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Extreme Weather 1971-Style!

November 8, 2018

By Paul Homewood




Extreme weather is the most likely and severe threat facing humanity!




For many years now, the public have refused to be scared by slightly higher temperatures, so the threat of what used to be called “bad weather” has been wheeled out to alarm everyone.

Floods, droughts, cold, heat, storms, wildfires. They’re all supposedly getting worse, and we’re left in no doubt of the reason.

The fact that every event they cite is in no way unprecedented does not stop their weaponising of weather, or the gullible media from amplifying it. They rely on a ceaseless bombardment to persuade people that things must be getting worse.

OK, we’ve had all of these events before, but never this many, so the argument goes. It’s a bit like Whack-A-Mole – you knock down one attack, and three more appear.

My very first foray into climate blogging was an analysis of extreme weather events in 1971. (I wrote it in 2011, so it was not a cherrypicked year, merely a nice round 40 years before.)

I won’t bore you with it again, as it was basically just a very long list. You can see it here though.

But here is a summary, which goes to show that extreme weather is the norm, not the exception:



Much of the world was gripped by severe drought in 1971.

The Sahel was in the middle of a terrible drought, which lasted from 1967 to 1988. Drought conditions however extended well beyond that particular part of Africa, across a broad swathe of the Middle East and India. Scientists at the time explained that these long term drought conditions were the direct result of global cooling, which squeezed the tropical rain belts closer to the equator.

In Ethiopia 300,000 died in the two year drought, which began in 1971. A further 150,000 were affected in Kenya in one of the worst droughts on record there. Drought also severely impacted Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, while monsoon failure in India in 1971-72  was one of the worst since records began in 1876.

Much of northern China was also badly affected, whilst further afield Australia and Argentina also suffered severe droughts.

The US did not escape lightly either. Texas endured its worst drought since the 1950s, while Florida’s drought was the worst on record, with wildfires destroying 400,000 acres in the Everglades. California, Maryland, North Carolina, Minnesota and even Hawaii also suffered from major droughts.


North Vietnam was hit by one of the worst floods of the 20thC.  Because of the Vietnam War, little news of the Red River flood emerged at the time, but it left behind 100,000 dead.

In India, 10,800 died from storm surge and flooding during a cyclone that hit Orissa. Earlier in the year, 32 died in floods in Kuala Lumpur following heavy monsoon rains.

In Australia, Queensland was hit by several major floods, and Canberra and Victoria were both hit by significant floods, as was New Plymouth in New Zealand.

Elsewhere, 130 died in the Rio de Janeiro floods that year, 19 died in flash floods in Barcelona after 308mm of rain fell in 24 hours, and heavy rain caused a massive landslide at the village of Saint-Jean-Vianney in Quebec, killing 31.

In the USA, hardly a month passed without major floods somewhere or the other. In February major flooding affected Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. A month later it was the turn of southeastern states, particularly Georgia which experienced record water levels in some areas. May and June brought significant flooding to Utah, Idaho, Nebraska and Wyoming, while Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia suffered in June and July.

The following month Baltimore was struck by one of the most damaging thunderstorms in 50 years, with 14 dead from the resulting floods.

In the same month, widespread flooding followed Tropical Storm Doria up the coast from N Carolina to Maine. In August too, Alaska suffered one of its worst floods on record.

Extended flooding occurred in September and October, affecting Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. And to finish the year off, Oklahoma was again hit with significant flooding, along with Arkansas.

Hurricanes and Tornadoes

The Atlantic hurricane season was described as “fairly active”, with three hurricanes hitting the US. The strongest was Edith, a Cat 5 which killed dozens in Nicaragua, before turning north and striking Louisiana.

Ginger is on record at the time as the longest lasting Atlantic hurricane ever. An unnamed storm in August attained hurricane status further north than any other North Atlantic tropical cyclone.

Unusually, Canada was on the tail ends of two hurricanes, Beth and Doria, which both caused huge amounts of flooding. Both were listed by Natural Resources Canada among the 18 major hurricanes of the 20thC.

In the eastern Pacific, the hurricane season was above average with 18 named storms, 6 of which made landfall. The latter is still the record for a season.

In the western Pacific, the typhoon season was also a busy one, with 24 typhoons, of which 6 were super typhoons. The season had an extremely active start with a record number of storms before August. Typhoon Rose left 130 dead in Hong Kong, plus many more at sea.

Queensland was hit by Cyclone Althea, a Cat 4 cyclone, with extensive damage.

In the US, the tornado season was also above average, with 82 F3+ tornadoes (compared to 15 last year). The worst tornado outbreak occurred in the Mississippi Valley in February, spawning 19 tornadoes, and claiming 123 lives across three states.




Canada’s snowfall record for one season was set in the winter of 1971/72 in British Columbia. During the same winter, the US record fell, with 1122 inches of snow on Mt Baker in Washington.

Montreal’s “snowstorm of the century” left 17 dead with 70 mph winds producing second storey drifts.

Texas and Oklahoma were hit by a giant blizzard, which broke the state record snow depth on the latter. The NWS in Amarillo described lists this blizzard as one of the top 20 weather events in the Panhandle.

Columbia suffered its worst winter in years, compounded by severe floods in spring.

But it was not cold everywhere. The highest ever January temperature of 65F was set in Gwynedd.



If any of these events happened today, I suspect the global warming bogeyman would quickly be wheeled out.

  1. Kevin Cidle permalink
    November 8, 2018 1:26 pm

    I was interested in the 65 degrees F as a record for January in the UK. One of my bugbears about the AGW zealots is that they have no historical perspective or seem never to have read a book. Over the years I have been reading the diaries of Samuel Pepys who lived in the 17th C, and saw the civil war and the great fire of London and other historical events. Pepys was a great recorder of the weather. Some of his most interesting entries weather-wise are to do with a succession of very high January temperatures in successive years during the 1650s. For many days and weeks the temperature in London became as hot as mid summer, and rudimentary thermometers recorded highs in the mid-seventies. Interestingly, given current rections to perfectly ordinary weather events, hysteria broke out, there was panic among the populace, and eventually the King ordered a number of services to be held in Westminster Abbey called ‘Prayers for the alleviation of the strangeness of the weather’, which either worked or didn’t work depending on your point of view. Imagine if those temperatures were recorded nowadays in London in January. It would be seen as absolute proof that the world was ending and we were all doomed, exactly like the 1600s. It only goes to show that the weather seems always to have brought out the irrational and stupid in people, and there have always been plenty of hucksters and con men around to take advantage of the fact.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      November 8, 2018 2:10 pm

      You could say that the AGW zealots are willfully ignorant as they don’t want to know about facts that negate their CO2 theory.

      • Jon Scott permalink
        November 8, 2018 5:30 pm

        Far simpler. Theirs is a religious belief system born out of a marxist program put in place over 70 years ago and splendidly bearing fruit in ways its instigators hardly dreamed of in their pursuit of the complete undermining of Western society and its cultural and social norms. Like any religion it fears facts and attacks viciously anyone who threatens to lift the lid on their smoke and mirror show because “it” knows that facts can only do it harm and undermine its case to reveal the reality of this perversion of common sense.

  2. A C Osborn permalink
    November 8, 2018 1:48 pm

    Modern Climate History now starts in around 1980, unless they want to cherry pick some single event.
    It is all to brainwash the under 50s and it is working well, my 24 year old great nephew believes every word, uncluding how absolutely wonderful Wind Turbines and Solar are.

    • November 9, 2018 9:26 am

      Power shortages and monster electricity bills will be somewhat less wonderful.

  3. Ian permalink
    November 8, 2018 1:58 pm

    Just seen a news report about India, where atmospheric pollution is exacerbated by farmers burning straw, etc after harvest. Add that to their coal-generated carbon dioxide tally?

  4. Joe Public permalink
    November 8, 2018 2:08 pm

    • David Richardson permalink
      November 8, 2018 4:49 pm

      Love it Joe!!

    • David Richardson permalink
      November 8, 2018 4:50 pm

      Love it Joe.

    • tom0mason permalink
      November 8, 2018 5:40 pm

      That’s not fair – you cheated. 😛

  5. Broadlands permalink
    November 8, 2018 2:30 pm

    Do these alarmed AGW “stakeholders” really expect extreme weather events to disappear or get smaller? While “we” all get together and stop using carbon and “urgently” transition to huge solar panel and wind turbine “farms”? And then, using only that energy, safely bury tons of oxidized carbon left out in the atmosphere? Is that what it’s all about? Seems simple enough?

    • Jon Scott permalink
      November 8, 2018 5:52 pm

      More. The bleeding hearts would ban CO2 if they had the chance! Have you ever heard ANY of them say what is the ideal average temperature for the planet? ( I am sorry, an average temperature for the planet is an absurdity). Right now their reference for temperature is the depths of the Little Iceage! Are they serious??? CO2 is a trace gas. The atmospheric level is just two times the level at which all photosynthesis stops DEAD. Given that pre Industrial levels were around 280ppm which is dangerously low, have the zealots stopped for one moment to think what they actually are asking for? IF it is proven ( it has absolutely not inspite if what propaganda outlets like the BBC would have you believe) that man is responsible for the 220ppm increase by using fossil fuels then we should we not be congratulating ourselves for saving the planet and all its inhabitants from CO2 starvation?

      • bobn permalink
        November 8, 2018 6:10 pm

        Current atmospheric CO2 @410ppm (0.042% of atmosphere). It does vary day and night and place to place and by altitude. And has almost no thermal capacity. So cant influence climate (too weak and bugger all) – physics wont let those 20 electrons per molecule do it!

  6. November 8, 2018 3:02 pm

    If you google “severe weather” you get the catastrophic sites. If you google”wuwt severe weather” you get the facts. It looks like algorithms are dictating our thought processes.

    The problem is deciding whether these algorithms have intended or un-intended consequences.

    • Curious George permalink
      November 8, 2018 4:17 pm

      It is a question of perspective. “We burned down an enemy village. Our victory is a new page in world history.”

    • Jon Scott permalink
      November 8, 2018 6:23 pm

      Facts sadly appear absent in the alarmist world. Perhaps I am not alone in noticing that which calls its self climate science( I call it climate industry because they are all living from it) does not consider that the rigours of the scientific method applies to it. In normal science it is incumbant upon the proposer of a theory to provide evidence based on empirical data to support that theory. The climate industry throws out claims often with the most tenuous of foundations and it is up to the dilligence of a small number of “skeptcs” to actually look properly at the data and usually shoot the claim down. If they do not then the claims assume the status of truths. The Biased Broadcasting Corporation is STILL promoting the idea of consensus among scientists regarding AGM as well as still promoting Miami as proof of their fantasy sealevel rise. I wrote them at length to politely explain the difference that any 16 year old should have learned in geography between eustacy and isostacy providing multiple references as to the real cause of relative sealevel change in Miami which is cause by subsidence caused by ill planned groundwater extraction. The fact they continue as of last week to promote Miami as a poster child puts their agenda beyond the relms of wilfull ignorance and into simply…….fraud if you are polite or lies if like me you like to deal with facts and reality. As a public subscription based broadcaster the BBC has no business promoting a political agenda and how serious question are not being asked in the House of Commons about their blatant promotion of yet another strand of ultra left wing dogma is beyond me.

      • November 9, 2018 9:31 am

        The House of Commons gets its climate ‘education’ from the BBC and its media chums, it seems.

  7. bobn permalink
    November 8, 2018 3:21 pm

    Paul – The below was posted on last night.

    Major Math Error Puts Widely-Cited Global Warming Study On Ice

    An widely-circulated study which concluded that global warming is far worse than previously thought has been called into question by a math error, reports the Daily Caller’s Michael Bastasch.
    Princeton scientist Laure Resplandy and researchers at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography concluded in October that the Earth’s oceans have retained 60% more heat than previously thought over the last 25 years, suggesting global warming was much worse than previously believed.
    The report was covered or referenced by MSM outlets worldwide, including the Washington Post, New York Times, BBC, Reuters and others.
    The Washington Post, for example, reported: “The higher-than-expected amount of heat in the oceans means more heat is being retained within Earth’s climate system each year, rather than escaping into space. In essence, more heat in the oceans signals that global warming is more advanced than scientists thought.”
    The New York Times at least hedged their reporting, claiming that the estimates, “if proven accurate, could be another indication that the global warming of the past few decades has exceeded conservative estimates and has been more closely in line with scientists’ worst-case scenarios.”
    Unfortunately for the Princeton-Scripps team, it appears that their report has been proven inaccurate.
    Independent scientist Nic Lewis found the study had “apparently serious (but surely inadvertent) errors in the underlying calculations.” Lewis’ findings were quickly corroborated by another researcher. -Daily Caller
    “Just a few hours of analysis and calculations, based only on published information, was sufficient to uncover apparently serious (but surely inadvertent) errors in the underlying calculations,” wrote Lewis in a blog post published on climate scientist Judith Curry’s Climate Etc. website.
    After correcting the math error, Lewis found that the paper’s rate of oceanic warming “is about average compared with the other estimates they showed, and below the average for 1993–2016.”
    Lewis’s conclusion was replicated and supported by University of Colorado professor, Roger Pike, Jr., who tweeted his work.
    Lewis found the study’s authors, led by Princeton University scientist Laure Resplandy, erred in calculating the linear trend of estimated ocean warming between 1991 and 2016. Lewis has also criticized climate model predictions, which generally over-predict warming.
    Resplandy and her colleagues estimated ocean heat by measuring the volume of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmosphere. The results: the oceans took up 60 percent more heat than previously thought. The study only sent alarm bells ringing, especially in the wake of the United Nations’ latest climate assessment. -Daily Caller

    – theres more.

    • dave permalink
      November 8, 2018 7:05 pm

      Retained heat energy: Since the heat capacity of the ocean is 1,600 times that of the atmosphere, it follows – “Duh!” – that after a while (a few decades) virtually all of any excess HEAT ENERGY will go into the ocean, by dynamic-equilibrium sharing between the atmosphere and the ocean; where the effect on TEMPERATURE will be “bugger all” as it slowly mixes downwards into the enormous heat-sink of the abyss.

      And if the atmosphere should tend to cool in the future, the “same” heat in the ocean would SLOWLY come out and moderate the change (again, for a few decades). The ocean is a stabiliser whose true dimension nobody seems to appreciate. It is totally impossible, by the simplest laws of physics, to have any run-away in the temperatures in the atmosphere.

  8. November 8, 2018 6:17 pm

    1971 – during a cycle of global cooling. Also in 1971, CO2 was at approx 325ppm. Wouldn’t much, if any, human footprint in GT’s yet (if there ever is much).

  9. Europeanonion permalink
    November 9, 2018 11:57 am

    CO2; I think my idea is a runner. We should have a no breathing day as man must be the greatest source of CO2, and Methane, probably. “More tea vicar”. If not a no breathing day then perhaps a curtailed breathing day where shallow breathing is recommended but longer periods of breath retention applauded.

    Meanwhile subsidies for Green energy mean higher taxes and the uncertainty of the world market encourages high fuel prices, I’m paying twice for the failure of successive British Governments to get a grip on energy policies and then finding it expedient to hide behind AGW as a purposeful and wholesome cause.

    I live in a home heat that no hospital could venture for the safety of its patients, or any office. I find it increasingly difficult in a capitalist society that encouraged free enterprise and privatisation only to now talk of capping energy distributors. If the state thinks that in a free market enterprises, energy suppliers included, should not be working in a fair but competitive environment, that I should be rationing my comfort to suit dogma, then come clean and I will vote for the one that delivers that lifestyle and industry. The markets have to be free. Government is reneging on its obligation to look after its citizens, instead, preferring to act like Nostradamus or a shaman and future-cast outside my lifespan, that misty, unpredictable unknown.

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