February the 12th 2014 will go down in history for a day that saw a powerful and damaging storm. Some named the storm Darwin as the 12th was Darwins day
In this blog post I’ll look back at the days before the storm, how it was forecast and then track the storm as it moved through Ireland causing destruction.
On Thursday the 6th before the storm I posted some charts to my Facebook page showing a huge potential storm for Tuesday the 11th and then on Friday I posted another as a comment showing it for Wednesday this time! That chart turned out pretty accurate!
However over the weekend the charts began to show the system ending up South of Ireland not very intense at all e.g.
Then on Monday the charts had the storm back with a bang and heading our way, I posted to my Facebook page a chart along with a screenshot of Evelyn Cusack from Met Eireann who forecast Violent Storm Force 11 winds for Wednesday, their forecast included:
“Extremely windy or possibly storm conditions are likely on Wednesday, with heavy rain or sleet, and some local flooding.
Some structural damage is also possible. The exact track of the approaching low pressure is still not certain, so keep in tune with updates. ”
Violent Storm Force 11 is sustained winds of 103–117 km/h
Some charts were really starting to show serious winds Monday night such as
On Tuesday night I issued a Weather warning as charts continued to show damaging winds.
Late Tuessday night Met Eireann upgraded their warning for Cork and Kerry to Red Alert with gusts up to 160km/h, the warning was Orange for many other areas with remaining areas Yellow.
The storm made landfall early Wednesday morning and Cobh saw gusts of 50 knots or 92.6km/h by 7am as the image below from http://220.127.116.11/cobh-spike.html showed
By 8am ESB Powercheck site was showing power outages in Kerry with Sherkin Island reporting a gust of 131km/h, the storm was clearly visible on the sat images.
As the eye of the storm crossed Cobh the winds dropped off at the weather station there but by 9am Roches Point had recorded a gust of 135km/h.
By 10am winds were picking up again in Cobh as the eye cleared and the second intense phase of the storm moved in with the strongest winds to the South of the eye.
My station in Tullow hit 98.2 km/h at 10:09am as the front end of the storm hit.
By 11am reports started to surface on Twitter of a Tornado in Roscommon and the Kinsale Energy Platform off the south coast was reporting sustained winds of 118km/h and gusts of 140km/h.
By 11:30 there were reports of structural damage in Dingle
The eye of the storm was very defined now.
By noon more reports of damage were been tweeted including damage to a school roof in Bishopstown Cork, as Sherin Island reported a gust of 155km/h!!
Met Eireann upgraded earlier warning:
Wind Warning for Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Wicklow and Meath
Upgrade to earlier warning.
Extremely windy weather will sweep up from the south during today, Wednesday.
Westerly winds 50 to 65 km/h will gust to 100 to 130 km/h.”
By 12:30 Twitter was becoming alive with reports and photos of tress down in Kerry and Cork including Cork City
By 1pm reports of trees down and structural damage were all over Twitter and 95,000 were already reported to have lost power.
Also by 1pm the Kinsale Enerhy Platform off the South coast recorded a Gust of 96 knots, that is 178 km/h!
Limerick was now seeing the peak of the storm with images of vehicles damage appearing on Twitter
Pressure was falling rapidly and winds increasing at Wexford Harbour at 1pm
By 2pm Shannon Airport had closed with a plane tipped over and UCC had issued a lock down notice. Shannon recorded the top Gust inland at 158 km/h!
The storm was now moving very quickly up through the country with my weather stations recording 109km/h Gust at 2:17pm.
At this stage I called Liveline for them to warn people of what was happening. A pocast is available at http://www.rte.ie/radio/utils/radioplayer/rteradioweb.html#!type=radio&rii=9%3A20524310%3A53%3A12%2D02%2D2014%3A
Winds peaked in Kilkenny with KilkennyWeather.com recording 133.0 km/h at 2:57pm from WSW, bringing down hundreds of trees in the area and Kilkenny County Council declared a state of emergency as all major roads were blocked.
Carlow peaked at 125.9 km/h in Oak Park just after 3pm with the South of the country seeing the most damage.
By 4pm 260,000 ESB customers were without power
By 5pm Dublin Airport has seen a gust of 122km/h
Video of satellite images as the storm passed
I also featured on the Joe Duffy show the following discussing the show and Long Range forecasts
Kinsale Energy Gas Platform recorded a maximum wave height of 25 metres this afternoon (Wednesday 12th February).Apart from being a record at that location, it is also the highest maximum wave height recorded in Irish coastal waters (the previous record being 23.4 metres at the M4 buoy off the Northwest coast).
Nasa’s image from Thursday morning shows #StormDarwinclearing the to the North East of Ireland while the monster winter storm that brought icing to the U.S. southeast moved northward along the Eastern Seaboard and brought snow, sleet and rain from the Mid-Atlantic to New England on February 13. A new image from NOAA’s GOES satellite showed clouds associated with the massive winter storm stretch from the U.S. southeast to the northeast.
Details from Met Eireann on Storm
Main Image of storm on Wednesday as shown in title:
Main Image by:
NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using data from the Land Atmosphere Near real-time Capability for EOS (LANCE). Caption by Adam Voiland.
Instrument: Terra – MODIS