Tag Archives: winter

Frozen Britain: the Country in Chaos…Again

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先週金曜日から北ヨーロッパを襲った大寒波により、またもやイギリスの交通網はパニックに陥った(参考記事/過去のブログ)。クリスマスを間近に控え、一年で最も混雑するこの時期にあたったのも最悪のタイミング。ロンドンでも最低クリスマスまでは最高気温は1度を超えず、しばらく降り積もった雪が解けそうな気配もない。国際線利用者数世界一を誇るヒースロー空港は、ほとんど麻痺状態。キャンセルが相次ぎ、途方に暮れた乗客は、いつ来るとも分からない吉報を待つしかない。

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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この混乱に巻き込まれた方々には、本当にお気の毒と言う他ない。政府は、これは何十年も経験した事のない異常事態というが、厳しい寒波もこれで3年目。昨日のニュースに出ていた気候学者によると、厳冬傾向は今後も続くかもしれないそうだ。寒いのは苦手なんだけどなあ。。。

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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Frozen Britain: the Country in Chaos

先日、イタリアから帰って来た。イギリスは今、クリスマス前から続く寒波で、非常に寒い。1981/82年以来、最悪の寒波で、最高気温10度前後だったイタリアの気候に慣れていた体には応える。天気も悪く、帰ってから毎日空はどんより、雪がちらついている。帰りの機中から雪に覆われた光景(上の写真)を見て、2時間弱のフライトで、景色がこんなにも違うものかと不思議な気持ちになった。

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。

とまあ、いろいろ混乱が伝えられているけれども、足元が良くないことと交通機関の遅れやキャンセル以外は、ロンドンの街は一応機能している。しかし、0度前後の気温と雪であたふたするとは、たとえ比較的温暖と言っても、冬は平均気温(ロンドン)が5度前後と決して暖かくはないのだから、もうちょっと準備を頑張っていい気がする。

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

最近のロンドンは寒い。気温は毎日0度前後。それでも週末は晴れたから良かったけれど、今日は午後に大雪が降り、ロンドンの街並みも雪に覆われた。利用していたバスが、事故か何かの影響でその先が通行止めになったからと途中で止まってしまい、残りは歩いて帰るはめに。4駅程だったけれど、ベチャベチャの雪の上を30分強歩くのは辛い。それに、そこかしこに悪ガキが隠れていて、ぼーっとしていると、雪の玉がどこからか飛んでくる。

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。

ユーロスターは明日から部分的に復旧する予定だそうだが、この運休中の予約客を優先、その後は老人やどうしても利用が必要な人を優先に割り当てていくので、明日以降の予約客は本当に必要な場合以外は利用しないよう、忠告している(下は、新聞に掲載された、ユーロスターからのお知らせ)。この1件でユーロスター、そしてイギリス人のフランス人に対する評判もガタ落ちしてしまった。

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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