Oxford Bees

Storm Ciara blows in. How does it compare to recent storms?

Submitted by will on Sun, 09/02/2020 - 10:33

There's a lot of weather around. Last weekend brought Storm Ciara to the UK. Next weekend we'll get Storm Dennis.

There were fence panels down in our garden and a tree has blown down within sight of the house. The forecast was indicating gusts up to 66mph (57kn). It was noisy indoors.

Ciara seemed much stronger than usual, but how does it compare?

I have data for several weather stations going back to the start of 2017 (source: MetOffice WoW). My preferred weather stations are RAF Benson and RAF Brize Norton because they seem most likely to produce reliable results. Air fields tend to be in flatter, more exposed places so the wind gusts are probably as high as they'll be for that region. Urban wind patterns, and those for a valley like Oxford, may be lower. Unfortunately I don't have data for central Oxford and my urban data series (Headington, Bicester) are not continuous for the same period.

Wind speeds in Headington during Storm Ciara, Feb 2020
Wind speed (knots) in Headington during Storm Ciara, Feb 2020
Wind speeds in RAF Brize Norton during Storm Ciara, Feb 202
Wind speed (knots) in RAF Brize Norton during Storm Ciara, Feb 202

For comparison (values > 40 in bold):

month RAF Benson RAF Brize Norton Bicester AF Headington
Jan 2017 32.2 38.2 21.2 NA
Feb 2017 49.5 44.3 32.5 NA
Mar 2017 35.6 32.2 25.1 NA
Apr 2017 29.5 31.3 18.5 NA
May 2017 29.5 28.7 19.2 NA
Jun 2017 37.4 33 28.4 NA
Jul 2017 31.3 28.7 21.8 NA
Aug 2017 26.9 21.7 18.5 NA
Sep 2017 40 35.6 19.2 NA
Oct 2017 39.1 39.1 25.1 NA
Nov 2017 38.2 38.2 23.1 NA
Dec 2017 40.8 34.8 25.1 NA
Jan 2018 53.9 42.6 27 NA
Feb 2018 37.4 33.9 21.8 NA
Mar 2018 35.6 37.4 27 NA
Apr 2018 34.8 29.5 26.4 NA
May 2018 29.5 27.8 42 NA
Jun 2018 28.7 28.7 21.2 NA
Jul 2018 33.9 32.2 19.2 NA
Aug 2018 32.2 26.9 17.9 NA
Sep 2018 40 37.4 23.1 NA
Oct 2018 42.6 38.2 21.2 NA
Nov 2018 48.7 37.4 31.7 NA
Dec 2018 39.1 31.3 22.5 NA
Jan 2019 33.9 38.2 23.1 NA
Feb 2019 40.8 42.6 25.9 NA
Mar 2019 47.8 45.2 31.7 24.3
Apr 2019 40 35.6 25.1 19.1
May 2019 28.7 27.8 49.8 25.2
Jun 2019 33.9 32.2 NA 15.6
Jul 2019 33 25.2 NA 21.7
Aug 2019 40 34.8 NA 20.9
Sep 2019 34.8 33 NA 18.2
Oct 2019 37.4 33.9 NA 22.6
Nov 2019 42.6 37.4 NA 21.7
Dec 2019 37.4 37.4 NA 23.5

In terms of the absolute gust strength storm Ciara doesn't look much bigger than Feb 2017 or March 2019.