Doris did not go down a storm. She created havoc across the Country with winds of up to eighty miles per hour in the South. Ashridge had it’s fair share of destruction with large trees being felled to create more work for the foresters and ultimately the volunteers. Fallen trees blocking roads as at Aldbury are removed by the local council and their contractors.
Whilst some people believe that naming storms ‘Doris’ or ‘Barbara’ trivialises the danger posed by adverse weather, the Met Office claims that the new practice has made the public more engaged, informed and better prepared to face the elements. Helen Chives, a meteorologist at the weather forecaster, has said that people are now safer as a result of this naming.“The first thing really is how it has captured the public’s imagination, which was the whole purpose of the project,” she said. “The engagement through social media channels, which of course is a growing way in which everyone communicates, has been an absolutely phenomenal.”
Inspired by the long-standing US tradition of naming of hurricanes, the Met Office introduced the project of naming storms in 2015, giving members of the public the chance to name major weather systems due to break over the UK and Ireland. Previously, storms were often named randomly and inconsistently, meaning the same storm was often referred to by several different names, depending on where you lived in the country. But with the introduction of the new alphabetic system, the Met Office has found that people are better able to track a storm’s progress enabling them to take better precautions and avoid danger when they arrive.
Storm Doris was not as damaging for Ashridge as with previous ones in October 1987, and the particularly nasty one in January 1990 when Ashridge lost a lot of trees.
The Estate was closed for the day on Thursday because of the potential injury from the high winds, and the volunteers were stood down. However visitors still arrived to experience the high winds and take a walk-on-the-wild-side!