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Fifty die as snow blankets Kashmir

Breaking Climate News
March 14, 2007

INDIA, KASHMIR - At least 50 people were killed as snow engulfed Kashmir and torrential rain pounded the rest of northern India. Some 28 people were killed and 25 others received burn injuries in separate lightning strikes in Uttar Pradesh as rains crippled life in the populous northern Indian state. Seventeen people, including two children and a soldier died in landslides, cold and floods in Indian Kashmir and its summer capital Srinagar reported its HEAVIEST MARCH SNOWS IN 15 YEARS. Snowstorms have paralysed life in revolt-hit Kashmir, shutting schools, knocking out power and telephone lines and closing the region's main highway.

ICELAND - Four homes were vacated in Bolungarvík, in Iceland’s Westfjords, due to risk of avalanches. Snow layers are unstable and several minor avalanches have fallen in the northern Westfjords in the last few days. A larger avalanche fell in Hnífsdalur yesterday, but no buildings were hit. Ten buildings are in the danger zone in Bolungarvík, but only four of them are inhabited. “It has been like this since 1995 and I believe no winter has passed without us having to vacate our houses at some point.” The Icelandic Meteorological Office is observing the snow layers in the Westfjords and waiting for them to become more stable before the inhabitants can return to their homes. In 1995 avalanches hit two towns in the Westfjords, Súdavík and Flateyri, and nearly 40 people were killed. Since then precautionary measures have become tighter.

RUSSIA - A powerful cyclone that has covered the Sakhalin Island with a 1.5-metre deep snow layer has begun affecting southeast areas of the Kamchatka Peninsula. The cyclone will gradually move to the northwest part of the Pacific Ocean where the wind force is expected to grow to 15-20 metres per second, but no dangerous phenomena are expected on the peninsula, according to meteorologists. Nevertheless, snowstorms are possible on Kamchatka in the coming three days. Since the beginning of March, cyclones have been one after another bringing snowfalls to the south of Kamchatka. As much as 130 percent of the monthly precipitation norm has already occurred in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky where the snow is 140 centimetres deep. 14 snow avalanches have already descended from slopes. The largest of them had a volume of 20,000 cubic metres.
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