Storm Imogen brings gales to southern areas of Britain

7 02 2016

An area of low pressure, which will bring some very strong winds across southern parts of the UK as it moves eastwards on Monday, has been named as Storm Imogen.

Gusts of 60-70 mph are possible in southern England and parts of south Wales with 80 mph gusts possible in exposed coastal districts. Some very large waves are also likely along some coasts, especially along the north coast of Cornwall and Devon.

The Met Office has today (Sunday 7 February) issued an Amber “be prepared” National Severe Weather Warning for for wind for Storm Imogen which is valid from 3 am until 6 pm on Monday.  There is also a larger Yellow “be aware” Severe Weather Warning for wind valid from 3 am to 6 pm on Monday.

Surface Pressure Chart Monday 8 Februrary

Surface Pressure Chart Monday 8 Februrary

There remains some uncertainty just how far north and east the strongest of the winds will extend. However, you can keep up to date with the latest for your area using our forecast pages and by checking the Severe weather warnings.

Storm Imogen follows Storm Henry, which passed close to the north of Scotland through Monday 1 February 2016 into Tuesday 2 Feb.

Winds are expected to ease through Tuesday leading to a short drier, quieter and colder interlude for many on Wednesday before more wind and rain follows later in the week.





Storm Henry forecast to bring severe gales in places on Monday

30 01 2016

A rapidly deepening area of low pressure pushing quickly across the Atlantic and expected to run close to the north of Scotland through Monday and into Tuesday has been named as Storm Henry. Keep up to date with the latest for your area using our forecast pages.

Forecast chart for Monday 1 February 2016

Forecast chart for Monday 1 February 2016

The Met Office issued an Amber National Severe Weather Warning for Storm Henry on Saturday morning. The Amber warning is valid from 3pm on Monday afternoon until 3am on Tuesday morning. Storm Henry closely follows Storm Gertrude, which tracked away from Shetland on Friday night.

The weather is expected to remain unsettled over the coming days with the prospect of further deep Atlantic depressions bringing spells of wind, rain and snow at times. You can stay up to date with the latest forecast for your area using our UK forecast pages and Severe weather warnings. You can also view our latest forecast Videos

During Saturday it will remain very windy in the north of the UK with severe gales across Scotland. These strong winds will be combined with frequent sleet or snow showers, leading to some drifting and blizzard conditions, especially over high ground, but even at low levels for a time. Severe weather warnings for wind and snow have been issued for Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and northern England to the Midlands.

For Saturday night snow showers will remain in the north and west and there will be some icy patches.

During Sunday milder, cloudier and wetter conditions will spread slowly northeastwards across the UK, but only slowly with northern, eastern and some central regions staying cold for much of the day and these wetter conditions preceded by some transient snow over higher ground in northern, western and central Britain..

On Monday the vigorous low pressure system – named as Storm Henry –will be approaching the UK from the Atlantic. Currently, this system is expected to pass just to the north of Scotland, bringing very strong west or southwesterly winds across much of the UK. Gales or severe gales with heavy rain are expected across northwestern parts. These winds could bring disruption to transport as well as power supplies.

Dan Suri, Chief Operational Meteorologist said: “With several periods of severe weather forecast to affect the UK over the coming days, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on the forecast and the National Severe Weather Warnings as the details of what areas are to be affected and when, are likely to change. Our forecast pages, Facebook and Twitter sites and our Weather App can all help you keep up to date with the weather so that you can plan ahead and be prepared.”





Pali becomes an unusual January North Pacific Hurricane

12 01 2016

The tropical cyclone season in the North Pacific in 2015 was extremely active, primarily due to the ongoing strong El Niño. Numerous records were broken across the region and in the central North Pacific (an area bounded by the 140°W and 180°W lines of longitude) it was the most active season on record by all measures.

By December, tropical cyclone activity in the northern hemisphere usually comes to an end, but on New Year’s Eve an unusual tropical depression formed in the central North Pacific very close to the equator. The depression dissipated early in January, but was a precursor of what was to come a week later. Tropical Storm Pali formed in the far southwestern corner of the central North Pacific region at a location closer to the equator than any other storm on record in the western hemisphere (east of the International Dateline).

Pali has fluctuated in strength in the last few days as it has drifted northwards, but a recent burst of intensification has resulted in it becoming the earliest central North Pacific hurricane to form in a calendar year on record. Pali beats the previous record set by Hurricane Ekeka in late January 1992.

Hurricane Pali at 0330 UTC on 12 January 2016 Image courtesy of the US Naval Research Laboratory

Hurricane Pali at 0330 UTC on 12 January 2016
Image courtesy of the US Naval Research Laboratory

Although Hurricane Pali is no threat to any major land masses it will be watched closely in the next few days due to an unusual track being forecast by several computer models. It is currently predicted to sink southwards towards the equator and some models even suggest it could reach or even cross the equator as a tropical storm.

Conventional understanding of the science behind storm formation tells us that cyclones rarely form close to the equator since the Coriolis Effect, which induces rotation, is so small. In recent history there have been a couple of notable storm formations close to the equator. In 2001 Tropical Storm Vamei developed at latitude 1.5°N close to Singapore and in 2004 Tropical Storm Agni was briefly observed to cross the equator into the southern hemisphere as a weak depression before developing into a tropical storm at latitude 0.7°N in the Indian Ocean. However, there is no observed precedent of a full blown hurricane such as Pali moving close to the equator. Thus Pali should provide a useful insight into the behaviour cyclones in what is usually a cyclone-free zone.

Official warnings for the tropical cyclones in the central North Pacific are produced by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center. The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of cyclone tracks from its global forecast model to regional meteorological centres worldwide, which are used along with guidance from other models in the production of forecasts and guidance. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.





What’s been happening to our weather?

31 12 2015

December 2015 will go down in meteorological history as one of the wettest – and warmest – on record. It will also be remembered for the devastating floods in Cumbria, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Scotland. The extensive flooding of homes and businesses, loss of electrical power, major damage to roads and bridges, and disruption to the rail network have caused great misery and incurred huge losses.

In this blog our Chief Scientist, Professor Dame Julia Slingo, discusses what factors may have influenced the record breaking weather we have seen in recent weeks.

As with all high-impact weather, the meteorological set-up was critical in defining the severity of these events. Throughout the month, the winds have come from the south or southwest, bringing both extreme warmth but also very high levels of moisture.

There has been a lot of debate whether this has been associated with El Nino – an intermittent warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean which has been very strong this year – or whether this is a sign of a changing climate. The links to El Nino are certainly very clear in the set up of large waves (troughs and ridges) in the atmospheric circulation, which we expect to see in these events.

Latest monthly anomalies in sea surface temperatures showing the strong El Nino lying along the equator, the warmth of the north-east Pacific and western Atlantic and the colder than normal ocean temperatures of the northern North Atlantic

Latest monthly anomalies in sea surface temperatures showing the strong El Nino lying along the equator, the warmth of the north-east Pacific and western Atlantic and the colder than normal ocean temperatures of the northern North Atlantic

However, it does seem that this year the unusual warmth of the North East Pacific Ocean may have altered the position of these waves across North America and into the Atlantic sector, setting up the conditions for the devastating tornadoes in the US and for the southerly feed of moisture-laden air into the UK.

Circulation anomalies in the middle troposphere for 1-30 and 24-30 December

Circulation anomalies in the middle troposphere for 1-30 and 24-30 December, showing a persistent pattern of troughs (blue/purple) and ridges (green/orange) across the US, North Atlantic and into Europe. The trough over the western US set up the conditions for tornadoes along the confluence of cold air from the north with very warm air from the Gulf (see elevated sea temperatures above). The southerly airstream from Spain to the North Pole is established by the gradient between the trough over the North Atlantic and the ridge over Europe.

Storm Desmond in early December was associated with a strong west-south-westerly flow around the ridge over the eastern seaboard of the US, reaching far back across the Atlantic, as far as the Caribbean. With ocean temperatures well above normal in the southern part of the North Atlantic (see above) – possibly due to the much weaker than normal hurricane season this year associated with the current El Nino – the air was primed with more moisture than normal. This river of atmospheric moisture fed the storms that formed on a stronger than normal jet stream, and as the air impinged on the mountains of Cumbria, large quantities of rainfall were released.

Later in the month the southerly flow intensified, with a high pressure system to the east of the UK over continental Europe providing a block to the normal passage of the westerly jet. With colder than usual ocean temperatures over the northern part of the North Atlantic (see above), a strong temperature gradient formed which acted to strengthen the jet and set up the conditions for the formation of rapidly deepening cyclones, such as Storm Frank. These cyclones drew in warm, moist air from far south leading again to heavy rainfall and further flooding on already saturated ground. And the southerly winds on the eastern flank of Storm Frank, and strengthened by the high pressure to the east, enabled extremely warm air to penetrate, temporarily, the deep Arctic leading to very high temperatures.

Surface pressure chart 0001 30 December 2015

Surface pressure chart 0001 30 December 2015

The potential for December to be stormy and wet was picked up in the three-month outlook and is consistent with what we expect in early winter when there is a strong El Nino in place. However, early analysis suggests that the specific nature of this December’s extreme weather might be linked to the detailed structure of this El Nino, to the warmth of the north-east Pacific Ocean and to their combined effects on the atmospheric circulation.

As for whether climate change has played a role, we know that the overall warming of the oceans increases the moisture content of the atmosphere by around 6% for every 1°C warming. This extra moisture provides additional energy to the developing weather system, enabling even more moisture to be drawn in to the system, so that the overall enhancement of rainfall when the moisture-laden air impinges on the mountains of Wales, northern England and Scotland may be even more significant. So from basic physical understanding of weather systems it is entirely plausible that climate change has exacerbated what has been a period of very wet and stormy weather arising from natural variability.





Record breaking December rainfall

28 12 2015

This is has already been a record breaking month for rainfall in some parts of the UK, with exceptional amounts of rain falling onto already saturated ground.

The very wet Boxing Day in parts of north Wales and northwest England was well forecast five days in advance with Amber, be prepared, warnings in force from as early as last Wednesday.

In the event the highest rainfall amounts were around 100mm with peaks of 130mm in Lancashire and in excess of 200mm in Snowdonia and caused high impacts across parts of north Wales and northern England.

Map showing two day rainfall totals for Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Map showing two day rainfall totals for Christmas Day and Boxing Day

Here is a selection of the highest two day rainfall totals from Met Office observing sites for Christmas Day and Boxing Day:

48hr UK RAINFALL TOTALS 9am 25 DEC – 9am 27 DEC 2015
SITE AREA RAINFALL TOTAL (MM)
CAPEL CURIG GWYNEDD 210.6
STONYHURST LANCASHIRE 100
PATELEY BRIDGE, RAVENS NEST NORTH YORKSHIRE 97
BINGLEY WEST YORKSHIRE 93.6
BAINBRIDGE NORTH YORKSHIRE 89.8
BALA GWYNEDD 89.4
SHAP CUMBRIA 86.4
SPADEADAM CUMBRIA 79.4
PRESTON, MOOR PARK LANCASHIRE 73.2
MYERSCOUGH LANCASHIRE 72.4
BRADFORD WEST YORKSHIRE 69.4
ROCHDALE GREATER MANCHESTER 68.2
MORECAMBE LANCASHIRE 65.8
MONA ISLE OF ANGLESEY 63.6
KIELDER CASTLE NORTHUMBERLAND 61.2
DISHFORTH AIRFIELD NORTH YORKSHIRE 60.8

This wet spell has added to the heavy rainfall through the rest of the month to make December 2015 already the wettest on record in parts of the UK.

Here is a small selection of new December records from Met Office observing stations around the UK 9am 1 – 9am 28 December 2015:

Site Total (mm) 81-10 avg (mm) Previous record
Shap (Cumbria) 773.2 215.6 504.4mm in 2006
Keswick (Cumbria) 517.6 173 376.4mm in 2013
Warcop Range (Cumbria) 281.6 94.1 218.4mm in 2006
Stonyhurst (Lancashire) 331.4 141.6 319.3mm in 1951
Morecambe (Lancashire) 281.4 109.2 272mm in 1909
Bainbridge (North Yorkshire) 496.2 156.5 327.2mm in 2006
Bingley

(West Yorkshire)

241.4 114.3 247.2mm in 2006
Eskdalemuir (Dumfries and Galloway) 500 184.9 390.4mm in 2014
Glasgow Bishopton 311.4 145.6 294.8mm in 2006
Capel Curig (Conwy) 1012.2 308.9 612.8mm in 2006

This very unsettled and occasionally stormy spell was well signalled in our recent three month outlooks and is not unusual for this time of year, indeed this is when climatologically we would expect to have most of our storms.

Throughout this unsettled spell Met Office meteorologists and advisors are working round the clock with our partners to keep everyone up to date with the latest forecast information so they can plan and prepare for the expected weather.





December on track to be the mildest on record

24 12 2015

Mowing the lawn has been the reality for some so far this December, with unseasonably high temperatures. It looks as though the UK is on track to break the record for the warmest December since records began in 1910 and some areas have also seen their wettest.

The latest temperatures for December (1st to 22nd) reveal that the month so far has been far warmer than normal. Early provisional figures* reveal that the mean temperature for December in the UK has so far has been 8.1C, which is 4.2C above the long-term average for the month and well above the previous record of 6.9C set in 1934.

The December figure for England has so far been 9.5C, that’s 5.1C above the same long-term average and 2C above the record of 7.5C set in 1934, and the other UK nations have been similarly warm:

  • the mean temperature of 9.3C in Wales, higher than the previous post-1910 record of 7.5C set in 1934, and 4.8C above average
  • the mean temperature of 5.6°C in Scotland is 2.8C above average, but is so far slightly lower than the previous December record of 5.8C set in 1988
  • the mean temperature of 7.5°C in Northern Ireland is 3C higher than average, and marginally higher than the 1988 December record

Tim Legg of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre said: “With no sign of any significantly cold weather to come in the remaining 9 days of the month, we’re on track to break the warmest December record which was set back in 1934.”

Rainfall 1 - 22 Dec 2015

Rainfall 1 – 22 Dec 2015

MeanTemperature Dec 1 - 22, 2015

MeanTemperature Dec 1 – 22, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainfall and sunshine figures so far confirm December has been dull and wet across most of the UK, with sunshine well down on the long-term average while precipitation (which of course has fallen mainly as rain) has been well above.  Some places have seen record breaking rainfall:

  • Cumberland 310.9mm rainfall 1 – 22nd Dec (previous record 248.2mm 2006),
  • Westmorland 474.4mm 1 – 22nd Dec (previous record 365.1mm 2006)
  • Dumfriesshire 314mm rainfall 1 – 22nd Dec (previous record 307.5mm 2013)
  • Carnarvonshire 441.3mm rainfall 1 – 22nd Dec (previous record 376.6mm 1965)
  • Roxburghshire 237.8mm rainfall 1 – 22nd Dec (previous record 219.7mm 2013)

 

EARLY mean temperature sunshine duration precipitation
1-22 Dec 2015 Act Anom Act Anom   Act Anom
  Deg C Deg C hours % mm %
UK 8.1 4.2 17.7 43 148.0 123
England 9.5 5.1 19.8 42 86.5 99
Wales 9.3 4.8 16.3 39 237.1 143
Scotland 5.6 2.8 14.1 46 229.1 140
N Ireland 7.5 3.0 20.7 56 130.4 114

 

You can find out what the rest of the year has been like on our climate pages.

*Data from the Met Office’s UK digitised records dating back to 1910.

Please note that these provisional figures, especially for rainfall and sunshine, are subject to revision. Anomalies are expressed relative to the 1981-2010 averaging period.





Did climate change have an impact on Storm Desmond?

7 12 2015

The exceptional rainfall in Cumbria over the past few days saw the fall of numerous records and has led many to ask whether it is linked to climate change. The records are based on digitised data going back to the 19th Century.

A gauge at Honister Pass recorded 341.4mm of rainfall in the 24-hours up to 1800 GMT on 5 December 2015, making for a new UK record for any 24-hour period. This beat the previous record of 316.4mm set in November 2009 at Seathwaite, also in Cumbria. A new 48-hour record (from 0900 to 0900 hrs) was also set, when 405mm was recorded at Thirlmere in Cumbria in just 38 hrs.

The weekend’s record rainfall was associated with a persistent, south-westerly flow bringing a ‘river of moisture’ from as far away as the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Ocean temperatures in the West Atlantic are currently well above normal and may well have contributed to the very high levels of moisture in the air masses which unleashed rainfall on the Cumbrian fells.

Professor Dame Julia Slingo, Met Office Chief Scientist, says “It’s too early to say definitively whether climate change has made a contribution to the exceptional rainfall. We anticipated a wet, stormy start to winter in our three-month outlooks, associated with the strong El Niño and other factors.

“However, just as with the stormy winter of two years ago, all the evidence from fundamental physics, and our understanding of our weather systems, suggests there may be a link between climate change and record-breaking winter rainfall. Last month, we published a paper showing that for the same weather pattern, an extended period of extreme UK winter rainfall is now seven times more likely than in a world without human emissions of greenhouse gases.”





Wind and rain records for Storm Desmond

6 12 2015

Storm Desmond, the fourth named storm of the season, bought widespread heavy rain and storm force winds to areas of northern England and Scotland.

The rainfall experienced in many parts of the north west of the UK is thought to have been exceptional and early provisional rainfall statistics indicate many places have seen totals widely over 180 to 200 mm in the Lake District. It is thought very locally event totals may be in excess of 300 mm locally.  The Met Office issued a Red ‘take action’ severe weather warning for rainfall yesterday, the first red warning since February 2014.

48 Hour UK Rainfall Total 0900 4th December – 0900 6th December
Site Name Area Rainfall Total mm
Shap Cumbria 262.6
Keswick Cumbria 178.4
Blencathra Cumbria 174.8
Capel Curig Gwynedd 170.6
Tyndrum Perthshire 141
Eskdalemuir Dumfriesshire 139.2
Bainbridge North Yorkshire 136
Cluanie Inn Ross & Cromarty 132.8

The rainfall caused some rivers to flood and homes had to be evacuated in areas of Cumbria and in Northumberland. The Environment Agency still has a number of flood warnings in place.

An Amber ‘be prepared’ warning for wind was in place for parts of  SE Scotland and NE England as wind speeds were expected that could potentially cause disruption, structural damage and disrupt transport.  Gusts of over 80 mph were experienced in more exposed locations, with the strongest recorded gust of 99 mph at Great Dun Fell, a high level site in Cumbria at 847m.

Max Gust Speeds 5 December 1800 – 6 December 0900
Site Name Area Max Gust mph
Capel Curig Gwynedd 81
Needles Old Battery Isle of Wight 78
High Bradfield South Yorkshire 77
Redesdale Camp Northumberland 73
Loftus Cleveland 70
Aberdaron Gwynedd 69
Charterhall Berwickshire 68
Valley Gwynedd 67

 

There are no weather warnings in place for the rest of today (Sunday), however the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) still have a number of flood warnings in place as water courses are still reacting to yesterday’s rainfall. A warning is in place for Monday and will be updated as required.

You can keep up to date with the latest forecast using our five day forecast pages, the latest weather warnings on our National Severe Weather Warnings pages and find out what to do in severe weather.





Met Éireann names Storm Clodagh

28 11 2015

The current unsettled spell of weather continues and the low pressure system that is forecast to affect Ireland and the UK on Sunday has been officially named Storm Clodagh by Met Éireann.

This makes it the third officially named storm of the joint Met Office Met Éireann pilot project to name storms that affect the UK and Ireland through the autumn and winter 2015/16.

Storms can be named by either the Met Office or Met Éireann.

Met Éireann named the storm on Saturday 28 November having issued an Orange warning for severe gales across Eire for Sunday.

The Met Office has issued a yellow be aware National Severe Weather Warning for wind for a medium likelihood of low impacts from severe gales across some parts of Northern Ireland, Wales, England and parts of southern Scotland.

Pressure chart for Sunday 29 November 2015 at midday

Pressure chart for Sunday 29 November 2015 at midday

The strongest winds are expected to reach Northern Ireland around dawn on Sunday, and most areas by the end of the morning, before gradually subsiding from the west during the afternoon and evening.

There remains some uncertainty with the track of this low and the precise wind speeds and areas to be affected. You can keep up to date with the latest on our forecast pages.





Warm November on course to equal record in England

27 11 2015

UPDATE – 3 December 2015 – Provisonal full month stats show that November 2015 was the dullest on record

Early provisional statistics* (1- 25 November) show November has been notable for its mild weather.

Overall, temperatures for the UK have been 2.2°C above the November average, with this month on course in England to equal the previous warmest November in 1994 (9.5°C).

The other UK nations have been similarly warm

  • the mean temperature of 9.2°C in Wales currently the second warmest November on record here – behind 1996 (9.4°C)
  • the mean temperature of 6.6°C is currently joint third warmest in Scotland – behind 7.7°C in 2011 and 7.5°C in 1994
  • the mean temperature of 8.0°C in Northern Ireland is currently the fourth warmest on record – behind 8.8°C in 1994, 8.7°C in 2011 and 8.1°C in 2007

Apart from a short but marked cold spell on 21- 23 November there has been an absence of frosts in almost all areas, largely because of a humid, cloudy south-westerly airflow. This has also meant that most areas have seen very little sunshine. Most areas have had typical rainfall amounts for the time of year, but north-west Wales, north-west England and Southern Scotland have had well above average totals. There have also been a number of very windy episodes, including the impact of storms Abigail and Barney.

Of particular note was the temperature of 22.4°C recorded at Trawsgoed in Wales on 1 November and a remarkable overnight temperature of 16.1°C at Murlough in Northern Ireland on 9-10 November.

1-25 Nov mean temperature anomaly 1981-2010

1-25 Nov mean temperature anomaly 1981-2010

1-25 Nov rainfall anomaly 1981-2010

1-25 Nov rainfall anomaly 1981-2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parts of southern and central Scotland, the Lake District, Pennines and Snowdonia have had over 150% of their whole-month rainfall average. North-east Scotland and parts of southern and eastern England have had slightly less than would be expected up to this point in the month. South-west Scotland has already had enough rain to make this the 5th wettest November for that region in a series since 1910.

Sunshine has been well below normal with just 33 hours of sunshine up to the 25th across the UK. This means November 2015 is heading toward being the dullest on records going back to 1929 – the dullest currently being 1962 with 39 hours.

1-25 Nov
2015*
Mean temp (°C ) Sunshine (hrs) Rainfall (mm)
Actual Diff from
81-10 avg
Actual % of
81-10 avg
Actual % of
81-10 avg
UK 8.4 2.2 33 58 136.4 113
England 9.5 2.6 34 53 93.3 106
Wales 9.2 2.4 33 58 197.4 122
Scotland 6.6 1.6 31 68 192.9 116
N Ireland 8 1.5 37 68 127.2 113

You can find out what the rest of the year has been like on our climate pages.

*Data from the Met Office’s UK digitised records dating back to 1910.

Please note that these provisional figures, especially for rainfall and sunshine, are subject to revision. Anomalies are expressed relative to the 1981-2010 averaging period.








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,484 other followers

%d bloggers like this: