A huge thanks to all who entered the competition, the judges have had a very pleasurable time (and difficult time ) reading through all the entries. We picked the top four entries in our opinion and forwarded them to Philip Eden, The Daily Telegraph weather columnist and weather statistician http://www.climate-uk.com/ our grateful thanks to Philip for reading through these entries and ranking them in his favoured order.
Philips comments were as follows: "It was exceedingly difficult to rank them, as they were all very good. Each story, short as they all were, conjured up clear pictures in my mind ... the mark of a good story teller. We all remember the childhood thrill of lamppost watching, and some of us still do it today, but being caught in a typhoon or hurricane or having a near-miss with a tornado is far more rarely experienced. But I gave first place to the story of the rather mundane cold front and thunder-shower ... with a sting in its tail. Having, a few years ago, been in an aeroplane struck by lightning as we came in to land at Stansted airport, the description of an extremely adjacent strike was genuine and it brought back all those memories."
So, in first place with "The most accurate weather forecast ever.... Probably" is Nigel Bolton. Congratulations Nigel for a great piece of writing....and a great forecast !
12th February 1996, and my colleague and I were forecasting for the morning of the 13th. Active front should pass through around 05:30GMT, said Steve. Gosh, that's fine tuning, we thought, but let's see how well we do. I also want to mention the risk of thunder in the showers around daybreak post cold front I added, despite being told from above it would not happen.
According to the wind shift and squall, the front went through at 05:23GMT. Just seven minutes out, but still room for improvement. Just need to hear some thunder now.
8:30GMT, no thunder, but some squally showers. A little later, a rumble of thunder. Excellent. I hope someone has picked that up. Several more rumbles, each one closer.
Suddenly, FLASH. An incredibly bright light for an instant, making me blink, the outline of the curtained window burned onto my retina. A crack, not loud, sounding like someone breaking a small log across their knee.
Subsequent investigation found a hole in my roof and the rain was coming in. A direct hit, just 10 feet above my head, gosh, that was close!!!
Plenty of ribbing followed from my colleges, and the story of a forecaster having his house hit by lightning also made for small articles in the National Press. Little headlines such as 'Flash of Genius', 'By Thunder I was Right' and 'Bolton's Bolt proves his Point' still make me smile. How was that for accuracy.
In second place with a wonderfully penned account with a tragic ending is Stacy Seabolt, well done Stace, it takes the reader into the heart of a US storm and the sometimes tragic conserquences.
A Stormy Night
The rain was beating on the windows, the intensity ever increasing. Instead of moving, the storm stayed, my mom paced the floor, watching the trees swirl in the wind. In the distance a faint noise could be heard until it became deafening. Mom came back to bed, and told me to lie real still. In the darkness I can remember asking:
"What was that roaring noise, and why was it coming to get us?"
The noise sounded like a thousand trains climbing the mountain. In the darkness the lightning was constant, the thunder crashing immediately after the flash, the rain driving everything into the ground.
Ruth, my aunt, radioed in the middle of the night, telling us to be ready, they were coming to take us to safety. The walk from the house to the jeep was one I will never forget. Standing on the porch, 20 feet from the ground, overlooking the valley below, the lightning streaking across the sky, I paused on the steps, looking towards the heavens, the rain beating my face, I realized the awesomeness and power of Mother Nature.
Even then, I knew that something bad had happened, and that things would never be the same ever again. The next morning, the phone began to ring. It was then that we learned that the roaring noise the night before was a tornado, and that my little cousin Robin had smothered to death when their home was destroyed in Meadow Bridge.
And third place goes to a well deserved James Reynolds, which takes the reader off to China with "A Typhoon’s Fury."
Great read James and well done.
Storm surge, land slides and flash floods were just a few of the hazards to negotiate as well as blinding rain and downed power lines dancing like electrified skipping ropes. We were on the open road exposed and in dire need of finding shelter, a mean feat at 4am and miles away from any town.
A single light flickered in the distance and then disappeared as another deluge propelled by an 80mph gust slammed into our car. We were running out of options and be it a warehouse or barn, shelter was now our number one priority.
After crawling along the road for what seemed like eternity the light got brighter and through the rain drenched windscreen appeared the Chinese characters for “hospital.” We could not have stumbled upon a better place to take cover and film the wrath of typhoon Sepat. With the knowledge of a sturdy structure and backup generators providing us plenty of light we got to work setting up our camera gear.
In an instant it hit. The plummeting air pressure caused my ears to throb in pain and the sound of the storm was deafening as the air filled with spray and debris screaming past us at over 110mph. We were now witnessing the eyewall of Sepat unleashing its full force and ensuring instant death and destruction to anyone or anything caught in its midst. At last I could relax and enjoy the greatest show on earth!
A special mention to Chris Lloyd who fell just outside the top three in fourth place with this piece which brought back evocative memories.
I had seen the weather forecast that evening and as a child I felt like I did on the eve of Christmas, waiting for Santa. It was very quiet outside when I went to bed – a cold evening with hardly a car on the road. You could just make out the salt dust blowing around in swirls from the earlier gritters – it must snow I thought. I looked up to the night time sky – no stars to be seen, and the clouds had that colour that you just can’t describe when heavy with snow. I tucked myself into bed, knowing that 5 minutes later I would open the curtains again to have a look. I would always look at the orange glow of the street light for the signs of a falling flake. I went through this ritual for what seemed like hours – until what I was sure would be the last time before going to sleep – flakes of snow started to fall. Light at first and blowing around, toiling with the gritters dust. Heavier and heavier until soon the ground was white. I had to go to sleep.
The next day was amazing, everything to my childs eye looked like it had been covered in cotton wool, no grass to be seen and I just couldn't wait to go outside and wipe the snow from my dads car to see how deep it was. There was 7 inches of snow that night.
I could mention a lot more entries that caught the judges eye, some great writing which fitted the criteria perfectly, but I would quickly fill up this page !! I will have to make do with "very well done all". I will post the rest of the entries over the next day or so, all 30 of them. It's times like these that one wishes we had a bottomless sack of prizes to reward all the budding authors out there. So my hearty congratulations to the winners and commiserations to those that didn't make the top three, in my mind you are all winners, as are the members who will be able to read your accounts...well done !
On behalf of the UKww C & M Team