2012: A Year Of Wild Weather

Date: 20.12.2012     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 17.56
Category: BBC One
To say that the weather in 2012 has been unusual is an understatement. 2012: A Year Of Wild Weather (BBC One, 30 December, 5.30pm) features dramatic eyewitness footage and comprehensive analysis of some of the most extreme conditions seen in the UK, ranging from parched riverbeds to devastating flash floods.

BBC Weatherman Nick Miller looks at the science behind what happened and explains meteorologists’ latest theories about why the weather in 2012 was so different from normal. Along the way he meets scientists from the Met Office’s Hadley Centre to find out about the jet stream and to look at why its unusual behaviour has had such an impact on our weather here in the UK.   

Says Nick: “In the spring of 2012, England was dry and reservoirs were dangerously low. But the worst drought since 1976 was followed by the wettest April to June on record.”

The Met Office’s Adam Scaife shows how the jet stream is the ‘global driver’ of our weather, guiding and carrying storms across the Atlantic to the UK.  Len Shaffrey, a meteorologist from the University of Reading, then illustrates how the jet stream in summer would normally be north of the UK over Iceland ensuring that any storms miss us. But this year it was in the wrong place, resulting in the very heavy rainfall and its dire consequences. 

Nick meets the residents of North Tyneside who resorted to canoes as the best form of transport.  Aerial shots of a flooded Bracklesham Bay in West Sussex recall how the area had a month’s worth of rain in just one night, while villagers from Yealmpton near Plymouth talk about their ordeal as they were rescued from the deluge by emergency services.  

This central eight minute film in the Wild Weather programme goes out across England. It will be bookended by two films which will be made regionally and which look at the impact of the climate all around England, ensuring that 2012 goes down in the record books as one of the worst weather years we have ever had to face.

London

Weather presenter Carol Kirkwood looks back on a year of record breaking weather across the Capital. She meets the people paying the price for our rain-lashed summer and finds out if such unseasonal weather patterns are likely to continue.

South and South East

Coast presenter Miranda Krestovnikoff reviews a year that went from drought to deluge, causing mayhem along the way for people, businesses and wildlife. From flood victims in Sussex to the fruit growers of Kent, Miranda tours the region examining the effects of an extraordinary meteorological year.

South West

BBC Weatherman David Braine introduces dramatic mobile phone footage of flash flooding in Clovelly, North Devon. He also asks what effect the floods have had on our wetland birds, and he meets the man responsible for keeping Devon flood-free – George Arnison of the Environment Agency.

West

BBC Weather presenter Ian Fergusson tours the region to assess the impact of a year of record-breaking weather across the West of England. He discovers that the weather has not just affected the tourism industry and farming community but that it is also creating real problems for the local cricket leagues, who have had to cancel many of their games.

West Midlands

Shefali Oza looks back at the year in which the sun disappeared and hailstones smashed greenhouses in high summer.  She investigates how the Midlands’ weather caused death, destruction and general mayhem, and asks “What has made it all happen?”

North West

BBC Weather presenter Dianne Oxberry discovers how the unseasonal conditions have blighted the bee population, and led to honey yields being drastically down.  And rather than boosting the fortunes of the last remaining umbrella factory in the North West, the terrible weather has rained all over its profits.

North East and Cumbria

Hannah Bayman focuses on ‘Thunder Thursday’ in June when around 25mm of rain fell in just 30 minutes, and she interviews the eyewitness who filmed the dramatic moment the Tyne Bridge was hit by lightning. Fiona Armstrong investigates the risk the weather poses to our homes and she hears from one woman who is protecting her home from flooding at a personal cost of over £20,000.

Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

Meteorologist Paul Hudson finds out how the extremes have affected communities like those in Hebden Bridge, where homes were flooded not once, but twice.  Meanwhile Keeley Donovan meets the people who have tried to battle through the weather and carry on with their lives as normal.

East Midlands

East Midlands meteorologist Kaye Forster tells the story of a remarkable weather year, which saw tornadoes, record-breaking rainfall and hail stones the size of golf balls wreak havoc. Even veteran weather watchers were stunned. Climate change expert Professor Rob Wilby from Loughborough University comments: “You would have to be 130 years old to have experienced a summer as wet as the one we’ve just had – it was remarkable.”

East

BBC East Weather forecaster Julie Reinger meets local food producers to find out how the weather is affecting the supply of favourite foodstuffs like jam and flour. She also meets Guy Smith. His farm at St Osyth in Essex was the driest in the UK in 2011. Julie looks at how he is now having to deal with flooding, and looks at his plans for adapting to a future that offers more of the same.

SM