Weather News In Brief - Jan 05 2010

The UK Met Office warned the government that the pre-Christmas weather would be "exceptionally cold" but did not immediately tell the public, it has been revealed in The Guardian. It advised Cabinet Office planners in early October that Britain was likely to be in for freezing conditions. Public information came only when the 30-day forecast, the current maximum, kicked in. The Met Office may now revise its long-term forecast system.
  • There is significant potential for a period of severe cold weather to affect Ireland and the UK from mid January should high pressure blocking systems form to our NE and NW. Latest Arctic Oscillation (AO) data below. 
  • December was officially the coldest on record as Arctic conditions left a blanket of frost and heavy snowfall across the country, reports The picturesque white Christmas saw temperatures plummet to the lowest on record, with -17.5 degrees in Straide, Co Mayo. Met Eireann’s monthly weather summary showed that by December 25 there was 27cm of snow lying at Casement Aerodrome.
  • Kevin Myers: Sudden thaw was the great and final miracle of 2010.  A truly amazing event occurred on the night of December 27. Ireland went to bed covered in at least a foot of snow and ice, and awoke the next morning with the snow all gone. Temperatures that had been -15C soared to +10C that afternoon: a 25-degree temperature change in 24 hours: roughly a degree for every hour, the equivalent of leaping two full seasons in a single day. MORE
  • SPACE: Must see image of the solar transit of the International Space Station (ISS), taken from the area of Muscat in the Sultanate of Oman on January 4th 2011 at 9:09 UT, during the partial solar eclipse.
  • USA: Around 500 dead birds have fallen from the sky in Louisiana, found scattered along a quarter-mile portion of highway in Point Coupee Parish, the AP reports. The discovery is approximately 300 miles south of Beebe, Arkansas, where just days earlier thousands of the same species of birds also fell from the sky.  Initial tests conducted by biologists on the red-winged blackbirds and starlings found in Arkansas revealed that the birds suffered internal injuries that formed deadly blood clots.

  • AUSTRALIA: Australia recorded its third wettest year on record in 2010, with 11 months of above-average rainfall soaking the east of the country because of the La Nina weather system, reports ABC. The Bureau of Meteorology's annual climate statement says Australia experienced its wettest year since 2000 and the third wettest year since records began.
  • Australia/Antartica: Flights between Australia and Antarctica have been grounded so far this summer due to warm weather on the icy continen, according to ABC. The air service between Hobart and the Wilkins Aerodrome near Casey Station usually starts mid-December but has not begun because of safety concerns at the runway. Ice temperatures have been above minus five degrees, making it unsafe for planes to land. 
  • SWEDEN: A Swedish couple was out long-distance ice skating on the frozen waters off the southwestern coast of Sweden when an icebreaker came barreling through, shattering their skating surface into thousands of small floes -- and stranding the couple on a thin layer of ice. It was 3 p.m. in the afternoon, meaning the sun would soon set, and their beautiful idyll on the ocean was on the verge of turning into a serious problem, reported Swedish paper Aftonbladet. Fortunately, one of the pair had a cell phone on hand, and called the Coast Guard. MORE
Swedish Maritime Administration - Lifeguard 901. A couple was stranded on an ice floe off the coast of Sweden when an icebreaker fragmented the sheet they were skating on into a quilt of tiny floes.
  • BUSINESS: The Irish manufacturing sector continued to strengthen in the final month of 2010, despite the inclement weather, according to the latest NCB Purchasing Manufacturing Index (PMI), reports The Irish Times. The index – a key economic indicator which measures the health of the manufacturing sector – rose for the third consecutive month to 52.2 in December, up from 51.2 the previous month.
  • Shares in U.K. entertainment retailer HMV fell 19% Wednesday after the firm announced plans to close about 60 U.K. stores following a poor sales performance over the crucial Christmas trading period and said compliance with its April covenant test will be tight. The music, DVD, games and books retailer said severe weather conditions across the U.K. hindered trading in the run-up to Christmas, although it also admitted that the underlying market for entertainment has remained weak.