City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

December Was Second Coldest Month In Scotland In A Century


By edg - Posted on 05 January 2011

Car under snow at Ratho

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.

Schools closed for days on end, and people stayed at home as roads, parks, and surrounding countryside were turned into a magical winter playground.  The weather forecasters may have got it right, but the sheer volume of snow and the severity of the freeze caught us unprepared. De-icember saw roads closed, Edinburgh airport struggling to keep its runway clear of snow, and trains halt due to plummeting temperatures.

The transport minister was forced to resign after hundreds of motorists were stranded in their cars for hours on end on the snowbound M8 between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Edinburgh City Council eventually called in the army to help cope with the ice and snow.

It was an extraordinarily busy time for weather forecasters as well: the Met Office web site delivered millions of pages every day during the cold snap, peaking on the 20 December with 13,000,000 page impressions.

Government response

Meanwhile, the Scottish Government said that its Ministerial Resilience Committee met 43 times, including on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.

Throughout the severe weather period, the First Minister and cabinet have been joined by the key organisations responsible for responding to the severe weather including: COSLA, Transport Scotland, the Met Office, Scottish Water, SEPA, the Army, ScotRail, Network Rail, VisitScotland, the police and the local Strategic Co-ordinating Groups established under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

"As most of Scotland returns to work and pupils and teachers go back to school, I would like to pay tribute to the thousands of individuals - gritter drivers, Scottish Water engineers, medical staff and many, many others - who have kept spirits up and the nation moving over the past six weeks," said First Minister Alex Salmond.

"It has been an extremely busy period but their hard work and dedication has been greatly appreciated. Records are expected to show that last month was not just the coldest December on record, but the second coldest month that the country has experienced in 100 years, beaten only by February 1947. Yes, it brought misery, but it also brought out the best in our community spirit," he said.

He added that an "unprecedented" 400,000 tonnes of salt and grit has been used this year, but that due to early ordering there is now 435,000 tonnes available, either in stock or on order, to use over the next three months.

"We are ready for whatever the rest of the winter may throw at us," he said.

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Looks like the Winter is winning so far this year after motorists heading West to Glasgow at rush hour discovered that the M8 was closed yesterday. One of several roads affected by the black ice.

Here's the official explanation: "There were a number of temporary closures this morning as police and the emergency services dealt with a number of incidents across the transport network. The M8 between J5 and J6 was closed by police for a short time this morning following a number of minor traffic incidents at around 06:55 until re-opening again at 10:24 once the vehicles had been removed and gritters had been able to treat the affected stretch of motorway. Although gritting operations had been carried out overnight, a band of heavy rain followed by freezing temperatures resulted in spots of black ice across the network.."