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'Frank' losing steam, says Germany's DWD

Atlantic storm "Frank," which shoved warm air toward the North Pole and deluged Britain, is fading, say German meteorologists. To the east, continental Europe's cold zone has brought frosts to Greece and snow to Turkey.

Europe's wild winter mix of western warmth around Iceland and cold high-pressure zones toward Russia lingered into Thursday as Germany's DWD Weather Service forecast chillier and broader conditions into the new year.

A highly unseasonal six degrees Celsius (43 degrees Fahrenheit) was recorded at Norway's Arctic Circle island group Spitzbergen, but forecast services said temperatures would drop toward minus 9 to 15 degrees by Wednesday next week.

Frank had "lost steam," said the DWD's Hamburg-based forecaster Jutta Perkuhn.

'Bizarre' temperatures

Canadian government meteorologist Nathalie Hasell described Frank as an "extremely powerful depression" that had "pushed hot air as far as the North Pole," where winter temperatures normally stayed under minus 20 degrees.

Statistically, it was too early to pin the anomaly on made-man climate change, but it was "bizarre" to have such

readings over the pack ice in the mid-winter darkness,

Hasell said.

In northern Britain, floodwaters swollen by days of persistent rain began to recede on Thursday, but the floods left authorities

facing demands to improve future safeguards.
Watch video 00:49

Collapsed road near Queen's Scottish castle

The British broadcaster BBC said 3,000 homes in Scotland were still without electricity.

On Wednesday, a navy helicopter was used to rescue 12 stranded bus passengers. Gales toppled trees. Flights were disrupted at Belfast airport.

Trending to zero in Greece, Turkey

New Year's Eve temperatures in northern Greece trended toward zero on Thursday, prompting municipalities to open heated rooms and sports halls to the homeless.

A heavy snowfall blanketed Istanbul on Thursday, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights at its two main airports.

City authorities warned residents against non-essential travel. Ferry services across the Bosporus were disrupted. Schools were shut down in numerous provinces, the Dogan news agency said.

Watch video 00:50

Heavy snowfall hits Istanbul

Flooding in Missouri, Illinois

Dramatic weather continued to play out in the United States, where on Thursday the states of Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Arkansas endured

various levels of flooding.

On Wednesday, rescue workers in Missouri had found the body of a motorist, whose vehicle had been swept away, bringing that state's weather-related death toll to 14.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon urged residents of flooded rural areas to stay out of frigid and fast-moving waters. "It's dangerous," he said.

Five continents

On Monday, experts said deadly extreme weather on at least five continents was in part being boosted by the current Pacific region El Nino weather phenomena.

"It is probably the most powerful of the last 100 years," said Jerome Lecou, an expert at the French weather service Meteo France.

Over the past week, flooding and mudslides unleashed by torrential rains have killed at least 10 people and displaced 150,000 in Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay.

Oxfam warned the El Nino-related drought in eastern Africa would leave millions of people needing food aid, especially in Ethiopia.

ipj/jil (AFP,dpa)

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