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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Bookkeeper

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Small Family Accountancy Practi...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager - OTE £50,000

£18000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is recruiting for ...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Manager / Account Manager

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B software supplier, spe...

Recruitment Genius: Systems Application Analyst - Data, SQL

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing SaaS (Softwar...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

'You’re just jealous', and other common misconceptions about the Protein World advert

Hannah Atkinson
Dave Brown's cartoon for the 28 April edition of The Independent  

After five years of completely flaccid leadership, I'm glad something 'pumps up' David Cameron

Joe Sandler Clarke
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence