More snow disruption as Abbeyfield closes again

Many schools across Wiltshire, including Abbeyfield have closed again today (Wednesday 12th January 2010). Treacherous driving conditions have led to many cars, vans and lorries becoming stuck this morning. Whilst many bus services have been cancelled.

The Severn Bridge is currently closed in both directions while the road is treated, according to the Highways Agency.

Heavy snow started to fall in parts of Devon on Tuesday afternoon, causing widespread travel problems including flight cancellations at Plymouth Airport. There were problems on the M4 near Cardiff, with traffic stationary.

Hundreds of drivers were stranded on the A38 on Telegraph Hill and Haldon Hill, near Exeter from about rush hour yesterday evening. Police urged motorists to stay in their cars while traffic officers could take them to rest centres.

There were also problems on the A361 between Rackenford and Knowstone in Devon and East Cornwall around Bodmin and Liskeard was also badly affected by the weather conditions.

In South Wales, police urged motorists not to travel after snowfall caused severe traffic problems around the M4 and other major routes.

In Chippenham, all three secondary schools were closed except for exam students who could make the journey safely. The junction onto the M4 became blocked when a lorry got stuck on the sliproad stopping commuters from getting onto the motorway. In Devizes, police stopped drivers entering the town in one direction as vehicles became stuck along the Caen Hill dual carriageway.

Posted by D.Drake

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Frozen Britain – Special Report

The BBC News website now has a dedicated section to the on-going weather event in the UK, where snow and ice still cover much of the country.

There are links to statistics, photographs, video reports and a whole host of other bits and pieces.

Visit the Frozen Britain page here

With Wiltshire and much of the country stuck under an area of high pressure sucking cold air down from the arctic and low pressure hovering over the corner of the south east of England, feeding in moist air, forecasters are predicting further snowfalls for Sunday as the moist air hits the cold air over the south of England which will then turn to snow. This next lot of snow could once again affect transport, businesses and schools in much of southern England on Monday.

Don’t forget to keep up-to-date with the latest news on school closures on Monday via the Abbeyfield School website and the heart website

In the event of the school being closed on Monday, please remember that if you are in KS3, you have an Extended Learning Project to complete for Humanities this term. If you need a reminder of the task, you can download the instructions here.

In addition, if you are one of my Year 11 Geographers (How could I leave you out?!) I have set you a task which can be accessed by logging onto the Abbeyfield VLE

Posted by D.Drake

Why is it so cold?

The Big Chill is being blamed on a change in the position of the jet stream – the current of air that moves from west to east. In a normal British winter – when conditions are mild and soggy – the jet stream lies over northern Europe, at an altitude of between 35,000 to 50,000 feet.

During these grey winters, Britain’s prevailing winds come from the west and south west, and bring with them warm and moist air from the sub-tropical Atlantic. But since mid December, the weather patterns high in the atmosphere have changed.  The jet stream has shifted south hundreds of miles and is now positioned over North Africa.

The warm westerlies that usually keep away the snow are instead giving the Mediterranean an unusually mild winter. What wind the UK has experienced has blasted in from the Arctic, or from across the cold land masses of Siberia and Eastern Europe.

Helen Chivers, of the Met Office, said: ‘Because the jet stream is so far south, we have now got two areas of high pressure bringing cold weather to Britain.

‘One is over Greenland, and the other is over Russia. We are stuck in an area of low pressure between them and we are getting northerly winds from the Arctic and northern Scandinavia.’

No one knows why the jet stream has shifted so far south. Some believe its location may be linked to the emerging El Nino weather phenomena – where the surface temperatures of the Pacific periodically get warmer.

The Met Office said yesterday that the cold snap has nothing to do with climate change – but is part of the normal ebb and flow of normal local weather.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1241064/Why-cold-The-science-Britains-big-chill.html#ixzz0bxOfYBVc

BBC Weather forecast for the week ahead – broadcast 3rd January 2010

Posted by D.Drake