View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Wednesday 29 July

Mother Nature certainly threw a tantrum last night with that tornado. Damage is greater than I initially thought this lunchtime - regional news shows cars caved in by falling roof tiles, garden sheds blown to bits, trampolines migrated across gardens, trees down and shredded of leaves. A campervan was nearly blown over, but was parked next to a tractor which prevented a disaster. But, I must stress, nobody got hurt.

Local rumour has it that some wisecrack is blaming the tornado on divine retribution following the institution of a ferry on the Sabbath. My reply to that is: god sent us a tornado, God prevented anyone getting hurt.


Last night at around 9pm, the weather started to deteriorate markedly. Dark showerclouds moved up from the west, the wind (which had already been at force 5 all day) picked up further. The Eoropie private weather station recorded gusts of wind of 57 mph at one point. And just after 10pm, a tornado dropped in for a passing visit. It came ashore near the ferry terminal, overturned a car outside the Sea Angling Club, jumped to James Street to rip gates off a private driveway, then on to Garden Road where the lead flashings came loose on a house - presumably because the rooftiles were being lifted off. Trees had limbs taken off and shredded. Next on to Matheson Road, where two small trees were downed just off Smith Avenue. And Jamieson Drive, a little way further on, also incurred some damage. The twister disappeared in the darkness off Sand Street, 2 miles north of the original point of landfall.

On the Fujita scale, which measures the strength of a tornado, judging by the damage it leaves behind, this one was an F1 tornado. Overturning a car puts it at F1, as does roof damage. The Coastguard reported a sudden increase and decrease of windspeed as the phenomenon passed. The Met Office rainfall radar last night showed a small burst of intense rainfall, moving at high speed from the west coast of Uig to Stornoway between 9pm and 9.30pm.

Path of tornado across Stornoway