Footnotes: ‘And Now, The Weather’ by Alison Maloney

As a procession of major storms wreak havoc across Britain, we turn to And Now, The Weather for some light respite, an almanac, a miscellany, and a celebration of our most famous obsession.


What's the story?

The past two weeks have seen Britain battered by heavy rain and severe gales as a series of major storms sweep across the country, leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. Storms Dennis and Ciara led to record-high river levels and hundreds of  flooded properties. The number of Environment Agency flood warnings and alerts have broken records, with areas from the Scottish Highlands to the Cornish coast and large parts of Wales and Northern Ireland affected.

What's the book?

A recent study revealed the British people spend an average of four months of their lives talking about the weather, a national passion that has puzzled outsiders for decades. And Now, The Weather celebrates our most famous obsession in a book that is part-almanac, part-miscellany.

Including illustrations, maps and line drawings, the book – produced by BBC Weather with a foreword from legendary weather presenter Carol Kirkwood – covers all things rain and shine, from our favourite myths, legends and old wives tales to the words only we use when we talk about the weather (anyone for a spot of ‘mizzle’? How about ‘custard winds’?)

As well as weighty analysis of the extremes that wreak the sort of havoc we've seen across Britain over the past few weeks, the book also includes stories of some of the most bizarre meteorological events ever witnessed. This includes the time when, in 2011, a football match at a school in the Scottish Borders was postponed when pupils heard a ‘soft thudding’ on the ground to see earthworms falling from the heavens. Or when, in 1809, three ‘balls of fire’ hit the ship HMS Warren Hastings during a storm.


Worm showers are a natural phenomenon caused by warm water currents, or ‘thermals’, sucking up worms as they emerge from riverbeds and carrying them on the wind before dumping them back to earth, sometimes miles away.

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