Modern life often brings with it a profound disconnect for people in the first world from the natural world. Rain is an annoyance, easily avoided by staying indoors or travelling in fully enclosed cars and other vehicles. Snow is a cause for celebration and the making of snow men before retreated back inside centrally heated homes. Hot summer days can be enjoyed with water and an ice cream rather than the harbinger of drought and failed harvests as it would have been scarce two hundred years ago.
Then along comes something like Storm Katie to remind us that, actually, in the great scheme of nature, we’re quite small. This Easter weekend, the South of England including ADL’s home city of Canterbury were blasted by this weather event in which winds of up to 106mph wracked the region. Here are a few things we learned from the experience:
1) Bins Really Aren’t Very Heavy On Their Own
Storm Katie found probably its easiest victims in the large number of empty or lightly filled bins sitting outside houses across England. It turned out to be trivial for the 70mph winds that wracked much of inland Kent and Surrey to send these waste receptacles on their own little journey down the street. More than one had its lid shattered by the impact.
2) Electricity is a Vulnerable Thing
About 100,000 homes were left without power due to the high winds damaging power cables and other key parts of the network. Homes suddenly plunged into the dark on Sunday night or Monday morning had better have had their own torches or candles as it could take a while for the electric supply to be restored. There’s nothing quite like sitting in one’s home, surrounded by inert electrical appliances, screens and devices to help one realise just how much we depend on electricity in our lives.
3) Don’t Park Under Trees
You can never be quite sure when a storm, earthquake or other natural disaster will cause a venerable old tree to topple over and land several tonnes of lumber on the roof of your car. Several motorists learned this to their cost over the weekend when winds uprooted trees causing them to crash down on nearby vehicles.
4) Stay Off The Waterways
Windy weather alone can cause huge disruption to waterways whether coastal or inland. This can tempt some people to take advantage of the larger more “challenging” waves that form during this extreme weather. Sadly however, this also greatly increases the danger with at least one man reported lost after a Kayaking incident over the weekend.
5) Public Transport Isn’t Happening
Storm Katie caused havoc for all forms of transportation over the weekend with planes forced to divert to different airports, ferry services cancelled and trains brought to a standstill due to debris, trees and other things blocking the line. Anybody needing to travel during announced storm weather should probably plan around the inevitability of delays.