February 4, 2009
How London deals with 4 inches of snow
It turns out that Portland isn't the only place with problems dealing with record snowstorms. Via the International Herald Tribune
Nothing moved. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Planes didn't fly, the city's landmark red buses didn't run, trains never showed up, traffic didn't flow, and no one, of course, could find a taxi.
Transit officials had nearly a week to prepare for the widely predicted storm, called the worst in nearly two decades, but they failed to maintain a semblance of normalcy in the capital.
The misery went far beyond London's aged Underground subway system. The capital's airports briefly shut down, with more than 700 flights canceled throughout the day and thousands of passengers stranded. And the city's extensive bus network was completely closed during the morning rush hour because of the snow and ice.
Roadways remained opened but colossal traffic jams developed because of fender benders and more serious accidents.
Mayor Boris Johnson, facing his first major City Hall crisis, conceded the city did not have the snowmoving equipment needed to keep rail and road traffic flowing in the face of the heaviest snowfall in 18 years.
February 4, 2009 8:54 AM
so much for global warming
February 4, 2009 9:19 AM
Bob R. Says:
"so much for global warming"
Weather != Climate
This site != A global warming existence debate site.
February 4, 2009 9:31 AM
Jason McHuff Says:
Weather != Climate
Fred Hansen noted at the last TriMet Board Meeting that global warming doesn't necessarily mean an actual warming of temperatures, but more extreme weather events.
February 4, 2009 12:30 PM
London's experience demonstrates (yet again) that the response of cities to bad weather is relative, based on what is normal weather for that city. Every city, including Obama's Chicago, has an implicit threshhold that indicates its judgment as to what level of capital investment, staffing, etc. is appropriate for handling weather events that might be expected to occur frequently enough to justify the expense. There is a comparable threshhold on the population's experience in driving in bad weather.
How many inches of snow it takes to paralyze a first-world city is generally related to the local climate. The readers of this blog probably understand all this, but I wanted to get it off my chest, especially after our President laughed at his new city's response to a fairly severe snowfall for that area. (Wait until he gets the budget projections for applying "flinty Chicago toughness" to Washington DC.)
February 4, 2009 12:44 PM
A few weeks ago, while areas down here were facing freezing temperatures, Alaska had the opposite, temperatures were approaching 50 in some areas, including Anchorage and Fairbanks, above zero.
Now I might believe that is a trend if there are significant delays to the upcoming annual Sled Dog Race that honors the time when technology failed and the old stalwart of the Alaska Bush(at the time there were only 1 or 2 planes there, and with water cooled piston engines, were in storage for the winter) the Sled Dog was the only means of delivery of the much needed vaccine for the epidemic that had hit Nome. A few years ago there were cases where they were talking about shortening the Iditarod because of a lack of snow in some areas of the trail.
As for Snow Removal in London, with a week's warning, they should have been ready. I watch some podcasts from CityNews in Toronto, and they still have not lived down a tough snow event from 1999, where the city was caught unprepared, and had to ask for help, from Ottawa, which sent in the Canadian Forces to help clear snow. Armored Personel carriers turned into good ambulances that could go anywhere in the snow. 10 years later, that particular mayor still says he made the right decision to ask for the troops to be sent in. Today, the city goes out with 1500 plows, but when you get heavy snow like that, it's justified to have that many available.