I love this story because it illustrates one of my peeves with the press. I just want facts. During the recent campaign, it was widely reported on that Gov. Palin got some super wardrobe from the Republican Party. It struck me as odd that we never heard of what the political parties spent on wardrobes for Senators Obama, McCain and Biden. Couldn’t be because of her sex, eh? Well, this is one I did not expect, but does not surprise me. Turns out that one of Ms. Palin’s biggest critics, CNBC provided here with $300 worth of clothes for an appearance. They didn’t report it voluntarily either and certainly not during the campaign….no…it took a Freedom of Information Act request to find out the whole truth. The network thought nothing of it but the Governor reported it, following the law regarding gifts.
Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Regular reader Rick shared a view of his latest grandson. Congratulations sir. It was a fine day for showing off new grandkids and sharing time with family and I certainly hope that you took the opportunity to do so. Friday looks pretty good but not as warm and clouds will be rolling in. Saturday will be cooler still and more cloudy. Sunday, a system moves through that will bring rain late and it will be chilly. Really not a great weekend. Been warning you all week to enjoy Thanksgiving…anyway, I’m having a tough time finding evidence to support a good snow. We should change over to snow showers Sunday night that will carry into Monday. But, the ground temperatures will be above freezing and it may get tough to chill them to the point that we can get some decent accumulations. At this point, some accumulations on grassy areas perhaps on Monday but most of the data even indicates Monday temps above freezing here at the surface. There are still several days to go before this guy really shows itself but at this point, snow boards are probably not going to be needed.
On This Date in History: On this date in 1703, an unusual and powerful storm finally ended in England. In it’s wake, some 10,000 to 30,000 were dead, including about 8,000 sailors aboard part of the English fleet anchored just offshore the island nation. Winds were well over hurricane force and apparently the storm stuck around for about two weeks. Claims were that the Thames river had 6 foot waves and 5000 homes were destroyed along the river on which London is built. The author of Robinson Crusoe,
Daniel Defoe, reported a tornado that “snapped the body of an oak.” Henry Winstanley had designed and built the first Eddystone Lighthouse at Plymouth in 1696. Just a few weeks before the storm he expressed his desire that he be in his creation during the greatest storm of all time so he could see the effect on his tower. In the be-careful-what-you-wish-for department, he and those who resided there went down with the lighthouse when it was smashed to bits.
The details of the storm are varied. Some say the death toll was just 15,000 other 9000. The date can’t even be totally ascertained because of something about the switch between the Julian and Gregorian calenders. Either way, it was a huge storm; hurricane force winds, thousands dead, thousands of livestock dead, tornadoes, reports of a ship being lifted 800 feet inland by a waterspout and a cow getting lifted into a tree. Thousands of trees down across the country, monstrous waves….it was a doosey. Here is an account from The Weather Doctor Almanac. Seems just as reliable as other sources.
Can you imagine if that happened today? It happened 300 years ago, so it’s happened before. But, you can
bet that Global Warming would get the blame this time around. Never mind that this wild storm happened all by itself during what was called the “mini-ice age” which was a 300-400 year period of extremely cold global temperatures that was partly the primer for the emigration to the New World. Nope, you know that Global Warming would be the culprit. Why do I know this with a certainty? Because the press has already reported it. On the 300th anniversary in 2003, the BBC put out this report, pointing to a storm that was not as strong but still devastating in 1987 as proof. Proof as what? That a storm reported in 1703 was still possible today?
This is the type of nonsense that really hacks me as a meteorologist and historian. I think the anthropogenic global warming issue should be studied closely but, when the press and proponents put out this type of nonsense, it really hurts their credibility. Hurricane Katrina comes to mind. After that storm someone actually said that it was due to Global Warming. Never did the press point out that New Orleans did not get hit by a hurricane, Mississippi did. They did not point out that it was a strong 130 mph hurricane that had a huge storm surge but followed almost the exact same path as the incredibly powerful Hurricane Camille in 1969 with 200 mph winds. It was not unprecedented and, if one were to be basic and silly, one could draw the juvenile conclusion that Global Warming was making hurricanes weaker because Camille was was stronger than Katrina, followe the same path and was 36 years earlier. That is just as foolish a statement as claiming that Katrina was caused by Global Warming.
So, what does the Great 1703 Storm teach us? That large, powerful storms and unusual weather has been happening on the earth for a long, long time. Unexpectedly strong and severe situations will occur again, Global Warming or not. Beware of sources and media reports that try to offer such limited and simple evidence for climate changes of any kind and forever one should hold any reports from those sources with skepticism.