Wolf! Wolf!

We[0] had a severe weather warning for last night / this morning.  Storms featuring wind up to about 90 knots – enough to do some damage.  In practice, we’ve got the same weather as over the past couple of weeks: mild, with mixed showers and sunny intervals, and moderate winds – more like 20-25 than 90 knots maximum.

We get these severe weather warnings quite a few times each year.  Any chance of a frost (let alone snow); any heavy[1] rain or wind, threat of fog, etc.  So of course we learn to ignore them.

I expect this all goes back to the 1987 “hurricane”, when we[2] had a genuinely serious weather event, marked by the fall of quite a lot of big, old trees[3].  The met office got some stick then for not giving adequate warning.  Now they’re terrified of lawyers, so they issue warnings at the drop of a hat.

Help!  Wolf!!

[0] The warning was specifically for Cornwall and West Devon.  This reporter is in West Devon, 5 miles from the Cornish border.

[1] What passes for heavy here is very moderate compared to other climates: for example, what I encountered in Rome.  Similarly, we get wind, but nothing extreme, except perhaps the 1987 storms.

[2] South-East England got the worst of the 1987 event.  That’s where all our meeja is based, so it got noticed.  People from other areas, particularly the Scottish highlands, pointed out that similar winds are common for them.

[3] Old trees are so scarce in the area affected, and indeed in the whole of the UK, that they get noticed.  So when several(?) of the seven oaks giving the town of Sevenoaks its name fall, that’s a huge iconic change.

Posted on December 9, 2007, in uk. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I’ve been in Torbay today and experienced quite a bit of wind and heavy rain, though nothing as bad as the January 1990 storm (the South West’s answer to the 1987 “Great Storm” that barely received any media attention ‘cos we’re not in London!).

    There were 14 freighters sheltering in the Bay today. After the recent Napoli disaster, which saw a ship start to break up in heavy seas in the English Channel, with a subsequent controlled grounding in South Devon, I’m glad a warning was put out to prevent something similar from happening again.

    Incidentally, in the 1990 storm I happened to be in Torbay as well (and I really don’t go there that often) and I recall watching the wind systematically strip a large industrial building of its entire roof as I sheltered in an office block opposite. Also I saw a white van crushed by a falling tree (fortunately the driver had just left the vehicle with his delivery when it happened)…now that was serious.

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