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Hurricane Ophelia

October 14, 2017

By Paul Homewood


Hurricane Ophelia is on its way!




According to the National Hurricane Center, Ophelia has just been upgraded to a Cat 3, with wind speeds of 115 mph.

But, not for the first time, we find that these claims are based on satellite data which are not supported by other sources.

NOAA maintain a database of all of the data concerning tropical cyclones. According to them, all of the satellite observations available suggest that the actual 1-minute sustained windspeeds were well below the 100 kt (115 mph) claimed.

As far as these are concerned, Ophelia is unlikely to actually be stronger than 80 kt, or 92 mph. This would make it only a Cat 1 hurricane.



Furthermore the National Hurricane Center make no mention of any measurements from hurricane hunter aircraft.




The claims of 115 mph winds appear to rely solely on the estimate of windspeeds made via the intensity estimate from the Dvorak system. Yet this is not backed up by any real world data.


The only real evidence we have available is the central pressure, given as 960 mb:



This pressure is low, but certainly not unduly so, and would in the past have been likely to have been linked with Cat 2 hurricanes.

It also goes without saying that, until the satellite era, storms like this, and in this part of the ocean, would have barely registered on the record. Ships would have kept well away from it, and it would have been too far east for aircraft to flown into.


I do make one prediction.

By the time Ophelia gets anywhere near Ireland, it will be no more than a typical Atlantic storm. We will hear the usual hype about 80mph gusts (but not told that these are limited to a few extremely exposed headlands).

It will be wet and windy in Ireland and parts of Scotland, but the rest of the UK will wonder what the fuss is about.

  1. HotScot permalink
    October 14, 2017 10:25 pm

    Without your excellent knowledge of numbers and research, I just posted something similar to vukevich on WUWT.

    But the world will still hear of the devastation of roof tile loss in the UK, and it will all be the fault of climate change.

  2. John Smith permalink
    October 14, 2017 10:30 pm

    I live on the West coast of Scotland, high up overlooking the Irish Sea and it is wet and windy much of the time. Gusts of 80-90mph are nothing new. Only the hype is new.

    • HotScot permalink
      October 14, 2017 10:42 pm

      I’ll be retiring home there soon John.

      I can’t wait to endure a wee breeze now and then.

  3. HotScot permalink
    October 14, 2017 10:33 pm

    I have to say it.

    ‘Unprecedented roof tile loss in the UK, the worst in a generation!’

    ‘Climate change is upon us!’

    Come on guys, what a great title for the Guardian to run.

    • 1saveenergy permalink
      October 15, 2017 7:15 am

      Shouldn’t you have a 97% Con-sensous somewhere to make it more catastrophic

  4. October 14, 2017 10:58 pm

    Exactly so

  5. RAH permalink
    October 15, 2017 12:20 am

    Highly recommend that you take a look at the free saturday summary from Joe Bastardi at
    Joe is one of the best at this kind of forecasting.
    Click the link and then go down to the free videos. You’ll also get a good history of hurricane hits on Ireland with wind speeds and other interesting information in the short video.

  6. Athelstan permalink
    October 15, 2017 12:35 am

    if it tracks the way the forecasters are predicting [no seriously] then the greater majority of England will probably miss it – mostly……….erm ‘cept Scotland and as the lads say above, a wee breeze is to be expected on the ‘odd occasion’ up there.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      October 15, 2017 6:47 am

      When I “emigrated” to The Potteries for work having grown up in central Scotland (close to the most inland place in Scotland) and then a further 45 years in Edinburgh as a student and working, it always amazed me as to what was considered windy.

      There was is old joke which goes something like “How can you tell a man is from Edinburgh?” “He’s the one who holds his hat at every street corner”

      I can also remember eating an Ice Cream on the North Bridge late in a warm sunny October in the early 70s.

  7. John F. Hultquist permalink
    October 15, 2017 2:33 am

    East of Cambridge-London axis, high temperature is expected. Seems like this will be more surprising than a bit of a blow in western Ireland and Scotland.

    • Roy permalink
      October 15, 2017 9:35 am

      I’m 20 miles west of Cambridge and yesterday the BBC weather page was forecasting temps of up to 23c – today it’s down to just 17c. That’s some discrepancy!

  8. Malcolm Bell permalink
    October 15, 2017 8:02 am

    I was hoping (here in Leeds) for a powerful South Westerly to get the leaves off our trees and over the wall into the woods. I hope this isn’t going to let me down.

    We get one pretty well every sevond year. Still time for more options.

    Is this going to be a Michael Fish moment in reverse?

  9. Green Sand permalink
    October 15, 2017 8:56 am

    Timing, O the timing!

    ‘Carbon capture in doubt after Norway buries 90pc of budget’

    “….Norwegian ministers slashed the expected state investment in a trailblazing industrial carbon capture project by 90pc in response to growing political doubts over its costs. The swingeing cut emerged the same day UK ministers pledged to work with international partners in a second bid to develop a carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry, after the failure of its £1bn scheme two years ago……

    ……The UK’s clean growth strategy promised the £100m funding to ­develop CCS as part of a raft of 50 low-carbon policies and plans – but government is clear that full-scale CCS will not go ahead unless costs come down. At stake are the carbon-cutting plans of industrial clusters in Teesside, Merseyside, South Wales and Grangemouth which all hope to safeguard their future in the UK’s future low-carbon economy by fitting the new technology……

    Its an ill wind….

  10. Rowland H permalink
    October 15, 2017 9:18 am

    Wind speeds likely of 80 kts or 92 mph? Miscalculation in conversion methinks!

  11. October 15, 2017 12:23 pm

    Hi Paul, when you hear the “unprecedented” BS about Ophelia, just remind your readers of Hurricane Debbie in 1961:

    Hat Tip: Joe Bastardi at WeatherBell, discussed in this week’s Saturday Summary:

    Regardless, stay safe.

    Best wishes to all


  12. Nigel S permalink
    October 15, 2017 1:16 pm

    Bit breezy from Ardnamurchan Point to Cape Wrath but nothing that hasn’t been seen many times before.

  13. tom0mason permalink
    October 15, 2017 6:32 pm

    That will may the shipping forecast more interesting than usual on Monday, especially if the projected path is out by a degree (or two) — but that couldn’t happen, could it?

    • tom0mason permalink
      October 15, 2017 6:40 pm

      Typo try again…

      That might make the shipping forecast more interesting than usual on Monday, especially if the projected path is out by a degree (or two) — but that couldn’t happen, could it?

      • Nigel S permalink
        October 15, 2017 7:36 pm

        Standby for a classic “There are gale warnings in all areas except …”

  14. daver permalink
    October 15, 2017 8:32 pm

    Loads of links//charts/commentary etc at the Netweather dedicated forum

  15. October 16, 2017 8:03 am

    Hurricane Ophelia rages towards Ireland: Met Eireann warns it could be as bad as Debbie, which killed 15 and broke weather records

    Very high winds, flooding and structural damage predicted over next 48 hours
    ‘People need to take this seriously’ – Minister Simon Coveney
    Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork and Kerry among those with Status Red warnings
    Schools told to close, and ESB on alert with winds of more than 130km/h expected Monday

  16. James Bull permalink
    October 16, 2017 4:28 pm

    It gets a bit boring hearing how it’s never happened before and is the worst ever.

    Well since the last time that is.

    James Bull

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