View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Hurricane update - 21 October (II)

In the Bay of Bengal, tropical cyclone Giri has strengthened explosively to 70 knots (that's well into hurricane strength), and will pick up even more strength before it comes ashore in Myanmar. I am unable to access the website for Department for Meteorology and Hydrology in Myanmar - I hope they are aware of what's headed their way.

Thursday 21 October

A grey, wet and cold day. The sun popped its head round the corner for a minute, but that was about it.
It is reported that Linda Norgrove, who was killed in a failed rescue attempt in Afghanistan on 8 October, is to be buried at Ardroil, Lewis, next week. An inquest into her death has been opened and adjourned.

The BBC World Service could be forced to cut some of its foreign language services when plans are implemented for it to be funded from the BBC License Fee. Anyone in the UK who owns a television or radio receiver is required to pay £145.50 per annum for the privilege. Until now, the World Service was funded through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
I have been a strong supporter of the BBC World Service for nearly 30 years, as it is held to be an impartial disseminator of news to areas of conflict; particularly where independently verified news can be hard to come by. Strangulating the funding of such an important service is not doing anyone any favours; I do realise that budget cuts have to be made somewhere, but this is the second example of one cut I thoroughly dislike.

The second cut involves our Coastguard tug. The Anglian Sovereign (and four of its brethren) patrol the waters around the United Kingdom, and the tug positioned at Stornoway is there to keep shipping safe. It was put there following the Braer disaster (a supertanker which broke up on the coastline of Shetland in 1993), precisely to prevent a repetition of such a calamity. At least one such accident has been avoided in my 6 years here in Lewis, and I think it is a very, very bad move indeed. Local MPs are thinking so too.

Again, cuts have to be made - but saying that ship's owners are responsible for the salvage of their wrecked boats is the same as saying that they are responsible for the saving of their crews' lives - and cut down on RAF crews doing rescues by helicopter.

Hurricane update - 21 October

A new tropical depression has formed in the northwestern Caribbean. This is expected to intensify to tropical storm Richard, which will move northwest towards if not past the Yucatan Peninsula. Worth keeping an eye on.

Typhoon Megi continues to churn its way north towards China, with winds slowly decreasing, currently at 95 knots (110 mph). The storm will make landfall in the early hours of Saturday to the east of Hong Kong.

The Bay of Bengal is also hosting a tropical phenomenon, here it is termed a tropical cyclone. 04B is headed east and will make landfall in Burma (now known as Myanmar). This system will reach 60 knots as maximum sustained windspeed (that's equivalent to force 11 on the Beaufort scale), but I think rain will be a bigger problem.

To add to the fun, there are two tropical disturbances out in the Pacific which have a good chance (50% or more) of becoming fully fledged tropical cyclones. One is located northwest of Guam, the other west of Wake Island.