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Trapped! July 30, 2007

Posted by gordonwatts in life, Marseille.

Marseille is famous for its wind. Today I couldn’t open the door to leave my apartment! The reason was the wind: it was blowing so hard that the pressure difference between my 13’th floor apartment and the 12th floor elevator lobby was enough I couldn’t get it open. I pulled as hard as I could — I thought I was going to break the door handle. Once I managed to move the door a small amount and the howling wind through the crack was amazing. I had a brief moment of panic before I realized I could close the windows to relieve the pressure.

Finally it occurred to me to close the windows so the wind couldn’t get in: it is so hot right now that one doesn’t think, normally, of closing the windows. It is sort of like: I don’t think I would have noticed if the apartment had come without windows. I offer this as an excuse as to why it took me a while to remember that I could close the windows to enable me to open the door.



1. Aaron F. - August 20, 2007

Whoa, crazy! So the wind was blowing towards your apartment’s side of the building, and the pressure buildup due to the tower’s wall was enough to keep you trapped inside?! Do you know how fast the wind was going? This situation seems destined for immortality in some fluid mechanics textbook someday… 🙂

2. gordonwatts - August 20, 2007

Marseille has a very very strong wind!!! When it comes from the right direction it gets funneled between two mountain ranges — they call it the Mistral.

I’m not sure how fast it was blowing, but when I managed to get the door open even the hanging ceiling light would hang at an angle and it would make a huge roar as it rushed through the door. And it was no build-up and release — it would blow continuously, as long as I was strong enough to hold the door open!

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