John Wheeler: English storms can be quite severe

England's worst storm on record may well have been the Great Storm of 1703.

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FARGO — When most of us think of English weather, we think of persistent rain and fog. But the British Isles have had their share of severe storms as well. England's worst storm on record may well have been the Great Storm of 1703. Following many days of heavy rain and blustery winds, the main storm blew across southern England the night of Dec. 7. Damage reports include thousands of toppled brick chimneys. Entire forests were blown down. Peak winds have been estimated at around 100 mph with gusts higher than 150 mph.

Deaths from this storm are estimated at between 8,000 and 15,000, including about 6,000 sailors on ships waiting in the English channel for calmer seas. It was described by Queen Anne as "a Calamity so Dreadful and Astonishing, that the like hath not been Seen or Felt, in the Memory of any Person Living in this Our Kingdom."

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John Wheeler is Chief Meteorologist for WDAY, a position he has had since May of 1985. Wheeler grew up in the South, in Louisiana and Alabama, and cites his family's move to the Midwest as important to developing his fascination with weather and climate. Wheeler lived in Wisconsin and Iowa as a teenager. He attended Iowa State University and achieved a B.S. degree in Meteorology in 1984. Wheeler worked about a year at WOI-TV in central Iowa before moving to Fargo and WDAY..
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