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

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

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

 

i Editor's Letter: Still all to play for at our live iDebate

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering