Episode 1 The Great British Weather


Episode 1

Interactive live series focusing on Britain's weather. The team explore why Britain gets the weather it does, and how weather was crucial for the success of the D-Day landings.


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Transcript


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We talk about it all the time. Because it changes all the time.

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And it is totally and utterly unique. Grab your brollies, hold on

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to your hats and welcome to The Welcome to The Great British

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Weather. We are here on Porthminster Beach in St Ives,

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Cornwall, where many people have turned up. We are obsessed with the

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weather. Over the next four weeks will be coming to you live across

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the nation as we celebrate and investigate the wonderful weather

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we have. Take this week, there was a tornado in Bognor Regis! We are

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going to introduce you now to our studio. We all moan about it, we

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curse it. But there's a lot a lot about the British weather. I

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guarantee by the end of this hour we will all be converted. Strong

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words. This is the great British Tonight, we will introduce you to

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be a huge battle that goes on above our heads, which makes our weather

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so incredibly changeable. We discover how the weather helped us

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to win World War II. A decision had to be made. The legendary Michael

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Fish joins us. Earlier a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there

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was a hurricane on the way. reveal what it was like in the eye

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of that storm. There's a really bad flood here! We revisit the Cornish

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village devastated by 1.5 billion litres of rainwater. One of our

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children were screaming, we are all going to die! And Chris goes in

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search of the biggest beast in the Atlantic. It could get a bit nasty

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on his boat. The ad is what is coming up later on. We are on a

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mission tonight because what we want to do is completely covered

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this map of the UK with weather pictures from you, pictures taken

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from now until we go off air at about 8:30pm, so we can get a real

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oversight of what the weather is going to be like here. Carol

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Kirkwood, I am admiring your map. was up all night cutting this out.

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North, south, east, west. Sandwich, I've got to go to the Open

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Championship tomorrow - where is it? It's in Kent. Down a bit.

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That's where I will be tomorrow morning. I want to know what the

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weather is going to be like there. If you are there, take a photograph,

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tell me what is going on. But if you are going to take a photograph

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out of your photograph or window, send it to

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[email protected] Include your name, postcode and

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where you took it, but please be careful. Don't take it while

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driving a car or using heavy machinery. And don't take a picture

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directly into the sun. You can also join us in the conversation on

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Twitter. You are telling people not to take pictures into the sun. It's

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been a beautiful day all day in St Ives. Interestingly, it's been

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raining in Truro, just nine miles away. Can we show you a picture of

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the seagull? We were trying to get some general views this afternoon.

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Shameless opportunism there. He's got a sandwich. It's been a sunny

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day but it might be raining tomorrow or it could be blowing a

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gale. That's the thing about British weather, it changes all the

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time and you never know what it's going to do next. Welcome to Sama

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2007. -- summer. This is flooding on a scale no one here can remember.

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Rainfall of a Buntin just one day. Today has officially been the

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hottest day of the year so far. The umbrellas are being used as

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parasols. Even the indoor attractions are happy. The snowfall

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here was the worst for 25 years. We've had hundreds of lorries stuck

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on the roads. Forecasters tell us things will get

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worse before they get better. Our unique weather is all to do

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with our position on the planet. The whole of the UK just so happens

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to be slap-bang under the place where four colossal air mass meat.

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And air mass is an enormous lump of our atmosphere. At the service,

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it's the same temperature and same humidity over thousands of square

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miles. When different air mass Mead they fight for supremacy and the

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one that wins dictates our measure -- weather. Ladies and gentlemen,

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let the battle commence. Imagine that these guys are what the

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weather mark -- boffins call the polar air mass, bringing freezing

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Arctic air, sending temperatures plummeting across the UK. But

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before you have the chance to put the heating on... Here comes the

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tropical air mass, blazing a trail from the south, delivering warm air

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from places such as North Africa and the Mediterranean. When they

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clash, we get a weather front. There are a lot of places in the

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world that's it and aware that tropical air mass and the polar air

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mass meat. But the UK is extra- special because it also sits

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between a large ocean, that's the Atlantic to the west, and a large

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landmass, that Europe and Asia to the east. And that makes our

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weather even more chaotic and a bit more angry. The maritime air mass -

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these chaps in the blue T-shirts - suck up billions of litres of

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moisture from the Atlantic Ocean. Then it travels east to dumped

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torrential rain on our barbecue. Finally, to the rescue comes the

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continental air mass. Cruising across the dry land up Europe and

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Asia, ready to go to war with the cold, wet front. In a bid to give

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us a warm, sunny day. But that is not the whole story because you've

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yet to meet the big daddy of British weather. The jet stream.

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That can overpower all of those guys. It's a monumental wind that

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can fly across the sky at 250 mph. Powerful and determined, if the

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jetstream heads north it blocks the polar and maritime air masses. And

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it's party time for the tropical and continental air masses. Now

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free to smother resin warmth and sunshine. Thanks to the jet stream,

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we enjoyed the hottest summer on record back in 2006. We had 18

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weeks of uninterrupted sun. Even Northern Ireland and Scotland had a

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decent summer. But, as you'd expect, it's not always good news. If the

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jetstream decides to head south, pushing back the warm, dry front,

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we are in for more familiar wet and chilly conditions. And that in a

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nutshell is why we have our British weather. It's unpredictable, it's

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crazy, it's bonkers, but it's ours. And deep down, secretly, we love it.

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I have no idea we had that going on. It explains everything. That's only

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part of the story because there's a very critical part, too. Can you

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hear me over the noise of the waves? The crucial part we have is

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where we are positioned. We are right in between the North Pole. We

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know what the weather is like there. I'm going to go with cold. Down

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here we've got the equator. It's hot. We are in between. You would

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think we would have a similar weather conditions to other parts

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in the same latitude. Latitude, you share your climate with your

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latitude friends. Yes, but in meteorology there are exceptions.

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If we sweep around. On our level and come to Canada. Canada has the

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Winter Olympics for a very good reason, because they get that kind

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of weather. Carry on... Siberia. In Siberia, the temperature can fall

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to minus 40. You have to wear a jumper! Kazakhstan there. Russia.

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These are places that have sub-zero temperatures in the winter. Minus

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30. But as you come back to the UK, we don't have that problem. The

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reason for that is we are surrounded by the sea. Yes, did you

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know that in the UK no one is more than 75 miles away from the sea.

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Doesn't it look beautiful? It makes a huge difference to our weather. I

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will show you that in a big experiment. I'm going to introduce

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you to my crowd. Thank you for coming up. You are wondering what

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we are doing. All will be made simple in a moment. I've got an

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experiment. I've got two gentleman and a big freezer van. You are

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saying, where are the two gentleman? They are inside. My

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first volunteer is representing the UK. There he is. With his little

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bowler hat on. My second volunteer is representing Kazakhstan. He is

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wearing that fetching fur hat. I took their individual skin

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temperatures before we went on air, of which were around 27 degrees.

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That is a little bit cool but about average for a young man. I put him

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into this freezer van, which is playing its part in winter in the

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northern hemisphere. It's a chilly zero degrees in there. Mr UK made

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himself comfortable in a bath of water on the right-hand side. Mr

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Kazakhstan was in an empty bath. The UK is surrounded by water and

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is slightly warmer than the temperature of the land in the

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winter. The Bhoys have been in there for just over a quarter of an

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hour. It's now time to reveal the results. I hope you are decent! You

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were panicking there, weren't you? Would you mind coming out, Mr

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Kazakhstan and Mr UK? I'm introducing my temperature gauge

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person. You are? I'm Jean. Are you willing to help me out? I think so.

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Have a little feel and see who is a bit colder. Yes? And how about this

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chap? This one is colder. That could go against our experiment.

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Could you put your arms out, I'm going to take the temperature

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officially. This is Mr UK. That is 29.2 degrees. That's quite warm,

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especially as he's been in a refrigerator. And Mr Kazakhstan.

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Poor you. 22.8 degrees. How are you feeling? I'm pretty cold. Come and

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warm yourself up against Gina. Mr UK's temperature has stayed more or

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less the same because he's been surrounded by a warm water, just

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like us here in Britain. Mr Kazakhstan is freezing. Off you go,

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get warmed up. I meant to show you this. It's the key to Carol

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Kirkwood's dressing room. She said you can warm up there any time.

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can't believe you would say that, Chris! Cornwall is one of the most

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popular holiday destinations in the country. It enjoys temperatures

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which are a couple of degrees warmer than the rest of the UK. But

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it has experienced its fair share of wild weather, and it doesn't

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come much wilder than the exceptional storm of 2004, which

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engulfed the small fishing village of Bosc Castle. -- Boscastle. A

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picturesque village this deep in a valley. It was a nice day, a bit

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like today. A few clouds about but it was sunshine. Andy Evans is on a

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family holiday with his wife and three children, Karl, Luke and

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Emily. The Sun have been shining, we'd had a great time, we'd been on

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the beach, things were going well. In the afternoon we decided we'd go

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out and explore some of the other local villagers. Boscastle was one

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of the places we haven't visited before. But the good weather isn't

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holding. And about 11 o'clock, that's when it started raining, the

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clouds started building up. That was the start of it. In the high

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ground above the village an unusually wet summer had left the

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one -- left the land waterlogged. The huge amount of rain water has

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only one way to go. I stood on the bridge and the water was black. I

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have never seen the river that anything like that. The Evans

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family arrive in Boscastle, park their car and head straight for

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somewhere out of the rain. We went into the visitors' centre and

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literally a few minutes later somebody came in to say that the

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river had burst its banks. Peter Templar's restaurant is right on

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the river's edge. It started coming into the base of the kitchen, which

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is when I have to vacate the whole of the restaurant and ask people to

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get out. The raging waters have now overwhelmed the narrow streets of

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the village and there is no way out. You don't realise the amount of

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danger we were in. That water level was rising and rising and rising.

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It was taking everything in its path. It was then that the first

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car came down and hit the bridge, the red one. There's a really bad

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blood and people are getting injured. We need some emergency

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57 miles away the Royal Navy Air Service get the call. The rain was

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that heavy, it was flooding the back of the aircraft. There was

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poor visibility and lightning was going off above us. It was

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somewhere you don't want to be in an aircraft. The crew arrived 15

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minutes later. So much debris - there were phone boxes floating

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past. That was followed by vehicles. The flood is declared a major

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incident. Every available emergency helicopter is now on its way. But

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in the visitors' centre, time is running out for Andy and his family.

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We climbed up into the attic space. Shortly afterwards, the glass door

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did smash. It was holding back a huge force of water at that point.

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We got this call, "Save who you can" and you get that cold shiver

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that there's serious chance that will be a loss of life. Andy, his

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wife and three kids had been huddled in the attic for a few

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minutes. Suddenly, a massive tree hit the building and most of the

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building, bar what we were in, collapsed. It was like a bomb going

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off. One of our children was screaming, "We are all going to

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die!" We were saying, "No, we are going to be fine." Deep down, we

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were beginning to think, "Are we going to get out?" With the

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building crumbling, the family had been forced on to the roof.

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Freezing cold, soaking wet. Just hanging on for dear life. Then

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suddenly, the Navy helicopter appeared and hovered above us and

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it was quite clear that they were here to rescue us. We had to get

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them off. My concern was this building was going to collapse.

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remember just counting our children up thinking that is one safe,

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that's two safe, that's three safe. Before we know it, we have 15

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people in the aircraft. There's people everywhere. The crew were

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amazing. They all risked their own lives that day. They are heroes.

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When you looked at the scale of it, you felt there had to be a fatality

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somewhere. Someone had to be in one of those cars or washed-away.

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millimetres of rain fell sending 1 bpbt 5 billion Lee terse of flood -

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- 1.5 billion litres of floodwater crashing on to the streets. This is

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Remarkable pictures. Pictures that you never really get over. What's

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confusing me is we are used to rain in the UK. How did that happen?

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There were a lot of contributing things that happened at once. First,

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the weather hadn't been good beforehand so the ground was

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already saturated. Then on that day, we had a convergence line form, so

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we had wind coming from one direction, wind coming from another,

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they bumped into each other and that built great big thunder clouds

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and they deposited a lot of rain in one area for four hours. The other

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half of the story is the geography. Boscastle is at the bottom of a

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valley and it's a steep valley. So it was raining in Boscastle,

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raining on the hills. The rain on the hills had to come down these

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narrow gullies. If you think of a funnel, if you pour water in, it

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comes gushing out from the bottom. This water came pouring down, the

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riverbanks burst and caused the devastation we have seen. No-one

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was hurt. I want to introduce you to a survivor. You probably saw him

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in the VT. Peter, you are looking very smooth here on the beach.

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have to be. You do. Are you over it now? Is it still in the back of

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your mind? Not really. We spent I would say nine months in temporary

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accommodation, four weeks of that was with our son-in-laws and it

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took us 12 months to get back to normality, that is opening the

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business and getting on with trade. Is this your beautiful wife? She is

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35 years. Congratulations. Do you have nightmares about it? No.

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have moved on? Life is great? It is back to being the jewel in

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the crown of Boscastle. It is a wonderful place to live and it is a

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beautiful place to visit. Thank you very much indeed. Thank you - give

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them a round of applause. APPLAUSE I want to introduce you to some of

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the crowd. Look at these lovely faces. Hello. Have you had a lovely

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day? Yeah. Whafrpblgts have you been doing? -- What have you been

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doing? I went to school. Never mind. You all right over here, gang?

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Yes! Good. I'm so - look at this face. She is responsible for this

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lot. I know! Poor old her. You are responsible for us! Alexander?

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shadows are lengthening here as the sun goes down. You can see it

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twinkling away behind us. Now our website

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bbc.co.uk/greatbritishweather has been live since yesterday and

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already loads of people have been in touch and have sent some

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fantastic weather pictures in. Adrian has sent this picture of a

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rainbow. "My sister and I were walking to a section of Hadrian's

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Wall in Northumberland." Nicola Bolton has sent this picture in of

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fog. Look at that. Beautiful. Taken in the countryside near her home in

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Chorley. John has sent this picture of a rare cloud form. He says that

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was taken at 12.15am in Fort William on the west coast of

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Scotland. We will be doing clouds next week of course. How is your

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map coming along, Carol? Slowly. I'm glad to hear you mention Fort

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William. That is my stomping ground. You can see how very slowly we are

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building up a picture of what the weather is like across the UK. Now,

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I want to hear from you what it is going to be like or what it is like

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where you are now. This is from Andrew in Exeter. That is a

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beautiful picture. Lovely. So some dark clouds. Let's whack that on.

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Hi, Chris. I'm here to help! Live telly! Pictures are falling off! I

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like a man that knows his place! This one is in Norwich. Over your

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side. I know where Norwich is. last one is from Matthew in

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Coventry. Another beautiful one. Chris, do you want to stick that

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on? Yes. Keep your pictures coming in and don't let your region down.

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You can see that we are missing much of Scotland, Northern Ireland,

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we want you to send them in, too. By the end of this hour, we want to

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cover this map completely. So e- mail your pictures to us at

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[email protected] Remember to include your name, your

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postcode and also where you took the picture. Can we have a few

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faces in there? If you are having a barbecue tonight, send it in. Let's

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see what you are cooking with the weather in the background.

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Especially if will is a miserable upset dad in the rain! We have had

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a great story. Katy has contacted us. I love this. She says she will

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never complain about the British weather again. Why? Last winter she

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was driving on the ice roads when her Mini bumped into another car.

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Ahh! It is good. She expected to be in big trouble but turned out the

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driver was really nice and now she's engaged to him. Why does that

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never happen to me?! She also says she is a looker! I'm going to pay

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for that one! Now, maybe you have a fantastic weather story. Did your

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dog rescue you in the middle of a blizzard? Or maybe you live in the

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sunniest place in the UK which is where? Eastbourne. Could be. We

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have a debate. Help me, Alexander. Thank you very much. If weather has

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such an influence on all our lives, it is hardly surprising it's played

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a pivotal role in shaping our history.

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In 1944, the Nazis occupied much of mainland Europe. Five years into

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the Second World War, Hitler's forces still posed a huge threat to

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the UK. If the Germans were ever going to be defeated the British,

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American and Allied Forces had no choice but to invade Northern

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France and force back the German troops amassed just over 100 miles

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from British shores. The invasion was essential to the success of our

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campaign against the Nazis and by extension to freeing Europe and

0:24:100:24:18

turning Europe into the place it is today, a place of free democracy,

0:24:180:24:25

free political will and choice. invasion involved 156,000 men

0:24:250:24:29

sailing across the English Channel, landing on the shores of Normandy

0:24:290:24:32

to invade through Northern France. However, if the invasion was going

0:24:320:24:37

to be a success, the weather would have to play a key role.

0:24:370:24:40

weather conditions required for D- Day to be a success were complex.

0:24:400:24:43

They needed a whole series of circumstances to come together. So

0:24:430:24:48

the timing of the invasion was crucial. They needed cloud cover no

0:24:480:24:53

lower than 3,000 feet for the operations. They needed visibility

0:24:530:24:57

of at least three miles. They needed high tides so they could

0:24:570:25:01

float over the German beach defences. The man charged with

0:25:010:25:05

predicting these weather conditions was 43-year-old James Stagg,

0:25:050:25:09

reporting directly to the Supreme Allied Commander General Eisenhower.

0:25:090:25:13

James Stagg was the senior meteorologist who had been

0:25:130:25:18

commissioned as a Group Captain in the Royal Air Force, he was a

0:25:180:25:24

weather expert. It was his job to head up the teams that forecast the

0:25:240:25:30

weather for the invasion. Stagg was based at Southwick House in

0:25:300:25:34

Hampshire, alongside Eisenhower. From here, the key decisions

0:25:340:25:38

surrounding D-Day were made. Alison Gregory worked in the operations

0:25:380:25:45

room throughout this time. perfectly certain that the job that

0:25:450:25:51

Group Captain Stagg did was vital to the whole operation. So much

0:25:510:25:56

depended on that poor man. pressure on Group Captain Stagg was

0:25:560:25:59

immense. He knew the decision on whether to invade or not to invade

0:25:590:26:03

would be based on his meteorological advice and with

0:26:030:26:08

156,000 troops on standby, many lives were at stake. I had long had

0:26:080:26:13

at the back of my mind the tactical use of weather just to be able to

0:26:130:26:16

pick out some interlude which would be unknown to the enemy forces that

0:26:160:26:22

would allow us to make use of it and catch the people on the other

0:26:220:26:26

side unawares. But weather forecasting in 1944 was not nearly

0:26:260:26:31

as advanced as it is now. It was as much of an art as a science. They

0:26:310:26:36

did use data from weather ships. What they did not have is the sort

0:26:360:26:39

of satellites, the weather satellites that we have today so as

0:26:390:26:44

I say, weather forecasting involved a certain amount of gut instinct as

0:26:440:26:49

well as a considerable amount of technical skill. Stagg knew that

0:26:490:26:52

the next right tide and moonlight conditions to launch an invasion

0:26:520:26:58

would be between the 5th and 7th June but the weather was looking

0:26:580:27:02

atrocious. The rain was pelting down. The wind was blowing. It was

0:27:020:27:09

unimaginable. It must have been frightful for all the senior

0:27:090:27:14

officers having to work out what on earth to do. But then Stagg saw a

0:27:140:27:18

glimmer of hope. After receiving data from a single weather ship in

0:27:180:27:20

the Atlantic, he spotted that a short period of high pressure

0:27:200:27:26

looked like it was moving in from the south-east. He was able based

0:27:260:27:30

on that data to predict a short break in the weather on the morning

0:27:300:27:36

of the 6th June. It didn't mean the just meant that he thought it was

0:27:360:27:41

going to be good enough. There's a big difference. Based on this

0:27:410:27:45

information, Stagg took the momentous decision to advise

0:27:450:27:51

Eisenhower to invade. The whole operation was in suspense and

0:27:510:27:57

everyone in that room knew that within a very few hours now a

0:27:570:28:03

decision had to be made. Eisenhower took Stagg at his word and launched

0:28:030:28:11

the attack. At 11.30 the captain told us that we were leaving to go

0:28:120:28:15

to Normandy to liberate Europe. Stagg was wrong, hundreds of

0:28:150:28:24

thousands of troops could be lost in rough seas. We all understood

0:28:240:28:31

that this is it, you know. It was imminent. As the fleet set across

0:28:310:28:34

the Channel, all Stagg and Eisenhower could do was hope that

0:28:340:28:41

they were right. People of Western Europe, a landing was made this

0:28:410:28:48

morning on the coast of France by troops of the Allied Expeditionary

0:28:480:28:51

Force. Stagg's prediction that there would be this crucial break

0:28:510:28:56

in the weather was correct. For around ten hours on that historic

0:28:560:29:00

day, the cloud cover was perfect for the aerial assault, visibility

0:29:000:29:06

was right for the Naval gunnery and the rising tides enabled the

0:29:060:29:12

landing crafts to sail over the German beach defences. When we knew

0:29:120:29:18

the landing was successful, it was absolutely wonderful. Absolutely

0:29:180:29:26

thrilled to bits. How the hell our boys landed on this beach, I'll

0:29:260:29:34

never, never ever know. Only God above can say miracles happened

0:29:340:29:38

that day. They got there and did a wonderful job. I feel privileged to

0:29:380:29:46

be part of it. That one man, James Stagg, his weather forecasts given

0:29:460:29:50

to General Eisenhower with his advice made the invasion possible

0:29:500:30:00
0:30:000:30:00

and began the process that ended That's incredibly moving. It is.

0:30:000:30:06

You realise the responsibility on one man. He said, you know what, I

0:30:060:30:10

feel this is the right day. If he'd got it wrong, history would have

0:30:100:30:13

been changed. A lot of Germans had been told to stand down because

0:30:130:30:16

they thought it was so unlikely there be any invasion under those

0:30:160:30:22

conditions. So the UK got it right. A man we are going to meet now have

0:30:220:30:26

that responsibility almost every single day. Who are we talking

0:30:260:30:32

about? Have a look at this. Good evening, a very mixed weekend. The

0:30:320:30:36

prevailing south-westerly wind. years of forecasting. So shine and

0:30:360:30:45

showers everywhere. 40 years on television. Over 10,000 broadcasts.

0:30:450:30:51

The weather looks as though it's going to turn... Four times

0:30:510:31:01

national Tyre man of the year. The longest serving TV meteorologist.

0:31:010:31:10

Michael Fish. Ladies and gentlemen, a fish called Michael. Michael Fish.

0:31:100:31:20
0:31:200:31:26

Welcome. I commend you on your fine neckwear there. What started your

0:31:260:31:31

Paston -- passion for meteorology? A I'm not sure. I look as if I'm so

0:31:310:31:36

young but believe it or not, it was quite a long time ago. There were

0:31:360:31:40

some really good Masters I had at school with physics or geography.

0:31:400:31:43

It could be that we have that horrendous storm in the early 50s

0:31:430:31:51

that killed nearly 2000 people in Britain and Holland. That perhaps

0:31:510:31:56

sowed the seeds to get my interest going. When did you joined the Met

0:31:560:32:03

Office? It was a very good year for the Met Office because in 1962 they

0:32:030:32:07

had their first numerical forecast on a computer, and I joined them.

0:32:070:32:12

Fantastic. What is your favourite story that you tell about your

0:32:120:32:18

events and action in the Met Office? We have the mouse story. We

0:32:180:32:22

also have an occasion when I got locked out of the office and Mr

0:32:220:32:27

broadcast because the door handle fell off. There was also this

0:32:270:32:33

occasion when we were just about to go live on air at 6:30pm. I noticed

0:32:330:32:37

this mouse running around the studio. A lady news reader was not

0:32:370:32:43

100 % happy, so I popped it in my pocket, did the broadcast...

0:32:430:32:52

are a man of iron! I was very good because I then released into the

0:32:520:32:57

Blue Peter garden. I want to show you pictures of Michael Fish in

0:32:570:33:06

dynamic form. Look at that. If only I looked like that again. Well,

0:33:060:33:12

sort of looked like that again. What was the story behind this -

0:33:120:33:17

Ejide? No, when I used to do Breakfast News in the good old days,

0:33:170:33:20

that was the standard sort of kit. We wore jumpers. People used to

0:33:200:33:23

make them and send their men. That's just one of them. They

0:33:230:33:28

shrink, that's the problem. I can't get them on any more.

0:33:280:33:32

definitely going to wear that on TV the next time. What's your

0:33:320:33:40

favourite Meteorological memory? will gloss over one event. I don't

0:33:400:33:46

know if you are thinking of 1987. The best person to ask his Bill

0:33:460:33:52

Giles, he was on duty that evening. What I always say is when the

0:33:520:33:55

forecast is right and when it's a good forecast, it's my forecast.

0:33:550:33:59

And when it's wrong and an awful forecast, it's the computers

0:33:590:34:02

forecast. Shall we look back at that moment you are talking about?

0:34:020:34:09

It might have been the moment I was referring to. Earlier on today a

0:34:090:34:11

woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the

0:34:110:34:15

way. If you are watching, don't worry, there isn't. Having said

0:34:150:34:19

that, the weather will become very windy but most of the strong winds

0:34:190:34:25

will be over Spain and across into France. The Spanish and French got

0:34:250:34:32

a good warning. You knew about it. The unfortunate thing was the

0:34:320:34:36

computer got it right five days before. As it got nearer and nearer

0:34:360:34:41

it wandered slightly off the course. Unfortunately, on the night before

0:34:410:34:45

it got it 100 miles or so out. If we'd gone on the forecast from five

0:34:450:34:50

days before on the Sunday, it would have been 100 % right. Does

0:34:500:34:55

everybody in your street do what they do with Carol? What is the

0:34:550:34:58

weather going to be like? Every second of the day. You got it wrong

0:34:580:35:05

again. It's your fault. I get people hitting me with umbrellas.

0:35:050:35:13

They hit you! Yes! Not on this programme. They look friendly. Are

0:35:130:35:23

you friendly? Yes! We are going to set you a challenge a bit later on.

0:35:230:35:27

Weather forecasting is now a billion-pound business, but long

0:35:270:35:31

before we had weather ships, farmers and sailors still needed to

0:35:310:35:36

know what the weather was going to do. They relied upon tips and

0:35:360:35:40

wisdom passed down through the generations. I was chatting earlier

0:35:400:35:46

on to Bridgette and Steve, they are local farmers. What weather rule do

0:35:460:35:54

you stick by? Mackerel sky, not long wet, not long drive. Rain

0:35:540:35:59

before seven, fine by 11. If the swallows fly high, it's going to be

0:36:000:36:05

tried. It's raining cats and dogs. It never rains but it pours. These

0:36:050:36:10

are all really good. What about the rest of them, are any of them true?

0:36:100:36:17

Each week, our meteorologist Tomasz Schafernaker is investigating a

0:36:170:36:23

proverb. A mighty kicks off with the one we've all heard of. --

0:36:230:36:28

denied he kicks off. Red sky at night. Shepherd's delight. Red sky

0:36:290:36:33

in the morning. Shepherd's warning. Red sky at night. Shepherd's

0:36:330:36:37

delight. It's one of the earliest examples of weather forecasts we

0:36:370:36:45

have. It's even mentioned in the Bible. I've come to the Cumbrian

0:36:450:36:50

fells to discover whether raw not it's actually true. A really good

0:36:500:36:54

feeling, it's going to be a beautiful sunset tonight. We might

0:36:540:37:00

just get the red sky that I'm hoping for. We are getting that

0:37:000:37:05

beautiful yellow tinge in the sky. But stunning as this Cumbrian

0:37:050:37:11

sunset is, it might not delight in Shepherd. At the moment it looks

0:37:110:37:17

absolutely beautiful. It but this still isn't the classic red sky at

0:37:170:37:21

night. It's not this guy that's red here, it's the low-lying cloud that

0:37:210:37:25

is illuminated by the setting sun. But it should still allow me to

0:37:250:37:32

test the old theory in reverse. We've woken up to pretty grisly,

0:37:320:37:40

cold, cloudy weather. It's no surprise that this morning isn't

0:37:400:37:45

clear. I'm still in search of a classic red sky. I want to

0:37:450:37:50

understand why it might forecast good weather. Rachel Marston is a

0:37:500:37:52

modern-day shepherd who swears by this primitive method of

0:37:520:37:57

forecasting. Rachel, you run a really successful farm here, you've

0:37:570:38:01

got nearly 2000 sheep. How important is it for you to know

0:38:010:38:05

what weather is coming your way? It's really important as farmers.

0:38:050:38:09

On a hill farm like this, in the winter we need to know if it's

0:38:090:38:13

going to snow, we need to bring the sheep in. In the summer, if there's

0:38:130:38:17

a red sky in the night then we know it's going to be a good day the day

0:38:170:38:21

after. It's a sign of a good spell of weather. So every time you get a

0:38:210:38:27

red sky at night, the next day the weather is brilliant? More-or-less.

0:38:270:38:31

But more or less doesn't quite cut it for a meteorologist like me. So

0:38:310:38:35

I'm putting this ancient proverb to the test by enlisting two Junior

0:38:350:38:39

weather watchers. Rachel's daughters, Abigail and Catherine.

0:38:390:38:44

What we are going to do is each time you see a red sky you are

0:38:440:38:48

going to get us to go like this and put it on one of these days. You

0:38:480:38:53

are going to record each time you have a red sky. According to your

0:38:530:38:58

mum, every time we get a red sky, the next day is beautiful and sunny.

0:38:580:39:02

So if it's nice and sunny you put the sunshine on there, if it's

0:39:020:39:06

cloudy you stick a cloud on there. That way, we are going to find out

0:39:060:39:12

if mum is right. Are you ready? And it turns out it won't be long

0:39:120:39:18

before we have our first test. As I'm leaving, this guy I've been

0:39:180:39:28

waiting. To appear. -- the sky. We are in for a stunning sunset. The

0:39:280:39:30

red light is travelling deep through the atmosphere at a low

0:39:300:39:36

angle. This is a proper red sky. Sunlight is made up of many colours

0:39:360:39:40

which all travel in a different way. Only the red light reaches us when

0:39:410:39:46

the sun is setting up such a low angle. There are several reasons

0:39:460:39:50

why a red sky might mean a good day tomorrow. The simplest one is

0:39:500:39:55

because red light is meeting us from the West, the skies to the

0:39:550:39:59

West are clear. As most of our weather fronts come from the West,

0:39:590:40:04

clear skies mean a fair weather. It's this guy that glows with that

0:40:040:40:10

beautiful orange and sometimes deep red, pink colour. That's what we

0:40:100:40:14

are interested in for red sky at night, shepherd's delight. I have

0:40:140:40:19

to see what Abigail and Catherine come back with. Wasn't that

0:40:190:40:25

beautiful? I'm joined by Tomasz, Rachel, Catherine and Abigail.

0:40:250:40:30

Abigail, can I come to you first? We saw the beautiful sunset there.

0:40:300:40:35

What was the weather like the next day? It was really nice and hot.

0:40:350:40:40

the theory is working so far. This is the chart we asked you to fill

0:40:400:40:48

out. Can you tell me what was going on here? We had to record when it

0:40:480:40:52

was a red sky at night and red sky in the morning. Red sky at night

0:40:520:41:00

there. Next day - lovely. And red sky in the morning followed by...

0:41:000:41:07

bad day. Tomasz, what's the red sky in the morning? You come up with

0:41:070:41:11

lots of interpretations. As a meteorologist, the way I understand

0:41:120:41:16

it is a red sky in the morning means this. Imagine that the sun

0:41:160:41:21

rising in the east. It's illuminating the other side of the

0:41:210:41:25

sky in the West with a beautiful red colour, the clouds are coming

0:41:250:41:28

in. Those clouds may be an indication of an approaching

0:41:280:41:33

weather front. You have the sun in one side of the sky and red clouds

0:41:330:41:37

on the other side of the sky. That is the warning for the shepherd

0:41:370:41:41

that there might be rain on the way. The difference for this one is we

0:41:410:41:45

are searching for red clouds. The one in the evening is the actor

0:41:450:41:55
0:41:550:41:58

Paul red, blowing up skies. -- the red, blowing it skies. Thank you

0:41:580:42:02

for coming to join us. You look absolutely gorgeous tonight,

0:42:020:42:07

Abigail. Next week, Tomasz will be investigating when carols lie-down.

0:42:070:42:15

Does it mean it's going to rain? -- When cows lie down. Here are

0:42:150:42:18

Alexander and Carol, who should know what they're talking about.

0:42:180:42:23

Any pictures? No red sky but we've got some wonderful pictures.

0:42:230:42:30

Anthony has sent this in of fantastic cloud. We will be doing

0:42:300:42:35

clouds next week. Look at this from Mark, there's a rainbow cloud here.

0:42:350:42:45
0:42:450:42:46

That is gorgeous. A rainbow cloud, that was taken in Chichester. Ian

0:42:460:42:54

from Newcastle-upon-Tyne has sent in this. That is a son halo. That's

0:42:540:42:59

gorgeous. It's the light refracting through the clouds that leads to it.

0:42:590:43:03

Let's have a look at the map. We haven't been to it recently to see

0:43:030:43:08

how it is doing. It's looking a lot healthier this time. Lots of

0:43:080:43:12

pictures coming in. Lots of interesting ones as well. It's very

0:43:120:43:15

much like the middle section of England into Wales is looking

0:43:150:43:19

cloudy. But in the north of the country there are beautiful, blue

0:43:190:43:28

skies. Very similar to here in St Ives. Isn't this gorgeous? This is

0:43:280:43:34

from Jeff in Merseyside. That looks gorgeous. Itself the evening sun.

0:43:340:43:38

If you haven't got in touch yet, hurry up. You've got about 10

0:43:380:43:41

minutes to get your pictures on the map. We are lacking them across

0:43:410:43:47

Scotland, north-west England and Northern Ireland. Whilst Alexander

0:43:470:43:52

and I have been working our socks off here, where his Chris? He's

0:43:520:43:59

having a cream tea! You caught me then. I am having a Cornish tea,

0:43:590:44:03

but they is a good reason. Cornish cream comes from Cornwall but I'm

0:44:030:44:09

also washing it down with tea from Cornwall. That's right. Tea from

0:44:090:44:19
0:44:190:44:21

Cornwall. They is a plantation in Cornwall. I'm going to show you

0:44:210:44:27

something else. Look at these palm trees. You are saying, that is

0:44:270:44:30

impossible in Cornwall! But it's all about the climate we get around

0:44:300:44:38

here. The palm trees are sprinkled all up the west coast. So something

0:44:380:44:43

must bring a touch of the tropics to the UK. I tell you what it is.

0:44:430:44:53
0:44:530:44:55

Cornwall has almost 400 miles of coastline - more than any other

0:44:550:45:00

county in the UK. And channelling its way towards that coastline is

0:45:010:45:05

the largest ocean current in the world - the Gulf Stream. It's the

0:45:050:45:10

reason why this sea is home to some of the most diverse marine life on

0:45:100:45:13

the planet. For me, one of the greatest creatures of them all is

0:45:130:45:19

the basking shark. The second biggest fish in the world. The

0:45:190:45:23

largest can weigh up to seven tonnes and grow up to we colossal

0:45:230:45:30

12 metres long, the same length and weight as a double-decker bus. And,

0:45:300:45:36

if you came across one in these waters you'd be greeted with a

0:45:360:45:43

smile Anita 1/2 in diameter! So today I'm going shark hunting. When

0:45:430:45:49

I say shark hunting, I'm looking for sharks. The only reassuring

0:45:490:45:53

fact about these monsters of the deep is that despite their huge

0:45:530:45:57

numbers off the Cornish coast, they are incredibly difficult to spot.

0:45:570:46:01

They came early this year. We had our first sighting in March, so we

0:46:010:46:06

know that they have already arrived. We've just got to wait and see if

0:46:060:46:10

we can see them today. But what does the Gulf Stream do to attract

0:46:100:46:15

these shy and retiring giants? Well, it's a story that starts in the

0:46:150:46:19

Caribbean. The Gulf Stream is actually an enormous current

0:46:190:46:24

carrying 100 times more water than every river on earth. It begins its

0:46:240:46:28

journey north along the coast of America, travelling 60 miles per

0:46:280:46:33

day and swelling to one kilometre deep and 100 kilometres wide. When

0:46:330:46:38

it's warm waters meet the cold North Atlantic, a current friend is

0:46:380:46:43

created. This turns up the seabed, throwing up nutrients, attracting

0:46:430:46:53
0:46:530:46:56

What is plankton? The first type is phyto plankton. These are plants

0:46:560:47:01

that live in the water. They are eaten by the tiny animals known as

0:47:010:47:06

zoo plankton. There's some here. The zoo plankton are eaten by

0:47:060:47:10

bigger zoo plankton. I can see them moving about. Eventually the sharks

0:47:100:47:15

will be feeding on these. This is what they want to get out of the

0:47:150:47:20

water, the larger zoo plankton. It's these tiny organisms in the

0:47:200:47:24

waters off the coast of Cornwall that attract the world's second

0:47:240:47:29

biggest fish and the basking shark will consume a staggering 30

0:47:290:47:33

kilograms of them every day. But two hours into our search, it

0:47:330:47:37

doesn't seem to be feeding time. They are right down below, are

0:47:370:47:41

they? They are here all the time. They are down deep so we need the

0:47:410:47:47

surface water to calm so the plankton can congregate to the

0:47:470:47:52

surface and that is when the sharks will come up to feed. So we head in

0:47:520:47:56

search of calmer waters and a little local knowledge. Hello, Sir.

0:47:560:48:05

You haven't seen any sharks? I have seen two. Today? Three weeks' ago.

0:48:050:48:13

He's seen them here but three weeks' ago. This search is going to

0:48:130:48:16

depend on the good old-fashioned British weather. It is nice and

0:48:160:48:21

warm now, but it is a bit choppy. We need the water to be very calm.

0:48:210:48:26

Gary says it will be windy later on so it could get a bit nasty on this

0:48:260:48:36
0:48:360:48:36

boat. These winds also benefit from the Gulf Stream. Its waters reach

0:48:360:48:39

25 degrees Celsius as they leave the Caribbean and these warm waters

0:48:390:48:43

heat up the strong south-westerly winds as they travel across the

0:48:430:48:48

Atlantic meaning the UK is delivered warm air as well as warm

0:48:480:48:53

water and without this warm water and air, our winters would be

0:48:530:48:57

several degrees colder and Cornwall wouldn't enjoy the mildest and

0:48:570:49:03

sunniest climate in the UK. The sun is going down, it is not looking

0:49:030:49:07

good? No. These are shy creatures and I don't think the weather

0:49:080:49:12

helped us. It is nice and sunny now. But it was choppy early on. It is

0:49:120:49:19

still quite windy? Let's blame it on the weather! How big is a

0:49:200:49:24

basking shark? The size of a double-decker bus. You didn't find

0:49:240:49:29

one? No. Have you seen how big the ocean is? It is like finding a

0:49:290:49:34

needle in a haystack. Are you enjoying the lovely warm water?

0:49:340:49:39

am. If anyone out there has been luckier than Chris and spotted a

0:49:390:49:42

basking shark, please let us know. We have seen how weather can affect

0:49:420:49:46

us on a national scale. Sometimes you have to go a bit smaller.

0:49:460:49:54

Weather can be surprisingly local at times. The United Kingdom has a

0:49:540:49:58

landscape that is not only spectacular but also incredibly

0:49:580:50:05

varied. And whilst it is stunning to behold, what is more remarkable

0:50:050:50:10

is how our changing scenery changes our weather. This diversity gives

0:50:100:50:14

rise to microclimates which are local atmospheric zones where the

0:50:140:50:17

weather differs from the surrounding area. They can be as

0:50:170:50:23

small as a window box or as larges a city. These microclimates can be

0:50:230:50:28

significantly warmer or colder or foggier or windier than areas right

0:50:280:50:32

beside them. The microclimates of our nation's large towns and cities

0:50:320:50:36

are known as urban heat islands and it is the man-made landscape that

0:50:360:50:42

is causing them. Densely-packed buildings act like a giant storage

0:50:420:50:47

heater absorbing heat and radiating it back out. Ensuring that cities

0:50:470:50:52

like London can be up to ten degrees warmer than their

0:50:520:50:54

surrounding areas. But while you might assume the coldest place in

0:50:540:51:02

the UK is hundreds of miles north, one night last winter it was in

0:51:020:51:12
0:51:120:51:12

fact just outside the M25. I'm in Buckinghamshire. You tend to find

0:51:130:51:17

them in valleys and dips. The reason for that is cold air is

0:51:170:51:24

heavier than warm air. So the cold air descends down the valley and

0:51:240:51:29

that allows the temperatures to plummet. Blizzards and widespread

0:51:290:51:35

ice in many parts of the UK are causing severe disruption...

0:51:350:51:40

15th December 2010 the lowest temperature in the British Isles

0:51:400:51:45

was in a tiny frost hollow. There have been record low temperatures...

0:51:450:51:51

A reading of minus 19.6 Celsius was recorded in Chesham,

0:51:510:52:00

Buckinghamshire, by Michael Duke. Chesham has a fantastic

0:52:010:52:04

microclimate? It does. What is unique about it? The geology here

0:52:040:52:08

is very important. We are in a chalk valley. It lets the rain seep

0:52:090:52:14

through it so the soil tends to be drier and drier ground loses heat

0:52:140:52:18

more effectively than wet ground. If you have no cloud, the heat goes

0:52:180:52:23

up into space. If the wind is blowing, that cold air gets blown

0:52:230:52:32

out of the way. If you can block off the wind, you will get some

0:52:320:52:37

really low temperatures. Up-and- down the country, amateur

0:52:370:52:40

meteorologists attempt to chart the huge number of microclimates that

0:52:400:52:45

exist in the UK. Cold night-time air can flow into the shallow

0:52:450:52:51

valley below us. When it snows here, a mile or two down the road there

0:52:510:53:00

is hardly anything on the ground. On some winter's day it can be rain

0:53:000:53:07

ing at one part of the village, but snowing in another part. I'm here

0:53:070:53:12

at a different microclimate. I'm at an award-winning vineyard which is

0:53:120:53:19

basked in sunny and warm conditions. This vineyard sits in a classic

0:53:190:53:23

example of what is known as a dry upland microclimate. It is warmer

0:53:230:53:28

than neighbouring areas in the summer by up to three degrees,

0:53:280:53:31

receiving 11% less rainfall each year than the regional average and

0:53:320:53:40

it is 2% cooler in the winter. particular location just south of

0:53:400:53:46

Oxford has a very good microclimate. We are 160 feet above sea-level. We

0:53:460:53:52

are sheltered on all sides. The Chiltern hills to the north-east,

0:53:520:53:56

the Cotswolds to the north-west and the North Downs to the south. All

0:53:560:54:02

of which give an effect that as the rain approaches, it dissipates over

0:54:020:54:06

the hills and we get a lighter shower so all in all it produces a

0:54:060:54:13

very good climate. So thanks to microclimates within a journey of

0:54:130:54:19

50 miles the great British weather experiences man-made highs, record-

0:54:190:54:22

breaking lows and perfect conditions for creating something

0:54:230:54:28

to toast it with. Cheers. It was a dirty job but

0:54:290:54:34

somebody had to do it! You get champagne, you get cream teas. I

0:54:340:54:38

get wet! Wasn't that Gulf Stream warm? Wasn't it just! Someone

0:54:380:54:42

switched it off. It is nearly the end of the show and loads of you

0:54:420:54:46

have been getting in touch with us. You will love this. "I proposed to

0:54:460:54:51

my girlfriend in a storm 21 years ago. I was knelt in the road and we

0:54:510:54:57

were both soaked. Storms are my favourite weather." That is so

0:54:570:55:02

romantic. "I hope it is beautiful in St Ives next week because that

0:55:020:55:07

is where we are going on our hols." Beautiful tonight in Tyne and Wear

0:55:070:55:12

as well. The map of course has been shaping up. We have hundreds of

0:55:120:55:15

your pictures coming in from across the country showing us what the

0:55:150:55:20

weather has been like over the last hour. Why don't we have a wee look?

0:55:200:55:25

So, this is our final look at the map. Wow! It is looking good. You

0:55:250:55:29

know what we want now. We will be doing this for the next three weeks,

0:55:290:55:34

every Wednesday, send in your weather pictures so we can get a

0:55:340:55:38

good look at the weather. Now, again, across the middle part, we

0:55:380:55:42

have mixed weather. We have a bit of cloud, some sunshine as well.

0:55:420:55:48

Wow, look at this. Gorgeous! Some cars there, the sun. Cloud starting

0:55:480:55:53

to build. This is a lovely one. Where is this? This one is from

0:55:530:56:01

Kenny and it is Stirling. That is a lovely evening. Keep your pictures

0:56:010:56:05

coming in. They have been fantastic. Check out our website over the next

0:56:060:56:09

week as your picture may have made it into our gallery. That is about

0:56:090:56:13

it for tonight. Next week we are coming to you live from glorious

0:56:130:56:18

Ullswater in the Lake District. Our subject, Lake District, what do we

0:56:180:56:24

think? Could it be something to do with rain? And lots of it! Yes.

0:56:240:56:29

Carol is going where no weather presenter has gone before - into

0:56:290:56:33

the heart of an enormous cloud. is very scary. I'm still too scared

0:56:330:56:42

to look down. Oh gosh! That was petrifying. I was not acting in

0:56:420:56:46

that. I have never done anything so scary. We were 5,000 feet up

0:56:460:56:51

amongst the clouds. 5,000 feet?! Normally, when you are that height

0:56:510:56:56

up, you have a lovely great big aeroplane around you. A drink of

0:56:560:57:00

champagne if I know you! We will be going to the wettest place in the

0:57:000:57:05

UK? That's right. We are going to see a lovely family that enjoys 211

0:57:050:57:09

days of rain every year. The Lake District is beautiful. We will be

0:57:090:57:15

there. I want to say, can we have a look around? Are you having a good

0:57:150:57:21

time? ALL: Yes! Have you enjoyed yourselves tonight? ALL: Yes.

0:57:210:57:26

of you ought to go to the chemists and get some aftersun. There is a

0:57:260:57:35

few red noses there. As we have just said, next week we will be

0:57:350:57:39

celebrating clouds so send us your cloud shots and we will showcase

0:57:390:57:43

some of them on next week's show. You can go to our website where

0:57:430:57:46

there is a fantastic cloud-spotting guide and you can find out how to

0:57:460:57:52

make your own rain gauge. Chris, you were keen on doing that?

0:57:520:57:56

getting into this! One more thing to do. No-one gets a free lunch

0:57:560:57:59

around here. Could you have a stab at the weather next week in the

0:57:590:58:06

Lake District and we are recording it! I haven't the faintest idea!

0:58:060:58:12

There is probably going to be a hurricane, tornado, snowstorm, a

0:58:120:58:18

plague of locusts. Anything like that. Seriously, that... That is

0:58:180:58:22

called covering your back! It will probably be wet and windy. We will

0:58:220:58:26

Presented by Alexander Armstrong, Carol Kirkwood and Chris Hollins, the first show in this series comes from St Ives in Cornwall, with a live audience and guests including veteran weather presenter Michael Fish.

We will be exploring why Britain gets the endlessly variable weather that it does. Also, how was weather crucial for the success of the D Day Landings? Chris Hollins goes in search of the world's second largest fish, the basking shark.


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