Episode 4 The Great British Weather

Episode 4

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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,


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