Weather Eye, September

The extreme weather expected at the beginning of September arrived and caused great damage. First Irma and then Maria devastated islands in the Caribbean. Barbuda had to be evacuated and Puerto Rico may not be able to grow any food for many months.

In other and far-flung parts, Brazil is experiencing an abnormally extreme dry season. Australia just experienced its hottest winter on record. In Teruel, Spain, thunderstorms forming in a much warmer than normal atmosphere dumped half a meter of hail. Antarctic sea ice is hitting record lows after being buffeted by warm winds on at least two sides. And in Guatemala, Mexico, Poland, the Congo, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India and Oklahoma, there have been extreme or record floods.

Robert Scribbler

Weather-wise here on the Yorkshire coast all is relatively calm and quiet. In the face of catastrophes elsewhere, I have lost interest in offering more insignificant stats and graphs in this space. (For the record, it was 2.04ºC cooler than September 2016 and 22.5mm wetter.)

AtlanticStormsThere have been suggestions that Maria and Lee might hook up and batter the British Isles soon. Today at 1pm the Atlantic had a lopsided grin on Ventusky – with little sign of the nose (ex-Maria) and left eye (ex-Lee) merging to form Storm Brian tomorrow.  And, of course, in Yorkshire, we are not expecting devastating earthquakes or erupting volcanoes anytime soon.

On the certainly man-made (not a hoax) troubles front, we continue to suffer from the after-effects of our referendum and wait anxiously to see what happens if the American military gets to play with its people-destroying toys on a bigger stage than Syria.

What was the weather like in these parts 109 years ago? The Scarborough Mercury of 2nd October 1908 tells us in Filey News: Events of the Week.

The last few days have been charming, indeed the weather has been almost too fine for the time of year. Regret has been expressed however, at Filey, as well as at other places, that practically all the visitors had gone. Had they only stayed what a glorious time they would have had!   The fine weather, however, has been one of the unexpected things which we are told invariably happen. Filey Bay, with its fine expanse of sea, looked charming yesterday, and one could imagine nothing better on such a day, than to be on the sea in a coble, fishing. Yet, fine as the day was yesterday the early morning had been foggy, and only a short distance from Filey a large Glasgow steamer had gone ashore. It was the Dunstaffage (sic), bound from Sunderland to Oporto with coal, and it went ashore on the rocks off Dyke End, near Speeton, between Filey and Flamborough. The vessel was so badly holed that it was feared it would become a total wreck. Not far from the place, the Mazeppa went ashore some time ago, and whilst cobles From Filey and Flamborough put off to the assistance of the Dunstaffage shortly after day-break, the Sunderland salvage tug, the Prince of Wales, which was in attendance on the Mazeppa also went alongside, and took off her crew.

The stricken vessel, the SS Dunstaffnage, was presumably named after the castle near Oban, built in the 13th century by ‘King of the Isles’ Duncan MacDougall, during the Scotland v Norway battle for control of the Hebrides. The newspaper’s suggestion that the ship ran aground near Speeton is misleading. Dyke End must surely refer to Danes Dyke, the northern end of which is about three miles east of Speeton Cliffs. Go to Wreck Site for photographs and more information about Dunstaffnage and Mazeppa.

In the lightest of drizzles this morning I walked to the subject of Today’s Image to pluck a leaf for identification purposes.


White poplar Populus alba