There has been lots of snow in the UK lately. It has made travelling very difficult and even dangerous for many people.
Read the post and check the words about severe weather conditions in bold with the definitions below. Then, try our quick weather vocabulary quiz to see if you can use some of them properly.
London is known for red buses, black cabs and the underground. All of them have had problems in January because of the heavy snow. People who normally drive to work have also experienced difficulties. The bad weather has affected people across the country and made travelling impossible in some remote places. The roads have been covered in packed snow and black ice so driving anywhere has been very hard. Local councils have tried to grit major roads but there has been so much snow that it has been a hard task.
The number of car accidents has increased rapidly. During one weekend in January, almost £3.5 million of damage happened to cars and about 8,000 cars were written off in just 5 days. Many of the collisions were with walls and parked vehicles. Drivers simply lost control of their cars. There have been a number of cases of parked cars sliding down roads and hitting others and even pedestrians.
In some cases, car and bus drivers have tried to avoid incidents by staying at home, at work or even abandoning their vehicles in poor visibility. One newspaper said that a group of English people hid in their local village pub until the snow stopped.
Another problem is that when the ice and snow melts it turns to slush and can make it challenging for drivers to break. Pilots can also have problems taking off when there is a lot of slush on the runway.
The best advice has been to stay at home and only go out if it is really necessary. Then you should wear snow boots or wellies and avoid slippery areas. The government also advised drivers to clear snow and ice from their cars to prevent damage and possible accidents when they drive.
Even though we’re not very good at dealing with the snow in the UK, it doesn’t usually last for long and everything gets back to normal pretty quickly. For example, Heathrow cancelled flights last weekend, but they are back on schedule now.
Severe weather conditions vocabulary
- heavy snow
- lots of snowfall
- packed snow
- snow that has been compacted together and is more solid
- black ice
- a thin layer of ice on a pavement which you can’t see but is very dangerous
- grit (verbb/noun)
- when a machine or a person puts very small stones or sand on roads to destroy the snow and make it better to drive on
- to be written off
- when a car is damaged so badly that it can’t be used again
- when 2 or more things hit each other
- lost control
- the person wasn’t able to change the direction of their car any more
- sliding down
- moving down slowly like an ice cube moves down a glass
- people walking in the street
- leaving something where it is like when you are in a car accident and you leave your car to go and get help
- poor visibility
- when you cannot see well because the weather is bad
- a mix of ice and water
- rubber boots children wear when it rains or farmers for working in the field
- slippery areas
- places where you could fall over
Watch this video to see what the severe weather did to London (thankfully it’s all back to normal now though!):
1) What kind of snow has London experienced?
Light snow / Heavy snow
2) What can make people slip and hurt themselves when walking on the pavement.
White ice / Black ice
3) What do councils do to the roads to make them better for driving on?
They grit them / They clean them
4) Why do some people decide not to drive ?
Because of good visibility / Because of poor visibility
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