Flood defence: an army of snowmen

This is too funny.  The Daily Mail reports:

Build a snowman by order of the GOVERNMENT! Environment Agency urges homeowners to pile up ice and prevent flooding by delaying thaw

  • Weather forecasters are predicted a sudden thaw when temperatures swing from -13C to 13C at the weekend
  • Concerns homes and businesses could be flooded due to melting snow resulting in large areas of standing water

Spokesman Roy Stokes said:

‘Ideally if everybody built themselves a snowman that will slow the thaw down a bit,’ he said.

‘If you notice when people clear their drive the snow thaws away but the compacted piles stay which will give a balanced thaw, which would be helpful.’

‘We would rather it be a gradual thaw than a really quick one.

The EA later said he was joking.

Read more here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk

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5 Responses to Flood defence: an army of snowmen

  1. Bloke down the pub says:

    Someone’s been watching too much Dr Who.

  2. ‘snow joke, I can tell you! The Mail is always quick to add a DailyMail factor to any statistics it quotes. The temperature in the UK generally has never dropped to -13°C this winter – if it had, we’d be in a new “Little Ice Age”. There’s also a rather large fly in the ointment here of course. Typical snow depths currently are around 4-6″, with more on some hills. In metric money that’s 10-15 cm, and with 12 cm snow being equivalent to 1 cm water that would convert to about 8-13 mm water – not a great deal by UK standards, especially during our recent “Barbecue Summer” and monsoon autumn. The EA seems not to know that temperature declines with altitude – the deeper snow on hills will thaw much more slowly. In 1963 (I was there) isolated pockets of snow remained on hills in the Pennines in June.

    Still – let’s not let facts stand in the way of a good story. Bear in mind that In the future, children just won’t know what a mild winter is.

    • Verity Jones says:

      I’ve only recently started checking the DM for Climate/weather/science-related stuff. The reason I do is simply its enormous web-based readership. I am interested in seeing, a) what readers are being ‘fed’ by the MSM (good or bad) and b) the comments and reactions to it.

  3. Ric Werme says:

    Two issues with snow melt that need to be kept in mind when comparing things to summer:

    1) If the ground is frozen, water runs off instead of getting absorbed by the ground.

    2) Trees are prodigious ground water suckers – when they have leaves.
    Of course, in your “Barbecue Summers” the ground is saturated and the trees can’t keep up. :-)

    The 12::1 ratio is probably high, but I haven’t met British snow. In New England we generally use 10::1, but old snow is usually compacted some, so its ratio is even lower.

    BTW, I think snow melts much more quickly when the dew point is above freezing than when it’s below. I assume your 13C air will be moist enough so the dew point will be above freezing. That makes water condense on snow, releasing a lot of latent heat to speed the melt.

    Enjoy the thaw. -5.4F for me today, that about -21C

    [REPLY OOh Brrr! At least it is a dry cold. I'm off to the East Coast in a few weeks. I hope it stays cold - nothing worse than slush. V.]

  4. Pingback: Haike Carpe Diem #143, Zansetsu (remaining snow) | JRB's Haiku

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