Big storm heading for ctrl Europe

Feb 18, 2006
Bonn, Germany
While parts of the US got much snow and ice during the past few weeks, weather over here in Germany and much of ctrl Europe ist extremely mild since months. The first ten days of January had temperatures that normally occur in April or October. Most of the time, the synoptic wx pattern consists of a large area of low pressure in the northern Atlantic and highs around the Azores or the Mediterranean. That leads to swrly or wrly upper-level flow with rather warm conditions.

It´s also the classic positive NAO pattern which puts us in the path of major storm systems coming off the Atlantic basin and moving straight east or northeast.

This week, the biggest feature will be a very strong storm system that developed out of that deep trough and arctic air outbreak near Newfoundland the last two days. This system now rides eastbound on an extremely strong upper jet (up to 200kts @300 mb) and should develop into one of the heaviest extratropical storms in parts of wctrl and ctrl Europe at last since 2002. What is remarkable is that most of the better-known global models (GFS, ECMWF, UKMET, GME) have been simulating the jet and this storm consistently since last Friday with only minor fluctuations in track and intensity. 300 mb, Thu at 12Z

The windfields even in the layers near the sfc are incredibly strong, at 850 mb more than 75 to 80 kts should be possible for many parts of Germany tomorrow night. The lower levels around 925 mb don´t look much better with winds around 65 kts with even a "bullseye" with more than 75 kts over nern Germany. 850 mb, Fri at 00Z SFC fcst, Thu at 12Z

http:// SFC fcst, Fri at 00Z

The strongest gusts should occur with the passage of the systems cold front during the evening and overnight hours when mixing will be enhanced and when there´s even the chance for a few thunderstorms in a regime of very strong forcing and some low-level instability. The German weather service for instance has put out warnings for gusts around 120 km/h in low-lying areas and more than 140 km/h (even some spots with 180 km/h) in mountaineous areas. That is full hurricane force. The warning system here is a bit different from the NWS warning scheme, but at this time, ALL of Germany is under a "Vorwarnung", which is pretty much like a watch. This is a very rare occurence. The strongest windfields will spread over an area with more than 100 million inhabitants and the damage potential is pretty high. I´ll keep you updated.

Same storm is going to affect Estonia on Friday with wind gusts up to 27 meters per second. I have been tracking this cyclone using GFS model and during the past days, it has been just shifting its Friday's location only from Estonia to Latvia. You can call this indeed consistency, because Estonian and Latvia are small countries.
First I can confirm extremely warm autumn/winter period here in Slovenia too, autumn was probably the warmest on record and its the same in January, temps are 8-10 degrees warmer than normal, we also broke some monthly all time records and could get new ones in Friday.

I've been monitoring this upcoming extreme situation for central EU as well, its indeed pretty impressive how all model runs in the past few days had only minor changes in positioning this system track for tomorrow! I also planned a trip to Mt. Brocken in north-central Germany at 1142m asl but unfortunatelly work doesn't allow me to go tomorrow evening. I am used to experience these kinds of winds 150-180km/h few times per winter here (Bora) so I'd be interested in winds 200km/h+ with plessure :)

Its already pretty windy on Mt. Brocken, sustained winds around 110km/h and gusts reaching 150km/h in the last hours. Wind maps for 850hPa height there were forecasting around 100km/h sustained winds, so since Brocken is even few hundred metres lower, thats quite impressive for the beginning.

I venture to say that we should easily see gusts exceeding 200km/h tomorrow in afternoon and evening time! If I remember right, the highest wind speed ever recorded there was 263km/h back in November 1984 when was similar situation to this one, it looks even weaker than this one!

Current data from Mt. Brocken can be monitoring here:
Some other stations in Germany at 900-1000m heights are already reporting 100km/h gusts as well.

Here are some interesting maps:

We're expecting strong winds here too, most likely gusts up to 90km/h in the lower parts and around 120-140km/h in the higher mountains.
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Strongest extra-tropical storm since more than 7 years in Germany


as has been widely expected, the big storm system, named "Kyrill" by the University of Berlin, wreaked havoc in large parts of wrn and ctrl Europe. I don´t have much information or data from the UK, Poland or France, but in many parts of Germany, this storm has been the strongest since at least 1999, when a much smaller but also stronger storm struck swrn and srn Germany. But this time, nearly every portion of the country got hurricane force wind gusts at least once in a Thu, 12Z to Fri 12Z timeframe. More than 40 people died in this storm over a total area from approximately ern UK eastward towards Poland and Austria. The total damage/loss is estimated to be around 1 billion Euros!

In the greater Munich area, where I live, sustained winds reached a rare 80 km/h in the late evening, with gusts up to 119 km/h and up to 137 km/h east of here. Remember this is an area far away from the sea and gusts of more than 120 km/h are rarely measured except for severe thunderstorms in summer. Parts of north and east Germany not only had the strongest synoptic-scale wind field, but were also hammered with severe convection along a very dynamic cold front. There are reports of several bow echoes and even tornadoes which caused significant damage in some cities and towns of ern Germany. There has been at least scattered damage to trees and roofs all over the country as is the case in my neighborhood and in the surrounding towns. But the heaviest damage has probably been caused by these bows and embedded mesocyclones which caused several downbursts. Some parts of Germany lost power for minutes or even for hours and for the first time since WW2, the whole railroad network had to be shut down because of trees or power poles blocking the lines. I´ll be posting more information as I have more time. For now, check out these links to damage pics from Germany.,5538,18721,00.html

This storm caused quite a bit of damage here in the UK - widespread gusts inland of 70-80mph, and up to 99mph along the south coast. A lot of the strongest winds were just behind the (weak) cold front, with a dry intrusion aloft, and downward penetration of the jet stream. The fencing in our back garden in Reading was blown down. The gusts were were very high, especially compared to the general mean wind speeds. At times, the gust ratio was around 2.5. I could hear the gusts approaching - there would then be a period of around 10 second of intense wind, then around 30-40 seconds of lighter winds. This continued from around 11am to 3pm local time. Over 10 people were killed here in the UK by the storms.