The Great Storm of ’87 TV - Game of Thrones TV - David Attenborough TV - Ken Burns TV - John Page - William Shakespeare - Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey TV - Extreme Universe TV - How the Universe Works TV - Horizon TV - Nova TV - Solar Empire TV - The Universe TV - Christopher Kaufmann - Dorothy Parker - Vincent van Gogh - Athenaeus - Cicero - Homer - Matthew Prior - Henry David Thoreau - Emily Bronte - Charles Dickens - Shipwrecks: Britain’s Sunken History TV - Stacey Dooley: Superstorm USA: Caught on Camera TV - Al Gore - Sade -
35 years ago Southern England was battered by the biggest storm that had struck the British Isles for three centuries. ‘Winds of 94 mph hit the capital.’ The Great Storm of ’87. Channel 5 2022
‘The biggest storm for 300 years and the Met Office didn’t seem to notice it was coming. ibid. Michael Buerk
British weather-forecasters were working with outdated technology. ibid.
The Michael Fish storm as people called it. ibid. Anne Diamond
Hurricane force winds for over eleven hours. Eighteen lives were lost. ibid.
The Herald of Free Enterprise: a roll-on roll-off ferry. A catalogue of human errors combined to spell disaster for the ferry. Bow doors were left open, and as the ship headed for the open sea water filled the car deck. ibid.
Without this crucial up to the minute data, the forecasters were working blind, and the computer models they relied upon were hopelessly inaccurate. ibid.
Forecasters were stunned by the severity of the storm. ibid.
Overnight the once in five hundred years storm had caused carnage through large swathes of the country. ibid.
One in six households in the south-east claimed on their insurance for damage caused by the storm. ibid.
The stock market was suspended … ‘Stock markets were in freefall around the world today …’ [ITN News] … The market re-opened on what became known as Black Monday. Shares tumbled. Millions of pounds were lost in just a few hours … ‘And the party stopped.’ ibid.
‘We lost fifteen million trees.’ ibid.
The most dramatic weather event Britain has ever experienced. ibid.
Storms come and go. The big fish eat the little fish. And I keep on paddling. Game of Thrones s2e2: The Night Lands, Varys to Tyrion, HBO 2012
A sandstorm can be a thousand miles across. David Attenborough, Africa: Sahara, BBC 2019
By 1933 the people of the southern plains were already weary of the draught that had struck more than a year earlier, withering their crops and turning their barren fields into pulverized dust which the constant winds picked up and transformed into fearsome black blizzards ... In truth, the worst was yet to come. Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl: Dust to Eat, PBS 2012
‘Dust to eat, and dust to breathe, and dust to drink, dust in the beds and in the flower beds, on dishes and walls and windows …’ ibid.
By 1936 nearly a quarter of the people living in the southern plains had begun to leave. Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl: Hardy Ones
By the end of July the number of destructive storms would rise to 79, by the end of the year to 110. ibid.
Then in the early 1950s, when the wet cycle ended and a two-year draught replaced it, the dust storms picked up once more. ibid.
Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm? John Page, letter to Thomas Jefferson 20 July 1776
When will this fearful slumber have an end? ...
Now is a time to storm! William Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus III i 251 & 264
Blow wind, swell billow, and swim bark!
The storm is up, and all is on the hazard. William Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar V i 67
Which the impetuous blasts, with eyeless rage,
Catch in their fury and make nothing of;
Strives in his little world of man to outstorm
The to-and-fro-conflicting wind and rain. William Shakespeare, The History of King Lear III i @7, First Gentleman
Blow, wind and crack your cheeks! Rage, blow
You cataracts and hurricanoes, spout
Till you have drenched the steeples, drowned the cocks!
You sulphurous and thought-executing fires,
Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts,
Singe my white head; and thou all-shaking thunder
Smite flat the thick rotundity of the world,
Crack nature’s mould, all germens spill at once
That make ingrateful man. ibid. III ii 1, Lear
Things that love night
Love not such nights as these. The wrathful skies
Gallow the very wanderers of the dark
And makes them keep their caves. Since I was man
Such sheets of fire, such bursts of horrid thunder,
Such groans of roaring wind and rain I ne’er
Remember to have heard. ibid. III ii @42, Lear
This world to me is but a ceaseless storm
Whirring me from my friends. William Shakespeare, Pericles XV l71-72, Marina
4Massive dust storms called haboobs ... Haboobs are produced in normally arid regions when the leading edge of a storm collapses. Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey III, BBC 2012
The north pole of Saturn features a gigantic storm with an amazing geometric design. It’s a perfect hexagon with six very distinct sides and angles. Extreme Universe s1e3: Space Storms, National Geographic 2010
The planet with the most unusual moon system is Saturn. It’s spread out over 320,000 kilometres. Technically there are more than a billion moons orbiting Saturn. In fact they are what formed Saturn’s rings. How the Universe Works s1e8: Moons, Discovery 2010
Before Cassini we thought there were only eight rings. Today we can see over thirty. ibid.
Our universe is a violent place. Planetary winds rage at six times the speed of sound. Lightning storms stretch for thousands of kilometres. Dust storms engulf entire worlds. The largest storms can be on the scale of entire galaxies. The universe is a chaotic place. Earth has storms; other worlds have megastorms … Could storms be necessary for life itself? How the Universe Works s2e2: Megastorms: The Winds of Creation
Over the last few years Britain’s weather has become more extreme. Especially our winters. Last winter was the wettest on record. Deadly storms battered Britain for months ... Has it got anything to do with Climate Change? Horizon: What's Wrong With Our Weather? BBC 2014
There were at least twelve major storms last winter. ibid.
Her name is all too familiar. Katrina. The storm that ravished New Orleans. She left in her wake about thirteen hundred dead, hundreds of thousands homeless and one of the most vibrant cities in America drowning and nearly destroyed. Nova: Storm that Drowned a City, PBS 2005
Was the storm a predictable disaster? Who knew? And who refused to listen? ibid.
Is Katrina a taste of what’s in store for the future? ibid.
2005: Hurricane season has begun ... Roughly half of tropical storms become hurricanes. ibid.
The storm surge ... an unnaturally high tide. ibid.
At 6.10 a.m. Katrina strikes land. ibid.
Something has gone wrong with the levees. ibid.
The New Orleans Bowl is filling up. ibid.
The chaotic official response means that there is still no food or water available to the crowds of people in the city. For many there is no way out. Civilisation is breaking down around them. ibid.
Hurricanes come in cycles. ibid.