Monday 28th October 2013
So, how did the predicted "greatest storm since 1987" treat Penallt? All the forecasts had the village squarely in the middle of the red warning zone beforehand with the wind peak arriving at about 3 am on Monday 28th October, but we woke to find quite the reverse! The record shows a wind speed of around 2 km/h from 2 am to 4 am, just when the storm should have been at its fiercest, with a return to a more blustery 20+ km/h at about 6.30 am. As we now know, the worst of the storm was centred further south than predicted.
In fact, Sunday's "calm before the storm" turned out to be far windier, with a peak of 37 km/h being recorded (23 mph). Not at all damaging, and far from the 90 mph speeds being mentioned by the media. But, don't forget that these headline speeds only occur at extremely exposed spots such as headlands or mountain tops, and values in back gardens on the sheltered side of a hill will always be dramatically lower.
NB The highest wind speed recorded at the Penallt weather station is 45 km/h on April 29th 2012, so recent wind has not matched this record.
What of the rainfall? Was this unusual? The weather station recorded no rain at all for a period of 26 hours from 7am on Sunday, yet it definitely rained in this time! It turned out that a spider had taken refuge in the rain measuring mechanism and prevented it from working. A swift clear out solved the problem and now all is back to normal.
The hole in the records has now been filled thanks to the sharing of data from the Monmouth Weather Station at The Hendre which recorded 15.8 mm of rain in the missing hours.