Thursday, 17 January 2013

Breeze or wind?

On Tiree the wind scale is a tad skewed.

What might be called "windy" on the mainland is called "breezy" on Tiree.

"Breeze" has a wider range up here.  Up to about 18mph is generally referred to by locals as "breezy".  I have noticed very few completely calm days and have already managed to adjust my mental scale of winds.  "breezy" isn't really an event on the island, folk carry on as usual, even the frailer ones still consider the wind to be weak enough to let them outside.

Above this and up to around 40mph is considered "windy" and usually "gusty".  The average person who doesn't need to be outside generally won't be.  The wind brings tears to the eyes almost instantly and the frailer folk stay indoors or look around for a kind soul to block some of the wind.  I can get a walk in up to around the 25mph mark, after that I get blinded by tears.

Above 40mph is allowed to be "very windy" and sometimes even as far as "gales".  The Glasgow plane starts to be unpredictable, the ferry may not get past Coll and life on the island generally moves indoors if at all possible.

But the second biggest factor after speed is direction.  A nice tail wind can shave a good 10-15 minutes off the flight time from Glasgow while a head wind can add as much as 30 minutes.

Our ferries aren't exactly small, they can take a couple of HGV's and a good couple dozen cars in one run.  The Lord of the Isles even has stabilisers (not wheels, big fins on hydraulics to ease the roll).  So the sea being rough isn't necessarily a guarantee of no running.  What does determine the ferry coming in is the direction of the wind in relation to the pier.  From what I've heard; if the waves are coming in at the length of the pier, or side, then docking is possible.  But if the waves are hitting the end, then the offloading ramp can't stay put.  Or it could be the other way, I'm not sure as yet.

Of course the ferry not getting in sees a sudden rush to the Co and Macleod's for bread and milk.  A cancellation of the plane means no mail and no people coming back or visiting.  What I love though, is that no mail doesn't create a big fuss.  No mail today?  Okay, it'll be in tomorrow, probably.  No mail for a day on the mainland?  All heck is let loose.  Even in the little village of Todmorden a one day delay could have a week long knock on effect.  Here it might knock something back two days.

Right now my little browser plugin says the winds are around 43mph from the SSE.  I believe this is the average of sustained and gusts, but I'm not sure.  What I can tell you is that right now having the bedroom window open 1cm, not even past the frame, creates enough howl to drown out anything but someone in shoes walking past the door.  Other observations include: the water in the toilet has a fairly good wave system going.  The house is COLD and even though the heater is on 4 I am having to wear thick socks and a jumper to stay warm.  There's also a fair howl coming down the chimney.

We don't like Southerlies or 'Sou'westerlies' in our house, they hit the front of the house and have a horrible knack of finding all the tiny holes and getting in.  They also lift the lino, even though I've blocked off all but 1/5 of each air brick.

Still, could be worse...I won't say how, Murphy and Sod may be listening.

I dearly hope all my friends and family on the mainland are taking care, staying warm and avoiding the snow.  Take care all!

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