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Europe is Doomed: Snowpocalypse Edition

by Magnifico Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 08:08:26 AM EST

A casual and rambling survey of wintery news from across Europe for the month of December 2010.

RadioFree Europe: Europe Battles On Through Winter Onslaught

Northern Europe continues to battle against ice and snow, which have disrupting road, rail, and air traffic. In Poland, where temperatures have fallen to as low as -33 degree Celsius, authorities say 12 people froze to death overnight, bringing the country's overall death toll caused by harsh weather in the past three days to at least 30. Many of the victims were homeless people.

Heavy snowfall in the Old Town in Gdansk, Poland. (Reuters)

frontpaged with minor edit - Nomad


Voice of America: Snow Brings Europe to a Standstill

Northern Europe has been hit with its third day of extreme weather, with snow and ice cutting off travel links across Britain, France, and Germany.

People across Europe are trapped by the December 2010 snowpocalypse. Travelers are stranded in airports in Frankfurt, Brussels, Paris, and London. At the Zurich airport, a snowplough clears the snow-covered runways on December 17. (Reuters)

AP: Fresh snowfall forces Frankfurt airport to suspend flights as Christmas chaos persists

Fresh snowfall has forced Frankfurt airport, Germany's biggest, to suspend takeoffs and landings -- the latest setback to beleaguered pre-Christmas travelers in Europe and beyond.

An EgyptAir airplane lands as snowplows clear runways during snowfall at Frankfurt, Germany's airport on Dec. 20. More than 1,000 flights at Germany's main airports in Frankfurt, Munich, and Berlin were canceled, and many more delayed, after up to 16 inches of fresh snow blanketed the country. Some 500 stranded passengers slept on cots at Frankfurt airport. (Alex Domanski/Reuters)
 

Telegraph: UK snow: 'national disgrace' Heathrow owners accused of under-investing in clearing equipment

Heathrow suffered from "chronic underinvestment" ahead of this winter compared with its domestic and European rivals, it was claimed yesterday. BAA, which owns the airport, spent just £500,000 this year preparing it for snow and ice. Gatwick, which yesterday operated most of its flights, invested £1million despite being less than half the size, and plans to spend a further £7million next year.

British Airways plane surrounded by snow at Gatwick airport (AFP/Getty)

New York Times: Snow Hampers Travel in Europe

Europe was slammed by new winter storms on Monday, forcing airlines to cancel or delay thousands of flights and further aggravating travelers after two days of snowy disruption that already had left many airplanes grounded. The repercussions were felt around the globe.

The chaos caused by the onslaught of snow and slush that has hit Europe in recent days could hardly have come at a worse time for holiday travelers, and European authorities urged all those who could possibly suspend travel plans to do so. Airlines warned passengers to check their flight's status before leaving for the airport...

The outlook was not reassuring: National weather agencies warned that more icy weather was possible for Tuesday and beyond.

Freezing conditions already wrecking travel plans for thousands are set to blight the UK until after Christmas - with a long-awaited thaw not expected until Boxing Day.

SkyNews: Big Freeze To Blight UK Until After Christmas

Eurostar said it was running a restricted service due to the continued bad weather.
Queues of Eurostar passengers started building up from 3am at St Pancras station in London.
Thousands were forced to wait for up to eight hours for trains on Monday in bitterly cold weather.

The Bishop of Lincoln Dr John Saxbee blesses the crews and vehicles of Lincolnshires gritters as they prepare to go out on duty on December 20, 2010 in Lincoln, England. The Bishop and other clergy across the county have blessed the gritters in the past and hopes that it will reduce winter accidents on the roads. (Getty)

Irish Times: Commuters and travelling public face transport chaos

Commuters and people returning home for Christmas continue to have their travel plans disrupted as the bad weather throughout Europe shows no signs of easing.

Heavy snows along the east coast of the country forced Dublin airport to suspend all flights for over five hours last night and caused traffic chaos across the city.

A truck lies in a ditch after its driver lost control on an icy highway near Ziesar, Germany, on Dec. 20, 2010. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Globe and Mail: Winter strands travellers in Europe

The extreme winter weather blanketing Europe has stranded travellers attempting to reach loved ones by air, rail and road in the days leading up to Christmas.

A train covered with ice and snow leaves a train station in Halle, eastern Germany, on Dec. 20, 2010. (Eckehard Schulz/The Associated Press)

Metro: Big freeze biting all over rest of Europe

Brussels Airport was forced to cancel flights when it ran short of de-icing liquid and could not guarantee safe departures. The shortage was because of transport problems in France and officials said the airport was likely to remain closed until Wednesday.

More than 1,000 flights at airports in Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin were cancelled and more delayed after up to 16in (40cm) of fresh snow blanketed Germany.  Airlines advised passengers to use trains but rail operator Deutsche Bahn urged them to stay home.

Spiegel: Snow Chaos in Germany

Blizzards continued to batter Germany Friday as the storm "Petra" brought highways to a halt, closed airports and caused chilly mayhem across the entire country... The German Red Cross brought hot drinks and blankets to many stranded motorists.

PBS: More Than Snow Chilling France

"We just aren't prepared to deal with this," said a Paris friend, but he at least had a good time skiing in the park opposite his house.

French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux was more plaintive but perhaps more realistic, responding to declarations from the prime minister and agitated commentary:

"We cannot have a system designed for the Northern Territories of Canada," he said.

A woman and a girl are seen near the Eiffel Tower after snow fell on the French capital, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010. (By Jacques Brinon, AP)

Sadly, little football on television as a distraction. (Snow stops first Dutch 3D football telecast.)

67 games in Scotland victim to weather ... so far! A massive chill was today sent through Scottish football as SPL chiefs reflected on 67 games already lost to the weather - and tomorrow night's match between Dundee United and Rangers already in danger of being added to that list.

And the snow can make it hard to get down to the shops.

Reuters: German retailers shrug off snow chaos

An unexpectedly snowy start to winter has curbed Christmas spending in Germany a little, but not enough to worry retailers as much as their peers in the UK and France, a retail industry group said on Friday.

"Christmas sales in the last week have been down a little on the first two weeks of the season, but still better than in 2009," a spokesman for Germany's HDE retail association said...

Freezing temperatures, ice and snow brought transport networks to a halt across Europe earlier this month and more snow is forecast as retailers enter the busiest shopping week of the year.

Guardian: UK snow leaves retailers in despair

Retailers have warned that the horrendous weather conditions are having a serious impact on Christmas takings, despite many shoppers today deciding to ignore travel warnings in an effort to bag festive bargains.

Big discounts could not fill the stores, but thousands of shoppers headed out on treacherous roads and icy pavements to get to Brent Cross shopping centre in north London today, which was forced to shut on Saturday afternoon because of heavy snow.

It's cold outside and getting around can be a challenge. First of all, be careful out there. Experts advise, take it slow.

Guardian: Dr Luisa Dillner's guide to . . . walking on snow and ice

Concentration is everything. Just walk. Do not talk on your mobile phone or even reach into your pocket. Look where you are walking - icy patches may not be easy to see. Suspect all surfaces of plotting to upend you...

Still, some people will adapt better to the snow than others.

Boston Globe: Dead of winter? Not in Northern Europe

Winter in the Netherlands' capital and biggest city is supposed to deliver rain and sleet. But the day I checked into my Amsterdam hotel, there was a dusting of snow outside. Still, swans paddled around the fog-shrouded canals -- white on white.

A resident I talked with, Nicolette Corputty, urged me to rent a bicycle to get around. Hundreds of cyclists were rocketing past on the sidewalk at the time, angrily ringing and ringing their bells.

"I don't want one,'' I said.

"Yes,'' she insisted. "You just put on leggings, your scarf. You are fine.''

A cyclist passes snow-covered trees on the Pyrenees route to Erro, Spain, on Dec. 2. Many parts of Spain registered freezing temperatures and snow storms. (Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

But still, getting around is not a lot of fun in the ice and snow even if you do not have to travel far.

Snow-covered bicycles are seen after snowfall at Dusseldorf airport December 16, 2010.
(Credit: Reuters/Ina Fassbender)

A car is stuck in a ditch along a snow-covered road in Fechain, France, on Dec. 20, after heavy snow fell in northern France. (Pascal Rossignol/Reuters)

A passenger pushes a taxi from a snowdrift after heavy snowfall in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Dec. 18. Snow also fell in Britain, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands and weather experts forecast worse to come. (Alexander Khudoteply/AFP/Newscom)

Even world politics must take a pause when heavy snow falls.

On Dec. 1, people go by the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland despite the heavy snow. Heavy snow fell again in Geneva on Dec. 1. (Xinhua/Yang Jingde)

And the economy is still doomed, even more so with the snow.

Guardian: Icy blast puts the skids under growth forecasts for economy

City economists were last night cutting forecasts for growth in the final three months of 2010 as they assessed the impact of freezing weather on the retail sector, bars, restaurants and the transport industry in what is one of the busiest periods of the year.

Still, the winter snow can be magical and beautiful.

Freezing fog surrounds the tower of Lincoln Cathedral as plummetting temperatures continue to grip the UK on December 20, 2010 in Lincoln, United Kingdom. (Getty)

Winter arrives in Amsterdam dusting Reguliers canal and the rest of the center city with snow. (Peter Dejong/Associated Press)

Snow can be romantic.

An umbrella provided cover for a couple and a splash of color in snowswept Florence, Italy, Friday, as unusually cold and snowy weather continued across the region. (Photo: Maurizio Degl'innocenti / European Pressphoto Agency)

And, snow can even be fun!

A boy builds a snowman on the Place Bellecour in Lyon, France.

Youths play in the snow near the Pyramid entrance of the Louvre Museum in Paris on Dec. 17 as winter weather hits the French capital. (John Schults/Reuters)

Scholars from Bingen am Rhein enjoyed big snowfall near the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Children reenact the Battle of Stamford Bridge, England, on Dec. 2, but this time with snowballs. (Nigel Roddis/Reuters)

With warm wishes to all stranded en route to friends and family this Christmas for festivities other winter celebrations.

Walkers wrapped up warm for a snowy stroll in Hamburg on Thursday.  (DPA)

Bundle up and stay warm!

Display:
Am hearing of friends who are short on Oil supplies as fuel oil deliveries are tied up till the new year.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 07:00:35 AM EST
Great pictures!!

There is something nice about winter.

And still Europe is doomed if the acute macroeconomic cult is not eliminated.

Let it snow
let it snow
let it bond
the eurobond.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 07:17:59 AM EST
what a visual feast~

best enjoyed from a snug, warm place!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 12:03:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Magnificent Magnifico

Bonnes Fetes everyone.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 08:11:06 AM EST
Magnificent, magnificent. Cudos.

Like last year, the winter is teaching us to un-hurry. I have given up on irritating because the winter is slowing down everything I try to do - and just follow the stream.

A few amateur snaps from Delft for an impression:


Mr. Natural

by Nomad on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 08:25:46 AM EST
We've got less snow than most of Schalnd, but it does make the middle ages Weinachtmarkt simply beautiful.

i'm astoundingly lucky to have made it through Fraport yesterday with just a 3 hour delay, and so lucky to be home. it's crystal clear, -15C and beautiful here, unluck the strong storms in California.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 08:45:03 AM EST
Great pictures - Bremen looks beautiful.b
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 09:05:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You may have bumped into my brothers family - complete with 3 kids - they've been stuck for 2-3 days there en route from Malawi to Ireland.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 10:31:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Going to a german Christmas market is definitely on my to-do list. I'm jealous, it looks lovely.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 10:35:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 09:03:00 AM EST
Unfortunately the snow is gone since yesterday and the temperatures are up to 7°C and its raining. Amazing as I live only about 4 hours south of Frankfurt.

I actually enjoyed the snow - and the slowdown. :-)

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 09:05:20 AM EST
That's unacceptable! We must immediately launch the WAR ON WINTER!

By the way, this picture:

was taken on Place Bellecour in Lyon. We make bigger snowball!

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet

by Melanchthon on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 09:14:11 AM EST
I'm afraid that Faux News will be happy to help declare that war. To those that Faux News sends faux fauxts, this diary with attendant pictures is further proof that "Global Warming" (their quotation marks not mine, typically air quotes during regurgitation of Faux/GOP talking points) is bullshit.

I believe saw in a local paper that natural disasters have killed more people in 2010 than the previous 40 years. While natural disasters include non weather or climate related events as well as climate driven events, and thinking open minded individuals would want to know how many were related to weather or climate, I expect to see (not with my own eyes, I don't want my head to explode as a result of watching Faux) a Glenn Beck chalk board somehow showing a relationship between Al Gore, Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler and Mao, with the "truth" (my quotes this time) about how the Fascist Communist Socialist Liberal Elitist Main Stream Media is part of a conspiracy hiding the real cause of these deaths.

Which is, of course, the death camps/panels that are part of ObamaCare (with more pictures of evil). It would be obvious to his brain dead closed minded inbred viewers following his "logic" (mine again) that these deaths were deliberately caused to support Al Gore's (picture of Al, the center of a rosette surround by pictures of Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Bin Laden, and the rest of the rogues gallery) "theory" (their quotes) of climate change/global warming.

They all know that a theory is not reality. Unless it is the "theory" (mine again) of Creationism. That is in the Bible, so the hell with "science" (theirs), which is based on experimentation and research to determine the explanation that best fits facts. No, the false god of science is trumped by the one true God. And so, any of Glenn's Faux Fauxts that can be supported by some convoluted logic linking them to the Bible are the "TRUTH" (mine) as given to us by the Lord God Almighty on High.

by Mentatmark (mentatmark at gmail dot com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 10:46:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the Barn Stuff just keeps escalating here in the States, and this morning someone shot and killed a Congresswoman during an event in Arizona.
by rifek on Sat Jan 8th, 2011 at 03:08:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If I may:

Rep. Gifford is still alive (as of this time stamp) and undergoing surgery.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Jan 8th, 2011 at 03:11:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, preliminary report had her dead, but now it looks like she'll make it.  Five others weren't so lucky.
by rifek on Sat Jan 8th, 2011 at 09:04:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, diary updated with photo location.
by Magnifico on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 01:48:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I love snow and I love winter.

I love summer more, of course, but that's only 6 months away!!!

by stevesim on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 10:19:53 AM EST
I love snow too.  Unfortunately we don't do summer here.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 10:32:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
nor here.  but I have heard rumours of summer somewhere sometime and it sounds lovely.

the first time I went swimming outside in Florida at Christmas, I was so sure that the water would be freezing because that was my experience.  I couldn't imagine that it could be warm.  I use that as an example of limiting one's imagination.

by stevesim on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 10:37:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There has a been a popular show on TV here called "Ice Road Truckers", about the tribulations of hardy trucker types who drive over a specially made road over frozen lakes in alaska.

I happened to see a bit of it while browsing and they mentioned "temps down to -18 celcius" which, previously in the UK, would have caused a collective shudder of "how can they live when it's that cold ?". But today I just thought, "oh, it was colder than that in liverpool last night and that's just a coupla hundred miles away"

alaska ? It's for wimps :-))

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 10:39:56 AM EST
-18 is not cold for Alaska

in some places, that's October weather

it's cold when you have to leave your car running day and night, or it will freeze and never start.  that would be at about -50 deg

by stevesim on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 10:46:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am a wimp.

For six years I worked 11:00pm to 7:00am in a rail yard guiding locomotives and throwing switches. In the winter, before a switch could be thrown, I would use a special broom to clear the switch of snow and ice so that the mating sections would meet. Stiff bristled with a putty knife or scraper on the other end, it always eventual did the job.

When the arctic blasts came down across the Canadian Plains, then sweeping across frozen Lake Erie at 45-50kph on a mid January with temps around -25C to -30C at 3:00 am while I was scraping the ice out of a group of two or three switches for a couple or three hours in an open rail yard, I would think THAT was TFC (the T is Too, and the C is Cold, but the meaning of the F seems to elude me). But at about 42 degrees North Latitude, our area is almost at the Tropic of Cancer to those of the Far North.

I reiterate, I am a wimp. ;-)

by Mentatmark (mentatmark at gmail dot com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 11:21:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure Ice Road Truckers is filmed up in the Northwest Territories, not Alaska.  -18 sounds pretty warm by their standards.

Good Christ, they sent that terrible show abroad?

Don't get me started on Ice Road Truckers.  That is the worst of all the abominations the History Channel has come up with that have nothing to do with history.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 08:03:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well the guns and Nazis channel isn't exactly overflowing with great history. At least it's better than the Bloody Crab fishing series that my father is watching at the moment. How many ways are there to show a basket of crab lifted over the side of a boat?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 08:22:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But at least guns and Nazis have something to do with history.  Truckers driving drilling and mining supplies around frozen roads in the middle of nowhere?  Not so much.

The crab show is on the Discovery Channel, I think.  Discovery and History have gotten themselves into an arms race to see who can come up with the most ridiculous idea for a show about Manly Men doing stuff the rest of us wouldn't do for all the gold in Fort Knox.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 08:30:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I never understood the point of the ice truckers show - it seemed to be 1 hour of content drawn out into about 3 seasons of crap.
by njh on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 05:23:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's just simple, don't have to think much, modern "reality" entertainment.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 11:58:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, nevermind, apparently they do film in Alaska now.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 08:17:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I always thought that if Europe had more snow and colder winters, they would have had fewer wars.  I am sure you can figure that one out for yourselves.
by stevesim on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 10:55:10 AM EST
Oh we had the wars, we just took winter off. Summer was "fighting season"

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 11:40:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in my experience, cold leads to spring fever, which is not amenable to bloodshed, but rather happier endeavours.

it's not an accident that the best countries in the world to live in, or those who experienced the most socialist or communist governments, are all in cold climes.  people have to help each other out or they will freeze to death.

so I doubt it was ever really cold in England.

by stevesim on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 12:56:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So, in warm climates, people don't have to help each other?

By the way, do you really think cold climate prevents war? So the Russo-Swedish War of 1590-1595 never happened, nor the Thirty Years' War
, nor the Russo-Swedish War of 1656-1658, nor the Little Northern War, nor the Great Northern War, nor the Russo-Swedish War of 1741-1743, nor the Finnish War, where the Russian army crossed the frozen Baltic sea into Sweden, nor the Winter War...?

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet

by Melanchthon on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 04:15:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to mention the largest military operation ever, the invasion of the Soviet Union during WWII...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 04:31:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nor the other invasion, Napoleon's.

Nor the King of Denmark who "smote the sledded Polack on the ice" (Hamlet, Act 1 sc1). More use of frozen seas to allow surprise troop movements.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 04:40:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and we all know how those turned out and neither Germany nor France are really considered winter wonderlands.

after the Teutonic knights' fiasco with Alexander Nevsky, the people who had to live under winter conditions figured it out;  winter was the time to cocoon.

by stevesim on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 05:48:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
stevesim:
neither Germany nor France are really considered winter wonderlands.

That's precisely why I didn't include these campaigns in the (not exhaustive, but long enough) list of wars between Nordic countries.

By the way, these wars kept happening for six centuries after Alexander Nevski's victory on the Lake Peipus. It looks like it took them a lot of time to figure out cocooning is better than fighting a war...  

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet

by Melanchthon on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 03:06:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no, I don't think so.  non-winter countries attacking winter countries because they don't understand winter ---
by stevesim on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 03:20:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It looks like you didn't read my comment above: the whole list is about war between "winter countries", mainly Sweden and Russia. But you are perfectly entitled to ignore history...

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 04:03:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not about understanding, it's about preparedness. Operation Odessa (and later Stalingrad) became a disaster for Nazi Germany in the winter because it was supposed to be over in the summer. The troops were then prepared for winter in the Battle of the Bulge. There was much snow during the mountainside battles between Austria-Hungary and Italy during WWI, too. And Napoleon's greatest victory, Austerlitz, was in December. Winter was also the season for counter-attacking the Ottoman Empire, with major actions in 1443 or 1664.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 04:59:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hmm..  I did say that if winters in Europe were colder, there would have been fewer wars.

There was no way around the problems in Stalingrad with the technology of the day.  No amount of preparedness would have helped.

Diesels have problems on cold days.  Steel sticks due to frozen humiditiy, people get cold and sick, etc.

by stevesim on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 05:13:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you saying that the Battle of the Bulge was impossible? Or the wars in Finland?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 04:32:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's just another version of the "civilised protestant north vs. dirty southern savages" trope.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 04:39:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hmm.  I don't remember typing those words.

I get a kick out of how everyone extrapolates something different from my statement.

The Battle of the Bulge was also fought during an exceptional winter in Europe, by the bye.  The problems with the matériel underlie my point - harsh winters do not lend themselves to fighting.

Although in this case, the snow was the problem, more than the cold, as was the case in Stalingrad, which also occurred during an exceptional winter.

by stevesim on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 10:29:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the Battle of the Bulge, the well-prepared German forces attacked during a snowstorm so that they could evade airplanes, while the Allied forces were unprepared for the weather. The German attack had some other problems but really foundered once the weather turned for the better and the Allied air force could bomb them and their supply lines.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 11:25:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the snow was the problem, more than the cold

Snow was more the problem than cold, but temperatures during the Battle of the bulge reached -20°C, and that was combined with strong winds. Exceptionally cold for the region, not to mention for the equipment of the US Army.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 11:31:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about the Capture of the Dutch fleet by the French Navy?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 08:27:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean the capture of the Dutch fleet by the French cavalry riding on the ice in den Helder in January 1795?

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet
by Melanchthon on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 03:17:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmm was in a bit of a rush and  corrected some spelling by changing the word and not looking before I posted :D

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 09:29:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
just because there were some conflicts during the "winter" doesn't disprove that colder weather has and would prevent wars.
by stevesim on Thu Dec 23rd, 2010 at 05:15:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aren't you confusing roles there? As yet you haven't presented any evidence for your hypothesis that extended winter would prevent wars in Europe.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 04:31:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looking at one war that I happened to find a wikipedia list of battles on:

Second Northern War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Second Northern War (1655-1660, also First or Little Northern War) was fought between Sweden and its adversaries the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1655-1660), Russia (1656-1658), Brandenburg-Prussia (1657-1660), the Habsburg monarchy (1657-60) and Denmark-Norway (1657-1658 and 1658-1660). The Dutch Republic often intervened against Sweden.

Looking at the main month (the one the battle was in or the one that has more days if it spanned over more then one month):

Ujście - July
Danzig - 5 years siege (not really a battle)
Sobota - August
Żarnów - September
Cracow - October
Nowy Dwór - September
Wojnicz - September
Jasna Góra - December
Gołąb - February
Warka - April
Kłecko - May
1st Warsaw - June
2nd Warsaw - July
Dyneburg - July
Kokenhusen - August
Riga - September
Prostki - October
Filipów - October
Chojnice - January
March across the Belts - February
Kolding - December
Copenhagen - February
Sound - November
Nyborg - November

Or by month (siege of Danzig excluded):
January 1
February 3
March 0
April 1
May 1
June 1
July 3
August 2
September 4
October 3
November 2
December 2

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by A swedish kind of death on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 05:41:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and if there were colder winters in Europe on a regular basis, there would not have been as many battles/wars.

in North America, for example, there were some battles fought during cold weather, but even the tribal conflicts in pre-Columbian Northern America were put on hold during the winter months.

by stevesim on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 10:31:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
stevesim:
in North America, for example, there were some battles fought during cold weather, but even the tribal conflicts in pre-Columbian Northern America were put on hold during the winter months.

That proves North Americans are wimps...

"People only accept change when they are faced with necessity, and only recognize necessity when a crisis is upon them." - Jean Monnet

by Melanchthon on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 10:40:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it may have more to do with lack of horses (and major roads).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 11:35:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it has to do with really, really cold temperatures and unimaginable amounts of snow.
by stevesim on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 12:46:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes! And, conversely, as is evident, really, really hot temperatures are not in any way an impediment to fighting...
by asdf on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 02:30:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and if there were colder winters in Europe on a regular basis, there would not have been as many battles/wars.

You keep asserting that, without giving evidence.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 11:27:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and you keep on proving my point by giving lists of battles in winter, and those where the inclement weather hampered the fighting.
by stevesim on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 12:46:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
stevesim:
and if there were colder winters in Europe on a regular basis, there would not have been as many battles/wars.

As per the example, winter was no obstacle to fighting, so that does not really follow.

stevesim:

in North America, for example, there were some battles fought during cold weather, but even the tribal conflicts in pre-Columbian Northern America were put on hold during the winter months.

Sure, seasonal fighting exists, but winter is not all bad for fighting. Depending on terrain and technology a frozen winter can give better conditions for raids and war then a swampy summer. And seasonal pauses are unstable, because if some tribe figures out how to attack off-season they often win, and then everybody starts doing it.

Anyway, if you are going with northern Europe as part of the countries you mentioned here:

stevesim:

it's not an accident that the best countries in the world to live in, or those who experienced the most socialist or communist governments, are all in cold climes.  people have to help each other out or they will freeze to death.

Then pausing for winter stopped sometime in the 16th century, when northern Europe was a war-torn corner of continent and peasant armies still could carry the day. 17th century with professional armies was much less hindered by seasons and the Nordic countries were no exception.

The Nordic countries are today a peaceful and prosperous corner where Sweden and Denmark has long given up trying to get hegemony over the Baltics, as both countries lost to more powerful neighbours - Russia and Germany - some 150-200 years ago. But that is really no basis to argue that weather made it so.

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by A swedish kind of death on Sat Dec 25th, 2010 at 03:04:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Melanchthon:
the Little Northern War,

During which the following happened:

March across the Belts - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the middle of December the weather shifted, turning into the coldest winter in memory. The seawater between the islands froze, making a ship-borne assault impossible. Engineer Erik Dahlberg was dispatched by the king to ascertain whether the ice would support the weight of the Swedish cavalry and artillery. Dahlberg reported that a crossing over the ice was feasible.


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 05:13:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hmm.  it seems to prove that very bad winter weather prevented the typical type of war
by stevesim on Thu Dec 23rd, 2010 at 05:14:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...and made a less typical one possible.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 04:34:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lovely pics! Makes one think of fireplaces, cats and hot toddies!  
by ElaineinNM on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 11:01:11 AM EST
Predicting what the weather is going to do a week from today is impossible so trying to give an accurate forecast for the next ten years is rather brave.  

However ...

Global Climate Change ... or should I write Global Weather Change? ... driven by Global Warming is upon us.  The loss of arctic sea ice has destabilized expectations about the North Atlantic Oscillation:

<blockquote"... the Icelandic low - which normally sits between to the west of Iceland between there and Greenland - has appeared regularly to the east of Iceland and so allowed exceptionally cold air into Europe from the Arctic.</blockquote>

Cold dry air from the arctic meeting warm moist air from the Gulf Stream and Azores means snow.  And lots of it as long as the Icelandic low is to the east of Iceland.  When that low moves or dissipates temperatures should rebound to the "old normal" implying all that snow is going to melt.  

Melting snow plus the old normal rainfall says, "think flooding."  Certainly those who live in a hundred year flood plain should sit down and seriously consider how they can or should respond to a flood.  The urgency drops as one moves to a thousand year flood plain but even then I'd spend 15 minutes, or so, sketching a response plan.  Trust me on this:  IF it happens trying to figure out what to do AS it happens is too late.  

The Fens of England are certainly at risk for flooding.  The northern European plain is also a potential Ground Zero from Amsterdam down to Le Treport, France.  Other 'At Risk' areas are outside my knowledge.  Although I suspect the Thames Valley is a prime candidate; those tidal dams protecting London aren't going to do a bit of good for water flowing down to the Channel!

Well, unless the goal is to turn London into a lake.  :-)

I know I'm a bit of a worrywart, why I'm such a good Emergency Planner.  (LOL)  But it seems sensible, to a worrywart, to at least think about flooding and do some planning and preparation.


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 11:38:31 AM EST
I recently persuaded a friend that moving to a low lying fen area was a bad idea for exactly that reason

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 11:42:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Good for you.

In the old days, when people had to live near their fields, living in a flood plain made a little bit of sense.  Those areas are the best farmland, usually, having nice deep black topsoil that is easily worked and produced an abundance of crops.

Now it's dumb.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 12:14:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And what you told him is

'Keep to the Fen Causeway'

Now I know!

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 01:53:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ATinNM:
Certainly those who live in a hundred year flood plain should sit down and seriously consider how they can or should respond to a flood.

Some have thought how to prevent flooding...

by Nomad on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 06:32:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Depending on how much rain falls on the snow, could be looking at another 1953 situation, with the water coming from the east, instead of the west, this time.  

The Netherlands is famous for having excellent sea-flooding planning, preparation, and defenses.  River flooding?  You tell me.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 09:01:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...indeed that was the tenor during the 'once-a-century' floods in the nineties:

River Rhine Floods 1995 | Background Information

...In February 1995, the Rhine and its tributaries (the Meuse and the Mosel), burst their banks in France Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Large areas of the Low Countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands) were flooded and many major towns were threatened.

The Dutch have defended themselves against the sea for centuries by an elaborate network of dykes 2,500 km (1,500 miles) long but, this time the floodwaters came from the rivers, from water flowing as a result of heavy rainfall in the Ardennes and a flood of melted snow in the Alps. For two years running, levels of flooding have occurred that, statistically, would normally happen only once a century. The flood waters swamped farmland, much of it in the polder regions, where the land had been reclaimed from estuaries and river basins.

...however, that flood led to measures:

Water Conflict and Cooperation/Rhine River Basin - WaterWiki.net

In 1995 in the Netherlands, some 200,000 people had to be evacuated because of imminent flood risks from the rivers Rhine and Meuse. Within months a lex specialis (special law) was passed to construct or improve about 750 km of dikes and levies before the year 2000.

...and Nomad's link was about further measures for the future, both in relation to seas and rivers, and specifically mentioning floodplains. In addition, the floodplain issue is specifically addressed by the separate Room for the River plan.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 03:21:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Emphasis added:

For two years running, levels of flooding have occurred that, statistically, would normally happen only once a century.

And if the coin lands "heads" it MUST land "tails" in the next flip to Obey the Laws of Probability.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 01:22:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, ask anyone in a casino.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 02:28:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Although I understand your sentiment of frustration, I'm not sure if that is just a goof stemming from mistranslation or unfamiliarity to the subject. The snippet is taken from a physical geography site; not a branch of study particularly rich in mathematics. In the Netherlands, the field of water management is dominated by civil engineers and mathematicians.

I do know that the Delta Committee and others have adopted a probabilistic approach, and that probabilistic methodology now provides the baseline for evaluating dyke safety - which was something I was doing earlier this year. It also is estimated that some 25% of all primary dykes currently still fail the safety test - which in the next round in 2011 will become even more stringent. This does not create major problems that have not been seen before (see recent Maas flooding) - and as DoDo writes upthread upgrades are in the work at all levels.

After the Delta Committee a National Water Plan was released in 2009 by the Balkenende government, which adopts major recommendations of the Committee - including plans for providing major rivers with space for large variations in river discharge, whereby the highest discharge scenario is taken as the baseline, and then a 5 - 10% extra is added.

After operating at the consultancy side in this particular branch, I have enough anecdotes that point at some flaws in the present regulatory framework of the Dutch waterboards, however, I have no doubts that the conservative and stringent safety conditions that need to be adhered to continue to make the Dutch safety system against flooding simply the safest in the world.

by Nomad on Thu Dec 23rd, 2010 at 06:25:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Far be it for an American to tell the Dutch how to run their business.  :-)  I do get - too easily, perhaps - annoyed when long range planners naively apply Statistics and Probability.  Bit of boring personal history is involved, as well.

The Dutch planners need to junk history and do a re-think.  They need to take a hard look at what is going on as well as consider how to prepare for a relatively rapid, as such things go, sea level rise of 3 meters, conceivably more, over the next 20 years.  Expensive?  Yes.  But less so than having half of the Netherlands under water.  

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Thu Dec 23rd, 2010 at 05:24:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ATinNM:
consider how to prepare for a relatively rapid, as such things go, sea level rise of 3 meters, conceivably more, over the next 20 years

Report of the Delta Committee - page 24 for scenarios which are considerably worse than the IPCC scenarios.

Unless you actually mean a sea level rise of 3 meters in the coming 20 years - which is in the range of possible as the sun not rising tomorrow and therefore can't be planned for.

by Nomad on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 06:36:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the links, DoDo.  Didn't mean to tee-off on your comment.  

It's just the inability of people to understand  what Probability and Statistics mean ... and it's not THAT hard ... drives me absolutely crazy.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Dec 22nd, 2010 at 01:26:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence: Harsh winter threatens economic recovery
The eurozone may have been unter attack, but the real economy has performed better than widely forecast. But the harsh winter weather is now undoing the recovery. FT Deutschland reports that German retailers no longer hope to achieve a record Christmas sale as they did a few weeks ago. A lot of customers have stayed at home, as the country's rail transportation system has totally collapsed. The best the retailers now hope for is to achieve a similarly good result, in nominal terms, as in 2006. The problem is also similar in other European countries - except curiously, France, where business has been buoyant. The outlook in Spain is bleak. The FT quotes a study by Deloitte, according to which Christmas spending in Spain fell from €951 per household to €655 this season.

One factor behind the winter chaos are savings decision by governments, railroad and airport operators, who are simply not equipped to deal with heavy amounts of snow.



Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 12:31:15 PM EST
s the country's rail transportation system has totally collapsed.

What do they mean by "totally collapsed"? My impression (confirmed by the DB website) is that they have had some delays, but the main problem is overfull trains as they are about the only means of transport in Germany that is working.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 01:05:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep. Last week when I crossed Germany on train, all trains were late due to the temporary 200 km/h limit, and one ICE I satstood in was chock-full. But I did get to my destination (with a snowstorm starting when I got to Munich).



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 02:39:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's going to kill businesses that might otherwise survive. Retail in particular, but restaurants too - and the disruption wrecks small business cash flow too.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 01:11:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This should be great for Spain since it isn't snowing this far South and all that matters is that your own growth figures are not worse than your neighbours'...

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 01:59:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you are too young to be that cynical!
by stevesim on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 02:25:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like the rest of Europe also got winter this year. Up here it is a yearly event. Looks pretty warm in most of those pictures (can be seen by the texture of the snow).

I'm glad to see the Dutch cyclists biking in the snow. If it gets to slippery, there is always the spark



Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Dec 21st, 2010 at 04:40:22 PM EST
According to this report at realclimate.org you had better get used to colder winters.

Last June, during the International Polar Year conference, James Overland suggested that there are more cold and snowy winters to come. He argued that the exceptionally cold snowy 2009-2010 winter in Europe had a connection with the loss of sea-ice in the Arctic. The cold winters were associated with a persistent `blocking event', bringing in cold air over Europe from the north and the east.

In a more recent press-release, Vladimir Petoukhov and Vladimir Semenov, argue that Global Warming could cool down winter temperatures over Europe, and a reduced sea-ice extent could increase the chance of getting cold winters. Also they propose that cold winters are associated with the atmospheric circulation, and their press-release was based on a paper in Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR), which may seem to have a serendipitous timing with the cold spell over Europe during the last weeks.

As a reference, you might want to consider buying bigger snow shovels. Here's yesterday in Crested Butte, Colorado.

by asdf on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 12:02:02 PM EST
Sure, we're considering it, er, later. (h/t dvx)
by Bernard on Fri Dec 24th, 2010 at 01:15:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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