Sunday, 17 January 2016

Talking weather…

Did you notice the snow? Of course you did. We British are experts on the weather and don't miss a thing. The fact that we don’t really have very much of it doesn’t stop us commenting and sharing our knowledge to anyone who will listen. On an extreme weather scale we’ve hardly registered until recently. Even now it’s mainly rain and the associated flooding that is moving us into a whole new area.

We do get the occasional storm, we even name them now. We’ve had Barney, Eva, Clodagh, Desmond, Abigail and Frank. Gertrude is next and Katy, Mary, Steve and Wendy will follow at some time in the near future. But most of them will probably amount to little more than some blown out umbrellas and a few big puddles. Perhaps that’s why we have given them such nice friendly names. We are more Postman Pat’s Windy Day than The Wizard of Oz in the UK.

I can’t be sure but I think we are some way off the tornadoes and hurricanes that rage across the Caribbean and the United States, even our lightening seems a little flat when you compare it to the electrical storms you get in other parts of the world. Maybe it’s because the British God doesn’t like his thunderbolts to be too devastating, okay to strike the occasional tree but not destroy a village. After all that wouldn’t be cricket would it? Our UK weather is generally bland and predictable and there’s one thing we can guarantee - our summers won’t be too hot. We may have a hosepipe ban or two and the reservoirs may get a bit low, but I don’t think we are likely to see hundreds of cattle skeletons scattered across our fields anytime soon.

And then there’s snow. Snow is a rarity in the UK, which is odd really given that we are pretty far north and parallel to Labrador where they have very serious snow indeed. A light dusting divides us British into those that can’t wait to build a snowman and those who dread going out in their cars. Of course our snowfall rarely merits either the excitement or the angst, but a few flakes of the white stuff and it seems that everyone has to post a picture of it on Facebook with supporting text that either decries or celebrates this amazing weather event.

Meanwhile in the rest of the snowy world it is business as usual. The roads don’t grind to a halt, schools don’t close and people even go shopping in their cars. Life goes on just as it goes in most of the world in extreme heat, winds, rain, lightening, storms and just about every other weather that this world can throw at them with hardly a comment.

The British have been living in a meteorological Eden with our temperate climate, sheltered by warm water streams and wind systems for a long, long time. But things are changing and we need to be much better prepared for extreme weather in the UK. If we get the worst of it we are all going to have to change, after all we are not a huge country and our population is large and dense. Extreme weather events could be more catastrophic in the UK in terms of destruction and death than it would be if we had a smaller, more scattered population.

That will really give us all something to talk about.


  1. Lindsey Messenger on FB
    🌞❄️⛈🌨.... Good blog

    1. Andrew Height
      Thanks Lindsey. Snow gone for the time being.