Met Office explains why snow caused chaos in Cumbria when none was forecast

The Met Office has explained why the snow caused chaos in Cumbria over the weekend – despite the fact that none was forecast.

Towns and villages were buried and cars were trapped on impassable roads when the area was hit by a wave of snow over the weekend. Footage shared online showed buses and SUVs snared by the extreme weather event which surprised locals and astonished people online.

Now, the Met Office has explained why the snow had such a devastating impact on Cumbria and the surrounding area. They explained that rather than extreme factors, the situation was brought about by “subtle changes” which had a huge impact.

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Christopher Walsh, the head of Warnings and Guidance at the Met Office told “The recent cold weather has been a challenging period to forecast with multiple wintry hazards to contend with, which on the whole has gone very well, with the impacts being well covered with multiple yellow warnings.

“However, very subtle changes in weather systems can make big differences to the localised impacts of this type of weather, and this is what happened on Saturday in Cumbria.

“The weather models struggled to deal with the intense localised nature of the snowfall. This ultimately contributed to us picking up on the risk of impactful snow later than we would have liked, although once we had diagnosed the issue we acted as quickly as possible with an escalation to amber.

“Throughout this period, we worked very closely with emergency services and local authorities to warn of the potential impacts, and throughout the exceptional weather our colleagues advised our partners on the developing weather situation.”

The extreme snow left tens of cars stuck and hundreds of people without power as temperatures plummeted below zero. The BBC reported that engineers were working into the night to restore supplies after it brought down powerlines.

By Monday night, engineers said 15,000 homes should now have their power back on and that only a small number would be without electricity until Tuesday.

Electricity North West’s customer director Stephanie Trubshaw said: “Our teams are continuing to battle difficult conditions and are facing a significant engineering challenge to carry out mass repair work. At the same time, we’re making sure we’re doing everything we can to contact those still affected to provide support.

“We’ve made good progress overnight restoring power to a further 700 properties and teams left our local depots this morning and we’ve got all outstanding incidents resourced. Whilst the main roads have cleared, more rural areas are still problematic with some roads still impassable.”

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Ms Trubshaw added: “We’ll be working around the clock and doing everything we can to get power back to the remaining 800 customers today. We’re putting our customers at the centre of our response.

“We know this has been an extremely difficult period and we’re focusing our efforts on making contact with everyone affected to ensure they are safe, while our teams on the ground continue repairs. Customers can also speak directly with our contact centre by calling 105 if they need any additional support.”

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