Wednesday 4 January 2012


Well, I said I liked the weather and we've just had another dose - and a half. It isn't often that Islay gets mentioned on the Radio 4 news as having had one of the strongest wind gusts across the country, but that's what happened yesterday morning. The photo shows the Islay Airport wind speeds yesterday morning every 20 minutes from 7.00 am to 8.00 am (taken from the Weatheronline website). The strongest gust was 97 mph (looks even stronger expressed as 156 kilometres/hour!) and was both preceded (between 6.40 and 7.00 am) and followed by gusts of 93 mph. The steady windspeed shown, of 73 mph, is just above the boundary between Violent Storm Force 11 (up to 72 mph) and Hurricane Force 12 (73 mph upwards) on the Beaufort scale. The Weatheronline website doesn't seem to bother with Force 12, stopping at Force 11 - perhaps it's too rare!
Needless to say, there has been quite a lot of damage to roofs, chimneys and trees, and also to our electricity supply. There was a complete island-wide power failure around 6.30 am - there had been some local ones before that - and the diesel generator in Bowmore was duly started up. However, on this occasion, while the supply to parts of the island (including Bowmore and Port Ellen) was immediately restored, this was not true for many other areas, some of which are now facing a second night without it. Here in Bruichladdich, it was restored this afternoon (at about 4.10 pm), the nearly 34 hours without being one of the longest outages we can remember. This one was made more tedious by being able to look across the loch to the lights of Bowmore!
And if anyone is wondering how I have a photograph taken after the power cut had started, I was checking the weather website on my mobile phone. Less than an hour later, the Vodaphone network went down and, at the time of writing (5.00 pm Weds 4th) is still not back! Ah the joys of island living. Did I mention that there no ferries until about 7.00 pm yesterday evening?  Oh yes, and it's been raining all day, too, and we had thunder and lightning on Monday evening for good meaure.
Malcolm (looking forward to a calmer spell - well, I can always hope)

Wind record, Islay Airport, 7.00 - 8.00 am, 3rd Jan 2012


  1. Another interesting comparison would be that the wind speed was 27 mph (or 39%) above the (legal) top speed on the motorway. Or 37 mph (or 67%) above the (legal) top speed on the main roads on Islay.
    Should have lost its licence....

  2. An interesting point, Armin, but I'm not sure the local police have a vehicle capable of catching and apprehending the miscreant.
    Having hoped for calm weather, it is now (9.00 pm) blowing at 45 mph (force 8) gusting 63, so one could say it is comparatively calm!

  3. Port Ellen made the news on BBC TV too - as I'm away from home I've anxiously been trying to get news of our house - finally managed to make contact this afternoon to be told the roof is OK but a lot of trees are down.