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Inside the igloo on Coldhams Common in Cambridge





It looks like the Arctic tundra, a snowscape of ice and bright light bouncing off the frozen landscape, but this is Coldhams Common this afternoon, where the cold spell has set in for long enough for igloos to feel welcome.

Igloo on Coldhams Common is built to the highest planning standards
Igloo on Coldhams Common is built to the highest planning standards

It’s not known who built this igloo or whether they had planning permission but, with the weather at its coldest point of the year – minus 6 degrees at night and zero or below-zero degrees during the day – this igloo looks safe as houses. The ice has set like concrete.

Snow and ice warnings continue for Britons on Wednesday after thousands were left without power in freezing conditions. An ice warning is in place in eastern England until noon on Wednesday.

Inside the igloo on Coldhams Common, December 14, 2022. Picture: Mike Scialom
Inside the igloo on Coldhams Common, December 14, 2022. Picture: Mike Scialom

Councils from Aberdeenshire to Cambridgeshire reported school closures, for reasons including heating failure, burst pipes and snow and ice.

Minus 17.3C was recorded at Braemar in Aberdeenshire on Monday into Tuesday, making it the coldest place in the UK for the second night in a row.

Met Office spokesperson Becky White said that areas covered by the latest weather warnings could see up to 10cm of fresh snow on higher ground.

“We could see a good few new centimetres of snow accumulation,” she said.

Snow accumulation means igloos. Igloos are built out of bricks of ice – or, in this case, what looks like parts of snowmen. Unlike solid ice, which is a poor insulator for heat, compressed snow has more air pockets, making it a perfect insulator. All the cool air in an igloo goes to the bottom part and stays there. The ice and the still, unmoving air both act as highly effective insulators.

The igloo on Coldhams Common
The igloo on Coldhams Common

And there it’s likely to stay, at least for the next 24 hours: the temperature in Cambridge is now 0 degrees in the day and minus 6 at night, tomorrow it starts warming up to 1 degree daytime, minus 5 nighttime, with sunshine expected tomorrow and Friday.

Yet the icy world has dangers: do not try to walk on any frozen area, including rivers and lakes, and make sure you are warmly dressed when you leave the house.



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