Weather sells. Newspapers enjoy circulation rates increases of over 10% when the weather dominates the headlines. This may be the result of plain scaremongering that capitalizes on the British fascination with weather. Or it may testify to a freakish spell of unusually cold weather over a suspiciously successive string of years. Either way, the weather has featured on our front pages on several occasions recently. Weather experts have unsurprisingly predicted the ‘Worst winter for decades’ for Britain in 2013. Regardless of whether or not records have been broken like the headlines would suggest , it seems the British stoicism that we pride ourselves on completely dissipates in the presence of even the lightest sprinkling of snow. Schools close, trains become stranded, buses don’t run and motorways freeze as the UK grinds to a sudden stop, to the tune of £470 million to the nation’s economy. Taking this monumental figure into account, especially given the recent financial climate, it is high time we learnt the error of our ways and began to cope with whatever Mother Nature sends our direction.
We clearly have a lot to learn from our weather-hardened friends in Scandinavia who watch from afar, stifling laughs as we clumsily attempt to go about our day to day lives, having failed to adequately prepare for the elements. Take note hardy Britons, here’s how to do it properly:
Tromsø in Norway doesn’t slack on grit supplies, and nor should we. Snow ploughs outside the city and diggers inside make for clear roads in time for the commute in the morning (not to mention heated pavements to thaw out the frost).
Sweden, Finland, Iceland AND Norway all implemented legislation which means winter tyres are compulsory past a certain point in their year- surely if we swallowed the bitter financial pill we would soon reap the rewards in money saved from sick days spent stranded in the snow!
Triple glazed windows, heated pavements and snow chains are just some of the items we could adopt -should winters reach the extremes the headlines suggest.
A school in snowy Tromsø has only closed once in recent years, in 1998 when 1.5 metres of the white stuff fell in a period of 2-3 hours. Even on the record breaking day for snow depth (an unthinkable 2.4m) in April of 1997, the school was still open!