Monday 22 January 2024

Isha nail-biter

Dau.I & Dau.II went to Edinburgh for the weekend: a late significant-bday present from An Admirer. Bookings were made weeks ago, when Storm Isla wasn't even a Caribbean butterfly flap. But that's okay. Even ferry bookings are mostly 'safe' in January, and planes travel faster than the wind hereabouts. So only Bob "the anxious" would spend the whole winter on the sofa under a duvet; not going anywhere for fear of trees falling. But, nevertheless, like manly folk across the country, I did use the yest daylight hours to touch-up the teeth of my chain-saw and make sure I knew where fuel and chain-oil - and PPE! - were.

But as darkness fell on Sunday (21Jan24) evening, Storm Isla made landfall [crump, above] in Galway, Mayo and Donegal and Met Eireann cranked out a Red wind warning for those three counties with Orange for the rest of the country. Similar calls made across the water.  I was starting to regret that they were not on an earlier flight: to slip out of Scotland and land safely in Dublin before the wind-drubbing started in earnest. It having been gusty all day on the farrrrm with a clattery dusting of dead ash branches.  But whoa! look what happened to that earlier flight:

FR817 set off 4 hours late, was put in a holding pattern over the Irish Sea off Drogheda and then instructed to return to base! The passengers de-planed back in Edinburgh, just as the gate was closed on the next flight . . . which sat on the tarmac full of cranky passengers including m'family for about 3 hours before taking off. Tale-off is the usually the easy part: just line up, throttle up and Go! You can see it all in real time on planefinder: which picks up the transponder of each plane and GPSes it (including altitude).
It was a little dicier at the destination end with a Southerly 25kt (45 km/h) cross-wind, gusting to 45kt (that's national speed-limit 80km/h) on windfinder. With far too much [aghast] attention to detail, I noted that about half the incommming pilots were getting an unfortunate combo of gusts on approach so throttled up at about 1500 ft and made a Go-Round.  The plane-finder evidence says that Daus' pilot thought discretion was better than gofer twice, but Dau.I says it was three times. She's not the best traveller at the best of time but even her phlegmatic sister confessed to feeling a bit green round the gills when they all finally poured out on the plane in Dublin and headed home.

As of 23:30 hrs Sunday evening, with all the family tucked up in bed, there were 170,000 homes without power across the country and sundry reports of downed trees and storm debris. As of 07:00 this morning it's 235K powerless homes.  Last storm year ended 31 Aug 2023; there were only two named storms: Antoni [04Aug23]; Betty [18Aug23]. This year, four months in, we've already clocked: Agnes, Babet, Ciarán, Debi, Elin, Fergus, Gerrit, Henk, and Isha . . . I tell ya b'ys, the weather is getting fizzier.

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