We’ve all been warned about it, and now it’s finally here; this years’ snowpocalypse. A time where the media does its best to terrify us into stocking up on tinned food and avoiding going out at all costs. It’s cold, wet and slippery and the Daily Mail would have us believe it leads to inevitable death. According to the Met Office, some places in the UK are facing a possible 10cm (4 inches) of snow, with temperatures dropping to a chilling -15⁰C in eastern and northern rural areas. Councils have been urged to grit the roads, with current stocks large enough to grit the roads throughout a period of up to 25 days of snow. Greater Anglia, the rail company that own the east coast line have already delayed services due to the weather.
It’s being caused by disruptions in the stratosphere, leading to bitterly cold eastern winds. It’s expected to last at least a week, and perhaps even up to three. The Met Office has issued a ‘cold weather action’ level 3 warning across the whole of England; only one level away from a national emergency, for four inches of snow. Why, as a country, are we so bad at dealing with the cold weather? Seemingly every year we’re warned of severe weather – roads are closed, flights are cancelled, train services are delayed and schools/businesses close. However most years it seems to be a big over-exaggeration, with the exception of the total chaos in December 2010 caused by the heaviest snow and coldest month Britain has seen in 100 years. Even then, as a country we see far less snow and ice than dozens of other countries around the world, and it seems to cause us so much disruption. I was once talking to a Turkish taxi driver during a bitterly cold spell, who told me that one year when he was young they had 3 metres of snow. Upon having a google when I got in, not only was what he told me true, but in eastern Turkey they have well over 100 inches of snow every year, and they can usually just clear the roads and pavements and carry on. How? I just don’t understand, but then I am someone who refuses to get in my car at the slightest hint of snow or ice.
In the Midlands we’re supposed to be blanketed by snow, we had a light dusting last night, before it rained and melted. It’s still raining. In the South, where my family live, it’s done nothing but rain. Granted, some areas of the UK are facing quite thick snow and ice, but so far there’s been no cancellations of flights, no major road closures and it’s all been somewhat of a disappointment/relief. The worst thing I’ve read about it all is that the average heating bill is set to go up £7 a week until the cold snap ends.
But of course, it is bitterly cold out there, and roads and pavements will be icy so do wrap up warm, drive carefully, and keep an eye out for those elderly neighbours who might be struggling in the cold. As for me, I’ll be sat on the sofa in a onesie with the curtains closed until at least spring. Let’s hope we never have to face snowy conditions like those faced in other countries, I can’t even imagine how us Brits would handle that.