Posts Tagged ‘rain’

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It’s raining, again

January 27, 2012

This has been the wettest winter that we’ve seen in Cyprus.  After a relatively mild December the heavens opened and it feels like it hasn’t stopped raining since.  It’s possible that we, living in a house with no internal stairs, feel this a little more than others.

It’s certainly true that our move from the municipality of Aradippou on the coastal plain up to our tiny village in the Troodos foothills has made a huge difference to our local weather.  Summers are cooler and the air is fresher but winters are colder, occasionally seeing snow, and there is significantly more rain.  The only heating in the house is from the open fire in the living room and this winter we’ve been working our way through a significant amount of logs.  Even with the fire burning each evening the temperature in the living room rarely gets about 14° degrees (mid 50sF) and the upstairs which has no heating at all has been below 10° degrees (high 40s F) some evenings.

The rain (and thunderstorms and gale force winds) have been much talked about amongst the expat community.  With each severe weather warning and subsequent torrential rainstorm questions have been raised about how full the dams might be and if it was possible that this year they might overflow again.

Today Asprokremmos dam, the second largest on the island, did for the first time in seven years.

The Cyprus Mail reported:

CONTINUING rainfall caused the Asprokremmos dam, the second largest on the island, to overflow yesterday.  With a capacity of 52.4 million cubic meters, Asprokremmos last filled back in 2004.  Reports said local residents were preparing to fire up their barbeques in celebration.

A Paphos expat was on hand to record the occasion; his video is available here.

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House Rule #1

January 19, 2010

It started raining at around 10am; it stopped for a while just after 10pm.

The yuccas ended up swimming.  A dustbin under the garage hole in the roof filled to 18 inches deep with run-off water over 6 hours.  We finally headed for bed, up the external staircase, at a little after 11pm.

All through this winter’s wet weather we have watched carefully for problems with the roof.  It was one of the few areas where we had to do no work at all;  MadAlex had the a new roof fitted as part of his renovations or improvements.

Much of the other work he had done has had to be re-done.  The plumbing has been a particular challenge: the fresh water supply in the kitchen turned out to be routed from the tank rather than supplied by fresh water, the never-tested water heater would have blown up the first time it was ever turned on.  New plaster failed to hold due to issues with how it was bonded to the walls.  Door don’t fit doorframes; windows aren’t level.

But the roof?  Despite our concerns, based in part on other workmanship, the roof has been just fine.  Which, here in Cyprus, is fairly unusual.  Friends with new houses have problems with their roofs; we had numerous leaks in the Aradippou rental house.  But here, the roof has been good so far.

So, we headed to bed late after a long day of watching the torrential rain and making essential forays into the garden to fetch fresh logs and rescue the gate that had come loose in the wind.  We stopped at the top of the stairs to look at the view up and down the valley and see if the stars were out – they weren’t, more rain was due.  And then we made our way wearily to bed …

… only to find a 40ft² (about 4m²) puddle on the bedroom floor.

To be fair it isn’t quite as bad as it sounds; the room is big and the flooded area was mainly tiles.  Our temporary (until we find someone to build bespoke fitted wardrobes) clothes rails were standing in it, as were a few pairs of shoes and a laundry basket or two.  There’s probably no long term damage but finding enough towels to mop up that amount of water at almost midnight is not to be recommended.

And the roof?  Well, it’s just fine; nothing wrong with it that we know of.  It’s the windows.  Under certain conditions, such as torrential rain from the west, it seems they leak.  Copiously.

So, House Rule #1: When it has rained solidly for 12 hours it is wise to wear wellies to bed.

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Weather

January 18, 2010

It seems the forecast was spot on; it is raining as if it’ll never stop.

Below is the US Airforce’s European chart for today.  The online version can be found by going to http://euro.wx.propilots.net/ and selecting USAF -> Surface Analysis from the drop down box in the top left corner.

The L, signifying a low pressure system, in the bottom right hand corner is pretty much right on top of us.  The mass of orange to the south east of us are lightening strikes.  Lots of them.  To add to the interest the weather system is coming to us from Egypt which means that the rain will be, at best, dirty or more likely sand-laden.

US Airforce Euro weather chart 18 Jan 2010

In the village of Mosfiloti, a few miles away from us, there is a guy who maintains his own weather station and shares the data online.  Mosfiloti seems to have its own microclimate so we don’t always see the same weather as them, despite being so near, but the forecasts are a useful indicator of what weather we might get in our little microclimate.  At just after 3pm Cyprus time his site is reporting light rain and an inch of rainfall so far today.

Here it hasn’t stopped raining since 10am and, at times, it has been exceptionally heavy.  Ian braved the elements once or twice to try and get photos that might give a sense of the storm but to no joy.  Fog and mist don’t photography so well and even suppressing the flash doesn’t really give a good indication of the gloom.

The best we can do is show the poor swimming yuccas.  They made their first blog appearance back in December when they were removed from the main tree and potted up.

The red container that they are in is about 6 or 7 inches deep; this morning it was empty.

Swimming yuccas

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4am…

December 11, 2009

… is not a fun time to have to go downstairs, in the pouring rain, to try and reset the house electrics.  It’s even less fun when, having got downstairs, you discover it’s not the house that is without power but the entire valley.

Large quantities of strong coffee seem to be the order of the day.  Then we may be able to start building our Ark.

Presumably they come with broadband connections these days?

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Rain … and priorities

December 8, 2009

The rain continues, and is set to be present for days to come.  This wouldn’t be an issue, we were expecting wetter conditions up in the hills, but for three reasons;

  • We have no internal staircase
  • We have a small house and 50 people coming for pre-Christmas drinks
  • The garage roof leaks

We didn’t really expect the lack of internal staircase to be a huge issue.  It’s not like it rains often here, we joked.  Our plan was to keep golfing umbrellas upstairs and downstairs and use as necessary.  We even bought a pair of howitzer  shell casings to hold the umbrellas.  How’s that for forward planning, eh?

What we didn’t factor into the plan was that going to bed carrying a bottle of water, a book and assorted other daytime detritus and negotiating the wind whistling over the stone walls (whilst wearing a sling in one of our cases) whilst carrying a huge umbrella is risky at best.  So, we do without the umbrellas and run up the stairs getting wet on the way.

Such is life here in the hills.

Problem #2 is a little trickier.  We (actually Mands if truth be known, it’s only right she takes the blame for this one) had the bright idea of holding a pre-Christmas drinks thingie to let people see the house and reset all sorts of social obligations all in one.  We kicked the idea around a bit, decided we could probably get the essential jobs done in time so, what the hell – let’s have a party!

The only teeny, tiny fly in the ointment is the size of the house.  It isn’t big, certainly not big enough to hold all the people we thought we wanted to invite.  But December is often bright, if cool, so as long as the weather was fine some people would be happy drinking their wine and eating their mince pie out in the garden.  From there they could even admire that lovely outside staircase!

And then the plans went awry.  We issued invitations, we expected that some folks would have prior plans and not be available.  Shows what we know.  Apparently we failed to factor in the lure of the stone cottage with no internal stairs or our reputation for being fairly liberal with the wine bottle.  It’s even possible that word got round that Mands was testing new canape recipes on a subset of the group.  The upshot of all of this is that pretty much everyone accepted, and there’s no way that they’ll all fit in the house.  Which wouldn’t be a problem but for the weather forecast – a 95% chance of rain … and thunderstorms … and an inch of rain.

Which leads to problem #3, the leaking garage roof.

MadAlex had a garage built when he had work done on the house.  At least, that’s what we thought when we first viewed the place.  What appear to be large wooden gates leading out onto the road aren’t actually gates at all.  It’s actually a single unhinged doorway that doesn’t open.  We have a spot across the road where we can park the car so that hasn’t been a huge issue so far.

From time to time we kick about ideas about the garage (can you still call it a garage when there’s no way of getting a car inside) and the best way forward.  Between us we really can’t come to a decision … should we get it turned into an actual garage?  Should we leave the car parked across the road and keep it as a storage area?  Should we knock the entire thing down and incorporate the space into the garden?

We’ve discussed this, on and off, since we moved in and hadn’t made a huge amount of progress.  In the meantime this badly designed and built non-garage developed a leak … right in the middle.  Having reorganised the contents away from the wettest part we figured we’d bought ourselves some time.

And then, in the heaviest of the rain, part of the garage roof came down.

There's a hole in your roof, dear Liza!

So, to summarise; the weather is horrendous and may get worse.  We’re expecting 50 people who want food, drink and the chance to nosy around the house.  And parts of the place are collapsing.  Just how best to juggle these priorities are anyone’s guess.

Roquefort shortbread anyone?

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Sunny Cyprus …

December 5, 2009

… isn’t always sunny.  Especially up here in the hills.

Our village is nestled in the depths of a narrow, but high-sided, valley.  This is the view that greeted us this morning.

Low cloud, grey days

There is low cloud sitting within the valley, right on top of our little village.  Anyone driving to the top village, along the road part way up the hill, would be looking down onto this cloud with us hidden underneath.

The forecast is for cloud, rain and thunder for most of the day.  The long range forecast shows much of the same for the next 10 days.  Today’s priorities may have to change – testing the open fire just moved up the list.