View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Monday, 6 April 2009

Obama - either way

I am interested to note the starkly divergent views on Barack Obama, now that he has been in office for some 10 weeks. I cannot help but notice the distrust and cynicism with which he is being greeted in some sections of American society - and I am not being personal towards anyone on here. As far as I can tell, people in the USA are deeply mistrusting of all politicians. Even a new broom like Obama appears to be instinctively treated with that approach. The man is a great speaker, but the final reckoning will lie in his actions, and the results of those actions. From my position, 3,500 miles away in Europe, it is not possible to judge whether what I see on the TV or on here is a reliable guide towards Mr Obama's actions.

At the moment, the president is in Europe and Asia, and seems to be hitting the right notes most of the time. Everybody is falling over him, and probably quite relieved to see a new broom who is speaking a different tone to his predecessor(s). Again, actions speak louder than words. But, 10 weeks is a very short term to judge any politician newly in power.

Hurricane season

On May 15th, just over 5 weeks from now, the East Pacific hurricane season will start. The North Atlantic season, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, will commence on June 1st. If you live in an area likely to be affected by hurricanes, please start to review your preparations now. As per usual, the National Hurricane Center in Miami has an excellent article of advice. Do review.
When the season starts in earnest, I will copy details of hurricanes approaching land on this journal. Regular updates will be carried on my Tropical Cyclones blog, but ALWAYS go to the NHC site for the latest information.

A hurricane is a useful mechanism for our planet to syphon the sun's energy, beamed onto the tropics to higher latitudes. There is enough energy in one average system to power planet earth's human population 200 times over. In other words, nothing can be done to divert a storm's path. Apart from strong wind, the other dangers associated with hurricanes lie in heavy rains (causing flooding) and a tidal storm surge, which in extreme cases can be as much as 25 feet high - as demonstrated at Galveston last year. Follow all official orders and advice. Trying to ride a hurricane against official advice is jeopardising your life.

Monday 6 April

Increasing cloud heralding the arrival of rain this afternoon. As if we haven't had enough rain yesterday; it never stopped.

An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale has reportedly killed dozens of people in the Italian town of L'Aquila, 60 miles northeast of Rome. The deathtoll is set to rise further, as remote villages are accessed. Nearly thirty years ago, a strong earthquake killed 3,000 near Naples. Italy lies across a major faultline in the earth's crust, giving rise to 4 active volcanoes and much seismic activity.

Locally, it is reported that the Arnish Fabrication Yard, a mile from my position across Stornoway Harbour, is set to reopen in the next few weeks or months. This means a welcome boost to a dire employment situation, where at one point 600 people were chasing 6 jobs at the local job centre.

More later.