Ophelia and mid-October storm trends

There is much anticipation in meteorological circles about the possible track of a deep depression spinning up the west coast of Ireland early next week.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami, on the 12Z GM run, puts Ireland and south-west England in the firing line of Ophelia.orphelia

The timing of the depression, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the Great Storm, is remarkable and I wondered if there were other similar Atlantic storms through history.

A search through Martin Rowley’s excellent weather history site revealed that in October 1886, a small-scale but intense depression tracked ENE across central Ireland during the 15th, with lowest pressure estimated ~969mb.

The depression in October 1886 had a lowest pressure estimated ~969mb.

Gales, at least up to Storm Force 10, were reported by most ships and some coastal stations across the southern part of the British Isles, with ENE’ly gales across Scotland (north of the depression track). The low then moved slowly ESE to central-southern England (perhaps deepening a little) on the morning of the 16th, allowing N’ly gales (at least Storm 10) to affect the Hebrides.

Many trees were blown down across Ireland, the English Midlands and counties along the English Channel. Damage also occurred to standing crops, and the high winds were accompanied by heavy rain, which brought river flooding to England, Wales and Ireland, delaying the harvest, which was already compromised by the wet/windy weather. Some bridges were swept away.

October 14-15, 1881

Five years earlier, on October 14-15, 1881, an exceptionally severe gale (Force 9-10, locally Force 11) caused extensive damage across the British Isles & areas adjacent to the North Sea, especially along the north-east coast of England & across the eastern parts of the English Midlands.

Some 108 ships were reported missing. Inland, this gale was considered a ‘great storm’ with extensive loss of timber, especially in Scotland. One particular tragedy involved the destruction of almost the entire fishing fleet from the port of Eyemouth in Berwickshire.

The morning (14th) had been fine with near-calm wind. Some 41 vessels, mostly big deep-sea boats sailed out. In the middle of the day, the wind fell light, and then the storm struck suddenly. Nineteen of the boats were lost and 129 men failed to return to port.



8 thoughts on “Ophelia and mid-October storm trends”

  1. There was also TS Grace in autumn of 2009, nearly made it to Ireland as a tropical system and holds record as most north-east forming tropical storm in Atlantic basin.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been trying (but failing for reasons unknown) to comment at Xmetman’s blog, replying to a query by another person there named quaesoveritas. At THIS blog (where other people’s responses can be read):

    My comment read:
    “Ex (real) hurricanes won’t get re-named (according to the Met Office recently and I assume Met Eireann agree). And on this occasion it’s not an ex hurricane combining with an extra-tropical low, rather a potentially vicious windstorm ex hurricane that will have lost its main tropical characteristics (such as its eye) shortly before approaching the west coast of Ireland. Re-naming would create confusion anyway as some people might think there were TWO storms on the way.
    btw It’s worth googling Hurricane Debbie from way back in 1961.”



  3. I VERY MUCH doubt that Met Eireann will re-name Ophelia/ex-Ophelia as ‘Brian’. See here:
    To avoid any confusion over naming, if a storm is the remnants of a tropical storm or hurricane that has moved across the Atlantic, the well-established method of referring to it as, e.g. ‘Ex-hurricane X’ will continue.
    We will only use names that have been officially designated by the National Weather Service in the US.”

    Perhaps someone here could inform Xmetman/Bruce about my problem submitting my comment (it vanished into thin air) as he appears not to be contactable via email?

    Btw it’s Ophelia not Orphelia.


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