Cost of the Beast

12th March 2018

Last week the UK was blasted by the “Beast from the East” and storm Emma.

The UK braced itself as the coldest march day on record enveloped the country; freezing Russian winds dropped the mercury down to a bitter -8C in some areas of the country. On top of the freezing temperatures was the hard-to-miss snow, which relentlessly swept wintry showers across the country, some parts seeing up to 25cm in a single day.

Countryside and Fields Covered In Snow

Storm Emma clashed with the Beast from the East on Thursday 1st March spreading widespread disruption across the UK that continued overnight. Forecasters issued red weather warnings of a danger to life as the storm's 70mph winds hit the existing polar vortex — bringing deadly snowdrifts and a -15C wind chill.

The freezing temperatures and snow drifts caused disruption to many, with schools closing, commuters unable to get to work or simply not wanting to risk the journey. Some businesses were unable to open and others had to close early or work on reduced hours due to a number of factors being staffing, incomplete supply chains or simply not being able to operate fully. The National Grid even put out a "gas deficit warning” as gas supplies were dwindling with the additional demand of people attempting to stay at home in the warmth.

On the 1st and 2nd NHS bosses warned hospitals were struggling to cope with the "perfect storm" of freezing temperatures, norovirus and flu which has hit the country. Admissions to A&E and hospitals across the country spiked in the wintry conditions and put a strain on accident and emergency departments following the collision of the two treacherous weather systems.

A Snow Covered Road

The Arctic blast has seen people across Britain stay at home or stuck on gridlocked roads. The paper says analysts estimate the cost to the economy was at least £1bn a day - which could halve economic growth in the first three months of the year. Analysts said the impact of the “beast from the east” sweeping in from Siberia and the arrival of Storm Emma hitting the south coast was likely to be the most costly weather event for businesses since 2010, when freezing temperatures and snow brought the economy to a standstill a week before Christmas.

However, the paper have said some are also counting the beast's hidden benefits, as isolated communities cut off by the snow suddenly found themselves dependent on each other.

So while some communities were able to help each other this was not the case around the country, with some businesses losing out on business and income, due to customers not being able to get to them, stock deliveries not being made or deadlines being missed.

Two Young Boys Playing in the Snow

If you were affected by any of these scenarios or interruptions and need to make sure that you are correctly covered in the event that weather like this happens in the future call Be Wiser Business for a quotation on 0333 9990802 or visit