“SOUTHERNERS are urged not to travel unless necessary as snow, ice and blizzards approach. Northerners – you’ll need your big coat.” This pretty much sums up the way our nation divides when the wintery flakes fall.

For the past fortnight we have carried pictures and stories in the Echo and on our website about snow and ice across our region. Over the same period BBC bulletins, or any of the national media for that matter, gave these stories the cold shoulder. That was until this weekend when the weather suddenly became everybody’s top news item.

By yesterday afternoon, one media website had headlined a story: “Snow brings chaos to UK” above a picture of a few pretty snowflakes falling gently onto the domed roof of St Paul’s Cathedral, in central London. Another screamed “Weather bomb cripples the UK”. “Parts of Southern England have seen a few centimetres fall in a couple of hours causing widespread chaos and disruption,” explained the fevered report.

Even Londoners saw snow on Sunday morning and, in typical fashion, people across the capital couldn’t cope.

When snow falls in the North, disrupts our travel plans, sees football matches postponed and sends children into of paroxysms of delight when their school shuts, it remains very much a local story. A flurry close to Broadcasting House sparks a national crisis.

Our thoughts go out to our Southern cousins as they battle through the blizzards and icy streets. Perhaps the best piece of advice we can offer them is – get a grip!