Storm Ciara was a deep, Atlantic depression that affected the UK on Sunday 9th February 2020. Although the UK regularly experiences Atlantic depressions, what is unusual about Strom Ciara is that the large, deep area of low pressure covered the whole of the UK. At one point the storm delivered the strongest winds and biggest waves in the world.
Hurricane-force winds and flooding caused severe disruption across much of the UK, including damage to hundreds of properties and the cancellation of trains, flights and ferries.
The Cause of Storm Ciara
The Impacts of Storm Ciara (Social, Economic and Environmental)
A man died after a tree fell on his car on the A33 in Hampshire. A second man died in Black Wood, Liverpool, when a branch fell on him.
Homes were flooded in a number of areas including:
Bury and Ramsbottom
Blackpool, Whalley, Longton and Rossendale in Lancashire.
Calder Valley, Kirklees, Bradford, Leeds and Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire
The graph below shows the level of the River Calder at Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire. At it’s peak it was over five metres. That’s one metre above the previous record.
River Levels at Mytholmroyd following Storm Ciara
In the UK as a whole about 118,000 people were without power as of 16:00 GMT. Energy companies said they had reconnected 421,000 customers since the storm hit and work is continuing to restore electricity to the remaining homes.
12,779 customers were without electricity in the East and West Midlands, the South-West and South Wales.
Over 3000 people were left without power in Scotland, in areas including Perthshire and Lockerbie.
Residents had to be evacuated after a huge crane collapsed through the roof of an unoccupied block of flats on a building site. The London Fire Brigade evacuated 30 people from nearby flats in Stanmore, Harrow. No injuries were reported.
Firefighters rescued two people who were trapped in car in flood water in Augher, County Tyrone, as Storm Ciara battered Northern Ireland.
Crews pushed the car out of the water to safety during the rescue on the Lisnawery Road on Sunday morning.
Firefighters also had to protect 15 houses from flooding in Enniskillen and they rescued 12 sheep from floods in Dromore, County Tyrone.
The UK’s transport infrastructure experienced many issues, for example:
The Humber Bridge was closed to pedestrians and vehicles, for only the second time
Many rail companies cancelled trains. Network Rail imposed a blanket speed restriction of 50mph across the network on Sunday, and is telling passengers to avoid travelling by rail, if possible. The rail firms which have issued “do not travel” warning for Sunday are Gatwick Express, Grand Central, Great Northern, Hull Trains, LNER, Northern, Southeastern, Southern, Thameslink and TransPennine Express.
Due to severe flooding across the network from #StormCiara, Northern are issuing a DO NOT TRAVEL.
THE FOLLOWING ROUTES ARE CLOSED –
*Todmorden – Rochdale
*Blackpool North – Preston
Across the country, roads were blocked by falling trees
High winds created by Storm Ciara over the United Kingdom and the North Atlantic meant that a British Airways aircraft broke the world record for the fastest subsonic flight between London Heathrow and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, with a Boeing 747-400 propelled by a strong tailwind across the Atlantic in 4 hours and 56 minutes. During the flight, the 747 hit a maximum speed of 825 miles per hour, and arrived over two hours ahead of schedule. More from the BBC.
The strom also brought widespread flooding as the result of heavy rainfall. The economic impact of this is yet to be calculated.
High street shops were flooded in the market towns of Todmorden and Hebden Bridge in the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire. Flooding also occured in central York when the River Ouse burts its banks.
The front of Bridge House guest house in the Scottish Borders collapsed after its foundations were washed away in Storm Ciara.
Sporting events were cancelled around the country including Premier League fixtures.
Insurer Aviva published numbers around the effects of Storm Ciara. It said there had been a 285% increase in telephone calls and claims.The worst affected areas were Nottingham, Birmingham, Norwich, Sheffield and Bradford. “The majority of claims have been from people whose properties have been affected by strong winds, such as loose roof tiles, broken windows and fallen trees, but we are also starting to see flood claims,” reported Andrew Morrish, UK claims director for Aviva.
Many rivers reached peak flow leading to increased erosion along river banks. Many rivers tore loose and carried away trees damaging local ecosystems and habitats.
In Northern Ireland, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey confirmed that emergency funding was being made available to local councils.
The government’s emergency Bellwin scheme for areas in the north of England affected by Storm Ciara was activated.
The scheme – activated for qualifying areas in West Yorkshire, Cumbria and Lancashire – enabled local authorities dealing with the storm to apply to have all of the eligible costs they incur, above a threshold, to be reimbursed by the government.
Impact of recently installed flood defences
Glenridding flood defences holding up well, as is the upstream flood relief channel. Designed to slow water upstream to help the village downstream, seem. Many thanks to @EnvAgencyNW for working with us, and thank you to the farmers who let us do this on there land #nfmpic.twitter.com/SWUoNxC4Ac
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