Yesterday was a day when a lot of cobwebs were blown away. As compared to Braco or Inverness, East Lothian was pretty fortunate with few trees or power lines down and no main roads blocked. Elsewhere, most ferries and trains were not running and Argyll was effectively cut off, even from the internet, and at a standstill. Add in the ash cloud from Iceland that closed airports and Scotland was struggling to keep business as usual.
But this is not that unusual. We get hammered by storms on a regular basis‚ it’s just not normal to happen in late May but with the jet stream running well south of its usual path, low pressure vortexes are being catapulted our way with a dusting of Gromsvotn ash to add insult to injury. Last year the wind was in the East when mountainous seas on top of a storm surge and spring tide wrecked dinghies at North Berwick, blew a hole in the road outside of the Goth and shredded east-facing beaches.
But a year on and there is little but memories of that storm-of-the-century. Yesterday’s “don’t remember it this bad” gusts that reached 100mph in Stirlingshire must have been hell to experience but, apart for the unlucky van driver in Balloch, it’s mostly slates and branches and the occasional dented vehicle. Compare us with Missouri where a tornado cut a path six miles long through the town of Joplin, killing almost 100 people, wrecking hundreds of homes and businesses and making the town centre “look like a war zone”.
Kick into the equation that most of the planet that doesn’t suffer tornados or typhoons or hurricanes gets earthquakes or avalanches or droughts and you start to appreciate that we get off fairly lightly here, the occasional horizontal rain at Force 10 notwithstanding. Look on yesterday as a breath of fresh air that turned our street litter problem into Denmark’s.