Monday, 2 March 2009

1709 - the year Europe froze

Interesting piece from New Scientist on the weather of 300 years ago here. An extraordinary cold winter indeed known as the Great Frost or Le Grand Hiver. According to the wiki
Chicken's combs froze solid and fell off
Major bodies of water like lakes, rivers and the Baltic sea froze solid or froze over

Soil froze to a depth of a metre
Livestock died frozen in barns
Trees exploded from the extreme cold
Sailors aboard English naval vessels out at sea died from the cold
Fish froze in rivers, game died in the fields, small birds died in their millions
Herbs and exotic fruit trees died, as did hardy oak and ash trees
The wheat crop failed
People went to bed and woke to find their nightcaps frozen to the bedstead
Bread froze so hard it took an axe to cut it
When famine arrived, the French government forced its gentry to pay for soup kitchens for fear of a general peasant revolt

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