Britain is as soggy as a crumpet dunked in tea.
(No Brits I know actually dunk their crumpets in tea, but it sounds suitably British, doesn’t it?)
Even for a wet, rainy country used to wet, rainy winters, it’s been pretty darned wet here in the UK. Thousands of homes are still flooded and without power, beach fronts have been destroyed by monster tides, and the Thames Barrier has seen 25% of its lifetime action in the past two months alone, even though it was built more than thirty years ago. Fierce winds have brought down trees and power lines, flipped cars, forced entire train lines to a standstill and even killed a taxi driver via a massive chunk of dislodged mortar in Holborn Circus. Historically masters of the civilized world, we Brits have had to turn to the Dutch (yet again), this time for extra pumps. They might want to redesign the entire county of Surrey while they’re at it.
The Thames, looking deceptively tame last week
Although weather carnage has been going on for weeks in the rest of the UK, the Prime Minister’s decision to act at last correlated suspiciously with the moment the mansions of the Home Counties (presumably full of rich Tory occupants) finally started succumbing to high waters last week. It’s hard not to be cynical hearing him trumpet, so very late, how we’re all in this together and money is no object. Try telling that to the Cornish.
Destroyed huts on Cromer East Beach, about a fortnight ago
Richard and Joshua inspect a casualty of wind in the park. Another felled tree missed our block of flats by a few feet this past weekend.
Predictably, there’s been a lot of wibbling about climate change, mostly from Labour politicians trying to score points. We don’t have anything as cool-sounding as a Polar Vortex here, though, and the flooding of flood plains may not actually be that unusual. And certainly not as sexy. Proving definitively that the crazy weather this winter on either side of the Pond is anthropogenic is probably quite tricky from a scientific standpoint. But it did all remind me of Kim Stanley Robinson‘s excellent lab lit fiction trilogy about climate change, kicking off with Forty Signs of Rain. Do check them out if you want to get into global warming’s equivalent of the Blitz spirit.