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Never forget

I ain’t even made this picture myself. I nicked it off Imgur.

Yeah, our giant megahellstorm was a bit of a fizzle. It was a pretty good blow — and heavier up toward London, where there were a few fatalities — but for these parts, it wasn’t even the worst storm of 2013.

Poor, poor journalists — they had a cool name picked out and everything. The St Jude’s Day storm! See, today was the feast day of St Jude, who is the patron of lost causes. Awesome, amirite?

The overreaction and consequent razzing are all down the to the Great Storm of 1987, which was the most powerful storm to land here in centuries (which had hurricane force winds but was not technically a hurricane, as those bastards are tropical). The size of the storm caught everyone by surprise and the Met Office has overreacted ever since (same thing happened in Rhode Island after the Blizzard of ’78).

There were casualties and disruption, but the main thing people remember is the trees. Brits like their trees, and millions and millions of them were lost in the storm. Including ancient and wonderful trees, like six of the seven oaks in Sevenoaks.

I hear people bring up that storm all the time. But mostly, I hear them bring up Michael Fish, who gave this forecast before the storm. He’s never lived it down. It’s one of Britain’s favorite memes.

I know, I know. A completely unremarkable moment, even in light of the storm, but you have to understand: the English.


Comment from sandman, now with 100% more spite
Time: October 28, 2013, 9:45 pm

I understand Swease. It started raining in North Carolina in April, and rained until late August. We have had over 2 and 1/2 feet more rain than our yearly average. 30+ inches. And no summer, stunted crops, mold and no acorns…Still, the weather pukes talk of drought and “dry conditions” like we’re the frigging Kalahari.

The pussfaces…hate em all. Unless they can call horrible weather, their lives are without meaning. I loathe them all.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: October 28, 2013, 10:03 pm

When I hear of natural forces causing havoc, or NOT causing havoc when havoc was forecast, I make an effort to pause for a moment and think about things from an individual viewpoint. Yes, the St. Jude’s Day Storm was a statistical fizzle and out of the total population in the region very few were adversely affected. But as you point, Mme. Ermine, there were a few fatalities and statistics to not apply to such things: those few are 100% dead (may they rest in peace).

So here’s my little moral for the day: do not take aggregate numbers as-is, but rather remember that when a calamity occurs it happens 100% to those it hits regardless of the odds.

And don’t get me started on the innumeracy of news reporters.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: October 28, 2013, 10:10 pm

I still talk about the Great Blizzard of 1978 like I was actually there.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: October 28, 2013, 10:22 pm

It looked like it could have been a bad one judging by the satellite animation but I think it was pretty much unwinding by the time it got there…glad to hear you’re okay.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: October 28, 2013, 10:59 pm

In about 1984 there was a late-season snowstorm in northern Illinois. The local Crystal Lake newspaper photo caption writers slipped the following caption past the copy editors: “A shitload of snow fell on McHenry County Tuesday…” The issue quickly sold out, the 80’s version of going viral.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 28, 2013, 11:08 pm

I missed the Blizzard of ’78 by six months, Stark. It’s the first thing I ever really heard about the place I knew I was going to live. People told me tall tales about it the whole time I was there.

Comment from dissent555
Time: October 28, 2013, 11:10 pm

So, not even Bustergeddon, huh?

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: October 28, 2013, 11:51 pm

Why is it that sometimes the comment form here autofills my name and email and other times it doesn’t? When I don’t notice I end up posting as “anonymous,” and that just seems sissy.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: October 29, 2013, 1:48 am

Well, Miss Weasel, I’m talking about Ohio. I was actually there, but I was a tiny wee lad of 4 years. The snow was over my head.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: October 29, 2013, 1:49 am

It’s your cookies, Paula.

Comment from Paula Douglas
Time: October 29, 2013, 2:53 am

Hey, my cookies are none of your…Oh.

Comment from surly ermine
Time: October 29, 2013, 3:18 am

Yup Stark, I was in Ohio in ’78. We couldn’t even open the doors for a bit the snow was piled so high. The wife remembers being without power for a few weeks, slept in the barn with the cows to stay warm. Good times.

I thought I smelled cookies.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: October 29, 2013, 4:13 am

Uh, surly ermine…. Perhaps…. Well…. In the barn with the cows….?
We usually call those ‘patties’ not ‘cookies’

Comment from Mike C.
Time: October 29, 2013, 8:05 am

In 2008, I was in Houston when a tropical storm rolled in. Despite the dire warnings, it was really no big deal. So later, when Hurricane Ike was heading in, I decided to just sit it out, thinking that would be no big deal, either. Oops. So while one may often escape the direst predictions, caution is advised. Ask the residents of Midwest City in OK, who have been creamed twice in recent years by humongous tornados.

Comment from GIL
Time: October 29, 2013, 12:05 pm

That hurricane in 87 was the source of all the big logs that were used to build the New Globe Theatre. If I remember correctly, Sam Wanamaker was at the end of his rope and was going to abandon the project because the wood was to expensive and hard to come by. Got Wood? Mother Nature happy to supply. All the rich estates were more than happy to donate.

Up here in London–same thing. In fact, yesterday the High Street was all busy–no one in the GP clinic–everybody in NHS/GOVT/England Land was more than happy to sit over in the park and drink beer with me. The whole country just melts in October the minute they turn on the telly and the hysteria begins. Somebody told me that when these dire warnings/no results happen, they practice train wrecks and double down on the already-present maintenance people. Except for the infamous Guy Who Rakes Leaves Off The Track. Every year for 23 years. Global Warming. We need ManBearPig to get a rake.

Comment from steve
Time: October 29, 2013, 12:11 pm

The wife remembers being without power for a few weeks, slept in the barn with the cows to stay warm. Good times.

I thought I smelled cookies.

Muffins, perhaps?

Comment from Bobaroo
Time: October 29, 2013, 12:46 pm

Here in New England, we’ve missed out on Halloween two years in a row, in ’11 due to a freak early blizzard, and ’12 due to Super Storm Sandy. Both resulted in over a week with no power. As a result, this’ll be the first Halloween for my kids in three years. Next year they’ll probably consider themselves too old to trick or treat.

Mother Nature doesn’t seem to be as fragile as some would have us believe. She’s been kicking my ass.

Comment from surly ermine
Time: October 29, 2013, 12:50 pm

The milk barn has a gutter to collect the waste. It’s not so much cookies or pies as it is poo soup.

Comment from Stark Dickflüssig
Time: October 29, 2013, 12:54 pm


As in: “get them in the oven. & buns, likewise, in bed.”


Comment from GIL
Time: October 29, 2013, 2:07 pm

Ha! Have a look. I’ve got it playing in the background. Why? Rehearsing! I have to rush off in a few minutes to go audition! Fingers crossed, we’ll all have a party and eat chicken over at Sweasel’s & UB’s!


Comment from jic
Time: October 29, 2013, 2:54 pm

I don’t know that it actually *was* all that much of an overreaction. There wasn’t much of a storm where I was, but a few miles away at RAF Odiham they recorded 80 MPH winds, which was more-or-less what they warned us to expect.

By the way, an interesting side-effect of the storm of ’87 was that it was largely responsible for the reintroduction of wild boar to England. Damage to fences caused mass escapes from farms, and they’ve been around ever since.

Comment from Plantagenet Northface, VIIth Earl of Barry
Time: October 29, 2013, 6:11 pm

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Comment from David Gillies
Time: October 29, 2013, 10:00 pm

My Mum lost a fence panel and my brother’s stranded Oop North because flights out of Manchester were cancelled. But compared to 1987 (which was awesome, in the echt sense of the word) this was nothing. The biggest gust this time was a few miles away from my hometown, at The Needles, where they recorded a 99mph wind.

Comment from cobrakai99
Time: October 30, 2013, 1:31 am

I was supposed to land at Mildenhall but St Jude’s winds were out of limits so we ended up setting the jet down at Stansted instead. Spent the night with wine tower 2 of 2 at the Stansted Radisson (the other wine tower being in Las Vegas). Monday morning we took off after a 70 Knot gust hit while we were getting ready to go. We did get to see a bunch of “bird watchers” taking our picture while we taxied by the terminal on the way back to the US.

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