Thursday, 3 February 2011
It was windy in the night, and a fall of snow brought the airport to a halt first thing. That was nothing. At 1pm, the weather turned increasingly savage, and at the moment the anemometer is spinning to 86 mph at the Butt of Lewis, 25 miles north of here. Curtains of spindrift are blown across the harbour, in front of my position, and angry white riders adorn the wave crests. Almost all ferry services in the west of Scotland have been withdrawn, in the face of hurricane force winds. Flights are still operating normally. The wind is from the south; as the runway at the airport is north/south orientated, planes can still take off. It will be a very bumpy ride though. There will be a springtide at 7pm tonight, clocking in at 4.8 metres / 16 feet, which coincides with the height of the storm - sandbags at the ready in the flood-prone areas of Stornoway. As I type, I can see huge curtains of spindrift crossing the basin in front of me, indicating that we're heading for force 11. Two poor collar doves were blown around so hard that they had to land in a tree (which doves don't like doing) before finally taking off for their roost in one of the buildings nearby.