Tag Archives: 寒波

Frozen Britain: the Country in Chaos…Again

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UK’s traffic has been paralyzed since Friday, due to the big freeze affecting Northern Europe (related article/past entry of my blog). It’s the busiest time of the year just before Christmas and the cold front came at the worst timing. The highest temperature in London has been just 1º, and there is no sign that the snow piled up on the street would melt away, at least until Christmas. London’s Heathrow airport, one of the busiest airport in the world, has been experiencing numerous flight cancellations and severe delays, and has been barely functioning. Thousands of desperate passengers have to bare with never-ending waiting on the floor of the airport, with a slightest hope of good news, that may not come for at least few more days.

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航空便だけじゃない。鉄道も遅れやキャンセルが目立ち、ユーロスターの発着駅であるセント・パンクラス駅は、行列を作る客約6,000人が構内に入りきらず駅をぐるっと半周、その長さは何と約2km。この寒空の中7時間待ちだとか(以下ビデオ/参考記事)。それでも、その日に運良く電車に乗れるという保証はない。そんな人たちを不憫に思ってか、Salvation Army(救世軍)のバンが駅にきて、紅茶やコーヒーの暖かい飲み物を人々に振る舞った(記事)。

Not only the air traffic, but rail networks have had severe disturbances such as delays and cancellations. Today at St Pancras International station, around 6,000 passengers of Eurostar have been waiting on a queue, stretching 1.2 miles/2km around the station, for seven hours under this freezing sky (video below/related article). There is no guarantee that they could get on the board today, though. For these poor passengers, Salvation Army‘s mobile canteen came on site, handing out hot tea and coffee for a little warmth (article).

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There is nothing I can say but sorry to these people in the chaos. The government insists that this is the extreme weather that country hadn’t experienced for decades, but UK has encountered this severe cold winter three years in a row. According to a meteorologist on BBC news yesterday, this trend may continue despite the global warming… I hate cold!!

↑トラックの横転により、混雑する高速道路/An overturned lorry caused traffic jam on the M25

↓ 金曜までのロンドンの天気予報/5-day weather forecast in London

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A Bad Day for England




Today’s news in UK is all about England’s failure to host World Cup 2018 and big chill which has been staying over UK for several days.

About the World Cup 2018, which could have brought £3 billion economic boost, the bid team as well as British media were so confident until the bid today. Big names such as Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham traveled to Zurich to attend the final presentation, and bookies named England as the favorite after frontrunner Russia’s Putin decided not to attend the decision and British thought it was a sign of Russia’f fall out of the race. The national expectation heightened to the maximum – until the vote started. The result was a huge disappointment and disaster – England got only two votes and kicked out on the first round.

Media blames that the undercover report of the Sunday Times and BBC’s Panorama aired on November 29 accusing FIFA’s corruption, as the reason of England’s loss by causing FIFA’s anger, but come on! Everybody knows that money, negotiation, deal-making and politics are involved in deciding the host nation of the biggest event of the sports in the world, and FIFA, a powerful international association, is obviously not clean and fair. You were not born yesterday! You never know what really happened behind the door when London was chosen to host 2012 Olympic Games. Also why England wants all major sporting events anyway? London hosts the 2012 Olympics, and after, big events such as 2014 Commonwealth Games, the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and the 2019 Cricket World Cup come to UK That’s quite enough. Give other countries an excitement too!


Big freeze has struck UK since last weekend, three winters in a row (past entry 1/2/3). It snowed yesterday, and our balcony became like this ↓ (also see BBC photos). Every time “big” snow (for Brits, but obviously not for Scandinavians or North Americans) hit UK, the country gets panicked and falls in a big chaos, as British winter is not severe on contrary to its public image abroad. The Time’s American journalist wrote that British’s unpreparedness toward snow maybe intentional and a national conspiracy – so people can skip work or school. It may be a joke, but I think that could be quite a possibility…

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Driver’s Nightmare: 1,000 Roadworks a Day Hit London

最近のロンドンは、とにかく道路工事が多い。出かける度に、工事による迂回や道幅縮小、またそれによって引き起こされる交通渋滞に遭遇する。今日のイブニング・スタンダード紙記事によると、ロンドンでは昨年1年間で37万件もの道路工事が行われた(ロンドン交通局:Transport for London調べ)。これは、ロンドンにある8万5千の通りが平均4回は掘り起こされた計算になり、これらの工事による市の経済的ダメージは年間10億ポンドに上るという。ロンドンでは今日時点で、5500以上の道路工事が行われており、その中にはオックスフォード・ストリートやピカデリーなど、主要な道路も含まれているという。

この異常な数は、工事数の60%を占める、水道会社のテムズ・ウォーター)による老朽化した水道管の交換(今年がビクトリア時代に作られた水漏れの激しい水道本管の交換のピークになるそう。詳細はこのサイトで)の他、ロンドンの東西を結ぶCrossrail計画を含む、2012年開催予定のロンドン・オリンピックに向けてのインフラの整備、そして30年来の寒波の影響に夜18万個もの道路のくぼみや水道管やガスパイプの破裂が原因であるが、ボリス・ジョンソンロンドン市長も、公約である「war on roadworks(道路工事との戦い)」を遂行していないと、批判の矢面に立っている。市長の工事許可制制度では、工事を行う会社は開始前に区から許可を得ないといけないとされているが、全ての区がこの制度を採用しているわけではない。


There is a lot of roadworks all over London recently, and I encounter a road restriction, diversion or traffic jam caused by the roadworks every time I go out. According to today’s Evening Standard‘s article, 370,000 sets of roadworks were recorded last year (figures from Transport for London), and it means that the equivalent of each of the London’s estimated 85,000 streets has been dug up four times on average in the last 12 months, costing the city’s economy up to £1 billion a year. More than 5,500 roads are being worked in London on today, including major routes such as Oxford Street and Piccadilly.

This crazy number of works has been created by Thames Water, which responsible for up to 60% of the works with their pipe replacements (this year will be the peak for replacing leaky Victorian mains), as well as preparations for the 2012 Summer Olympics including major engineering and infrastructure projects such as Crossrail,  and the coldest winter in 31 years that caused damages, including estimated 180,000 potholes on the roads, and fractures to underground water and gas pipes. Mayor Boris Johnson is also criticized as he has failed to deliver on his promised “war on roadworks,” cutting roadworks by licences and strong control, but not all boroughs have signed up to the Mayor’s permit scheme that requires utility companies to apply for a permit before they begin a roadwork.

I am afraid that the roadwork hell will continue until the London Olympics – what a pain in the neck!!

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Frozen Britain: the Country in Chaos


イギリスの冬は高緯度の割には温暖で、厳しい寒さに慣れていないので、大寒波が来ると途端に立ち往生してしまう。幸い私たちのフライトは1時間半遅れでヒースロー空港に到着したけれど、国内便、ヨーロッパ便を中心に、ヒースロー空港やガトウィック空港等でキャンセルが相次いで、人々の足に支障が出ている。鉄道の遅れも多く報告されており、12月19日から3日間運休して大ひんしゅくを買ったユーロスターは、7日にまた英仏海峡トンネルで止まってしまった。寒波が原因の事故も増えており、これ以上悪天候が続くと、道路徐氷用の塩不足も予想される。道路の凍結や雪で食物の供給も滞り、悪天候で消費も落ち込み、経済への打撃も深刻だ。多くの学校は休校になり、今週予定されている、義務教育修了時に受ける全国統一試験(GCSE/General Certificate of Secondary Education)にも支障が出る可能性もある。


イギリス気象庁(Met Office)の予測は近年ことごとく外れていると、批判の的だ。昨年夏は「バーベキュー・サマー(バーベキューが楽しめるほど暑くて天気のよい夏)」になるという予測を出していたにも関わらず、7月は100年ぶりの歴史的大雨と、雨続きの冷夏に終わった。また、2008-09年冬も暖冬予測を出していたが、一部地域の1月の夜間気温は20年来の寒さ、2月には大雪に見舞われた。そして今年の冬は暖冬である確率が高いと言う予測を出し、気象庁はすっかり面目を失った。しかし気象庁長官は、2008/09の期間に25%もの昇給を享受し、首相より多くの給料をもらっているにも関わらずこの体たらくと、厳しい批判にさらされている。

We came back from Italy the other day. It has been very cold in UK due to the cold front from Russia staying in UK from mid-December, and it is the biggest chill since the winter of 1981/82. As we were used to mild Italian weather of around 10º for 2 weeks, we suffer with the chill quite badly. The sky has been always white and it has snowed some times everyday since we are back. I felt strange that less than 2-hour flight showed me the completely different views, when I saw the land just before our airplane touched down on Heathrow Airport (photo above).

British winter is rather mild although it is located in comparatively high latitude. The country is not used to severe cold weather and gets paralyzed when the big cold front hits. Luckily our flight arrived at Heathrow airport with 1 hour and half delay, but many flights, mainly domestic and short-haul flights, have been canceled and have been affecting people’s travel plans. Many delays of train lines also reported, and Eurostar broke down AGAIN on January 7th – it got huge criticism after notoriously three days of service were cancelled from December 22nd. The accidents and injuries related to the chill has been increasing, and it is predicted that salt stocks may run out if the cold weather stays long. Food supply has been disturbed due to the snow and icy roads. Consumer activities have dropped and UK economy has been hit hard. Many schools are closed, and it is anticipated that some students may fail to sit this week’s GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education), if weather prevents them taking the exam.

Although these reported chaos sound terrible, London functions relatively OK, except the mess on the streets and cancellations and delays of public transportations. However, it seems to me that UK has failed to prepare for the relatively mild cold front (for me) just below 0º temperature and has gone into such a mess. It is true that the winter is mild here, but the average winter temperature of around 5º (London) is not warm either, and the cold front, bigger or smaller, could happen anytime.

Met Office, the national weather service, has been heavily criticized for getting its forecasts wrong recently. Their forecast of a “Barbecue Summer” last year ended up heavy rainfall and the wettest July for almost 100 years. The organisation’s prediction of a mild winter in 2008-09 was also criticised after heavy snow fell last February and parts of southern England had their coldest night for 20 years in January. They issued the prediction of high probability of warm winter 2008/09 and again, they are wrong. The head of the Met Office is under attack, as he received a 25% pay rise and now is paid more than the Prime Minister during Met Office is harshly criticized of its incompetency.

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Severe Cold Weather and Traffic Chaos in UK


イギリスだけでなく、今はヨーロッパ中が大寒波に見舞われており、交通機関は大混乱。クリスマス帰省・旅行客の足に支障をきたしている。チューブ(地下鉄)や鉄道、航空便は遅延・欠航が相次ぎ、路面凍結や雪で交通事故も多数報告されている(BBC News)。先ほどのニュースでは、ルートン空港が悪天候のため閉鎖されたという。フランス・ベルギーとイギリスを結ぶユーロスターは、今日でもう3日間運休しており、100,000人もの乗客が足止めを食らっている。19日には英仏海峡トンネルで、ユーロスターいわく「fulffy French snow(フランスでのふわふわした雪)」が原因の故障で、列車5台が立ち往生。何台かの客は救出されたそうだが、2,000人以上が数時間から最長16時間もの間、車内に閉じ込められた。以下のビデオは車内で15時間を過ごした怒れる家族。ユーロスター側から何の説明もなく、乗組員のフランス人は英語が喋れず(喋らず?)。その間飲み物も食べ物もなし。トイレは2つだけで、水が流れないので、排泄物が8cm以上も溜まっていたそう。電気もつかず、暗闇の中夜を過ごしたそう。ひどい話だ。


It’s been freezing cold in London recently. The temperature is around 0°. It was OK on weekend as it was sunny as well, but today there was heavy snow in the afternoon, covering the city in white. The bus I took suddenly stopped and didn’t travel further, due to the accident or something ahead and it was forced to wait. Though it was only 4 stops away from home and 30 minutes walk, it was hard to walk on the slippery wet and melted snow, going through a thread of random snowball attacks by obnoxious kids hiding behind walls or in a park in front of my apartment.

Not only UK but Europe is suffering with severe winter weather and traffic chaos, which affects tens of thousands of people who travel during the holiday season. In the UK, delays and cancellations are reported for many flights, trains, and tube lines, and Luton airport — closed due to snow. On the road, traffic jams have been seen due to the snow and accidents and AA has been busy rescuing people on the road (BBC News). Eurostar, which connects UK and France / Belgium, has suspended all the services for 3 days and has disrupted 100,000 people’s travel plan, after “fulffy French snow” in France created excessive condensation in the channel tunnel between England and France, causing electrics to fail and 5 trains to become stuck on December 19. More than 2,000 people were trapped inside the tunnel – some trains were evacuated, but other passengers were forced to remain on board, for hours up to 16 hours, without food and water supply! Below is the video of a furious family, stuck in the train for 15 hours; they complained that the passengers were treated like animals and with no explanation, no food, water, oxygen, electricity and light, no medics, with only 2 available toilets with no flushing water and 3 inches of excrement (or poo) and urine piled up… They were really mad at French attendants, for being rude and ignorant, and ‘those French even didn’t speak English’ (or acted that they didn’t??).

Eurostar is expected to resume partial service tomorrow on Tuesday, but the priority will be given to the elderly and the vulnerable, and passengers that should have travelled on Friday and Saturday. Eurostar advises to customers holding booking in the next few days from tomorrow is to only travel if it is absolutely necessary (as in the ‘notice’ published on the newspaper). With the incident, the way Eurostar handle of the accident, Eurostar’s reputation has gone down the drain, as well as the British image of French people…

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