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Giant-sized snowballs have appeared along the Siberian coastline - which could have freezing consequences for the United States
  • The frozen balls measure almost three feet across, and stretch across an 11-mile section of coastline near the village of Nyda, Siberia
  • As water retreated, the ice chunks rolled over and over in the snow, forming the giant snowballs
     
Giant-sized snowballs have appeared along the Siberian coastline - which experts warn could have freezing consequences for the United States. The frozen balls, which each measure almost three feet across, stretch across an 11-mile section of coastline near the village of Nyda which sits above the Arctic Circle, according to Russian media.

A village administrator told The Siberian Times that the snowballs formed in late October when the Gulf of Ob rose up onto land and covered the beach in ice.

As the water retreated, the remaining ice chunks rolled over creating snowballs which grew and grew in size until they hit gigantic proportions. Siberia is near record cold for this time of year, and snow cover is at around the highest level for this time of year since at least 1998.

And the bizarre weather in the freezing Russian region could have consequences for the US, Mashable reports.

The frozen orbs, which each measure almost three feet across, stretch across an 11-mile section of coastline near the village of Nyda
Some meteorologists use Siberian snow cover levels in October to forecast how weather patterns will form across the United States. They believe the heavy early snow, could indicate heavier snowfall in parts of North America and Western Europe this winter.




Private weather forecasters foresee a harsher winter for much of the nation, including a return of the dreaded polar vortex, which funnels cold Arctic air into the US. udah Cohen of Atmospheric and Environmental Research in Lexington, Massachusetts, forecasts an unusually cold winter for the eastern and middle two-thirds of the nation, especially raw east of the Mississippi River.

Cohen, whose research is funded by the National Science Foundation and closely followed by meteorologists, links North America's winter weather to Siberian snow cover in October.

He warns that the Polar Vortex is on the move unusually early this year, could strike the US in January.

However, he believes Maine will escape the Arctic conditions with a warmer winter than normal. He also predicts a warm Southwest. The private Accuweather of State College, Pennsylvania, calls for frequent storms in the Northeast, early snow in the Great Lakes, bitter cold in the northern tier and occasional cold in the middle.

A woman sits atop a collection of huge snowballs on the beach as some warn that the record snow cover in the region could mean a harsh winter for the US
Like other forecasters, it predicts a warm and dry southwest, with some hope for rain and snow from San Francisco northward. A recent study claimed Arctic sea-ice loss is causing the Polar Vortex to shift and as a result, winters are expected to get longer and more bitter. Now, forecasters say it is 'unprecedentedly early'.

The Polar Vortex hit the US hardest in 2014 , affecting 200 million people and causing billions of dollars in damages, but climatologists told DailyMail.com that, thankfully, it won't be as severe this time around.




'The winter of 2014 was a really extreme case, as the cold was so persistent and it was focused on one area, which makes it very hard to reproduce,' Cohen told DailyMail.com.

'Normally when a vortex stretches it eventually bursts, but in 2014 it just kept stretching and bouncing back.' 'That event was highly unique and very hard to duplicate, I’m not saying it is impossible, but there are no signs that we are going to get a repeat.'

Experts say the polar vortex is already on the move this year – which could be very troubling later on.  'There has been an unusual weakening, but it is unprecedentedly early and if we look at it chronologically it should hit in January,' said Cohen.

'Researchers are attributing the weakening in the study it to see-ice, which is contributing to the shift.'
The frozen orbs, which each measure almost three feet across, stretch across an 11-mile section of coastline near the village of Nyda
'But what’s unique is snow cover is also increasing and the combination of the two at the same time is what makes me think it will happen in January and not February.' AccuWeather's data seems to agree with Cohen's prediction, as David Samuhel, senior meteorologist, said that if the polar vortex hits it would be in January.

'We see the most below average temperatures in the north east during January, but they will only be about 1 or 2 degrees Fahrenheit below normal,' he said.

For more than 30 years, the polar vortex has been weakening because of this sea-ice loss in the Arctic, which is linked to human induced climate change, reports Think Progress.

And when this happens, a piece of the vortex can surge to the southern part of the globe, which it then pushes Arctic cold into areas of North America and Europe, reports The Weather Channel.

'The coldest areas this winter are expect to be in the Great Lakes near the northern plains,' Samuhel said. 'But it looks like the south should have a pretty warm winter, especially the south central states.'

Samuhel also predicts that there will be a major difference between the northern and southern areas of the US, which will result in severe storms across the board.
Two years ago, this bitter shift caused the US economy some $5 billion in fights and infrastructure repairs.

A polar vortex also means higher energy bills that not only break the bank, but also dips into to our fossil fuel supply around a time experts reveal we have ‘aggressively’ cut down in order to control climate change.


Read more:
Giant snowballs in Siberia might be connected to a frosty U.S. winter

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