Thursday, January 14, 2010

A taste of things to come

I gave something of the flavour of it yesterday, but did not really convey the real extent of the economic and human damage being done locally by this freezing weather.

The Times gives a national overview, telling us that potholes in their thousands are emerging as the cold spell continues, with road user groups calling yesterday for emergency funding to help councils to repair them. Hundreds of millions of pounds will be needed to mend crumbling roads once the thaw sets in, it says.

The BBC, which devoted most of the half-hour local news slot to it, paints a better picture of the events in Yorkshire, telling us that much of the region is experiencing its worst disruption of the winter due to black ice. Many roads are impassable, it says, and even four gritting lorries slid off North Yorkshire roads.

In West Yorkshire, two vehicles hit buildings and a taxi slid down an embankment onto a factory roof. Some 187 West Yorkshire schools were shut, while Yorkshire Ambulance Service said there had been a four-fold increase in calls during the morning.

The Guardian adds to this, telling us that in Morley, Leeds, one truck smashed into a hairdressing salon, and another ploughed into a house. One man was taken to hospital after a taxi fell down a 30 ft embankment and landed on a factory roof in Holmfirth.

Even that, though, does not really do justice to what has been chaos compounded by shambles. We have seen pictures of people crawling on all-fours along the road because it was too slippery to stand.

Thousands of people struggled for hours to get to work, many hundreds were injured – some very seriously – and one of the local casualty units was telling us that it had lost count of the people it had treated. At one time, ambulances were parked four deep outside the reception bay, delivering patients.

And above all that, we had council officials telling us they would like to do more gritting, but the government was prevented from doing so, while a councillor from Kirkless Council admitted that they had not built up stocks during the summer because they had been told by the Met Office that it would be a mild winter.

What happened the previous night had been exceptional, according the BBC's local weather man, Paul Hudson. A partial thaw had brought light rain, and where roads had been gritted, the salt was washed away. It then froze hard, the rain turning to thin snow, coating every horizontal surface with ice.

With the restrictions on gritting, there were few repeat applications and, by the time the morning traffic started to appear, congestion and then multiple breakdowns were blocking the roads and preventing the emergency gritting. Whole parts of Yorkshire came to a standstill. By mid-morning, bus services were being withdrawn because it was too dangerous to drive, and we even had "vigilantes" closing off sections of main roads, to prevent motorists driving up them, to certain but unwitting doom.

By last night, the icy snow was back – more ice than snow. It is so thin that you can only see that it is snowing when you look against the light – although it shows up with flash photography (pictured top) - but it is coating everything with a lethal layer of ice. The streets were virtually deserted by mid-evening, with only the very occasional car. Shops have been empty – and so have their shelves, with some basic commodities running out. Pubs are struggling for customers, with many closing early. Commercial life is coming to a halt.

Had, of course, the Met Office been giving out early warnings – back in the summer – we would have been better prepared. But, as we know, the official propaganda had been singing the global warming line right up to the moment the snow started falling. Never has a population been so unprepared, mentally, physically and in every way imaginable.

From our own researches, we have seen millions blown by this government on researching the theoretical costs of global warming. Not a penny has been spent on the costs of a freezing winter and, more importantly, a cost benefit analysis of making preparations – like buying enough salt and equipment, and making plans to deal with what is actually getting to be a real emergency. Forget "climate emergency" - we've got a "weather emergency" in the making.

And this, many of us are convinced, is only the start. Yet still, the official line is damage limitation, with those dangerous fools in the Met Office telling us that winters are to get warmer and milder. They will kill people with their blind stupidity.

The local television news programmes captured the mood. They said they had had thousands of people ringing in to convey their nightmare experiences. They were getting really "fed up," we were told.

Of course, the London-centric media will not convey this, and those in London – including the political classes – are entirely oblivious to what is going on. But "fed up" will soon turn to anger. You can feel it. The warmists are going to have their first martyrs if they are not careful – cut up and fed into gritters to make up for the lack of salt.

And, if Cameron continues with his greenery, here at least – away from the political cesspool in Westminster – he will be crucified, politically if not physically. Yesterday, I thought the warmists might hold the line. Today, I am less sure. Yorkshire grit – or lack of it – is going to see these people taken apart unless they wake up and join the real world.