2007(?!) - part 2: Watery!
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Summer officially begins at the
onset of June and ends with August's passing. Normally.
Oh, I said that in my last entry, didn't I! Hmmmm!
This is proving to be the wettest summer since about 1998
in my reckoning: it's not been that cool though so there
has been a profusion of plant and insect growth (the
latter extensively featuring midges). This has delighted
the climate change sceptics, who typically have cited a
single non record-breaking Summer in terms of warmth to
be absolute and certain proof that the whole theory of
global warming is cobblers and we are in fact going to
have a ice-age next month, or something. Keeps 'em happy
June and July have seen appalling flooding: firstly in
late June there were disastrous floods in N England
primarily, but these were followed by an even more
intense rainfall event over July 19-20, when a colossal
(for the UK lowlands) 100-150mm of rain fell over about
12 hours. First, flash-floods affected the whole area,
with Evesham being particularly badly hit. Then, the
rains that had fallen over the headwaters to the various
catchments made their way into the main river basins over
two or three days. The Severn basin saw a flood more
severe than most of the winter floods it has experienced
over the centuries: peaking some days after the rain
event, it caused chaos on a massive scale, and, on a
personal scale, bitter misery and despair to many.
On the photo-front I've been busy with a
"proper" slide-scanner - an Epson V750 - and a
powerful new PC system. Next month should see the Dyfi
Valley/Welsh Weather Slide Library online. Prints, in
stretched canvas and archival heavy photographic papers,
and digital images on CD for multimedia use, will be
available via an easily-browsed system of galleries. It
has long been a hope that I could start making a living
(or part of a living) from my photography. Now there is
sufficient material available (I have scanned over 450
slides) I can at last give it a go. I'll put an
anouncement on here when it's up and running - it has
involved considerably more work than I had first guessed
it would, like most new projects tend to!
The offerings on this page, like the previous ones,
consist of a mixture of images that might appear in the
Library, and ones that most certainly won't: they begin
with the wet weather, go on to cover a neat rainbow that
saved a chase-day and finish with a chase from July 19th
which produced at last a funnel-cloud for 2007 - albeit
not a photogenic one! So, with no further waffling:
In a scene that would be more fitting with
leafless trees in the depths of winter, water
surges down the Severn at Caersws. Branches and
other debris float along.
Near Aberhafesp, it is coming out over its
This was back in July. I had been chasing round
all over the place trying to pinpoint convection
initiating when it finally got going quite close
to home. Lousy image this, but it shows the
cloudbank that went on to create a natural work
I was very pleased to get this. One of those
occasions where the light is perfect, with
excellent highlight/shadows distribution. Even
the forestry and wind turbines don't detract from
it: they actually give interest to the image.
As the showers moved northwards, I followed to
see if I could get any more little gems....
...and was further rewarded with this wideangle
...and this close-up! That made up for an
otherwise unsuccessful day (I have had a few poor
trips this Summer)....
On another July day, this was the only decent
view of the numerous convective storms that
occurred. For the rest of the day, low-level
cloud ruined things....
Probably the best view I had of a Cumulonimbus
cloud was on a rare sunny day when we went
fishing at Porth Iago on the Lleyn Peninsula.
This storm was over eastern Eire at the time -
over 140 kilometres away! Soundings on the day
indicated cloud-tops would reach 30,000 feet or
so. Thus, if Everest (at 29,000-odd feet) was in
Eastern Eire it would look almost this high from
the NW Wales coast!
July 19th had a lot of promise in the forecasts.
Slack low pressure over the UK, solar heating,
sea-breezes coming in causing strong low-level
shear along convergence-lines: it all screamed
As forecast, by late morning convection fired off
strongly, as seen here from Machynlleth
golf-course on the Forge road. Those clouds are
really boiling up - I couldn't wait to get up
into the mountains!
On arrival up there, it became clear that the
convection was spreading against a midlevel
capping inversion so although showers were
breaking out, they were not building to full
....but look at the shear! That is what is
tilting the towers: here if you look carefully
you can see the precipitation from the towers
falling out on the RHS of the image - some
considerable distance from the cloud (and thus
updraught) bases on the LHS. Distant anvils
beyond are over SE Eire....
...the forecast bore fruit at last when I noticed
this smooth-sided structure below one of the
cloud-bases. Funnel ahoy! It is in poor contrast
against the grey cloud behind: enhanced version
Having savaged the photo with Adobe Photoshop it
is clearly a funnel with a collar-cloud at the
top. Sadly it didn't last very long or get any
more photogenic. Pity. At least it saved the
"bust" for 2007!
The convection then waned. Here, though it's not
too well-defined, you can see the grey
updraught-base R, the tower above and then the
midlevel spread of cloud beneath the pesky
capping-inversion, going right across the top of
the photo. Interesting technical shot if not very
Later, whilst the Machynlleth area basked in
sunshine, a proper storm finally fired up to my
NE. NE of where I lived is difficult
chase-country: miles of mountain and moor with
just the occasional road. But I thought I'd give
it a go.
I should have remembered my Irish storms above!
Although I could see the anvil from the Dyfi
Valley, as I headed N the storm wasn't getting
much closer. I finally reached the top of the
Bwlch y groes pass between Dinas Mawddwy and
Llanuwchllyn near Bala, from where it looked such
a mess that I decided to save diesel and leave it
The light was good though. Climbing the hill just
above the road, this was the view south down the
Dyfi Valley, with the Plynlimon massif in the
...whilst to the west, the craggy East Face of
Aran Fawddwy dominated the scene, stood frowning
over the swelling moorland. I lingered here for
some time, watching as the patterns of sunlight
and shadow moved across the hills, aware that
work beckoned but unwilling to go back "down
there" to the world of the Internet and
everyday news and politics. Must spend more time
in the hills, or mental note made to that effect!
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