The storm on 11th January 2005

11th January 2005 has become the latest benchmark for ferocious storms to hit the island. Yet the damage done has been in the main from the huge seas and not the wind alone. It was in fact a combination of very low pressure, a high tide and very high winds mainly from the south but which moved west as the night progressed and the tide declined, otherwise it all could have been much worse. Fortunately the tide was 3.9 metres – it could have been 4.3 and much more flooding would have followed.

Living by the sea, as we have all been brutally reminded lately, is always a risk and in the last two decades the sea has been encroaching and taking bits of the land with every new storm of this nature. They are not frequent. This autumn and winter we have had so much rain that it was inevitable. The grassy areas by the sea at the north end were so sodden it was really no contest. Nevertheless it is evidence of some climatic change (no-one can say for sure whether it is warming or cooling) which is affecting Lismore dramatically.

Not only are we having our second continually wet winter (days without rain are rare and celebrated) but it has not really been cold which means the soil has had no rest from growing and is constantly being trampled and destroyed while bugs donít die. Farmers and crofters are having a terrible job husbanding their stock and maintaining things and itís no fun plodding through mud getting soaked.

The storm got started mid afternoon on the 11th and the waves rolling in and crashing at a safe distance were a sight, but as it got darker and the noise of groaning cracking and rattling housing grew we feared for our roofs, windows sheds and septic tanks. Because it was dark the photos below were all taken on the following days when all was calm and some of the wreckage had already been cleared. At the north end the worst was over by about 11pm when the wind had moved west, but before that the east side of the island took the brunt with the Achnacroish pier being awash as the sea reached the lights and knocked them out and at Point having the car park under water to the fence. The road to Point was awash the sea reaching the wall across the road and taking part of the road with it.

We had power during the evening but it went off several times in the night and the following day we lost it at 10.30am and it was not on again until 7.15pm.

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