Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Word about the Weather

The best word to describe the weather in Aberdeen is changeable. The forecast yesterday was for pure sunny skies, so you can imagine my surprise when I looked out the back window to discover a hail storm. 
The white streaks are hail.

hail on a garden dandelion
Yes, a hail storm on an otherwise perfectly pleasant afternoon. And then I was surprised again to look out at the same sky 5 minutes later and see this:
Nothing but blue skies and sunshine. It’s a common saying that in the British Isles, you can experience all four seasons in one day. I can attest to that. Well, except for Summer. I’m still waiting for Summer to make an appearance in Scotland since it is yet to rise much over 50 degrees and is currently in the 30s! Apparently, it is the coldest May on record in Aberdeen. Apparently. Just like last summer was apparently the hottest and driest on record in Houston. Apparently, Jonathan and I bring record breaking weather everywhere we go.

The changeable weather in Scotland can make planning outdoor activities pretty tricky. It’s one thing to watch a freak hail storm from the comfort of your warm and cozy kitchen. It’s quite another thing when the deceptively sunny sky leads you to believe it’s an excellent time to walk the ½ mile to the grocery store to pick up some bread. I may or may not be speaking from experience on this one.

Another interesting thing about the Scottish sky is the length of days here. Since Aberdeen is so near to the Arctic Circle, the days are extremely long in the summer and hardly existent in the winter.
As we’re a month out from the Summer solstice, the daylight is currently stretching from about 3 AM to 10PM. To illustrate, this is a picture I took at 5 o’clock this morning.
And here is one I took at 9:30 last night.
I have yet to see it actually get dark in Aberdeen because it is still light when I go to bed around 10 and it is definitely light outside before my lazy bum rolls out of bed at 6:30 AM to see Jon off to work.

It’s a pretty nice feature of the summer’s here, but the winter will be quite opposite. Not only is the weather harsh, but daylight only lasts from 10 AM -3 PM on the shortest days. And “daylight” is no guarantee that the sun will make an appearance from behind the thick blanket of gray clouds that often covers the winter sky.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a big problem in Scotland, and it’s easy to understand why. I’ve been getting bummed simply because the next 3 days have non-stop rain forecasted. I can’t imagine how to handle weeks of freezing temperatures and no sunlight. I could do as the Scots do and drink copious amounts of whisky (alcoholism is a big problem here as well), or I could just get out of Scotland for a bit.

I’m thinking that winter would be a great time to visit the folks in Louisiana. Of course, with Jonathan and I’s luck, we’d probably bring record snow fall amounts with us to the New Orleans area.


  1. The weather here is indeed crazy. It's totally normal to have 4 seasons in one day. Our week of summer is coming up! Enjoy, it won't last long.

    Seasonal depression in a big problem, and something I've had to figure out. When you don't see the sun (or sky) for more than 3+ can reall get you down. It's something you have to learn to navigate.

    How long have you been here? I've been in Scotland just over 4 yrs.

    1. I'm definitely apprehensive about the winter weather here. I get cranky after a few days of dreary weather, so I know I'll be susceptible to weeks upon weeks of the stuff. Any suggestions on what works for you?
      We've been here just over two weeks. We're glad that we moved in the Spring/Summer so that we have a few months to get to know the city and country before the darkness sets in.