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Thursday, 18 January 2007

Severe Weather

Oh my gods, the wind is intense today. When I was home for xmas, I went biking in a major storm in CA. But what the Bay Area calls a major storm, The Hague calls "Tuesday." The milder the climate, the wimpier the bicyclists. In Sweden, people go out in freezing rain on cobblestones. Although, practice helps with that. I can barely ride with a passenger on the back (normal here), let alone while holding an umbrella, in the wind (also normal here - yikes).

When I start feeling whiny about the wind, I remind myself that without the wind, there would be no Holland. A long time ago, somebody got the crazy idea to drain the sea and turn it into farm land. They went out in boats and just dumped sand bags overboard until they built up something of a levee. Then they put windmills up and pumped out the inland side. No windmills, no Netherlands. No wind, no windmills. Also, it's a great source of alternative energy. So, it's quite windy a lot of the time, but I try not to complain since they results have been good me.

Today, though, is kind of spectacular. While I was walking the dog this morning, roof tiles were blowing off the top of a nearby building. On the way to school, I felt like Mary Poppins. whee! The way back, the wind was against me and thus not so fun. Some of the other students reported that the trains were noticeably swaying in the wind and that when the storm peaked, the trains would probably stop running. On the way home, I was stopped at a red light and the wind overpowered my breaks. I've nearly been blown off my bike before, but never has it started rolling on it's own. I got blown in front of a stopped car. I ended up sitting on the hood of it and pushing my bike out of the wind-tunnel-like area. The driver looked alarmed, but I was kind of amused. Anyway, the tall buildings around there were intensifying the gusts. Apparently, Xena got hailed on while out for her afternoon walk. Nicole says that the flag pole in the center is broken and may fall(!).

The peak of the storm was supposed to be right now, but I think it came and went with the hail. In other (possibly related) news, there was a weird smell around here this morning which the record shop owner said was gas. She closed her shop, saying the whole block might explode. Why was the gas company doing nothing??!! Uh, yeah. So I told Nicole to leave and went to school. The smell is gone now, so I guess it's all ok.


AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Hurricane-force winds and rain lashed northern Europe on Thursday, disrupting air, rail and sea travel for thousands, toppling trees and construction cranes, and killing 11 people, including a 2-year-old boy crushed by a collapsed wall in London.

. . .

The Dutch traffic ministry urged motorists to avoid travel unless absolutely necessary, and several key routes were closed due to damage or floods. Those who ventured out on bicycles were knocked over by the winds — or in some cases, pushed backward.

. . .

A ship came loose from its moorings near Rotterdam and smashed an oil pipeline. The stench of oil reached The Hague, 20 miles away, Dutch media said.

Well, it wasn't just me being blown around on the bike, although most of the bicyclists near me were doing much better than I was. Also, this explains why the energy company didn't send any trucks or repair folks around. When I was in Connecticut, there was a hurricane centered to the south of the state. I could see the arms of the hurricane spiral spinning quickly overhead. There was intense wind and rain. It was less intense than today's storm. Maybe this has something to do with the network outage at school. Amazingly, though, all the power is on (afaik).

Finally, global warming is scary.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, read the news, this is hurricane Kyrill, not ordinary bad weather. You're fortunate to be on the channel in Den Haag, and not on the North.