The hot news in the UK at the moment is about the cold weather. Much of the country – notably Scotland and northeast England – has been gripped in bitter cold and blankets of snow for much of the past week.
The news headlines bring citizens’ frustrations and exasperation (or is it mainly the media’s frustrations and exasperation?) into sharp relief with uniformly critical reporting, commentary and opinion, led by that most sharpest-critical of newspapers, the Daily Mail.
No doubt there is much to point fingers at in the dÃ©jÃ vu experience we go through every winter, it seems, with what appears to be three snowflakes causing utter chaos everywhere with airports closed, trains not running and the transport system nationwide ground to a halt.
I’ve just returned from a few days’ business visit in Basel, Switzerland. It’s in a part of Europe that’s no stranger to winters with severe amounts of snow and ice, so they’re accustomed to both the expected and the unexpected, anticipate what to do every winter and plan accordingly.
Things aren’t quite like that in the UK, as is pretty obvious now. But to be fair, there has been some really severe weather this week,Â worse than I saw in Basel and what’s been on the news about places points east, and with more serious outcomes. Take a look at this satellite photo that shows the snow blanket covering the UK and much of Ireland. You can hardly make out what the whole of southern England looks like. Quite a dramatic shot, received this morning by the University of Dundee Satellite Receiving Station from a NASA satellite named Terra.
Click the image below for a larger version.
Helps put things in perspective a bit, doesn’t it?
Finally, a little photo mashup – a 30-second Animoto video of six photos I took this morning at Basel airport of an airport maintenance crew de-icing/defrosting a parked jet.Â Almost a ballet.
Related: compare the satellite photo above with a similar photo from January 2010. Things look a bit worse then compared to now.