Monday, 20 September 2010

Just Spindrift

The "Indian Summer" I mentioned in my first post of this month has turned schizophrenic. The temperature has rarely dropped below 15 degrees during the day, but the constant drizzle then downpour combined with that produces a cloying weed-smelling murk of an atmosphere outside. The midges love it. The seabirds also seem partial to it - maybe it provides good cover for feeding.

Another example of the flighty weather conditions is my recent encounter with a sort of mini-tornado. It was a sunny but brisk morning. By brisk I mean that it wasn't flat calm - there was a breeze but nothing out of the ordinary. I was working in my office when suddenly a "lump" of wind hit the house. It rattled the the place for no more than 20 seconds, then stopped as quickly as it had started. Upon looking out the window I saw a small vortex of whipped-up spray move across the bay before breaking up into a ragged cloud of spindrift.

I have memories of being at a barbecue, empty glass and ailing paper plate in hand, while a structural engineer explained something of fluid mechanics to me at (too) great length. I do recall him saying that wind behaved like a fluid and was treated in that way in engineering calculations. I can now see the parallels between having a giant bucket of water thrown at your house and being hit by a huge gust of wind. I'm used to storms but this was literally "out of the blue".

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