Abigail 1, 2 and 3
Guest Post by Neil Catto
On Friday 6th November The Daily Telegraph had a front page article by Eleanor Steafel; “Storm Abigail’s 70mph winds may put damper on fireworks.”
“Britain’s first named storm could bring 70mph gales and torrential downpours to scupper firework displays this weekend.
Storm Abigail – named by the Met Office following a public consultation – is expected to sweep in from the Atlantic tomorrow.
Revellers could be forced to abandon their fireworks plans as a powerful jet stream arrives from the Atlantic, with predicted wind speeds of 70mph – classed by forecasters as a violent storm.”
So, what did the shipping forecast say?
Table 1 shipping forecast for Rockall, Bailey and Hebrides 5-8 Nov 2015
The Met Office were obviously forecasting storm force 10 winds over the weekend 6th-8th Nov
Fig 1 lowest hourly pressure and maximum hourly wind speed Stornoway
With a max sustained wind speed of 33mph (29kts) Abigail 1 was a near gale force 7 and Abigail 2 with 36 mph (31kts) was also a near gale force 7.
Abigail 1 and/or 2 FAILED
The reincarnation of Abigail:
Having failed with the first NAMED STORM of the winter, and hoping nobody would notice, the Met Office ramped up the media with forecasts of gloom, doom and despondence for the next storm also called Abigail. I thought Avril-1 would have been more appropriate. They issued warnings of severe structural damage and severe flood warnings over most the North of the UK.
Fig 2 minimum hourly pressure for N and NW Scotland
With the lowest pressures reaching 983mb at Stornoway and later at Scatsa (Shetland) this was not a particularly low pressure for a UK winter storm.
Fig 2 maximum hourly Wind Speed for N and NW Scotland
Out of the 8 locations, only Benbecula reached Storm Force 10 on the Beaufort scale, but only for 3 hours between 1800 and 2000 UTC with sustained speeds of 56, 60 and 60 respectively.
In summary: A lot of wind about not much. Sorry Abigail you weren’t up to the Met Office forecasts or the media hype.
|0||Calm||<1||<1||<1||Smoke rises vertically|
|1||Light Air||1-5||1-3||1-3||Direction shown by smoke drift but not by wind vanes|
|2||Light Breeze||6-11||4-7||4-6||Wind felt on face; leaves rustle; wind vane moved by wind|
|3||Gentle Breeze||12-19||8-12||7-10||Leaves and small twigs in constant motion; light flags extended|
|4||Moderate Breeze||20-28||13-18||11-16||Raises dust and loose paper; small branches moved.|
|5||Fresh Breeze||29-38||19-24||17-21||Small trees in leaf begin to sway; crested wavelets form on inland waters.|
|6||Strong Breeze||38-49||25-31||22-27||Large branches in motion; whistling heard in telegraph wires; umbrellas used with difficulty.|
|7||Near Gale||50-61||32-38||28-33||Whole trees in motion; inconvenience felt when walking against the wind.|
|8||Gale||62-74||39-46||34-40||Twigs break off trees; generally impedes progress.|
|9||Strong Gale||75-88||47-54||41-47||Slight structural damage (chimney pots and slates removed).|
|10||Storm||89-102||55-63||48-55||Seldom experienced inland; trees uprooted; considerable structural damage|
|11||Violent Storm||103-117||64-72||56-63||Very rarely experienced; accompanied by widespread damage.|
|12||Hurricane||118 plus||73 plus||64 plus||Devastation|