Met Office Confirms St Jude’s Day Storm Was Not Unusual

By Paul Homewood

The Met Office have now issued their comprehensive report on the St Jude’s Day storm, that hit southern England in October.

Readers will recall idiotic headlines at the time, describing it as “The Storm of the Century”, “Unprecedented”, “Superstorm” and “A repeat of 1987”. I pointed out at the time that such claims were patent nonsense, and that the storm was not an unusual event.

The Met Office report now confirms what I was saying.

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Maximum gust speeds 28 October 2013

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The full report can be seen here.

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/interesting/2013-octwind

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37 Responses to Met Office Confirms St Jude’s Day Storm Was Not Unusual

  1. Again, hype is of the essence. Fear will be the most potent driver of subdued people.
    But the Met Office is trying to get to a safer ground, even they are running out of records.

  2. marcjf says:

    The BBC reported this in part by referring to the Thames Barrier as “the engineers anticipated climate change” whereas what the chief engineer actually said was “we anticipated the fact that sea levels were rising over time and the SE of England was subject to land tilt and was subsiding whilst the NW of Scotland was rising”. (para-phrasing). Not quite the same thing.

  3. philjourdan says:

    Everyone wants to be part of a record. It was always worse “when you were that age” syndrome.

    That is why science has to be non-judgmental.

  4. RichardLH says:

    “Last 40 years” rather than the more common “Last 60 years”. Given that just about everybody recognises there is a known 60 year pattern to temperature and weather I wonder about the 40 year period choice.

  5. Grumpy Old Man says:

    When reading any news from the UK always remember the heavy bias of the media towards Southern England. The great storm of 1987 struck mainly in the SE and the relatively high death rate was partly due to population density. The damage was caused mainly by falling trees which were still in full leaf and in the channel, shipping was severely affected. In contrast, the storm that struck Scotland in 1967 (I think) was almost as bad but is now largely forgotten. I live in the North of England. The great storm of 2013 passed by here with just a typically windy day.
    These storms are exceptional events. Scotland and NE England usually have the harshest Winters although Kent in SE England often suffers from continental weather due to its proximity to France. Bad weather in the North only makes it to the news on a ‘short’ news day!

  6. SandyInLimousin says:

    Grumpy Old Man
    I think you’re talking about the January Hurricane of 1968. 20 people died from the storm, with 9 dead in Glasgow. 700 people were left homeless. At that we were living in an old farm house in Perthshire. I remember being kept awake during the night when daylight dawned the large rug in my bedroom was undulating in the wind coming through the floorboards. I was about three days before the roads were cleared enough to get to school.

    As you say largely forgotten now (especially by the BBC and their London centric view of the world).

  7. Dave says:

    An old chestnut: but not all SE England is `sinking`. The area of subsidence is confined to a relatively smaller area that is contiguous with the southern North Sea and the Netherlands. Landwards, in England, there is geological evidence which shows that there has been some uplift over the last ~ 300,000 years.

  8. Alan Robertson says:

    RichardLH says:
    December 9, 2013 at 8:04 am

    “Last 40 years” rather than the more common “Last 60 years”. Given that just about everybody recognises there is a known 60 year pattern to temperature and weather I wonder about the 40 year period choice.
    ________________________
    Would you be so kind as to provide links backing up your ’60 year’ statement? How about the ‘everybody recognizes’ statement?

    Someone has (anonymously) been making both your claims around the ‘net, recently.
    I smell a rat.
    Would that be you?

  9. Doug Proctor says:

    At the time of this storm, we in the American and Canadian west were also having a snowstorm. On CNN TV, the storm was headlined “Extreme Weather”. It was just an early-winter storm, not much at all. But the term “Extreme Weather” made me think that the media have glommed onto another emotionally-charged term – cliche, really.

    Emotionally-charged words stop the thinking process. Orwell’s Newspeak was all about stopping the thinking process. “Bad think” was anything the authorities didn’t want in the current system. Once you were aware you were contemplating a subject that was a “bad think”, you didn’t have to contemplate it further: the conclusion was obvious. It was a bad thought, worthy of suppression.

    All understanding is by analogy. What is good is only good as long as it isn’t surrounded by very, very good or excellent. We know emotionally what we experienced. At 60, I recall very well the weather in Calgary, Alberta from 1980 onward, but quite well from about 1962 onward. The zealous eco-green, being less than 40, recalls only from after 1982, and really well from only about 1998. His “unprecedented” or “superstorm” is not the same as mine.

    The last decade of winter is definitely warmer than prior decades. But the 60′s were colder, with more snow, than the 80′s. But you have to have been around in the 60′s to know that, just as you have to have been a near-adult at least to know that the late 80s saw some horrible cold. We get told conditions were without precedent or more terrible than ususal by those who have not lived long enough to experience the full range of weather within even a “stable” climate.

    When every event is unprecedented or a super-something, you wonder if Newspeak loses its power – except for the very young. Each generation reinvents the world by its own experiences, but the leaders are old enough to have the newness wear off. I am wondering if the “disappointment” of former eco-green leaders in the progress of The Cause, and the apparent lack of firebrand replacements is a reflection of the suspicion that all these alleged new, frightening developments are not new but just a lack of personal exposure. You can’t raise up a new crop of militants if the original crop doesn’t believe the slogans any more.

  10. RichardLH says:

    I have lost count of the number of times the ‘worst in the last 60 years’ claim has been made on TV and in newspapers recently regarding some natural weather phenomena or other. It has become almost a standard meme. Listen out for yourself if you doubt me.

    http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2191865/london_flood_surge_worst_in_60_years.html
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/447293/Worst-storm-for-60-years-leaves-trail-of-destruction-but-storm-defences-did-the-job
    http://www.itv.com/news/granada/2013-12-05/worst-tidal-surge-expected-in-60-years/

    etc.

    As to it showing up in climate data I believe you will find that others have mentioned it before. It has been found in AMO, PDO, Tidal data and Global temperature and other places. It has been attributed to many causes, all of which have been disputed AFAIK. But the facts still remain, there appears to be a ~60 year cycle in the many climate data series.

  11. RichardLH says:

    Alan Robertson says:

    December 9, 2013 at 8:47 am

    “Would you be so kind as to provide links backing up your ’60 year’ statement? How about the ‘everybody recognizes’ statement?”

    Try Michael Mann in 2000 who identifies a cycle (though he said then 70 years)

    “Analyses of proxy based reconstructions of surface temperatures during the past 330 years show the existence of a distinct oscillatory mode of variability with an approximate time scale of 70 years.”

    From http://landshape.org/enm/natural-variation-60-year-cycl/

  12. Dave

    An old chestnut: but not all SE England is `sinking`. The area of subsidence is confined to a relatively smaller area that is contiguous with the southern North Sea and the Netherlands. Landwards, in England, there is geological evidence which shows that there has been some uplift over the last ~ 300,000 years.

    I came across this map of isostatic changes from the Yorkshire Climate Change Partnership.

    It shows that land is sinking roughly from Yorkshire, all the way down the coast, along the South coast, and back up to Liverpool.
    Going North from Liverpool and around Scotland, the land is rising.
    The area which is sinking fastest is around Cornwall.

    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/image141.png

    The map is from the Adaptation Study here.

    http://www.yourclimate.org/pages/regional-adaptation-study

  13. Betapug says:

    The Mastersingers had the definitve word(s) on this back in 1966 in the days before The Great Madness.
    Listen and laugh: http://youtu.be/4z2jwDcb9wI

  14. wws says:

    “These storms most commonly occur in December and January”

    One might even speculate that Winter is coming earlier this year.

  15. Drabux says:

    The reason why London and the SE weather makes the news more than that in the North or Scotland is because that’s where most people live! The population of the whole of Scotland is little more than the population of South London, while the population of SE England incl East Anglia is over 20 million,

  16. Lawrence13 says:

    To be fair to UKMO who nowadays I loath with their never ending missives on AGW they did not link this exaggerated storm to AGW. In fact the worse culprits in the British MSM are the Daily Express and the Daily Mail both are notorious for sensationalist weather headlines and nutty stupid severe weather forecast.

    Yes UKMO like demented Dr Who Daleks do go round all day screaming “Global Warming… Exterminate!!!” and they ‘always’ overdo the severity of weather with their own melodramatic OTT warning systems that sees public danger in a raindrop through their Elf & Safety glasses; but they never once tried to pin the ‘St Jude the Obscure Storm’ on AGW although they would have loved to.

  17. Sun Spot says:

    @ Alan Robertson says: December 9, 2013 at 8:47 am
    Dr. Akafosu’s work is well known (60 year cycles), but perhaps not to the cAGW acolytes with their eyes covered and ears plugged.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/09/syun-akasofus-work-provokes-journal-resignation/

  18. markstoval says:

    The central problem is that these people make outlandish claims and the media is happy to tell the world about these so-called “unusual” or “unprecedented” weather events with great hype. But when the records are checked and it turns out the events are not “unusual” or “unprecedented” after all there is deathly silence. We correct the record, but the average working fellow never hears that on his TV or reads about it in his local newspaper. The fraudsters have a decided advantage.

  19. nevket240 says:

    http://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/climate-chaos-killer-winter-storms-predicted-to-impact-uk-for-next-30-years/

    The Big Chill is on its way. Where is the Lord of Fraud when he is needed for warmth???
    regards

  20. Lawarence13

    To be fair to UKMO who nowadays I loath with their never ending missives on AGW they did not link this exaggerated storm to AGW. In fact the worse culprits in the British MSM are the Daily Express and the Daily Mail both are notorious for sensationalist weather headlines and nutty stupid severe weather forecast.

    You might recall the Daily Express, along with their chums Exacta Weather and Vantage Weather, forecasting in October that November and December would have “record breaking snow” and be the “worst winter in decades”.

    At the same time, the Met Office were little better, forecasting that November would be much warmer than normal.

    The reality was that November was colder than normal, but there was very little snow, and December so far has been fairly mild.

    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/12/08/met-office-daily-express-share-the-booby-prize/

    Anyone know what Piers Corbyn forecast yet?

  21. Jimbo says:

    Paul Homewood,
    Since they keep on going on about winter storms why not create a list of the great storms of the Little Ice Age fro the peer review? Then keep it handy. It usually silences these nutcases. Here are a few.

    And in the new recently:

    The Guardian – 20 January 2011
    Weatherwatch: The Grote Mandrenke
    Few great weather events in British history were as devastating as the “Grote Mandrenke”, the great drowning of men, which took place in mid January 1362. A huge south-westerly gale originating in the Atlantic Ocean swept across Ireland, Britain, the Low Countries, and northern Germany, causing at least 25,000 deaths……As the storm reached the North Sea, it combined with high tides to produce the phenomenon most feared by coastal communities, a storm surge….

  22. TonyK says:

    Paul Homewood says:
    December 9 2013 at 9:30am
    ‘It shows that land is sinking roughly from Yorkshire, all the way down the coast, along the South coast’

    Depends on where you are. Here in Portsmouth, the sea is still at the same level at Portchester Castle at the top of Portsmouth harbour as it was when the Romans moored their ships there, and a little way along the coast the Roman villa at Fishbourne (which also had a jetty) is a few metres above sea level even today, 2000 years later.

  23. Billy Liar says:

    Dave says:
    December 9, 2013 at 8:37 am

    An old chestnut: but not all SE England is `sinking`. The area of subsidence is confined to a relatively smaller area that is contiguous with the southern North Sea and the Netherlands.

    http://www.oceans2025.org/PDFs/SBP_2011_Presentations/12_Richard_Bingley.pdf

    Sure looks to me like almost all of England and Wales is sinking.

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  25. Lawrence13 says:

    Paul Homewood

    “Anyone know what Piers Corbyn forecast yet?”

    Actually I do as I met the fellow the Friday before last at his lair Delta House, The Borough London.
    I asked him, he told me under the proviso I keep it quiet and I will until winter is over and if credit is due, then I will give it here and UK Sci Weather.

  26. Ulric Lyons says:

    Paul Homewood says:
    “Anyone know what Piers Corbyn forecast yet?”

    Roughly 1.5°C above normals for the month:
    http://snag.gy/2sbrX.jpg

    Observations:
    http://www.centralenglandtemperature.co.uk/images/temperature/DCET%20-%20Last%203%20Months.png

  27. nevket240 says:

    http://www.skynews.com.au/eco/article.aspx?id=932569

    Ahh. if only our much venerated but totally biased ABC (OZ) could show such balance. Well done Sky News.
    regards

  28. James at 48 says:

    Meanwhile on this side of the pond they are naming and claiming blizzards and plain old cold events. That’s because they are all a result of the big heat, no?

  29. Doug Proctor says: December 9, 2013 at 8:53 am

    [...] The zealous eco-green, being less than 40, recalls only from after 1982, and really well from only about 1998. His “unprecedented” or “superstorm” is not the same as mine.[...]

    On a somewhat related note, particularly from the perspective of history of “greatest storms” … And (believe it or not) it’s from the BBC – although it was produced in 2003, i.e. pre-28Gate. As the narrator notes, this 1953 storm has been “air-brushed out of history”.

    Memory can be a fickle selector at times. I was living in the U.K. in 1953, although I was quite young and residing inland (Birmingham). I remember many events from that year, including our relocation from B’ham to Llanelli (on the S.W, coast of Wales), later that year. So, as I was watching the video below, I found it hard to believe that I had absolutely no recollection of hearing anything about this tragic storm. But “communications” were very different in those days.

    It’s a long watch, and a very sad and painful one. And the sound is a little rough at times (and even rougher, I suspect, to the ears of those unfamiliar with some British dialects). But, IMHO, if one wants to talk about “extreme weather” – and its impacts, in historical context – then this video is a must watch [h/t Howard Goodall via twitter].

    From the ‘Tube intro:

    “Timewatch” The Greatest Storm (2003)

    In January of 1953, unusual weather conditions caused Britain’s worst national peacetime disaster of the 20th century. A storm surge flooded the eastern coast of England, killing more than 300 people and leaving thousands homeless. Fifty years later, ‘Timewatch’ re-examines a calamity which is largely forgotten today.

  30. Trev says:

    Please Mr Grumpy!
    I do not believe in any of this AGM rubbish but come on — ‘Scotland and NE England usually have the harshest Winters although Kent in SE England often suffers from continental weather due to its proximity to France.’
    Are you trying to say the SE has good weather because it is near Northern France?
    I mean have you ever heard of the Bay of Biscay and its weather? Northern France is not the Cote d’Azure. And I seem to remember a pretty severe storm causing havoc on D-Day.

  31. Vince Causey says:

    I find it ironic that they hyped the St Jude storm, and when it happened it wasn’t much at all. Then just last week, the UK was hit with a storm with higher gusts and greater tidal surges than even the storm of 1953, and yet, this came with almost no mention until after the damage.

    In a garden just round from where I live, a huge tree – I mean about 4 ft diameter trunk – was blown down, falling across the footpath. Had it fallen the other way it would have taken the house down. Now that was scary.

  32. Ian Blanchard says:

    Trev

    You’ve mis-understood Paul’s comment. The influence of Continental weather on the extreme south-east tends to make summers a little warmer but winters a little colder than would be the case if Europe was further off the coast of Britain ( ;-) ).

  33. Trev

    I grew up in Essex, and it always seemed that Kent got worse snow than we did.

    Maybe the Downs had something to do with it, but I think one factor is that Kent is much closer to the continent. The expanse of North Sea that continental air has to pass over to reach Essex helps to moderate temperatures slightly.

  34. R. de Haan says:

    Yeah, but in the mean time they have plastered their BS all over the press.

  35. me says:

    Lots of people confusing this St Jude’s day storm with the one that led to the storm surge last week. St Jude’s day is in October. Is the fact that we now have frequently ‘unusual’ storms leading to these no longer being classed as unusual?

  36. The provisional data for last week’s storm is here.

    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/provisional-data-for-the-north-sea-storm/

    Essentially, the windspeeds in 1953 were far higher, though the storm surges were similar.

  37. It is shameful that certain inappropriate unprofessional and illegal activity has been carried on WUWT – presumably not intentionally as far as WUWT is concerned I hasten to make clear.

    Paul Homewood asked Dec 9 12.22pm:
    “Anyone know what Piers Corbyn forecast yet?” (About Dec).
    I say it is inappropriate and unprofessional to seek copyright material to be made public. This is encouraging breach of copyright and consequent theft of forecast information.

    Lawrence13 Dec9, 3:16pm said he knew what we were saying about Dec but was keping confidence. Thank you for your moral fibre Lawrence.

    Ulric Lyons Dec 9, 5.34pm however obliged it appears to assist breach of copyright and associated theft with the Reply:
    Roughly 1.5°C above normals for the month:
    http://snag.gy/2sbrX.jpg

    Apart from being contemptable and illegal in intent the information he gives is false and gratuitously damaging of WeatherAction forecasts, since
    1. Our December Temperature forecast is NOT what he says or even near.
    2. The link he provides with mal-intent which has the title header concealed is not a graph of December 2013 but of NOVEMBER 2013 (45d version rather than 30d ahead). Close examination shows the graph ends on 30th bearing this out.
    This incompetent provision of assistance of illegal activity is by the same Ulric Lyons who tricked me in early September into giving him some summary information of my WeatherAction forecasts of the winter months and who has since informed some of what ‘he reckons’ my WeatherAction winter forecast may be saying. I would like to hear from anyone who has heard such information.

    May I request WUWT considers what to do about these gentlemen with or without police or lawyer involvement and think on how professional standards can be maintained on this site.

    On the storm itself which we at WeatherAction announced for late October for tracking in Southern England 23 weeks ahead (See Slide 52 http://www.weatheraction.com/docs/WANews13No43.pdf ), it is worth noting that while being obviously less severe than Oct 1987 storm in England as a whole it was more severe than the ’87 storm perhaps in Dover (unofficial records) and certainly when it reached parts of Europe Where ‘Record’ winds were observed causing extensive damage. To understand a storm fully we need to be not bound by national boundaries. The late ‘ramping-up’ is interesting.

    Thank you for your attention,
    Piers Corbyn, WeatherAction, long range forecasters
    +447958713320

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