Possibly the least bearable effect of leaving the EU is going to be a steep rise in the level of British insularity.
(After all, I’m retired. Why should I care if you’re out of work and there’s no iceberg lettuce in the shops?)
The provenance of the notorious Times headline: “Fog in the Channel, Continent cut off” is a perfectly checkable fact that no-one seems sufficiently bothered to check. The BogPo finds no verification. While the story supposedly dates from October 1957, well within living memory, the sources seem unable to remember it. Did they really print that?
Conflicting Google results for instance quote the editor of the Boston Globe as opining that it was just a bit of fake news put out by the Nazis to ridicule stuffy British attitudes to Europe. That doesn’t quite fit the 1950s timeline, as I think you’d agree, although they’re back in fashion. And the attitude hasn’t changed.
But no matter. When it comes to fake news, it’s the thought that counts. Put it this way: knowing us, it’s not unlikely that a subeditor on The Times did write it, albeit possibly with poorly paid tongue in cheek.
The Boglington Post is, as I’m sure you know, the infallible internet journal of record de nos jours, so let me just post here for posterity a genuine, confirmable headline from this morning’s BBC News feed:
“What’s behind the UK’s Cold Snap?”
(With apologies to the woman in Cumbria who still has a 22-foot deep snowdrift outside her front door a week after the storm…)
Readers unaware of the existence of a wider world might indeed be taking a spot of cold weather personally. But what’s “behind” it is in fact a massive, barely moving high-pressure system that has allowed a plume of sub-Arctic temperatures to descend over most of Russia and northern Europe, stretching fifteen hundred miles from Norway all the way down to the Mediterranean coast.
That’s because the northern jetstream has failed, owing to a superheated stratospheric air mass and warm ocean currents driven by a succession of Category 3-level storm systems invading the polar region, where temperatures have been at record highs for many months, and is to be found hovering nervously somewhere over North Africa.
Or, total fucking chaos, as fully qualified meteorologists put it.
It is a similar “Cold Snap” in fact to that experienced by the eastern states of America in the New Year, where they now have a “Hot Snap”, with record 80-degree February temperatures and record rainfall and record river highs and floods again in the midwest. Only then it was known as the Polar Vortex and it was pretty cold. Here is weather historian Christopher Burt, quoted on Weather Underground:
“At least 24 cities recorded their hottest February temperature on record on Wednesday, including New York City (78°), Hartford, CT (74°) and Concord, NH (74°). … February 20 – 21 marked the most extraordinary heat event to ever affect the Northeastern quadrant of the U.S. during the month of February, since official records began in the late 1800s”
Yet not much more than a month ago, the town of Erie, Pa. was buried under a record five feet of snow, that fell in 48 hours, while up on chilly Mt Washington the windchill factor dropped to minus 104F. Not a mention of that in the Wunderground post! How soon even weather historians forget. And the forecast? From the Express website/ABC just last week:
“The nation’s midsection is bracing for a winter whiplash, radar is showing a new system that has been slamming the west and now moving east. An ice storm is bearing down on much of the mid-west threatening to blanket everything with up to half an inch of ice.”
And more of that sort of thing.
I wonder, what was behind America’s worst “Cold Snap” in generations? Clearly, the thermostat’s gone haywire. Whatever it was, they’re feeling it now in California, where – well, you guessed it – they had a record warm and wet January after the record summer heat and wildfires in December, but it’s now really cold; Sacramento recorded just 26F yesterday, a slight change from 106F in October.
Meanwhile Alaska has experienced both record heat and record snowfall in the past three months; as indeed have large parts of India and China enjoyed record heat, record rainfall, record snowfall, record smogs and record flooding during 2017, while record numbers of dead bats and dehydrated koalas have been dropping from the trees in Australia, and Vietnam, Indonesia, Vanuatu and New Zealand have become one enormous state of emergency running into another.
It’s these startling anomalies and the sharp gradients between them, the way huge pools of moist air have been moving slowly around, driven by unprecedented warming at the poles, fierce storms and strange, high-altitude currents, that are “behind” the world’s “Cold Snaps”, and the many conspiracy theories accompanying them.
I’m sure then that lots of people baking, freezing and drowning everywhere around the world must be asking themselves, “I wonder, what’s behind the UK’s Cold Snap?”
The “UK’s Cold Snap” has of course nothing to do with the weather chaos afflicting the rest of the world. It is ours, it’s peculiarly British, we are shortly to become a sovereign nation once more, the people have spoken, and we can jolly well complain about our own weather without interference from those beastly Europeans. It’s probably just that Siberia acting up again.
Amber warnings aplenty are out for a horrifying 5 to 10 cm of snow in Eastern parts, with windchill as low as minus 5C! Top scientists with knighthoods and years spent tramping the trackless wastes of the Antarctic with their expensive research teams are woken out of hibernation and dragged to the Today program studios to advise us to wrap up warm; it being all that is left to say after the weather person has already girlsplained the technical stuff about the stratosphere and the jetstream and been complimented on how clever she is by the £200k a year presenter, Mr Justin Webb. (Is the Beeb ever going to #”get it”, I wonder?)
No-one does a late winter “Cold Snap” quite like us. It matters not that it’s probably minus 30 in Moscow or Warsaw or Berlin, while it’s 80F in parallel Cincinnatti, as what some are calling the Beast from the East improves the prospect of reducing our surplus population of the elderly and homeless with, who knows, the added bonus of a few unwanted asylum-seekers bereft of the recommended extra layer.
The sun rises and sets, as we know, uniquely on all things British. In another month or so we’ll be fainting all over the place, flocking to Margate Sands with our trousers rolled up and knotted hankies on our heads, marveling at the excessive heat of a record 30C day, as the headline writers scrabble around for scorching puns and the experts crowd onto the airwaves to advise us to stay indoors and drink plenty of fluids.
Which is, let’s face it, the other national pastime.
Some Like it Hot
In case you’re snug and warm, well wrapped-up against the Beast from the East in front of a snuggly, hyggely fire with a glass of well-chilled Chardonnay in hand, this is just a note to anyone considering not donating to sex-pesty NGOs this year:
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, reported on 26 February that the torrential rain and flooding in Iraq 10 days ago have damaged shelters and communal infrastructure in camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in southern Kurdistan Region of Iraq and the central region of Iraq. …flooding occurred in at least 24 camps, affecting some 201,661 people. (Floodlist)
Camps in Turkey, Lebanon and Syria have also been hit by torrential rain and flash floods. That’s on top of extreme cold that has seen many refugees including children freezing to death.
What the hell are we doing?
Oh dear, as Saudi Arabia is hit by a bizarre mix of hot dust storms and freezing giant hail storms capable of pounding cars to bits, with a 20C temperature gradient between, I fear a GW coming on…
USA: 5 dead as tornadoes rip through Osceola, Ar. 3 dead and “several” missing as tornadoes rip through Kentucky. Floods pretty well everywhere they haven’t got a heatwave or a “Cold Snap”.
Brazil: Tangara underwater. São Paolo (again) underwater.
Australia: A sudden 130km/h cyclonic storm springs up and trashes Rockingham, a town near Perth, ripping off roofs and pulling up trees. Apart from that it looks bloody hot, mate.
China, Myanmar: “extreme” heatwaves forecast for the first week in March.
Europe: the Beast, etc. is still sitting mainly over Russia where it’s unspeakably cold. Meanwhile low-pressure warmer wetter air pushing up from Africa is meeting the high-pressure freezing air over Europe, so northern Italy and the Balkans are again buried in snow.
Britain: Atlantic storm Emma is on the way in, just passing Portugal now, threatening up to 40 cm of snow as it duels with the frosty Beast gently gliding westwards over the whole country. The Met Office has issued its first ever Red snow warning, for Scotland and the Northwest of England.
Arctic: Records, records.
CEWN #97, quoting others inc. ABC Australia. Floodlist.
I know, I said I’d be off the air for a while owing to these horrifying eye surgeries and on account of the spare eye being so longsighted, it hurts to look at the screen for long. I can manage a little at a time now, thank you, and so may visit occasionally as the BogPo can never resist the opportunity to express a modicum of sarcasm when the need arises, or to re-edit my error-ridden stuff.
Gratifyingly, this little Post has already received one Like and it was still not quite finished! Thank you, Liamjcrosswritingandediting. Nice website. Mine’s looking tired, I may need to engage another teenager.
(OMG, another Like just popped in. Hi, Jo! Glad you’re still around.)
(OOMMGG! A third, and they’re Following me! I should go blind more often!)
And we’re back into the 20s for viewers! It’s a red letter day!
A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE BOGLINGTON POST:
Hello, me again!! Postscriptum by a week or so, this has had yet another thumb-up, from blogger Emily Raper. Thanks, Emily.
And you’re a jazz fan too! Have I met Ms Right?
Emily is a B.S. student who blogs about writing, so I guess she knows her onions. Your Uncle Bogler was seriously considering submitting a thousand well chosen words to her website, with its curly type font ‘n’ all, where she invites Guest Posts, until he read the rules.
No swearing, no politics, no offence caused to anyone…
Like life, really.