Every year we have become used to the tradition of the weather scare stories, anytime from late August onwards, we start to see the beginning of headlines promising snow up to your armpits coupled with the sort of temperatures that would send a woolly mammoth out scarf shopping. The question is; will it happen?
With the aim of putting some work in so our customers won’t have to, I thought I'd read through a few of these articles to try to separate the truth from the scaremongering. Before we do this, in the interest of full disclosure, we sell grit bins and salt, so the traditional approach could be to jump on these stories in the hope of selling you the maximum amount of product. This isn't the ESE Direct way; we'd rather our customers had the appropriate amount of winter maintenance equipment to keep their business going, without wasting money or space storing unnecessary kit.
So before we all start knitting jumpers and bulk-buying soup, let us try to get to the bottom of the facts;
- There is an El Nino weather phenomenon that happens every two to seven year. It is due this year and scientists agree it will be strong.
- The last time El Nino was this strong was 1950, in this year we had a very cold and snowy winter. 1950 also saw the invention of the first Xerox machine, but no newspapers have yet predicted a rise in the amount of photocopying this time around.
- The El Nino was one of a number of factors that have led to cold winters in the past.
- The MET office strongly dislikes having to give long rage weather forecasts – they consider them to be unreliable.
- The majority of articles contain enough weasel words ('could', 'sometimes' 'too early to say') to drive a Wikipedia editor to distraction.
- If the jet stream shifts, it will increase the risk of a colder winter.
Will we have a bad winter? No one knows.
What should I do?
Buy salt! Buy grit! Don't stop stockpiling salt spreaders until you run out of space or your credit card melts. Failing that, if you have a business that relies on people needing to access your premises and you could be adversely affected by snow and ice, it makes sense to have adequate salt and grit bins to keep functioning properly until spring. Winter will be cold, winter is always cold, this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, so it makes sense to be prepared. It also makes sense to buy your salt early, because if the UK does suddenly turn into the set of Frozen, prices are going to go up and grit is going to get a bit harder to get hold of. This isn’t scaremongering; it’s just a simple fact of supply and demand.
Stay safe this winter, use common sense and keep warm.
Author Bio - Martin Gilmour
Marketing Manager for ESE Direct, in my spare time I enjoy reading, playing music and near-total avoidance of DIY.