Changing weather is a fact of life in the UK – popping sun cream and an umbrella in your bag anyone? But sometimes the changeable climate in our green and pleasant land turns especially nasty. Here’s our top five weirdest weather countdown:
5. Ribitting rainstorm
We kick off our list of weirdest weather phenomena with a tale of raining frogs in Croydon, South London in 1998 (it’s enough to give you nightmares, isn’t it?). The amphibious deluge was most likely caused by a rare waterspout and resulted in hundreds of frogs falling on unsuspecting Croydonites below. An unfrogettable experience.
4. Some like it hot
There’s one thing you can always bank on, no matter how unpredictable our weather is … rain. So, imagine how strange it was in 1976 to have nearly three months of uninterrupted sunshine. With temperatures regularly exceeding 30 degrees, drought became a big problem during one of the hottest summers on record. Scorchio!
3. Oh hail, no
Ah, who can forget the famous hailstorm of 1697? One of the worst on record, hail the size of cricket balls rained down on Hitchin, Hertfordshire with windows smashed and residents sent running for cover. A seriously stressful situation especially considering weather apps – or TVs – hadn’t been invented yet.
2. A deadly cloud
Pollution can have a big impact on weather conditions, as experienced by the inhabitants of London in 1952. The Great Smog – a mixture of smoke from coal fires and fog – covered the city for five days and claimed the lives of more than 4,000 people. Soon after, the Clean Air Act came into force and has been a permanent fixture of life in Britain ever since.
1. Sailing close to the wind
No weird weather countdown would be complete without Michael Fish’s infamous forecast on 15th October 1987, where he confidently declared there would be no hurricane that night. He was (very, very) wrong, as high winds decimated the south-east of England, causing huge disruption and left a trail a destruction. I wonder if anyone ever mentions it to him …