Archive for January 5th, 2010

Today was mostly… Snow

The snow started sometime after 06:10 where I live. By the time I set out for the train at 07:00 there was already a proper covering and it was still snowing big fat flakes.

No problems getting into work – coming in relatively early worked for me for once. People coming in through the peak period found it much more difficult. I got a number of messages from people trapped on buses going nowhere, or of people having to walk in as some bus services were suspended. By mid-morning, many of the city’s bus services were suspended, and there were some problems on the tram network as a result of an abandoned car on the track in one place. Schools were closed or closed during the morning, similarly with a number of nurseries, making it even harder for those with carer responsibilities.

To top it off, Oneleven was affected by a power cut in part of the city centre and some staff were advised to not come in. I spoke to a couple of people in HR around then and they were unsure when power would return. In the event, power was restored relatively quickly and they were back working before 11:00.

Of course, for many people who did manage to make it in a major concern was looking at the travel updates and the weather, concerned about getting home again.

The weather cost us some of the gains we’d made in progress on the data centre moves. It was impossible to move the remaining hardware and although there were lots of things still to get on with, it has taken some of the contingency out of our timescales. At the moment, so long as we don’t get a repeat of today’s weather, we should still meet our deadline of the majority moved, up and working by the end of the week.

The other impact of the weather was in the unplanned and exceptional demand on our remote desktop service. Already reduced to about 50% capacity because of the services off-line with the data centre move, the service took something of a hammering with people logging in remotely. Staff in ITI spend some time trying to maximise resources to maintain services but it was creaking by lunchtime. Eventually I had to put out an All Staff email asking people to avoid or minimise their use of the service today unless their work was immediately urgent. Hopefully, that at least helped those people who did need to work to get on.

At 14:00 a decision was taken to close the University from 14:30, so as to enable staff to get home in daylight hours. By then, some of the bus services were returning, trains were running and the tram service was running albeit at a reduced level.

Let’s hope it doesn’t freeze overnight and that we don’t get a repeat here tomorrow.

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