23rd February - Today's News: Madiera Flood/Mudslide Deaths Rise

Well there was another few cm of snow last Thursday, still on the ground when I left for Stirling on Friday morning and a few traces on the ground even now - though I understand there was fresh snow at times over the weekend too. And there's more (possibly) heading up from the SW as I write ..... Meanwhile, Braemar in the Scottish Highlands has seen the temperature plummet below -18c again this week. It's certainly proving a long and interesting winter. Maybe the first 'real' winter in decades!

Quite a few news stories to catch up on from over the past few days, but - sadly - the leading story has to be the floods and mudslides in Madeira where official reports give the death toll at 42 plus another 32 missing - possibly swept out to sea:-

Madeira floods and mudslides kill 32

Aid and resuce experts on way as death toll rises

70 feared dead

Rescue crews find body in car buried by landslide

Rescue teams work round the clock in Madiera

Whilst the rainfall was exceptional, poor urban planning and deforestation may well have had a role to play in the the tragedy.

And a round up of the wintry news headlines from the past few days in Britain:

Heavy snow closes Birmingham airport

Climber hailed hero for saving friend after mountain plunge

Walkers rescued after being swept away by avalanche in Lake District

Man killed in tobogganing accident as Britain blanketed by more snow

Snow shuts Luton airport's runway

A record breaking forecast for winter if snow and ice returns

Shetland schools shut following snow fall

Other news:

Missing 'ice arches' contributed to 2007 ice loss

Winter storm hits Kansas, several die on slick roads

Don't mention this in front of the mayor, but Russian capital Moscow covered by record 63cm snowfall

Do other countries deal with snow and low temperatures better than Britain? Possibly, but not as well some may think. Severe weather brings Sweden to a halt - provoking much anger amongst the populace.

Large new cyclone forms in south Pacific

Whilst I strongly object to the nonsensical idea of burning down forests in order to grow crops to make biodiesel, other means of producing energy from organic products - such a refuse - make good sense. So nice to see that the biogas climate benefit greater than previously thought

Ice shelves disappearing on Antarctic peninsula

Warmer planet temperatures could cause longer-lasting weather patterns

Geologists simulate ancient Lake Missoula floods

Climate scientists withdraw journal claims of rising sea levels - but as noted before in this blog, there are new studies producing new - and different - claims coming out all the time. The only consistency being that sea levels probably will rise by an amount, but not the same amount as that suggested by the previous study.

In Perth, WA, they're expecting a heatwave to end summer - and a record beckons

And finally, although I can't find any English language news story, it's worth noting that in Crete at the weekend a temperature of 32.1c was recorded - which may be the highest ever in Europe in February.

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