January 29, 2004

Snow? Where Did That Come From?

You would think that a country that spends so much time in the cold would be prepared to handle a little winter weather.

If a flake of snow falls, the nation grinds to a halt. People are stuck in traffic for eight or nine hours trying to get home from work, in many cases justs a couple of miles down the road. That's what happened in Birmingham yesterday. Last year, it was people spending the night on the M11 motorway in East Anglia. The same motorway was trouble again, as were the M1, M4, and countless other major roads.

Here in the Shire, we had minimal snow and ice. Minimal enough that the class I had to attend went ahead. However the high school where my class was being held shut for the day. The buses refused to go pick up pupils out in the country.

Up in Scotland, where they really should be ready for this, 11 principle highways were shut.

In London, seven Tube lines had disruptions. Four of them had no service for most of the day. Weather problems with the Underground - most of which is, well, rather obviously, under ground? Above ground parts of central London were at a standstill. The capital was in chaos. What shut down a city of 8 million? A snowfall that varied from less than a inch to a massive two inches in some places.

This was not some sort of freak, unexpected spate of bad weather. They started talking about it on the television news over a week ago. It's not like there wasn't time to get prepared. Any readers in the US living anywhere north of Dallas would find this situation laughable.

Posted by david at January 29, 2004 11:33 PM | TrackBack

actually...no...growing up in a small town in the south we had school cancellations at the very mention of snow (and we were north of Dallas!). Schools would close for two or three days with four inches of snow on the ground. Here in Baltimore shcools were closed for three days with six inches on the ground. Some problems are universal!

Posted by: Laura Nee at January 30, 2004 12:52 PM

Four inches I could understand; six inches, certainly -- but a dusting? Out here the snow didn't even cover the ground.

In London, they generally had less than a inch -- about 2 cm.

I was in northwest Arkansas in 1998 when they closed the University for the first time since some time in the 70s. There was 18 inches of snow. I spent a decade in Indianapolis. Schools would have never been shut with this "level" of snow.

I'might have exaggerated by saying "north of Dallas", but I was trying to cover everything from the Midwest, Northeast, and Rocky Mountains, as well as parts of the South.

Posted by: David Holford at January 30, 2004 03:56 PM