Volcanic activity in Iceland continues

29 08 2014

The Icelandic Met Office (IMO), who monitor volcanoes in the country, have been reporting increased seismic activity around the Barðarbunga volcano in Iceland since 16 August.

That activity continued with a small fissure eruption being observed some distance from the volcano in the early hours of Friday (29 August). This led to the IMO raising their ‘aviation colour code’ for the Barðarbunga volcano to Red for a few hours.

This has now been lowered back to Orange after further study of the area revealed the eruption is small and activity is decreasing, with no ash emitted. Under the IMO’s codes, Orange means ‘Volcano shows heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption’.

The volcanic activity has been variable, with the IMO colour code being briefly Red for Barðarbunga on 29 August and also on 23 August before being downgraded back to Orange.

Another nearby volcano, Askja, is currently Yellow on the IMO code, which means ‘Volcano is exhibiting signs of elevated unrest above known background level’.

The IMO will be continually monitoring the region for any further changes – you can see their latest updates on their website.

The Met Office, as one of nine Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAAC) around the world, will continue to keep in close contact with the IMO. The Met Office has responsibility for forecasting the dispersion of ash originating from volcanic eruptions in the North East Atlantic, primarily in Iceland.

The volcanic ash forecasts are used by airlines, the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and NATS (National Air Traffic Services) in the UK, as well as aviation organisations around the world, to make decisions on airspace flight management.

Advice will be issued once ash is released into the atmosphere by an eruption and this can be seen on the Met Office’s VAAC pages on our website.

Because the dispersal of any ash would heavily depend on the type and extent of eruption, as well as the prevailing weather and atmospheric conditions at the time, we can’t provide any speculation on where ash may go. If an eruption occurs that releases ash our advice on potential dispersal will be available on our website.

The Met Office will continue to stay in regular contact with the IMO and will keep the CAA fully informed as the UK’s aviation regulator as well as other stakeholders in the UK and abroad.





Cool, wet August ends fairly average summer

29 08 2014

After a dry and warm start, summer 2014 is set to end on a rather average note – with temperatures and rainfall close to normal levels for the season.

Using figures up to 27 August and then assuming average conditions for the final few days of the month, Met Office statistics show the UK mean temperature for this summer will be around 14.8C. This is just 0.5C above the long term average (1981-2010).

Rainfall overall is close to average, with the UK having seen 246.7mm of rain – which is just over the long-term average of 241.0mm. Rainfall from the final few days of August will add to this number, so overall the summer will be slightly wetter than average.

As ever when looking over a whole season, the statistics mask some big variations between each month.

June and July were both characterised by drier and warmer than average conditions across the UK which meant the summer was already one of the best we’ve seen in recent years.

UK rainfall as a percentage of the long-term (1981-2010) average

Map showing August UK rainfall as a percentage of the long-term (1981-2010) average for the month

August bucked that trend, however, with cooler and wetter than average weather. Taken together, this has led to the fairly average final statistics for summer.

Looking specifically at the early August figures, also released today, the UK mean temperature up to the 27th of the month is 13.8C which is 1.1C below the long-term average. This ranks it as currently the coolest August since 1993, but that could change when the final few days of the month are added.

August is also the first month since November 2013 to have been cooler than average, breaking an eight month run.

In terms of rainfall, August has been much wetter than average, with 127.1mm of rain which is 142% of the long-term average (89.5mm). This makes it the 18th wettest August in the records, but it may climb higher when the figures for the whole month are available.

 

Mean Temperature Rainfall
Summer* Actual (°C)
Diff from Avg Actual (mm)
% of Avg
UK 14.8 0.5 258.2 107
England 15.9 0.4 211.6 109
Wales 14.8 0.3 257.5 90
Scotland 13.1 0.6 338.4 111
N Ireland 14.3 0.4 244.6 96

*Please note these are projected numbers that include statistics from 1 June to 27 August, then assume average conditions for the final few days of the season. They may not accurately represent the final full-season figures.

 

Mean Temperature Sunshine hours Rainfall
August** Actual (°C)
Diff from Avg Actual (hours)
% of Avg Actual (mm)
% of Avg
UK 13.8 -1.1 154.2 95 127.1 142
England 14.9 -1.2 169.7 93 103.4 149
Wales 13.9 -1.0 152.3 91 128.2 119
Scotland 11.9 -1.1 132.4 99 169.0 145
N Ireland 13.3 -1.0 134.2 99 112.8 116

** Please note these are preliminary statistics from 1-27 August. The final figures will change once statistics from the final few days of the month are included.





How will ex-Hurricane Cristobal affect the UK’s weather next week?

27 08 2014

The third tropical storm in the North Atlantic, Cristobal, has been making some headlines about its potential positive impact on us here in the UK – so what’s actually happening?

Cristobal is currently categorised as a hurricane and is currently between Bermuda and northeast Florida in the western Atlantic.

The storm is forecast to move north-east across the Atlantic over the coming days, changing to an ex-hurricane as it moves away from the warmer waters where it formed.

However, unlike ex-Hurricane Bertha which moved straight to the UK and brought strong winds and heavy rain to much of the British Isles, ex-Hurricane Cristobal is set on a very different track.

Instead it is forecast to move towards Iceland, staying well away from the UK as you can see from the forecast pressure chart below.

Forecast pressure chart for 1pm on Sunday 31 August shows ex-Cristobal heading towards Iceland.

Forecast pressure chart for 1pm on Sunday 31 August shows ex-Cristobal heading towards Iceland.

As Cristobal tracks to the north-west of the UK it could bring stronger winds across northwestern parts of Scotland for a time and there will also be some rain moving across the UK on Sunday into Monday.

It will have a longer lasting and more positive impact on our weather, however, as the track of the storm will result in an area of high pressure building further to the south and over the UK.

This high pressure will be maintained through next week as the jet stream moves to the north of the UK, bringing settled conditions across the country.

At this time of the year, high pressure generally brings dry and fine weather with some spells of sunshine, and that’s what we expect to see from around Tuesday next week.

With high pressure, daytime temperatures could reach the low to mid 20’s Celsius in places. This warmth will be especially noticeable following the cool conditions of late.

This spell of warm weather, however, doesn’t fit the definition of an Indian Summer – which you can read about on our website.





UPDATED: Iceland volcanic activity

23 08 2014

The Icelandic Met Office (IMO), who monitor volcanoes in the country, have reduced their ‘aviation colour code’ for the Barðarbunga volcano back to Orange.

They elevated the code to Red on Saturday 23 August after an increase in seismic activity which suggested the onset of a sub-glacial eruption.

Further evidence since then has suggested no eruption has occurred, the IMO say, and therefore they have reduced the colour code back to Orange.

The Orange code means ‘Volcano shows heightened or escalating unrest with increased potential of eruption’.

Scientists at the IMO have also said that there are no indications that the seismic activity around the volcano is slowing down and therefore an eruption cannot be excluded. They will continue to monitor the situation very closely.

The Met Office hosts one of nine Volcanic Ash Advisory Centres (VAAC) around the world, which – in the event of a volcanic eruption – give advice on the likely dispersion of ash clouds.

We cover volcanoes in the North East Atlantic, primarily in Iceland. The volcanic ash forecasts are used by airlines, the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and NATS (National Air Traffic Services) to make decisions on airspace flight management.

Advice will be issued should there be any eruption. Because the dispersal of any ash would heavily depend on the type and extent of eruption, as well as the prevailing weather and atmospheric conditions at the time, we cannot speculate on where ash may go until there is an eruption.

The Met Office will continue to stay in regular contact with the IMO and will keep the CAA fully informed as the UK’s aviation regulator as well as other stakeholders in the UK and abroad.





A wet start to August

15 08 2014

The UK has already seen nearly its entire ‘normal’ rainfall for August in the first half of the month.

Figures up to the 13th of August show there has been 86.1mm of rain so far in the UK, just short of the 89.5mm long-term (1981-2010) average.

Looking at individual countries, Scotland has already seen more than its full-month average with 121.4mm of rain so far compared to the average of 116.7mm. The Inverness and Moray areas have been particularly wet, with significant flooding from ex-hurricane Bertha on 10 to 11 August.

Rainfall for England and Northern Ireland so far is just under the full-month average, while Wales has been the driest relatively speaking – with 83.2mm of rain making up 77% of its full-month average. Normally at this stage you would expect about 42% of the average to have fallen.

With regards to temperatures and sunshine, the month has been much closer to average so far.

The UK mean temperature is currently 15.2C, which is 0.3C above the full-month average.

UK sunshine hours are at 77.8 hours, which is 48% of the full-month average – so just ahead of where we’d expect after 13 days of the month.

While these figures are interesting, they don’t tell us where the month will end up overall – we’ll have to wait until the full-month figures are in before deciding where this August fits in to the records.

As we head in to next week there should be a good deal of drier weather but with northerly winds bringing in cooler air it will feel colder than of late, especially at night.

This will feel noticeably cool in the wind, so people heading out in the evening may want to take a few extra layers.

Mean temperature Sunshine Rainfall
1 – 13 August 2014 Actual

Diff from 81-10 average

Actual % of 81-10 average Actual % of 81-10 average
Celsius Celsius hours % mm %
UK 15.2 0.3 77.8 48 86.1 96
England 16.5 0.4 91.8 50 64.7 93
Wales 15.3 0.3 85.1 51 83.2 77
Scotland 13.2 0.2 55.3 41 121.4 104
N Ireland 14.5 0.2 61.9 46 92.7 95




Severe weather to affect western France

12 08 2014

A spell of severe weather is expected to affect parts of France overnight and through Wednesday morning as an area of low pressure makes its way in from the Bay of Biscay.

The  area of low pressure highlighted in the satellite image above is expected to deepen and develop before affecting parts of France this evening and overnight.

Pressure chart for 1 am Wednesday 13 August

Pressure chart for 1 am Wednesday 13 August

Forecast rainfall for 1 am Wednesday 13 August

Forecast rainfall for 1 am Wednesday 13 August

 

 

 

This brings the risk of severe thunderstorms across western, then southern France overnight and during Wednesday morning. This will bring the potential for flash flooding and will give squally winds, with disruption to local infrastructure and to holiday makers in the region. Very strong winds and high seas are also likely for a time overnight along the western coastline of France. Meteo France currently has severe weather warnings in force.

 

This area of wind and rain should then move quickly across Switzerland and southern Germany during Wednesday afternoon.





Sunday’s rain and wind data

10 08 2014

Heavy rain has continued to move north and east across the UK today. Here is a selection of the highest rainfall totals and strongest wind gusts from Met Office stations around the UK :

6hr UK RAINFALL   10 AUG 10am to 4pm
SITE NAME AREA Rainfall (MM)
LOGAN BOTANIC GARDEN WIGTOWNSHIRE 57.4
NORMANBY HALL HUMBERSIDE 38.4
HULL, EAST PARK HUMBERSIDE 30.0
LECONFIELD HUMBERSIDE 29.4
GRINGLEY-ON-THE-HILL NOTTINGHAMSHIRE 29.2
SCARBOROUGH NORTH YORKSHIRE 28.2
SUTTON BONINGTON NOTTINGHAMSHIRE 28.0
CONINGSBY LINCOLNSHIRE 25.6
SCAMPTON LINCOLNSHIRE 25.2
BRIDLINGTON MRSC HUMBERSIDE 24.6
HIGH BEACH ESSEX 24.4
HIGH MOWTHORPE NORTH YORKSHIRE 23.0
FYLINGDALES NORTH YORKSHIRE 22.4
BRAMHAM WEST YORKSHIRE 19.8
PEMBREY SANDS DYFED 19.6
WEST FREUGH WIGTOWNSHIRE 19.6
NORWICH AIRPORT NORFOLK 18.6
DISHFORTH AIRFIELD NORTH YORKSHIRE 18.4
KATESBRIDGE DOWN 18.2
HAMPSTEAD GREATER LONDON 18.2

 

DATE / TIME SITE NAME AREA MAX GUST (MPH)
10/08/2014 midday WIGHT: NEEDLES OLD BATTERY ISLE OF WIGHT 64
10/08/2014 4pm CAPEL CURIG GWYNEDD 56
10/08/2014 1pm ISLE OF PORTLAND DORSET 55
10/08/2014 1pm BERRY HEAD DEVON 54
10/08/2014 2pm WIGHT: ST CATHERINES POINT ISLE OF WIGHT 54
10/08/2014 3pm BRIDLINGTON MRSC HUMBERSIDE 53
10/08/2014 3am BALTASOUND SHETLAND 52
10/08/2014 midday DONNA NOOK LINCOLNSHIRE 52
10/08/2014 2pm LANGDON BAY KENT 52
10/08/2014 8am SCILLY: ST MARYS AIRPORT ISLES OF SCILLY 51
10/08/2014 3pm HOLBEACH LINCOLNSHIRE 49
10/08/2014 9am CULDROSE CORNWALL 48
10/08/2014 2am SELLA NESS SHETLAND 48
10/08/2014 2pm SOLENT HAMPSHIRE 47
10/08/2014 3pm SHOREHAM AIRPORT WEST SUSSEX 46
10/08/2014 2pm ODIHAM HAMPSHIRE 46
10/08/2014 4pm MUMBLES HEAD WEST GLAMORGAN 46
10/08/2014 4pm CROSBY MERSEYSIDE 45
10/08/2014 midday NORTH WYKE DEVON 45
10/08/2014 2pm HURN DORSET 45

 

 





Latest wind and rain data as ex-hurricane Bertha crosses the UK

10 08 2014

As forecast ex-hurricane Bertha is crossing the UK today (10 August 2014) bringing heavy and strong, gusty winds.

ex-hurricane Bertha crosses the UK on 10 August 2014

ex-hurricane Bertha crosses the UK on 10 August 2014

 

The heaviest rainfall overnight was recorded at Balatasound in Shetland where 48.8mm of rain was recorded as a previous low pressure system moved away from the UK, while Bute Park in Cardiff saw 40.6mm as the remnants of ex-hurricane Bertha move in from the southwest.

The highest hourly total was 18.4mm at Wisley in Surrey between 9 and 10am this morning and Coventry in the West Midlands seeing 18.2mm in the same time.

The table below shows a selection of the rainfall recorded at Met Office observing sites across the UK between 10pm on Saturday 9 August and 10am on Sunday 10 August 2014.

12hr UK RAINFALL 10pm 9 Aug to 10am 10 Aug 2014
SITE NAME AREA Rainfall (MM)
BALTASOUND SHETLAND 48.8
CARDIFF, BUTE PARK SOUTH GLAMORGAN 40.6
MILFORD HAVEN CONSERVANCY BOARD DYFED 37.0
SCOLTON COUNTRY PARK DYFED 35.4
ST ATHAN SOUTH GLAMORGAN 34.4
PERSHORE COLLEGE HEREFORD & WORCESTER 28.2
USK NO 2 MONMOUTHSHIRE 27.6
ASTWOOD BANK HEREFORD & WORCESTER 26.0
PERSHORE HEREFORD & WORCESTER 23.6
MURLOUGH DOWN 23.2
TREDEGAR, BRYN BACH PARK GWENT 22.8
KILLOWEN DOWN 22.4
WHITECHURCH DYFED 22.2
CHIVENOR DEVON 22.0
COVENTRY, COUNDON WEST MIDLANDS 21.8
WISLEY SURREY 21.2

The winds have picked up as well with a gust of 53mph being recorded at Berry Head, Devon betwen 5am and 6am this morning. The table below shows the wind speeds recorded between 1am and 10am today.

UK MAX GUST SPEED 10 AUG 1am to 10am
DATE / TIME SITE NAME AREA MAX GUST (MPH)
10/08/2014 0600 BERRY HEAD DEVON 53
10/08/2014 0300 BALTASOUND SHETLAND 52
10/08/2014 0800 SCILLY: ST MARYS AIRPORT ISLES OF SCILLY 51
10/08/2014 0900 CULDROSE CORNWALL 48
10/08/2014 0200 SELLA NESS SHETLAND 48
10/08/2014 1000 WIGHT: NEEDLES OLD BATTERY ISLE OF WIGHT 46
10/08/2014 0800 MUMBLES HEAD WEST GLAMORGAN 44
10/08/2014 0300 LERWICK SHETLAND 44
10/08/2014 0900 CAMBORNE CORNWALL 43
10/08/2014 0900 SOLENT HAMPSHIRE 41

The rain will continue to move north across the UK during the rest of today and the winds will stay strong and gusty and we encourage everyone to keep up to date with the latest forecasts and national severe weather warnings.





Cyclone Quartet Straddle the Pacific Ocean

8 08 2014

In the last few days a quartet of tropical cyclones have been active across the Pacific Ocean. For a period of time all four were simultaneously of hurricane intensity (winds greater than 74 mph). This is the first time this has happened in the Pacific Ocean for 12 years. Here we take a look at each of the storms and their likely impact.

Typhoons Halong and Genevieve and Hurricanes Iselle and Julio seen on 7 August 2014 Original images courtesy of University of Wisconsin

Typhoons Halong and Genevieve and Hurricanes Iselle and Julio seen on 7 August 2014
Original images courtesy of University of Wisconsin

Typhoon Halong formed near the US island of Guam and has been active in the west Pacific for over 10 days. It is now heading north towards south-western Japan and is set to bring strong winds and heavy rain this weekend to the area only recently affected by Typhoon Neoguri.

Typhoon Genevieve originated in the east Pacific and for a long time was a weak storm, even weakening to a remnant low pressure area at one stage. However, in the central Pacific Genevieve rapidly strengthened as it traversed an area of warm waters and gained hurricane status. As it crossed the International Dateline Hurricane Genevieve became Typhoon Genevieve. There is no difference between hurricanes and typhoons except that the former is used to describe tropical cyclones east of the Dateline and the latter to the west of the Dateline. Genevieve looks set to end its life as a tropical cyclone in mid-ocean well away from land.

Hurricane Genevieve as it crossed the International dateline and became a typhoon on 7 August 2014.  Image courtesy of US Naval Research Laboratory.

Hurricane Genevieve as it crossed the International dateline and became a typhoon on 7 August 2014.
Image courtesy of US Naval Research Laboratory.

Hurricane Iselle formed in the east Pacific just over a week ago. Iselle was downgraded to a tropical storm just as it made landfall over Hawaii today, but is still bringing strong winds, surf and heavy rain. Tropical storm or hurricane strikes directly over Hawaii are very rare. The last hurricane to make landfall over Hawaii was Iniki in 1992.

Rainfall radar showing Tropical Storm Iselle approaching Hawaii 8 August 2014. Image courtesy of NOAA

Rainfall radar showing Tropical Storm Iselle approaching Hawaii 8 August 2014.
Image courtesy of NOAA

Hurricane Julio is following hard on the heels of Hurricane Iselle in the east Pacific and has become a ‘major hurricane’ with winds in excess of 115 mph.

 

Julio is also heading in the direction of Hawaii, but looks likely to track a little further north than Hurricane Iselle. However, the US state could still feel the affects of Julio as it passes by on Sunday.

Official warnings of west Pacific tropical storms are produced by the Japanese Meteorological Agency . Central Pacific warnings are issued by the Central Pacific Hurricane Center and east Pacific 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.

Met Office StormTracker provides a mapped picture of tropical cyclones around the globe with access to track history and six-day forecast tracks for current tropical cyclones from the Met Office global forecast model and latest observed cloud cover and sea surface temperature. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.





Ex Bertha more likely to miss UK

6 08 2014

7 August update: The latest update about the whether ex-Bertha will affect the UK can be found in our news release

 

Tropical Storm Bertha is currently off the north east coast of the US and is likely to become an ‘extra tropical storm’ on Thursday.

It’s then expected to track across the Atlantic – and while there are still a number of possible outcomes, it looks increasingly likely that the UK will miss any serious impacts from ‘ex Bertha’.

The Met Office has been assessing the likelihood of the UK seeing any effects from Bertha by using our own forecast model alongside models from other world-leading forecast centres.

Map shows likely storm track for ex Bertha by midday Sunday.

Map shows likely storm track for ex Bertha by midday Sunday.

At the moment the majority of forecasts from those models suggest ex Bertha will track to the south of the UK as a relatively weak low pressure system.

In fact it’s debatable whether this is even ex Bertha, as the storm declines to such an extent as it comes across the Atlantic that it fragments.

Some of the warm air which it drags across then leads to a new weak low which generates an area of heavy rain. This could move across northern France and possibly clip eastern parts of the UK on Sunday.

A much smaller number of model outcomes suggest ex Bertha will move across the UK as a more distinct feature which could bring some strong winds and heavy rain. Because these outcomes are in a minority, however, they are less likely.

While there remains a good deal of uncertainty about the weather on Sunday, it currently looks as if it will be fairly unsettled with some rain and breezy conditions – but nothing too unusual for the time of year.

It’s worth noting that it’s likely that the south east of England will see some heavy rain on Friday, which is not part of Bertha. You can see more about this on the Met Office’s severe weather warnings page.

We’ll be keeping an eye on the latest outlook for the weather over the next few days and the progress of ex Bertha to keep everyone up to date with the latest information.








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