Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Gas alert as big freeze continues.

This has got to be the coldest winter that I have ever experienced. Normally we get snow for a few days in winter - every couple of years - and that's the end of it.

This year the snow has not gone away and I've awoken this morning to find that yet more of it has fallen overnight. There has now been snow for the past two weeks and temperatures in some parts of Britain have fallen to as low as -15 degrees.

And today, for only the second time in history, a gas balancing alert has been issued warning people that the country might run out of gas.

Meanwhile, the National Grid issued a gas balancing alert, for only the second time, asking for less gas use as it brought in more overseas supplies.

The extra gas being brought in - including supplies from Belgium and Norway - is necessary to meet rising demand after a 30% rise on normal seasonal use during the cold snap.

The gas balancing alert (GBA) was issued on Monday afternoon. It warns customers to reduce fuel consumption and encourages suppliers to bring in more gas.

The only previous time a GBA was used was in March 2006.

When we speak of global warming we tend to think only of things getting hotter but the truth is that what we will experience is much more weather variations at both ends of the spectrum.

I wrote in February of last year about what the Met office were calling "an extreme weather event", and can honestly say that what we are experiencing this winter is much more severe than anything which happened last year. This is also the first time that I can remember it snowing in Britain two years in a row.

The BBC weather centre said in most areas where snow had fallen overnight, it would amount to "a good covering of a few centimetres," however there could be as much as 10cm (4ins) in areas such as the Pennines.

There have also been snow showers across both northern and southern Scotland, also of "a few centimetres".

The weather centre said that later in the morning snow showers would become more frequent across the rest of Wales and into the Midlands and south-west England.

And into Tuesday evening there is the possibility of very heavy snow showers across southern England.

The centre said temperatures have averaged around -5C (23F) in towns across the UK, although in some remote rural areas, such as the highlands of Scotland, temperatures were predicted to fall as low as -15C (5F) during the early hours of Tuesday morning.

I am reluctant to say that there is clearly something changing in our weather, as we all know that aberrations can take place from year to year and it would take at least a decade before we could say that we can see a pattern.

What I will say is that it is bloody freezing and that this is only the second time ever that Britain has warned us that it might run out of gas. And the first time was only three years ago.


I think we have it bad here, but there are places where the weather is much worse:
In China more than 2.2 million pupils in Beijing and nearby Tianjin enjoyed a day off as officials took the rare step of closing thousands of schools. Temperatures in the Chinese capital are expected to fall to –18C on Tuesday night, with predictions they could reach –32C in the northernmost parts of the country by Wednesday morning.
That's simply horrendous.

Click here for full article.


TechSlice said...

I think the recent chill is a taste of things to come. Hopefully there will be enough gas to make it through the winter.

Kel said...

They are now saying that it'll be like this for the next fortnight...