News

Red skies at night, slimy seaweed and stay at home bees

Posted on: October 17, 2017

The British weather can be unpredictable to forecast at times but man has often turned to nature to provide an indication of rain, dry spells, high winds, snow and ice.

Closed dandelions indicate rain, slimy seaweed high humidity
A piece of seaweed becomes slimy when humidity is high, dandelions close when it clouds over and scarlet pimpernels close when humidity increases. But, despite popular opinion, an open pinecone is not a reliable indicator of dry weather.

Bees do not like the wet so stay put in the hive
People also look to animals as an indicator of the weather. For example, high-flying swallows are probably chasing insects on updrafts of warm air, which is a sign of stable, fine weather. Bees, on the other hand, do not like the wet weather and will remain by the hive if rain is on its way.

And, the assumption that cows lie down when wet weather is pending is probably not true. They are more likely to be simply chewing the cud or resting.

Red ski

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The stormy life of Brian

Posted on: October 3, 2017

September saw the commencement of the storm season in the UK with the arrival of Aileen which blew through the country on 12-13 of the month. It was a pretty severe one. It brought strong winds and heavy rain causing disruption to roads and railways.

Many areas saw winds between 55–65 mph with the strongest gusts recorded on the Isle of Wight (83 mph) and Mumbles, Wales (74 mph). Across the north of England, over 7,000 homes were left without power.

Brian is the next storm to hit the UK

And next up is Storm Brian. As yet there is no sign of when Brian will appear or how strong he will be.

It’s actually quite reassuring to know that last year we only had FIVE official storms in the UK. The season was late in starting with Angus the first to appear in November, followed in December by Barbara and Conor. The in February we welcomed Doris and Ewan. It meant that Fleur, Gabriel and Ivor never got to make their bows.

More storms and bad weather expected this

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Irma forecast to follow Harvey in hurricane season

Posted on: September 7, 2017

Last week our TV screens were filled with horrific images from Houston as Hurricane Harvey hit the city. And, hot on the heels of Harvey comes Hurricane Irma, that is set to hit the east coast of America later this week. 

First hurricane to hit US in more than ten years
Hurricane Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the US since Wilma in 2005. More than 1 million people have been displaced with 44 feared dead.
 
And now, Hurricane Irma is heading towards the Caribbean with fears that it could turn towards the US. 

Hurricane forecasting is extremely difficult
Forecasting the ‘track’ and intensity of a hurricane is still an extremely difficult task. Forecasters are warning that Irma could reach sustained speeds of over 180mph which would rival 1980’s Hurricane Allen for record speeds.

Most severe category of hurricane
The National Hurricane Center has reported Hurricane Irma as an extremely dangerous 180-

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91 new volcanoes discovered below ice in Antarctica

Posted on: August 15, 2017

Scientists have uncovered the largest volcanic region on Earth – two kilometres below the surface of the vast ice sheet that covers west Antarctica – which could have an impact on climate change.

Melting ice leading to rising sea levels
The discovery is particularly important because the activity of these volcanoes could have crucial implications for the rest of the planet. If one erupts, it could further destabilise some of the region’s ice sheets, which have already been affected by global warming. Meltwater outflows into the Antarctic Ocean could trigger sea level rises.

As tall as the Eiger
Edinburgh University researchers, have found almost 100 volcanoes that were previously unknown, with the highest as tall as the Eiger mountain in Switzerland, which stands at almost 4,000 metres. Geologists say this huge region is likely to dwarf that of east Africa’s volcanic ridge, currently rated the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world.

The big question is: how active

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An ice way to enjoy the summer

Posted on: August 1, 2017

With the summer holidays now in full flow and warm sunny days to be enjoyed, whether at home or abroad, it’s time to focus on staying cool. And what better way to do that than through an ice lolly or ice cream? But it seems like there’s more to the ice products than meets the eye.

Young men are the biggest consumers of ice cream
Contrary to what you might think, it’s young men (16-24 year olds) who are the UK’s biggest consumers of ice cream. According to Mintel research last year, nearly 6 in 10 (58%) typically eat ice cream, at least once a week, compared to 46% of women in the same age bracket. As a nation we love ice cream - only 1 in 20 (5%) say they never eat it – but the biggest global consumer is China which gets through 4.3bn litres a year. However, it’s the Norwegians who eat the most per head with each person eating on average 9.8 litres a year.

Healthy ice cream on the way
Although ice cream remains popular, global sales have decreased from 15.6bn litres in 2015 to 13bn in 2016, pro

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Snowy mountains of the Tour de France #TDF

Posted on: July 11, 2017

With the Tour de France (#TDF) in its second week now, things are beginning to hot up in the overall General Classification but the temperature could be about to cool down! That’s because the Grand Tour is going to hit its first set of proper mountains in this year’s race with Thursday’s stage entering the Pyrenees.

#TdF is usually associated with baking temperatures and sweat-drenched riders pummelling along the French highways at 50kmh (30mph). But, we are likely to see snow, ice and falling temperatures as the riders ascend the very high mountains of the Pyrenees and Alps.

Pau to Peyragudes


Riders will have to complete 214km (128 miles) on Thursday’s stage, from Pau to Peyragudes, which contains an extremely difficult sequence of climbs. First there’s the climb up to the Col de Menté, then the Port de Balès and finally the real agony for the legs in the final climb to Peyragudes. In the final kilometre, on the runway of the only airport of the Pyrenees, will be a section of road with a 16% incline – to reall

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Keeping ice cool at #Wimbledon

Posted on: July 4, 2017

The All England Championships at #Wimbledon is set, as usual, to experience a wide variety of weather over its two weeks’ duration. It’s already seen thunder and lightning, rain and blazing sun - not a surprise really for a British summer!

Although hail (or ice in any form) isn’t forecast, ice can play an important role in keeping the top players, officials and spectators cool on the really hot days.
 
Here are just a few examples that the tennis pros use that might help you too, whether you’re off to the courts or just the office:

Ice on your wrists
Your body has a number of pulse points that are sensitive to the cold - behind your ears, your temples and your wrists. Placing ice, whether in a bag or towel, on these areas will cool down your whole body pretty quickly. In a similar vein, wearing a cold bandana or wrist bands also work well.

Freeze your water bottle overnight
Half-fill your water bottle and stick it in the freezer overnight with the lid o

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All Black and white weather in New Zealand

Posted on: June 20, 2017

Whilst in parts of the UK we have been sweltering in heat of over 30 degrees Celsius, the British and Irish Lions are approaching the First Test against the All Blacks at Eden Park, Auckland with a different set of weather conditions…incessant rain!

Rain in the north snow in the south
Auckland is on the North Island and has a typically British climate. Rain is forecast for Saturday’s match which might suit the Lions’ playing style a little more than that of the All Blacks but both teams will be used to the wet turf.

But in sporting parlance, rather than ‘a game of two halves’, New Zealand could experience ‘weather of two halves’ this week. Whilst Northern parts of the country could be hammered by heavy rain, the south could get snow, in what one forecaster has described as ‘a battle of weather systems’.

Snow is forecast because a low pressure system, bringing periods of rain and strong north-easterly winds, is expected to move south where it will collide with a ridge of hig

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The smell of rain - petrichor

Posted on: June 6, 2017

With warmer weather having arrived in the UK at last, there is still always the chance of rain. And in the summer months there is more of an opportunity to experience the phenomena known as ‘Petrichor’. At its simplest, it’s the smell of rain either as it falls or in anticipation of it falling.

The word comes from the Greek words 'petra' meaning stone and 'ichor' which in Greek mythology refers to the golden fluid that was said to flow through the veins of the gods and the immortals.

What is Petrichor?
The phrase was coined by two researchers at the Australian CSIRO science agency in 1964 article. Their research found that rocks that had been exposed to warm, dry conditions were steam-distilled to reveal a yellow coloured oil that had become trapped in the rocks and soil, a substance they discovered was responsible for the smell. The source of this oil is a combination of oils secreted by plants during dry weather and chemicals released by soil-dwelling bacteria.

How does rain creat

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Ice Watch staff raise money for EACH through car washes and sky diving

Posted on: May 22, 2017

As a gritting and snow clearing company, we‘re used to cleaning things up, which is why we decided to offer residents in Saxmundham the chance to have their cars washed at our Head Office with all the proceeds going to the East Anglia Children’s Hospices (EACH) our company charity. We have a long-standing relationship with EACH, especially its hospice, The Treehouse, in Ipswich.

Cleaning cars in Saxmundham
In the first of our series of car washes that we will be undertaking, we raised £150. We’ll aim to build on that with our other planned car washes at gritting HQ on the Carlton Park Industrial Estate in Saxmundham.

Our programme of car washes is the latest fundraising initiative we have run in support of EACH. 

Skydiving from two miles high
And because our work often means we are dealing with the extremes that the weather can throw at us, five members of staff having taken up an extreme challenge to raise £2,000 by taking part in the Team EACH Skydive at Beccles Airf

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