But we persevered, because we're nothing if not resilient in this country. Sure, friends and colleagues from other countries might have started asking slightly pointed questions about public transport, or talking about the three feet of snow they get every winter or earthquake drills, but they're just showing off. But as we stockpiled tinned goods, checked the batteries on our torches and filled up our emergency water bottles at Squeamish HQ, we got to wondering. Was this really the most extreme weather we'd ever seen, or could perhaps we each recall something even more extreme? Turns out we could...
2. I have seen a small whirlwind in my garden as a child during a blizzard, the resulting snow was so deep (about 4 ft) that on a journey to the corner shop for soup (which we cooked using a blowtorch thanks to a powercut) my dad dropped one of the tins of soup. We didn't find it until about a week later when the thaw had come. But probably the most extreme weather I have seen was in Spain, we were on our summer holiday in a caravan when it started to rain. It started to rain hard. Then we realised it wasn't raining, it was hailing and it wasn't just a bit of hail. These hail stones were as big as golf balls. Smashing car windscreens and bashing in the roof of the caravan. My sister and I collected a couple of the hail-golf-balls and kept them in the freezer for the rest of the holiday, probably with vague ambitions of putting them in our drinks. Squeamish Kate
3. I remember a particularly bad winter when I was 13 or 14. There was snow everywhere, so much so that a pylon collapsed under the weight of it and we were without power all weekend. It was the longest weekend of my life! There was nothing to do once it got dark - which being winter was over 12 hours of the day. I think it is the only time in my life that my family finished a game of Monopoly (usually games ended with my sister kicking over the board after landing on one of my hotels). Worst of all the power finally came back on at 10pm on Sunday which meant we didn't even get a day off school! I lost a weekend for nothing. Gareth
4. I was living in Brighton and the wind was up. Bits were coming off trees, bins were getting knocked over... But I didn't realise how windy it was until I saw that the beach was covered in foam. I'd never seen anything like it before - the tide was quite far out but the entire beach was covered in a layer of thick foam several inches deep. It looked as though there had been a heavy snowfall. When I saw this it was also around 2am, with an almost full moon. To say it looked spooky would be an understatement, and if I hadn't been stone cold sober at the time I'd question whether I really saw it â or what happened next. A woman ran down the beach and tried to throw herself into the sea. The guy I was with waded in and pulled her out and they fought in the foam before she ran off swearing... Squeamish Louise
5. I've lived through numerous hurricanes, monsoons, typhoons, earthquakes, and what have you. All dramatic. But my worst weather story harks back to May 2010, when I was in Barcelona for the Spanish GP. An impoverished freelance, I had enough money to pay for my hostel and transport to the track. All that I had left over I spent on a baguette. That solitary loaf was my food for five days. I survived, but all I could think of was the food awaiting me upon my return to the UK. By the time I reached Barcelona on Monday morning I was feeling faint. I made it through security, had the plane in my sights, and then that stupid Icelandic volcano did its second big fart of the year. My flight was cancelled, I had no money to spend on food or drink, and there was only one thing for it: I burst into tears, threw myself kicking and screaming onto the floor of the departures hall, and had the sort of tantrum that would put a toddler to shame. F*** you so hard, ash cloud.