Alexander Armstrong presents the weather show from Ullswater in the Lake District, where the team investigate why it rains more often in the west of the country than the east.
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Remember, that is per square inch. Multiply that by Swansea, Glasgow
and London... Basically it is a lot of rain. Just a few miles from the
seat and made up of deep valleys and high peaks, the Lake District
does not stand a chance. You're almost guaranteed a soaking in the
Lake District. On average, it rains on average 211 days in here! This
is the highest peak in England and there is a little village which has
the dubious honour of being Britain's wettest inhabited place!
It is home to the Pratt family. Inhabitants of this cottage at the
edge of the village, probably the wettest house in England! Where and
when did you find out that you lived in the wettest part of
England? We have always known. I was sat in geography the other day
reading a text book and it said, the wettest place, and I thought,
that is me! I felt really proud of myself! Why is it so wet? Befell
Straw the clouds down and you get the different temperatures and you
get the brain. Lots of it. What is the worst period you have ever had?
Probably the floods in 2009. This is flooding on a scale few could
have imagined. Everyone in Cumbria remembers the floods of November
2009. I remember it been raining for about 48 hours, torrential,
relentless. For three days, heavy rain fell on saturated ground,
causing many of the county's rivers to break through flood defences.
managed to keep it out of the house, just. On 20th November, Seathwaite
alone was pounded by 2.4 inches of rain in just 24 hours. An unwelcome
national record. We are OK, as long as we are here, we can protect the
house. But if we are not, then usually we can't get home.
water came with such speed and force that nothing could stop it.
He in Cockermouth, 30 miles north, and water levels reached 2.5 metres.
That is the main street. It is the river! As emergency services
struggled to rescue 500 people, PC Bill Barker tragically lost his
life when the bridge he was warning motorists not to cross was swept
away. Have you ever seen anything like this? Never, ever. It was
described by the Environment Agency as a once in a thousand-year
weather event. There has been reassurances that the worst has
passed. But four days ago, half the average rainfall for July fell on
parts of Cumbria in 24 hours, proving yet again that the power of
the great British weather should never be underestimated. It just
shows how serious rain can be. I want to show you a scene 30 miles
away from here. A little village called Great Corby. Imagine this
village, turning into a lake. Imagine going on a night out and
that is exactly what this family I am just about to introduce you with
were greeted to when they got 10. Good evening! You are just about
smiling! What happened? We were at the cinema and we got a frantic
phone call from the neighbours saying, come home quick, the house
is filling up with water, so we got in the car as soon as possible and
we were overtaken by two fire engines on the way and we joked
that they were probably going to our house and they were! What was
your initial reaction? I expected to turn up and tried to rescue my
shoes and make everything OK but of course, we were greeted with a
torrent of water, it was like a river in full spate, quite a
spectacle to behold. I bet. Your family are safe but you were
worried about a couple of things? Chickens? I was just a bit scared
that because my chickens were just in no pain, I was scared they might
not be able to breathe. Are they OK? Yes. The thank goodness. I am
looking at you, how many trousers have you got left? Three pairs of
trousers. It will probably be six or eight months until we get home.
Are you keeping this lot to get the? Yes, it is a bit of an
adventure! We are fine. I just want to show you a happy face down here.
Honour. He was this? Jessie. And it is a new one. The because sadly the
old one was washed away. Our thoughts are with you. Please take
care. I love it when people have a stiff upper lip in this weather
because you really need it when it starts pouring down. I will now
hand you over here. Nice to know! Nice cat! This
country have some of the most sophisticated whether tracking
technology in the world. The Met Office is seen as the creme de la
creme of forecasting but maybe they don't know everything. Maybe there
are some four-legged forecasters who are a bit better. Tom mine is
heading to the countryside to find out if an animal is better at his
job then he is. When it comes to forecasting the
weather, there is someone new in town. Cowls. Really, the myth that
they lie down before it rains has been around for centuries. I have
come to Abergavenny in Wales to settle this once and for all. As a
meteorologist, I am pretty sceptical when it comes to the
theory that cows can predict the weather. I am certainly more used
to satellite images and big, powerful computers of --. Yet these
farmers, Jim and Kate, are convinced I am wrong. Some people
say they pick up on the pressure beforehand which can affect their
digestive system and they lie down and chew the cud because they know
they will not be grazing for a while. Other people say they like
de because they want to keep a dry patch. I am not sure about that.
don't think so. I genuinely think they pick up on something. It is
time to break out the big guns. This is the weather station. It is
measuring all sorts of weather conditions. We will see if we can
find a link between the cow sitting down and any sort of weather, one
of which is rainfalls. They don't stand a chance! I will also be
measuring wind speed, temperatures, and air pressure. It is their
instincts verses there might of meteorological science. I can see
shower clouds heading our way but probably not for a while. I don't
think it is heading this way because they are standing up. We
will test your theory now. When they are spaced out like this, they
are quite sure doubt. The cloud is not coming year. A you reckon?
LAUGHTER. And they were right. It stayed dry, my state of-the-art
weather station also recorded little change in wind and pressure.
That rain cloud that you said was heading this way and the cows said
no, it wasn't. It is 1-0 to the cows. They predicted it will stay
dry. I have just been expecting the rain cloud to go over us. 5 hours
past. The stubborn animals were refusing to predict any rain. But
as soon as I am about to give up, One by one, the herd of cows makes
its move. I think it is pretty much all but one that are lying down.
Five minutes pass with no rain. The wind is picking up but really, all
I can see his little fluffy clouds and blue skies. I can't see any
reason for their predictions. Scientific forecasting looks set to
win this one. THUNDER. We are getting a real
It looks like they got up during the reign, walked to the trees to
try to shelter themselves but before it actually started to rain
they were sitting down. Why are they so accurate. The latest
scientific thinking is that cows are highly sensitive to local
variations in wind speed and air pressure if they feel the rain is
approaching. It seems they make the most of the car before the storm by
resting up and chewing the cud. -- calm before the storm. It is only a
very small shower. I think we had a rubber mm of rain. It was quite
heavy for a time. -- we had about a millimetre. The cows knew the rain
was coming whereas I failed to predict it, even though I had a
weather station to help me. It did show an increase in wind speed but
this was not enough to convince me it was going to get wet.
Clearly Major can sense something coming and that it will change
their behaviour -- nature can sense something. He did the question of
how reliable it is. You can say that about a weatherman?
Cows are not the only animals to know how to predict weather, here
to talk about t and our top three weather-predicted animals is our
guest. We discovered cows sit down when it
is about to raifpblt we know that animals have a very acute sense of
things. We possibly, once upon time might have been sensitive to it as
well. We know about the elephants before the tsunami, they all ran
into the hills. It is not a surprise, when you think about how
they communicate with elephants, they communicate with low freakcy
rumablities. Any rumablities created by tsunami or earthquake,
they see as out of the ordinary and try to get away from it. It is
logical in that sense. Do you have personal experience of that?
see it a lot in the field. We mentioned the cows earlier on,
flying around those cows heads, we expect to see swallows if the rain
is coming. They are feeding on the insects close to the ground, they
are also getting out of the way of that air movement going on,
disturbed air on the sky. They want to get near the boundary level.
Swallows flying low also an indication on the storm. They are
feeding on insect, insects, of course, that weird stagnant air
before a storm is perfect for flight and all sorts of things.
This is also something you would observe at this time of year, in
those sexy, sultry, sticky evenings, I'm getting carried away! That's a
good cue For the nuptial flights of ants. The mile high club for ants!
It is a big aerial orgy that occurs. Ants at each colliery need to meet,
the males and the future Queens need to meet. The triggers are
pressure, atmosphereic, they get it on, they go up and mate and fall
back down. What is the other one? The sharks are the recent one, a
recent study. Scientists tagged the sharks, before one of the
hurricanes that arrived she disappeared, she thought it was her
equipment, and before another hurricane hit they disappeared
again. If you are sensitive, if a storm hits, you are living in
washing machine, it makes sense to head to the deeper water. That is
the weird and wonderful world of animal, do you know animals and
pets of predicting the weather. Last week we asked you to send in
the cloud photo, we have been absolutely inundated with the
response. We received an astonishing 500 pictures, we can't
show you them all tonight. Everyone in the audience has a different one.
Let's have a look at them. I can see that's come Louis cloud, they
are fine weather clouds, they are the puffy one, like cotton wool
puffs. There is fine examples here. Who is this from? Any Nick flcher,
a photo of Whi - Fletcher, a photo of Whitby Abbey. This is a cumulous
one. Who is this one from? From John Short. Great photo, a typical
towering cloud, you can just see the rain underneath falling down.
Finally who is that one from? a photo of Brighton and Hove Albion
Football Club stadium. That is the base of a very well developed
cumulous cloud, that means rain is not too far away. Just a few
wonderful photo, stick around, in a few minutes time you will see me
fly inside one. Have you ever done that? I'm seldom out of a cloud.
All day Chris and I have worked on a prob ject, I will show you how to
make - project, I will show you how to make a cloud in a bottle. This
is science. First of all, we need a bottle like this, what is the main
constituent element of clouds? is moisture, water. That is the
moisture in the air. What we are needing, is the condensing nuke cli.
The word coagulate, I will ask you to light a match.
Condensation nuclei there. We have to put in changing pressure. I will
ask you to pump as if your life depends on it. Now look, high
pressure, no cloud at all, high pressure typically in the
summertime, no clouds at all, when it changes to low pressure, that,
look at that (applause) That my friend is a cloud. Nothing
underneath, that is cloud in there. But it is only in a bottle. A bit
later on ladies and gentlemen, and everybody at home, I will make the
biggest cloud, ever seen on British television, it is a big claim, I
have to say, It can't be done. need a few risks to be taken, it
might not happen in this atmosphere. It better be good. We saw her
showing off, you will see Carol 4,000 feet in the air, flying right
into the heart of a cumulus cloud. Carol, the weather presenter is
going where no weather presenter has been before We can see clouds
float across the skies. We can all too often feel the effect of the
huge amounts of water they contain. So, if they float, but are full of
water, that begs a question, how much does a cloud actually weigh?
Unfortunately there is only one answer to that.
We are going to fly above the clouds, isn't that dangerous?
depends what sort of cloud you fly through. By their very nature they
are formed by huge volumes of air, they can go up to heights of 50,000
feet, where you get huge problems of lack of oxygen, obviously and
very, very cold temperatures, which you can't withstand. The coldest I
have taken on is minus 60 degrees, my eyes froze shut and it gave me
frostbite on my face, to try to break a world record. You will be
all right though! You are having a laugh! As long as we survive the
cold, we will try attempt to fly through a cloud carrying one of
these. It measures temperature, relative humidity and pressure.
Here we have a GPS antenna, this atracts the position of the radius
on it. Dr Jeremy in the Met Office research team's theory is by
carrying it through the cloud wrecks can transmit GPS and
humidity data to the computer, which will enable him to weigh the
cloud. Pre-flight check, leg loops, your's, mine, helmet done up,
reserve is checked. Centralised weight. Take up slack, take up
slack. Hold very, very tight. Here we go. It is a fabulous view, it
makes you feel a wee bit dizzy. When it is near the surface, the
wind gets interference from the trees and the buildings and the
general friction from the ground. So that's why it is bumpy.
But there is plenty of time for more bumps. The wind is getting
stronger as we get obviously higher, much stronger up here. We have at
least a kilometer to travel to hit the clouds upwards. Now the view it
beautiful. It is spectacular, the sun is out, we can see some cumulus
clouds. You will never feel the power of the weather as strongly as
when you are flying in hand glider. 3,500 feet still climbing.
haven't been this high without an aeroplane behind me, I'm keeping my
eyes open, just, it is very scary. I'm still too scared to look down.
Oh gosh. Much colder now. You can feel it
against your cheeks and your skin. They have just hit the inversion
now. Usually as you hit altitude the air gets colder. Because of a
phenomenon called inversion, once you get to certain height in our
atmosphere, it actually starts to get warmer. This warm air stops our
clouds from rising. That's why you can often see a flat blanket of
cloud beneath you, when you look out of a plane window.
Can you see this beautiful cloud. We are up level with the clouds. Oh
my goodness. Wow, look at that. But now that we have gained enough
height, there is no time to admire the view. OK I'm going to release
now. What do I do? Relax. That's it, it's done. Oh Judy! It feels like
we're diving. It is all right. are running out of time to find a
cloud to weigh. That cloud looks like it is decaying to me. This one
We are completely in a white out situation now, all you can see is
clouds. It is very windy in this clouds. It is a huge one. You can
feel the clumps and bumps. When we were in the cloud, it didn't feel
moist. It did feel very windy. I felt quite scared in that cloud, to
be honest. It is always different and exciting, it is the best view
of the planet. I love how much you learn about the weather.
hopefully with all the data we have gathered for Dr Jeremy and his team.
We are nearly there. We are nearly at ground level, hanging on for
dear life, eyes closed. There we go, lovely. We're about to learn
something very new. That was brilliant. I am in awe of
you, that was brilliant. In a minute we will find out why this
summer's weather is so bad and how long it will go on for, I will look
forward to finding that out. Carol, that, extraordinary, you were up
5,000 feet in the air, with just a truss to hold you up. How did it
feel? It was amazing. Flying into that cloud, wow, everything is
completely white. It's cold, it's windy, and the smell of t I can
only equate it. You were in the middle of a cloud? When you open a
deep freeze door for example, and you get that waft of icey smell,
that was what it was like. Incredible. What I really want to
know, can you tell me how much did that cloud, it was a cumulus cloud,
how much did it weigh? What do you think a little cumulus cloud would
weigh. 200 weight! I don't know what that is. It was 137 tonnes.
Now that is the equivalent to 14 double-decker buses. And yet it
floats up in the air, much in the way that 14 double-decker buses
don't. I didn't see any dubl decker buses while I was up there.
Incredible, exciting, informative and brave. Chris, beat that.
taking my hat off to you, Carol, fantastic, well done. Pretty much
loads of cloud at the moment. Thank you very much everybody who has
been sending in photo, look at the map, already a little image
developing here. Congratulations to Inverness up here. We have a
photograph of the weather up here, that is the furthest north, I can
tell you we have the furthest south. This is from Olivia, wander, from
the Isle of Scilly, it is all the way down here. Look at that, it
looks really lovely down here. And Carol, Kirkwood, talking about
clouds. I have some stonkers here, the Isle of Man from Colin, it is
looking rather nice, nice and sunny. One of the few place that is saw
sunshine today. Another one from Richard in Cumbria. As we know, we
have had a lot of rain today. And that shows rather a lot of stratus
there. You wanted a fundamental cloud, I have one. Good - A funnel
cloud, I have one. This is from Carol from Leamington Spa, she has
shown me a funnel cloud. Thank you very much. We want loads of stories,
weather stories, plus, we have been talking about songs, haven't we.
have. Loads about rain, loads about sun, but I can't think of any about
cloud. Fortunately I can, Bryan Adams, Cloud Number 9. You have 20
minutes goat your photos to us, take a picture - to get your photos
to us, take a picture where you are, and send it to us on the website.
Including your name, town and postcode.
I can't believe you brought Bryan Adams into the show. Still to come:
Carol puts us in the picture with her essential guide to the clouds.
We step back in time to see how weather took centre stage on our
teles. In about 20 minutes time, Chris has
been boasting about it all night, but will he make the biggest cloud
ever seen on British TV, stay tuned in to find out. We are slap bang in
the middle of July, huge parts of the country are grey and miserable
and soaking wet. Why on earth do our summers always end up like this,
it is a burning question, one with a very soggy answer, let the truth
be revealed. The great British summer. Long lazy
days on the beach, sun soaked picnic, and week after week of warm,
wonderful weather. If you think all that's too good to
be true, that's because it is. Statistics prove that the British
summer is a bit of a washout. In June, July and August, on
average, it rains 43 days out of 92. That's just 12 days less than in
the winter months. In fact, in the summer, it rains nearly every other
day. To begin explaining why parts of the UK are wet for the summer,
I'm afraid I will have to get my kit off. In the summer we
experience much higher temperature, sometimes sweltering, that means
the air around us is much hotter, and warm air holds much more
moisture than cold air. And when air gets warmer, the molecules in
had the air start moving more quickly. Which means the air itself
takes up more space. And bigger air means bigger clouds in the summer,
they can be a whopping 10,000 feet taller than in the winter, and
bigger, thicker clouds, mean, yeah, you've guessed it, more rain.
I think traditionally we try to look back at the summer when we
were children and have kind of fond memories of how summers were
traditionally dry and warm and sunny. If you look at climbology,
that almost tells the truth that we don't get very many, over the last
few years of dry, warm summers. is not just the amount of rain that
ruins all the weeks off school. nature of rainfall when it is
warmer, is the surface tension of the rain drop is slightly less.
They can form into slightly bigger rain drops than they would if the
weather was colder. If you are ever out in a thundery shower in the
summer, you will notice the rain drops bigger than in the winter
time. So, more cloud, full of more rain, and now that rain is even
bigger than normal. How could it possibly get any worse. If you look
back historically over the last 100 years, we have something called the
European monsoon. It turns out some meteorologists have always
considered our summers to be a season that is fairly wet. This is
normally what we call bad weather. The European monsoon brings that
rain in earlier to bring the monsoon June weather. As
meteorologists we call it the return of the westerlies.
prevailing winds from the west can go quiet up to May, and come the
start of what should be the summer, they are ready to return. We get to
the end of spring, things start to dry up, as we get into June, we get
the return of the westerlies. Bring anything wind and rain off the
Atlantic. And we start to see a prolonged spell of more unsettled
weather. Temperatures start to drop away as well.
Yes, but that doesn't stop us Brits from being famously optimistic and
planning 645 music festivals, 10,000 garden feths, millions of
barbecues and millions of sporting events in the shadow of the
European monsoon. Wimbledon is one of the classic events in the summer
that always seems to be affected by short, and sometimes very long
showers. 17 Wimbledon championships over the years have had to be
extended to a third week because of the weather. And only five of them,
in history, have been rain-free. soon as it rained during Wimbledon,
you know, all the players would say, point to me and say how bad is the
weather here and it always rains. So I felt like I had to take
responsibility for a lot of things, when it was the weather I knew I
was up against it. In 2001, rain is said to have
wrecked the prospects of Britain's number one. Poised to become the
first man to reach the Wimbledon final in 50 years, after three
frustrating days with three days of interruptions it was Ivanisevic who
went through to the final and won the championship. In an ideal world
you wouldn't want interruption, but it is a lot easier for us, we go
straight back to court and straight to locker room and plenty of places
to go, if you have 15,000 in the crowd it is much harder for them to
find shelter and keep themselves entertained.
Don't you worry about that, Tim, a lifetime of soggy Wimbledons is has
taught us all to be prepared. Stand up, plee, and show me what's
behind you. This is - please, and show me what's behind you. This is
what you need in Britain, plastic bags on chairs, because they are
soaking wet. That combined with our endless optimisim, means we can
always enjoy the great British summer, for what it really is, and
this year that's wet. I have to say it has been an
absolute scourger today. You know, this is what British summer is all
about, isn't it, plucky spirit, yes, come on.
Yes, we Brits enjoy the good, hearty summer, don't we in Britain.
But I have to say, I have been to all the great sporting events this
summer, and there's a common theme, first of all, Wimbledon, what was
the weather like, what did we have? Rain! Royal Ascot? Rain. What about
the Open Championship? Rain! Queen's championship? Rain! Who has
had enough of the rain? Of course, later on we will have the legendary
Bill Giles coming up, he has the answer to the million dollar
question, is this rain ever going to end, and will we have a barbecue
summer. We don't like the clouds and rain. But I know a group of
people who absolutely love it. Let me introduce you to them, they are
the cloud appreciation society! A big round of applause.
We will have a look at them in a minute. First of all, you are the
governor of this society. What is it that you love about these
clouds? Clouds, don't let the rain clouds give the others a bad name.
Clouds are one of the nature's most beautiful displays, every day we
have a new, natural, abstract art to look up at. If it was blue skies
every day, relentlessly, day after day after day, life would be dull.
This gang, members there, they have rather extraordinary implements on
their face, what are these? These were sent into us by a student of
the Royal College of Art, and they are sky glass, so you sort of wear
them and you can see the clouds, it needs a slightly different cloud
from today, you can see the clouds above you as you walk around. And
we now wear nothing but these glasses. Because it is an enormous
effort to do that, isn't it? Very, very big effort for us. It keeps
the rain off your moustache. more final question for you, I will
put my own in, no laughing. suits you. Name me your favourite
cloud? It has to be the Lenticularus cloud. Noctolucuis.
Come clues. Are we confused. Don't panic,
because Carol Kirkwood is just about to explain it all.
Above our heads, clouds inhabit the ten miles of atmosphere between us
and space. They come in all shapes and sizes. For centuries they have
baffled scientists and have always inspired artists. "I warnedered as
lonely as a cloud that floats on high on vales and hails."
That is one of the most famous opening lines in the English
largeage, Wordsworth was a fan of clouds. I hope to see wonderful
examples of appreciation of clouds in the national gallery. I'm no art
critic, this is a weather forecaster's guide to the old
masters. Bacchaus is offering himself as husband material, he's
offering her the sky. Frankly, if I were her I would say no, first of
all,'s not much of a looker, would you - he's not much of a looker,
would you like the sky? A bit cheap look to go me. The sky doesn't look
real, the blues are beautiful, the whites and yellows are beautiful,
but it is not very realistic. Clouds were a complete mystery to
these artists and those before them. All they were sure of is what they
saw in the sky is the land of the gods, and they were depicting
heaven. Look at the cloud the Cher rubs are
sitting on, it is like a storm cloud, it is black and oppressive.
It doesn't work because there is far too much fair weather cloud
around it. Rubens kpwaim came back to this cloud - came back to this
painting many times, I think he had the eye on the ladies rather than
the clouds in the background. Artists were left to their own
devices for another 200 years, in 1803 everything changed. A chemist
amure meteorologists from Tottenham North London, named Luke Howard,
wrote an essay on the formation of clouds, and caught to name the
formations in Latin. He identified three basic types of cloud, and
most of the other clouds are related to them in some shape or
Cumulus. Cumulus means puffy like in appearance. Stratus were
characterised by horizontal learning, and cirrus were the high,
whizzpy clouds. This allowed for further sub speeies of cloud, in
the classification system similar to that used for plants and animals.
Howard's was a brilliant and simple system that caught on quickly
around the world. Prompting artists and scientists alike to take a
fresh look at clouds. What inspired the likes of the romantic poet
Shelley and others, was that Howard had managed to map the land of the
gods, and a fear mortal could now describe and paint heaven with a
new confidence. Here is one artist that puts that
new understanding to good effect? Our very own John Constable. John
Constable was an artist keen to dedicate his life to capturing the
truth of nature. Look at the clouds it looks like
they have been building up during the course of the day, they have
cumulus, they are still developing, we could yet see a shower before
the day is through. It is being said that thanks to Howard's
inspiration and dedication, Constable's skies are so realistic
that they not only summarise the weather of the last few hours, but
also provide a forecast of the weather to come. Look at those
clouds, how realistic are they? We have the fair weather cumulus
bubbling up through the day, you can see the fairweather, we have
the blue sky coming through them. Look in the corner of the painting,
something a wee bit more oppressive coming on here, we have the darker
clouds, they may produce a shower, they may not. This is something
that we are all familiar with, that we have seen on many occasions in
the British Isles. This is just perfect. And that is
just the tip of the iceberg, now look at that view looking down
towards Patterdale, it is beautiful. In and out of cloud all day, and it
is still rainy here. Thank you for all the brilliant pictures you have
sent us in this week, helping us show how hugely varied the clouds
around the UK are. We have a small selection of them here. This is
taken in Wick in the north of Scotland, this is angelatus, look
how spectacular it is, they are formed because of shaering winds,
they have a wave-like look about them, they resemble the sea. This
is from bash ba, from Hertfordshire, they are called momatis, also known
as the mama cloud. They have been made by the low morning sun, and
formed by descending air, many think they look like cows' udders,
it is gorgeous. Another one too from Alan, this one was taken in
Elgin in Scotland, these are noctolucent clouds, rare clouds
seen in mid-summer nights, the highest clouds in the sky, with an
estimated height of 45-52 miles. Next week the subject is the sun.
So please send us any beautiful shots you have of sunsets and sunny
weather, ar for tips for weather photography, - and for tips for
weather photography head to the website where you will find more
pictures. I love sunset and sunrise pictures. What about you?
I'm a fool for a sunset. Earlier on tonight we asked if your pets have
any special way of knowing if it is going to rain. Loads of you have
been in touch. We have had an e- mail from Abbey, who says she can
tell it will snow because of magpie, they flock to the highest trees and
jump between the branches. Up to 12 magpies do that.
She said she has seen this happen many times and the snow always
follows 12-48 hours later. Sally says she phones fell ponies and one
time in showery - she owns fell ponies, one time in showery weather
her pony would not go into a certain field and over a certain
fence and the next day she found her bull dead in there. She thinks
the pony saved their lives. The anniversary of the first weather
forecast published in the Times newspaper in 1860 is coming round.
You might think weather is a whippersnapper considering it has
been around for 57 years, during that time it has changed
considerably on the television. don't care what the weatherman says.
The BBC has been broadcasting the weather for nearly 60 years. What
we have tried to do is bring the weather to life, to tell the story,
so that people have an impression of what we think is likely to
happen. They have developed their own unique styles, from Michael
Fish's colourful wardrobe, to Bill Giles's customary wink. The style
of forecasting during that time has been distinctly changable. Let's
step back in time. The first televised weather
forecast was in January 1954. When the broadcasts were rather more
formal affairs, compared to today's colourful bunch. Hello there, if
you got wet today, you were decidedly unlucky. I certainly
remember watching the weather forecasts in black and white. Not
just black and white, but civil servants doing them. Let's go
across and take a look at today's chart. They probably didn't
volunteer to go on television, he was a civil servant and doing a Met
briefing. Things got a bit more lively in
1967 with the introduction of colour television. With that the
BBC brought in a new range of weather symbols which were based on
international standards. But they weren't that easy to understand.
That, for instance, that blue triangle means shower. That, rather
appropriate today, means a thunderstorm. And that, rarely used,
means sunshine. 1974, and the first-ever female forecaster,
Barbara Edwards, burst own to our screens. Outbreaks of sleet and
Snowndown the country. She blazed trail for many others who have
followed. Then the BBC introduced magnetic rubber symbols. We will be
losing the sunshine in the southern and eastern parts. Viewers watched
with awe as for the first time the forecaster could show the weather
change anything front of our eyes. The magnetic symbols we had
transformed the weather forecast. These BEEP things! Let's do it
again. Then new toys to play with, computers. Brighter weather getting
into the North West of Scotland here.
We got a live feed from the Met Office computer in Bracknell,
straight into the computer system and on to the air. Overnight you
had so many wonderful things you wanted to show, such as radar,
satellite pictures, you wanted to show everybody everything, and you
didn't have the time to do it. was followed by the disappointingly
low tech blue and green screens, some found it really tricky.
Wfrpblgts he had to learn the whole technique, of looking at a screen
and there is nothing there. Behind you when you are presenting the
weather you can't see anything. When you turn around and run your
finger down say a weather front, and you can't see it behind you but
in the screen in front, when you hit it bang on the nose it is like,
result. Then in 2005, in a deeply
controversial move, the forecasts were updated with brand, spanking
new 3-D graphic, but the public didn't like it. We had so many
complaints about it, the angle of the map was such that the south
coast of England looked enormous, but Scotland looked tiny at the top.
That was addressed. Despite this half decade of progress, there is
only one thing the viewers are interested in, that is whether or
not the forecasters have it right. One man who was at the Vanguard of
meteorology in this country is with us tonight, ladies and gentlemen, a
warm welcome Mr Bill Giles. Lovely to have you here. On St Swithers
day it will swain if it rains then, that was on Friday, it rained, so
it is raining today. Are we in for another 38 days of rain? No, no, no.
I'm not going to write off the summer at all. I can promise you
fine weather. Not wall-to-wall sunshine, but there will be some
good periods, one at the end of this week, for instance. One at the
end of next month, into September. So some rain inbetween, but don't
write it off. This is a nice long range forecast from you. The Met
Office steers clear of these, I think it was the summer of 2009
they said would be the barbecue summer. They should never have done
that, that was a complete mistake. You don't feed journalists lines
like that. It was big PR mistake. OK, but are you prepared to give us
a long range forecast, do you think we will have some sort of decent
summer? I think so. We will not give you wall-to-wall sunshine, but
you will get these periods of four or five days, when the warm
sunshine comes up, then you are back to the rain again. Last week
we had your old friend Michael Fish on the programme, we had to discuss
the storm of 1987. The best person to ask was Bill Giles, ask him next
week, he was on duty. What do you make of that? I will let you into a
secret, mind, as long as you don't tell anybody. It is just you and me
here? I did the 9.25 broadcast on that evening, I said it will be
breezy up the channel. And it was very breezy up the channel. But I
have let old puffer fish. Why do you call him that? Didn't you see
him last week, he has blown up out of all proportion. He's carrying
exec timber, I will grant you that. - excess timber, I will grant you
that. Thank you very much. You have sent in snaps of the weather over
the last hour, we will reveal the results to the nation.
Just take a look at our map. A big round of applause.
Never before have we covered T I have an apology to make. Do you
remember I showed you a funnel cloud from Leamington Spa and I
said it was live. Carol sent it in this afternoon, Carol thank you,
but sadly, it has to go. What I'm excited about. You know we have to
get into the Highlands, we are in the Highlands. Then I thought,
could we get in to the Orkney islands, and then I thought in the
Shetland islands, we have, thank you very much.
They were well worth waiting for, look at this map, it does show what
has happened this evening. There has been a lot of cloud around,
theres have pockets of sunshine, you can see - there have been
pockets of sunshine, in Lancashire there has been sunshine, sunshine
in the south as well. But look at that, some showers, and as we have
been saying, some fundamental clouds as well. I have to tell you,
we have just had an e-mail from the Met Office, never before has there
been weather followed minute by minute followed on national
television by so many people. The Met Office, it is official, are
very excited. Hopefully that means a bonus for me? Dream on Kirkwood.
Thank you very much for sending your photographs in tonight. Check
out your website where some of them will be proudly displayed in the
gallery. We are almost at the end of the
shower, what is the weather looking like for tomorrow? Not as bad as
today, tomorrow sunshine, cloud around, and one or two showers, the
showers mostly in the south. So it could catch Lords. Very good. So
ladies and gentlemen, the moment is here for Chris to show us his
incredible cloud machine. Concentrate, this is very serious,
get your safety equipment on. The white coat and gloves. While you
are getting the gloves on, I will take the lid off my magic tricks.
Just imagine, I'm going to try to recreate what is happening up there.
Do you remember Kirkwood what is what is it up there? Cloudy, cold,
wet. Kirkwood put that on, I didn't
think that was the most difficult part of it. I will recreate the
cloud using liquid nitrogen using minus 197 degrees. We are going to
fill our magic tricky box, as you can see a little bit of cloud being
made with the atmosphere already. That is not it is it? It is still
looking good. Obviously we have lots of what up
there? Moisture. You can see it in there, I want to increase the
amount of moisture with some hot water. We should stand back.
water, pressure, moisture, we have Plousplous Chris, you madman.
Britain is the rainiest country in western Europe, and if you live in the west of the country you are likely to be drenched more often than in the east. The Great British Weather, presented by Alexander Armstrong, coming live from the stunning location of Ullswater in the Lake District, investigates why.
Chris Hollins visits Rain Gauge Cottage, Britain's wettest home; and EastEnders' erstwhile bad boy Larry Lamb explores the history of the classic weather icon, the humble umbrella.
But it's not all downpours... Carol Kirkwood heads to the skies, getting up close and personal with the weather as she hang-glides into the heart of an enormous cumulus cloud.