CLOSE
YouTube
YouTube

Fact-Checking a 1947 British Weather Report

YouTube
YouTube

In June of 1947, British Pathé visited brothers John and Dennis Bartlett, professional weather predictors who claimed to be "80 percent accurate" and to have known all about the famously cold winter of 1947. Here, they are enlisted to find Britain's "proverbial one-week summer."

There's something decidingly un-British about their cockiness, but mamma Bartlett didn't raise any fools.

Or did she?

You talk a big game, Bartlett brothers—but can you back it up? You're about to get fact-checked, 67 years into the future.

Bet you didn't see this coming, chaps.

July:

Bartlett Brothers Prediction: "The first week of July, thunderstorms. The middle two weeks, fine and sunny. Two thunderstorms. And the last week will be bright and fairly decent again."

Actual Weather: "July 1947—A rather warm month, with a cool spell 5th-11th; frequent, and at times severe, thunderstorms...Thunderstorms occurred rather frequently, mainly on the 1st, 8th-9th, 11th, 14th-19th, 22nd-23rd and 28th-29th. Those on the 15th-16th and 28th were widespread and severe locally." (Monthly Weather Report of the Meteorological Office)

Those middle two weeks were anything but "fine and sunny," Bartlett bros. You blew it. I'm sure there are some sopping wet holiday-goers on Brighton Beach who'd like to have a word with you (assuming they are still alive, which is unlikely).

August:

Bartlett Brothers Prediction: "Well, it's going to be very very disappointing. Heavy downpours of rain. Thunderstorms. It's going to be typical for this month. I don't think it's going to be a very good month at all, August. Very disappointing. That's the best way to sum it up."

Actual Weather: "August 1947—An exceptionally hot, dry and sunny month....In England and Wales it was the driest August on record." (Monthly Weather Report of the Meteorological Office)

"The month was unprecedented (for fine weather) for over 75 years over practically the whole of the British Isles — only surpassed by August 1995." ('Weather,' February 2013)

It's easy to sit in a sunny meadow and draw ovals on maps for the camera, Bartlett bros., but when the storm of truth comes rolling in, it rains all over your parade. Doubt you brought an umbrella. Sorry to steal your thunder. When it rains it pours, huh? Maybe you should've kept your heads out of the clouds. And so on and so forth.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
MegaSecur, YouTube
arrow
Design
The Self-Deploying Flood Barrier That Could Keep Cities Dry Without Sandbags
MegaSecur, YouTube
MegaSecur, YouTube

For many places in the world, the future is going to be wet. Climate change is already intensifying heavy rains and flooding in parts of the U.S., and it’s only expected to get worse. A recent study estimated that by 2050, more than 60 million people in the U.S. would be vulnerable to 100-year floods.

Some cities plan to meet rising waters with protective parkland, while some architects are developing floating houses. And one company has figured out how to replace piles of sandbags as emergency flood control, as Business Insider reports. Water-Gate, a line of flood protection products made by a Canadian company called MegaSecur, is a self-deploying water barrier that can be used to stop overflowing water in its tracks.

The emergency dam is made of folded canvas that, when water rushes into it, inflates up to become a kind of pocket for the water to get trapped in. You can roll it out across a street, a canal, or a creek like a giant hose, then wait for the water to arrive. In the event of a flash flood, you can even deploy it while the flood is already in progress. It can stop waters that rise up to five feet.

According to MegaSecur, one Water-Gate dam can replace thousands of sandbags, and once the floodwaters have receded, you can fold it back up and use it again. Sadly, based on the flood projections of climate change scientists, heavy flooding will soon become more and more common, and that will make reusable flood barriers necessary, saving time and money that would otherwise be spent buying, stacking, and getting rid of sandbags. The auto-deployment also means that it can be used by a single person, rather than a team of laborers. It could just as easily be set up outside a house by a homeowner as it could be set up on a city street by an emergency worker.

As climate change-related proposals go, it sounds a little more feasible than a floating house.

[h/t Business Insider]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Weather Watch
Thanks to Desert Dust, Eastern Europe Is Covered in Orange Snow
iStock
iStock

Certain areas of Eastern Europe are starting to look a bit like Mars. Over the last few days, snowy places like Sochi, Russia have experienced an unusual snowfall that coated mountains in orange powder, according to the BBC.

The orange snow was the result of winds blowing sand from the Sahara east to places like Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Russia. The sand mixes with precipitation to form orange-tinted snow. According to the BBC, the phenomenon occurs semi-regularly, turning snow orange about once every five years, but this year is especially sandy. As a result, skiers are navigating slopes that look like they're from a different world, as you can see in the video below from The Guardian.

The Sahara rarely gets snow, but when it does, the landscape can look somewhat similar, as you can see in this image of the Atlas mountains in Morocco.

Instagram is currently filled with photos and videos from Eastern Europe featuring the odd-looking snow. Check out a few samples below.

[h/t BBC]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios