• People should build snowmen to prevent flooding after big thaw

    23rd January 2013 | News | Claire
  • It is usually seen as fun pastime for children when the weather turns colder. But now building a snowman has been touted as an effective way of preventing homes flooding.

    The bizarre advice comes as weather experts predict a sudden thaw causing torrential rain and melting snow when temperatures swing from -13C to 13C over the weekend.

    The Environment Agency said Britons could help slow the rate of the sudden thaw by building snowmen in their gardens and on driveways.

    Spokesman Roy Stokes said the compacted snow and ice in snowmen will melt more slowly than snow on the ground meaning there is less surface water come the time of a thaw.
    He said: “Ideally if everybody built themselves a snowman that will slow the thaw down a bit.

    “If you notice when people clear their drive the snow thaws away but the compacted piles stay which will give a balanced thaw, which would be helpful.  “We would rather it be a gradual thaw than a really quick one. If it does go to quick we are likely to see a few flood alerts. If you are at risk of flooding make sure you have got all of your planning in place.”

    Dr Simon Keeling, forecaster at weatherweb.co.uk, warned that localised flooding was likely to follow the thaw.

    He said: “There is going to be a big swing in temperatures, from as low as -13 on Friday night to +13 on Tuesday.
    “It will be really noticeable, and as the majority of England, Scotland and Wales is under a layer of snow there will be a lot of standing water around.  “We will see a lot of standing water around so there is likely to be localised flooding and driving conditions will not be good.

    “We are going to see a rise in temperatures next week followed by a cooling period again, but nothing like the freeze we have seen lately.”

    A spokesman for the Environment Agency later added the comments were intended as a joke and said: “While building snowmen is great fun, sadly it is unlikely to make a significant difference to the overall rate at which the snow melts.”