We all like talking about the weather and that’s one of the biggest factors that influence our choice of holiday and this year it’s been a hot topic, even if for many it’s not been hot weather.
The UK has finally accepted that summer has no chance of putting in an extended appearance and the talk is now of what winter will be like, mixed with the vain hope that next year’s summer will be better. Thinking about it, it can’t be a lot worse!
Around the world, there have been many weather stories that have hit the headlines including recent tornadoes that halted play at the US Open tennis championship and the news that the Arctic ice is melting at a visibly alarming rate giving the potential that the region could be ice free by the end of this summer for the first time since records began.
In Spain, Portugal and California, record high temperatures have seen uncontrollable forest fires sweeping across the land whilst torrential rain accompanying the onset of the monsoon season has brought flooding in Asia and in particular Thailand, where huge tracts of the country have been cut off by floodwater.
Doom-mongers say that it’s all the fault of human activity bringing on global warming which has upset our weather patterns but historically, the earth has been warmer and headline grabbing weather events have grabbed them for as long as the news has been around.
1607, 1796, 1952: Lynmouth
||A hot summer compounded by weeks of dry weather combined with strong winds to produce what was called the ‘Big Blow’. A series of wildfires that spread and merged, destroying large tracts of Montana and Idaho. Winds moved the fire across the ground at 70mph outrunning fleeing fire fighters and locals killing 85 in just over ten days.
1930 – 1936: USA – The Dust Bowl Years
||Three times in the history of this small Devonshire village, devastating floods have swept through it. Records are sketchy of the first two events apart from the knowledge that in each, nearly a hundred people perished. The last time in 1952, nine inches of rain fell in a day, causing the River Lyn to burst its banks killing 34 people, many from a row of houses that bordered the river which were swept away.
||In the early 30s, poor farming methods, combined with long periods of drought, served to create huge dust storms that scoured the fertile soil from across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Colorado and swept it west in vast clouds of dust that obliterated the midday sun and brought visibility down to less than a metre as far east as New York and Atlanta.
So, whilst it looks like we’re in a calamitous world of weather phenomena, many of those who’ve been around a while have seen it all before and no doubt will see it all again.