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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Night Taco :)
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26562
Nite TAco...Sleep well my friend!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting CycloneOz:


LOL!!!!


Dude that was an accidental quote of Tampaspin's that ended up in my comment LOL.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26562
ROFLMAO ok ok ok now I have had enough for 1 night....

You all play nice and I will see you tomorrow....

Taco :0)
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Quoting Levi32:
DOOM da DOOM DOOM DOOOMMMMMMM!!

Lol...


LOL!!!!
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Quoting: Tampaspin: OH NO........ROFLMAO.....the way you strecth the truth about GW we would have really been in trouble.......ROFLMAO....you know i'm kidding!

Lol...
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26562
Quoting Levi32:


Fail.... :P

You guys are lucky I didn't really try to stretch the blog =D


I don't feel so lucky! I was one of the few who refreshed their screen on your post moment!

I almost flew out of my chair!
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Quoting Levi32:


Fail....:P

You guys are lucky I didn't really try to stretch the blog =D


OH NO........ROFLMAO.....the way you strecth the truth about GW we would have really been in trouble.......ROFLMAO....you know i'm kidding!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting Ossqss:
The real question is ---- did the flip of the thing that provides 99.9% of the energy to this planet, have an impact on it? Hummm...........


I agree. Those magnetic fields snap like rubber bands on the sun, sending out a flying ****load of solar energy.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Fail.... :P

You guys are lucky I didn't really try to stretch the blog =D
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26562
The real question is ---- did the flip of the thing that provides 99.9% of the energy to this planet, have an impact on it? Hummm...........
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Quoting tornadodude:


this actually is probably doable Lol just saying,

launch date: december 2012?


ROFLMAO!!!!!
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Quoting CycloneOz:


Great...I'm putting together a parts list from my Radio Shack catalog.

Now all we need is a booster and delivery system!


this actually is probably doable Lol just saying,

launch date: december 2012?
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 24 Comments: 8201
Quoting Levi32:


No no...

DOOM!!!


DOOM da DOOM DOOM DOOOMMMMMMM!!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting taco2me61:


Hey I'm good with that too....


Great...I'm putting together a parts list from my Radio Shack catalog.

Now all we need is a booster and delivery system!
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Quoting CycloneOz:


Let's say we did, and lie about it and say we didn't!


Hey I'm good with that too....
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Quoting taco2me61:


No "Lets don't and Say We Did"

taco :0)


Let's say we did, and lie about it and say we didn't!
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Quoting Levi32:


No no...



LOL That's awesome
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 24 Comments: 8201
Quoting CycloneOz:


LOL!!!! OMG!

When I refreshed my screen, it was like getting slapped in the face!

Best post of the day nominee for sure! :)


ROFL
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26562
Quoting CycloneOz:


from the article linked:
"The Sun's dipolar field is about as strong as a refrigerator magnet, or 50 gauss"

Shoot, we have the technology to affect that! Let's mess with it! :)


No "Lets don't and Say We Did"

taco :0)
Member Since: July 7, 2005 Posts: 6 Comments: 3241
Quoting Levi32:


No no...



LOL!!!! OMG!

When I refreshed my screen, it was like getting slapped in the face!

Best post of the day nominee for sure! :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Ossqss:
This is the closest we will get to it in our lifetime KOG ;) >>>> out

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast15feb_1.htm


from the article linked:
"The Sun's dipolar field is about as strong as a refrigerator magnet, or 50 gauss"

Shoot, we have the technology to affect that! Let's mess with it! :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CycloneOz:


DOOM!!!


No no...

DOOM!!!
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26562
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
make a movie of it so everyone can laugh but who knows maybe the last laugh will be on us all


DOOM!!!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
This is the closest we will get to it in our lifetime KOG ;) >>>> out

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast15feb_1.htm
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make a movie of it so everyone can laugh but who knows maybe the last laugh will be on us all
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StormW FundRaiser for Hurricane Conference

We need to raise funds to send StormW to Orlando for the Hurricane Conference.

2010 Hurricane Conference



Wow! The Donations just keep coming in. I just confirmed anther $210 donated making the total $380 Donated thus far with $500 needed total. We just need another $120 plus a little more because of Paypal fees but, i know we will make it without any problems. Thank you all so much! StormW i know is very thankful for you all!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
People are going to read my comment and watch the movie on DVD...and are going to get to a certain part and say "WTH was Oz talking about? How does the deck of the USS JFK get a presidential faceplant?"

LOL!!!
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Quoting CycloneOz:
"2012" was released on DVD today. Never saw it in the theater, but my RedBox had a copy, so I rented it...and have just finished watching it.

Premise is far fetched. But I liked it anyway.

Favorite part: President faceplants on the deck of the USS JFK.


I enjoyed it a lot. I've seen worse world-disaster movies. They're all far-fetched that's the nature of it lol. For an intense movie it fulfilled most expectations.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26562
Quoting CycloneOz:
"2012" was released on DVD today. Never saw it in the theater, but my RedBox had a copy, so I rented it...and have just finished watching it.

Premise is far fetched. But I liked it anyway.

Favorite part: President faceplants on the deck of the USS JFK.


:) L8R

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
"2012" was released on DVD today. Never saw it in the theater, but my RedBox had a copy, so I rented it...and have just finished watching it.

Premise is far fetched. But I liked it anyway.

Favorite part: President faceplants on the deck of the USS JFK.
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Quoting Rainman32:
Oh don't stop there, you really need to take a look at AvMap! some awesome stuff out there if money is no object :^)




LoL, I wonder if the G6 Farmnavigator is compatible with Farmville.... LoL

Nice units for sure. Gotta hit the lottery to get one :)
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will this winter never end?!
Wild is the Wind...
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Quoting Ossqss:


They are very nice also :)

You guys are gonna cost me money -- LoL
Oh don't stop there, you really need to take a look at AvMap! some awesome stuff out there if money is no object :^)


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You got it Dude, lots of easier (and cheaper) ways to go.. any standard USB or bluetooth puck should work.

Garmin nuvi and the sort is a bit of a trick to get working with a PC, but really cool once you do!
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Quoting atmoaggie:

I don;t know enough about it to say if that is one that has the XM weather within, but I can say that most that were really designed for marine or aviation, vs automobile use.


They are very nice also :)

You guys are gonna cost me money -- LoL





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Quoting Rainman32:
With the USB Yeap well and you should have a "Garmin Disk" on your laptop also which you can use for transferring routes and such. Need a data cable (USB Serial) to get GPS info out of it.


hmm, well my dad has a gps specifically designed for laptops that he uses with microsoft streets and trips, so I assume that one will work with other programs as well


thanks for the help and info guys!
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 24 Comments: 8201
Quoting tornadodude:


my only problem is that I cant get my Garmin to turn on while plugged into my laptop. only charges
With the USB Yeap well and you should have a "Garmin Disk" on your laptop also which you can use for transferring routes and such. Need a data cable (USB Serial) to get GPS info out of it.
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Quoting tornadodude:


his Garmin is Nuvi 255

I don;t know enough about it to say if that is one that has the XM weather within, but I can say that most that were really designed for marine or aviation, vs automobile use.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting Rainman32:
Oh Atmo, you are right on with all that.. on the high end! I was assuming more of a consumer level :) Nuvi 255, yeap.



my only problem is that I cant get my Garmin to turn on while plugged into my laptop. only charges
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 24 Comments: 8201
Oh Atmo, you are right on with all that.. on the high end! I was assuming more of a consumer level :) Nuvi 255, yeap.

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"Live without Limits",


Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation NOLA Conference 3/10/2010





On behalf of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, it is my pleasure to invite you to Live without Limits, an informational meeting about the Reeve Foundation's Paralysis Resource Center, taking place on Wednesday, March 10th at The Ridgeway in Metairie, Louisiana.



The Paralysis Resource Center is a free national resource on paralysis and we hope to spread awareness of our free services with this meeting. We would also like to provide a networking opportunity to all in attendance.

We are inviting a cross section of members from the richly diverse Louisiana community.



Local organizations such as yours have been a valuable source of strength and empowerment for people with disabilities for many years. And, I feel confident that we can do a better job educating people with disabilities and their caregivers about the various resources available to them when organizations like ours work together.



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If you do plan on attending please RSVP at your earliest convenience by emailing me at Pmehta@christopherreeve.org.
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Thank God your friends are safe...and a lot of bloggers say the upcoming season "could be" a dangerous year. It happens every season. Take it with a grain of salt until we get there.
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Quoting Levi32:


A greater TCHP than 2005 doesn't guarantee a year as bad as 2005 or storms as strong as 2005, but yes it is a disturbing sign that should hopefully grab people's attention that this could be a dangerous year, and they should be ready.


:(
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Good news everyone my two friends in Chile are alive and well and except for dishes, everything is in tact!!! :)
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Quoting atmoaggie:

Most of their latest stuff is NMEA standard, from what I was told a couple of weeks ago (though we were talking mid to high end marine chart plotters)

t-dude, if you had a certain level of garmin, you could get radar displayed on the chart plotter...if it is XM weather capable (from same data source as the WxWorx stuff...us)


his Garmin is Nuvi 255
Member Since: June 28, 2006 Posts: 24 Comments: 8201

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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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