TIME Afghanistan

Official Says Afghan Avalanches Kill At Least 124 People

Afghan villagers look on in a village close to an avalanche site in Panjshir province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 25, 2015.
Massoud Hossaini—AP Afghan villagers look on in a village close to an avalanche site in Panjshir province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, on Feb. 25, 2015

At least 124 people dead in northeastern Afghanistan

(PANJSHIR VALLEY, Afghanistan) — Avalanches caused by a heavy winter snow killed at least 124 people in northeastern Afghanistan, an emergency official said Wednesday, as rescuers clawed through debris with their hands to save those buried beneath.

The avalanches buried homes across four northeast provinces, killing those beneath, said Mohammad Aslam Syas, the deputy director of the Afghanistan Natural Disaster Management Authority. The province worst hit appeared to be Panjshir province, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of the capital, Kabul, where the avalanches destroyed or damaged around 100 homes, Syas said.

The acting governor of Panjshir, Abdul Rahman Kabiri, said rescuers used their bare hands and shovels in an effort to reach survivors. Rescue teams had been dispatched to the affected areas and casualties were expected to rise, Syas said.

The heavy snowstorms, which began early Tuesday, hampered rescue efforts. Snow fall from the storm was nearly 1-meter (3-feet) deep in places and fallen trees blocked roads in the Panjshir Valley.

Gen. Abdul Aziz Ghirat, the provincial police chief of Panjshir, said the death toll from the avalanches was expected to rise when rescue attempts resumed at sunrise Thursday.

Avalanches in the valley’s Dara district affected up to 600 families, according to people trying to reach the area to assist in rescue efforts.

“People there have told me that two of my relatives have been killed and eight others are still under the snow,” said an Afghan who goes by the single name Sharafudin. “My son and I are trying to get through to see if we can help find their bodies. But it will take us at least three or four hours to get there because of the snow and the road is very narrow, so we have to walk, the car can’t get through.”

He spoke at the mouth of the valley, where traffic moved at a crawl.

“We’ve had no help yet from the authorities, no medicines, no machinery to open the roads so we can get to the buried houses,” Sharafudin said.

Another man stuck on the highway trying to reach Dara told The Associated Press that many bodies remained in houses buried beneath feet of snow.

“We are so concerned about our relatives who are just stuck there,” said the man named Abu Muslim.

Large parts of Afghanistan have been covered in snow as a major storm interrupted an otherwise mild and dry winter.

Authorities in Parwan province closed the strategic Salang Tunnel, which links the north and south of the country, over avalanche fears. Power cables traversing the tunnel have been damaged, cutting power to much of Kabul since earlier this week.

In a statement, President Ashraf Ghani said he was “saddened by news of the avalanches and flooding across the country.” He said he had ordered urgent assessments of the extent of damage and offered his condolences to the families of the dead.

Temperatures have plummeted across the country, though the snow was expected to start melting in the Panjshir Valley and much of the mountainous northwest of the Hindu Kush range in coming days, according to forecasts.

Afghanistan has suffered through some three decades of war since the Soviet invasion in 1979. But natural disasters such as landslides, floods and avalanches have taken a toll on a country with little infrastructure or development outside of its major cities.

In May, a massive landslide killed anywhere from 250 to 2,700 people, authorities said at the time. Another landslide in 2012 killed 71 people. Authorities were not able to recover the vast majority of bodies and ended up declaring the site a massive grave.

TIME weather

Snow and Storms to Batter the South

Winter storm hits metro Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Branden Camp—EPA A vehicle drives in the snow on Interstate 575 in Acworth, Ga. on Feb. 25, 2015.

And parts of the Midwest

A winter storm will bring rain and snow to much of the South on Wednesday night, stretching from North Texas to the Carolinas.

Atlanta, Nashville and Charlotte can all expect freezing rain and sleet. The Gulf Coast, meanwhile, will suffer through heavy rain and thunderstorms, according to Weather.com.

The midwest will also get rain and snow, from Springfield, Ill., to Pittsburgh. That storm will eventually merge with the one moving up from the South.


TIME weather

Snowstorm to Snarl South From Texas to Virginia

A man rides his bicycle across the railroad tracks in Exmore, Va. as snow falls, Feb. 24, 2015.
Jay Diem—AP A man rides his bicycle across the railroad tracks in Exmore, Va. as snow falls, Feb. 24, 2015.

Some areas bracing for eight inches of snow

At least 20 million Americans were in the path of a deadly winter storm Wednesday that was expected to dump snow from northern Texas to southern Virginia and threatened to snarl commutes in cities including Dallas and Atlanta.

School closures were ordered and states of emergency were declared in Georgia and Alabama — the latest impact of an Arctic chill that has set records across much of the nation.

Between three and five inches of snow was likely across the southern Plains and the South, forecasters said. Some areas — including northern North Carolina and northern Georgia — were bracing for up to eight inches…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME viral

Listen to Ed Sheeran Adorably Read the Weather Report

"You will need some lip balm because your lips will dry"

In the UK, the weather is cloudy with a chance of ginger.

Singer Ed Sheeran co-hosted Nick Grimshaw’s Radio 1 show Tuesday morning when his BFF (but not gf) Taylor Swift came on as a guest. And his crowning moment came when the singer got to read the weather report, fulfilling an Ed Sheeran weatherman fantasy we never knew we had.

“The weather outside is brisk — if you walk out you will get very, very pink cheeks, um, very quickly,” Ed Sheeran said, hopefully while blushing.

He continued, “You will need some lip balm because your lips will dry, and that will happen. Also there is a chance that you will step in a puddle today so please do not wear slippers outside.”

Ed, where were you during the polar vortex? You would have made things so much more pleasant!



TIME weather

Arctic Air Returns to Parts of New England, New York

Two girls play with a snowman at the Dumbo area in Brooklyn, New York, Feb.22, 2015.
Eduardo Munoz—Reuters Two girls play with a snowman at the Dumbo area in Brooklyn, New York, Feb.22, 2015.

Anything from rain to sleet to snow is possible in many areas

Arctic air returns to northern New England and parts of New York State on Monday after a brief flirtation with sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures.

National Weather Service forecaster Jim Hayes says temperatures will be 25 to 30 degrees below normal across much of the country on Monday. And anything from rain to sleet to snow is possible in many areas.

Here’s what’s happening:


Wind chills will send temperatures diving below zero throughout northern New England and northern New York anytime from Monday afternoon into the night. Winds could cause Bennington, Vermont, to drop to minus 17 degrees, while Lake Placid, New York, could be a teeth-chattering minus 30 degrees.


Temperatures falling overnight into Monday morning will refreeze ice and could make travel dangerous for motorists, particularly those who encounter black ice, which can appear to be just a wet surface. Three police officers — two off-duty New York Police Department officers and one from Long Island’s Suffolk County — suffered injuries in weather-related accidents Sunday morning. Icy roads contributed to the crashes, according to Newsday.


A man was killed Sunday when he fell through a skylight on the roof of a building in Canton, Massachusetts, southwest of Boston. Police said he was one of two people on the roof assessing snow removal needs, when he fell through a skylight covered by the snow and plummeted 40 feet to the ground. On Wednesday, a worker at a Canton company was fatally injured when he fell while removing snow from a roof. A local woman also suffered non-life threatening injuries when she fell from her roof on Saturday. Authorities say the incidents highlight the hidden dangers that come with this winter’s weather.


Boston’s transit agency is slowly returning to normal after a series of crippling snowstorm and frigid temperatures. Most subway/trolley branches had service restored Sunday just in time for the Monday morning commute. Buses are running on a regular weekday scheduled, but delays are expected. Commuter rail passengers are being told to expect delays and cancellations.


The Great Lakes are going the way of the Niagara Falls and Sioux Falls: they’re freezing over. Lake Erie is nearly totally frozen, and lakes Huron and Superior are nearly 80 percent frozen, the New York Daily News reports.


As more than 2 feet of snow fell, it was cross-country skis, sleds and snowshoes in Colorado on Sunday. The storm caused church services and flights to be canceled. This year, Denver International Airport had about 30 inches of snow before the storm began, and officials expect another 14 inches by Monday morning. Another round of snow is expected mid-week, lasting through next weekend.


Winter storm warnings continue for a large portion of northern Louisiana and parts of Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi are under winter storm or freezing rain advisories. Meanwhile, storms and freezing temperatures last week in Tennessee are being blamed for 22 deaths.

TIME weather

Expect More Bad Weather in the Southern U.S. and Rockies on Monday

An Oklahoma Department of Transportation sand truck rest on it's top in the median of US 412 west of Enid, Okla. Sunday, after it was involved in an accident with another vehicle on Feb. 22, 2015
Billy Hefton—AP An Oklahoma Department of Transportation sand truck rest on it's top in the median of US 412 west of Enid, Okla. Sunday, after it was involved in an accident with another vehicle on Feb. 22, 2015

Motorists should prepare for hazardous travel conditions

The Rocky Mountains and Southern Plains are in for snowy and icy conditions Monday as a winter storm continues to move across the region.

Multiple accidents have already been attributed to the storm, with injuries being reported in Utah and Kansas, according to the Weather Channel. Motorists should continue to take utmost caution.

Those planning on catching a flight may want to double-check the status of their bookings. Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport canceled about half of the flights scheduled for Monday after already grounding around 160 flights on Sunday. Denver International canceled more than 330 flights over weekend, according to Denver’s Channel 7 News.

Meanwhile, schools in Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana, New Mexico and Alabama have announced cancellations or delays of classes due to weather concerns.

Read next: 7 Reasons to Love This Freezing Weather

TIME weather

See a Bird’s Eye View of the Frozen Tundra That Is New York City

It's very cold in New York this weekend. How cold? Check out these aerial images of a frosty Hudson River and more.

TIME weather

Stranded Drivers Ditch Cars on Icy Highways in the South as Cold Snap Continues

Dozens of drivers reported having to sleep in their cars or abandon their vehicles altogether

A cold spell carrying ice, snow and heavy winds that has already claimed more than two dozen lives and snarled traffic across the eastern U.S. was preparing to deliver a second blow Saturday—and it likely won’t let up until the end of next week, meteorologists warned.

Several states in the South, stretching from Arkansas to Georgia and up to Kentucky, were expected to get pelted with rain Saturday, after ice accumulations took down power lines and halted travel on some highways Friday.

Dozens of drivers reported having to sleep in their cars or abandon their vehicles altogether because of ice-caused accidents…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME weather

Watch a Man Go Swimming in a Pool Full of Snow (Wearing Nothing But a Speedo)

Subzero temperatures? No problem

If you haven’t noticed from all the screenshots of weather apps posted on your Facebook and Instagram feeds—or from, you know, stepping outside—it’s been cold outside. Really, really, dreadfully cold. Especially in Boston, where wind chills have made it feel like -15°F.

But bitter cold and strong winds didn’t stop former LSU swimmer Julius Gloeckner from going for a dip. He decided to don his Speedo, swim cap and googles and dive right into the huge snowdrift currently filling his backyard pool.

Watch as he expertly performs several different strokes, but maybe grab a blanket first, because you’ll feel extra cold just watching.

(h/t Daily Dot)

TIME weather

Deadly East Coast Freeze Paves Way for Storms and Snow

Historic lows in the East will make way for another round of winter storms on Saturday

Bitter cold gripped the eastern United States from Michigan to Florida on Friday, causing at least 24 fatalities ahead of a weekend forecast to bring more winter storms to regions still digging out of the snow.

Cities including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Lexington, Ky., had their coldest morning on Friday in two decades, while the mercury in Flint, Mich. dropped to 25 degrees below-zero. Chicago registered its coldest temperature ever at -8 degrees Fahrenheit at O’Hare airport. As far south as normally sultry Orlando, temperatures hit 33 degrees, tying a previous 1958 record, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Overall, at least 500 daily record lows have been broken since Sunday, Weather.com reports, with more expected Saturday morning in the Northeast.

The freeze has so far caused at least two dozen deaths across the country, mostly as a result of hypothermia or car accidents on icy roads, NBC reports. Seventeen of the deaths occurred in Tennessee, at least eight due to hypothermia. At least six people in Pennsylvania have died of hypothermia.

“This week ranks among the most intense arctic outbreaks so far in the 21st century for the eastern U.S., and it is certainly one of the most impressively cold air masses we’ve seen this late in the winter season, coming only a month before the spring equinox,” said Weather.com senior meteorologist Nick Wiltgen.

More frigid cold is expected across the region on Saturday, with sleet and freezing rain expected Friday night in Arkansas, and in Tennessee and Kentucky on Saturday. Three to six inches of snow will fall in Pennsylvania, New York and New England, and a foot or more is expected in parts of West Virginia and Virginia.

On Friday, temperatures Lynchburg, Va. dropped to -11 degrees, to -17 in Cleveland, and Washington D.C., hit 5 degrees. The acute cold is the result of an Arctic airmass plunging south from Canada, according to the National Weather Service.

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