Posts Tagged ‘weather’

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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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Festival of the Flood

June 14, 2011

This past weekend saw the celebration of Kataklysmos, the Festival of the Flood.

The weather saw fit to contribute which, considering it’s almost half way through June, was fairly unusual.

Photo courtesy of the Cyprus Mail

The Cyprus Mail reported:

TORRENTIAL rain and flooding in Nicosia and Larnaca districts yesterday trapped people in their cars and brought traffic to a standstill as thousands returned home at the end of the three-day, and aptly named, Kataklysmos (Festival of the Flood) weekend.

Some of the worst hit areas were many of the villages between Larnaca and Nicosia, including Lympia, Kornos, Pera Horio, Latsia, Alambra, Ayia Varvara, the GSZ area in Larnaca and Aradippou with some of them also experiencing heavy hail storms.

Drivers on the Larnaca-Nicosia highway crawled along at 30km per hour due to heavy traffic jams and visibility problems, with huge amounts of water gathering in some areas such as the Dekhelia road up to the Rizoelia roundabout.

As well as flooding some flights were diverted as the conditions at Larnaca airport were unsafe.

The weather this year continues to be unsettled: winter was long and wet, spring was late coming and saw severe hailstorms and then suddenly the temperatures went into overdrive.  Instead of being unseasonably cool it switched to being unseasonably hot.  That all ended with the storms of yesterday which, according to forecasts, are due to continue for several days to come.

Meanwhile we left home, where it was warm and sunny, to drive towards Larnaca not realising all this was going on.  It would be fair to say that we were ill-prepared for the weather we encountered and got absolutely soaked to the skin.  Such are the microclimates of Cyprus.

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Back again

May 23, 2011

We only meant to be away for a week, or two, honest!  But time slipped away, and the longer things went on the harder it was to get going again.

For a while now we’ve been talking about re-starting things but hadn’t got just the right post to kick off with.  And then Rita from the Netherlands emailed.  From time to time people leave comments or drop an email, perhaps to ask a question or just to say hello.  In Rita’s case she wanted to let us know that she loved the blog and had read it from start to finish but was now concerned.  We hadn’t posted in so long, had something happened?

So, having emailed her to let her know that we are still alive, if somewhat lazy, we are now officially back.

Summer has finally arrived, having been long-delayed and much-anticipated.  The garden continues to grow like crazy, although everything took a battering during a horrendous hail storm a week ago.  The clementine tree escaped unharmed and we appear not to have lost a single of the 10,000 or so fruit that are developing.  Yes, this is the same tree that produced 3 ripe fruit this year.  We may have to rename it and call it fickle from now on.

In the village life continues as normal.  Unexpectedly kafenio wars have broken out with a rival coffee shop setting up for business 100 feet from the long-established shop.  Tension runs high amongst the villagers (in a slow, mellow and laid-back sort of way obviously) as they wait to see if any sort of retaliation follows.

Meanwhile our battle against encroaching wildlife continues.  Last year’s pomegranate rats have yet to make an appearance but in the meantime we are engaged in the epic battle of Man vs Swallow.  Our old friends the swallows returned in early March from their winter in Africa and decided that the empty properties to the left and the right and behind us weren’t suitable for building nests in.  Where they really wanted to be was in the house.  With us.  Frequently.  So as the days and nights warm up we continue to try to find ways to convince them that their place is outside and ours is inside.  It may be a long battle.

Now that we’re back up and running there should be more soon.  Until then, a series of photos from before and after that hailstorm.

Winter-flowering jasmine

Beautiful arum lilies

After the storm #1

After the storm #2

After the storm #3

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Cold, cold, cold

February 3, 2010

How, exactly, did this become a weather-obsessed blog?  There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that us Brits have a particular concern about anything weather related and it is true that the weather is a regular topic of conversation among ex-pats here in Cyprus … but how exactly did we fall into the trap of mentioning in quite so many blog posts?

Anyway, it’s cold again.  Really rather bitterly cold.  And windy; really very windy.  There was a small twister along the coast from us that resulted in a handful of people ending up in hospital.  It’s snowing at the top of Troodos as you can see from the Ski Cyprus webcam.  There has been talk that we might get snow down here near the coast.  That would be unusual, but not unheard of; 2 years when we were house-hunting we experienced a little snowstorm.  Incidentally, that isn’t the house we eventually bought; unbeknownst to us the owner of that property had already found a buyer.

In other news the UN-led talks went ahead.  About the best that can be said is that at least the two sides are still talking … and showing a remarkable determination for scoring points if they can’t actually make any real progress.

THE TURKISH Cypriot leadership set a “trap” for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on his visit to the north in an effort to upgrade their status, which “boomeranged” on them, said government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou yesterday.

According to Stefanou, Ban had been tricked into meeting Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat at the ‘presidential palace’ in the north, despite an earlier agreement to hold the meeting at his residence next door. The move backfired as UN Special Adviser Alexander Downer was forced to issue a statement clarifying that “the Cyprus Republic is the only recognised state and that Mr Talat is nothing more than the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community,” he said.

Apart from that we continue to throw yet more logs on the fire and wonder just when it might warm up a little.  This is turning out to be a long, cold winter.

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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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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.