News

About to blow

Posted on: August 29, 2014

If you are a regular aviation traveller, many of you will remember the spring of 2010 - and not for good reasons. The eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland resulted in a week of chaos across Northern Europe as more than 100,000 flights were cancelled. Now experts at the Icelandic Met Office have fears of a similar event, as seismic activity around the Bardarbunga volcano has intensified over recent weeks.

This activity has resulted in the country raising its volcano warning level from orange to red - the highest point on its scale. The move has increased fears that a similar level of travel disruption could follow any resulting eruption, with Met Office scientist Kristin Jonsdottir quoted as saying “There has been intense earthquake activity at the volcano. We cannot exclude that this could be a big eruption.”

There are also fears that a very big eruption could result in Britain experiencing an extremely cold winter as the ash thrown into the atmosphere reflects the sun's light away from the Earth - a phenomenon known as the ‘haze effect’

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Should you grit?

Posted on: August 21, 2014

As you can imagine we always have one eye on the weather forecast, but at times predicting what Mother Nature is going to do can be an almost impossible task. With some weather patterns spanning just a couple of miles, conditions can vary drastically across a very small area. As if that wasn't complicated enough, even in a single location there are so many variables that influence whether we decide to grit, one of the most notable being the difference between air temperature and surface temperature.

Air Temperature: This is the temperature you will see on the weather forecast. The reading is taken at a fixed height, usually 1.5m above the ground, in a shaded enclosure known as a Stephenson Screen.

Surface Temperature: This is the temperature of the ground in a particular location.

During the day the ground absorbs solar heat, making the surface temperature higher than the air above it. As the day progresses and we move into the evening, the ground begins to lose the heat it has absorbed into space; cooling quickly and heating the air above it in the pro

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Met Office Gold Quality Mark

Posted on: August 14, 2014

The Met Office has recently launched a new Quality Mark scheme for independent winter gritting companies, the aim of which is to help businesses such as Ice Watch to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Those businesses awarded a Quality Mark have demonstrated an excellent knowledge of the weather for gritting, providing reassurance to their clients that any decisions made regarding their gritting will be based upon the most accurate and up-to-date weather forecasts.

The Quality Mark scheme is the only such mark in the industry and is broken into four ‘tiers’; ranging from a basic ‘training tier’, through bronze and silver to the highest ‘gold tier’. This is a relatively new scheme and everyone at Ice Watch is therefore delighted to become one of the first businesses in the country to be recognised with the Gold Quality Mark award.

"This Quality Mark scheme has been set up to allow gritting companies to show their customers that they are investing in training and the services that they deliver to their customers." - Richard Ste

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Beware icy conditions underfoot

Posted on: August 7, 2014

In recent times the ‘blame culture’ in this country has led to numerous urban myths; one of the most well-known being that home owners could be held accountable if someone slips or falls as a result of them clearing snow and ice from steps, pathways and public spaces near their abode. We can put this myth to bed once and all by saying that it is very unlikely that you will be prosecuted, as long as you have cleared the path carefully and safely.

Top tips for preventing slips:

  • Use additional salt to clear snow and ice from steep pavements and steps
  • Do not use water. This may refreeze and turn to black ice - increasing the chances of an accident occurring
  • A tablespoon of ordinary table or dishwasher salt for each square metre of path should be enough to melt snow and prevent black ice from forming
  • Avoid spreading salt onto lawns or plants, as this may cause damage
  • Alternatives to salt are sand or ash. Whilst these won't stop a path from icing over, they will increase grip underfoot
  • Do not pile snow and ice where it is l

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