Saturday, 19 January 2013

Storm In A Teacup

This weekend is the UK's yearly national embarrassment weekend. Every time it comes round, I cringe with shame, as egged on by the UK media, the great British public runs round like headless chickens and shouts "Don't Panic! Don't Panic!"

And the cause of all this? 

Yes, the first snow in England, or more precisely the first snow to hit the South East of England (aka Greater London) .... the UK press don't care about snow in Scotland, or Cumbria.

After just 4 hours you would think that it was the 'Day After Tomorrow', or 'Armageddon' ... I even heard a BBC reporter say breathlessly that a town in Wales was 'nearly cut off' ... what does that mean? They were nearly snowed in forever, and that like in a scene from the movie 'Thirty Days Of Night', a plague of vampires would be roaming the streets? Or maybe he meant that once they were 'cut off' , there would be a run on the supermarkets and cannibalism would then ensue?

Or did he just really mean that for about about half an hour or so, the roads would be closed until the snow ploughs ran again?

Honestly, the scenes of people skiving off work because 'I've just had a text from the wife, its snowing at home' , and the media reporting that the trains and main national airport were in chaos again, should be something that makes us hang our heads in shame. 'Third world' responses, that's all I can say, and what makes it worse is that happens every year like clockwork, and yet nothing is ever done about it.

Annual Heathrow Chaos

Surely, the UK airports like Heathrow could have heated runways ... there are chemical coatings that can be put down that can be caused to warm a little by application of water/snow etc, or de-icing chemicals such as urea and glycol ... there are even methods of using summer tarmac heat to clear snow in the winter.

Its called inter-seasonal heat transfer, which uses a network of fluid-filled pipes laid under the tarmac to collect the heat during the summer months (They can even capture and store the heat produced by an airport’s air conditioning system, adding still more heat to the system), then transfer the energy to subterranean "thermal banks" where the ground insulates stored heat. During the winter, the collected stored energy can be tapped by using heat transfer pumps to bring warm fluids back to the surface.

Heated Runways - Not Impossible

But no, we collapse into mass cancellations and news headlines around the world that portray us as a laughing stock. Reykjavík Airport in Iceland faces conditions like this, and far worse, for a large part of the year, and yet it rarely if ever closes.
Isn't it about time this annual shame was ended .....


  1. The unseasonable good weather, apart from the rain, means it looks like we will have to wait until at least next weekend before the annual flight of the headless chickens in 2014.

  2. Your probably right .... I may repost this one, when it all goes stupid.


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