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UK Slammed, Frigid Cold, Snow

December 1, 2010, by Ken Jorgustin

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uk-severe-weather
Severe Weather Map for the UK region

Frigid temperatures and high snowfall are blasting through parts of the UK and Europe, causing tremendous disruption, delays, cancellations, and hardship.

From the UK Met Office, “Severe weather warnings are in force across Scotland, eastern England, East Anglia and the South East, where further snow is likely through Wednesday and into Thursday”

The UK Met office reports up to 100 cm (almost 40 inches!) of lying snow in the eastern regions.

Temperatures have plummeted to well below 0 C and as low as -15 C in some locations.


Why is it so Cold with so much Snow?

Normally, prevailing winds are from the west in regions around the UK, which keeps things warmer in the winter (relatively speaking). This year, a very large high pressure system has developed in the northern Atlantic Ocean, resulting in a blocking pattern for those westerly’s. Since winds rotate clockwise around high pressure systems in the northern hemisphere, it is drawing down very cold air from the north and northeast.


Be prepared for severe weather

While some other parts of the world may be familiar with severe winter weather conditions and encounter them on a somewhat regular basis during the winter months, such a drastic weather change is catching people off guard and unprepared in the UK and other locations where this type of severe weather is unusual.

Although it is too late in the UK this time, to be prepared for the severe snow storm that is occurring, it will hopefully open the eyes for some and lead to better preparedness plans in the future.

Having a 72 hour emergency kit in ones vehicle is a very prudent precaution. While watching the reports on this storm I see many images of stranded vehicles and I wonder how many of them have a blanket, food, and water as a bare minimum…

Same goes for those who are stranded in airports, etc… with only the clothes on their back and whatever is with them. Having a mini emergency kit with food and water in your backpack is a very good idea!

Having adequate food storage at home is also good insurance. It is surprising how many people have one week or less of food in the house. It seems like a 3 or 4 week supply would be a good minimum food supply to start with.



Gulf Stream current and the north Atlantic high pressure system?
As an aside, it would be interesting to discover some reasoning as to why the large high pressure system has developed in the northern Atlantic, which is apparently a somewhat rare happening during winter.

Hmmmm…. the Gulf stream and issues resulting from the Gulf of Mexico – BP oil spill and dispersants that were released to keep the oil under the water?


Map of Gulf Stream currents during 1-Dec-2010

gulf-stream-currents-1-dec-2010

Link to NCOM Ocean Currents page



Update, 2-Dec-2010, thousands of people were stuck on platforms and hundreds were stranded on trains overnight while traffic was an obvious mess. The rail industry is seemingly being blamed for a lack of information (which may be true), however forecasts and falling snow all around should trigger some personal responsibility for ones self, and hopefully, adequate preparedness or contingency plans.

Evidently more snow and ice is forecast for Friday.

uk-snow-storm-2-dec-2010-services-delayed-traffic-snarled



Update, 3-Dec-2010, more than 20 roads remain closed in Scotland, North West, North East, and Midlands while fuel distribution is being somewhat affected. Severe warnings are still in effect for widespread icing and very cold conditions.

uk-storm-3-dec-2010