Spring in the air despite storms
CAITHNESS seems to have survived the effects of this month's storms, Ciara and Dennis, relatively unscathed – but the weekend's weather system actually recorded higher winds in the county.
Wick weather watcher Keith Banks said that Caithness endured its "most sustained spell of violent winds" on Saturday.
"In Wick, between 2pm and 4pm on Saturday afternoon, a gale force eight west-south-westerly wind gusted up to 65mph – violent storm 11 on the Beaufort scale," Keith said.
"There were lots of gusts in the storm force 10 category – 55mph-63mph – battering Wick and other parts of the county."
He went on to say that the latest bout of stormy weather was the product of a continuation of the unseasonally steep thermal gradient that currently exists between warm subtropical air and cold polar and Arctic air colliding in the region to the south of Newfoundland.
"The convergence of these greatly contrasting air masses, originating from the central North Atlantic and eastern Canada, have generated an exceptionally vigorous polar front jet stream.
"The so called zonal – west to east – configuration of the jet stream that has existed across the North Atlantic for much of February has catapulted a series of abnormally intense depressions towards the British Isles."
Despite this, Keith said that on Friday afternoon relatively warm subtropical air briefly engulfed the far north and the temperature reached reached a springlike 10.7C or 51.3F – enough for seasonal flowers suck as snowdrops and crocuses to spring to life.