2017–18 UK and Ireland windstorm season

2017–18 UK and Ireland windstorm season
First storm formed 12 September 2017 (record earliest)
Last storm dissipated Season ongoing
Strongest storm1 Storm Brian
Strongest wind gust 155.6 kilometres per hour (96.7 mph) (Ex-Hurricane Ophelia)
Total storms 8
Total damage €60 million+
Total fatalities 12 (record high)
1Strongest storm is determined by lowest pressure and maximum recorded non-mountainous wind gust is also included for reference.

The 2017–18 UK and Ireland windstorm season is the third and current instance of the United Kingdom's Met Office and Ireland's Met Éireann naming high impact extratropical cyclones. The first system, Storm Aileen, formed on 12 September. The season also featured Ex-Hurricane Ophelia, the extratropical remnants of Atlantic hurricane Ophelia. Storm Brian struck Ireland less than a week later, resulting in three fatalities.

The season succeeded the 2016–17 UK and Ireland windstorm season.

Background and Naming[]

In 2015, the Met Office and Met Éireann announced a pilot project to name storm warnings as part of the Name our Storms project for wind storms and asked the public for suggestions. The meteorological offices produced a full list of names for 2015–16 and 2016–17, common to both the UK and Ireland. A new list of names was released on 6 September 2017 for the 2017–18 season.[1] Names in the UK will be based on the National Severe Weather Warning Service, when a storm is assessed to have the potential for an Amber 'be prepared' or Red 'take action (danger to life)' warning.

The following were selected as storm names:[2]

  • Aileen (12–13 September 2017)
  • Brian (21 October 2017)
  • Caroline (7–10 December 2017)
  • Dylan (30–31 December 2017)
  • Eleanor (2–3 January 2018)
  • Fionn (16 January 2018)
  • Georgina (unused)
  • Hector (unused)
  • Iona (unused)
  • James (unused)
  • Karen (unused)
  • Larry (unused)
  • Maeve (unused)
  • Niall (unused)
  • Octavia (unused)
  • Paul (unused)
  • Rebecca (unused)
  • Simon (unused)
  • Tali (unused)
  • Victor (unused)
  • Winifred (unused)

The Met Office's and Met Éireann's announcement of the season's names also noted that Fionn is to be pronounced 'Fyunn', Niall is to be pronounced 'Nye-ul' and Tali is to be pronounced 'Tarly'.[who?] In addition to the names on the list, when Ophelia, named Ophelia by the NHC, transitioned from tropical to extratropical and was expected to hit Ireland and the UK as a hurricane-strength windstorm, the Met Office and Met Éireann allowed it to retain its NHC-designated name instead of naming it Brian. (Only Aileen had previously occurred in the season.)

A storm will be named when it is deemed able to have a "substantial" impact on the UK or Ireland.[clarification needed] They will be taken from the list, in alphabetical order, alternating between male and female names – the same naming convention that is used by the United States for tropical cyclones. In the case of storms resulting from ex-tropical storms and hurricanes, the original name allocated by the US National Hurricane Center will be used, an example of which during this season is Ophelia. Met Éireann name any storm which triggers a status Orange or Red weather warning for wind. The basis for such, as outlined on their weather warning service, are mean wind speeds in excess of 40 mph (65 km/h) or gusts over 68 mph (110 km/h).[citation needed] Similarly, the Met Office name storms that have the potential to cause medium (Amber) or high (Red) impacts to the UK. It describes the wind strength relative to observations such as "falling trees or tiles, other items like garden furniture being blown around and even a number of properties left without electrical power."[clarification needed][citation needed]

Season summary[]

Hurricane Ophelia (2017)

The 2017–18 UK and Ireland windstorm season began on September with storm Aileen, which brought strong winds to Scotland and Northern England on 13 September. Aileen then moved out to North Sea only then to be renamed Sebastian. Then followed ex-Ophelia which was once a Category 3 major hurricane and the eastern-most major hurricane on record. Due to ex-Ophelia's arrival, a red, severe wind warning was issued for many parts in Ireland. Less than a week later, storm Brian rapidly intensified from a trough of low pressure out in the Atlantic. After a rather quiet November without any named systems, Caroline and Dylan formed in December followed by Eleanor early 2018. </ref>


Storm Aileen[]

Aileen 13 September 2017.png
Aileen located over the North Sea on 13 September 2017
Area affected Northwestern Europe
Date of impact 12 – 13 September
Maximum wind gust 83 miles per hour (134 km/h) Needles, Isle of Wight[3]
Lowest pressure < 980 hPa[4]
Fatalities 0
Power outages 69,000
Damage Unconfirmed

Storm Aileen was the first storm to be named by the Met Office on 12 September with an Amber wind warning. The storm was expected to affect the areas of Cheshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire during the evening of 12 September and into the morning of 13 September with 65 km/h (55 mph) winds. Gusts up to around 110 km/h[5] (75 mph) were also expected in exposed locations such as the coast and hills in these areas.[6] The storm is known as "Sebastian" in Germany.[7]

A Yellow weather warning for rain was also in place for parts of Northern Ireland, Northern England and Southern Scotland which warns of 30–40 mm of rain falling within 6–9 hours causing some disruption.[6] The heaviest rainfall was recorded at Bainbridge, North Yorkshire, with 35.4 mm falling overnight.[8]

During Storm Aileen, approximately 60,000 homes in Wales and almost 9,000 across England suffered power cuts.[8][9] The strongest gusts, of 83 mph, were recorded at The Needles, Isle of Wight.[8] The strongest gust on mainland Britain, of 74 mph, was recorded at Mumbles, Wales.[8]

Ex-Hurricane Ophelia[]

Ophelia 16 October 2017.png
Ex-Hurricane Ophelia moving over Ireland on 16 October
Area affected Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland, United Kingdom, Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia
Date of impact 16 – 17 October[10]
Maximum wind gust 84 knots (155.6 km/h)[11]
Lowest pressure 959 hPa[12] or 962.2 hPa[13] (onshore)
Fatalities 3 direct, 51 indirect
Power outages 360,000
Damage € 60 million[14]

On 12 October, the Met Office issued yellow weather warnings relating to the extra-tropical remnants of the former Hurricane Ophelia, estimated to affect the UK and Ireland on 16 October.[15] Met Éireann issued an update on 12 October in response to media coverage about possible impacts which might occur in Ireland, highlighting the uncertainties still in the forecast modelling. Met Éireann asked people to keep up to date with changes in the forecast as the storm evolved and confidence in any likely impacts increased.[16] On 14 October Met Éireann issued a red warning for the counties of Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork and Kerry for the 16–17 October,[17] (extended to Limerick, Waterford and Wexford on 15 October)[18] with an orange warning for the rest of the country.[19] Red warnings were extended again on the evening of 15 October to the whole of Ireland.[20] On 15 October the Met Office issued amber warnings for the six counties of Northern Ireland, and updated the yellow warnings in place for England, Wales and Scotland.[21] The Met Office updated its amber warnings to include parts of west Wales, southwest Scotland and the Isle of Man on the morning of 16 October.[22]

In County Waterford, a woman was killed when a tree fell on her car, caused by the winds from Ophelia's remnants.[23] A man died near Dundalk, County Louth, after a tree struck his car.[24] A man was killed in Cahir, County Tipperary, while trying to clear a fallen tree with a chainsaw.[24] Two more people were subsequently killed in Ireland from the combined effects of Ophelia and the subsequent Storm Brian.

Storm Brian[]

Brian 20 October 2017.png
Brian located over the eastern Atlantic on 20 October
Date of impact 21 October 2017[10]
Maximum wind gust 85 miles per hour (137 km/h) Needles, Isle of Wight[25]
Lowest pressure 956 hPa[26]
Fatalities 3
Power outages Unknown
Damage Unconfirmed
Brian over the Irish Sea on 21 October

On 13 October, the U.S. National Hurricane Center designated a tropical wave in the Atlantic Ocean to the east of the Lesser Antilles as Invest 92L, giving the system a 40% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone. The NHC continued monitoring the system as it moved slowly north-west, bringing heavy rainfall and flooding to Puerto Rico and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands before turning to the north-east.[27] However, on 16 October, the NHC discontinued monitoring the system as it passed Bermuda without any considerable impact, having failed to transition into a tropical cyclone.[citation needed]

Subsequently, the area of low pressure began to rapidly intensify as it accelerated eastward across the open Atlantic, developing into a powerful extratropical cyclone.[26] On 19 October, Met Éireann issued an orange wind warning for 21 October in counties Galway and Mayo, thus naming storm Brian.[28] On 20 October Met Éireann extended orange warnings to the counties of Clare, Kerry, Waterford and Wexford.[29] The UK Environment Agency warned that storm Brian could combine with high tides and lead to a heightened risk of flooding on the south coast of the UK.[30]

Brian moved over Ireland close to Galway around 07:00 local time on 21 October.[31]

A 67-year-old man drowned after being swept from the sea wall at Dawlish during the storm.[32] Two more people were killed in Ireland from the combined effects of Brian and the prior Hurricane Ophelia.[clarification needed]

Storm Caroline[]

Caroline 5 December 2017.jpg
Caroline approaching the British Isles on 5 December
Area affected Ireland, Scotland, Faroe Islands, Norway
Date of impact 7 December 2017
Maximum wind gust 93 miles per hour (150 km/h) Fair Isle, Shetland[33]
Lowest pressure ~ 959 hPa
Fatalities 1
Damage Unconfirmed

The Met Office named storm Caroline on 5 December to affect Scotland on 7 December, with a yellow warning for wind,[34] which was upgraded on 6 December to an amber warning for the Western Isles, Northern Isles and northern Scotland. Met Éireann issued a yellow warning for wind to the counties of Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare and Kerry.[35] In its wake, the storm delivered snowy and icy conditions to parts of England and Wales as the winds turned to the north as the system moved into Scandinavia on 8 December, accumulations of 11 cm were recorded on lower ground in Northern Ireland, with a few centimeters of snow in Wales and North-western England. Even with Caroline being located around Scandinavia, Caroline was still impacting the UK weather with a continuation of cold, Arctic air.[citation needed]

Seviri RGB Airmass view

Storm Dylan[]

Storm Dylan 30 December 2017.jpg
Dylan approaching the British Isles on 30 December 2017
Area affected Ireland, Northern Ireland
Date of impact 30 – 31 December
Maximum wind gust 77 mph / 124 km/h[36]
Lowest pressure 966 hPa
Fatalities Unknown
Power outages ~ 7500 customers in Republic of Ireland affected[37]
Damage Unknown

Storm Dylan was named by Met Éireann on 29 December. It is forecast to bring strong winds to the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and southern Scotland overnight 30–31 December. The north and west coasts of the island of Ireland are expected to be affected by gusts of up to 130 km/h.[38][39]

Satellite loop 30–31 December of storm Dylan/Horst from EUMETSAT.

Storm Eleanor[]

Area affected Ireland, Great Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland
Date of impact 2 – 3 January
Maximum wind gust 96 mph / 155 km/h, Knock Airport, County Mayo[40]
Lowest pressure 966[41]
Fatalities 3[42]
Power outages ~150000 customers in Republic of Ireland affected[43]
Damage Unknown

Named by Met Éireann on 1 January with Amber Wind Warning in force for 2 January. Forecast to bring gusts of 110–130 km/h into the evening. The Met Office also issued a Yellow Wind Warning for 2–3 January, only to upgrade it to an amber warning across Northern England and Southern Scotland 3 hours prior making landfall in the UK.

Floods in river Rhine after the storm (Burglind), January 8 in Cologne (Germany)

As Eleanor neared Ireland, it brought heavy rainfall and squally weather followed by very strong gusts of 95 mph in Knock Airport in Republic of Ireland.[44] As Eleanor tracked further North-east it continued to strengthen as a sting-jet like feature was evident, however, it did not form. Eleanor also produced thunderstorms and intense hail across England and Wales. The worst damage happened in Northern Ireland.

According to the UK Met Office, gusts reached 90mph in Orlock Head, while a mountain weather station in Great Dun Fell recorded 100 mph gusts.[45]

Storm Fionn[]

Low pressure centre of Fionn moves close to Iceland 1800 UTC 16 January 2018– 0300 UTC 17 January 2018, bringing high winds to western Ireland.
Area affected Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, United Kingdom, France, Central Europe
Date of impact 14 January – 17 January
Lowest pressure 935 hPa [46]
Fatalities none

On 16 January Met Éireann issued orange marine weather warnings for wind to storm force from Roches Point to Slyne Head to Malin Head,[47] along with orange national weather warnings for Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Cork and Kerry for 16—17 January, so naming storm Fionn.[48][49] This system, also called Evi by the FUB, was meteorologically speaking a very deep and large Icelandic low that bottomed out at a central pressure of 935 hPa and dominated the weather in the North Atlantic and Northern Europe for several days in the middle of January 2018. Fionn had a large and intense wind field on its southern flank, fueling a strong jetstream that steered the less deep but much more catastrophic Cyclone David into the British Isles and Central Europe on January 18. After the arrival of David, Fionn weakened and David became the more dominant low, leading to the decay and dissipation of Fionn.

Synoptic chart of Fionn 16-17 January, with the low (David/Friederike) moving towards Ireland on last two frames from KNMI

As Fionn neared Ireland, it brought heavy winds to Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Clare, Leitrim and Cork. On 16 January, Fionn's extraordinarily strong southern wind field created storm conditions in the United Kingdom, France, the Alps and Germany. Fionn and David brought stormy conditions to parts of Europe for roughly a weak. On January 19, after the fast passage of David and the weakening of Fionn, the wind speeds in Europe finally decreased as Fionn's strong westerly stream had collapsed.

Storm Georgina[]

Storm Georgina was named on 23 January.

Season effects[]

This table lists all known windstorms that affected the UK and Ireland during 2017–2018. It includes their name, duration, peak recorded gust (excluding mountain stations), lowest pressure, areas affected, deaths and damage totals from the two nations.

Storm Dates active Highest wind gust Lowest pressure Casualties Damages
Aileen 12 – 13 September 83 mph / 134 km/h[3] 980 hPa 0 Unknown
Ophelia 15 – 18 October 96 mph / 155.6 km/h[11] 958 hPa[clarification needed] 5 €60m[14]
Brian 20 – 22 October 85 mph / 137 km/h[25] 956 hPa 3 Unknown
Caroline 6 – 10 December 93 mph / 150 km/h[50] 959 hPa 1 Unknown
Dylan 30 – 31 December 77 mph / 124.1 km/h[51] 966 hPa [52] 0 Unknown
Eleanor 2 – 3 January 96 mph / 155 km/h[53] 966 hPa 3 Provisional estimate €500 million (Europewide)[54]
Fionn 16 January 85 mph / 137 km/h *provisional [55] 935 hPa[56] 0
7 windstorms 12 September – 96 mph / 155.6 kph 935 hPa 12 €60m

Storms named by other European meteorological services[]

IR satellite loop storm Herwart (Ingolf) on 29 October 2017
Satellite loop of Friederike (David) airmass from EUMETSAT.
2017–18 named storms table
  • Aileen (UK/IE), Sebastian (Free University of Berlin), 12–13 September.
  • Xavier (Free University of Berlin), 4–6 October.
  • Ex-Hurricane Ophelia (NWS), 16–17 October.
  • Brian (UK/IE), Elmar (Free University of Berlin), 21 October.
  • Herwart (FUB),[57] Ingolf (dk)[58] Grzegorz (Polish derivative of the FUB name)[59][verification needed], 28–29 October.
  • Ylva (No),[60] Reinhard (FUB),[61] 22–23 November.
  • Caroline (UK/IE), Walter (FUB), Aina (No),[62] 7–8 December 2017.
  • Ana(fr wiki) (Fr/Es/Pt),[63] Yves (FUB), 10–11 December.
  • Birk (No-for heavy rainfall),[64] Diethelm (FUB), 23 December 2017.
  • Bruno(fr wiki) (Fr/Es/Pt), Edilbert (FUB), 26–27 December 2017.[65]
  • Dylan (UK/IE), Horst (FUB), 29–31 December 2017.[66]
  • Carmen(fr wiki) (Fr/Es/Pt), Ingmar (FUB), 1 January 2018.[67]
  • Eleanor (UK/IE), Burglind (FUB), 2–3 January 2018.[68]
  • Aku (Fin),[69] Cora (No),[70] Unnamed (FUB) -later absorbed by Christine, 7 January 2018.
  • Fionn (UK/IE), Evi (FUB), 16 January 2018.
  • David (Fr/Es/Pt),[71] Friederike (FUB),[72] 18 January 2018.
  • Georgina (UK/IE),[73] Helene (FUB), 23–24 January 2018.

France, Spain and Portugal storm naming cooperation[]


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External links[]