Storm Ellen to batter Britain with 75mph winds and flooding by Helena Horton August 19, 2020, 5:40 PM GMT+3Heavy rain is already causing flooding in Chippenham, Wiltshire – Alamy Storm Ellen has become the first named storm during the summer holidays, as the country braces for 75mph winds and flooding.The storm is set to be the worst for six months since Dennis battered the country and left many homes and businesses destroyed.The fifth named storm of the 2019-2020 season is due to strike Ireland on Wednesday evening before moving north towards Scotland.The deepening low pressure system has led the Met Office to issue a series of yellow weather warnings until Friday, with travel disruption expected.One warning predicted that strong winds could affect an area stretching from the west coast of Scotland, across the Irish Sea, western Wales and down to Plymouth and Cornwall from 8pm Wednesday through to 4am Friday.Campers and staycationers have been warned of the brutal winds and flooding due to hit the south-west coast on Wednesday evening.Waves of 26ft were due off south-west coasts, with waves up to 15ft on beaches in the south west, and strong winds are predicted to hit the country over four days until Sunday.There are flood alerts in place from the Environment Agency in Devon and Cornwall, which are packed with holidaymakers this summer.Forecasters predict gusts could bring delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport links and disrupt power supplies.
They warned that coastal routes and communities, as well as sea fronts, could be hit by spray and large waves while tree damage could leave debris in roads.
Ellen is the first storm named in school summer holidays by the Met Office or Ireland’s Met Eireann since they began naming Atlantic storms in 2015.
Marco Petagna, a Met Office forecaster, said: “Storm Ellen’s very unseasonable conditions come with the tourist season in full flow and trees in full leaf. The low pressure is deepening, with warnings issued for winds of 70mph plus in some exposed areas.
“It will be wet and windy on Thursday and Friday, with further strong winds and squally rain bands. And big waves will develop on some west coasts, combining with high tides.”
The Environment Agency said: “Local flooding is possible from surface water and rivers on Thursday evening in the South West, and from large waves and high tides on Thursday and Friday in the South West, Wales and the North East. Land, roads and some properties may flood and there may be travel disruption.”
Isles of Scilly Travel said it had cancelled sailings for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday “due to the forecast storm force 10 winds and the six-metre swell”.
A Twitter account for the CoastSafe campaign, a partnership involving HM Coastguard and emergency services in Devon and Cornwall, warned that a combination of strong winds and spring tides “will make our coastlines hazardous for the next few days”. It added: “Swell will increase in size… Tidal surges will force water on to beaches at a faster rate… Beware of debris & overtopping around harbours/promenades.”
It also warned potential weather watchers: “No photo is worth a life.”
Nicola Maxey, a Met Office spokesman, said: “This time of year we’ve still got lots of people who are out enjoying outdoor activities, they’re walking on the coast, they’re camping.
“So certainly take care, be aware of the warnings and it may be worth thinking about, if you’ve got garden furniture or trampolines, children’s toys in the garden, bringing them inside or making sure they’re secure.”
An unusually early windstorm will strike northwestern Europe through the end of the week, packing hurricane-force winds and flooding rainfall as it slams the British Isles.
The potent storm has been traversing the North Atlantic Ocean this week and was given the name Ellen on Tuesday evening, local time, by Met Éireann, the Irish Meteorology Service.
Most windstorms occur between October and April, making a windstorm in August a rarity. So much so that when it came to giving this week’s storm a name, the Met Éireann gave it the next unused name on the 2019-2020 season name list.
„Ellen’s wrath will come in three bouts of heavy rain and strong wind, from Wednesday night through Friday evening,” said AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys.
|The above satellite image taken early on Wednesday evening shows Storm Ellen spinning toward the British Isles (Photo/NASA).|
Since 1990, only 11 August windstorms have formed in the North Atlantic Ocean. Of those 11 windstorms, most of them ultimately impacted the British Isles. Most of those windstorms were also tropical in nature, hurricanes or tropical storms from the Tropical Atlantic Ocean basin that curved northeastward toward Europe.
Wind gusts from Ellen are expected to increase Wednesday night into Thursday from west to East across the Isles and Northwestern France. The highest wind gusts on the order of 50-75 mph are expected through Ireland and portions of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, western Wales, northwestern England and southern Scotland.
An AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 90 mph is possible, especially on the windward facing coasts and in the higher elevations.
Onshore winds of this magnitude are likely to cause coastal flooding issues at the beaches.
„One of the more dangerous aspects of an early windstorm like this is that there are still leaves on the trees across the region. The extra weight on the tree limbs in the strong winds will increase the chances of not only tree damage, but also vehicle and property damage and power cuts,” Roys added.
Downed trees and power lines on rail lines and roadways will also exacerbate transportation delays across the region.
Another factor that will hinder travel across the region will be the doses of heavy rain and thundery showers forecast with Ellen.
Rain and showers will stretch across much of France, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as through the British Isles, but the heaviest rain is likely to center on Ireland, Wales and western England.
Rainfall amounts of 50-75 mm (2-3 inches) is likely across this zone in the British Isles, with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 125 mm (5 inches).
This much rain will bring the threat for flash flooding, especially in low-lying and poor drainage areas. With a heavier downpour, water could quickly pond on roadways or even flood and wash out some streets.
„Some communities have been hit hard by rounds of rain and thundery showers over the past two weeks, which brought flash flooding. Those areas will be particularly susceptible to more flooding as Ellen moves into the Isles,” Roys said.
Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
AccuWeather meteorologists are putting parts of Central America, Mexico and the United States on alert for a tropical system expected to develop in the Caribbean Sea late this week.
As of Wednesday morning, the tropical low was situated over the center of the Caribbean Sea, approximately 300 miles (480 km) south-southeast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and moving westward at about 17 mph (27 km/h).
|The above satellite image shows a tropical low traversing the Caribbean Sea late morning on Wednesday, Aug.19, 2020. (NOAA / RAMMB).|
„This system is still rather disorganized, but is heading toward an area favorable for tropical development, so chances for development remain high,” said Lead Tropical Forecaster and Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski.
An environment favorable for tropical development often includes warm waters and weak wind shear, or the change of wind direction as you go up in the atmosphere, both of which are expected to be present in the western Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Honduras through the end of the week.
As the system continues westward and approaches Central America, it may slow down enough to strengthen into a tropical depression or tropical storm later this week.
The next names on the list for tropical storms for the basin in 2020 are Laura and Marco, which may both emerge in the Atlantic basin by this weekend as another tropical threat is churning east of the Leeward Islands.
No matter how strong the tropical system becomes, tropical moisture is forecast to stream into northern parts of Central America and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
As the system approaches, the tropical moisture that accompanies it will enhance showers and thunderstorms across parts of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and southeastern Mexico. In these areas, rounds of downpours could quickly bring as much as 100-200 mm (2-4 inches) of rainfall in just a few hours, and with that will bring the risk for flash flooding.
The mountainous portions of the region will be particularly susceptible to some of the highest rainfall totals. With a lot of rain in just a bit of time, the ground will become saturated and unstable quite quickly, leading to the risk for mudslides.
Damaging winds are also expected if the system attains tropical-storm strength. Exposed windward locations like coastal areas around and north of the center of the storm will be mostly likely to be impacted by destructive onshore winds. Should the storm remain stronger, these areas could also experience coastal flooding.
The complexity of the weather pattern over North America and the Gulf of Mexico means the final track of this tropical system late on Friday through the weekend is still somewhat uncertain.
A dip in the jet stream that is forecast to extend into the Gulf of Mexico may help steer the system Friday and through the weekend.
If the jet stream pulls this tropical feature northward enough, its torrential downpours and gusty thunderstorms could be pulled through Belize the Yucatan Peninsula before re-emerging over water in the Gulf of Mexico. This trajectory could even bring the tropical system toward northeastern Mexico and the western Gulf Coast of the U.S.
If the storm strengthens more quickly, and the dip in the jet stream is not as extreme, the tropical system may just continue to move westward and dissipate over the mountainous terrain or reach the waters of the East Pacific Ocean.
As a result, all interests from Honduras, Belize, Mexico and the southern U.S. should monitor tropical activity currently over the Atlantic basin.
In addition to this tropical system, another area east of the Leeward Islands is churning through another favorable location for tropical development that could threaten the eastern Caribbean and eastern U.S. into next week.
„The lid could soon come off the Atlantic basin with the potential for multiple named systems spinning at the same time, including multiple threats to lives and property at the same time from the Caribbean to North America,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
Due to 2020s record pace and upcoming conditions expected in the basin, AccuWeather meteorologists upped their forecast for the number of tropical storms in late July, with up to 24 now predicted and up to 11 hurricanes projected for the season.
Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.
Hurricane Genevieve weakened Wednesday to a Category 1 storm off Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, US forecasters said, after bringing rain and high waves to the country’s northwest coast.
On Tuesday two people, including a lifeguard, drowned in the resort of Los Cabos after a teenager ignored warning flags and was swept away, Mexican authorities said.
The storm, which turned into a Category 4 on Tuesday, was expected to skirt Baja California without making landfall, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.
Genevieve’s maximum sustained winds had eased to 150 kilometers (90 miles) per hour, it said, downgrading it to the weakest of five categories on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
But strong winds, heavy rains and „life-threatening flooding” were still a danger, the center warned.
The storm, located about 170 kilometers from Baja California’s southern tip, was expected to pass just west of the peninsula while gradually weakening, it said.
South Florida’s traditional afternoon summer thunderstorms stirred up something massive in Miami on Wednesday.
The National Weather Service preliminarily classified a giant white funnel that formed near Sunny Isles Beach and Golden Beach as a waterspout, but later confirmed it moved on land, making it a tornado.
According to an NWS statement, the event lasted three minutes, from 1:20 p.m. to 1:23 p.m.
NWS Miami warning coordination meteorologist Robert Molleda said the NWS was waiting for information from the Golden Beach Police Department before deciding on whether to send a survey team out.
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Initial reports were that the tornado quickly dissipated as it reached the shore and no injuries were reported.
„Damage consisted primarily of numerous broken/snapped tree branches, including to a large Sea Grape tree, a couple of newly-planted trees toppled, several damaged/twisted metal gates, and tossed lawn/patio furniture,” NWS Miami wrote in statement.
The weather service added, „Some of the debris ended up in the adjacent Atlantic Ocean. Most of the damage was confined to ocean-facing homes and properties. One home had water blown in through a set of sliding glass doors due to the force of the wind.”
According to NWS Miami’s statement, estimated peak winds for the weather event were between 80 mph and 85 mph, making it an EF-0 twister.
„This damage is mainly consistent with EF-0 intensity, although one or two spots could have experienced winds close to the EF-1 threshold,” according to NWS Miami.
The waters surrounding Florida provide warmth and moisture for growing clouds that can spawn waterspouts, according to a 2015 story from the Palm Beach Post, part of the USA TODAY Network. .
Often, the clouds that form them are not thunderstorms. In fact, it doesn’t have to be raining for a waterspout to develop, and they can occur while skies are partly sunny, Barry Baxter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami, said Tuesday.
Waterspouts are caused by a convergence of very light winds — a land breeze and an ocean breeze, 5 knots or less from each direction.
When waterspouts form from storm clouds, those clouds can carry them onshore, at which point they are considered tornadoes. But they are usually much weaker, and of shorter duration, than a tornado that has formed over land. A typical waterspout is more stationary than a tornado, and lasts only about 5 to 10 minutes.
Follow Kimberly Miller on Twitter: @Kmillerweather
Contributing: Jordan Culver, USA TODAY.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: NWS: Miami waterspout moves inland, dissipates with no injuries