Friday 21 February 2014

Skye Winter Weather

I know I’ve written about Skye weather several times before, but the weather this winter deserves a return to the subject.

The Met Office has just reported that the UK as a whole has had the wettest winter since records began - about 120 years ago. Flooded rivers have affected large chunks of Britain, and the coastline has taken a severe battering from a succession of violent storms, resulting in damaged sea walls and the rearrangement of some of the coastal scenery.  

Most of Skye is not prone to flooding from rivers, which regularly rise and fall dramatically in response to heavy rainfall on the hills that feed them.  And the rugged western coastline is bashed by Atlantic waves all the time, so no change there then.

But even so, this year the weather has been different to any other winter we have experienced so far on Skye. We have not seen much sun, and day after day, the trees around The Barn have been waved about by strong winds – gusts of 60mph or more have been occurring quite frequently. We have had a number of thunderstorms – far more than usual – and lightning strikes have damaged houses (not ours, thankfully) as well as causing widespread damage to telecommunications equipment (the Rowan Cottage wi-fi router was destroyed by a nearby lightning strike). The rainfall has not often been heavy, but it has seemed almost constant, and it is not rushing away to the rivers as it usually does. The result is completely waterlogged ground. There is water standing in puddles here, on the lawn and driveway where puddles have never been before.

Two days ago we had 24 hours of constant heavy rain, and we woke yesterday morning to find all the local ditches overflowing onto the roads, and the Roskhill river a raging torrent at least a couple of feet higher than I have ever seen it before. Unfortunately, it was too wet to take the camera outside, so I have no photos. Within a couple of hours of the rain stopping, everything returned to ‘normal’, though many road edges have suffered serious wash-out as a result of the temporary rivers that flowed over them.

This seems to illustrate yet again, that as far as Skye weather is concerned, there is no such thing as ‘normal’…!