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.
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)