More weather news from around the world.

Spain: The first snowfall of the season in central and southern Spain caused major traffic jams and cut off entire villages at the end of last week. Hundreds of drivers were forced to spend the night in their cars and trucks as roads were blocked by snow.

Ukraine: More than 200 villages in eastern and central Ukraine were left without electricity after a heavy snowfall on Friday caused breaks in power lines.

Japan: Officials at the site of the forthcoming Winter Olympics in Nagano were relieved to see snow falling on all venues. "It was a week later than average, but it wasn't a worry," said Tamahiro Kimino, the Organising Committee meteorology official. Artificial snow-making equipment had been on standby in case it was needed.

Venezuela: A study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association links outbreaks of malaria in Venezuela to the El Nino weather pattern. In the year after an El Nino, malaria cases have been found to increase by an average of 37 per cent.

Chicago: Natural gas futures prices have fallen dramatically as storage levels rose following the recent mild temperatures in major heating areas.

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