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Storm Ciara In Context

January 26, 2021

By Paul Homewood



 You will no doubt recall Storm Ciara last February. Below is the Met Office review:





Plenty of hype, but as the final paragraph indicated, only the worst since 2017. The choice of graph is rather odd though, which always leads me to suspect they are trying to cover something up.

So I got the Met Office to send me the data behind it, which enabled me to reproduce the graph in date order:




We can see that two storms in 1990 top the list. The first was the notorious Burns Day storm:




Less well remembered perhaps was the storm which followed a month later known as Storm Vivian. This brought havoc across much of NW Europe, leaving 64 dead.


In reality, the Met Office graph does not even to convey the difference between the 1990 storms and Ciara, which was really just a baby in comparison. Much more meaningful would have been to count the number of readings over 70Kt, rather than 60Kt.

We can see, with the Burns Day storm, for instance, that 70 Kt gusts were widespread across the whole of southern England as well as parts of the north.


In contrast, apart from the exposed cliff top sites, there we no winds above 70Kt during Ciara, with the exception of mountain sites, such as Capel Curig and Lake Vyrnwy in Snowdonia, (which incidentally the Met Office don’t classify as mountain).

You might also notice, by the way, that sites like the Needles and Aberdaron, both extremely exposed sites which regularly appear at the top of the wind charts, don’t appear on the Burns Day map, presumably because they did not provide data in those days.

The strongest gust I can find inland for Ciara, other than the mountain sites, is 67 Kt at Cranwell, Lincs. By comparison, inland gusts of 80kt and more were widespread in 1990.

Going back to my graph, you will note that there have only been two entries since 2007 – Ciara and the 2014 storm. Clearly these sort of storms are becoming much less common.

One final comment. You have probably noticed that the Great Storm of 1987 does not appear in the Met Office graph. One of the reasons is that it was confined to the southern band of the country.

But it is also evident that there were much fewer monitoring sites back in 1987, compared to last year.

Winds were slightly stronger than in 1990, with Gatwick recording the highest inland gusts at 86Kt.




It goes without saying that to leave the Great Storm off the list, but include Ciara is ridiculous.

  1. Mad Mike permalink
    January 26, 2021 2:50 pm

    I was up in Snowdonia one Christmas around 1990 and we had extremely strong winds and rain. We had a power cut at 18.00 on Christmas Eve which lasted until mid morning Boxing Day. Its the kind of thing you remember. I seem to remember that a gust of 111 mph was recorded in Pwllheli on the Llyn Peninsular. There was tree damage and some houses sustained roof damage but, as the locals said, they are used to high winds up there so they weren’t fazed.

    We are met with hype when ever the weather is bad now. The Alarmists have got the Country in such a frightened state that they can say more or less anything is a record of doom and it goes without scrutiny.

  2. A C Osborn permalink
    January 26, 2021 2:50 pm

    Acually Paul I quite like their chart, it shows that Ciara was only the 23rd strongest storm since only 1974, presumably no data before that.
    Which with all the Climate Change “Extreme Weather” is pretty poor showing, also only 6 years in the 2000s in a list of 25.

  3. Broadlands permalink
    January 26, 2021 3:11 pm

    !987? That is an interesting date. That’s when global CO2 was 350 ppm. That’s the date that NASA guru, James Hansen (and sidekick Bill McKibben) have been urging us to return to by taking CO2 out of the atmosphere by CCS technology…Net-zero emissions. So, I guess they must also want another “Great Storm” to take place in our future??

  4. January 26, 2021 3:44 pm

    The newspapers called it the storm of the century.

  5. January 26, 2021 4:23 pm

    You have probably noticed that the Great Storm of 1987 does not appear in the Met Office graph. One of the reasons is that it was confined to the southern band of the country.

    Not confined, but no doubt worse. I live near the River Mersey and part of my garden fence blew down (due to wooden posts), plus a ridge tile blew off the roof.

    • Mark Hodgson permalink
      January 26, 2021 6:09 pm

      It was pretty wild in 1987 in Northumberland too.

  6. Devoncamel permalink
    January 26, 2021 4:46 pm

    I remember an Economics teacher telling me that with graphs it depends how you draw the axis. He could have added it depends what data you do or don’t use. I don’t think he ended up at the Met Office.

  7. Phoenix44 permalink
    January 26, 2021 4:50 pm

    It caused “widespread disruption” because the Met Office and such a big deal of it. Using “disruption” caused by their own scaremongering as a measure of how bad it was is totally absurd.

  8. Thomas Carr permalink
    January 26, 2021 4:51 pm

    Paul ,
    When it comes to a technical appreciation of compelling information which is the basis of issues like this I am a bit of a lightweight. I have been reading almost all of your postings under “Not a Lot…..” for the last 4 years. The overall effect is a bit like watching pebbles being thrown into a bucket one at a time; a lot of noise briefly until the next one arrives and covers it.
    You have shown that there is a wealth of authoritative sources of facts worth collating into a dossier. It would expose the media’s lazy sensationalism.
    You could do worse that find a sub editor or archivist to list the amounts ( Temp. inches/ cms. of rain/snow, wind speeds, size of fires ,glaciers and icebergs etc) relating to each ‘record’ and the robust source of the recordings.
    It would have something of Hans Rosling’s “Factfulness” about it.

    The aim would be to reveal the partiality of the so-called experts and lobbyists particularly in the serious publications , the BBC and the press office at the Met Office.
    Such a collection of facts would take account of each subsequent exceptional event. Its strength would be its undeniability .

    As it would not include interpretations or opinions which the extinction lobby and big project promoters like to belittle it could well become the only reliable collected source of reference.
    Perhaps you have all this in hand using software to do the prioritisation and graphical interpretation. Perhaps the warmists are secure on the high ground with huge amounts of investment already committed and such publishing is futile.

  9. ThinkingScientist permalink
    January 26, 2021 5:05 pm

    Quoting number of stations without normalising by the number of available stations, or only plotting the number of stations graph for stations available for all time periods, is how you inflate the numbers. Its a classic way to give a false impression and the Met Office has no excuses as a scientific organisation they know how to do it properly. (And if they don’t then they are incompetent).

    Same thinking happens when people quote all tornado numbers by year in USA since the 1950s as increasing therefore proving climate change. And completely ignoring the change in detection which means in earlier periods there is under-reporting of smaller tornadoes <F3 (ie before doppler radar). Increase in F3 or greater is a down trend.

    Same thing for hurricanes before satellite data. Of course there are more now, because we see them all.

    These are all classic arguments about sampling and resolution.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      January 26, 2021 7:15 pm

      You are assuming that the MetO is honest, which is highly questionable.

  10. Rowland P permalink
    January 26, 2021 8:42 pm

    And what about the great storm in 1703 or the one that blew the Armada away?

    • Duker permalink
      January 27, 2021 12:17 am

      “The Great Storm of 1987 is often said to be Britain’s worst storm since the Great Storm of 1703. But was the 1703 storm the greatest in British history, prior to 1987?

      The late Hubert Lamb, founder of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK, studied the storm in collaboration with Knud Frydendahl of the Danish Meteorological Institute. In their 1991 book Historic Storms of the North Sea, British Isles and Northwest Europe, they ranked it just fifth in a chart of severity.

      The storm scored 9,000 on their “severity index”. This was based on wind speeds, area covered by damaging winds, duration of damaging winds, as well as total damage to landscape and property, and the number of human and animal lives lost.

      The most severe storm according to Lamb’s index was the storm of 1987 with a score of 20,000, followed by the storms of 1792 (12,000), 1825 (12,000) and 1694 (10,000, but with the caveat that this storm is poorly known because it happened so long ago).”
      At least with Lamb we have a genuine objective researcher with a useful scale and what it means

  11. Huw T permalink
    January 26, 2021 9:09 pm

    The Met Office and the BBC actively collude in coming up with scaremongering over the “extreme ” weather they both claim we keep having. The BBC’s long range forecasts are always full of mentions of coming storms and severe weather events. Few if any ever happen. The Met Office seem to issue weather warnings for nearly every day during the winter months. We get yellow warnings for days when it just rains. These reprobates have a policy of massive climate change scaremongering that now involves their weather forecasts.

  12. Duker permalink
    January 27, 2021 12:12 am

    Even the ‘fastest subsonic flight’ claim is overblown, it was only 1 min less than previous ‘record’. No mention of the CO2 created by the flight

  13. Coeur de Lion permalink
    January 27, 2021 9:44 am

    The adoption of ‘storm this’ and ‘storm that’ allows much storminess on the reporting and thus fear of global warming. Remember that Force Ten is storm force, nothing less.

  14. Harry Davidson permalink
    January 27, 2021 9:49 am

    South Wales has always had strong winds. Some years ago, in a ‘ten years after’ review of The Great Storm that didn’t get a recorded wind speed over 70mph, I read that Swansea typically experiences 10+ days a year with wind speeds (gusts) over 70mph, and 50mph gusts are just commonplace.

    The X-axis of the graph is a bit smelly.

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