Spring has sprung

5 03 2014

Warmer, drier weather is on the way for parts of the country.  As we move through the week a north–south divide develops across the UK with Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and parts of Wales being changeable and windy. However in the south high pressure will dominate  bringing dry weather for the weekend, with the best of the weather in the Southeast.

Temperatures are expected to reach mid to high teens in the South this weekend (8th – 9th March), while northwest England and Scotland are likely to see spells of strong winds and rain and there is a risk of overnight frosts.

This is in sharp contrast to the record breaking winter we have just experienced.  It was the wettest winter for the UK, England, Wales and Scotland, and the second wettest winter for Northern Ireland in the record series dating from 1910. It was the stormiest UK weather for 20 years with at least 12 major winter storms affecting the UK in two spells from mid-December to early January, and again from late January to mid-February.

For a time early next week the temperatures are expected to return to nearer normal, or slightly above, the average for the time of year (9 °C).  High pressure is again expected to dominate through next week leaving largely settled conditions it should continue to feel “spring like” with some sunshine around and light winds.

When does Spring start?

Meteorologically speaking spring stretches from 1 March to the end of May. Astronomically, spring typically starts on the day of spring equinox, around the 20 March in the Northern Hemisphere.

Weather in spring is often calm and dry with temperatures rising in the day but staying cool at night.

UK snow depths Saturday 26 January 2013

26 01 2013

As forecast, further snow fell across central, northern and eastern parts of the UK yesterday and overnight. The latest snow depth observations as of 0800 this morning for the UK are below. Redesdale Camp in Northumbria has the highest snow depth so far this year with 33 cm recorded.

Location Area Depth (cm)
Redesdale Camp Northumberland 33
Eskdalemuir Dumfriesshire 30
Albemarle Northumberland 25
Spadeadam Cumbria 25
Aboyne Aberdeenshire 20
Bingley West Yorkshire 20
Little Rissington Gloucestershire 18
Leek, Thorncliffe Staffordshire 16
Nottingham, Watnall Nottinghamshire 12
Leconfield Humberside 11
Strathallan Airfield Perthshire 11
Church Fenton North Yorkshire 11
Wittering Cambridgeshire 10
Sennybridge Powys 10
Andrewsfield Essex 10
Dyce Aberdeenshire 9
Cranwell Lincolnshire 9
Linton On Ouse North Yorkshire 8
Wattisham Suffolk 8
Scampton Lincolnshire 8
Marham Norfolk 7
Shap Cumbria 7
Leeming North Yorkshire 7
Boulmer Northumberland 6
Shawbury Shropshire 5
Waddington Lincolnshire 5
Rostherne Cheshire 4
Bridlington MRSC Humberside 4
Hawarden Airport Clwyd 3
Glasgow, Bishopton Renfrewshire 3
Coningsby Lincolnshire 3
Bedford Bedfordshire 3
Coleshill Warwickshire 3
Liscombe Somerset 2
Dunkeswell Aerodrome Devon 2
Drumalbin Lanarkshire 2
Hereford, Credenhill Hereford & Worcester 2
Prestwick, Gannet Ayrshire 2
Odiham Hampshire 1

As we continue through the weekend all of us will see a change to milder and unsettled conditions, with further rain, heavy at times pushing east across the UK later on Saturday and into Sunday. A yellow warning of heavy rain has been issued for parts of the UK overnight tonight

The change to milder weather will result in a combination of a thaw of lying snow and periods of rain which inevitably increases the risk of flooding in some areas. The Met Office and Environment Agency are monitoring the situation very closely and advise everyone to stay up to date with the latest weather forecasts, severe weather warnings, and flood warnings.

By thinking ahead we can all be better prepared for severe weather. Throughout the winter, the Met Office works with agencies across the UK to help keep the country safe, well and on the move.

Met Office in the Media: 09 December 2011

9 12 2011

The severe weather that affected much of the north of the UK over the last day or so has just shown how important accurate weather forecasts are in keeping people safe and well. Our forecasts were in deed very accurate and last night Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said: “The conditions are exactly as predicted when the Met Office issued its red warning.”

Equally important however is clearly communicating our weather forecasts to make sure that the nation knows where and when severe weather will hit and then what the impacts may be.  We work with agencies, such as local and national governments, the police and fire service as well as emergency planners to make sure they clearly know what the weather has in store, but we still need to keep the public informed.

We best do this with our partners at the BBC and ITV, where our weather forecasts reach many millions of people every day. These forecasts over the last few days have been extremely clear, accurate and informative, ensuring we all knew what to expect. Similarly working with national and local newspapers and radio stations across the land the nation was prepared for severe weather when it really mattered.

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Met Office forecaster supports troops with more than just the forecast

1 12 2011

Met Office Weather Forecaster and RAF Reservist, Sqn Ldr Ken Horn made 902 Expeditionary Air Wing history today by cycling a massive 1900km during his three month tour of duty in the Middle East.

The 54 year old Meteorologist, who is often spotted cycling around the Airbase, finished his challenge only a few hours before catching his departing flight home to the UK.

His record breaking prowess is not limited to cycling; having just completed his 63rd deployment (excluding exercises) and been awarded 11 military medals, Sqn Ldr Horn has a wealth of operational experience in locations including Afghanistan, the Balkans and Iraq.

902 EAW has a permanent team of meteorologists from the Met Office Mobile Met Unit who are vital in the accurate forecasting and monitoring of weather conditions for the VC-10, Merlin and Sentinel Force elements operating in support of Op KIPION and Op HERRICK. The local landscape and sudden weather fronts locally mean Sqn Ldr Horns leadership is even more important than ever.

Sqn Ldr Horn was presented with a certificate by Wg Cdr Blackburn, CO 902 EAW today, to mark not only his outstanding achievement on the road, but also his contributions to 902 EAW’s air operations. Wg Cdr Blackburn said “As a trusted and valued Officer, Sqn Ldr Horn is an unsung hero, critical in what we do; we simply could not have delivered our mission without his efforts”.

The full article “902 EAW Met Man Covers 19OOkm” is published on RAF News

Met Office in the Media – 25 November 2011

25 11 2011

There are a couple of interesting articles about the weather in today’s press.

First of all, in the Daily Telegraph, a contradictory story with a headline which claims we shouldn’t “expect a big freeze this Christmas“. The introduction goes on to say the Met Office is predicting “unseasonable weather” – when actually, we are predicting normal weather for the time of year.

The Met Office quote further down the article gives a more accurate picture: “Last December saw a very prolonged period with wave after wave of cold spells and snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures. Rather than that, it looks like we’re in for a mixed, unsettled December this year, with some cold spells but also milder spells.”

To clarify, last year we had the coldest December in more than 100 years. The Met Office forecast for 30 days ahead, which still does not cover the whole month of December, suggests that we are unlikely to see a repeat of the persistent and extreme cold and snowy conditions that we saw last year.

Instead the current Met Office forecast is for much more normal conditions for the time of year, with periods of wind and rain interspersed with colder spells bringing some overnight frost and a chance of snow – mostly over the higher ground in Scotland. As always we will keep the British public warned and informed when severe weather is expected to affect the UK through our 5 day forecasts and our National Severe Weather Warning Service.

There’s also an article in the Daily Express which suggests Scotland will be “blanketed” with snow. There has been some snowfall in Scotland overnight and this morning, but – as forecast by the Met Office – this has generally been on high ground above 400m. We are expecting further snowfalls over the next few days, but again only on the high ground in Scotland.


Met Office in the Media: 11 November 2011

12 11 2011

It is has been a busy week for the Met Office in the media this week.  It started with the broadcast of “Will it Snow?” on BBC2 last weekend. This programme looked at the challenges of forecasting severe weather and explained the science of weather forecasting.  The programme, which included several interviews with the Met Office has been positively received across a number of outlets.

On Wednesday, following evidence by Edward Davey to the Science and Technology Select Committee, several news pieces ran on the work of the Met Office and the resources needed to support our world-leading weather forecasting capability. The BBC reported that the ‘Met Office more powerful computers’, whilst others reported on the work we have been doing to explore the use of probabilities in weather forecasts. Regular readers of this blog will be aware of the study we undertook using an online game to explore how people use probability information and others have reported on our use of probabilities of rainfall and temperature range forecasts on our new beta website. The Mail, Telegraph and Yahoo News all reported on this. Mike Hanlon wrote a very interesting piece in his blog about the use of probabilities entitled ‘New weather forecasts show just how far the Met Office has come‘.

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Customising your home page on the Met Office beta site

11 11 2011

The new Met Office beta website allows you to customise the content you see, the location of weather forecasts and observations and display of the homepage. To start customising, click on the customise icon in the top right hand corner of the homepage.

 Choose what content is displayed

 You can switch off content you’re not interested in by unticking the boxes in the customise panel. You can also click the x in the corner of the widget box to remove it from view.

 Choose your units

 Choose the units you’d like to see on your weather reports for temperature, wind speed, pressure and rainfall in the customise panel.

 Choose your location

 Click on ‘change’ in the five day weather forecast map to change your location, you’ll then be given the option to use your chosen location across the whole site.

 Choose your layout

 You can drag widgets around the homepage and position them where you like. You can also contract and expand widgets using the triangle icon at the top of each widget.

Choose your language

You can now opt for English, Welsh or Gaelic.

 We’d love to know how you’re finding the new website, you can leave us a comment on this post or send your feedback via our feedback form.

Met Office in the Media: 20 September 2011

20 09 2011

There has been widespread coverage in the media today about an impending cold winter and snow in October.  Britain faces an early big freeze in the Express and Britain to be hit by snow in October… in the Daily Mail both report that Exacta Weather forecast snow in parts of the UK as early as next month.  It should be made clear that these forecasts for the coming months are not from the Met Office. When we asked the public what types of forecasts they would like you told us that you would find a monthly forecast more useful. Currently this forecast, which is updated regularly with the latest forecast information, takes us through the first few weeks of October and says:

Temperatures are expected to be around normal for the time of year across much of the UK by day, dropping below normal at night, especially across the Midlands and southeast, leading to an increased incidence of overnight frosts. The cooler conditions at night will be mitigated by day in some parts by sunnier than normal weather, with both the far south and far north of the country favoured to see above normal amounts of sunshine, with nearer normal sunshine hours elsewhere. Rainfall amounts are correspondingly likely to be a little below average in most areas, especially in the west.

To provide some context it certainly would not be a surprise to see overnight frosts and even some snow across higher parts of Scotland in October. Historically, looking at the long term climatology, snow falls on around 3 or 4 days in a typical October across the Highlands of Scotland and on 1 or 2 days in the Southern Uplands and northern Pennines.

Therefore, it’s never too early to be prepared for winter – especially as we know from experience the types of severe weather we can see  in the UK during the winter months. 

As a result it is vital that service providers, ahead of any winter, have plans in place to respond to Met Office 1-5 day forecasts and warnings.  These provide good advice, and can be used with a relatively high degree of confidence. Therefore the Met Office has been working with service providers such as BAA and DH to help them develop robust plans and prepare for any severe weather.

It is out short term forecasts, used for example by government, local councils, train, air and road operators that can help to minimise the impacts of severe weather on you and your community.

Met Office in the Media: 16 September 2011

16 09 2011

The Met Office probability weather game has received positive coverage from around the world after becoming the largest study on the understanding of probabilistic weather forecasts undertaken.  The Washington Post reported on how game players were contributing to the science of communicating uncertainty in weather forecasting, whilst Digital River review the game, reporting: “The efficacy of a well-designed ‘gamification’ strategy has been demonstrated brilliantly by the Met Office in this case.”

The use of probabilities in weather forecasting has been a topic of debate for many years but there is little in the way of research on how to present the extra information contained in these forecasts. So far the game, which sees players helping Brad the ice-cream man by providing probability-based weather advice, has been played nearly 8,000 times. There is only a limited amount of time left to play the game, which is available at www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/weather-game. The scientists leading the project are hoping that more people can take part to give even more comprehensive results.

Elsewehere several newspapers including The Times have reported on a project to take old weather records and use the to re-analyse past climate. ACRE (Atmospheric Circulation Reconstructions over Earth) aims to recover sparse historical weather observations which are then processed to create reconstructions or ‘reanalyses’ of the world’s climate over the last 200 years. A huge catalogue of old weather data, from the ships’ logs of historic voyages to World War I Royal Navy records, is being used for an international project to recreate the world’s past climate. The reanalysis will show the state of the atmosphere at six hourly intervals to give unprecedented detail about past weather. The end product will have a huge number of potential uses – including understanding future climate. Rob Allan , leading ACRE for the Met Office, said: “This project will help to shed much more light on the patterns, variability and changes in our past climate. This will not only help give us more confidence in our understanding of the past, but also allow us to better assess our predictions for the future.”

Apache helicopter pays a visit to the Met Office

5 09 2011

The Met Office’s Exeter HQ had a visit from Army Air Corps aircrew and their Apache attack helicopter last week.

The Apache, from Middle Wallop in Hampshire, flew over the Met Office HQ as part of a routine training flight. This was a rare opportunity for Met Office staff outside of Middle Wallop to see the aircraft up close.

Apache helicopter in the skies above the Met Office HQ in Exeter

Army Air Corps and Met Office staff often meet to discuss how to continue developing services and use the latest advances in technology in support of operations.

The Met Office provides the British Armed Forces with a world-leading range of tailored information. The weather and other environmental factors can have a critical impact on the success of military operations.

Major Buzz Robinson, from 673 Squadron Middle Wallop, said: “When it comes to flying helicopters, weather is crucial to everything we do. It affects everything from how high we can fly, the range of our weapons, journey times and even how much fuel we take on board. Met Office staff do an amazing job to ensure we have the very best information and guidance, specific to our needs that enable us to make tactical decisions.”

As well as a range of services provided by staff at the Met Office HQ, there is also a dedicated team of forecasters based at Middle Wallop. Specially trained Met Office forecasters also work at Mobile Met Units close to the front line.

Ric Robins, from the Forecasting Delivery Team for Defence Operations at the Met Office, said: “As well as being meteorologists, our long history and strong relationship of working with UK Armed Forces means we understand how weather can affect military operations. We can help them operate efficiently, effectively, and maintain a tactical advantage wherever they are in the world.”


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