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Why is It Snowing in London? (And I'm Not Talking About London, Ontario)

Carol Sottili

So what do you think my chances are of flying into London's Heathrow (I'm leaving tomorrow) and then transferring across town to Gatwick to catch a flight to Spain now that six inches of snow have fallen there? One London newspaper headline reads, "Commuters Endure Travel Chaos as Snow Falls." And more snow is predicted. Latest news says that several airports are or have been closed, including Luton and Stansted in London. And Gatwick and Heathrow are reporting cancellations and delays. It gets better . . . London's Tube is experiencing "severe delays" and other train and bus service has been disrupted. I guess London typically gets even less snow than we do. Does anyone who has lived through a snowstorm in London have a story to tell? I'm especially interested in how long it takes them to dig out!

By Carol Sottili |  February 8, 2007; 2:35 PM ET  | Category:  Carol Sottili
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The Tube is crippled with 1 inch of snow, much less 6. I lived there for a year and had to walk something like 2 miles home through the snow after the Jubilee Line was closed. I would expect the main line trains (Heathrow and Gatwick Express) may be better off, but you will still have to make a cross-London transfer on the Tube from Paddington to Victoria. Good luck!

Posted by: Bad news! :-( | February 8, 2007 3:06 PM

The Bus service from Heathrow to Gatwick is usually pretty reliable and you don't have to involve London at all. Although I'm not sure what cancellations would come into play with the snow. It's not an easy trip any way you slice it. And not exactly cross town - more like inter-county. Middlesex to Sussex.

People in the south of England treat snow like Texans or Floridians do - very rare to get accumulation.

Posted by: Kev | February 8, 2007 4:01 PM

My friend, It's London,UK, not London,Canada. We do not have much snow and we have never had to dig out of a real heavy snow storm. And that's the problem. Because we have about one or two snow fall a year, it becomes a major problem. But don't worry, snow in London rarely lasts more than one day. It will be fine tomorrow. The snow in my back yard is already melting.

Posted by: a Londoner | February 8, 2007 4:10 PM

Yes, warm Gulf Stream pretty much keeps England snow free. I thought this was well known. It's just cloudy, misty, and foggy the entire winter.

Posted by: bkp | February 8, 2007 4:47 PM

While the news reports may have been alarming, the snow was melted by noontime today and the streets are dry now! I must say, having lived in DC for six years, the same type of overreacting occurs there over snow. It's an amusing waste of time.

Posted by: London Resident | February 8, 2007 5:13 PM

Lived in N. London for 3 years back in the early 80's. Had only one good snow storm that I can remember. The road outside the house ended up with, at least, an inch of ice on it from the snow getting compacted by vehicles. No road clearing equipment like we have here in the US, so you don't really get sand, salt, or chemicals thrown down to help take care of the snow/ice.

It lasted few days. But that must have been pretty rare because I don't remember any other snow events other than that one.

Posted by: nadir | February 8, 2007 5:24 PM

It's global warming, ironically. The strength of the Gulf Stream is attenuating, so Europe will, over the coming years, likely see more severe winter weather.

The fine chaps at the Guardian have all the details here:,12374,1083419,00.html

Posted by: globalclimate | February 8, 2007 5:29 PM

Spent my whole childhood in London suburbs (1969-1987). Don't ever recall seeing much more than a dusting of snow.

Posted by: bethesda | February 8, 2007 5:55 PM

The snow is all gone from London. It rained late yesterday (Thursday) afternoon and it melted very quickly. Forecast for the weekend is 40s and rain - lots of it.

Posted by: Rachelle | February 9, 2007 5:03 AM

I have to laugh. Everyone gives DC a hard time because of the perceived excessive response to snow fall. I was over in London a couple of weeks ago, and there were problems on the roads and with the underground because of an inch of snow. I felt right at home!

Posted by: Alice | February 9, 2007 3:12 PM

I lived there 3 years ago when it snowed 2-3 inches, which was apparently the most snow London had it about a decade. Most of downtown was crippled and I imagine the airports were as well. They just don't plan for it since it never happens... good luck!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2007 11:08 AM

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