17th March 2013

Guernsey clears up after heaviest snow in years

When Guernsey gets snow, it’s news. So, when a heavy dump of the white stuff fell on 10th March 2013, carried on falling until the 12th, and took until the 17th to be fully cleared away, it really hit the headlines.

The snow began quite lightly, but got heavier during the rush hour, and the wind picked up. This forced a lot of the inter-island boats to cancel their crossings, and started to twirl the snow around in a blizzard.

Guernsey Met Office named it the heaviest snowfall in 16 years, and it created drifts deeper than the island had seen since the 1960s. Some were more than 8ft deep.

The airports at both Guernsey and Alderney were closed, as were the ferries and buses and most of the schools on either island. 15,000 tons of snow had to be removed from Guernsey Airport runway before it could be re-open. The cold weather also delayed the ongoing operation to extend the apron by five days.

Snow closes schools

Guernsey’s schools  shut for three days. Although some had opened on the first day of snow, they sent their pupils home mid-morning. St Anne’s School in Alderney was the only school in the Bailiwick open throughout the disruption. The local radio stations broadcast updates on what was – and wasn’t – open each morning. The wind took the roof off Guernsey’s Red Lion pub blew down trees across the island.

The full clean-up operation continued into the following week. Authorities and locals were removing the 60 to 70 trees that had fallen, picking up broken tiles, repairing snapped power cables and collecting  debris for days.

Why does Guernsey so rarely see snow? Largely because its surrounded by mild water thanks to its location. That doesn’t mean it’s exempt from seeing its fair share of extreme weather, though.


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Other events that occured in March

Debut of Guernsey-set comedy This is Jinsy 1st
Channel 4 broadcasts Sark-based Mr Pye 2nd
First ever broadcast of Puffin’s Pla(i)ce 3rd
Dead man appointed to run Guernsey Airport 4th
Guernsey’s entire police force is arrested 5th
Isle of Guernsey delivered to its new owners 6th
Guernsey players set darts record
Guernsey heads call for an end to the Eleven-plus 7th
Guernsey’s first governor, Edmund Weston, is appointed 8th
Occupying forces mount a desperate raid on Granville 9th
Guernsey emergency services prepare for a disaster 10th
Birth of Baron James de Saumarez 11th
First publication of Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea 12th
Building work starts on Guernsey Airport 13th
Guernsey’s island-wide police force is established 14th
Guernsey exchange student goes missing in Virginia 15th
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is published 16th
BBC Radio Guernsey takes to the air
Guernsey clears up after heaviest snow in years 17th
Torrey Canyon spills oil on Guernsey’s beaches 18th
Guernsey issues banknotes featuring famous locals 19th
Guernsey guidebook pioneer Henry Inglis dies 20th
Soldiers staged a mutiny at Fort George 21st
Alderney arrest sparks a “riot” 22nd
Guernsey nurse Elizabeth Lincoln elected to the States 23rd
Famed printer Thomas de la Rue born 24th
Guernsey votes for equal age of consent 25th
Guernsey to UK telephone connection inaugurated 26th
Condor Liberation enters service 27th
Guernsey Post Office is established 28th
Enemy at the Door comes to the end of its run 29th
Guernsey adopts Sterling currency 30th
Guernsey and France tackle the Amoco Cadiz oil spill 31st