Hurricane Ophelia; a detailed analysis


“How now, Ophelia? What’s the matter?”

A famous line from Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Hamlet. Interestingly, an anagram of Hamlet is “Halt ’em!”, and halt us she did, ex-hurricane Ophelia causing Ireland to close down for a day under a Red Warning issued by our meteorological service, Met Éireann. Schools, public transport and businesses closed down as people were warned to stay indoors and to not make ‘unnecessary journeys’ until the strong extratropical storm, originating south of the Azores, had passed well to the north.

The strongest hurricane ever recorded so far east in the Atlantic, Ophelia reached Category 3 (Major) hurricane strength against the odds southwest of the Azores and continued as a major hurricane as far east as 26.6 °W, further east than any other since records began in 1851. Frances in 1980 did come close (29.9 °W, some 190 nautical miles (350 km) further west), so while it’s not completely unheard of, Ophelia was still a record-breaker.

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Signs of some Spring warmth at last

After what has proved to be a pretty cold Spring so far, with temperatures running up to 1.0 Deg.C below normal for the March-April period, there is some hope on the horizon now for some decent spring-like temperatures to affect Ireland over this coming weekend and for much of next week.


The above graph shows the daily temperature anomaly for this spring season to date, and as can been seen (and what was actually felt) there has been little in the way of any real warmth since the start of the season.


With high pressure forecast to remain over the near continent over the next few days, this will help ‘steer’ Atlantic low pressure systems more to our south, which in turn will help draw up warmer and more humid air masses up over Ireland from Spain and France.  The gif animation below shows how this process will develop over the next five or 6 days:



Image C/O Modellzentrale
Image C/O Modellzentrale


By early next week, winds, which have been blowing from a predominantly cool west or northwesterly direction for much of the spring, will back more to the south and east, helping temperatures to rise to bring us all some much needed pleasant warmth. Actual daytime temps could reach up to 20.0 degrees by day, with nighttime temps ranging between 8 and 13 degrees, which is as warm, if not warmer, than most of our days have been this spring so far!

However, there are caveats, (well, this is Ireland afterall). This warmer air mass will also be quite humid, which is likely to lead to cloud building from time to time and even some showers breaking in some spots, but this is nothing that we aren’t used to anyway and will help to spur on growth. As always, stay tuned on our facebook page for updates.


Interesting Science Of How Snow Accumulates

28 cm of lying snow in Tallaght on December 2nd, 2010. Image: Author

Snow is an extremely complicated form of precipitation, and as such leads to a very tricky time for a forecaster. A fraction of a degree either way can tip the balance between a proper snowflake and a more melted form, especially here in Ireland. There is a whole lot of physics going on there, much of which is still poorly understood, but let’s take a look at the stuff we do understand.

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Super El Nino 2015-2016. Will it have an impact on Ireland’s Winter?


There has been much speculation in the media recently about this year’s ‘El Nino’ and its possible impacts on the winter weather both here in Ireland and in the UK. With sources now saying that the winter El Nino of 2015/2016 may possibly be the strongest on record, we will take a look to see if this Pacific Ocean climate phenomena does indeed have a direct impact on winter weather conditions here in Ireland

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Storm Abigail and Ex-hurricane Kate To Set Stormy Scene

Over the past week or so we have fallen into a warm Atlantic conveyor-belt pattern of weather which has brought rain band after rain band but very mild temperatures. The reason is a persistent low south of Iceland and a persistent high over the continent, we being stuck in between. It’s about to crank up a notch or two, however, as two named storms enter the party. Step up Abigail and Kate.
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Yet Another Tropical Cyclone Hits Yemen

UPDATE: 1200Z Sunday 8th November

Tropical Cyclone Megh intensified overnight and at 0900Z the JTWC had its intensity at 110 gusting 135 knots (204 gusting 250 kph). The eye has just passed over the northern part of the island of Socotra, as shown by the latest 1-km visible image (1130Z) and a 85 GHz microwave image at 1039Z. Earlier satellite-derived precipitation rates were around 1.2 inches (30 mm) per hour.

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