Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bracing for winter storms

Winter has not officially started yet. But winter storms have nevertheless started making news. Here John Ingham of U.K. Daily Express reports massive waves hit the Portsmouth Naval Memorial yesterday as Britain took a battering from rain and storm-force winds as shown by this picture:
along with these depressing stories of travel chaos:
For some drivers caught in the chaos, it was a day of miracle escapes.
Two men were killed as gale-force winds and torrential rain battered the country.
A construction worker was crushed to death when a freak gust of wind sent a crane spinning out of control.
It is believed a block of masonry was sent flying by the crane and landed on the man at a building site at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, Essex.
Elsewhere, a 39-year-old motorcyclist was killed in a crash with a car on rain-soaked roads.
His female passenger was seriously hurt after the collision on the A396 near Exeter, Devon.
On the other hand on this side of the Atlantic in Canada, Hans Tammemagi reports in The Province entitled "A new wave of storm watchers" with the subtitle "The ocean's fearsome power floods people's senses -- and they love it" as:

When storms lash the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island -- which they do with regularity during the wiinter -- they unleash an awesome power. Towering waves roll in from the far reaches of the Pacific Ocean and crash onto rocky headlands, fling huge logs far up the beaches and send spray high into the air.

Being humbled by nature must appeal to a primitive part of our psyche. Perhaps the chaotic power of a storm makes the worries in our own lives seem comfortingly smaller. Or perhaps a storm is a metaphor for our troubled world. Whatever the reasons, more and more people are visiting the Tofino area with one sole purpose: to watch storms.

You can enjoy the drama of a thundering Pacific storm while sitting snug inside a comfortable resort. Only a thin glass window will separate your pleasant tranquility from the intense fury and mayhem on the other side. And you won't spill a single drop of your hot toddy while seated beside a roaring fireplace.

Or -- if you are more daring -- you can suit up in rain gear from head to toe, slip on some rubber boots and venture into the teeth of the storm.

You will be immersed in nature in all its fierce majesty. You can explore on foot, buffeted by wind, lashed by rain and enshrouded in sheets of ocean mist.

Your senses will be overpowered by the howling wind, crashing waves and torrents of rain.

Once in a while, a low-pitched rumble will echo through the wind as a big log rams into a rock and is set vibrating like a tuning fork.

But be careful. Powerful wind gusts can knock you down, unpredictable rogue waves can carry you out to sea, and rolling -- even flying -- logs can crush limbs with ease. A good guideline is to keep a minimum of 15 metres above the tide line.

The last sentence is certainly a sound advice. For me, however, I am bracing myself to prepare for "hibernation." Being retired, at least I no longer worry about fighting the morning traffic during ice and snow. Global warming is never around when we need it. Algore is useless!


MarmiteToasty said...

Your photo is from my local area, we went and watched the high tide and waves along the seafront crashing right across the road at places..... they shut the main road off along the seafront at times like this but you can still walk along it...... it was amazing.....


FreaqueWaves said...

>>...they shut the main road off along the seafront at times like this but you can still walk along it...

When you do, please be careful, be very, very, very careful!