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Weather. Helplessness

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Nick Nick | 15:43 UK time, Tuesday, 3 April 2012

This January I ridiculed my friend from London. On simple issue. He was telling me that the city activity is usually paralyzed when thermometers show few degrees below zero and snow falls from the sky. "Oh man, - I laughed, - in Belarus you would become extinct soon! Nothing stops even at -25С!". He just hemmed and we changed the topic.

But this Monday I felt that I must have had treated him unfairly. In Minsk we faced a terrible snowstorm and only -5, but that was quite enough to stall most of the city in the morning. Careless drivers, careless road keepers, bad weather conditions, pinch of circumstance (snow began at around 7am, only half-hour before morning rush hours) - and voila, somewhat tenfold increase in number of road accidents! Some really weird and disappointing things happen: a bus in a ditch, traffic jams for hours (when usually 30 minutes is enormously long), five to ten times public transportation slowdown...

Snow in Belarus

If blizzard did not stop now and again, consequences might have been way worse: transport collapse, at least. But why it happens? We got advanced tools, we got computers to predict weather, we got cutting edge chemicals to fight road ice, we got heads on our shoulders to create good ideas ("What if we`d left our car parked today and went by Tube?)... But still, we have nothing to do with Mother Nature. It ain`t volcanic eruption, not an avalanche, not a tsunami - just precipitation! And we couldn`t handle it properly - shame on us!

Mankind that managed to solve mysteries of a DNA, discover nuclear fission and launch a man into space, [...], could not cope with snow and rain?! That might have been funny if it was not that sad. Maybe we should look not that far in other mysteries of mind and body and space, but try to make an effective use of things we got? For our cities to successfully operate at any possible weather conditions, to overcome all these circumstances appearing out of a blue sky... We`ve got even a saying on this, when we try to make it through snowdrifts on the roads and curse road workers: "Winter came suddenly - as always". It`s of course harder to quickly manage snowstorm in July rather than in December, but anyways, it is possible.

Not talking about July, let me confess: even in April that felt really uncomfortable. I wish spring, or stay in London, or stay in UAE - anything, but no more snow please and freezing winds. Enough, enough!

Nick, Belarus


  • Comment number 1.

    Hello and welcome, Nick!
    It's comforting and establishing a feeling of having things in common to read your post. We experience the same helplessness with "sudden onsets of winter" here in Austria, at least in the eastern part, where we usually get away with much less snow than the Alpine regions.
    But now, I have to tell you, I'll be off for my morning round in the garden, which unmistakably proves that spring has finally arrived. The apricot tree's blossoms are withering already, cherry is in full bloom, pear bloom just about to open, and plum and apples waiting in the wings. (Mind you, the weather forecast says it will be cold and nasty around Easter ...)

    So, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that there may be no more blizzards this season!

    Looking forward to your next post!
    Elisabeth (Austria)

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Nick and welcome
    Seems you are so disappointed with the weather!? you are not alone man, all over the world human life is affected by the weather in someway and natural disaster and climate change make it even worse. Probably this snowstorm was a surprise for your country that had such an impact on the people life and of course it happen everywhere. Hopefully you will have a mild winter and will enjoy life too much by the way your photo shows a beautiful snowy day.

    Good luck with your blog

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Nick

    Welcome on board!

    Your photo shows astonished landscape and it made me shake by cold. Thanks to our more southern location which can be regarded sub-mediterranean we have been experiencing all sorts of signs of Spring as Elisabeth wrote.
    My magnolias are starting to blossom on the stairs leading to main entrance of our house.
    And I use my sunscreen cream everyday that is the strongest sign of Spring! :)

    Some years ago when we first spent our holiday in Croatia, anyway Croatia is beautiful so I warmly recommend for all of you, my husband had an idea to make a plantation of olive trees in our region. He thought global warming would cause milder winters in our region. Luckily we waited a while and the next winter was terrible cold with -25 degrees. Poor young trees, what could have been happened with them!
    Since then we visit Croatia almost every summer and seeing the wise olive trees laugh at our good imagined investment.

    I hope weather in your country is getting more pleasant in a short time.

    I am looking forward to your next blog.


    Krisztina from Hungary

  • Comment number 4.

    Thanks for your warm welcome and crossed fingers, Elisabeth! My best wishes to you and Austria (absolutely love Vienna, the only city I`ve been to, and several times), hopefully your spring won`t be spoiled by "sudden onsets of winter" again!

    What about Belarus... Well, our "weather magi" staring at their crystal balls still see spring being really late this year, but let us hope they are mistaken :)

    P.S. It is quite common to use weather as an ice breaker, so did I - but I`ll post something more interesting later on!

  • Comment number 5.

    Hello Ali and thanks for your wise comment and inspiring remarks! Anyways, that`s just the weather and hope it`ll not interfere with "weather in our souls". One very popular Russian female singer has a hit with words like "the most important - is weather in your house, everything else doesn`t matter" :)

    Best regards from rainy (at present) Belarus!

    So it was just an ice breaker, sort of.

    Hope you

  • Comment number 6.

    Hello Krisztina, thank you for your story and warm welcome!

    I was in Budapest in 2000, but hope to visit your great country once again soon.

    I thought that -25 is somewhat impossible in Hungary :) Well, we can`t even dream about olives there, but at least we hope spring to come quite soon!

  • Comment number 7.

    Dear Nick,

    Welcome to BBC LE blog. It's sad to learn about the freezing temperature in your city. I've never encountered such temperature, and if I had to, I don't know how I'd have survived?

    Thankfully, we've a tropical weather in my country and thus we've to fight with the scorching heat and the never stopping rain depending on the season. Spring is approaching here, so you'll see new leaves on the trees and hear lots of birds singing in beautiful tone.

    Looking forward to your next blog.

    Best Wishes,
    Rajeeb (India)

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Nick,
    We're having the same ridiculously cold spring in Moscow. One day is sunny, next day winter is back. This shift has been lasting for two weeks. Today is winter's turn. People are looking pretty much depressed because of these never-ending coldness and snow. I guess, it's pretty the same situation in Moscow with road service, when snowfall is always sudden and unexpected throughout the whole winter. It makes traffic collapse and people sometimes spend up to 4-5 hours in traffic jams trying hardly to make it home finallly. Well, tough conditions just make us strong, I think, if we don't let them overwhelm us. Spring will come anyway!!!
    Best wishes,

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi, Nick,

    Welcome you to be our new teacher who guides us on BBC Learning English this month. That is sad to hear about the circumstance you are in. Hope the winter will running away quickly and the upcoming spring will be soon to comfort your heart and warm your body.

    In Hong Kong, here is spring now. Actually, the weather is quite nice. And, we just passed through a humid climate. We also have a winter here and the period usually between November and February. But, for us, it is huge different with your country's. the coldest temperature in HK usually only downs to 10 degrees so if you travel to HK planning to see a spectacular night view with falling snow, then you will be disappointed because it is never going to be happened. ha!! So, Nick, Maybe you would like to stay in HK for the period of time instead of suffering the extremely chill weather in Belarus.

    Look forward to reading your next post. Thank you a lot!!

    Sai-fung (Hong Kong)

  • Comment number 10.

    Mother nature treats us in many ways. Although, technological advancements help us to forecast, about sudden twist in weather , nobody knows.

    People should take precautions to avoid mentioned incidents by Nick. human being is also responsible for this climate change, this is not only the winter but increasing in temperature due to "greenhouse effects" also stands there.

    In UAE, weather is going to change. After chilling, we are going to see hot and humid weather, Scorching heat, and humidity, Ah ! it would last for 2 to 4 months.

  • Comment number 11.

    Hello Nick,

    welcome to the blog. It was nice to read about the weather conditions in your country.
    Here we are experiencing something similar. I mean, the season change does seem to have happened only on paper. We still feel as if we were in summer. Very high temperatures everyday and occasional rain that doesn't seem to be able to cool the environment.
    Autumn just seems to be coming in but in a very lazy way.
    Contrary to what you have said about starting with comments about the weather it was definetely a nice way to begin.
    Hope to be following all your next posts.
    Good bye,

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Nick,

    These days conversations about weather prevail here in St.Petersburg as well as in Minsk. The weather is not so dramatic but pretty cool for the beginning of April. Every night a thin blanket of snow covers the ground and in the morning we are disappointed that the spring hasn’t come yet. Then in the afternoon the snow disappears and we hope that tomorrow we will see a real spring. But another day comes and in the morning we see the same snow blanket. Let us hope that spring will inevitably come.
    I am acquainted with a guy from Nigeria who lives in St.Petersburg. I asked him how he can cope with our northern climate. He answered that he easily got accustomed to it. He says that very often people who live in the North dream about scorcher, whereas people from the South dream about genial sun in summer and don’t mind to see snow in winter.
    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Elisabeth and Krisztina, you are so lucky to enjoy blossoming trees! In our region we’ll see the first leaves in a month. We have to be patient.
    Dear friends, I wish you a nice weather. Cheer up!

  • Comment number 13.

    It`s incredibly great to feel your warm welcome and to have all your comments there, friends! Thanks Rajeeb, Daria, Sai-fung, Shujaat Ali, Mauricio and Tatiana!

  • Comment number 14.

    I don't surprise Nick, because in these days weather is going crazy. I live in Kansas, winter is usually longer than summer, but this year winter was very shot.we made Bar-be-q in February.Last year our spring break was very boring because of snow, but this spring we enjoyed a lot.

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi everybody it is nice to help our selfe to improve our languge and used our knowlege as long as more better live in our earth, i have much informations on what was hapened in your country i have been thought why were upset about what was goning on i got answer lately because we are more closely from each other that is feel strong reach me i will be in save in future even though a desasters are keeping in raise rate . i will appreciate guys to correct me .

  • Comment number 16.

    Hi Everyone.

    We are from Korea. and we go to jangseong high school.
    we are very touched with Nick's article.

    Because we are beginners in English writing,
    please check grammer and advice in this comment.

  • Comment number 17.

    Hello, is my first time in this blog, I am a beginner English student, and I want to share with you my opinions about any theme, I`m from Guatemala, and the weather here is sub-tropical, we have beaches, wild rivers and so many beatiful places to visit.

    Good bye


  • Comment number 18.

    Aren't you a native speaker? It is great! Anyway to have my own blog, do i have to send the BBC an email?

  • Comment number 19.

    Hello Rajeeb! I think people get used to anything, no matter if it is scorching heat or freezing cold. When it`s cold might be even easier - just add clothes accordingly. But when it`s +40 and you have nothing else to take off, looks bit more challenging :)

  • Comment number 20.

    Hello Daria, best wishes to you and regards to Moscow - I come to your city quite often, and still can`t get used to enormous traffic jams (and even human traffic jams in subway) - I`ve seen 10/10 on Yandex`s "jam-o-meter" when you got weather outbrakes and was relieved to realize that it`s even worse somewhere :) Though it`s a destructive feeling - it`s nice when somebody does better than you and you improve to reach his/her level without feeling envy.

    What regarding weather, according to my Moscow friends` reports, winter was extremely "winterish" this year at your place, even comparing with Minsk.

    I hope that we`ll finally overwinter this spring :) and enjoy warm and inspring weather!

  • Comment number 21.

    Hello Sai-fung, I appreciate your warm welcome and comment! But let me clarify something - I`m not going to be teacher, I`m a student as all of us there (at least it seems to me like so), but I`ll defintely be Mr. Storyteller this month. Hope it won`t get boring :)

    I wish we had +10 in winter, but it rarely happen. And snow is such a nice thing, you know (in cases you see it less than 6 months a year ;) I`d love to visit HK someday, but flights there are quite expensive and there are no opportunities to go on business trip to HK right now. But I surely will be looking into these options: pictures I`ve seen are really spectacular.

    Some people from our country move to warmer places in winter (usually Thailand, South Africa), but I think that it causes your body to fall out of its seasonal rhythms and not really healthy. Also I`m convinced that each season is nice, as long as it not interfering with other seasons though.


  • Comment number 22.

    Hello Shujaat, send my warmest wishes to UAE! You live in a really nice place. I had a chance to visit Dubai and hope one day I`ll come again.

    You are absolutely right about human influence on global ecosystem and weather in particular, but extraordinary cold winters like last one I shake popular hypothesis of global warming ;)

  • Comment number 23.

    Hello Mauricio and thanks for your kind words! Appreciate that!

    And you`re abolutely right about "seasons change" only on paper this year. Wish that autumn will come to your place sooner than spring cheers us :)

  • Comment number 24.

    Hello Tatiana and please accept "waves of positive and spring" from me to you and your wonderful city! :) You`ve described my emotions better that I`ve ever could: we rejoiced fake spring for a few times already this year and every time it managed to escape...

    But definitely you got the right point: grass is always greener on the other side! And as they sing, "there is no such thing as a bad weather for mother-nature". Still bit more sun would be nice to have ;)

  • Comment number 25.

    Hello Eva! And it`s nice to hear that this season at least in your place "strange things with weather" were positive :)

  • Comment number 26.

    Hello zaid & natureun, nice to have your comment here guys, not sure if I`m at the right of suggesting corrections or smth because I`m just a student as you :) Hopefully native speakers and hospitable BBC team will help you around

  • Comment number 27.

    Hello Javier, nice to read a post from Guatemala here!

    It seems your country is far-far away from mine and its much warmer there :) You dont have snow in winter at all, do you?

  • Comment number 28.

    Hello Noumakara! You`re too kind to call me a native speaker :) Yes, to blog here as a student you need to send an e-mail to the LE Blog team. I was allowed on board few months after I sent my letter. Good luck in that!

  • Comment number 29.

    Hello Nick,
    Well right now i am watching, drizzling and windy weather, outside from my window. I rain-shower has been forecasted by meteorologist.

    I am actually from Pakistan, where you can find all weathers. we have northern areas, where most of the areas covered up by Snow thorough out the year. i have seen snow flakes there, often in winter.

    despite the fact, mother nature always kind to us, natural disasters somtimes claims death.
    An Avalanche in the kashmir region, has engulfed the lives of soldiers and civilians.
    it is a place where temperature can plunge to -70 celsius.

    Search and rescue mission is being carried out, but less chances of survival in this harsh weather.

  • Comment number 30.

    Ah, I see! Please accept my condolences - that`s exactly what I was talking about - how helpless mankind is still helpless in the face of nature :( But of course in times and times more severe manner - traffic jams cannot be compared to people`s lives...

    That event hit the news in our country also.

  • Comment number 31.

    Well Nick,

    Can you please rate my English Language Skill. as a favor. right now , i am doing my IELTS preparation, therefore, i require experts opnion like your's.

  • Comment number 32.

    I don`t think I`m the right person to evaluate in that case, though I can frankly say that EFL-student like me has no problems in understanding you here in the blog :) And you don`t seem to make spelling mistakes, or their number don`t leap to the eye.

    Good luck with your IELTS!

  • Comment number 33.

    [ don`t leap to the eye ] what does this mean ?

  • Comment number 34.

    =are barely noticeable

  • Comment number 35.

    Any new Topic you are intend to write ?

  • Comment number 36.

    Hello Nicky,

    It is a good idea to let us all confort each other of the weather each one currentyly facing whether it will be hot or cold. There is nothing to do only keep praying that all the situation not becoming worse, this is the nature by no means. Infacts I have not so much heard of people complaining of cold weather or may be my country don't have such kind of cold. In Thailand most of the time is hot and a littble bit rainy month, winter season at here becoming shorter and shorter that some years it last only 3 days hehe :b People here struggling to find any coldest points in the countries may be the opposite of yours. I think it will be better if sometime we could switch our living location that you will have the experience of hot weather and in return people here can taste the cold and falling snow as they wanted :D


  • Comment number 37.

    Hi, Nickky! This planet Earth isreally wonderful! I think there is nothing better than Earth! I've never seen snow in my country, Brazil. In the winter, in South Brazil, sometimes snow only one or two days in a specific place. For us it's exciting, some people usually travel to it to enjoy this rare unusual for Brazilian people. It is amazing!
    I wish a warm weather for you!

  • Comment number 38.

    Hi Nick,

    Does govt set the rationing over there ?. Homeless people may have died of
    exposure! How local community urging the neighboring community, to support homeless people.

  • Comment number 39.

    Hi Jow, thanks for your feedback! You know, Thai is very popular among people from cold countries like mine, especially in winter. Still, I don`t see a lot of thai guys escaping from heat to Belarus ;) If you`ll intend to do so, just let me know!

  • Comment number 40.

    Hi, Sonya, best-best wishes to you and your wonderful country! I`ve never been to South America but hopefully I`ll manage to, one day :)

    I wish you to check snow out - that`s fantastic! Playing snowballs and building snowmen - extremely exciting.

    But all is good only in proper amounts ;)

  • Comment number 41.

    Shujaat, a lot of homeless people died this winter in European countries (not only in Belarus), when cold was especially severe. Though, our government does everything they able to do to save their lives - arrange special fleabags, etc.

  • Comment number 42.


    Once again, let me thank all of you for such a warm welcome and being that active!

    Hope to post a lot more interesting things soon. For instance, something about nuclear power...

    Check the blog on Thursday!

  • Comment number 43.

    Dear Nick,

    Hey! Thanks for your response and clarification. Because I overlooked the title of yours. However, Let's having fun to learn English. Your story won't let me feel bored after I've read your this post. Thanks for your sharing. Look forward to reading the next story from you.

    Sai-fung (HK)

  • Comment number 44.

    Dear Nick,
    I hope that, homeless people will find their homes before the next winter, and spend their lives with full joy and happiness like settled people. In this regard, wealthy should put their steps forward to overcome this tragic situation.

    Looking forward you for the next topic.


  • Comment number 45.

    Hi Nick and everybody, this is my first posting and i have just registered today and hope this is a good platform to learn how to write and speak good english as i m not from english school.

    TaiYong ( M'sia)

  • Comment number 46.

    Hi! Nick
    We have similar problem with weather in my country too. In the north Taiwan, it almost rains all year.
    The northwest monsoon keeps Taipei raining during winter. Because of the landform, it will have an afternoon thunder shower in summer. It's so inconvenient to go out or sun dry clothes. Almost people living here have at least one dryer at home. So it's really helpless. Sometimes the rain cause traffic jams too.
    The power of nature is unchangeable, but the prediction here is useful because you could know whether you need to take an umbrella with you tomorrow.
    It's good to read your establishing article!

  • Comment number 47.

    Hi,Nick! I'm your neighbor from Ukraine...So nowadays we have very hot and drought weather.The temperature is about 30 degrees every day...Sometimes I dream about winter with their snow and frosty weather)What about u?

  • Comment number 48.

    Hi Nick!
    I think that you are saying something really sad. Indeed, even if it’s important for people to better understand their world, and so to invest a lot of money in science for instance, I suppose that a world without secret would be sad. I’m not fond of religion or mystic things. In fact, I’m almost atheistic. But I imagine that a world in which we would know everything that will happen the next day, week, month… would be uninteresting, boring, stressing… Indeed, if the authorities know that there is a snowstorm the next day, for example, they take a lot of decisions in order to avert a crisis situation. So there is no congestion, no falls, no delays… It seems to be fine, but people lose their motivation, because there is no suspense! We can see the future, like in a crystal ball! Of course prevent snowstorm, and so salt roads, can be useful. It can for example avoid that someone die into an ambulance, because this ambulance can’t go fast, on account of congestion. But when the alarm clock is ringing in the morning, I have difficulties to leave my bed, and if I succeed to leave it, it’s because I know that “today will be different”. If today is similar than yesterday, so it’s a boring day, a truly boring day. And I’m sure that if we can predict all natural disasters (and for me snowstorm isn’t a disaster…), we will avoid these shambles, and so we will have every day and everywhere the same climate (20°C everywhere and in all seasons, no snowstorm, no aridity…), but also the same type of tree in our public gardens (this tree cause allergies; this other one lose too much leaves: someone can slip on these fallen leaves in autumn; this tree… So only THIS tree is good!), etc. So please, refuse a world only based on science, in which all things must be explained with complicated words and where magic is inexistent.
    Elsa, France


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