Predictably unpredictable (UK weather)

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little john:

--- Quote from: Acebird on March 01, 2018, 09:14:52 am ---
--- Quote from: little john on March 01, 2018, 06:55:01 am --- In this area, snow kept falling, again with no wind, but the 3-4" level of snow didn't increase much as the sun made a brave attempt to melt this unwelcomed visitor - which resulted in the formation of icicles in the sub-zero temperatures - some of which grew to over a foot long.  By this time, the Amber-Alert areas had migrated up past the North of England and into Scotland, where they were raised to Red-Alert - the highest warning category (immediate risk to life etc).

But from late Wednesday onwards, I began to understand the significance of these warnings.  A gale abruptly arrived from the East, causing complete a wipe-out as it picked-up the powdery snow and drove it along on it's high winds.

--- End quote ---

We call it a "white out".  It is quite common here for any road that runs due north and south because our prevailing winds are westerly.  Trains are not affected by feet of snow.  There is no wind capable of blowing a train off its track in our area. Airports close down because of wind not so much due to snow.  We have equipment to clear feet of snow.  The single biggest problem we have here with bad weather is the old people who can't see, take about 20 pills a day and have zero driving skills will be the first out on the roads trying to prove something.  It makes travel in the slightest form of bad weather very frustrating and dangerous.
--- End quote ---

Apparently it's not the snow specifically (although that certainly wouldn't help any) which has grounded the trains - but the icing-up and jamming of points due to the partial melt in otherwise freezing conditions.

Hey john we got Friday's weather warning today.  It is now 41 degrees and not a flake on the ground except for piles from commercial parking lots.  The past warm weather has melted it all.  Friday through Saterday will be 6-12 inches in my area, 6-30 inches on tug hill just a ways north of us.  There will be some white outs in this storm for sure.  What I don't like is it is going to start as rain and then switch over.  When that happens it usually means a layer of ice underneath the snow fall and that is a killer.  A state of emergency will be called which means you are not suppose to go out on the roads.  Undoubtedly, idiots will venture out.  The ones who don't know how to drive or have a vehicle with questionable tires and get stuck.  And that presents a huge problem for the snow plows (when people are still in the vehicle).  If the person abandons the vehicle it is fair game for the snow plows and the driver can have some fun.
Nothing is more unpredictable then our weather here.  I have been told that it is a training ground for meteorologist.

little john:
I guess the big difference between what's currently happening over here and what happens in parts of north America and Canada, is that you guys are fully geared-up for it.  You will have suitable snowploughs and an infrastructure which is tailored for this kind of event every single year.  Whereas for us it's a 'once every 20 years' type of scenario.  Which means there's no real case for having dedicated snow-clearing equipment sitting unused in sheds year-in, year-out.

So - what we tend to have is just converted lorries (trucks) - which are pretty-much standard vehicles, just fitted with a mickey-mouse snowplough blade on the front and a grit (brown salt)spreader on the back - when what is really needed are snow-blowers.

Just in case anyone thinks I'm exaggerating about current conditions - have a read of:   As you will read on that page, as a country we just don't cope too well with conditions which you guys on the other side of the pond would consider very much par for the course.

Most definitely John it is the equipment and the mountain of salt stockpiled near and around every major highway.  Plowing is the fastest way to clear snow.  Snowblowing is at a snail pace.  You got to have horses and weight to push snow though.  Construction equipment is slow too but necessary when you lost the battle with a plow.

LJ, my sister lives in Chard and they shut down the road through town.  Last I heard they were upwards of 6 in on the ground and below freezing temps.  Some years ago over the objections of her husband she made him buy some chains for the car.  They have come in handy a few times!  There are no plows, sanding trucks, etc.

She has much the same weather pattern I have in Oregon and we just went through the same. 

Come quickly spring!   :grin:


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