drivers.

Meanwhile, hundreds of schools in Chicago, Boston and other large cities from the South to the Northeast and Midwest decided to close for a second day running, unable to cope with the sub-zero climates. Others chose to delay their opening by several hours.

Charred: On Friday, roughly 190 vehicles were involved in fatal pile-up along a snowy Michigan interstate that caused fires on trucks carrying fireworks and acid. Above, the charred remains of vehicles are pictured on Interstate 94 on Saturday following the accident

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Charred: On Friday, roughly 190 vehicles were involved in fatal pile-up along a snowy Michigan interstate that caused fires on trucks carrying fireworks and acid. Above, the charred remains of vehicles are pictured on Interstate 94 on Saturday following the accident

Wrecked: According to Michigan State Police Lt. Rick Pazder, the Friday morning accident killed one person. Above, a wrecked lorry

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Wrecked: According to Michigan State Police Lt. Rick Pazder, the Friday morning accident killed one person. Above, a wrecked lorry

Clear-up: Road crews work to clear wrecked vehicles and debris along Interstate 94, the day after a series of crashes closed the highway between mile markers 88 and 92 in eastern Kalamazoo County, near Galesburg, Michigan. There were apparently 193 vehicles involved

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Clear-up: Road crews work to clear wrecked vehicles and debris along Interstate 94, the day after a series of crashes closed the highway between mile markers 88 and 92 in eastern Kalamazoo County, near Galesburg, Michigan. There were apparently 193 vehicles involved

Wrapped up: In this photo, a cyclist donning warm clothing is pictured riding through a park with the frozen Lake Michigan  behind him

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Wrapped up: In this photo, a cyclist donning warm clothing is pictured riding through a park with the frozen Lake Michigan behind him

Cold weather: In Northeast New York, residents are preparing to deal with between one to five feet of snow today. Above, Spanish tourists are pictured taking a photo of the New York skyline on a snow-covered viewing area of Jersey City in New Jersey on Friday afternoon

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Cold weather: In Northeast New York, residents are preparing to deal with between one to five feet of snow today. Above, Spanish tourists are pictured taking a photo of the New York skyline on a snow-covered viewing area of Jersey City in New Jersey on Friday afternoon

Blanketed: A student walks through a Calvin College parking lot filled with snow-covered cars on Friday in Grand Rapids, Michigan 

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Blanketed: A student walks through a Calvin College parking lot filled with snow-covered cars on Friday in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Frigid air blows in New York

And it is was not just humans who were affected by Friday's cold - in Pittsburgh, two baby African penguins were moved indoors at the National Aviary, where the endangered animals that are native to South Africa will remain until temperatures rise.

A day earlier, train rails cracked by the cold had caused severe delays for commuters in Washington, D.C, while tens of thousands of airline passengers were also hit by 1,937 delays and 515 cancellations by mid-afternoon, according to FlightAware.com.

Commuters vented their frustration on Twitter throughout Thursday, with many posts including photos of stations and trains jam-packed with people. One Twitter user wrote that he loves being told to avoid lines that have delays, adding, 'OK, I'll just move my house and job for the day.'

The coldest place in the country on Thursday was recorded to be Estcourt Station, the northernmost point in Maine, with temperatures of minus 38 degrees F (minus 39 C), meteorologist Dan Petersen of the National Weather Service said.

Records were broken from Montpelier, Vermont, at minus 20 F (minus 29 C), to Jackson, Kentucky, with minus 1 F (minus 18 C), he said. Snow flurries were reported as far south as Jacksonville, Florida.

Cindy Palmer scrapes snow and ice off of her friend's vehicle parked outside of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Muskegon, Michigan

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Cindy Palmer scrapes snow and ice off of her friend's vehicle parked outside of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Muskegon, Michigan

Making the most of the snow: Colin Ferris, 11, plays goalkeeper during a game of hockey at Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, Michigan

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Making the most of the snow: Colin Ferris, 11, plays goalkeeper during a game of hockey at Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, Michigan

Geared up: A jogger wearing reflective sunglasses makes his way north along State Street  as snow falls in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Friday

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Geared up: A jogger wearing reflective sunglasses makes his way north along State Street as snow falls in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Friday

Morning exercise: A jogger, from New Jersey, is pictured running in the snow following an early morning storm at Liberty State Park

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Morning exercise: A jogger, from New Jersey, is pictured running in the snow following an early morning storm at Liberty State Park

Clearing up: A snow plow makes its way down South Western Avenue in Marion, Indiana, on Friday as temperatures fell to below zero

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Clearing up: A snow plow makes its way down South Western Avenue in Marion, Indiana, on Friday as temperatures fell to below zero

Aftermath: Doug Brende, of Sioux Falls, is pictured shoveling snow from the sidewalk outside his house on Friday following strong winds

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Aftermath: Doug Brende, of Sioux Falls, is pictured shoveling snow from the sidewalk outside his house on Friday following strong winds

'It's the face, it's like being hit with a sheet of ice,' Bart Adlam, 40, president of U.S. yogurt supplier siggi's, said as he rode a bike through Times Square on his way to work at 8am in New York. The wind chill there reportedly made 9 degrees F (minus 12 C) feel like 2 below (minus 18 C).

The frigid weather has even affected Florida - with snow flurries reported in the Jacksonville area on Thursday afternoon, the first time a trace of snow has been reported since December 26, 2010. Before that, the last sighting of snow was on December 22, 1995.

AMID THE DEADLY COLD, WINDS AND SNOW... ARIZONA POSTS A RECORD HIGH TEMPERATURE

As the eastern US was battling a deadly arctic blast, Phoenix, Arizona, posted a record high temperature of 80 degrees on Wednesday, breaking the previous 1948 record of 79.

Over in Tempe, 74-year-old Bill Justice was wearing shorts while hanging out in his yard, just days after the National Weather Service announced that 2014 was the warmest year ever recorded in Arizona.

'We can enjoy all kinds of things in the winter and the same thing in the summer,' Mr Justice said, adding that if he lived in Colorado or another cold climate, his swimming pool would be frozen by now.

Meanwhile, there were reports of a water main break in Indiana resulting in several cars becoming 'glued' to the road by frozen water. Residents were forced to abandon their stranded cars and use public transport, or walk, to get to work and school.

And on Wednesday, a man was found dead in a portable toilet on the Northwest Side of Chicago, according to police. The cause of 51-year-old Marek Bobak's death was cold exposure and coronary artery atherosclerosis, the Cook County Medical Examiner determined on Thursday.

Even sledding hills around Chicago and ice-skating rinks in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, were shut down because of risk of wind chill, while Maine's Sugarloaf Mountain closed ski trails because of 'Arctic conditions.'

Earlier this week, the extreme conditions caused an 18-vehicle pileup on a western Pennsylvania interstate, leaving two people dead and nearly two dozen injured.

Nine trucks, several of them tractor-trailers, and nine cars were involved in the crash on Wednesday afternoon on Interstate 80 in Clarion Township, state police said. At least one of the trucks was carrying hazardous material, but no leaks were found.

None of the injuries was thought to be life-threatening, but three of the 20 or so people taken to the hospital appeared to have serious injuries. The others were treated for everything from bumps to broken bones.

And on Friday, around 193 vehicles were involved in fatal pile-up along a snowy Michigan interstate that caused fires on trucks carrying fireworks and acid. According to Michigan State Police Lt. Rick Pazder, the Friday morning accident killed one person - a trucker from Ottawa, Canada.

Meanwhile, authorities have said the severe weather and blowing snow were factors in the deaths of two northern Michigan men — an 85-year-old who was struck by a car while crossing a road to get his mail and a 64-year-old who was hit by a car while clearing snow.

A car struck 85-year-old Carl Dewey on Wednesday in Helena Township, about 30 miles northeast of Traverse City, the Antrim County sheriff's department said. There were whiteout conditions at the time, the department told The Grand Rapids Press.

Picturesque: This photograph shows a black horse walking in a field on Kennedy Creek Road in Pennsylvania during a brief snow squall

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Picturesque: This photograph shows a black horse walking in a field on Kennedy Creek Road in Pennsylvania during a brief snow squall

Thankful for their thick coats: Snow-covered bisons take in the morning sunshine at the Buffalo Zoo  in Buffalo, New York, on Friday

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Thankful for their thick coats: Snow-covered bisons take in the morning sunshine at the Buffalo Zoo in Buffalo, New York, on Friday

Stuck in the snow: Also in Buffalo, a fresh layer of snow covers cars in Norwood Avenue, making it difficult for people to get to work

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Stuck in the snow: Also in Buffalo, a fresh layer of snow covers cars in Norwood Avenue, making it difficult for people to get to work

Out of service: In this photo, snow is pictured covering a wooden rollercoaster at Michigan's Adventure in North Muskegon, Michigan

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Out of service: In this photo, snow is pictured covering a wooden rollercoaster at Michigan's Adventure in North Muskegon, Michigan

The Kalkaska County sheriff's department said 64-year-old Zane Chwastek of Bear Lake Township was using a snow blower in his driveway Wednesday when a car slid off the road and struck him.

But amid the frigid conditions, Phoenix, Arizona, posted a record high temperature of 80 degrees on Wednesday, breaking the 1948 record of 79.

Over in Tempe, 74-year-old Bill Justice was wearing shorts while hanging out in his yard, just days after the National Weather Service announced that 2014 was the warmest year ever recorded in Arizona.

'We can enjoy all kinds of things in the winter and the same thing in the summer,' Mr Justice said, adding that if he lived in Colorado or another cold climate, his swimming pool would be frozen by now.

 

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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Kyle Cooley pushes to help free Nathan Parriott's car from the snow on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Iowa City, Iowa. Cooley and Parriott worked for an hour to free the car, which had been parked on the wrong side overnight during the declared snow emergency. (AP Photo/Cedar Rapids Gazette, Liz Martin) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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A man walks Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in downtown Racine, Wis. The area got nearly two feet of snow with some drifts several feet high. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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Groundskeeper Josh Pemberton clears a path near the MU Quadrangle on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/Columbia Daily Tribune, Parker Eshelman) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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Icicles hang from the nose of a snowman in Brookdale Park in Bloomfield, N.J., Feb. 2, 2011. A ferocious winter storm continued to barrel eastward across the United States on Wednesday morning, snarling travel by road, air and rail as it blanketed wide swaths from the Great Plains to New England in deep snow and left a brittle skin of ice over large sections of the Northeast. (Richard Perry/The New York Times) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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Jade Zhao splashes through the puddle in front of the U.S. Post Office on in Norwich, Conn., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. Wednesday's winter storm turned to rain in southeastern Connecticut causing flooding on roads where drainage is blocked by snowbanks from five January snowstorms. (AP Photo/The Day, Sean D. Elliot) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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Bob Biskner clears a path on the sidewalk in Bay City, Mich. on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/The Bay City Times, Michael Randolph) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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A stranded motorist climbs out of the back of his vehicle Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Racine, Wis. The area got nearly two feet of snow. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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Jamonie Brown, right, 11, jumps past Dalvion Boyd, 7, while taking turns diving into the snow at a neighbors house on Wyoming Avenue in Flint, Mich., on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/The Flint Journal, Ryan Garza)#

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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A Chicago Transit Authority employee removes snow from an elevated train platform as a train arrives during a blizzard Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Chicago. Officials say over 20 inches fell in the greater Chicago area during a 24 hour period. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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The old Sena Lanes building on North Main Street in Waterbury, Conn. is seen after it collapsed under the weight of snow and ice Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/ The Republican-American, Steven Valenti) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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Carole Stevenson clears snow from her driveway in Tulsa, Okla., on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, James Gibbard) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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Ice covers the access roads between the northbound and southbound lanes of Interstate 35 early Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 after 15 degree temperatures kept the precipitation that fell on Monday from thawing. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Jim Mahoney) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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Gina Alickolli, right, returns to the bus stop shelter to wait for a different bus as another commuter climbs over the snow bank for a Chicago Transit Authority bus on Michigan Ave., during a blizzard Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Chicago. Official say over 20 inches fell in the greater Chicago area during a 24 hour period. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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A countryside barn and hedgerow of trees during the winter storm appear along Greenway Road east of Decatur, Ill., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Decatur Herald & Review, Kelly J. Huff) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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Michigan State University students Andrew Rennaker and Emily Vezina have fun in the heavy snowfall as they sled down the street in East Lansing, Mich. on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Lansing State Journal, Rod Sanford) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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Three people trek down Main Street during a blizzard early Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Galesburg, Ill. (AP Photo/The Register-Mail, Nick Adams) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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Pedestrians make their way through freezing rain and steam during the morning commute in lower Manhattan on February 2, 2011 in New York City. The icy weather is part of a massive winter storm that stretches from New Mexico to Maine and has brought freezing rain and blizzard conditions to more than 30 states. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

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Snow and ice covered Lake Michigan Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Chicago. A winter blizzard of historic proportions wobbled an otherwise snow-tough Chicago, stranding hundreds of drivers for up to 12 hours overnight on the city's showcase lakeshore thoroughfare and giving many city schoolchildren their first ever snow day. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

19

In a Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011 photo, wisps of snow blow across the surface of New Mexico Route 6 on the Laguna Reservation. (AP/ Gallup Independent/ Adron Gardner) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

20

Heavy snow sets in for a traveler making his way down 9th Street in Gallup, N.M. on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. Heavy snow caused white out conditions while about 6-8 inches of snow fell in the area. (AP/ Gallup Independent/ Adron Gardner) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

21

A flag flies at a snow-covered industrial park in Wilmington, Mass., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. The second wave of a two-part monster storm is spreading snow and freezing rain throughout the region. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)#

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

22

The building housing Triton Technologies collapsed, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Easton, Mass., after employees heard sounds of cracking and of metal bending. All escaped safely before the roof fell. Heavy snow and rain preceded the collapse. (AP Photo/The Enterprise of Brockton, Marc Vasconcellos) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

23

Two people walk on a slick sidewalk after a freezing rain storm February 2, 2011 in New York City. Snow and ice have been falling across the U.S. in what is being reported as the largest winter storm in decades. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

24

A person walks with an umbrella after a freezing rain storm slicked the roads February 2, 2011 in New York City. Snow and ice have been falling across the U.S. in what is being reported as the largest winter storm in decades. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

25

A person walks past ice on a sidwalk after a freezing rain storm February 2, 2011 in New York City. Snow and ice have been falling across the U.S. in what is being reported as the largest winter storm in decades. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

26

Police officer Ray Leonard patrols Main Street in Richmond, Mich. early Wednesday morning, February 2, 2011, during the winter snow storm. (AP Photo/The Detroit News,Todd McInturf ) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

27

A local resident clears snow from his driveway after an overnight snowfall, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Urbandale, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

28

A stranded vehicle is seen along Interstate 43 Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Cedarburg, Wi. The area is under a blizzard warning and some freeways were shut down. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

29

A vehicle is stranded on Interstate 43 Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Grafton, Wi. The area is under a blizzard warning and some freeways were shut down. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

30

A newspaper delivery truck is stuck on Interstate 43 Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Grafton, Wi. The area is under a blizzard warning and some freeways were shut down. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

31

A car was left stuck in the snow in the middle of the road, early Wednesday morning Feb. 2, 2011 on Central Ave., in Deerfield, Ill., about 25 miles north of downtown Chicago. A colossal blizzard roaring across a third of the country paralyzed the nation's heartland with ice and snow, shuttering airports and schools and leaving normally bustling downtowns deserted. (AP Photo/Steve Handwerker) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

32

Ice and freezing rain covers sidewalks as early-morning commuters carefully walk to the Metro-North commuter train platform in Ossining, N.Y. Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

33

Snow plows clear a lane on northbound Interstate 75 in Detroit, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

34

A sign warns people of ice during the morning commute along in lower Manhattan on February 2, 2011 in New York City. The icy weather is part of a massive winter storm that stretches from New Mexico to Maine and has brought freezing rain and blizzard conditions to more than 30 states. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

35

Cars are buried as a woman tries to clear her windshield Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Milwaukee. The area was under a blizzard warning and some freeways were shut down. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

36

The downtown area near the University of Iowa is a virtual ghost town after a major winter storm moved through the Midwest February 2, 2011 in Iowa City, Iowa. Almost 20 inches of snow fell in parts of the Midwest as the National Weather Service issued a blizzard warning for southeastern Iowa and much of Illinois. Snow is forecast to continue today and move east toward New England and the East Coast. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)#

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

37

Hundreds of cars are seen stranded on lake Shore drive Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Chicago. A winter blizzard of historic proportions wobbled an otherwise snow-tough Chicago, stranding hundreds of drivers for up to 12 hours overnight on the city's showcase lakeshore thoroughfare and giving many city schoolchildren their first ever snow day. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

38

An ice covered mailbox is seen as a PECO crew works in a neighborhood without power in Coatesville, Pa., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

39

A man photographs high waves from Lake Michigan, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Milwaukee. The area was under a blizzard warning and some freeways were shut down. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

40

Snow sits piled along Broadway Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Columbia. Mo. The town had more than 17 inches of snow fall the day before. The storm that began late Monday dumped 20 inches of snow on Hannibal and near Columbia, 19 inches in Shelbina, 18 in Jefferson City and Joplin. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

41

Ice and freezing rain covers branches as Steve DeName of Ossining, N.Y., shovels snow and slush in Ossining, N.Y. Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

42

Colleen Donahue shovels snow in front of her car in Chicago, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. More than 20 inches of snow have accumulated in some areas of Chicago, and more is on the way. Power outages, school and business closings, motorists stranded on roadways and public transit disruptions are reported throughout the city and suburbs. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

43

Harry Eastman shovels the snow off his garage roof on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Barre, Vt. Schools, business and municipal offices are closed across Northern New England as the storm-weary region braces for what forecasters say could be more than a foot of snow in some places. Early Wednesday snow was falling heavily across much of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont after a smaller storm dropped a few inches across the region on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

44

An SUV lays on its side after a rollover in sleeting conditions in Hartford, Conn., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

45

An excavator piles snow in a parking lot on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Barre, Vt. Schools, business and municipal offices are closed across Northern New England as the storm-weary region braces for what forecasters say could be more than a foot of snow in some places. Early Wednesday snow was falling heavily across much of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont after a smaller storm dropped a few inches across the region on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

46

A fire hydrant is covered in snow Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 after a massive snowstorm moved through Columbia, Mo., the day before, leaving about 17 inches of snow in the area. (AP Photo/The Columbia Daily Tribune, Joshua A. Bickel) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

47

Roberto Cross chips ice off of steps on the campus of Texas Christian University on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

48

A commuter waits under heat lamps on an elevated train track during a blizzard Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Chicago. Forecasts call for snow accumulation between one and two feet. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

49

A dog named Muldoon waits in the snow for its owner, Tess Taylor, who stopped for coffee on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Barre, Vt. Schools, business and municipal offices are closed across Northern New England as the storm-weary region braces for what forecasters say could be more than a foot of snow in some places. Early Wednesday snow was falling heavily across much of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont after a smaller storm dropped a few inches across the region on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

50

A a group of people stop along Interstate 91 to help push a car out of a snow bank during a winter storm in Windsor, Conn., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

51

Frost forms on a window during the winter weather in Buffalo, N.Y., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/David Duprey) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

52

Male and female house finches perch in an ice-encrusted tree in Lancaster, Pa., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. An overnight ice storm downed trees, limbs and wires, interrupting power to about 7,000 households and businesses early this morning. (AP Photo/Dan Marschka, Lancaster Newspapers) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

53

A snow blower clears a sidewalk during a winter storm in Windsor, Conn., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

54

Icicles hang from power lines and a traffic light Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Hightstown N.J. Freezing rain overnight left a coating of ice on New Jersey roads, encased trees and power lines, and glazed snow drifts. (AP Photo/Mel Evans) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

55

Commuters slowly make their way along a slippery subway platform while an MTA employee, right, scrapes ice off during the morning rush in New York, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. About three quarters of an inch of ice is expected by midmorning before the sleet/freezing rain changes to all rain by midday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

56

A pedestrian uses a street because some of the sidewalks were impassable Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Lafayette, Ind. Greater Lafayette received more snow and ice Monday night and Tuesday morning. (AP Photo/Journal & Courier, Michael Heinz) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

57

Pedestrians make their way through freezing rain during the morning commute in lower Manhattan on February 2, 2011 in New York City. The icy weather is part of a massive winter storm that stretches from New Mexico to Maine and has brought freezing rain and blizzard conditions to more than 30 states. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

58

A bicyclist makes her way Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Milwaukee, Wis. A powerful and dangerous blizzard has immobilized much of southern Wisconsin. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

59

The morning sun illuminates frost on a window Wednesday Feb. 2, 2011, in Salina, Kan. After two straight days of ice, snow and overcas skies, the sunshine returned to north-central Kansas. However, bitter cold temperaures and dangerous windchill factors persisted. (AP Photo/Salina Journal, Tom Dorsey) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

60

Snow drifts on and around school busses parked at First Student, Inc. in Lawrence, Kan., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. Schools in USD 497 are closed for a second day because of the winter storm that moved through the area. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

61

Pedestrians make their way through freezing rain during the morning commute in lower Manhattan on February 2, 2011 in New York City. The icy weather is part of a massive winter storm that stretches from New Mexico to Maine and has brought freezing rain and blizzard conditions to more than 30 states. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

62

Ice and freezing rain covers sidewalks as an early morning commuter carefully walks in the road on the way to the Metro-North commuter train station in Ossining, N.Y. Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

63

An early morning pedestrian walks under the elevated tracks on Wabash Ave, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, after a blizzard dumped nearly 20 inches of snow overnight in Chicago. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

64

A woman makes her way along an icy sidewalk, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in New York. A colossal blizzard roaring across a third of the country paralyzed the nation's heartland with ice and snow, leaving motorists stranded for hours and shuttering airports and schools as it barreled toward the Northeast. The monstrous storm billed as the worst in decades delivered knock-out after knock-out as it made its way from Texas to Maine, bringing a huge swath of the country to a halt. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

65

This Feb. 1, 2011 photo shows a car that landed vertically into a snowbank after a multiple vehicle accident on Interstate 93 during a snow storm north of Salem, N.H. No one was injured. (AP Photo/The Eagle-Tribune, Tim Jean) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

66

A fallen tree weighed down with ice sits on Old Herhey Road in Elizabethtown, Pa., Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011. (AP Photo/Intelligencer, Blaine Shahan) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

67

A plow truck remains stuck, left, as a bicyclist makes his way on a snowy street Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Milwaukee. The area was under a blizzard warning and some freeways were shut down. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)#

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

68

In this GOES-East satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA), a winter storm is seen as it moves across the the U.S.February 2, 2011 from space. Snow and ice have been falling across the U.S. in what is being reported as the largest winter storm in decades. (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

69

Snow accumulates on the driver seat of a stranded Chicago Transit bus after the door was left open during a severe winter storm on Lake Shore Drive, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Chicago. A winter blizzard of historic proportions wobbled an otherwise snow-tough Chicago, stranding hundreds of drivers for up to 12 hours overnight on the city's showcase lakeshore thoroughfare and giving many city schoolchildren their first ever snow day. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

70

In this photo provided by Ed Bachrach, a number of abandoned automobiles can bee seen in the northbound lane of Lakeshore Drive, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Chicago. A winter storm that dumped nearly 20 inches of snow on the area starting Tuesday afternoon caused several accidents along the drive leading to many motorists being stranded in their cars. Local authorities are working to clear the cars from the road. (AP Photo/Ed Bachrach) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

71

Snow accumulates on the driver seat of a stranded Chicago Transit bus after the door was left open during a severe winter storm on Lake Shore Drive, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011 in Chicago. A winter blizzard of historic proportions wobbled an otherwise snow-tough Chicago, stranding hundreds of drivers for up to 12 hours overnight on the city's showcase lakeshore thoroughfare and giving many city schoolchildren their first ever snow day. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

72

People enjoy high waves from Lake Michigan, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Milwaukee, Wis. The area was under a blizzard warning and some freeways were shut down. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps) #

Captured: Huge Winter Storm

73

High waves pound along a break wall near a lighthouse in Lake Michigan, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011, in Milwaukee. The area was under a blizzard warning and some freeways were shut down. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)#

The Indonesian island of Sumatra is home to some of the world’s fastest shrinking forests. Pulp and paper companies have set up shop in the Riau Province, gaining approval for logging operations. Increasing global demand for palm oil, an ingredient in biodiesel, has also given way to expansive palm oil plantations in the forests. The World Wildlife Fund recently released a report warning the destruction of Sumatra’s natural forests is a significant factor in global climate change and is pushing rare species closer to extinction. Nearly 30% of the Riau’s forests have been cleared for palm oil plantations, 24% for industrial pulpwood plantations, and 17% has been deforested but not replaced by any new vegetation. 78% of the Riau province was covered by forest in the 1980s but today it covers just 27%. In 2005 alone, it lost 11% of forest cover.

 

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