View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Tuesday 23 August

An unremarkable day weatherwise, with some sunshine and no rain, temperatures reasonable (18C). Sat outside for half an hour to read more of the Count of Monte Christo. A delicious tale of revenge best served cold.

Events in Libya are moving fast, with the news this evening that Gadaffi's compound in the centre of Tripoli has been overrun, with the great Brother himself now in a spot of bother. He is thought to have bolted down a tunnel and possibly spirited away to his hometown of Sirte, east of his capital. His son made an appearance overnight, in spite of claims from the rebels that he had been captured. War is all about mis-information, don't forget.

The US East Coast was rattled by a magnitude 5.9 earthquake, which caused some alarm and damaged the Ecuadorean embassy in Washington DC. The jokes are already bouncing round the internet: "5.9? That's what the Californians stir their coffee with".

Hurricane Irene is moving away from Hispaniola as I type this, and will ratchet up to major hurricane strength overnight, with winds (well) in excess of 110 mph. Its further trajectory points at the US East Coast, which will get a comprehensive side-swipe from the storm over the weekend. This means heavy rain and high winds at the very least. Concerned? Monitor the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane update - 23 August

Hurricane Irene is starting to move away from the Dominican Republic towards the Bahamas. The storm is currently a category II hurricane, but will intensify to category III over the next 24 hours. The Turks & Caicos Islands as well as the Bahamas will feel the full fury of Irene, but at present, the islands have most to fear from the storm surge. This will come in at 9 to 13 feet (3 to 4 metres) above normal tidal levels. The Bahamas are relatively low lying, so the effects of the storm surge are potentially catastrophic. Maximum sustained windspeeds at present stand just below 100 mph, but will increase to 120 mph into tomorrow.

The current forecast states that Irene will plough through the Bahamas over the next few days, and will proceed to make landfall in the Carolinas by the weekend, as a major hurricane (meaning sustained windspeeds are 115 mph or higher).  The exact location of landfall is at present impossible to predict.