Snow day!

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Almost every flight in and out of Jersey was cancelled on Thursday, schools were shut and several roads were closed as Storm Emma moved across the Island and hit the freezing Siberian air which plunged down over Britain earlier this week.

The first band of snow on Thursday arrived in the earlier hours, before a heavier and more prolonged wave pushed north out of France shortly before midday.

And, unusually, the Island also saw freezing rain – precipitation which freezes on contact with a surface – which made many roads almost impassible.

But fears that the snowfall could match that seen during the blizzard of March 2013, where trees and powerlines were brought down and roads were left blocked for days, were not realised.

Jersey Met forecaster Peter Munns said: ‘The snow was at the lower end of what I was expecting but it was broadly within what we thought we would get. The low pressure was not quite as deep or intense as we thought, and the heavier snow passed west of all the islands.

‘If it was another 40 miles the other side, it would have been a very different story.

‘We did see a covering though, and as is often the case, in some parts of the Island the drive to work would have been no problem while in other areas you would have been stuck behind an over-turned car.’

Several shops closed early and Fort Regent closed as the snow worsened in the afternoon. Roads including St Saviour’s Hill were also shut due to safety fears, and Queen’s Road was impassible by late morning. Some bus services were also cancelled.

Schools were due to reopen on Friday as milder air pushed in from the south. Temperatures were at minus 3°C at 7 am on Thursday and increased to about 0°C by mid-afternoon.

Meanwhile, some animals at Jersey Zoo were kept inside with the heating on as the visitor attraction closed for the day.

Mark Brayshaw, head of operations, said the decision not to open was taken in the interests of visitor and staff safety as the police were warning Islanders not to make unnecessary journeys. However, the keepers braved the elements to make sure the animals were looked after.

Tamba Park in St Lawrence also closed on Thursday, and the attraction was forced to shut on Wednesday afternoon when the water supply froze.

The Jersey War Tunnels, which was due to reopen for the season on Friday, also took the decision to remain closed.


Freezing rain is rain which freezes when it comes into contact with a surface. The vast majority of rain starts life as snow within clouds way up in the atmosphere. If these snowflakes fall through sub-zero air, they stay as snowflakes. However, yesterday milder air began pushing up from the south and the snowflakes fell through a layer of warmer air at an altitude of between 2,000 and 6,000 ft. The snowflakes melted back into rain drops, and then fell back through the sub-zero air below 2,000 ft. However, water needs to come into contact with particles, called freezing nuclei, in order to freeze. Without these it remains super-cooled water which freezes when it comes into contact with a surface.

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