The 2015 Harbin Ice and Snow Festival

Every year, in northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, the city of Harbin hosts the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, featuring massive ice and snow sculptures. At night, the sculptures are colorfully illuminated and visitors can climb and play on some of the structures. The festival officially opened on January 5 this year, and will run through the end of February. According to organizers, the winter festival now draws several million tourists each year, from China and from abroad.

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An Icy Start to Winter

Recent storms and plunging temperatures have encrusted regions of Germany, Austria, and Hungary in thick sheets of ice. Freezing fog and icy rain coated nearly every surface, leaving road signs and trees looking like works of abstract art. The weather has closed some schools and left residents without power as crews work to clear heavy tree branches from roads, buildings, and power lines.

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