The pick of Reading’s creative snow sculptures

One of the things we’ve enjoyed about this week’s snow is the range of snowmen and sculptures that have sprung up around Reading. There’s definitely something about the white stuff that inspires creativity.

We had a quick hunt around town yesterday with a camera (ok, round Forbury Gardens) and spotted these masterpieces. Click for full-size images.

We’ve also seen a few good pictures posted elsewhere in the last couple of days. We’re particularly impressed with this man and his dog on the Wokingham Road and this unusually proportioned lady, also with a dog. Is there something about building dogs out of snow that appeals to people?

(Thanks to @cosmicflood and @gavinaldrich for posting those on Twitter. Yes, we do use Twitter a lot.)

Yes, it’s definitely snowing in Reading. We’ve got proof.

We’ve been admiring the snow coming down all evening, and decided to venture out to see what it’s like out there. We’re just back from a half-hour stroll in the neighbourhood.

Here’s the good news: there’s no gridlock. In fact there’s virtually no traffic of any kind whatsoever. Here’s the other good news: you probably won’t be going to work tomorrow. There’s at least three inches on the ground round here (or maybe more) and it’s still coming down, albeit a little slower than before.

They say pictures speak louder than words, so here you go. Click the photos to see ’em big. And if you possibly can, get out there and enjoy it tomorrow!

Updated: Flickr user James **What You Saw** has uploaded a few good ones of the Oxford Road.

Larger versions on Flickr. Please don’t use these images without asking.

Is more snow on the way?

The last time it snowed
The last time it snowed

If there’s any accuracy at all to modern weather forecasting, it seems highly likely Reading could be hit by snow later today.

From a glance of the main weather websites, we reckon it’ll start late afternoon or early evening, but as we’re not known for our metereological prowess, you might want to play things safe and plan for it happening earlier.

The last time snow fell it caused total gridlock (as well as isolated outbreaks of something called ‘community spirit’, with drivers and residents helping each other out), so it could be wise to leave work a little earlier than normal today.

Though hang on, don’t all go at once – that’s one of the things which clogged everything up in December.

For more details, keep an eye on BBC Berkshire (they’re bound to have a selection of pretty pictures too) and the getreading website. You might also want to track the #rdg hashtag on Twitter – there was a lot of useful information on there last time. Know any other good information sources? Please drop us a note in the comments.

Finally, don’t panic and/or freak out. We’re quite excited by the twin possibilities of snowman building and getting the day off, and are considering organising a mass snowball fight if we do get a good covering. Anyone up for it?

(It might not happen, of course, in which case all the dire warnings will look a little silly. But if you are of a nervous disposition, probably best not to look at this map which, we reckon, has Reading just inside the bright red section. Brrr!)

Road users grit teeth

The story of the moment is the snow/sleet/ice we have been getting.  

Councils across the land have been getting a bit of stick for not preparing for the heavy snow showers.  I think it’s fair to say that we as individuals should have anticipated this better.  Responses to less moderate winter weather in the past have been less than great.  

Here are several teeth-gritting tweets I found:

  • MORE SNOW in Berks! Nothing at 4am , 6am huge crashes of thunder and then snow falling fast, be careful on the roads – shortage of grit
  • Only in Britain will they ‘forget’ to grit a major motorway (M4). Snow? Where did that come from? Amazing!
  • Council didn’t grit last night. Only 4x4s could get up the hill to leave my area this morning. Stupid lazy two-bit penny-pinching council!
  •  Only in the UK would you get a council who fail to grit half the roads…muppets!

Follow the snow on Twitter

I’m told that some snow (of the precipitation kind) is expected to arrive tomorrow in the UK. 

I like snow.  Most of us do, I suspect.  I no longer build snowmen (snowpeople?) or chuck snowballs, but I do like swirling snow showers, wintry landscapes and the scrunchy sound that is made when you walk on fresh snow.

I am a little bit nervous, however, about the impact the snow will have on our fragile transport system.  President Obama last week had a dig at Washington for closing schools because of “some ice”.  We, too, have an inability to cope with more extreme winter conditions, it seems, and that’s snow joke.  

If you are as interested as I am in, er, snow, and where it might be striking next, you can follow a snow trend that has emerged on Twitter.  The trending tag to use is #uksnow (check this page).  The last I checked, Karen Blakeman of Caversham tweeted “nothing happening in Caversham. Very cold but still lots of clear sky. “.  Isn’t Twitter wonderful?

Reading University, Henley Management College to merge

The University of Reading and Henley Management College have agreed in principle to merge to create a new “world-class” (those words again: I’m seeing them everywhere these days) business school.

This makes sense to me.   Henley offers top MBA programmes and Reading has its brilliant ICMA Centre, providing world class finance training.  Let’s bang the two together.

In particular, I’m impressed by the following (stated in the press release):

The University of Reading will look to offer a broader perspective to the business schools’ teaching and research efforts through, for example, access to the university’s established expertise in environmental studies, including the developing understanding of climate change.

What an opportunity!  Our university has a leading reputation worldwide in modelling climate and climate change.   A firm understanding of Akaju sesli sohbethow industry impacts the environment should be an essential component of a business education.

Flood update: Waters risen “slightly”

Another flood update has been released by Reading Borough Council.  Waters at Reading have risen, but only slightly.  They are expected to rise again tomorrow morning:

The Environment Agency have put the River Thames at Reading on Flood Warning (along with almost all of the surrounding areas including Sonning, Twyford, Caversham, Wargrave, Charvil etc). The Environment Agency has now advised that the waters at Reading have risen slightly, are expected to rise again early on Thursday morning 26 July, but to a lesser degree than previously predicted. However, residents and businesses are advised to keep their flood precautions in place until the Environment Agency issue the all clear.

There is now less risk of disruption to travel.

Does anyone have unusual flood pics they can send me, for publishing on this blog?  Also, are there any Reading readers with interesting flood-related stories to tell?

The Reading flood of 2006 (Reading, Pennsylvania)

Did you know… that Reading, PA in the United States was flooded in June 2006?  The Office of the Mayor issued the following flood emergency advisory:

Reading (June 28, 2006) – The Mayor has declared a flood emergency in the City of Reading. The Schuylkill River has reached flood stages of 22.14 as of 9:10 a.m. Wednesday and is predicted to crest at 23’ during the evening of Wednesday, June 28th, a decrease of what was previously predicted by the National Weather Service.

The City of Reading Water Authority has advised that flooding on the Maiden Creek is causing the shutdown of the primary pumping station that supplies water to its distribution system. Residential customers in all municipalities served by the Reading Water Authority are asked to begin immediate conservation of water by curtailing all non-essential usage. Industrial customers are asked to cease all non-essential operations until further notice.

This situation does NOT currently impact the safety of anyone’s drinking water.

All citizens of the city are asked to assist in areas that need to be evacuated and to be aware of detours throughout the area.

Residents are asked to stay away from flooding areas as they may be contaminated or present unseen dangers.

Sections of the Route 422 bypass and some of the bridges may be closed; expect delays and plan alternate routes if it is necessary for driving. Please consult media outlets for traffic advisories.

Images can be seen on the Reading PA Fire Department website.

Flood photos: Water carry-on in Reading

A flooded Overdown Road/Kentwood Hill roundabout

A little late, perhaps, but here are some pictures taken in Reading after it really, really poured last Friday (the above was snapped at the Overdown Road/Kentwood Hill roundabout in Tilehurst – a lady can be seen gingerly crossing the flooded road):