Viridian Note 00207: Extreme Weather "Normal" in BritainBruce Sterling <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thu, 2 Nov 2000 11:57:02 -0600
Attention Conservation Notice: Euro politics, more UK weather disasters, so similar to last year's weather violence that even the government is noticing.
(((This Viridian Note was composed and sent by Sussex inhabitant email@example.com^^*** (Dave Phelan).)))
"Weather: 'action now essential' "Extreme events will be the norm - Prescott
Paul Brown, environment correspondent Wednesday November 1, 2000
"Extreme weather events must now be regarded as normal in
Britain as global warming takes hold, and the railways,
power lines and flood defences must adapt to cope, John
Prescott, the deputy prime minister, said yesterday.
"As the flooding worsened in the north-east to include
Leeds and York, and towns along the Severn braced for
inundation overnight, he told MPs that the country must
not be brought to a standstill every time there was a
"Government officials, local authorities, emergency
services and the environment agency have been summoned to
a meeting in London today where Mr Prescott will demand
action. 'We have to ask ourselves if we are doing enough
to cope with the new situation,' he said.
"'This storm should be a wake-up call for everyone. Our
infrastructure should be robust enough, and our
preparations rigorous enough, to withstand the kind of
weather we have just experienced.'
"Planning for 'extreme circumstances' did not seem to
be included in the current arrangements, he said. 'I have
constantly seen on the railway lines on the east coast,
where [the overhead wires] are pulled down quite regularly
because they were built on the cheap.
"'We aren't putting the amount of resources and
investment in for what we call more extreme conditions,
which we must now accept [are] normal. We have to ask
ourselves: should our power lines come down every time we
have such storms? Should 1,000 trees fall across our
railway lines in the south-east? Should we do more to
prevent flooding? Are our drainage systems really
"He said the government had already provided extra
money for the environment agency for flood defences.
"He praised the efforts of emergency services but
said: 'What we need is to take a longer term look at how
as a country we can be better placed to deal with extreme
weather events, which we expect to be more frequent in
"He said this week's events gave more impetus to the
coming talks at the Hague on how to reduce emissions of
the greenhouse gases which cause global warming. 'All
these incidents of climate change are reminding everyone,
wherever they are in developed or developing countries,
that this affects us all. Climate issues have no
boundaries,' he said.
"Last night there were still 33 severe flood warnings
on rivers. In the south-east == the worst hit on Monday ==
11 rivers were still overflowing their banks, but mopping
up had begun. Elsewhere, levels were rising.
"Four hundred properties were expected to be flooded
overnight in Shrewsbury and downstream on the Severn in
Bewdley, Ironbridge and Worcester. The centre of Leeds was
flooded last night after 85mm (3.3in) of rain fell in 24
hours and the river Aire burst its banks. The Aire
reached its highest level for 50 years and flooded
Skipton, Stockbridge, Shipley and Cottingley. York was
flooded by the river Foss.
"The environment agency said that with more rain
expected tonight and tomorrow, further flooding was
expected, because almost all rivers and streams were at
full capacity and the soil was saturated.
"Seven people are known to have died. Two others are
missing after they were swept away in Northamptonshire
and Birmingham on Monday.
"An Italian tanker on tow after its 14 crew were
airlifted to safety on Monday sank in the Channel near
Alderney yesterday. France was alarmed that its 6,000
tonnes of toxic chemicals might cause an environmental
disaster." (((French shipping's Wexelblat disaster #2
after last year's tempests and "black tides" == bruces)))
"Railtrack said trains were running on most routes,
but many were restricted to emergency timetables (...).
"The company said the storms caused 'unprecedented' damage and many miles of track in the west country, south Wales and the north-west were still under water."
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