Cold weather continues across the UK

30 11 2012

The drier, colder and frosty weather currently affecting the UK has given some significant relief to those who have been hit by the heavy rain and floods over the last week or so. However, cold weather presents its own problems to the public too, not just from frost, ice and snow, but from its impact upon our health.

The link between the onset of cold weather and its effects on health is documented extensively in research journals, in the UK. Older people are particularly at risk as they do not feel the cold until their body temperature falls. People with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) also have a significantly increased risk of ill-health and hospitalisation during periods of cold weather and high levels of circulating respiratory infections. So many people are affected by the wider impacts of cold weather.

From 1 November 2012, the Met Office launched its Healthy Outlook® service, which is a telehealth alert service, available to patients through participating GP practices. Upon registering, patients receive a pack full of useful tips and contact information to keep them well during the winter months. Each registered patient will also receive a recorded voice call when conditions are forecast that are expected to increase the risk of symptoms becoming worse. The alert aims to give COPD patients sufficient advance warning to avoid the cold weather and keep well. The service aims to minimise the likelihood of a COPD-related exacerbation for patients and the consequential hospital admittance.

Katie Russell, Business Health Manager at the Met Office, said: “Even short periods of extreme cold temperature can cause serious illness for COPD patients. The Met Office has created Healthy Outlook® to help people with COPD take control of their own health. We monitor environmental conditions and warn people when their health is likely to be affected, giving them the opportunity to take action to stay well.”

As well as our standard service, we are also trialling Healthy Outlook® in selected high street retail pharmacies across the UK. This trial of the service will allow people to still take advantage of Healthy Outlook® even if their primary care trust (PCT) has not signed up. Healthy Outlook® is also available for the first time, online, through an e-pharmacy, giving further reach and support to those suffering from COPD.

Jane Devenish, Clinical Services Pharmacist at The Co-operative Pharmacy, said: “Offering Healthy Outlook® online means those who may be unable to leave the house can have access to this simple, yet effective service to help them prepare for periods when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and so they can reduce the risk of their condition flaring up.”

Forecasters at the Met Office are predicting more unsettled weather during next week but it looks like it will remain on the cold side, so it is important to stay up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings.

Last night’s coldest temperatures

30 11 2012

As the recent cold spell continues, last night saw some cold temperatures across the UK with widespread frost across parts of the country, with the coldest place being Shap, Cumbria where it fell to -7.0 °C.

The table below shows the top twenty coldest places recorded by the Met Office last night.

Shap CUMBRIA -7.0
Eskdalemuir DUMFRIESSHIRE -5.8
Ravensworth NORTH YORKSHIRE -5.8
Redesdale Camp NORTHUMBERLAND -5.8
Carterhouse ROXBURGHSHIRE -5.7
Newton Rigg CUMBRIA -5.4
Bainbridge NORTH YORKSHIRE -5.2
Bridgefoot CUMBRIA -5.1
Tyndrum PERTHSHIRE -5.0
Keswick CUMBRIA -4.9
Hurn DORSET -4.8
Spadeadam CUMBRIA -4.7
Chillingham Barns NORTHUMBERLAND -4.7
Saughall AYRSHIRE -4.6
Topcliffe NORTH YORKSHIRE -4.6

The tables below show a breakdown of the coldest three places for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


Shap CUMBRIA -7.0
Ravensworth NORTH YORKSHIRE -5.8


Eskdalemuir DUMFRIESSHIRE -5.8
Carterhouse ROXBURGHSHIRE -5.7


Tredegar Bryn Bach Park GWENT -3.6
Libanus POWYS -3.3
Llysdinam POWYS -3.1

Northern Ireland

Katesbridge DOWN -3.5
Aldergrove ANTRIM -1.0
Lough Fea LONDONDERRY -0.7

The latest forecast from the Met Office shows that it is likely to stay cold with temperatures falling below freezing across many parts of the country over the next couple of night. Temperatures are expected to fall to similar lows tonight, with it perhaps a little colder still on Saturday night.

A full and regularly updated forecast is available on our website.

Met Office wins Social Buzz award

29 11 2012

Last night the Met Office won the Social Buzz Award for Best Public Sector Social Media Strategy for ‘Sharing the weather when it matters’.

The award is in recognition of the work of the Met Office has been doing to use social media to engage in online conversations about weather and climate, and to share important messages, such as impending severe weather forecasts and warnings, when it matters.

The Met Office has built a community of over 180,000 followers and fans across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and this news blog, sharing and engaging in conversations as varied as how severe weather may affect the UK, Saharan dust reaching the UK, and the Jet Stream.

Dee Cotgrove, Head of Communications at the Met Office said:

“The Met Office Social Media strategy has been a huge success for the Met Office over the past couple of years.  This award recognizes the interest people have in the weather and the important role the Met Office plays in keeping the nation up to date with the latest weather information when it matters.”

More information on the awards and a full list of the winners can be found on the Social Buzz Awards website.

This award follows our Computer Weekly best use of social media award in 2011 and being recognised as the 9th most social brand in Social Brands 100 earlier this year, putting us firmly at the forefront of social media within the public sector.

The Met Office iPhone and Android app gets an update

29 11 2012

The Met Office iPhone and Android app has been updated and is now available to download in the App Store and Google Play.

As well as bug fixing, the Android and iPhone update has taken on a lot of user feedback and enhanced the customer experience. There is a lot more information on the front screen, including wind speed, UV levels and sunrise and sunset times. Previously users would have had to delve deeper to gain access to this information, but based on user feedback, it was decided to bring this information forwards.

To make sure users receive a consistent experience, the look and feel of the app has been brought closely in line with the Met Office’s website. This includes new weather icons and graphics and also new icon-based weather warnings. New locations have also been added to the iPhone & Android app based on user feedback.

Below is a quote from James Tipler, Mubaloo Account Manager for the Met Office app:

“The Met Office has monitored customer feedback since the launch of the first iOS and Android app, and key trends in feedback have been listened to and addressed in this update. As well as bug fixes, this update makes a number of enhancements to the app which we believe will improve the user experience.”

The Met Office app has been a huge success since its launch in February. The iPhone and Android app was downloaded over 1 million times within its first two weeks of launch and during the cold weather in February, it was used over 6.5m times in one weekend – that’s 35 times every second. The Met Office app is the 14th most accessed in the UK and was voted number 1 weather app in the Independent. Current downloads to date are 3m for iPhone and 887,000 for Android.

Mubaloo, the producers of the apps on behalf of the Met Office have created a full Met Office Android & iPhone app case study.


This blog post first appeared in Mubaloo‘s blog

UK rainfall over the last eight days

27 11 2012

After a dry start to the month, the last eight days have seen some very wet weather affect the UK, causing widespread flooding and disruption. So just how much rain has the UK seen and where has been wettest? The following maps show the full picture.

UK rainfall from 19-27 November 2012

The darkest blues on the map above show the areas that have seen the most rainfall, with South West England, Wales and parts of Northern England being particularly affected. How do these totals compare with the monthly average for November?

Eight day rainfall totals compared to whole November average

This map shows that areas from North East England through the Midlands to South West England have seen above average rainfall during the last eight days. However, parts of Northern Ireland and Scotland have seen very little.

As always, we have worked closely with the Environment Agency throughout the recent weather and have issued a series of accurate and useful forecasts and warnings which have helped emergency responders, county councils and members of the public stay informed about the latest developments.

Assistant Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, Paul Netherton, said: “I would like to formally thank and recognise the hard work of the Met Office over the past week. The information provided was invaluable and enabled the responders in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly to prepare and respond effectively to assist our communities.”

For the rest of this week it looks as though there will be some respite from the rain with much drier conditions forecast. It will be colder though, with an increased risk of frost, fog and even ice towards as we head through the next few days.

Latest rainfall totals and wind speeds

26 11 2012

Below are the latest rainfall totals from 6.00 pm Sunday night until 6.00 am this morning.

Location Amount (mm)
Mona        27.8
Blencathra              27.4
Capel Curig    26
Valley         25.4
St Bees Head    20.8
Keswick  19
Ronaldsway 18.4
Blackpool 18.2
Rochdale   18
Aberdaron        17.4

The highest rainfall totals are now futher north, however as the table below shows, areas in the south west have seen the most rainfall overall. This is in addition to the rainfall totals from the 20th – 23rd November, where some areas saw in excess of 90 mm of rain.

Rainfall totals from midnight 24th November until 6.00 am this morning:

Location Total (mm)
Plymouth, Mountbatten                72
Scilly: St Marys Airport             66.6
Cardinham, Bodmin                    66.2
Dunkeswell Aerodrome                 60.8
Camborne                             59.6
Exeter Airport                       55.6
Fylingdales                          51.8
Culdrose                             49
Capel Curig                 49
North Wyke                           48.2

This video shows the rainfall from this period with satellite and rainfall radar imagery.

There were also some strong gusts of wind last night:

Location Max gust (mph)
Berry Head                 62
Wight: Needles Old Battery 59
Plymouth, Mountbatten      49
Isle Of Portland           48
Scilly: St Marys Airport   48
North Wyke                 45
Warcop Range               45
Langdon Bay                44
Solent                     44
Cardinham, Bodmin          44

Severe weather warnings are still in place for further rainfall today. Keep up to date with warnings and flood warnings from the Environment Agency.

Last night’s highest wind speeds

25 11 2012

As well as being wet we had some strong winds overnight Saturday into Sunday. Below are some of the highest gusts of wind recorded at Met Office reporting stations:

Station     Maximum gust
St Catherines Point, Isle of Wight 69 mph
Isle of Portland, Dorset 69 mph
Needles Old Battery, Isle of Wight 67 mph
Solent, Hampshire 64 mph
Weybourne, Norfolk 61 mph
Langdon Bay, Kent 61 mph
Shoreham Airport, West Sussex 60 mph
Berry Head, Devon 59 mph
High Bradfield, South Yorkshire 56 mph
Wattisham, Suffolk 56 mph



24 – 25 November rainfall update

25 11 2012

Overnight rainfall recorded at Met Office observing stations from 6pm Saturday 24 November to 8am Sunday 25 November:

Station     Amount
Fylingdales, North Yorkshire 36.6 mm
Pershore, Hereford & Worcester 32.6 mm
Sheffield, South Yorkshire 32.6 mm
Gingley-on-the-Hill 31.8 mm
Leek, Staffordshire 31.6 mm
High Mowthorpe, North Yorkshire 31.4 mm
Exeter Airport, Devon 31.2 mm
Dunkeswell, Devon 30.8 mm
Scarborough, North Yorkshire 30.6 mm
Normanby Hall, Humberside 30 mm

Below are the highest rainfall totals recorded at Met Office observing stations between midnight on Saturday and 8am this morning:

Station     Amount
St Mary’s Airport, Isles of Scilly 58.2 mm
Plymouth, Devon 56.8 mm
Cardinham, Cornwall 49.2 mm
Exeter Airport, Devon 48 mm
Dunkeswell, Devon 47.8 mm
Camborne, Cornwall 44.6 mm
Culdrose, Cornwall 41 mm
Pershore, Hereford & Worcester 40.6 mm
Astwood Bank, Hereford & Worcester 39.6 mm
Liscombe, Somerset 38.4 mm


Rainfall totals 24 November 2012

24 11 2012

It has been another wet day across much of the southern half of the UK. Here are some rainfall totals between midnight and 9pm from Met Office reporting stations:

Station     Amount
St Mary’s Airport, Isles of Scilly 57 mm
Plymouth, Devon 49.2 mm
Camborne, Cornwall 42.8 mm
Culdrose, Cornwall 40 mm
Cardinham, Cornwall 39.2 mm
Exeter Airport, Devon 31.6 mm
Dunkeswell, Devon 27.6 mm
North Wyke, Devon 26 mm
Bournemouth Airport, Dorset 24 mm
Liscombe, Somerset 21.4 mm

There is more rain to come over the rest of the weekend and into the start of next week.

Stormy November weekend

24 11 2012

As forecast, unsettled weather continues across the UK, with more heavy rain and strong winds expected to affect many areas at times through the weekend and into next week.

The Met Office and the Environment Agency are warning the public to be prepared for possible travel disruption and flooding as some areas see up to 60 mm on top of the rain that has already fallen over this week.

Eddy Carroll, Met Office Chief Forecaster, said: “The current very unsettled run of weather is set to continue with further spells of wet and windy weather expected across the country over the next few days.

“The southwest of England and parts of southeast Wales are expected to see the heaviest rain on Saturday with between 30 to 40 mm of rain in many parts and up to 60 mm of rain in some areas. Further rain moving in from the west on Sunday continues the risk for further flooding and travel disruption. We urge everyone to keep up to date with forecasts and warnings and be prepared for what the weather will bring.”

Along with the heavy rain strong winds may add to the potential for travel disruption, especially across southern Britain overnight Saturday into Sunday. Winds gusting to 50 or 60 mph are expected across southern counties of England overnight Saturday and into Sunday with severe gale or possibly storm force winds over the English Channel.

Rain spreading north across the UK Saturday 24 November 2012

Rain spreading north across the UK Saturday 24 November 2012

John Curtin, Head of Incident Management at the Environment Agency, said: “We would urge people to continue to be prepared for flooding, sign up for Environment Agency flood warnings, keep up to date with the latest situation, and stay away from dangerous flood water.

“Our teams have been out around the clock over the last few days to minimise the risks and prepare for flooding and we are continuing to deploy teams across the country to keep communities safe.”

Looking a little further ahead the weather is expected to become drier and colder in most areas by the middle of next week, however overnight frost may then bring the risk of some icy roads after the recent rain.

The public can keep up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings for their area on our website and with forecasts on TV and radio during this unsettled spell. You can also be #weatheraware by following us on Twitter @metoffice


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