View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Tuesday 12 November

As many of you know, I keep a close eye on hurricanes, typhoons, tropical cyclones (all the same things) around the world. Following their tracks, build-up and decline over a period of hours, days and sometimes weeks is one thing. Seeing the impact that such a system has upon striking land is something else. Last year, it was hurricane Sandy, bringing the city of New York to a standstill. This year, it can't be anything but supertyphoon Haiyan, which has claimed tens of thousands of lives, and caused immeasurable destruction and suffering in the Philippines. It brings it home what you're dealing with. Mind you, I'm not into calling a weather system a "monster" storm. They are inanimate phenomena, brought about by the sun, evaporation and condensation of water and the rotation of the earth. A typhoon is a giant safety valve, which serves as a conduit of heat from the equator to the poles. However, we're talking about forces on a planetary scale. To demonstrate that, the power of all tropical cyclones in the northern half of the Pacific Ocean this year would power the USA for 50 years.