Watch Ophelia's Winds Send a Cumbrian Waterfall Into the Sky - Atlas Obscura
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Watch Ophelia’s Winds Send a Cumbrian Waterfall Into the Sky

Another strange effect of a profoundly strange storm.

If it weren’t for modern meteorology, people across Europe might well have assumed that the end was nigh. Birds have been wheeling madly overhead. Skies have gone red with Saharan dust. Wildfires have raged across the Iberian Peninsula. And a town in Lancashire, England, was covered with blobby white sea-foam. All of these odd phenomena were caused or impacted by Ophelia, the storm that started as a hurricane—the eastern-most on record—and evolved into a post-tropical cyclone as it swept across the British Isles and into the North Sea. In Cumbria, in northwest England, Ophelia had a curiously surreal effect. Its winds made a waterfall in the Mallerstang Valley reverse course, shooting spray into the sky as if gravity had gone topsy-turvy.

It’s so unusual for a storm such as Ophelia to hit the United Kingdom and Ireland that tracking it actually transcended the boundaries of the U.S. National Hurricane Center’s map graphics. But upended waterfalls aren’t quite so rare—any particularly strong gust on a modest waterfall could do it. On the cliffside those winds must have been terrifying—but the video itself is quite soothing to watch. Sometimes, the end of things can look surprisingly wonderful.