Don’t Ever Bet on UK Weather! 5 Extreme Examples of British Weather

15 July 2016

This June was, for the UK, one of the wettest and dullest ever. Although this led to many moans in homes and offices across the country, it could have been a lot worse. People could at least sit at home on the internet, looking for something to do, such as read reviews of online casinos in the UK. There have been times when people have returned home to find it gone! Here are 5 extreme examples of British weather over the years.

The Great Bocastle Flood of 2004
For the residents of the small Cornish village of Bocastle, Monday, 16 August 2004 was a day they would never forget. After eight hours of constant rainfall, there were two flash floods. The village is unfortunate to be at the confluence of three rivers, the Paradise, Jordan and Valency. As they flooded, water swept through the village but then the bridge became blocked with vehicles and other detritus. This build up as a kind of dam and this eventually broke, causing a second huge wave to run through the town. It took months to clean the place up.

The Great Heatwave of 1976
People of a certain age in the UK look back fondly to the great heatwave of 1976 when the country enjoyed the hottest summer average temperature in the UK since records began. Many parts of the country went 45 days without a drop of rain. I was a child at the time and remember the joy of the guarantee of hot weather day in, day out. However, for parents, it was a little more difficult – as the weather also created a drought. Many people in the UK had no running water in their houses and were forced to use pumps in the street and carry it back to their homes in buckets. You can imagine the look on my mother’s face as she was forced to do that!

The Great Frosts
At the other end of the weather spectrum we have to go back a few hundred years. The reign of Elizabeth I of England is often called The Golden Age. Perhaps it should have been called The Frozen Age instead as this period saw the river Thames freeze over many times. The worst was the winter of 1683-84. The river froze to a thickness of eleven inches in places. This great frost as it was called lasted for so long that a frost fair was set up on the river. Here people would try and make the best by playing football, eating from stalls and participating in gambling. However, once the ice thawed the river’s temporary residents often had to make a run for dry land!

Tornadoes in the UK?
People normally associate tornadoes with places like the American mid-west but the weather in the UK is so varied that they have even been known to strike here. Perhaps the most famous is the 2005 Birmingham tornado. It carved a path almost a mile long through the city, damaging homes, schools and historic monuments. Fortunately no one was killed but many people were taken to hospital with injuries. It was by far the costliest tornado in British history, hitting as it did the country’s second largest city. Estimates of the damage caused came to £40 million.

The Great Snowfall of 1987
The running joke, when things come to a halt in the UK, is that is caused by the wrong kind of… and then you insert the word of the day. So you can have the wrong kind of leaves, the wrong kind of rain or in this case the wrong kind of snow. Over 20 inches of snow fell in many parts of the UK, meaning that a number of cities were temporarily cut off. Some places even had to have supplies flown in. Although by the standards of other countries, this might seem a minor weather event, for the UK this was the most intense cold spell of the twentieth century.

So even if July is wet and miserable, don’t place too many bets that it will stay that way. Such are the vagaries of UK weather that this time next week we could be basking in extremely high temperatures. On the other hand, we could be going in to the next ice age. When it comes to UK weather, you simply never know!

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