Hatch Warren Makes The Headlines

Posted on December 22, 2009

Hatch Warren has been all over the national news today, with up to 2000 abandoned cars in the area as commuters got stranded in the rush hour.

Fingers will get pointed at gritters, weather forecasters, and emergency services in my opinion the facts are as follows:

1/ I don’t care what they say the weather forecasters were wrong. Yesterday morning they predicted a band of rain sleet and possibly hill snow moving north. There were no weather warnings and no one was prepared for 6 inches of snow in just a few hours. Ironically last Friday the five day forecast which is normally a stab in the dark, predicted heavy snow, why they decided that it was not to be is a mystery.

2/Local Councils didn’t react, but lets be fair they weren’t warned either. However Hatch Warren is an estate built in one of the highest parts of Hampshire, so weather forecasters will claim they warned of hill snow, but it snowed all over the Thames Valley as well, the word valley giving you a clue that it is not a hilly area. There seems to be very little grit on the roads, maybe council officers were too busy eating biscuits to rally the troops.

3/ We are not great at driving in the snow because is not a regular occurrence, I am 42 and had my first real rush hour snow drive last February and learnt a hell of a lot very quickly, especially the golden rule of not stopping on a hill. Basingstoke has a lot of hills that are not really apparent in normal conditions, as they are not particularly dramatic, Hatch Warren is full of them.

Britain will probably feature on Scandinavian news programmes in the next day so, as they joke about our inability to cope with a bit of winter. Well let me tell you this you Seal Batterers, we don’t have chains, special tyres, and cars on skis, because we don’t need them during 99.9% of the time in our mild winters. When it snows it is chaos, but in general we cope in a very British way. On my way home through the snow last night, there were scores of good Samaritans with shovels trying to help people home, and today we have heard of people putting commuters up in their homes, bringing out cups of hot chocolate, and doing what they can to help. I even heard that a bed shop opened up and let people sleep in the store! How heart warming is that??? Of course you have exceptions, and congratulations must go to The Wellington Arms in Strafield Saye who put up one of my neighbours for just £200, but overall, in a perverse way, we have all enjoyed our little bit of drama, telling our own little tales of our journey home made our lives a bit more exciting.

Enjoy the pics

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