The St Jude Storm of 2013. A storm expected to be so powerful that it was named after the Patron Saint of Lost Causes. Not even the storm of 1987 was given a name until after it had passed, and the devastation it had wrought discovered. Perhaps that’s because we didn’t know it was coming. Forecasters, aware that they had failed to predict the Great Storm, made sure they warned everyone well in advance this time.
They laid it on thick. The media fueled the fear, latching on to the opportunity to fill column inches and 24 hours of news broadcast. A sense of foreboding built up. Windows rattled in the strengthening winds and squally showers. Something big and bad was coming.
In the end, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it was made out to be. Not that is any comfort to the relatives and friends of the four people who died as a result of it of course. In truth I was disappointed. I woke up early and got out to take some photos before going to work, expecting (hoping) to see downed trees and beached ships. I actually saw one wheelie bin, a broken fence and lots of twigs.
I’m always drawn to the seafront during stormy weather. I’d decided this time round to park on the West Hill and take some photos of the beach and Harbour Arm from a distance. There were quite a few photographers down on the beach already. The waves were smashing against the Harbour Arm dramatically, but not much more so than I’ve photographed before. And the wind was easing.
The forecasters were consistent in saying that the winds would gust up to 80 mph. That is a high speed, but nothing nearly as destructive as those of the Great Storm that blew at a consistent 80 mph with gusts even higher. I think the warnings about the St Jude Storm were over egged somewhat.
There is a need to warn the population about incoming bad weather. This helps people secure their property and prepare for travel disruption. However there is also a need for some perspective to be shown. The St Jude Storm was never going to cause damage on the scale of the Great Storm. As usual the media blew everything out of proportion.
These photos can all be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.