On this day: Britain’s Infamous Winter

Called the Big Freeze of 1963, the United Kingdom shivered through an infamous winter that began in 1962. It was one of the coldest winters in history.

This photograph is dated the 14th of February, and was taken in the London Borough of Barnet, in the city’s north.

Source

North_Finchley_High_Road_geograph-3384741-by-Ben-BrooksbankView southward at Kenver Avenue, near Tally-Ho Corner. That winter the snow in London lasted for two months. 14th February 1963

Advertisements

On this day: the Black Thursday Bushfires

William Strutt, Black Thursday, February 6th (detail), 1864. Australian Art. Bushfires.

As depicted by English-born artist William Strutt in 1864.

One of the worst bushfire disasters in recorded Australian history, the Black Thursday fires took place on the 6th of February, 1851, in the colony of Victoria.

Severe drought in 1850 helped to create the conditions ideal for bushfires. An estimated maximum temperature of 47 °C and strong winds on the day of the disaster magnified the situation.

It is believed the fire started when two bullock drivers left burning logs unattended.

The disaster claimed the lives of twelve people and many animals, and caused significant damage to the countryside.

Fifteen Years

I’ve mentioned this disaster before, but today is the fifteenth anniversary of the freakish firestorm that tore through Canberra, Australia’s capital city. Unlike other bushfires, this one burnt into the city itself, claiming lives and destroying many hundreds of buildings.

Watch from 1:08 in to see what the suburban streets looked like that afternoon.

The images below (from Wikimedia Commons) are from before the sky turned blacker than night, and then bright red. All the photos are of places I was on that day. When everything went black, it started raining embers, and the flames started rolling down the mountains that surround us, things got really scary in this part of town. (What looks like lights in the first picture is all fire.)

People I know lost everything, but we got lucky and the firebombing helicopters were just over us and stopped it before it jumped the road to our side.

2003_Canberra_Firestorm-Woden 2003 Canberra Firestorm. 18th January 2003 Canberra_hills-18-01-2003

2003_Canberra_Firestorm-Woden Photo of Woden Town Centre during the height of the 2003 Canberra Firestorm. 18th January 2003

2003_Canberra_Firestorm- 2003 Canberra Firestorm. 18th January 2003 Canberra_hills-18-01-2003 2003CanberraBushfires.

On this day: the aftermath of a hurricane

This photograph, taken on the 8th of September, 1935, shows a mass burial for victims of the 1935 Labor Day hurricane in the United States.

X

Burial_of_1935_hurricane_victims_at_Woodlawn_Cemetery,_Miami,_FL 8th September, 1935, burial with military honors of a reported 116 victims of the 1935 Labor Day hurricane at Woodlawn Pa

One of the worst hurricanes in US history, some 116 people were buried in this ceremony alone, given military honours. The mass funeral took place at the Woodlawn Park Cemetery in Miami, Florida. A total of 408 people were killed in the disaster.

XTrain_derailed_by_the_1935_hurricane Florida East Coast Railway Overseas Railroad relief train derailed near Islamorada, Florida during the 1935 Labor Day hurricane.

The Islamorada area of Florida was also devastated, with areas of the railroad (above) severely damaged or destroyed.

On this day: a Rescue from the Rubble

Thredbo Landslide. 2nd August 1997. This photograph was taken moments after Stuart Diver was freed from the rubble after spending 65 hours buried in the rubble. Mr Diver lost his first w

After spending sixty-five hours trapped in freezing conditions in the rubble of the Thredbo landslide, Stuart Diver was pulled alive from his collapsed ski lodge on the evening of the 2nd of August, 1997.

Eighteen people, including Diver’s wife, were killed when the land at the New South Wales, Australia ski resort collapsed, sending over 1000 tonnes of earth and debris down on top of the village.

Despite his discovery providing hope more survivors might be found, Diver was the last person found alive in the rubble.

Diver’s second wife also died, of cancer in 2015.

On this day: the Thredbo Landslide

1997 Thredbo Landslide

At 11:35pm on the 30th of July, 1997, a landslide hit the ski village of Thredbo in New South Wales, Australia.

Eighteen people were killed as two ski lodges were destroyed by over 1000 tonnes of earth and debris.

Famously, ski instructor Stuart Diver survived in the freezing conditions of a collapsed building until his rescue on the evening of the 2nd of August. His wife Sally was beside him in the wreckage but drowned when she became trapped in a depression that filled with water.

On this day…

Mount Vesuvius in Italy erupted in March, 1944, destroying a number of villages.

North American soldiers were in the area at the time, fighting in the Second World War.

The original caption of the picture reads:

Crew member cleaning the ashes and cinders off the wing of a North American B-25 of the 340th Bomb Group. This was caused by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius on 23 March 1944.

crew-member-cleaning-the-ashes-and-cinders-off-the-wing-of-a-north-american-b-25-of-the-340th-bomb-group-this-was-caused-by-the-eruption-of-mt-vesuvius-on-23-march-1944