Cyclone Martin was an extremely violent European windstorm which crossed southern Europe on 27–28 December 1999, causing severe damage across France, Spain, Switzerland and Italy one day after Cyclone Lothar had affected similar areas. Wind speeds reached around 200 km/h (120 mph) in French department of Charente-Maritime. The storm caused 30 fatalities and €6 billion in damages. Combined with Lothar, Cyclone Martin is often referred to as the Storm of the Century in western and central Europe.
|Formed||26 December 1999|
|Dissipated||28 December 1999|
|Highest gust||200 km/h (120 mph)|
|Lowest pressure||963 mbar (28.4 inHg)|
|Damage||€6 billion (1999)|
|Areas affected||France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy|
December 1999 saw a series of heavy winter storms cross the North Atlantic and western Europe. In early December, Great Britain and Denmark were hit by Cyclone Anatol which caused severe damage in Denmark. A second storm then crossed Europe on 12 December.
A very deep and sizeable depression, named Cyclone Kurt, moved across Britain on the night of 24–25 December, analysed to have possibly reached a low of 938 mb between Scotland and Norway. This set up a large area of westerly flow into Europe, along which Cyclone Lothar was rapidly carried into mainland Europe. This highly unstable situation inevitably meant low predictability, and saw an unusually straight and strong jet stream (similar circumstances were also noted the day before the arrival of the Great Storm of 1987).
Following along the Jet Stream immediately behind Lothar, Cyclone Martin then struck France and central Europe from 26 to 28 December 1999.
Atmospheric conditions remained unstable over western Europe, and at the end of January 2000 two additional damaging storms crossed Denmark and the northern part of Germany.
Cyclone Martin caused extensive damage to property and trees across southern France. In terms of felled trees, 13,000,000 m3/459,090,667 ft3 of wood in Switzerland and 140,000,000 m3/4,944,053,340 ft3 were felled in France. The French and German national power grids were also left badly affected, with more than 200 electricity pylons destroyed.
Buildings and infrastructure suffered major damage throughout Martin's path, and mains power and safety systems were knocked out in many places. The storm surge from Cyclone Martin led to severe flooding at the Blayais Nuclear Power Plant, resulting in a Level 2 nuclear incident on the International Nuclear Event Scale.
|France||Saint-Denis-d'Oléron (17)||198 km/h (123 mph)|
|Royan (17)||194 km/h (121 mph)|
|Cap Ferret (33)||173 km/h (107 mph)|
|Île d'Yeu (85)||162 km/h (101 mph)|
|Clermont-Ferrand (63)||159 km/h (99 mph)|
|La Rochelle (17)||151 km/h (94 mph)|
|Limoges (87)||148 km/h (92 mph)|
|Bordeaux (33)||144 km/h (89 mph)|
|Toulouse (31)||141 km/h (88 mph)|
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- COMMUNIQUE N°7 – INCIDENT SUR LE SITE DU BLAYAIS Archived May 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine ASN, published 30 December 1999, Retrieved 22 March 2011
- "Les vents de l'enfer". L'est républicain. 9 December 2009. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
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- Met Office, University of Exeter & University of Reading Extreme Wind Storm Catalogue: Martin
- Eumetrain: Storm Catastrope Atlantic and Western Europe - Case Study 25 - 28 December 1999
- (in French) Les tempêtes en France
- Details of damage in France (pdf)