Friday, February 09, 2007

UK - 10 cm of snow brings chaos

Ungritted roads kept traffic to a crawl in many places

Snow caused chaos in the UK yesterday. Thousands struggled to make their way to work on icy roads and on heavily disrupted public transport networks. The loss to British industry is said to run to more than £500 M with many workers taking the day off. Hundreds of schools were closed across the country and many children instead took the opportunity to take to the slopes with their sledges, build snowmen or pelt each other with snowballs. There were reports that some youngsters had shown signs of antisocial behaviour by throwing snowballs at motorists and members of the public. Freezing fog, low temperatures and the further threat of snow may cause more disruption in the coming days [BBC]. There was much criticism on local radio stations throughout the day that local authorities had failed in their duty to grit the roads. Air travel was also severely disrupted with flights cancelled and runways closed at many of Britain’s airports [BBC]. London’s subway network was also affected with some lines shutdown all together. By Thursday the thaw had begun in many urban areas and the public transport system was beginning to return to normal. The disruption caused by 10 cm [4 inches] of snow begs the question as to how Britain might cope with weather commonly seen in Canada and the US which cause much less havoc. In upstate New York, more than 2 metres [6 feet] of snow has fallen with more expected [Fox News]. Although disruption has occurred, it is nothing compared to the disruption seen in the UK yesterday.

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