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What's the worst.......

(38 Posts)
grannyactivist Thu 05-Dec-13 11:00:35 you've encountered?
The worst and definitely most scary weather I have ever encountered was when driving in the Fens beyond King's Lynn. It was five o'clock on a winter's evening and the icy fog was so thick it was impossible to see more than a couple of feet ahead. There was no sound at all and I encountered hardly any other cars until I reached King's Lynn. There was ice on the road and I was dreadfully conscious of the ditches bordering the roadside and scared that I would slide into one and be there for days.

feetlebaum Thu 05-Dec-13 11:06:49

Force 12 off Cape Hatteras...

tiggypiro Thu 05-Dec-13 11:17:31

Winter '62 - '63 in Teesdale. Could have had snowball fights for 6 months. I was 13 at the time so remember it as a bit of an adventure. We had drifts 14' high at the farm gate but amazingly were never actually snowed in and managed to get to town (to school) every day ! Can't see that happening now - 2" of snow and we grind to a halt.
My parents said 1947 was worse. They had to dig themselves out of the house and into the byres to get to the cattle. It must have been very hard work.

I wouldn't fancy your Force 12 feetlebaum !!

annodomini Thu 05-Dec-13 11:32:07

GA, I remember driving from Terrington St Clement down to King's Lynn in a ferocious blizzard. No hedges to protect the roads from the horizontal snow and white lines obliterated. I think it was pure guesswork that got me home. In the winter of 62-63 I was travelling daily into Edinburgh to do a Dip Ed. Head-high drifts everywhere and the local loch frozen over for six weeks. Quite pretty, but sooooo cold! Trains never stopped running to time on the main Glasgow-Edinburgh line.

grannyactivist Thu 05-Dec-13 11:39:41

anno that's the road I described above. I'd been visiting clients on an isolated farm road.

annodomini Thu 05-Dec-13 12:29:40

GA I subsequently got to know the locality very well when I was a Census Officer in 1981 and had to count the houses (really!) in the villages between West Walton and King John's Bank to see which had increased and which had decreased in the previous ten years. I knew every road in the Marshlands!

ninathenana Thu 05-Dec-13 12:41:10

I remember lumps of ice in the sea, and huge snow drifts in '63

I also remember driving at night in fog so thick you couldn't even see the tail lights of the car in front even though there was a steady slow line of traffic. I had the children with me, they were only toddlers at the time. Very scary.
This was on the way home I add, I wouldn't have left the house in that !

janerowena Thu 05-Dec-13 12:55:50

Being stuck on the snow-bound M25 30-odd years ago, in an elderly unheated porsche with skinny tyres and virtually no heating, in a snow blizzard in an evening dress after a dinner, and knowing I would freeze to death if I parked up like everyone else. All the cars parked up in the slow lane, nose in to the side, just like a car park. You couldn't see signs or know where you were, everything looked so different. I thought I would stop just for a bit and have a rest after the blinding snow that had kept us crawling at about 5mph for hours. I had a nap and woke shivering at about 4am to see a snow plough slowly making its way along the motorway. I followed in its tracks, after managing to get over the mounds it made, and luckily not only was there a pretty full moon, but I recognised my turn off by the shape of the hills just before it. I still had another hour after that, but at least there was a little heat while I kept going and the fear and exhilaration of it all still stays in my memory.

Now we have better weather forecasts, better heating in cars, and mobile phones. And I am older and wiser and keep a rug in the car.

tiggypiro Thu 05-Dec-13 14:28:01

Is it still a porsche jane ?? !!

Granniepam Thu 05-Dec-13 14:37:38

Winter '62/'63 in Sussex, the sea froze and icicles from the gutters nearly to the ground made the house look like a prison from within - but of course the schools stayed open so we didn't have to stay in!

merlotgran Thu 05-Dec-13 14:40:07

Freezing fog is the scariest weather you can get on the Fens. Blizzards are just as bad. You can't see the sides of the roads but you know the ditches and dykes are there somewhere. A Fen blow in spring, which is just like a black sandstorm, is pretty unpleasant as well.

These are just a few of the reasons I nearly divorced DH when he brought me here in 1975. We're still here......grin

The wind is so bad today our thick privet hedge which protects the front of the cottage is almost flat to the ground and the dogs are shaking just like they do in a thunderstorm.

annodomini Thu 05-Dec-13 14:40:19

janerowena - lucky you didn't become hypothermic. We might never have known you. smile

annodomini Thu 05-Dec-13 14:43:11

Early '63, we were driving home to Linlithgow after a wedding in St Andrews - in a blizzard. The wipers on my father's car failed. He had to keep stopping to clear the snow. Don't know how we made it home.

janerowena Thu 05-Dec-13 15:17:33

No, tiggypiro, that was rich Ex rather than poor current schoolteacher! grin

merlotgran and others - yes, we used to live in Lincolnshire and the fogs are very scary. Every year someone would end up in the ditches because of fog or ice, in our area alone there would be one or two deaths a year between Horncastle and Boston from people not being able to escape from their cars, the ditches are wider and deeper than they look from the road. One woman lost four children about ten years ago, two were hers, one night. That was awful, with all the blame-throwing.

JessM Thu 05-Dec-13 15:41:36

Smelly, yellow freezing fog in Oldham in the 70s. Temperature inversion was keeping the freezing air at the bottom of the valleys. Went on for about 3 days getting more and more polluted and sulphurous. The council put oil lamps on the corners of junctions so you could see where the edge of the road was.
Gave me an insight into what pea soup -ers must have been like.

thatbags Thu 05-Dec-13 15:46:42

Bathroom froze in Sheffield 1978-9. We put a night light under the loo cistern and that kept that from refreezing but we had to get washed in the kitchen for a week or so.

Kitchen sink drain froze in Edinburgh early eighties (overnight temp -17°C). Taps still worked but had to pour washing up water down the loo.

Several winters here we've needed crampons to walk down the hill because of ice, but we don't mind that.

My first winter in Dundee I had chapped knees walking to and from uni! Didn't have over-trousers then, nor a long enough coat.

FlicketyB Thu 05-Dec-13 15:59:45

1962/63. My father was stationed in Germany and I was at university. We got the big freeze at the same time as Britain, but colder and there was a German law that occupiers had to clear the pavements fronting their homes - and my mother had been so delighted with the bigger garden that came with the married quarter on the corner of the road.

Youngest sister and I had to get out every morning and clear the frozen snow hammering it with spades and a garden fork to break it up. It was so cold that we had to have scarves wrapped round our face, to breathe the air directly sent a shaft of cold into your lungs that felt like a knife. In the end it was too cold and we let the path freeze up. Younger sister was in hospital and on one journey there we met a man skating down the road we were driving down

AT the end of the Christmas vacation I returned to Newcastle, where I was at university. It was under 6 foot of snow in places, and all I could say ecstatically was 'isn't lovely and warm here'. Everybody thought I was mad, but it was warm compared with Germany.

TriciaF Thu 05-Dec-13 16:15:26

My memory is from winter 1962/3 too.
Our first boy was born in Oct 1962 and we drove down to inlaws in Essex for xmas, living near Manchester at the time.
On the way back the freezing fog was so bad we drove all the way with me hanging out of the window to see the edge of the road. Took about 10 hours, with a 3 month old baby.
Then when we got back all the pipes in our house were frozen - oh no! We spent the next few days staying with friends.

ffinnochio Thu 05-Dec-13 16:37:05

Hurricane Bob, 1991 Maine. What a storm! We were staying with family in a half built house where the only means of water was from a well, electrically pumped.(No back-up generator at that time) So when the electricity water, which was worse than having no heat or light. I had a sickness bug, as well as one son, and the other was quite poorly with a nasty reaction to poison ivy.
After the storm, many, many trees (well, it was Maine) remained unsafe, and the advice from the locals was that when out walking, look up, because you'll see a tree falling before you hear it. Very disconcerting.

whenim64 Thu 05-Dec-13 16:55:32

1969 going over the old St Gotthard Pass from Italy into Switzerland late at night. There was a blizzard and snow was dropping like tennis balls - the coach we were in got stuck. The two drivers got out to put chains on the wheels and dig tracks, and the side of the coach slid - we all thought we were going to die. The drivers jumped into the coach to start moving us outside. Down the mountainside was the wreckage of other vehicles that had gone off the mountain. The blizzard was so bad we couldn't see in front of us, then a Landrover appeared with more vehicles to guide us off the Pass down into Switzerland. We were taken to a hotel and given makeshift beds and thick duvets. I slept in a room behind the kitchen which had icicles on the inside of the windows, but I slept like a log after that terrifying experience.

ffinnochio Thu 05-Dec-13 17:57:08

Blimey when. Terrifying indeed.

janerowena Thu 05-Dec-13 19:17:21

Indeed, very scary experiences.

I forgot the earthquake in Mallorca 45 years ago. It was my birthday in early October, I never did get my day out or even a present. My sister and I were playing in our room because it was hot outside, and the house shook and I fell over, she was on her knees clutching the windowsill, I can still see it. We had no power for a week, walls had fallen down everywhere as had trees. It was also the end of the sun, we had storms and rain for days afterwards. Driving was hard because there were so many rocks on the roads from the hillsides, which made them impassable.

Then of course I was in Kent for the hurricane, which took all the kent pegs off the roof and cracked the wall through just above the upstairs loo. I went up to the top floor to see why it was so draughty in the house and could see stars through the beams, it was surreal. We lost every tree in the garden except one, and spent the night all huddled together in one bed on the side of the house away from the wind. No power for a week and all the roads flooded or impassable because of trees. Along with the rug in the car against the snow, I now always keep several hundred candles in stock. The kids laugh at my candle cupboard but rural Kent ran out of pretty much everything at that time.

FlicketyB Thu 05-Dec-13 20:04:15

My earthquake story is the one I didn't realise. We live a couple of hundred yards from the London-Bristol mainline and when we first lived here a couple of goods trains loaded with stone and gravel from the west country used to travel the route at night and when they passed. if we were awake, we could feel the vibration of their weight on the rails and, obviously, hear them.

One night when I was alone I was woken by the sound of the train, which seemed both much louder than usual and really made the house shake. I fell asleep and thought no more about it. When I turned the radio on in the morning it announced that there had been an earthquake in the midlands the previous night and it had been felt and heard as far south as Hampshire. I realised that my 'very noisy, heavy train' had actually been an earthquake

Flowerofthewest Thu 05-Dec-13 21:56:20

My father driving us home to Hertfordshire across the Fens from his home town of Wisbech where we had spent Christmas. Freezing fog and so much snow we could not see where the road ended and the ditches began. This too was winter of 62/63. We arrived home to snow drifting up our drive and onto the porch - covering our front door and no way to get the car to the garage.

A few years later, in Wales, my uncle died in the middle of an extremely cold winter. No undertakers could get to the house due to the amount of snow. The family were advised to lay the body in bin bags in the garden. Very sad but necessary I am afraid.

The same winter my father was driving to Wales to meet my mother and became trapped in a snow drift. Luckily he had the presence of mind to pull on layers of clothes from his suitcase until a snow plough rescued him.

wingnut Wed 11-Dec-13 22:03:18

I enjoy a good bit of weather myself, and mine are probably a bit lame, but two come to mind.

The first was when I was walking in the Himalayas, around 14,000 feet or so. I got up as far as the ice field, but didn't have crampons, and anyway I was travelling alone, so started to make my way back down. A storm came out of nowhere before I got far, as they do in high mountains. It was difficult going, no visibility in the heavy rain, but there was a shepherd's hut at around 13,000 feet, and he said I could spend the night there to weather the storm, and he would go down into the valley below where his house was. Sounded good. The hut was a simple one-storey affair, with a main room and a hole in the roof to let the smoke out, and a small sleeping quarters off it. Just before he went he said that if I heard anything in the night it would just be a leopard which had been taking a few sheep of late.

After he left, I realised that there were no doors, just a blanket hanging over the front entrance and another on the entrance to the sleeping area (which was right next to the main entrance). I spent the night sleeping fitfully with a stout stick next to me. There were noises in the night, but nobody poked their head in, so I went on down in the morning, half awake.