Powerful Storm To Strike UK, France Tonight, Get Ready Denmark, Norway!

Written by on October 27, 2013 in Rest of Europe, United Kingdom & Ireland with 2 Comments

The much anticipated storm system is gathering steam and is set to strike southwest Britain through the overnight tonight. Exact details remain uncertain but what appears certain is that this storm is deepening quickly and will continue to intensify as it hits tonight. A still deepening storm as it makes landfall can be much more dangerous as ‘unexpected additional energy release’ is possible. Though the system doesn’t look all that impressive on modelling, it’s the amount of energy streaming across the Atlantic that piles into a tight space just SW of the UK, that will be released tonight.

There have been a lot of comparisons made to the 1987 storm, a storm that was Southern Britain’s worst since the 1700s. That storm will remain the strongest by far but it, like tonight’s, didn’t look stunning on satellite. In fact the pressure was largely down into the 960mb range as it crosses Southern England but winds were clocked at 122 mph over Norfolk while gusts of 137 mph where recorded on the Brittany coast. A ‘sting jet’ contained within a powerful upper jet stream was released, forcing much more intense winds within a broader wind field.

Courtesy of Daily Mail

Courtesy of Daily Mail

While I don’t expect winds of 122 mph tonight into tomorrow, I do however think that we could see some impressive gusts locally with similarity to 87 as a powerful jet racing out of the SW on the southern edge of the storm core, may have the ability of transferring stronger winds down towards the surface.

The warm waters surrounding the UK will add fuel to this storm system as well as enhance rainfall too.

Here’s the visible satellite from this morning. Note last night’s front associated with a big N Atlantic low exiting the UK to the east but cast your eyes west from Ireland and notice the mass of cloud gathering, that’s tonight’s player!


Another visible satellite image captures Greenland air & sub-tropical air converging within developing storm southwest of UK this afternoon.


I mentioned the water temps. Check out the additional fuel for this storm and the overall pattern in these warm waters across the North Atlantic and surrounding the UK.


The low approaches the mouth of the Bristol Channel late this evening with a push of very heavy rainfall ahead and southeast of the centre. Local, perhaps even widespread flooding is likely.

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

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The model continues to deepen the low as it moves onshore perhaps along the South Coast of Wales. Strongest winds will be through the English Channel which move onto the South Coast. Widespread gusts of 65-75 like with many exposed spots likely exceeding 80 mph.

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

A powerful jet stream roars across the south of England on the southern edge of the storm core as it moves onshore overnight tonight. We must be aware of stronger mid and upper level wind transfer down towards the surface beneath the nose of this strong jet. Parts of England underneath the red COULD be susceptible to stronger, damaging wind gusts locally. It’s this region which could see gusts to 90 mph at the coast or on exposed hills.

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Check out the 5,000ft level winds for the same time. Notice the large area of 75 knot winds covering northern France, the Low Countries as well as southern Britain.

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Here’s the model’s projected 10 metre wind gusts and note the strongest winds are generally through the Channel. Large area of 65 to 75 knots but remember than exposed areas along the South Coast of England and NW France could see 75 to 80 knots.

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

By 36 hours the system crosses the North Sea continuing to deepen and sets it’s sights on the Jutland Peninsula of Denmark and the South Coast of Norway.

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

By 42 hours the storm remains a 972mb system bringing gale or storm-force winds to southern Scandinavia while colder northwest winds blow down over the UK on it’s backside. Damage is likely over parts of Denmark and Norway, possibly Sweden and north Germany with gusts topping hurricane-force.

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Comparison To 1987 Storm

Tonight’s storm is unlikely to match that of 1987 but should be more comparable to more powerful storms. 1987 was quite exceptional. The lowest pressure was estimated at around 953mb and although that doesn’t sound massively deep, remember it was an intensifying storm system as it swept through the English Channel on the night of October 16th. 15 million trees were said to have toppled, massive damage was caused by winds blowing at between 90-110mph. A gust of 122 mph was recorded in Norfolk while gusts of up to 137 mph was clocked in NW France. Britain alone saw economic losses of £2 billion.

I was 4 years of age and lived in the Camberwell area of central London during the Great Storm. I recall looking out to a sea of flying debris. The sound of the wind was like nothing I’ve heard since and yet I’ve experienced stronger storms since. I think 100 mph winds are worse roaring through a city than in a rural area. I put this storm down as the reason for my passion and interest in weather today.


The pressure chart is not to dissimilar to what we’ll see tonight although the pressure won’t be as low or should the centre hit as far south THANKFULLY!

Pressure chart from Oct 16, 1987


Another pressure chart from the MO showing the low crossing southern England.


More, Potentially Stronger Storms In The Pattern!

As stated before. This pattern means business with plenty more heavy, flooding rain and stormy conditions. Check out the ECMWF pressure chart for next Saturday!

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

By Sunday the model has an even deeper low than what we’ll see tonight into tomorrow close to Scotland by next Sunday.

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

In coming days I will look further at the medium and llonger term pattern as well as release my official winter forecast for the UK, Ireland and Europe. Stay tuned.

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  1. Mark Vogan says:

    Appreciate the update, Michael. What a storm and how sad indeed.. Take care.

  2. Michael says:

    It’s been a VERY powerful storm here in Denmark. Very strong windgusts! 54 m/s was measured in southern Jutland! And if there is no error with that measure it will be the highest windgust ever measured in Denmark. It has been very powerful in most of Denmark actually. Lots of damages and sadly also people who have been killed or injured. In many parts of Denmark all traffic stopped completely for a period. Right now as I write all trains a standing still in the area of Copenhagen and many people are stranded at Copenhagen Central Station and can not get home from work. This is one of the most powerful storms I have ever experienced regarding the windgusts. A personal consequence is some damage outside in my garden that needs to be taken care of tomorrow. But that’s a minor compared with the traggic loss of life and injuries that this storm has caused.

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