Edinburgh News: environment
The Met Office has today confirmed that December 2010 was not only Scotland's coldest December on record, but that it was also the second coldest month that the country has experienced in 100 years, beaten only by February 1947.
Christmas day in Edinburgh 2010 was "white" by both definitions: the city was covered in snow and the Met Office officially recorded snow flakes falling in the city. At least one flake must fall on 25th December for it to be technically called "A White Christmas" as far as the bookies are concerned.
Has day-to-day freezing ice and snow become the new normal? It seems to have been going on for ever. First it was Snowvember, now De-icember, in what has been the worst weather conditions in living memory. With climatologists (such as former government chief scientific advisor David King) suggesting that cold winters come in multiple years, we may need to get used to these bitterly cold conditions.
Edinburgh residents woke up this morning to find the city had reverted to winter snow conditions again.
Scotland's main railway company Scotrail has come up with a novel way of dealing with the kind of freezing conditions that caused most of its trains North to grind to a halt in plummeting temperatures around a week ago. It is going to dress its trains in warm skirts.
After the deep freeze on the roads, the political heat proved too much. Stewart Stevenson was forced to resign from his ministerial post yesterday.
As recent snow turns to slush, life in Edinburgh is returning to normal. However, the thaw has brought its own problems, as snow loosens and slides off roofs, and spear-like icicles relinquish their grip on gutters and overhangs and fall on pavements below.
Following days of heavy snow earlier this week and last week, Edinburgh roof tops were covered in unusually thick blankets of white.
Three days after Scotland's "perfect storm" (as Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson has dubbed Monday's transport network seizure), conditions look to be getting better.
After a freezing night, slightly warmer temperatures of 1C or 2C are forecast in Edinburgh for Thursday with roads and pavements still icy.
Travel disruption is continuing across Scotland. Edinburgh was around -13C last night and the Met Office is forecasting a high of -6C during the day. Obviously, the problem on roads is ice, not just snow with traffic crawling along.
The army may be brought in to tackle Edinburgh's snow-covered residential streets as the legion of Council staff and contractors struggle to cope with "the worst snow since 1963".
Edinburgh City Council said earlier today that schools should be open tomorrow (Wednesday 8 December).
As Edinburgh's snow related problems plummet new depths, it feels like we are in the script of a Hollywood disaster movie.
Hundreds of drivers stranded in their cars overnight as temperatures plummeted to -14C. Journeys that normally take minutes taking hours, with motorists reporting traffic crawling at a mile an hour. Abandoned cars and lorries littering the sides of roads, causing even more obstacles to the traffic flow and delays.