Strong weather warnings abound with major thaw in sight

Austria's weather service UBIMET has reported this past January as possibly the country's coldest of the past three decades. The start of this week will be no different than the rest of the month, but temperatures will increase at the start of February.

Strong weather warnings abound with major thaw in sight
Photo: Max Strohmeier/Wikimedia
Upper Austria's central regions, the lowlands surrounding the Danube, and western Lower Austria will be hit by a heavy bout of ice rain and the ensuing accumulation of ice on streets, sidewalks, trees and power lines. Residents should be wary of potentially dangerous circumstances outdoors. Likely are power outages from trees that have fallen under the weight of ice build-up, as well as risky driving conditions. The western regions will be just as soggy as the east, but considerably warmer. From Wednesday on, the entire country will see a welcome rise in temperatures. 
Despite the everyday woes that come with the cold, it has in fact proven beneficial for agriculture. In fact, farmers are quite pleased with the sinking temperatures because they come at the right time. Having a sort of cleansing effect, subzero conditions help to stave off potential pests while winter crops wait out their dormancy period. Arno Mayer spokesman for the plant production department of the Provincial Chamber of Agriculture of Styria stated: “Not only does this affect the matured aphids that try to survive the winter close to the ground, but also other pests that have made their way up to us from the Mediterranean and North Africa. It is fair to expect that we can combat the majority of these parasites via such temperatures.”
Chilly weather also has numerous positive effects on the ground and thereby on root growth. Frozen water encourages compression and solidification of the soil, ergo fosters an overall stabilization. Given that the past four winters were extremely mild, which in turn significantly damaged crop production, this is a very welcome change. 

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