View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Hurricane update - 24 October

Hurricane Sandy passed within 5 miles of Kingston, Jamaica, at 1900 GMT today. Winds of 80 mph occurred in the vicinity of the centre, and the storm will maintain that strength during the 200 mile crossing to Cuba. Having weakened due to the effects of land, Sandy will then reintensify over the Bahamas before transforming into a non-tropical depression. Whether this will affect the US east coast is as yet uncertain.

Tropical storm Son-tinh is passing through the Philippine islands, but once clear of those landmasses will balloon into a typhoon with winds of 90 mph. This system will continue on its present northwesterly course, and will make landfall near Hanoi, Vietnam, in 4 days' time.

Tropical cyclone 01A has formed east of the Horn of Africa, and will make landfall there tomorrow with winds of 55 mph. The rain that this storm brings will be most welcome in the Somali desert around there.

Wednesday 24 October

Overcast with only a few chinks of brightness amongst the clouds. Consequently, no nice cloudscapes, just drab, grey ones. So therefore not dozens of pics of them today. Tomorrow should be better, but a lot colder than the 11C we had today.

At the moment, hurricane Sandy is blasting across Jamaica, with its capital, Kingston, taking a close-up view of the storm. The system will continue north towards eastern Cuba, the Bahamas with the southeast of Florida getting a side-swipe. There is debate among forecasters what will happen once Sandy transforms into a "normal" depression; it is feared that it could head north and strafe the US east coast with force 11 winds.

The annual poppy appeal has been launched, to coincide with the 94th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice. This year, November 11th will fall on a Sunday, making it a true Remembrance Sunday. I am continuing with my compilation of information on the WW1 casualties from this island; the work is not complete (I'm about halfway); and even after I have completed my look-ups, there is still more information that could be added. I have suggested in certain quarters that the Roll of Honour for this island could be republished, but I don't know if that will be taken up. The original Roll, published in 1921, is not free of errors and oversights, but would take a monumental effort to revise, requiring input from the various historical societies in Lewis. The problem there lies in money and manpower. I would think that a small share of the £50m allocated to the WW1 centenary in 2014 by PM David Cameron might be helpful. However, that's not for me to decide.


Deep blue seas hurrying through
a narrow channel to the next island
None left there as permanent residents
Only the markers to those gone before

The village in the sand was stirred
by violent winds from the present age
what did it look like, they wanted to know
only guesswork

Yielding an edifice that's stood
the test of time, but failed the one of modernity
Above the sands and past the river
None now live there, others come admiring

A dark storm looms from the northwest
The islands fade in the squalls of winter
Reappearing in blinding clearances
in a white wreath of flying foam

From small to larger the people were moved
To the township southeast, round the minister's manse
Further southeast more ancient a temple
Not to the sun but for observing the moon

Long gone have the people who erected the stones
Long gone are those driven away
At the whim of a minion, not caring
but for his master's pocket

Only the beach now remains
With the islands beyond
And the memory of those gone before
At Bosta