A tree brought down by Storm Ciaran overnight blocks the road at Castle Hill on November 2, 2023 in Falmouth, Cornwall, England. (Photo by Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)

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Storm Ciarán causes mayhem across Europe


The autumn holiday was marked by Storm Ciarán that ripped across parts of Europe on November 2 with wind speeds of up to 140 kilometres per hour.

The savage gales claimed the lives of several people on the Continent. In Italy, five people died, in Portugal, three and in Belgium two. Other countries also recorded some fatalities.

Weather watchers observe waves crashing against the harbour wall at Porthcawl seafront in the UK as Storm Ciarán arrives. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
A row of cottages had their roofs ripped off in St Martin, Jersey. (Photo by Christian Keenan/Getty Images)
Council workers inspect two trees brought down by Storm Ciarán at Falmouth Cemetery in Cornwall, England. (Photo by Hugh Hastings/Getty Images)

Ciarán Fearon, a public servant with Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure, was the inspiration behind the name Storm Ciarán. Keeping important information about river levels and coastal flooding readily available is his responsibility.

French President Emmanuel Macron meets members of the public during a visit after Storm Ciarán hit Daoulas, France. EPA-EFE/YOAN VALAT / POOL
A car damaged by a fallen tree in Kerlouan, in the Finistere department of Brittany, France. EPA-EFE/VINCENT FEURAY
Damage at a property near the sea in Kerlouan, in the Finistere department of Brittany. EPA-EFE/VINCENT FEURAY

A “bomb cyclone” such as Ciaràn is created when a strong low-pressure system is directed onto Europe by the Jet Stream.

The phenomenon is relatively rare but it is not unique. In the autumn period, major storms and gales can occur.

Dutch firefighters clear an uprooted tree at the Leyenburg shopping centre in The Hague, The Netherlands. EPA-EFE/SEM VAN DER WAL
Travellers wait in the departure hall as storm Ciarán disrupts rail travel in the South Station Brussels, Belgium. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER MATTHYS

The Dutch Championships Against Wind Cycling along the Oosterscheldekering storm surge barrier by the North Sea in Zeeland were postponed due to the storm. The municipality withdrew the permit at the eleventh hour.

Just over 300 people were due to take part in the 8.5 kilometre race across the Oosterschelde barrier against the wind.

It was to have been the eighth iteration of the NK Counterwind Cycling, which debuted in 2013.

The NK was previously cancelled early in 2020 due to Hurricane Ciara, which also produced excessive headwinds. It did not take place in 2017 or 2019 because conditions were not deemed stormy enough.

A sign at the UK’s Brighton beach warns walkers. EPA-EFE/ANDY RAIN
A car crushed by a fallen tree in Madrid, central Spain. EPA-EFE/RODRIGO JIMENEZ
A passer-by is hit by heavy gusts of wind at a street in downtown Madrid, Spain. EPA-EFE/JUAN CARLOS HIDALGO
A passer-by holds onto an umbrella in downtown Madrid. EPA-EFE/JUAN CARLOS HIDALGO
A person walks through the rubble in a building blown down by the wind in Cerecinos de Carrizal, Zamora province, central Spain. EPA-EFE/Mariam A. Montesinos