2017–18 European windstorm season

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2017–18 European windstorm season
First storm formed12 September 2017
Last storm dissipated14 June 2018
Strongest storm1Storm Fionn (935 hPa)
Strongest wind gust170 mph (274 km/h)[1] in Svinoy, Norway. (7th January)
Total storms18
Total damage£2.419 billion +
Total fatalities216 (including the fatalities of the cold wave)
1Strongest storm is determined by lowest pressure and maximum recorded non-mountainous wind gust is also included for reference.

The 2017–18 European windstorm season, or the 2017–18 UK and Ireland windstorm season was the third instance of the United Kingdom's Met Office and Ireland's Met Éireann naming of high impact extratropical cyclones and the first instance of Spanish, Portuguese and French naming as well. This season was also the deadliest windstorm season for the UK and Ireland since official naming began in 2015. In addition, a major amount of the season's damage was due to two of its storms – Emma and Ophelia and the "Beast from the East" cold wave. The first system, Storm Aileen, formed on 12 September. The season also featured Hurricane Ophelia, which impacted the Azores, Portugal and Spain, before it transitioned into an extratropical cyclone and impacted the United Kingdom and Ireland. Storm Brian struck Ireland less than a week later, resulting in three further fatalities.

Background and naming[edit]

In 2015, the Met Office and Met Éireann announced a pilot project to name storm warnings as part of the Name our Storms project for wind storms and asked the public for suggestions. The meteorological offices produced a full list of names for 2015–16 and 2016–17, common to both the UK and Ireland. A new list of names was released on 6 September 2017 for the 2017–18 season.[2] Names in the UK will be based on the National Severe Weather Warning Service, when a storm is assessed to have the potential for an Amber 'be prepared' or Red 'take action (danger to life)' warning.

The following were selected as storm names:[3]

  • Aileen (12–13 September 2017)
  • Brian (21 October 2017)
  • Caroline (7–10 December 2017)
  • Dylan (30–31 December 2017)
  • Eleanor (2–3 January 2018)
  • Fionn (16 January 2018)
  • Georgina (23–24 January 2018)
  • Hector (13–14 June 2018)
  • Iona (unused)
  • James (unused)
  • Karen (unused)
  • Larry (unused)
  • Maeve (unused)
  • Niall (unused)
  • Octavia (unused)
  • Paul (unused)
  • Rebecca (unused)
  • Simon (unused)
  • Tali (unused)
  • Victor (unused)
  • Winifred (unused)

The Met Office's and Met Éireann's announcement of the season's names also noted that Fionn is to be pronounced 'Fyunn', Niall is to be pronounced 'Nye-ul' and Tali is to be pronounced 'Tarly'.[who?]

A storm will be named when it is deemed able to have a "substantial" impact on the UK or Ireland.[clarification needed] They will be taken from the list, in alphabetical order, alternating between male and female names – the same naming convention that is used by the United States for tropical cyclones. In the case of storms resulting from ex-tropical storms and hurricanes, the original name allocated by the US National Hurricane Center will be used, an example of which during this season being Ophelia. Met Éireann name any storm which triggers a status Orange or Red weather warning for wind. The basis for such, as outlined on their weather warning service, are mean wind speeds in excess of 40 mph (65 km/h) or gusts over 68 mph (110 km/h).[citation needed] Similarly, the Met Office name storms that have the potential to cause medium (Amber) or high (Red) impacts to the UK. It describes the wind strength relative to observations such as "falling trees or tiles, other items like garden furniture being blown around and even a number of properties left without electrical power."[clarification needed][citation needed]

On 1 December 2017, the national meteorological services of Spain (Aemet), France (Météo-France) and Portugal (IPMA) announced that they would begin naming storms affecting their nations in co-ordination, under the auspices of EUMETNET.[4][5] It is intended that the naming system will be reciprocal with that of the UK and Ireland.[6] It has been reported that for the 2018–2019 season these nations and the UK and Ireland will combine their storm naming lists into one.[7]

  • Ana (10–14 December 2017)
  • Bruno (27–28 December 2017)
  • Carmen (31 December 2017 – 2 January 2018)
  • David (17–19 January 2018)
  • Emma (26 February – 3 March 2018)
  • Felix (9–11 March 2018)
  • Gisele (13–14 March 2018)
  • Hugo (24–25 March 2018)
  • Irene (29–31 March 2018)[attribution needed]
  • Jose (unused)
  • Katia (unused)
  • Leo (unused)
  • Marina (unused)
  • Nuno (unused)
  • Olivia (unused)
  • Pierre (unused)
  • Rosa (unused)
  • Samuel (unused)
  • Telma (unused)
  • Vasco (unused)
  • Wiam (unused)

Another internationally recognised naming system for European windstorms is the Adopt a Vortex program of the Free University of Berlin.[8] Participants can ask the FUB to give their names, for example as a birthday present, to high or low pressure systems that affect European weather. The naming service of the FUB is commercial and is the main meteorological naming system in Germany. The names Xavier, Herwart and Hartmut (the anticyclonic cold wave) were given by the FUB. Its naming program is recognised in some other European countries, although the British-Irish and the French-Spanish-Portuguese naming co-operations are gaining importance. Furthermore, besides of the three internationally recognised naming systems (the two European co-operations and the FUB system), many European countries (Norway, Finland, Denmark etc.) give their own names to cyclones. One of the 16 storms of the season was not named by the three main naming systems: instead it was called Cora in Norway and Aku in Finland.

Season summary[edit]

Winter Storm Emma (2018)Cyclone David/FriederikeCyclone Eleanor/BurglindCyclone HerwartHurricane Ophelia (2017)Cyclone Xavier (2017)

The 2017–18 UK and Ireland windstorm season began on September with storm Aileen, which brought strong winds to Scotland and Northern England on 13 September. Then followed Ophelia which was once a Category 3 major hurricane and the eastern-most major hurricane on record; a red (severe) wind warning was issued for many parts in Ireland. Less than a week later, storm Brian rapidly intensified from a trough of low pressure out in the Atlantic. After a rather quiet November without any named systems (like quiet Septembers and Octobers of the previous two years), Caroline and Dylan formed in December followed by Eleanor early in January 2018. In the middle of January, the extremely deep and large arctic low Fionn affected both the UK and Ireland and steered David, a smaller but more intense storm, on a westerly track over Ireland, the UK and Central Europe. The last storm in January was Georgina, a cyclone that mainly affected Ireland and Scotland.

A total of 10 storms affected both the UK and Ireland in that season. Three of these – Ophelia, David and Emma – were named by foreign agencies. Six storms were named by the new co-operation of the meteorological services of France, Spain and Portugal. Two of these – David and Emma – also affected Britain and Ireland significantly.

The impact of the deadly winter storm Emma was intensified by the collision with the Beast from the East cold wave (anticyclone Hartmut). Cora, another significant windstorm, affected Scandinavia, Norway and Sweden in particular. Cora delivered the highest known gust of the European windstorm season. As a European total, 18 windstorms (one "off-season") affected the continent .


Storm Aileen[edit]

Aileen 13 September 2017.png
Aileen located over the North Sea on 13 September 2017
Area affectedNorthwestern Europe
Date of impact12–13 September
Maximum wind gust100 mph (161 km/h) Borkum Island, Germany[9]
Lowest pressure978 hPa (28.9 inHg)[10]
Power outages69,000

Aileen formed on 12 September, with the Met Office issuing an Amber wind warning, becoming the first named storm of the season. Aileen affected Cheshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire during the evening of 12 September and into the morning of 13 September with winds of over 65 km/h (55 mph). Gusts up to around 110 km/h[12] (75 mph) were also seen in exposed locations such as along coastlines and over high ground in these areas.[13] A Yellow weather warning for rain was also issued for parts of Northern Ireland, northern England and southern Scotland, as Aileen dropped 30–40 mm of rain within 6–9 hours in these areas, causing some disruption from localised flooding.[13] The heaviest rainfall was recorded at Bainbridge, North Yorkshire, with 35.4 mm falling overnight.[14]

During Aileen, approximately 60,000 homes in Wales and almost 9,000 across England suffered power cuts.[14][15] The strongest gusts, of 83 mph, were recorded at The Needles, Isle of Wight.[14] The strongest gust on mainland Britain, of 74 mph, was recorded at Mumbles, Wales.[14]

Aileen later crossed the North Sea and intensified, going on to affect Germany, where it was known as Cyclone Sebastian.[16]

Cyclone Xavier[edit]

Aqua Modis satellite view of Xavier crossing Germany and Poland on 5 October 2017.
Area affectedGermany, Poland, Czech Republic
Date of impact4–6 October
Maximum wind gust126 mph (202 km/h), (Mountain value) Sněžka, Czech Republic[17]
Lowest pressure985 hPa (29.1 inHg)[18]
Power outagesUnknown

Cyclone Xavier was a European windstorm which crossed northern Europe in early October 2017. Germany was the worst affected country, with high winds between 4 and 6 October causing severe damage, including in and around Berlin. Further damage was reported in the Czech Republic, where the highest winds of up to 125 miles per hour (201 km/h) were recorded, and in Poland.

Ex-Hurricane Ophelia[edit]

Ophelia 16 October 2017.png
Ex-Hurricane Ophelia moving over Ireland on 16 October
Area affectedPortugal, Spain, France, Ireland, United Kingdom, Faroe Islands, Norway
Date of impact16–17 October[20]
Maximum wind gust84 kn (97 mph; 156 km/h)[21]
Lowest pressure959 hPa (28.3 inHg)[22] or 962.2 hPa (28.41 inHg)[23] (onshore)
958 hPa (28.3 inHg) [24] (offshore)
960 hPa (28 inHg) (offshore, while tropical)
Fatalities3 direct, 51 indirect
Power outages360,000
Damage€ 60 million[25]

On 12 October, the Met Office issued yellow weather warnings relating to the extra-tropical remnants of the former Hurricane Ophelia, estimated to affect the UK and Ireland on 16 October.[26] Met Éireann issued an update on 12 October in response to media coverage about possible impacts which might occur in Ireland, highlighting the uncertainties still in the forecast modelling. Met Éireann asked people to keep up to date with changes in the forecast as the storm evolved and confidence in any likely impacts increased.[27] On 14 October Met Éireann issued a red warning for the counties of Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork and Kerry for 16–17 October,[28] (extended to Limerick, Waterford and Wexford on 15 October)[29] with an orange warning for the rest of the country.[30] Red warnings were extended again on the evening of 15 October to the whole of Ireland.[31] On 15 October the Met Office issued amber warnings for the six counties of Northern Ireland, and updated the yellow warnings in place for England, Wales and Scotland.[32] The Met Office updated its amber warnings to include parts of west Wales, southwest Scotland and the Isle of Man on the morning of 16 October.[33]

In County Waterford, a woman was killed when a tree fell on her car, caused by the winds from Ophelia's remnants.[34] A man died near Dundalk, County Louth, after a tree struck his car.[35] A man was killed in Cahir, County Tipperary, while trying to clear a fallen tree with a chainsaw.[35] Two more people were subsequently killed in Ireland from the combined effects of Ophelia and the subsequent Storm Brian.

Storm Brian[edit]

Brian 20 October 2017.png
Brian located over the eastern Atlantic on 20 October
Area affectedIreland, United Kingdom, northern France
Date of impact21 October 2017[20]
Maximum wind gust85 mph (137 km/h) Needles, United Kingdom[36]
Lowest pressure956 hPa (28.2 inHg)[37]
Power outagesUnknown
Brian over the Irish Sea on 21 October

On 13 October, the US National Hurricane Center designated a tropical wave in the Atlantic Ocean to the east of the Lesser Antilles as Invest 92L, giving the system a 40% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone. The NHC continued monitoring the system as it moved slowly north-west, bringing heavy rainfall and flooding to Puerto Rico and the British and US Virgin Islands before turning to the north-east.[38] However, on 16 October, the NHC discontinued monitoring the system as it passed Bermuda without any considerable impact, having failed to transition into a tropical cyclone.[citation needed]

Subsequently, the area of low pressure began to rapidly intensify as it accelerated eastward across the open Atlantic, developing into a powerful extratropical cyclone.[37] On 19 October, Met Éireann issued an orange wind warning for 21 October in counties Galway and Mayo, thus naming storm Brian.[39] On 20 October Met Éireann extended orange warnings to the counties of Clare, Kerry, Waterford and Wexford.[40] The UK Environment Agency warned that storm Brian could combine with high tides and lead to a heightened risk of flooding on the south coast of the UK.[41]

Brian moved over Ireland close to Galway around 07:00 local time on 21 October.[42]

A 67-year-old man drowned after being swept from the sea wall at Dawlish during the storm.[43] Two more people were killed in Ireland from the combined effects of Brian and the prior Hurricane Ophelia.[clarification needed]

Cyclone Herwart[edit]

Storm Herwart 2017-10-29.jpg
Cyclone Herwart (Ingolf) over Poland on 29 October
Area affectedDenmark, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary
Date of impact29 October
Maximum wind gust113 mph (182 km/h), (Luční bouda)[44]
Lowest pressure970 hPa (29 inHg)[45]
Power outagesUnknown

Cyclone Herwart was a European windstorm that affected Southern Denmark, Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic on 28–29 October 2017. Named by the Free University of Berlin Meteorology Department, the storm was an extratropical cyclone formed as a secondary low to a more northerly centre of low pressure named Grischa coming southward from the Svalbard Islands region, the latter splitting in two low-pressure areas late on 28 October. The centre of Herwart started rotating counterclockwise around the main low pressure area, passing over Norway, Sweden, Latvia and then losing power while moving over western Russia.

In Denmark, which was hit on 28 October, the storm was named Ingolf. In Hungary, the storm was named Nárcisz (Narcissus), a Hungarian female name whose name day is on 29 October.

Storm Caroline[edit]

Caroline 5 December 2017.jpg
Caroline approaching Britain and Ireland on 5 December
Area affectedIreland, Scotland, Faroe Islands, Norway
Date of impact7 December 2017
Maximum wind gust93 mph (150 km/h) Fair Isle, United Kingdom[47]
Lowest pressure958 hPa (28.3 inHg)[48]

The Met Office named storm Caroline on 5 December to affect Scotland on 7 December, with a yellow warning for wind,[49] which was upgraded on 6 December to an amber warning for the Western Isles, Northern Isles and northern Scotland. Met Éireann issued a yellow warning for wind to the counties of Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare and Kerry.[50] In its wake, the storm delivered snowy and icy conditions to parts of England and Wales as the winds turned to the north as the system moved into Scandinavia on 8 December, accumulations of 11 cm were recorded on lower ground in Northern Ireland, with a few centimetres of snow in Wales and North-western England. Even with Caroline being located around Scandinavia, Caroline was still impacting the UK weather with a continuation of cold, Arctic air.[citation needed]

Seviri RGB Airmass view

Storm Ana[edit]

Storm Ana 12-11-2017.jpg
Storm Ana over northwestern France
Area affectedPortugal, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Russia
Date of impact10–14 December 2017
Maximum wind gust155 mph (249 km/h)
Lowest pressure957 hPa (28.3 inHg)
Power outagesUnknown

Storm Ana was the first storm to ever be officially named by Météo-France, Aemet and IPMA. It formed on 10 December as an area of low pressure that underwent explosive cyclogenesis[Note 1] to the northwest of Iberia passing through the Bay of Biscay into France on the morning of 11 December.[5] It then took a northeasterly direction to affect the Low Countries, Germany, Austria, Scandinavia and eventually Russia.

Her highest gusts reached 249 km/h (155 mph) in the Austrian Alps, and its minimal pressure reached 957 hPa on the morning of 11 December.

Storm Bruno[edit]

Storm Bruno 12-27-2017.jpg
Storm Bruno over the North Sea
Area affectedPortugal,Spain,France
Date of impact26–28 December 2017
Maximum wind gust96 mph (154 km/h)
Lowest pressure976 hPa (28.8 inHg)[51]
Power outagesUnknown

On 26 December 2017, wind warnings were issued in Spain for an area of low pressure that was expected to undergo explosive cyclogenesis. Ultimately, Storm Bruno brought over 25 cm (9.8 in) of snow, wind gusts exceeding 62 mph (100 km/h), and waves as high as 8 m (26 ft) to Spain. One fatality occurred after a man drowned while windsurfing in rough seas. Another fatality occurred after a man was swept off his balcony by high winds and onto his patio, where he immediately succumbed to his injuries.

Storm Dylan[edit]

Storm Dylan 30 December 2017.jpg
Dylan approaching Britain and Ireland on 30 December 2017
Area affectedIreland, Northern Ireland
Date of impact30–31 December
Maximum wind gust77 mph (124 km/h)[52]
Lowest pressure966 hPa (28.5 inHg)
Power outages~ 7500 customers in Republic of Ireland affected[53]

Storm Dylan was named by Met Éireann on 29 December. It brought strong winds to the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and southern Scotland overnight 30–31 December. The north and west coasts of the island of Ireland were expected to be affected by gusts of up to 130 km/h.[54][55]

Satellite loop 30–31 December of storm Dylan/Horst from EUMETSAT.

Storm Carmen[edit]

Storm Carmen 01-01-2018.jpg
Storm Carmen over northern France
Area affectedFrance, Belgium
Date of impact31 December 2017 – 2 January 2018
Maximum wind gust100 mph (161 km/h), Mount Aigoual[56] (alt 1567m)
Lowest pressure989 hPa (29.2 inHg)[57]
Power outages65,000+ [58]

Storm Carmen began as an area of low pressure in late December 2017. The storm went under some intensification before affecting France and other western European countries with strong winds and. A man was killed by Carmen as a tree had fallen on his car during new year celebrations, and a 60-meter (197 feet) tall wind turbine was blown over in the western Vendée region due to extreme winds.[59]

Storm Eleanor/Cyclone Burglind[edit]

Storm Eleanor 01-02-2018.jpg
Eleanor approaching Britain and Ireland on 2 January 2018
Area affectedIreland, Great Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland
Date of impact2–3 January 2018
Maximum wind gust140 mph (226 km/h), Goldau[60]
Lowest pressure966 hPa (28.5 inHg)[61]
Power outages~150000 customers in Republic of Ireland affected[63]

Named by Met Éireann on 1 January with Amber Wind Warning in force for 2 January. Forecast to bring gusts of 110–130 km/h into the evening. The Met Office also issued a Yellow Wind Warning for 2–3 January, only to upgrade it to an amber warning across Northern England and Southern Scotland 3 hours prior making landfall in the UK.

Satellite loop of Eleanor from EUMETSAT.
Floods in river Rhine after the storm (Burglind), 8 January in Cologne (Germany)

As Eleanor neared Ireland, she brought heavy rainfall and squally weather followed by very strong gusts of 95 mph in Knock Airport in Republic of Ireland.[64] As Eleanor tracked further North-east she continued to strengthen as a sting-jet like feature was evident, however, it did not form. Eleanor also produced thunderstorms and intense hail across England and Wales. The worst damage happened in Northern Ireland.

According to the UK Met Office, gusts reached 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) in Orlock Head, while a mountain weather station in Great Dun Fell recorded 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) gusts.[65]

Storm Cora/Ex-Blizzard Aku[edit]

Storm Cora/Ex-Blizzard Aku was the fastest winds in the European windstorm season of 2017–2018. Wind gusts of up to 274 kilometres per hour (170 mph) were reported in some locations, equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

Cora (NOR), Aku (FIN)
Southern cloud band of Cora over Norway and Sweden on 7 January 2018
Area affectedIceland, Scandinavia
Date of impact7 January 2018
Maximum wind gust170 mph (274 km/h)[66]
Lowest pressure987 hPa (29.1 inHg)[67]
Power outagesUnknown

Storm Fionn[edit]

Fionn 2018-01-16.png
Storm Fionn west of Ireland on 16 January
Area affectedIreland, Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, United Kingdom, France, Central Europe
Date of impact14 – 17 January
Maximum wind gust147 mph (237 km/h) (Botnsheidi, Iceland)[68]
Lowest pressure935 hPa (27.6 inHg)[69] [Note 1]
Power outagesUnknown

On 16 January Met Éireann issued orange marine weather warnings for wind to storm force from Roches Point to Slyne Head to Malin Head,[70] along with orange national weather warnings for Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Cork and Kerry for 16–17 January, so naming storm Fionn.[71][72] This system, also called Evi by the FUB, was meteorologically speaking a very deep and large Icelandic low that bottomed out at a central pressure of 935 hPa and dominated the weather in the North Atlantic and Northern Europe for several days in the middle of January 2018. This low had a large and intense wind field on its southern flank, fuelling a strong jetstream that steered the less deep but much more catastrophic Cyclone David into the UK and Ireland and Central Europe on 18 January. After the arrival of David, Fionn weakened and David became the more dominant low, leading to the decay and dissipation of Fionn.

Synoptic chart of Fionn (as a "squeeze in isobars")[73] 16–17 January preceding the low (David/Friederike) moving towards Ireland visible on the last two frames from KNMI

As Fionn neared Ireland, it brought heavy winds to Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Clare, Leitrim and Cork.

On 16 January the Met Office sent out a clarifying tweet that Fionn was only expected to bring strong winds to western Ireland, with impacts to the UK to be expected to be below their warning thresholds. In the tweet they pointed to a separate weather system to affect the UK on the 17–18 January,[74] later named David by MeteoFrance, this name was reciprocally adopted by the Met Office and Met Eireann. The low David was named Friederike by the Free University of Berlin, with the name Georgina at that time remaining unused.[75]

Met Éireann's decision to name Fionn was met with some criticism from some meteorologists, Liam Dutton tweeted that he thought the warning did not strictly accompany a cyclonic area of low pressure, but a "squeeze of isobars" circulating a low hundreds of kilometres distant in the region of the Faroes, stating that it "needed no more than a standard weather warning".[73] He highlighted the difference in criteria for naming storms employed by the Met Office and Met Éireann (the UK Met Office uses an impact-based criteria, based on the level of expected impacts the weather will bring, whereas the Irish Met Éireann uses fixed numerical criteria, meaning a storm will be named when mean wind speeds are likely to occur, between 65 and 80 km/h and/or gusts between 110 and 130 km/h).[73]

Evelyn Cusack of Met Éireann said that she understood Dutton's point, stating that his criticisms were well made.[76] She reiterated that the orange warning issued by Met Éireann fulfilled their criteria for naming the storm, producing severe winds, coastal flooding and high waves on the Irish coast, even if the centre of circulation was distant.[76]

Relative locations of storms Fionn, and Friederike (David).
Low pressure centre of Fionn moves close to Iceland 1800 UTC 16 January 2018– 0300 UTC 17 January 2018, bringing high winds to western Ireland.

Storm David[edit]

David (FRA), Friederike (GER)
Storm David aka Friederike 18 Jan 2018.png
David on 18 January, centred over Benelux or Western Germany
Area affectedBritain, Ireland, France, Benelux, Central Europe, Italy, Eastern Europe
Date of impact17 – 19 January 2018 (as a storm)
(20–22 January as a weak low)
Maximum wind gust126 mph (203 km/h), Brocken, Saxony-Anhalt[77] (at altitude)
93 mph (150 km/h), Capel Curig, Wales[78] (alt 216m)[79]
Lowest pressure974 hPa (28.8 inHg)[77]
Fatalities13 (2 indirect) +[80][81][82][83]
Power outages471,000+ [84][85][81][86]
Damage1 billion [87] – 2.6 billion EUR [88]

Storm David (also named Friederike),[89] affected an area of Europe from northern France and England, through the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the Alps to Poland and the Czech Republic, starting on the evening of 17 January until 19 January.[90] David brought heavy snowfall on its northern flank and high winds (sustained winds up to Bft. 11, widespread hurricane-force gusts) on its southern flank.[91] In some locations, both the high winds and the snowfall occurred, creating blizzard conditions.[92] Amsterdam Airport Schiphol was closed,[93] as well as some airports in Germany. European railroad companies (e.g. the Deutsche Bahn in Germany) could only offer very limited transportation services, if any.[94] Road traffic was similarly disrupted by windthrow, snow, ice, high crosswinds, and by traffic jams that were caused by incidents related to the storm. Widespread damage to manmade structures and to forests occurred.[95] Germany was the worst-hit country as there were 10 known deaths as well as a damage total as high as several hundreds of millions. David/Friederike was the most devastating windstorm in Germany after Cyclone Kyrill in 2007. Coincidentally, Friederike and Kyrill both struck Central Europe on 18 January, albeit 11 years apart.

This storm, which proved to have catastrophic effects, originated from a low pressure trough in the Western Atlantic that stretched from the Southern Caribbean to Newfoundland on 14 January — 16.[96] After gaining a closed circulation near or over Newfoundland on 16 January, the new cyclone entered the very strong southern wind field of the Icelandic Low Fionn, crossing the Atlantic in less than two days and being steered into Europe. Upon the formation of the precursor trough, the GFS and ECMWF correctly predicted that system to impact Europe as a windstorm. Between 14–19 January, the binary storm complex that consisted of Fionn and David brought high winds and snowfall to large portions of Europe. After the storms have passed, they left behind an improved weather situation in Europe that was calmer, drier and warmer.

The storm also brought some hurricane-force gusts and heavy snowfall to Britain and Ireland and caused 140,000 power cuts there. Nevertheless, the storm impacted the Netherlands and Germany in a much more dramatic way. The UK Met Office did not give David a name from its own storm naming list as it did not expect the storm to have a significant impact on Britain, which proved to be an underestimation.

Storm Georgina[edit]

Georgina 24 Jan 18.png
Excellently well-defined low pressure centre of Georgina passing just north of Scotland
Area affectedIreland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Norway
Date of impact23 – 24 January
Maximum wind gust140 mph (225 km/h),[97] Glencoe Ski area, United Kingdom
Lowest pressure959 hPa (28.3 inHg)[98]
Power outagesNumerous

Storm Georgina was officially named on 23 January after the low pressure area that was nearing Britain and Ireland suddenly had bombed out at 959 hPa. The storm affected the northern parts of Britain, causing numerous power outages as well as flooding and widespread structural damage there.[97] There were widespread gusts in the 50–85 mph range in the affected areas, with an isolated 140 mph gust over a ski area in the Scottish Highlands. Georgina also brought torrential rains to Northern Ireland and Scotland.

After crossing the North Sea, the vigorous low pressure area went on to affect Norway.[99]

Storm Georgina 20:00 UTC 23 Jan – 22:00 UTC 24 Jan 2018 from EUMETSAT

Storm Emma[edit]

Emma (POR), Ulrike (GER)
Emma 26 Feb 18.png
Emma, an extensive cyclone and potential blizzard, on 26 February while being centred near the Azores and threatening Portugal
Area affectedAzores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, France, Great Britain and Ireland
Date of impact26 February – 5 March
Maximum wind gust142 mph (228 km/h), Mont Aigoual, France (alt 1567 m)[100][Note 2]
Lowest pressure963 hPa (28.4 inHg)[101]
(due to mixed effects of Storm Emma and the cold wave)[102]
Power outagesUnknown

Storm Emma (also named Ulrike) was named while it was centred over the Azores and threatened to strike Western Europe as a blizzard. The cyclone affected Iberia, Great Britain and Ireland on its track, causing high winds and snowfall, leading to blizzard conditions.[103]

As Emma neared southwest England, it brought new cold air to the UK and Ireland, prolonging the cold period.[104] Meteorologists observed the collision of Emma and the Beast from the East and the interaction of the two highly different air masses worsened the wind and snowfall posed by Emma. Starting on 1 March 2018, the collision of Emma and Hartmut triggered numerous hurricane-force gusts in southern Europe and the United Kingdom. The highest of these gusts occurred in the morning of 1 March on Mount Aigoual in southern France at 228 km/h (142 mph).[100]

On 1 March 2018, UK authorities issued a red warning in Wales and south-west England as citizens in Scotland spent up to 20 hours in their cars stuck in traffic in frigid weather and a 46-year-old Southampton man died in a motor vehicle accident on the A34. Schools across the UK were closed in the face of oncoming blizzards, strong winds, and heavy snowfall. Traffic was significantly hindered by the Beast from the East.[105] In Lincolnshire commuters near Boston were stranded by snow and had to freed by farmers with tractors, a minimum of 20 cars and HGVs were snowed in on the A46 close to Faldingworth. The Royal Air Force deployed 4x4 vehicles to transport health and emergency workers.[106] Trains were cancelled across the UK, with over 20 rail operators running at reduced capacity; London's Paddington Station closed for about three hours and 50 stations in Kent closed because of inclement weather. Air travel has been similarly curtailed, as terminals all over the country cancel flights.[105] At least three people died in the UK as a result of the storm.[107]

In Ireland snow began to fall in the east of the country on Tuesday 27 February. Snow continued in the east on Wednesday the 28th, with well over 15 cm reported in many areas. Schools closed on Wednesday the 28th in affected areas. Panic buying of food was seen as Storm Emma approached. Storm Emma made landfall on the south coast on Thursday 1 March and swept northward. All schools were closed on Thursday 1 March and Friday the 2nd nationwide with a red weather warning put in place by Met Eireann. High winds and heavy snowfall on top of the already lying snow led to drifting and severe disruption. Many roads were left impassable, particularly in rural areas and in North Kildare, West Wicklow and Wexford respectively. Power outages and water cuts were reported widely. A Lidl supermarket was torn down and looted in Fortunestown, Tallaght during the chaos caused by the storm. Over 50 cm of lying snow was reported in some locations, with drifts many feet high on many rural routes. Some rural villages were cut off for many days. A slow thaw ensued. Many schools remained closed in Kildare, Wicklow and Wexford on Monday 5 March as local authorities continued to attempt to clear roads. [108]

Satellite view showing the interaction of Cyclone Emma nearing from the Southwest and Anticyclone Hartmut covering Europe from the Northeast on 27 February
Satellite view showing the beginning interaction of Cyclone Emma nearing from the Southwest and Anticyclone Hartmut (Beast from the East cold wave) covering Europe from the Northeast on 27 February. As the collision of the systems continued, Emma's structure became much more distorted on 28 February.[109] In early March, several gusts higher than 200 km/h occurred in the collision zone that was in Spain and France; Likewise, Britain received some gusts higher than 150 km/h.

Storm Felix[edit]

Windstorm Felix in the Bay of Biscay on 11 March 2018
Area affectedAzores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Portugal, Spain, France (as a European windstorm)
Northeastern United States, Canada (as the precursor nor'easter)
Date of impact9 March – 11 March
Maximum wind gust88 mph (141 km/h), Fisterra, Spain (alt 230 m)[110]
Lowest pressure967 hPa (28.6 inHg)[111]
Power outagesUnknown

Storm Hector[edit]

An "off season" windstorm occurring before the 2018 British Isles heat wave.

Storm Hector 2018-06-14.png
Hector north of the British Isles on 14 June
Area affectedIreland, United Kingdom and Norway
Date of impact13 June – 14 June
Maximum wind gust70 mph (110 km/h), Cairngorms, Scotland [112]
Lowest pressure971 hPa (28.7 inHg)[113]
Power outagesUnknown

Other systems[edit]

"The Beast from the East" cold wave[edit]

Late February 2018 Eurasian cold wave
Satellite view showing Europe partially covered in snow under the influence of the anticyclonic cold wave named Hartmut or the "Beast from the East" on 27 February 2018
Satellite view showing Europe partially covered in snow under the influence of the strong cold wave on 27 February 2018
Official namesFUB/GER: Hartmut (European part of the system)
Area affectedEurope, Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Manchuria
System typeAnticyclonic complex
Disaster typeCold wave, snowfall event, anticyclonic storm/blizzard
Date of impact24 February[114] – 10 April
Highest pressure1056 hPa[115]
Maximum wind gust187 kilometres per hour (116 mph), Kistefjell, Norway [116]
Highest snowfall total182 centimetres (72 in), Delnice, Croatia [117](preliminary)
Lowest temperature−40 °C (−40 °F), Kiruna, Sweden[118] (preliminary)

The cold spell, nicknamed the Beast from the East, was caused by a large arctic airmass with anticyclonic structure, stretching from the Russian Far East to Ireland and thus covering large parts of Asia and almost all of Europe.[119] The anticyclone, centred over Scandinavia,[120] was the dominant high pressure area in that weather system and represented its European part. North Asia was covered by other anticyclones that belonged to the same giant arctic airmass. The anticyclone brought cold easterly winds into Continental Europe[121][122][123] and to Ireland and Britain which caused snowfall and sub-zero temperatures due to freezing air from Siberia.[104][124][125][126] In the United Kingdom, the Met Office issued two red snow warnings, meaning a potential risk to life.[127]

This anticyclone, named Hartmut by the commercial Adopt a Vortex program of the Free University of Berlin, was an intense high pressure system that evolved into an anticyclonic storm. A gust of 187 km/h was registered in the Øvre Dividal National Park in Norway, relatively near to the anticyclonic centre.[116] Other hurricane-force gusts delivered by Hartmut were registered across Europe, particularly over Scandinavia, Britain and Ireland. Such hurricane-force anticyclonic storms are relatively rare events compared with cyclonic storms of similar intensity.

At least 87 people died in weather-related deaths during this cold wave. This included 27 in Poland alone, where rough sleeping was becoming a major concern. 16 deaths in the UK were also as a result of ‘The Beast from the East’ cold wave mixing with Storm Emma. The youngest victim was just 7 years old, whereas the oldest was 75.[citation needed]

"Beast from the East" cold wave fatalities
Country Fatalities Notes
Poland 27[128]


UK 17[107][114][130][131]


Due to mixed effects of Storm Emma and the cold wave.[102][132]
Slovakia 7[114][133]
France 7[128][129][114][121][121][129]
Czech Republic 6[123]
Romania 6[119][134][128][133][129][119][119][121][119][121][121]
Lithuania 5[129]
Spain 3[129]
Serbia 3[133][123][129][135]
Slovenia 3[133][123][129][135]
Italy 3[129]
Sweden 1[136][116]
The Netherlands 1[129]
Germany 1[129]
Denmark 1[123][129]
Bosnia-Hersigovina 1[133][135][135]
Croatia 1[133][135]
Albania 1[133][129][137][129]
Bulgaria 1[133]
Total 93

Season effects[edit]

This table lists all known windstorms that affected the UK and Ireland during 2017–2018. It includes their name, duration, peak recorded gust (excluding mountain stations), lowest pressure, areas affected, deaths and damage totals from the two nations.

Storm Dates active Highest wind gust Lowest pressure Casualties Damages Affected areas
Aileen 12 – 13 September 100 mph / 161 km/h[9] 978 hPa 3 Unknown Ireland, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany
Xavier 4 – 6 October 126 mph / 202 km/h 985 hPa 9 €325 million[138] Germany, Poland, Czech Republic
Ophelia 15 – 18 October 96.7 mph / 155.6 km/h[21]

960 hPa (tropical)
958 hPa (extratropical)
959 hPa (extratropical,

5 €60 million[25] Azores, Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland, United Kingdom, Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Russia
Brian 20 – 22 October 85 mph / 137 km/h[36] 956 hPa 3 Unknown Ireland, United Kingdom, northern France
Herwart 29 October 113 mph / 182 km/h 970 hPa 11 €255 million[139] Denmark, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary
Caroline 6 – 10 December 93 mph / 150 km/h[140] 958 hPa 1 Unknown Ireland, Scotland, Faroe Islands, Norway
Ana 10 – 14 December 155 mph / 249 km/h 957 hPa 1 Unknown Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Russia
Bruno 26 – 28 December 96 mph / 154 km/h 976 hPa 3 Unknown Portugal,Spain,France
Dylan 30 – 31 December 77 mph / 124.1 km/h[141] 966 hPa [142] 0 Unknown Ireland, Northern Ireland
Carmen 31 December – 2 January 100 mph / 161 km/h 989 hPa 1 Unknown France, Belgium
Eleanor 2 – 3 January 140 mph / 226 km/h[143] 966 hPa 6 €643 million [62] Ireland, Great Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland
Cora/Aku 7 January 170 mph / 274 km/h 987 hPa 0 Unknown Iceland, Norway, Sweden
Fionn 16 January 147 mph/ 237 km/h 935 hPa[69] [Note 1] 0 Unknown Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, Greenland, United Kingdom, France, Central Europe
David 17 – 19 January 126 mph / 203 km/h 974 hPa[77] 15 €1.465 billion[144] United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia
Georgina 23 – 24 January 140 mph / 225 km/h 959 hPa 0 Unknown Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Norway
Emma 26 February – 3 March 142 mph / 228 km/h 963 hPa 16 Unknown Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, France, Great Britain and Ireland
Felix 9 – 11 March 88 mph / 141 km/h 967 hPa 0 Unknown Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, Portugal, Spain, France
Hector 13 – 14 June 100 mph / 161 km/h 971 hPa 0 Unknown Ireland and Great Britain
18 windstorms 12 September – 14 June 170 mph / 274 km/h 935 hPa 74 €2.748 billion+

Storms named by European meteorological services[edit]

IR satellite loop storm Herwart (Ingolf) on 29 October 2017
Satellite loop of Friederike (David) airmass from EUMETSAT.

2017–18 named storms[edit]

  • Aileen (UK/IE), Sebastian (Free University of Berlin), 12–13 September.
  • Xavier (Free University of Berlin), 4–6 October.
  • Ex-Hurricane Ophelia (NWS), 16–17 October.
  • Brian (UK/IE), Elmar (Free University of Berlin), 21 October.
  • Herwart (FUB),[145] Ingolf (dk)[146] Grzegorz (Polish derivative of the FUB name)[147][verification needed], 28–29 October.
  • Ylva (No),[148] Reinhard (FUB),[149] 22–23 November.
  • Caroline (UK/IE), Walter (FUB), Aina (No),[150] 7–8 December 2017.
  • Ana (Fr/Es/Pt),[4] Yves (FUB), 10–11 December.
  • Birk (No-for heavy rainfall),[151] Diethelm (FUB), 23 December 2017.
  • Bruno (Fr/Es/Pt), Edilbert (FUB), 26–27 December 2017.[152]
  • Dylan (UK/IE), Horst (FUB), 29–31 December 2017.[153]
  • Carmen (Fr/Es/Pt), Ingmar (FUB), 1 January 2018.[154]
  • Eleanor (UK/IE), Burglind (FUB), 2–3 January 2018.[155]
  • Aku (Fin),[156] Cora (No),[157] Unnamed (FUB) -later absorbed by Christine, 7 January 2018.
  • Fionn (UK/IE), Evi (FUB), 16 January 2018.
  • David (Fr/Es/Pt),[158] Friederike (FUB),[159] 18 January 2018.
  • Georgina (UK/IE),[160] Helene (FUB), 23–24 January 2018.
  • Emma (Fr/Es/Pt), Ulrike (FUB), 26 February-5 March 2018
  • Felix (Fr/Es/Pt),[161] Yuliya (FUB), 10–11 March 2018
  • Gisele (Fr/Es/Pt),[162] Zsuzsa (FUB), 14 March 2018.
  • Hugo (Fr/Es/Pt)[163] Carola (FUB) 24–25 March 2018.
  • Irene (Fr/Es/Pt) 30 March–10 April 2018.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lowest pressure for the cyclonic centre of Fionn was achieved on 14 January to the north of Iceland, at the time of Fionn's naming on 16 January the cyclonic centre had substantially filled to about 961 hPa.[164]
  2. ^ The 142 mph gust occurred in the squeezed isobar region between the centres of Emma and Hartmut, thus it was probably caused by the mixed effects of the two systems due to their collision.[165]


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