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A Winter's Tale

How Would 21st Century Britain Cope With A 1946/1947 Or 1962/1963 Style Winter?

A 1946/1947 or 1962/1963 in 21st Century Britain?  

159 members have voted

  1. 1. How Would we Cope with such a winter?

    • It would be hard to begin with but eventually we should get through it!
    • It would be a complete and utter disaster with some may vicious circles!
    • We would get through it like 2009/2010 and December 2010.
    • We would never ever recover!
    • Our Entire system of Education, Food, Sport, Work would be messed up with an effect on economy?
    • We would get through it with no complaints?
    • I don't care who the country does as I would cope!
  2. 2. How Would You Cope?

    • Terribe! Can't go to work, get food, kids off school - a living nightmare
    • Pretty Bad! Extra hard work with looking after elderly neighbours and trying to do some work.
    • Bad? I would love the weather but it would have too much of an effect on my life and community?
    • Okay? I'm lived through 1963 and I love a good old fashioned winter execpt for the heating bills.
    • Quite Good? I love snow and there would be no school but I can't see my friends and School will be hell afterwards.
    • Good? No more of that scary boss at work and I and the village love snow? Just like the old days.
    • Brilliant? I've always wanted a classic winter and I've got no School and I can in the snow with my family and neighbours.
  3. 3. What Length of a Cold Spell would only just be Okay for the UK?

    • 1-2 Weeks - Just look at February 2009! We can't handle snow anymore!!!
    • 2-4 Weeks - A 2009/2010 event is the longest length of cold and snow that we can handle.
    • 1 Month - If we survived 2009/2010 then surely we could survive a few more weeks.
    • 1-2 Months - If we got through those classic winter then a month or two would be fine. But no longer!
    • An entire winter - I think that in the end we would get through an entire winter but heating bills etc will be iffy.
  4. 4. How Much snow can we handle.

    • 5-10CM - Well why else would the Met Office issued Extreme Weather warnings for 5cm
    • 10-20cm - For settlements and isolated areas this would be too much.
    • 20-40cm - If we got through 1947 and November 2010 then we should be fine with this.
    • 40-70cm - Some populated areas in the USA get 2 feet of snow and they cope.
    • 60-90cm - We coped with this in the past, the rest of the world can and the UK in 2011 can!
    • 100cm + - We should cope with 100cm and I would love it!
  5. 5. Every Winter - What is the Snow Depth that aim to Get

    • 0-5cm - As long as we get lying snow
    • 5-10cm - Pretty decent for me
    • 10-20cm - I would love this
    • 20-40cm - I would love to see this again!
    • 40-60cm - I only got 20cm last year and other places got 60cm.
    • 60-90cm - This would be perfect in a classic North Easterly
    • 90cm + - Not too big and Not too small - Just perfect and I could still get about!


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That is a ridiculous statement! Snow has personal benefits - people enjoy it, people like to see it fall and people like the way it looks. If you have a job that is disrupted by snow, I'm sorry to hear that, but I'm not going to change my weather preferences for the benefit of yourself, thank you very much.. I hope it will snow as much as possible this winter, and it can cause all the disruption it likes for all I care, at least I'll get time off work.

My statement is ridiculous hahahahaha, yours is ludicrous. Liking to see snow fall is a benefit? dear me that is sad. I couldn't care less about you changing your weather preferences, nowhere in my post asked you to, I was just stating mine, some strange people on here.

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Totally agree with this, there are no benefits at all for snow or cold weather apart from for the ski areas in scotland, it is just a total pain to get anywhere and heating costs too much. I just hope we get back to the very mild winters again and leave the cold for other countries.

Emigrate then!blum.gif

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as we found in 2010 the main problem is bulk 'just in time' supply regimes for supermarkets. If major roads are disrupted for more than a week there can be real problems.

There was a different supply chain in '63 and greater storage at point of supply.

Energy supplies are pretty similar but I do wonder what capacity teher is within the electricity industry to dela with a widespread 'freezing rain' scenario bringing down national grid pwer lines (as I think France had a few years back)

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I’ve read this thread with interest. Many people saying that there is no excuse not to get to work… I think it’s a bit harsh…

Remember that many schools close, more often than not, due to safety concerns about the children getting there. (I used to live next door to an infant school and the ice build up on the pavement meant that Mrs Plum could hardly push a pushchair through.) This means that parents may have to take a day off.

I’m lucky – my commute is a 35 minute walk to work over a park; when it snows I toboggan down a hill to work… tease.gif However, my boss lives 30 minutes away and there is no public transport between her home and Reigate. Luckily, her and her husband had a land rover in 2010 – it still took them 2.5 hours to do the commute.

My wife works with children who leave care – the nature of her work means that she has to drive around Surrey and beyond – in heavy snow, this is just not possible!

This is the problem though we live in a society that can't cope with anything out of the ordinary, when I was a nipper I walked 3 miles to school in all weathers and not once did schools close even when the heating went off. A nation of namby pamby's now!

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Emigrate then!blum.gif

Would be the first thing I did if had the money, would never be cold again.

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Would be the first thing I did if had the money, would never be cold again.

I don't blame you if you don't like our climate, I would love to emigrate to Canada where you get proper seasons unlike here. I also love my warmth and have been on numerous tropical holidays.

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as we found in 2010 the main problem is bulk 'just in time' supply regimes for supermarkets. If major roads are disrupted for more than a week there can be real problems.

There was a different supply chain in '63 and greater storage at point of supply.

Energy supplies are pretty similar but I do wonder what capacity teher is within the electricity industry to dela with a widespread 'freezing rain' scenario bringing down national grid pwer lines (as I think France had a few years back)

Major roads would not be disrupted for more than a week..people assume cold = snow..i dont think it has ever snowed 7 days without a break anywhere in the UK..Cold winters are often dry winters..you could go weeks with no snow..once you get through the initial disruption of a snow fall then there are no problems thereafter until it snows again...a 63 type winter would not be endless weeks of snowfall.

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OK CM , I respect your viewpoint. Interestingly I lived 5 mies from Chelmsford in 63 and a few years later walked home from school in Chelmsford when the buses stopped running due to snow. I can assure you that we were cut off for more than a week in 63 and believe we would fare no better now. (my belief, but not necessarily shared by others)

Take into account factors beyond snowfall - severe cold reduces the effectiveness of salt and wind moves snow aound. Hedgerows are gone from many roadsides and traffic is now much greater causing obstruction to snow ploughs.

This is why I fear disruption for longer periods and doubt our ability to cope if that occurs.

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Plenty of snow here in 63, 15 foot drifts in places and total chaos on the roads. Several villages to the south of us were cut off for at least a week and helicopters had to be used to bring in supplies. I was too young to drive back then but I can remember that the dead straight road at Sealand RAF camp which is at sea level had 24/7 snow ploughing for a week as snow blew off the fields. There was still snow to be found here (I'm at 110m) in the first week of May. The worst thing I remember was the cold, you would wake up with half an inch of ice on the window and a frozen toothbrush. The drains from the upstairs bathroom which ran down the side of the house had to be defrosted every day, the guttering came off several times and my dad seemed to be fixing underground bursts every day. While things will have improved around the home I would expect that on the roads that it'd be much worse, the sheer volume of traffic would bring everything to a grinding halt. You may well have a 4WD but it won't be much use if you get stuck in a queue behind a road blockage. You can expect what they call in America "Price Gouging" to occur, there would be rises in food, fuel, heating oil and possibly in winter clothing too. With todays weather forecasts reaching most of the population I'd also expect panic buying of bottled gas, food, petrol, etc. I don't remember any major power cuts in 63 but I would think these are quite likely in a severe winter today.

Pete

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we are talking about Major roads and motorways in around large towns and cities..i have never heard of any size able population centre say above 25,000 being cut off for any length of time..sure small rural communities it may happen..but that happens here too...also you dont have prolonged periods of severe cold..once the snow slightly thaws and refreezes it becomes solid and the wind wont blow it around..it only takes one day for the temp to creep above freezing for a few hours for this to happen..i mean i live out on the prairies where a tree is novelty and there are no such things as hedgerows..you would think snow would be blowing around constantly all day every day when its not snowing..during the winter..but just one day when it jumps above freezing the snow stabilizes and it doesn't go anywhere...also things grind to a halt here too..but only the day its snowing next day everything is back to normal.

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There pretty useless if you live on high ground.

For example at one point all buses were suspended on the evening of the 2nd Feb 2009. Trains are awful when it rains, windy, snows or is sunny.

Running through headingley whether it be bus or car is congested at the best of time, when it rains add an extra hour, snows add an extra four.

I remember that night, they weren't actually cut off until 8pm and i managed to get home by jumping on the train to Bradford and then getting picked up.

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we are talking about Major roads and motorways in around large towns and cities..i have never heard of any size able population centre say above 25,000 being cut off for any length of time..sure small rural communities it may happen..but that happens here too...also you dont have prolonged periods of severe cold..once the snow slightly thaws and refreezes it becomes solid and the wind wont blow it around..it only takes one day for the temp to creep above freezing for a few hours for this to happen..i mean i live out on the prairies where a tree is novelty and there are no such things as hedgerows..you would think snow would be blowing around constantly all day every day when its not snowing..during the winter..but just one day when it jumps above freezing the snow stabilizes and it doesn't go anywhere...also things grind to a halt here too..but only the day its snowing next day everything is back to normal.

1963 was an exceptionally cold winter. The temperature remained below freezing day and night for 30 days on the trot. Outside of the period from 23rd December to the 6th March it froze every night as I recall and on the days it didn't freeze the temperature never went higher than around 4 degrees. I have seen on a few occasions snow that has partially melted start blowing about when the temperature drops below freezing and the wind picks up. March 1965 and December 1981 spring to mind. In the 1965 event it was mainly blown from roofs and trees but in 1981 it came from the ground. I actually examined this phenonema at the time and the snow that was blowing resembled ice crystals. I also saw some photographs, I think they were taken in the flatlands of Lincolnshire in 1981 or 1982 where the wind had rolled wet snow into balls that were about 2 feet high.

I'm not sure if any large towns were cut off in for any length of time in 1963 but back in those days we didn't have any snow blowers so lots of country lanes were just left alone. The lane I live in was closed from late January to early April until the snow melted. We now have 2 snow blowers and a fair few conventional ploughs but a lot more traffic. Interestingly, back in 1963 the council bought a couple of extremely large plough blades shaped into a "V" from Canada which were never used again as by 1981 the next time they needed them they had just rotted away.

Pete

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Modern health and safety obsessions would mean the country would come to a complete halt!

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But 1947 was a different type of winter though: a series of heavy blizzards that closed roads repeatedly. If something like that occurs this year, then travel-disruption is inevitable, I think?

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But 1947 was a different type of winter though: a series of heavy blizzards that closed roads repeatedly. If something like that occurs this year, then travel-disruption is inevitable, I think?

Before my time I'm afraid. One thing to remember about 1947 though was that the vast majority of freight and passenger traffic was by rail, especially to more remote areas and most of those lines no longer exist. The priority then was to keep the railways moving and I've seen some spectacular video clips of locomotives fitted with enormous ploughs slamming into 20 foot drifts.

Pete

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But 1947 was a different type of winter though: a series of heavy blizzards that closed roads repeatedly. If something like that occurs this year, then travel-disruption is inevitable, I think?

I agree; if we had a repeat of 1947, the threat of our electricity & water supply sources freezing over may be less than in a repeat of 1963, but the travel disruption would be a lot greater.

I think it's quite possible that a repeat of March 1947 alone could cause the UK more trouble than a repeat of the entire winter of 1962/63, as March 1947 had repeated heavy snowstorms followed by rain and gales with associated flooding and melting slush and ice. In 1962/63, in contrast, a large proportion of the snow in lowland Britain melted gradually during a spell of dry sunny weather in late February/early March and so flooding was far less of an issue.

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I agree; if we had a repeat of 1947, the threat of our electricity & water supply sources freezing over may be less than in a repeat of 1963, but the travel disruption would be a lot greater.

I think it's quite possible that a repeat of March 1947 alone could cause the UK more trouble than a repeat of the entire winter of 1962/63, as March 1947 had repeated heavy snowstorms followed by rain and gales with associated flooding and melting slush and ice. In 1962/63, in contrast, a large proportion of the snow in lowland Britain melted gradually during a spell of dry sunny weather in late February/early March and so flooding was far less of an issue.

I agree about March '47, bitterly cold first half with lots of snow then suddenly mild with lots of rain and flooding, would have been be an absolute nightmare. March 1-8 CET was -1.6C and 1-15 ended up -0.2C. Temperatures as low as -21C. It's not often you get a month with a sub zero CET first half that ends up being the wettest on record. A truly remarkable month that may have been harder to cope with than the 3 preceeding months, despite their severity too.

1947 was surely a more difficult winter to endure than 1963, especially when you consider the amount of snow and the state the country was in at the time.

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A repeat of the 1947 winter would be more than enough to put the country's fragile economy back into recession.

Bearing in mind the amount of travel disruption produced by modest amounts of snow, coupled with the much greater reliance on road transport and vastly increased traffic volume than 65 years ago, the repeated blizzard conditions of that winter would bring large areas of the country to a complete standstill for days at a time.

Local authorities do not have the budgets, manpower or equipment to cope with 1947 type conditions and would struggle to keep even major routes open, let alone A and B roads. Although there is more mechanised snow clearing equipment now, counties are hard pushed to keep on top of the situation during one-off snow events, let alone repeated events with long periods of blowing snow between them.

In 1947 the majority of people lived within walking or cycling distance of their place of employment whereas now commutes of an hour by car are commonplace. It's far more likely you will make the effort to get into work during heavy snow if you live within walking distance, rather than risk damaging your vehicle or getting stranded as would be the case for the majority of people nowadays.

I don't have complete faith that the National Grid would cope with the energy demands in such protracted cold and snowy conditions. Having read how close we've come to large area blackouts in previous,relatively benign, winters, and bearing in mind our total reliance on electricity for the basic functioning of almost all aspects of society, the prospect of almost 8 weeks of blizzards could well be a bleak cold and dark one.

It's almost 34 years since we experienced disruptive countrywide blizzards and even then it was only an aperitif compared to the conditions in 1947. It would be morbidly interesting to see how the country coped but I think if we were to get a repeat there would be very few people on here at the end of it viewing snow with as much excitement as they do now.

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I was young at the time but I remember clearly huddling over our electric fire trying (not very successfully)to keep warm,hot waterbottles when we went to bed and of course double glazing was spmething thing I had never heard of.A lot of folks have that now but with all of the modern advances we have, in my opinion become much softer,I would be very concerned for the older generation should there be a repeat of the 46-47 winter,most would cope but there would be as much hardship as there was all those years ago.

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A repeat of the 1947 winter would be more than enough to put the country's fragile economy back into recession.

Bearing in mind the amount of travel disruption produced by modest amounts of snow, coupled with the much greater reliance on road transport and vastly increased traffic volume than 65 years ago, the repeated blizzard conditions of that winter would bring large areas of the country to a complete standstill for days at a time.

Local authorities do not have the budgets, manpower or equipment to cope with 1947 type conditions and would struggle to keep even major routes open, let alone A and B roads. Although there is more mechanised snow clearing equipment now, counties are hard pushed to keep on top of the situation during one-off snow events, let alone repeated events with long periods of blowing snow between them.

In 1947 the majority of people lived within walking or cycling distance of their place of employment whereas now commutes of an hour by car are commonplace. It's far more likely you will make the effort to get into work during heavy snow if you live within walking distance, rather than risk damaging your vehicle or getting stranded as would be the case for the majority of people nowadays.

I don't have complete faith that the National Grid would cope with the energy demands in such protracted cold and snowy conditions. Having read how close we've come to large area blackouts in previous,relatively benign, winters, and bearing in mind our total reliance on electricity for the basic functioning of almost all aspects of society, the prospect of almost 8 weeks of blizzards could well be a bleak cold and dark one.

It's almost 34 years since we experienced disruptive countrywide blizzards and even then it was only an aperitif compared to the conditions in 1947. It would be morbidly interesting to see how the country coped but I think if we were to get a repeat there would be very few people on here at the end of it viewing snow with as much excitement as they do now.

Interesting post, but considering you're a large advocate of very unpleasant weather, would you still opt for a 1947 repeat?

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We'd probably muddle through and

220px-Keep-calm-and-carry-on-scan.jpg

We experienced the coldest December in history with a 6 week deep freeze didn't we in 2010, 2 feet of snow in many places and we managed.

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Interesting post, but considering you're a large advocate of very unpleasant weather, would you still opt for a 1947 repeat?

Oh yes! I'm hoping for an amalgamation of 1684, 1814 1947 and 1963.

Then during the summer... well let's not go there.

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We'd probably muddle through and

220px-Keep-calm-and-carry-on-scan.jpg

We experienced the coldest December in history with a 6 week deep freeze didn't we in 2010, 2 feet of snow in many places and we managed.

I agree we did manage but there was a significant impact on the economy and the spell, although snowy, does not begin to compare with the weather in 1947.

It's much easier to deal with a heavy snowfall with little wind than one driven by an easterly gale, particularly if strong winds and sub zero temperatures persist in the gap between one snowfall and the next.

In Dec' 2010, once the snow had stopped, the roads ( well, most of them ) were cleared and traffic flowed relatively normally; there was no follow up snow and no strong winds filling the roads with snow blown from the adjacent fields.

It would be the unremitting filling of cleared roads between one major snowfall and the next which would be the bale of straw to break the Camel's back in a repeat of 1947.

Perhaps I should add that my desire for a repeat does not mean I wish to see old people dying of cold, workers/employers suffering financial hardship or ruin, or large portions of lthe population huddled in front of candles due to power cuts.

It's purely a wish to see if my love of adverse weather can be tested to the point of destruction so that one day you might see me on here hoping for a mild, dry winter with plenty of sunshine, or whether I'd still feel the same after the granddaddy of all winters.

I must have a breaking point but I don't know where it is.

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I think my breaking point would be a winter that has long lasting and almost permanent damage to the economy.. I doubt this would make my love of snow any less, but would make me less tolerant of snowy winters in the UK, and would only fuel my desire to live in snowier climes, where such winters are commonplace and where adequate measures are put in place.

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The November/December 2010 spell consisted mainly of two severely cold and snowy spells- 25th November to 2nd December, and 17th-26th December. During both spells there was considerable disruption, but a quieter spell around the 3rd-9th December and a temporary thaw midmonth helped enable the authorities to get things moving again, and so many of us got by with just minimal overall disruption to our lives. In the meantime, the sub-zero temperatures were not severe enough for long enough to cause the likes of the National Grid to freeze over.

I must have a breaking point but I don't know where it is.

I remember you posting that you aren't old enough to have experienced the winter of 1946/47- that winter would surely have been the critical test!

I've posted earlier about breaking points beyond which I start hoping for a temporary thaw, but I rather suspect when it comes to experiencing a degree of cold/snow that would make me subsequently hope for mild dry winters, my breaking point might well be similar to yours. My enthusiasm for those sunshine-and-snow-showers setups, in particular, would have to take some extremely heavy battering through hardship for it not to come flooding back again straightaway.

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