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Arctic Blast Hits Britain Again

Posted by feww on December 17, 2010

Heavy snow and ice strike many parts of the UK as arctic conditions return

Heavy snow has blanketed Northern Ireland, northern Scotland, Wales and most parts of southwest England, reports say.

More snow is expected in northern Scotland, Northern Ireland, southwest England and Wales. Forecasters say up to 25cm (10 inches) could fall Saturday.

The overnight temperature forecast for parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland is  -10ºC (14ºF).

Thousands of schools are closed across Britain, and snow has blocked a dozen major roads.

Hundreds of flights have been canceled and many more are delayed as at least a dozen airports are shut down. Disruptions are expected at all major airports throughout in England, N-Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

“Heavy snowfall during the past few weeks has caused huge disruption, especially in Scotland and north-east England.” BBC said.

“November saw the UK’s most widespread snowfall since 1965, and December has continued to be exceptionally cold and snowy.”

Many train services are suspended across the country until further notice.

“An estimated two million homes, schools and hospitals face fuel rationing over Christmas after MPs warned that supplies of heating oil would hit “crisis” point during the cold snap,” a report said.

Arctic Oscillation Chills US and Europe


Image depicts the land surface temperatures for December 3-10, 2010, compared to the average temperature for the same period between 2002 and 2009, measured by
MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite.  While northern Europe and the eastern United States were cooler than average this year. Greenland and parts of northern Canada, were much warmer due to a temperature pattern caused by the Arctic Oscillation. The Arctic Oscillation is a climate pattern that influences winter weather in the northern hemisphere. It describes the relationship between high pressure in the mid-latitudes and low pressure over the Arctic. When the pressure systems are weak, the difference between them is small, and air from the Arctic flows south, while warmer air seeps north. This is referred to as a negative Arctic Oscillation. Like December 2009, the Arctic Oscillation was negative in early December 2010. Cold air from the Arctic channeled south around a blocking system over Greenland, while Greenland and northern Canada heated up.”  Source: NASA/E-O. Click image to enlarge. Download large image (5 MB, PNG)

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3 Responses to “Arctic Blast Hits Britain Again”

  1. feww said

    Snow causes pre-Christmas travel chaos in Europe
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSLNE6BH00220101218

    Snow hits flights, leaves hundreds stranded
    (AFP) – 1 hour ago
    LONDON — Heavy snow disrupted European air travel Saturday and stranded hundreds of drivers in their cars as far south as Italy as a white Christmas appeared increasingly likely for many places.

    In Britain national carrier British Airways scrapped all flights at the country’s two busiest airports serving London.

    All BA flights departing from Heathrow between 1000 GMT and 1700 GMT were cancelled, as were all domestic and European flights from London Gatwick on what is traditionally the busiest weekend for travellers before Christmas.

    “Heathrow is open and both runways are clear. However due to the adverse weather there are a number of cancellations and delays,” the world’s busiest international passenger airport said.

    Low-cost carrier easyJet also cancelled all flights from Gatwick, Europe’s eighth-busiest passenger airport, between 0600 GMT and 1000 GMT.

    Elsewhere, Southampton Airport in southern England was closed until 1200 GMT due to the adverse weather, while flights to certain destinations from Birmingham Airport in the Midlands were also grounded.

    Passengers also faced disruptions at Exeter, London City, Aberdeen and Cardiff.

    Meanwhile Eurostar, which operates high-speed passenger trains linking London with Paris and Brussels, was operating with speed restrictions that added up to an hour on journey times.

    Temperatures dropped as low as minus 13 degrees Celsius (nine degrees Fahrenheit) in Chesham, just north of London, overnight. Gatwick registered minus 11C (12F).

    In Lancashire, northwest England, hundreds of people had to spend the night in their vehicles after an accident blocked the main north-south motorway.

    Frankfurt airport, Germany’s busiest, cancelled about 170 flights on Saturday because of the severe winter weather across Europe, an airport spokesman said.

    On Friday 560 out of 1,400 flights had been cancelled for the same reason, but Frankfurt’s runways were open on Saturday morning.

    “We are trying to control the situation with the help of our partners,” said the spokesman who expected a large number of delays and cancellations during the day as other European airports were closed.

    Some 2,500 passengers were stranded overnight at the airport and German carrier Lufthansa was trying to make arrangements for train travel for many passengers whose domestic flights have been cancelled, said the spokesman.

    Dozens of flights were also cancelled at Amsterdam’s Schiphol, where some 3,000 people were forced to spend the night in the airport, the press office said.

    In Italy the Tuscany region was hardest hit, with hundreds of cars stuck on highways around Florence, where up to 20 centimetres (eight inches) of snow fell.

    Motorists criticised authorities for not making it clear that the autostrade were blocked, so that more and more vehicles became trapped.

    High-speed trains between Milan, Florence and Rome were also cancelled, leaving some 5,000 passengers being sheltered in a conference hall in the Tuscan capital.

    The airports of Florence and Pisa were also closed.

    In western France several roads were closed as a new snowstorm began to sweep across the country towards Paris, and heavy trucks were barred in many regions.

    In the Bordeaux region five people were hurt on a motorway when a 38-tonne truck ploughed into two vans whose drivers had lost control on black ice, and then caught fire. A fourth vehicle then crashed into the wreckage.
    Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved

    Flights cancelled amid big freeze
    (UKPA) – 43 minutes ago
    Millions of Britons are facing travel misery with planes grounded, rail services cancelled and roads rendered impassable on what is traditionally the busiest weekend before Christmas.

    Plunging temperatures and heavy snow saw large swathes of the country grind to a standstill, as London’s Gatwick Airport closed its runway and British Airways cancelled flights at Heathrow.

    Overnight blizzards and plummeting temperatures buckled a huge chunk of the nation’s road and rail networks, as the latest blast of wintry weather showed little sign of easing.

    This weekend is expected to be the busiest for retailers and commuters in the run-up to December 25 but many are expected to face chaos as the transport network bears the brunt of the big freeze.

    Air passengers have already faced disruption at Exeter, London City, Aberdeen and Cardiff airports, while Belfast City was closed. Southampton Airport was closed until 12pm and flights to certain destinations from Birmingham were also grounded.

    Delays and cancellations were expected at Belfast International while a spokesman for Heathrow said the airport was open but would be “challenged”.

    A Gatwick airport said efforts were now under way to clear the snow, as officials advised all passengers to check their flight status before travel.

    There was also widespread chaos on major roads and motorways. Hundreds of motorists were left stranded on the M6 in Greater Manchester as the North West of England was hit with reported deluges of up to 25cm of snow.

    Meanwhile, parts of the south were also blanketed and as much as a foot of the white stuff is expected to fall on parts of the South East and the Midlands today.

    Forecasters expect the mercury will struggle to break freezing in the next 24 hours, after overnight temperatures dropped as low as minus 13C in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, with Gatwick producing a reading of minus 11C.

    Copyright © 2010 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

  2. Jack said

    Did you see the northwest shore of Alaska is forecast to be above zero(12/18/10@0300 UTC)?

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