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Are you freezing your cockles off?

13 Jan 2017   |   0 Comments

The UK set about creating panic and generally preparing for the “big freeze” this week with the news of the impending snow. How Canada, Russia, Switzerland etc. all manage to deal with the white stuff in a calm and rational manner, we’ll probably never know! But, whilst some areas have faced severe weather damage, it’s safe to say a number of citizens around the UK were left dreaming of sledging, building snowmen and the great possibility of a snow day. Sadly here in Reading, we managed to get the whole of a couple of millimetres – at best. However the Met Office has issued an estimated 165 flood warnings and alerts. Residents of the East Coast have been evacuated from their homes and freezing temperatures have continued.

For all snow lovers out there (which includes many at CDS), the weather wasn’t always this dismal, 1695 saw the heaviest snowfall in London, where it snowed for 5 weeks straight and the snow didn’t clear until mid-April. Only 70 years ago, March 1947, North Wales saw a snow depth of 1.65m…just over 5ft. Whilst our snowflakes this week resembled the size of small chocolate chips, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest snowflake on record measured 38cm wide and 20cm thick. It was observed in Montana, USA in 1887 and described by witnesses as "larger than a milk pan".  

For the time being, we do not have to endure extreme snowfall, although climate change may change this. Many of us fail to think about the weight of snow, especially on buildings. Significant snowfall can have the potential to damage building structure resulting in property damage, destruction of contents and business interruption. Hazardous conditions can arise from repeated snowfall over a number of days, without the opportunity for the snow to melt. Additionally, this can be intensified by rainfall which is soaked up by the existing snow. Snow and ice on a roof bear vertical loads that can cause a roof to deflect or bow downwards. Also the extreme weight can transfer horizontal forces through the structure, causing walls to bend outwards. Whilst extreme weather cannot be controlled, the risks to property can be, with regular maintenance.

For the time being we’re happy to announce that a ‘snow search’ need not be introduced! However with the effects of climate change, this may be a reality in the future. For the time being however, rest assure, we have all of your other key environmental searches here.  These provide information on flooding, radon exposure, mining and many more, so we’ve got you covered.


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