cliff top storm deposits

storm history

future storms

wave environment

wind extremes

"One of the most severe gales of wind known in the memory of the oldest in Shetland at this season of the year. The wind came out of the north north west and was of hurricane force. Five boats went with all hands that night, and over 30 men lost their lives. In Lerwick there was other chaos, boats dragging and driving everywhere, many being smashed to pieces on the shore. For 15 years afterwards folk still spoke of the Hungry Forties. Boats which had been hauled ashore in 1840 were never launched again, were left to moulder and rot on their shores"

Anon, quoted in Henderson (1980)

Video shot by Allen Fraser on 20 January 2005. Maximum wave height ~8 m after a night of up to Gale Force 10 winds. Not a really big blow.


Shetland storms

Storms on Shetland are severe. Strong winds may blow from any direction but gales from the west and south-west are dominant. December and January are the stormiest months, with c. 60 % of the highest wind speeds recorded in these months between 1931 and 1994 (Figure 3). Over this period, five storms were recorded at Lerwick in which gusts exceeded 90 knots (167 kph). Two of the most severe storms this century occurred in the early 1990ís. During the storm of 1/1/1992, at Lerwick the highest gust was 90 knots and the highest hourly mean wind speed was 66 knots. In the north of Shetland wind speeds were greater, with a gust of >240 kph recorded from a dial at Muckle Flugga lighthouse on the northern tip of Unst, an unofficial UK record. January 1993 was exceptionally stormy and included the Braer storm. Wind speeds at Lerwick during the storm of 17/1/1993 matched those of the Hogmanay 1992 storm. This was a very stormy month, with gales on 25 days. (Data from the former Meteorological Office at Sella Ness).