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The Desire For Extreme Weather

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Thundery wintry showers

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I've been seeing a few comments floating around recently about how we shouldn't hope for thunder and lightning because of the problems that it causes and that we shouldn't discuss looking for the "best" storm, instead using the traditional terminology of "worst", and also that we "need" rain but we don't "need" thunder and lightning.

Rather than going into an in-depth analysis, how about the following question: why don't people get pulled up for hoping for the "best" heatwave or prolonged dry spell? After all, the European heatwave of August 2003 caused well over 10,000 excess deaths, and the 1995 summer drought caused myriad problems as well, and we don't "need" heat and dryness in order to fulfil the mundane bare essentials of survival. Actually, let's take that further, we don't even "need" more than 1000 hours of sunshine per year in order to survive, using that rather political, economic and mundane definition of "need". I rather think it's because it's considered "normal" for people to want hot dry sunny weather, and "different" for people to want thunderstorms, and "normal" behaviour tends to be exempted from that kind of scrutiny. Also, I sometimes cynically detect hypocritical stances of "it's alright to hope for extreme weather but only as long as I want it".

True, most of the people wishing for heatwaves aren't after something as extreme as an August 2003 in France, but then again most of the people wishing for thunderstorms aren't after something as extreme as the catastrophe that recently hit Alabama. It's fair to say that there's a tradeoff between exciting weather and associated danger, and that some of us have higher thresholds than others, and that "careful what you're wishing for" may apply to some of those hoping for ultra-extreme events and not thinking of the magnitude of the consequences, but I tend to object to any significant advance on that.
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[b]I agree entirely Ian. I think the Netweather forum is excellent and there isnt another one that comes close to it but there is a lot of hypocrisy on here at times.[/b]

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