View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Monday, 21 January 2013

Monday 21 January

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Another cold but dry day with a keen easterly wind, that played havoc with our ferries. MV Isle of Lewis was blown away from the quayside when it tried to dock at lunchtime; it did not go out again for its customary second run to Ullapool. MV Finlaggan experienced similar problems on its route from Skye to North Uist, so did not venture out at all.

Meanwhile, the snow and ice continue to wreak havoc around the country; elsewhere in Europe, they have similar problems. The Dutch railways are running a halved schedule, and the winter weather also put paid to the Fyra trains, which started shedding parts along the Amsterdam - Brussels highspeed  line due to the frost. Belgian railway company NMBS promptly banned the €20m trains from its tracks.

Here in Stornoway, our feathered friends very gratefully took advantage of the birdseed and peanuts put out in the feeders. At one stage, nearly 30 sparrows, a dozen starlings, up to five collared doves and even a racing pigeon gorged themselves. The fresh water in an empty pot was also much appreciated. The ginger cat that popped round yesterday missed out on today's feast.
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I have continued my project, which involves putting together all the information I have on the casualties from this island who were lost in the First World War. Their number is just shy of 1,300, and includes those who lie buried in Lewis. Today, I gathered up the data, pictures and tributes for the men from the village of Ballantrushal, located some 14 miles north of Stornoway on the road to the Butt of Lewis.

Hurricane update - 21 January

Hurricanes? Well, the southern hemisphere season is in full swing, and my tropical cyclones blog is kept busy. I give a brief summary.

Garry: a tropical storm, giving bad weather to American Samoa, and headed for French Polynesia. It will see that system at hurricane force.

Oswald: a tropical storm over the Gulf of Carpentaria in Queensland, Australia, but about to make landfall in the Cape York peninsula. It will continue to grumble there, feeding off tropical moisture over the Coral Sea to the east.

93S: a tropical area of low pressure off the coast of Western Australia, and expected to become a tropical cyclone (in this case at tropical storm strength). The main effect will be rain over the desert area of the Pilbara.

94S: another tropical low, this time off the coast of southern Africa,165 miles north of Maputo in Mozambique. This system (which the local hurricane centre in La Reunion is yet to wake up to) will intensify over the warm waters of the Mozambique Channel, and could give the island state of Madagascar a headache later in the week.