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Dashing (or not) through the snow - John C. Kirk

Dec. 2nd, 2010

12:34 am - Dashing (or not) through the snow

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Date:December 2nd, 2010 07:12 pm (UTC)
Ok, fair point.

When we get snow in England, people often ask why everything grinds to a halt, considering that other countries (e.g. Russia) cope with far more snow; the standard answer is that they're better prepared because they get more snow, and it would be irresponsible to buy loads of snowploughs etc. in the UK which would then stand idle for years at a time. So, I'm not comparing England to other countries, and I'm not even comparing London to Durham; I'm just comparing two London boroughs which are 15 miles apart.

It's possible that Croydon is getting a lot more snow than Acton, and so that's why everything's getting clogged up. However, I think it has more to do with planning failure. For instance, I went through Shepherd's Bush station on Monday evening (before the snow), and a member of staff was scattering grit all over the platform; that's part of the London Overground network which ran ok on Tuesday. By contrast, I went through Selhurst yesterday and the entire platform was covered in snow, so I suspect that they didn't grit it at all. Today, the entire Southern rail network was "suspended until further notice".
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[User Picture]
Date:December 3rd, 2010 01:12 pm (UTC)
Croydon does appear to have gotten more snow than more central parts of London: one person working in Shepherd's Bush looked at photos of the snow in Croydon on Tuesday and expressed surprise, and comparing photos taken in other parts of London on Wednesday with photos taken in Croydon on the same day shows a significant difference in the amount of snow, at least on that day. For example:
Nunhead, Southwark
East Dulwich, Southwark
Hampstead Heath, Camden
Compare to:
Park Hill
Queen's Gardens
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Date:December 3rd, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
Grit/sand/salt on their own are useless when you get more than a sprinkling of snow. For larger amounts, you need to shovel the snow and *then* use grit etc.
That's not to say that some areas are more prepared than others, but you have to take a lot into account: how much snow was there, how quickly did it fall (a large amount of snow falling slowly is easier to deal with than a smaller amount of snow arriving in a blizzard), was there also wind (drifts can cause problems out of all relation to the "nominal" depth of snow), when did it fall (fewer staff overnight) etc
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