March is renowned for its blustery weather. Yet in my lifetime, here in Consett, the wind is not just restricted to one month of the year. On the edge of the Pennines and known as the third highest market town in England, we definitely get our fair share of wind, as it sweeps across the moors and whistles its way up Front Street, then heads on down  Sherburn Terrace.

I remember as a child, battling the wind at the traffic lights on ‘The Braes’ corner – now the HUB – on many an occasion, navigating my way to St Patrick’s School. Yet in those days it wasn’t just the intensity of the gusts we had to confront, but also the tiny pieces of steel and grit – processed by The Company – that lived in the air among us, recklessly entering our eyes, making them smart and sting. I’m guessing those strong winds were also partly responsible for the cascading and billowing red dust which descended over our washing lines on Mondays; when the back streets were zigzagged with bed sheets and pillow cases. It still fills me with wonder how those whites were so white with all they had to contend with. 

Yet my faded memories can’t quite recall it being as windy as it is now.

I, and many others have noticed recently an inclemency in the weather that is proving difficult to live with.

We have, since the end of September last year to the end of January this year, encountered 10 storms with alphabetical names from Agnes to Jocelyn.

Is it the fact that storms have only been named since 2015 that makes us so aware of their frequency, or is our climate definitely changing?

I’ve always been interested in the weather and as a number one fan of ‘The Shipping Forecast’ talking about the weather takes up a good part of my day. In fact, as I was googling the other evening I came across available apps to track the wind. I typed in sailing, windsurfing and sky diving into the Windy App – not that I do any of these extreme sports, but I was interested to know what the winds speeds would be, if I one day decided to take them up! 

From floods, to storms, to wind, we have experienced all of these in recent months, so what do the experts say? Well it seems that they agree. Senior meteorologists state the case. Ben Clarke a researcher in world weather said the following:

“Climate change is warming both our oceans and our atmosphere, providing more fuel for storms to form and intensify, resulting in heavier downpours”

Earlier this year, one Wednesday evening, when the rafters were rocking in the the wake of yet another storm, and the rain bleached across and down my window panes; apart from the creaking of the fence, I could hear a much louder noise at the front of my home. Donning my boots and the most waterproof coat I could find, I ventured outside to investigate. And there it was, my newly emptied recycling box careering down the street and clattering off every fence on its way to freedom.

In hot pursuit, I chased after it, praying it wouldn’t land on the parked cars and I’d be liable for the damages. 

Soaked to the skin and battered by the storm, I eventually caught up with the escapee and hurriedly returned it to its rightful place, wedging it between the wheelie bins.

If only the storm had been last night I thought – as I dried my clothes on the radiators – that box would have been firmly rooted in place and unmovable, as it would have been weighted down with glass!

No matter, I may live in the one of the windiest places I know, but I do get to see the best sunrises and sunsets!

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  1. Going round the braes corner is still a challenge. Always check the roof after a blustery night too. My greenhouse still bears the scars 💨


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