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Storm Abigail

November 13, 2015

By Paul Homewood  




So after a night with Abigail, our first named storm, what did it all really amount to?

The BBC have this report:


Gusts of up to 84mph and lightning strikes left 12,000 properties without power at the height of Storm Abigail.

About 1,300 customers remain without electricity after 30 faults affected the Western Isles, Shetland, Skye, Colonsay, Argyll and Angus.

Every school on the Western Isles and Shetland is closed for safety reasons.

The high winds and rain have been followed by wintry showers which have affected driving conditions on the A9 at the Slochd in the Highlands.

Hills, including mountain tops in the Cairngorms and Lochaber, have had fresh falls of snow.

SSE Power Distribution said engineers had restored power to most of the 12,000 customers affected by power cuts and its engineers were working to reconnect 1,300 still without power.



And according to the Met Office, these are the strongest gusts recorded:


Embedded image permalink


All four of these sites are extremely exposed island sites, with South Uist being a small island in the Outer Hebrides. In reality, gales like this one are par for the course at this time of year.

There appears to be no evidence at all of winds anywhere near this strength in inland areas.


In comparison with other storms in recent years, there was nothing unusual at all about Abigail. For instance, we can see that the January 2012 storm brought much stronger winds across much of Scotland. (84 mph = 73 Kt)


jan wind 2012 max gust 03


And just a month earlier, winds of 98 mph were recorded in the Shetlands.


dec wind max gust 1



How long will it be before the Met Office start calling these bigger storms “Super Storms”?




Meanwhile, I have the forecast for the week ahead:



Saturday – Heavy Rain Brian

Sunday – Light Rain Showers Tracey

Monday – Fog Julia

Tuesday – Sunny Intervals Cyril

Wednesday – Drizzle Lucy

Thursday – Light Breeze Rupert

Friday – Snow Showers Viner

  1. Ian Magness permalink
    November 13, 2015 12:18 pm

    Oh dear. So, the UK now has its own “storm that didn’t perform”. How inconvenient for the green blob who hoped for multiple deaths and property devastation.

  2. Le Gin permalink
    November 13, 2015 12:23 pm

    No no no…you’re supposed to name them alphabetically!

    • Retired Dave permalink
      November 13, 2015 12:58 pm

      No we have already had Heavy Rain Angela

  3. November 13, 2015 12:52 pm

    Not to be outdone, we have one of our own. It has swept across giving Denver area a foot of snow and gale-force winds across the Great Lakes. I am on the southern end of the wind, but WV has been getting a lot of wind with 30-40 mph gusts since yesterday morning (and scheduled to last until this evening). The news announced that about 1000 WV customers were w/o power this morning. Fortunately, I don’t think any of the weather-idiots have named it…..yet.

  4. November 13, 2015 1:06 pm

    I believe the naming of storms is an attempt to convince the public that perfectly normal weather, for the time of year, is somehow connected to “climate change”.
    The amount of time spent on this on the BBC news is far greater than it would have been 50 years ago. Thus, what is normal is somehow exaggerated into the abnormal.

    It particularly annoys me when news readers refer to “90 mph winds”, when they mean “gusts”.

    • November 13, 2015 3:12 pm

      Mean speeds not gusts should be reported. The only reason I can think of them reporting gusts is to make it sound worse than it is

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      November 13, 2015 4:10 pm

      I agree.
      My theory is that naming them makes them sound far worse than the actuality no matter how much of a damp squib they turn out to be. They need something because the more mature (i.e. older) members of the public are able to compare with storms from decades earlier, for me the October 1987 storm of Micheal Fish fame, and one in Scotland in January 1968 over 30 people died and it took several days to clear the fallen trees from the A822 and A85 the local main roads. 8,000 hectares of trees were felled. On a personal level I was living in an old farmhouse at the time and woke in the morning with the bedroom carpet “levitating” from the floor it always was a drafty house!

    • Billy Liar permalink
      November 14, 2015 12:51 am

      Gusts are as good indication of the geostrophic wind speed. Surface winds over land in the daytime are about 0.4-0.45 of the geostrophic wind speed. Abi-GALE was indeed a gale, possibly even a strong gale but I remain to be convinced.

      Nothing to write home about.

  5. John Peter permalink
    November 13, 2015 1:12 pm

    What about “The Great Storm of 1987: How the ‘hurricane’ claimed 18 lives, flattened 15million trees and caused damage costing £1.5billion
    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook”
    There is also the Great Scotland Storm in 1968 with A 134 mph (216 km/h) wind gust was recorded at Great Dun Fell in Cumbria, England. At the time this was the strongest wind gust ever recorded in the United Kingdom or for the benefit of the MET Office here is a list of European storms through the centuries
    No doubt these don’t count and ought to be eviscerated from the records so as not to spoil the CO2 doom predictions.

  6. Joe Public permalink
    November 13, 2015 1:27 pm

    Just love the apt “Fog Julia”

  7. CheshireRed permalink
    November 13, 2015 1:39 pm

    Abigail has wrecked havoc. A neighbours plastic chair was blown over and at one point 3 apples fell off the apple tree in my garden within a minute of each other. Climate carnage.

    • November 13, 2015 2:28 pm

      You’ve had a terrible time, you’re clearly going to need counselling.

      Its been the oddest storm I’ve ever known. I’m located in the area where the Met Office report predicted high winds with damage to buildings possible. We had a very slight breeze for about a hour around 5pm last night then a dead calm night right through. Still no sign of anything.

      There was a report of a plastic bag being blown from one side of the Tesco car park to the other, but no one seem to be able to confirm it.

      • November 13, 2015 2:43 pm

        Were you actually covered by the warning?
        I have noticed that everywhere in a region gets a warning on the MO forecasts, even though only a tiny part of the region is actually covered.

  8. November 13, 2015 1:46 pm

    Blue skies Paul – providing welcome relief

  9. Ian Innes permalink
    November 13, 2015 2:34 pm

    A perfect day for hanging out the washing up here….(Inverness)

  10. November 13, 2015 3:09 pm

    They have started to report gusts rather than mean speeds as they used to. This is purely to make it sound worse than it is.

    These reports normally go unnoticed, especially in the old days when this kind of thing was a normal later Autumn depression.

    After the emotive language earlier in the month to tell us there had been the ‘hottest’ (not warmest) November day on record one would get the impression that the BBC are driving some sort of agenda here?

  11. John F. Hultquist permalink
    November 13, 2015 4:18 pm

    Many years ago – long before Global Warming was a twinkle in James Hansen’s brain – there was a report of a car being blown off a road and over a cliff on one of these island sites. The report mentioned the locals load their cars with coal to keep them on the road. Apparently, in this episode the driver needed more coal.

  12. John189 permalink
    November 13, 2015 4:32 pm

    The hype has been made worse by the menacing/frightened/shocked tones of television reporters and weather forecasters who seem to have had training in operatic histrionics.

  13. Harald G. Martin permalink
    November 13, 2015 4:55 pm

    Hello Paul…..I have been getting your stuff for a couple months and I find it very refreshing to have someone with the backbone to tell the truth about “global warming/climate change” and the gigantic stacking of BS coming from government and the media. I live in Anaheim, California and in our paper today they touted the speeding up of the Zachariae glacier.  Of course, the “chicken littles” are predicting an 18 inch rise in sea levels because of it. 

    Do you have any pertinent information on this glacier or on Greenland in general so that I could write a Letter to the Editor with greater factual information?  I realize you must be a pretty busy guy, so if you are unable to help out, I won’t take it personally. Thanks for the continued battle against the high tide of BS….. Harald G. Martin

  14. November 13, 2015 5:14 pm

    Abigail wasn’t a patch on 2011 Hurricane Bawbag.

    “On 8 December, winds reached up to 165 mph (265 km/h) at elevated areas, with sustained wind speeds of up to 80 mph (135 km/h) reported across populous areas. The winds uprooted trees and resulted in the closure of many roads, bridges, schools and businesses.”

  15. November 13, 2015 5:24 pm

    One advantage of using the term gusts rather than mean speed is that it is readily understandable and comparable. I believe a gust refers to the maximum wind speed over a short period and this is what is likely to cause damage. Talking of mean speed over an unknown time period seems like a load of hot air.

    • November 13, 2015 8:26 pm

      And yet they don’t use gusts when measuring hurricanes?

    • Billy Liar permalink
      November 14, 2015 1:17 am

      For aviation purposes the mean wind speed is the 2 minute mean. Gusts are averaged over 3 seconds.

  16. Dave Ward permalink
    November 13, 2015 8:30 pm

    “A twinkle in James Hansen’s brain”

    James Hansen has a brain??? I see more intelligence on our bird table…

  17. johnbuk permalink
    November 14, 2015 1:08 am

    There’s no doubt about it we’ve had more named storms lately in the UK, its worse than we thought. BTW how about Superstorm Cecil?

  18. Coeur de Lion permalink
    November 15, 2015 12:53 pm

    I note this morning that the Met Office says – erm – “rainfall not as bad as expected”. And why in millimetres? Sounds more than inches.

    • November 15, 2015 1:07 pm

      Why can’t they say “not as bad as we FORECASTED”?
      I have learned not to “expect” what the MO say.
      Yesterday the forecast said it would rain heavily all day today where I am on the NE coast, but not a drop so far.
      This morning’s forecast had rain all afternoon, and heavy rain from 15:00 to 17:00 but the latest one only at 16:00.
      And now there is an amber warning because it covers a tiny bit of W Northumberland – nowhere near here.
      We’ll see,

      • November 15, 2015 10:25 pm

        in the end zero rain here today, despite the MO warning for a day which 24 hours ago was forecast to have heavy rain.
        On the other hand the wind is increasing and the forecast for the early hours has gone from a peak of 23 to 29 mph and gusts of 48 mph.
        That’s stronger than Abigail and no warning issued.
        I am not sure whether this is still Abigail or another system.

  19. lapogus permalink
    November 16, 2015 8:11 pm

    Here’s some Gaeltacht satire on the subject:

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