The country of England is experiencing disruption due to the arrival of Storm Ciarán, affecting large areas of the United Kingdom.
Numerous schools have been closed, roads blocked, and transportation disrupted due to amber warnings for strong winds in southern England, posing a threat to safety.
At 7:30am on Thursday, the Environment Agency had released 65 flood warnings for England and 156 flood alerts. Natural Resources Wales cautioned that river levels in the far south-west region could potentially reach record highs. Approximately 10,000 households in south-west England were experiencing power outages.
On Wednesday night and into Thursday morning, the Channel Islands experienced the worst of the storm, with Jersey police reporting wind speeds of up to 102mph (164km/h).
Approximately 40 individuals were forced to leave their residences on the island due to structural harm. Four individuals received medical treatment at the Accident & Emergency department, and the roof of Jersey General Hospital sustained damage.
The islands were hit with extremely large hailstones, 9-metre swells, and a possible tornado. The Jersey Met Section issued a red wind warning, the most severe level. All flights from Jersey, Guernsey, and Alderney airports were cancelled on Thursday, and ferries to and from the islands were also suspended.
Wind speeds exceeding 70mph were reported on the Isles of Scilly and at Berry Head in the southwest of England. In certain parts of the south and southeast, winds over 60mph were also recorded.
As storm Ciarán strikes, Europe experiences severe weather conditions.
The regional water company has stated that power supplies in England were impacted by Storm Ciarán.
South East Water is working with power distribution networks to reinstate power to pumps. According to a service update on Thursday morning, South East Water promptly responds to any supply issues to ensure a swift return of running taps.
“Our primary locations are still functioning with generators in order to guarantee our ability to treat and distribute water to the majority of properties. This allows us to maintain water supplies for as many properties as possible in case of a power outage.”
In France, extremely strong winds reaching speeds of 200km/h (124mph) caused widespread damage. One person died and six others were injured, and over 1.2 million people lost power while tens of thousands lost phone service.
Over 1,315 individuals were relocated from campsites and shelters to more secure housing.
The Aisne district in northern France reported that a lorry driver was fatally injured when a tree fell on the cabin of his heavy-goods lorry early Thursday morning.
The death of the driver, according to Transport Minister Clément Beaune, highlights the potential for significant risks and dangers on roads, even in areas that are not on red alert.
Numerous roads were inaccessible to vehicles, particularly in Finistère, Brittany, due to the presence of numerous obstructions. As a result, officials closed off extensive portions of the road system. Residents were advised to remain at home and refrain from approaching the coastline.
Four additional individuals sustained injuries, consisting of three firefighters, typically due to incidents involving falling trees. Two firefighters were harmed on a northern road in Rennes as a result of a tree falling, while a motorcyclist was injured in a nearby collision near Nantes caused by a tree being uprooted.
Power outages affected more than 1 million households primarily in Brittany, but also in Normandy, due to fallen trees and toppled pylons caused by strong winds.
Reports are emerging about England and the Channel Islands, and they are quite dramatic.
Suzie Phillips, a 44-year-old civil servant from Jersey, reported to the PA news agency that she was startled awake by large hailstones. She shared that the hailstones were as big and heavy as golf balls and caused damage to three windows in her home, specifically in her daughter’s bedroom, a landing, and a bathroom. Phillips expressed concern for her children’s well-being as they were anxious about the intense hailstorm.
A severe storm caused Portland Island in Dorset, located on the south coast, to become isolated. The island is linked to the mainland by a narrow causeway, and the flood siren was activated for only the second time in nine years as a precaution.
Heather Jones from the organization Stand up to Racism, who communicates with asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm barge at Portland port, reported that some individuals on board are experiencing severe seasickness. They have shared that they were unable to sleep due to the intense shaking of the boat, which was quite frightening.
A young person riding a bike and a person walking were hit by waves close to West Bay.
The inhabitants of Loders village, located slightly inland, reported the occurrence of a small-scale tornado.
The Bridport fire station shared on Facebook: “We were alerted to alarms going off in Loders. When we arrived, we found damage to several buildings and a lot of debris scattered on the road. Residents reported a mini tornado passing through the village.”
A single building bore the brunt of the impact, resulting in significant harm to its thatched roof and gable end. In addition, several large trees were also uprooted. Other properties sustained damage in a variety of ways.
In an interview with RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, it was stated that “fortunately, the storm stayed on a path that kept it south of Ireland.”
The yellow level warnings were given due to the possibility of flooding in already affected areas. While the rainfall may have contributed to flooding, it was not significantly exceptional overall.
Experts have cautioned about the situation in Europe.
According to Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London and co-founder of the World Weather Attribution network, there is a significant amount of research and other evidence indicating that autumn/winter storms, such as this one, are becoming more destructive due to climate change.
This is because the precipitation from these storms is more intense as a result of climate change, and the storm surges are elevated and therefore cause more destruction due to rising sea levels.
As the planet’s temperature increases by one degree, the atmosphere is able to contain approximately 7% additional water vapor. Since the Industrial Revolution, human activities such as burning fossil fuels, raising livestock, and disrupting natural habitats have caused the planet’s temperature to rise by 1.2 degrees Celsius. These activities also release gases that contribute to trapping heat in the atmosphere.
According to Michael Byrne, a climate scientist at the University of St Andrews, the connection between powerful winds and climate change is not as definitive. While some data suggests that storms like Ciarán may increase in intensity as the climate gets warmer, the conclusion is still uncertain.
Researchers will need to conduct a thorough investigation of the storm in order to determine if climate change played a role in intensifying it. In certain instances, their analyses have not revealed a significant connection.
However, with the increasing temperature of the planet, experts anticipate that severe precipitation will intensify in the majority of Europe.
According to Melissa Lazenby, a climate scientist from the University of Sussex, climate models indicate that storms similar to Ciarán will occur more frequently.
It is highly probable that the strength of these winter storms will rise, causing more significant consequences such as flooding and bigger storm surges in coastal areas due to the increased precipitation.
The European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites has released a photograph of the storm captured from outer space.
The KNMI has issued a warning for powerful winds. Below is a visual representation.
This morning, the effects of Storm Ciarán are being experienced in various countries in Europe. Attached are some images.
This morning, Spain’s state meteorological agency issued a warning map.
The UK Met Office has stated that its alert is now targeting the areas in the south-east where the most powerful winds from Storm Ciarán are expected.