February 2009 Douro Insider

Global scale climatic aberrations meant that February got off to a very bad start in Europe, although the ill-effects of this strange weather system were felt far more keenly in the north of the continent than down here in the south. Unusual disturbances in the stratosphere resulted in strong easterly winds bringing cold Arctic air into the UK over the North Sea, and London experienced its heaviest snowfall for 18 years. At over a foot deep, the snow was sufficient to put planes, tubes and buses all out of action, close roads and schools and effectively paralyse the city. Whilst many there enjoyed a ‘mass skive’ (in the words of the Mayor) we also had one or two unofficial ‘feriados’ in the vineyards of northern Portugal. In this case they were due to rain however, not snow, which on some mornings fell with such intensity as to make working outside quite impossible. The rain was by no means unique to Portugal, and London’s snow was immediately followed by torrential rainfall leading to widespread flooding in southern England around the 10th of the month. Full Report

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