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Clearly once of the main effects of the arrival of the tail-end of hurricanes and tropical storms is severe winds, both in terms of gusts and sustained winds and this is one of the principal agents of damage associated with these events. Typical maximum recorded wind speeds on land from Western Europe for the events in this survey vary from 70km/h gusts all the way up to nearly 200km/h gusts with values in excess of 100km/h not being uncommon. The highest recorded value of any of the events in this survey was from Hurricane Debbie in 1961. At Malin Head on the extreme NW tip of Ireland a gust of 182km/h was recorded. The next highest was at Fair Isle off Northern Scotland between the Orkneys and the Shetlands where Hurricane Flossie in 1978 produced a gust of 167km/h. Hurricane Lili in 1996 produced the next highest gust value of 148km/h and this was recorded at North Hessary Tor in Devon, England. More recently Hurricane Gordon in 2006 produced a gust of 130km/h at Truro in Cornwall, England and this was the next highest recorded value of the events in this survey. Five other events had maximum gust values in excess of 100km/h.

In terms of sustained winds the values are obviously lower than that of the gusts but equally important in terms of generating all sorts of damage from the coast moving inland. Unsurprisingly Hurricane Debbie in 1961 also generated the highest sustained values and from the work of MacClenahan et al. (2001) the detailed hourly wind values for Malin Head, NW Ireland can be outlined. Figure 1 shows the 10 minute mean values of sustained wind

Fig. 1. Sustained Winds Per Hour from Hurricane Debbie on the 16th of September 1961 at Malin Head, NW Ireland (after MacClenahan et al., 2001).


Fig. 1. Sustained Winds Per Hour from Hurricane Debbie on the 16th of September 1961 at Malin Head, NW Ireland (after MacClenahan et al., 2001).

speed as the hurricane travels offshore along the west coast of Ireland. Initially values at Malin Head were quite low and did not exceed 40km/h until 8am. At 9am at Valentia Observatory in the extreme SW of Ireland the hurricanes passing produced a maximum sustained wind speed of 107km/h but this was exceeded as the hurricane passed much closer to Malin Head later that day (Hickey, in press). From 10am onwards wind speeds rapidly rose at Malin Head and reached their maximum value at 2pm with a sustained value of 126km/h, an hour late the wind speed had barely dropped to 124km/jh, thereafter as the hurricane moved away the windspeeds started to decline but even at 4pm and 5pm the wind speed was above 100km per hour and at 6pmk the wind had just dropped below 100km/h, thereafter the wind speed dropped more rapidly and by midnight was hovering around 40km/h.

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