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Yellow warning of snow, 26 February 2004

The example below details an event that happened in Northern Ireland. It would have generated a yellow warning of snow with the new warning service.

Snow Warning Yellow


Cold air moved south across much of the northern half of the UK during the early morning of 26 February. This introduced arctic air with snowfalls affecting Northern Ireland during the morning rush hour, bringing some temporary disruption.

Between 0700 UTC and 1000 UTC 3 to 6 cm of snow fell affecting many northern and eastern counties of Northern Ireland.

The fact that overnight treatments had been applied to most of the main road network meant that traffic, while much slower than normal, kept moving. The morning snow was more of a travel inconvenience than disruptive and as such illustrates why this would be more typically classed now as a yellow snowfall event rather than amber.


Snow lying on a road

  • Main roads routes remained open and traffic kept moving, but at a much slower speed than normal.
  • People arrived at work and school later than normal.
  • Some schools closed for the day due to the unfortunate timing of the snow coinciding with the morning school bus runs.
  • The timing of the snowfall resulted in some people deciding not to travel for early morning appointments, which impacted on NHS services.
  • The snow melted quickly from populated areas by lunchtime - allowing a quick resumption of 'business as usual' for everyone.

Warning Assessment

Based on the new warning system the following assessments would have been made:

  • Likelihood - low
  • Impact - medium

This would have resulted in a yellow warning for snow:

Yellow Warning

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