10 Years Ago Today: Ex-Hurricane Katia Slams UK With Damaging 90 mph Winds, High Seas!

Written by on September 12, 2021 in Rest of Europe, United Kingdom & Ireland with 0 Comments

During the 2nd half of summer and 1st half of autumn, the tropics can play a pretty big role in determining Western Europe’s weather pattern. Especially when there is an uptick in Atlantic tropical cyclone activity and systems moving from low to mid latitudes.

Hurricane Katia near peak intensity north of the Leeward Islands

Tropical storms and or hurricanes which remain at sea and undergo tropical to extra-tropical transition can have direct or indirect influence on Ireland, UK and Europe.

Hurricane Katia did what countless other hurricanes have done and circled the mid-Atlantic upper level ridge of high pressure and remained off the east coast of the US and Canada. As she tracked north, waters cooled and she lost tropical characteristics, transitioning from warm to cold core as she got picked up by the westerlies.

As she weakened from her tropical self by loosing the warm water, she regained strength south of Greenland as ‘atmospheric dynamics’ became favourable.

As you can see from the below track, she was an African wave which quickly developed out over the tropical Atlantic and strengthened into a major roughly mid way between Cabo Verde and the Leeward Islands.

At her peak she packed sustained winds of 140 mph with a pressure down to 942mb well north of the Leeward Islands.

The centre of Ex-Hurricane Katia crossed the Outer Hebrides of Scotland on September 12th packing widespread gusts between 50-70 mph over western/northern Britain and Ireland. The strongest gust of 98 mph was recorded on top of Cairn Gorm while the highest low level gust was 82 mph at Capel Curig, Wales.

Even in relatively low lying and inland parts, gusts exceeded 70 mph. This system was said to be the UK’s strongest impact from a former hurricane since Lili in 1996.

Highest Wind Gusts

Cairngorm Mountain 89 mph
Glen Ogle, Perthshire 86 mph
Capel Curig, Powys (N. Wales) 82 mph
Edinburgh (Blackford Hill) 76 mph
Glasgow Airport 72 mph
Castlederg, Co Tyrone (N. Ire) 75 mph

Wave heights of up to 49ft were reported west of Ireland.


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