5 crazy Irish storms from the past 50 years you might remember

Ireland is known for its poor weather, but there have been times when crazy Irish storms have reigned supreme and wreaked havoc across the Emerald Isle.

5 crazy Irish storms from the past 50 years you might remember

2020 has been a pretty stormy year in Ireland. So far, we’ve had Storm Dennis, Storm Ciara and Storm Jorge but hopefully things will brighten up for Spring and we’ll get a few more sunny days.

As such, Ireland is well known for its wet and rainy weather conditions and has been subject to quite a few storms throughout the years.

So here are five crazy Irish storms from the past 50 years you might remember:

5. Hurricane Charley (1986) – one of the most crazy Irish storms

Hurricane Charley (1986) – one of the most crazy Irish storms
Two firemen on the Ballsbridge Bridge, Dublin, during Hurricane Charley. Credit: photos.of.dublin / Instagram

One of the most crazy storms ever to hit Ireland was Hurricane Charley in August 1986. Charley brought heavy rainfall causing widespread flooding, destroying trees and power lines and causing rivers to break and flood across the UK and Ireland.

The hurricane was also responsible for at least 11 deaths and $9,279,000 was allocated to repairs following the aftermath of the storm. Winds reached 65.2mph and rainfall peaked at 280mm in Kippure, County Wicklow, which broke the country’s daily rainfall records and caused dangerous flooding which affected over 450 buildings.

4. Storm Desmond (2016) – memorable for a light-hearted reason

Storm Desmond (2016) – memorable for a light-hearted reason
Ballina in County Mayo during Storm Desmond. Credit: evabolton / Instagram

This storm isn’t memorable simply for its ferocity but rather, for a much more light-hearted and funny reason. Overnight, RTÉ reporter Teresa Mannion became an internet sensation for her coverage of the storm in Galway.

“Don’t make unnecessary journeys, don’t take risks on treacherous roads and don’t swim in the sea,” she exclaimed while being battered from all directions from the gale force winds and heavy rain.

Storm Desmond caused severe flooding across Ireland, as well as damage to buildings and travel disruptions. According to a Government report, 540 homes were flooded, as well as many businesses, and rainfall over the period was 189 per cent of the normal.

3. Storm Darwin (2014) – highest maximum wave height in Irish history

Storm Darwin (2014) – highest maximum wave height in Irish history
Cyclone Tini (as the European windstorm was called) over Ireland. Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

Storm Darwin hit Ireland on 12th February 2014 and was recorded at the time as the most damaging storm in the country’s history. Kinsale Energy Gas Platform recorded a maximum wave height of 25 metres (80 foot), the highest maximum wave height recorded in Irish coastal waters.

Shannon Airport recorded 100 mph winds and over 215,000 homes across the country lost power. There was extreme flooding along the coasts and around 7.5 million trees were blown down reaching between 5,000 and 7,000 hectares of forestry, about one per cent of the national total.

There was major damage to buildings across Ireland costing hundreds of millions of euros in repairs and there were at least five fatalities.

2. Hurricane Katia (2011) – havoc wreaked across Ireland

Hurricane Katia (2011) – havoc wreaked across Ireland
Credit: earthobservatory.nasa.gov

Hurricane Katia wreaked havoc across Ireland in September 2011. Hurricane-force winds and colossal waves caused transport chaos, damaged buildings and fallen trees. Met Eireann issued an extreme weather warning as winds were predicted to reach up to 80mph on the west and northwest coast of the country.

Due to the tail end of the category four hurricane that had hit the US earlier in the month, peak winds reached 71mph across the rest of Ireland causing major disruptions to transport. Train and bus routes had to be cancelled due to damaged power lines and fallen trees blocking roads.

1. Storm Ophelia (2017) – the worst storm to hit Ireland in 50 years

Storm Ophelia (2017) – the worst storm to hit Ireland in 50 years
The coast of Galway during Storm Ophelia. Credit: fabricomance / Instagram

When Storm Ophelia hit Ireland in 2017, it was declared the worst storm to hit the Ireland in over 50 years. In the time running up to it, Met Eireann issued a Status Red warning and predicted “danger to life and property” and told the public to expect the coming weather to be “stormy with violent, damaging gusts of 120 to 150 kilometres per hour.”

On 16 October, gusts of up to 191 km per hour were recorded at Fastnet Rock off the coast of County Cork, the highest wind speeds ever recorded in Ireland as well as ten-minute sustained wind speeds reaching 111km per hour at Roches Point. It is without doubt the most serve of the crazy Irish storms.

The Electric Supply Board (ESB) confirmed 360,000 people were without power in the Republic during the storm as well as 50,000 in Northern Ireland. Public services including transport were halted and many schools were closed.

The storm also resulted in a number of fatalities including a man in Dundalk and a woman in County Waterford, who were killed when falling trees landed on their cars. Another fatality occurred in County Tipperary when a man was clearing a fallen tree with a chainsaw.

Two men also died in separate incidents after suffering fatal injuries while carrying out repairs to damage caused by Ophelia. In Cork, a man died after falling while working on a shed roof, and another man in County Wicklow died after he fell from a ladder while completing repairs to his farm shed.

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