It's certainly been a wild and windy start to the week with strong to severe gale force winds buffeting Wales for the second time this month.

The strongest winds were in the north on the Llyn Peninsula where the wind touched storm force 10 on the Beaufort Scale on Sunday morning.

The strong winds caused travel disruption, structural damage and tree damage with many trees still being in full leaf making them particularly vulnerable.

We've had much worst storms in the past though such as in January 1990, when an intense Atlantic depression hit Britain causing widespread structural damage, travel disruption and 47 deaths.

Hurricane Katia

The gales we've been experiencing over the last few days are due to the remains of Hurricane Katia. She started life as a minor disturbance off the west coast of Africa on August 27, became a tropical storm on August 30 and finally developed into a hurricane on September 1.

Later as she moved northeast into the North Atlantic and began to lose strength, being downgraded to a tropical storm on September 11. The centre of the storm crossed northern Scotland and then headed eastwards towards Norway last night, weakening all the time.

We don't get hurricanes in Britain

In Britain, we don't get full blown hurricanes because the sea around us is too cool for them to form. Hurricanes develop over tropical seas where the surface water temperature is 26 degrees Celsius or higher.

Sometimes, we get the "tail-end" of hurricanes in Britain that are carried towards us by the Jet Stream but by the time they reach our latitude they lose some of their energy and change into a deep Atlantic depression.

In 1986 the "tail-end" of Hurricane Charley lashed Wales creating the wettest August Bank Holiday on record and creating a major disaster in the Republic of Ireland.

So they can still pack a punch but are less destructive compared to when they are over the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico.

How hurricanes get their names

Hurricanes names are chosen from a list selected by the World Meteorological Organization. The Atlantic is assigned six lists of names, with one list used each year.

Every sixth year, the first list begins again. Each name on the list starts with a different letter, for example, the name of the very first hurricane of the season starts with the letter A, the next starts with the letter B, and so on.

The letters "Q", "U", "X", "Y" and "Z", are not used because few names begin with those letters. If more than 21 storms should occur in any season, then there is a reserve list that uses the Greek alphabet.

When an unusually destructive hurricane hits, such as Hurricane Katrina, that hurricane's name is retired and never used again.

2011 hurricane names: Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harvey, Irene, Jose, Katia, Lee, Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince, Whitney.

Today will be windy but not as strong as yesterday. On Wednesday the wind will ease further and Thursday looks like the best day of the week, remaining dry with light winds and some sunshine thanks to a ridge of high pressure.


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