Stormageddon or St. Jude’s Storm: Increased Potential for Severe Damage in Europe

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Visible satellite image of eastern Atlantic. Image by EUMETSAT

It’s been a harsh weather week for England, France, and Wales, and the danger is not over.

Weather Wreaks Havoc In Europe

According to Severe Weather Europe, Bretagne, France was struck by a tornado on October 27, 2013, uprooting trees and blasting through windows and the roof of the Coatreven Trezeny church. This same area suffered severe wind damage on October 22.

The Bretagne twister was the ninth confirmed tornado to hit France this week, and damage assessments are ongoing. Bognor Regis, UK was also hit by a tornado on October 23, and another struck Yorkshire on October 25, 2013.

Severe Weather Europe warned of two cyclones entering Western Europe, with the first arriving on October 26, 2013. These warnings have now intensified. The less-powerful wind event on Sunday, October 27, will gradually evolve into what is now called Stormageddon, or St. Jude’s Day Storm, named after the saint for depression and lost causes.

Experts and residents are currently comparing this storm to the Great Storm of 1987 when 100 mph winds blasted through England leaving 17 dead in its wake. According to Weather Center Live in the U.S., weather buoys are already tracking winds of 50 mph and forecasters expect hurricane force winds as the storm stretches across the United Kingdom with heavy downpours and temperatures in the 50s.

Stormageddon: St. Jude’s Storm Hits UK

Stormageddon, or St. Jude’s Storm, already has one victim. According to the UK’s Independent a 14-year-old boy was swept into the ocean while swimming in New Haven, East Sussex. The storm will hit England, Ireland, and Wales Sunday night, October 27, 2013 with severe winds, heavy rains, and possibly more tornadoes before finishing off in the Netherlands and Belgium on Monday, October 28, 2013.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Heathrow Airport is already preparing for the storm. The airport has already cancelled 50 flights to Sydney; Heathrow averages 1288 flights per day.

David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister, tweeted that he had already chaired a discussion on how to provide protection to residents from the storm winds predicted to be around 80 mph or more. The Environment Agency has issued three flood warnings and 56 flood alerts at the time of this posting.

Officials have warned residents to create evacuation plans in case of flooding, which include moving their valuables to upper floors in homes and clearing gutters to help drainage and mitigate home damage. The experts have also warned residents to refrain from traveling except in emergency situations.

Tempête_Europe_1987

This is a satellite photo of the Great Storm of 1987. Image courtesy of NOAA

The Great Storm of 1987

Stormageddon is bringing back memories of The Great Storm of 1987 when hurricane-force winds of 100 mph pummeled the UK. Experts still consider the storm one of the worst to hit England, mainly because meteorologists didn’t predict  the severity of the storm in advance.

According to the Mirror News “UK Weather: A Look Back at the devastating Great Storm of 1987,” the Great Storm of 1987 destroyed thousands of homes and buildings. Winds uprooted trees, and some crashed down into cars, crushing them into the ground. The city of London experienced a six hour blackout and road and rail networks shut down.

In addition to the lack of warning, the 1987 storm struck during the early morning hours, catching many residents by surprise. Two people were killed beneath falling trees and three more were crushed with their chimneys fell. In Guernsey, winds reached 110 mph. Total damage estimates ranged into “billions of pounds.”

St. Jude’s Storm: Get Ready for Stormy Weather

As hurricane-force winds aim towards the United Kingdom, experts are warning residents to prepare for the stormy weather. Will Stormageddon be as bad as the Great Storm of 1987? Only time will tell.

Resources

Severe Weather Europe. The first of two powerful cyclones entering the western Europe today. (2013). Accessed October 27, 2013.
Gripper, Ann. UK weather: A look back at the devastating Great Storm of 1987 that nobody predicted. (2013). UK Mirror News. Accessed October 27, 2013.
Sydney Morning Herald. Britain Braces for worst storm in a decade. (2013). Accessed October 27, 2013.
Williams, Rob. St Jude’s Day Storm: Worst weather since the Great Storm of 1987 as UK braces for hurricane-strength winds and torrential downpours. (2013). The Independent. Accessed October 27, 2013.

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