Snow and Freezing Rain Foretell Brutal Winter Ahead

"Polar vortex" brings the coldest weather in 20 years

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Spencer Platt / Getty Images

A man walks his dog in Brooklyn, in New York City, on Jan. 3, 2014. A winter storm left up to 8 in. of snow in the city

An arctic blast plunged much of the Great Plains through the Great Lakes and even into the Deep South into freezing weather Sunday, hitting some of the coldest temperatures in almost 20 years.

Forecasters expect Winter Storm Ion to bring up to a foot of snow from Missouri to Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and southern Lower Michigan through Sunday morning, according to the National Weather Service. Meanwhile, rain will transition into a wintry mix of snow in parts of Kentucky, northern Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, southwestern Pennsylvania and Ohio.

The chilling temperatures will also extend into the Deep South, bringing a cold front to northern Mississippi through northern Alabama and into northern Georgia throughout Sunday. New England residents are also bracing for a combination of sleet and freezing rain early Sunday before it gradually shifts to rain.

Sunday’s subzero or single-digit temperatures will greatly hinder travel, with more than 1,700 U.S. flights canceled, according to flight-tracking site As of 8:30 a.m. E.T., New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport was closed when a regional jet went off a runway. JFK was not expected to reopen for four hours, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Ion has been blamed for 16 deaths and more than 5,000 flight cancellations since Wednesday.

Though a deep freeze is gripping much of the Midwest, residents can expect temperatures to rise by Wednesday. However, the National Weather Service warns that the chilling temperatures can lead to frostbite or hypothermia in a matter of minutes.

[National Weather Service]


The Okinawa beaches attraction in winter

Japan's Okinawa Prefectural Government announced on January 6 that it had

uploaded videos ( introducing the "Ichariba-chode"

hospitality, the manner of people who visit the nation's best resort islands.

The announcement is part of the "Be.Okinawa" global branding project

( "Ichariba-chode" is an Okinawan saying and approach to

life, meaning "once we meet, we become brothers and sisters."

The videos were shot in several different famous destinations around the world

with a cultural and anthropological approach.

Two different versions of the videos are available. The first one, "MEET the

LOCALS: On the Street," shows the reaction of locals in the streets helping

visitors after they are asked for directions, trends, or local attractions. The

other video, "MEET the LOCALS: In the Bar" shows how locals react and

communicate with tourists who are sitting alone in a bar. In the latter video,

the people of Okinawa extend their "welcome to the family" hospitality by

inviting the visitor to their table for dinner and conversation.

The "Be.Okinawa" website also features prominent amateur "YouTuber" Grant

Schuman as he encounters and interacts with the people of Okinawa

( during his trip to the islands.

Schuman has gained much popularity since 2010 after shooting and uploading many

videos on YouTube of his self-planned visits and contacts with locals around

the world.

In the recent years, Okinawa has begun uncovering its beauty and charm and

showing it to the world around them. Previously, Japan's southernmost region

was a destination for the select few who had a shared love of its culture,

nature, peace and hospitality.

The Okinawa government announced last year that it would begin promoting the

unique island to the international market with the "Be.Okinawa" concept, and

would target two million visitors by 2021, a number approximately seven times

larger than that of 2011.

What is the tourism brand of "Be.Okinawa"?

Okinawa is an island located in the southernmost part of Japan. Okinawa

provides a fantastic natural environment with sunshine, wind, blue seas, blue

skies and white sandy beaches. The island destination offers comfort from its

gentle-hearted locals. The people of Okinawa are religious, warm-hearted,

charming and peace-loving. During the era of the Ryukyu dynasty some hundreds

years ago, the kings of Okinawa had traded with Japan, China, Korea and

Southeast Asian countries, leading to the conflation of all such cultures. As a

result, Okinawa has developed a "unique style of warmly welcoming anyone, as if

visitors were brothers and sisters -- family." As this had happened thousands

of years ago, today the nature and people of Okinawa are waiting for those who

are heading their way. Then, as natural as can be, they will welcome you and

come together, to "Be.Okinawa"

SOURCE: Okinawa Prefectural Government


Kenichiro Yamashiro (Mr.)

Tourism Promotion Division

Okinawa Prefectural Government

Tel: +81-98-866-2764 

1-2-2, Izumizaki, Naha City, 901-2202, Okinawa Japan


So, did the writer, Courtney Subramanian, just copy/paste the entire weather report into her article?  I seriously hope she did, because this article is very awkwardly-phrased, and reads like a weatherman's teleprompter (and not like a piece of journalism).

Perhaps someone should coach Ms. Subramanian in the art of paraphrasing, so as to make her writing flow better.


According to a report this morning, Al Gore's limousine slid into a snowbank last night in Chicago en-route to a climate fundraiser. Apparently Mr. Gore's composure lacked poise. Funny how life is sometimes.


"Ion?" What gives you the impression this snow storm had a name? Since when have snow events EVER had names? Hurricanes and typhoons have names, given to them by the appropriate government agency. Snow storms do NOT have names. The National Weather Service (NWS) hasn't named the snow, nor has the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Neither the NWS, NOAA, nor anyone I know is referring to this weather system as "Ion."

Oh, WAIT A MINUTE. You must be referring to The Weather Channel. Yes, in what can only be described as a shameless, pretentious publicity stunt, they have taken it upon themselves to start naming every snow event that comes along, and in the process they have become a bit of a laughingstock. Who knows? Maybe this summer, when things have started quieting down, they'll start naming HEAT WAVES!

It makes you wonder how we ever survived the old days when snow was just called SNOW, not given a cute name by The Weather Channel, which is owned by NBC and not the government. Is it REALLY necessary to pander to their sense of self-importance?


@MollysBiscuits Obviously you have difficulty separating climate change, from weather events. Perhaps you should Google.


@ChuckAnziulewiczJust yesterday this storm had a different name it seemed... Hercules? Something like that, longer than Ion. Not only are winter storms now named, but they can get name changes every time they marry/divorce a different state?


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