Frozen rivers as low temperatures continue in UK

Temperatures of  minus 15 deg Centigrade have now become almost a regular occurrence and this is causing our rivers and waterways to freeze.

Ice forms around a bridge

Ice forms around a bridge

The continued cold spell is causing a build up of ice which is now becoming quite noticeable on many rivers and on coastal waterways.

In some places even salt water is starting to take on the familiar iceberg look.

For fast moving rivers and salt water estuaries to show signs of ice then the temperature must have been well below zero for quite a few days.

Water science

Normally pure water freezes at zero degrees centigrade.

Adding salt to water lowers the freezing point. So it must be colder than zero to freeze.

This is why councils spread salt on roads to stop ice forming.

Temperatures lower than about -6 degrees and the salt on the roads starts to stop working and the water on the roads freezes.

Do not walk on frozen rivers or ponds

Many of the emergency and rescue services have started to release warnings about walking on to frozen ponds, rivers and lakes.

Looking towards Morecambe Bay from Greenodd in South Cumbria

Looking towards Morecambe Bay from Greenodd in South Cumbria

One such organisation is the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service.  Their warning echoes that of many:

Chris Bilby, Station Manager, Technical Rescue said: “Increasingly, we are being called to rescue people from the frozen water after they have ventured in to save their dogs, or, in a misguided belief, have been playing on the ice believing it is thick enough to bear their weight.”

He added: “The weather conditions in the winter months pose a greater risk, so we therefore strongly urge members of the public to keep themselves, young children and their dogs well away from frozen water.”

So please heed the warning that the frozen water might look appealing and fun but the ice is likely to be very thin and just a few minutes in such cold water could be enough to kill you.

Frozen rivers and salt water gallery

[slidepress gallery=’frozen-rivers-and-sea’]

Video from 2009 showing ice floating down the River Eden is available here

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