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Storm Eunice Update

February 18, 2022
tags: ,

By Paul Homewood


Well I did warn you!




The Needles are a spectacular limestone formation located at the end of  peninsula sticking out into the sea. The weather station is at the Old Battery, 80m above sea level at the top of the cliff overlooking the rocks below:




Wind speeds there have no relevance at all to what is happening in the rest of the country. Moreover the Met Office have only been measuring wind speeds there for a few years, which is why the Needles never used to appear in their weather reports. (I have asked the Met Office for the date it started. They do show wind speeds there for 1998, but it certainly was not mentioned in the Burns Day storm).

Just a few mile along the coast at St Catherine’s Point,  itself an exposed location but close to sea level,  gusts peaked at 84 mph:


And just around the north coast, where it is a bit more sheltered, winds peaked at just 50.6 mph at Newport:


The clue that the Needles wind speeds are meaningless and misleading lie in the comparison with the next windiest sites, which include places like Mumbles Head and Pembrey Sands that are themselves highly exposed and regularly appear close to the top of wind speed lists:



A much more meaningful assessment is given by the list of inland locations:



Now compare again with the Burns Day storm, which is shown in knots:

Chivenor’s 83 mph equals 72 Kts, a figure which was significantly exceeded across most of southern England and the Midlands in 1990. The next highest, Charlwood is 78 mph. or 68 Kts.

But I suspect we will hear little of this from the media or Met Office. Instead the headlines will blare out “122 mph winds” and “record winds”.

  1. Chris Banks permalink
    February 18, 2022 2:21 pm

    I can see some wind turbines being shutdown (if they haven’t fallen down yet?), definitely not the right type of wind to provide the UK with any power.

  2. GeoffB permalink
    February 18, 2022 2:24 pm

    Due to “Climate Change” of course.

  3. Thomas Carr permalink
    February 18, 2022 2:28 pm

    Bizarre to think that a recording station for wind speed at the top of a chalk faced funnel should have any credibility as to prevailing wind speed. Your other information suggests as much. The Met office seem quite unashamed , as usual.

  4. Chris Davie permalink
    February 18, 2022 2:29 pm

    I did hear it claimed on the radio that this was the equivalent of a category 3 hurricane. But of course, that would have required sustained winds at that level and I believe at a specific height relative to sea level. These are gusts of unspecified duration but probably, by definition, very short!

    • LeedsChris permalink
      February 18, 2022 2:37 pm

      The Needles record looks highly dubious and is objectively completely out of line with gusts being recorded elsewhere along the south Coast, and elsewhere on the Isle of Wight, even in almost similarly exposed locations! Even if it is an ‘accurate’ record, this looks to me like a ‘rogue wave’ type of record (like the ‘rogue waves’ on the Ocean that are rare freaks, multiple times the height of the sea elsewhere at that time).

      As at 1400 today the peak gusts for the day showing on are 89mph at Isle of Portland, 88mph at Mumbles (near Swansea) and 84mph at St. Catherine’s point (also on the Isle of Wight). St. Catherine’s point is on only 14 miles ESE of The Needles and the Isle of Portland is only 40 miles to the SW of the Needles. Other stations along the south coast itself only recorded gusts up to 80mph (Isles of Scilly), or 75-80mph (Thorney Island (23 miles from the Needles, near Portsmouth), Bournemouth (13 miles from the Needles), Plymouth Mountbatten, Lydd Airport). Slightly higher gusts (80-85mph) were recorded on parts of Cornwall/Devon and S Wales (Aberdaron, Chivenor, Pembrey Burrows, Cornwall Newquay Airport, Aberporth).

      I think the 122mph at the Needles must be marked as dubious, and even if accurately measured is such a rogue, freak that it indicates nothing, The fact that a professional organisation (the Met office) can publicise this without making the caveats I have made, so that there is only one agenda that it tries to serve.

      • Chris Davie permalink
        February 18, 2022 5:01 pm

        Apart from misinformation, there seems to be an obsession within the BBC for “records”, into which this now neatly fits, regardless of reality.

  5. Bloke down the pub permalink
    February 18, 2022 2:51 pm

    At least some of the media are still talking sense.

    • Peter Owen permalink
      February 18, 2022 4:45 pm

      The trend is pretty neutral according to the number of extreme weather events since 2015. That’s the year the met offices in N Europe started their prissy naming of storms. It’s surely reasonable to concatenate named storms with extreme weather events?
      The number goes up and down in the years since 2015, with no overall pattern,so I conclude that there’s no increase in extreme weather events over the last 7 years

  6. Mike C permalink
    February 18, 2022 3:08 pm

    Doesn’t count as it’s battery operated….

  7. Broadlands permalink
    February 18, 2022 3:13 pm

    Maybe we are to assume that if we quickly lower our carbon emissions to zero the wind speeds will drop? Temperatures will drop, floods will lower, droughts will become shorter… and the planet will have been saved.

    • February 18, 2022 7:26 pm

      Last year European wind turbine operators reported significantly lower profits than expected due to a drop in..uhh…wind speeds.

  8. Vernon E permalink
    February 18, 2022 3:16 pm

    The Telegraph on Line’s India MacTaggart reports that the roof of the O2 Arena is blowing away and assures readers that its due to the 122 mph (Cat 3 Hurricane).

  9. steve permalink
    February 18, 2022 3:22 pm

    Here in Bournemouth there is a local weather station near to the Bournemouth football ground. It is in a populated area. The peak wind gust was 54 mph at 11.30, the strongest gust in the last hour about 38 mph. Sustained wind speeds have averaged about 23 MPH for the last few hours. Both measures are dropping significantly now.

  10. Peter F Gill permalink
    February 18, 2022 4:04 pm

    During the 1987 Hurricane we lost 90 major trees on our 7 acres. In the storm of 1989 we lost a further 40. Today we lost 15 care of Eunice. The Met office were quite right – an unprecedented number of trees lost this time.

  11. Mad Mike permalink
    February 18, 2022 4:06 pm

    Coming in from the DT live news is a bit about how Eunice is causing record amounts of electricity to come from wind turbines across Europe and is subsequently reducing the cost of electricity.

    I thought that wind turbines closed down when wind speed reached 45mph to stop the risk of damage. Am I wrong in that?

    • Mikehig permalink
      February 18, 2022 4:54 pm

      As of now wind is producing 9.4 GW which is only about 40% of the nameplate capacity so it’s likely that a lot of turbines have been shutdown.

      • ThinkingScientist permalink
        February 18, 2022 8:04 pm

        It was about 12 GW this morning around 10 am, before the storm hit where I am in New Forest

  12. February 18, 2022 4:17 pm

    Looks to me like the recorder is sat at the side of a cliff bowl, so if the wind direction was blowing into the bowl it would accelerate up the cliff and interact with air above at 80m. Where the 2 air masses meet there would be all sorts of changes in wind speed and perhaps direction. Either way, the recording instrument is in just about as daft a place one could choose.

    • Martin Brumby permalink
      February 18, 2022 7:01 pm


      Not at all. You set out precisely the reason why they sited it there.

      Just what you’d expect from a “professional” organisation bombarded with taxpayers’ money.

  13. Mikehig permalink
    February 18, 2022 4:56 pm

    That “record” wind speed is roughly 1.6 times the readings from nearby stations.
    Could someone have mistaken kph for mph?

  14. grammarschoolman permalink
    February 18, 2022 5:08 pm

    Virtually no wind here in west London – but no trains either, because South Western Railways have cancelled them just because they’re scared!

    • February 18, 2022 6:04 pm

      To be fair to SWR, there are trees down across lines all over the place. It is no fun whatever to have your train run into a fallen tree. Cancelling the trains is the only predent approach.

      What should be done, against the howls of protest from “conservationists”, is to fell the large trees that have grown up along the sides of the railway lines. They are a menace.

  15. lapford permalink
    February 18, 2022 5:26 pm

    Only need to look back to 1968 when Great Dun Fell recorded 134 mph, or has that reading now been conveniently ditched? The needles is good at recording very high wind speeds due to funnelling and up-lift.

  16. Cobwatch permalink
    February 18, 2022 5:30 pm

    I am a few miles South of Norwich. Windspeed now (1729) is 40kts, with gusts up to 58kts. Reasonably blowy….but nothing like the Needles.

  17. MrGrimNasty permalink
    February 18, 2022 7:18 pm

    Short memories for storm runs, check out table of >60knts last page – bring it up to date?

    Click to access winter-storms-january-to-february-2014—met-office.pdf

  18. Nicholas permalink
    February 18, 2022 8:21 pm

    Report that some might call, “an outlyer”. But more accurately, “an out and out lier”.

  19. dearieme permalink
    February 18, 2022 9:33 pm

    You’ll have to explain to me, chaps, why they chatter about a record for England when presumably it’s the taxpayers of all the UK who pay their wages. It’s a puzzle and no mistake.

  20. Micky R permalink
    February 19, 2022 11:28 am

    Isle of Grain power station has lost a chimney, CCGT, output stated as 1.275GW

    I’ve seen one report of Hinkley B nuclear power station being disconnected yesterday, but appears to be connected today

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