From Stirling Castle in the Scottish countryside, the team looks at some of the most dramatic storms ever seen in the UK and investigates how weather defeated the Spanish Armada.
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We are coming to you tonight from the imagine jistic Stirling Castle
in the heart of Scotland. The UK maybe a small island but that
doesn't mean we don't count. Welcome, we are coming live from
Stirling Castle in Scotland. Now today the weather was glor cushion
but it looked like this last year. A huge storm rageed from May 23rd
and lasts for several days. Scotland is the windiest part of
Scotland, and the UK is one of the windiest places in Europe. We have
come to tonight's show. It is all about wind.
What has blown in from here, hello, how are you. A sturdy band of
Braveheart, are you fit and well? Good, anyone remember the storms in
May. I do. I'm from Falkirk. What happened? My tree fell down in my
garden, still there. Two months later! Yeah. You need it cleared up.
How about you at the back there? I'm from Stirling, I was doing a
walk, and I got home and my fence had blown down. How about you, do
you remember May? Yeah. Was it really windy? Yes. Really, really,
really windy? Yeah. Good job the hats weren't blown off.
The audience looks slightly sun burnt, looking great. We want to
hear from you, were you caught out in the storm in May, or maybe the
one we all remember back in 1987, or have you experienced a tornado
firsthand, we want your stories. E- mail us at the number and I dress
below. Tweet us either.
Have you actually given as you photograph yet Zander? No, I can't
multitask, I'm hosting the show. I haven't got a camera. That is no
excuse. We expect one before the end of the show. If you have been
watching over the last few week, you will know the drill by now. We
are looking to fill this map completely with your weather
pictures, where you are, right now. We really want to know the weather
where you are sitting right now. It is an important night.
I have been handed a card with breaking news as regards with the
weather. The highest temperature was in Gravesend in Kent, 30
degrees, that is hot. Scattered storms in central and eastern
England because of a convergence zone, you remember what that is, it
is where we have the clashing of two winds coming from different
direction, that happened today. Heavy and thundery showers across
Humberside and eastern England, a lot of rainfall. That giving us
plenty of scope. Dark cloud clouds, thunder, lightning, any frogs and
fish. We have a fish. Michael Fish will be here later. I can't believe
I'm saying this, there is only one place we have never heard from in
the entire series, that is southend-on-sea, anybody there,
send us a photograph. We really want to end to, because tonight is
our last show. E mail us on the - e-mail us on the
addresses. Coming up on tonight's show: hl -
Chris takes on a 100 mile an hour wind.
Did a wind make a Chinese sky appear in the sky from nowhere. How
the Spanish Armada were stornai surrender by British weather.
EastEnders rogue unveils the history of a classic, an umbrella.
Last week we asked Bill Michael and John to predict the weather in
Stirling tonight who is the champion forecaster. Find out at
the end of tonight's show. I'm looking forward to that. All
three of the gents will be with us very soon to discuss that storm. If
you are wondering what I'm doing here? I have Anam mom ter measuring
the - Anna mom metre measuring the wind. We get lots of wind this side
of Europe, hang on to your hats ladies and gentlemen, a storm is
coming. Our green and pleasant land, rarely
too warm, and rarely too cold. The great British weather gives us a
temperate climate, which, like us, is a little reserved.
Well, not all the time. The trouble s the UK is at the mercy of the
Atlantic Ocean. Conditions are deteriorating by the minute.
too often massive storm fronts rumble across her waters, and reek
havoc across the country. Hearing apart all in its path. That car
flew across. The Atlantic brings us severe weather events. Debris and
trees scattered over cars and gardens. You would assume it would
happen anywhere but here. 43 years ago that assumption met a
lethal challenge. On January 13th 1968, a cold front near Bermuda
began a journey towards central and southern Scotland. It is a
travelled, it developed into a large area of low pressure, and
severe gale force winds were on their way.
It wasn't until about 3.00am, when just all hell let loose. Former
weather presenter, Penny Tranter was six years old when the storm
reached the Ayrshire coast, and her home town. It sounded like a train
rushing towards us all the time. It was one of the scariest moments of
my life. You could feel parts of the house shaking, the wind was so,
so strong. The 90 mile-an-hour winds moved into Glasgow, buildings
were ripped apart, and 20 people lost their lives. I had never
experienced a storm like that, I didn't realise that the weather
could be as severe as that, and cause so much damage, and also kill
people. But strong gales are the least of our worries. Just last
week a tornado swept through this village. She did say tornado.
Emergency services were stretched as the tornado ripped through parts
of south Birmingham. The UK experiences more tornados than any
other country in Europe. All these Ricks started hitting the door, I
ran out screaming. Their exact cause remain as mystery, but when
severe storms hit the UK, winds can converge beneath the clouds
creating a lethal spiral. It was like The Wizard Of Oz. Dorothy is
one of the few people in the UK to know what it's like to be right in
the eye of one of these unique events. Still in the firing line
tonight, the town of Bognor Regis, where yesterday evening a tornado
wrought trail of destruction and mile-and-a-half long. Before it
struck Dorothy was at home with a friend in her caravan. The next
minute something hit the caravan, and we began to rock, the rocking
got quicker and quicker, and the noise of chains being stretched,
and all of a sudden they must have snapped. I didn't realise we were
going up in the air, it seemed like hours, but it must have only been
seconds. Trees were torn up in the whirlwind, which lifted one caravan
into the air and dumped it on another. Can hear myself screaming,
sheer terror. But heavy tornados are nothing next to a gigantic
storm front in the Atlantic 24 years ago. Southern Britain is
clearing up after the worst night of storms since records began
almost 300 years ago. The infamous storm of October 1987 can't be
classed officially as ature cane, as it didn't occur in the Tropics.
The weather forecasters admit they got it wrong. Its 122 mile an hour
gusts were every bit as devastating, millions of trees were flattened.
graphic example of the power of the storm. Half a million homes lost
electricity. Large areas of London and the south-east had power cuts.
22 people lost their lives. emergency services said they had
little or no warning. The damage was an estimated �7.3 billion.
West End took a battering, some department stores had their shop
fronts blown out. The UK had rarely experienced a weather event like
this. A ferry blown aground near Folkestone. When we get hit by the
next won is entirely up to the Atlantic Ocean.
That was 1987, one of the greatest events in British his tree, three
men were we eye of the storm, Michael Fish, Bill Giles and John
Kettley. Please welcome the legends of weather. I like that, you need
to go on the road with that one. Bill, I was reading at the weekend
that you finally came clean and said talking about the storm in
1987 that the forecast mistake was your's? It was mine, and the
computer's, of course, we both got it wrong. I said it would be breezy
up the channel, but I let Mike take the blame. Which was it so
devastating? Because it came over that part of England, densely
populated, it was very wet, the ground was wet, the roots of the
trees were up, there were a lot of leaves on the trees. It is like a
ship in full sail? It happened at night, so most people were tucked
up in bed so, had it happened in the day it would have been a
completely different story. Michael, some good has come from
it? Lots of things over the years, more observations in the south west
approaches, a brand new warning system that is continually being
updated. We have a new computer eventually with new software going
in t in fact, as it turned out, the next time it happened in 1991, it
was absolutely spot on the forecast. It was 1990 he doesn't get it right
every time. You have a fantastic afterdinner speaking career on the
back of it? Look at the quality of his sweater! John, the trees, I
read that 15 million trees were taken down. I didn't count them all
myself, they did say 15 million came down. There are more trees in
Scotland than England, I have been working it out on the back of a
forecast chart on the way up. 15 million across England, represented
1%. That says something straight away. Obviously nature does look
after itself in the end. It could have been a blessing in disguise,
the people who know more about trees than I do, did say it
improved the ecology of the woodlands and the forest. The
canopy was much less, and new species could go in and improve the
environment for the future. These three will be exploring which
region in the UK gets the best weather and why. You will find out
which one had the most accurate prediction of the weather here in
Stirling tonight. I'm looking forward to that Zander.
No storms here, I'm glad to say in the Queen Anne Garden, in the
middle of Stirling Castle, it is lovely, and tranquil and quiet.
Thousands of people were affected 24 years ago by the ferocity of the
1987 storm. A baby was born, thank baby is with us with her mum
tonight, Andrea and Julyy Pell, welcome. You were going into labour
on the night of the storm. You had a traumatic experience. We had to
set out at 1.00am as the storm was started. As we got further and
further, things started landing on the windscreen, and bits of trees
falling in front of us. It got worse and worse, we got frightened.
We had to stop because a tree had fallen in front of us and behind us,
we were trapped. What did you do? Luckily we were near to a phone box,
we phoned the hospital to let them know we were stuck. And they very
kindly said they would send an ambulance. That must have reassured
you? When did the ambulance arrive. It didn't come. They had to say
they couldn't send anyone out, the storm was too ferocious. They said
they might send a helicopter. We were relieved. Did it arrive?
rang back to say helicopters couldn't fly, far too dangerous and
the storm was widespread. All the telecommunications went down, we
were lost in the middle of the countryside and no-one to help us.
Did you have the baby there? decided to try to get home. It was
three miles away. We walked, and we had to climb over all the trees in
the way. Great big oak tree, still in full leaf, it is difficult to
climb through the branchs and over the trunks. And eventually had the
baby Andrea. What is your middle name? It is Gale. What a lovely
scene it is in the garden. Let me show you round Stirling Castle.
Look at this spectacular view over there. Isn't that absolutely
stunning. Right in the distance can you probably see some wind turbines.
That is how man uses the wind, but how do we measure it? Let's have an
idea, in 1987 the storm technically had winds of hurricane force, but
when does a gust become a gale? There is a method, that is tried
and trusted, it is being used for centuries. It is invisible, it can
be really powerful, and on its day really impressive. What am I
talking about? I'm talking about the wind, if you get the right day
you can fly a kite! But not today, not a breath of wind, thanks
Katherine. Don't worry it will get a lot breezyer later on. Wind was
the driving force behind the growth of the British Empire and the
sucess of our Navy. Perhaps it is not surprising that Admiral
Beaufort, an English naval officer came up with a way of measuring T
he designed a 13-teir wind scale, 0-12, hurricane. It allowed sailors
to judge the strength of the wind based on hoim sails a ship could
put up. Force six, a strong wind, you could carry the top gallant
sails. Ever since the Royal Navy adopted the scale, the categories
have stayed the same, but descriptions have changed. This is
because in 1921, meteorologist, Sir George Simpson, modernised it,
measuring on how things on land were effected, using trees and
umbrellas even. What does the wind measure today. Let's consult the
Beaufort Scale, light wind, wind on face, leaves rustling. All yes,
that has a force, they say of 2, that would go at speeds of 4-7
miles per hour. What about a bit of modern technology, my anamometer.
Quite accurate, not bad at all. This is the sort of wind we get all
the time. What is it like to be in a force nine, ten, or even 12.
I'm going to find out. Normally used to test the
durability of roof tiles, gutters and television aerials, this Baron
Windrush tunnel at the British Research Establishment, will test
the durability of me. It is man versus machine, Mr Beaufort, give
Well, I have to saying, so far this is a breeze. We have moved from
force one to five in a matter of minute, it is gentle at best. Let's
see what force six has to offer. According to the scale it should be
hard to hold up an umbrella. Let's give it a go.
Yeah, I would say yeah. Now we're talking windy, we're up
to force nine, according to the scale, tiles and chimneys could be
thrown off the roof. Watch this! As we move from 50 miles an hour to 60
miles an hour, this is the point where a strong gale starts to
become a storm. OK, we're up to 11 now, and
according to the scale, Wight spread damage to buildings. Wow.
It's so strong. We're up to 12 now, you don't often see this in the UK,
but we did, back in 1987. Hurricane force. This is really, really
frightening. But, if I'm going to experience the full force of the UK
wind, I can't stop there. Because on Burns Night, 1990, it was even
stronger. This is petrifying, I really can't
stand up. Thank goodness I had the warn nas on, because the wind was
so strong - harness on, because the wind was so strong it swept me off
my feet. My investigation of the Beaufort Scale, very nearly blew me
away. How fast was that gust at the end.
It was 100 miles an hour. I'm not putting it on, that was frightening.
Imagine what that was like. That is off the scale? Believe it or not,
that is not the fastest or strongest wind we have had in the
UK. The mountain range of Cairngorms 173 miles an hour.
was a gust in the Cairngorms? You can imagine up in the mountain
ranges, but down, ground level, we had, in Fraserburgh, in Aberdeen,
100 miles from here, we had 142 miles an hour. OK, 142mph. Imagine,
going shopping, that could cause major damage. You would be foolish
to go out in that sort of condition. You thought I was brave going 100
miles an hour. Yes. I have arranged something for you. He's a bit
nervous, give him encouragement. Not one, but two harnesss, one for
me and one for...you! We went 100 miles an hour, that was frightening.
We will try to beat 100 miles an hour, with you and me there. You
won't be in there, because you will be in real trouble. We need a
special device, here t it is the machine of a supersonic hovercraft
a powerful one. That is big fan. That will hopefully reach speeds of
over 100 miles an hour. You are scared about this? I'm petrified, I
have been 100 miles an hour, over scares me. I will do that. Who will
be operating it? Carol Kirkwood, I have been in a car with Carol
Kirkwood, we will go way over00 miles an hour.
For that he will be doing 242 miles an hour, when I get my hands on
those controls. Later on in the show, we will be investigating some
of the most bizarre weather phenomena that appear throughout
the world. But first, we're going to begin right here in the UK. With
your brilliant weird weather pictures. So, if we have a quick
look at some of them, that one, number one there is from Jane in
Chelmsford in Essex. And it is a sun halo. This is a solar halo,
formed as sunlight travels through the clouds. When sunlight strikes
ice crystals in the cloud, most of the cloud is reflected, producing a
completely white halo. Next one is from Chris in Seaford in East
Sussex, this one is of propi skr, ular ray, appearing when the path
of sunlight is made appear as rays scattering the light. The third one,
another gorgeous picture, is from Dave in Ayrshire. That is a fog bow,
that occurs when sunlight strikes water droplets in had fog. It is
normally colourless, because the water droplets are so tiny they
don't shows the droplets as well. The weather has played a pivotal
role in history, when Elizabethan England faced dark hours it was the
weather that played a part. This is the life a nice long lunch
a bit of a siesta, and tapas before I go out for the evening. The
Spanish really know how to live. If it hadn't been for our pesky
British weather, patatas bravas, could have been our national dish.
432 years ago, England faced a pivotal moment in its history. One
which we were barely prepared for. But Philip II of Spain had been
planning his Armada for three years. It was to be sent to invade England,
a Catholic crusade, to overthrow the Protestant Elizabeth I. I'm
trying to imagine how big the Spanish Armada is? It is 134 ships,
on those ships there are 30,000 men. When they put the ships flank, to
flank, they stretched two miles. As soon as the massive fleet was
assembled in the port of Lisbon, it was the weather that made the first
move. It goes horribly wrong immediately, they were struck by
high contrary winds, heavy rains and hail storms before leaving
Spanish waters, for three long weeks they are delayed in port,
they can't go anywhere. The Armada finally set sail to invade England,
and run straight into strong head winds. After two long weeks they
made barely any progress and have to dock at Curunia to take on fresh
supplies. When they get there, they are hit by a huge south-westerly
gale. If I was captain, I would have said this isn't going to
happen this summer, let as turn back. Did any say that to the king?
Absolutely, that is what the campaign said, he wrote to the wing
and said this clearly isn't going to work, Philip was having none of
it. Finally the weather broke, and the fleet were ordered to leave the
port to execute Philip's massively ambitious plan. His Armada was to
sail to France to collect soldiers fighting in the Netherlands, and
ferry them across the channel to invade England. The only way of
stopping the Spanish would be at sea. Seven weeks after leaving
Lisbon, the Armada was spotted off the coast of Cornwall. Two days
later, the English engaged. But the opening battles near
Plymouth, did little to concern the Spanish. But then the weather
turned again. Prevailing south-westerly winds
began to blow hard up the English Channel. The Armada were forced to
shelter in Calais earlier than planned. The troops they were
supposed to collect hadn't arrived. Incredibly, it was this change in
weather that enabled Sir Francis Drake and the English fleet to
change the course of history. were suddenly sitting ducks,
because the English had managed to get the weather gauge, they had
managed to get the advantage of the wind, and so pinned the Spanish
between them and the shore, and so the English had a plan. They
decided to send in fire ships. midnight on July 28th, Drake
ordered eight ships, packed with gun powder to be sent drifting on
the south westly winds towards the anchored Armada. So the Spanish
were terrified, because fire could destroy their whole fleet, guns
going off everywhere, ships on fire. They were in, in their panic,
cutting at their anchors just to get away, then they are at the
mercy of the wind. After 70 days at sea, the Spanish were battered and
bruised, they were down, but not out. They decided to move north-
east along the coast of England. Short journey, should be OK,
because in July, the weather is terrific. It is in Spain!
Pursued by the English, the Armada had to abandon all hope of picking
up their army. While all this was happening you still have the south
westly wind blowing, everybody is slowly drifting out, northward into
the North Sea. It is a one way valve, with the wind blowing, you
can't get back. All the Spanish could hope to do now was sail
around the British Isles, but as they attempted to head south, down
the west coast of Ireland, the weather made its final move.
A big Atlantic low system, these are the tail ends of tropical
storms in the Caribbean. They rumbled their way on the Atlantic
above the gulfstream, and they end up as wet, windy, soaking systems
here. These massive North Atlantic storms of September 1588 smashed
the Armada against the rocky Irish coast. Out of the original 134
ships, just 67 ships made it home. 20,000 men had been lost. Of his
defeat Philip II declared, I sent the Armada, against men, not God's
wind and waves. Or as I would like to put it, don't mess with the
British weather. Just shows you, we would all be
tuning into Strictly Flamenco, it is good news, we have what we have.
It is time to find out what the great British weather map can tell
us about the weather. We have had a few problems with our internet.
However, it is now sorted, we will get as many pictures on to the map
as we can. We have already started there some belters on there. There
is growing thunder in the west Midland, that is from Aiden. The
rain has already arrived in Yorkshire by the bucketload.
Yorkshire we have reports of flash flooding. The opportunity for lots
of different kinds of pictures tonight. I have one here from the
Isle of Skye, this is from Denise, and it is a beautiful picture.
There is goes. Keep them coming in. It is the last show of the series.
Au, u. Pressure son to get the map as - Awww. The pressure is on to
get the map as full as possible. Later on, Chris and I will subject
ourselves to 100 miles an hour solid wind. Stay tuned. Still to
come on tonight's show. We investigate the spectacularly
weird phenomenon of ball lightning. Don't try that at home. Wind, where
it comes from, what it does, and why we get so much of it. And which
region gets the best weather in Britain. Bill, Michael and John
reveal their number one choice. They have been with us for at least
2,000 years, we have so many, there is 75,000 lost each year on the
buses and underground alone. I'm talking about the brolly. Larry
Lamb charts the history of our most popular rain accesssory.
During my time on EastEnders, I felt the heat on more than one
occasion. Any last words. experienced a few downpours as well.
When I got chance to find out about the history of the umbrella I
couldn't say no, especially as I thought I could do some sightseeing
along the way. It starts here in the land of the Pharaohs. Cut, we
should be in China. In China, all right, well, much
nicer than dreary old Albert Square, and fancy the BBC flying me all the
way out here to China. Cut. Actually that might not be right.
Have we got ancient Greece. Greece, are you kidding.
To be honest, the origin of the umbrella is a little bit ambiguous,
there is evidence to suggest it originated in the sun drenched east,
either in Egypt or China, around 3,400 years ago. No-one really
knows for sure. What we do know is the word
umbrella comes from the Latin root word "umbra" mean shade or shadow.
Earlier versions may have been made from tree branches, they may not
look rain proof, but in those days they were used to protect you from
the sun rather than the rain. In Ancient Egypt, it was seen as a
symbol of religious importance. In ancient Greece, it was commonly
used by women as a fashion accesssory because of its
decorative nature. The umbrella only became really popular to the
western world around the 16th century, especially in rainy Europe.
To tell me more, I have enlisted the help of Jeffrey Breeze, an
expert in antique umbrellas. How did it become so popular in
Britain? They were used as portable sin shoulds in Italy and Greece,
and the English girls wanted them as well. In Britain they are more
useful as a defence against rain than the sun. But, did you know it
was the Chinese who first started waterproofing umbrellas to protect
against the rain, and then the rest of the world followed their example.
In the same way there was one man who popularised the use of an
umbrella amongst men. It was done by John Hanway, a noted traveller
and philanthropist, he dared to walk the streets of London to
protect his powered wig. He had to put up with the London mob shouting
insults, like his stick has petty coats on. How would have carried
it? Try it for yourself. Can you hit the pose and get the angle.
That came a little too easily, I think. You feel the rain, up it
goes and raise it to an elegant angle. And looking good. Thank you
very much, very kind of you. In 1852, the brolly advanced
further, when Samuel Fox designed the first steel rig designed in the
UK. He made them from steel stays, the same as used in corsets. How
did things compare from then to today, one thing is for sure, we
buy a lot more umbrellas, around 18 million a year, at a cost of �130
million. One person who has had more than her fair share, is Her
Majesty the Queen, the man keeping her try for 30 years, is
manufacturing Nigel Fulton. This is the one we supply the Queen. This
is her favourite umbrella. royal umbrella. It has a PVC see-
through cover, she can see out and people can see in. Great choice,
your majesty. There you have, it carried by everyone from kings and
queens to the common man. All of us keen to protect ourselves from
whatever the great British weather has to throw at us.
Larry is with us here tonight. Larry, welcome.
Lovely to have you here. What lovely applause on this beautiful
evening. Larry's an actor? So is he, he keeps telling me. Actors have a
tough time with weather? We spend a lot of time waiting and waiting and
waiting, sit anything caravans, waiting for the weather to change.
What about EastEnders? It is a disaster, if you film outside and
it rains you have to go inside, and then somebody else has to go
outside and you sit and wait for the weather to change. The worst
thing was the mastive snow dump, the whole thing went down like a
line of domino, they shot stuff without snow, then three inches of
snow, everyone clearing it, got the cameras back on and the snow came
down again. Your first break in television was a show called
Triangle? The first time I was ever in a long-running attempt at a soap
opera was Triangle, but I had been knocking around a few hours before
that. Tell us about that, it must have been beset by the weather?
BBC had a deal to go on a ship in the North Sea, with the BBC,
watching the budget, it was at the cheapest time of year, that was
because nobody travels because the North Sea is full of storms in
October and December. We have a clip from Triangle? All we did was
run backwards and forwards through How do you do? Are you a passenger?
This is a private area, here, you know, it is the cruise deck,
officers and crew only. Get her to stand up, you fool. Well how else
can he move her. The glamour! We were talking about the storm of
1987, do you have any memories of that? The storm of 1987, I had
started work on a film called Buster, Phil Collins walked in and
said, do you know what, I lost 80 trees last night. I said, Phil, my
heart bleeds, 80 trees is that all. You get a lot of drum sticks out of
that. I think he got a life time supply from one storm. Where is
your favourite place in Britain weather-wise? From being a kid,
going to the Isle of Wight, that is about it, it was about as far south
as you can go on the south coast, I think the Isle of Wight. I can
remember lovely holidays in Ride, and being in places like Shanklin.
I think the Isle of Wight for a beautiful place in the sunshine.
Carol are you an EastEnders fan? am and not the only one. Who else?
Did you know some of the crew from EastEnders used to phone up where I
work, the BBC weather centre to find out what the weather would be
like if they were doing a big outside broadcast. Not many people
know. That some of the amazing spectacles the weather can create
around the world. You don't have to look far in this country to find
weird weather. Our resident meteorologists, Tomasz,
investigates how a small Scottish town experienced one of nature's
most mind boggling phenomena. I have travelled 600 miles north of
London to get to the bottom of a weather mystery, that is both
terrified and fascinated for many years. The north-east coast of
Scotland, rugged, wild, weather beaten and beautiful, nestled on
the cliff top overlooking the Moray Frith, is the sleepy fishing
village of Port Knockie. Just 1200 people live here. Most earn their
living from the sea. There is just one pub, and life is peaceful.
is a quiet little village we live here. Fraser Milton is at home with
his wife and daughter, it is Sunday, the 23rd January, 2007. It was just
a normal day, like any other here. It was overcast, the clouds were
quite low, I felt then we were going to have a thunder storm.
Marie Watson is on her way to the pub. There was quite a heavy hail
storm going on at the time. I was sat in the computer in the other
room. Ail lean was in the kitchen. It was 9.00pm. I was walking along
here and there was a really loud crack of thunder. I fell to the
ground, I don't know if it was the ground was shaking or because it
was so loud it frightened me. computer went blank. There was this
almighty blue flash and a bank, like something I had never heard
before. Then there was like a blue light that came from the field just
there. That shot straight through, it was
hot, it had burned the back of my neck. The force of power must have
been incredible, the socket exploded off the wall. Lightning
struck the chimney pot of the next door neighbour, the ceiling
collapsed. It was the fear not knowing what it was. The Met Office
said this sort of weather event was extremely rare and they would
investigate further. So what did happen on that fateful night, could
there be a rational explanation to this? It was a suggestion it was St
Elmo's Fire. That is a rare natural phenomenon, that presents itself as
an every vesent blue light. - efervesent. It was named after a
previouser kept preaching after lightning struck the ground on him.
Sailors were inspired by his bravery, and took him as their
patron saint, believing when St Elmo's Fire gathered around the
mast he was there to guide them through. But away from the myth,
there is a scientific explanation. During a thunder storm, nitrogen
and hydrogen molecules are ripped apart by the high-voltage
conditions, creating something called plasma, the fourth state of
matter, neither a gas, liquid or solid. The intense electric field
present during thunderstorms, over 1,000 volts per centimeter, caused
the hydrogen andate tro begin molecules to light up with a neon
light. Slightly curving obts will attract the fire. - objects will
attract the fire. It is a bigger version of one of these, plasma
ball. These days it is often witnessed when using a more modern
mode of transport. As this amateur footage demonstrates. Today's
equivalent of the ship's mast are the wings or front of a passenger
jet. Sometimes when we are flying we fly through cloud and get static
charge on the aircraft, that normally leaks away harmlessly, if
we get large static charge, we start seeing the small lightning
strikes running across the windscreen, they are blue in colour,
and they dance around at random, they can be one or two or intense.
The whole windscreen is the light being lit up continuously with the
small lightning strikes arking across the wint screen. This
phenomenon - the windscreen. This phenomenon occurring on dry land is
incredibly unlikely. After investigating the Met Office in
Aberdeen concluded the sheer intensity of the electrical storm
in January 2007 could have included the presence of the amazing St
Elmo's Fire. So that happened right here in
Scotland. That is not all. Joining me is Marty Johnson. We talk about
weather phenomena, everybody talk about a rainbow? Everyone everyone
has seen them and they are the most common. What you have, there is
some pictures. You have got rain dops - rain drops in front of you,
the sn behind it, the sun goes into the rain drops and bounces off the
back, as it comes through, it splits, it is auld refraction, and
comes out as several colours. What you see in is all the rain drops
creating a single little dot in the rainbow, that means that every rain
do you is different. Your rainbow is different to mine. If you shut
one eye, and open the other, you have different rainbows for
different eyes. We have our own different rainbows? That is why you
can never get to the end of it. Carol says she has seen a full
rainbow from a plane is that possnbl Yes. You get the - Is that
possible? Yes. You get a double rain bou. You have
a primary and secondary. All that happens there is the light is
bouncing inside the rain drops twice coming out at a different
angle. The secondary one is back to front.
What I have always wanted to know is about mirage, I have seen them
in the movies, guys scrambling across the desert and he see as
swimming pool, and dives in and it is sand. We have all seen them,
when you go across a hill on a hot day and looks like there is water
on the road, that is a mirage, what is happening is the light from the
sky is coming down, hitting the very hot air just above the road
surface. That makes it bend. Refraction again, as it bends, it
comes down, it doesn't hit the road but your eyes. You are seeing a
reflection of the sky. This could explain what I'm going to show you
next. This is absolutely extraordinary, this happened in
east China on June 11th 2011. Eyewitnesses reported on Chinese
news that a City appeared above the river. A city that isn't there
appeared. It is a mirage, it is effectively the same thing. But the
other way up. What you have is layers of air in the atmosphere
which are of different temperatures. Very calm day, and what happens is
the light from the city, a distant city is being bent by the
atmosphere, and bounced back down to you, so that you are seeing a
reflection off the surface up there of another city. It is an
incredible thing, very unlikely to see that. Another thing that Zander
has been petrified about all day, ball lightning, calm him? Ball
lightning is an incredibly rare weather phenomena. We think it is
caused by strong lightning storms. This is an example filmed down
under. What happens is you get these, we think, balls of plasma
created by the electrical discharge. For reasons science can't explain,
the ball howevers around and floats around, sometimes it disappear,
sometimes it explodes with a big shower of sparks, we can't explain
it. It is like a UFO? A lot of UFO sightings may be ball lightning.
Absolutely brilliant. Keep your eyes to the skies and you
might see that yourself. Over to my my Bute of Carol.
You're not so bad yourself despite what everyone else says. Thanks for
your e-mails. I have one here talking about ball lightning from
Paul from Barnsley, he tells us, when he was a child in Barnsley,
they had a big storm, suddenly they saw a ball of white shimering light,
there was a hissing sound, we thought it was a UFO, the neighbour
said it was a ball lighten, it was the size of a beach ball. Elaine
has a great story, she says she was at work three quarters of a mile
from the River Clyde in Scotland. During the last storm a squid fell
out of the tree. It would have been better if it was a quid. Janet
remembers the 1987 storm, she says she knew nothing was weird when all
our cats climbed on to her bed in the middle of the night. Animals
are savvy. Shirley remembers the 1987 storm, she lived down a lane
in Kent, they saw countless flashes in the sky, and assumed it was
lightning all round, when she woke up next morning and trees were
blocking every which way, she fed the men folk sasauges, cooked on a
bash kue. Some amazing stories there showing what the wind can do
at its best. Why does the UK get so much of it?
It may not always feel like it, but the UK is one of the windiest
countries in the whole of Europe. The average wind speed here, rarely
dips below 12 miles an hour. Our nearest neighbour, France, can only
muster a sluggish seven. And for me, the breezy British Isles has become
a bit of an occupational hazard. Good morning, still very windy here
in Plymouth. Heavy snow and also strong winds. You but what is this
unstoppable force, gentle enough to dry our washing, but fierce enough
to blow us off our feet. Put simply, it is what we feel as the air in
our atmosphere moves around areas of high and low pressure. The
bigger the pressure difference, the faster the air will move, and the
stronger the winds will be. And it is this movement of air that
is critical to the life of our planet.
Transporting weather systems around the world, and eroding and shaping
our landscape. When wind passes over land, it
weakens as it strikes obstacles like trees, buildings and hills.
The shementered eastern - the sheltered eastern and central parts
of UK has wind of almost 9MPH, in Scotland it blows twice as hard. In
1986 the Cairngorms were battered by the UK's highest ever gust, a
staggering 173 miles an hour. Our predominant winds are the mild wet
westerlies, that is what is bringing the fog in. That is not
the only wind we get. Our easterly winds have travelled thousands of
miles across Eastern Europe, and transport some dryer conditions to
the UK. But they have to compete against westerly winds that have
moved across large masses of sea. Accumulating moisture, ready to
soak us when they hit our shores. Sor southerly winds act as a
vehicle for warm air, from places like North Africa and the
Mediterranean. They can be confronted by northerly winds, that
bring us freezing temperatures from the Arctic. Thanks to this amazing
variation, knowing which way the wind will blow, will tell us more
about the wind we are likely to get than anything else we can measure.
Tonight we are joined by three of the sharpest minds in meteorology,
they are Bill Giles, Michael Fish and John Kettley. Welcome back.
We have set you a couple of tasks tonight. The first one was we
wanted to know in your personal opinion which region in the UK gets
the best weather and why. Mine is north Cornwall. Because you
get some lovely weather if the weather is bad on the north coast,
you can very quickly get to the south coast. Michael? I would go to
the land of my birth, Eastbourne, bueltfully sheltered from Beachy
Head. And what's more, at my time in life,
there is some very nice comfortable OAP homes.
It is John? There isn't room to put it down here. Swanage and the
Jurassic coast is lovely. I would go back to my ancestoral home, way
before Yorkshire, I reckon Shropshire, shelter from the hills.
Second task, we take challenge. Earlier on Carol took a reading of
the weather using our great British weather station. I have an envelope
containing your predictions, I will read them out. Bill said you would
put money on it being dry on air strikes temperature 15 degrees.
the shade. We can expect a westerly wind at 10MPH with gusts of up to
20. Humid with temperatures of 19 degrees you said. A good deal of
cloud, outbreaks of rain. John Kettley, you went with temperature
18 degrees, light to moderate easterly winds, 10-13 miles an hour,
cloudy with showery bust bursts of rain. Four factors were taken into
account, wind direction, wind speed, temperature, and presiptation.
Based on that, Michael has won by just one degree in temperature
because he said it would be 19 degrees, John Kettley close with 18,
Bill was the only one who said it would be dry, you failed with wind
speed, direction and temperatures. 22 degrees, current wind direction
variable, north-east to south-east presiptation, zero present.
Now it is time toe reveal what the weather is like across - time to
reveal what the weather is like across the country. For the very
last time it is the live weather map.
I tell you what, we have budding Fishs and Kettleys across the UK.
We have been hearing about the weather today. Thank you very much
everybody in Southend on sea, we are now on the map. Also I can tell
you, we have, at long last, a picture of the Outer Hebrides from
Celia, and I can tell you it is absolutely chucking it down in
Peterborough, flash floods. Here in Stirling it is gorgeous,
but we have it coming up the Aberdeenshire coast. You have
things to do Chris. Chris is about to join Zander and subject
themselves to a 100 mph wall of wind. But before we join them, a
huge thank you to everybody who sent in photographs tonight. And
during all our other shows. You have helped make this a brilliant
TV first. The Met Office has said there has never been so much
information collated by so many people about the weather on
television. We have also loved hearing your stories too. Don't
forget if you head to our website for loads of useful facts and tips
to carry on with the weather watching. Now the time has come,
Chris and Zander are going to be subjected to 100 miles per hour of
solid wind. We saw Chris earlier on today standing up in just gusts of
wind of 100 miles an hour. How are you feeling boys? We are doing
already. We are prepared for the environment, warm hats and scaraves.
We are recreating a typical day in Fraserburgh. We are kitting
ourselves out. That will please everybody in Fraserburgh for that.
I tik your tam-o'-shanters. We are trying for over 100 miles an hour.
We have been told it could be 124 miles an hour, measured earlier
today. Good luck. Help me count the We got there, 126 miles an hour.
Well done. That is amazing. Your cheeks were flapping. Your scaraves,
your hats. You are not painting a lovely picture of us, are you.
did it feel, did you feel you could stand up? Quite scary. Could you
stand up? We have both rather large rears for low centre of gravity.
Low slung bottoms. Well done boys, and a huge thank you to everyone
who has watched the show in the last month. We have had fantastic
time making it. We hope you enjoyed making it. All around the country,
The United Kingdom is one of the windiest countries in Europe as it is buffeted by winds coming in from the Atlantic and the North Sea.
The Great British Weather, coming live from the stunning location of Stirling Castle in the heart of the Scottish countryside, investigates how the weather defeated the Spanish Armada's invasion of Elizabethan England, and delves into some of the most dramatic storms ever seen in the UK.
The team is joined by a trio of weather legends: Bill Giles, Michael Fish and John Kettle.