View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Across the Atlantic

The title of this blog is Atlantic Lines, as I reside about 20 km (12 miles) from the Mighty Atlantic, and feel the effects of its proximity on a daily basis. As does everybody else in these islands.

Another aspect of this ocean is that it generates hurricanes in the summer season. Although the first tropical wave of 2009 is yet to emanate from the African continent, June 1st is only 6 weeks away, which heralds the start of the hurricane season. The southern and eastern seabords of the USA are only too familiar with these storms - next August will see the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina which (as we all know) devastated New Orleans.

One of the major bones of contention left behind by Katrina has been the handling of the crisis, both before and afterwards. Today, it is reported that a leading scientist at the Louisiana State University's Hurricane Center, Dr Ivor van Heerden, was fired. The reason for dismissal, which will come into effect in March 2010, was not related to his professional performance.

According to Dr Jeff Masters, whose hurricane blog I follow, it was likely related to his stance on hurricane preparedness for Louisiana and New Orleans. This sat very uneasily with certain figures in authority. Dr Van Heerden favoured a flood prevention scheme for the Gulf Coast along the lines of the Dutch flood defenses, rather than the current flimsy arrangements. I would echo Dr Masters' conclusion that the removal of Dr Van Heerden from his position should be cause for concern for all who rely on flood defenses along the Louisiana coastline for protection against another Katrina. Read Dr Masters' blog entry here.

Tuesday 14 April

Quite a sunny day with once more a lot of high cirrus clouds about. The forecast is that we'll have the best weather in Scotland. The west coast of the mainland should see the mercury nudging 60F this afternoon; this is partly due to the effects of the mountains further inland. In Alpine countries, they refer to this as the föhn effect. There is a southeasterly wind which will descend once past the mountains and warm up in the process.

Am continuing to line up my on-line memorial site and its Excel back-up on the computer. Did a major update in the first months of this year, and didn't immediately incorporate it in the Excel file. I forgot that the many names starting with Mac in this part of the world could also be spelled Mc. Once that is complete, I can then start to refer to portrait photographs (of which I have about 400) and cemetery pictures (about 330). Conversely, it is then possible to take each of the island's war memorials (about 20) and expand details on each casualty listed thereon.