Thursday, January 18, 2007

A rare old storm

Blijburg - sandstorm two
I wanted to write a blog about the storm which is raging outside but I do not have any storm photos on flickr so I will combine this post with some references to YouTube, where I have found some excellent videos.

The storm we have is said to be the worst we have had for very many years in Holland and the National Crisis Centre has actually called on people NOT to go outside, if they can possibly help it. The wind is so strong that it is blowing things off rooves and houses, making it easy to be hit on the head. The rain is causing a lot of flooding too.

Having spent the afternoon at home yesterday because of the rain, I was determined not to stay inside all day so I deceided I would brave the winds, not actually having seen the forecast about the very bad storm. It was all quite an experience, even though I managed to avoid the worst of the winds by cycling down narrow streets offering protection. In the meantime, the wind was whipping up froth on the canals, blowing up spray onto the streets. A large old tree fell down, crushing two cars underneath, while the taxi driver who stopped to take a pic with his mobile phone said another had fallen on the Nieuwmarkt and had squahed a Porsche (he said with a smile of satisfaction). Just before, I had seen my ex-colleague and liquidator, Peter Verloop, cycling along the canal, seemingly without a care in the world. Hat's off to Peter, as it was a rare storm!

At some stage the heavens opened, there were flashes of lightning, cracks of thunder, sheets of water coming down, branches and twigs fell, awnings flapped, the aeroplanes, which unbelievably still flying powered through the wind, in between the very fast moving low cloud. The road home was hazardous, as first of all I had to cycle through the rain and now there were large puddles on the cycle paths and a whole load more debris lying around. Many many motorbikes has been blown over, fortunately not onto the cars parked next door as far as I could see. I was soaked to the skin, at least to the extent I was not covered by my excellent rain jacket (Murphy and Nye, still looking as good as new two years on), notably my private parts which all of a sudden felt very cold. Anyway, the good thing about cycling home in the rain is that you can take your wet clothes off and have a nice warm shower, which is what I did. Only after did I go upstairs and switch on the TV to see what they were saying about this storm. It'd've been a pity to have taken their advice and not to have experienced the storm, so often they seem to happen at night and this time we had ringside seats!

Anyway, despite teh fact that we can now see last autumn's crysanthemums flowering almost next door to this spring's daffodils, we have finally been promised something like winter for next week, with maybe even some snow, if we are lucky!

The YouTube references can wait for another day.

Well, well, well, with eleven people dying in the UK as a result of the storm today (three in Holland as well), and such storms being a predicted efect of climate change in north-western Europe, one would have thought that the topic of climate change would be discussed on Question Time this evening. But, no, even in a week when there was nothing much special reported about Iraq and the Home Office, those two subjects came up AGAIN for discusison with the panellists making exactly the same remarks as all panellists make every week, when these subjects come up. Boring!

A last thought though and that is that Fred managed to get home safely, despite all the trains in Holland being cancelled because of the storm, because one of his colleagues, Thea, who actually lives in the opposite direction gave him a lift in her car all the way home! How wonderful. Poor Eric, though was stuck on the Belgian/Dutch border and was last heard of trying to find a bed for the night in Antwerp.

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