A powerful storm blasted Ireland and parts of the U.K. with strong winds and torrential rainfall — as much as 13 inches in a 24 hour period — over the weekend.
The storm, named Desmond by the U.K. Met Office, gained strength as it traversed the Atlantic Ocean, drawing a huge amount of moisture from the Caribbean. This “atmospheric river” was seen clearly on satellite images of precipitable water — something meteorologists use to determine how much moisture is available for a storm to convert into rain.
Storm Desmond wrung out this moisture over Ireland, northern England and Scotland. An incredible 13.44 inches of rain fell in 24 hours at Honister Pass in the Lake District. The total sets a new record for 24-hour rainfall at the location, says the U.K. Met Office. The previous record for 24-hour rainfall was 12.45 inches at Seathwaite, Cumbria, in November of 2009.
15.94 inches of rain fell at Thirlmere — also in the Lake District — in just 48 hours, which also set a new record for the 48-hour period. The previous 48-hour rainfall record was 15.57 inches, which was also set at Seathwaite in November 2009.
10.33 inches rained down in just 48 hours on Shap in the Cumbria region of northern England, says the U.K. Met Office. Around 7 inches of rain fell on Keswick and Blencathra, and around 5 inches fell across the inland areas of northern England.
The BBC reports that the worst flooding was seen in Cumbria and Lancashire in northwest England. More than 2,500 homes in Cumbria remain without power on Monday morning, and the Environment Agency is estimating that 5,200 homes have been affected by flooding.
Yellow warnings remain in effect in northern Ireland, northern England and southern Scotland for flooding.
Wind gusts in exposed areas of northern England peaked at 99 mph at Great Dun Fell, a 2,880-foot high hill in the Pennines. But severe wind gusts were recorded at lower elevations as well, according to the U.K. Met Office:
One happy donkey was rescued from high flood water on Sunday. Animal Heaven, an animal rescue organization in Kerry, Ireland, posted a notice to Facebook that their donkey had been lost to the flood, and a local man, Mike Fleming, came to help with his boat. Animal Heaven posted updates to Facebook as they rescued the poor donkey by lassoing him with a life preserver and pulling him to dry land. The donkey “struck a grin” for the cameras after his rescue.
The organization named the donkey Mike in honor of his rescuer, and they say that he (the donkey) is feeling “much better” now.