Maybe it’s the changing climate (presumably that’s a big factor!), or maybe it’s due to increased media coverage playing tricks with our minds, but the last few years certainly seem to have presented us with more major ‘weather events’ than in the past.
Yet, our experience in Roscommon, and in other parts of the country, has often been that the promised storm is never quite as ferocious as had been expected.
That was certainly the case with Storm Emma, less so perhaps with Hurricane Ophelia. In general, we have become used to the hype before the ‘event’ not quite being fully lived up to by the actual event, which is of course a good thing.
That wasn’t the case on Wednesday morning however, when Storm Ali – which I certainly thought we had been less forewarned about than in the case of previous ‘weather events’ – fairly battered the county (and country).
8.20 am on Wednesday morning in the Healy household, and the fact that our bins were not upside down in the garden was encouraging, but actually gave a false indication of just what was ‘blowing up’.
On the school run a half an hour or so later, it was very quickly evident that, whatever about the stubborn resilience of our bins, Storm Ali actually packed quite a punch.
I think just about everyone in Roscommon was taken by surprise. At the Fuerty Road roundabout in Roscommon town, and where it links with the Lough Road, there were a number of trees felled, leading to real concern for early-morning motorists in this busy area (where so many schools are located).
It was much the same story throughout the county, with reports of several trees succumbing to the fierce winds.
Some smaller roads were blocked and early reports suggest that Roscommon County Council and other services were very quick to respond throughout Wednesday.
All morning the storm raged to the point where it really wasn’t safe for motorists or pedestrians to be out and about. Tragically, as we go to press, the storm has claimed two lives…one in Galway, one in Newry.
By late afternoon in Roscommon, the weather had changed to intermittent heavy rain.
Back at the Healy household, the garden was now strewn with several large branches after the winds caused some carnage. Inside, news too…a power cut. By all accounts, a power cut that has affected hundreds of houses and businesses in the area.
The bins were still standing – but the house was in darkness. Maybe I’ve been following the wrong media the last few days, but it looks like Storm Ali is one ‘weather event’ that has more than lived up to pre-event warnings.