The Big December Storm
The huge storm that hit Scotland on Thursday 8th December left more than 150,000 homes without power during the day on Thursday and more than 70,000 were still off overnight. At least 10,000 homes in Scotland were still without power on the Saturday.
Here on Tiree it took until lunchtime on Sunday before power was restored to all homes! The hurricane-force storm has been described as a ‘weather bomb’, which in meteorological terms is defined as an ‘explosive deepening’.
According to catastrophe modelling specialists, Windstorm Friedhelm “began as a depression over the northern Atlantic, but as it approached the British Isles, it experienced a rapid drop of pressure that caused its wind speeds to soar”. This phenomenon occurs when cold air meets warm air and is characterised by a decrease in atmospheric pressure of at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. The lower the pressure, the stronger the winds become. Thursday’s storm was accompanied by a drop of 44mb!
By 9.50am ‘Windstorm Friedhelm’ officially became a hurricane as winds of 76mph were recorded at Tiree Airport – winds over 74mph are classified as hurricane strength. It was to get worse, with the maximum gust on Tiree being 91mph (146kmh). The mean wind speed for the day was 61mph. At Aonach Mor, just outside Fort William, there was a gust of 130mph (209kmh), whilst winds at Cairngorm Summit reached 165mph (264kmh).
Thanks to Sophie Isaacson for the photograph and to all the hydro boys for restoring our power in such horrendous conditions.