17th March 2013
Guernsey clears up after heaviest snow in years
When Guernsey gets snow, it’s news. So, when a heavy dump of the white stuff fell on 10th March 2013, carried on falling until the 12th, and took until the 17th to be fully cleared away, it really hit the headlines.
The snow began quite lightly, but got heavier during the rush hour, and the wind picked up. This forced a lot of the inter-island boats to cancel their crossings, and started to twirl the snow around in a blizzard.
Guernsey Met Office named it the heaviest snowfall in 16 years, and it created drifts deeper than the island had seen since the 1960s. Some were more than 8ft deep.
The airports at both Guernsey and Alderney were closed, as were the ferries and buses and most of the schools on either island. 15,000 tons of snow had to be removed from Guernsey Airport runway before it could be re-open. The cold weather also delayed the ongoing operation to extend the apron by five days.
Snow closes schools
Guernsey’s schools shut for three days. Although some had opened on the first day of snow, they sent their pupils home mid-morning. St Anne’s School in Alderney was the only school in the Bailiwick open throughout the disruption. The local radio stations broadcast updates on what was – and wasn’t – open each morning. The wind took the roof off Guernsey’s Red Lion pub blew down trees across the island.
The full clean-up operation continued into the following week. Authorities and locals were removing the 60 to 70 trees that had fallen, picking up broken tiles, repairing snapped power cables and collecting debris for days.
Why does Guernsey so rarely see snow? Largely because its surrounded by mild water thanks to its location. That doesn’t mean it’s exempt from seeing its fair share of extreme weather, though.