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As US shivers, northern Europe waits for winter to arrive

Published on Jan 9, 2014 2:32 AM
A woman reacts to strong wind caused by hurricane-force Xaver in Europe. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

OSLO (AFP) - While part of North America is suffering through a record freeze, northern Europe is enjoying unusually balmy temperatures that are disturbing wildlife, traffic and the winter sports season.

The month of December was one of the mildest in a century in the Nordic countries, according to meteorologists, with temperatures exceeding their normal seasonal average by four to five degrees Celsius in Norway and Finland.

Oslo experienced its warmest Christmas since records began in 1937, while in Helsinki and southern Finland the second half of December was the mildest in 30 years. In Koege outside Copenhagen the mercury reached 11.6 degrees C on Christmas Eve.

This year began in a similar vein: pavements in all the Scandinavian capitals were uncharacteristically free of ice and snow, with the white stuff appearing only briefly in Oslo and Stockholm in early December.

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