Dom Joly: Blue-sky thinking spoiled by a powerful tornado

 

Share
Related Topics

The weather has become a constant source of debate here in the last week of my Canadian Lakes holiday. We arrived in Toronto about three weeks ago on the back of a July heatwave that had everybody talking – "One day it was 47 degrees centigrade... well, not actually... but that's what it felt like." Canadian weather forecasters tell you the exact temperature but then adjust it for the humidity to tell you what it "feels like".

This seems to be a fairly unscientific approach to meteorology. I know little about the world of weather, but can Ontario, with no tricky mountain ranges and an essentially flat landscape, really be that difficult to forecast? I must be mistaken because the daily predictions are so wrong it has become laughable. We check a variety of weather outlets online. Some cheerily predict blue sky and sun while others gloomily predict clouds and rain.

We have settled on one website as it is the most incorrect of all. For the last week we have formulated our plans by assuming the weather will be the opposite of whatever it predicts. It has been spot on/off every day, and this made up my mind: when I retire I'm going to buy a cottage on the Muskoka lakes, my favourite place in the world, and spend my final days as a weather forecaster.

I'm going to have it all set up just the way I want it. I shall be in my hammock, on the dock, rocking gently over the velvety, soft waters. Every day, at a pre-assigned time I shall drop a peanut on to the dock. A chipmunk will appear as from nowhere and snaffle said peanut. If he runs away to the left of my hammock, it will be "Scorchio"; if he goes to the right, then I'm afraid it's "Rain ahoy". I see no reason why this system would be any less effective than whatever method our local forecaster uses.

Yesterday, he excelled himself with a "tornado warning" over Muskoka. We howled with laughter at this and started naming the "tornado" as we gaily set off on a full day's expedition in the boat: "Doofus, Bonehead and Old Yella" were the favourites.

We visited a little remote island in Lake Joseph where we did some cliff-jumping before going over to Bala on Lake Muskoka for some knee-boarding and lunch. The day was perfect and, as we pootled home through the locks at Port Carling, we remarked that the world needed more Canadian tornadoes as they were remarkably pleasant. We ended an idyllic day with some night swimming and a game of Balderdash.

The following morning, after being assured by our favourite weather forecaster that it was going to rain, we set off on another boat trip. As we rounded a nearby island, we came across an extraordinary sight: something had hit the shore with unbelievable force and cut a clean path across it. One cottage had its roof caved in by three enormous pine trees. A floating flock of rubber-neckers were already in situ, oohing and aahing over the destruction. I manoeuvred the boat next to another and asked them what happened?

"It was a tornado," said one man. "It just came out of nowhere and ripped the place apart. Luckily nobody was home, but it's made a real mess." I was going to point out that it hardly came out of nowhere since there had been a tornado warning yesterday, but then I realised that they placed as much credibility in them as we did.

We're supposed to be heading off to a farmer's market on the boat today, but the weather forecast is for blue skies and sun... what to do?



React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will also work alongside their seasoned sa...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical Design Engineer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Former Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose  

So, the people who always support the Tories... are supporting the Tories? Has the world gone mad?

Mark Steel
Crofter's cottages on Lewis. The island's low population density makes it a good candidate for a spaceport (Alamy)  

My Scottish awakening, helped by horizontal sleet

Simon Kelner
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat