- 03 Feb 14
The recent storms are just a harbinger of far worse to come. Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy ride...
So, what are we hot for? Well, picture this: the heat at the Australian Open tennis championship is so intense that Caroline Wozzilroy claims the bottom of a plastic water bottle part-melted on the court. Fearsomely fit athletes have been collapsing in temperatures of 45C. I once walked a Middle Eastern desert at that temperature. Believe me, it’s truly fearsome.
And this: storm surges on the west coast of Ireland have redistributed many millions of tonnes of sand along the coast, exposing old habitations and graveyards to the elements, some for the first time in thousands of years – for example, in Omey Island off Connemara – and washing others away. Massive waves have been a boon for surfers, but they’ve created havoc for everyone else.
After a warm and dry summer, December here in Ireland was the wettest in two decades. The floods were only a part of it. Indeed, when heavy rain, washing down rivers, met high tides and winds, there was widespread, very serious destruction. Our experience is of a piece with the incredible freeze experienced along the east coast and in the Midwest of the US, a couple of weeks ago, only different. There was one extraordinary, and somewhat surreal, photo of a building where firefighters had hosed down a fire and the water froze in the air.