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Quicksilver1989

What are the worst thunderstorms you have experienced in the UK?

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Posted (edited)

Haven't seen a thread on this yet, but I enjoy reminiscing about notable weather events 🙂.

Particularly interested in hearing from the older members of this site but what is the worst thunderstorm you have experienced here in the UK? You can judge it anyway you like, the largest hail, the most rain, best lightning displays...

I'll give some of my own accounts...

Back in Hull

Summer 1994 (?) - I think it was this year and the storm was so bad I had a fear of them when I was younger. My parents also remember this one and they thought it was a saturday during July. Anyway I was only 5 at the time and I remember being in the back garden when the sky darkened very rapidly. Constant booming thunder as I sat scared in the house and lots of close lightning strikes. This storm I always sticks out in my mind.

August 1996 - A very close lightning strike to my house with this one and the loudest bang of thunder I can remember. Was watching the olympic games at the time and the tv cut out and all the car alarms on the estate went off.

August 1997 had a few decent storms here but it was the heat that was really notable.

I remember sports day in 1998 at primary school got cancelled due to a thunderstorm during the day which was quite impressive. An even more impressive storm rolled along in the evening.

June 2004 - I remember one midweek evening during this month I think gave some very impressive displays of lightning

June 2005 - A thundery end but I remember feeling let down that the huge storms (I think it was the 21st) passed over North Yorkshire despite the skies turning very dark here.

June and July 2006 saw some great storms at times in the evening.

July 2013 and 2014 had their moments.
 

When I was at Northampton

Remarkably I saw no storms here between 2007 and 2011!

Southampton

October 2014 - Probably saw the most storms in one day earlier on this month, was really impressive. Had just moved to Southampton so thought there would be loads, but didn't see another till 2016!

June 2016 - Referendum storms - these were the first really good storms I saw here as a result of a spanish plume

July 2017 - The best storm I have ever seen in the UK with lightning persisting for many hours constantly. Sadly I missed April's this year which were supposed to have been even better!

Over to you guys, intrigued to know anyone who remembers the early 90s storm that sticks in my mind so strongly.

Edited by Quicksilver1989

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I've had so many awesome storms in Bedford, there are so many sick ones but I can't decide on which one is the best.

July 4th, 2015

The best storm I've ever experienced throughout 2015. Really good lightning strikes, so frequent as well. Started at around 1am so I only got around 3 hours of sleep that night.

July 19th, 2017

Again, one of the best storms I've ever experienced. Really close lightning strikes, one of them struck about a couple of miles from me. Really heavy rain also, and this storm started at around 9pm and rolled through and stopped at about 2am.

August 2017

This month was quite bizarre. I was on holiday in Florida and there were some wild thunderstorms, and I even spotted a funnel cloud. I went to Florida for three weeks, and out of the 21 days, I'd say 14 of the days was when we got a thunderstorm.

September 1, 2017

This was one of my favourites. I was watching England vs Malta downstairs in my lounge when I heard a large crack of thunder and started filming. I got about 10 strikes on camera and most of them were anvil crawlers that lit up the sky.

April 18-19, 2018

I had two thunderstorms in both of those days. One right after school, and one that lasted through the night about a couple of hours after the first storm. Usually after school I go to a rowing club, but I'm glad I didn't go because most of my friends didn't go rowing for some reason on that particular day. And the one that lasted through the night was an average thunderstorm with a lot of heavy rain afterwards.

May 26-27, 2018

This is the last storm I have seen, and this is one of the most outrageous storms ever. I remember when it started around the London area, and gradually pushed its way north up to Bedford. Really bright lightning strikes too. But, when the storm hit us, this is when thing started going bonkers. I remember one close lightning strike which struck a mile from me, and another one which struck a tower in the distance. I unfortunately didn't get any of those strikes on camera, but that is going down, I guess, as one of the best storms I've ever seen.

 

i spent 15 minutes writing that lol

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Lol I remember the ‘referendum storm’ it was a weird one - not quite overhead - but I remember it booming all around toward the end but we had no rain so I went for a walk in it and felt quite uneasy 😄

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Posted (edited)

May. Very dry, very sunny, and very warm (13.0C CET). Over 300 hours of sunshine was widely recorded for the first time since 1909. There was no rain at all in some parts of London, yet 83 mm fell in two hours in a multi-cellurlar thunderstorm in Halifax on the 19th; and approximately 193.2 mm at Walshaw Den Lodge near Hebden Bridge, in 2 hours. This is the record daily rainfall for May, and the most intense 2 hour rainfall recorded in Britain. It is known as the "Halifax Storm". It was associated with high pressure but air being forced up the Pennines asociated with an old cold front. It was hot to the south of the front, and cool to the north (-2C that morning in NE Scotland). A SE breeze pushed hot air into the frontal zone and up the mountains The downpour started about 4pm. Obviously the flash-flooding led to damage, carrying trees and destroying small footbridges. Less than five kilometres away only 7 mm of rain fell. There was a notable dust devil at Hurst Green (Surrey) on the 9th. It reached 27C on Skye on the 21st. It was very hot on the 23rd, with 29.4C being reached at Heathrow, and then there were some severe thunderstorms in the Midlands on the 24th, with 29.9C reported at March (Cambridgeshire). It was on average the driest May of the century over England and Wales.

.Text extract from Britweather from May 1989 which I was fortunate to witness,although the main storm was a mile away it was a sight to behold and I remember pouring the water out of my wellingtons when I got back to the farm.

Edited by hillbilly

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May 2018 thunderstorm, night of 26th. Continuous flashes and loud thunder on and off for almost 2 hours in west London. Also, followed by a thundery spell of weather, with more thunderstorms on the following Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon. The Tuesday afternoon storm lasted for about 2 hours.

July 18th 2017 storms, Tuesday overnight. Seemed to go on for more than an hour or so.

June 2016, the referendum storms. This and 2017 for me heralded the return of some decent thunderstorms for the London area. 

July 2014. Overnight storm.

July 2013. Another storm that seems to be forgotten. 

August 21st 1987. Friday night after a long hot spell, which lasted a week, during one of the hottest periods of the whole summer of 1987, which was poor overall. Lightning and storms moved into the London area around 8, and the main storms hit us after 9. I also remember more storms during the night while lying in bed, and feeling spooked about it. This thundery spell is etched into my memory for some reason.

August 6th 1981, storms caused daytime darkness over London and the south east region. It was pitch black at 11am in the morning. The weirdest thing I have ever seen. 

June 1994. Violent storms broke out on a Friday evening, during the World Cup.

june 1996. Another violent storm. 

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7 minutes ago, hillbilly said:

May. Very dry, very sunny, and very warm (13.0C CET). Over 300 hours of sunshine was widely recorded for the first time since 1909. There was no rain at all in some parts of London, yet 83 mm fell in two hours in a multi-cellurlar thunderstorm in Halifax on the 19th; and approximately 193.2 mm at Walshaw Den Lodge near Hebden Bridge, in 2 hours. This is the record daily rainfall for May, and the most intense 2 hour rainfall recorded in Britain. It is known as the "Halifax Storm". It was associated with high pressure but air being forced up the Pennines asociated with an old cold front. It was hot to the south of the front, and cool to the north (-2C that morning in NE Scotland). A SE breeze pushed hot air into the frontal zone and up the mountains The downpour started about 4pm. Obviously the flash-flooding led to damage, carrying trees and destroying small footbridges. Less than five kilometres away only 7 mm of rain fell. There was a notable dust devil at Hurst Green (Surrey) on the 9th. It reached 27C on Skye on the 21st. It was very hot on the 23rd, with 29.4C being reached at Heathrow, and then there were some severe thunderstorms in the Midlands on the 24th, with 29.9C reported at March (Cambridgeshire). It was on average the driest May of the century over England and Wales.

.Text extract from Britweather from May 1989 which I was fortunate to witness,although the main storm was a mile away it was a sight to behold and I remember pouring the water out of my wellingtons when I got back to the farm.

Amazing that it dumped 193mm in two hours yet 5km away little rain fell! Must have been an especially intense but small cell.

I can't imagine how bad it would have been had such rainfall occurred over an urbanised area. May 1989 sounds even better then the one just gone. My parents said 1989 was one of their favourite summers but they obviously regard 1976 as the best of the best.

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late june 1985 over dublin city I was at the simple minds concert at croke park and it was a very warm muggy day and as darkness fell you could see the flashes to the south over the wicklow mountains just as the concert ended. I was 15 at the time and it was a 2 mile walk home heading north to whitehall where i live uphill all the way and to this day i cant recall such heat late in the evening (11 30pm) and vivid lightning over the south of dublin creeping north. The streetlamps started to flicker for the last 10 mins home and power outages became normal from then and it aws just as i got home I witnessed the most intense electrical storm I have seen in Ireland with ground strikes every 6 or 7 seconds including many within 100 meters of my house and sporadic downpours .Hundreds of chimneys where destroyed in west dublin and numerous house fires were reported . the storms lasted intensely until 5am and it was 2 pm before the last of the thunder could be heard . For the night time duration i was at my bedroom window looking west and quick runs to my sisters room to view east windows wide open of course . i was always amazed by lightning storms and have traveled many places but this was the most vivid in my life and  I was in the comfort of my parents house.

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Posted (edited)

August 1997, I have faint memories of.

End of May 1999/ beginning of June 1999 and July 3rd 1999 (what a year that was) 

4/5/6 July 2001 saw a very impressive outbreak of severe storms and a MCS over SW England and Wales. 

July 30th 2002, probably the most noteworthy day of that year. Peterborough and St Ives (Cambs) got flooded at about lunchtime and a series of severe storms tracked up central and Eastern England, plus with overnight lightning on the night that followed. The commonwealth games at Manchester we’re on at the time, and will always be used as a cross reference for that severe day in this part of the world. 

August 2004 was overall a very decent month, of course remembering the awful floods of boscastle on the 16th. 

June 28th 2005 we had a very impressive MCS track north, then August 31st 2005 delivered a spectacular lightning storm here, still to this day some of the most frequent lightning I’ve ever seen. 

July 2006 has impressive storms that broke down the stifling heat. 

2007-12 in a nutshell we’re all non events, failure after failure with plumes seeming to avoid here at all costs, infamous El Gordo being of note. 28th June 2012 was a revival I suppose, despite not seeing anything here. 

3/4th July 2015 here was the most impressive for a decade, and delivered a spectacular lightning fest. 

27th August 2016 (I missed) but it looked awesome in Peterborough into Lincs and heard all about it! 

 

Edited by East_England_Stormchaser91
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Posted (edited)

In Cleadon in south Tyneside, 3 August 1994 was a very big one, which also continued on and off overnight.  My parents' house actually got hit by lightning, taking out the alarm system.  2 June 2002 saw frequent lightning on and off for a few hours, as did 10 August 2003 (yes, the day that the south-east saw a new national temperature record).  The summers of 2007 and 2011 were quite thundery while I was there but lacked particularly noteworthy storms, and I narrowly missed out on the very big one on 28 June 2012, having relocated just six days earlier.

I had a couple of big ones in the 2005/06 academic year in Leeds, the biggest being that of 31 August 2005, but those of 12 May, 12 June and 3 July 2006 were also quite spectacular.

Norwich was a prime location for thunderstorms when I lived there: I had an impressive hailstorm with thunder and lightning on 11 April 2008 and there were a couple of big ones in early August that year.  30 July 2009 had a few separate storms on the one day, also 18 July 2012.

I've spent some time living in North Yorkshire, where one day in early August 2012 had near-continuous thunder from about 11am to 3pm despite being sunny for the majority of the time, and the storm of 19 July 2014 was pretty good.  I went on holiday to Ireland in July 2013 and fortuitously ended up in the Dumfries area on 23 July 2013 when an area of impressive thunderstorms went up the western side of Scotland.

In Exeter I saw some quite impressive thunderstorms on 15 June 2009, 16 October 2014 and more recently 19 July 2017.  I was away from the area during the Exeter thunderstorms of 26 May 2018 unfortunately.

Edited by Thundery wintry showers
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2nd July 2006 

Sunday afternoon, hot and oppressive, a lot of cumulus in the sky and it felt like it was going to go bang and it did. Storm erupted overhead and the rain was phenomenal, pea sized hail. bright c-g lightning, drains were close to overflowing. Yet three hours later at about 8pm, you would have never guessed we had a storm, it was clear with a setting sun. 

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I also forgot May 1988. Sometime mid month I think, there was a warm humid spell with thunderstorms. It was a Sunday afternoon, warm and sunny. It became very humid and we got caught in the storms, while walking the dog in Battersea Park, London. Fork lightning could be seen in the distance. 

Does anyone remember this storm? Maybe I’m getting the years mixed up.

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May 1985 - Severe thunderstorm with tennis-ball sized hail across much of Essex (known locally as the Dunmow hailstorm).  I was a kid at the time on a Scout camp when the first ~1 inch hailstones started falling. The size of the hail increased in several swathes through the afternoon until the final swathe was about tennis-ball size.  I think this was recorded as a H6 (60mm hailstones) event.

May/June 1986/7 - A weird electrical storm with several hours of red coloured heat lightning around the horizon with no thunder, followed by a thunderstorm. 

August 1994 - really severe storm that lasted several hours with continuous thunder and heavy rain/hail.  Only time I've seen the clouds turn dark green in colour.

Some more recent storms have been spectacular - but nothing quite as memorable as these...

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Weather-history said:

2nd July 2006 

Sunday afternoon, hot and oppressive, a lot of cumulus in the sky and it felt like it was going to go bang and it did. Storm erupted overhead and the rain was phenomenal, pea sized hail. bright c-g lightning, drains were close to overflowing. Yet three hours later at about 8pm, you would have never guessed we had a storm, it was clear with a setting sun. 

Was this the storm that hit Rochdale as well? My mate from there still goes on about that particular one as one of the worst he's seen and he has travelled to a fair few places. He also mentioned some particularly large hail associated with the storm.

July 2006 was a glorious month, I went to Norfolk broads on holiday later on in that month and there was some impressive storms, one I remember at sunset which turned the lightning red.

Also went to the broads on holiday in August 2001 I think and saw some very impressive lightning displays then.

Edited by Quicksilver1989

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17 hours ago, Thundery wintry showers said:

I was away from the area during the Exeter thunderstorms of 26 May 2018 unfortunately.

i wasnt...i was there...just a mere shower compared to what i get here.

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58 minutes ago, Quicksilver1989 said:

Was this the storm that hit Rochdale as well? My mate from there still goes on about that particular one as one of the worst he's seen and he has travelled to a fair few places. He also mentioned some particularly large hail associated with the storm.

July 2006 was a glorious month, I went to Norfolk broads on holiday later on in that month and there was some impressive storms, one I remember at sunset which turned the lightning red.

Also went to the broads on holiday in August 2001 I think and saw some very impressive lightning displays then.

Yes it moved into Yorkshire.

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2 hours ago, Quicksilver1989 said:

Was this the storm that hit Rochdale as well? My mate from there still goes on about that particular one as one of the worst he's seen and he has travelled to a fair few places. He also mentioned some particularly large hail associated with the storm.

July 2006 was a glorious month, I went to Norfolk broads on holiday later on in that month and there was some impressive storms, one I remember at sunset which turned the lightning red.

Also went to the broads on holiday in August 2001 I think and saw some very impressive lightning displays then.

Probably was.

i live about 7 miles north of Rochdale and we got over 60mm of rain in the space of a couple of hours from this storm with quite a bit of flooding.

don’t remember the thunder and lightening being that excessive though although I was probably to busy mopping out the conservatory that briefly became an indoor paddling pool.

the best storm I can remember here was in July 1975 with some serious flooding after over 50mm fell in 45 minutes along with violent lightening and constant thunder.

three miles down the valley hardly a drop of rain fell but the river was overtopping it’s banks in bright sunshine.

 

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Summer 1969 - a small village in Leicestershire - about 10 cms hail dropped on a small area in just a few minutes. Visibility zero and every plant shredded - sounded like a train passing on the roof. Some old pics in the Leicester Mercury I believe. A mile down the road and very little. Weird fog in the village (Newbold Verdon) for hours afterwards and hail in drifts down the main street.

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Not the most prolific for lightning, but August 2013 produced a cell here with wonderful structure.

we went up Kingsclere downs to get a better view of a cell rumbling away to our north east, but after about half an hour we could hear rumbling coming from behind the hill to our south west.

we climbed up the hill and the thing looked truly menacing. Probably the closest thing to a supercell I’ve ever seen (apart from an actual supercell in france a few years back).

once it moved over the top of us, the hail curtain moving in looked like something out of a horror movie and there were some very close lightning strikes and flashes as I legged it back to the car.

here are some photos.

 

F78CC4EC-F733-41F7-9F25-43FFA0969CD6.jpeg

FE919E11-1E98-455C-BB30-21839AD3FC69.jpeg

480186D0-5B30-48F4-8A4D-A62423E690CF.jpeg

818A1C37-D11A-401A-8B28-8764D27EFD85.jpeg

49B0C370-A0B3-4070-8C11-629F22FF2058.jpeg

3DE72D91-FBA4-4ACA-88E2-5BEDD1E91A5F.jpeg

09A44C19-AD99-4915-8587-5502A3D67A01.jpeg

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It says something about our weather enthusiasm that the title of the thread is about your worst ever thunderstorm and the responses are all about their best ones.

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About 9 years ago , sky went dark grey  and then 3 flashes of lightning and some rumbling,people still talk of that day here ..

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I've posted this on here a few times in the past.. June 1983 when a supercell hit Dorset. We had golf ball-sized hail here which destroyed the garden and injured my brother. That was the worst storm i've ever witnessed.

j.1477-8696.1983.tb04829.x.fp.png

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For me it has to be the Ottery St Mary storm. 

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/learn-about-the-weather/weather-phenomena/case-studies/ottery-hail

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1081758/Hailstorm-swamps-small-town-6ft-drifts--October.html

I lived nearby about 15 miles away. We spent the night with constant lightening so bright we didn't need to put the light on to calm my daughter 

The following morning I set off for work (at the Met Office) and was listening to the local BBC news interviewing a farmer in Ottery St Mary saying he had 'snow' in his farmyard feet deep. I was confused as I was now about 3 miles away and no sign and this was October and not that cold. Went to go over the river and a guy was stopping everyone saying the bridge was flooded. Long alternative trip to work. When I got there I was gobsmacked at the data (see above) 

I do remember the day before there was a huge wall cloud straight outside the Met Office and Mammatus cloud on the way home but this caught everyone by surprise 

 

 

 

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I'll go for Sports Day, July 1968...what a whopper!

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Early June 1980...I can't remember the specific date as I was only 5 at the time!  But I sure remember the storm!  I was in reception class at school back then.  I remember playing out at lunchtime, and the heat being so oppressive that I remember having to sit down on the floor in the playground and roll my sleeves up.  It was so warm, despite being really grey and gloomy.  Later, as we were getting on with our afternoon learning (probably plasticine or painting!!) the sky became incredibly dark.  In fact it was like night time.  And then a deep rumble.  My teacher (A lovely, tall, grey haired lady named Miss Dean) declared "Ooh!  Did you hear the thunder?" I quite simply burst into tears!  I was so scared!  I have no idea why!  Luckily, Miss Dean let me stand at her desk and work beside her.  The lights were constantly going off, then coming back on.  The rain was crazy!  And then it was playtime...No!  My teacher had to do her playground duty (which on this day consisted of walking around the classrooms checking on the children).  She took me with her as I was petrified of being left without her.  I even went to the toilet and sat there with the door open so that I could see my teacher, such was the abject fear and terror!  My mother came to collect me and my friend from school, bringing wellies and umbrellas.  We waited until the rain eased off a little.  My baby sister was at home being watched by an elderly neighbour as my mother didn't want to be pushing her around in that sort of weather.  We finally got home, only a ten minute walk.  I'll never forget being greeted by the sight of my elderly neighbour, sitting in the armchair, wearing her wellies and holding an umbrella above her head - indoors!  Somehow the copious amounts of rain had got into the cavity wall and had cascaded into our back room.  Our carpet and TV were ruined!  We spent the next few months living in the other room whilst we waited for the carpet to be taken away, cleaned and returned.  This was the most terrifying experience of my childhood, and left me totally frightened of thunder for a long, long time!  During this storm, a boy at the local high school, and some of his friends, were hit by lightning.  Sadly he didn't survive.

Other storms will never compare to that childhood memory of fear...although a storm in June 2006 whilst on holiday in Exmouth came close, even as an adult!  My eldest slept through it, my baby girl of 3 months old slept through it.  My hubby awoke and then went back to sleep.  I lay there in fear listening to the almost constant thunder, and watching the flickering lightning...wondering if it would spawn a tornado that would race through the caravan park!  The next morning, the cafe on the campsite had been completely wrecked by the surface water floods that had occurred during the storm.

July 1st 2015 also sticks in the mind - beautiful lightning - and then the rain!  At the time we were having our loft extension built and were actually roofless!!  How the plastic sheeting stayed watertight that night I'll never know!

There seemed to be many storms in the early 80s...or perhaps I remember them because I was so scared?

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59 minutes ago, Azazel said:

Not the most prolific for lightning, but August 2013 produced a cell here with wonderful structure.

we went up Kingsclere downs to get a better view of a cell rumbling away to our north east, but after about half an hour we could hear rumbling coming from behind the hill to our south west.

we climbed up the hill and the thing looked truly menacing. Probably the closest thing to a supercell I’ve ever seen (apart from an actual supercell in france a few years back).

once it moved over the top of us, the hail curtain moving in looked like something out of a horror movie and there were some very close lightning strikes and flashes as I legged it back to the car.

here are some photos.

 

F78CC4EC-F733-41F7-9F25-43FFA0969CD6.jpeg

FE919E11-1E98-455C-BB30-21839AD3FC69.jpeg

480186D0-5B30-48F4-8A4D-A62423E690CF.jpeg

818A1C37-D11A-401A-8B28-8764D27EFD85.jpeg

49B0C370-A0B3-4070-8C11-629F22FF2058.jpeg

3DE72D91-FBA4-4ACA-88E2-5BEDD1E91A5F.jpeg

09A44C19-AD99-4915-8587-5502A3D67A01.jpeg

Was this the thunderstorms right at the start of August? They were pretty nasty over Norfolk too, went on a fishing holiday that year and the lake flooded along with a power cut from a nearby lightning strike. Very impressive photos there.

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