Temperatures plunged so low today that the sea actually began to freeze as Arctic conditions continued to grip the UK.
In the exclusive enclave of Sandbanks in Poole, Dorset the surf had frozen solid as the waves lapping the shore began to frost over.
A half-mile stretch along the shoreline reaching about 20 yards out to sea is covered in ice on the expensive peninsula.
In southern England, normally immune to the worst of the cold weather in winter, temperatures fell as low as -12C – and the chill will go on for several days according to forecasters.
Benson in Oxfordshire and Chesham in Bucks were both close to -12C and the UK’s coldest areas, with other large parts of the south also recording -9C and -10C.
My iPod newsfeed from Le Monde has a slide show of “Europe under the snow”, saying “the heart of Europe is under a cold wave, from Berlin to Belgrade”, “Switzerland announced record lows of – 26c”, and northern Italy is under a blanket of snow.
Here’s a guy cross-country skiing at the port of Marseille:
Just in time, Putin steps in and halts natural gas to Europe: Exports of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine appear to have completely stopped amid a dispute over gas supplies between the two countries.
Heating systems shut down in some parts of central Europe, as outdoor temperatures plunged to -10C or lower.
The EU depends on Russia for about a quarter of its total gas supplies, some 80% of which is pumped through Ukraine.
The list of countries that have reported a total halt of Russian supplies via Ukraine includes Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Serbia, and Austria.
The Financial Times writes about the battle of oligarchs while Europe freezes.
Russia today shut off all gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine, leaving 12 countries without fuel in freezing winter conditions.
As millions of people struggled to cope in sub-zero temperatures, the European Union said the continent had effectively been ‘taken hostage’ by a trade dispute.
The Commission subsequently issued an ultimatum giving Russia and Ukraine a 24-hour deadline to resolve the situation or face an intervention.
What are they going to do? Invade? Send a strongly-worded letter?
Moscow pulled the plug on three major pipelines after a pricing dispute with Ukraine.
Supplies have dwindled throughout this week and today Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic confirmed their pipelines were empty.
Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey are already out of gas.
Italy suffered a 90 per cent plunge, France was down 70 per cent and Germany was affected for the first time.
Britain, however, is unlikely to run out of gas as only two per cent of supplies come from Russia which can be replaced from other sources if necessary.
Britain only has capacity to store enough gas for 16 days, France has enough for 88 days and Germany 77.
Europe receives about 20 per cent of its gas from Russia, via the Ukraine pipelines.
Maybe, maybe it’s time we start thinking here in the USA what we need to do to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources. We have plenty of natural gas, shale, and coal, while we’re the only country in the world that prevents itself from exploring and exploiting our own energy sources.