Storm Barney highest wind speeds

18 11 2015

Storm Barney swept across the southern half of the UK as forecast yesterday evening, bringing gusts of up to 85mph, and has now left our shores.

Thousands of homes were left without power in Wales, the Midlands, and in southern and eastern England. Damage caused by wind also caused disruption to rail services, flights and ferry crossings.

The table below shows the highest wind speeds recorded at Met Office observing sites between midday yesterday and 6am today:

UK MAX GUST SPEED 17 NOV 1200 -18 NOV 0600
Aberdaron Gwynedd 95 85
Capel Curig Gwynedd 216 84
High Bradfield South Yorkshire 395 83
Lake Vyrnwy Powys 360 83
Pembrey Sands Dyfed 3 79
Mumbles Head West Glamorgan 43 77
Avonmouth Avon 9 75
Aberporth Dyfed 133 74
Needles, Old Battery Isle of Wight 80 73
Valley Gwynedd 10 73

Storm Barney viewed from space as it crossed the UK:

You can record your observations and report impacts of Storm Barney on Met Office WOW

Warm start to November

16 11 2015

Early provisional figures* (1-15 November) show the first half of November has been very mild with maximum daily temperatures 3.8C above average for the UK

Central England Temperature data set shows the start to the month has been the second warmest since this record began in 1772.

Local temperature records have been broken at various stations with only November 1938 seeing a warmer start to the month.

There has been an absence of frosts in almost all areas, largely because a humid south-westerly airflow means the weather has been cloudy and there have been very few clear nights.


MeanTemp 1-15 November 2015

MeanTemp 1-15 November 2015

The increased cloud means most areas have seen very little in the way of sun, with levels well below normal across southern and central England and also south-west Scotland. At this time in the month we would expect to see 50% of the monthly average however very few places have had as much as this and the UK as a whole has seen just 32% and Wales has seen less than half the sunshine we would expect mid month.   In the case of southern England it has also been remarkably dull, with some stations having only had 10 hours or less of bright sunshine in 15 days.

For many the start of the month has been wet, with the UK as a whole having had 75% of the whole months average rainfall (we would expect to see 50% at this time of the month). Parts of southern & central Scotland, the Lake District, Pennines and Snowdonia are among the areas already well above their whole-month average. However it was not a wet picture across the whole country, north-east Scotland and most of southern & eastern England have had slightly less rain than would be expected by this point in the month.

EARLY mean temperature sunshine duration precipitation
1-15 Nov 2015 Act Anom  Act Anom  Act Anom 
  degC degC hours % mm %
UK 10.0 3.8 18.1 32 90.5 75
England 11.2 4.3 17.5 27 59.8 68
Wales 10.7 3.9 20.3 36 128.5 79
Scotland 8.0 3.0 18.4 40 132.5 80
N Ireland 9.6 3.1 18.3 34 83.1 74


For the rest of November indications are that after an unsettled week the weather will turn colder with temperatures dropping nearer to the expected average for Novemeber if not a little below.  However milder conditions look likely to return for a time at the end of the month with rain and strong winds for much of the UK.

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

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

This weekend’s UK rainfall

15 11 2015

Following the heavy rainfall over the weekend, here are the latest rainfall totals:

Site Name Area 48hr Rainfall total 9am Sat to 9am Mon (mm)
Capel Curig Gwynedd 106.0
Lake Vyrnwy Powys 82.0
Keswick Cumbria 81.6
Blencathra Cumbria 72.6
Tyndrum Perthshire 72.4
Shap Cumbria 69.8
Pately Bridge North Yorkshire 69.2
Bala Gwynedd 66.0  

With more unsettled weather on the way this week bringing further rain and strong winds, keep up to date with the latest forecast for your area and see the latest National Severe Weather Warnings.


Heavy rain has fallen widely throughout the night across much of north-west England, with the heaviest being over some of the higher ground in Cumbria.  The Environment Agency had recorded rainfall totals of 178mm in 12 hours by 5 am this morning in Cumbria.

National Severe Weather Warnings, still in place for parts of northern England, southern Scotland and Northern Ireland, are valid until this evening when the rain will start to clear out to the southeast.

Rainfall radar image 10pm 14 November 2015

Rainfall radar image 10pm 14 November 2015

The Environment Agency, Natural Resource Wales (NRW) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are continually monitoring the flood risk as this rainfall makes its way through the river network.

The amber warning issued for parts of North Wales has now been lifted. However a yellow severe weather warning is still in place until 10 pm this evening. Met Office rain gauges recorded 76mm in the 24 hour period up to midday today (Sunday) at Capel Curig in Snowdonia.

Warnings are constantly under review and adjusted should the weather system change or develop and potential impacts vary.

Regions/Country  Rainfall gauge  24hr rainfall total 9am Sat to 9am Sun
Cumbria Keswick 60mm
Cumbria Spadeadam 45.8mm
North Yorkshire Grimwith 65.4mm
West Yorkshire Thornton Moor 70mm
Lancashire Colne 60.2mm
Wales Capel Curig 67.2mm
Northern  Ireland Castlederg 42,6mm
Scotland Threave 48mm

Many parts of northern and central UK will continue to see rain today, some of it heavy, especially within the warning areas.  You are advised to keep up to date with the latest forecast information for your area so you can plan and prepare for the expected weather.

The Environment Agency, NRW and SEPA are still concerned that additional rainfall on to already saturated ground could well still lead to flooding and you are advised to keep up to date with the latest flood warnings and advise.

This weekends heavy rainfall heralds the start of an unsettled week as a series of low pressure systems are expected to move across the country.  The first will arrive late Monday before another brings stronger winds and rain on Tuesday and another system brings rain on Wednesday.  National Severe Weather Warnings have been issued for some of these systems given the now saturated ground over parts of the UK and will be updated in the coming days.  Meanwhile the weather is expected to turn colder for many by the end of the week.

What are the prospects for the weather in the coming winter?

29 10 2015

Anyone who has read the newspapers lately can’t have failed to notice this winter’s weather is in the headlines. Justification for claims of a ‘big freeze’ has come from sources as diverse as the plucky Bewick Swan settling into the comfort of the WWT reserve at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire earlier than ever before, to the strong El Niño and cool North Atlantic Ocean.

But what can we genuinely say about prospects for the coming winter, and what is the influence from phenomena like El Niño? Jeff Knight, from the Met Office Monthly to Decadal Prediction team explains.

In the Met Office we produce outlooks for the UK weather as a whole over three monthly periods. These outlooks are not forecasts in the conventional sense, although they are still made using computer prediction models. While a forecast might say ‘it will rain tomorrow’, the chaotic nature of the atmosphere beyond a few days ahead leads to growing forecast uncertainty, making it meaningless to try to make the same kind of forecast for a day in three months’ time.

Fortunately, atmospheric chaos is only part of the story and, when we consider the broad characteristics of the weather over a three month period, we can see influences from a range of global climate factors that we can endeavor to predict. While the unpredictable part means there is always a range of possible outcomes, the part we can try to predict allows us the opportunity to identify which types of weather are more likely than others. As a result, our outlooks are more useful for professionals who need to assess risk, such as contingency planners, than the public generally. Our current outlook covers the period from November to January.

So what are the global drivers that might influence our weather this winter?

El Niño is the biggest news story currently in global climate. This episodic warming of the waters of the equatorial Pacific Ocean occurs every few years – the last event happened in 2009-10. This ocean warming covers an area about 1,000 km wide and 13,000 km long, stretching along the equator from the South American coast to the West Pacific. El Niño events release a vast quantity of oceanic heat into the atmosphere so it is not surprising that El Niño has effects on weather across the globe.

This year’s El Niño started to grow in April and it has now become a strong, mature event similar to the landmark 1997-8 event. Typically, growth will peak around the end of the year and decline during the first half of the following year. We have already seen its effect on global weather systems: this summer’s Indian monsoon rainfall fell to drought levels and very hot, dry conditions in Indonesia have contributed to widespread forest fires.

Currently, the outlook for El Niño is for further growth over the next two months. Events are often ranked in terms of sea surface temperatures in Central Pacific, and by this measure, this year’s El Niño is more likely than not to become the strongest on record. Temperatures further east near to South America are likely to be not quite as exceptional as in 1997-8. No two El Niños are identical and even very similar events have slightly different characteristics.

What does El Niño imply for the UK this winter?

Unlike some parts of the world, the effect of El Niño on Europe is relatively subtle. In El Niño years there is a tendency for early winter to be warmer and wetter than usual and late winter to be colder and drier. Despite this, it is just one of the factors that influence our winters, so other influences can overwhelm this signal – it is relatively straightforward, for example, to find years where these general trends were not followed.

What about the Atlantic Ocean?

Closer to home, sea surface temperatures to the west of the UK have been notably lower-than-average in recent months. While it is true the westerly winds that we typically get in winter would have to pass over this region, it is unlikely that this will directly have a strong bearing on expected temperatures. This is because temperatures at this time of year are strongly affected by the direction of the wind. Eastern Europe and Scandinavia are 10-20°C colder than the Atlantic Ocean in winter, so our weather will depend much more on how often winds blow in from the north and east than whether the Atlantic is 1-2°C cooler than usual.

More broadly within the North Atlantic Ocean, sub-tropical temperatures to the south of this cool region are widely above average. This combination results in an increased north-south temperature gradient, which is expected to provide greater impetus for Atlantic depressions. For the UK, this would favour relatively mild, unsettled weather conditions.

Global sea surface temperature anomaly 28 October 2015

Global sea surface temperature anomaly 28 October 2015

Our weather is also affected by changes in the stratosphere

European winters are also sensitive to what is happening in the stratosphere, the layer of the atmosphere between 10 and 50 km up that lies above the weather. The equatorial stratosphere is home to the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO), a cycle that sees winds switch from easterly to westerly and back roughly every 27 months. First noted by Met Office scientists over 40 years ago, the link with European winter weather has stood the test of time. This year, the QBO is in a westerly phase, which implies an increased chance of a mild and wet winter at the surface.

A considerable part of the year-to-year differences between UK winters is related to the occurrence of sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs). In these events, the polar stratospheric vortex – the fast moving circulation of stratospheric air that whirls around the North Pole in winter – abruptly breaks down. They occur one winter in two on average, and events are most common in January or February. In the majority of cases SSWs lead to the establishment of cold easterly flow at the surface across Europe and the UK. The last SSW was in January 2013, and this event contributed to the cold late winter and early spring in that year.

Whether we get an SSW or not depends on a number of influences, such as El Niño and the QBO. Currently our models suggest an increased likelihood of an SSW from January onwards. If this were to happen, its effects would not be felt much before the end of our November to January outlook period. At the moment, therefore, this is still a long way off, and we consider this suggestion to be tentative.

So what can we expect in the UK this winter?

Most of the global drivers discussed above tend to increase the chances of westerly weather patterns during our November to January outlook period. Our numerical prediction model, being sensitive to these drivers, also predicts a higher-than-normal chance of westerly conditions. This results in an outlook for an increased chance of milder- and wetter-than-usual conditions, and a decreased chance of colder and drier conditions, for the UK. Our outlook also indicates an increase in the risk of windy or even stormy weather.

It should be noted that these shifts in probability do not rule out the less favoured types of weather completely. Also, a general tendency for one type of weather over the three months as a whole does not preclude shorter spells of other types of weather.

Finally, there are hints that the outlook might be rather different in the late winter, with an increased risk of cold weather developing. Nevertheless, it is currently too early to be confident about this signal.

The latest on Hurricane Patricia

24 10 2015

Hurricane Patricia made landfall at 6.15pm local time on 23rd October as a category 5 hurricane near Cuixmala, Jalisco, on the pacific coast of Mexico.  This is a relatively low populated area, 55 miles from the nearest significant city Manzanillo.  Maximum sustained wind speeds at landfall were estimated by satellite to be 165mph with gusts of 200mph.  100mm of rain has fallen widely in just 24 hours, with up to 500mm in isolated spots and an estimated 5m to 7m storm surge affected coastal areas. Consequently there has been a significant risk of coastal and flash flooding, with mud and landslides.

Patricia is forecast to rapidly weaken as it moves over the mountains of Mexico today and to dissipate as it tracks north east, though further significant rainfall and winds, along with flooding, is expected along the route in the next 12 hours.

Currently Patricia is expected to decrease, becoming a tropical storm, over central northern Mexico with wind speeds of 60 mph and gusts 85 mph later today.

Image courtesy of National Hurricane Centre

Image courtesy of National Hurricane Centre


Prior to landfall aircraft flew through the storm and recorded maximum sustained winds of 200mph and barometric pressure of 879Hpa, thus becoming the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the western hemisphere and the first to be recorded at over 200mph.

This will have to be verified by the World Meteorological Organisation before being considered official.

Hurricane Patricia is currently around 85 miles north-northwest of Manzanillo and is traveling at around 20 mph. Patricia has begun to decay and has sustained winds of approximately 130 mph and gust of of 160 mph, making it a category 3 storm with still potentially destructive winds.

A total of 50,000 people are estimated to have been evacuated so far ahead of Hurricane Patricia in three Mexican states. The Met Office has been, and will continue to, provide regular up dates to the FCO to best advise UK citizens in the affected area.

As it it moves across the country moisture and energy from Hurricane Patricia is expected to enhance a weather system across Texas this weekend and early next week boosting its potential rainfall (200 to 450mm over Sat/Sun) and flood threat.  This could potentially affect this weekends F1 Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

Official warnings for the latest tropical cyclones in the East Pacific are produced by the US National 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.



Record breaking Hurricane Patricia expected to make landfall over Mexico

23 10 2015

Hurricane Patricia has developed in the eastern Pacific and after a period of rapid intensification has become the most intense hurricane in the eastern Pacific in recorded history. US Air Force aircraft have been flying reconnaissance missions in and around the hurricane and their latest data suggest 1-minute average winds are near 200 mph and the central pressure is 880 mb. This beats previous records in the east Pacific set by Hurricane Linda in 1997 and also beats the Atlantic record set by Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Only in the western Pacific have there been a handful of tropical cyclones with a lower central pressure, and Patricia is even more intense than notorious tropical cyclones such as Typhoon Haiyan which struck the Philippines in 2013. The lowest pressure for a tropical cyclone globally was 870 mb set by Typhoon Tip in 1979.

Image courtesy of NOAA

Image courtesy of NOAA


Many intense tropical cyclones peak in intensity over oceans and either dissipate without making landfall or strike land at a much lower intensity. However, Hurricane Patricia is expected to make landfall over the Pacific coast of Mexico within little more than 12 hours. Thus, if any weakening occurs before landfall it will be fairly minimal.

Records dating back to 1949 indicate that no category 5 hurricane has ever struck the Pacific coast of Mexico, so potentially another record could soon be set. Based on latest National Hurricane Center forecasts landfall is likely just to the west of Manzanillo this evening local time (early hours of Saturday UK time). Whilst the strongest winds are likely to be experienced close to the coast, Patricia is expected to bring heavy rain well inland over the next day or two with several hundred millimetres possible.

Latest official forecast track for Hurricane Patricia from the National Hurricane Center

Latest official forecast track for Hurricane Patricia from the
National Hurricane Center

The exceptionally active tropical cyclone season seen across the North Pacific Ocean is primarily as a result of the strong El Niño which has existed for the last few months. This has raised sea surface temperatures well above normal in this region and also made atmospheric conditions conducive to development of frequent and strong tropical cyclones. Here are some of the recent statistics on tropical cyclone activity in 2015, bearing in mind that any records relate to the era of reliable satellite data coverage from the 1960s and 1970s onwards.

  • 15 hurricanes in the east Pacific east of the Dateline – tied with previous record
  • Nine hurricanes in the east Pacific east of the Dateline have reached category 4 or 5 – more than any previous year
  • 22 hurricanes or typhoons across the northern hemisphere have reached category 4 or 5 – four more than the previous record
  • Three major (category 3 or above) tropical cyclones have been active simultaneously in the North Pacific four times on record – two of those occasions have been in 2015.
  • Tropical cyclone activity in the central Pacific region (140-180°W longitude) has been about six times its normal level.

Official warnings for the latest tropical cyclones in the East Pacific are produced by the US National 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.

Statistics on recent northern hemisphere tropical cyclone activity are courtesy of Dr. Phil Klotzbach of Colorado State University (@philklotzbach).

The impacts of Typhoon Koppu

19 10 2015

Typhoon Koppu made landfall in the early hours of Sunday (local time) close to Casiguran in northern Philippines as an intense Typhoon. At landfall it was equivalent to a category 4 Hurricane with sustained winds averaged over a minute estimated to be close to 155 mph with gusts near 185 mph. There were reports of significant storm surge/large waves.

Through Sunday Koppu tracked slowly west across Luzon and was near San Fernando this morning (Monday) where it was downgraded to a Tropical Storm. It is expected to continue slowly across the north of Luzon through Monday and much of Tuesday.

Satellite image courtesy of the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Satellite image courtesy of the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Rainfall and flooding are now the main threat with torrential rain forecast in areas over the next 48 hours. 238mm was recorded in the city of Baguio in just 6 hours earlier today.  Total rainfall from Saturday to Tuesday could be as high as 1500mm in places. Several dams are at risk of overflowing and there is a significant landslide risk in the coming days.

There is considerable uncertainty in the track of Koppu as it clears the Philippines later this week. Some models take this system north, perhaps strengthening into a typhoon again and producing a risk of flood impacts in parts of Taiwan. However, it is possible Koppu could move north-east avoiding any impact on Taiwan, but posing a threat to the Ryukyu Islands of Japan.

Typhoon Koppu heads to the Philippines

16 10 2015

The very active tropical cyclone season in the North Pacific Ocean is continuing with the development of typhoons Koppu and Champi in the last few days. Typhoon Champi has just crossed the Mariana Islands, but is not expected to threaten land further in the near future. However, Typhoon Koppu is bearing down on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.

Typhoons Koppu (left) and Champi (right) at 0900 UTC on 16 October 2015 Image courtesy of the Japanese National Institute for Informatics

Typhoons Koppu (left) and Champi (right) at 0900 UTC on 16 October 2015
Image courtesy of the Japanese National Institute for Informatics

Based on latest forecasts the centre of the typhoon is likely to make landfall late on Saturday night, UK time.

However, with Typhoon Koppu the greater threat could come from heavy rainfall. Forecasts currently suggest that the typhoon will become slow moving over the Philippines and could take anything between two and five days to move away from Luzon.

The wind is expected to be destructive close to the eye as it comes onshore, with sustained winds likely to be 115mph and gusts to 160mph.  Whilst the winds should weaken after landfall, rainfall will continue and be particularly heavy on the slopes of the high ground in northern Luzon. It is estimated that as much as a metre of rainfall could occur in this area which is likely to bring flooding and mudslides. A storm surge is expected near the eye of the storm.

Further south the capital Manila, which is located on lower ground on a west facing bay, could receive over 200mm rain and be subject to coastal flooding due to the strong westerly winds on the southern flank of the typhoon forcing water into the bay.

Typhoon Koppu at 0732 UTC on 16 October 2015 Image courtesy of NOAA

Typhoon Koppu at 0732 UTC on 16 October 2015
Image courtesy of NOAA

Elsewhere in the Pacific it is possible that two further tropical storms could develop in the coming days in addition to Typhoons Koppu and Champi, although no immediate impact on land areas is expected. Looking a little further ahead, some computer models expect a tropical storm to develop in the Gulf of Mexico later next week, but it is too early to give precise predictions of track and impacts at this stage.

Official warnings for the latest tropical cyclones in the western North Pacific are produced by the Japan Meteorological Agency. 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.


Warm, dry, sunny start to October

16 10 2015

The first half of October has been dominated by high pressure, giving a warm, dry, sunny start to October across the UK.

The month started with some weather fronts crossing the UK bringing rain in places. However the mid month statistics* (1 -14th October 2015) show that from the 5th onwards a high pressure system has dominated our weather bringing dry, settled conditions for most of us.

However, because of the position high pressure, we have seen relatively cool air coming in from the north-east. This has resulted in plenty of pleasant, sunny days, particularly in western areas, but with temperatures dropping away at night and a few frosts in places (coldest in this period -3.7 °C at Altnaharra on 13th).  Sunshine hours and maximum temperatures so far this month have been above average, but many places have seen night time temperatures below what we would expect, meaning the overall mean temperatures so far are above average for the whole of October.

MeanTemp Oct 1-14 2015

Rainfall has been well below normal in western areas, although closer to what would be expected by this point in the month in some eastern parts of the UK.  As a whole the UK has seen just 20% of the expected monthly rainfall so far, well short of the 50% we would expect to see by mid month.

1-14 Oct 2015 mean temperature sunshine duration precipitation
degC degC hours % mm %
UK 10.3 0.8 57.1 62 25.5 20
England 11 0.6 60.7 59 25.2 27
Wales 10.4 0.5 60.2 65 24.8 15
Scotland   9.1 1.2 49.7 66 28.5 16
N Ireland 10.3 0.9 61.4 70 12.1 10

Of course, while these figures are interesting, they don’t tell us where the month will end up overall. Latest forecasts show that the settled weather is expected to continue for many over the next few days, before conditions become generally more unsettled across the UK with outbreaks of rain and stronger winds, interspersed with drier, brighter periods as we head towards the end of the month.

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

Hurricane Joaquin lashes the Bahamas but will it hit the USA?

1 10 2015

In recent months attention has focused on the very active tropical cyclone season in the Pacific Ocean brought about primarily by the strong El Niño which has developed this year. Meanwhile, the Atlantic has been very quiet with most tropical storms remaining fairly weak and only two reaching hurricane strength until now.

However, Joaquin has become the third hurricane of the Atlantic season and the second to achieve ‘major’ status – category 3 or above on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Joaquin is currently lashing the Bahamas with winds in excess of 100 mph near the centre of the hurricane. A storm surge of over two metres is possible and rainfall totals could be as high as 500 mm. Once the hurricane starts moving away from the islands the big question is whether it will make landfall over the US east coast.

Hurricane Joaquin at 1237 UTC on 01 October 2015 Image courtesy of the US Naval Research Laboratory [local copy at http://www-nwp/~frjh/tropicalcyclone/images/nhem15/joaquin_20151001_1237z.png]

Hurricane Joaquin at 1237 UTC on 01 October 2015
Image courtesy of the US Naval Research Laboratory

The forecasting conundrum

Joaquin is currently slow moving near the Bahamas and all computer models agree that a gradual turn north will happen in about two days time. However, beyond this point there is great uncertainty as to what will happen. Joaquin is being pulled in two directions. A developing trough of low pressure over the USA would act to pull Joaquin westwards towards the US coast. However, an area of low pressure to the east – including the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida – would act to pull Joaquin east away from the USA. The situation is finely balanced and any of several outcomes could happen.

One scenario is that Joaquin could make a turn north-westwards and make landfall near the Outer Banks of North Carolina at the weekend. Computer models are now mostly moving away from this as a likely outcome. Alternatively, Joaquin could take a mostly northwards track and reach New York and New England by early next week then continue up the eastern seaboard of Canada. Finally, a third scenario allows for the possibility that Joaquin could turn north-eastwards and avoid a US landfall altogether. We recommend that a close watch is kept on guidance issued by the National Hurricane Center in coming days for updates on which scenario is the most likely to occur.

Irrespective of whether or where Hurricane Joaquin makes landfall on the US east coast, large amounts of rain are expected in this area in the coming few days due to a slow-moving frontal zone. The impact of this will be exacerbated if Hurricane Joaquin does take a turn towards the USA in the next few days with further heavy rain accompanied by strong winds and a storm surge.

 Latest forecast track of Hurricane Joaquin from the National Hurricane Center

Latest forecast track of Hurricane Joaquin from the National Hurricane Center

Recent history of US landfalling hurricanes

Hurricane strikes on the USA have been fairly infrequent in recent years – particularly those at the stronger end of the scale. In 2014 Arthur crossed the Outer Banks of North Carolina as a category 2 hurricane. Going back to 2012, Isaac came ashore over Louisiana as a minimal category 1 hurricane. In 2011 Irene made landfall on the east coast of the USA also as a category 1 hurricane. The USA avoided hurricane strikes altogether in 2010 and 2009, but in 2008 three made landfall, the most significant of which was Hurricane Ike which caused a huge storm surge as it came ashore over Texas as a category 2 hurricane. However, you have to go back to 2005 to find the last ‘major’ hurricane strike on the USA (category 3 or above), when Hurricane Wilma hit Florida.

Hurricane Sandy (sometimes referred to as ‘Superstorm Sandy’) also caused much devastation to parts of the USA east coast in 2012. It is ranked as the second most costly hurricane in US history, although technically ceased to be a hurricane just prior to the time it made landfall.

Official warnings for the latest tropical cyclones in the Atlantic are produced by the US National 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.

Will Joaquin affect the UK?

With the confidence around the exact track of Joaquin being so low, it is currently too early to tell if this system will affect the weather in the UK. There is, however, already high confidence that we will return to more autumnal and unsettled conditions across the UK early next week. Make sure you keep up-to-date with the Met Office five-day forecast.


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