View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 14 January 2011

Friday 14 January

I am slowly getting rid of another bout of cold, which crept up on me through the week. Just as well I had this new box of hankies in, they've been going at a rate of knots. Nonetheless, I have not really got any reasons for complaint, if I see what nature is throwing at Queensland and Brazil.

Here in the Western Isles, it is a day of brightness and showers (I have not seen the sun as such today), and we are on warning for a gale tonight. The overnight freight ferry, MV Muirneag, has been cancelled.

There is a bit of a wrangle going on regarding the closure of local schools. Eleven had been earmarked for closure, but the junior secondary schools in Lionel (Ness) and Shawbost have been reprieved by the Scottish Government, as have the primary schools in Carloway and Seilebost (Harris). The council is displeased, because this puts a spanner in their works of revamping education in the isles. Local parents are pleased though, as it means that children can be taught closer to home.

Again on the subject of natural disasters, there are two tropical cyclones around that people should be wary of. TC Vania is currently traversing New Caledonia, an island some 1,000 miles east of Cairns, Australia. The storm carries winds of about force 10 on the Beaufort scale. More worrying is TC Zelda, which has blown up off the eastern tip of Papua New Guinea. This system will reach hurricane force within 24 hours as it marches southeast across the Pacific. New Caledonia could (again) get a swipe from it, and New Zealand will probably see the storm when it has ceased being a cyclone - but still a nasty storm depression.