View previous topic | View next topic

Disasters, natural

Page 2 of 3
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

42787.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 8:00 am Reply with quote

Well, I think this has potential. One more question, addressed to a different kind of special knowledge which we also have on these boards: calling all youngsters (anyone who wasn't born in 1987, say) - does any of this mean anything to you? Are you aware of the 1987 storm at all? Have you heard of Michael Fish? Or is this a topic which will only work for older viewers?

Consider yourselves a focus group.

42788.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 8:11 am Reply with quote

A hurricane is the term used for a storm that develops in the tropics, so in this sense, the Great Storm was not a hurricane. Hurricane Force (Force 12) winds are winds of 73+mph sustained for ten minutes or more, and don't include the strength of wind gusts. By this definition, Hurricane Force winds occurred locally, such as at Lee on Solent and Gorleston, but were not widespread.

It is this fact, that winds must be sustained above 10 minutes, ignoring gusts, that makes cat 5 storms like Katrina, Wilma and Rita all that more impressive. Whilst all three had max sustained winds of 175mph gusts in all three could have exceeded 210mph at sea. This generally isn't reported in the press which will often take the lower figure for simplicity. Considering that a 200mph wind can take a piece of 2-by-4 and blast it straight through a double brick wall. As you may guess, if you were in that wind yourself, you are unlikely to stand any chance at all.

42789.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 8:12 am Reply with quote

My birthday was on 24th January 1988 so I was technically around but not in the way that everyone else was.

42792.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 8:23 am Reply with quote

And have you heard of any of this?

42795.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 8:33 am Reply with quote

Yes, very well. Gosh, I started getting into all this meterology stuff when I was quite young. I must say that I wasn't fully aware that the person Fish was talking about having not phoned in or be asking about the storm in the Carribean.

BTW I know that Micheal Fish has done some work for since he retired. If you want to get in contact with him to ask him anything try asking them for his email via their feedback option. Provided that they know who you are they may let you know how to get in touch with him. Of course I don't know if it's easier to do that sort of thing via the beeb internally.

42796.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 8:33 am Reply with quote

I was born in 1978, so was well alive, and I recall the fact that I could lean into the wind, with my duffel-coat spread out, and not fall over.

I think most people of my generation know the MF story well, but then I wasn't a fetus at the time.

Quaintly Ignorant
42827.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 10:31 am Reply with quote

I was six at the time but I remember the storm well. Watching people attempting to carry on as usual outside; someone trying to use an umbrella, a girl attempting to keep her skirt below her waistline. I may have been young but even I thought they were being daft. It was very funny, except from all the tragedy and destruction, of course.

42883.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 2:16 pm Reply with quote

I was thinking about a clip of Michael Fish saying:

"Apparently a woman phoned the Met Office earlier today to say she’d heard there was a hurricane on the way. Well, if you’re watching don’t worry, there isn’t"

Then the question "What happened next".

However, this article, which superfically at least seems to have been written by someone who knows what they're on about (though it is unsourced), paints a different picture. It seems to be saying that Fish was technically correct, but really it was a bit of a cock-up by the Met Office.

At the time, the Met Office [..] had undergone cutbacks and did not have a weather ship in the area and it was to be another ten years before automatic weather buoys were in place. At lunchtime on October 15th, Fish had only been going on the satellite images available to him that still indicated a typical depression that would track along the Channel with winds on its southern edge of between Force 5 and 7. That meant it could safely be assumed the strongest gusts would affect Northern France and the Low Countries.

The Met Office saw [the storm increase in magnitude] but still failed to warn the South of the impending disaster in its early evening forecast on the BBC. It still believed the depression would track along the Channel. By 9.30pm, forecasters were still unruffled and warned only of 50km/h winds (Force 9-10) in the South

[The storm] veered north and tracked along the north coasts of Devon and Cornwall and then across the Midlands. Forecasters at the London Weather Centre saw it, but too late to warn the South. Most people were already asleep, and a flash weather warning was issued to the emergency services. It told them to expect ‘extreme wind conditions’.

Technically, Fish had been correct - no hurricane was expected and what has become known as the Great Storm was not a hurricane. But it was an apparent failure, which the Met Office has even now, failed to live down.

42888.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 3:29 pm Reply with quote

For people who worked in the financial markets at the time, as I did, the whole thing was inextricably linked with the huge stock market crash which happened virtually simultaneously. It felt very much like the End of Days - I recall coming out of the office and being slightly taken aback to see that the buses were still running.

42889.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:05 pm Reply with quote

I'd moved to London in early October of 87 to do a Masters at Imperial and had a room in a converted loft. As my bed was in the part of the loft where the roof was slanted down the storm was blowing about 3 feet above my head.If I had opened the skylight (or if it had blown off as I was expecting) I could have sailed Peter Pan like over the roof tops of London.

The next morning I went for a walk around Kew and saw a large tree that had been partially uprooted leaning nonchatlantly against a 3 story house.

gerontius grumpus
42918.  Tue Jan 03, 2006 6:09 pm Reply with quote

I thought the January storms of 1990 were much worse than the 'hurricane' of 1987, was it just talked up because it hit the south east corner of England more than those unimportant other bits?

42952.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:03 am Reply with quote

There was an interesting programme on BBC4 last night about the jet stream. Interesting to note that there could have been something for the retractions special. In one episode (I forget which series) there was a question about the balloons that the Japanese flew over the Pacific in the jet stream to drop bombs on the USA causing the only 6 mainland deaths of the war. I also believe that Stephen said that this was the first discovery of the jet stream (I could be wrong about that).

Anyway, the first discovery according to that programme was in 1926 by another Japanese researcher that plotted the speed of high altitude weather balloons to discover winds over Tokyo at 30,000 feet above 100mph. The reason the guy is so little known (I've forgotten his name already damn it) is that he knew his paper wouldn't be read in other countries if it was in Japanese so he published it in Esperanto so nobody in the rest of the world could read it!

Still the show went on to talk about other things related to the jet stream, one of those being the 87 storm (the programme was first aired in summer 2002 I believe). As ever the clip was shown of Micheal Fish. They even went on to the bit when he says that it will be windy though over the South and France. There wasn't anything though about what Micheal was really talking about (the mother of the member of the production crew that lived in Florida).

It's amazing how far climate science has come since 2002. What the show discussed was a "possibility" that global warming could influence the jet stream. Global warming was said like it was something new and spectacular. When the unusual weather of 2002 was discussed they didn't even mention that it was an El Nino year. Most of the talk was focussed on methods of improving weather prediction. One guy had a small weather plane about 4foot accross that could fly around the oceans taking readings. No surprise that the thing hasn't taken off (no pun intended). In those 4 years the entire role that the plane could make has been replaced by satellites (the inability of satellites being the main reason for needing the plane).

42954.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:18 am Reply with quote

I did some quick research and this looks like the right stuff:

I believe the guy's name is Wasaburo Oishi. Wikipedia isn't up to date though. It has the first discovery as being in 1944 bobming raids on Japan (also featured in the programme).

Another reference here under "7 No ignorance of memory"!

42956.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:35 am Reply with quote

I also believe that Stephen said that this was the first discovery of the jet stream

Actually that the Japanese were aware of the jetstream whereas other countries weren't, I think - which fits with what you posted.

42957.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:38 am Reply with quote

oh I remember now :-)


Page 2 of 3
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours

Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group