Freak, Extreme Weather
Wreak Worldwide Havoc
WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 (UPI) - Unusual weather patterns around the world this past week have caused millions of dollars in damage, prompting governments to consider the effects of an unstable and warming environment.
A freak storm system in eastern Canada and the northeastern United States has left the entire region encased in ice.
Millions of people in the affected area have been left without electricity and heat for several days, causing a still unknown level of damage to the U.S. and Canadian economies.
In the United States, power was cut to more than 100,000 homes in New York, 200,000 in Maine, 23,000 in New Hampshire and 10,000 in Vermont.
Officials say it will take at least another 10 days to repair all the power lines.
President Clinton declared a state of emergency for Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson and St. Laurence counties in New York.
In Canada, more than 3 million people lost power in Quebec and four other provinces after the worst ice storm in memory left up to two inches of ice on everything.
At least 10 Canadians died in the storm, and rescue work is continuing. Parts of southern Quebec and the Canadian capital Ottawa were declared emergency zones. U.S. relief organizations are sending 150,000 beds to Canadian shelters.
In Europe, two tornados whipped through France and southern England, leaving a trail of devastation.
In France winds of up to 120 miles (200 km) per hour were recorded and heavy hailstorms caused millions of dollars in damage. Radio France- Inter reported some hailstones the size of golf balls fell on the western coast. Several people were injured and hospitalized.
In southern Russia, a tornado swept inland from the Black Sea, cutting power to the resort town of Sochi and sinking two ships in the harbor of Novorossiysk (``nah-vah-rah-SEESK''). Russian television showed destroyed buildings and announced a state of emergency.
In Japan, a freak snowstorm dumped almost 12 inches (30 cm) of snow in the capital, Tokyo, causing the city to ground to a halt. The snowfall was the heaviest since a blizzard hit Japan two years ago.
In Australia, heavy rain has caused widespead flooding in Queensland. Police have evacuated several hundred people and at least two men are missing after their car was swept away by floodwater.
And in Lebanon, known for its mild winters, a rare snowstorm cut power and telephone lines and closed roads, disrupting transport and communications.

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