Winter Storm Xynthia kills 62 in Europe

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:21 PM GMT on March 01, 2010

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Devastating Winter Storm Xynthia ripped a swath of destruction through Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, and Germany over the weekend, killing at least 62 people. It was Europe's 5th deadliest winter storm of the past 60 years. Hardest hit was France, where at least 51 died. The storm also caused six deaths in Germany, including a 2-year-old boy blown into a river and drowned. Three people were dead in Spain, and Belgium, Portugal, and England had one fatality each. At least ten people are still missing. Most of the deaths in France occurred when a powerful storm surge topped by battering waves up to 25 feet high, hitting at high tide, smashed though the sea wall off the coastal town of L'Aiguillon-sur-Mer. A mobile home park built close to the sea wall was particularly hard-hit. The sea wall was several hundred years old, built in the time of Napoleon, and locating a mobile home park so close to it showed poor coastal development practices, critics said. The storm cut power to more than 1 million homes in France, and up to 1 million customers in Portugal also lost power. A few wind peak wind gusts measured during the storm:

Portugal
Pampilhosa da Serra 147 km/h (91 mph)
Penhas Douradas 126.1 km/h (78 mph)
Porto (Airport LPPR) 113km/h (70 mph)

Spain
Lardeira: 196.1 km/h (122 mph)
Serra do Eixe: 157 km/h (98 mph)
Campus de Vigo: 146.9 km/h (92 mph)
Gandara: 145.8 km/h (91 mph)

France
Eiffel Tower, Paris: 175 km/h (106 mph)
Saint-Clement of the Whales: 159km/h (99 mph)
Charente-Maritime: 161km/h (100 mph)

A Personal Weather Station in Les Portes-en-Re recorded sustained winds of 143 km/h (89 mph) gusting to 180 km/h (112 mph) before losing power at the height of the storm. According to Meteo France, the maximum recorded gust from Xynthia for elevations lower than 1200m was 160 km/h along the coast and 120 km/h inland. In 1999, Winter Storm Lothar brought gusts of almost 200 km/h to coastal areas and up to 160 km/h in the interior at these lower elevations.


Figure 1. Six-hour animation of the surface winds as Winter Storm Xynthia crossed the Bay of Biscay and smashed into France.

Destructive European storms of the past 60 years:
2010: Winter Storm Xynthia of February 27, 2010 killed 51 people in France, Spain, and neighboring countries, and did $2 - $4 billion in damage. Lowest pressure: 967 mb.

Winter Storm Klaus hit northern Spain and southwest France January 23 - 25, 2009, and was Earth's most costly natural disaster of 2009, causing $5.1 billion in damage and killing 26. Minimum pressure: 967 mb.

Kyrill (January 18, 2007) killed at least 45, with Germany suffering the most fatalities (13). Minimum pressure: 964 mb.

Back-to-back winter storms Lothar and Martin December 26-28, 1999) killed 140 people, 88 of the victims in France. Minimum pressure: 961 mb (Lothar), 965 mb (Martin).

The Burns' Day Storm of 1990 killed 97, mostly in England. Minimum pressure: 949 mb.

The Great Storm of 1987 was Europe's "storm of the century". It killed 22 people in England and France. Minimum pressure: 953 mb.

The North Sea Flood of 1962 killed 318 people--315 of them in Hamburg, Germany.

The North Sea Flood of 1953 killed 2,000 people in the Netherlands and England.

Xynthia's warm air surge sets records
One reason Xynthia became so powerful is that it formed very far south, where it was able to tap into an airmass that was unusually warm and moist. Satellite measurements (Figure 2) showed a plume of high total precipitable water (the amount of precipitation one can produce by condensing all the water vapor from the surface to the top of the atmosphere), about 300% above average, flowing from southwest to northeast along Xynthia's cold front. Enhancing the amount of moisture was the presence of very warm sea surface temperatures 1°C above average along this plume. As this extra moisture flowed into the storm, the moisture condensed into rain, releasing the "latent heat" stored up in the water vapor (the extra energy that was originally used to evaporate the water into water vapor). This latent heat further intensified Xynthia. The storm's central pressure fell to 966 mb at the storm's peak intensity, reached at 18 GMT Saturday after it passed over Spain's northwest corner.

As warm, tropical air surged northeastwards in advance of Xynthia's cold front, it set several all-time high temperature records for the month of February. Melilla, Spain hit 34°C (93°F) at 3pm local time on the 27th, beating previous highest February temperature of 30.6°C, set in 1979. The temperature surged upwards a remarkable 9.1°C (16°F) in one hour as Xynthia's warm front passed through. Record February warmth was also observed in the Canary Islands as Xynthia's warm front passed though.


Figure 2. Satellite measurements show a region of high total precipitable water (the amount of precipitation one can produce by condensing all the water vapor from the surface to the top of the atmosphere) up to 300% above average, flowing from southwest to northeast along Xynthia's cold front. Enhancing the amount of moisture was the presence of very warm sea surface temperatures along this plume, about 1°C above average. If this pool of very warm water is still around in July, it could lead to an earlier than average start to the Atlantic hurricane season. Image credit: Sheldon Kusselson, NOAA/NESDIS, and National Hurricane Center.

Next storm
For the the U.S., the next winter storm of note is a moderately strong low pressure system currently over Texas that is expected to move quickly eastwards today and Tuesday. The storm should bring an inch or so of snow to Atlanta and northeast Alabama, and 2 - 4" to the nearby mountains of South and North Carolina, including Charlotte. After that, the models show a long break from winter storm activity for the Eastern U.S. Beginning Sunday, it looks like it will be the Midwest's turn, when a powerful winter storm will drop out of the Rockies, then move across the northern tier of Midwestern states early next week.

Next post
I'll have a new post Tuesday or Wednesday.

Jeff Masters

Xynthia - High seas in Carcavelos (Portugal) (rozzopt)
High seas an waves from storm Synthia, with storm-surge taking over the entire beach, and "attacking" bars usually 30meters away from the sea.
Xynthia - High seas in Carcavelos (Portugal)

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109. xcool
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
108. irvy
Does anyone know where the NOAA Weather Radio tab went? I thought it was usefull, especially for those of us who travel around the country a lot. If anyone at wwunderground reads this, please respond. Thanks
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KarenRei:
How come Europe gets all the cool storm names? Xynthia? Lothar? Kyrill?


People acutally pay to name highs and lows:

You can adopt a vortex directly for


High 299,-- Euro
Low 199,-- Euro

Link
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Quoting KarenRei:
How come Europe gets all the cool storm names? Xynthia? Lothar? Kyrill? I swear, if I ever write a fantasy epic, I'm stealing character names from European winter storms

Naming lows and highs in Europe, see

link in German

Since 1954 the institute of metereology of the Free University Berlin gives names to every high an low in Europe. Since 1998 there is an alternation every year: highs - female name, lows - male name - next year the other way round.
Since 2002 everybody who wants to do (and afford) it, can choose and buy a name, sponsoring the weather service (299 Euro for a high, 199 Euro for a low). On the site above you find lists with the names of the sponsors ("godparents") of each named weather system, and moreover you can see, which future letter is still free. Perhaps you are still looking for a present for someone's birthday ...
Excuse my English, greetings Barbara
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105. BDAwx
the storm off the east coast now is bringing some squally showers to BDA with winds gusting between 50 and 70mph with some reports of gusts at 78mph in higher elevations - Commissioner's point.
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Quoting taco2me61:


Hey my friend it is "Well Worth It" and with all due respect you "Need To Be There"....

Taco :0)


Yes... it's exceptionally valuable... the collective knowledge there is incredible...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Was just looking at BBC about Xynthia and saw a picture of an apartment building in Mainz Germany that had roof damage. We have a blogger from there, barbamz. Hope everything is okay with her. Just talked to a friend near Frankfurt and she said many of the garden houses lost roofs. This is quite a ways from where the "center" of Xynthia went by.
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102. xcool
TIME TOO BUY NEW CAR .MATT.16/7/4 for 2010 and go rock roll soon .
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15670
Quoting bloodstar:
Wait, what? Winter Storm Warnings for Atlanta? So, How in the world is that happening?

And if I'm seeing the models right, they're predicting a ton of snow in the Atlanta area (well a ton for someone who lives in the Atlanta area).

Any of the weather people mind giving their take on it?


Yeppers...pretty far south too......HOLLY COW it is March 1st correct....geesh!




Looks like Atlanta (HOT TOWN) will be getting about 3-4 inches IMO




Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting atmoaggie:

Me? Not sure what you mean.

EDIT: Ohhhh, just noticed a hidden post.


Certainly not you!!! The zealot with the rediculously long name that starts with "D" and ends in "y".
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:
It would definitely be worth it to send StormW to the conference. I hope the necessary funds can be raised.


maybe we can send him and then he can go to all the vendor booths and get us all the free ink pens and keyrings and measuring tape and rulers and mouse pads and send us each one haha
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Good Afternoon All.
Check this out:
IRLoop
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11317
Wait, what? Winter Storm Warnings for Atlanta? So, How in the world is that happening?

And if I'm seeing the models right, they're predicting a ton of snow in the Atlanta area (well a ton for someone who lives in the Atlanta area).

Any of the weather people mind giving their take on it?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting taco2me61:


It is for a "Great Cause"
I just wish it could have been more....

Sending Love

Taco :0)


I have received it in PayPal now.....again you are a very generous Man Taco...You always get my support on here as you know ......Thanks Again.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting jeffs713:

Yes, you did. In GW-speak, the acronyms "SST", "TCHP", "NOAA" and "mph" are all code-speak for "Global Warming".

Apparently so! I love that-- how there has been NO references to GW, and yet we STILL get people debating about GW/CC. All well...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TampaSpin:


Wow Taco.....i already received the email....it takes a few minutes to go into PayPal.....but WOW what a generous person you are.....Thank You so much!


It is for a "Great Cause"
I just wish it could have been more....

Sending Love

Taco :0)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3261
Quoting jeffs713:

Yes, you did. In GW-speak, the acronyms "SST", "TCHP", "NOAA" and "mph" are all code-speak for "Global Warming".


ooooh ok, makes sense now :PP

haha
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8327
Quoting taco2me61:


Done and could you let me know that it went through....
And thank you for all you do for us and everyone on here....

Taco :0)


Wow Taco.....i already received the email....it takes a few minutes to go into PayPal.....but WOW what a generous person you are.....Thank You so much!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting tornadodude:
btw, did I miss the reference to GW in todday's new blog?

Lol

Yes, you did. In GW-speak, the acronyms "SST", "TCHP", "NOAA" and "mph" are all code-speak for "Global Warming".
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Weak sea walls blamed for France storm disaster
Blame is being laid on weak and aged sea defences after violent storms left at least 50 dead and thousands homeless along France's Atlantic coast.

Many died after the sea wall off the coastal town of L'Aiguillon-sur-Mer was breached, allowing 8m-high (26ft) waves to crash through the streets.

A local governor said the walls dated back to the time of Napoleon and needed to be replaced with taller barriers.

"The sea wall that broke dated from (the era) of Napoleon," said Philippe de Villiers, a former presidential candidate who heads Vendee's regional government.

"Either we build (new) sea walls, in which case they need to be taller and taller... or we have to build further inland," he told France-Info.

But the French President said it was too early to start criticising the sea walls for the high death toll.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said flood prevention dykes would be strengthened.

"The priority now is to make all the homeless people safe, all the people who are still threatened by the rising waters," he said.

Nearly 10,000 emergency staff were working on the west coast on Monday morning, searching for and helping survivors.

In France, Xynthia put five of the country's 95 departments on red alert - only the second such warning since a new emergency system was introduced in 2001.

More than a million homes in France have lost electricity, from the Brittany peninsula in the west to the highlands of the Massif Central.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8544002.stm

So this storm in france was the most destructive since napoleon.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:
Gang,
THANKS! Ya really don't have to do that.

Here is the info on the Hurricane Conference:

2010 Hurricane Conference


Hey my friend it is "Well Worth It" and with all due respect you "Need To Be There"....

Taco :0)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3261
Quoting TXGulfCoast:
I'm ready to evacuate this summer. I bought a Tahoe so we didn't all have to stuff in my sedan like sardines. I can put stuff in it, on top of it, and behind it (towed). It's going to be heaven compared to Ike and Rita! I leave town b/c there is no way I want to hang around the gulf coast with no power when it's 98 degrees and 99% humidity. Yuck.


Haha, we did the same thing. We bought a grand caravan after Gustav. After I evacuated with Me, my 2 daughters, a golden retriever, a cat, and a gerbil all in the front of a Grandam, not to mention all the stuff I was able to fit into my trunk, we decided it was time to get something larger. :) We are ready to roll come hurricane season :)
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Quoting TampaSpin:
StormW just emailed that he will be driving back and forth each day to save money and to be home in the evening with his Family. So, with the $350 registration fee and the cost of Tranportation it appears to be about $500.00 needed total. Let's make it happen!

TampaSpins Donation Link for StormW's Expense



Done and could you let me know that it went through....
And thank you for all you do for us and everyone on here....

Taco :0)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3261

Long, hot dry set to continue


Perth's long, hot spell of weather is set to continue with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting clear skies for the next few weeks.

The Bureau says there is some relief in sight to the current heatwave with temperatures expected to dip below 30 degrees by mid-week before slowly warming up again by the weekend.

The city's eastern suburbs have finished the summer without any rain for 100 days.

It is the longest dry spell on record.

The rain gauge at Perth airport has not recorded any rain since the 20th November last year.

Meteorologist Patrick Ward says the eastern suburbs are the driest they have ever been.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/01/2832922.htm?site=perth§ion=news
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KarenRei:
How come Europe gets all the cool storm names? Xynthia? Lothar? Kyrill? I swear, if I ever write a fantasy epic, I'm stealing character names from European winter storms ;)



Don't fret too much. I got mine replaced last year for ~$650. The best is to find a good mechanic who can do it on his own (rather than in a shop, so that you don't pay shop overhead) and to have him buy a used transmission rather than a new one (you'll pay 3-4 times as much for a new one but won't get anywhere near 3-4 times the life out of it).

I really wish I already had an electric car, though. I look forward to the day when multi-gear transmissions are a thing of the past.


yeah, it wont be the end of the world, thats two years from now, but its still expensive for a college kid :p or most people for that matter ha

and yeah Im friends with the guy who's gonna find a used one to put in.

about time that one went out tho, 268,000 miles
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8327
StormW just emailed that he will be driving back and forth each day to save money and to be home in the evening with his Family. So, with the $350 registration fee and the cost of Tranportation it appears to be about $500.00 needed total. Let's make it happen!

TampaSpins Donation Link for StormW's Expense

Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Here is an article highlighting the video i posted.

Must-see video lays out the empirical evidence for human-caused global warming

inclair makes good use of my video interview with Dr. Christopher Field (for full interview, see “Videos: How we know humans are changing the climate and Why climate change is a clear and present danger“).

In recommending the video, Skeptical Science notes:

A common skeptic argument is that there is no empirical evidence for man-made global warming. People who make this claim can’t have looked very hard. As most don’t have the time to scour through the peer-reviewed scientific literature, the multiple lines of independent evidence for global warming are given here….

Also be sure to check out the (more info) link in the right margin where links to all the peer-reviewed papers are provided. This is a powerfully visual way of communicating the science of climate change — I strongly recommend you all view the video, pass it onto your friends (and if you’re feeling really energetic, follow the paper links to learn more about the science).

Precisely.

Note: You need to actually watch the video in YouTube to see the small “more info” link off the right-hand corner of the video.
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Quoting KarenRei:
How come Europe gets all the cool storm names? Xynthia? Lothar? Kyrill?

:) indeed.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
btw, did I miss the reference to GW in todday's new blog?

Lol
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8327
How come Europe gets all the cool storm names? Xynthia? Lothar? Kyrill? I swear, if I ever write a fantasy epic, I'm stealing character names from European winter storms ;)

Quoting tornadodude:
Thanks for the update Doc!


so, found out today that my transmission is shot :p


Don't fret too much. I got mine replaced last year for ~$650. The best is to find a good mechanic who can do it on his own (rather than in a shop, so that you don't pay shop overhead) and to have him buy a used transmission rather than a new one (you'll pay 3-4 times as much for a new one but won't get anywhere near 3-4 times the life out of it).

I really wish I already had an electric car, though. I look forward to the day when multi-gear transmissions are a thing of the past.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting StormW:
Gang,
THANKS! Ya really don't have to do that.

Here is the info on the Hurricane Conference:

2010 Hurricane Conference


Oh but we must. You're our senior chief :) You definitely need to go to this.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
Quoting StormW:
Gang,
THANKS! Ya really don't have to do that.

Here is the info on the Hurricane Conference:

2010 Hurricane Conference


Chief of all the people....that need to attend that helps us IT'S YOU! Your going! We have to make sure of it.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting TampaSpin:


We need to start a serious fundraiser for you too it sounds....but, wait your a college kid! You have tremendous ways of raising unlimited resources as needed......ROFLMAO!



LOL! yeah :P so who knows how much this is gonna cost, might be worth more than my car ha
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8327
Quoting tornadodude:
Thanks for the update Doc!


so, found out today that my transmission is shot :p


We need to start a serious fundraiser for you too it sounds....but, wait your a college kid! You have tremendous ways of raising unlimited resources as needed......ROFLMAO!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Thanks for the update Doc!


so, found out today that my transmission is shot :p
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 25 Comments: 8327
Quoting nrtiwlnvragn:
Chilly February Caps Coldest Winter in Three Decades over South Florida

I'll be glad when this pattern changes, my blood is much too thin for this "cold" weather.



I second that remark. Bring on the sauna.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Ok here you all go.....i have it all set up. You can donate in multiples of $10.00. I will post everything as the funds come in. If StormW does not go......all funds will be donated to PortLight.

TampaSpins Donation Link for StormW's Expense
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
I'd like to contribute as well - when ready will someone send me an email, so I do not miss the information please?

Quoting TampaSpin:
I have sent an Email out to StormW to get the expenses he needs to cover the conference and travel needs so there is no expense out of his pocket at all. Once i get that info form him i will need everyones help to make a small donation as i am setting up a link on my WebSite to take care of his expense needs. He is an important person during our Hurricane Season for his professional and expert forecasting. I will get the link set up and will update you all with the link. Any extra funds we raise will be denoted to PortLight. So all funds will be accounted for.
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Round two for Charleston? WU forecasting a 70% chance of precipitation with "snow possible after midnight, moderate accumulation possible" early Wednesday.

Goose Creek, SC
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Quoting atmoaggie:

Me? Not sure what you mean.


He's not talking about you.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Don't you ever tire of putting out your propaganda? You on Gore's payroll or something?

Me? Not sure what you mean.

EDIT: Ohhhh, just noticed a hidden post.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
It would definitely be worth it to send StormW to the conference. I hope the necessary funds can be raised.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26647
Quoting TampaSpin:
I have sent an Email out to StormW to get the expenses he needs to cover the conference and travel needs so there is no expense out of his pocket at all. Once i get that info form him i will need everyones help to make a small donation as i am setting up a link on my WebSite to take care of his expense needs. He is an important person during our Hurricane Season for his professional and expert forecasting. I will get the link set up and will update you all with the link. Any extra funds we raise will be denoted to PortLight. So all funds will be accounted for.


Hey just let me know because I will send some his way too.....

Taco :0)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3261
Quoting TampaSpin:
I have sent an Email out to StormW to get the expenses he needs to cover the conference and travel needs so there is no expense out of his pocket at all. Once i get that info form him i will need everyones help to make a small donation as i am setting up a link on my WebSite to take care of his expense needs. He is an important person during our Hurricane Season for his professional and expert forecasting. I will get the link set up and will update you all with the link. Any extra funds we raise will be denoted to PortLight. So all funds will be accounted for.

We have a paper being presented there (I am a coauthor). Fitzpatrick is presenting (I think).

I am not going, but am asking around to see if a guest pass, of sorts, is a possibility. I'll let you know the prospects when I do...(even presenters do not get into these things for free, usually.)
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I'm ready to evacuate this summer. I bought a Tahoe so we didn't all have to stuff in my sedan like sardines. I can put stuff in it, on top of it, and behind it (towed). It's going to be heaven compared to Ike and Rita! I leave town b/c there is no way I want to hang around the gulf coast with no power when it's 98 degrees and 99% humidity. Yuck.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have sent an Email out to StormW to get the expenses he needs to cover the conference and travel needs so there is no expense out of his pocket at all. Once i get that info form him i will need everyones help to make a small donation as i am setting up a link on my WebSite to take care of his expense needs. He is an important person during our Hurricane Season for his professional and expert forecasting. I will get the link set up and will update you all with the link. Any extra funds we raise will be denoted to PortLight. So all funds will be accounted for.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting StormW:


Can't afford the price!

BBL.


How much is it.......i think we can get the funds to send you.
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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