Unusual Weather Events
Staffordshire’s weather has included its fair share of unusual
weather ocurrences over the centuries. A number of pre- 19th century
archive sources focus particularly on the unusual in commenting on
or recording the weather. To the modern reader the language used
often seems to be exaggerated. Yet the use of particular words and
phrases is interesting and should not be dismissed out of hand. The
event is as the writer observed it at the time, or as he or she
believed it to be.
The phrase, ‘the greatest in man’s memory’ is a popular one
frequently used in descriptions of unusual weather. ‘Five inch
hailstones’, ‘two minute thunder claps’ and ‘mighty tempests’ are
all descriptions which have been applied to recorded weather events
in the county.
Phenomena, such as comets, eclipses and meteors were seen in the
heralds of bad things to come, including poor weather. Even as
late as 1852, an
earthquake was considered to have contributed to unsettled
weather and flooding in the following week.
There are accounts of storms with huge hailstones, as in June 1715
at Ettingshall and August 1810 at Alton.
Dr Wilkes’ account of a
hailstorm in 1738 describes it as the greatest ‘in the memory of
Fierce storms could also provoke fear and terror, especially
where structural damage occurred.
In the 19th and 20th centuries it is the newspapers which contain
particularly descriptive and well-written accounts of unusual
weather events, such as storms and
on buildings and trees.