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1970-1974

1974 (2nd September): THE 'MORNING CLOUD' STORM

1970 (June):
1. With a value of 16.4 degC (+2.3C on 61-90 LTA), this was one of the WARMEST June's in the CET record in the 20th century, and in the 'top-dozen' of WARMEST such-named months in the entire record.
2. 90 minute RAINFALL of 111 mm was recorded at Miserden, Gloucestershire on the 10 June 1970.
> A 12 minute RAINFALL of 51mm at Wisbech, in Cambridgeshire on the 27 June 1970 is the HIGHEST RAIN-RATE (over this 12-minute period) in the 20th century.
1971 (January): RECORD HIGH UK MID-WINTER TEMPERATURE
1. At Aber (Gwynedd/N.Wales), a MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE of 18.3degC was recorded on the 10th - the (equal) highest known for the UK (and Wales) for January. (see also 1958 & 2003).
1971 (30th November): MAJOR ACCIDENT IN FOG ('MOTORWAY MADNESS')
A 50 vehicle 'pile-up' on the M1 near Luton in Bedfordshire in thick fog was responsible for the deaths of 7 people and over 40 injured. The term 'motorway madness' was in use from the late 1960s but came into common use in the 1970s as the U.K. motorway network grew sharply, and motorists needed to adjust to the different requirements of driving on such roads.
1972 (12th/13th November):
1. A rapidly developing (and eventually intense) DEPRESSION passed swiftly across Ireland, Britain and the southern North Sea over the course of these two days. At midday on the 12th, the low was within sea-area Shannon with a central pressure of 983 mbar; 24 hours later it was approaching the southern Baltic, but on its way, the central pressure had dropped to 959 mbar over north Holland & the Heligoland Bight coastline. There was major DAMAGE caused across wide areas from Wales and southern England to the Low Countries (especially the Netherlands) & across the North German Plain. At least 50 DEATHS were reported along the track of the storm. For England, a large number of trees were lost, with many buildings affected - Lamb notes the main impact as having occurred over the East Midlands & East Anglia & he also speculates that some TORNADO activity may have occurred. [HS/23]
1973 (2nd April):
1. SEVERE GALES over England & Wales. A low pressure system moved east, deepening rapidly. It travelled from Ireland (992mbar) at midnight at the start of the 2nd, to be down to 973mbar over the North Sea at midday. WINDS were GALE-FORCE over much of the southern half of Britain and reached Force 9 behind the cold front to the south of the centre; GUSTS to over 60 kt were recorded at Coventry, Bedford (66kt at 10GMT), Wattisham and Shoeburyness. The strongest winds however sprang up to the west of the centre as air from the central North Sea accelerated into the system. Maximum mean 10-minute (& gusts) recorded (a selection): 70kt (90kt) at Whitby CG; 70kt (88kt) at Kilnsea; 34kt (66kt) at West Raynham; 37kt (63kt) at Coltishall; 49kt (73kt) at Hemsby; In general, contemporary reports suggest winds to 'Force 10, possibly Force 11'. Many trees, tiles and television aerials were blown down and caravans destroyed. To the north of the low, HEAVY SNOW brought traffic disruption to northern England. [HS/23]
1973 (July):
1. In what was generally a DRY year (see below), a notable fall of RAIN was recorded in the Sheffield (South Yorkshire) area. The monthly total at Sheffield (Weston Park) was 201 mm, making this month one of the WETTEST any-month at this station in a record that started in 1882. This total was helped by a daily total of 119 mm on the 15th, with as much as 137 mm being recorded in the foothills of the Pennines to the NW of the city. The M1 was FLOODED (not an uncommon occurrence actually), many roads in the city centre were blocked and the railway station had water up to platform height rendering it unusable. The rain on this day was part of a larger-scale event that covered the whole of South Yorkshire, the lower Trent valley and north Lincolnshire. ('Weather'/Sep08/RMetS)
1973 (Annual):
1. Notably DRY year in the EWP series: 740 mm (or roughly 80% of the long-term average). At Bristol, in a composite record that started in the mid-1930's, it was the DRIEST year with just 578.2mm of RAIN.
1974 (January):
1. The New Year had a WINDY start across the British Isles, and there were two notable STORMS to significantly affect Ireland. The storm of the 11th/12th caused severe FLOODING due to wind-driven high tides in the area of Cork and also across NW coastal Ireland. Many harbours & boats were DAMAGED, with a large number of trees lost. It was during this storm that a GUST of 124 mph / 108 kn / 200 km/hr was recorded at Kilkeel in Co. Down (Northern Ireland), making it the highest sea-level WIND speed recorded in Ireland (to that date). The highest hourly mean WIND speed of 92 knots at Great Dun Fell on the 12th January, 1974 was/is the highest known. During the same STORM, a GUST of 90 knots (about 104mph) was recorded on Salisbury Plain, which even allowing for the exposure is quite exceptional for inland southern England.
A fortnight later (27th/28th), another significant STORM to affect Ireland produced a highest GUST of 96 kn near the coast of Co. Mayo (NW Ireland). [HS/23]
2. 8th: 125mm of RAIN fell in the southwest. Flooding in Wales, and four people died.
> 17th: 238.4 mm of RAIN fell in a 24 hr period at Loch Sloy main adit (OED="main approach"), Strathclyde (near Loch Lomond) on the 17th ... the HIGHEST such 24hr period total for January known, and amongst the top 5 or 6 such events for any month of the year (also the highest known for Scotland for any-month).
Rainfall totals for the month exceeded 1000mm at a few sites in western Scotland. (But note:... due to the synoptic pattern, some stations in NE Scotland were notably DRY with 25mm of rain on average for the month. )
1974 (Autumn):
1. Notably CYCLONIC/UNSETTLED/WET. November RAINFALL at Kew Observatory was 138mm (219% of average), and coming after October [69mm/121%] and September [124mm/248%], this contributed to Kew having just over twice normal autumn rainfall: I remember the banks of the Thames over flowing at the Brocas, Eton.
2. Probably the COOLEST autumn for England and Wales since 1952. Of particular note was that the October of 1974, using the CET series, was colder than the December of that year. The respective CET values, and anomalies wrt 1961-1990 series mean were: 7.8degC (-2.8C) October vs. 8.1degC (+3.4C) December. This is the only time this has happened in the CET record (up to 2005), though 1842 & 1852 had similar or the same values.


1974 (2nd September) THE 'MORNING CLOUD' STORM
A storm surge driven by persistently gale-force winds up the English Channel (circa F9 at times) caused the yacht 'Morning Cloud III' to sink off Brighton, as she was hit by an estimated 26 foot (8 metre) wave. Two of the 7 crew members, including one of Edward Heath's godchildren had been lost at sea. The yacht was owned by Edward Heath, from 1970-74 Prime Minister of the UK (and at the time still leader of the Conservative party - until 1975). 
http://booty.org.uk/booty.weather/climate/1950_1974.htm 

Tory leader Edward Heath's yacht Morning Cloud capsized and sank in strong gales off the south coast on September 3 1974. The alarm was raised by five survivors who struggled ashore in a life raft. One crew member drowned and Mr Heath's godson, Christopher Chad, 23, was also lost at sea. It was the latest in a series of blows for the ex Prime Minister, who lost his office in March the same year. http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/features/Retro-Cloughie-controversy.6547517.jp 

Heath came into conflict with the trade unions over his attempts to impose a prices and incomes policy. His attempts to legislate against unofficial strikes led to industrial disputes. In 1973 a miners' work-to-rule led to regular power cuts and the imposition of a three day week. Heath called a general election in 1974 on the issue of "who rules". He failed to get a majority and Harold Wilson and the Labour Party were returned to power. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRheathE.htm 


1974/75 (Winter):
1.It was the 2nd MILDEST winter in England and Wales since 1869, and notably SNOWLESS . Also, one of the 9 WARMEST winters (by CET) in the series which began in 1659. Up to 1997, rank=4 Value=6.43; Dec=8.1, Jan=6.8, Feb=4.4 (Others: 1686, 1734, 1796, 1834, 1869, 1935, 1989 and 1990.)


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