If you listened carefully to any of the hysteria in relation to the current cold snap, you would be forgiven for thinking that we were in the grips of a 1963 style mini Ice Age. As far as I can remember, it’s been cold for about ten days, with snow that hasn’t shifted because the temperatures have been routinely below freezing. How is this something to be feared? The roads have been clear for most of the time, the pavements so as well; let’s be fair our railways don’t work when it’s windy or raining so how we expect them to work in the cold is anyone’s guess. But for the last few days, weather forecasters, politicians and do gooders in the business community (not business leaders you understand, but those on the periphery who claim to speak on behalf of businesses) have been wishing an end to the cold spell, a return to the bleak, dark, wet winters we are used to.
There is one enormous drawback of the change in weather that we are about to get. Temperatures will be about ten degrees warmer from one day to the next with gales and heavy rain. The results? Enormous and extremely quick snow melt, which can only lead to the one thing which we get whatever “season” we are in – widespread and very devastating flooding. So what’s better – cold, occasionally beautiful weather or floodwater damage? Far better for the weather to stay as it is, and gradually warm up, much as it does on the continent. Funnily enough, as with all things, our continental partners deal with snow much better than us; remember, in parts of Europe there is four or five months of snow, not four or five minutes as we get over here, and their economies don’t seize up completely.