Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Verdict on yesterday's storm

The Met Office had given us several days warning about a severe storm to hit the UK in the early hours of Monday morning and then again later in the day as a second front came through. It was evident that the winds in the southwest were going to be particularly severe; another fairly bad storm is forecast to give Scotland a beating during the next day or so but to have a lesser effect here. These days impending bad weather can get a lot of media hype and there have been occasions when a storm hasn't lived up to expectations as it were.

I think the Met Office had it about right this time. When the shipping forecast for your local area starts using words like "severe gale 9 to violent storm 11" you know it could get a bit draughty! The cocktail of gale force winds, low pressure (causing the sea to be higher than normal) and spring tides always meant that coastal communities would be under threat and localised flooding at places such as Perranporth, Flushing, Looe and Salcombe has occurred. Regarding my own village and many other places in Devon and Cornwall for that matter the direction of the wind can make a big difference. When the direction is south or slightly east of south the wind whistles through this gorge like valley and you know all about it! This time with a westerly component I thought it wasn't that bad but I did confine myself to the relative shelter of the village yesterday.

No mention of Slapton or Torcross in Devon's South Hams on the news. An easterly gale of the same proportions could have led to considerable problems there.

Did our old friend Piers Corbyn of Weatheraction.com see this storm coming? I'm afraid not! In fact for the 10th he had forecast it being cold with fog and frost and with a light northerly wind and much the same for a few days either side of this date! Piers theories regarding the interaction of sunspot/magnetic storm activity and our planet's climate does merit further consideration. Where I really take issue with him is then trying to deduce our day to day weather from this. Here we are into the second week of March and his forecasts have been consistently wrong in almost every respect since the start of the year. And not just this year but last Christmas as just one other example - then he talked about travel disruption and of course nothing very much out of the ordinary happened weather wise. If only he would separate climate from weather he would be more respected!

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