It’s well known that us English love to talk about the weather – even though we don’t usually have it that bad. When it snows, it’s more of a mild inconvenience than a days-long entrapment in our own homes (though, the way our governments prepare for such weather often leads to chaos, transport shutdown and school closures).
During summer – usually held for two weeks in mid-July, we love to complain about how hot it is and how little clothing middle-aged men are wearing in public, but we spend the other 49 weeks of the year praying for the sun to come out. All in all, we do like to whittle on about our (lack of) weather whilst we stock up on umbrellas and ignore the weather forecast in favour of looking at the sky and taking a wild guess that it’s probably going to rain, again. The fact is, nothing really happens here, so we ignore it – we’ve had two very minor earthquakes during my 25 years and the extent of the damage of those was a few broken chimneys.
So, when an actual weather event hit us this week, we were highly unprepared. Storm Doris was widely reported on and we had plenty of warning – but almost nobody listened to the media’s forecast, which does have a history of being wrong – If you haven’t heard of Michael Fish’s ‘moment’ in 1987, click here.
We like to think that the weather in Britain will never be ‘as bad as they say’, so when we were told to expect winds speeds of up to 95 miles per hour and to prepare for traffic chaos and public transport delays, we collectively shrugged our shoulders and continued with our lives.
Then Thursday arrived – and so did Doris. It’s been a rough few days – large power cuts have hit the worst affected regions, whilst up to a thousand trees have been uprooted across England – with a few falling on cars and resulting in a lot of near-misses and minor injuries.
Storm Doris hit England so hard, in fact, that even the British Army have been on stand-by in case of a major incident occurring because of the usually strong winds.
Many Brits have delighted in posting the damage caused to their property on social media – many reporting that wheelie bins and recycling bags have bared the brunt of the ‘weather bomb’, whilst there have been a number of incidents involving fence panels and a lot of people have been filmed falling over due to the high-pressure winds.
Whilst joking about the severity of Storm Doris brings light relief to the situation, there is a more serious underlying factor here. Over the past few winters, it has become clear that England’s authorities and councils are not prepared for extreme weather – or even slightly unusual weather conditions – with 2-inch snowfall causing train cancellations, school closures and a rise in traffic accidents almost every year, and heavy rain bringing society to a screeching halt, it really is time for Britain to pull their act together when it comes to preparing for natural incidents – if every other country can use common sense and decide that, since certain weather is likely, there should be a plan in place, why can’t we?