News

Britons hit the ice

Posted on: December 12, 2017

Whilst Britain itself falls behind the Alps, Pyrenees and Dolomites when it comes to experiencing extreme snow and ice, its natives have certainly punched above their weight when it comes to excelling at winter sports.

The haul of medals collected from recent Winter Olympics is admirable considering the lack of facilities in this country.

Ice skating champions
In the modern era it all started when John Curry won the Men’s Figure Skating crown at the 1976 Innsbruck Games and was quickly followed by Robin Cousins in 1980 who repeated the feat at the Lake Placid Olympics. 

Ice perfection
And then it was the turn of ice dancers Torvill and Dean who achieved gold at the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo with a never-seen-before perfect 6.0 score from every judge for their ‘Bolero’ routine.

Skeleton on ice
More recently Britain’s women have achieved great success on the hard ice of the skeleton run. It started in 2002 when Alex Coomber w

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UK may be set for a White Christmas

Posted on: November 27, 2017

Yes it’s that time of year again when the bookies publish their odds for a White Christmas but this year it looks like there might be a good chance that snow will fall in the UK on Christmas Day.

Colder than Antarctica
That’s because forecasters are predicting a winter that’s colder than Antarctica with temperatures falling to as low as -10C. Whereas temperatures of -6C are predicted for Antarctica, four degrees warmer than the climate expected in England.

La Nina brings snow
Low temperatures, frost and snow are expected to hit that nation resulting in significant snow depths in the hills of Scotland and the north that will continue into 2018.

And, the chances of a White Christmas have increased due to the La Nina effect - a process that sees reduced sea surface temperature, bringing in colder air that will kickstart a fierce winter.

With this weather phenomenon kicking in over the North Atlantic, it is expected to be colder in this country than avera

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Keeping it legal when you defrost your car

Posted on: November 6, 2017

Most parts of the country experienced their first frost of the winter at the start of this week as temperatures plummeted to zero overnight. That meant a chilly start for many commuters and those on the school run, with the prospect of de-icing their cars being the first job of the day.

Mad panic of an icy morning
It’s a pretty safe assumption that, for many, an iced up windscreen added to the list of things that needed to be sorted in the mad panic of the morning rush. But, it’s important that no short-cuts are taken as you could be left in trouble with the law.

Do not leave your car unattended
When looking to defrost their cars early in the morning, many car owners leave their engines running while they run inside to grab something they’ve forgotten. This is a car thief’s dream and it also means that you are breaking the law. Police warn it is an offence to leave a car unattended with the engine running on a public highway. Drivers have to be ‘in control’ of their vehicle at all times. <

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Remember remember it snows in November

Posted on: November 1, 2017

After such a mild October the last thing most of us have been thinking of as we approach Guy Fawkes’ Night is snow. But as the clocks have moved forward, so the prospect of snowfall has come a step closer.

Snow on the way
The latest weather forecast shows a colder pocket of air closing in on the UK with the chances of snow peaking in the early days of November. It is expected that there may well be a snow coating in Scotland and parts of northern England towards the middle of next week as a cold blast of air heads towards Britain. 

A snowy night to remember on 5 November
Wintry flurries could also fall as far south as Wales, the Midlands, Northern Ireland and the West Country. And the cold weather is expected to continue throughout November.

Snow charts show Scotland could be in the firing line for a lashing of the white stuff on 5 November. That’ll be a day to remember.

Do not let snow cause havoc on your premises
With many forecaster

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Red skies at night, slimy seaweed and stay at home bees

Posted on: October 17, 2017

The British weather can be unpredictable to forecast at times but man has often turned to nature to provide an indication of rain, dry spells, high winds, snow and ice.

Closed dandelions indicate rain, slimy seaweed high humidity
A piece of seaweed becomes slimy when humidity is high, dandelions close when it clouds over and scarlet pimpernels close when humidity increases. But, despite popular opinion, an open pinecone is not a reliable indicator of dry weather.

Bees do not like the wet so stay put in the hive
People also look to animals as an indicator of the weather. For example, high-flying swallows are probably chasing insects on updrafts of warm air, which is a sign of stable, fine weather. Bees, on the other hand, do not like the wet weather and will remain by the hive if rain is on its way.

And, the assumption that cows lie down when wet weather is pending is probably not true. They are more likely to be simply chewing the cud or resting.

Red ski

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The stormy life of Brian

Posted on: October 3, 2017

September saw the commencement of the storm season in the UK with the arrival of Aileen which blew through the country on 12-13 of the month. It was a pretty severe one. It brought strong winds and heavy rain causing disruption to roads and railways.

Many areas saw winds between 55–65 mph with the strongest gusts recorded on the Isle of Wight (83 mph) and Mumbles, Wales (74 mph). Across the north of England, over 7,000 homes were left without power.

Brian is the next storm to hit the UK

And next up is Storm Brian. As yet there is no sign of when Brian will appear or how strong he will be.

It’s actually quite reassuring to know that last year we only had FIVE official storms in the UK. The season was late in starting with Angus the first to appear in November, followed in December by Barbara and Conor. The in February we welcomed Doris and Ewan. It meant that Fleur, Gabriel and Ivor never got to make their bows.

More storms and bad weather expected this

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Irma forecast to follow Harvey in hurricane season

Posted on: September 7, 2017

Last week our TV screens were filled with horrific images from Houston as Hurricane Harvey hit the city. And, hot on the heels of Harvey comes Hurricane Irma, that is set to hit the east coast of America later this week. 

First hurricane to hit US in more than ten years
Hurricane Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the US since Wilma in 2005. More than 1 million people have been displaced with 44 feared dead.
 
And now, Hurricane Irma is heading towards the Caribbean with fears that it could turn towards the US. 

Hurricane forecasting is extremely difficult
Forecasting the ‘track’ and intensity of a hurricane is still an extremely difficult task. Forecasters are warning that Irma could reach sustained speeds of over 180mph which would rival 1980’s Hurricane Allen for record speeds.

Most severe category of hurricane
The National Hurricane Center has reported Hurricane Irma as an extremely dangerous 180-

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91 new volcanoes discovered below ice in Antarctica

Posted on: August 15, 2017

Scientists have uncovered the largest volcanic region on Earth – two kilometres below the surface of the vast ice sheet that covers west Antarctica – which could have an impact on climate change.

Melting ice leading to rising sea levels
The discovery is particularly important because the activity of these volcanoes could have crucial implications for the rest of the planet. If one erupts, it could further destabilise some of the region’s ice sheets, which have already been affected by global warming. Meltwater outflows into the Antarctic Ocean could trigger sea level rises.

As tall as the Eiger
Edinburgh University researchers, have found almost 100 volcanoes that were previously unknown, with the highest as tall as the Eiger mountain in Switzerland, which stands at almost 4,000 metres. Geologists say this huge region is likely to dwarf that of east Africa’s volcanic ridge, currently rated the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world.

The big question is: how active

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An ice way to enjoy the summer

Posted on: August 1, 2017

With the summer holidays now in full flow and warm sunny days to be enjoyed, whether at home or abroad, it’s time to focus on staying cool. And what better way to do that than through an ice lolly or ice cream? But it seems like there’s more to the ice products than meets the eye.

Young men are the biggest consumers of ice cream
Contrary to what you might think, it’s young men (16-24 year olds) who are the UK’s biggest consumers of ice cream. According to Mintel research last year, nearly 6 in 10 (58%) typically eat ice cream, at least once a week, compared to 46% of women in the same age bracket. As a nation we love ice cream - only 1 in 20 (5%) say they never eat it – but the biggest global consumer is China which gets through 4.3bn litres a year. However, it’s the Norwegians who eat the most per head with each person eating on average 9.8 litres a year.

Healthy ice cream on the way
Although ice cream remains popular, global sales have decreased from 15.6bn litres in 2015 to 13bn in 2016, pro

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Snowy mountains of the Tour de France #TDF

Posted on: July 11, 2017

With the Tour de France (#TDF) in its second week now, things are beginning to hot up in the overall General Classification but the temperature could be about to cool down! That’s because the Grand Tour is going to hit its first set of proper mountains in this year’s race with Thursday’s stage entering the Pyrenees.

#TdF is usually associated with baking temperatures and sweat-drenched riders pummelling along the French highways at 50kmh (30mph). But, we are likely to see snow, ice and falling temperatures as the riders ascend the very high mountains of the Pyrenees and Alps.

Pau to Peyragudes


Riders will have to complete 214km (128 miles) on Thursday’s stage, from Pau to Peyragudes, which contains an extremely difficult sequence of climbs. First there’s the climb up to the Col de Menté, then the Port de Balès and finally the real agony for the legs in the final climb to Peyragudes. In the final kilometre, on the runway of the only airport of the Pyrenees, will be a section of road with a 16% incline – to reall

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