The last two or three days have seen the weathermen (and women) forecasting a dire day today in terms of wind and rain. We were lucky this time round as it has been the east of England that has seen the worst of it although even they were let off lightly compared with our continental cousins, Spain and more particularly France being very badly affected. At least 50 people have died in Europe as a result of the storms. I don't know whether this weather system is the same one that had caused the recent devastation in the little island of Madeira, especially around its capital Funchal.
I'm guessing now as I have not read up on it but I believe that a major reason for the UK having had a cold winter is the fact that the jet stream which normally brings the succession of depressions that yield the mild wet winters in our latitudes is further south than it should be. So my assumption is that the storms surging through to the south of us are occurring in those places because of the jet stream displacement as well. The recent wet summers in the UK have also been blamed, at least in part, on the jet stream being in the wrong place and not allowing the Azores high to build in over us. So what is going on?
All the foregoing of course is dwarfed by the horrendous earthquake that has devastated part of Chile. As I type this on Sunday evening the current death toll is 708 according to the BBC News Website. Absolutely awful. And this so soon after the horror of Haiti. I've just looked at the Shelterbox website and see that they are currently mobilising a response team to go to Chile to assess the situation.
This does seem to have been an extraordinary year so far in respect of the damage caused by the forces of nature.