Were you forced to wrestle a polar bear on the way to work this morning? Nope, neither was anyone from Press Gazette. Yet judging by some of the coverage being given over to the weather you wouldn’t be far off the mark thinking we were about to descend into a sixth major ice age.
Commuters read in yesterday’s Evening Standard of an extreme weather warning for London issued by the Met Office with up to 18 inches of snow expected to fall in Southern England – that has yet to materialise.
However with other areas of Southern England getting close to the 18 inches of snow that was predicted to fall – and northern areas being run to a standstill – newspapers and broadcasters have gone to town on their coverage.
The BBC is even planning a Snow News Special for 8pm tonight.
The Manchester Evening News reported that hundreds of cars had been abandoned as the ‘heaviest snow for three decades left a trail of devastation in its wake.’A live feed on their website is providing travel news and information on all closures, with readers encouraged to post questions and comments.
Print edition newspapers across ‘Brrrritain’ (Pun courtesy of the Sun and Mirror) predicted disastrous conditions on their front pages this morning with a variety of headlines describing the utter ‘chaos’ the weather would create.
Britain is a “Snow Go Zone” said the Sun, which also warned of the “Iciest winter for a CENTURY”, and said “BRITAIN’S big freeze will blow a £1BILLION hole in the economy – and could push long-suffering small firms to the wall.”
That figure had risen by the time it made it to the Telegraph, which was predicting the economy would be down by £2 billion with millions of Britons expected to miss work.
Sky News weather presenter Isobel Lang warned people to “avoid travelling, unless you really, really have to” while weatherman Stephen Davenport was quoted in the Mirror warning: “This might be one of the coldest winters for 100 years.”
Guess what? Its ‘chaos’ in Brighton too, reports the Argus. And ‘chaos’ in Oxfordshire despite the stories being run by the Oxford Mail showing just a touch of travel disruption rather than the heavy downfalls that were predicted.
A little more restrain from the Basingstoke Gazette which say that despite “substantial overnight falls of snow” North Hampshire had avoided the chaos of a previous cold snap two weeks ago.
The Met Office advised people should ‘be prepared’ for more snow in London and South East England this afternoon. Worrying indeed, as you’d think from the majority of headlines that it could not get much worse.
The Daily Mail announced that: “Ice-bound Britain is paralysed by the biggest snowfall for years . . .” and carried pictures of empty supermarket shelves. It added that cat litter was the surprise best seller for panic buyers, who are using it as an alternative to grit for clearing paths and driveways. Sales of tinned food are also up, with many Britons presumably expecting to be stuck in their homes for months on end.
The Financial Times went with ‘travel chaos’ but also said: “Central London escaped the worst of the weather, with most London Underground services running normally.”
Elsewhere in the UK the situation is rather worse than a few snowflakes and a slightly delayed train. The army was called in to help 1,000 stranded vehicles on the A3 in Hampshire, schools and airports are shut with over 80 flights from Gatwick cancelled, not to mention the suspension of filming on Coronation Street.