Storm Desmond

5 - 6 December 2015 - Storm Desmond brought strong winds and heavy rainfall with the worst impacts in Cumbria.

Storm Desmond summary graphic

Storm Desmond

Storm Desmond was the fourth named storm of the season and brought severe gales with gusts up to 81 mph.  This was accompanied by record-breaking rainfall which brought flooding to areas across the north of England.

Honister Pass in Cumbria recorded 341.4 mm of rainfall in the 24-hours up to 1800 GMT on 5 December 2015 making a new UK record.

The same period of rainfall also set a new 48-hour record (from 0900 to 0900 hrs) with 405 mm rainfall recorded at Thirlmere in Cumbria in just 38 hours.

Gust speeds and rainfall totals

Storm Desmond - Maximum gust speeds (mph)
Site Name Area Max Gust (mph)
Capel Curig Gwynedd 81
Needles Old Battery Isle of Wight 78
High Bradfield South Yorkshire 77
Redesdale Camp Northumberland 73
Loftus Cleveland 70
Aberdaron Gwynedd 69
Charterhall Berwickshire 68
Valley Gwynedd 67
Storm Desmond - 48 hour rainfall totals
Site Name Area Rainfall Total mm
Thirlmere Cumbria 405
Shap Cumbria 262.6
Keswick Cumbria 178.4
Blencathra Cumbria 174.8
Capel Curig Gwynedd 170.6
Tyndrum Perthshire 141
Eskdalemuir Dumfriesshire 139.2
Bainbridge North Yorkshire 136
Cluanie Inn Ross & Cromarty 132.8

Impacts of Storm Desmond

The record-breaking rainfall associated with Storm Desmond caused severe disruption flooding 5,200 homes across Lancashire and Cumbria.

Several major roads across the north of England and Scotland were flooded and there was major disruption to rail services in the north of England while a landslide closed a section of the West Coast mainline between Preston and Carlisle.

43,000 homes across north-east England were left without power and on 5 December 61,000 homes in Lancaster lost power when the electrical substation was flooded.

Storm Desmond satellite imagery

Why are we naming storms?

'Name our storms' is a pilot project between the Met Office and Met √Čireann which aims to increase awareness of severe weather and ensure greater safety of the public.

Over the course of Autumn/Winter 2015 wind storms with the potential to affect the UK and/or Ireland will be given a name to help effective communication of the storm and its impacts.

Storm Abigail was the first named storm on 12 November 2015, and on 16 November, Storm Barney became the second.

UK Storm names 2015/16