View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Monday 23 May

Although the calendar says late May, the weather was more like November today. After lashing rain overnight, the morning cleared to a rising gale. Winds got up to 40 mph, gusting to 70 mph; but down at Malin Head, the northwestern cape of Ireland, there was a 60 mph storm, with gusts to 80 mph. In central Scotland, countless trees and power cables were brought down, leading to serious travel disruption and powercuts. Here in Stornoway, we lost power between 7.15 and 7.50. One person died when his vehicle was crushed by a falling tree. Ferries were cancelled up and down the west coast, although our ferry ploughed on through the force 8 winds, eventually arriving at 9.30 this evening, more than an hour behind schedule.

Although the weather was severe here, it was nothing as compared to the tornado that devastated Joplin, MO, in the USA. More than 100 people are now known to have been killed, and more than 1000 injured. The town is largely destroyed.

So Obama sipped a pint in a pub in Ireland. Volcanic ash clouds prompted his early departure for England. Tomorrow, there will be no flights from Stornoway Airport in the morning, or from any other hub outside the Central Belt [Glasgow / Edinburgh]. We're back to April last year, in other words. Hope this stops soon; I'm due to fly in a fortnight's time.