Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

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Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by Johnny » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:34 pm

Although there is always a terrible side to any hurricane, Irish humour shines through in this Twitter thread:

https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ophelia?src ... k-41633276
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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by Johnny » Mon Oct 16, 2017 1:46 pm

A side affect of the storm is the colour of the sun today, the picture below was taken at 2:30 British Summer Time. The light in the sky has a strange hue about it and it reached 22c earlier today.

2017-10-16 Watford Weather 0077.jpg
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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by meteocaldas » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:22 pm

Thanks Johnny
Very interesting picture of the "smoked" sun in England (today we can't see the sun above the smoke clouds) and a very complete thread with many of the comments in Portuguese, and some real pics showing the horror of yesterday's huge fires in Portugal and Northern Spain, caused by Ophelia winds that forced a current of dry air from Africa and temperatures above 35C in middle October! Something we had never seen before! So far, more than 30 people died and the only hope is that at the end of the day, some rain will put an end to this tragedy, a side efect caused by Ophelia.

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Last edited by meteocaldas on Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by Johnny » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:37 pm

Hi meteocaldas,

That photo looks terrifying, I can't imagine seeing that from my window. Hope you get some rain soon soon to calm things down.
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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by John B » Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:37 am

My thoughts are with you, metocaldas, and all others affected by the fires - including the other incidents on the west coast of the U.S. of A. and in my own country. :(

I am an ex-member of our local Bushfire Brigades, now called the Rural Fire Service, and have fought fires as well as being a communication officer controlling those at the front and their support staff, all of whom are volunteers. It is not fun.

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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by karlsm » Tue Oct 17, 2017 3:49 pm

Ophelia was pretty intense here in Ireland yesterday. At one stage over 400,000 people without power and could take up to 7 days to fully restore everyone back on the grid. Unfortuanately 3 deaths occurred :(
Ireland not unaccustomed to these powerful systems but this was unique as the strongest hurricane (CAT3) this far east in the Atlantic basin just so happen to make landfall on the west coast of Ireland and affect the entire island as a powerful post tropical system. Wales and Scotland and parts of N England also affected.

Highest wind gust of 119mph just off the southwest coast at the Fastnet lighthouse and 97mph at Roches point in Co.Cork. Roches point had sustained winds of 69mph which is just under CAT1 strength. Most places along the south and west coast of Ireland had 80mph + gusts.
Such a mild Autumn here and trees are still in full leaf and so top heavy, lots of trees down and uprooted and structural damage is widespread.
The country was shut down for the day with schools and collages closed now for a second day.

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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by Johnny » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:23 pm

Hi karlsm, how are things in Ireland now, is everyone getting back to normal, schools, businesses, transport, shops and so on? How's the cleanup going across the country?

Hi meteocaldas, how are things now in parts of Portugal, are the fires dying down? I've been reading about terrible death toll from these fires.
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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by karlsm » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:35 pm

Hi Johnny, kids have gone back to school today but thousands still without power and water mainly in the southwest of the island. Thankfully our friends in the UK and France have helped our networks to get power back to some of the communities affected. Ireland, UK and France have a good agreement in place to help each other affected by powerful storms.

Unfortunately, we have another storm system approaching us for Friday into Saturday that is going to assist to bring down structures that have been weakened by Ophelia and will hamper the relief effort.
Karl.

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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by Johnny » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:00 pm

Hi Karl, well it's nice to know that we can help each other out when we get battered by the weather. I noticed a weather warning has popped up on my own site for strong winds for most of Saturday here, well I suppose it's to be expected in October.
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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by karlsm » Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:04 pm

Yes Johnny, its the beginning of the storm season now. 4 months to go

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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by meteocaldas » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:23 pm

John B wrote: Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:37 am My thoughts are with you, metocaldas...
Johnny wrote: Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:23 pm Hi meteocaldas, how are things now in parts of Portugal, are the fires dying down? I've been reading about terrible death toll from these fires.
Hi John B and Johnny.
These fires were something we have never seen before. Usual fire season goes from June to September and as far as I can remember in these forest fires, we only had brave fireman dying, caught in the middle of the fires, protecting the citizens and their properties.
This time everything was diferent, after 2 years of draught in the pine tree forests and mostly in the eucaliptus forest.
Fires begun in March with temperatures of 30C, exploded in June with temperatures of 45C and ended up last weekend with 36C, humidity lower than 20% and strong Ophelia winds higher than 60km/h.
The main fires progressed at incredible speeds around 15km/h, with so much dark smoke that it was impossible to have airplane aid. The main fire travelled more than 100km from its source!
Death toll in the 2 main fires this year was above 100, 80% of them while trying to escape by car, and beeing traped in the middle of the forest fires. The amazing thing is that most of them, would have survived if they stayed at home, cause the majority of their houses has not been damaged by the fire!
Death toll would have been much higher if it was not for the huge work of all those brave firemen like you John B. A very special thanks to all fireman all over the world.
Fortunatelly, yesterday and today it rained all over portugal, and the fires are gone, but the fire images will remain forever.
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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by Johnny » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:17 am

Wow meteocaldas, those pictures look like the end of the world - truly horrifying. It's good to hear that the rain has helped dampen it all down. I've since read that it was Ophelia that dragged up all that smoke from Portugal and coloured the skies over Britain (and maybe Ireland), it was like you'd put on sunglasses with yellow tinted lenses and the sun was pink.
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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by John B » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:19 am

Thanks for the information, meteocaldas - and those photographs.

Ooh! you just changed one. :)

Like you and Spain, plus various other parts of the world, fires here are the bane of, but not restricted to, summer. Unfortunately far too many of them are deliberately lit or because of sheer carelessness. No, my friend, I am not brave, of that I, and thus you, can be quite sure. :oops:

I feel for your people, meteocaldas, particularly those who died, were injured or are their relatives. This is an occasion on which the much overused word 'tragedy' is the one that fits.

Your comment on the eucalyptus interested me. Are they native to Portugal? Here we have many, many varieties of eucalypti and, along with various types of acacia, would probably make up the majority of our trees. Where I live I am surrounded by millions of them - so any fire around and about me is always of concern. For those who might read this and are unfamiliar with this type of tree, they are highly flammable as they contain naturally a form of oil. Depending upon temperature and other conditions that oil can burn fiercely or explode - the tree (and most of these are not small) disintegrates, literally, in a fireball.

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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by meteocaldas » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:04 pm

John B wrote: Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:19 am Your comment on the eucalyptus interested me. Are they native to Portugal? For those who might read this and are unfamiliar with this type of tree, they are highly flammable as they contain naturally a form of oil. Depending upon temperature and other conditions that oil can burn fiercely or explode - the tree (and most of these are not small) disintegrates, literally, in a fireball.
As a matter of fact and acording to Wikipedia, Eucalyptus is original from your continent, mainly from Australia. They don't make part of the "native" mediterranean vegetation, but Portugal and North Spain have a perfect climate/soil for them, so they were planted by millions and millions all over the non agricultural soil, because it grows up very fast (5-6 years), needs no special care and the profit is immediate, as the paper industry pays a good price for them.
This easy endless profit, (a cutted tree will generate a new adult tree in 6 years) is responsable for the uncontrolled growth of plantations.
Unfortunatelley, eucalyptus has 2 huge disadvantages: it destroys the soil and all the vegetation around and worst of all, as you said, it is perfect for great forest fires.
Peolple that witnessed these fires talk about great balls of fire traveling in the sky for 2 or 3 Km, crossing dams, rivers roads and empty spaces, making ignnitions for new fires, kilometers away from the original fire.
Fortunatelly, these great fires and their death toll will put an end to the uncontrolled eucalyptus plantation in Portugal and the new tree plantations to replace the burned ones, will return to the original mediterranean vegetation, that is much better for the soil and much less fire susceptible.
Just an image to show what happens when sevaral cars try to escape from fire and loose visibility due to heavy smoke, ending up with colisions and no possible escape. About 70 people died on the roads, and all experts say that most probably, they would have survived if they had stayed at home, taking the necessary precautions. As you can see they are surrounded by eucalyptus forest.
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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by Johnny » Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:48 pm

karlsm wrote: Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:35 pm Unfortunately, we have another storm system approaching us for Friday into Saturday that is going to assist to bring down structures that have been weakened by Ophelia and will hamper the relief effort.
Well Karl, looks like that storm you mentioned has now been given a name by Met Éireann called 'Brian', looks like Ireland will be taking the worst of it again.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41684485

Time to batten down the hatches.
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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by karlsm » Thu Oct 19, 2017 5:45 pm

Yes Johnny, it wll also be a long'ish event with strong winds for a 20hr period with again the southwest taking the brunt. 60 to 80mph gusts will bring down trees and some small structures. There are still communities without power since Monday and these are in the affected southwest too.

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Re: Hurricane Ophelia 16th October 2017

Post by Johnny » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:21 am

Storm Brian on it's way, picture from Windy.com

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