Met-11 Airmass RGB, 18 Feb 2022, 06:45 UTC

Storm Eunice

18 February 2022

Met-11 Airmass RGB, 18 Feb 2022, 06:45 UTC
Met-11 Airmass RGB, 18 Feb 2022, 06:45 UTC

Storm Eunice was a very severe Atlantic storm that hit parts of Western Europe on 18 February 2022.

Last Updated

04 March 2022

Published on

21 February 2022

By Ivan Smiljanic (CGI), Thomas August, Remko Scharroo, Mark Higgins (EUMETSAT), Vinca Rosmorduc (CLS)

On 17 February the Met Office issued a rare Red Alert warning (danger to life) for western coasts of South West England and Wales, later a similar warning was issues for part of South East England, including London. In Ireland Met Éireann also issued Red wind warning for southwestern areas.

Meteosat-11 water vapour image loop (Figure 1) follows the explosive cyclogenesis process of Storm Eunice. Along the jet axis, already in the early hours of 17 February, the first signs of tropopause folding and a cloud head formation starts to show just north of Azores. The initial low pressure centre starts to deepen, moving in a west-north-west direction along the elongated jet. This cyclone deepening is tightly related to further tropopause folding, manifested as a dry air intrusion at the higher levels of the troposphere (red shades in the water vapour imagery). The drier the upper troposphere, the stronger the cyclogenesis process.

Figure 1: Meteosat-11 water vapour, 17 February 00:00 UTC-18 February 10:00 UTC

Figure 2 shows is the Meteosat-11 WV6.2 with Metop-B ASCAT winds ovewrlaid, showingthe highest winds in the water around the UK.

Met-11 WV6.2 overlaid with Metop-B ASCAT winds
Figure 2: Meteosat-11 WV6.2 with Metop-B ASCAT winds overlaid, 18 February.

The True Colour RGB comparison (Suomi NPP VIIRS on 18 Feb at 11:55 UTC v Terra MODIS on 30 Jan at 11:15 UTC) shows much more pale blue shades of sea surface during the onset of high winds, due to enhanced reflection from the white caps and sea spray.

True Color RGB comparison

Terra MODIS True Color RGB compare1
compare2
 

Figure 3: SNPP VIIRS True Color RGB, 18 February 11:55 UTC (left) and Terra MODIS True Color RGB 30 January 11:15 UTC (right).

In continental Europe, where the storm was named Zeynep, Meteoalarm issued red warnings for part of the Netherlands and Germany (Figure 4).

Meteoalarm warnings for Storm Eunice
Figure 4: Meteoalarm warning, for 06:00 UTC on 18 February. Source: Meteoalarm

Maximum official recorded wind gusts in the UK

  • Needles, Isle of Wight - 122 mph
  • Mumbles Head, Swansea - 87 mph
  • Newquay, Cornwall - 82 mph
  • North Wyke, Devon - 82 mph
  • Isle of Portland, English Channel - 82 mph
  • Cork, Ireland - 81 mph
  • St Mary's Airport, Isles of Scilly - 79 mph
  • Pembrey Sands, Wales - 79 mph
  • Chivenor, Cornwall - 76 mph

Impacts

  • 16 deaths were reported in the Irish Republic, the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland.
  • Millions of properties and businesses were left without power.
  • Hundreds of trees and power cables were blown over.
  • Hundreds of properties were damaged, including the O2 Arena in London which lost part of the famous domed roof.
  • Heavy snow to parts of North East England and Scotland.
  • Widespread road and rail travel disruptions.
  • More than 400 flights cancelled or delayed.
  • Five major bridges closed.

Related content

Around 73,000 without power as Storm Eunice hits (RTE)
Storm Eunice: Record wind gust amid disruption (BBC News)
Storm Eunice in pictures (Sky News)
What is a sting jet? (Met Office)