Just how strong was the wind?

From a non-technical perspective, last night's wind was a) strong, b) noisy c) cold. Arriving home on the stroke of midnight I was unable to put the car on the drive as I could not open the gates. It took all my strength (and I am no sapling) to push the gate open enough for me to get through.

My rented house is lovely in the summer, a cool respite from the heat. In the winter it is draughty and cold, so I pull all the shutters down to keep the heat from the fire in and the weather out. Actions duly taken I retired to bed and lay there until about 4am unable to sleep due to the noise of the wind. It sounded as if I was in the middle of the fiercest storm, the wind screamed along the side of the house. The shutters rattled and not for the first time of a winter, did I lie there wondering how much would be left in the garden, would my huge beast of a car still be there.

The car is always there of course; the wind is not as strong and fiercesome as it makes out with its bellowing and howling. I tried to find the actual wind speed data on the internet (but gave up, not that interested really) but found instead a table with scales of wind strength. From the descriptions I think that we were somewhere in the 'near gale' to 'gale' category. Near Gale gives the description that 'whole trees sway' - well that certainly was the case - and Gale has 'Twigs break off trees'. I have carried out a quick reconnoitre of the immediate area and there are a few more twigs than yesterday. So, from that information I can deduce that the wind speed was probably between 51 and 74 kph (32 and 46 mph). That's pretty fast.

This morning there are blue skies a few puffy clouds and a light breeze, and even that is subsiding. Peace reigns again in the valley. Thank goodness.