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Ex Hurricane Ophelia

October 17, 2017

By Paul Homewood

Ex Hurricane Ophelia has now rapidly weakened and is moving away from the UK.

It has been reported as the worst storm in Ireland since Hurricane Debbie in 1961, but there the similarity ends. As we shall see, Debbie was a different beast entirely.

As we can see below, Debbie brought gusts of more than 100 mph across much of Ireland, even at inland sites.



By contrast, Ophelia only reached 73 knots, or 84 mph.




A run through of the wind speed data from the Irish Met Office gives a flukey looking reading of 70 knots at Cork, equivalent to 80 mph, but nothing anywhere else more than 65 mph, other than 76 mph at Shannon.











10-minute sustained speeds are also well down with Ophelia. For instance, at Shannon they peaked at 40 knots yesterday, or 46 mph. By contrast, Debbie brought sustained speeds of 69 mph.




The UK Met Office have been reporting gusts of up to 80 mph as the storm tracked through Scotland, but these tend to be at exposed places, and certainly are nothing unusual for that part of the world.


Joe Bastardi included this video in his Saturday Summary last week, which compares Ophelia and Debbie.



What is striking is that they started in a similar fashion as Cat 3 hurricanes, before suddenly veering north.


 Path of a hurricane, with colored dots representing the storm's intensity at different positions in six-hour intervals. The storm begins in the lower-center of the image near a landmass, moves left, up, and then generally moves towards the upper-right corner of the image. The colored dots reflect a gradual increase and then decrease in intensity.


Joe also mentions Hurricane Faith in 1966. Although it missed Ireland and Scotland, what made this particular storm so remarkable was it was still at hurricane strength to the north of Scotland.


As Joe rightly states, history counters hysteria.

  1. Joe Public permalink
    October 17, 2017 7:01 pm

    • John Palmer permalink
      October 17, 2017 7:30 pm

      Great picture of a young ‘Snowflake’ there JP!

    • Broadlands permalink
      October 17, 2017 7:42 pm

      But, they are alarmed and entitled to use their own facts while calling others “denialists” and “trolls”…or worse.

  2. NeilC permalink
    October 17, 2017 7:35 pm

    Paul, I collected hourly weather data for Ophelia’s passage up the west coast of Ireland. Land observations, and bouys. There are quite a few descrepancies between the summary data you reported and the information I obtained from live observations.

    I have sent you an excel file to browse.

    I think the mean wind speed are for the 24 hr period of the 16th. Not the maximium sustained wind speeds during the day. e.g. Shannon had a sustained wind speed of 47 Kts at 16/1230Z.

    • October 18, 2017 9:59 am

      Thanks Neil

      Yes, the sustained speeds given by the Ireland Met are mean for the day, eg Shannon is given as 24.4 kts. (Gusts though are peak)

      However the graph I showed for Shannon indicates that sustained got to slightly over 40kts

  3. Chris Lynch permalink
    October 17, 2017 7:43 pm

    Having “survived” Ophelia here in the south West of Ireland I can state that the most noteworthy aspect of the storm is the hurricane of false claims, hyperbole, hysteria and bogus alarmism it has generated.

    • October 18, 2017 9:02 am

      Just another day in climate alarm world.

  4. Ian Magness permalink
    October 17, 2017 7:55 pm

    What was notable (but hardly surprising) was the way the BBC joined the Ophelia story to the (truly) Great Storm in southern England on the same calendar day in 1987. It was interesting to compare the hysterical 2017 reporting (eg Oh My God someone has died in Ireland!!!!!) of the BBC with the way the Great Storm was reported the morning after in 1987. Back then, after their normal studio was put out of action by the storm, Nicholas Witchell simply and calmly apologised for broadcasting from a makeshift studio as a result of “the bad weather”, a description he repeated twice. If we ever have a repeat of that strength of storm, can you simply imagine how the BBC would report it now?
    As an aside, the Great Storm was also discussed in an article in Sunday’s Country File. It started out quite sensible but the greenies simply couldn’t resist lining up some tame weather reporter and turning the whole discussion into a festival of “of course with global warming, aren’t storms like that MUCH more likely now?”. The weatherman obliged, but only up to a point, as he knew full well that such predictions lay in the realms of models, not hard data as yet. The irony that this storm happened 30 years ago, and there has been nothing remotely like it here since was, as ever, completely lost on the warmunist programme-makers.

    • Chris, Leeds permalink
      October 17, 2017 8:23 pm

      It is the way that the news media report these storms that is the real change…. I wonder how they would now report the great storm of 25th January 1990, which killed 47 people in England and Wales alone…..

  5. October 17, 2017 8:31 pm

    OK have some respect for the 3 people that died
    It wasn’t funny for them.
    But isn’t it best to always ignore “gust speed” and just use the 10min sustained speed, for comparison.

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      October 18, 2017 1:21 am

      Today, we had 40 mph sustained and a 55 mph gust.
      It was the gust that knocked all the Black Walnuts out of the trees.
      So the tree ignored the sustained and reacted to the gusts, as did a 5 gallon plastic bucket that someone forgot to put in a shed. Go figure.

    • Tim Hammond permalink
      October 18, 2017 9:57 am

      Well one died in a chainsaw accident, so nothing really do with weather as such – though they were sawing a fallen down tree.

    • October 18, 2017 10:28 am

      Unfortunately our Met Office rarely provides any data on sustained speeds. Clearly “gusts” make storms sound much more scary!

  6. markl permalink
    October 17, 2017 10:56 pm

    Never let a possible catastrophe go to waste no matter how far stretched it may be. We need the people to focus on possibilities for the sake of the children.

  7. HotScot permalink
    October 17, 2017 11:21 pm


    “The UK Met Office have been reporting gusts of up to 80 mph as the storm tracked through Scotland, but these tend to be at exposed places, and certainly are nothing unusual for that part of the world.”

    I take exception to that comment.

    I am a sweaty and have lived in some relatively remote areas of Scotland. Other than 1987 I can’t recall winds anything like 80mph. Shetland is perhaps the exception, but only occasionally as far as I know.

    The West coast gets an occasional storm, but nothing abnormal. They wouldn’t be siting so many damned windfarms up there if they were going to be regularly wrecked by 80mph winds.

    • October 18, 2017 9:11 am

      But ‘gusts of up to 80 mph’ doesn’t mean ’80 mph winds’?

      • HotScot permalink
        October 18, 2017 9:34 am


        the specific statement I take exception to is “and certainly are nothing unusual for that part of the world.” as 80mph winds, gusts or otherwise are, in my experience, extraordinarily rare.

  8. It doesn't add up... permalink
    October 18, 2017 12:37 am

    I had a look at power supply and demand in Ireland (whole island) in the run up to and through the aftermath of Ophelia which resulted in this chart:

    Things I noted include:

    There is a strong tendency to use the interconnectors (Moyle to Scotland, E-W to Wales) for export during the low demand hours overnight, and wind generation gets curtailed if it is high then (see the dips vs forecast early on the 13th and 15th) in order to maintain a sufficient proportion of non wind generation to ensure grid stability.

    Both ahead of Ophelia’s arrival and after it departed, wind generation fell back close to zero, necessitating interconnector imports. On the day the storm passed through demand was even below the Sunday the day before, with wind generation falling well short of forecast levels. It appears that many wind farms shut down as a safety precaution ahead of the storm which made landfall at around 11 a.m. as it moved North. There was a move to restart some of them to meet the early evening peak, but it seemed to falter at first, and the second attempt appears to have been cut short by curtailment as overnight demand fell to the lowest of the week, before the wind itself died away.

    Of course, demand was down partly because some electricity pylons were down. The Irish Times reported

    As of 9pm some 295,000 properties were without power as Hurricane Ophelia blows an “unprecedented” path of destruction across Ireland, according to the ESB. This was down from 360,000 earlier today.

    Storm Darwin in February 2014 resulted in a loss of supply to 280,000 customers, the restoration effort during storm Darwin took up to 8 days across the country to restore supply to everybody

    So only marginally worse than Storm Darwin from 2014 then.

  9. tom0mason permalink
    October 18, 2017 4:48 am

    The AGW are still screeching —
    “But, but, but Hurricane Ophelia was the unprecedented climate event in the iPhone age! “

  10. Doug Holman permalink
    October 18, 2017 11:29 am

    Some people measure speed (velocity for the purists) in mph while others use kph or knots. What matters is that comparisons are made using the same units. We would rightly object if we were caught doing 48 in a 30 limit and it turned out that the speed camera had been inadvertently set to kilometres instead of miles.

    Conventionally, we measure wind in terms of a mean speed but “warmunists” (a term borrowed from Ian Magness, above) seem to think that they can win their battle against capitalism by replacing mean with maximum gust speeds. A gust is (by definition) at least 10 knots (11 mph) more than the mean speed but a maximum gust could be much higher, and depends on numerous factors, such as the local topography and wind direction. That’s why mean speeds are used in overall risk assessment, such as in the shipping forecast.

    If we stick to the Beaufort scale, we know that there’s risk of trees falling when the mean speed reaches between 55 and 63 mph, or “force 10”. Of course, the gusts will be higher. But which would you consider more dangerous: a “force 8” gale (between 39 and 46 mph) with a single freak gust of 80mph or a proper “force 10” storm with widespread gusts of the same speed?

    Frankly, I blame the car manufacturers for replacing “air conditioning” with “climate control.” It led some of our “professional” politicians to imagine that this could work for the entire world. If their understanding of meteorology is this risible, are we not entitled to know what, if anything, we can safely entrust them to do?

  11. October 18, 2017 6:56 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

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