Storm Ciara Causes Power Cuts Affecting More Than 770,000 People

Storm Ciara causes travel chaos and leaves large parts of England and Wales without electricity.

Some areas of Britain saw a month and a half’s rainfall in less than a day, leading to widespread flooding. Others experienced blizzards of up to 20 cm of snow, while winds of more than 90 mph tore across the country on Sunday 9 February.

Storm Ciara’s strongest winds of 97 mph were recorded on the Isle of Wight. The coastal village of Aberdaron on the Llyn Peninsula, West Wales, was battered with 93 mph gusts.

The storm struck inland too, with Manchester Airport recording winds of 86 mph.

Honister Pass was soaked with 178 mm of rain, one and a half times the average rainfall for the whole of February (112 mm).

Unsurprisingly, there were more than 200 flood warnings across England. The River Irwell burst its banks in Greater Manchester, while other areas hit by flooding included Appleby-in-Westmorland in Cumbria, and Blackpool, Rossendale, Longton and Whalley in Lancashire.

Even though Storm Ciara moved away on Sunday evening, Met Office weather warnings for strong winds and heavy snow were in place for large parts of the UK throughout Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 February.

“While Storm Ciara is clearing away, that doesn’t mean we’re entering a quieter period of weather. It’s going to stay very unsettled.

“We have got colder air coming through the UK and will be feeling a real drop in temperatures, with an increased risk of snow in northern parts of the UK and likely in Scotland.

“There could be up to 20 cm on Monday and Tuesday and with strong winds, blizzards aren’t out of the question.”

– Alex Burkhill, Met Office meteorologist

Storm Ciara Causes Widespread Power Cuts

According to industry body the Energy Networks Association (ENA), Storm Ciara and its aftermath led to 771,000 customers experiencing a power cut.

On the Sunday, 539,000 people were hit with 118,000 still without electricity by 4 pm. Engineers braved the treacherous conditions to carry out the necessary repairs, but more than 20,000 homes had to spend the night without electricity.

The majority of these (18,500) were in the east and south-east of England, the area covered by Distribution Network Operator (DNO) UK Power Networks.

The DNO mobilised more than 1,200 field staff and engineers to restore supplies “as quickly as is safely possible”. By the evening of Monday 10 February supplies were restored to 99% of the 353,000 affected homes and businesses in the region, leaving 2,100 properties still without power.

UK Power Networks also deployed a fleet of support vans providing customers affected by the power cuts with hot drinks and snacks, as well as access to phone recharging points and Wi-Fi.

A further 2,800 customers covered by Western Power Distribution, the DNO for the Midlands, south-west of England and south Wales, were also left without electricity overnight.

By 4 pm on Monday 10 February, engineers had restored supplies to 174,000 customers, with a further 4,000 still offline.

In North Wales, SP Energy Networks revealed more than 24,000 customers experienced power cuts at the height of Storm Ciara.

“Storm Ciara brought winds gusting at speeds widely above 70 mph across our area, with gusts in excess of 90mph in coastal and mountainous areas.

“The high winds continued throughout the day yesterday, which created difficult conditions for our engineering teams in the field, who were working throughout the day and into the night to restore supplies to our customers.

“Despite these conditions, SP Energy Networks have restored 23,671 customers in North Wales since 6 pm on Saturday as a result of Storm Ciara.

“We have 84 customers in North Wales still off supply from yesterday, and we anticipate they will be restored this afternoon before 6 pm. The locations of these are scattered across Mid and North Wales.”

– Statement from ScottishPower, the owner of SP Energy Networks

Transport Network & Sports Events Blown Off Course

The widespread power outage, not to mention the flooding and damage caused by wind, had a devastating knock-on effect.

A 58-year-old man was killed after a tree fell on his car while driving on the A33 in Hampshire.

Many homes had to be evacuated, while flights, ferries and trains all experienced widespread cancellations and delays which dragged on into the start of the working week. Floods, fallen trees and debris closed many roads, particularly in rural areas.

Several sporting fixtures scheduled for the Sunday were cancelled for health and safety reasons, including the Premier League clash between Manchester City and West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium.

All fixtures in the Women’s Super League and the rugby league Super League were postponed, along with horse racing at Exeter, Southwell and Punchestown, plus the Women’s Six Nations rugby union match between Scotland and England.

UK’s History Of Power Problems Caused By Extreme Weather

Storm Ciara isn’t the first severe weather event to cause havoc with the UK’s power supplies. Learn more about the Great Storm of 1987 and the St Jude Storm of October 2013.

While the city of Lancaster found out what life without electricity was like when Storm Desmond struck in December 2015.

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