The United Kingdom Meteorological Office [aka The Met Office] began naming prominent distinct storms about four or five years ago. Almost all of these storms come from the North Atlantic, and often (especially in winter) from Canada or the eastern states of the USA. As many storms arrive in the UK via the Republic of Ireland, the name often comes from there too, the Irish and UK bodies collaborating on this.
Over the past few years, however, D and I have noticed that the Outer Hebrides is where the storms have no name : if a storm only affects the Outer Hebrides, then no matter how severe, it won’t get a name, and might not even get a mention on the news.
Yesterday, the UK was visited by Storm Freya, which made landfall in Cornwall and South Wales, and then worked its way north, gradually dying away as it reached the Scottish Borders. Wind speeds gusting up to 65 or even 70mph were reported – with great hullabaloo. Freya never reached anywhere near us, or anywhere else in the Highlands and Islands.
The day before that – Saturday, however, we had a weather event classed as Storm Force, – with gust speeds of 76mph recorded at the Met Office weather station just a few miles north of us. No name for that one, no dramatic warnings, just a simple weather forecast before the event ; and afterwards just a wee mention of the fact that ferries had been cancelled. No ‘outside broadcasts’ from reporters with umbrellas and bare heads. No drama, no hype, no fuss. We adjust our pace a little, as if we were skirting around a large puddle, but otherwise continue as normal The islanders are of course completely accustomed to that sort of thing (in fact we’re used to much worse weather than that!) : no, we like to just get on with life.
Saturday’s storm with no name caused damage here at An Gàrradh Mòr. A length of timber shelter fence was blown down, despite being itself sheltered by trees, shrubs, the compost heaps etc. And an aged Poplar tree, which in recent years had decayed on one side, and so was seriously lop-sided, was pushed over. Removing most of the wood will help the tree re-balance and hopefully put out new growth ; also it will encourage the tree to send out suckers, from which will grow replacement trees. The timber I removed is parsed into (a) wood for the solid fuel stove – after seasoning and sawing, and (b) small stuff to add to the walled garden’s hibernacula.