Great Brrritain: Army put on standby as Met Office warns of another 8 inches of snow

The Army has been put on standby as Britain's Big Freeze continues. It is the coldest winter in England and Wales since 1981 and the coldest in Scotland for 60 years.

Another eight inches of snow has been predicted for today and tomorrow, causing more travel disruption.

In Kent, police said the Army was ready to help out with the situation and warned people not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

The death toll from the freezing weather has now risen to 26. Amongst the deaths is that of a 90-year-old woman who froze to death in her garden in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

A large number of sporting fixtures has been postponed. Yesterday, there were just two matches in English football's Premier League (Arsenal VS Everton and Birmingham City VS Manchester United) after the largest number of postponements in its 18 year history.

The coldest places in the UK overnight were at Tulloch Bridge and Dalwhinnie in Scotland where the temperature was minus 15C (5F).

Elsewhere around the UK they were solidly below freezing - minus 7C (19F) in Manchester, minus 6C (21F) in Cardiff and minus 2C (28F) in London.

It's so cold that the lakes in the English Lake District are freezing over. Derwentwater has turned to ice for the first time since 1996.

Met Office warns of eight inches MORE snow today and tomorrow as Army is put on standby

By Daily Mail Reporter (external - login to view)
10th January 2010
Daily Mail

  • Food prices set to soar because of freezing weather
  • Army mobilised to help out as Big Freeze set to continue

Its surface criss-crossed by cracks in the ice, this is Derwentwater in the Lake District. On the horizon to the right, Bassenthwaite Lake is similarly covered with a layer of ice and snow (click to enlarge)

Further heavy snowfalls were lashing big-freeze Britain today and piling more pressure on the country's already-stretched winter resources.

Forecasters warned up to eight inches of snow could settle today and tomorrow causing a fresh round of travel disruption.

In Kent, for where the Met Office has issued a severe weather warning, police said the Army was ready to help out with the situation and warned people not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

Other places facing a heavy fall today include Surrey, East and West Sussex, with the east of England, Wales, the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber and north-east England due to be hit into tomorrow as well.

A car passes by a wall of snow after a team of diggers cleared snow drifts from the road in Shaw in the Pennines above Manchester today

A resident of Denshaw,Oldham, Lancashire, clears his driveway of snow this morning

The fresh deluge will increase the pressure on dwindling grit supplies across the country. Local authorities have already been forced to cut their use of grit salt by a quarter to help conserve supplies.

As the coldest spell for more than 30 years dragged on with no firm end in sight, National Grid issued another gas supply alert last night - its third in a week.

It came after Prime Minister Gordon Brown insisted that supplies of gas were not running out despite recent record levels of demand.

Also, as a result of the plunging temperatures, food prices are set to soar as farmers are unable to harvest vegetables and hauliers struggle to distribute fresh produce.

The death toll from weather-related incidents also rose to 26, with a wave of sports fixtures called off and more widespread travel problems.

Overnight there was another round of double digit minus temperatures, with Scotland worst-hit.

Clare Allen from MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said temperatures would struggle to rise above 1C or 2C today.

Climber Phil Greenwell, 42, takes advantage of the arctic conditions to practice ice climbing near his home in Weardale, County Durham

"There will be a strong north eat wind again which will make it feel much colder."

She added: "Monday is forecast to see further snow, with a band moving north across the country."

The latest victim of the weather was a 42-year-old woman who died after being found lying in the snow in Newcastle yesterday.

She was discovered by a passer-by in a wooded area near Newbiggin Hall shops and Westerhope Comrades Social Club just before 11am and died in hospital.

Police in South Yorkshire also confirmed a 90-year-old woman had frozen to death in her garden near Barnsley.

Mary Priestland was found dead outside her house amid freezing temperatures.

Britain's Metereological (or Met) Office, which is obsessed with Global Warming, said in November that, due to Global Warming, the three months from December to January will be much warmer than average. The reality is Britain's coldest winter for 30 years. But this is the same organisation which said that, due to Global Warming, Britain's summer of 2009 will be a "barbecue summer." That turned out not to be the case, and July was Britain's fourth wettest since 1914.

Charities have called for increased cold weather fuel payments to pensioners to help prevent the number of cold weather deaths soaring.

The Red Cross said it was having one of its busiest periods in decades as volunteers pitched in with the emergency services.

Stranded: Abandoned vehicles on Blue Bell Hill, Kent and, right, a car in a ditch at Princes Risborough, Bucks

Mrs Priestland was discovered in Goldthorpe, South Yorkshire, police said. It is believed she may have fallen in the snow and was found by a neighbour.

South Yorkshire Police are investigating Ms Priestland's death but a spokeswoman said: 'We do not believe there are any suspicious circumstances at this time.'

It is not known how long Ms Priestland had been in the garden when her body was discovered on Monday and police were unable to confirm reports that she died as a result of hypothermia.

Relatives at Ms Priestland's home were too distressed to talk about her death but an employee at the nearby Unity Dearne Club, who did not wish to be named, said: 'We're a small community and we're absolutely shocked. We look after our own and everybody knows everybody.'

The announcement of the death was followed by another, of a Newcastle woman aged 42.

The woman, who has not yet been identified by police, died at 3pm at Newcastle General Hospital four hours after she was found lying in woods near Newbiggin Hall.

She had told her family she was going for a walk at 7pm on Friday but a major search was launched with helicopter and police dogs when she failed to return by 11.30pm.

Northumbria Police want anyone who saw the woman - who wore a dark knee-length anorak and pale trousers and trainers - after 7pm on Friday to call 0345 6043043 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

A spokesman added: 'We would also wish to remind people about the dangers of walking in the current weather conditions of deep snow and very cold temperatures, particularly at night.'

Braving the cold: Horses ride on the snow-covered gallops at Malton, North Yorkshire

Anyone venturing out into the cold is being advised to wrap up in extra layers to protect against 50mph gusts - with temperatures set to plummet as low as -8C (18F) in the South.

Drivers were also being warned to be especially cautious as councils were forced to stop gritting roads to conserve their dwindling salt rations.

Priority is being given to keeping clear the major roads used for transporting food and fuel - but that will leave thousands of others untreated, including many commuter routes and motorway hard shoulders.

'Megaman': Jan Czugalinsk stands guard over Britain's tallest snowman (20ft), in Rossendale which was rebuilt after vandals demolished the original

Cold bath: Sledgers use an old tub in Whitley Bay, Tyneside

EU working-hours limits were eased last night so gritters could work longer.

Ministers have told councils to cut grit usage by a quarter for fear that it will run out completely.

The Government has ordered salt from abroad but this is not due to arrive until January 21.

Gordon Brown has been forced to issue a statement denying that gas supplies are also running low after nearly 100 businesses were forced to stop using gas to conserve supplies.

In a podcast from No10, the Prime Minister said: 'Because of the cold snap we are also facing record levels of demand for gas.

'National Grid has confirmed that it expects supplies to meet demand.

I can assure you: supplies are not running out.'

He spoke as 425 homes were left without power tonight in East and West Molesey, Surrey, with EDF Energy engineers delayed by treacherous road conditions.

A fault, believed to be weather-related, developed just after 7pm, initially affecting 2,170 homes.

Temperatures fell overnight to minus 15C (5F) at Tulloch Bridge and Dalwhinnie in Scotland.

Blizzard: Drivers face dangerous conditions on the A28 near Ashford in Kent

Elsewhere around the UK they were solidly below freezing - minus 7C (19F) in Manchester, minus 6C (21F) in Cardiff and minus 2C (28F) in London.

The heaviest snowfalls today were across Kent and East Sussex, to a depth of 4in (10cm). But drifts were reported up to three or four feet in the South-East.

Kent Police said the military was on stand-by to help the situation if the weather in the county worsens.

Forecasters warn there is no significant early thaw in prospect.

East Anglia and parts of the South face snow overnight. Tomorrow night it will be the turn of Wales and the North-West - up to 6in (15cm) on higher ground, weathermen say.

Though there may be a slight thaw on Monday as temperatures creep up, it could take up to a week to clear away the deep snow already lying.

Rail services are suffering severe disruption, with four out of 10 trains either delayed or cancelled. Eurostar is running only half its scheduled services to the Continent.

Dozens of flight cancellations saw would-be flyers bedding down in the terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick overnight.

Some of the weekend's biggest sports events joined the growing list of weather-related casualties.

Seven Premier League football games were called off - at Wigan, Sunderland, Fulham, Hull and Burnley today and Liverpool and West Ham tomorrow - with other league games, horse racing meetings and rugby union matches also postponed.

So cold even the Lakes froze over: Derwentwater turns to ice for first time in 10 years

By David Derbyshire (external - login to view)
09th January 2010
Daily Mail

With its snow-crested mountains, perfect blue skies and a vast frozen lake, it looks like a stunning Alpine panorama. But this spectacular winter scene was captured far closer to home in the heart of the Lake District.

It shows one of the largest lakes in Cumbria - Derwentwater - almost completely frozen over for the first time in 14 years.

On the horizon and to the right, Bassenthwaite Lake - which is also fed by the river Derwent - is also covered with a layer of ice and snow after temperatures fell as low as minus 10 degrees.

Its surface criss-crossed by cracks in the ice, this is Derwentwater in the Lake District. On the horizon to the right, Bassenthwaite Lake is similarly covered with a layer of ice and snow

'It is absolutely spectacular,' said Penny Webb, National Trust countryside officer for Borrowdale.

'There is also snow over a lot of the ice so it is very white. It has frozen like this before but not for more than ten years.

'It is like an Alpine morning here with blue skies and squeaky white power snow.'

The Lake District has escaped with just a few inches of snow in the last few days. But morning temperatures have plummeted to below minus 10C.

Paul Delaney, the National Trust's supervisor for the north Lakes, captured the scene of the frozen lake on Thursday as he walked on Walla Crag near Keswick.

In places, the ice is between four and six inches thick, although pockets of open water remain in the centre of the three mile long, one mile wide lake.

This is how the Derwentwater usually looks. It last froze over in the harsh winter of 1995 and 1996

Despite the risk of a potentially deadly dip in the water, tourists and locals have been unable to resist the temptation to take a stroll across the ice.

'Some guys have ventured out, but it's very dangerous,' said Mr Delaney.

'The National Trust has a rented house on Derwent Island and the tenants had to walk across the ice to get off the island. They were okay, but it's risky.

'If you go through the ice, by the time the rescue teams get to you it could be too late.'

The lake last froze over in the harsh winter of 1995 and 1996. Its surface is scored with giant fractures - up to three feet wide - created when cracks appear in the ice during the day and then refreeze at night.

The snow of the last few weeks has turned the Cumbrian peaks into snow-capped mountains. The snow is particularly dramatic on Skiddaw, England's fourth highest mountain which lies to the north of Keswick to the right of the panorama, and on the distinctive peak of Causey Pike, in the centre of the image.

Derwent Water has inspired authors and artists for centuries. It was a favourite haunt of romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, writer and critic John Ruskin and novelist Hugh Walpole.

Beatrix Potter is said to have come up with the idea for The tale of Squirrel Nutkin while watching wildlife on she shore of the lake.
Last edited by Blackleaf; Jan 10th, 2010 at 11:29 AM..
Excuse my ignorance of GB, Blackleaf, but I was wondering if they had snow tires or studded tires there? How about snow plows, sanders, etc. or a ready supply of snow shovels? Living in Canada where we do get this type of weather and people still don't prepare, I can just imagine how awful this must be for people unused to such conditions.
Our weather:

Nanaimo, British Columbia - 7 Day Weather Forecast - Environment Canada (external - login to view)
Quote: Originally Posted by MowichView Post

Excuse my ignorance of GB, Blackleaf, but I was wondering if they had snow tires or studded tires there? How about snow plows, sanders, etc. or a ready supply of snow shovels? Living in Canada where we do get this type of weather and people still don't prepare, I can just imagine how awful this must be for people unused to such conditions.

For most of the UK the number of days per year we have snow on the ground stays in single figures. So snow or studded tyres (excuse the UK-English spelling) aren't worth buying for such limited use and even then most of us would spend the majority of our journey on roads where the snow had already cleared, not ideal for the winter tyres.

Government/Council policy appears to be not to spend money on equipment that will be used a few days per year, and used heavily once every 30 years. If the next few winters are the same as this one maybe this policy will have to change, but then we don't have the money to buy any equipment, our Labour Government have spent the last 12 years creating a bigger national debt than any of us could have imagined they would burden the country with.

We do have sanders, or gritters as we call them in the UK. After snow, ice, cold or winter, gritter/gritting/grit is probably the most used word on our news reports. We have plenty of gritters, the problem is we are running very low on the grit the gritters spread. At the end of my girlfriend's road there is a big yellow grit box, its been empty for a good five years! Even if you find grit in one of these boxes that doesn't mean you're safe to spread it. In December 2008 the following story was in UK papers:
"A teenager who gritted paths so that elderly residents could walk safely in icy weather was questioned by police and threatened with a criminal record. Philip Barnes, 17, said pensioners on an estate in Kendal, Cumbria, were unable to leave their homes because the footpaths had not been gritted. The teenager drove around the area looking for grit and found some in a bin at a railway station, which he says the council told him he was free to take."
So not only was it hard for him to find a grit bin, when he got permission to take grit and help the community, he was almost turned into a criminal. I live in a stupid country.

Even though we are currently in the middle of longest spell of snow for decades, the snow will not cover the country for the extended periods you get in Canada, Northern USA, Scandinavia, Russia, etc. So that is why we look unprepared.

I can't remember ever seeing a snow plough (UK-English) in the UK, except on TV or at an airport, and even then our airports don't have enough snow ploughs.

Maybe someone in Scotland or Northern England would have a different take on this, because I think Scotland and the North are probably the snowiest parts of the UK. They probably have more reason to spend extra on equipment to deal with snow falls.
Not 8 whole inches!!!!!!!

And minus 15! Can you IMAGINE!

Everything is relative.....
If I had time I'd head out for 9 holes.
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