Met Office: British winter was the coldest for 31 years

Met Office figures recorded a December-to-February mean UK temperature of just 1.51C, while the 1971-2000 average is 3.7C

met-office-british-winter-was-the-coldest-for-31-years
A driver eases through Great Chart in Ashford, Kent, during what the Met Office has now confirmed as the coldest UK winter for 30 years. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

After suffering snow, sleet, rain and consistently freezing temperatures, the knowledge that the Met Office has officially recognised winter 2009-10 as the coldest in 31 years brings with it a certain grim satisfaction.

Provisional figures from the forecaster show the UK winter ‑ which in forecasting terms lasts from the start of December until the end of February ‑ has been the harshest, in temperature terms, since 1978-79.

The news may come as little surprise to those affected by snow in December and January, when falls of up to 2ft saw councils’ grit supplies run low, travel chaos and the return of the Guardian’s snow day live blog.

Read moreMet Office: British winter was the coldest for 31 years

US ‘Snowmageddon’: Hundreds of Thousands Remain Without Power in Washington DC

US snowstorm causes power cuts in Washington DC region



“This is maybe the biggest storm that we have had.”

Hundreds of thousands of people remain without power in Washington DC and nearby states after a blizzard blanketed the area with record snows.

Electricity was cut to at least 300,000 homes as the snow felled trees, and cut power lines. Emergency workers are struggling to restore power.

Washington got up to 2ft (61cm) of snow, one of the heaviest snowfalls in decades.

The storm disrupted transport from West Virginia to southern New Jersey.

A record 3ft (91cm) of snow fell on Maryland.

Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland have declared emergencies, allowing them to activate the National Guard to help cope with the wintry onslaught.

us-snow
US Snow: Your pictures

Some 300,000 homes are without electricity in Maryland and neighbouring Virginia – the two states which bore the brunt of the storm.

Another 250,000 customers were hit by blackouts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the New York Times reported.

Pepco electric company said its workers were scrambling to restore power, but warned it could be a few days before everyone was back up.

“We have a lot of scattered outages and the road conditions are not really working with us,” spokesman Andre Francis told AFP news agency.

Read moreUS ‘Snowmageddon’: Hundreds of Thousands Remain Without Power in Washington DC

UK: Gas supply rationed as temperature drops to -21C

The same is happening in China:

Freezing Beijing rations gas supply (Financial Times)

Chinese cities not ready for harsh winter (Xinhua):

Seven provinces and regions in eastern and central China have reported power rationing and Beijing declared an emergency due to the gas shortage after the new cold snap gripped much of China, resulting in soaring energy demand as coal supplies were already tight in most of the areas struck by the severe winter weather.

The China Meteorological Administration issued a cold-snap warning on Tuesday, saying temperatures in northern China had plummeted to minus 20 and 32 degrees Celsius, and the temperature in central China, including Hubei and Jiangxi provinces and the eastern coastal provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, nudged close to minus 8 and minus 5 degrees Celsius respectively.


nasa-satellite-image-of-a-snow-covered-uk
A Nasa satellite image of a snow-covered UK: ‘It’s very unusual to have such uniform coverage,’ said the forecaster Michael Dukes

The gas was turned off for nearly 100 businesses yesterday to protect domestic power supplies after unprecedented demand brought on by the cold weather.

The national grid was forced to reduce the supply to companies in the North West and East Midlands shortly after issuing its second warning in three days that the system was running out of gas. Demand in recent days has been 28 per cent above seasonal norms and is likely to increase today after temperatures fell to minus 21C in some areas overnight — the coldest night of the winter so far.

Business groups and politicians criticised the Government’s attempts to safeguard the supply and called for more gas storage facilities to be built. “The longstanding vulnerability in our energy system has today been exposed and as a nation we now need to take security of our energy supply more seriously,” said Roger Salomone, the energy adviser of EEF, the engineering employers organisation.

John Hemming, a Liberal Democrat MP, said: “We are on the edge when it comes to our power supplies and there is no safety margin.”

National Grid issued a warning that the system would run short when pressure dropped in a pipeline that brings gas from Norway to a terminal at Easington on the East Coast of England. It said that it had been the first time in six years it had been forced to curtail the supply.

Britain’s biggest salt mine and the Government are drawing up rationing plans as councils run out of supplies to grit roads. Gordon Brown asked Salt Union, which runs the Winsford Rock Salt Mine, in Cheshire, to increase production as Richard Stokoe, of the Local Government Association, said that some councils such as West Berkshire had enough for only one round of gritting.

Supplies reach dangerous levels in arctic UK (NEWS.com.au)

Thousands of minor roads and residential streets were icebound last night. The A628 in Derbyshire and Yorkshire, the A66 in Cumbria, the A1(M) in Co Durham and the M20 in Kent all remained closed along with several roads in Wales. Bus services in Cornwall were cancelled.

Thousands of people were left waiting for delayed flights and trains and hundreds were trapped underground for two hours after a Eurostar train broke down in the Channel tunnel.

Read moreUK: Gas supply rationed as temperature drops to -21C

Winter Chaos Around The World

winter-chaos-shangdu-inner-mongolia
A train stranded in Shangdu, Inner Mongolia

World:

Now that really IS the wrong type of snow on the line! Winter brings travel chaos around the world (Daily Mail)

US:

Midwest bracing for heavy snow, wind chills of -50; South freezes too (AP)

Colorado Becomes Country’s Cold Spot (ABC News)

South struggles with record-setting freeze (USA Today)

Europe:

Airport chaos as icy weather grips northern Europe (BBC News)

Temperatures across Europe plunge to near record lows (CNN)

Europe shivers as Britain braces for brutal winter (AFP)

With the UK being hit hard:

Weather-related death toll rises to 22 as Britain braces for coldest night yet (Times):

The death toll from Britain’s biggest freeze for decades reached 22 today as the country prepared for its coldest night so far, bringing the promise of even more treacherous conditions.

UK gas supply dwindles as country experiences sub-zero weather (Electric):

The UK faces the possibility of gas supply crisis as the worst cold season in 30 years hit the country.

UK’s only got enough gas to last eight days, say Tories (Daily Mail)

U.K. Gas Market No Laughing Matter (Wall Street Journal)

UK’s only got enough gas to last eight days, say Tories (Daily Mail)

Some parts of the country have just ONE day’s supply of grit left (Daily Mail)

Panic buying at supermarkets as Britain braces itself for the big freeze (Daily Mail)

As a sidenote: Met Office chief receives 25 pc pay rise (Telegraph):

The head of the Met Office, the national weather service which has been heavily criticised for getting its forecasts wrong, is now paid more than the Prime Minister, after receiving a 25 per cent pay rise.

China:

China freeze to continue as power use, food prices rise (AFP)

Chinese cities not ready for harsh winter (Xinhua)

China tells factories to cut power use amid cold (BusinessWeek)

Central China power supply in jeopardy on coal,weather (Reuters)

Cold wave in India:

Cold waves in northern India claim 195 lives (Indian Express)



Army rescues 1,000 drivers stranded in cars for 12 HOURS as UK is paralysed by heavy snow

winter-chaos
Going nowhere: The A3 in Horndean, Hampshire was closed this morning after 1,000 motorists were stuck in their cars overnight and hundreds of vehicles were abandoned

Up to 1,000 stranded motorists had to be rescued by the Army today after some of the heaviest snowfalls in 20 years left drivers trapped in their cars overnight.
Among those stranded without food and water on the A3 in Hampshire was a heavily-pregnant woman and her baby daughter.

Millions of people across Britain were unable to get to work this morning as snowstorms caused massive disruptions on the roads and railways.

Thousands of schools remain closed, while major airports have been forced to ground flights as snow ploughs try desperately to clear runways of snow and ice.

More than 16 inches (40cm) of snow has fallen in the hills of north east England and the Scottish borders, while 12 inches (30.5cm) was recorded in Berkshire. Parts of the Northern Highlands recorded 18.5 inches (47cm).

The Met Office said southern England could see another six inches (15cm) this afternoon, with the ‘treacherous’ weather lasting for up to ten more days.

The Army, drafted in to save 1,000 drivers stranded on the A3, used military trucks and Land Rovers to rescue those trapped in a ten-mile jam on the trunk road at Waterlooville.

But some of the trapped motorists claimed they received no help at all and that ‘no one knew what was going on’.

Carla Holt said she and her 13-month-old daughter Lily-May were stuck for 12 hours in the freezing conditions. She said she received no support from the police overnight and was only able to leave the road when it was partially cleared at 6.30am today.

The 23-year-old said: ‘We went through hell. I am eight months pregnant, I couldn’t go to the toilet all night, I couldn’t warm the bottle up for my baby daughter. It was very frightening.

Read moreWinter Chaos Around The World

Britain is facing one of the coldest winters in 100 years, experts predict

Britain is bracing itself for one of the coldest winters for a century with temperatures hitting minus 16 degrees Celsius, forecasters have warned.

britain-facing-one-of-the-coldest-winters-in-100-years-experts-predict
Parts of Scotland have had snowcover for nearly three weeks

They predicted no let up in the freezing snap until at least mid-January, with snow, ice and severe frosts dominating.

And the likelihood is that the second half of the month will be even colder.

Weather patterns were more like those in the late 1970s, experts said, while Met Office figures released on Monday are expected to show that the country is experiencing the coldest winter for up to 25 years.

On New Year’s Day 10 extreme weather warnings were in place, with heavy snow expected in northern England and Scotland.

Read moreBritain is facing one of the coldest winters in 100 years, experts predict

US Blizzard: Christmas Misery for Millions; Oklahoma State of Emergency (Video)

US Blizzard
Blizzard hits Christmas travelers in Nebraska and Oklahoma. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

For only the 7th time in 106 years, people in Oklahoma City wake up to a White Christmas.  At least 13 inches of snow had fallen up to last night at Will Rodgers World Airport.  At one point, a heavy band dropped 4 inches in one hour.  The Governor declared a disaster area and ordered ever interstate and turnpike closed:

“I am urging all Oklahomans to take winter storm precautions and stay off the roads unless travel is absolutely necessary,” Gov. Brad Henry said earlier in the day after declaring a state of emergency. “This is a very serious winter storm, and we want Oklahomans to stay safe.”

This is the second blizzard to hit the region this month.  See more pictures in the slide show below:

See more:  Dallas gets first White Christmas in 83 years. Video and pictures; and Christmas Winter Storm Travel: Ice, snow, and flooding rain

Also: Santa Tracking NORAD 3D Videos: Visiting the US and around he world

Video Report

For More:

See NASA Satellite images from space after the blizzard

Pictures from height of blizzard and record snow in Baltimore Snowstorm breaks more records hitting Maryland the hardestStorm update: A top 10 snowstorm and blizzard conditions

White Christmas: Snow totals, snow pack, and arctic sea ice building

Two snowstorms have hit the middle of the nation in December

Two snowstorms have hit the middle of the nation in December
This second storm hit shoppers and travelers for the holiday. View Slideshow » Click here to find out more!

Read moreUS Blizzard: Christmas Misery for Millions; Oklahoma State of Emergency (Video)

US East Coast faces severe winter storm

More signs of non-existent global warming:

Eurostar trains suspended as cold weather continues (BBC News)

Winter cold snap jolts Europe, worse to come (Sydney Morning Herald)

Snow causes second day of disruption (BBC News)

Record cold, snow envelop Japan Sea coast (Japan Times)


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. East Coast was under a Winter Storm Warning early on Saturday for heavy snowfall centered around the nation’s capital, the National Weather Service said on its website.

Snow accumulation through Saturday night for Washington, D.C, was forecast at between 15 and 25 inches, with cold and windy conditions and blowing snow.

See also:
NJ weather forecast: Major snow storm could break century-old records (NJ.com)

The storm was expected to pass through the mid-Atlantic region by Sunday morning and blanket areas to the north, including Philadelphia and New York City, later in the weekend.

Snow was expected to start falling in New York by mid-afternoon on Saturday, with accumulation of 6 to 12 inches by early Sunday morning.

Read moreUS East Coast faces severe winter storm

Finnland – areas normally covered in snow and ice…

RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service
Budapest, Hungary2008-03-04 19:23:42 – Climate Change – Finland

GLIDE CODE: CC-20080304-15687-FIN
Date & Time: 2008-03-04 19:23:42 [UTC]
Area: Finland, , Statewide,

Description:

Southern Finland had only 20 days of snow, compared to 70 days normally,
while neighboring Estonia had to cancel a popular cross-country ski
marathon in the southern city of Tartu in early February. “I don’t
remember winter like this. We had almost no snow at all in February,”
said Merike Merilain, chief weather forecaster at Estonia’s
meteorological institute, EMHI. “It’s been emotionally very stressful,
especially to many older people, that it’s dark and rainy all the time,”
she added. The Finnish Meteorological Institute said the mild winter
partly resulted from strong southerly and westerly air currents caused
by exceptionally warm surface temperatures of the Atlantic.
Nevertheless, the higher temperatures have only fueled concern that
greenhouse gasses are changing the climate, especially in the sensitive
Arctic region.

“When we were young, back in the ’80s, then winter existed,” said Ronny
Ahlstedt, 28, who works at an outdoor ice-skating rink in downtown
Stockholm. “We are contributing to this warm weather by letting out all
this pollution in the air.” In areas normally covered in snow and ice,
spring-like temperatures have brought premature sightings of flowers
such as winter aconite, snowdrops, wood anemone, daffodils and
coltsfoot. Finland’s coasts are clear of ice up to 350 miles north of
Helsinki, said Jouni Vainio from the Finnish Institute of Marine
Research. “It’s most unusual because now the whole sea should be frozen
along the Finnish coast.” Railway traffic is also being helped by the
warmth. More than 90 percent of all trains this winter have been on time
or less than five minutes late, according to the Finnish state railway,
VR. “Hard frosts and heavy blizzards have always been a bane of rail
traffic. This winter has been punctuated by their absence,” VR spokesman
Herbert Mannerstrom said.

Sweden: Winter ended before it started in Europe’s north

RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service
Budapest, Hungary2008-03-04 19:22:55 – Climate Change – Sweden

GLIDE CODE: CC-20080304-15686-SWE
Date & Time: 2008-03-04 19:22:55 [UTC]
Area: Sweden, , Statewide,

Description:Icebreakers sit idle in ports. Insects crawl out of forest hideouts.
Daffodils sprout up from green lawns. Winter ended before it started in
Europe’s north, where record-high temperatures have people wondering
whether it’s a fluke or an ominous sign of a warming world. “It’s the
warmest winter ever” recorded
, said John Ekwall of the Swedish
Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. In December, January and
February, the average temperature in Stockholm was 36 degrees – the
highest on record since record-keeping began in 1756. Record winter
highs were set at 12 other locations across the country, according to
the national weather service, SMHI. Migratory birds have returned from
southern latitudes prematurely. In southern Sweden, they never left.
“The birds that have stayed are robins and chaffinches,” said biologist
Lars-Ake Janzon at the Swedish Museum of Natural History. “They stayed
because there hasn’t been any snow.”

The warm weather also has stirred life inside the vast forests of the
Nordic and Baltic countries, where insects such as ants and ticks
emerged early from winter shelter. For businesses, the mild weather has
been a mixed blessing. For winter sports enthusiasts, the green winter
has been a nightmare. Small ski resorts around Stockholm never opened,
and skating enthusiasts waited in vain for ice to form on the waterways
surrounding the Swedish capital. “There’s not one millimeter of ice,”
said Anders Tysk, organizer of the annual Vikingarannet ice-skating race
on Lake Malaren. After postponing the race several weekends, he had to
tell 500 registered participants on Monday there would be no race this
year. “It’s the first time we’ve canceled since we introduced flexible
dates in 2003,” he said.