Why Brits are obsessed with weather and love a snow day
I cannot describe how many times I heard the upcoming snowstorm being mentioned yesterday. Not only in conversation, but on the multitude of news articles circulating. Canada faces snow frequently from October to March but as soon as the UK gets the slightest threat of a snowstorm, it’s as though everything is going to fall apart. Some hyperbolic headlines recently read ‘250-mile wall of snow’ or ’snow bomb’ when in most areas it’ll probably be a little ‘sprinkle’.
This, alongside the dramatic photos used for articles, just intensify the panic. Some pictures I’ve saw feature in articles yesterday included people walking on their own with a pram or riding a bike in blizzards (as you do). My favourite: people carrying crates of food in the snow back to their houses.
My dad also shares this British fear of snow, once setting his alarm for 6am before going to the airport due to news stories about snow (for a flight at 1pm) so he could clear the lane. After putting on his head torch, and going outside in the dark, it turned out it was 1cm deep.
But maybe we should embrace the snow a bit more. To me, a ‘snow day’ is a great excuse to spend a day in pyjamas, with a hot chocolate and not feel at all guilty. I love the nostalgia of them because I know many of us have cherished memories of snow days from our childhoods. School closures because of snow are such a novelty. Psychologists have even found that snow days are great for mental health, including for adults. They help us ‘tap into our inner child’, according to UKCP, and give us a chance to press pause on current stressful aspects of our lives. What’s not to love?
It’s not only snow we’re obsessed with - it’s all weather. If the sun finally makes its way out of hiding and, heaven forbid temperatures reach 24 degrees or more, it’s ‘far too warm’. In 2023, the heatwave made sales of the Amazon electric fan soar and I saw numerous articles that helped support us in ‘staying productive’ in the heat. Dramatic, much? Comedian Peter Kay’s sketch never fails to make me laugh when he recalls the way people say, ‘I like it warm, but I don’t like it this warm’.
As well as complaining, of course, talking about the weather is another favourite hobby of the British. Somehow the weather always seems to weave its way into any conversation. According to a study published by the Independent, 50% have used the classic phrase ‘Lovely weather isn’t it?’ in a conversation. I must admit it’s a great one to break the awkward silence with after exchanging polite hellos. The same survey showed that the average British person spends the equivalent of four and a half months of their life talking about the weather. So, if you’re ever in one of those conversations that lull into awkward silence tomorrow, break the ice and discuss the snow, and you can be sure the conversation will come back to life in no time.