Q and A with StormHour Featured Meteorologists John Hammond & Sara Thornton – WeatherTrending
John and Sara at weathertrending are passionate about the weather and how it affects the way we live, every day. What we wear, what we eat, where we go, so much of it depends on the elements shaping our lives.
They are weather presenters, experienced meteorologists and journalists, and are familiar faces on British television.
Or have a look around their website for a relaxed, unique and passionate approach to the weather!
Question 1. What was your most memorable weather event?
John: Undoubtedly Sunday 26th April 1981 (sadly I have a slightly obsessive recollection of notable weather dates). The day before had been cold and wet across the heart of the UK, and I can distinctly remember Ian McCaskill suggesting on the radio that it might turn to snow on the higher parts of the Midlands by morning. But as night fell over the Cotswolds, the hills above our house were already turning white.
When I awoke at dawn there was a foot of level snow, with far deeper drifts building up, as my brother and I set out with our sledges.
This was the latest heavy snowfall in my living memory – so late that the first day of the summer school term was cancelled the following day!
It was magic moments like these that crystallised my obsession with the weather (and snow).
Sara: I’ve lived abroad quite a bit so I’ve been through some extreme weather, but the most memorable has to be a tornado outbreak in 1998 in Pennsylvania. We were driving on the turnpike and the sky ahead was split straight down the middle, as black as night on one side and clear and sunny on the other. Minutes later funnel clouds started to form and we just had to dive into a restaurant for shelter. In the end 22 tornadoes touched down in the state that day, we came awfully close to something very serious and I vowed to swap news broadcasting for weather.
Question 2. What is your favorite type of weather?
John: You may have guessed that my favourite type of weather is snow. My early years were spent on the south coast, where snow is especially rare. Trips northwards to the grandparents were always a thrill and always (in my memory) associated with snowfall (it’s funny how we have selective memories). I find that snow brings back the child in all of us, (before the hazardous reality of driving around in it kicks in). Isn’t it wonderful how the world outside our window can be visually transformed so quietly and perfectly? A reminder that nature is more awesome and powerful than any of our man-made constructs.
Sara: I hate wind. It makes me really cross and out of sorts. Of course my hair whips around and that’s part of it but I also hate struggling with car doors and swinging bags and the rushing in my ears. I once had to do a live outside broadcast on the North Norfolk coast in gales and the gallery were laughing at my grumpiness. It was pretty hairy; I nearly blew away. Bliss for me is 24 Celsius with sunshine and spring-blossom scented air but that’s hardly weather is it? And I bet I’d be bored after a couple of days!
Question 3. From a purely meteorological point of view, where would you most like to live?
John: I like to live in the hills (no prizes for guessing why…). The Alps and The Rockies would deliver on the snow front, but somehow that’s cheating. Snow has to be British to trigger the same excitement in me. So I would plump for The Peak District. Hilly and accessible (and not too far away from my beloved Man United). Depending on time of year, time of day and microclimate, the peaks and dales also provide great variety in vistas and weathers within a relatively small area – a photographers’ dream. Great painting and running country too (which are other passions of mine).
Sara: Having grown up in New England and Pennsylvania I’d have to go for them, although I feel completely disloyal to Britain (I am actually British). But my childhood was filled with years of four completely distinct and separate seasons; snow in winter, crisp autumn days and proper summer heat. I think it’s why I love the weather so much. There was no season or weather when we weren’t outdoors, skiing and skating or making maple syrup, apple-bobbing or swimming in outdoor pools and lakes.
Question 4. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
John: Meteorology is a fiendishly complicated science, which makes forecasting it so awesomely difficult. I for one, hope we’ll never be able to forecast it perfectly. Life would get very boring. Despite our so-called sophistication, we still can’t control the weather, In so many ways, the weather still controls us. And I kinda like that.
Sara: I’m obsessed with getting the people of Britain outside to make the most of our amazing country and I think our climate sometimes stops people doing that, which is odd because we don’t have too much extreme weather. It would be hackneyed to quote Alfred Wainwright, but I think it is a matter of preparation for the conditions in the UK. At weathertrending we’re making it our mission to help people plan their lives better around the forecasts so that the weather is no excuse for not getting out there!