Saturday, 4 January 2014

The British Weather


Now all over the world we seem to be having extremes of weather like at the moment in the US & Canada you have snow and ice storms as opposed to the wind and rain we are having here, the one thing you can be sure of is floods after. I know people are putting it down to global warming, but is it. Weather extremes in the UK are a matter of course. We have been having floods for years and heavy snow  so in this blog I will show a little of what happened in my lifetime.



First I will take you back 50 years to 1963, that was when I first remember the bad winter (should do I was off school for  a month) There had been a lot of rain before Christmas and the Thames flooded. It the froze and snowed, hailed and snowed some more. End result was the Thames froze over along with the floods. That is my mate Chris stood on he floods. There is photo also showing his Uncle stood on the Thames and beside him is a fire with a dead pigeon roasting on it.








This photos is a bit upstream of the last photo and I can only think it was taken before hand as the area would have been flooded. The area in the distance is the spoil from the Thames after it was dredged. Might add that to my knowledge was the last time it was done.



The same area from the other direction showing how flooded it was in 2012, the spoil heap was flattened off and is to the left.






Back to the floods. Again this was taken around 1963 and shows the are called Cholsey Marsh. The Thames  path is not in evidence yet will go past the boathouse.



















This is the same area a few years ago when it was flooded, the boathouse is still there to the left.










A little to the left of the boathouse is more of the marsh and what is known locally as Ferry Lane  




Same bit forty years later and as you can see a few more willows have grown.










Same area from Ferry Lane a few years later










This is Ferry lane when it is flooded. The Thames is about 100 meters in the distance.











I took this photo the other day and it's not far from where I live, the area gets flooded badly in heavy rain like you can see in the photo below


This was a cloudburst we had.



Lets go back to some snow. Now we had cold winters when I was a kid, November the frosts came but they seem to be a thing of the past but in 1980 this happened. This is the Westfield Road in Cholsey











Normally the road would look like this. The photo of the mini in the snow was taken along  the road past the trees you see to the left.
















This is a view of Cholsey from and old Roman road outside the village, you can see the whole are is covered in snow.





We also get the odd icicle











The village does have it's fair share of snow










but generally the roads are passable 





These steps as by Wallingford Bridge and is an interesting place as there are some flood markers you can see, it's also a good reference point. Note the grass on the opposite bank is showing











These tow cheap ass  plastic lables can be seen  to the right of the large step in the photo above.













Just over 24 hours after the previous photos the river had risen and the grass on the opposite bank had gone.

 Just over 24 hours later it has risen over the step to within 100mm of the 2007 mark

Another 24 hours and it is over the 2007 level and 20cm off the 2003 0ne





This is the bridge and flood level in 2003


















Christmas day 2012 it looked like this



















and this was taken a few days ago, you need to reference the railings on the left in the last few photos



One last thing these flood marks are from the late 1800s and you can see them in the photo above and in all three photos if you look. 









These were the floods a last year and plonked between those two boats is one which sunk





24 Hour later it looked like this





Same view in 2013 showing a lot more water.








Wallingford Waterside park  on New Years Eve.








Taken Today on the 5th Jan




Compare that with 2003, the paddling pool is way under water as is the swimming pool









The Boathouse which is now a restaurant. The place used hire boats out when I was a kid but it closed and is now what you see now.









In 2003 it looked like this, the picnic benches piled up and floating away










they never learn as it still happens.









One of the other things that happens after snow and rain is the fields flood like you can see here in he distance




Footpaths become waterlogged  & impassable if your not prepared




The gulls take full advantage of it though





The drainage ditches are the problem as they can't cope. The whole area I just showed was once marsh so does tend to get waterlogged but it does not take away the fact half the problem we have is lack of drainage because we have lost so many ditches
 I'll leave you with these photos of Wallingford Bridge taken on Christmas Day 2012
Floods can look beautiful in their own way even though they do cause a lot of damage.
Global warming may be partly to blame and certainly the seasons have changed but as you can see from the photos I have shown through the years can it be blamed or is it down to our environment and expanding  population  and the housing being built on the flood plain. I would not like to say but one this is for sure, we will still get snow, Rain & floods.