Euro cold snap: The day the sea froze

Freezing Britain

From the Weather Isn’t Climate department. Just as warmer winters are blamed on “global warming” so are colder winters too! Which is it? Both? Yes, of course.

It’s our old friend the unfalsifiable hypothesis. Ask “The Cause” what weather phenomenon would be evidence that man-made global warming was NOT happening and all you would receive in return is a blank stare and a thud as jaw hits ground.

Whatever the real cause, it’s very cold in the UK at the moment (and in much of Europe as well):

  • Temperatures as low as Himalayas overnight, plunging to nearly -11C in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire
  • Third of flights out of Heathrow tomorrow cancelled
  • Much of England under ‘Level 3’ cold weather alert, which warns of ‘100% probability’ of severe cold weather, icy conditions and heavy snow
  • Drivers warned to check ‘gritter Twitter’ updates as breakdowns attended by AA double
  • British Gas puts fleet of 4X4s on standby as call-outs soar
  • Salt stocks across Britain stand at 2.4m tons – a million more than last year
  • Sporting events called off including Portsmouth v Hull City Championship football match

Snow showers are sweeping across Britain tonight – with forecasters warning that most of the country will be covered by snow by the morning.

Widespread snow of up to 15cm deep is forecast to fall overnight across much of the country, with flurries already hitting Scotland, northern England and the Midlands this afternoon.

Up to 15cm of snow is expected to cover parts of Cumbria, Lincolnshire, East Anglia, North Yorkshire, the Peak District and the Midlands, while South East and eastern England is predicted to see up to 10cm of snow fall overnight.

Passengers travelling through Heathrow Airport have been warned that a third of tomorrow’s flights will be grounded, and the RAC has warned of a ‘dangerous cocktail of driving conditions’.

The freezing conditions have caused daytime temperatures to plummet four or five degrees lower than average for February – traditionally the coldest month of the year.

Motorists faced a ‘dangerous cocktail of driving conditions’ while forecasters warned the freezing weather was here to stay.

Kevin Andrews, RAC patrol ambassador, said the wintry weather and sub-zero temperatures had left roads ‘extremely treacherous’.

He added: ‘It looks like we’re going to get a dangerous cocktail of driving conditions this weekend.’

The motoring organisation said it had attended 70 per cent more breakdowns than normal while a spokesman for the AA said it dealt with around 1,500 call-outs per hour this morning.

The total figure was predicted to reach up to 15,000 by the end of the day – almost double the 8,500 of a usual Saturday.

Most parts of the country are expected to wake up to a blanket of snow tomorrow morning, including Cumbria, Lincolnshire, East Anglia, North Yorkshire and the Peak District and temperatures will remain low, with -9C expected in the snowy Midlands.

Meteo Group forecaster Paul Mott said the deep freeze was likely to continue into next week – meaning the snow is likely to settle and much of Britain will remain carpeted in white. (source)

There are also some great photos at the link. And elsewhere in Europe, temperatures have plunged:

TEMPERATURES have plunged to new lows in Europe, where a week-long cold snap has now killed more than 200 people as forecasters warned that the big freeze would tighten its grip at the weekend.

In the Czech Republic, the mercury dropped to as low as minus 38.1 degrees Celsius overnight yesterday while even Rome was sprinkled in snow.

In the past seven days, a total of 218 people have died from the cold weather, according to an AFP tally.

Ukraine’s emergencies ministry said the cold snap had now killed 101 people, substantially raising the previous toll of 63. Sixty-four of the victims died on the streets, it added.

Almost 1600 people have requested medical attention for frostbite and hypothermia.

As they try to prevent the toll from rising even further, authorities announced that 2940 shelters had been set up across the Ukraine where people could find warmth and food and another 100 would be opened in the next hours.
There was no sign of an immediate let-up in the weather, with forecasters saying temperatures would hover between minus 25 to 30 degrees Celsius at night and minus 16 to 21 in the day.

The ferocious temperatures killed eight more people over the past 24 hours in Poland, bringing the death toll to 37 since the deep freeze began a week ago, police said.

Temperatures plunged to as low as minus 35 degrees Celsius in parts of Poland – but even that was three degrees warmer than the temperatures in the southwestern Sumava region of the Czech Republic.

Temperatures have been so cold in Bulgaria that parts of the River Danube have been frozen over.

Sixty per cent of the surface near the port of Ruse was iced over, severely hindering navigation, the Danube exploration agency said.

Elsewhere in Bulgaria, another six people were found dead from the cold, bringing the overall tally to 16 in the past week, according to a tally of local media. No official figures have been released.

Most of the dead in the European Union’s poorest country were people in villages, found frozen to death on the side of the road or in their unheated homes, the reports said.

More than 1000 Bulgarian schools remained closed for a third day on Friday amid fresh snowfalls and piercing winds in the northeast of the country.

Residents in Rome experienced only their second day of snow in the past 15 years. Up to five centimetres of snow fell in suburbs of the Italian capital, although there was little precipitation in the city centre.

Temperatures in the Alpine region of Piedmont in northern Italy went as low as minus 30 degrees Celsius.

And the Met Office, always keen to make sure the public doesn’t get the wrong idea, provides the best quote of all:

The Met Office said there was a danger that the cold weather would catch people off-guard after the warmer-than-normal winter so far. (source)

Not any more it isn’t.


  1. The Loaded Dog says:

    “Just as warmer winters are blamed on “global warming” so are colder winters too! Which is it? Both? Yes, of course.”

    Which is why the name had to be changed….to protect the guilty…

  2. The Portsmouth vs Hull City match was called off. That in itself, should be cause for panic, though Portsmouth are probably breathing a sigh of relief.

    I’ve never understood the blind acceptance of the statement along the lines of “global warming will cause some areas to get hotter, some colder, other drier, other wetter”, with a remarkable lack of detail. If thats not verging on the definition of an each-way bet, then I’m, as they say, a monkeys uncle.

  3. Greg McBride via Facebook says:

    It’s global warming by STEALTH! Or is it virtual warming!!??

  4. From the ‘Just because you have an Internet site doesn’t mean your smart department’ comes this:
    “That harsh winter that we are experiencing, it is not proof that global warming is not happening, but rather serves as proof that it is indeed happening, and even a bit faster than we might like to think.”
    Un-Sk-S – 15/01/2011 (I have the link but I’m not posting it – they don’t deserve the extra traffic)

  5. Trouble is , that you just KNOW that the Hansen controlled NASA, the MET.. etc will ALL come out and say that this year was the hottest on record. !!!

  6. Hasn’t the Gillard government blamed Tony Abbott for this big freeze? Or could it be that Kevin is freezing them out?

  7. Toscamaster says:

    Would somebody please establish the whereabouts of Al Gore, Tim Flannery, David Karoly and Will Steffen right now?
    It is a well-established scientific fact that the locations of these gentlemen bears a statistically verifiable relationship to the fundamental cause of Global Freezing and Flooding of the Australian mainland.
    I am sure there is a PhD in Climate Science somewhere in this “””Null hypothesis”””.
    Please present your application for a grant, along with proof that you would never question AGW, to the IPCC and/or the Australian Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.
    You success in being granted this funding will result in you becoming very wealthy and in being granted referee status for all Climate Science papers put forward by any friend or associate of these esteemed causes of the aforementioned Global Freezing or Flooding of the Australian mainland.
    Yours sincerely (with tongue in cheek for fear that it might freeze off)

  8. Clearly ‘climate change’, not ‘global warming’.

  9. Climate change is natural and normal,the Earth ain`t a German fridge.

  10. The climate changes every 100,000 years From Hot to cold and back again. If only people would look at the Ice core data you’ll see the trend/pattern. I guess you can call it climate change. But it is really a climate cycle.

  11. And while we read news on the Beeb of the new found Dutch interest in Skating and over 100 serious car accidents within six hours, there are still believers claiming that the extra precipitation (visible as snow) is proof of gullible warming; apparently oblivious to the fact that 1mm of rain is more or less equal to 20mm of snow and precipitation during thesethree cold winters has been below expectation.
    Norwegian electricity being mostly generated by hydro-electric schemes, the last three winters have lead to much nail biting over low storage.
    Seeing the army of men on overtime rushing to grit, plough and salt roads and footpaths, collect wrecked cars, de-ice aircraft and such like has me wondering just how a supposed 2 degree warming is meant to be more economically catastrophic than subsidising rainbow power and keeping the UNited Nothing-doers in the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustommed in order to save us from gullible warming in favour of this.
    Mind, The CRU,the Met office and the BBC will remind us all that three arctic winters in a row is only weather, not climate innit?

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