David Lammy 4pm - 7pm
Chaos in the face of adversity
3 March 2018, 20:49 | Updated: 3 March 2018, 21:00
On the east coast of the USA, they have just experienced a winter storm. They called it a “bombogenesis”.
“Snowmageddon” was already taken and “All Out Thermonuclear Stormtastrophe” seemed over the top even for weather forecasters.
Boston suffered a four foot storm surge that led to people kayaking to work through flooded streets and lorries were swept away by waves.
Winds of hurricane velocity brought two feet of snow and two million people were without power.
In Great Britain, a light dusting of the white stuff caused the entire country to fall flat on its face, as it does every time it snows a very little here.
Commuters were the first to suffer.
Railway stations in London urged workers to abandon the office and make their way home before 3pm. They turned people away and closed the platforms at 8 in the evening.
People were stranded in town with no way to get home. They were the lucky ones.
Rail passengers mutineered outside Lewisham station when their service came to a halt and prised the doors open to make their escape on the live tracks.
The electric rails had to be shut off and Southeastern Railways had to plead with the remaining travellers to stay on board because a lot of dead people on the line might hold up the service even more.
One train that did manage to leave Waterloo came to a halt and stayed still for ten hours.
Still, it could have been worse – over 50 people were stranded on a train headed for Weymouth for 15 hours without heating or toilets.
One man was pictured sleeping on the luggage rack. Others took their minds off their predicament by dancing to the music of Madonna.
The driver locked himself in his compartment and refused to come out or explain what was going on or when their ordeal might end.
Cruelly for those on board, at about 2.30 in the morning, the train did judder into action, moved about a foot and then stopped again.
That must have seemed like they were being tortured.
Meanwhile, the roads were without incident as drivers were taking extra care in the terrible conditions.
Of course I am kidding. Kent police, for instance, received 100 calls about car crashes in the space of 30 minutes and the AA said over 13,000 “incidents” had occurred since the bad weather hit.
Thousands of drivers that had ignored the ”don't travel unless absolutely necessary” warnings were stuck on roads brought to a standstill by blizzards and accidents.
Hospitals cancelled even more operations than normal and ambulance crews pleaded for the help of 4x4 owners to get them to where they needed to be.
Ten thousand properties were without power in the South West, the army was called out to rescue trapped drivers in Hampshire, the RAC were called to over 8,000 breakdowns, hundreds of flights were cancelled from airports in London, Edinburgh, Dublin and Bristol and supermarket shelves were stripped bare by panic buyers .
Can you imagine what would have happened if we'd had a bombogenesis? The entire country would have flipped upside down and would be sinking and on fire.
The worst is now over, though, and we can congratulate ourselves on getting through it.
This will never happen again. Until next year when a perfectly ordinary winter day brings to this first world country the sort of chaos that would shame a third world one.