06 October 2005

Don't bother with the weather report

I like to know the weather. When I lived in Boston I was always looking at weather forecasts and satellite images, and religiously checked the temperature on my indoor/outdoor thermometer before I went out. I have tried to carry that habit over to living here, but have discovered it is pointless. The weather forecast for Iceland is almost exactly the same every day, and never really encompasses the variety of weather we get on a daily basis. Weather reports in June looked very much like weather reports in October as well. For example, the last five days have been "partly cloudy" but we have had near-downpours, high winds, perfectly clear, still weather, and rainbow-making half-and-half weather. The morning radio doesn’t even offer predictions beyond some general temperature suggestions for that day. With weather like this, it's no wonder I can never answer visitors when they ask what kind of weather they'll get when they come here. Just pack one of everything, and you'll be fine.

The kitchen at work offers an excellent view of where the action most often is going down- right over Esja and at the edge of the sea coast. Earlier this morning Kópavogur was bathed in gentle warm light, and the mountains of Snæfellsnes were erased from view by clouds. Now it is completely opposite, with the clouds lining up along the edge of Esja and the coast, and the snow-covered Snæfellsnes range to the north in crisp light along the horizon. The most remarkable thing about the clouds here is that there can often be no visible transition in or out of the clouds, so it sometimes seems like geographical features have been completely erased from the landscape.

Most people in the office make little notice of the changes though, except for one day when it went from sunny and still to window-shaking downpour in a half hour. That got a "finnt veður" from one person, but no clustering at the window to see the sights. The only weather that got people out of their seats was the first brief snowstorm a few weeks ago. I guess it is not worth noticing since it doesn’t really change anyone’s plans for the day or weekend. The pool is still open, kids still go to school, and people still go to work, regardless of the weather. The only time people take weather reports very seriously is if you are going to go driving somewhere remote and it’s late enough in the year for snow. Then people urge you to check the road conditions, make sure you have their phone number in case of emergency, and call to check up on you along the way. You’ve got to look out for each other in the highlands, I guess.

Boat report: Stefnir has joined Helga Maria in the shipyard, and is in the beginning stages of hull scraping. Other than that it seems to be fish unloading business as usual there, but not quite as busy yesterday.

3 comments:

The Prima said...

for the linguistically impaired:
http://www3.vegag.is/faerd/island1e.html

The Prima said...

also, it's a little scary that the roads go from "easily passable" to "Impassable" without any sort of transition being shown on the map. I couldn't find any spots that were intermediate "Difficult
driving", etc. Maybe they had too many people trying to drive on "difficult driving" roads and getting stuck....

JB said...

Dr. Lo, that's why you have to look at this website before leaving on your trip! Also it's important to know where you'll be able to buy gas along the way. As you drive north, especially in the West Fjords, it can be 100 miles or more between gasoline opportunities.