Ancient Weather Chronicle

As the polar ice caps melt and we experience increasingly erratic weather, it is easy to feel that, in relation to our climate, we are heading in to the unknown.

However much of the weather we experience today pales in to insignificance, compared to the meteorological events that occurred in Britain between and . Some of Britain's earliest written history concerns the weather and it is easy to imagine ancient scribes, sheltering from the storm, and recording events on parchment for posterity.

In AD38, there was a massive tidal surge along the east coast of England and up the Thames estuary, 10 000 people are thought to have drowned, to this day it remains the worst natural disaster (apart from disease) to have occurred on British shores.

In AD50, Britain experienced possibly it's worst winter in recorded history all rivers & lakes froze from November to April.

In AD89 "blood rain" fell for 3 days. This suggests a major volcanic event somewhere, the next three winters were very harsh.

In AD139, there was a drought so severe, that even the River Thames dried completely for two days. There are no other recorded instances of this happening to The Thames. Conversely, in AD 214 the River Trent flooded for twenty miles on either side.

In AD341 in Britain snow lay up to 15 feet deep for over 6 weeks.

In AD353 there was a great flood in Cheshire, 5000 persons and an innumerable quantity of cattle perished.

In AD479, the Thames flooded again, floodwater was reported 10 miles from the riverbanks.

In AD 536, Britain, and the world experienced "a year without a summer", as a result of the eruption of Mount Rabaul in Papua New Guinea. Up to 25% of the populations of Africa, Europe and Asia were killed as a direct result, the effects were longstanding - Ireland suffered it's worst ever famine, far worse than the potato famine of the nineteenth century, up to half the population died. The effects of the eruption caused severe winters and wetter summers until at least AD 555.

The author of these words fears that the dates of September 9th and October 9th 2006, could be the days when Britain experiences weather that potentially could be worse than the floods of AD38. We are forecast our highest tides in 20 years, if bad weather combines with the full moon on these dates, 25 000 people living on flood plains could be washed away. Cardiff, Portsmouth and Hull are likely to be most severely affected, along with the lowlands of East Anglia. The author of these words signs off for the evening, once again with a fear of foreboding for the near future, if he lived on a flood plain and not a hill, he would soon pack his bags and head for higher ground

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