WASHINGTON— Severe winter weather is affecting the lives of people in many parts of the world.
Stormy weather battered Britain's western coast on Wednesday, causing floods and destruction in regions already suffering from prolonged flooding. British Prime Minister David Cameron promised government support to the victims.
Floods also have struck the southwestern Irish city of Cork. Some local governments are blaming the city management.
"It looks like something you'd see in a third world country where there is no system in place to protect against the flooding. Really I don't think that in 2014 we should be having flooding at this level," said one local resident.
In Spain's Galicia region, five Philippine nationals were rescued by a helicopter when their ship ran into trouble off the coast.
The Spanish cargo ship, the Luno, split in two after high winds crashed it against a jetty off the coast of France, but its crew members were rescued.
In Slovenia, days of blizzards have left the city of Postojna trapped under thick layers of ice and some 50,000 homes without power. Austrian emergency worker Mateusz Frym was part of a team that brought 26 generators to Postojna.
"We have never seen anything like this. So much chaos and ice everywhere. It is crazy, this kind of thing has never happened over at our place (in Austria)," said Frym.
Parts of China also are also suffering extremely low temperatures at the time when much of Asia is celebrating a traditional spring festival.
Tian Shuping, a resident of Mohe County in northeastern Helongjiang Province, where temperatures dropped to minus 43 degrees Celsius Wednesday, said, “The spring has come. But the weather here in Mohe is very cold. I wouldn't have even come out if I didn't have an errand to do."
Many parts of the United States are also buried in snow. Cities have used tons of salt to make their streets passable.
Jeff Fleming, spokesman for the Port of Milwaukee in Wisconsin, welcomed the arrival of fresh salt supplies.
"We've had a lot of snow and we've used an enormous amount of salt. In 2013, the Port of Milwaukee brought in over a million tons of salt and the piles have dwindled to almost nothing," said Fleming.
But for many people, snow means fun and recreation. Thousands of visitors gathered in the Japanese city of Sapporo to admire elaborate ice and snow sculptures at an annual ice festival. Malaysian minister of Tourism Seri Mohammed Nazri bin Abdul Aziz attended the opening ceremony Wednesday.
"Because my country is very warm, I love the cold in Sapporo,” said Aziz.
Aziz spoke outside a booth promoting tourism to his country, where the climate is very balmy especially compared to freezing temperatures at the Sapporo festival.