News

There is snow on the grass so get the lawn mower out

Posted on: February 21, 2017

As bizarre as it may seem, that’s exactly what happens in Finland every year when the 12-hour Leikkuri LeMans lawn mower Grand Prix is run.

And this year, battling tough conditions, two Estonian women slid to victory. Anna and Stella from the Estonian lawn mower Team Votikmetsa Naised crossed the line in first place, taking great pleasure in beating their male compatriots.

The race was held outside the rural town of Lavia in southern Finland on the frozen Lake Karhijarvi, 124 miles north east of Helsinki and attracted competitors from Switzerland, Germany, UK, Estonia and of course Finland. Drivers had 12 hours to complete as many laps as possible around the 850 metre course.

With temperatures dropping as low as -4 degrees Celsius, conditions were challenging. Britain's Going Commando team led the race for four hours before punctures forced them into the pits.

Check out the action here

Unless everyone who drive

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New invention helps cars to get a grip in the snow

Posted on: February 15, 2017

One of the hardest things we have to encounter as drivers is dealing with snow and ice on the road. If there is a sudden dump of snow or a hard freeze that hits us before the snow ploughs can clear the roads or the gritters can treat the ice, it leaves with a dilemma of how best to make our journeys. 

Snow chains or snow tyres are an obvious solution but because we are not certain when, or if, it will snow, we tend not to invest in them. 

However, there is now a potential new solution on its way.

After struggling one night to get snow chains on his tyres on a snowy mountain, Czech businessman Petr Gross decided he needed to come up with something that did the job better. So, he has developed a new device that could revolutionise driving safely in the snow and ice.

He has invented a mechanized system that fits over the wheel of a vehicle like a hubcap which can be easily fitted before setting out on a journey. It has four arms that, when triggered by remote control, extend to grab the tyre

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When snow means speeding up not slowing down

Posted on: January 31, 2017

For most of us in this country, when the snow falls it means things slow up or even come to a standstill, especially on the roads. But whilst driving conditions are potentially treacherous before the snow clearance begins, there are some individuals who see snow as a challenge to go as fast as they can. Fortunately, they’re not on the road.

We are talking about speed skiers. If you thought World Cup downhill skiers were fast, you should check out this elite bunch of individuals who regularly hit speeds in excess of 250kph (150mph).  

Speed skiing is the sport of skiing downhill in a straight line as quickly as possible. The current world record holder is Italian Ivan Origone who recorded a speed of 254.958kph (158.424 mph) in March 2016 which, amazingly, is faster than the terminal velocity of a free-falling skydiver in the belly-to-earth position - about 190 kph (120 mph) – and he’s the fastest non-motorised human on earth. The fastest woman is Valentina Greggio, also from Italy, who recorded her speed of 247.083 kph (153.5

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Seeing out through the ice

Posted on: January 25, 2017

January has proved to be a very cold and icy month so far, giving drivers a frost to start to the day. Dealing with a frozen windscreen and windows first thing in the morning can create an unwanted delay on the daily commute or school run but it’s vital to make sure that you can see clearly before driving.

The Highway Code is very clear on what you should do before setting off:

You MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from ALL your windows
You MUST ensure that your lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible
You MUST make sure your mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly

Because not all roads are gritted, it also warns that stopping distances can be up to ten times greater on icy roads compared to dry roads so keeping your distance from the vehicle in fro

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Thundersnow expected in UK

Posted on: January 11, 2017

Earlier this week, the Met Office issued a yellow warning for Scotland, Northern Ireland and North West England, that could then extend further south into Wales and the East of England, about the potential for high winds and snow. As well plummeting temperatures, up to 75 mph winds and blizzard conditions, it forecast the potential for ‘thundersnow’.

This unfamiliar condition occurs where rain that is normally associated with a thunderstorm falls as snow because the air temperature is so cold. The Met Office reported that cold air originating over Arctic Canada is responsible and that it will create very active, vigorous wintry showers that could be accompanied by thunder and lightning to make quite a spectacular sight.

Because the snow will fall in showers it makes snow clearance much more challenging and could lead to some very tricky driving conditions. Overnight frosts will also contribute to what promises to be a very icy end of the week underfoot.

Councils up and down the country, especially where the mor

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Sleighs in the snow

Posted on: December 20, 2016

One of the world’s most iconic modes of transport is undoubtedly Santa’s sleigh – packed with presents for the children of the world. And, as he prepares his sleigh for this year’s trip around the globe, we thought it timely to take a brief look at the role the humble sleigh plays in helping us to negotiate the winter snow and ice.

A sleigh, also referred to as a sled or sledge, is defined as primarily a land vehicle with either a smooth underside or having a separate body supported by two or more smooth, relatively narrow, runners that travels by sliding across ice or compact snow. When we talk of a sleigh we tend to refer to a larger vehicle like those that often feature in Christmas films pulled by horses for snowy sightseeing around New York’s Central Park or by dogs transporting cargo in the Arctic Circle. But in Scandinavia, sleighs are often pulled by reindeer.

In Britain, where snowfall often means playtime for children and adults alike, a sledge or toboggan is more commonly associated with careering down snow covered hil

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Icy roads at 32 degrees

Posted on: December 14, 2016

Not as daft as it sounds – because that’s exactly what happens if you use Fahrenheit rather than Celsius as your measure of temperature.

There is a saying that if you use Fahrenheit as your scale ‘0 degrees F is really cold and 100 degrees F is really hot’, whereas with Celsius, ‘You're cold at 0 degrees C and dead at 100 degrees C’.

But why do most countries and organisations nowadays use Celsius as opposed to Fahrenheit? One reason is that Celsius is scientifically easier to measure because zero is the freezing point of water and 100 degrees is the boiling point. But those who favour Fahrenheit point to its greater scale and range enabling more accurate measurement without having to resort to fractions or decimal places.

Fahrenheit was the accepted measure of temperature until the 1960s when Celsius began being adopted. In all but three countries of the world - Liberia, Burma and the United States – the standard for the measurement of temperature is Celsius. So where did these two scales emanate fro

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Dangers of black ice

Posted on: December 6, 2016

Now that we are officially in meteorological winter, it’s time to look at some of the winter weather issues you’ll have to deal with over the next few months – black ice being one of them.

Hard-to-spot on a wintry morning and one of the most dangerous conditions for motorists, just what is black ice?

Well, it's a glaze that forms on surfaces and is referred to as black ice because it tends to look like the rest of the pavement or road, although in reality, it's actually clear.  Black ice forms when the air is zero degrees Celsius or below at the surface and there is rain in the air. The ground temperature causes the precipitation to freeze upon impact, thus creating ice. Sleet and the refreezing of snow or water can also generate black ice. 

Black ice forms without creating bubbles, which allows it to blend in with any surface it forms over. It is dangerous precisely because it's hard to detect in advance.

The prime times for the formation of this type of ice are the early morning a

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Weather warnings

Posted on: November 23, 2016

At this time of year, in the UK, we can pretty much expect any sort of severe weather be it high winds, heavy rain, ice on the roads, fog or snowfall. To help us to plan and prepare for the potential disruption this weather can bring, the Met Office issues weather warnings that are now included in all the major weather forecasting broadcasts. But do you really know what they mean?

We decided to take a look at the different warnings to see exactly they refer to and what it means for all of us.

The first thing to mention is that the warnings are given a colour coding depending on a combination of both the likelihood of the event happening and the impact the conditions may have.

The messages associated with each of the colours are:

Green (Very low risk) – Be aware that here is a very small risk of severe weather 

Yellow (Low risk) – Be aware that there is a small potential for severe weather
Severe weather is possible over the next few days

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Odds good for White Christmas

Posted on: November 15, 2016

With the John Lewis and Marks & Spencer’s TV ads now being aired, we can (un)officially say that the festive season is in full swing! And, with snow having already fallen in many parts of the country last week - snowploughs and gritters were needed to re-open Leeds Bradford airport - we thought we’d look at the latest odds for a White Christmas.

The definition that the Met Office uses to define a White Christmas is for one snowflake to be observed falling in the 24 hours of 25 December. Traditionally, it uses a single location in the country to define a White Christmas which is the Met Office building in London. 

However, with the increase in betting on a White Christmas, the number of locations have increased and can now include sites such as Buckingham Palace, Belfast (Aldergrove Airport), Aberdeen (Pittodrie, Aberdeen FC), Edinburgh (Castle), Coronation Street in Manchester and the Principality Stadium in Cardiff!

Last week’s snowfall prompted William Hill to cut the odds on a White Christmas to 3/1 for c

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