Today saw relatively unprecedented weather conditions for Scotland in May. Usually a month of increasing temperatures, sunny weather and generally altogether pleasant conditions, May 2011 has seen unsettled, wet weather, despite a glorious and hot few weeks in April. Today, as forecast by the Met Office, Scotland has been subject to an intense area of low pressure, bringing howling, raging south-westerly winds and torrential driving rain. The Met Office ‘s amber-rated Weather warning predicted winds gusting up to 80 miles per hour. In fact, In Glen Ogle, 25 miles or so north-west of Stirling, on the road to Crianlarich and Oban, a gust speed of 100 mph was recorded. Such high winds in late Spring or Summer are bad news as regards damage to trees and gardens. Deciduous trees are carrying their full complement of new leaves by this time of year, increasing the resistance to high winds and greatly increasing, therefore, the strain placed on branches. And so, not surprisingly, there were many examples of broken branches and even uprooted trees here in Stirling today. I was on holiday and took a walk around this afternoon recording the scene.
Everywhere was littered with small branches, leaves, even some major tree branches. Many trees were also pushed over by extreme gusts.
This poplar tree fell over behind me with a soft crash while I was sheltering from an extreme gust, waiting until I judged it safe to walk under a big lime tree that had already lost some big branches.
Our lime trees are, in one way, a bit like Australia’s “drop gums”, a species of eucalyptus, the River redgum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) – this drops branches or even falls over when under stress (and kills and injures the unwary!). Lime trees are not as unstable as this but are prone to dropping fairly large limbs in high winds. I was very wary walking into town today down an avenue of mature lime trees, for obvious reasons, given the size of the logs that were raining down! Thrashing violently, the lime trees looked more like whomping willows in the extreme winds today...