Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)


“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)


The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”



"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

EU sets 2030 target for recyclable plastic packaging

Yahoo – AFP, January 16, 2018

The European Commission wants to transform the way plastic products are
designed, produced and recycled (AFP Photo/John MACDOUGALL)

Strasbourg (France) (AFP) - The European Union unveiled plans Tuesday for all plastic packaging in Europe to be recyclable by 2030 and phase out single-use plastic like coffee cups to fight pollution.

The strategy announced by the European Commission, the EU-executive, follows China's decision to ban imports of foreign waste products for recycling, including huge quantities from Europe.

"The commission aims to increase plastic recycling and for all plastic packaging to be reusable or recyclable by 2030," the executive body said.

The Commission said its proposals also aim to create business opportunities by transforming the way plastic products are designed, produced and recycled in Europe.

The EU currently exports half of its collected and sorted plastics, 85 percent of which goes to China.

Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans said: "We must stop plastics getting into our water, our food, and even our bodies. The only long-term solution is to reduce plastic waste by recycling and reusing more."

"The Chinese decision is undoubtedly a big challenge but let's turn that challenge into an opportunity," he added.

Map of the European Union showing the average plastic waste per inhabitant 
in 2015 (AFP Photo/Thorsten EBERDING)

The Commission's strategy aims to rid the seas and oceans from the "700 kilogrammes" of plastics it says get washed up each day, and it "will take measures to limit the use of microplastics" found in cosmetics and detergents.

Proposed new rules on ports and the shipping industry are aimed at making sure waste generated at sea by ships is not released into the water.

An additional 100 million euros was also promised to fund research into promoting technical innovations for tackling the problem.

The Commission has already taken a number of steps to try to reduce plastic, particularly single-use shopping bags.

'500 years to degrade'

The proposals did not contain plans for a tax on plastic packaging, which budget commissioner Guenther Oettinger proposed last week to fight pollution and to help plug a hole of around 13 billion euros in the bloc's budget caused by Brexit.

"We have not found a way to introduce a European-wide plastic tax yet," Vice President Jyrki Katainen, who is responsible for jobs and investment, told reporters.

"It is too early to promise anything."

Britain's Prince Charles and others held an EU-backed conference last year for drastic action to stop eight million tonnes of plastic waste polluting the world's oceans annually.

The Commission said Europeans generate 25 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, but less than 30 percent is collected for recycling.

In 2015, the plastics industry was worth 340 billion euros in the EU, and 
employed more than 1.5 million people (AFP Photo/Justin TALLIS)

Timmermans called for promoting awareness, urging parents to tell their children that a plastic straw takes only a second to produce but 500 years to degrade, and said the commission ultimately wants to ban microplastics.

No fixed recycling standards

Katainen said the strategy is "a great opportunity for European industry to develop global leadership in new technology and materials."

He added Europe does not yet have a functioning single recycling market for plastic as there are no set standards.

According to Plastics Europe, the Brussels-based association of European plastics manufacturers, the industry is worth 340 billion euros (2015 figures) in the EU, and employs more than 1.5 million people.

Its executive director Karl-H. Foerster said: "We... are committed to ensuring high rates of reuse and recycling with the ambition to reach 60 percent for plastic packaging by 2030. This will help achieve our goal of 100 percent reuse, recycling and recovery of all plastics packaging at European level by 2040."

He added: "Only a legally binding landfill restriction on all recyclable and other recoverable post-consumer waste will put an end to the landfilling of all waste which can be used as a resource."

Related Article:


The Indonesian holiday island has become an embarrassing poster child for the
country's trash problem (AFP Photo/SONNY TUMBELAKA)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Fossil fuels blown away by wind in cost terms: study

Yahoo – AFP, 13 January 2018

Fossil fuels blown away by wind in cost terms: study

Paris (AFP) - New onshore wind and solar energy projects are set to deliver electricity more cheaply than fossil fuels plants, with other green technologies also rapidly gaining a cost advantage over dirty fuels, a report published Saturday said.

According to a new cost analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), within two years "all the renewable power generation technologies that are now in commercial use are expected to fall within the fossil fuel-fired cost range, with most at the lower end or undercutting fossil fuels".

It expects renewables will cost between three and 10 US cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) by 2020, while the current cost spectrum for fossil fuel power generation ranges from five to 17 US cents per kWh.

"This new dynamic signals a significant shift in the energy paradigm," said IRENA's Director-General, Adnan Amin, in a statement.

"Turning to renewables for new power generation is not simply an environmentally conscious decision, it is now -- overwhelmingly -- a smart economic one," he added.

Continued technological advancements are not the only factor helping drive down prices. The report found that the market was becoming more competitive and a number of experienced project developers had emerged in the sector.

The best onshore wind and solar PV projects are expected to deliver electricity for three US cents or less by next year.

But onshore wind and solar are not the only sectors becoming more competitive rapidly. The study found that new bioenergy and geothermal projects commissioned in 2017 had global weighted average costs of around seven US cents per kWh.

IRENA said auction results suggest that two other technologies --concentrating solar power (CSP) and offshore wind -- will provide electricity for between 6-10 US cents per kWh by 2020.

"These cost declines across technologies are unprecedented and representative of the degree to which renewable energy is disrupting the global energy system," said Amin.

The report was released on the first day of the eighth assembly of IRENA, which aims to be a global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange by its 154 member countries.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Ukraine to launch its first solar plant at Chernobyl

Yahoo – AFP, Oleksandr SAVOCHENKO, January 10, 2018

Solar power is a way to make use of the area around Chernobyl that is still
heavily polluted after the 1986 catastrophe (AFP Photo/Genya SAVILOV)

Chernobyl (Ukraine) (AFP) - At ground zero of Ukraine's Chernobyl tragedy, workers in orange vests are busy erecting hundreds of dark-coloured panels as the country gets ready to launch its first solar plant to revive the abandoned territory.

The new one-megawatt power plant is located just a hundred metres from the new "sarcophagus", a giant metal dome sealing the remains of the 1986 Chernobyl accident, the worst nuclear disaster in the world.

"This solar power plant can cover the needs of a medium-sized village", or about 2,000 flats, Yevgen Varyagin, the head of the Ukrainian-German company Solar Chernobyl which carried out the project, told AFP.

The solar installation is to go on stream within weeks, the company says.

The group has spent one million euros on the structure which has about 3,800 photovoltaic panels installed across an area of 1.6 hectares, about the size of two football fields, and hopes the investment will pay for itself off within seven years.

Return of industry

Eventually, the region is to produce 100 times the initial solar power, the company says.

The amount of sunshine "here is the same as in the south of Germany," says Varyagin.

Ukraine, which has stopped buying natural gas from Russia in the last two years, is seeking to exploit the potential of the Chernobyl uninhabited exclusion zone that surrounds the damaged nuclear power plant and cannot be farmed.

Reactor Number Four of the Chernobyl plant exploded April 26, 1986 and the fallout contaminated up to three quarters of Europe, according to some estimates, especially hitting Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

Following the disaster, Soviet authorities evacuated hundreds of thousands of people and this vast territory, over 2,000 square kilometres wide, has remained abandoned.

The plant continued to operate the remaining reactors, the last of which was shut down in 2000, ending industrial activity in the area.

People cannot return to live in the zone for "more than 24,000 years", according to the Ukrainian authorities, who nevertheless argue that a prudent industrial use can be possible again.

"This territory obviously cannot be used for agriculture, but it is quite suitable for innovative and scientific projects," Ostap Semerak, Ukrainian Minister of the Environment and one of the promoters of placing solar projects in Chernobyl, told AFP in 2016.

The installation of a huge dome above the ruins of the damaged reactor just over a year ago made the realisation of the solar project possible.

Solar power production at Chernobyl will start off with one megawatt but is to 
rise 100-fold eventually (AFP Photo/Genya SAVILOV)

Special price

Funded by the international community, it covered the old concrete structure which had become cracked and unstable, to ensure greater isolation of the highly radioactive magma in the reactor.

As a result, radiation near the plant plummeted to just one-tenth of previous levels, according to official figures.

Even so, precautions are still necessary: the solar panels are fixed onto a base of concrete blocks rather than placed on the ground.

The soil remains contaminated, explains Varyagin, whose group is a joint venture between the Ukrainian firm Rodina Energy Group and Germany's Enerparc AG.

"We can not drill or dig here because of the strict safety rules," he says.

Last year the consortium completed a 4.2-megawatt solar power plant in the irradiated zone in neighbouring Belarus, not far from Chernobyl.

Ukrainian authorities offered investors nearly 2,500 hectares (25 square kilometres) for potential construction of solar power plants in Chernobyl.

Kiev has received about 60 proposals from foreign companies - including American, Chinese, Danish and French - who are considering participating in future solar developments in the area, according to Olena Kovalchuk, spokeswoman of the State Administration for the zone of Chernobyl.

Investors are attracted by the price that Ukraine has set for solar electricity, which "exceeds on average by 50 percent of that in Europe", Oleksandr Kharchenko, executive director of the Energy Industry Research Center, told AFP.

He adds that cheap land and the proximity of the power grids makes Chernobyl particularly attractive, though there is still no rush of western investors to the region.

Safety concerns and Ukraine's notorious bureaucracy and corruption has put some off.

"It is very important to have guarantees that working in the Chernobyl zone will be safe for those who will be doing it," says Anton Usov, adviser to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

The bank does not currently foresee any investment to Ukraine in this field.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Bacteria makes blue jeans green

Yahoo – AFP, 8 January 2018

Indigo leaves used to dye materials by Nung ethnic women at Phuc Sen
village, in the northern province of Cao Bang

They can be tight, flared, ripped at the knee.

Jeans come in all styles and colours these days, but one hue will always be synonymous with the world's favourite garment: indigo blue.

To satisfy the world's seemingly insatiable demand for blue denim, more than 45,000 tonnes of indigo dye are produced every year, with much of the waste making its way into rivers and streams, conservationists say.

On Monday, scientists announced they had developed a greener method to produce the coveted tint -- using lab-grown bacteria.

While not yet commercially viable, the technique holds promise for a "much-needed update to the historic, but unsustainable, indigo dyeing process," researchers wrote in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.

"Demand for the dye is higher than ever before, making its ecological consequences unsustainable," they warned.

Originally extracted from plants, indigo is one of the oldest dyes, with evidence of its use in textile colouring going back some 6,000 years.

It is prized for being vibrant and long-lasting, and was an important cash crop until humans started making synthetic indigo in the early 1900s.

Indigo crystals cling easily to the cotton fibres used in jeans and are resistant to laundry detergents, yet flake off slightly with wear-and-tear to yield the sought-after worn-in look.

Some four billion denim garments are produced every year, the vast majority indigo-tinted, said the study authors, and warned of "a serious sustainability problem".

The first danger: producing indigo dye requires the use of toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide.

Furthermore, synthesised indigo is insoluble in water, meaning chemicals are needed to make it suitable for dyeing.

'Not currently feasible'

One such chemical is sodium dithionite, which decomposes into sulfate and sulfite which can corrode equipment and pipes in dye mills and wastewater treatment plants.

"Many dye mills avoid the additional cost of wastewater treatment by dumping the spent dye materials into rivers, where they have negative ecological impacts," said the research team.

The new method mimics the workings of the Japanese plant Persicaria tinctoria.

Instead of a plant, "we engineered a common lab strain of Escherichia coli, a bacteria found in our gut, to be a chemical factory for the production of indigo dye," study co-author John Dueber of the University of California's bioengineering department told AFP.

Like the plant, the bacteria produces a compound called indoxyl, which is insoluble and cannot be used as a dye. By adding a sugar molecule, the indoxyl is turned into indican -- a precursor of indigo.

Indican can be stored and transformed into indigo direcly on the cloth when dyeing, by adding an enzyme to the mix.

The lab is working to make the process commercially feasible, Dueber said.

For now, producing five grammes of indigo to colour one pair of jeans would require "several litres of bacteria," he said, and would be more expensive.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Dutch solar and wind energy production rises, hits 10% of total in 2017

DutchNews, December 29, 2017

Wind turbines close to the beach at Velsen Noord. Photo: DutchNews.nl 

There was a 40% increase in the amount of solar power generated in the Netherlands last year while wind power production was up by one third, according to new figures from monitoring website energieopwek.nl

In total, renewables now account for 10% of energy production in the Netherlands, the website is quoted as saying by news agency ANP. Energieopwek.nl is a joint initiative between energy companies and grid operators. 

From next year, the website will also publish the amount of energy produced by geothermal systems. 

By 2020, 14% of energy produced in the Netherlands should come from renewable sources, in order to meet targets set down by industry and the government.

Related Articles:

20TH KRYON SUMMER LIGHT CONFERENCE, US (7), June 2-4, 2017 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) (Text version "The State of the Earth")

"....  A mini ice age is coming"Kryon, isn't that doom for the planet?"  Many have seen the artist's rendering of major earth cities under ice and all of the other things that go very well with science fiction movies. That's simply a painting of someone's doom scenario, not reality based in the history of the cycle. If you want to know what a mini ice age is like, just flash back in history and study what took place in about 1650. That was a mini ice age. Due to the change in the Gulf Stream (the ocean), the river Thames froze in London. Dear ones, it was cold, but it did not doom the planet. That's a mini ice age.

That's what you're facing, and I'll say it again. If you live in a cold climate, heed this advice: It's going to get colder. Get off the grid! Within the next 15 years, find a way of producing electricity independently or in smaller groups. This can be done neighborhood-wide or separately in homes. You're going to need this, dear ones, because the grid as it exists right now all over the world is not prepared for this coming cold, and the grid will fail. That's not doom and gloom, that's just practical, commonly known information. Your electricity infrastructure is delicate, too delicate. Prepare for a cold spell that may last for a couple of decades. That's all it is. Technology is racing forward to allow this. Don't let your politics get in the way of your survival. ..."


"...  This is controversial. The planet can't just "change the water". It does it instead with a "reboot of life in the ocean" using the water cycle. Watch for evidence of this as it occurs, and then remember this channel. This weather cycle is to refresh the life in the ocean so that everyone on the planet will have needed food from the ocean. Gaia does this by itself, has done it before, and it does it for a reason - so it will not stagnate.

Dear ones, indeed, you have put compromising things into the air and the water, but it has not caused this cycle. We have said for a very long time, stop killing the environment! The reason? It's going to kill you, not Gaia. Gaia is spectacularly resilient and will survive anything you do. However, it is you who may not survive if you continue polluting. All this is starting to change with your awareness, and you're starting to see this and move with it. But Humans are not causing the current weather shift. This will be known eventually.

What is happening has happened before, and it's almost like a reboot for the oceans and it carries a lot of dichotomous events. You're going to see reports of a dying ocean, but at the same time you're going to see unusual reports of too many fish and other sea life in places that were supposed to have a decline. You're going to see the life cycle of the ocean itself start to change and reboot.

The chief player in this renewal is a place you would not expect: Antarctica. I want you to watch for magic in Antarctica. It has always been the core of the refreshing of microbes and other kinds of life in your oceans and it's especially active during these mini ice ages. The process will cause currents under the sea to be filled with new life, delivering it to both hemispheres almost like an under-sea conveyor belt. ..."


"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) SoulsMidpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally)Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet; again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much…

Water

We've told you that one of the greatest natural resources of the planet, which is going to shift and change and be mysterious to you, is fresh water. It's going to be the next gold, dear ones. So, we have also given you some hints and examples and again we plead: Even before the potentials of running out of it, learn how to desalinate water in real time without heat. It's there, it's doable, and some already have it in the lab. This will create inexpensive fresh water for the planet. 

There is a change of attitude that is starting to occur. Slowly you're starting to see it and the only thing getting in the way of it are those companies with the big money who currently have the old system. That's starting to change as well. For the big money always wants to invest in what it knows is coming next, but it wants to create what is coming next within the framework of what it has "on the shelf." What is on the shelf is oil, coal, dams, and non-renewable resource usage. It hasn't changed much in the last 100 years, has it? Now you will see a change of free choice. You're going to see decisions made in the boardrooms that would have curled the toes of those two generations ago. Now "the worst thing they could do" might become "the best thing they could do." That, dear ones, is a change of free choice concept. When the thinkers of tomorrow see options that were never options before, that is a shift. That was number four.”



New Mini Ice Age

"The weather you have today, and all the alarming attributes of it, is a scenario of what was scheduled to happen on Earth anyway. I review again that the weather changes you are seeing prophesied by myself, 21 years ago, are not a surprise. The changes are not caused by the pollutants you put in the air. You call it global warming and that's a nice phrase, and perhaps that will get you to put less pollutants in the air – a very good thing. But what you are seeing in the weather shift today was not caused by Humans putting things into the air. It would have happened anyway in about 300 years."

"We've called this process the water cycle, since it's all about water, not about air. The water is the predominant attribute of Gaia and of the weather cycle you're seeing. More predominant is the temperature of it. The cycle is ice to water and water to ice, and has been repeated on this planet over and over and over. It is not new. It is not exceptional. It is not frightening. But it's a cycle that modern humanity has not seen before, and it's a long cycle that is beyond the life span of a Human Being. Therefore, it tends to be overlooked or not seen at all !"

"In the days of the Lemurians, the water level of the Pacific Ocean was almost 400 feet lower, and that's only 50,000 years ago. [Kryon invites science to check this out – the water level at that time.] That was a water cycle working, and the reason it was lower was due to so much of the water being stored as ice. Today you're going through another water cycle that will eventually lead to cooling. The last one was in the 1400s."

"Science sees that at about 1650. As mentioned, they are so slow there is no remembrance that a Human has of them except in past writings and in the rings of the trees. The time span of the changes is so great that environmental record keeping does not exist in the form that it does today. But you can still look at the rings of the trees and at the striations of the rocks and can generally figure out that a few hundred years ago, you had a mini-ice age. Now you're going to have another one." 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Arctic cold grips Canada, northern United States

Yahoo – AFP, December 27, 2017

According to data from the National Weather Service, the 34 inches of snow that
 fell on December 25, 2017 in Erie, Pennsylvania, was the highest the city had ever
recorded, eclipsing the previous high of 20 inches in November 1956 (AFP
Photo/Mark Makela)

Ottawa (AFP) - A homeless man froze to death at a bus stop in Ohio and people in Pennsylvania resorted to a bulldozer to clear snow Wednesday, as an Arctic snap gripped most of Canada and the northern United States.

In Canada, extreme cold warnings were issued for scores of communities across the country, including the heavily-populated provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

In the United States, a homeless man froze to death at a bus stop in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, local media said, quoting police and a homeless charity.

While Toronto reported temperatures of minus 15 C (5 F) and Ottawa minus 25 C, the coldest spot in Canada was minus 42.8 C in Armstrong, Ontario, according to Environment Canada.

Extreme cold warnings are issued "when very cold temperatures or wind chill creates an elevated risk to health such as frost bite and hypothermia," the government agency said.

The temperatures were 10 to 20 degrees below what is normal for the season, said meteorologist Alexandre Parent with Environment Canada.

The deep cold is forecast to remain until early January, he said.

"In my memory I have never seen cold weather that settles for such a long time in such a broad expanse," Parent said.

High winds of up to 120 kilometers (76 miles) per hour linked to the low temperatures have left almost 160,000 homes in the eastern province of Nova Scotia -- almost one-third of the power company's customers -- without electricity, officials said.

In the United States, brutal sub-zero temperatures were recorded in places like Duluth, Minnesota (minus 37.7 C) on Tuesday, and Minot, North Dakota (minus 29 C).

Record snowfall in Erie

A storm dumped a record-breaking five feet (nearly 1.5 meters) of snow in a 48-hour period on the Pennsylvania city of Erie, forcing officials to declare an emergency.

"The snow's been crazy, oh my gosh, tons of snow. Running out of places to put it," said Tom Nowosielski, whose department store was doing a brisk trade in shovels, road salt, and car tire chains.

He said he planned to use a bulldozer to help a family member clear his driveway. "That's a first for us," he said.

Residents shared stunning photos of the whiteout on social media, with meteorologists attributing the 58 inches (147 centimeters) of snow that fell over Christmas Day, Monday, to Tuesday evening to icy winds blowing over the adjoining Lake Erie, one of North America's Great Lakes.

More snow was expected at a rate of up to an inch or two per hour as residents were warned to stay off the roads.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced that the National Guard was "providing high clearance all-terrain military vehicles to aid local agencies with medical emergency and law enforcement response."

According to data from the National Weather Service, the 34 inches of snow that fell on December 25 was the highest the city had ever recorded, eclipsing the previous high of 20 inches on November 22, 1956.

Erie has received 97 inches of snow in December, making it the snowiest month in the city's history -- which usually averages about 100 inches of snow in an entire season.

In Minot, whose Air Force base houses a battery of Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, the air was so cold that residents said it hurt simply to breathe in.

"The air hurts your face. And it hurts to breathe. Your skin instantly steams when you go outside," said Morgan Alonia, 27, manager of the Broadway Bean and Bagel cafe.

"If you put your hand out the door, your hand will steam," he said. "We took a pot of boiling water outside yesterday, and threw it in the air and made snow."

Unusually low temperatures were also recorded in the US northern Atlantic states.

In New York, weather authorities told residents to expect temperatures of between minus 12.7 C and minus 6.6 C through Saturday, which they described as "well below the normal," and Governor Andrew Cuomo warned residents to prepare for "dangerously cold weather ahead."