UPDATED: 11 NOVEMBER 2015
Storm Abigail has now been officially named and is expected to bring winds in excess of 80mph across the far north of the UK on Thursday evening into Friday and has the potential to cause some disruption. You can find out more here
Original blog from 6 November 2015:
Headlines in some newspapers are suggesting storms at the weekend will be the first officially named storms of the winter.
Currently the Met Office and Met Eireann have not issued severe weather warnings for the strong winds this weekend, and we have not named the storms heading towards the UK and Ireland.
However we are continuing to monitor the developing weather situation, and will let everyone know when any storm is officially named.
We are expecting unsettled weather this weekend, with spells of rain and strong to gale force winds at times.
The current forecast is for southern parts of the UK are expected to see the strongest winds on Saturday with 40-50mph gusts along parts of the south coast of England.
Meanwhile during Sunday into Monday the north and northwest of the UK is likely to experience the windiest conditions. Here gusts of 50-60mph are possible.
You can keep up to date with the latest forecast and warnings on our website.
Pretty low threshold for the naming then. How low can we go? Lower, lower.
Just don’t ask Michael Fish
In recent decades very few severe gales have affected the British Isles in November as far as I recall. Whereas there have been quite a number in October and in December. November seems to usually produce much rain but seldom anything out of the ordinary wind-wise.
Was this a historical exception?
Well, yes and no. When we converted to the Gregorian calendar in 1752 we ‘lost’ 11 days. Thus this event in effect occurred at the start of December.
Perhaps we will have to wait until winter 2016-17 for Abigail? Not a problem. The threshold should not be ‘low’. And it ISN’T as far as I can see (other than perhaps that some storms might bring severe winds only to a small portion of the British Isles).
As for Benton, he seems to think the Met Office and Met Eireann bring reluctant to say “Abigail is upon us this weekend” is STILL a ‘low threshold’. Whatever the Met Office do is ALWAYS ‘wrong’. Including this which I believe he has complained about before (I assume he does not live in south Devon or east Somerset): http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/release/archive/2015/BAMS-report
There’s a weather warning for Wales this morning. Is this the storm, or another low pressure?
The rain across north Wales yesterday that the yellow ‘be aware’ rain warning was issued for was a result of this storm.
There’s a wind warning in place for parts of northern England and southern Scotland tomorrow (Monday) morning. But despite this the Met Office have not christened the associated depression ‘Abigail’ as far as I am aware. Correct?
Yes, that is correct. The current wind warning is for low impacts which would not result in the storm being named.
It’s a bit late now for the Met Office to back off the naming of this windy patch as Storm Abigail. The media have already been using the name widely for several days now, and a quick search on Google returns over 13,000,000 pages of reports on ‘Storm Abigail’.
What a farce. Maybe we will have Storm Abigail the sequel, Storm Abigail 2.
The Met Office and Met Eireann have not officially named any storm so far this autumn, so we have not ‘backed off’ as you put it. As soon as a windstorm is expected to produce the medium to high impacts that would warrant a storm being named we will do so.
Writing this speculative article was clearly enough for the media to jump the gun. The Met Office have only themselves to blame. It’s going to look pretty ridiculous if, in a few months time when the first actual storm hits Britain, the Met Office declares it Storm Abigail.
Probably better to scrap the whole idea.
Abigail has been spotted today (either by satellite – or simply, as I believe is the case, seen in a consensus of the computer models for Thursday that persuades you that the depression will certainly develop as a distinct feature with central pressure probably below 980 mb for a time). Unlike on Monday, the forecast high winds expected will be associated with a distinct deep low pressure centre – probably.
But Abigail will probably only affect northwest Scotland and take quite a northerly track. It is November – when we usually escape the worst of autumn/winter gales.
I disagree with the arguments being put forward by Benton (you will be surprised to learn :). But I’m a little confused. The wind warning for Abigail, so far at least, is only yellow (as with the warnings for yesterday) not amber. It sounds as though yellow must encompass both ‘low’ and ‘medium to high’ impacts (or is it that you anticipate upgrading the Abigail wind warning to amber later in the week)?
Presumably the Met Office and Met Eireann will avoid jumping the gun at any stage in future and will manage to avoid naming a new storm days before its anticipated arrival – only for NO storm or just a weak depression or perhaps a system which totally misses affecting the British Isles with high winds to materialise? (We don’t really want a Michael Fish in reverse – “We thought there was a windstorm named Z- on the way but we were wrong” 🙂 .)
(Written at 7 pm Tuesday 10 Nov.)
Ashley, you are correct that naming a storm is dependant on the expected level of impact and the majority of the time will be associated with amber or red warnings. However, there will be cases – particularly a few days ahead of the storm arriving – when a storm will be named when a yellow warning is issued. When confidence in the development and movement of the storm and therefore the impacts increase the level of warning will change – as today with the Amber being issued for a smaller area.
I want 10 points for each dust bin i get 🙂
Two (named) gales now this November, both of which recorded one or two gusts above 80 mph in exposed coastal locations in South Uist and in Aberdaron (I’ve also been reminded of one other recent such gale during November – on the night of 21-22 November 2012 when similarly rapid wind gusts were logged in west Wales).