When someone tries to tell you hurricanes never reach the British Isles just remind them of Debbie and Faith

When someone tries to tell you that hurricanes never reach the British Isles just remind them of hurricane Debbie in 1961 and hurricane Faith in 1966. They can reach this far north under very special circumstances, but most of your TV weather presenters wouldn’t know that or have even heard of them. As you can see from the chart of tropical cyclone tracks the eastern Atlantic has been a rich graveyard for tropical cyclones over the years, and the HURDAT2 database has 6 hourly positions for them since 1851. Obviously those before the advent of weather satellites involved a lot of guesswork but since the late 1950’s that have become very well documented.

Raw data courtesy of NHC/NOAA (fig 1)

If they say where’s your evidence? Point them at this snippet of text (fig 2) that I’ve taken from the HURDAT2 data file. The data file is free to download from the NHC archive at NOAA.

Courtesy of NHC/NOAA (fig 2)

Hurricane Debbie caused widespread damage and disruption when it a brief landfall at Belmullet in northwest Ireland on the 16th of September 1961. There is an interesting account of hurricane Debbie that you can find here.

Hurricane Faith made it even further north to the Faroe Islands as a category 1 hurricane in 1966. Here’s what the Wikipedia article says about it:

After remaining a Category 2 hurricane since August 29, Faith weakened slightly to a Category 1 hurricane early on September 6, as it neared the Faroe Islands. Crossing the North Sea, Faith finally transitioned into an extratropical storm at 1200 UTC later that day, while centered about 125 miles (200 km) east-northeast of Tórshavn. The extratropical remnants of Faith headed eastward and affected Norway with winds as high as 60 mph (95 km/h). Tracking over Scandinavia, the extratropical storm weakened to the equivalent of a tropical depression before entering the Soviet Union (present day Russia). Eventually, the storm degenerated into an extratropical low pressure area, curved northward, and retained its identity until September 15, when it was over Franz Josef Land, which is roughly 600 miles


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