Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Our Coldest Winter

This week I am eating my own words…

When I review our blog, we haven’t really written a post devoted entirely to the topic of weather and since I live in England, it would be a shame not to involve our readers in one of the most loved and time honored British topics of conversation. Besides, this winter deserves special attention so I’ll give you some background.

In 2009, London, and Europe as a whole, experienced a fantastic spring and summer. It began sometime in late April and progressively improved as the days become longer, the temperatures warmer and we spent our afternoons and evenings basking in the sun over a picnic in the common. This weather lasted until about late September and in October we experienced unusually moderate and warm weather patterns even up to Halloween evening when I was able to walk around in a long sleeve t-shirt with no problems. The weather story didn’t actually start to change until about the middle of November when, finally, wintery conditions slowly began to take hold.

I should make it clear that I love the seasons. As beautiful as California is, it doesn’t really have distinct seasons. I appreciate how each season incorporates different wardrobes, styles, foods, social activities, and sights which create a unique feel that varies throughout the year. This is why when the warm weather continued for so long, I started to miss the crisp cold air of autumn and actually began looking forward to another winter in London and all that it brings.

It is now the second week of March and having come back from a freak snow storm in Barcelona on the last day of our trip I find that you have to be careful what you wish for. In fact the extreme and below-average temperatures began almost suddenly the second week of December and have not normalized since. According to the Met Office, the official UK weather authority, we have experienced our coldest winter since the 1978-1979 winter season. Although we haven’t had a blizzard in London on the scale of what we experienced in February 2009, this winter has seen consistently lower average temperatures. Similar statistics have been reported throughout the rest of Europe.

There is really no use in trying to predict the weather, but I do wonder when it will finally improve. Since we had an extra long summer and winter started so late, does that mean it will drag on into the spring months and further delay our summer? Or will it suddenly end and result in a late, short, but intense winter? Who knows? All I know is that this time last March I was walking around in my spring coat without the need of scarves or gloves and today I saw the headline, “Snow Hits Mediterranean Coast” on the BBC. With 20 inches of snow forecast for Northern Spain and blizzards headed towards the south of France, at least for now, it looks like this weather is going to stick.

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