I know there are many Stokies who live closer to it than me, and hope you are all OK, and have not suffered any loss / damage etc .
But I can't believe the effect its having where I am (and over all of London I assume)
The sun is obscurred by a cloud of smoke , its probably drifting over at a hight over 1000ft up, so apart from the odd wift of burning and tinge in the eye when outside its not effecting us in that kind of way, but its about 4 degrees colder than it should be, we are just getting no heat from the sun, which can be seen as a glow through the cloud. It feels like, and about as much light as dusk on a cold cold winters evening
this is the noon satelitte image, and the extent of the cloud is visable as a large black cloud over south england
this link puts the "latest visable" in on the image above so it will change
as of 12noon it appears to stretch towards newbury in the west, heathrow, across london level with the thames, out to the essex thames esturary around dartford, and upton Hertford/Harlow in the North
RAF, you must be closer than 20miles, its only just north side of Hemel Hempstead , it can't be more than 30miles as the crow flys from where I am.
Pic below is from one of the towers at Canary wharf
From BBC website
Smoke cloud spreading over South
A black plume of smoke is spreading over southern England A cloud of black smoke is spreading over a large area of southern England after a series of explosions at an oil depot in Hemel Hempstead. Although winds are light, smoke is drifting towards Reading and Swindon, the Met Office has said.
North-easterly winds on the surface are extremely light, but higher up north-westerly winds are stronger.
The smoke, which is not understood to be toxic, could make people cough and feel nauseous, police have said.
The Met Office said the smoke could reach Southampton by Sunday night.
Smoke has risen very high with aircraft reporting it at an altitude of 9,000 feet.
There are already reports of some smoke in Hampshire.
Peter Kidds, a weather forecaster for the Met Office, said sooty particles could fall to the earth as the smoke cools.
They would contain pollutants, not in high concentrations, but enough to "be of concern".
He added that for at least 24 hours there was not expected to be any change in the weather, including wind directions, that would affect the smoke cloud.
A police spokesman said people should keep out of the smoke and to keep doors and windows shut.
I drove through Bentilee earlier this afternoon and I was truly shocked. The explosion had ripped through the estate, virtually wiping it out, and caused hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds worth of damage.
The explosion must have tossed peoples bins into the air and thrown litter everywhere. Hundreds of bikes had been burnt and left in the gardens where I assume the heat from the blast had caused the grass to grow at an alarming rate (for winter anyway).
So many of the residents were wandering the streets in a shocked and dazed state - their tatty clothes I assume being the result of the force of the blast?
The council had better get their arse in gear quick!
When I woke up this morning, I didn't have a girlfriend, I was well into my overdraft and I didn't have any clean underwear. I'm pretty sure one or all of these must have been as a consequence of the explosion.