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1903 Storm Ulysses one of windiest ever in England and Wales, shows analysis

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It was a storm sufficiently severe to rip up thousands of trees, leave several people dead and to warrant a mention in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses – subsequently taking its name from there.

However, it is not until now that researchers have been able to say that the 1903 tempest whipped up winds of a force seen less than once a century – making Storm Ulysses one of the worst ever seen.

“We knew the storm we analysed was a big one, but we didn’t know our rescued data would show that it is among the top four storms for strongest winds across England and Wales,” said Prof Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science.

His research team has analysed paper records of the historic extreme weather event – which would have resulted in gusts in excess of 100mph in some areas – digitised them and applied modern weather forecasting methods. “This study is a great example of how rescuing old paper records can help us to better understand storms from decades gone by. Unlocking these secrets from the past could…

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