Record-breaking storm hits US lakeside city

A man clears snow on Tuesday in Erie, Pa. (AP)
Updated 27 December 2017
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Record-breaking storm hits US lakeside city

WASHINGTON: Dreams of a white Christmas have turned into a nightmare in the northeastern US city of Erie after a storm dumped a record-breaking five feet of snow in a 48-hour period, forcing officials to declare an emergency.
Residents took to social media to post stunning photos of the whiteout, with meteorologists attributing the 58 inches of snow that fell over Christmas Day, Monday, to 5pm on Tuesday to icy winds blowing over the adjoining Lake Erie, one of North America’s Great Lakes.
More snow was expected at a rate of up to an inch or two per hour as residents were warned to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary and pack emergency kits including tow ropes, flashlights, shovels and flares for essential travel.
Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf announced in a statement that the state national guard was “providing high clearance all terrain military vehicles to aid local agencies with medical emergency and law enforcement response.”
According to data from the National Weather Service, the 34 inches of snow that fell on Dec. 25 was the highest the city had ever recorded, eclipsing the previous high of 20 inches on Nov. 22, 1956.
The two-day snowfall of 58 inches, which was still ongoing, also surpassed a previous state record of 44 inches set in Morgantown on March 20-12, 1958.
“The crews are out, but quite simply they can’t keep up with the amount of snow that’s falling,” said Matt Exley, a local emergency official on a Facebook live post.
Erie meanwhile has received 97 inches of snow in December, making it the snowiest month in the city’s history, which usually averages about 100 inches of snow in an entire season.
Residents posted pictures reminiscent of a bleak polar landscape, dubbing the phenomenon #Snowmageddon on Twitter.
Vehicles were buried and visibility was limited in some areas to just a few feet.
By Tuesday night the temperature had plunged to 14 Fahrenheit (-10 Celsius), with the lake-effect snow warning forecast to continue through Wednesday, potentially adding an additional five to 10 inches of snowfall.


More than half of Albanians would like to emigrate

Updated 19 October 2018
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More than half of Albanians would like to emigrate

  • The country’s potential migration has grown from 44 percent in 2007 to 52 percent in 2018
  • Study shows those mulling migration now prefer Germany and the US

TIRANA: More than half of Albania’s population would like to move to richer countries with better schooling, a study showed on Friday.
The study, led by Russell King of the University of Sussex and Albanian researcher Ilir Gedeshi, found that the country’s potential migration had grown from 44 percent in 2007 to 52 percent in 2018.
Since Albania toppled communism in 1991, more than 1.4 million Albanians, nearly half the current population of the Balkan country, have emigrated mostly to neighboring Italy and Greece and less to the Britain, Germany and the United States.
The study showed economic motives were still the main factor, but less so, and that those mulling migration now prefer Germany and the US.
Some 65,000 Albanians applied for asylum in Germany in 2015-16, with most of them rejected as it began welcoming Syrians fleeing war at home. Germany has since begun welcoming doctors and nurses, almost all new graduates.
As the global and economic crisis since 2008 hit the economies of Italy and Greece, home to about one million Albanians, remittances to Albania, key to alleviating poverty, shrunk by one third and 133,544 migrants came back home.
“The unemployed, unskilled and uneducated were potential migrants earlier. Now the skilled, the educated with a job and good economic standing want to migrate,” Gedeshi told Reuters.
“We also found out economic reasons mattered less because people now want to migrate for better education. A group also wants to leave because they see no future in Albania,” he added.
Given the rising educational profile of potential migrants, the study recommended Albania sought agreements on “managed skilled migration, always bearing in mind the dangers of brain and skills drain.”
“Efforts should also be made to improve and broaden the structure of employment and business opportunities in Albania so that fewer people are pessimistic about their future in Albania and see migration as the ‘only way out’,” it added.