Snow. My. God.

The icy drifts of SW London

Not to underplay the serious inconvenience caused by inclement meteorological conditions to some parts of the UK, but I’d just like to take a moment to reflect on this typically calm and understated headline from yesterday’s London Evening Standard:


A few points.

If you’re still measuring the snow in inches rather than feet or yards, it’s not an “extreme” weather event, it’s a “bothersome” one. The words “extreme weather” should apply to total snowmageddon, not tobogganing & a bit of a whinge about slippery pavements.

“Extreme weather” seems like a rather odd overstatement by the Met Office. It brings to mind scenes from The Day After Tomorrow. Epic, unbelievable, unusual weather with catastrophic effects.

Hurricane Katrina was extreme. The 1988 ice storm in Quebec was extreme. The heatwave + drought + bushfires in SE Australia in early 2009 were extreme.

In this photo, taken during last night’s snow, you can still see the cars.


This is a good indication that it’s not an extreme weather event. Yet. Whatever the hysteria from media and transport providers may otherwise indicate.

OK, it doesn’t snow often in London, but it does snow in southern England in winter sometimes, and in northern England and Scotland more often. So it’s not that weird.

Snow in SW14

We can be forgiven for being underprepared for a long stint of cold or inclement weather (hot, cold…) because most of the time, this country is just a bit middling, weather-wise. But we have no excuse for over-reacting and creating blanket hype and pointless coverage about extreme hardship and crisis caused by some seasonally-expected wet white stuff. Breaking news: snow happens in winter.

Snowpocalypse by antimega

(My favourite example of this was yesterday, when my local train service provider, SouthWest Trains, cancelled a number of services for today in advance because of the weather, which I thought was particularly brilliant considering it hadn’t even snowed yet. It was almost like they were saying “we know that however much it snows, we’re not going to be able to cope”)

Previous snow pictures:

Daniel Maier (starring yours truly)


Under Barnes Bridge

First day of snow
The first day of snow at the college I went to in Canada. Lovely to see people who had never seen snow before excitedly trying to catch it in their open mouths.

Wheely snowy

Red hood

Winter walk

Snow in SW14

2 thoughts on “Snow. My. God.

  1. We had some snow in the east part of Canada last week that they gamely tried to measure in meters. They didn’t get to one but mother nature put up a valiant fight.

    The extreme weather in my part of Canada is of the “I didn’t know you could get frostbite -there- while fully dressed” variety. Some of my morning jogs have been in the 45 to 50 below Celsius range. This, while unusual is still, mostly, normal.

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