A mighty Atlantic gale, called the 2013 St. Jude's Day storm by the UK Met Office,
and "Christian" by the Free University of Berlin
, is battering Western Europe with hurricane-strength wind gusts, waves up to 25 feet high, and driving rains. As of 2 am local time, the peak wind gust from the storm in the UK according to a tweet from the UK Met Office (@metoffice) was 92 mph, at the Isle of Wight in the English Channel. Powerful winds have also swept the north coast of France; winds in Brest, France
hit 41 mph, gusting to 67 mph at 2 am local time Monday, and gusted as high as 65 mph at Caen. With the trees still in leaf, winds this strong have the potential to cause heavy tree damage and large scale power outages. The storm is moving quickly, and sustained winds fo 35 - 45 mph will arrive along the coast of the Netherlands by 6 am local time Monday, by noon in Denmark, near 6 pm in Southern Sweden, and near midnight Monday night in Estonia and Southern Finland. You can check out the current winds in Southern Britain and Northern France using our wundermap zoomed into the region
with the weather station layer turned on.Figure 1.
Waves crash against the sea barriers in Porthcawl, South Wales, on October 27, 2013, ahead of the arrival of the St. Jude's Day storm. Image credit: GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images.Last majorly destructive extratropical storm in Western Europe: 2011
October 28 is St. Jude's feast day, in honor of the Catholic saint who was one of Jesus' twelve apostles and is often appealed to as the patron saint of lost causes. His namesake storm has the potential to be one of the more destructive extratropical storms to hit Western Europe in the past decade, judging by a short history
of these storms written by wunderground's weather historian Christopher C. Burt back in 2011. The most recent storm of note to hit the region was Winter Storm Joachim of December 15 - 17, 2011, which has a central pressure of 964 mb and brought a peak wind gust of 131 mph to Auvergne, France. Damage was estimated at $325 million by Aon Benfield.
Also in that year, ex-Hurricane Katia
hit northern Scotland on September 12 when the trees were in full leaf, causing tree damage that was much higher than a winter or springtime storm of similar ferocity would have caused. One person was killed by a falling tree, and heavy tree damage and numerous power failures were reported throughout Britain, with a price tag of $158 million, according to Aon Benfield. Wind gusts experienced in Britain
included 86 mph at Glen Ogle, Scotland, 76 mph at Edinburgh Blackford Hill, 75 mph at Capel Curig in Wales, 72 mph at Glasgow Bishopton, and 71 mph at Loftus, North Yorkshire.Figure 2.
Image of Hurricane Katia taken from the International Space Station at 15 GMT September 9, 2011, by astronaut Ron Garan
. At the time, Katia was a Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds. Long Island, New York is visible at the lower left.
I'll have a new post by Tuesday morning.