It is interesting to observe the effect that the arrival of snow has on people in different countries. There are those countries for whom the arrival of the first snow showers is an expected annual event. There are those countries for whom the arrival of snow at any time of the year would be almost unheard of, and would be regarded as a major climatic catastrophe, or even a miracle. But there are countries between these two ‘extremes’ that normally expect snow some time over the winter months, but never receive it regularly or in the same quantities every year.

For them (and Britain is  a prime example of such a country), the arrival of snow quite simply creates havoc. Within hours of the first snowfalls, however light, roads (including motorways) are blocked, train services are disrupted and bus services to suburbs and country districts are withdrawn. Normal communications quickly begin to suffer as well; telephone  calls become difficult and the post immediately takes twice as long as usual.

Snow Man
Snow Man Pictures
Snow Gorilla


And almost within hours there are also certain shortages bread, vegetables and other essentials – not because all these things can no longer be produced or even delivered, although deliveries are disrupted, but mainly because people panic and go out and stock up  with food and so on – ‘just in case’.

Snow is great


But why does snow have this effect? After all, the Swiss, the Austrians and the Canadians don’t have such problems. The answer is quite simply a lack of planning and preparation – and we can’t blame the weather forecasters for that. We have to remember, however, that  equipment needed for dealing with snow and ice costs money.

Snow pictures
Snow CAT


To keep the roads clear, for example, requires snowploughs and vehicles to spread grit or salt. The argument against investing in snowploughs in a country like Britain is that they are only used for a few days in any one year, and that money could more usefully be put into other things such as the hospital system, social services, helping the elderly, and so on.

Snow SUN
Snow Creations

Mark the best choice.

1. Line 7, ‘extremes’ refers to the types of . a) climates b) snow showers c) countries d) annual events

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