My stay in Pembrokeshire last week coincided with the pending arrival of Storm Doris. The naming of severe storms in the UK has become a convention since 2015. One of the ‘tour’ locations on the itinerary was Porthgain Harbour which lies on the north west coast. A pretty little hamlet, its name translates to Chisel Port, for it was once was used for quarrying. First it was slate, then brick and later granite were all shipped from this place. Now it’s perhaps best known as a tourist attraction with a choice of excellent places to eat and a couple of fine art galleries. In calmer weather there would also be a few fishing boats but I guess these had been removed from the harbour for the winter.
We first visited Porthgain in the afternoon, a couple of days before ‘Storm Doris’ was due to hit our shores. The sea was calm and the sun was setting in the west, so there was no direct light on the old Harbour Master’s Office at the end of the quay.
A couple of days later we returned for a very stomach satisfying lunch of fish and chips (what else?!) and timed our visit to coincide with the incoming tide and the arrival of the storm. It had been very gusty in the morning so we expected some dramatic seas. However as the wind was blowing more from a south westerly to westerly direction and not from the north west, the harbour was somewhat sheltered from the brunt of ‘Storm Doris’. Nevertheless the waters were very rough and as wave after wave hit the rocks, plumes of sea spray were being blown into the air.
Believing the sea would still be quite rough the next day, we returned again in the morning knowing the light would be falling on the Harbour Master’s Office. With clear skies it did, but the sea itself was surprisingly quite calm, so a wide angle view of the harbour was the best shot to be captured in the circumstances. The old brickworks are clearly visible on the left hand side.
As mentioned earlier The Met Office started naming storms in the UK in 2015. The idea to raise people’s awareness of forthcoming bad weather, which might cause damage, flooding or even loss of life. I do understand the need to do this if a severe storm is expected, but to my mind ‘weather warnings’ are now issued all too frequently. In the past heavy rain and high winds would have been accepted as normal and quite regular events during the winter; today though they come with yellow and amber warnings, which may or may not prove accurate anyway.
On this occasion ‘Storm Doris’ was much more severe in other parts of the country than in Pembrokeshire, which only goes to prove how difficult it is to forecast the weather even with all the technology and computer predictions available to the forecasters.