Global tropical storms, heavy rain and snow

With the weather in the UK still relatively settled we take a look at where the weather may have an impact around the world in the coming days.

Hurricane Nicole in the Atlantic

Since yesterday Nicole, located in the Atlantic to the south of Bermuda, has strengthened and now has sustained winds near 100 mph and is category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. On its current forecast track Nicole is expected to pass directly over or very close to Bermuda on Thursday afternoon (UK time). Some further strengthening is possible before then.

Bermuda was last hit by a hurricane in 2014. In fact it was hit by two within the space of a week. Hurricane Fay was at category 1, but was quickly followed by Hurricane Gonzalo which was category 2 with sustained winds near 110 mph. Gonzalo inflicted between $200 and $400 million of insured damages in Bermuda, but no deaths or serious injuries were caused. Further back in time category 3 Hurricane Fabian with sustained winds near 115 mph caused considerable damage on Bermuda in 2003 and was responsible for four deaths. It is possible that Nicole could have wind strengths similar to both Gonzalo and Fabian at its closest approach to Bermuda tomorrow. It will also bring heavy rain, storm surge and rip currents.

After passing close to Bermuda Nicole is expected to remain in the central Atlantic for some time. Any progress towards Europe as a post-tropical cyclone is likely to be blocked for many days by an area of high pressure which develops over the Atlantic to the east of the storm.


Hurricane Nicole on 12 October 2016 (credit: NOAA)

Possible Western Pacific Typhoon

This year’s tropical cyclone season in the western Pacific has seen some intense typhoons track towards Taiwan, China and Japan bringing strong winds, storm surge and high rainfall totals. However, the Philippines, which usually experiences several typhoons each year has only had one glancing blow from Typhoon Nida on the north-east tip of Luzon this season.

However, this could change later this week. A tropical depression has formed to the east of the Philippines and forecast models are in agreement that this time the Philippines could be in the firing line. At this stage it is unclear exactly how strong this tropical cyclone could become, but a track across Luzon either on Sunday or Monday is now looking increasingly likely.

Official warnings for the latest tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic are issued by the US National Hurricane Center. In the western North Pacific warnings are issued 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.

Mediterranean coast – Spain, France, Italy, Southern Alpine region and the Balkans

Some very unsettled weather is expected to develop across much of the western and central Mediterranean region in the next few days. Heavy rain and thunderstorms will increasingly affect Spain today, more especially across the north-east of the country by this evening, including Barcelona. During Thursday and Friday the heavy rain and thunderstorms will then move east to affect southern France, the Southern Alps and northern Italy, and be accompanied by some very strong winds, especially along the Mediterranean coast. Locally 50 to 100 mm, with as much as 125 mm of rainfall is expected per day leading to an enhanced flash flood and landslide risk across the region. We also expect some significant early season snowfall across the Alps above 1500 m. By the weekend the heavy rain will reach the western Balkans and Greece.

Northwest USA and southwest Canada

A series of active Pacific storm systems are expected to run into the Pacific Northwest of the USA from northern California through Oregon tomorrow, and then extend towards Washington  and southwest British Columbia, Canada in the coming 3 or 4 days. Periods of heavy rain are associated with these storms, with as much as 300 to 400 mm of rainfall accumulating in places. Major cities such as Seattle and Vancouver are likely to be affected. Inland, as the rain meets the cold air across Canada the Rockies are likely to see some early season snow. Flash floods and landslides are possible with the heavy rain. In addition, strong to gale force winds are likely, with the potential to damage trees and affect power supplies, with rough seas affecting coastal areas.

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