Yesterday saw the heaviest snowfall in the southeast of the UK for 20 years. Normally the UK , despite being a relative northerly nation, benefits from the warming effect of the Gulf Stream so events that deposit 12 inches of snow in a day are few and far between. Apparently there are two more similar events possible this week according to the UK Met Office. A nation that doesn’t have these events very often doesn’t really carry the physical infrastructure to keep things running, although to be fair all the main roads and rail kept running (albeit with a few delays). Heathrow was another matter, despite 58 vehicles clearing the snow there were times when they couldn’t keep up – one plane that landed lost it’s way in white out conditions and ended up off the runway.
So instead of the physical the virtual took over with countless thousands using their ISP to connect to their place of work and turning to their mobile phones to continue their business. Trouble is when you add the traffic generated through additional usage associated with travel difficulties even the virtual world started to suffer.
What fascinated me was the organisations’ websites that are designed to provide public information that could not cope with the demand. This happened to the UK Environmental agency websites a couple of years ago following major floods, they learnt the lesson and have a high demand version of their website which they can switch in when necessary that cuts down on the processing and bandwidth, as do the BBC.
Why hasn’t anyone else learnt from those lessons?