Two people were killed and hundreds of thousands were left without electricity after the January 21 power outage. Storm Isha has hit the UK coast. Heavy rainfall and gusty winds of up to 160 mph have paralyzed transportation in the Islands and triggered a wave of local flooding. Unfortunately, according to meteorologists’ forecasts, this is not the end of bad news for Britons.
Orange weather alert
As early as Friday, January 19, Britain’s national meteorological service, the Met Office, issued an announcement naming an approaching storm from over the Atlantic, predicting power outages and damage to buildings. The naming of forecast storms is intended to improve the disaster warning system. Isha is classified as a yellow and orange weather threat, covering Northern Ireland, central and southern Scotland, Wales, and the north and southwest of England.
Forecasts predicted winds of up to 130 km/h, but the reality surprised even meteorologists. As Arctic air over the UK was pushed out by a low over the Atlantic, gusts as high as 159km/h were recorded in the Northumberland region – the most violent in more than 10 years. The same atmospheric low last week brought heavy snowfall to the US.
Storm Isha takes its toll
The fallen trees caused the deaths of two men in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where the damage appeared to be greatest. Dozens of schools in both regions canceled classes Monday, and thousands of students stayed home. The storms snapped high-voltage lines, knocking out power to more than 53,000. households in Northern Ireland and an additional 30,000. In Scotland, Wales and England. In Ireland alone, Storm Isha cut off power supplies to 235,000. homes and businesses. Despite the services’ efforts, electricity will not be restored in some locations until Tuesday.
Yellow warnings for high winds were maintained until Monday noon. At the same time, a series of flood alerts were issued in Wales related to the expected flooding of the rivers Vyrnwy, Tanat, Dee, Wye, Severn and others. Local closures of lower roads are announced. Also, England’s Food and Drug Administration. The Environment Department has issued warnings for 30 locations where flooding is expected and a further 96 where it is possible. Real risk of river flooding was also found in 50 areas in Scotland and six in Wales.
Transport paralysis in the Islands
Storm Isha particularly affected air links over the UK. Hundreds of flights were canceled, and others had to be rerouted to inconvenient locations for passengers. The biggest surprise came for those traveling on EasyJet airlines from Edinburgh to Bristol. Due to the storm, the plane could not land at its planned destination, so it was diverted to Paris, where the Britons, who did not take their passports with them, were stranded in the terminal for the night.
Exceptionally strong winds also disrupted railroad operations. Overturned trees destroyed many sections of catenary wires and blocked the tracks. As a result, numerous services were suspended or delayed, and passengers were stranded at stations. Bad weather has also caused the cancellation of ferry trips and the closure of some road bridges.
Isha’s storm has a follow-up
Although the wind visibly eased on Monday afternoon, the Met Office does not have good news for Britons. After one calmer night than the Atlantic will bring another storm already named after Jocelyn. It will not be as strong as Isha, but it could cause further complications in the daily lives of UK citizens. On January 22 this year. The Met Office has issued an official orange alert for Tuesday and Wednesday for the northern regions of Scotland – local wind gusts of up to 130 km/h are expected there. The yellow wind warning covers most of the country, with the exception of southern England.
Recall that storm Henk swept through the British Isles in early January, the sad tally of which included one fatality, tens of thousands of households without electricity and hundreds of people evacuated due to flooding. Many lower-lying buildings have suffered flooding. Storm Jocelyn will thus be the third episode of strong winds and heavy rainfall in one month and the tenth such disaster in the UK since September 2023. The occurrence of extreme weather events appears to be intensifying in Europe as well.