GALE-force winds pummelled Caithness and adjacent regions of the far north on the afternoon of June 14.
In Wick between 1pm and 3pm, sustained gale force 8 westerly winds gusted up to a damaging, 59 mph/51 knots (storm force 10 on the Beaufort scale).
Wind is an omnipresent facet of the personality of Caithness. However, a gale in June is actually a rare event for the county.
A look at Wick's wind record for June, going back to 1965, showed that there have been only six days when average wind speeds of 39 mph/34 knots (gale force 8 on the Beaufort scale) were reached or surpassed. The last time that Wick experienced a gale for any day in June was back in 2002. On June 17, 2002, the mean hourly wind speed in the town was 40.24 mph/35 knots.
The meteorological definition of a “gale day” is a period of 10 or more minutes in any calendar day when the wind speed is 39 mph/34 knots or greater.
The unusually stormy weather for the time of the year was caused by a reinvogaration and a corresponding shift southwards in the position of the polar front jet stream. This change in the weather pattern caused the development of a unseasonally deep and vigorous Atlantic depression that subsequently swept north-eastwards between Scotland and the Faroe Isles yesterday afternoon.
In spite of the very disturbed character of the weather yesterday, the temperature in Wick nevertheless reached a seasonally respectable value of 17C (62.6F) during the morning.