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January 11th / 12th 2005 Storm


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At the start of January 2005 we saw a very unsettled period of weather. But on 11th and 12th of January one of the worst wind storms to hit Scotland arrived and left it's mark to this day. I'm going to talk about it for those who are interested.

The Build Up

At 12pm on 10th January forecast models showed a well devloped low out in the middle of the Atlantic. It started to head North East towards the UK. Weather models were saying it would deepen a lot before it would arrive. On the evening of the 10th forecasts turned even more worrying as they said there is a chance of explosive deepening.


''By 9pm on the 10th the most intense upper forcing associated with the sharpening upper trough was about to engage the surface low with continued explosive cyclogenesis occuring over the extremely tight thermal gradient. The depression was thus expected to "bomb" over the following 30 hrs - and would be one of the strongest depressions to affect the UK for some considerable time.''

The GFS was doing well so far predicting wind speeds of 85mph with gusts over 105mph.

By 9am the low had reached Western Ireland and reports were coming in saying the pressure is 8mb lower than what all models had forecast before.

As time went on into the afternoon more worrying news came in with satelite images showing that the low was closer to Ireland and Scotland than what had been predicted. A ship report came in from Ireland saying it had recorded a mean wind speed of 75mph with gusts over 90mph. Also Belmullet recorded a gust of 94mph this was again a lot higher than predicted.


Pressure fell at buoy 62108 very fast 16mbs in 3 hours. In the afternoon the weather models now said it would reach 940mb later on and bring extremely bad winds to Northern Ireland and Western, Northern Scotland.

At 9pm on the 11th the pressure had reached just below 940mb. With stations nearby reporting around 944mb to 946mb. Around 10pm ''The depression had slowed as it extended upwards and now moved under its own momentum, as opposed to the jet driving it - which was about to move on.''


Through the night the severe storm moved over Northern Scotland and eventually started to ease off.

What Was The Outcome

North Rona a exposed island to the North of the Western isles recorded a mean wind speed of 100mph with gusts over 115mph. It recorded a top gust of 134mph which makes it a hurricane Catergory 3 force. It also makes it the 2nd highest low level gust ever recorded. However there is some debate over it because it's in such a exposed location.

Every weather station in the Western Isles recorded max gusts over 110mph. Sadly however Tiree's weather station was offline that day and Barra's local station cut off at 5pm before winds got very severe so we will never know what that area truely got. Cairngorm hit 139mph top gusts and Aanoch Mor recorded the highest gust of the storm with 142mph. Please note these two

locations are high level.

Damage was very bad across area's that were hit hard that night. Roofs damaged, tree's blown down, coastal flooding due to storm surge and lots of people without power.

The News Report

''Hurricane force winds which swept the Western Isles during the evening as the centre of the low (still falling at the time) passed

just to the North - caused a considerable amount of structural damage and flooding in the area as the tide surged inland. Tragically a family of five lost their lives in the storm as they attempted to escape from rising floodwaters at their home on Benbecula - the car in which they were travelling was washed into the sea by the tide and severe winds.

Much of Scotland was affected by the storm – roads were blocked, main bridges closed, ferry services and rail operations abandoned. Over 60,000 were left without power as trees and power lines lay strewn across the countryside in the storms wake. During the afternoon a driver was killed after a lorry blown over the A1 near Burnmouth crushed their car, many were evacuated from their homes as 4ft flood waters engulfed parts of Oban, a Spanish fishing boat which went missing off the Hebrides was rescued by the RAF – all 19 passengers safe. Further flooding also occurred in the Western and Northern Isles – particularly badly affected was Ronaldsay in Orkney where it was estimated to be the worst flooding for 20 years.''

My Own Personal Experience

At the time I was still at school and had heard nothing of this storm. At lunch time on the 11th our school closed and we were told not to come in tomorrow. This is something that has never happend before or since. At lunch time when I went home it was very windy all ready you could hardly walk and it was hard to think the worse was still yet to come.

That evening the power went and the noise of the wind was something I have never heard it sounded like a constant high gust. I lived in a old big house at the time it had old windows and fireplaces. The fireplaces where making big gushing noises. The walls that are 3ft thick were shaking and so was the floor. The windows were shaking and when a gust came you could see them bend slightly.

By around 10pm the wind had stopped increasing and became steady before dropping down through the night. That morning I was eager to know the news and damage that had been done. I went out and to my amazement we only lost 4 tiles on our roof that was it. The old 1910's house survived. However not everyone was lucky. Someone's house was severely damaged and a house that no one lived in at the time had been destoryed. Many old houses that are part of the islands history were left destoryed. Old barns collapsed and a bit of road was sweep away. I went to the beach that day and it wasn't there the sea had come right up and had done severe coastal erosion something to this day our Island is just getting back to normal with. I heard later on that many boats had sank over night and that many farm animals had died. Our local pier was damaged and a tea room on the North side of the Island got sweeped away into the sea.

The good news is because our community is small everyone worked together and supported each other and within weeks damage had been repaired. Our council worked extremely fast to get things back to normal by fixing the roads the day after the storm and also repairing the pier that day. Power was restored that afternoon. Today there is a new tea room it's bigger and has huge rocks around it to stop waves reaching it.

To this day it's hard for anyone new to the island to see any damage as the beaches are back to normal and all damage is repaired. But if you look closely at houses you will see new tiles on parts of the roofs and ask anyone about it they will tell you.

Since then we have become more prepared if this was to happen again we now have 4 weather stations on the Island (me owning 2 of them). Our council have made new rules to stop coastal erosion for a time no one was allowed on beaches not even animals. The islanders fear that if a storm like that was to happen again it would destroy a island to the south of us. But at the moment the island is being treated well with coastal erosion. At least we took action straight away.

If anyone has their own experience or any information please feel free to add it in.

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  • Location: Leeds/Bradford border, 185 metres above sea level, around 600 feet
  • Location: Leeds/Bradford border, 185 metres above sea level, around 600 feet

I remember it well on the forum, very much observed and what an exceptional storm it was.

I seem to recall that there were two in succession actually?

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  • Location: Stoke-On-Trent (178m ASL)
  • Location: Stoke-On-Trent (178m ASL)

Thanks for sharing, i do rememeber this, was all over the news too.

Here are the charts for that day...



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  • Location: Wildwood, Stafford 104m asl
  • Weather Preferences: obviously snow!
  • Location: Wildwood, Stafford 104m asl

not the sort of weather I want in winter, dont remember it really anyway, does look very snowy for the northern half of the UK, but very unexciting down here

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  • 8 years later...

I was just over a month shy of my 5th birthday at the time. We lived in Garrabost in Lewis at the time and my mother was caught in the town across the braighe causeway and we couldn't get to her, despite my fathers attempts. Our house was a mid 20th century sort of cottage and I remember the draft rattled all the doors. The dry stone wall in the back garden was torn down and trees were ripped from their roots.  Our primary school was damaged by debris and fallen trees and you can still see some of those fallen trees in the castle grounds. A family lost their lives in that storm attempting to cross a land bridge. Their youngest child would have been in my year at the same secondary school.  

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