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January 9th Storms

January 9, 2015

By Paul Homewood




The Met Office have updated the situation regarding last night’s storms, which hit Scotland particularly hard:


As forecast by the Met Office, a powerful low pressure system passed to the north of the UK in the early hours of this morning bringing exceptionally strong winds in places.

Two low level stations recorded wind speeds of over 100mph, with the gust recorded at Stornoway being the joint strongest recorded at the site (the other gust at that speed was recorded on 12 February 1962).

While the winds have now dropped significantly, it will stay windy through today in many parts and gusts will increase in strength once again tonight as another low pressure system is set to affect northern parts of the country. You can see detail on this on our forecast and warnings pages.

Below are some of the maximum gust speeds recorded during the first storm, between 10pm last night and 9am this morning.

Date and time Station Area Speed (mph)
09/01/2015 04:00 ALTNAHARRA SUTHERLAND 97
09/01/2015 06:00 WICK AIRPORT CAITHNESS 93
09/01/2015 03:00 ALTBEA ROSS & CROMARTY 90
09/01/2015 05:00 KINBRACE SUTHERLAND 87
09/01/2015 01:00 SKYE WESTERN ISLES 86
09/01/2015 07:00 KIRKWALL ORKNEY 86


 The strongest wind in England was at High Bradfield, in South Yorkshire, which saw a gust of 76 mph at 1am this morning.

In Wales, the strongest gust was at Aberdaron, Gwynedd, with 76mph at 11pm last night.

For Northern Ireland, the strongest was 70mph at Killowen, County Down, at 10pm last night.


These gusts are not comparable with the record for low lying sites of 142 mph, set at Fraserburgh in 1989.




The Met Office regard a low level site as being under 500m, which is still quite high. High Bradfield in South Yorkshire often crops up for high winds in England, but it sits at an altitude of 395m (see here), or about 1300ft in real money. Moreover, it is also on top of a hill:


High Bradfield


Image of the Peak District


According to the Dept of Geography at Sheffield University, who run the site:

The department has had a weather station on the Bradfield site for forty years. Now, the development of the new laboratory facilities gives us, for the first time, a real base to provide innovative teaching and research facilities in an upland environment, a UK environment where change is happening quickly’. Professor Grant Bigg



I’m not sure what these changes are, but I have lived 5 miles down the road for 40 years, and can’t say I’ve noticed.

The same Dept of Geography had this to say about the most severe gale in recent years at High Bradfield, which hit on 5th Jan 2012:


High winds across the county this week made a TV star out of one of the Department’s weather stations.

The weather station at High Bradfield, five miles northwest of the Department, recorded some of the highest winds in Great Britain on 5 January 2012, with gusts reaching 93mph (149.6 km/h). Reporter Emma Glasbey and a news team went out to the station, sited at 395m, to film for the regional BBC ‘Look North’ news.

The last time the city itself experienced such strong winds was The Sheffield Gale of 16 February 1962, when 3 people died, 250 were injured and 70,000 homes were damaged. Fortunately, this time the strongest winds were on the moors west of the City, so no one was injured and buildings escaped significant damage.


What they misleadingly don’t mention is the fact that The Sheffield Gale recorded gusts of 96mph, crucially in the city itself, which has a much lower altitude of around 200ft.

The Times reported the following day:




(To put into context, Sheffield then had a population of around 500,000, implying around 100,000 households or so.)   


Perhaps it is the fact that we have not gales like this one in the last 50 years which is the “change” that Prof Bigg is referring to!

Below are some of the pictures of the aftermath.




  1. Ben Vorlich permalink
    January 9, 2015 6:42 pm

    Yesterday’s storm has a long way to go to beat the record set at Butt Of Lewis at least according to the The Herald

    The Meteorological Office confirmed last night that a record low-level gust of 161mph (140 knots) was recorded at the Butt of Lewis between 9pm and 10pm.

    The previous record of 139mph was held by Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire.

    Wednesday 17 January 1990

  2. Ted permalink
    January 9, 2015 6:43 pm

    The Glasgow hurricane 1968 had a 118mph gust in Tiree. 20 dead in Scotland.

  3. January 9, 2015 6:47 pm

    There is surprising little data available on historic wind speeds and direction, from the MO.
    Nothing like there is for rain and temp. data. It’s difficult to know whether wind speeds are changing.

  4. January 9, 2015 6:48 pm

    “…. to provide innovative teaching and research facilities in an upland environment, a UK environment where change is happening quickly”. (said) Professor Grant Bigg

    The usual euphemism for ‘We need more grants for bigger computers’

  5. Andy DC permalink
    January 10, 2015 1:30 am

    Hurricane Hazel went thru Washington, DC in 1954 with recorded wind gust of 98 mph. Looking at the photos of your 1962 storm, I would say the damage was significantly worse.

    Trees were in leaf when Hazel hit and there was lots of tree damage, but not nearly the structural damage.

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