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BBC Climate Check For 1961 (The One They Won’t Broadcast!)

December 26, 2021
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By Paul Homewood


Ben Rich’s Climate Check begins:

“If anywhere in the world sums up a year of extreme weather, it’s Canada.”

This is highly ironic, because he could have used exactly the same introduction for the Climate Check of 1961!

The drought that summer in the Canadian prairies was reckoned at the time to be even worse than the dustbowl years of the 1930s. Many places had received no proper rainfall for a year and a half, and harvests were completely devastated.


Wildfires burned millions of acres across much of Canada in what was called the The Angriest Summer:

September 9 1961 | Maclean's

To cap it off, flash floods killed a family of five in Timmins’ Ontario in August, following six inches of rain in 12 hours:

Timmins, Ontario – August 1961

Catastrophic floods hit many parts of the world that year.

New South Wales suffered some of the worst floods in its history in November 1961, probably only surpassed by the ones in 1900. The Nepean Times reported:

“During a week of rain, to yesterday, in which 474mm of rain were recorded at the post office, Penrith received half its annual rainfall on two days…”

The road from Sydney (extreme right)
And the Nepean bridge (extreme left) are covered in this aerial picture showing the flooding at Windsor. November 22, 1961.


In the very same week, the BBC was reporting on flood-stricken Somalia:


It is thought that over 200 people have drowned and about 230 villages have been destroyed in this area alone. Unconfirmed reports put the number of homeless at 300,000.

Outbreaks of malaria, dysentery, rheumatic fever and influenza have been reported in a number of places. Somalia’s public health adviser, Mohammed Naqi, warned of a possible typhoid epidemic.

The worst of the flooding was caused when the two main rivers, the Shabelle and the Juba, broke their banks and merged in a vast flood plain 12 km wide.

The torrent of water submerged vast tracts of land, tore out communications, marooned towns and villages, destroyed homes and livestock, and ruined banana plantations.

Throughout the country, roads and airstrips are under water, making the task of moving food and medical supplies almost impossible.

The Prime Minister, Dr Abdi Rashid Shirmarke, made a desperate plea for help at a news conference six days ago.

He said nearly all Somalia’s food crops have been destroyed, and said food will have to be found for about 600,000 people for eight months, until the next harvest.

And the USA was also badly affected by flooding in 1961.What were described as “widespread, prolonged and disastrous” floods hit Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama in February and March.

This was followed by extensive flooding in the Midwest in May, and heavy flooding in Idaho in June.The most tragic flood of the year was in July in Charleston, West Virginia when a small area cloudburst flood caused 22 deaths.

Severe flooding also occurred in December in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama.

The worst floods that year in the USA were brought by Hurricane Carla in September, a Cat 4 storm with winds of 170mph, which left a trail of devastation from Texas to Illinois, including 34 dead, 1900 homes destroyed and a record number of tornadoes, including one of only two EF-4s ever observed in a hurricane.

The Atlantic hurricane season in 1961 saw two Cat 5s, Esther and Hattie, making it one of only seven Atlantic hurricane seasons to feature multiple Category 5 hurricanes in one season. Hattie devastated Belize City, damaging 70% of the buildings there. The damage was so severe that it prompted the government to relocate inland to a new city, Belmopan.

Drought in China between 1959 and 1961 triggered the great famine, when an estimated 30 million starved to death. Although the death toll was largely a result of Mao’s Great Leap Forward, drought certainly played a part.

And to cap it all, there were wildfires in California:

Fire burns in the Bel Air community in November 1961

It is fraudulent for the BBC to suggest that the weather this year has been any more extreme than in years past.

  1. December 26, 2021 2:16 pm

    Climate hysteria wasn’t a thing in those days. Anything unusual before about 1979 now gets brushed aside or adjusted until it fits the preferred narrative.

  2. Thomas Carr permalink
    December 26, 2021 2:28 pm

    Fraudulent is a bit of a weasel word in this context.
    Fraud is not readily understood and sounds technical.
    Perhaps mistakenly I have used it to describe an action with an intention to gain assets or avoid an obligation. Better to describe the BBC as lying.

    The lying word has more traction and more likely to catch the eye of newspaper editors short of copy on a slow news day.
    Lying is the word and if the BBC say that they unintentionally misled then gross professional incompetence is the very least of their folly.

    • 1saveenergy permalink
      December 26, 2021 2:43 pm

      “Better to describe the BBC as lying. ”

      Better to describe the BBC as Bloody Lying Bastards. !

    • David Wojick permalink
      December 26, 2021 2:47 pm

      For that matter “gross professional incompetence” sounds technical. How about stupidity? They are either lying or stupid. There is a lot of that in alarmism. A hard choice.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      December 26, 2021 9:02 pm

      I suspect these “journalists” simply believe in a this nonsense so have no thought to actually check any of it. They are wholly ignorant in the way of medieval village priests repeating what the pope has told them to say.

  3. December 26, 2021 3:45 pm

    Whether it is lying or fraud, the intent of the BBC is definitely to mislead the public and scare them into doing something about the “climate emergency” or the “climate crisis” or the the “climate catastrophe” (or whatever the current scare words are). And as we all know, weather is not climate, so there is a double intent to mislead.

    • December 27, 2021 2:20 pm

      It is just the BBC policy. Totally contrary to its purpose and remit. Those at the top should be called to task; but it won’t happen due to the current dead hand of politics riding over sensible thinking.

  4. Hugh Sharman permalink
    December 26, 2021 4:08 pm

    Thank you once again, Paul! That was my second year at Imperial College! I have not the faintest memory of these dramatic events! 😉 I had so little notion of what was happening in the Rest of the World! We need historians like you!

  5. John Hultquist permalink
    December 26, 2021 8:03 pm

    ’61 — the year I finished high school in Pennsylvania'easter

    • December 28, 2021 8:45 pm

      thanks for that link John – from the “Impact​” bit –
      ” the storm dealt the final blow to the Texas Tower #4, a USAF radar installation in the Atlantic Ocean, causing her to sink with the loss of all 28 crew aboard”

      can you imagine how that would be reported in today’s MSM !!!

  6. Barrie Emmett permalink
    December 26, 2021 8:23 pm

    From a layman’s point of view I find this article by Paul deeply reassuring. Confirms what idiot s are still at large. Thank you.

  7. Coeur de Lion permalink
    December 26, 2021 9:01 pm

    Having just listened to our Queen’s Christmas message, I noted an absence of any remarks about Covid – good – but an inappropriate mention of the Royal Family’s support for COP26. – herself, the idiotic Prince Charles, down to future King William. A disaster. Why couldn’t some Palace high-up – Controller of the Household or whatever – take the Queen to on side and say “Look, Ma’am, do a bit of reading about these COPs. They have always been complete failures and this will be no exception. It will attract enormous media scorn. I recommend you should keep well clear. Prince Charles has already damaged his reputation. Also, I can arrange a presentation on today’s climate science by some serious people whom you will find convincing”.

  8. Phoenix44 permalink
    December 26, 2021 9:06 pm

    And the simple fact is that for the vast majority of 2021 all the world enjoyed utterly normal weather. The vast majority of places had no records broken of any kind at any time. A few places for a very short time had some slightly out of the ordinary any weather.

    Yet there was apparently a global crisis.

    • 4 Eyes permalink
      December 26, 2021 10:42 pm

      Everything is a crisis for people who love being scared and have nothing else to do but fret.

  9. December 27, 2021 3:48 am

    There is data to show British Columbia, Canada’s 3021 flooding was not due to changes in rainfall, damages were not unexpected, and long-standing risks with the dyke system were not adequately addressed.

    Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Engineering Climate Datasets show that when recent data are added, rainfall intensities in BC have not increased on average for extreme short duration events:,100%2Dyear%20intensities).

    And annual maximum series for the province show locations with decreasing trends over periods of record as well:,trends%20in%20AMS.

    While estimated damages are very high for 2021 (approx. $450M CAD), BC’s historical flood/storm/water peril damages since the early 1980’s have been very low relative to its share of GDP, population, dwellings and infrastructure. The 2021 flood has now increased the expected annual damage statistics to be more in line with what should be expected and has occurred in other regions of Canada:

    Looking directly at streamflows, research has shown decreasing trends in Canada

    “A total of 68 stations in Canada representing diverse hydrological conditions were studied by Burn et al. (2010) for detecting trends in extreme hydrological events for the period 1957–2006. It was concluded that peak annual flows are generally becoming smaller and earlier. Zhang et al. (2001) reported trends for 11 hydrometric variables for Canadian catchments and generally observed decreasing trends in streamflows for the period 1947–1996.Burn and HagElnur (2002) and Whitfield and Cannon (2000) observed major regional differences and variability of streamflow trends across Canada, with both increases and decreases in precipitation and streamflow for the periods 1946–1999 and 1976–1995, respectively. Burn and Whitfield (2016)examined changes in the flood regime for watersheds across Canada for the period 1961–2010. They concluded that reference hydrometric watersheds (catchments with pristine conditions and good quality data) exhibit decreasing trends inflood magnitude while non-reference hydrometric watersheds displayed increasing trends.”

    Urbanization over decades has increased peak flows in small flashy catchments of course – that is ‘hydrology/land use change’ not changing climate extremes.

    Lastly, in a report earlier this year, Ebbwater Consulting warned the “current model for flood risk governance in B.C. is broken” ( – see Ebbwater’s “Journalists’​ Guide to BC Flood Reports that No One Read….” : …. that includes the BBC

  10. cookers52 permalink
    December 27, 2021 8:20 am

    In 1961 the World population was 3 billion, in 2021 the world population was 7.9 billion.

    Densely populated areas of the world are more or less still in the same places but cities are now much bigger, historically natural disasters and warfare forced civilisations to move the population centres away from harm.

    So more of us have become vulnerable to extreme weather, and we have increased our vulnerability by building on changing coastal areas, flood plains and astonishingly build wooden houses in forest fire risk zones.

    So in a strange way Ben Rich is right, more of us are being affected by extreme weather but it has little to do with climate change.

    In response to these problems world governments are adopting policies of net zero emissions, which paradoxically will make us more vulnerable to extreme weather.

  11. Eddie P permalink
    December 27, 2021 9:15 am

    With reference to this year’s climate check and the record 49C July temperature recorded at Lytton BC, this is the actual station data for that month. Where is this record temperature?

  12. December 27, 2021 9:43 am

    There was an excellent program on BBC4 (23/12) with some coverage of the winter of 1962/3; some of us are old enough to remember that and 1947. Problem we can foresee now is what will happen when we are dependant solely or mainly on wind turbines and solar panels in such circumstances.
    I did comment to BBC : – “Please don’t allow yourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security, it won’t happen now because of “Global Warming” ! – Lesson one : “Never believe your own propaganda !”.
    Always remember, “Snowmaggedon” – winter of 2010 – the “Beast From the East” – these were just a gentle tap on the shoulder to say gently “Hey, remember me???”

    We desperately need mainstream media, BBC in particular, to adopt a more realistic, less propagandist approach to informing the general public of the real situation, the real risk.
    Is BBC willing, prepared, able to do this ?”

    Whether there will be any constructive action is highly unlikely ‘though an advert for their continued climate coverage did mention their obsession with the cessation of skiing in the Scottish highlands. Perhaps a more humorous understanding of some of the more naïve staffing might be appropriate !

    • December 27, 2021 2:34 pm

      I well recall both the 1947 and 62/3 snow events. Plenty of anecdotes here! All I can say is that an EV vehicle these days would be a death trap in those conditions and that few if any have any experience of driving safely on ice. It would be total lock up.
      IMO the situation is waiting in the wings and eventually will happen and survival would depend on a plentiful supply of good old fossil fuels. Not something that the current politicians agree with.

  13. December 27, 2021 10:00 am

    Australian rainfall histories reveal that droughts haven’t changed much, the most obvious change has been an absence of heavy rainy periods in recent decades:

  14. Della Hynes permalink
    December 27, 2021 10:53 am

    Thank you Paul for your amazing research and reporting. You are a beacon of sanity amid the egregious lies and propaganda the activists and politicians are wielding to destroy western civilisation, democracy and modernity itself.

  15. Lloyd Price permalink
    December 29, 2021 2:18 pm

    Well said Della! It’s a mystery to me why there are so very few seeking and articulating the truth about temperature and weather. We know that it has become so difficult to raise a head above the parapet. Therefore, we must be extremely grateful to you, Paul. Truth always wins in the end, but we fear it will be a long haul, with vast untold damage to Western economies in the meantime.

  16. Brian Allan permalink
    December 31, 2021 8:35 am

    Meteorologists have to make headlines to keep their jobs and with the climate change crew getting most of the headlines they really have to push the boundaries and hope people have short memories!

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