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January 2005 - stormy spells

January 2005 was characterised by unsettled weather conditions with several wet and very windy days, particularly in the first half.

There were two particularly stormy spells - on the 7th/8th and 11th/12th - each resulting in widespread damage and disruption. Many wind speed records were set during the month.


January 7/8 - northern England took a battering, with transport and power supplies disrupted. Among the incidents reported were overturned lorries on the A1 in north Yorkshire and Northumberland and the M6 in Cumbria, and delays to train services on the east coast main line in north Yorkshire because of damage to overhead power lines. By late on the 7th 80,000 customers had lost power in NE England and 20,000 houses in Yorkshire and Humberside remained without electricity for most of the 8th. [BBC News link]Severe gales cause havoc on roads

There was also heavy rain across northern England on the 7th, bringing floods toFloods in Carlisle - January 2005.

January 11/12 - Scotland bore the brunt of the damage and disruption notably to transport with bridges closed, roads and rail lines blocked by fallen trees and ferry services suspended. In addition, water and power supplies were cut and some buildings damaged. A tragedy occurred when five members of the same family were drowned as they tried to drive across a causeway linking South Uist to Benbecula in the Western Isles [BBC News link] Community shock over storm deaths

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Weather data

January 7/8 - as a very deep depression (reaching 962 mb) tracked north-eastwards across southern Scotland, strong winds battered England and Wales particularly northern areas. Gusts in excess of 70 knots (81 mph) were recorded from the Isle of Man and north Wales across to the coast of north-east England. 88 knots (101 m.p.h.) was recorded at St Bees Head (Cumbria) and 89 knots (102 m.p.h.) at Aberdaron on the Lleyn peninsula (Gwynedd).

The synoptic chart at 0600 GMT on 8 January 2005


Map of highest gusts 7-8 January 2005


January 11/12 -  another very deep depression (944 mb) tracked north-eastwards but this time passing to the north of Scotland. Consequently Scotland experienced very strong winds with gusts over 60 kn (69 m.p.h.) widely and over 80 kn (92 m.p.h.) in the Northern and Western Isles. A speed of 92 knots (106 m.p.h.) was recorded at Barra and 88 knots (101 m.p.h.) at Stornoway.

The synoptic chart at 0000 GMT 12 January 2005


Map of highest gusts 11-12 January 2005


Extreme January 2005 winds
Station County Highest hourly
mean (knots)
Highest gust (knots) Date Comments #
Great Dun Fell (847 m) Cumbria 84 111 8th Highest hourly mean and highest gust 1994-2009. High level station
St Bees Head Cumbria 63 88 8th Highest hourly mean and gust 1993-2009
Stornoway Western Isles 59 88 11th Highest hourly mean and 2nd highest gust 1980-2009
Fair Isle Shetland 58 80 12th Highest hourly mean and 2nd highest gust 1998-2009
Point of Ayre Isle of Man 56 85 8th Highest hourly mean and highest gust 1980-2009
Ronaldsway Isle of Man 54 79 8th Highest hourly mean and highest gust 1980-2009
Barra Western Isles 52 92 11th Highest hourly mean and highest gust 1998-2007
Loftus Redcar and Cleveland 52 78 8th Highest gust and highest hourly mean 1997-2009
Leeming North Yorkshire 48 74 8th Joint highest gust and joint highest hourly mean 1974-2009
Killowen County Down 46 75 8th Highest gust and 2nd highest hourly mean 1998-2009
Dishforth North Yorkshire 44 71 8th Highest hourly mean 1980-2009
Orlock Head County Down 44 67 8th 3rd Highest hourly mean and joint 3rd highest gust 1994-2009
Lossiemouth Moray 43 76 11th Highest gust and 2nd highest hourly mean 1980-2009
South Uist Range Western Isles 42 64 11th Joint 8th highest gust and 11th highest hourly mean 1997-2009 (four days mssing Jan 2005)
Linton-on-Ouse North Yorkshire 41 69 8th 2nd Highest hourly mean and 2nd highest gust 1980-2009
Kinloss Moray 40 69 11th, 12th Joint 2nd highest gust and joint 5th highest hourly mean 1964-2009
Tain Range Highland 39 68 12th 4th Highest hourly mean  1992-2009
Aultbea Highland 36 57 11th Joint 5th highest hourly mean and joint 6th highest gust 1993-2009
Leconfield East Riding of Yorkshire 34 55 8th 2nd Highest hourly mean and 2nd highest gust 1980-2009
Glenanne County Armagh 31 61 8th Highest gust and 3rd highest hourly mean 1994-2009

# Dates show the period of digitised record available.

Additional Information

'When NWP met climatology: storms over the Isle of Man during January 2005'. A Hisscott. Weather, Vol. 62 Royal Meteorological Society, 2007

'The violent gale of 11-12 January 2005 in the north of Scotland'. P.R. Brown. Journal of Meteorology, Vol. 13, pp. 104-106 2005.

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