There has been something missing from the daily news recently. Among the top headline stories, scandalously few scare stories about the weather have been broadcast. It seems like weeks since we had a severe weather warning from the Meteorological Office.
Frankly, life has been duller as result. There is nothing quite like getting a good walloping from Mother Nature to put our other little worries into perspective. The idea that the worst drought, blizzards or floods since records began are heading our way make us feel small, yet oddly heroic. Few things cheer us up more than that familiar headline, “What on earth is happening to our weather?”
Now a new crisis is on its way. Experts within the Met Office have revealed that a change in global weather systems, with the power to affect human and even animal behaviour, will soon have the entire British Isles in its grip. An early spring warning has been issued.
“We are monitoring the situation day by day from our weather satellite,” a spokesman has said. “While there is no cause for immediate alarm, the indications are that this could be one of the most spring-like of springs on record. We simply want people to be prepared.”
Early symptoms of the new season, technically known as “vernal indicators”, have already been reported in parts of the West and South of England. Past surveys suggest that spring tends to spread north during the coming weeks, losing its potency as it goes. By the time it reaches Scotland, it is often hardly noticeable at all.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change believes that global weather patterns are deepening the effect of spring as the planet gets warmer. On its website, it is warning that 2013 could see one of the most extreme springs for several decades.
The problem with this particular natural crisis, say the experts, is that it tends to take people by surprise. With previous weather alarms, there were measures which could be taken – hosepipe bans, road gritters or sandbags. The slower, more insidious menace of spring-related weather tends to be much more difficult to combat.
What exactly are the dangers? According to the Met Office spokesman, spring can often have a major mood-changing effect on the vulnerable. “Anything can set it off,” he says. “It can be daffodils, or the sight of a swallow, maybe even rabbits climbing on top of each other. Suddenly, people are no longer quite the way they were. They talk to strangers, make unprovoked eye contact, sing in the street, lie down on damp grass. All sorts of inappropriate touching can sometimes take place. One of the problems with spring behaviour is that there’s no logical pattern to it.”
As for how each of us should be prepared for this latest crisis, the Met Office emphasises that it is essential that we watch its weather reports on the news every night. With the weather satellite tracking the situation around the clock, any deepening of the spring threat will cause the current amber alert to be upgraded to red. At that stage, we will be told to take basic precautions.
“Avoid certain songs,” the spokesman advises. “‘Here Comes the Sun’ can pose dangers, as can ‘I Love Paris in the Springtime’. Some people even get affected by ‘The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring, Tra-La’. Then remember to be extra vigilant in your private life. Spring-like behaviour can be passed from person to person, causing inexplicable “highs” and uncontrollable feelings of ridiculous optimism. Rather as in winter we advise against travelling except when it’s strictly necessary, so when spring hits we apply the same advice to meeting new people. Just be sensible – keep it to a minimum.”
Above all, do not panic as the weather changes in the coming weeks. We’ve taken the worst that summer and winter can throw at us. We can surely handle spring.