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Ill Prepared for Snowfall, Britain Crawls to a Halt

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posted on Dec, 20 2010 @ 10:18 PM
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Ill Prepared for Snowfall, Britain Crawls to a Halt


www.nytimes.com

LONDON — If there were a contest for the worst weather-related suffering in Britain in the last few days, who would win?

Would it be the drivers who abandoned their cars on the M5 highway and took their chances through driving sleet and unfamiliar snow banks? The Eurostar passengers lined up around the block for seven hours in freezing temperatures on Monday for the whisper of a possibility of a ticket out? The people who have been sleeping on their suitcases at Heathrow Airport since Saturday?
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Dec, 20 2010 @ 10:18 PM
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In Britain, average temperatures have sagged to four or five degrees below normal, and the month is shaping up to be the coldest December in a century and the snowiest in 30 years. Except for a few days when the temperature lifted into the 40s, December has been relentlessly cold, windy, icy and unpleasant.

“This is now the third bad winter in a row,” Louise Ellman, the Labour chairwoman of the Commons transportation committee, said over the weekend. “We need to establish whether we think there may be a change of weather patterns and if so respond accordingly.”

www.nytimes.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Dec, 20 2010 @ 11:50 PM
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Yeah we suck when hit by freezing temps, gatwick managed to get 300 out of 700 flights off over the weekend
The pictures of people in heathrow were quite amusing, shame for the people involved though.




posted on Dec, 20 2010 @ 11:58 PM
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Why is Britain never prepared for snow?

Admittedly, current conditions are extreme, but Britain seems to be stunned and unprepared whenever there is snow.

Hello? Britain has a history of snow - why haven't they learnt anything?



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 12:03 AM
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reply to post by catwhoknows
 


I would have to read some more but I think it's to do with the speed it happens we just get hit hard and haven't got the infrastructure in place to deal with it combined with the lack of foresight by the businesses.

Gatwick brought 2 new snowploughs over the last week

At heathrow the planes were frozen on to the stands

edit on 21-12-2010 by aivlas because: (no reason given)


As for who wins in the crappy stakes I would say the xmas travelers, harsh stories from them.
edit on 21-12-2010 by aivlas because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 12:07 AM
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reply to post by aivlas
 


I think your top guys must be a bit thick (sorry lol).

There should have been something put in place years ago to cope with snow.

I know it arrives unexpectedly but - that is the nature of snow.



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 12:17 AM
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reply to post by catwhoknows
 


your telling me, we keep managing to run out of salt for gritting



In Lancashire, northwest England, hundreds of people had to spend the night in their cars after an accident blocked the main north-south motorway

Temperatures plunged to minus 19 degrees Celsius (minus two degrees Fahrenheit) in Pershore, west central England. The Met Office national weather service said snow falls this month have been the heaviest for December since 1981.


www.terradaily.com...

Stuck in a car overnight
they win the crappy award, man that would be harsh.
edit on 21-12-2010 by aivlas because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 12:23 AM
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reply to post by aivlas
 


Hi aiv,

It's nice talking to you because you take my comments in the spirit in which they are meant.

Also, they can't use salt on the runways because it corrodes the planes (I just saw that on the news).



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 12:27 AM
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reply to post by catwhoknows
 


Jabs against governments and big business are welcome


Interesting about the salt didn't know that.



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 01:11 AM
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Here's an article from March 2000, Independent (UK).

Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.

Where's Al Gore to explain this? I'm sure he has some kind of hare-brained theory of why the weather in Europe is the coldest in more than a century.

Here's headlines of winter 2010-2011 season. Same paper BTW.

More snow looms as Britain suffers winter chaos.

If you'll notice, the above article is dated three weeks ago.

Brrrrr! I feel for you.





edit on 21/12/10 by Intelearthling because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 02:49 AM
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I created a thread regarding the winter weather in the uk and yes it was bad, but now?? Im interested in hearing from anyone in the uk because im struggling to believe how bad it is now. Im north east uk yeah its cold but snow? We had a dusting two days ago yet last week/week before we had a foot or two which is about gone, like i said this week though weve had a dusting.

The point im making is the media seems to be hyping it all up. Air travel and rail seems to have taken a direct hit and the news constantly reporting that the airports and rail stations are having a nightmare with people sleeping at the airports etc.
What i cant understand is how 2 people i know both work away and travelled to scotland, got there fine and returned with no delays?
They said yeah there was snow but not that bad?
He's off away to work again.....
So whats the real story here because something aint right here, Is the snow and ice as bad as the media are making out or is it part of the downfall of the air and rail industry? Ive stated on my thread titled Event Horizon that i predicted a few things and 2 of those i believe out with the old in with the new. Meaning moving away from the air, rail and automotive industries and stepping towards a new cleaner cheaper means and eventually breaking away from our dependancy of oil.
So any of you in Scotland and other parts of UK im really interested in hearing from you.

Is it as bad as they say? Or is it what i suspect the begining of the end for the transport system as we know it?



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 03:06 AM
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reply to post by jazz10
 


It's not to bad around my way on the main roads at least, some of the side roads are a bit of a trap though. Traffic hasn't stopped passing by.

The media is going to focus on the bad things that happen and hype them up. I don't think this has anything to do with changing current transport methods.
edit on 21-12-2010 by aivlas because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 03:17 AM
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Apart from our media hideously over-reacting regarding this current spell of cold weather, what they do is they bleat the ''coldest December for ## years'' line and quote statistics that are, quite frankly, totally useless to your everyday person. In all sincerity, what and how am I supposed to use information such as: ''temperatures have been their lowest for this month in x number of years''...really, it's very, very irritating and insulting to most people with common sense.

The facts are, the UK has not experienced snowfall that is either heavy enough or frequent enough to justify implementing longer term preparations on a national scale, at least not from an investment perspective. Our infrastructure, for the most part is predominantly based on Victorian models and although we're slowly but surely well on our way to improving this infrastructure, there's still an awful lot of improvement to me be made in and around the larger UK cities.

The government haven't really, until now, been faced with problems quite like this in the UK in terms of the billions lost in daily business having a shortage of staff due to the inability to get to their place of work, transport infrastructure closures and Airports having cancelled flights. Though, I must point out to some people on this forum that the government do not run our Airports, they are largely controlled by BAA.

I was recently reading about times when the Thames river used to freeze over and was used to hold fares and festivals on during this time of year, so I dread to think how cold it must have been for that to happen, but we must also remember that we didn't rely on the rail, aircraft or automobile as forms of transport back then and the working [commuting] population was literally a tiny fraction of what it is today.

We're a martime climate here and essentially the Atlantic sea temperature keeps our country from being much like Scandanavian and lower arctic climates in the winter, so although we do experience snow, arguably we do not experience enough to warrant the requirement of implementing national scale preparations for snowfall.

My own opinion is that I see now harm in local government spending on gritting vehicles, snow ploughs and other useful machinary just to afford us the function of main trunk roads, service roads and motorways and of course the storage of grit.

edit on 21-12-2010 by BAZ752 because: pesky little typos!



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 03:42 AM
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Originally posted by catwhoknows
Why is Britain never prepared for snow?

Admittedly, current conditions are extreme, but Britain seems to be stunned and unprepared whenever there is snow.

Hello? Britain has a history of snow - why haven't they learnt anything?


Britain does not have a history of snow. What Britain does have, is a history of intense snowfall for very short periods during isolated cold-spells during the year and our Winters are generally considered moderate in comparison with those experienced on the continent. As I've mentioned in my previous post this is because we're a martime climate. If we had a history of snow, one would be inclined to think that that we experience snow on a regular and consistent basis, which we do not. It is true that in times of past snowfall has settled and last many weeks during winters due to the prolonged sub-zero temperatures but they are generally 1 in 20 year events and something uncommon to our Isles.


History has taught us that when we do experience intense but short periods of snowfall, within days the temperature usually reaches degrees where it is almost completely melted [on lower terrain] and we're left with high ground water levels. It is also true that in Britain it is very common to experience the proverbial ''four seasons in 1 day'' which we frequently see in early Autumn and Spring periods during the year. Again, this is predominantly due to our martime climate and weather patterns.



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 04:02 AM
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reply to post by BAZ752
 



Excellent synopsis of the situation here in the UK. An intelligent and accurate report - Brilliant!

I totally agree with you. To me there are three observations to our muddle in such conditions;

1. We never get enough ice and snow to justify a large budget for it. So when it happens quite badly, we are stuffed! There must also be an element of budget juggling, because we are financially stuffed too, and as heavy snow and ice aren't common place, most councils probably gamble on there not being any, so their books look good!

2. We are a bunch of woosies, where a large % of the population know nothing of hardship. We have central heating, plentiful food, air con offices, and our own transport. Most of us in our 40's/50's remember homes with no central heating, and our grandparents had it even tougher, with usually far more mouths to feed.

We have become so soft, it's a wonder we don't melt in the comfort of our cosy lives. So, when conditions get 'slightly' tough we all fail to perform. Our transport systems (all ancient as they are), grind to a halt and our salt supplies fail - Our infrastructure operates like it's 1950, not 2010.

3. The writer is correct in his comments about the Thames and how it must of been when it froze over. Our society today runs on a knife edge - All the transport systems are functioning at their absolute limit, and that's when all is running perfectly, and so they fall over at the slightest hiccup. The problem is, we are living on borrowed time. The population has grown and grown and the stupid governments haven't catered for that. Sure they're widening the M25, but it's too little too late. People would use trains and buses if the infrastructure was there to cater for their needs, but all too often it fails.

Everything is at it's max - Roads have massive traffic jams just due to a small shunt or breakdown. Trains fail because of leaves. The tubes are full to busting at rush hour and worse if one gets cancelled. Shops run out of food if the media say 'No need for panic buying' Petrol stations likewise. It's all on overload and when we get a weather situation like this - Mild to some countries - we grind to a halt and the media feeding frenzy dives in and it all gets hyped up so they can make more money selling news. And on that news, we say... 'Ooo it's terrible out there, best stay in'. We should get over it and stop being so soft!

...And for those passengers getting irate and annoyed as their flights are on hold - remember this...... an airport is a 'put you through' not a 'put you up'!!!! It's designed to process millions of travellers as fast as possible. It's not a hotel or banqueting suite, designed to provide the fullest amenities, and care for your every whim! If it did, you'd be queuing all year round, and not just when the snow falls... Get over it!

and finally... Get used to this, because when the Altantic Conveyor finally grinds to a near halt, due to man's effects on the climate, we will be in the grip of Arctic winters for many years to come!! (After all take a look along the lines of latitude!



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 05:00 AM
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Makes me laugh...

I love the way everything comes to a stop. It's amazing how we know we get this weather yet continually fail to be prepared for it.

If they ever decide to 'invest' into equipment that can deal with any problems, then it's an effort well made. When this kit is not needed it is being maintained, or even, upgraded whilst in storage.

The losses everyone is losing is down to everybody not doing something before the event. Financial costs are a strong barrier. If it wasn't about money, then we may have a system that works very well... and that system would possibly involve everyone obtaining at least one shovel and brush


If financial costs were not involved, we may find that with a changed state of mind, many people stuck would probably be happy to help clear snow.

The reality is that business comes before people. That's why a thousand people were queued outside the train station and why many more are standing outside one of the terminals at Heathrow. Apparently, the backlog of passengers is growing by 100,000 a day.



posted on Dec, 21 2010 @ 05:32 AM
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reply to post by ckitch
 


Some nice additions to my post there ckitch, although I'm not 100% convinced on your final comment about the Atlantic Conveyor just yet, I'm certainly open-minded, I just remain on the fence with subject but that debate is for another time


It's very true when you mention the issues and social implications of weather extremes we suffer here. I hate to coin it, but 'disposable lifestyles' and the pace of society prohibits most critical thinking in our everyday lives. Common sense itself tends to be eroded by the fact that we are living beyond our means of home comforts and luxuries that would otherwise see the sense in how to combat and deal with difficult weather conditions.

I beg the OP's pardon for veering slightly off topic with this one, but last year it was reported that a particular council in the London area refused public sector workers the ability to park in their normal car-parking building because the access ramp to the parking building was covered in a layer of hard snow less then 2" thick. The Parking Officer of the building refused cars onto this shallow ramp because he considered it too great a risk. However, when one worker (namely an Member of Parliament) pleaded that he would help clear the ramp to the building by hand using a make-shift shovel of sorts, the Parking Officer out-right refused because it was not in the interest of both his or the MP's health and safety. Said Parking Officer was jeered by the workers within the vicinity as being a ''self-righteous, jobsworth'' among many things and rightly so. I know these instances are few and far between, but it serves as a perfect example of how the Labour government helped shape and force the decision making process in situations where a little common sense would prevail. I know litigation culture is growing in this country [which I despise], but peoples attitudes are largely to blame and the reasons why many localised difficulties are amplified.

Sorry, back on topic...

Again, back to the infrastructure and it's current function, although, I would agree in and around larger cities, we're frequently at the lower thresholds on transport systems, because we're a small country in terms of land mass and our centres of commerce are not spread equally throughout the country - it makes it very difficult for us to justify mass spending to improve all infrastructure networks. As I say, we're predominantly Victorian in our rail networks and that also includes our road systems too, but a point that must be made here is that the vast majority of our road network in the UK, although very old, is still perfectly serviceable and sustainable for the medium term future. Incentives are constantly being reviewed by local governments [I know because I work on many of the these projects for a living] to improve systems, allow for less demand on road travel etc etc, but unfortunately that doesn't help our attitude toward dealing with adverse weather conditions like heavy and intense snowfall. I believe it is a cultural problem as we are a nation of commuters in the UK.

There isn't really a solution to this problem, rather we adopt mitigating measures against the difficulties when are faced with extreme weather conditions like this. It's a case of 'making-ready' as opposed to selecting an option off the shelf and using it. Damage limitation if you will. It's the only positive way forward for a nation of our size and current capacity.




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