Posts Tagged ‘Weather’

Well I suppose it was only a matter of time before the witch hunts began. Vast swathes of the South now feature on the shipping forecast, homes now have as many moats as MPs and the major crop in Somerset could be be rice paddies.
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The search for someone to blame is well and truly under way. The Met Office will cop for some in true “shoot the messenger” style, despite the fact that forecasting an event in no way stops it. Next will be the Environment Agency for not doing enough – who will in turn claim that funding cuts have prevented them doing enough to prevent the floods. Then of course, politicians of every hue will blame every other politician for previous funding, inadequate planning, jobs for the boys, manning levels and so on.

Here’s the unfortunate truth.

If you get an absolute shitload of rain in a relatively short period of time on waterlogged ground you will get flooding.

No amount of dredging small rivers, sustainable drainage, urban planning or even wishful thinking will prevent this. Flood plains and river systems will flood. If you then build homes in these areas they will get flooded.

Pretending otherwise is nonsensical. It is possible to alleviate effects a bit, we can reduce the extent of floods, we can maybe flood proof structures. But the expense in time money and resources to say we will protect against all flooding? Utter madness.

What should be of more concern right now is the causes of the dominating weather patterns we have seen. Mainly due to the position of the jetstream across the UK-I am sure the debate will begin whether this is a more permanent shift in climate driven by changes in the Atlantic, or a temporary aberration about a more usual mean. I say debate, more likely a bunfight for research grants for everyone to prove their own pet theories.

My advice? Learn to live with nature, because it’ll kick your arse every time otherwise.

So last week saw the highest flood surge on the eastern coast of the UK in several generations. Tides locally beat anything measured in over a century. People were evacuated from at risk areas as chaos ensued across the region as power went down and roads were blocked

I witnessed the efforts of emergency services, local authority staff and other agencies combating the elements into the night in cold, dark wet conditions to try and help those effected. So whilst I am not always the states biggest supporter when I read this today I felt compelled to weigh in.

For those not familiar to the area Port Clarence is one of the most deprived areas of Teesside, it is also well known to be at risk of flooding, to the extent it gets its own flood warning area.

So despite the numerous warnings for days before, on TV, radio, websites, twitter, rss feeds, apparently not enough was done.

Such as what exactly?

It’s a flood. It’s an enormous body of water inundating the land. What exactly do you think is going to be done? Even royalty as long ago as the 10th century figured out they could not prevent the tides.

King Cnut. Even he worked it out...

King Cnut. Even he worked it out…

I suspect what people actually mean is they don’t want to be effected by these events. Well guess what, nature doesn’t give a shit what you want. If you live on a flood plain at some point you will get flooded. Same as if you live on the slopes of a volcano at some point your house may get covered in magma. Stop expecting everyone else to bail you out. If you managed to remain unaware that there was anything about to happen last week then to be frank, you are a moron, especially if you live in a flood risk area. Hell – there was so much info about it I was sick of hearing about it.

There are free warning services you can sign up for, all you have to do is register. Yet people who expect others to warn them, protect them, clean up for them and provide funds to replace their damages seem unable to lift a single finger to that extent to help themselves. It’s your home, take some bloody responsibility for it. Make some preparations. Maybe flood proof it, get adequate insurance, or if it’s all just too much like hard work? Move somewhere else. I suspect if as much effort went into protecting homes as voting on reality bloody TV shows we’d never have an issue.

As for all the guys who worked long and hard into the night in difficult and sometimes hazardous conditions evacuating, feeding, rescuing, pumping out, directing traffic, restoring power, protecting buildings, warning others, providing medical aid to name but a few, you’d think just maybe there’d be a bit of gratitude…

Here’s just a couple of warning services / pages. Took me all of 2 seconds to find. You’d think if you lived somewhere at risk you might make the effort don’t you?
Flood warnings direct (free service in at risk areas)
EA RSS flood feeds

Not to fall into the national stereotype or anything at this time of national crisis (well, minor snowfall I’ll grant you), but I quite like weather stuff. I find it interesting, just as well really as I have worked as a weatherman. (An awesome one naturally)

So in a break from the traditional moaning, I though I would share some stuff on the net that may interest you

First up. Weather charts. Not the stuff you get on the TV but proper ones, The UK Met Office charts are best, but curiously the best place to see them is not on their site! MetBrief has a full set, regularly updated.

If you fancy watching an animation of the current precipitation then the last couple of hours of radar imagery can be viewed here

Mucking about on the water? Then the inshore waters FX (forecast!) is here

Fantastic satellite imagery is available via Dundee Uni receiving station (needs free registration) – hint: you want the latest images from the Meteosat SEVIRI Also worth looking at the gallery of spectacular images

Want to know what it’s going to do and when? Probably the most accurate FX are the terminal airfield forecasts (TAFs) for aviation. You can look up your local one here and then once you’ve confused yourself, figure out the codes here

Some good detailed forecasts can be found at the Met Office and BBC as expected, but another good source is here at the weather underground

Or maybe we should bring back the Live TV version…

Whatever you end up doing, have fun and stay safe!

Ok, bored with the snow now.

Well, not actually the snow, how can anyone ever get bored with that? It’s fantastic and I’d like plenty more please. What is really hacking me off is the whining.

I’ve taken to listening to BBC Tees on the radio, especially on the daily commute (all 15 mins of it). They do a great job of traffic and travel updates and keeping up to date with the impact of the weather on the region. But today that had some moaning woman, complaining that her bins hadn’t emptied for a while.

Have you looked outside?

What exactly do they expect people to do? The best line was “I think the council are using the snow as a bit of an excuse…”

Yeah right. That’s whats happening. The depot guys fight their way into work at stupid o’clock in the morning and then say “sod it” and drink tea all day whiilst reading the paper.

You stupid thoughtless selfish cow. Who do you think drives the gritters? Who drives the snow plough? Why does everyone expect there to be life as normal? Everything takes longer and requires more planning. They would soon complain if the bin lorry slid into their badly parked cars (because they don’t want to put them on the icy drive) or if their council tax had to fund injury payments to guys injured working into stupid conditions.

Use some common sense. Compact your bin as much as possible, if you can drive and you’re that bothered then take it to the tip. It continues to amaze me that the same people who complain would soon cry about their human rights if they were made to go to work whatever the conditions, or forced to take their brats to school regardless of how long it takes to get there.

People are struggling to cope. The world does not revolve around your own personal needs. Learn to look after yourselves.

And if you’re wondering why Emergency weather plans for councils are not as good as they could be, it’s because the Emergency Planning Officers get shit pay for their job working for an arse of a manager who gives himself pay rises whilst increasing their duty rota commitments and reducing their holidays thanks to a job evaluation by lentil munching socialists designed to keep dinner ladies happy, whilst trying to get uninterested and unhelpful council managers to realise they need to plan for emergency conditions just to help their own departments when the guano hits the fan, but that’s for another rant…

The Ice age continues in the North East (-11 deg C today) and has so far cost me a days holiday and a set of glow plugs, but it’s ok, I’ve forgiven the snow, it’s just too much fun to be mad at for long anyway.

But with the British pre-occupation with weather at the best of times I though I would gather some useful, interesting or just fascinating links for weather related websites together in one post.

I suppose first up should be the daddy of them all, the all knowing Met Office. Good place for forecasts, weather warnings (available as an RSS feed) and marine forecasts
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/

Becasue they are a bit slow to update their pressure charts and it’s nice to be able to view them all in one place I can recommend Metbrief
http://www.metbrief.com/EGRR.html

For an alternative forecasts available to high resolution, there’s the weather underground.
http://www.wunderground.com/

For the Teessiders amongst you, there is an amateur local weather statiion online with great info on it – and fascinating to watch it change! You can also find stations in your locality by using the mesomap function on the website
http://billinghamweather.com/

For anyone interested in the forecast from the local airport allmetsat have the terminal Airfield Forecasts online – with the very useful decode in plain english!
http://en.allmetsat.com/metar-taf/united-kingdom-ireland.php?icao=EGNV

For specific charts of all types, the aptly named weathercharts!
http://www.weathercharts.org/

And finally the ever popular and stunningly pretty sometimes Satellite images courtesy of Dundee uni receiving station. free registration required – but it’s definitely worth it.
http://www.sat.dundee.ac.uk/

If you have any sites you use, please add them in the comments so they can be shared with everyone else.

remember, no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing….

Do you in fact have one?

Some people think so, apparently I got “the finger” and am a “smartarse” for agreeing that people who don’t clear snow from their car and continue to drive should get £60 and 3 points. (I drive a 2 ton 4WD truck and being a massive 5’6″ have to use a broom myself, so I know it works)

Why not? It’s fucking dangerous. If it comes off whilst driving it can cause an accident. Obviously not for the selfish shit in their car but for the people driving behind them, and for pedestrians near the road. But hey, it might take a whole 5 minutes in the cold before they set off so why should they have to worry about driving over a ton of metal about on slippery surfaces without the resulting consequences?

But what if I can’t reach? Well either get a longer broom, or the kitchen steps or a taller person to help. What you don’t do is whine about the inconvenience to your oh so important life and carry on regardless. Your convenience does not take priority over others safety, otherwise I should be allowed to choke the living shit out of people just for annoying me.

For those that think I make this shit up (obviously names have been changed…..)

Facebook friend #1
POLICE
WARNING police from today are stopping motorists whose cars have snow
on their roof and issuing £60 fines and 3 penalty points. Please repost
this and spread the word YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

Person far too important to spend 5 minutes clearing car
what happens if you are short like me and cant reach the roof of your car?

Spider
what happens to the driver behind you or the pedestrian walking by the road when it all comes off and hits them? a broom works fine.

Person far too important to spend 5 minutes clearing car
even with broom i cant reach smart arse!!

Facebook friend #1 Get your fella to do it for you [Person far too important…] 😉 that’s what I had [Facebook friend #1 fiancé and all round nice chap] doing this morning with the broomstick haha

Person far too important to spend 5 minutes clearing car
lol would do if he wasnt at work hun just walk instead i think x

Facebook friend #1Jeez Spider, thought you’d be bothered the effects on pedestrians…

Facebook friend #1 last person that should say

Person far too important to spend 5 minutes clearing car
it was different when I had the lotus Facebook friend #1 could reach the roof then just would not have got over the snow on the road lol

Facebook friend #1Or stay indoors if you can [Person far too important…] hope you all ok, stay safe+warm xxx

Person far too important to spend 5 minutes clearing caryou too sFacebook friend #1 safe drive home xx love and hugs to you and [Facebook friend #1 fiancé and all round nice chap] x o and the finger to your smart arse friend xx [she can’t mean me surely?.. spider]

I wish everyone a safe drive home. Hopefully you won’t get hit by massive blocks of snow and ice flying off the tops of cars.

Another thought occurs. If you’re so bloody short and haven’t learned to live with it by the time you’re old enough to drive, how do you see over the bloody steering wheel?

I guess I’ll be called smartarse and worse now. Yep, amazing I know some people continue to disagree with me. I’ll pretend I give a shit and rise above it. I can reach the roof that way…

I’ve been watching the weather related news with interest. Mainly due to being a bit of a weather anorak (legacy of my time as a forecaster in the RN I’m afraid), but also because I think it speaks volumes about people.

Every news channel carried news of the impending wintery doom for days before it actually hit. Even now we’re constantly reminded how bad it’s going to be and for how long. And also in every bulletin, website and forum there are a legion of people complaining that it has impacted their daily routine.

Have you looked outside? People who are only too happy to phone into work with the weather as an excuse expect everyone to arrange the world so it carries on as normal for them.

Surely if a 10th Century monarch can realise that we cannot control the elements then over 1000 years later we should be able grasp the simple fact?

Why do we persist in polluting the environment with thousands of tonnes of salts and grits? Why not accept that snow makes roads slippery, just clear the worst with ploughs and require people to drive accordingly? It works fine in other countries. Accidents are mainly caused by drivers expecting every road to be normal, not just the main arteries we can afford to grit or salt.

We must be prepared to adapt our life to the conditions. If you drive a 2WD sports car with slick tyres guess what? It won’t work as well as my 4WD truck. If you need to be out driving in these conditions then plan ahead. Don’t just expect the world to change just for you.

Same if you choose to live in the arse end of nowhere. Either learn to live there in the harsh conditions as well as the good, or move. Stop expecting everyone else to bail out your lifestyle choice.

There are people that need and deserve our limited resources to help, the elderly, the infirm, those that through no fault of their own cannot help themselves. If your problems are down to your choice of where to live, or your choice of vehicle, or your choice to have screaming brats, or your choice to not get up earlier for work then tough shit. Your choice, you deal with it. Now stop whining.

I’m off to play in it some more snow. It’s fantastic.

Quick one here… Weathermen are all mild, conscientious types right?…and when they don’t think they’re on air…

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