Active tropical storms in the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans

As we head into the peak of the northern hemisphere tropical storm season, there are tropical storms active in the North Atlantic and across the North Pacific. Here is a roundup of current activity:

North Atlantic

Gaston recently became the third hurricane of the Atlantic season, but has now weakened back down to tropical storm strength. Gaston has the potential to re-intensify over the weekend – perhaps to a major hurricane. However, it is expected to remain over open water in the central Atlantic, possibly causing some large swell as it passes east of Bermuda early next week.

Tropical Storm Gaston in the North Atlantic at 1245 UTC 26 August 2016. Image courtesy of Met Office and EUMETSAT

Hurricane Gaston in the North Atlantic at 1610 UTC 25 August 2016. Image courtesy of EUMETSAT

Meanwhile, in the northern Caribbean a region of low pressure close to Cuba has a 60% chance of developing into a tropical storm over the next 5 days. If it does develop, this storm will be called Hermine. Gale force winds, heavy rain and flash flooding is possible over Hispaniola and Cuba during the next couple of days. There is uncertainty in the exact path of this system, but it looks likely to head northwest close to South Florida, and then into the eastern Gulf of Mexico, as indicated by the National Hurricane Center’s map below.

A second area of low pressure in the northern Gulf of Mexico is also being closely monitored, but currently only has a 10% chance of development over the next 5 days.

Tropical cyclone potential for the next 5 days. Image courtesy of the US National Hurricane Center

Tropical cyclone potential for the next 5 days. Image courtesy of the US National Hurricane Center

Eastern North Pacific

Tropical Storm Lester formed on 25 August, becoming the 12th tropical storm of the Eastern Pacific season. Lester is forecast to become a hurricane later today, but is expected to remain out at sea and pose no threat to land.

Another region of low pressure to the west of Lester is also being closely watched for development. This region has a 90% chance of development over the next 5 days and could become a tropical depression over the weekend.

Western North Pacific

In the western North Pacific Typhoon Lionrock is currently situated to the south of Japan. Lionrock has strengthened overnight and further strengthening of this storm is expected over the weekend as it starts to head northeast. Although the forecast track for Lionrock is uncertain at this stage, it could pass close to or over the east coast of Honshu, Japan early next week. This region has already seen Typhoon Mindulle make landfall in Tokyo earlier this week.

Typhoon Lionrock to the south of Japan at 0800 UTC 26 August 2016. Image courtesy of JMA

Typhoon Lionrock to the south of Japan at 0800 UTC 26 August 2016. Image courtesy of JMA

Official warnings for the latest tropical cyclones in the western North Pacific are produced by the Japan Meteorological Agency. Central North Pacific warnings are issued by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center and the eastern North Pacific and North Atlantic warnings 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.

You can keep up to date on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter and through our Storm Tracker page.

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Mostly dry for August so far after a wet start

Provisional mid-month stats are in for August and they show that through the first 16 days there has been quite a contrast in rainfall across the UK.

After the first day of the month, when an area of low pressure gave some large rainfall totals in the south, England, Wales and Northern Ireland have been much drier than average. By this stage in the month you would normally expect around 52% of the total month’s average to have fallen. However, many parts have seen less than 20%, with Anglesey only recording 5.6mm which is just 7% of the total month average.

Meanwhile Scotland has been affected by a number of frontal systems, particularly in the north and west, so it has been much wetter here. Many northwestern parts have already reached close to their total month average, as have the Lake District and the northern Pennines.

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Map showing 1-16 August 2016 rainfall anomaly from total month average (1981-2010). At this point in the month you would usually expect around 52% of the average

Temperatures have generally been around normal although maximum temperatures are a little above average towards the east coast and slightly below in the west. Looking at sunshine amounts, it has been quite bright for most, but less so in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Rainfall Mean temp Sunshine
1-16 August 2016 Act (mm) Anom (8110) Act (°C) Anom (8110) Act (hrs) Anom (8110)
UK 45.2 51 15 0.1 95.5 59
England 24.9 36 16.3 0.2 112.9 62
Wales 36.6 34 15.2 0.2 96.2 57
Scotland 84.4 72 12.8 -0.2 71.6 53
N Ireland 27.6 28 14.8 0.5 67.5 50

After some warm and sunny weather to start this week the forecast is for things to turn much more unsettled for Friday and the weekend, with the potential for a warming trend next week. Thereafter the rest of the month looks likely to be changeable with wetter weather in the northwest and drier in the southeast.

You can keep up to date with the weather using our forecast pages and by following us on Twitter and Facebook, as well as using new mobile app which is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from the Google Play store.

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Met Office in the news – BBC weather contract

Met Office northern hemisphere model visualisation

Met Office northern hemisphere model visualisation

We’ve known for a year that our long-standing relationship with the BBC is going to change and we have been working hard to make sure everyone can access our forecast and warnings on a range of channels – via our popular new app, or via videos on our website and via twitter.

National weatherAs the trusted, expert source of weather and climate science in the UK, we work at the heart of Government, with a wide range of customers, and with emergency responders to maintain resilience and public safety.

Its not surprising that our highly trained and popular presenters are in demand; many have been presenting the weather for many years and have become household names. We are working closely with our staff to resolve any issues associated with the end of our contract.

Helen Chivers, Head of news and social media at the Met Office, said: “Nobody knows Britain’s weather better than the Met Office and our expert forecasts and warnings are easily accessible for everyone when it matters.

“Technology is helping us reach more people than ever before in the ways they want, be it on our popular new weather app, website and social media, on-line news providers or independent television networks. This means everyone can have the best weather information at their fingertips, whenever and wherever they need it.

“Our long-standing relationship with the BBC will continue as they broadcast our national severe weather warnings and interview our experts on subjects as diverse as winter storms, global climate change impacts and space weather.”

Our new app is proving very popular and has now had 600,000 downloads since its official launch in May. With a 4.5* rating for iOS and 4* for Android it is in the top 50 apps in the app stores for customer retention.

App home pageMet Office app

Helen added: “These are exciting times for us as we work with a wide range of UK broadcasters and media partners to create new and innovative services.”

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A tour of global meteorology in 50, 30-second topics

Every day there will be an article published somewhere in the world about life-threatening weather or a changing global climate. We’re not short of news content, occasionally spiced with a liberal dose of hyperbole. However, until now there have been few accessible and up-to-date sources of reference helping the reader to understand the scientific principles creating the weather and climate.

Adam Scaife August 2016

Professor Adam Scaife is head of Monthly to Decadal Prediction at the UK Met Office and honorary visiting Professor at Exeter University. Picture: Simon Hammett, Met Office.

Professor Adam Scaife, a world-class scientist specialising in long-range forecasting, recognised this gap when he was invited to create a new book: 30-second Meteorology. Adam put together a team of weather and climate experts and collectively they invite readers to take half a minute to digest each of the 50 most important topics in modern-day meteorology and climate science.  From the North Atlantic Oscillation and jet streams to rainbows and sundogs, this book will take readers to the edge of our current knowledge.

30-second-meteorology

30 Second Meteorology is published by Ivy Press.

In the book’s introduction, Prof Scaife said: “You can open this book at any point or immerse yourself in a complete chapter at a time. However you approach the 50 topics, I urge you to speculate on what is to come. Before the advance of atmospheric science, weather forecasters were ridiculed for their dream of predicting the future, but the ever-increasing accuracy of weather forecasts is a reality and this makes them an essential tool to society worldwide. Even long-range predictions of the average weather from months to years ahead are now possible and, in some cases, point towards dramatic future events. Some of these forecasts are destined to become ever more critical and they are unfolding right now, as you read this book, when the globe is warmer than ever recorded before.”

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Fire and floods – weather around the globe

The weather has had a major impact on a number of events at the Olympics in Rio, with postponements for both tennis and rowing. Many places around the rest of the world are also experiencing interesting weather at the moment.

Europe:

Warm and dry conditions with strong winds have led to devastating wild fires across Madeira where three people have been killed and a number of properties destroyed. Dry and very warm weather across northern parts of Portugal have also led to wild fires developing here, with almost 400 recorded across the country as a whole. Unfortunately it’s unlikely there will be an immediate end to the fires. Further wild fires are also affecting parts of southern France, though these should die out in the next day or so.

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Satellite imagery from Wednesday 10 August 2016, showing smoke from wild fires on Madeira. image from MODIS/Terra/NASA

Temperatures across northern Portugal are expected to rise well above average for the time of year, and the hot conditions should extending into northwest Spain and west France this weekend. Temperatures are likely to peak over 40 C, which is a lot hotter than the low thirties being forecast for southern parts of the UK early next week.

Asia:

A strong monsoon flow will bring heavy rainfall and the risk of flooding to the western side of Luzon, including Manila. Up to 250 mm could fall in a 24 hour period, and 1000-2000 mm through the next seven days in places. The heavy rainfall and thunderstorms are also expected to affect southern China, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

North America:

Severe floods are also possible in parts of southern USA. Some places saw over 200 mm of rain during Tuesday and Wednesday, with further heavy rain, 50-100 mm, expected each day through to the weekend.

Pacific Ocean:

Tropical Storm Conson is over the western North Pacific and is forecast to strengthen over the next few days, but should not impact land. Some further tropical storm development is expected over other parts of the Pacific Ocean, our Storm Tracker pages will have more information on these.

South America:

Back to Rio, and whilst the unsettled weather caused issues for a number of events, they didn’t faze Jack Laugher and Chris Mears who overcame the wind and rain to win gold in the men’s synchronised 3m springboard diving for Team GB. Last night Mears described the weather as “English” and added “We enjoy diving in the rain. We love it.”

The forecast for the next few days at the Olympics is a breezy but drier day on Thursday, but it will again be cooler than average for the time of year. Into the weekend a switch in wind direction means it will feel much warmer as temperatures should however climb into the mid-thirties Celsius, which is around 10 degrees above average.

Our forecast pages and new app can provide you with more information on the weather forecast wherever you are.

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Is it going to turn hotter?

So far this summer we have seen quite a variety of weather. There were heavy and thundery showers in June, plenty of dry weather through July, and then August started wet for many with strong winds in the north over recent days.

The area of low pressure which brought the strong winds to Scotland is now moving away eastwards. This means our flow is coming from the northwest, and so it will be a little cooler than of late with some showers expected. That being said, there will also be a good deal of sunny spells in which it will still feel warm.

Duopic

Towards the end of the week, an area of high pressure is expected to build from the southwest. Whilst northern parts are likely to see wet and breezy conditions, elsewhere it will be mostly dry and we will see temperatures start to climb.

For the weekend, the high pressure means many places should enjoy some periods of sunshine and temperatures a few degrees above average. However, in the north there will still be some unsettled weather around, especially on Saturday.

After that and there is the potential for things to turn hot for the beginning of next week. Deputy Chief Operational Meteorologist Laura Paterson said: “An area of low pressure looks likely to drag air up from the south across the UK. Despite being a week ahead, temperatures of 30-32°C look more likely than not across some southern parts of the UK on Monday and Tuesday and there is a chance that even northern parts of the UK could see temperatures into the high 20s Celsius. Next week’s hotter weather does not look likely to last for long though with a thundery breakdown and eventual transition to cooler conditions expected by around the middle of the week.”

The RNLI are advising: “If you’re heading to the beach, remember to stay safe and to ‘be beachwise’ by choosing a lifeguarded beach and taking the right precautions to make sure you stay safe and remember your day at the beach for the right reasons. Our key advice for people planning a trip to the beach, especially those planning to go in the water, is to choose a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags, where the lifeguards can see you. We want people to have fun at the beach, but to make sure they stay safe while they’re enjoying themselves.”

For the most up to date forecast for your area this week, download our new App, available from the App store and the Google Play store, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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North-south rainfall divide for July

The early July statistics (1st -28th) show a stark contrast in the UK between parts of the north and south as far as rainfall is concerned.

St Catherine’s Point, on the Isle of Wight, recorded only 1.4 mm of rain, currently the station’s driest July on record. Meanwhile the month saw some very wet weather in the northwest, with Stornoway Airport recording 140.0 mm (87% above average) ranking it currently as its 3rd wettest July on record (wetter years being 1939 with 143.7 mm and 1988 with 164.5 mm).

Rainfall Anomaly July 2016

 

Despite the general perception by many that we are having a bad summer overall it is currently the 6th driest July on record for south east and central south England (19.8 mm) with much of southern England seeing less than 20 mm of rain this month.

July 1-28 2016 Maximum temperature Minimum temperature Mean Temperature
Actual deg C Anm Actual deg C Anm Actual deg C Anm
UK 19.3 -0.1 11.4 0.5 15.3 0.2
England 21.2 0.3 12.4 0.7 16.7 0.5
Wales 18.8 -0.4 12.0 0.8 15.3 0.1
Scotland 16.5 -0.5 9.8 0.3 13.2 -0.1
N Ireland 18.4 -0.1 11.0 0.2 14.7 0.1

However although it has been dry for many it has been dull with sunshine amounts below normal for many.  This followed on from a rather dull June.

Sunshine Anomaly July 2016

Despite a cooler start to the month (with nowhere in the UK reaching 25 °C at any time during the first fortnight), things began to warm up from the 16th onwards, leading into the hottest spell of weather this year so far, with sunnier skies, and temperatures reaching 33.5 °C at Brize Norton on the 19th.

The “heatwave” was relatively short lived however with a return to a mix of sunshine and showers as we moved towards the end of the month.

July 1-28 2016 Sunshine hours Rainfall
Actual Anm Actual mm Anm %
UK 143.3 83 77.5 99
England 176.3 91 38.6 62
Wales 145.7 81 81.8 88
Scotland 96.6 68 137.0 138
N Ireland 94.5 67 99.3 122

The rather cloudy days and below average sunshine levels might have left the impression of a poor month weatherwise, but in actual fact temperatures so far have been marginally above average, although the slightly warmer nights have helped keep the mean figures (24 hour temperatures totals) around average.  For southern England at least rainfall has been very low with west Scotland and the Western Isles having the worst of the rain.

You can keep up to date with the weather using our forecast pages and by following us on Twitter and Facebook. You can also monitor the accuracy of the current day’s forecast for your location using our weather verification page.

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Record breaking rainfall and cold weather grips South Africa.

There has been snowfall, heavy rain, and flooding across parts of South Africa as a low pressure system moves slowly along the southern coast.

Rainfall affecting coastal areas of South Africa.

Rainfall affecting coastal areas of South Africa.

Flooding and mudslides have been reported in and around Durban with the city recording 150mm of rainfall in 12 hours on Monday, that’s equal to 5 times its average July rainfall.   Along the coast in Paddock, 315mm of rain has fallen since Sunday, equivalent to around a third of the rainfall it would expect in a whole year.

Meanwhile inland in the southeastern interior there has been heavy snowfall. The South African Weather Service has issued a number of snow warnings and has highlighted the risk of travel disruption for various passes between the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.  There is a further 15-25cm of snow expected in the area over the next few days.

Snow fall at Van Reenen. Image courtesy of Ladysmith Gazette.

Snowfall at Van Reenen. Image courtesy of Ladysmith Gazette.

In addition to the very heavy coastal rainfall, gales or severe gales along the coast could cause structural damage and coastal flooding and may lead to disruption to shipping.  Thunderstorms could cause disruption to flights.

The unsettled weather is expected to continue over the next few days with the potential for a further 75-125mm of rainfall along the coast, which could bring further flooding, and more snow in the mountains and the KwaZulu-Natal midlands.

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Heat and rainfall making headlines around the world

While the UK has seen a brief spell of hot weather this week followed by thunderstorms in some areas, heat and rainfall have also been making headlines in other parts of the world. The North Pacific hurricane season has also gathered speed over the last month.

Middle East

Across parts of Iraq, western Iran, Kuwait and northern Saudi Arabia, extremely high temperatures have been recorded over recent days. On Thursday Basrah Airport, Iraq reached 53.4C, while Mitribah in northern Kuwait recorded 54.0C. Both of these temperatures, subject to confirmation, are new national records and the 54.0C recorded at Mitribah is among the highest temperatures ever recorded in Asia.

The highest ever temperature recorded globally was 56.7C at Death Valley, California, USA on 10 July 1913.

The high temperatures will continue today (Friday) with 53.6C recorded at 1200 GMT at Basrah Airport, Iraq, but the weekend should see a break from the heat as northwesterly winds bring cooler air to the region.

Asia

Heavy rainfall has brought disruption to northeastern parts of China this week with a deep area of low pressure enhancing the local rainfall pattern. On Tuesday the city of Xingtai in Hebei province received almost twice the average rainfall for July in the space of 24 hours, recording 295mm. On Wednesday, the capital Beijing recorded 281mm rain in 24 hours, leading to flash floods, significant travel disruption across the region and loss of life.

The next week looks likely to bring further heavy rainfall to the area with strong winds forecast through the Yellow Sea this weekend, enhancing the coastal flood risk.

North Pacific

Our blog on 5 July reported that it had been a very slow start to the eastern North Pacific hurricane season with the first storm (Agatha) not forming until 2 July. Since then this region has made up for lost time with a total of six tropical storms in the last three weeks, three of which have become hurricanes. One of these hurricanes, Darby, has tracked from the eastern to the central North Pacific and is set to cross the islands of Hawaii this weekend. Although it has weakened to a tropical storm it is still likely to bring winds of near 65 mph, heavy rain and high surf to the islands. Tropical storm warnings are in force with a risk of flash flooding in some areas.

The active spell in the eastern North Pacific is continuing with the formation of Tropical Storm Georgette today. 2016 now ties with 1985 for the record number of tropical storms (seven) to form in this region in July in records dating back to 1949.

Tropical Storm Darby approaching Hawaii from the east at 0900 UTC 22 July 2016. Image courtesy of NOAA.

Tropical Storm Darby approaching Hawaii from the east at 0900 UTC 22 July 2016.
Image courtesy of NOAA.

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. You can keep up to date on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter and through our Storm Tracker page.

North America
Across central and eastern parts of the US hot and very humid weather is expected this weekend, with many central and southern states seeing temperatures well into the 30’s Celsius. The heat index, which is a measure of heat and humidity, will be in the range of 35-40C and as a result may have some health impacts for residents and tourists in the area. However, next week should see a return to fresher conditions with temperatures returning to more normal levels.

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Saving Lives at Sea – a window on the work of the RNLI

Saving Lives at Sea group image Crd RNLINigelMillard (2)

This evening, the vital life-saving work of the RNLI will be highlighted in the first of a major new four-part documentary on BBC1: Saving Lives at Sea.

The Met Office enjoys a special relationship with the RNLI because in August the Met Office selected the RNLI as its corporate charity for three years.

Andy Yeatman is deputy head of communications at the Met Office. Commenting on the growing relationship with the RNLI, he said: “We were delighted when our staff chose the RNLI as our corporate charity. There is such a logical fit between the two organisations. Given our respective remits the two organisations have always enjoyed a close relationship, but this is being strengthened through the ongoing collaboration.”

Tonight’s documentary will bring the life-saving work of the charity into sharp focus. Andy Yeatman added: “Since working with the RNLI, Met Office staff have become increasingly aware of the great work the RNLI does to ensure the protection of life around our coasts. Now audiences across the UK will have that opportunity too.”

The Met Office and RNLI have exciting plans to develop the relationship over the next three years. This programme will include a communication strand to share forecasts, warnings and safety information to the widest possible audience, as well as sharing each organisation’s experience.

Ros Whitlock is the RNLI’s partnership manager. Commenting on the association, she said: “At our head office in Poole, we use the Met Office Hazard Manager service during flooding to prepare rescue teams and let volunteers and staff know about weather risks. Storms and floods can create terrifying conditions so we rely on forecasts to make decisions on how to carry out rescues, manage risks and be available at the right time, considering tides and weather.”

Further projects include the development of a pilot rip-current indicator service for lifeguard managers, with plans for a beach forecast service. In addition, the Met Office provides international forecasts to help the RNLI with its international work.

During the first few months of the relationship, Met Office staff have been fundraising for the RNLI, including running the ‘give-an-hour’ scheme: the Met Office salary-sacrifice programme.

Ros Whitlock added: “We are delighted to have been chosen as the Met Office’s charity. And we are looking forward to developing the relationship from both a fundraising and non-financial perspective. We really appreciate the support of all of the Met Office employees.”

The first episode of Saving Lives at Sea will be broadast at 9pm this evening on BBC1.

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