The Met Office’s outlook for UK winter 2013-14

21 02 2014

There are some headlines in the media today discussing the Met Office long range forecast for this winter.

Firstly it’s important to remember that it’s our short and medium term forecasts that are relied on by emergency responders to help them manage the impacts of severe weather.

The Met Office’s five-day forecasts and severe weather warnings have provided excellent guidance throughout the period of exceptionally stormy and wet weather we have experienced this winter. This advice has helped everyone from the emergency services, to government organisations and the public plan ahead for the conditions we’ve seen.

The news stories are based on information taken from our three month outlook for contingency planners, issued at the end of November 2013 so, what can our three month outlooks tell us?

These outlooks are not like our other forecasts because, as we have discussed previously, it’s not currently scientifically possible to provide a detailed forecast over these long timescales.

Instead, the outlook assesses the level of risk connected to five different scenarios for both temperature and rain/snowfall for the UK as a whole; they do not mention specific areas such as the West Country or the Somerset Levels. It’s a bit like the science-equivalent of factoring the odds on a horse race.

However, as with any horse race, it’s always possible that the favourite won’t win – so these probability scenarios have to be used in the right context. This is why they’re useful for contingency planners who plan ahead based on risk, but not that useful for the general public.





Winter so far – 20th February rainfall update

20 02 2014

The latest rainfall update from the Met Office National Climate Information Centre shows that this has been the UK’s wettest winter on record in the national series going back to 1910.

These provisional rainfall statistics for the winter so far (from 1 December 2013 to 19 February 2014) show new records for the UK, Wales, east Scotland, southwest England & south Wales alongside the record already set for southeast & central southern England.

Rainfall precentage of average 1 Dec 2013 - 19 Feb 2014

Rainfall precentage of average 1 Dec 2013 – 19 Feb 2014

With just over a week to go until the end of the season:

  • The UK has now received 486.8mm of rain, narrowly above the previous record of 485.1mm set in 1995.
  • Wales has seen 691.8mm of rain, beating the previous record of 684.1mm in 1995.
  • East Scotland has seen 514.5mm of rain, beating the previous record of 482.2mm in 1915.
  • Southwest England and south Wales has seen 632.5mm of rain beating the previous record of 610.7mm in 1990.
  • Southeast and central southern England has seen 492mm beating the previous record of 437.1mm set in 1915.

All countries and areas are also on target for a warmer than average winter.

Current record wettest winters:

Country Year Rainfall Winter 2014 to date*
UK 2014 486.8mm New record
ENGLAND 1915 392.7mm 370.4mm
WALES 2014 691.8mm New record
SCOTLAND 1995 649.5mm 634.3mm
NORTHERN IRELAND 1994 489.7mm 434.5mm

*These are provisional figures from 1 December 2013 to 19 February 2014 and could change after final quality control checks on data.





12 February 2014 – Storm Statistics

13 02 2014

The UK saw severe weather conditions throughout the course of Wednesday 12 February 2014 and as forecast the strongest winds hit the Welsh and Northwestern coast. Below you can see the highest gusts of wind and rainfall totals recorded at Met Office observing sites on Thursday 12 February 2014.

Maximum gust speeds:

Site Area Elevation (m) Max gust speed (mph)
ABERDARON GWYNEDD 95 108
MUMBLES HEAD WEST GLAMORGAN 43 96
WIGHT: NEEDLES OLD BATTERY ISLE OF WIGHT 80 96
LAKE VYRNWY POWYS 360 96
CAPEL CURIG NO 3 GWYNEDD 216 93
HIGH BRADFIELD SOUTH YORKSHIRE 395 92
PEMBREY SANDS DYFED 3 89
ABERPORTH DYFED 133 87
LOFTUS CLEVELAND 158 85
BERRY HEAD DEVON 58 85

Rainfall totals:

Site Area Rainfall (mm)
SHAP CUMBRIA 46
BAINBRIDGE NORTH YORKSHIRE 41
BALLYPATRICK FOREST ANTRIM 39
CAPEL CURIG NO 3 GWYNEDD 37.4
BANAGHER, CAUGH HILL LONDONDERRY 35.8
BALA GWYNEDD 32.8
ALTNAHINCH FILTERS ANTRIM 32.4
KESWICK CUMBRIA 29.6
PATELEY BRIDGE, RAVENS NEST NORTH YORKSHIRE 27.4
TREDEGAR, BRYN BACH PARK GWENT 26.8

The unsettled weather will continue over the next 48 hours with a system bringing heavy rain on Friday 14 February, however the latter part of the weekend should bring drier and brighter weather for many. Everyone is advised to stay up to date with the latest Met Office forecasts and National Severe Weather Warnings and find out what to do in severe weather.





Wind and rainfall data 29 to 30 December 2013

30 12 2013

As forecast gales and heavy rain are again affecting the UK. Below you can see the highest gusts of wind and rainfal totals recorded at Met Office observing sites from 6pm 29 December and 8am 30 December.

Maximum gust speeds:

Site Area Elevation (m) Max gust speed (mph)
CAPEL CURIG     GWYNEDD          216 77
BERRY HEAD                      DEVON            58 75
SCILLY: ST MARYS AIRPORT        ISLES OF SCILLY  31 71
PLYMOUTH, MOUNTBATTEN           DEVON            50 71
WIGHT: NEEDLES OLD BATTERY      ISLE OF WIGHT    80 70
CULDROSE                        CORNWALL         76 66
MILFORD HAVEN DYFED            44 61
NORTH WYKE                      DEVON            177 61
EDINBURGH, BLACKFORD HILL       MIDLOTHIAN       134 60
CARDINHAM, BODMIN               CORNWALL         200 59

Rainfall totals:

Site Area Rainfall (mm)
MURLOUGH                        DOWN               54.4
THREAVE                         KIRKCUDBRIGHTSHIRE 52.2
WHITECHURCH                     DYFED              47.4
ESKDALEMUIR                     DUMFRIESSHIRE      42.4
KESWICK                         CUMBRIA            41.8
DUNDRENNAN                      KIRKCUDBRIGHTSHIRE 41.4
GLASGOW, BISHOPTON              RENFREWSHIRE       40.4
TREDEGAR, BRYN BACH PARK  GWENT              37.2
ST BEES HEAD        CUMBRIA            36.4
BLENCATHRA                      CUMBRIA            35

The unsettled weather will continue through the rest of the week and everyone is advised to stay up to date with the latest Met Office forecasts and National Severe Weather Warnings and find out what to do in severe weather.





Wind and rainfall data 27 December 2013

27 12 2013

As forecast, a deep area of low pressure developed over the Atlantic Ocean in the early hours of Friday morning bringing with it a further spell of wet and very windy weather across the UK as it tracked northeastwards, crossing northwest Scotland.

Below you can see the highest gusts of wind and rainfall totals recorded at Met Office observing sites from midnight to 2.30pm on 27 December.

Maximum gust speeds:

Site Area Elevation (m) Max gust speed (mph)
Aberdaron Gwynedd 95 102
Capel Curig Gwynedd 216 87
Mumbles Head West Glamorgan 43 85
St Bees Head Cumbria 124 85
Inverbervie Kincardineshire 134 81
Valley Gwynedd 10 81
Lake Vyrnwy Powys 360 78
Mona Anglesey 60 78
Needles Old Battery Isle of Wight 80 78
Dundrennan Kirkcudbrightshire 113 77
Pembry Sands Dyfed 3 76

Rainfall totals:

Site Area Rainfall (mm)
Tulloch Bridge Inverness-shire 38
Tyndrum Perthshire 37.8
Charterhouse Roxburghshire 37.8
Kiedler Castle Northumberland 33.2
Achnagart Ross and Cromarty 32.8
Redesdale Camp Northumberland 28.6
Cluanie Inn Ross and Cromarty 26.2
Eskdalemuir Dumfriesshire 24.2
Dalwhinnie Inverness-shire 24.2
Newton Rigg Cumbria 22
Banagher, Caugh Hill Londonderry 19.4

Winds will slowly ease from tonight and we are expecting a brighter and less windy interlude over the course of Saturday and for most of Sunday with overnight frosts and sunny spells and a wintry mix of showers.

Another active atlantic frontal system is expected to swing eastwards across the country on Sunday night and Monday morning. A combination of strobng winds and moist air has the   potential to give locally significant amounts of rain which could cause the risk of further flooding.  The wind and rain are expected to clear eastward on Monday morning.

During this period of unsettled weather, people are advised to stay up to date with the latest Met Office forecasts and National Severe Weather Warnings and find out what to do in severe weather so they can plan ahead for the weather in store and make the most of the festive season. We would also encourage you to stay up to date with the latest news on flooding by checking the Environment Agency’s website for the latest flood alerts and warnings.

 





Wind and rainfall data 23 to 24 December 2013 – Updated 1130

24 12 2013

As forecast it was a stormy night across the southern half of the UK. Below you can see the highest gusts of wind and rainfal totals recorded at Met Office observing sites from 6pm 23 December and 7am 24 December.

Maximum gust speeds:

Site Area Elevation (m) Max gust speed (mph)
Needles Old Battery ISLE OF WIGHT 80 92
Berry Head DEVON 58 84
Langdon Bay KENT 117 76
Gorleston NORFOLK 4 75
Manston KENT 49 75
Mumbles Head WEST GLAMORGAN 43 75
South Uist Range WESTERN ISLES 4 75
Plymouth Mountbatten DEVON 50 74
Solent HAMPSHIRE 9 74
Aberdaron GWYNEDD 95 73
North Wyke DEVON 177 73

Rainfall totals:

Site Area Rainfall (mm)
Kenley Airfield GREATER LONDON 53.6
Charlwood SURREY 41
Wych Cross EAST SUSSEX 38.6
Alice Holt Lodge HAMPSHIRE 33.8
Goudhurst KENT 32.2
Middle Wallop HAMPSHIRE 31.6
Frittenden KENT 30.8
Cluanie Inn ROSS & CROMARTY 30.8
Liscombe SOMERSET 30.4
Hurn DORSET 29.8
Larkhill WILTSHIRE 29.2

The Met Office at Boscombe Down, Salisbury Plain, recorded 66.7mm of rain in the 24 hours 9am 23 December to 9am 24 December. This is provisionally a new all time daily record in any month for the station – records going back to January 1931. The previous record was 62.3mm on 16 August 1977.

Today we can expect severe gales across western and northern Scotland, with damaging gusts in places, especially around the coasts.

For Christmas Day and Boxing Day, we are expecting a colder and less windy interlude with overnight frosts and sunny spells and a wintry mix of showers, so there is a chance that some places, especially the higher ground of the west and north, may see a White Christmas. For most of us though Christmas is likely to be green not white.

Another Atlantic depression is expected to bring a further spell of wet and stormy weather to the UK on Friday.

During this period of unsettled weather, people are advised to stay up to date with the latest Met Office forecasts and National Severe Weather Warnings and find out what to do in severe weather so they can plan ahead for the weather in store and make the most of the festive season.





Our change in the weather and how the jet stream is driving it

13 12 2013

After a quiet spell of weather courtesy of a slow moving area of high pressure, we are now entering an unsettled period as a series of Atlantic depressions are expected to pass close to the northwest of Britain during the next week.

High pressure has now moved away and is settled over Europe and a powerful jet stream is developing over the Atlantic which will be the main driving force behind this spell of unsettled weather.

What is the jet stream?

The jet stream is a band of fast moving westerly winds high up in the atmosphere which circle around the pole in the northern hemisphere. It can feature winds of up to 200 knots (230 mph) or more, and these winds tend to guide wet and windy weather systems which come in off the Atlantic.

The jet moves around a fair bit and its position can have a big impact on weather here in the UK depending on where it is.

If the jet is over the UK or just to the south, we tend to get a lot of wet and windy conditions as it brings weather systems straight to us. If the jet is to the north of us, it guides that changeable weather away to the north to leave the UK with more settled conditions.

What’s the jet stream doing now?

Unsurprisingly given the outlook for the next week, with a succession of Atlantic depressions passing by to the northwest of Scotland, the jet is positioned to the northwest of the UK too.

As you can see from the picture below, the jet currently swoops east from Canada – swinging northeast over the Atlantic towards the UK.

Forecast position of jet stream at midday Saturday 14 December 2013

Forecast position of jet stream at midday Saturday 14 December 2013

Closer to the ground very cold air is also streaming south from Canada and meeting warm air moving north from the Caribbean. It is where these two air masses meet under the jet stream that powerful Atlantic depressions form and are blown across the ocean towards our shores.

It is these depressions that bring a significant risk of severe gales and heavy rain affecting at least the northwest of the UK at times.

What’s the weather outlook?

Currently, Met Office National Severe Weather Warnings have been issued for wind across some northwestern and northern areas for the weekend. Gusts of 60-70 mph are likely with a risk of gusts to 80 mph or more across exposed parts of northwest Scotland.

However, at this stage there remains uncertainty regarding the extent of the strongest winds and these warnings will be updated as the weather develops over the weekend.

Looking ahead, while we expect further depressions to develop it is not possible to say exactly how vigorous they may be or pinpoint where they will be in a week’s time. This means it is too early to say which areas will experience the strongest winds and heaviest rain, however there are indications that  areas further to the south of the UK may be affected at times.

You can stay up to date with what to expect with our detailed forecasts out to 5-days and our weather warnings, as well as a general view of what we expect out to 30 days and find out what to do in severe weather

You can find out more about the jet stream in our YouTube video.

 





Stormy weather in the Mediterranean

15 11 2013

The central and western Mediterranean will experience very unsettled conditions through the weekend and next week.

Very heavy rain is expected to affect the northeast of Spain, southern France, the Balearic Isles, Corsica, Sardinia, Italy and the Adriatic facing Balkan nations as the very unsettled conditions move slowly east through the region.

Rainfall totals could be as high as 250mm in places, with a risk of up to 200mm in 24 hours. The average rainfall for November in this region is between 50mm and 100mm.

The rain will be associated with thunderstorms which could also produce hailstorms, very strong gusty winds and the possibility of tornadoes in a few places.

Storms developing over the western Mediterranean

Storms developing over the western Mediterranean

In addition to the rain, very strong winds are expected through the central and western Mediterranean, with widespread gales and a risk of storm force winds for a time. This will lead to rough seas that could pose a threat to shipping in the region.

There is also the risk of strong or gale force southeasterly winds affecting the Adriatic during Tuesday and Wednesday next week. These strong winds, combined with very heavy rainfall across the Venice region over the next few days could bring the risk of flooding in Venice.





Typhoon Haiyan makes landfall over the Philippines

8 11 2013

As predicted Typhoon Haiyan made landfall late yesterday evening (UK time) over the central Philippines.

Typhoon Haiyan will have caused catastrophic damage near the centre of its track through the Philippine islands of Samar, Leyte and Panay. In addition to the strong winds, the storm surge and heavy rain will also have caused major impacts in these regions. The typhoon is now moving out into the South China Sea. Over the next couple of days it is likely to lose some strength before making another landfall in northern parts of Vietnam on Sunday, although is still expected to be a typhoon.

Typhoon Haiyan at 2230 UTC on 07 November 2013 as it made landfall. Image from NOAA.

Typhoon Haiyan at 2230 UTC on 07 November 2013 as it made landfall. Image from NOAA.

At the time of landfall the estimated central pressure of the typhoon was 895 mb and sustained winds averaged over one minute estimated at 195 mph with higher gusts. These estimates are based on well attested satellite techniques, but without observations exactly in the path of the eye of the typhoon it is impossible to confirm their accuracy. However, this is likely to make Haiyan one of the most intense tropical cyclones to make landfall in history.

Forecast track of Typhoon Haiyan from the Japan Meteorological Agency. (http://www.jma.go.jp/en/typh/images/zooml/1330-00.png) NOAA.

Forecast track of Typhoon Haiyan from the Japan Meteorological Agency.

In 1969 Hurricane Camille made landfall over the southern USA with sustained winds near 190 mph and in 1935 a hurricane which passed over the Florida Keys had an observed central pressure of 892 mb.

In terms of all time records, Typhoon Tip in 1979 holds the record for the lowest pressure in a tropical cyclone measured at 870 mb and the strongest wind gust ever recorded in a tropical cyclone was 253 mph in Cyclone Olivia off the north-west coast of Australia in 1996. As things stand these records seem likely to remain for the time being.

Regional warnings for Typhoon Haiyan are produced by the Japanese Meteological Agency (JMA) and the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA). The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of typhoon 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 model data and guidance is also used by Project NOAH in part for warning the government and the Filipino population.

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 Unified Model and latest observed cloud cover and sea surface temperature. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.





What to do in heavy rain

14 05 2013

The next few days will see some heavy rain across the country resulting in possible disruption. Yellow alerts have been issued by the Met Office this week for many areas of the UK.

Met Office warnings and what they mean

If a yellow warnings is issued: Be aware.

During a yellow warning for rainfall there may be some minor traffic delays due to slower traffic and outdoor events may be disrupted or cancelled. There may be localised flooding of fields, car parks and recreational land.

When an amber warning is issued: Be prepared.

An amber warning indicates the need to be prepared for some disruption of daily routines and travel only if well prepared as the journey may take longer. Some flooding of homes, businesses and transport connections is possible. Utility services (gas, electricity and water) may also be affected and protecting property will be needed (for example moving possessions upstairs and using sandbags).

A red warning means action must be taken.

It is essential to follow advice from authorities under all circumstances and expect significant disruption. Only take journeys if absolutely essential and carry emergency food and clothing. Red warnings mean there could be widespread flooding of property and severe disruption to travel. There may be some loss of utilities (gas, electricity and water). There may be possible risk to life and the advice of the emergency services needs to be followed.

Check the latest forecast for your area on our severe weather page.

You can also sign up to our severe weather RSS feed or severe weather twitter account for your local area.

For more information on our severe weather warnings service, watch our video guide:

The Environment Agency’s Floodline 0845 988 1188 is available 24 hours a day for flood advice or you can see the latest flood warnings on our website.

For more detailed travel information check the Highways Agency’s website.

Infographic what to do in heavy rain








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