Our hearts go out to flood-hit folk
After a poor summer and a better autumn, the winter is really upon us and Storm Desmond has created havoc in many parts of these islands including Northern Ireland.
The damage in several different parts of the province has shown the devastating power of nature, and our reports today bring home to us not only the chaos but also the distress caused to householders and business proprietors in many different areas.
Everyone will sympathise with the plight of people in the Linen Green shopping centre at Moygashel, where shops and other premises were under several feet of water.
There were some claims that a blocked culvert nearby added to the problem. It appears that this culvert was checked on Friday, but the power of the flood and the debris it created may have become literally overwhelming.
There are reports of damage at Clady, Templepatrick and in the Antrim area, as well as Strabane, with great financial loss to many people including farmers. It may be too early to put a reliable figure on the damage but the final cost is likely to be colossal, possibly running into millions.
The latest storm is an unwelcome reminder that our weather is becoming more extreme much more often and therefore we need to make sure that everything possible is being done to protect people before the event and to give them all the help we can afterwards.
The idea of having one's property badly flooded is appalling and our hearts go out to all the people affected. For the businesses at the Linen Green and elsewhere, this could not have come at a worse time.
Christmas is traditionally one of the best trading periods of the year and it must be heartbreaking to have this disrupted in such a severe manner.
However, people can be very resilient, and already the traders and householders are showing their determination to get back to normal as quickly as possible.
Crises like these also bring out the goodness in many people, as well as the bravery of those in the emergency services who organised rescue missions, and also those people who help their flood-stricken friends and neighbours to clear up the mess.
Our hearts also go out to the people in other parts of the UK, as well as the Republic, who have been at the receiving end of such bad weather. In such times we all share a common concern and a common humanity.