Blizzard traps thousands in India

More nasty weather in the northern hemisphere. It seems to be “piling up”.  This event caught many off-guard and unprepared. (h/t to Philip_B)

Thousands trapped in -15° snowstorm in Sikkim
27 Dec 2008, 0308 hrs IST, Amalendu Kundu, TNN

GANGTOK: A trip to the snow-laden Changu Lake turned into a nightmare for more than 3, 500 tourists including hundreds of children on Friday. They were trapped in snowstorm conditions with the temperature dipping to minus 15 degrees at a killing altitude of 13,300 feet before the army pulled them to safety.

The majority of those trapped were from Bengal. Hundreds fell ill, shivering in the icy cold as their vehicles remained stranded near Changu and Baba Mandir for hours. Clad in just jackets and scarves, the holidayers were hardly prepared, mentally or physically, to encounter a blizzard.
The army rescued them and took them to military camps, where warm soup and loads of blankets helped revive most of them. Many had to be admitted to the army medical units for treatment.

In the morning, there was little indication of what was to come. Tourists flocked to the Changu Lake by the hundreds as they do every day. With winter setting in, there was the added attraction of seeing the lake under glittering snow-covered peaks. The tourists got more than what they had asked for.

It started with a heavy shower. The temperature plummeted sharply. The skies seemed to turn clear for a moment but suddenly, heavy snowfall started near the India-China border, 35 km from Gangtok. Roads went under a couple of feet of snow in no time. Over 450 vehicles were immediately trapped.

Local guides assured them that the weather would clear up, but it only got worse. More snow fell. More vehicles got stranded in the higher reaches. What compounded the torture was wind chill. With the mercury dropping to minus 10 and continuing southward, the wind picked up, cutting into exposed skin, finding its way past windscreens, locked car doors and inside jackets.

The administration sent an SOS to the army that has several camps in the area. Unit 17 of the army’s elite mountain division swung into action. Aided by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Border Roads Organization and local police, they rescued around 1,500 tourists from 230 vehicles. Many had to be rushed for treatment while the rest were given shelter in the army camps.

The remaining tourists were rescued late in the afternoon even though their vehicles remained stranded. Although no casualty has been reported, many are said to be seriously ill. With the weather showing no signs of letting up, Changu Lake could remain out of bounds for tourists this week.

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57 thoughts on “Blizzard traps thousands in India

  1. Seems like a little bit of a stretch to include this story in the evidence that AGW is the farce that it is, given that the “meaningful” snowfall took place at an altitude of greater than 13,000 feet.

    REPLY: there’s no mention or suggestion of that…just thought it was interesting that so many people were caught completely off-guard and unprepared. – Anthony

  2. I am in the northern hemisphere (Sudbury, Ontario, Canada) and have been enjoying a record breaking day. We are at 4.5 C and the previous was 2.8 in 1974. We have also likely broken the greatest rainfall record of 0.5 mm set back in 1959. This has been a weird winter. More snow than normal, and now more rain than the norm for tha past couple of months. — John M Reynolds

  3. uhh David. That’s extent, not amount. As NASA explains it’s ‘weather’, strong winds compacting the ice, not melting it.

  4. Here in N E Alabama November and early Dec temps below normal and now for Christmas week and New Year near record highs. Strange weather for sure. But as they say that is the weather in Alabama. wait till next week it will be all different.

    Love this site. Great work Anthony.

    Bill Derryberry

  5. Long time reader
    Thanks Bill, that explains why the build up stalled for a week or so.
    Rapidly picks up now. Its very rare for winter ice to go above average , siply there isnt much more room. But can you imagine if the ice wouldnt reach average this winter , how hot would those alarmists get ? And the 2007 horor melting season was caused by weather too . But one year event was enough for Al Gore to say , that in 5 years there wont be any summer ice , how naive….
    Prob even more when the multiyear dirty ice is replaced by pristineone , how simple…

  6. So true, Bill Marsh, the sea ice extent is not a measure of the total volume. Where have I heard that before?

  7. “It started with a heavy shower. The temperature plummeted sharply. The skies seemed to turn clear for a moment but suddenly, heavy snowfall started”

    Sound like the Day after tomorrow, anyone?

  8. David (17:35:07),

    Your link didn’t work. Can you link me to the graph showing record lows please.

    This is what I found:

  9. Some of my old haunts…

    As of 12-21-08 p.m. NOAA data

    Casper WY . DPTR FM NORMAL: -5.7

    Tacoma WA . DPTR FM NORMAL: -3.5

    LAX . DPTR FM NORMAL: -10.0 ND

  10. The Day After or more like the 2nd Winter After.
    We heard the reports of some mighty cold stuff in Australia this July/Aug.
    Then we heard of the temps falling hard in Fairbanks soon after Autumn had begun.
    The thing that is piling up now is the stream of stories about cold and snow taking many by surprise.
    Give this bum solar cycle another year, we’ll be talking about even bigger surprises.
    I don’t mean to beat up on NASA, but they are the ones who put out the ‘this is normal’ feed. What were they thinking?
    My guess is sweep it under the rug, look nonchalant, and things will blow over.
    Hold onto your hats, gents, January cometh.

  11. David,

    No, it DOESN’T sound like Day After Tomorrow. It sounds like WEATHER!!

    Check the sea level lately?? Without the sea level rising as fast, it is highly unlikely that the oceans are storing extra heat to renew global warming after this hitch in its giddyup!!

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

    Calls into question whether we are having excessive melt of Greenland and other glaciers also!!

    By the way, y’all keep talking about Antarctica being on a long term warming trend. Doesn’t seem to be affecting the sea ice. (yes, I realise Antarctica can warm for 100 years without bringing its average temps above freezing, too bad Al Bore and the media don’t!!) It WOULD affect the edges of the sea ice, BUT, apparently it HASN’T!!

    As far as European snow, the summer of 2007 the media was talking about the European Ski Resorts taking it in the shorts this year. Yeah, it was sooo bad that some of them actually had to close down for a month THIS SUMMER for maintenance. Yeah, that is a BAD YEAR ALRIGHT!!!!

    A friend of mine from Berne, Switzerland is swearing she is going to move here in San Francisco because the weather is getting so much WORSE the last couple of years and she is sick of it!!! Early snows, below freezing, lotsa rain… Yup, they are shoveling lotsa Gorebull Warming in the Alps this winter just like last.

    As far as this story, it COULD be an early indication that the Himalayan region is going to start coming out of its drought, you know, similar to the Kilimanjaro region where the Glaciers are recovering!!

  12. As Ron White would say. ‘You can’t fix stupid.’
    When living in Leadville, Co, we didn’t drive anywhere without winter survival gear.

  13. Here’s a 30-day daily animation of the Arctic.

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/CT/animate.arctic.some.1.html

    The areas with ‘reducing ice coverage’ would seem to be far enough north that winds repacking the ice would be my personal bet.

    While at the same time, Baffin Sea, Hudson Bay, and south of Archangel are all icing over pretty darn speedily in this period – all clearly brand new ice.

  14. This is definitely worth reading. EUReferendum.com often cites this blog and Christopher Booker too, since he is a journalist of unimpeachable integrity when it comes to reporting the business about the whole man-made global warming nonsense. As I said, very much worth the read. There is, of course, more than just an American side to this global battle for the truth. Booker, along with the good folks at EUReferendum.com are worth reading.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/3982101/2008-was-the-year-man-made-global-warming-was-disproved.html

    An excerpt: “As 2009 dawns, it is time we in Britain faced up to the genuine crisis now fast approaching from the fact that – unless we get on very soon with building enough proper power stations to fill our looming “energy gap” – within a few years our lights will go out and what remains of our economy will judder to a halt. After years of infantile displacement activity, it is high time our politicians – along with those of the EU and President Obama’s US – were brought back with a mighty jolt into contact with the real world.”

  15. Anna on this blog first brought my attention to a possible hot spot of volcanic activity on SSTs in the N Atlantic off Newfoundland that may be affecting Arctic Sea ice build up this December. But I cannot find anything that looks like an underwater volcano in that area or any reported seismic activity. Any Comment?

  16. Well the Telegraph may have printed Christopher Booker’s piece, but in yesterday’s printed paper there was this report from Friday’s online edition:-

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/3964688/Koalas-in-danger-of-extinction-as-rising-carbon-levels-poison-eucalyptus-trees.html

    Polar bears are soooo yesterday….now we’re killing Koala Bears by poisoning their food. They do admit that bushfires, drought and land clearing are a major factor but now want to add the danger of cars or dogs killing them as they cross the roads….oh I’m sorry it says we won’t actually see them lying at the side of the road as their reproduction has slowed down ….so that’s no dead bodies for their next video to show our children then.

  17. … and in Portugal (that’s europe DAvid) we’ve had the 3rd coldest november (beaten by 1931 and 1956) and I’m watching the news and the northern part is covered in snow, roads closed… Portugal is a summer holiday destination, not exactly what we would expect… And my gas bill is just skyrocketing!!
    Weather I supose.

  18. I’d class this as a feel-good extreme weather event. ‘Feel-good’ in that there were no fatalities and thousands were rescued. A rather nice counter-point to the AGW summertime panic mode when ice is melting and record high temps are set. Neither type event proves anything; they’re all just weather. Here in Western NY, most of December was unusually cold. Many times the daytime high temp was near the ‘normal’ low temp. Yesterday’s record high of 64°F was a welcome exception; a big plus is that all that recent snow (1 to 2 feet) has melted, including snow banks thrown up by the plows.

    As for Arctic sea ice, it’s true that for this date the extent is at a low level compared to recent years. While NSIDC shows extent running even with last year’s levels, NANSEN is showing extent as being below last year’s levels while ice area continues to increase. This suggests that the Arctic sea ice is well compacted. In fact, NSIDC shows rather high levels of concentration of sea ice; see:

    http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/daily.html

    It will be interesting to see how close this season’s extent approaches the recent high of 14.844 million km² set 21 Mar 03, as shown at IARC-JAXA. Even more interesting will be seeing how the 2009 melt season progresses with all the compacting that’s happened this winter.

  19. OT, but there’s no good recent thread for this. And this thread is full of OT stuff anyway!

    We get a leap second this year, I must have heard that earlier but forgot it. Good links to get up to speed on the subject are:

    http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/leapsec.html

    http://maia.usno.navy.mil/ser7/tai-utc.dat

    We seemed to have one every years in the early 1990s (hey, we did!), the Earth has sped up since then and this will be only the second leap-second of the 2nd millennium.

  20. John Philip, I read the the link you posted, but I think you failed to read the following commentary on the article. People aren’t buying what you guys are selling anymore. The shift has begun.

  21. Ric Werme (06:00:14) : “the Earth has sped up”

    I think it’s not slowing down as fast. USNO hasn’t taken away any seconds as far as I know. Not sure what you would call it if they did.

  22. Of course, Monbiot is a towering intellectual. Here is the heading from a recent article:

    “The stakes could not be higher.
    Everything hinges on stopping coal. The climate camp must succeed. In the absence of political backbone, our only hope is an avalanche of public revulsion”

  23. My prediction here is that this will go down as a ‘freak cold year’, no special significance attached to it. They won’t admit that being 2 + yrs late to SC24 has anything to do with it. The time intervening will be spent playing wishing SC24 will start soon games. The same “this is normal statement” will be put out in vain hopes of normaltiy. Then next winter will hit with a cruel vengeance.
    Regis Philbin will host “Who wants to be an idiot?”

  24. A McFarland Signature sets up in the 8-10 day of the latest MRF with the door opening all the way back to Siberia. 1000 mb temps well below freezing for all of the US from coast to coast around Jan 8th if this holds.

  25. A good crisis is a good opporunity for change as Obama says…let there be change.

    Global warming is a social issue that only Governments can solve.

    Let there be one giant world government led by one leader and one religion. The guy from Iran stated that one.

    Everything will be solved soon. Some will have light and heat, others will have to sacrifice to save the planet. Is it over CO2 or world domination?

  26. Interesting comments in Today’s The Sunday Telegraph, comparing the December weather in the UK to that of the great winter of 1962-63.
    Not the snowiest (The 1947-8 winter gets that crown) but bitter, lengthy cold.
    For the benefit of John Phillip, Christopher Booker’s views on George Monbiot mirror those of George Monbiot on Christopher Booker.
    I wonder what Mr Monbiot’s views are on the current extent of the Arctic Sea Ice?

  27. “It started with a heavy shower. The temperature plummeted sharply. The skies seemed to turn clear for a moment but suddenly, heavy snowfall started”

    Sound like the Day after tomorrow, anyone?

    Nope, sounds like typical weather in mountainous regions.

    When I was stationed in Germany in the early 80s, one of the Training areas, Wildflecken, was in the hills. You could easily see all four seasons in one day. Once while sitting in my jeep outside an ammo storage area, the weather was a pleasant 40 degrees and sunny. 30 minutes later clouds moved in, the temp dropped by about 20 degrees, and the snow dumped. 6 hours later we had 4 feet of snow. I had to get out of my jeep periodically to clear the snow from my tailpipe and to shovel it away from the jeep so I could get out when I needed to.

    Down in the valleys it was still 40 degrees and no snow.

  28. Hi all,
    First post, no Global warming = no Global warming?
    Facts so far : No sea rise since 2005
    No glogal warming since 1998
    Global cooling since 2002
    Record Arctic ice recovery since 2006
    Record low temperatures and record snow fall in 2008

    Sandwich UK 28/12/08 -2oc

  29. David (20:12:57) :

    Sound like the Day after tomorrow, anyone?

    If I remember correctly, the technical premise for the sudden onset of cooling in the “Day after Tomorrow – the movie” was a massive drop in NH sea surface temperatures.

    A massive exaggeration of the current (entirely normal and natural) PDO reversal.

    The PDO reversal is sufficient to explain a return to colder weather in the NH.

    David – meet William Ockham and his marvelous Razor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_Razor

    It will help you to cut through the hype that haunts your mind.

    Also you may like to consider http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

    G

  30. For the benefit of John Phillip, Christopher Booker’s views on George Monbiot mirror those of George Monbiot on Christopher Booker.

    No doubt, one key difference between the two being that, as Monbiot points out, Booker’s completely bogus claims about the safety of asbestos are dangerously irresponsible, and have had to be refuted by the Health and Safety Executive:

    HSE1
    HSE2

    Not the most reliable source, then. Is there any reason to believe his opinion on Global Warming is any more rigourously researched? The most recent piece talks of falling global temperatures this year for example. Er, Nope.

    I wonder what Mr Monbiot’s views are on the current extent of the Arctic Sea Ice?

    In point of fact, it reached an record low for the time of year just before Christmas, though the difference is not that significant, climatically speaking.

  31. John Philip (06:27:26) :

    Christopher Booker too, since he is a journalist of unimpeachable integrity
    No, he is not.

    Last line from the article at the link you gave –

    “You cannot trust the people who tell you whom to trust.”

    Seems like the kettle calling the pot black!

    ——————

    Richmond 29/10:05am 25.5C forecast even hotter later today. Just love summer down here :-)

  32. Graeme Rodaughan (14:37:50) :

    David (20:12:57) :

    Sound like the Day after tomorrow, anyone?

    If I remember correctly, the technical premise for the sudden onset of cooling in the “Day after Tomorrow – the movie” was a massive drop in NH sea surface temperatures.

    A massive exaggeration of the current (entirely normal and natural) PDO reversal.

    Not really, the movie was based on what became Whitley Streiber’s novelization. On the Art Bell show, he argued that there was a sudden cooling on Earth in the past because mastodons have been found with food in their mouths. Clearly they froze in mid-chew.

    In my http://wermenh.com/2016.html page, I note:

    Here’s a quote from what may be the original reference:

    “Before I arrived at the site, Herz had partially dug away the hill of earth round the body, and so both the forefeet and the hind feet were exposed. These lay under the body so that it rested on them. When one looked at the body one had the impression that it must have suddenly fallen into an unexpected fissure in the ice, which it probably came across in its wanderings, and which may have been covered with a layer of plant-bearing mould. After its fall the unlucky animal must have tried to get out of its hopeless position, for the right forefoot was doubled up and the left stretched forward as if it had struggled to rise. But its strength had apparently not been up to it, for when we dug it out still farther we found that in its fall it had not only broken several bones, but had been almost completely buried by the falls of earth which tumbled in on it, so that it had suffocated.

    “Its death must have occurred very quickly after its fall, for we found half-chewed food still in its mouth, between the back teeth and on its tongue, which was in good preservation. The food consisted of leaves and grasses, some of the later carrying seeds. We could tell from these that the mammoth must have come to its miserable end in the autumn.”

    Nothing to do with the PDO, just a need to explain the frozen mastodons.

  33. Ric Werme (15:37:19) :

    In my http://wermenh.com/2016.html page, I note:

    Nothing to do with the PDO, just a need to explain the frozen mastodons.

    Thanks for the link, Ric, I wasn’t aware of the other material that you have gathered. I also didn’t know that an actual mastadon had been found with food in it’s mouth – but not snap frozen – as you point out.

    The point I was trying to make was that “the sea surface temps drop – and then “all hell breaks loose”” – A fictional exaggeration similar to a PDO reversal on a massive upscale.

    The context to my point was David’s early mention of “The Day After Tomorrow” in the context of the current cold weather. What I’m responding to is David’s apparent linking of “Man Made Climate Disruption/Catastrophy” as epitomised by the Movie and the current cold weather, for which I see a perfectly natural explanation in the PDO reversal.

    So the tension I’m dealing with is b/w “Man Made Climate Catastrophy” and “Natural Variation”. Dealing with nuances on a blog is a difficult proposition.

    While the dates are off by 4K years, is the “the event some 8,200 years ago where a large glacial lake drained and freshened northern Atlantic waters.” event that you refer to on your site related to, or similar to the event referred to in http://outsidethecube.blogspot.com/2007/08/younger-dryas-climate-tipping-point.html

    Cheers G

  34. Graeme Rodaughan (16:02:49) :

    The context to my point was David’s early mention of “The Day After Tomorrow” in the context of the current cold weather. What I’m responding to is David’s apparent linking of “Man Made Climate Disruption/Catastrophy” as epitomised by the Movie and the current cold weather, for which I see a perfectly natural explanation in the PDO reversal.

    So the tension I’m dealing with is b/w “Man Made Climate Catastrophy” and “Natural Variation”. Dealing with nuances on a blog is a difficult proposition.

    There’s certainly nothing recent that suggests we’re on the brink of catastrophe, at least not from my point of view. There were concerns that we might be heading to a “Thermohaline Shutdown Event” from all the Arctic melting going on, but with the onset of cooling and the negative PDO, I’m not paying much attention to that risk these days. Al Gore and James Hansen might tell you something different. :-) In fact, I think Hansen says ongoing warming would negate the effect of losing the warm current to Europe.

    While the dates are off by 4K years, is the “the event some 8,200 years ago where a large glacial lake drained and freshened northern Atlantic waters.” event that you refer to on your site related to, or similar to the event referred to in http://outsidethecube.blogspot.com/2007/08/younger-dryas-climate-tipping-point.html

    Yes, sort of. Lake Agassiz was involved in both events, though the Younger Dryas event was much bigger. I don’t recall why I focused on the more recent event, probably because it was more recent, possibly because I found more recent web references at the time. The comet trigger for the Younger Dryas is more recent research.

    I don’t see much good stuff on the 8,200 ya event at the moment, try the abstracts

    http://news.mongabay.com/2007/1206-greenland.html

    http://atlas-conferences.com/c/a/i/q/69.htm

    BTW, an article in Science News back in January had an article about “eight mammoth tusks that have small metallic particles embedded in them.” They link it to an impact between 30,000 and 34,000 years ago and also to “several animal populations living on the land bridge connecting Alaska to eastern Siberia at that time declined significantly at some point less than 36,000 years ago.”

  35. Ok, so Davids graph on northern Hem. (not sure exactly how to read it) snow cover seems to suggest that there is nothing different about this winter.
    Could we be barking up the wrong tree, or or is it because Dec. 08 may not be included?

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