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Predictably unpredictable (UK weather)

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little john:

The UK had a very warm November and December - plenty of flying days, with bees very active and stores being consumed at twice the normal rate.
The mild weather continued into 2018, with two nights in the last week of January seeing an extraordinary 15C (59F) overnight.  I suspect that two of my colonies had started to brood-up by then, as their top boards became very warm to the touch.

Then - a day or two later - someone up there in the celestial sphere flicked a switch, and it's been brass-monkey weather ever since.  Heavy frosts every night, with temperatures hovering around zero(C) during the day thanks to strong winds from the North-East bringing freezing cold air in off the North Sea.

Currently there's one hive here on 'full life-support', with half-a-dozen others living on emergency supplies of fondant, and the rest must surely be close to exhausting their stores by now.  However, with the commencement of spring just a week or two away, I felt reasonably confident there was no need to start chewing my fingernails just yet ... that is, until the weather forecasters announced that we can now look forward to one or perhaps two weeks of blizzards arriving straight from Siberia.

The current predictions are temperatures as low as -15C (5F) in places, with some 8" of snow, which may not sound a whole lot to some of you guys who get plenty of snow each year, but this is predicted to be 'dry snow' and will have gale force winds behind it, so I'm guessing there'll be snow-drifts a few feet deep in places - which should prove interesting.

Here's a map showing the areas of 'Amber Alert', with the position of Yours Truly (wouldn't you know ... ?) well inside the envelope, on the tip of that red arrow.



Apparently the fun is due to start on Tuesday ...
LJ

Acebird:
Welcome the snow.  It will save your bees from the cold wind.  And as we say in the north provide poor man's fertilizer for the wild flowers to grow.  I welcomed the warm freaky weather we got this winter but it could result in the end of my hives.

sawdstmakr:
Hang in there LJ. As long as your bees have supplies, even emergency supplies, they will be fine. Warm weather and no food is what messes my bees up the most.
Good luck.
Jim

little john:
Bit of an update ...

The snow in my area arrived a day early - about 3-4", very powdery and dry - but there was precious little wind.  At that point I didn't really understand what all the fuss was about.

Tuesday and most of Wednesday were very curious days.  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.  It was (and still is) just like a sand-storm in the desert, only it's snow and not sand.  Visibility down to 10 feet or less.  Never seen anything quite like that before.  Ambulances have been doing a roaring trade - that is, when they can get through.

Today - Thursday - the Red-Alert areas have been extended down into England as well.  No trains are running north of Newcastle, all airports and schools in Scotland have been closed. Reports are coming in of hundreds of people being trapped for 18hrs in sub-zero conditions on a Scottish motorway, while attempting to drive just 20 miles along it.  Total, utter bl##dy chaos as the country slowly grinds to a halt.

As regards bees - I'll be more than happy if even half of mine survive this lot.  These conditions are set to continue for at least another 3 days in this locality - but far worse and for far longer, North of here.
LJ

Acebird:

--- 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.

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