UK Braces for 60 kt Winds, 50 ft Waves

December 9th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

A strong low pressure “bomb” southeast of Greenland tracking eastward today will bring high winds and “phenomenal” waves to the west coast of the UK by Wednesday morning, with open-ocean winds exceeding 60 knots and wave heights as much as 50 feet or more.

The wave height field forecast for sunrise Wednesday shows what the Stornoway (Scotland) Coastguard is anticipating will be a “phenomenal” sea state (graphics courtesy of, click images for full-size):

Forecast wave height for Wednesday morning, Dec. 10, 2014.

Forecast wave height for Wednesday morning, Dec. 10, 2014.

The sea level pressure and wind patterns for the same time show the location of the low pressure and high near-surface winds:

Sea level pressure and near-surface wind speeds forecast for Wednesday morning, Dec. 10, 2014.

Sea level pressure and near-surface wind speeds forecast for Wednesday morning, Dec. 10, 2014.

Some schools near the northwest coasts have been closed tomorrow in anticipation of the storm.

29 Responses to “UK Braces for 60 kt Winds, 50 ft Waves”

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  1. jimc says:

    The Hebrides have always been notoriously wild (Mendelssohn, etc.). I think there have been (open ocean) 100 ft rouge waves in the Southern Sea though.

  2. CC Reader says:

    In 1966, I was in a submarine at a depth in excess of 400 ft. We took rolls in excess of 20 degrees on either side of zero. I had never experienced roughness like that before or since. I have spent a total of four years under water in many of this globes oceans and seas.. The weather report sounds pretty much the same now as the one I read after that cruise.

  3. stevek says:

    When largest cruise ship in world ( Oasis of Seas by royal carribean ) was crossing the Atlantic from Finland to her new home port in Florida she hit 60ft waves. I learned this the time I was on the ship for vacation and talking to some staff that had come across from Europe on that maiden voyage.

    I looked it up on internet and here is some info:

  4. Stephen Richards says:

    Please can we stop using these inane jargonese. Bomb and Polar Vortex.

    Where did this crap come from.

  5. Buy cheerio and thanks for all the snow.

    OK, it’s not quite that bad, the howling wind turned out to be the washing machine, I’ve tied the half dozen plastic bins that litter our drive together as I don’t fancy collecting them tomorrow from the end of the street.

    The tarpaulin has been taken in from the wood pile (don’t worry the wood burning stove isn’t to save CO2 – I’m just stingy).

    I’ve found the torches for the power cut, I’ve found my waterproofs and warm clothing for that 3am elbow in the ribs of “did you remember to tie down the …” (why is getting up at 3am in the wind, wet and cold a male thing?)

    Camera’s ready for the “And children won’t know what snow is blog picture …”

  6. jimc says:

    Good luck. Hope your stiff upper lip isn’t all due to wind chill.

  7. Anything is possible says:

    Welcome to the UK winter.

    Before the age of hype and hyperbole, this would have been described as “choppy seas and a stiff breeze.”

    • dave says:

      “Before the age of hype and hyperbole…”

      Just watched the Sky News for UK.

      Usual nonsense of reporters standing on a seawall, trying to pretend something is happening as their hair is ruffled.

      Best so far – from Blackpool promenade: “The Christmas lights in the streets are swaying in the wind!”

  8. Tru Ghost says:

    Is this storm gender sensitive???

    This, from Reuters, just appeared on Yahoo.

    Gender equality must guide 2015 climate deal, U.N. envoy says: TRFN

    Reuters By Megan Rowling

    I know, I am very concerned…

    • Aaron S says:

      This is amazing. Literally there is a list of liberal talking points that get voiced at any occasion. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Tim Wells says:

    The UK has more Tornadoes than the USA, many of them aren’t as powerful, but occasionally we get a powerful one that does similar destruction.

    • Aaron S says:

      Huh? More tornadoes than US? Please explain what you mean bc the data I can find says otherwise. For example:

      The US gets more tornadoes in a year than the UK does in a decade.

      • dave says:

        Also, according to Wikipedia:

        The USA has some 1,200 tornadoes a year and the UK 33.

        However, the USA is 30 times larger; and so the incidence by area is similar. Of course not all of the USA experiences them.

        As a matter of fact, I was once nearly killed by a destructive tornado – in England. It passed 100 yards from a trailer I was sleeping in; and had developed out of a mild wind, near the sea.

        There is a theory that the megalithic “avenues” leading to places such as Stonehenge represent memorials along the path of historic tornadoes. The people may have thought this was where the Sky God had chosen to impregnate the Earth.

  10. Thanks, Dr. Spencer.
    This looks like a cold winter is about to start in the northern hemisphere.
    There will be dark and stormy nights.

  11. Gordon Robertson says:

    Have read some interesting books on ocean travel, especially around Cape Horn. Huge waves are reported there regularly since the Atlantic, Pacific, and Antarctic ocean currents converge there.

    One book I read recently had a 37 foot yacht turned stern over bow by a huge wave that caught them from behind, lifting the stern high in the air and turning it over the bow. It ripped off the mast and left a 4 foot square hole in the deck. They managed to patch it and jury rigged a mast to get over to Chile.

    What I had not heard of till recently was the report of huge whirlpools in the ocean off the southeast coast of Africa, between Durban and Cape Agulhas. Apparently they are caused by cold ocean currents and winds coming from the south east Antarctic ocean and converging with the warmer Agulhas Current.

    At any rate, that part of the ocean is feared by the experienced sailor for sudden violent changes in the weather and ocean.

    Don’t know what to make of this article, whether the whirpool shown is actual or photoshopped.

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