Adopt a vortex

On 22nd October 2012 Dominic Jung from gave the German weather forecast in which he said: “Teilweise tanzen dann sogar im Alpenvorland die Schneeflocken bis ganz runter vom Himmel.“ I ran a Google translate of this forecast and the result was better than I could have imagined,

“Partial then dance even in the foothills down the snowflakes to mention the sky”

We live less than 1 km from France and can pick the best weather from the French and German forecasts.

The French Meteo website will quickly provide an easy to understand forecast and thanks to le cookie will remember your location. The German met office, DWD provides the official forecast for Germany but the website is poor stuff and you can be half a dozen clicks away from another vague half-sun-behind-cloud icon for your town.

The French Meteo has a well deserved reputation for forecasts that can be best described as “if in doubt then forecast rain at least that way no-one will be disappointed if it turns out fine again”. But our requirements are not demanding and so either forecast will usually do. All we ask for  is a dry Sunday morning  for the French flea markets and no wind for the bike.  Fortunately there is only very rarely any wind here and the German trees grow straight and are not twisted and bent by gales like their coastal cousins.

A 3ft pine tree that was finally bdislodged from west coast a cliff face by a February storm.
A three foot high pine tree finally dislodged from a Scottish west coast cliff face by a February storm.

The draughts inside our house on the Isle of Man were, in spite of strategically placed snakes, stronger than any wind we have experienced in this part of Germany.

As straight as a south German tree
As straight as a German tree

Thanks to the wonder of the interweb we are within range of the therapy that is the Radio 4 Shipping Forecast but outside the immediate influence of the predictions.  As always there is high and low pressure, good and bad, black and white and while I can from here enjoy the forecast of an Easterly gale with no fear of it blowing the smoke back down the chimney, or a February Spring tide storm warning without needing to prepare for the waves getting into the garden, there is always the disappointment of not getting onto the beach to find treasure as a big tide backs away.

Germany may not have the delight of the Shipping Forecast but it has its own unique weather service. Here you can give your name to a pressure system. The Berlin Institute for Meteorology runs an “Adopt-a-Vortex” scheme, whereby the public can choose a name for high and low pressure systems.

You can apply online and sponsor a high for €299  or a low for €199  (low pressures don’t hang about so long and are cheaper), and this being the EU there is of course VAT on a Vortex. As a sponsor you can choose a name which must be approved by the German registry office as an acceptable first name. Lows are given male names and highs female names in odd years, and vice versa in even years. For this fee you will see your chosen name appear on all the weather maps and receive a certificate with the baptism date, an individual life story and weather maps of your own vortex.

But you can’t always forecast the effect of “your” weather as an advertising agency for BMW found out when the  freezing conditions of the weather front that they had sponsored and called “Cooper” , named after the Mini, led to dozens of deaths.

Last night after another hot humid summer day there was a welcome change of air as the Rhine valley crackled with thunder. The lightning lit the room as at 01:48  the Shipping Forecast followed the soothing Sailing By and I drifted away with memories of beaches combed and with dreams of beaches yet to be discovered.Wave


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