Skip to comments.Schools Close As Week-Long Arctic Storm Takes Hold (UK - 1st Day Of Spring)
Posted on 02/28/2006 6:35:38 PM PST by blam
Schools close as week-long Arctic storm takes hold
By Auslan Cramb Scottish Correspondent
More than 150 schools were closed yesterday and dozens of roads were blocked by snow as Arctic weather hit parts of Britain.
Walkers brave the elements at Scarborough, North Yorks, where a severe weather warning had been issued
While many central areas enjoyed uninterrupted winter sunshine, the north of Scotland and the East Coast experienced some of the heaviest snowfall of the winter.
The northerly air stream, which is expected to last for most of the week, hit Orkney and Shetland, where all schools were shut, Aberdeenshire, the North-East of England, north Wales and Northern Ireland.
The weather also hampered efforts to recover an RAF helicopter which was abandoned during a rescue operation in the Cairngorms on Monday night.
The aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing after its rotors iced up during blizzard conditions. The crew of five had to walk off the hill, while a mountain rescue team went to the aid of a climber who had broken his ankle.
Michael Mulford, a spokesman for RAF Lossiemouth, said conditions during the attempted rescue were "utterly horrendous" with the helicopter being buffeted by 60mph winds as it approached Corrie an Sneachda, above Aviemore.
He said: "The 10-ton helicopter is now basically posing as a huge ice sculpture. It is too early to guess when, or if, it will get back to flying.
"We have alpine-trained mountain rescuers who are checking the helicopter, but conditions are currently too bad to mount a rescue operation. The helicopter is picking up more ice and snow so, when the time comes, it will need to be dug out and de-iced."
Severe weather warnings were issued yesterday for Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, with several inches of snow expected on the North York Moors, and up to eight inches of snow on high ground in Scotland.
In Aberdeenshire, 122 schools were closed or partially closed by 11am, and main roads including the A93 Braemar to Cairnwell, and the A939 Cockbridge to Tomintoul, were blocked by drifting snow.
In Yorkshire, there were sporadic snowfalls in the Scarborough and Whitby areas.
The Thames Barrier was closed during the day as the weather combined with high spring tides to create a 20in surge.
Andrew Batchelor, the tidal flood risk manager, said the move was standard procedure "when strong winds on the East Coast combine with high spring tides".
The Met Office said there would be no let-up in the cold weather today, with more snow forecast and temperatures expected to plunge below freezing later in the week.
A second weather front could bring snow to the southern half of the country towards the end of the week and into the weekend.
Bookmakers responded to the icy blast by cutting the odds on a white Easter to 16-1.
We are told to expect 25 to 35 below tonight. It was 15 below this morning and about zero right now. No wind. It's really kind of mellow, although those cheap Japanese cars such as Toyotas need to be plugged in so they will start.
By Catriona Davies
Large areas of Britain were covered in snow yesterday with warnings of more to come, but today is the first day of spring - according to the Meteorological Office. By tradition, spring has started on the night of March 20/21, the vernal equinox, when day and night are of equal length.
However, the Met Office said that it is easier for its record keeping to deal with whole months, making March, April and May the spring months, but that it was not seeking to change anything official.
Sir Nicholas Winterton, a Conservative MP, tabled a Commons question to John Reid, the Defence Secretary, yesterday asking "for what reason and on whose authority" the date has been changed.
Sir Nicholas said: "They may say that March 1 is the first day of spring - which it is not - but it certainly doesn't feel like it."
He was joined in his fury by other MPs. Stuart Bell, a Labour member, said: "Spring starts on March 20/21 and if the Met Office are not aware of this simple fact, it reflects a casual approach to facts, which is all too inherent today."
Bob Marshall-Andrews, another Labour MP, said: "What right have the Met Office to advance the seasons? Only the Prime Minister can do that."
Wayne Elliott, a Met Office spokesman, said: "It's nonsense to say that we have changed anything.
"Astronomically the first day of spring is March 21 but meteorologists use March 1 because it's easier to deal in whole months.
"In the South and Midlands, at least, you usually start to notice that things are changing in early March. The natural world is waking up and buds are starting to appear.
"Of course the weather doesn't always play ball and sometimes you get very mild days in February and wintery weather in March.
The icy winds, which brought heavy snow to parts of Scotland and eastern England, are expected to last for the rest of the week.
Curse this global warming!
Happening here, too. Especially the willow, that's real noticeable, but all the trees are budding, and were in January when it was 30 below. Some of the branches are growing, too, which is noticeable since the shrubs were trimmed even last fall and are already irregular, besides where the moose munched on them.
While they're at it, why not round pie down to 3?
I think we hit 51 below last month. Not at all unusual, but even my old Dodge had to be plugged in below 30 below or it wouldn't start. That Toyota is useless below zero if it isn't plugged in. It's a rough ride below 20 below, too. It's not really an Arctic kind of car.
That should be "pi", not "pie". Good grief.
Sounds like the gulf stream got switched off.
Maybe so. The Gulf Stream might as well be on Mars as far as we are concerned here.
I wonder if the Arctic glaciers that are reportedly melting are relocating to Britain? I just love global warming.</p>
I wonder if my old girl friends, Daphne and Elaine from the UK are doing all right ?
What a great image from Scarborough! I spent a month in Yorkshire(Humberside College) and literally cried when it was time to leave. Whitby...Robin Hood's Bay... Lincoln... Nottingham... what wonderful memories of lovely places and lovely people.
Meanwhile, here in Denver, it was well over 70 today and yesterday it was 73. Thats 66 days into winter!
It was all I could do to resist getting out the motorcycle and going for a ride.
Unless this winter turns out to be a pure anomoly for Great Britain, the slowing of the Gulf Stream may just be showing us its true meaning.
I have the 'switch' here on the Gulf Coast.
I wonder what it's worth to Europe to turn it back on?
I was out in shorts and T-shirt cutting grass today.
Of course it's cold, its winter and England is north of much of Canada's main population centers. Rome is north of Chicago. Europe had 20 years of mild weather, now they get the cold that made their history so dark and bleak.
. .. sorry. old joke.
1st day of spring in the U.K.? I guess they really do live on a different planet than Earth. Spring isn't due for 3 more weeks everywhere else in the northern hemisphere.
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