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Whiteout…

As I’m writing this, the UK’s “cold snap” is about to begin its’ third week. The temperature here in Kendal last night probably reached minus ten degrees C, and parts of the Scottish Highlands experienced lows of minus twenty one degrees C – positively martian! For three weeks now Kendal has looked like Narnia in the grip of the evil queen’s spell: the snow fell thick and lay deep before Christmas, and everyone went “Ooh! How lovely! A white Christmas!” but then the freezing temperatures arrived… and stayed… and instead of thawing, and melting away, the snow hardened, and compressed,  and turned into a thick sheet of iron-hard ice that made everyday life very hard for a lot of people. Cars couldn’t get into or out of their drives; lorries couldn’t deliver goods, etc. But worst of all, pedestrians were suddenly forced to literally take their lives in their hands whenever they tried to get from A to B. With only major roads gritted, side roads, pavements and paths were left untreated and soon, as one freezing night followed another, became potentially lethal. Walking up town meant navigating, slowly, from one less-slippy patch of ground to another, like hopping between stepping stones, and soon the local hospital was treating people with broken wrists, arms and legs as the pavements and paths of Kendal began claiming victims. One man was even killed when he slipped and banged his head. So, as pretty as it looks on all the pictures – and I’ve taken many myself, of the Castle and the surrounding hills and fields – in all seriousness it’s been a very difficult and very dangerous time, and people here are now well and truly ready for a thaw to set in and for this arctic weather to just b****r off. Unfortunately the forecast is for another blast of arctic air to slam into us this coming weekend, with the fun addition of high winds, so the wind chill factor will be absolutely horrendous. No-one’s looking forward to that.

Yesterday, a picture hit the net that showed just how widespread this whiteout is. Taken by NASA’s Terra Earth-monitoring satellite, it shows how the UK appears from space right now…

Isn’t that incredible! White from Land’s End to John O’Groats!

This is my part of the world, Cumbria…

It’s like someone just dumped a big bag of icing sugar over us. Walking through town the air is full of the sounds of shovels scraping and chipping away at icy pavements, car wheels spinning and people – in gloves, scarves and hats – cursing and swearing as they slip on the ice. Again.

Looking at that picture I can’t help thinking that this is like that film, “The Day After Tomorrow”, but brought to life…

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4 Responses

  1. On the plus side, we might see the first Grand Match in Scotland since 1979.

  2. Those are some great pics! Whiteout indeed…

  3. Sheesh!

    I’m bettin’ you guys aren’t too concerned about global warming 🙂

  4. Everyone should be concerned about global warming. Rememebr not to confuse local, short-term variations in weather patterns and long term, global climate trends. Global warming is happening, and we should be concerned.

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