Winter has come early to Europe this year. Very early. While it is not unusual to have a prolonged cold spell in January or February in this neck of the woods, as we did last year, having it in November is rather uncommon. Snow has covered much of Europe that hasn’t seen snow in winter for years,with widespread ramifications for all sorts of transport. Traffic all over Europe as been hit hard, and many rail services in the UK rail have simply been cancelled, the BBC reports. This has truly been the coldest November on record, at least in Norway. Whatever happened to global warming? Are cold winters the new and coming supply chain risk?
Gatwick and Edinburgh airports closed
According to the BBC, disruptions caused by snow and ice have taken a heavy toll on services we take for granted:
Some 4,000 schools have been closed, and Edinburgh and Gatwick airports will be shut until at least Thursday.
Some local authorities have told parents that schools will remain closed for the rest of the week. In total, more than 1,500 of 2,722 schools were shut.
More cold weather and snow is expected. Let’s hope they don’t run out of salt and grit like they did last year. Stranded air passengers and commuters are a common occurrence from time to time in winter, stranded freight is perhaps not so much thought about by the public. However, stranded freight is as important as stranded passengers, as the volcanic ash cloud showed us this Spring.
Germany wasn’t spared either, and almost the entire country is covered in a 15 cm (6 inches) thick blanket of snow, according to Der Spiegel, with the Bavaria and Saxony being the hardest hit parts of Germany.
Colder than normal
This November has been a lot colder than normal. Normal as defined by the World Meteorological Association are the weather observations from 1961 to 1990, which by any accounts have been a lot colder than in recent years, so a 5 degree colder than normal temperature as in my home town, see stats below, is thus really cold.
If this cold weather continues through the coming months, we will definitely see more disruptions.
But…should a cold winter comes as a surprise? Have we all forgotten how winters used to be? Indeed, the Telegraph asks the timely question, Why did Britain slide into snow chaos again?, while the Guardian reports that snow chaos is grinding the UK to a halt, yet again, costing the economy perhaps as much as £6bn.