Storm Dennis has exploded into a bomb cyclone as meteorologists dub it one of the worst North Atlantic storms ever recorded.
No fewer than 40,000 passengers have been affected so far as budget airline EasyJet cancels 234 flights from, to and within the UK as the fourth named storm of the year fourth named storm of the year brings 70mph winds and 100mm of rainfall in some areas from Saturday morning.
This will come as a second blow to flood-ravaged communities still recovering from damage caused by heavy rainfall and 80mph winds brought by Storm Ciara last week.
The last storm – likely the biggest in the century – claimed three victims after a falling tree killed a 58-year-old Mercedes driver, a 77-year-old man fell over and banged his head on ice and a falling branch killed a dog walker in his sixties.
And now, 1,200-mile wide ‘Dennis the Menace’ is to cause mayhem for towns in Yorkshire’s Calder Valley, which was inundated with floodwater when Storm Ciara raged.
Storm Dennis has exploded into a bomb cyclone as meteorologists dub it one of the worst North Atlantic storms ever recorded. Yesterday in Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire, officials were seen desperately trying to prepare for Storm Dennis by using sandbags as flood defences
Workers in the Calder Valley towns of West Yorkshire (pictured today) are already trying to recover from the devastating effects of Storm Ciara, but are using sandbags to prevent further damage to the area with Storm Dennis looming tomorrow
The 1,200-mile wide storm will bring mayhem for towns in Yorkshire’s Calder Valley, which was inundated with floodwater on Sunday
Local authorities are quickly trying to construct flood defences so the Calder Valley towns of Mytholmroyd and Sowerby Bridge don’t suffer any further flood damage
What are ‘bomb cyclones’ and how do they happen?
A ‘bomb cyclone’ – also known as explosive cyclogenesis or a weather bomb – is caused by a steep drop in air pressure within a storm.
It usually creates winds of 74-95mph.
For a bomb cyclone to begin, air pressure must drop by 24 millibars within 24 hours – which means a rapid shift from good weather to bad.
This process is sometimes called ‘bombogenesis’ or ‘weather bomb’.
The phenomenon got its name due to the dramatic drop in pressure being similar to a bomb exploding.
It all starts with a cyclone, a rising column of air that spins around.
A vacuum effect is created when the air gets higher, causing the pressure to drop.
The Environmental Agency have warned that due to the water-soaked ground left over by Storm Ciara, the latest flooding is expected to be worse what has been seen so far, the BBC reports.
Storm Dennis became a ‘bomb cyclone’ on Thursday, when air pressure dropped by 24 millibars within 24 hours.
Remarkably, this is over two times the drop necessary to give the phenomenon its extreme name.
Met Office meteorologist Greg Dewhurst told Glasgow Live: ‘On a slightly more technical definition, it’s called rapid cyclogenesis. It’s a low pressure system which drops 24 milibars in 24 hours or more.
‘An easier way to think of it is, it’s a low pressure weather system that drops really quickly.’
British Airways has cancelled around 20 to 30 flights due to the storm.
While Iceland, will feel the brunt of the storm – that could potentially be one of the worst North Atlantic storms on record – the UK will be lashed by high winds and intense rainfall.
Meteorologist Tony Zartman told Accuweather: ‘The highest rainfall totals will likely concentrate across Scotland, Wales, Denmark and Norway, which is typical with a windstorm taking this track.’
The Met Office raised the alert to amber for Dartmoor and south Devon, most of Wales, the Pennines and large swathes of Yorkshire – where up to 5.5 inches of rain is expected to fall.
Flood-hit towns across the Calder Valley (Mytholmroyd pictured today) are loading up on sandbags as Storm Dennis threatens to batter Britain with even more rain and winds of up to 80 miles an hour tomorrow – just six days after Storm Ciara
The amber warning area includes towns in West Yorkshire where hundreds of homes were flooded after Storm Ciara brought more than a month’s rain last weekend.
In York, where the Ouse peaked at more than 14ft on Tuesday, river levels remained high at nearly 11ft yesterday.
‘Homes and businesses are likely to be flooded.
‘Fast-flowing or deep flood water is likely, causing danger to life,’ the Met Office said.
Hunt is on for loveable British bulldog Jay who leapt into a river and was swept away as Storm Dennis moves in
A hunt was on today for a loveable British bulldog named Jay after he jumped into a flood-swollen river and was swept away.
His distraught owner called Dorset Police who appealed to members of the public to look out for Jay after he vanished downstream.
Though bulldogs are powerful swimmers, the torrent was too strong and he was carried out of sight down the River Frome, which was in full spate following this week’s torrential rain and storms.
Jay playfully jumped into the river in the village of Frampton, near Dorchester.
The owner tried to rescue him but the river was flowing too fast.
A search was made of the area, with help from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, and further towards Dorchester but Jay has not yet been located.
‘As the river was running very fast, he may be located well away from the initial entry point’ said Dorset Police today.
Storm Dennis is likely to cause gusts of up to 50mph around the country until midday tomorrow, rising to 70mph in southern and western coastal areas.
But last night rail firms had not warned passengers not to travel – unlike during Storm Ciara, which brought gales of up to 97mph.
The amber warning is in place from noon today until 3pm tomorrow and a wider yellow weather warning for heavy rain is in place until 9pm.
This covers southern England, the North West, Wales, Cumbria and the Pennines, with up to two inches of rain forecast.
Storm Dennis will also bring mild temperatures of up to 14C (57F) in southern England this weekend, before returning to cold and blustery weather next week.
Steven Willington, of the Met Office, said: ‘There is a risk of significant impacts from flooding, including damage to property and danger to life from fast flowing floodwater.’
Green Flag are expecting a staggering 55,000 callouts over the weekend and 223,800 breakdowns over the half-term period.
A spokesman for British Airways said: ‘The majority of our flights are planned to operate as planned, but, like all airlines flying to and from the UK today, we are experiencing some disruption due to the stormy weather conditions.
‘We are merging a small number of Heathrow short-haul flights to the same destination and using larger aircraft where possible to minimise disruption.
‘Customers can check ba.com for the latest flight information.’
A spokeswoman for easyJet, which has confirmed 234 cancellations, said: ‘Due to forecasted adverse weather conditions caused by Storm Dennis, easyJet, like other airlines, is currently seeing disruption to its flight programme for Saturday February 15th.
Storm Dennis is likely to cause gusts of up to 50mph around the country until midday tomorrow, rising to 70mph in southern and western coastal areas
Motorsport fans devastated after iconic ‘monster’ tree loses its arms in high winds
Motorsport fans were left devastated after their scary ‘Yah-boo!’ tree with eerily-shaped boughs making it look like a ghoulish monster lost its ‘arms’ amid high winds brought by storm Ciara.
The tree was a legendary landmark at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk thanks to its unusual branches and had been captured in countless photographs during races at the historic track across decades.
Snetterton racecourse took to Facebook to inform fans of the news.
In a statement the racetrack said: ‘The UK motorsport scene is in shock this week following the silhouette-shattering alterations suffered by Snetterton circuit’s iconic scary tree.
‘Following years of poor health, the tree’s once mighty arms were already beginning to suffer a little before the high winds of Storm Ciara brought them crashing down to the ground on Sunday 9 February.
‘It remains rooted to the outside of the circuit at the Wilson hairpin close to the A11 trunk road, but the plant formerly known as ‘scary’ will henceforth be known just as ‘tree’.’
Snetterton’s circuit manager Jamie Hopper said he was speechless when he heard the news and the track’s chief executive had flown in by helicopter to decide the tree’s fate.
Snetterton’s 2020 motor racing season starts with this weekend’s Snetterton Stages rally on Saturday, February 15.
‘We are doing everything possible to minimise the impact of the disruption for our customers and to arrange alternative travel.
‘Customers on cancelled flights have been given the option of transferring their flight free of charge or receiving a refund. We will also provide hotel rooms and meals for customers who require them.
‘We recommend customers travelling to and from UK today, February 15th, to check the status of their flight and gate information on easyJet’s Flight Tracker for latest travel updates.
‘Whilst this is outside of our control, we would like to apologise to passengers for any inconvenience experienced as a result of the weather.
‘The safety and welfare of our passengers and crew is easyJet’s highest priority.’
Yesterday in Mytholmroyd, officials were seen desperately trying to prepare for the storm by using constructing flood defences made of sandbags to prevent further damage.
The Environment Agency said the flood impact from the weather system is likely to be worse than last weekend’s Storm Ciara due to rain falling on already saturated ground.
John Curtin, the agency’s executive director of flood and coastal risk management, said Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire were the areas he was most ‘concerned’ about.
‘This [storm] could be a step up from what we have seen before,’ Mr Curtin said.
‘We had a big storm last weekend, [we now have] saturated catchments, snowmelt and rainfall, so it is a perfect storm.’
The Met Office raised the alert to amber for Saturday (left) and Sunday (right) across Dartmoor and south Devon, most of Wales, the Pennines and large swathes of Yorkshire – where up to 5.5 inches of rain is expected to fall
Pet owners warned to keep dogs inside as Storm Dennis hits
Pet owners should keep their dogs safely indoors ahead of Storm Dennis as 70mph winds and 100mm of rainfall is set to batter the country.
Veterinary surgeon at animal welfare charity Dogs Trust Catherine Dobbie told The Sun: ‘Extreme weather and thunderstorms can be distressing for dogs.
‘If you are worried about the weather, keep your dogs indoors as much as possible.’
The charity also warned dog owners to keep their pets out of potentially-contaminated floodwater and away from grit that can damage their paws.
Rail travel is also set to be disrupted as lines including East Midlands Railway, Gatwick Express, Grand Central, Great Northern, Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, Heathrow Express and Hull Trains all affected.
This afternoon’s meeting at Wincanton has been abandoned with the situation monitored on an ongoing basis at Haydock, Lingfield and Ascot.
Inspections were called at the four meetings in anticipation of Storm Dennis hitting the country.
Rain is forecast almost everywhere on top of already saturated ground which is still recovering from Storm Ciara.
It was all too much for Wincanton, unfortunately, which had been due to stage the Betway Kingway Hurdle, one of the feature races of the season at the track.
Just after 8am Wincanton’s Twitter feed posted: ‘Racing has been abandoned. Wind gusts have reached upwards of 30mph and are predicted to rise. The back straight is waterlogged, unraceable ground and will not withstand further rainfall predicted.’
Ascot, Haydock and Lingfield were all given the green light from their early morning inspections, however, the situation at all three could change as the day progresses.