Wild scene unfolds in streets after storm triggers flooding

Maura Kelly
·3 min read

Western Europe faced a one-two punch from a complex weather system that brought numerous storms into the region. As residents in Ireland dealt with areas of flooding on Tuesday, Storm Barbara was arriving in Spain.

The first storm arrived in western Europe on Monday, and while the storm did not strengthen enough to become a named windstorm, it still caused disruptions across parts of the British Isles on Tuesday morning.

Widespread rainfall amounts around 25 mm (1 inch) were reported across western and southern Ireland on Tuesday morning after areas of heavy rain moved across the area to start the week.

Cork, the second largest city in Ireland, was hit particularly hard. Nearly 25 mm (1 inch) of rain in under 24 hours, a strong southerly wind that pushed water inland and high tide occurring around rush hour led to travel disruptions across the city.

Beer kegs were even seen floating away as several inches of water inundated many of the city's streets.

Wind gusts reached as high as 86 km/h (53 mph) in Roches Point and Sherkin Island in Ireland. Cork recorded a wind gust of 76 km/h (46 mph).

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Areas of blustery rain are expected to linger across the British Isles into the middle of the week.

Another storm in the complex system bringing wet weather to much of western Europe this week was dubbed Storm Barbara by the Spanish Meteorology Agency.

As the storm approached the Iberian Peninsula on Tuesday, it spread drenching downpours across Portugal and western Spain.

Rainfall totals of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) were common in northern Portugal and northwestern Spain. As much as 195 mm (7.68 inches) of rain fell in Portalegre, Portugal within 24 hours.

Rain will be welcome across the parched region of southwestern Europe, where conditions have been abnormally dry so far this autumn. However, this amount of rainfall in a short period of time can lead to flash flooding and can increase the risk for mudslides.

Storm Barbara is forecast to bring locally heavy rainfall and similar wind gusts to southern locations in the British Isles as the storm races through the region on Wednesday before moving into Scandinavia.

This has prompted the UK Met Office to yellow warnings for rain across much of southern England, including London, Norwich and Brighton. This warning is in effect until Wednesday afternoon.

Wind gusts of 65-95 km/h (40-60 mph) are expected from northeast France to Belgium and the Netherlands on Wednesday as Barbara traverses the region. This can lead to localized property damage, downed trees and branches, power outages and areas of coastal flooding.

As the system that brought these storms into western Europe this week weakens and begins to move to the east, occasional showers will linger across the region.

But this isn't the end of unsettled weather across northwestern Europe. AccuWeather forecasters are already warning of the potential for a potent storm system to strengthen into a windstorm before impacting the British Isles this weekend.

AccuWeather's comprehensive 2020-2021 European winter forecast is set to publish on Wednesday.

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