#Ophelia - With most of Ireland battening down the hatches for the second time in a week in preparation for Storm Brian’s arrival, the Marine Institute in Galway says it continues to gather and analyse data from Storm Ophelia.
Despite Galway escaping much of the worst of the wind damage associated with Monday’s storm, a short-lived but notable surge of 1.6m just after 3pm resulted in flooding in a number of well-known locations across the city.
Storm surges occur when strong winds ‘push’ water up against a coastline and low atmospheric pressure associated with a weather system such as Ophelia raise the sea surface further.
Surges in the sea level, measured by the Irish National Tide Gauge Network, were seen around the Irish coast. But the timing of the storm passing over Galway with its associated peak in wind speed coincided with the approach of high tide, resulting in flooding at the Docks, Spanish Arch and Salthill Promenade.
What was unusual was how quickly the surge dissipated, the Marine Institute adds, noting that the predicted high tide occurred just 30 minutes after the peak surge, but the surge itself had dropped by 1.25m to only 35cm in that time.
The unusual nature of the surge can most likely be explained by a rapid change in direction and speed of the wind field in Galway Bay but further investigation is required to understand the event fully.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Irish Marine Weather Buoy Network recorded a record sixty-foot wave off the South East Coast on Monday afternoon before the M5 buoy broke from its moorings.
Among those feeling the effects in the water was Dingle's resident dolphin Fungie, who was found to have a number of serious cuts on his body during the week – though as Buzz.ie reports, he's expected to make a full recovery.
Elsewhere, Michael Viney writes in The Irish Times how Storm Ophelia's advance on Ireland stumped a key resource for Ireland's big wave surfers – one of whom has defended his decision to ride the storm-powered swell off Killiney in Co Dublin to TheJournal.ie.