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The end of Cowes Week (a huge yachting event in the Solent) there are celebrations, with big parties, fireworks and this year a flying display from the RAF’s Red Arrows and the simultaneous departure of the “three Queens” (the Cunard liners Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria). We took a picnic to our local beach to watch.
We mostly had to stay in the car at first as heavy showers kept racing along the solent, giving some very dramatic scenes and pretty rainbows.
I was on my way back from a great walk down to the sea when I spotted a thin column of smoke in the forest up ahead. I was surpised that anyone would risk a bonfire in such dry conditions, and hurried to check that it was under control. Within seconds, the smoke was so much thicker and the base so wide, that it could not possibly be a controlled burn.
I saw that a line of thunderstorms was crossing the English Channel and heading our way. I thought I would try to capture some drama, and lightning, with my camera and hoped to catch a storm approaching over the Isle of Wight and crossing the Solent. I parked the car at the top of the beach in Lepe Country Park, set the camera up and loved the sense of impending doom as the sky darkened, the wind rose and the waves grew.
After several days of bitterly cold winds, warmer, moister air started to move in from the South on Thursday, resulting in heavy snow. This area has any snowfall, on average, for less than 4 days a year and snow on the ground maybe once or twice in a winter, so this much snow is unusual. We had a little freezing rain on Thursday night and Friday too. This occurs when rain falls (because the temperature at cloud height is too warm for snow) but then freezes as it falls through colder air nearer the ground.
It’s 10:30 in the morning and the air temperature has just risen to freezing, from a low of -3.7C at dawn. That’s unusually cold for our location, but it’s not even the lowest temperature this winter (that was -4.7C on 8th February). We saw snow falling several times yesterday, but there is nothing on the ground and the sun is shining right now. Despite this, the media is full of stories about “The Beast from the East”.