View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Home is the island

Distant shapes on the eastern horizon
The mainland hills, rarely well defined
Far-off mountains beckoning
Sometimes speaking of winter's cold

Alluring to some, in search of great riches
Seeking a better life beyond their range
The lights of the big city
Moving fast, gaining the high life

Dashing up the social ladder
The comforts of a well-filled purse
Poverty, though, is not just monetary
And fair-weather does not filter your friends

But even when all seems so good
One thing though is missing
It'll always be there, on the western horizon
With the lighthouse beaming its call at dusk

As the ferry leaves Loch Broom behind
And Sutherland's mountains recede in the distance
Tiumpan and Arnish winking their welcome
As the boat glides towards the pier

Familiar faces and familiar buildings
The quiet streets in the dim streetlamps' light
The dark roads beyond town but comforting
Home at last, and here to stay

Sunday 28 October

A wet start to the day, with a dry intermission during the afternoon, leaving us with more rain by nightfall. And nightfall occurred well before 5pm, the clocks having gone back last night. The ferry departed for its customary Sunday crossing at 9 am, rather than 2.30pm. This change in schedule had not really been advertised, leaving some people to turn up at the usual time - only to find they had missed the boat. Some could catch the plane to Inverness, but that was soon full up. And it was 10 years ago that Sunday flights commenced here.

I have been keeping an eye on hurricane Sandy, which is going to be a nightmare for the mid-Atlantic states in the US. At least two of my blogging friends appear to be in the path of the storm, and very likely several others are as well. I'll monitor this through my tropical cyclones blog, but please consult the NHC and HPC site for three-hourly updates - if not more frequent once Sandy comes ashore. Also a cause for concern is category II typhoon Son-tinh, which is headed for Hanoi in Vietnam.

If you're in the path of Sandy, stay safe and follow all official directives. 

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Overhead in the sky beating down
the sun radiates its immeasurable heat
absorbed by the waters of this world
gradually warming - east to west

Cloudless skies show countless suns
at an inconceivable distance
reaching there would be
after the end of this planet

Rising from the surface of the ocean
evaporated water, using
some of the sun's heat to escape
higher up into the sky

Reverting back to liquid
releasing the energy again
Towering nearly a dozen miles up
A shard of lightning leaves a trail of thunder

As our world turns, so do the storms
Winds being to blow, higher
The eye up above espies
the signal given - formation alert

The heat from the water now channels
right to the top of the clouds
which have cooled in sharp contrast
Turbulence rises, a storm is born

Dark clouds arrive
over the tropical horizon
Limpid heat blown away
in amazing fury

Rain lashes horizontally
Trees bend if not snap
Hunker down, seek shelter
It's over!

Not so
A calm of an hour
Distant roaring amidst
the deceptive sunshine

Opposing winds resume
their path of destruction
until it has passed
leaving but wreckage

The balance is restored
Heat is transferred to the pole of the earth
Through the winds of the cyclone
The safety valve has worked - equilibrium rules

Hurricane update - 28 October

Hurricane Sandy continues to pose a major threat to the east coast of the USA, from the Carolinas northward. I refer to the NHC for 3-hourly updates. A few notable stats out of the latest advisory.

Hurricane force winds extend for 175 miles from the centre, which is an extremely large radius
Tropical storm force winds (i.e. winds of galeforce or higher) extend for 520 miles from the centre, again an extremely wide radius

Current lowest pressure in the centre is 951 mbar, very low for a system that "only" carries hurricaneforce winds of 75 mph.

Storm surge flooding of 6 to 11 feet is expected around New York

Rainfall totals will add up to 12 inches in places.