Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sure, It's Cold, But...

That's snow! Cars buried in Montreal, December 2005

I am the first to complain about the cold. I complain in the summer; I complain in the winter. I religiously close windows The Man has opened. In short: I have cryophobia. (Not really, but bordering on!).

The irony of this is that I am Canadian, something The Man incredulously reminds me of when I complain. Further irony is added by the fact that he is Egyptian. Average maximum temperature in Ottawa in January: -5 C. Average maximum temperature in Cairo in January: 18 C.

Still, even I was surprised by the sheer chaos any cold and/or snowy weather causes in the UK. It's like a national disaster. Batton down the hatches, there's a snow flurry on the way! Two to three centimetres of snow closes schools and causes countless accidents.

There's been a cold snap here in London over the past few days and true to measure, the papers have been all over it like white on snow.

From The Times:

Even during the day, temperatures are unlikely to stay above freezing in many places. To add to the misery, a belt of sleet and snow showers running down through East Anglia and the South East could leave 1cm (0.4in) of snow on the ground this morning. It could also wash away the grit spread by councils during the night and leave widespread ice on roads and pavements during the morning rush hour.

And the Evening Standard:

Minus 10 - it’s colder than the Antarctic

Snow! Ice! In the winter! What is this world coming to? I will never forget one day a few years ago when no more than 5 cm of snow stopped most the Tube lines, stranding me on the Northern Line in Golders Green on the way to work. Surely the Tube would be able to cope with a little bit of moisture, I thought -- before remembering that this very same antiquated transport system was often delayed in the autumn due to 'leaves on the track'.

I thought I would leave you with Ottawa's weekly forecast for a little bit of juxtaposition:

Tue-6°C -9°C
Wed-6°C -8°C
Thu-7°C -16°C
Fri-13°C -25°C

Now THAT is cold!


acpaul said...

Since you don't like it cold, I thought I'd give you the weather (in C) where I live:

Today High: 13.3
Low: 5
Wed High: 16.7
Low: 5
Thurs High: 20.6

And yes, people in Phoenix consider this to be cold. In the 20+ years that I've lived here, I have seen it snow three times. All three occasions were considered very big deals, despite the snow being a short-lived occurrence and melting as soon as it hit the ground.

Your Londoners might freak out at the sight of snow, but my Phoenicians freak out at the sight of *any* form of water falling from the sky. Well, this *is* a desert.

Sarah said...

England reminds me so much of Vancouver when this happens - overawed and convinced their cars won't start. Britons are, probably quantifiably, more stoic about terrorist attacks than they are about snow.

The central heating and pedways in Edmonton sure helped a lot, though. My toesies are freezing.

Marsha said...

I know! My toes are FREEZING. I had to take a hot bath to warm them up.

We could always move to Phoenix...