Just when you may have thought you were safe, having survived the onslaught of click bait stories and doom and gloom pronouncements of a weather Armageddon courtesy of the mainstream media and news broadcasts, the weather has gone and done it again, Storm Ciara known, as the BBC gleefully announced, as Sabine in Germany and Switzerland and Elisa  in Norway, swept across Europe from the Atlantic causing mayhem and damage in the countries in its path. Nothing particularly odd about the different names which was not, as reported by some, because we have ‘left’ but because the Germans have, since 1954, had their own system, set up by the Free University of Berlin and used by all German speaking countries (and for some reason Norway which the last time I heard doesn’t).

Anyway, ours are named by agreement of various European meteorological services which, if you want to name a storm, is as good a reason as any I suppose. Incidentally since 2002 it’s been possible in the German system to buy a name to be used during some future event. I did think I’d like to purchase ‘Brexit’ as that seems to have caused a bit of a storm in various places – not least in our own BBC and media – but apparently our system doesn’t allow for names to be purchased and even in Germany it’s only first names that can be used which doesn’t allow for family names, so I assume that ‘Merkel’ will be out, presumably to the chagrin of many and pleasure of others.

It could be though, as the ‘woke’ generation gets its hands on the levers of power so to speak, that it won’t be long before we have storm ‘it’ or ‘they’  which presumably would fit the, err, ‘Bill,’ (I tried using the non-gender specific term ‘account’ there but it doesn’t seem to sit well with the intention of the sentence.)

Here in St. Mary on the Wold we are well used to the effects of the weather. Being situated 20 odd miles from the nearest urban conurbations and surrounded by hills we often have our own microclimate conditions. These existed well before the current man-made problems of global warming or Climate change as promoted by Boris or that national treasure journalist bloke at the BBC who seem to get their scientific theories and facts either from a copy of ‘Digest 1986 ‘ or from that 17-year-old international celebrity who is going to have her own series on BBC.

Judging by the comments I’ve read in various on-line issues of the national press this week, that has not gone down too well with many of the people that actually have to buy a TV license and have no intention of watching the BBC. Come to think of it, maybe that’s Carrie’s/ Boris’ /Dom’s big idea. Announce the building of HS2 – which appears to be unwanted by even more people that don’t want the BBC – while pretending to be keen on the green machine at the same time as spending billions on something that will destroy a lot of our environment. Good Idea Boris, just ‘Carrie’ on, not a good idea to really annoy your newfound hard-earned voter base, who do you think you are, Gerald Ratner?

The BBC though – and lets face it a lot of others are just as irritatingly biased in their presentation of news and views – still  just don’t seem to get it, rather like their colleagues the print media, journalists, who along with politicians seem to think, presumably by drawing on their own lack of knowledge of anything or exceptional, have to dumb down their journalism to the Janet-and-John level aimed at, as one old-time and distinguished commentator used to refer to, ‘the Sharon and Tracey’ generation.

Maybe it’s because we in the UK and much of the West  have, for many years now, lived in fairly peaceful and uneventful times and many have never had to attend anything either dangerous or unpleasant, make unpopular or life changing decisions, or report factually on unpleasant events,  that they report matters in this often childish manner. It would appear that many boomers and their children, the so-called millennials, suffer from some sort of media-induced memory loss which will only get worse as they exert their collective influence on anything you care to mention, for example, the media, health care, policing, education, technology and so on. They seem to have mastered the art of ignoring common sense in favour of common purpose, display little collective memory or education of events still in living memory or probably use a very poor internet search engine from which to form their ideas or research.

Take the weather headlines of the last few months, sensational reporting and click bait about just how bad things will be or not depending on which of the many weather forecasts you see hear or choose to believe. One tabloid has been presenting Armageddon forecasts for so long now that eventually one will prove to be correct if not accurate. Another is besotted by what the attractive ‘weather girl’ is wearing, bit sexist that, isn’t it? I don’t remember the same fixation about the jacket Bill Giles wore or the hair style of Michael Fish (he of the “don’t worry about the wind” fame).

Actually, in the main the reports in those days were more often than not fairly accurate in the short term, reporting on actual weather seen by ships, weather stations and aircraft, not as today, based on long term computer projections, which are often widely inaccurate.

Just look at how and what was reported in the ‘olden days’ – presumably unknown to the present generation used to a diet of ‘shock, horror, awe and probe ‘headlines’ along with plucky Brit stories which grace the news media on a daily basis.

Want horror weather stories? Well, on Jan 31st, 1953 a North Sea Ferry from Stranraer to Larne, the  M.V Princess Victoria , sank during a severe storm with the loss of 133 lives. Later the same storm engulfed coastal parts of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex: 307 people killed, severe damage and loss of life was also caused in Holland, making it one of the worst storms of the century.

In 1968 the BBC gave virtually no coverage to a hurricane which killed 20 people and destroyed 300 houses and left 7000 homes without electricity. 1974 saw the mildest winter since 1869 but 1975 saw snow in June. Summer 1976 temperatures reached 35c for the hottest summer on record. 1987, the year of the comment made by BBC weatherman Michael Fish, saw a storm which uprooted an estimated 3 million trees and in Sussex, as it happened during the working day, a school evacuated just before it collapsed. It was the storm which destroyed the seven oak trees at Sevenoaks in Kent.

Worse to come in 1990 the so-called Burns Night storm over three days Jan 23-26 cost 47 lives, saw a mean wind speed of 74 MPH – again in Kent and a gust of 107 MPH in Aberporth North Wales. 

All this may explain why some of the older generation find the sensational reporting of  storm Ciara and Dennis in the last few days irritating to say the least, as I write this we are now experiencing the formation of a terrifying ‘Weather Bomb’, a description coined by Norwegian meteorologists in the 1940s which may or could affect the weather over the UK. Either way it certainly affects news headlines.

[to be continued tomorrow in Part 2]


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