Freak blizzards, 5 mph winds and snow drifts of up to 0.02cms have brought all too familiar chaos to at least one Dorset village in conditions weather men have described as "typical for December".
Residents of Hinton St Mary have been particularly badly affected as longtime local resident Beryl Newcomer (63) explained: "I have toured the village this morning and found at least four snow patches some as big as 2 square inches: it's the same every year. We always seem to be caught unawares and everything grinds to a halt for minutes on end." Meanwhile local village storekeeper Neva Knowlingly-Oversold confirmed that residents were "stocking up just in case". "Sales of the Radio Times are up by 2 and we have had to announce a phased increase in the price of Cream Crackers to encourage panic buying".
Threadbone Narrowband Dialup customers were also caught up in the chaos as services were interrupted for more than three minutes (3'15") this morning due to a faulty connection box. As Mrs Newcomer again explained: "Threadbone Narrowband Dialup services were interrupted for more than three minutes this morning which was potentially very disruptive as the young people in the area (Tom and Tilly Tomtilly) depend upon it to keep in touch with their school friends during the schoolday". Threadbone Narrowband Dialup engineers later confirmed the outage but stressed it was in fact due to a small rodent caught in the fusebox and was unrelated to the horrendous weather conditions - "unless of course it was sheltering from the blast in which case it was what we log as a weather-contingent rather than weather-attributable incident. Anyway the little bxxxxr's dead".
Meanwhile District Councillor - Peter District-Councillor - pledged a full inquiry into the freak weather and its impact. "I have pledged a full inquiry into the freak weather and its impact", he said, "Conditions such as we experienced last night are challenging: very difficult to anticipate and so very difficult to deal with. It happens every December but that doesn't help us because we never know which week its going to be and my mother and I can only be on high alert for so long. She's Presbyterian and does have other things to do. Luckily we got away with it this time. No one was injured by a falling flake and as far as we know everyone was asleep at the time and missed the dusting completely. Still we mustn't be complacent: we were lucky, very lucky... I'd say very lucky indeed".
When will we ever learn? CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: compelling evidence of the extent of the snowdrifts; Threadbone Narrowband Dialup Engineers deal with an incident; a council employee searches for the elusive snow which allegedly fell overnight; artist's impression of what the snow might have looked like had anyone spotted it.