Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Most Extreme Weather Around the World

Summer is here and you’re either celebrating in a pool somewhere or huddled against an air conditioner. To celebrate the summer solstice, we’re putting together a list of the places with the most extreme weather in the world. Isn’t Nature amazing?

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4. Spearfish, South Dakota

You’ve likely never heard of Spearfish, South Dakota because this isn’t 1886 and we’re not living during the Gold Rush. However, Spearfish earned its place in the history books with some seriously extreme weather. Let’s put it like this: imagine getting up in the morning and it’s an absolutely freezing -4 degrees Fahrenheit. You go to your closet to put on your parka and scarf, but by the time you step outside to scrape the ice off your windshield, the temperature is now almost 50-degrees. In 1943, that is exactly what happened to many people on the morning of January 22nd. In the span of just two minutes, the temperature swung a full 49-degrees thanks to the Chinook winds. Then, just a little while later, the winds died down and the temperature plummeted from 54-degrees back down to -4 in less than half an hour. A temperature change like this caused house windows to crack and immediate frost on cars and windshields.

3. Poland

Poland is prone to “cold snaps” which mean a sudden drop in temperatures as well as fierce summer storms, which can result in lightning and tornadoes. In fact, that’s precisely what happened in the summer of 2014. Lightning storms were followed by tornadoes and winds of up to 60 miles per hour due to warm, summer weather. The highest temperature ever recorded in Poland was 107 degrees Fahrenheit or 42 degrees Celsius, approaching temperatures only seen in the hottest deserts. And the lowest clocked in at a -41 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s a temperature span of 148 degrees. Featured here is the Meteo Observatory in Poland set atop Mount Snezka (sneshka). In an alpine environment at an altitude of 5300 feet, the observatory is subject to extreme winter temperatures and is coated in thick layers of ice and snow, making it look like something that belongs on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.

2. Vostok Station, Antarctica

Poland may be cold, but it isn’t Antarctica cold. This research station on the southernmost continent has recorded the coldest temperatures in the world. It was built and is operated by the Russians, who are no strangers to extreme cold. In fact, a region in Russia has been dubbed the coldest inhabited place on Earth and is inhabited by only 500 people. The Vostok station has an average of 25 people manning it year-round. The Station is located only 800 miles from the South Pole and has absolutely no sunlight from May to August, yet has almost constant sunshine for the remaining months of the year. This makes it, on average, one of the sunniest places in the world. In fact, in December, it averages 22.9 hours of sunlight, but the highest temperature ever recorded was just above 6 degrees Fahrenheit. All of that makes Vostok Station on Princess Elizabeth Land, Antarctica one of the most extreme places on Earth, but what really makes this place extreme is the lowest temperature ever recorded here and that was -128.5 degrees Fahrenheit in 1983. At temperatures like these, your skin will actually freeze in less than a minute.

1. Furnace Creek, Death Valley, California

Originally, the hottest temperature ever recorded belonged to Aziziya, Libya; however, they were recently disqualified due to some factors which could have made their record of 58 degrees Celsius (136 degrees Fahrenheit) off by nearly 7 degrees. Today, the record for hottest temperature ever recorded belongs, unsurprisingly, to Death Valley, California. Death Valley is so named because of its extreme desert conditions. Each year around 1 million people from all over the world visit the park to see it's cracked landscapes, salt flats, and of course, experience what it’s like to be out in the most extreme heat. If you’re really insane, you can even participate in the yearly Marathon through Furnace Creek (don’t worry, it’s held in February, so everyone lives through it). So, what exactly does the hottest place on Earth feel like? In the height of summer in 1913, the air temperature was recorded in Death Valley to be 134 degrees Fahrenheit. For five consecutive days that summer, the temperatures were 129 or above. In 2001, Death Valley went 154 days straight with triple digit temps. And that’s air temperature. The highest ground temperature record also belongs to Furnace Creek when it measured 201 degrees Fahrenheit.

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