By Paul Homewood

 You will no doubt recall Storm Ciara last February. Below is the Met Office review:

Plenty of hype, but as the final paragraph indicated, only the worst since 2017. The choice of graph is rather odd though, which always leads me to suspect they are trying to cover something up.

So I got the Met Office to send me the data behind it, which enabled me to reproduce the graph in date order:

We can see that two storms in 1990 top the list. The first was the notorious Burns Day storm:

Less well remembered perhaps was the storm which followed a month later known as Storm Vivian. This brought havoc across much of NW Europe, leaving 64 dead.

In reality, the Met Office graph does not even to convey the difference between the 1990 storms and Ciara, which was really just a baby in comparison. Much more meaningful would have been to count the number of readings over 70Kt, rather than 60Kt.

We can see, with the Burns Day storm, for instance, that 70 Kt gusts were widespread across the whole of southern England as well as parts of the north.

In contrast, apart from the exposed cliff top sites, there we no winds above 70Kt during Ciara, with the exception of mountain sites, such as Capel Curig and Lake Vyrnwy in Snowdonia, (which incidentally the Met Office don’t classify as mountain).

You might also notice, by the way, that sites like the Needles and Aberdaron, both extremely exposed sites which regularly appear at the top of the wind charts, don’t appear on the Burns Day map, presumably because they did not provide data in those days.

The strongest gust I can find inland for Ciara, other than the mountain sites, is 67 Kt at Cranwell, Lincs. By comparison, inland gusts of 80kt and more were widespread in 1990.

Going back to my graph, you will note that there have only been two entries since 2007 – Ciara and the 2014 storm. Clearly these sort of storms are becoming much less common.

One final comment. You have probably noticed that the Great Storm of 1987 does not appear in the Met Office graph. One of the reasons is that it was confined to the southern band of the country.

But it is also evident that there were much fewer monitoring sites back in 1987, compared to last year.

Winds were slightly stronger than in 1990, with Gatwick recording the highest inland gusts at 86Kt.

It goes without saying that to leave the Great Storm off the list, but include Ciara is ridiculous.


January 26, 2021 at 08:24AM