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The Strangest Weather The World Has Seen

The British like to talk about the weather, but generally, that conversation only ranges between superficial comments about whether it’s ‘turned out nice today,’ and whether we’re likely to have a dry bank holiday weekend. Next time someone gets you involved in a weather conversation, we’d like to make sure you’re armed with something rather more interesting to talk about. Try one of the following talking points for starters.

Ever heard of a waterspout? Once there were nine waterspouts at once in Michigan. Looking a bit like a tornado made of water, a waterspout lasts from a few minutes up to a whole hour and can have a diameter of up to 100 metres. You’re probably not going to see too many in Cardiff Bay, but certainly, in Australia and New Zealand, there have been sightings, as well as in the States and Antartica.

How about fire whirls? This is a bit like a wildfire that’s caused when dry air swirls in strong winds to create a column of flames. As you can imagine this is a dangerous phenomenon and can cause havoc in the surrounding area. You’d need more than a golf umbrella to shelter from this kind of weather.

What’s the biggest hailstone you can imagine? Well, usually they measure from 5mm up to around 150mm, which is huge. But in terms of record breakers, the largest recorded had a diameter of over 20mm! The heaviest hailstones killed nearly 100 people in the 1980s and weighed about 1kg each. No thanks!

Raining cats and dogs is the kind of thing people say when they’re mentioning the weather. Well, next time they do, it’s your cue to talk about other animals that have fallen from the sky in a storm, such as fish, frogs, toads, spiders, worms, and - if you believe the good people of Bath - jellyfish. The thought is that waterspouts are to blame. And you know all about waterspouts…

If anyone starts talking about lightning, make sure you mention the freak of weather that is ball lightning. People have reported sightings of UFOs that have actually been ball lightning, but it’s no less spooky to hear that these balls of light can actually pass through solid glass, kill people, and leave the smell of sulphur behind. Something about microwave radiation…

Anyway. There’s your list of things to name-drop into the conversation next time your hairdresser asks you if you’ve brought your umbrella because it’s looking a bit cloudy out there.

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