Britain hit by first wave of snow: live updates

January 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

As temperatures plummet many simply don’t have the money to heat their
homes. The Government must ensure that the poorest families can afford to
keep warm.

16.15 More on the forecast over the next couple of days: another band
of snow is sweeping down from Yorkshire into East Anglia this afternoon,
with more to come in south-eastern England this evening and overnight, and
there could even be 2 to 4cm (0.8 to 1.6ins) over parts of Greater London by
tomorrow morning.

The rest of the UK is expected to experience rain and sleet showers overnight,
which coupled with sub-zero temperatures could lead to icy conditions
tomorrow. Temperatures are expected to drop further to around -8C (17.6F) on
Wednesday night, with the possibility of more light snow flurries.

15.26 From my most mirth-inducing colleague, Matt, trouble at the
Transport Department:

More on the snow in the Matt
archive.

15.19 Snowed in? Can’t get to work? Lucky you. Don’t tell me what
happens on Jeremy Kyle I’m videoing it. But, what if your employer decides
not to pay you? That snow laughing matter (aha!). Jobsite has put together
some guidance on your rights: Do
I have a right to be paid if I’m snowed in?

14.59 Sage advice for drivers from Lincolnshire Police.

14.38 Postmen and milkmen have been asked to help keep a keen eye on
the elderly and vulnerable.

The Local Government Association said “community-spirited residents”
are being urged to help support council workers by looking in on elderly
neighbours and offering any help they can. Landlords are also encouraged to
check their tenants’ heating works and if necessary carry out repair work
out as soon as possible.

Councillor David Rogers, chairman of the LGA’s community wellbeing board,
said:

QuoteAs well as gritting our roads and clearing snow, council teams are ready to
be drafted in to provide a variety of services to help the vulnerable deal
with the severe winter weather, from carrying out emergency household
repairs to delivering hot meals and portable heaters.

But council staff can’t be everywhere. They rely on community-spirited
residents to look out for each other.

We are calling on neighbours, postmen, milkmen and paperboys to step up and
help save lives by knocking on doors and reporting anything out of the
ordinary.

14.10 Your intrepid reporter has ventured outside to assess the
situation for himself, and to get lunch. What looked like a winter
wonderland through the window earlier is in fact just another dark, drizzly
day in London Victoria.

The winter wonderland is obviously at Chatsworth, Peak District National Park,
from which aptly-named Telegraph reader James Shooter sends this terrific
picture. Many thanks James.

QuoteSpent the morning with eight red deer stags in heavy snow this morning.
Stunning wildlife and stunning scenery at Chatsworth, Peak District National
Park.

Video13.56 More detail and advice from weather forecaster Alex Beresford,
who warns conditions will get trickier on roads with bad weather set
continue throughout the day.

13.39 The worst off in cold snaps such as this one are those sleeping
rough. I got in touch with homeless charity Crisis, which has
activated its ‘Severe Weather Emergency Provision’ and is calling on all
councils to protect rough sleepers from the cold.

QuoteSevere Weather Emergency Provision (SWEP) is activated when night time
temperatures are forecast to dip below freezing for three consecutive
nights. SWEP will mean that all rough sleepers should be given the
opportunity to get out of the cold and given refuge for the duration of the
sub-zero temperatures.

With rough sleeping on the rise over the last year – 23% across the country
and 43% in London – Crisis is calling on local councils to fulfil their
obligation to help homeless people out of the cold.

Leslie Morphy, Crisis chief executive, said: “Freezing conditions can prove
fatal for people sleeping on the streets. The average age of death for a
homeless person is just 47.

“Independent research reveals that the economic downturn combined with
cuts, particularly to housing benefit, will cause rising homelessness to
accelerate further.

“We know that in London SWEP has been activated – we’re calling on councils
across the UK to protect rough sleepers from the deadly cold.

“Homelessness services are facing real pressure – 2,000 hostel beds have
been lost over the past two years and people’s live could be at risk. We
need action not just to save homeless people this week, but all year round.”

E-mail13.29
William Henry Thomas, a reader, emails me. I reprint here in full.

You asked for facts. (it’s true, I did, at 11.36am)

First: “snow in winter shock”…

Secondly, have a look at the stats for the last 100 years to see how many
times it has snowed in January.

Thirdly, have a look at the weather stats for OUTSIDE bl**dy London.

Apart from that – have a nice day!!

What to take away from this? Things that happen repeatedly are not newsworthy;
W H Thomas hasn’t read any of this blog, which might be the least
London-centric thing I’ve ever written.

PICTURES13.10 Gallery guru David Sim has knocked together a nice
slideshow of snow pictures from this morning, including this striking
picture of a graveyard in Bolton Priory near Skipton, North Yorkshire. Send
us your own weather photos to mypic@telegraph.co.uk.
Full gallery:
UK weather in pictures
.


Snow covers grave stones at Bolton Priory near Skipton (PAUL
ELLIS/AFP/Getty)

12.59 The Red Cross have emailed me guidance for staying well
and helping others during the cold weather. If you’ve just joined us, see
more advice from the NHS back in my 11.03 update.

Stay informed about bad weather – check severe weather warnings
from the Met Office and flood warnings in England and Wales, Scotland, and
Northern Ireland.
Take time now to prepare an emergency kit full of essentials
for your home and your car- plus a kit for when you’re on the move.
Don’t have time to learn first aid? Download our first
aid mobile app
– it’s free, and could help you save a life.
Make sure you have alternative ways to keep warm in case your
home heating is disrupted.
Check on neighbours, family and friends – especially those who
live alone – to see if they need help.
Clear snow or ice from pathways of those who can’t do it
themselves.
For more info and tips, go to our Ready
for Winter
page.

12.46 From the always well prepared Telegraph Travel desk: a very hand
guide to the latest
road, train and flight advice and information
where you are.

PICTURES12.39
Telegraph reader Donna Bright has sent us this rather nice Instagram
picture of the snow in Newark-on-Trent. Send your own weather photos to mypic@telegraph.co.uk.

12.32 Here’s your chance to get involved ladies and gentlemen. No
longer will you be simply passive observers of snow. Tweet your postcode,
along with the hashtag #uksnow, and you can contribute to this
interactive snow map
that tells you all the places it is both
snowing and people aware of #uksnow have taken the time to tweet about it.

You can also include the depth of snow (cm or inches), attach a photo and add
a description to your tweet, writes @benmarsh,
the man behind the map.

12.15 Heavy snowfall is expected later today in almost every part of
Britain, according to forecasters, and freezing temperatures are set to
continue for weeks. Here’s a bit more detail from the Met Office on what to
expect in the coming days:

Today: Patchy light snow across eastern areas initially, clearing away
this morning, with temporary dry and brighter conditions following. Rain and
perhaps sleet then spreading east this afternoon, turning to snow across
Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, especially across The Chilterns. Generally
cold. Maximum Temperature 6 °C.

Tonight: The mix of rain, sleet and snow will clear away eastwards.
Clear spells will follow, along with a brisk and bitter northeast winds, and
wintry showers, especially across Kent. Minimum Temperature -2 °C.

Tuesday: A bitter northeasterly breeze will gradually ease, as the
wintry showers gradually become lighter and isolated. Many places will have
a dry day with sunny spells, although feeling cold. Maximum Temperature 5
°C.

11.49 More from Wessex News on the M4 pile-up I mentioned earlier:
police say four people suffered minor injuries and everyone else involved
escaped unharmed.

QuoteFour people were injured when a car skidded off the M40 motorway and
ploughed into a ditch as snow hit Oxfordshire this morning.

It happened on the London-bound stretch between junction 6 Watlington and
junction 7 Thame, just before 7am.

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue, Thames Valley Police and South Central
Ambulance Service were all called to the scene.

The four escaped with minor injuries but it forced the closure of the road
as the vehicle was recovered. All lanes were re-opened at 7.30am.

The head of road policing for Thames Valley, Assistant Superintendent Henry
Parsons, warned drivers to take care.

“There’s ice and snow on the roads. We’re already busy with crashes
across the Thames Valley. Please allow more time for your journeys and be
safe.”

11.44 So, I have brought you a couple of fairly detailed lists and
videos on how to keep safe at home, in the car, etc. Here is how to be
completely unsafe, summed up in just the one picture.


A cyclist heads down a snow-covered hill in the Scottish Borders (David
Cheskin/PA)

Does look fun though eh?

11.36 Did you know? Thirty centimetres of fresh fallen snow has about
the same water equivalent as 25 mm of rainfall – thanks to the Met Office
for that one. Send me your snow, rain, sleet and hail facts, ladies and
gentlemen, with a little luck we’ll all learn something:
joel.gunter@telegraph.co.uk.

11.31 A pre-emptive strike from the Met Office: a press release
explaining the difficulty of forecasting snow. Getting their excuses in
early?

QuoteForecasting snow will always be a challenge in the UK. This is because of
the UK’s geographical position between the Atlantic Ocean and continental
Europe and the variable weather patterns we experience.

The type of weather we get in the UK depends on where the air has come
from. The coldest directions in the winter are generally when the wind comes
from the Arctic Circle to the north or from the continent to the east. When
the UK sees these conditions, it brings a higher chance of colder weather –
and the possibility of snow.

Met
Office: snow forecasting in the UK
.

11.22 Latest train disruption updates from National Rail.

No trains from Upminster to Grays until approximately 11:30
Delays between Clapham Junction and Willesden Junction
Delays between Worthing and Brighton expected until 13:00
Delays between Cambridge and London Kings Cross
Delays between Kidderminster and Birmingham Snow Hill
Delays between Milton Keynes Central and London Euston until
12:00
Amended service between Manchester Victoria and Salford Central

Keep an eye on this page for more: National
Rail service updates
.

11.14 As the cold snap takes hold, we report this morning that a
catalogue of Government errors awarding contracts for offshore wind farms
could push up energy bills. Peter Dominiczak reports.

QuoteEnergy bills have more than doubled since 2004 to more than £1,300 a year
per household, largely due to rising gas prices.

Bills are set to go up by hundreds of pounds a year under all the
Government’s green and fuel poverty policies.

Following the MPs damning report into the wind farm contracts, the
Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has now said it will
“re-examine some of the terms” of the lucrative deals.
Full
story here
.

11.03 As mentioned earlier, a level three weather warning is now in
force for all of England. The NHS publishes advice for staying warm and
well
during spells of cold weather.

Draw your curtains at dusk and keep your doors closed to block
out draughts.
Have regular hot drinks and eat at least one hot meal a day if
possible. Eating regularly helps keep energy levels up.
Wear several light layers of warm clothes (rather than one
chunky layer).
Keep as active in your home as possible.
Wrap up warm and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go
outside on cold days.

They also advise you to keep your main living room at around 18-21°C
(65-70°F)
, and the rest of the house at least 16°C (61°F). If you
can’t heat all the rooms you use, heat the living room during the day and
the bedroom just before you go to sleep.

10.54 Staff at Heathrow airport are out de-icing planes. Looks like
pretty serious kit, no buckets of hot water or credit cards for scraping ice
for these guys. No flights have been cancelled so far in the UK, much
heavier snow in Tokyo has grounded planes and halted trains there.


A British Airways plane is de-iced at Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport
(Steve Parsons/PA)

10.44 Wessex News reports a serious crash involving at least ten
vehicles on the London-bound carriageway between Membury Services near
Lambourn and junction 14, the Hungerford turn-off.

The crash is causing massive delays on the M4 across the Berkshire Downs,
which was blanketed by snow and freezing rain this morning. There’s no word
yet on how many people have been injured.

The accident happened on exactly the same stretch which saw Britain’s
worst-ever motorway tragedy in March 1991, when ten people died and dozens
were injured in a 51-vehicle pile-up in dense fog which saw many of the
cars, lorries and coaches burnt out in a fireball.

Video10.39 The AA has warned that 75% of drivers are not prepared for
conditions on the roads. Specially for that 75%, a video from my colleague Chris
Knapman
has put together a handy video on preparing your car for the
inclement conditions.

Once you’ve got the car in good shape, take a look at our tips on how
to drive in the snow
.

10.30 Good morning all. Much of Britain has woken up to snow today with
more on the way. The first wave has hit most of the country and some eastern
parts of Wales and a second heavier band is expected to fall over central
and eastern England later on.

England is now officially at level three on the Met Office’s ‘cold weather
action’ warning scale – one level shy of a national emergency. So, wrap up
warm all, drive safely and get your sleds out if you’re snowed off
school/work. I’ll be posting updates and safety advice over the course of
the day.

(Alamy)

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