I don’t believe in omens. The fact that the new year continues grey, wet and windy may be a sign, but if it is, it’s a sign of global climate change and of shifting ocean currents and the jet stream which mean ‘local’ weather patterns are increasingly different from past decades.
As I write this there are 330 flood warnings or flood alerts in England and Wales affecting every region and another 97 have only been withdrawn in the last 24 hours. Heavy rain and strong winds are forecast again for overnight and tomorrow.
Climate scientists seem agreed that more extreme weather and more frequent occurrences of it are likely to be the consequence of climate change which some countries, including the global giants, driven by economic rather than environmental imperatives, continue to ignore and fail to act on effectively.
From the macro to the micro. The effect on me is that as I try to get out in the mountains to regain some of the fitness I had when I returned from Greece in October before I head for Canada in just over a week, the conditions are not the best. New Year’s Day was the wettest I can remember with standing water where I haven’t seen it before, small streams turned into gushing torrents and footpaths become stream beds.
Sunday and I went up Garn Wen again. Once more it was grey, wet and windy though it wasn’t raining as heavily and the stream at Coed Ithel was fordable. Nevertheless I had a good soaking and by the time I returned to the ford the water level was rising..
But perhaps the most noticeable difference was the greyness. On New Year’s Day the cloud base was about 300 metres rising through the day so that by the end of the afternoon the 425 metre top of Garn Wen was out of the clag*. On Sunday the cloud base was below 200 metres and didn’t lift at all. Before I got back down to civilisation it was dark and I was walking by Braille.
No sign of proper winter weather in prospect around here. The snow on the tops of the mountains has long gone. Ten day forecast for South East Wales – continuing cloud, rain and temperatures well above freezing. Long range forecast for Banff – by the time I get there it will be cloudless blue sky with temperatures consistently below freezing. There is over a metre snow at Lake Louise, around 3 metres at Sunshine. Now that’s a proper winter!
*NOTE: I use ‘clag’ in the sense of thick, low cloud or mist, not in its alternative meaning of sticky mud.