Waiting for the storm
Today Ireland is bracing for the impact of one of the worst storms ever to hit the country. As I sit here typing this, there’s a weird eery calm outside. While Ireland has its fair share of bad weather, we have a generally calm climate compared to other parts of the world, and extreme weather events are quite rare. The weather forecasters are saying that this storm, ex-hurricane Ophelia, will be the worst in 50 years. They are also saying that it is in many ways unprecedented and that the country hasn’t experienced anything like this before.
The worst weather event that I can recall in my Lifetime was what was called “Hurricane Charlie” which happened in the 80s. It was made infamous because on the BBC in the United Kingdom, weather presenter Michael Fish famously said that the storm would miss, and it didn’t. That was over 30 years ago, and luckily forecasting has become much more accurate now.
I have vague memories of Charlie, but I do remember going on a drive with my parents a few days after the storm and seeing the damage that as done. At the time, much of that was due to flooding, and the majority of what we were seeing, at least around where I live, was washed away bridges.
While hopefully, we won’t have as bad a storm as the recent ones to hit parts of America and the Caribbean, people at least seem to be taking this seriously. Irish people have a tendency to take such warnings a bit too lightly with the Irish motto of “Ah sure, it’ll be grand” (which I guess is the Irish version of “Keep calm and carry on”). I suspect that the horrible carnage carried on our TV screens of the situation in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have made people aware of the need to take these things seriously. Winds are not expected to reach the levels of those hurricanes, thank god, but its still expected to be quite severe, with gusts of over 150km already reported as it approaches the west coast.
They are warning of widespread power outages though. Where I live is reasonably sheltered in the foothills of a mountain, so hopefully, It won’t be too bad here and we will still have electricity and internet at the end of the day. I’ve backed up my important and ongoing projects to Dropbox just in case.
I now understand the reason we use the term “The calm before the storm”. As I write this there’s an eery stillness outside my window. The sun has actually come out and is streaming through the autumn coloured trees. I can’t emphasise enough as to how weird it feels. The strange stillness is quite unsettling. Anyway, I hope any of my fellow Irish readers, and those in Scotland who are set to get the storm later tonight or tomorrow, are and stay safe as the storm reaches full force.