A Facebook page called Western Isles Weather has followers scouring predictions for winter storms, heatwaves in the summer and record rainfall all the year round – as you might expect in a place where ‘changeable’ is the most likely forecast.
But just as unpredictable are the places in the world which find the forecast for weather in the islands irresistible. Although 13,000 followers are in the UK, there are also 743 followers from the United States, 290 in Australia and New Zealand and some in even more unexpected locations like Belgium (43), Brazil (10) and China (9).
The Facebook page, run by Coastguard officer Richard Cooke from Stornoway, has nearly 16,000 regular followers, who track the page for forecasts and admire pictures contributed from around the islands.
Devoted followers praise Richard’s page, saying things like: “most reliable; warmly written and with many engaging photographs” and “so helpful and pretty much spot on accurate!”
Richard, who also gives talks about extreme weather and forecasting in schools and community organisations round the islands, published some of his statistics yesterday (Monday October 1st) as he headed off for a week’s break. He said: “Some of my weather page stats are a little crazy. I have some people who have liked my page from these countries – and this is just the tip of the iceberg.”
For those who like to keep on top of the situation, this is the latest report: September 2018 was the wettest for many years, with 7.6inches of rain recorded in Stornoway and 9.8 inches in Laxdale, Harris. More heavy rain is forecast for tomorrow (Wednesday).
Pictures contributed to https://www.facebook.com/WesternIslesWeather/ : Incoming front by Emily Dillon, taken in Bayble, Coll in winter (Jonathan Maclean) and Horgabost by Jim Smyth.