Posted 31 January 2014 by Andrew Gardner
Extreme weather may be the buzz-phrase at the moment but I'm inclined to agree with the people who claim we had a mini-typhoon in Sussex on the last Saturday in January. It came up so suddenly and so violently but more than that, the noise was incredible. When people describe wind as 'roaring' through the trees, well, that's exactly what it did and I've never heard anything like it, even in a tropical monsoon. It stopped as suddenly as it started and then all was calm again.
Sussex has taken its fair share of the rain this winter, with coastal and river defences challenged and parts of cliffs being eroded somewhat faster than expected. But it's nothing like as bad as some areas so I sincerely hope none of this extra-large precipitation has disrupted any of your holiday plans: for many of us the idea of being holed up in a cosy country cottage at this time of year is more appealing than ever. It's important to take care if you're walking near rivers, cliffs and the sea in bad weather, but please don't let this spoil your enjoyment - there are plenty of safe havens too.
Animals' reactions are always telling - don't they say that in earthquake-prone countries that have a large feral cat and dog population, the cats and dogs all go into hiding before a quake hits? Luckily our Sussex weather isn't that dramatic. When the alleged mini-typhoon hit I'd gone to bring a horse in from a field; they'd usually all walk up to the gate in anticipation of teatime but they stayed firmly hunkered together in a corner until the wind had passed and were almost disorientated for a few moments afterwards.
At the time of writing the Met Office won't commit to an official description - do you suppose that's because it was only raining cats, and not dogs as well? The South East regional news carried a story about feral cats being picked up by the wind and swirled in the air (which was soon picked up almost verbatim by several national organs) so I'm pleased to say that our domestic cats stayed resolutely in bed throughout the whole event. Well, someone has to. And we'd like to reassure you that no cats were harmed in the writing of this article.