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What was the biggest weather impact directly on your life?

  • 06-09-2020 9:03pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 13,187 ✭✭✭✭ M.T. Cranium


    With this rather boring, bland autumn weather pattern, it's time to start some interesting weather discussions. So I was thinking, what was the most impactful weather event of my life (or the life of anyone I know personally)?

    Living most of my younger life in Ontario, with the dynamic weather they have in that region, I had to think about it quite a while. What it boils down to is, how close did I ever come to dying in a storm?

    And frankly, I'm quite lucky to be alive (if anyone can say that in 2020).

    Closest call was probably this -- in August 1971 I was on a canoe trip in a wilderness area (Algonquin Park) in central Ontario. My connection to the weather at that pre-internet point of time was merely that I was operating a personal weather station which was being minded by friends, about 200 miles to the southwest of where this happened. And it was four or five days into the trip, so whatever slight pre-trip ideas I had about weather had pretty much expired (this was back in the days when models went about two or three days and I had no access to them anyway).

    We came around a bend heading south on a warm, humid day and realized that a storm was quickly moving in. Hills to our south and west had prevented much of a view of that until the two of us realized that we had to get to shore, but the only option was a half mile ahead of us. Into a steadily rising southwest wind we paddled as hard as we could for about fifteen minutes, and scrambled onto the shore in a steady torrential downpour, winds of probably 40-50 knots and frequent lightning. We just threw a tarp over everything and waited it out under some big trees. That could have ended the way several other canoe trips ended in the same region, with a drowning (later in the 1970s, a whole party of kids on a multi-canoe trip on the nearby Ottawa River ran into a similar situation and it ended up being a mass casualty outcome).

    I've mentioned once or twice experiencing the derecho of early morning July 15, 1995 -- but we had a basement to ride out that storm in case it blew the house apart (an F-2 tornado embedded in our cell luckily pulled off the ground a few miles west of us after wrecking a marina on a nearby lake).

    Then there were any number of snowstorms where yours truly was driving in bad to terrible conditions, never once went off the road but had to wait out one snow squall for about three hours which was scary because I couldn't pull far enough off the shoulder to feel that nobody driving the highway could possibly hit me -- however, as I recall, nobody drove by (this was also in the early 1970s and at a point in my life where I had much less connection to weather forecasting than I would have at any point after 1976). So while I probably knew from the general situation that it was a poor driving night, I was at the end of a weekend visit with friends who were all going somewhere too, from a house in the middle of nowhere, so no real options but to risk the drive. I ended up getting back to my home base which was very briefly in Toronto at that point, in the dawn.

    Driving in the winter in Canada is not a very appealing proposition. Yes, most Canadians have some skills in winter driving, but many urban residents do not and get into trouble on longer drives than their neighbourhoods. Road maintenance is as good as it can be, I suppose, but in some heavy snowfall events that breaks down to no maintenance at all (more than a few times I've heard a newscast saying "the storm was so bad the plows were called off the roads.") ... and then they close the roads, but maybe you're already on that stretch and it can be very challenging to get safely through.

    I've never been directly impacted by a flood, but I have recorded rainfalls at various locations up to 7" within 12 hours -- that one just flooded out all the ditches in the flat area around my house but there were no nearby creeks that could flood.

    Minus -40 temperatures have had impacts too, but not life threatening. One day in January 1976, in Ontario's snow belt, even the daytime -25 to -30 was cold enough to cause a lot of dead batteries, and I remember that a tow truck that I had called in was also unable to keep going, so a larger tow truck was called in to get all of us going (not sure why I had bothered, could have just stayed put until it warmed up). The following night the temperature was as low as -41 C and you could hear trees cracking in the frost (I was briefly outside with a flashlight reading my screen thermometer). That -40 was duplicated on two occasions where I lived in January 1994 (this was maybe 100 km east of the earlier location, in Lakefield, Ontario). Those were both Sunday mornings but I manged to get my vehicle going thanks to a block heater.

    Extreme heat has also never had any big impacts on my life, but I've experienced as hot as 47 C in Las Vegas and St George Utah in August 2011 on a trip to the Utah back country. Thankfully most of the scenic parts of Utah are a lot higher in elevation than that stretch, so a really hot day is 35-40 rather than mid 40s. And they tend to get frequent afternoon thunderstorms over that country, unlike Vegas which gets maybe one or two days with any rain at all in their summer climate.

    So how about yourselves? Anyone come close to death due to a weather event?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,408 ✭✭✭ Jpmarn


    There is quite a few weather events I remember but never had a big impact in my life but will contribute to this thread in the future. But I will post a couple of memories. One of my earliest memory of a thunderstorm was in April 1979 at my home near Limerick city. I was just home from boarding School on a Wednesday before Easter Sunday. It was over a month before my 8th birthday. It looked like the yard outside the kitchen window. Frequent thunder and lightening. I would only hear thunder on TV before. It was around 6pm that evening.
    A more recent memory was in Melbourne Australia on Friday 7th December 2018. I was there on my trip to Australia and a very high temperature of 38°C was being forecast. It was also fairly windy with low humidity. It was suppose to be the highest temperature I knowing to experience. I felt quite comfortable out in it and I went to an viewing floor on a skyscraper. Went out to St. Kilda in the evening. There were people going into the water after sunset.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,023 ✭✭✭ Donegal Storm


    Off the top of my head the biggest in terms of actual impact was probably the blizzard in 2018. I was living on the Kildare/Meath border which was amongst the worst affected places in the country with 3 or 4 days of constant snowfall. We were totally snowed in for the best part of a week, my car disappeared under the snow and everything totally ground to a halt. I remember taking a long walk into Maynooth to replenish supplies later in the week and it was like something out of the walking dead. Everything closed, cars abandoned everywhere and loads of people slowly shuffling along down the middle of the main road :pac:

    I've bizarrely been in the right place for all three major blizzards we've had in the past decade, there was another in March 2010 across Ulster where we got stuck in Barnesmore Gap and had to wait for a snow plough to clear a path. Also in March 2013 there was a severe blizzard in Derry/Antrim where I also happened to be. I remember the Ponderosa at the top of the Glenshane Pass was totally encased in ice and then we ended up on a long detour through the Antrim hills as the M2 became impassable.

    Storm wise, I've never been seriously affected though the Stephens Day '98 storm comes to mind as causing a lot of damage locally. We lost a tree in the garden but a neighbour lost the roof to their house.

    Heat wise, nothing too interesting, I've experienced 44C in Western Australia but it was surprisingly bearable or certainly not much worse than low 30's with high humidity. Thunderstorms also nothing much, saw plenty of spectacular storms in Malaysia and Indonesia and one 3 hour strobe lightning show in Australia but no impact other than enjoyment!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,922 ✭✭✭ NSAman


    Living in the states there have been a few.

    Most impactful was 15 inches of rain in a 8 hour period. Derecho and tornado, coming back to find a house completely mildewed after a week away and90 degrees, I had to live in a hotel for three weeks. Everything in the house smelled awful and basically had to destroy everything. Four people died in the town I live, so I was lucky.

    Numerous ice storms last year caused me to crash and cause 15k worth of damage to the car ....in my driveway..


  • Registered Users Posts: 260 ✭✭ odonopenmic


    Working in Nairobi in 2013 towards the beginning of the rainy season. We were in the apartment that evening, balmy and humid out, but still. The only way I can describe it was the weather went from 0 to 60 in the space of a minute. The wind whipped up incredibly until huge 100ft+ trees were getting tossed about like twigs; we struggled to close the balcony door - two of us had to work to slam it closed; very close lightning - the bluest light I've ever seen; and torrential sideways rain. It lasted only minutes and then went back to being still and balmy albeit a little less humid. More learned minds here might scoff at this but i often wonder if we were on the edge of a small tornado - would genuinely love to know what you think about it.

    2004 in Valencia, Spain. An afternoon thunderstorm came in off the coast and the whole house was siesta-ing. Of course this was way too good an opportunity to miss so I went down the outside stairs to sit in an open porch underneath the house but with a better view of the sky. I had parked myself about 20 seconds when golfball-sized hailstones started coming down. The pool looked like a fast boiling saucepan. Was definitely sheepish emerging from that one as that hail would have done serious damage (and did, but luckily we didn't have cars there).


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,316 ✭✭✭ nthclare


    Paddling out a bodyboard to crab island near Doolin to catch a few small waves, maybe head height and not looking at magic seaweed before hand.

    A few years ago I always had my swimfins wetsuit and a bodyboard and towel in the estate boot.

    Little did I know that the ground swell was tripling in size at around 3 'O Clock in the afternoon until a Galway surfer paddled out at around 2 and said lads if you're not interested in big waves best you paddle back to the mainland before the pulse hits.

    The M1 wave buoy is after measuring a spike in wave height.
    I thought himself and his mates were trying to get the place to themselves.

    Anyhow around an hour later the sets of waves increased gradually, and the next thing Galway dude shouted out, here it comes around 300m in a south western direction you could see a big bump hiding the horizon and I knew this one was serious.
    Padded over three with difficulty,the 4th one got me in a duck dive wipeout, over the falls held under only around 8 seconds which felt like eternity when you're in a huge washing machine,and seeing light, darkness feeling yourself rubbing off rock's, came up for air.
    Hit by around 10 ft of whitewater from wave no 5 down again and washed up onto crabisland and the wetsuit nearly torn off me.

    Thant was around 4 year's ago and it knocked the confidence out of me and I hardly went surfing since.

    Scariest thing that ever happened to me.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 30,446 ✭✭✭✭ Graces7


    The winter of 2010 gets a high placing. I was literally stranded in the Blue Stack mountains in deep snow for nearly six weeks. Need say no more.


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,886 ✭✭✭✭ Wanderer78


    Probably hurricane off the coast of Hong Kong, grounded all flights, was stranded for an extra day in hk, life can be so cruel in the first world!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,023 ✭✭✭ Gruffalux


    Graces7 wrote: »
    The winter of 2010 gets a high placing. I was literally stranded in the Blue Stack mountains in deep snow for nearly six weeks. Need say no more.

    Yes. That winter. We were iced into place for 1 month. Luckily as it happened around Christmas I had lots of stock in plus I always keep a back up of basics. The one that had left was visiting so we were all home. I remember it as one of the most magical times of all I have ever known. The utter stillness. The slowness of every day, no hectic outside world. The brightness of the frozen snow. The cosiness inside. All together.


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,446 ✭✭✭✭ Graces7


    Gruffalox wrote: »
    Yes. That winter. We were iced into place for 1 month. Luckily as it happened around Christmas I had lots of stock in plus I always keep a back up of basics. The one that had left was visiting so we were all home. I remember it as one of the most magical times of all I have ever known. The utter stillness. The slowness of every day, no hectic outside world. The brightness of the frozen snow. The cosiness inside. All together.

    Magical is not the word I am using. Or would use. No water; all frozen solid, constant bitter cold. I had not yet done big shopping and was totally stuck until a kind boardsie with a 4 by 4 came with fuel and food.

    It was a nightmare. Just that. To enjoy an event like that you have to be safe. It was not safe. Never again. shudders. I have no illusions about snow and ice any more. They are dangerous .


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,328 ✭✭✭ Kaybaykwah


    Ice storm of 1998 in Southern Quebec. Power outages for hundreds of thousands as power lines came crashing down. The accumulating weight of Ice on the lines between towers toppled hundreds of them. Our house was out of power for a week, lighting the fireplace did nothing to heat the place, had to leave with my wife and son for a cousin's place in an unaffected suburb. Thousands of trees toppled, broken, streets impassable, some households were w/o electricity for two months before the system was repaired. We had assistance from workers of neighboring provinces and states' utilities to repair the mess that wreaked havoc and billions in repairs.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,376 ✭✭✭ Reckless Abandonment


    In early May 1992 I got wet cycling to school.. soaked!!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 25,886 ✭✭✭✭ Wanderer78


    In early May 1992 I got wet cycling to school.. soaked!!!

    trauma is a bitch, hugs!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,464 ✭✭✭ dohouch


    1976
    I slept out, just a sleeping bag, no tent, all over South
    Western Europe, from April to November. Grape harvest in Champagne area of France was 6 weeks early.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 199 ✭✭ hayoc


    Probably the "big snow" of 1982 for me.

    I was only a small child and I recall the men of the estate gathering after the first 5 or 6 days to "hike" to the nearest local supermarket (which was about 3k away). We literally had no supplies in and it was impossible to drive.

    As a kid I was delighted with the time off school.

    Another one I remember was the rain event the time to basement of Dundrum Shopping Centre flooded. I had been out walking with a friend that morning in full wet gear, and driving home the roads were starting to become dangerous.

    One of our more recent snow events, was it 2010 or before? I remember going outside one evening to check on the weather and I have literally never felt such a bone chilling cold before.

    I was in Delaware for a hurricane one year, it wasnt too bad tbh.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,195 ✭✭✭ Gaoth Laidir


    If you're talking about impacts on my life then the storm of July 25th/26th 1985 is right up there as I was only 10 and had seen nothing like it before. Other homegrown honourable mentions are "The Big Snow" of January 1982 and ex-Charley of August 1986, and more recently the snows of 2010 and 2018.

    Abroad, the thunderstorms in Houston in August, 1992. I hadn't witnessed this type of tropical activity before. I distinctly remember one Saturday evening being driven out to a rodeo in some small isolated Texas village, mouth open watching the anvil-crawler lightning out ahead, each flash lasting for what seemed like seconds. Other storms when I was there had torrential downpours that generated flashfloods in minutes, which would then dry up equally fast as if nothing happened. One such storm apparently dropped a tornado about a mile away, though I didn't get to witness it.

    Another was flying from Rome to Bangkok, June 2002. Thunderstorm over northern India, and me like an idiot head stuck to the window watching the strobe light show for around 30 minutes non-stop as we flew around it to its south.


  • Registered Users Posts: 663 ✭✭✭ Tazio


    Turbulence a few years back landing into Salina KS.

    We were on a regional service and the airplane could only be described as a crop duster. (one row of seats on one side and two on the other)

    Coffee and tears everywhere; That night on the plane was a religions experience for many -

    3 attempts to land and quite frankly I didn't realise aircraft are built so strong. We all felt non typical forces on our seatbelts. There was only a material curtain separating us from the pilots - you could see their biceps flexing holding the controls no joke, The curtain would swing to one side when the wings pointed downwards so you could see them 'flying' and hear the wonderful sounds from the cockpit. The lightning flashes and the thunder bangs were simultaneous - ie just outside.

    A lady 2 rows in front of me dropped cash in the middle of this and released her seat-belt to pick up her money - she kinda bounced up in the air and came back down hard on her seat armrest - it was sore to watch. Other passengers just pushed her to the floor with their feet. She eventually got back secure in her seat.

    That week in Salina I heard the tornado alarms a few times in my hotel but never saw one :( I saw cars on the interstate badly damaged from hailstones on the day after the sirens.

    But yea; turbulence on a small airplane landing in tornado season has got to be up there. Never again.


  • Moderators, Music Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 6,068 Mod ✭✭✭✭ LoonyLovegood


    The big rain in 2008. On a bus with old middle doors that didn't seal properly, going down the Cabra road and every few moments water would lap into the bus.

    The next day we decided to go to the cinema when that flooded, and had to leave. Walking past Coolmine School and having to carry my little brother because he kept getting soaked head to toe by cars going past us. Absolute madness thinking back!


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,307 ✭✭✭✭ nacho libre


    The first major storm I experienced in 1989(?). The storm was most unusual in its duration. It was my first time seeing trees get knocked down. A calf died too during the peak of the storm.

    Easterlies in the 80s, we got sod all snow out of them, but it was my first experience of cold weather on a biting wind.

    A snowstorm in Canada during the late nineties. The first and actually only time I've experienced one. It was great.

    A thunderstorm in May 2001. It was a classic thunderstorm all the way from the Bay of Biscay - an all too rare occurrence here, sadly.



    The snow of December 2010. I remember M.T. Cranium's forecast saying you will be surprised how quick the transition from rain to snow will occur on the evening of the 16th. Also he mentioned that even though the ground was very wet the snow will begin to accumulate rapidly - it did! I had never seen anything like it before. It put the argument to bed that snow can't stick on wet ground.



    The beast of the east. I was not here for Storm Emma, but just seeing pictures of people snowed in, that you'd normally associate with the far north, was incredible.

    A couple of weeks later being laughed at for telling people, who were enjoying the very mild weather on March 16th, that it would be snowing in London on St Patricks day. Then seeing the heavy snowfall the next morning . It was surreal because it's rare enough to get snow in London even during the depths of winter!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭ Hooter23


    The 300 days of the year its rains...every single year


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,132 ✭✭✭ novarock


    I was in Washington DC during the July 2012 Derecho - I had never heard of the phenomena before that. Very humid and sticky evening in the 30's, and then it came out of nowhere - We made it back to the hotel before it really kicked off. It was incredible to watch, and it was even easy to get photos of lightning there was so much. The damage the next day was bananas - quite a few deaths from the midwest to washington, and so many trees were down in the famous parks.

    Domestically, probably the floods in 2011 in the dublin. I was living in Harolds Cross at the time. A lot of us were helping cars get through the metre deep flood at the bottom of harolds cross road. Great community spirit until we heard about the nurse dying in the basement flat only 100 metres away. Tragic.

    In the snow of 2010 I was working in a pharmaceutical factory on shift. Plenty of sketchy journeys home, and a couple of nights sleeping on meeting room floors.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 199 ✭✭ hayoc


    novarock wrote: »
    Domestically, probably the floods in 2011 in the dublin.

    Thats the one that Dundrum Shopping Centres car park got flooded in - some crazy footage on youtube.



  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,476 Mod ✭✭✭✭ looksee


    I've been in a few extreme weather events but nothing that really frightened me. One event that does stay with me though would have been around 1966 when I was out with a few friends. We were in someone's car as fog started to roll in - this was in the English midlands - and it quickly became very thick. Actual fog, not the 'heavy mist' stuff.

    We were in a familiar area but we were completely blind. In the end all but the driver got out of the car and we walked along finding the edge of the footpath with our feet and keeping a hand on the car, giving directions to keep the driver in a more or less straight line in contact with the edge of the road. We could not split up to go to our various homes as it would have been completely impossible to know where we were, but we were able to negotiate to one person's house by following the pavement and simply remembering the route. We could just barely see each other, but not the ground or the car, and the fog was choking.

    It just occurred to me to google for the area and date, and found this article https://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/news/history/wheezy-it-no-nostalgia-bad-1031452


  • Registered Users Posts: 26,319 ✭✭✭✭ Dempo1


    The last snow storm 2 years, ago it must be now) was horrific, based in the slieve bloom mountains, I was literally snowed in for 5 full days, drifts of up to 8ft on all sides of the house. It was at least 3 weeks before roads fully cleared. I also foolishly thought it wise to do a quick shop on the afternoon of its arrival, got about 2 miles and had to stop, abandon car and thankfully 2 guys in a 4x4 gave me a lift home. On retrieving my car a week later, some F€@KER had robbed my battery, never found out who, but just goes to show, there's alway one s€&t living near you,even on the side of a mountain.

    Is maith an scáthán súil charad.




  • Registered Users Posts: 1,858 ✭✭✭ Artane2002


    I haven't really been impacted by weather too much, the only obvious example was when I was going on holidays to London but our flight was delayed by 6 hours due to heavy snow there (March 2013)


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,540 ✭✭✭✭ Thelonious Monk


    Having missed the last bus from downtown with my gf in Calgary nearly 20 years ago, we had to walk home in the middle of the night as we had no money for a taxi. About 90 min walk, but it was -35c and snow everywhere! By the time we got home we both looked sunburnt af and she was crying and I think we thought we might have hypothermia but we were ok in the end. As terrible as our climate is here at least we don't have to deal with those temperatures.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,847 ✭✭✭ pauldry


    1. Winter 2010. Crashed car on icy road in -17c temperatures. Was dragged out of ditch but somehow drove home in shock. Had to get car replaced but luckily unhurt

    2. 1997 Stephen's Day storm. Fence blew down just missing me. Rescued our dog from outside as wind as blowing him off the ground

    3. Storm Elanor. Knocked 2 trees down on top of our garden. Both only damaged shed and wall but took a bit of cleaning up.

    Apart from that lightning n thunder give me severe headaches so June 26th this year is the most recent weather event that has affected my life.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,328 ✭✭✭ Kaybaykwah


    Having missed the last bus from downtown with my gf in Calgary nearly 20 years ago, we had to walk home in the middle of the night as we had no money for a taxi. About 90 min walk, but it was -35c and snow everywhere! By the time we got home we both looked sunburnt af and she was crying and I think we thought we might have hypothermia but we were ok in the end. As terrible as our climate is here at least we don't have to deal with those temperatures.


    Lol. Yes, I can identify with that. Things like outdoor plumbing are impossible here, they would just break to bits. Likewise, when you build a fence or dig for posts for decking, you need to go 5and a half to 6 feet so they won't heave from the frost. It seems like a good part of what we do even with very nice summers is to prepare for the onslaught of winter. The other thing is, you want to get the best jackets, gloves and footwear if you want to be out any length of time. Big mittens are better than the best insulated gloves for long exposures, because even the most expensive gloves are ****e in minus 20 and lower. Good boots are not just warm, they also need traction if you walk on icy sidewalks. I've had a lot of bad falls in the past and as I age, I want to eliminate that risk as much as possible...


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,540 ✭✭✭✭ Thelonious Monk


    Kaybaykwah wrote: »
    Lol. Yes, I can identify with that. Things like outdoor plumbing are impossible here, they would just break to bits. Likewise, when you build a fence or dig for posts for decking, you need to go 5and a half to 6 feet so they won't heave from the frost. It seems like a good part of what we do even with very nice summers is to prepare for the onslaught of winter. The other thing is, you want to get the best jackets, gloves and footwear if you want to be out any length of time. Big mittens are better than the best insulated gloves for long exposures, because even the most expensive gloves are ****e in minus 20 and lower. Good boots are not just warm, they also need traction if you walk on icy sidewalks. I've had a lot of bad falls in the past and as I age, I want to eliminate that risk as much as possible...

    Are you in Alberta? I was walking along the river in Calgary during winter once and I had to go up a hill trail to get off it. I just kept sliding back down as my shoes had no grip. Over and over. I eventually had to climb through the bushes and trees as I could hold on to their branches to drag me up.
    We would have 10 ft icicles hanging from our gutters. And the snow is so fine there that you can see every snowflake's design when they land on you.
    What I did find great is that no matter how cold it was, somehow our tiny apartment was always warm enough to walk around half naked. I never even knew how the heating worked but for a really old wooden house, it was perfectly warm even at -35c outside.
    If you are young and you get a chance to experience one of these winters it's worth it, I never want to experience it again though!


  • Registered Users Posts: 411 ✭✭ Little snowy old me


    The big storm of Feb 1988. Mother was out getting turf and got blown against the wall very hard and suffered concussion. Had to get her to the hospital in Letterkenny and on the way, a tree blew down blocking the road, so we abandoned the car and walked the last mile. The wind was wild. I had to hold onto her and she was all confused and bleeding from the the earlier fall. Dramatic day, but all ok in the end.


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  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 15,430 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Tabnabs


    Like so many others in the industry, I've mixed memories of working in the North Sea.


    Not my video, but been there, done that.

    It;s better at night in the pitch dark when you can't see them rushing at you...


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