Northern Europe – Storm Eleanor Brings Strong Winds and Flooding

Storm Eleanor brought strong winds and storm surge to parts of northern Europe from 02 January 2018. The west of Ireland saw the worst of the flooding.

Two people died in Spain when they were swept away by a huge wave on the Basque coast, according to the BBC.

One person died and 22 others were inured by wind and storm damage in France. Fallen trees and wind damage left a further 4 people injured in UK .


Met Éireann issued a status orange wind warning for counties Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick from late Tuesday until Wednesday afternoon.

Met Éireann warned of extreme winds with stormy conditions in parts of the West, adding that “a combination of high tides and exceptionally high seas will result in coastal damage and further flooding.”

Wind speeds and maximum gusts of 139 km/h were recorded at Mace Head.

Over 50,000 homes and business were left without electricity, in particular in Mayo, Leitrim, Sligo, Galway, Cavan and Monaghan.


Storm force winds and a high tide caused flooding in parts of Galway city and Salthill.

Levels of the Corrib in Galway City (Wolfe Tone Bridge) reached a record high of 4.659 metres at 18:00 on 02 January. The previous record was 4.452 set in February 2014.

Levels of the Corrib in Galway City at Wolfe Tone Bridge. Image: Office of Public Works under CC BY 4.0

According to the Irish Times there was also flooding in Cork city centre, near Newport in county Mayo and on roads near Tralee, Kerry.

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United Kingdom

The UK’s Met Office said that winds of 100 mph (160km/h) were recorded at Great Dun Fell in Cumbria. At least four people were injured by fallen trees.

The strong winds combines with high tides threatened to flood coastal areas and at one point there were over 60 flood warnings across England. As of the afternoon 03 January this figure had fallen to 23.

A storm surge of around 1.5 metres was recorded at Heysham on Morecambe Bay, North West England, according to figures from the UK’s National Tidal and Sea Level Facility (NTSLF).

Heysham storm surge during Storm Eleanor. Image: NTSLF

Wave heights of 6 to 7 metres were reported at Perranporth on the north coast of Cornwall. A few miles along the coast the storm destroyed a seawall in Portreath, Cornwall.

Wave heights at Perranporth Cornwall during Storm Eleanor. Image: CEFAS

To protect London from tidal flooding the Thames Barrier was closed at 1215 on 03 January until later in the afternoon.

Channel Islands

Media in the UK reported flooding in parts of the Channel Islands, with “families at Rocquaine, in Guernsey, are trapped inside their homes due to high water levels from Storm Eleanor.”


In France Storm Eleanor brought down trees and left thousands of homes without power. Winds of up to 147km/h recorded in the Nord department.

According to a statement by France’s Ministry of Interior, firefighters had carried out 6,450 interventions in response to the storm.

The storm caused the death of a skier in Haute-Savoie who was hit by a falling tree. Twenty-six people were injured, at least 4 of them seriously.

At one point over 200,000 homes were without power. As of late 03 January, 35,000 homes were still without electricity.

The Ministry of Interior said that the risk of flooding remains significant on the Atlantic, English Channel and North Sea coasts, as well as in the Gironde estuary and in the Seine valley.

Update, 05 January 2017

A later statement by France’s Ministry of Interior confirmed that one person had died as a result of flooding in Isère, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in eastern France.  Another person died in an avalanche in Savoie.

The Ministry of Interior said that flooding affected areas in Nouvelle Aquitaine and Normandy, as well as Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.

By late 4 January, over 9,000 interventions had been carried out by firefighters.


In Germany the storm was named Burglind.

The German media reported that a train derailed by a fallen tree near Luenen. No injuries were reported.

There is now concern of possible flooding of the Rhine in Cologne and other areas including Maxau, Mainz and Koblenz.

As of early 04 January, the Rhine stood at 6.87 metres in Cologne and is forecast to rise further.

Levels of the Rhine in Cologne. Image: Landesamt für Umwelt Rheinland-Pfalz / WSV

Flood Summary

Last updated: January 17, 2018
Storm Eleanor, Northern Europe, January 2018
January 2 to January 4, 2018
Coastal flood, Flash flood
Storm surge, High tide


A - Galway (Ireland)
B - Salthill (Ireland)
C - Cork (Ireland)
D - Newport (Ireland)
E - Tralee (Ireland)
F - Rocquaine (United Kingdom)
G - Portreath (United Kingdom)
H - Nouvelle Aquitaine (France)
I - Normandy (France)
J - Isère (France)
K - Freiburg
L - Waldshut


River level
4.659 metres
Corrib River, Wolfe Tone Bridge, Galway City - January 2 to January 2, 2018
This is a record high. The previous record was 4.452 set in February 2014


Buildings damaged
30 buildings
Galway City - January 2 to January 4, 2018
estimated figure
1 person
Isère, France - January 2 to January 5, 2018
2 other people died in France as a result of strong winds and storm damage from Storm Eleanor. Around 26 people were injured in France and 4 in UK, all as a result of strong winds rather than flooding.